Easy to find and fun to catch, bluegill are America’s fish
Bluegill — scrappy, hard-fighting and one of the most widely distributed fish in America — are popular among anglers of all ages and skill levels.
Jeff Samsel rigs up. “Because bluegills like shallow cover, you typically find them within casting range of the shore and beneath docks, making them as accessible to a shoreline angler as to someone in a bass boat,” said Samsel, product specialist for Thill Floats and wildly traveled angler.
A sensitive float and a light wire hook are key tools for many anglers when fishing for spawning bluegill.
When the float goes under the action begins.
A fish comes to hand.
Bluegill rarely exceed a pound, but they are strong, agile fishers and tremendous sport on light tackle.
Few anglers would disagree that a thick-shouldered, hard-fighting bluegill is pure fishing fun.
During the spawn most bluegill are found in 2 to 6 feet of water near shore cover.
Shallow water fishing action attracts more than fishermen.
Modern electronics have greatly aided anglers in locating bluegill beds. Guide Billy Blakley strongly urges fishermen not to keep females caught from spawning waters. “That’s a really bad thing to do,” he said.
Many baits will catch bluegill. None are more effective than crickets fished under a bobber. “Anytime bluegill are on the (spawning) beds it’s nothing but crickets for me,” said Blue Bank Resort head guide Billy Blakley.
Alan Clemons brings a bluegill to hand. He learned to located spawning beds by smell when fishing as a child with his mother and father, Ann and Charles Clemons. “My mother could smell them,” he said. “It’s a very distinctive smell. Kind of sweet. Almost like a ripe cantaloupe or watermelon.”
Successful bluegill anglers often target standing timber and weedy cover.
A Reelfoot Lake sunset closes a fine day of bluegill fishing.