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Fishing 101: How to catch big boss bluegills

Posted on September 29, 2012

Terry Tuma’Round about late summer, I fall into big bluegill mode. Not every lake has them, so I first find information about a specific lake that will produce those big ’gills.

Sometimes I’ll be fishing  walleyes and pick up a big bluegill. Most people might think “fluke,” and move on. Mark that spot! You may have discovered something no one else is pursuing.

Big bluegill hunters should plan on being mobile. Don’t just stay on one spot and hope for big fish. Play out a hunch on a spot, then move on when your gut tells you it’s time.

Everyone thinks small, small, small for bluegills, but don’t be afraid to use bigger baits. I’ve caught a lot via larger leeches and small crawlers. Bluegills are trying to feed and fill up quickly. Hey, if you’re beaucoup hungry, you don’t just want just french fires. You want a burger, too.

If fishing weed edges and rock piles, use quality line, starting with 4-pound test. In some areas with a lot of snags, I’ll step up to a super braid.

Recently, I was using 1⁄32-ounce jig with dressing, alternating with a hair jig and tube jig. I worked with many different colors, but generally found that dressing is important. Maribou provides a lot of movement and bulk, and in my experience, you want a bait or jig with minimal movement. Tubes work well because you can adjust the bulk.

I employ some classic walleye tactics and vertical jig or troll for deeper boss bluegills. A live hair jig similar to a walleye jig works well, and my tough-bite favorite is a crawler section threaded on a No. 6 long-shank hook.

As for hardware, everyone wants to use small rods. Don’t. I use a 7-foot rod (at least) with a soft tip, almost like a light-action walleye setup. You need that soft tip to detect bites, because these guys are light biters, though they fight hard after the hookset.

Remember, we need to keep just enough for a meal, then practice catch and release. Big bluegills can be a scarce resource, so don’t wipe out that school!

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