Fishing tip: Get your hook to the bottom fast to catch more big mid-summer bluegills
As the water warms in late June and July, large schools of panfish often will concentrate around healthy patches of cabbage weeds. Expect small active fish higher in the water column and larger ones near the cooler bottom. The problem? Those small bluegills will grab your hook and bait before it reaches the larger, bluegills.
Try stepping up the size of your lure to try to intimidate smaller fish, though this often can also turn off the larger fish, too. Another problem is that the small ones will continue to steal your bait, but just not be hooked. Push past those little pesky bluegills by using a heavier lure. This is where many of those fast-dropping, heavier tungsten ice jigs with small hooks can shine.
You can also just add weight to your line directly above
your lure right above the eye of the hook. This gives you the best connection to the lure by allowing you to feel what’s happening to your jig. With the weight up away from your jig, the fish can swim sideways with your lure and spit it out before you even notice a bite. Then you end up with a bait-free lure.
Once you find your spot, either anchor or use an electric trolling motor to hover over and around the weeds. Drop your lure straight down paying close attention to the line since fish often will grab your lure as it descends. Try dropping to the bottom and slowly raising up a few inches at a time and jigging like you would through the ice. Make adjustments to find where the biggest fish in the school are in relation to the bottom.
I usually go with a straight, vertical approach with no bobber. These fish can be very quick, rapidly sucking in and spitting out your lure. By the time they make your bobber move and you react, it’s too late. By fishing with a tight line, you’ll sense the slightest bites, thus making you much more productive.
The type of bait to use can vary from live bait like waxworms, angle worms, leeches, pieces of nightcrawler, or some type of scented artificial bait like plastic minnows, tails or worms. Oftentimes, artificial baits seem to catch larger fish and they last longer, but sometimes finicky fish prefer live bait.
Good luck fishing and stay safe!