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'Fat' Summer Bluegills & Sunfish

Bluegill Sunfish | Perch | Panfish TacticsCall them what you want, the Bluegill is a member of the sunfish family. Pumpkinseed, redbreast, stumpknocker, green sunfish or longear sunfish, they are all members of the Lepomis species. It is the one species which inhabits as much acreage as any other species found in North America. All members of the sunfish family spawn during spring when shallow shorewater warms to 60 to 74 degrees. Males build the nests, some reaching a diameter of 24" to 40". With a depth of 6" to 10". With the eggs laid, the female departs, leaving the male to guard the nest against marauding minnows and other small fish. Catching sunfish in spring is easy. It's a simple matter of dropping a tiny jig--dead center on the nest and waiting for the fat male to remove it.

Where Do Big Gills Go?

However, the question now raised is: Where do the fat females go? Most will go into suspension a fair distance into open lake in front of the the spawning grounds. Look to the 12' to 16' water depths. It is here they screen of a fish locator, he will find them reading as individual dots scattered above the bottom. A slip float and 1/64 oz. freshwater shrimp becomes an ideal tool with which to extract them. Freshwater Shrimp Bluegil - Panfihs

The most difficult season to locate sunfish comes when day temperatures hit 85 to 100 degrees. At this time the fat sunfish sink deep into the lake, seeking out the deeper water weed growth. It is here they find cooler water and the lakes hatching insect larva, small vertebrates and a minnow population to feed on. Look for water depths from 20' to 35' for such structures. A small 1/16 oz. freshwater shrimp tipped with a bit of worm, worked slowly becomes the angler's best weapon.

Deepwater Bluegill Tactics

Other deepwater tactics include presenting small live bait bits on an Ugly Bug Jig and dropping that into deep water. You may need a bb split shot 12" above your jig to get your bait down faster- but this will cut down on your touch. Another option you can drop 12" beneath that bb split shot is to vertical jig one of our Flicker or Flicker BT to entice gills in deep or very deep waters.

Red Ball Scented Egg Catches

No matter the depth or season, when you find bluegills, sunfish, perch or crappie to be close-lipped, the use of the new Red Ball on one of your hooks might tip the fish in favor of taking your jig. The Red Ball features the best scent and versatile hook bait. The Red Ball mimics a fish egg - a universal food for all fish - and one a bluegill or perch knows when they see it.

Red Ball | Bluegill Panfish Perch Trout

High temperatures of summer also produces fat sunfish at the base of deep water cabbage weeds, weeds which grow far out into the lake in as much as 20' of depth.