How To Catch Bluegills, Bass, & Walleyes – The Best Fish Fry of 2016

Fishing For Bluegills, Bass, & Walleyes On The Same Trip

Last week I was asked to take two young couples fishing for the weekend, so I asked them what they wanted to fish for? Everything was the reply, so I pulled out the Fly Rods and we caught large Bluegills for the first 1.5 days. The last part of the second day, the rain picked up and the temperatures dropped, so we then turned to the Open-Bail Spin Casting Rods and started to fish for Bass, Northern, and Walleyes.

Best Baits For Catching Bluegills, Bass & Walleyes – A Great Fish Fry

My plan for the trip was to have fun, catch all three fish types, catch enough Panfish for a fish fry, and to teach these two very attractive young girls how to use a Fly Rod and Spin-Casting Rod.

For the baits I stayed with artificial since I wanted to use something that would create a visual strike for the Bluegills, Bass, & Northern. For the Bluegills we used my homemade Dry Flies (Spiders) and for the Bass and Northern we used our homemade top-water poppers. Both of these baits worked well giving us lots of top water action. For the Walleyes we had to go deeper so I went with the 200 Bandit and the Ice Fishing Rapala, which is my number Walleye bait.


The Fish Fry

The fishing was great and we kept plenty of fish for our fish fry. We prepared the fish by first filleting them, then cutting the fillets into bite sizes, soaking those in buttermilk for a few minutes, rolling them into floor with a little seasoning, and then dropped them into hot peanut oil. Oh so good!

How To Tie A Fish Hook On

Which Fishing Knots Are The Best To Use

When it comes to tying fish knots there are several to choose from, but do you need them all? Factors to consider when deciding on which knot to use are; its purpose, the strongest, and the easiest/quickest to tie. Here we will focus on the most common knots used and pick the 3 that most anglers will ever need. *Note, when using Monofilament wet the line first, this helps keep the knot from slipping out before becoming tight.

Knots Used For Tying Two Unequal Size Lines Together

In the cases where you need to tie one fishing line to another or tie a leader on, there are a few knots to choose from, but the most popular are the Alberto Knot, Albright Knot, and the Double Uni Knot. Any one of these knots will do the job, so whichever one is quickest and easiest for you, go with it. I prefer the Double Uni Knot as this is the easiest to tie, thus our #3 knot.

Alberto Knot

The Alberto and Albright Knots are extremely similar with both knots starting and ending the exact same way. It’s the style of line wraps in the middle section of these knots that separates them. This knot was designed to join lines of different diameters and/or composition such as monofilament or fluorocarbon leaders to braid line.

Albright knot

The Albright Knot is one of the most reliable knots for joining lines of greatly unequal diameters or different materials such as monofilament to braided line.

#3 Double Uni Knot

The Uni to Uni Knot is a standout for joining lines of relatively similar diameter or for adding a monofilament leader to your mainline or fly line. This knot produces a stronger connection than either the Surgeon Knot or Blood Knot. However, if you’re joining lines of vastly different diameters then the Albright Knot would be a better choice.

Knots Used For Tying On Hooks & Artificial Baits

The most common knots used for tying on baits and hooks are; Palomar, San Diego Jam, Trilene, and the Improved Clinch Knot. All four of these knots rank at the top of the list for being the strongest. I prefer the Improved Clinch Knot with 7 twist, but the Trilene Knot will resist slippage better and due to it’s double wrap around the hook eye is considered stronger.

#1 Improved Clinch Knot with 7 twist

The Improved Clinch Knot is our #1 knot. This is the only knot you really need for tying on hooks, artificial baits, or the line to your reel. I use this knot weather I”m fishing for Bluegills, King Salmon (Chinook), or Sturgeon.

Trilene Knot

The Trilene Knot is a strong and reliable knot for joining monofilament line to hooks, swivels and lures. This knot resists slippage and is a stronger alternative to the Clinch Knot.

Palomar Knot

The Palomar Knot is a good knot for attaching a hook to your line or a fly to a leader. However, this knot seems to be a bit confined or bunchy.

San Diego Jam Knot

The San Diego Jam Knot is also known as the Reverse Clinch Knot. This Knot is a little harder to tie and does take longer than the Clinch Knot. The San Diego Jam Knot works well with monofilament, braided, and fluorocarbon lines.

Rapala Knot

Another knot that you could consider is the Rapala knot. This non-slip knot allows you to leave a loop in front of your bait, creating a little more action. This knot is harder to tie then the Clinch Knot and will required a little more time.

Tying A Line To Your Reel

The Arbor Knot is most commonly used for tying your line to a reel, however this knot is not as strong as the Improved Clinch Knot. Stay with the Improved Clinch Knot.

Knots for tying on Additional Hooks

When you’re looking to tie more than one hook to your line there is one knot I prefer, that is the Snell Knot.

#2 Snell Knot

The Snell Knot works great on live bait when you need multiple hooks or when adding a stinger hook for light biting Walleyes. This is our #2 Knot.

Our Top 3 Knots

The top 3 knots we have chosen will suffice most Fisherman and any line tying need that arises. These Knots again are; #1 Improved Clinch Knot (or Trilene Knot), #2 Snell Knot, and #3 Double Uni Knot.

See Animated Knots By Grog

Here you will see many of the fishing knots in Animation.

More Animated Knots By Netknots

This site will cover more Animated Knots but is not as good as Grog’s site.

Fishing for Northern Pike with Bass Baits – Lots of top water action!

When the Bass and Walleyes Don’t Bite the Northerns will

When the Bass and Walleyes are not biting there are typically two types of fish that will; Bluegills and Northern Pike. Here we will have some fun with Northerns, the biggest in the boat 3 lbs, ones lost; 12 lbs Northern and a 20 lb Musky, all on Bass baits with a steel leader.

Baits Used For This Action

The two baits we used where the Bass Buzz Bait and one of our hand made Bass Poppers. The Bass Popper was the better of the baits, which is typical over the Buzz Bait. The Popper was also the bait we lost the large Northern and Musky on and of course I missed both of these on the camera. Visit this post to see how to make these Poppers.

Northern Strikes on Video

Here is a short video on our Baits in Action- Enjoy the strikes.

Bandit Crankbait Review- Walleyes, Bass, & Crappies

The Bandit Lure

The Bandit Crankbait comes in 3 different series (100, 200, 300) and covers depths of 2-5 feet, 4-8 feet, and 8-12 feet. By using a lighter weight line or longer distances by trolling you can get these lures to dive even deeper. The best action comes when pausing the retrieval once your Bandit has reached its maximum depth, then starting your retrieval again. These lures also work great in heavy cover areas such as wood, stumps, and rocks, you just need to slow down your retrieval and work the lure through it.

There are many other crankbaits that will also catch fish, however, the shape of the Bandit seems to produce more fish caught when it comes to the strike to catch ratio. On many of my crankbaits too often the fish does not get hooked once it strikes, however, I have found with the Bandit’s shape it seems to hook the fish at a much higher percentage.

Bandit vs the Countdown

Another successful lure I use for Walleyes are Countdowns, however, there are advantages to using the Bandits. The disadvantage of the Count-down is that you have to wait for the lure to sink to the desired depth and due to its light weight you can not toss it as far. The Bandit 100 & 200 series weights in at 1/4 oz where the 300 series weights 3/8 oz allowing a much further cast, they are approximately 2″ long. You will increase your strikes by pausing the lure for a few seconds once it reached its maximum depth, allowing the lure to slowly rise, then dive again once you restart your retrieval.

Bandit’s Only Disadvantage

At 1/4 and 3/8 ounces the Bandits are still very light compared to much heavier Crankbaits or Top water baits, so they will not toss as far. You can improve you distance by lighter weight line and a better rod & reel.

Bandit Series To Use

These lures are good for Spring, Summer, and Fall, but you will need to change between the 100, 200, and 300 series depending on the water temperature and season.

The 100 series is great for Spring Bass and Summer Crappies working in shallow water during the early morning and evening hours.

The 200 series comes into play in the early Summer through Fall, when the bass are just off the weed-line and the Walleyes are suspended 8-11 feet down. Use this lure early in the morning before the sun is too high and in the evening when the sun starts to set.

The 300 series works great during the Summer daylight hours when the water temperatures have warmed up and the fish have moved to deep water. Focus on the steeper drop-offs for both the Bass and Walleyes. In this video I was fishing at noon on a 17 ft drop-off and catching Bass. The lure weights 3/8 oz and dives 8 -12 feet.


If I were to choose one series that works best for all seasons and depths, it would be the 200 series. This seems to be the most consistent at catching bass and suspended walleyes.

What Colors To Use

Colors will vary depending on the live bait in the lake and its water clarity. Study the lake habitat, type of minnows, and the color of the crabs in the lake. This will give you a good idea of what colors lures to focus on. For example, on my lake the crabs are blue with bright orange and I found the Bandit 200 series Humble Bee to work the best for both Bass and Walleyes.

The Differences Between A Largemouth And Smallmouth Bass

Largemouth vs Smallmouth Bass

When fishing for Largemouth or Smallmouth Bass the techniques and baits are the same, however the area to focus on in the lake will vary.

The Differences Between The Largemouth & Smallmouth

The most distinctive characteristic is the mouth/jaw. With the mouth of the Bass closed the largemouth’s jaw will extend beyond the eyes where the Smallmouth’s jaw stops approximately at the eye midpoint. Then there is the coloration; the black-bass or largemouth will have a dark greenish back, lighter greenish sides with a black bar running from gill to tail and then transitioning from a yellowish to white bottom. The Smallmouth has a brown head with some light blue and green, the back is brown, the sides are yellowish and brown with bars running down from the dorsal fin to the belly and transitioning to a white/Ivory or silver bottom. As the Smallmouth gets to the size of 6 lbs or more the belly will be vary scared from working the rocks for crabs and have a silver color.

Bass Habitat

Largemouth will prefer the weed-lines and lily pads with their main source of food being fish prey and then crabs. Where the Smallmouth will be in your rocky bottom areas and chasing crabs.

The Smallmouth Bass

The color of this fish will vary and in some cases you will not notice the vertical bars. Fish colors depend on the water clarity, temperatures, and food sources.

The Largemouth Bass

The color of this fish remains very consistent throughout the US.

Side By Side Comparisons

Here I have the two fish side by side so you can see the jaw and color differences. The second picture also has a Walleye as the top fish. The video will be much easier to see.