Fishing For Shellcrackers – The 2018 Catch

Let’s Get Fishing

It’s the first week of April and we just had a Blue Moon (two full moons in the same month) so the Shellcrackers should be moving in to spawn.

Searching For The Shellcrackers – The Signs Are There

We are in Tavares Florida on a chain of lakes searching for the Bully of Bluegills, which should be spawning. The spawning signs we look for are; a full moon (it just ended), the Gar-Pike spawning (very active), the Gators are very active (yes see video), and water temperature. Unfortunately the water temps were lower than we were hoping for.

How We Started Our Search

We first started by checking out every spot where we have caught Shellcrackers in the past. Next we spent hours moving down the shoreline and dropping our freshwater shrimp, only stopping when we ran into a small school of Copperheads (Bluegills).

Where Are Those Bullies

So why could we not find the Shellcrackers? My guess is the spawning season was pushed back a few days or a week due to an abnormal cool Spring and high water. For this first week of April the water was two feet higher than normal, very murky, and water temps a little lower than we like. Or due to the high water the Shellcrackers found areas to spawn that we could not get to or find.

The Catch – Copperheads

Even though we could not find any Shellcrackers we did have a great time fishing and catching Copperheads. See our video on the catch!

The Bait – Freshwater Shrimp

Our bait again this year was the Freshwater Shrimp. I like this bait for the main reason it’s native to the lake and easy to net. On this trip we caught the following fish using shrimp; Bullheads, Bass, Crappies, & Copperheads.

Best Bluegill Bait For Spring Fishing -2018

What is the Best Bait To Use For Bluegills In The Spring

Fishing for Bluegills in the Spring is like no other time of the year. So it’s time to get your Rod and the best Bluegills Bait ready to go. Don’t miss the action!

When Does The Bite Begin

The best time of the year for Bluegill action is as soon as the water begins to warm up (middle to late May). This is when the Bluegills move into shallow water to feed and look for spawning areas. So what is the best bait to use, by far it’s the floating dry fly/spider.

How Do I Use The Floating Spider
The floating spider can by used with a spinning/casting rod (behind a bobber) or with a fly rod. For the best action use a fly rod.

How Long Does This Bluegill Action Last

The Bluegills (Males) will come into shallow water 2 weeks before spawning, feeding aggressively. The Females will stay just in deeper water waiting for the time to lay their eggs. Since there are many types of Bluegills the spawning season can go to Mid June and later. So the best Bluegill action of the year will last four to six weeks in water depths of just a few inches.

Where to Purchase Floating spiders

My YouTube subscribers requested a new video on how to make a floating spider again, so I put the below video together. Note you can purchase these in many stores (Fleet Farm, Bass Pro, ect.) for $1.50 to $3.00 each, but you can make them for less than 7 cents. You can also make them look as nice as a purchase dry fly if you take the time, but why since the bluegills are just looking for a nice tasty ugly bug… So here I show how to make eight floating spiders for less than 7 cents each and under 15 minutes. Note; I have never caught a Bluegill with glasses so do not worry if it does not look like a perfect spider, again the bluegills are feeding aggressively and the ugliest bug you could possibly make will still see lots of action.

How Long Does It Take to Make A Dry fly

I like to make 8 spiders at one time as this seems to work best for the 5 minute epoxy I use. To make eight spiders it takes approximately 15 minutes, not counting the drying of the epoxy. Once the epoxy is dry you can go fishing.

What Materials are needed

I purchase 3mm thick foam form a hobby shop for $1, which will make up to 500 spiders, a tube of 5 minute epoxy, and either rubber strips (taken out of an old bungee cord) or flashabou for the spider legs. All these materials are shown in the video.

Show Me The Bluegill Action

This video is from last Spring with the baits I made then. I will make a new video this Spring with the baits shown in this video. The action and results will be the same.

More Action!

Fly Fishing For Bluegills – Up Close Action

Fly Fishing – Ultimate Method For Catching Bluegills

The most exciting way to fish for Bluegills is with a floating spider on a Fly Rod. Once you have found the gills and you drop a dry fly (Spider) over the top of them the fight is on. This fight begins with the gills that are just under the surface, each fighting for a quick lunch. I have seen up to 4 Gills at one time come out of the water for my bait and what a thrill that is. Then you have the fight between you and the Bluegill, in which a nice sensitive Fly Rod makes it a challenge on every big Bluegill. After 75 to 100 fish your arm and risk will definitely be feeling it and you will find that you have to use both hands on the rod at times, especially when they take you down into the weeds.

Late May & Early June Bluegills

This time of the year is a must for shoreline fishing and a fly rod. The best baits will be a Purple, Green, Blue, Red, or Brown spider. With a good homemade spider (dry fly) you can catch 100 Bluegills before needing to replace it with another. Here are a few tips on an artificial foam spider;

1. Make your own Spiders, they will last longer, catch more fish, and cost pennies not dollars.
2. When making your spiders wrap thread on the hook first, then place the sponge spider body on the hook and wrap that. This will help keep your hook from rotating after catching a few Gills.
3. Do not use colored hooks as the paint will break loose and your hook will rotate, a rotated hook will not catch fish.
4. Epoxy the body unto the hook after you have tied it on.
5. Thread your spider legs through the sponge body and epoxy each side, where the legs exit.
6. Use flashbou instead of rubber spider legs, it’s much stronger and will not break or rot.
7. If using rubber spider legs do not purchase them, cut open an elastic cord, as they have the same rubber strands, but they are much tougher and cheaper.
8. Have both small spiders and large spiders (large hook & body) so when fighting the Gill & Weeds your hook will not straighten.

Bluegill Strikes On Homemade Spiders (Dry Flies)

Here in this video we are using the large Green Spider and showing you the strike and retrieval. On some of these strikes we have slowed down the action so you can get a better idea of how aggressive & explosive these strikes are. Here we started with only keeping 8 inch Gills or larger, then changed to 8.25″ and larger, we filled a 5 gallon bucket up with these.


How To Catch Bluegills Mid May Through Mid June – Non Stop Action

Non-Stop Bluegill Action

If you love catching and eating Bluegills then you need to see how easy it is to find them and have non-stop action for hours.

Where To Find The Bluegills

During the mid May to mid June period the Bluegills will be feeding heavily and/or spawning. So don’t be like many to other fishermen out there trying to fish the drop-offs with worms. This is the time of year you need to be using dry flies!

But first we need to find the Gills. Start by slowly working down the shoreline on a calm day. If you have a Fly Rod use a Green Spider as you work the down the shore. Work the fly (spider) from a distance of 6 inches from shore to 3 feet from shore. Once you find the Gills back off as they are either feeding or on the beds. Even if you have gotten to close to them (as I’ll show in the video), just back off a few feet and wait a few minutes for them to return, they will be back and will continue to feed. If you do not have a fly rod then I recommend using a bobber with your spider tied on with two feet of line.

Two other ways to locate these Gills if you do not have a fly rod to use; one, watch the water in the weeds along the shoreline, any small wake or water movement during this time of the year could be those big bluegills feeding. Yes in only 4 inches of water. The second way is to move slowly on a calm day in the shallow water near shore, once you can see the beds, with Bluegills on them, then back off and give them a few seconds to return and calm down. Next just drop your fly over them.

Best Way For Catching Bluegills

The best method for catching these Bluegills is to use a fly rod. You do not need to purchase an expensive one for Bluegills, so you should be able to purchase one for ~$35. Once you become comfortable with it you can always look into purchasing a better one. If you really do not want to use a fly rod then a casting rod with a spider tied on will work, but it will not be as effective or as fun.

A fly rod is not hard to learn, especially for catching Bluegills. I have taught all my kids, many other young adults and my wife. It only takes a few minutes and you will be catching Gills just as good as I do. I was only 8 years old and self taught when I started using a fly rod. This is what I did to practice; I got an old fly rod and tied a split shot unto the end and practiced using it in our backyard. For help you can see my videos on how to use a fly rod for Bluegills and how to make your own spiders.

Best Bluegill Action You Will Ever See!

Here I show you the beds, then we back off and just watch the action, unbelievable! At first it’s hard to see the Gills, but keep watching and the video will get better.

How to catch Panfish 2017 – The Bluegill Feeding Frenzy

It’s the third week of May and we were up near Duluth Minnesota catching those tasty Bluegills. During the pre-spawning period you need to focus on the shorelines for the Gills and I mean 6 inches to 3 feet away is all. This is where you will find the large males, in just a few inches of water having a feeding frenzy just prior to spawning. If you know what you looking for you can see the water movement and plan your approach.

Fishing For Bluegills During The Pre-Spawn Feeding Frenzy

There is nothing like catching large male bluegills on the fly rods and the best action starts a week before the bluegills spawn and does not end until they are off the beds. During this trip I invited a friend and his wife to join my wife and I for three incredible fishing days.

Day One Catching Large Bluegills – Upper Wisconsin

The first day of our trip to Upper Wisconsin was fairly calm, so the fly rods were dynamite as we were slamming the gills in 6 inches of water and within 2 feet of shore. The two top baits for these tasty fish were the Red and Blue Spider (Dry Fly – Homemade).

Day Two Bluegill Action

The second day added its challenges as the wind came up and made it difficult to use the fly rods, but again we found the large gills in tight and did very well as the four of us caught a limit in no time.

Day Three – Catching Gills In Stormy Weather

The third day (Sunday May 27th) the storms came in one right after the other and the wind would not give us a break. So I took a wet fly (Gold head) and tied it approximately 12 inches below a tube bobber. My thought was 12 inches would give me time to slowly move the bobber, keeping the fly off the bottom, and allow enough distance from the bobber so it would not scare the fish. To our surprise it did not matter as the Bluegills were hitting the fly and the bobber as soon as they touched the water. The action was so fierce at times we would have four or five Bluegills attaching the bait at the same time, making things explode and the bobber fly.

Helping A Fellow Fisherman Catch Bluegills

I did talk to one other fishermen as we were going by him and moving into the shoreline, he was out approximately 30 yards from shore, fishing the drop-off. He said he had only caught a couple small Gills, but was enjoying the fishing. I told him in mid May to early June you need to focus within 3 feet of the shoreline, as the Bluegills are feeding heavily and getting ready to spawn. As soon as we set anchor and got the fly rods out we had instant action with 8.5” Gills, at which point he yelled over and told us that he was going to go get his wife and come back and join us, which he did.

The fisherman and his wife were very pleased and had learned a new fishing technique for catching Bluegills.

Videos Of Our Bluegill Fishing Adventure – I Hope You Enjoy!