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!

How To Catch Bluegills- 2017 Big Bluegills Are Biting!

Fishing Shallow Water For Bluegills

Spring is over, the lakes in the Midwest are warming up, and the large Bluegills are in the shallow water feeding and beefing up for the spawning season.

In lower parts of the Midwest the Bluegill Spawning Season has begun already and the Gills are on the beds, but in the Upper part of the States you will find the large Bluegills still in shallow bays, preparing for the spawn.

Why Are The Males Feeding Heavily?

Let’s look at how the relationship works in the Bluegill reproduction cycle. We begin by the females developing the eggs, two large sacks, developing through late Winter and Spring. As the water temperatures get above 65 degrees F, the Males start to move into the shallow areas that are ideal for making spawning beds. The Males then make round impression on the bottom by fanning their fins and preparing the beds for a females. When the females are ready they will come unto the beds, drop the eggs as the males fertilize them. The Males then stay on the beds to protect the eggs and keep the water oxygenated. Once the eggs are hatched the Fry and Males leave. Note, the Male Bluegill does majority of the work during the spawning period and does not eat much.

This is why you find the Males feeding aggressively in the shallow water right before spawning. The reason they are so easy to catch when they are on the beds is not because they are feeding, but rather they are attacking anything that comes near, such as a spider.

Tips You Will Want To Know – Once You Find The Males Feeding

Once you find the large Males feeding you are very close to where they will be spawning. So over the next few days or week keep looking until you have found the beds.
If you are catching the large male gills the females are not far away. The females typically are just of the drop off waiting for the right time to come in. I prefer to focus on the males, releasing all females until after they have laid their eggs.

Tips You Need To Know- When The Females Are On The Beds

If you’re fishing the spawning beds and they are occupied by the females (waiting for the eggs to drop) you will find it difficult to catch them. You can use a Wet Fly/Ant (sinking bait) and catch them, but not recommended, let them spawn.
If you want to catch the males you can either come back later when the males are back on the beds or back off to the edge of the drop-off, as the males will not be far, waiting to get back on the beds (use a wet fly/ant). You will find the males are very easy to catch when they are on the beds (use a dry fly).

Best Bluegill Bait to use during the Spawning Cycle

So what is the best bait to use during the Spring Spawning Season? Well it’s easy if you have a fly rod, if not I suggest you take a spinning rod a place a dry or wet fly 2 feet behind a small bobber. Here are the 4 different cycles and recommended baits!

1. Males Feeding In Shallow Water Before The Temps Are Right For Spawning Beds

Use a dry fly (spider), nothing will compare to this. With a dry fly you can move quickly with ease and find the Big Bluegills feeding. Many times their feeding spot will be very concentrated (small area) and outside this boundary you will not catch them, so use the fly rod and check every few feet. You will struggle with Worms and Wet Flies/Ants.

2. Females Off The Drop-Off

Use a wet fly (ant) or worm. The females are not as aggressive as the males so they will tend to stay down, using an ant or worm works best. I prefer the Ant!

3. Females On The Beds

You will need to use a wet fly (ant) to catch them. When fishing females on the beds your bait will need to drop onto the bed (resting on the bottom), forcing the female bluegill to pick it up and remove it, this is when you set the hook.

4. Males On The Beds

when the Bluegill Males are on the beds you will not find a more exciting time, the action is unspeakable. Watch the video and see action in slow motion! For catching these aggressive males go with the dry fly (spider), nothing else will compare. See how to make these spiders for pennies (quick & easy).

Shellcracker Fishing – The 2017 Bite Is Not Over!

Florida Shellcrackers & No Pressure

In my last article I mentioned how the lakes in Florida were warming up faster than normal this year and that the Shellcrackers would be coming in early to spawn, which did happen. During the period of March 18 thru March 25 the Shellcrackers were at their peak this year, however I planned my two day fishing trip for the first week of April, hoping to catch them during the week before the full moon.

Were The ShellCrackers Done and Gone Already

Well it was only a week away from flying to Florida and getting in two days of fishing, trying to catch a few of those “kings of the bluegills”. Then I got that call from my fishing buddy that you never want to get, the Shellcrackers are done and gone. Okay, that’s not great news i said, but you’re talking to one of the best fishermen you know and I’m still coming, we will fish Tuesday and Wednesday so be ready to catch fish.

Well I got there (Tavares Florida) early Tuesday and of course it stormed all day dropping over 4 inches of rain, we did not even get out of the house, which meant we only had one day to find and catch them. The next day we headed out around 8am and found no one on the lake, in the rivers, or even in the channels fishing. We started by working my fishing partner’s top 3 Shellcracker fishing holes snagging only one small Shellcracker, now what? After a little brainstorming we decided to try something different, fishing the weeds instead of the lily pads, which is typically where we find the Crappies. Ed’s comment was I have never found Shellcrackers there, but lets check it out.

Finding The Bluegill Bully – Shellcrackers

Well we headed across Lake Harris to fish the weeds and for the first 20 minutes never caught a fish. Then we saw a few fish working the surface down 50 yards just outside the weedline, which had to be Bluegills (Copperheads or Shellcrackers), so we move down and again could not get a bite. Next we decided to move into the weeds to see if they were in there and WOW did we catch Shellcrackers, one right after another. We were using our favorite bait the Freshwater Shrimp, once we ran out we purchased worms to avoid wasting time to catch more shrimp. What we found is that the Shellcrackers were not as aggressive with worms, but the action was still great.

We even had a run of Copperheads.

ShellCrackers In Action

Here I use both my camera and my new Gopro. Note, I’m still learning on using the GoPro and had it pointed too hi. But it does give you more of what is going on behind the scene.

Camera Action!

GoPro Action!