Almost anyone can catch a bluegill with fly-fishing gear, but catching
big bluegills with consistency takes a little more skill and knowledge.
I define big bluegills as fish measuring at least 9 inches and running
near the 1-pound mark. Of course, bluegills that weigh less are great
fighters and good eating, but once a bluegill reaches that 1-pound mark,
things take on a little different perspective.
The type of water and the fish it holds should determine fishing technique.
Some lakes seem to hold nothing but big bluegills, while others have an
overabundance of stunted fish. The techniques I use should work in
waters that have a good mix of both large and small fish.
My favorite time to fish for big bluegills is in the spring of the year when
the fish are heading to their spawning beds. The fish are on the move, active
and overly protective.
This is also the time of year when sight fishing can help you target the
big 'gills. Look for the largest fish in and around the spawning beds. Target
large fish seen swimming alone.
Often times when a fly hits the water, it is bombarded by small fish. But
once the smaller ones know that the big guy is interested, they often back
off for an instant. An accurate cast should give you a shot at the big fish.
When smaller bluegills take over the shallows, the bigger fish are still around,
but usually in slightly deeper water. You must pay attention to this. If you
see and catch small fish in the shallows, then you must give up on sight
fishing and try deeper water.
Don't dismiss any depth when searching for spawning bluegills. A
change in depth of one foot can make a big difference. Keep
working your way deeper until you hook a big bluegill. Then concentrate
on this depth. The big fish often hang together, and I usually catch more
than one bull from the same area. ~ Kevin Wright
Continued next time!