Artificial Bait for Bluegill

Bluegill are some of the feistiest little fish in freshwater, making them excellent targets when using artificial lures. From small jigs to flies, bluegill hit these small lures with quite a punch for such a small fish, which makes them not only a great little food fish (hence the name, panfish), but also makes them great sport.

Bluegill caught with artificial lure.

Lures for Catching Bluegill

In general, all of the same small lures that work well for any other panfish – crappie, other sunfish, etc. – work well for bluegill. Even as the fish reach above 10 inches, their mouths are always very small. Because of this, the lures you need to catch bluegill are all very small. Some are essentially tiny jigs, while others are tiny spinnerbaits. Below are some of the most effective lures to always have in your tacklebox for making sure that fish hit the deck.

Small Jigs for Bluegill

Small jigs are often used for catching crappie, but are also very effective at catching bluegill. Because of their weighted heads, these little jigs can be cast far using ultralight gear, and can be used in just about every situation. Cast them along vegetation edges or residential docks when the fish are close to shore, or fish them deep in the summer and winter when the fish are out deeper. Either way, these little jigs are perfect for Bluegill.

Small Spinnerbaits for Bluegill

The small spinnerbaits used for Bluegill are like miniature versions of the big ones you may be used to seeing for bass. One of the most common spinnerbait that works well for bluegill is the beetlespin type, which has a small beetle soft bait on one part, and a small silver spoon on another to attract the fish’s eye. These are most effective in shallow water, where you can cast them near vegetation and structures where the bluegill will be hiding. They can also be used offshore however if a little extra weight is involved. Although the head of these spinnerbaits are usually weighted, try attaching a small splitshot weight a few inches in front of the lure to get it down deeper.

Soft Plastic Lures for Bluegill

One of the best types of lure for catching bluegill is a soft plastic. Soft plastic lures are great at mimicking both the sight and movement of what bluegill like to eat. One of a bluegill’s favorite meals is the larvae of an insect. Fortunately for us, there are many larvae-like soft plastics out there like small grubs or worms that are killer on big bluegill. These soft plastics are great for all situations, and can be fished either shallow or deep by using a different-sized jighead to adjust the sink rate.

Artificial Flies for Bluegill

There are some fish out there that are just hard to catch on a fly. And then, you have the bluegill – a fish with a very small mouth (even on the biggest fish), that love to hit baits on top water. If that wasn’t good enough, the main part of a bluegill’s diet is made up of insects and insect larvae – exactly what fly fishing was invented to do. Catching bluegill on fly is best done in the spring and summer in early mornings when the water is nice and glassy, but you can catch small juveniles year round.

A General Statement About Bluegill Lures

Catching bluegill on artificial lures is effective, fun, and easy. Some of the natural baits used for bluegill can be downright gross, like the maggots and grubs used by many bluegill enthusiasts, so using a nice soft plastic lure can make your day a lot more pleasant, while also catching plenty of fish along the way. It also helps that you don’t have to keep re-baiting your hook, because bluegill school together, meaning you will lose lots of baits to small undersized fish for every nice fish you catch.


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