I would have to say that my favorite three baits would be earthworms, crickets and grass shrimp in that order. They work year-round and tend to attract the bigger bluegills. Spring, summer and early fall are best for the bluegill bite, with spring being the best by far. Bluegills will start their spawning by April and much of that depending on weather and water temperature. Bluegill spawning will occur when the lake water is between 70–75 degrees.
I would start fishing three days before and after the full and new moons in April and May. This is when the fishing will be the best. I would also try and fish the major solunar periods which are twice a day and last for two hours. I personally have used the Doug Hannon Moon Clock for my major and minor periods for years. It is the best and most accurate bluegill and bass fishing tool for that.
When fishing in the spring, the shallow sandy and rocky areas in most lakes are excellent. Make sure you're wearing a good pair of polarized sunglasses. You should be able to see all the bluegill spawning beds, along with the bluegills on them protecting the beds and its eggs. The male bluegill begins building a dish shaped nest that generally is a round sandy depression that is a few inches deep and about 8–18 inches wide.
Bluegills will gather in large numbers during the spawn. The nests should be side by side in a pretty big area. Something unique about the bluegill spawn is that you can usually smell them. You will pick up a "soap-like" smell in the air, and you can bet the bluegill beds are close by. They will spawn in waves moving in and out. Each few days or weeks should have different schools moving in and out.
Once the summer comes (usually after the first major moon phase in June) I would start looking deeper for bluegills. If you want to fish an artificial lure for bluegill, you can't go wrong with a Beetle Spin.
Johnson BSVP1/8-BCD Nickel Plated Blade Beetle Spin, Black Coach Dog, 1-1/2-Inch
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We've added these lures - most of which are called Crappie jigs - because they're equally effective on all panfish. Bluegill will hit them just as quickly as a crappie will, so you might carry some in a standard tackle box and use them whenever the fish aren't hitting live bait, or if you cannot get your hand on live bait in time to get on the water.
- More on: artificial lure, bait, Beetle Spin, Bluegill, Choctawhatchee River, crickets, earthworms, grass shrimp, Moon Clock