May is the Month for Bluegill
clusters, forming beds that may consist of a few nests to a hundred or more. In clear ponds, finding the beds is easy. You can spot them as you walk the bank or boat around the pond edge. In muddy ponds, you must fish until you find them. Once you find a large bedding area, if the habitat doesn’t change, bluegill will use it year after year.
Techniques for catching spawning bluegill are simple. In clear water, whether fishing from the bank or a boat, it pays to keep a distance from the beds to prevent spooking the fish. Use light to medium tackle with 4- or 6-pound test line for casting light lures or bait.
Bluegill have small mouths, so keep whatever you throw small. 1/32-ounce leadhead jigs, either cast and retrieved, or suspended under a bobber, prove effective. Live bait is often most productive. Worms, grasshoppers and crickets all work well. Use small hooks—sizes 6 or 8. Hooks with long shanks are easier to remove from a bluegill’s mouth. A pair of needle-nosed pliers will help you extract hooks.
Use a small bobber and small split shot to suspend your bait just off the bottom. When using live bait over an active bluegill bed, the bobber often ducks under the water before it has time to settle. Conditions typically make no difference during the spawn. The bluegills bite morning, midday or evening, whether it’s cloudy, sunny or raining. Females that congregate at the edge of the beds bite readily, too.
Take a Kid
Fishing usually requires patience—which many kids lack. Fishing for spawning bluegill, however, often produces brisk action. As soon as you rebait and cast, you’re into another fish. What with great fishing and beautiful May weather, there’s no better time to turn youngsters on to fishing.
To make the most of the opportunity, help your youngster at every turn. Rebait and cast for them until they learn how do those things themselves. It’s okay to let them set the hook when the bobber dips under. Spawning bluegill often won’t let go, so timing isn’t critical. Congratulate and praise them for every fish they reel in, and then help them unhook their catch.
Make the experience a party. Bring snacks and cool drinks and take photos of the kids with their best fish. At home let them watch or help as you clean the fish. Let them help with cooking, too. You’re taking advantage