|Bull bluegills cruise in gangs, swarming around a jig
like bees, and riding herd on anything they can rip a chunk from.
Bluegills fill many
niches - shallow, suspended, hovering on weedlines, and deep - and usually return to the
same patterns every year. Gills that wander into deep water remain if something holds them
there. Rocks often are that something, because crustaceans, nymphs, larvae, and tiny
minnows live near rocks. But deep is relative. Consider 15 feet deep in a shallow prairie
lake with weedlines at 4 feet. In big reservoirs, sometimes 25 feet isn't deep enough.
The best bluegill waters, however, tend to be lakes with large bays. Concentrate on
environments where rock bulls hold 15 to 30 feet down. In lakes with a shallow fertile end
and a deeper more sterile end, bulls live in the fertile end. By summer, big fish have
left shallow bays, seeking deep rocks on major structure in that most fertile region of
the main lake.
These area include rock slides off major points, rock fingers extending beyond a
weedline, and particularly rockpiles on flats near sharp breaks leading to large weed
flats. Rock and gravel slopes on main-lake bars and humps and rock ridges on secondary
flats near the mouths of spawning bays attrack fish.
To quickly pinpoint bluegills concentrated in deep water, use a trolling motor to
backtroll a small spinner rig behind a 1/8 to 1/2 ounce bottom bouncer. Bouncers snag less
often than conventional sinkers.
Tip a small double-hook harness with a red worn or half a crawler. Spinner blades
should be #00 to #0 in hammered silver for clear water, hammered brass or gold for stained
water, and fluorescent orange or chartreuse in dark water. Use light-action 5-1/2 to 6
foot rods rated for 2 to 4 pound test for both techniques.