World Record Bluegill – The Biggest Ever Caught!

world record bluegill

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Ah, the humble bluegill! Many of us cut our fishing teeth on these feisty little fish. Whether it was the local pond or the nearest river, our younger selves stood by the water’s edge, float bobber and worm at the ready. And that’s how the love affair began. Today, an enthusiastic group of anglers focus exclusively on bluegills, even fly fishing for them with the ambitious dream of landing the next world record.

Bluegills are among the most popular fish species in the United States, thanks to their prevalence in most bodies of water and their excellent taste. But don’t let their size fool you; these fish can put up a fight that’ll take your breath away. So, let’s dive in and explore the world of bluegill fishing.

What is the World Record Bluegill?

The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) inducted a bluegill, weighing an impressive 4 pounds 12 ounces, into their world records in 1950. Caught by T.S Hudson at Ketona Lake, Alabama, it measured 15 inches long with an astonishing girth of 18-¼ inches.

Although bluegill exceeding 4 pounds are rare these days, the ones big enough to be considered trophies usually weigh around 2 pounds. And, let me tell you, wrestling a 2-pound bluegill on a beginner fly fishing setup is no child’s play.

What Is a Bluegill?

what is a bluegill

Bluegill, also known as Sunfish, hails from the northern United States but can be found in waters east of the Rockies. These fish are at home in streams, creeks, lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and even private ponds. They favor areas that offer adequate protection, such as brush, stumps, dense aquatic vegetation, and tree-shaded banks.

Interestingly, bluegills aren’t confined to shallow waters. They can also be found in deeper pools, where they form larger shoals. These adaptable fish have been introduced into other bodies of water worldwide, extending their reach to Oceania, South America, Europe, and Africa. However, in places like Japan, where they’re not native, bluegills have become a destructive invasive species.

Where to Target Bluegill

Bluegill can thrive in any water source as long as it doesn’t freeze over in winter. They prefer deeper pools that offer protection. For the angler, this presents an exciting challenge. Start by examining shallow waters with cover or deeper areas where the water grass ends well below the surface. Look for banks with submerged trees or brush near them, stumps, lily pads, or artificial structures like docks or piers.

Bluegill fishing can be a relaxing pastime, with most of it done from the river bank. If you have a boat and are after the bigger bluegills, target the deeper waters. These larger fish are more elusive as they’re continuously on the move.

Tips for Catching Bluegill on a Fly Rod

Tips for catching bluegill on a fly rod

For bluegill fishing, the early bird gets the worm. The best times to target these fish are early mornings or late evenings, just before dark. Big bluegills will be in the deeper water columns. As a fly fisher, you need to use a full sinking line. I recommend a DI3 as it gets the fly down without sinking too quickly.

Focus on the deeper pools, using the flow and wind to your advantage. Try to fish downwind, swinging the fly down and across. Look for the wind lanes or bubble lines, as these tend to hold more food, attracting bluegill.

Fast strips with short pauses typically work to get a bite. As for fly selection, streamers are a good choice for bluegill. These fish are always on the lookout for a substantial meal, and their aggressive nature often can’t resist a tempting fly.

Selecting The Perfect Fly Rod Set Up and Flies for Catching Bluegill

Simplicity is key when it comes to bluegill fishing. A good fast-action 9′ 3wt fly rod is my first choice. It’s light enough to enjoy a good fight with a decent-sized bluegill but robust enough to throw a larger popper to bass if needed.

I suggest having two fly lines at your disposal – a WF floating line for surface and subsurface action, and a sinking DI3 for the deeper pools. As for flies, the classic Clouser Minnow is always a good choice. Sizes 10 to 12 in yellow over white or blue over white are effective. Mickey Finn is a great fly to use on a full sinking line, retrieved at various speeds; red and yellow combinations tend to work the best.

If there’s anything more thrilling than watching a fish take a surface fly, I’ve yet to find it. Poppers are my favorite way to catch bluegill. If you can get them to bite on the surface, this would be my go-to method.

Final Thoughts

final thoughts

Bluegills may not be the largest or most glamorous fish to catch, but they certainly pack a punch and demand your attention. These little powerhouses are the gateway to the expansive world of fly fishing. Whether you’re on a family outing, introducing the kids to the joys of fishing, or aiming for those elusive 2-pounders, you’re in for a memorable experience.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and immerse yourself in the wonderful world of bluegill fishing. Remember, every fishing trip is an adventure waiting to happen. Tight lines, and happy fishing!

If you found this article helpful and you’re interested in honing your fishing skills further, be sure to download our series of fly fishing books below. Here’s to great fishing adventures!

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