Best Baits to Target Bluegill Eaters

We focus a lot on trout and shad imitators out West but we all know that bass love to eat bluegill. When the water begins to warm the bluegill becomes a major forage base for bass and you shouldn't overlook them. This week Matt breaks down his Top 5 Baits to best imitate a bluegill so you can begin to catch those big summer bass. 

The key to successfully imitating bluegill is to find baits that not only get bites but are also slim enough to have a high hookup ratio. There's nothing worse than getting giant bites and not hooking the bass! Below you'll find a breakdown of Matt's favorite bluegill imitating baits and the reasons he chooses them. 

The first category is the Squarebill crankbait. Bluegill eaters spend most of their time shallow and around heavy cover so the squarebill is a great option to coax a bite. Matt's favorite all around bluegill imitating squarebill is the River2Sea biggie. You might remember our squarebill debate from THIS VIDEO

The second category is the swim jig. When imitating a bluegill I love to use a keitech fat swing impact as a trailer on my California Swim Jig. This combination creates a wide thumping action that imitates a bluegill's tail really well. Quick tip: a chartreuse/blue keitech paired with a very natural looking jig adds a little chartreuse flash and really looks nice in the water! ...see picture below.

The third category is the soft swimbait. The two most widely available baits that best fit this category are the Mattlures Bluegill and the All American Sunfish. Both baits have a very natural profile and are great around cover. Quick Tip: The All American Sunfish needs to be rigged on a swimbait hook of some kind. My preferred hook for this bait is the 5/0 trokar

The fourth category is topwater. My favorite large bluegill topwater is the MS Slammer. Its not perfect, but its good enough to get those monster bites and that's what counts! Another great option is the Jackall Gantarel. If smaller baits are your preference, you can't beat the popper. Personally, I'd throw the yellow magic though there are many other great options out on the market. 

The fifth and final category is the Senko. I hate to say it but the senko works incredibly well on bluegill eaters! They're ambush predators and the slow fall of the senko , especially when wacky rigged, really lures them out. Color comes down to personal preference but something with a bit of a chartreuse tail should get the job done. 

I hope you find these tips helpful! As always, we love hearing from you so feel free to leave a comment with your own experiences or even a topic idea for a video you'd like to see us do. Thank you for your continued support of tacticalbassin!


Wakebaits: Different Styles and Retrieves to fool Finicky Bass

Clack, clack, clack, clack, KABOOM! You set the hook, the line stretches, the hooks dig in, and the surface of the lake erupts with an explosion of water, bass, and treble hooks. The battle is on and you're praying your knots, hooks, and line hold up to the fight. Moments later you're holding a huge largemouth, the large topwater still hanging from her mouth.

If you've ever experienced the way a bass draws out of cover, tracks, and erupts on a wakebait, you already have the sickness. Those bites are what makes us bass anglers get up at 3 AM, drink gas station coffee, eat pastries before sunrise, and launch our boats before any sane person would even consider shedding their sheets.

The trouble with wakebaits is simple, they're expensive! So what do you do? Do you buy them all, spend years fishing them, sell the ones you don't, take huge financial losses, all in hopes of finding the perfect combination of baits? Oh wait... I already did that for you!

A few of our Favorite Wakebaits

After all the years, the $$$, the dissapointments, and the surprises, I've weaned my collection of wakebaits down to just a few models. Even simpler than that, I have eliminated all but two "styles". From my time on the water I've found that if I can find a bait with a single joint, coupled with a diving lip and a double-jointed bait without a diving lip, I can cover nearly every situation that calls for a wakebait.

Better still, there are baits that fit both these categories that are both widely available, and fairly inexpensive. They are the MS Slammer (7" or 9") and the Spro BBZ-1 Floater (8"). I'm not saying they're the best or the prettiest but both of these baits catch fish in a huge variety of conditions and won't break the bank along the way.

If you're thinking of getting in to wakebaits or even considering pairing down the arsenal you already own, give these baits a try. You'll be surprised how well they work!

Wakebaits in Winter

How many times have you heard that there is a certain water temperature when the topwater bite starts and that its a waste of time to throw topwater in the dead of winter? I for one do not agree! I’m a firm believer in throwing topwater year round, especially on a warm winter afternoon. This isn’t a giant fish by any stretch of the imagination but this 3 lb spot did step up and eat a 10″ JSJ Wakebait in February!