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nickb

Using bluegill as bait

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How would you put the hook into the fish most effectively when fishing with bluegill/bream/brim as bait?

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well, when i caught one of my biggest bass, i was fishing for pike. i had it hooked in the mouth and up out the back. it swam ugly and nothing close to naturally but i caught pike so i kept doin that. later we got some of those big slip bobbers and hook em through the back so they still swim around. hope this helps

aaron

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Check your states fishing regulations. I think most states outlaw using sportfish as bait. I know it's illegal here in Ill. That being said there are times I catch a few runts and hook them right under the dorsal and suspend them a couple feet off the bottom under a decent size float.

Toss it out, grab a beer and sit back and wait. Not alot of action but usually whatever grabs it will be big. I do this at night sometimes and have caught a few monster cats and a near record size bowfin.

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Rig it quick strike style:

Use two treble hooks, tie a small leader on one, and tie one to your main line. Hook the main line one in just before the tail starts, and then tie the leader hook to one of the prongs of the main line treble and hook it near the back of the head. When you have them hooked in right you should have to points on each hook pointing back towards your line and the other point on each one will be fully buried in the baitfish. As soon as you detect a strike set the hook, there is no need to allow a run with this rig because your guaranteed to have at least one hook in good position.  

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Check your states fishing regulations. I think most states outlaw using sportfish as bait. I know it's illegal here in Ill. That being said there are times I catch a few runts and hook them right under the dorsal and suspend them a couple feet off the bottom under a decent size float.

Toss it out, grab a beer and sit back and wait. Not alot of action but usually whatever grabs it will be big. I do this at night sometimes and have caught a few monster cats and a near record size bowfin.

Coldwater,

Are you sure it is illegal in ILL? Page 2 of the document below talks about "Bluegill as bait" and if I am reading this correctly, it is not illegal...

http://www.dnr.state.il.us/fish/Digest/09Digest.pdf

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i emailed a guy from MD DNR asking about this and he told me that if the bluegill is caught legally, then it can legally be used as bait.

i hook them below the dorsal, but Paul seems to do very well hooking them in front of the tail, so i'm going to start doing that.

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I like to use bluegill for flathead bait. I hook them above the spine, right between the soft and hard rays of the dorsal fin.     Happy fishing.

~B.A.S.S.~N.A.F.C.~BoatU.S.~N.R.A.~A.M.A.'

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Tied on a gill last night and tossed it out....fought that monster cat for 26 minutes!  Got him close, but no cigar...great fun.  Going to start using more gills.  Hope to catch some bass on them one day.

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I hook em through the back on a leader with a weight onthe main line.  They stay lively, and the Whiskers seem to love em!

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Check your states fishing regulations. I think most states outlaw using sportfish as bait. I know it's illegal here in Ill. That being said there are times I catch a few runts and hook them right under the dorsal and suspend them a couple feet off the bottom under a decent size float.

Toss it out, grab a beer and sit back and wait. Not alot of action but usually whatever grabs it will be big. I do this at night sometimes and have caught a few monster cats and a near record size bowfin.

Coldwater,

Are you sure it is illegal in ILL? Page 2 of the document below talks about "Bluegill as bait" and if I am reading this correctly, it is not illegal...

http://www.dnr.state.il.us/fish/Digest/09Digest.pdf

You're correct. I was going by what a DNR officer told me after he pulled up to my dock and asked how fishing was and if I had caught anything. He did mention use of sportfish as bait is illegal but didn't say anything about legally caught bluegill, Apparently, neither one of us was current on the regulations. Now I won't feel guilty about using them.

:)

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I Love using a bluegill for bait.....

I hook it through the lips using a 4/O or 5/O worm hook and fish it weightless around cover.

In most states its leagal to use bluegills as long as it is caught with a hook and line and as long as they are not stored as bait.

Alfred

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I've never used them and I'm pretty sure its illeagal to use them in California so be sure to check your laws.

However, to answer your question, I think you would want to fly line them with no weight. I would think that hooking them through the lips would work. I know I've used minnows before and tail hooking them as well as hooking them through the back works as well.

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I like to troll them for stipers by hooking them up through the nose, keeps them running strait and alive.  Catfish I tend to hook above the spine halfway down the tail section.  Definately a must to check state laws though.  Here in indiana sportfish are ok to use as long as they are taken legally, ie single hook and line.  You can't go out and sane or cast net for them.  Some areas can be more specific about species introduction so watch out for that as well.

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I like using em as blue cat bait.  Hook em through the back.  They will swim more naturally, and will survive longer too.  

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For the past 2-3 years, I've just hooked them right under the dorsal fin. Here lately, after fishing with Paul, I've tried inserting the hook just in front of the tail.

My thoughts on the two methods are that hooking them under the dorsal allows the gill to swim more naturally and stay alive a lot longer. I also think it's best to fish this method with a slip bobber.

When you hook them right above the tail, it complicates their natural swimming ability. This causes the gill to swim more frantically and struggle more. My experience is that your gill tends to expire more quickly if you're waiting for a bite. I've fished these without weight and without a bobber and just keep a finger on the line, you'll fill the movement of the gill's tail kicking and you can often times tell when a predator is following it. It becomes more frantic.

Either way you decide to rig them, I recommend using a circle hook. If you plan to hook them under the dorsal fin I suggest you use a 5/0 circle hook. If you are going to use the area in front of the tail then you can downsize and use something between a 1/0-3/0. Once you feel the strike, simply start reeling. DON'T set the hook, you'll pull the bait from the fish's mouth. Takes a little getting used to but the hook sets perfectly in the bass' mouth every time.

Maybe Paul will post his incite. He's a lot better at fishing gills then I am.

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Ya' know, In-Fisherman did studies to see which types of "fish meals" a Bass prefers, and they determined that Bluegill were typically very low on the list. They showed that if given any choice, of Shiners, Shad, and other longer, thinner, less spiny, baitfish, bass would almost never eat a spiny, wider, harder to swallow, Bluegill.

Even if they are legal in your waters, I think their would be better live bait choices.

JMPO,

Fish

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For several occasions I have seen Largemouth bass and bluegills in the same areas, this how me that they are not hot on the eating list, but man Pike came up and snagged some bluegills.

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If 1) Bluegill were a great bait, and 2) They were a legal bait in my waters, I'd do it in a split second. One of the keys to sticking big bass is, always keeping an open mind.

Peace,

Fish

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i have caught three of my five biggest bass using gills. hook it through the dorsal fin or use a treble hook and hook the gill in the mouth i have found usually the monster bass go for the head first.

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I hook them through the bottom lip through the nose hole found this to be the best in hook setting since most fish swallow bait fish head first. Been fishing for big cats for 25 years use to hook them in the back but found through the lip and the nose is the most effective. Biggest cat 58 lbs.

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i emailed a guy from MD DNR asking about this and he told me that if the bluegill is caught legally, then it can legally be used as bait.

i hook them below the dorsal, but Paul seems to do very well hooking them in front of the tail, so i'm going to start doing that.

I used to hook shiners through the lips, then I went out with this guide who hooked them like your saying Paul does I find and the hook-sets are defiantly better for C&R when hooked Paul's way.

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