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Tim M Branson

Sunfish/bluegill Good Bait?

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ive tried sunnies and bait plenty-a-time but i grew up doing it at the same lake years on end and i went to lures for awhile but i love catching a huge bass on a huge sunny, and my friend doesnt think its possible, so i been trying the technique in his lakes and it doesnt seem to work at all, i assume its not the technique but the lake, its either i cant find the bass, or they arent that big there, any help ?

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My vote would be the lake iv always wanted to try it but 1 its illegal here and 2 the big gals are to sparse here in ny I do find em every year but not enough to waste a day trying it to maybe catch one. I have 1 spot I know there's good numbers of big bass and pike but like said its illegal here in ny.

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Yeah they are the best. Think about it it's not tricking a bass its feeding a bass.

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I see Bass chasing bluegills all the time when I'm out fishing up here. I've even had a few 1-2 pounders spit up 4-5" bluegills after being caught.

We can't use bluegills as bait either....it's illegal to do here as well.However there's plenty of bluegill swimbaits out on the market to make up for that.

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Get a Mattlures Hard Gill, and hang on.

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It works, but it's not foolproof.

First you need to be around actively feeding bass. Then you've got to manage your bait (gill) so that it doesn't hide too well where the bass can't get it. The hardest part that I've run into is figuring out the best way to rig it up. Need to do so in a way that keeps the gill alive and active while actually hooking up with the bass when she finally attacks.

Just this weekend I was fishing with my kids for bluegill at my father in law's pond. We were using those little 2 foot poles and I had a few bass eat the gill that we caught. No real way to hook the bass though. It WAS exciting watching the bass hunt the hooked gill though. One second it's there and then the next the bass is trying to swallow it. Awesome.

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The guy in japan that got the world record on his gill I think I read that he says he cuts off there dorsal fin so its easier for the bass to swallow and incresses hooking the fish no pointy spines in the way.

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Some times I will use sunfish and gills for bait when I just want to sit and do nothing. For me it seems 4"-5" are about the best size. Any bigger and only the bigger bass like 4# maybe 5# or up will eat them. After I catch some I hook them deep in the mouth out either side that seems to be the best for me since it doesn't really hurt the fish like hooking its back or tail and they stay on good and wont fall off on the cast. I use a bobber usually about 1'1/2 or so to keep them from swimming down in the weeds and hiding. Once they stop swimming I give it a little tug to kick it back into life. Last year at a family picnic I caught a 13.6# catfish on a sunfish I missed it the first time and threw it right back and it nailed it again instantly.

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My vote would be the lake iv always wanted to try it but 1 its illegal here and 2 the big gals are to sparse here in ny I do find em every year but not enough to waste a day trying it to maybe catch one. I have 1 spot I know there's good numbers of big bass and pike but like said its illegal here in ny.

It is not prohibited state wide in NY, to use bluegills, perch, rockbass, etc... as live bait for bass, pike, walleye, or any other game fish. There may be some local regulations not allowing it on specific bodies of water, but none that I know of around here. If you do use a bluegill as live bait for bass, that bluegill counts against the daily limit you can have in NYS (50). You can also only use bluegills for bait that were caught on the body of water you are fishing, you can not transport them, and you can not sell them commercially as bait. It is, however, not legal to use live bait for bass before the first Sat. of June, or after the last Sat.in November.

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Sunfish are hardier so I usually use them but sunfish or bluegill about the size of my palm are what I use when I use them. I like to hook them behind the dorsal fin with the smallest hook I can get away with. Clipping the spines off helps sometimes but it seems to kill the fish faster also. I freeline them around an area where I think a big bass might be and if I don't get a response I move on to a different spot. If there are bluegills in your lake than the fish eat them, you might have to make a few trips before you find one the right size though.

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I know bass eat them although I've never caught bass with them. I do catch flatheads with them though.

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