5 Great Baits For Bluegill

bluegill fishing

5 great baits for bluegill
Giant bluegill in hand caught with spinner. Photo Paul Kipps

It has been my focus and mission to interact with fellow anglers and hunters to get great information to share on this website. Everyone does things differently and the only way to get at the many facets of fishing and hunting is to ask questions and read articles like this one to learn new ways to catch fish, harvest animals and ultimately enjoy the outdoor lifestyle. In this article I will highlight 5 great baits for bluegill. This is a top 5 bluegill baits shared on social media by Paul Kipps. Paul is a serious bluegill fisherman from Virginia. These are Paul’s 5 great baits for bluegill fishing where he fishes. Here’s the list and a few ways to fish these bluegill spinners. Thanks Paul.

Paul Kipps Favorite bluegill baits
Paul Kipps holding nice bluegill

Paul Kipps: 5 Great Baits For Bluegill

  1. White with red dot Betts body.
  2. Mealworm color trout magnet
  3. Orange and chartreuse color trout magnet (#1 go to bait for crappie)
  4. Bison color trout magnet
  5. Black Bulldog Betts body
bluegill baits
5 great bluegill baits to throw. Photo Paul Kipps

Best Line For Bluegill Spinners

Anytime a fishing technique is mentioned line always rises to the top of the questions. Do you use monofilament, braid, braid to leader combo, fluorocarbon, monofilament to fluorocarbon and vice versa. All great questions and ultimately a personal choice. Paul likes to use 2 to 4 pound test line and says that it is vital to fishing these bluegill lures effectively. Light line offers sensitivity and action. The lighter the line the better feel for the bait there is.

bluegill jigs
Bluegill jigs The Hairy Cricket Jig

I know that when I fish a small spinner, like the ones listed here, I like to feel the spinner working. Line any heavier than 4 pound test absorbs most of the vibration that the spinner gives off but with 2 pound test you can actually feel the spinner working. This is important both for knowing the minimum speed retrieve to get the spinner turning as well as knowing if some grass has fouled your spinner so you can reel it and clean it off and reduce wasted cast.

Another great benefit to using light line is feeling the bluegill bite. Most of the time there is no doubt when a big bluegill strikes your bait. However, sometimes, maybe more often than you know, a big bluegill will swim towards you with the bait in its mouth. The sensitivity allows you to feel this strike. Also, if you are feeling the spinner and halfway to the boat you suddenly can’t feel the spinner working it just might be a big bluegill.

Braid For Bluegill

I like to use braid for bluegill. I prefer braid anytime I am using a spinning reel. The twist that eventually get in monofilament and fluorocarbon drive me crazy so I prefer 8-10 pound test braid with an 18 inch fluorocarbon leader. Due to the low stretch of braid it has incredible sensitivity as well.  I have used straight braid to heavier bluegill baits but find that when throwing light weighted bluegill baits that a 4 pound or 6 pound monofilament leader allows for more action. My favorite knot to connect braid to monofilament or fluorocarbon is the Alberto Knot. This knot is easy and quick and holds great. The other reason to use a leader of fluorocarbon or monofilament is visibility.

Some anglers feel that bluegill can see braid. They use the leader to add a clear line to the bait. I’m not sure if it makes a difference but if it does I want to be prepared. I use a clear line. I have actually been told by more than one excellent panfish angler that the diameter of the line and not the color is the important part. Lighter line better action scenario. However, I was told by an old-timer that did well with catching lots of bluegills and shellcrackers that he used hi-vis yellow line and he swore that the fish followed that yellow line to the bait and he caught more fish because of it. Not sure but there you have it when it comes to learning new ideas and techniques all things make you think and eventually you will come up what works best for you.

The Bluegill Rod

When choosing a bluegill rod most people pick the ultralight. Ultralight fishing rods for bluegill fishing can be fun. Bluegill put up a good fight on ultralight rods. I prefer a light or medium light fast action rod. This could be my hook setting since I am not that guy that tried to snap the neck of the fish on every bite he feels. Not saying that snapping the neck and stunning a big bluegill on the hook set is wrong I have just never done that. Even in my bass tournament days I didn’t set the hook like a lot of guys that was in the boat with me. Some of their hooksets actually gave me nightmares for days after the tournament. So, having said that I prefer a little heavier rod than most for bluegills.

My take on rod power is that big bluegill and shellcracker, which is what I fish for often, have a tough mouth. I like to get the best hook penetration with my wimpy hookset. I like a fast action so the rod gets into its backbone quick. The limber tip of a medium light rod with a fast action is limber enough to allow the bluegill to suck in the spinner. This is subtle but important to fishing any moving bait. Again, I learned this from my bass fishing days. When throwing a swimbait the tip had to give easy enough for the bass to engulf the bait. It’s kind of like frog fishing. You have to wait a half a second before setting the hook. In this case you can’t see the strike so the rod tip helps you out.

The Reel

Spinning Reel For Bluegill Baits

A spinning reel is the most popular reel to use when fishing for bluegills. They pair well with light line and light rods and cast a mile. You should use the best spinning reel you can afford. Good reels have smoother drags and when using light line this is very important. A spinning reel allows for long casts as well as short little pitches under a hanging limb or boat dock. Spinning reels also cast light baits a good distance.

Spincast or Underspin Reel For Bluegill

A spincast reel, the ones with the push button, or an underspin reel cast a country mile. However, most don’t have the ratio in retrieve that a good spinning reel does. I also find that I can make more accurate casts with a spinning reel but that might be just because I use them more. The drag is also usually much smoother on a spinning reel than on a spincast reel but I am sure there are exceptions to this. Feel free to leave a comment either way if you like. I am always open to new tackle to try.

Baitcaster For Bluegill Baits

Some might say what are you talking about! I have recently been introduced to a newer system called the bait finesse system. This system utilizes a baitcasting reel and light tip rod to fish lightweight baits. I have the system for crappie fishing and love it. This past spring I rigged it up with my 1/32 oz Hairy Cricket Jig. I caught several big bluegills and shellcrackers with it. I will be using the bait finesse system more in the future. The bait finesse reel has a shallow spool and is super lightweight. It also has a magnetic casting drag system to help with casting light lures. It really is a system and with the right setup you can fish for bluegill with a baitcaster.

I can’t wait to try it with the spinners that Paul list here. To be honest I found Paul’s post when looking for bluegill spinnerbait options. The little added weight of the spinner will make casting to deep brush in the summer a fun way to target some big bluegill. I prefer a baitcaster over a spinning reel and if I can eliminate all spinning reels from my arsenal I would. I think that will be hard to do though. Nothing beats a spinning reel when fishing those tight areas and need to make a short cast underhand. However, in open water or casting to visible targets along the shoreline, I prefer a baitcasting reel and these bait finesse system combos are perfect for that. Check out Bait Finesse Empire for plenty of information on this system.



Fine Tune Finesse


About Ken McBroom 307 Articles
Ken McBroom is an accomplished outdoor writer and photographer. Growing up in Lynchburg Tennessee allowed him many opportunities afield as a boy and young man. Later in life, after Desert Storm, Ken’s wanderlust took him to Alaska to live and work and experience the last frontier. Married now with two beautiful children, Ken now calls Kentucky home where he continues to communicate our American outdoor traditions and the lifestyle it offers.


  1. I have never needed a leader when fishing braid for bluegill. You will catch many more fish & cast baits further with the #4 lb. test, one-pound diameter Fireline. Stores don’t stock it, but u can buy it online. I can pull a boat to a snag with this line.

  2. I probably don’t need it I think it is just from my bass fishing days when I was so picky on visibility of my line. Monofilament floats a little and it helps slow the fall of the jig after each lift. Also, mono handles abrasion much better than braid. I also like to be able to cut the leader off when it gets too short from retying or after catching a catfish, which happens often in the spring. This saves the expensive braid as well. It is just personal preference but these are the reasons that I use a leader almost anytime I use braid. Thanks for commenting and see you on the water.

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