Long-ear Sunfish popular quarry for summer anglers

Long-ear Sunfish popular quarry for summer anglers

Taking sunfish is not difficult, nor expensive.  The theories on how to catch them are numerous.  To that end here are some thoughts of some local anglers.  They fish for these delightful little fish most of their lives and study their habits and habitat at length.

Basic tackle for fishing sunfish and bluegill includes light line and a light wire hook.  In areas of heavy timber, an 8-pound line is better.  It allows the angler to pull snagged hooks from the brush by force.  You can reel down until the rod is pointed right at the hook and then pull straight back.  The hook will straighten out and come loose.  Then check to make sure the point is undamaged.  If need be, bend the hook bent back into shape and use again.

To get the hook down to the feeding level of the fish, use a small split shot.  Place it on the line about 15 inches above the hook.

Sunfish are a bottom feeder.  They turn their tails upward to feed below themselves.  The bluegill feeds on the same level or above.  Out in the deeper water the two different fish approach the bait in the same manner.  Bluegill relate to vertical structure and sunfish to horizontal.  Sunfish prefer a hard bottom with some weed nearby.

The unusual clarity of some southern Illinois lakes allows weed growth as deep as 12 to 18 feet below the surface.  But, fish are also near the surface if the water temperature is in their comfort level.  Cast a piece of night crawler skewered on the hook and allow it to sink to the level where the fish will take it.  Slowly jig the bait across the bottom and in wood structure during the retrieval.

Fishing for panfish is an exciting sport all year around.  It is for all members of the family, not just children.  Their propensity to multiply helps to keep their populations high regardless of the fishing pressure.  It is these large populations throughout the area that makes them an excellent choice for a day of fishing action.



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  1. Pingback: SUMMER PANFISHING TIPS | Don Gasaway's Blog

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