Hints and Tips for Catching Bluegill When Ice Fishing

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The hopes and joys of a bluegill bite is what keeps most anglers jigging throughout the winter months, but even on the coldest and miserable days, you can catch more bluegills than ever, with a few little hints and tips.



Fish The Reeds, Weeds And Structures

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If you can locate the reeds and weeds in the lake, this will be much to your advantage. Bluegill tend to swim and feed around the weeds & reeds during the winter months. One particular tip for fishing weeds is to look for a deep basin near the weed line. This is where the weeds stop growing. The ideal place to begin your fishing for the day.
 
After starting in this place, you should then move and begin to drill your holes and fish towards the land, ensuring you follow the weeds.
 
As another tip (explained below), you should not put your jig or bait directly in the weeds but have it floating slightly above.
 
Identifying where the Bluegill are feeding during the winter months makes catching them even more difficult. Identifying the wood structures, weeds and reeds will enhance your chances of having a successful day.



No Over-Jigging!

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Jigging is one of the best and most popular techniques/strategies to lure those Bluegill in. However, there is an art to it and over-jigging (too quick and erratic) can cause the Bluegill to become scared and evade that area.
 
Bluegills tend to feed on smaller things during the winter, therefore your jig also needs to be on the small side. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pack anything bigger, as some of those bigger Bluegill’s may be feeling a bigger meal!
 
As for not ‘over-jigging’, your speed and intensity should be slow and sensitive. This will make the jig look more like a ‘real-life’ creature rather than something out of the ordinary and erratic.
 
It’s also a good idea to be patient and have rest times. Keep the jig still, all real-life creatures do not move or swim at all times.
 
By all means, if your slow and sensitive jigging isn’t reeling the gill in, try a slightly more aggressive approach. The best anglers an adapt to a specific situation and make changes to their equipment and techniques to try and get that bite.



Group Fishing Over Individual Fishing

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I must admit, fishing alone does have its positives but when it comes to ice fishing, especially for Bluegill, fishing with friends and family increases the likelihood of having a successful day.
 
It’s not a matter of having company or someone to talk to. Rather, fishing in a group is very useful to find out where the Bluegill are congregating on the lake.
 
When fishing in small groups, cover the lake by splitting off and drilling multiple holes in your chosen area. Obviously, covering the reeds, weeds and structures is the best way to start. If any of the groups members catches or has a bite, the other anglers should head over to their spot and begin fishing in the vacant holes that they have already drilled. Remember, bluegill are very sensitive, so non-verbal communication should be used.
 
Fishing is so much easier when you find a hotspot (a spot where plenty of fish are congregating). If you’re fishing in a group, finding a hotspot is much easier as you’re covering more of the lake.



Primetime Fishing

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Just like most animals and humans, fish also have preferred times to eat throughout the day. This is applicable even more so in the winter. Most fish species tend to feed early morning and evening, bluegill are no exception to this behavior.
 
Does it make a huge difference getting to the lake early? Well, research suggests that the vast majority of winter bluegill catches happen in the early hours of the morning. So, i’m assuming you’re reading this article because you want to catch more fish, therefore getting to the lake earlier does make a difference.
 
The evening has a similar story, fishing for bluegill between the early morning hours and evening can be a little quiet, that doesn’t mean you will not catch anything.



Consider using a leader (on your line)

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When it comes to buying fishing line, there are various different weights, thickness and colors. No matter what line you use to fish for bluegill, it is advisable to use a leader at the front end of your line.
 
If you’re not familiar with a leader, it is used as an extra piece of line and. can simply be attached to your existing line with a small knot.
 
Once the leader is attached to your line, you can add you hook and any other fishing accessories to it that you’re deciding to use. The purpose of the leader is to stop the bluegill noticing your thicker line thus keeping them attracted to your bait or jig.
 
Leaders also serve other purposes. They can also be used to stop larger fish with sharper teeth from breaking through your line. This gives you the reassurance that you won’t lose your tackle that is attached to the line, saving you time and money long term.

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