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Bluegill a Fun Sport Fish

 

Last updated 7/1/2022 at 8:49am

Fish illustrations by Duane Raver, Jr.

Bluegill are fun sports fish targets that put up plenty of fight despite their small size. They are common in Florida's fresh waters.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission want to invite you to just go fish! Here's a great suggestion for that youngster, or even the experienced pro, that will provide hours of fun.

Featured Fish: Bluegill

Size: This is one of the smallest of our popular game fish. The state record is 2.95 pounds. The Big Catch minimum qualifying sizes are 10" or 1.0 pound (see BigCatchFlorida.com).

Appearance: The bluegill is easily identified by the black spot on the gill cover and black spot on the end of the dorsal fin. The similar redear sunfish, as its name suggests, has a bright red border on the edge of the gill cover. The redear, along with other sunfish, lacks the bluegill's black dorsal fin spot.

Range & Habitat: Bluegill are common throughout Florida but are best known in lakes and ponds.

Behavior: Bluegill eat mostly insects and their larvae. Bluegill spawn throughout summer, congregating in large "beds." Anglers may find 30-40 shallow nests scooped out in sandy areas.

Sporting Quality: This willing fish is probably the best "starter" species of all for beginners, but will also continue to entertain anglers of any age or experience level. It will cooperatively and enthusiastically take live worms, crickets, grass shrimp, cut hot dogs, and doughballs. It will also attack any suitably small lure with abandon - recommended choices include beetle spins, jigs, spinners, tiny minnow imitations, small spoons, and most flies. Even a good-sized bluegill has a very small mouth, so always stick with small hook and lure sizes. While this fish rarely jumps, it puts up a very scrappy fight for its size, especially on ultralight tackle. Food quality is excellent, especially in the frying pan.

 

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