Fall Means Big Bluegills

By Ronnie Parris

Hey folks I hope all is well with you. I’m loving the cool mornings and mild days. This is my favorite time of year. I start getting excited for the coming hunting season, and also the fishing is getting really good as these fish feel the need to put on weight for the colder days ahead. One of my favorite fish to catch is the bluegill, and this is the best time to target really big bluegills.

When fall starts cooling things down, these beautiful fish will start bunching up in their areas most folks don’t usually associate with bluegill. My favorite spots will be deep cliffs and also deep cover, such as submerged trees that are 20 to 30 feet deep. The best areas will have deep water close. Use your Panoptix if you have them and watch for big schools close to cover.

Tactics can vary, but I like throwing crickets or catalpa worms. I use small hook’s with a single split shot to get my bait to the preferred depth. Small leadheads are also very good. If you find fish, but the size is small, keep looking as they usually school with fish there size. Fish slow. It takes a cricket a long time to sink 30 feet. Hits are usually immediate when the bait reaches them. Some folks like catching them on artificial and they can be taken this way, but I’m a live bait man when it comes to bluegill. I like a good light weight rod with 4 to 6 pound test.

These little fireballs are fighters, so you’re in for some fun. It’s one of the best times to take kids, as the action is fast and once you find them they are dependable. Bluegills are great table fare so keep a few for the pan. Breaded and fried or blackened, they’re hard to beat.

The weather is awesome so get out there and enjoy. And as always, take a kid fishing

Ronnie Parris is owner and head guide of Smoky Mountain Outdoors Unlimited-Fontana Lake Fishing Guides, headquartered in Bryson City, N.C., heart of the Great Smoky Mountains www.smokymountainoutdoorsunlimited.com; (828) 488-9711.