Best Bait for Bluegill

Sunfish come in many shapes and sizes, with bluegill being just one of them. There are a variety of different baits that work for sunfish.

The most effective ones will vary depending on the time of day and visibility conditions when you fish.

The best bait will mimic the natural diet of the sunfish. This means getting artificial insects, larvae, grubs, and minnows.

Smaller fish will be attracted to smaller insects, while larger ones might look for minnows with lengths of several inches.

The Best Baits for Bluegill Fishing

Product NameLength Color Texture
#1. Impulse Artificial Slug Bug

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1.25 inches White Soft
#2. Gulp! Artificial Cricket

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1 inch Brown Hard
#3. Charlie Brewer Grub Slider

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1.5 inches Brown Squishy
#4. Yakima Rooster Tails Spinners

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1 inch Brown Feathery
#5. Gulp! Artificial Minnow

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4 inches 12 colors Soft

#1. Impulse Artificial Slug Bug

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This slug bug from Northland Fishing is a small plastic bait that’s ideal for sunfish and bluegill fishing. Many anglers default to 1.5 to 2 inch baits.

These baits are a good option for large pan fish, but they don’t translate as well to smaller fish. Bluegills are sometimes only 4 to 7 inches long, so starting with a small bait is your best option.

The design is meant to resemble minnows when viewed from a distance. When you view the bait closely, you’ll see tiny appendages and a straight tail.

Fishing with the slug bug is fairly simple. Just rig it to a 1/16 ounce jig head. The bait should be bounced on the bottom of the river or slowly jigged up and down.

Although this bait isn’t made with cast-and-retrieve styling, the actions will be impacted by how the tip of your rod moves.


#2. Gulp! Artificial Crickets from Berkley

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Artificial crickets are a great bait for many types of fish, but they’re particularly good when fishing bluegills. You should have a supply of these baits in your tackle box every time you fish.

The hard construction of the baits make them durable and easier to care for. Some fishermen even find that they’re more effective than live crickets.

The cricket design is made to look identical to actual crickets. From a distance, the effect definitely works! The antenna, legs, and other details make the fake convincing enough that it will easily fool fish.

To use these baits to fish, you should use a small hook with a weight held about one or two inches over the bait. If you’re a fan of bobbers, this is a good bait to use.

You just push your hook through the cricket until the hook tip pokes through. If you thread your hook through the cricket’s whole body, you’ll lose fewer baits.

Crickets don’t need to be live specimens to attract fish. If the fish is in the water, they’ll be attracted to the look and smell of the artificial crickets.

On that note, if you’re not catching any fish, this means they just aren’t there. You’ll need to move to a new location.

You should also try fishing different depths. On particularly hot days, fish will move closer to the bottom of the water. Try to fish on the bottom one or more times each trip. You’ll also get better results around the full moon.


#3. Artificial Grub Sliders from Charlie Brewer

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These artificial grubs have the same appearance and feeling as the grubs eaten by sunfish. Most fishermen use these baits to catch crappie, but they’ll also work for all types of sunfish and bluegill.

The grub has a 1.5-inch soft body and a vibrating tail. As the grub swims, the tail moves from side to side, making the swimming motion look more realistic.

You can use these grubs with every size of jig head. Grubs and larvae are favorites of sunfish, so they make great baits.

If you’ve seen grubs in real life, you’ll notice the striking similarities in the bait. The girth and ridges make the bait an appealing snack for bluegill and other types of fish.

You can fish in multiple ways with these baits. Whether you’re jigging vertically, trolling, or casting, the fish will bite. Another nice feature is that you can pick out the grubs that suit your particular color and size needs.

To fish most effectively, it’s best to use Texas style fishing and an offset hook. Insert your hook into the head of the grub, then slide the grub down until it’s firmly attached to your hook.

Make sure you don’t pull your hook all the way through the body, though, as that will prevent the tail from “swimming” with your motions.


#4. Yakima Rooster Tails Spinners

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Rooster tails are a classic type of bait that work even in situations where the fish don’t seem to be biting. If you’re having bad luck with your other lures, a rooster tail is a go-to fallback.

The lures are great at catching all kinds of fish, from bluegill to trout to other types of fish.

There’s no way to use these foolproof lures incorrectly, making them one of the best options for beginning fishermen.

You can find rooster tails in hundreds of colors, from bright to dark. It helps to have a variety in your tackle box, since different colors work for different weather conditions.

When you’re looking for freshwater fish like crappie and bluegill, it’s best to use natural colors like grays and browns. It’s important that the bait resemble the natural sources of food the fish eat.


#5. Gulp! Artificial Shad Minnow from Berkley

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This bait is great for catching bluegill, crappie, and even trout. It’s even more effective than rooster tails when you’re having bad luck.

Many professional fishermen recommend having a constant supply of artificial minnows in your tackle box. The scent entices fish into biting, even if they haven’t seemed hungry before.

The Gulp! bait is special because it disperses scent 400 times more effectively than an ordinary bait. Because the scent disperses so well, your strike zone expands to include many more fish. In field tests, this bait has even been shown to outfish live bait.

The artificial minnows swim and look exactly like the minnows that bluegill eat. Whether the water is muggy or clear, the color reflects and shines, so visibility is hardly ever an issue.

As with any other bluegill bait, it’s best to experiment with varying depths to find out where the fish are staying.

The subtle action of the minnows is best used with drop shots and jig heads. Just load your minnow onto your jig and start casting.

Jigging should be effective, as should cast-and-retrieve techniques. You’ll just need to experiment a little to find the best method for the time of day and time of year.


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Final Thoughts

When you’re looking for the best baits for bluegill, it’s best to have a few different baits in your tackle box.

Grubs and larvae are a great option, since these make up a good portion of the bluegill diet.

Fake crickets and fake minnows also make good bait.

Rooster tails are the best choice for beginning fishermen, since there’s no way to go wrong with them. Any technique will work to catch fish.

Berkley minnows will attract larger bluegill even when you’re having bad luck, since their scent dispersion is 400 times stronger than that of average plastic baits.

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