Bluegill: Lepomis macrochirus
Bluegill have the deep-bodied look of "bream," with a long dorsal fin and slightly forked tail. A dark ear covering and a blotch at the dorsal fin's back bottom edge set them apart.
Bluegill are common throughout Florida but are best known in lakes and ponds.
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.
State Record: 2.95 lbs.
Big Catch minimum: 10 inches or 1 lb.
Fishing Tips and Facts: Live worms or crickets are the best bait, either fished on the bottom or suspended below a float. Crickets, grubs, sand maggots or grass shrimp will also catch bedding bluegill. Use a small hook, #6 or #8, with a split shot sinker about 6 inches up the line. Concentrate on water less than 6 feet deep. For artificial baits, a 1/8 oz. “beetle spin” with a white or chartreuse body on ultralight tackle is excellent.
Image Credit: Duane Raver, Jr.