How to locate and catch spawning bluegills in Indiana, according to Brian Waldman

How to locate and catch spawning bluegills in Indiana, according to Brian Waldman

Brian Waldman of Coatesville, Indiana, is a masterful multispecies angler. Some observers would describe him as a quintessential In-Fisherman.

His mastery at locating and catching crappie and largemouth bass have been highlighted in several blogs during the past year. On June 29, he sent an e-mail that said his piscatorial attention had been focused  on pursuing bluegill rather than crappie and largemouth bass since the week of June 10. And he described these bluegill pursuits as an exhilarating and entertaining affair.


One of the most intriguing aspects of this endeavor for Waldman was utilizing a Humminbird 798Ci HD SI, which is a Side Imaging unit, to locate offshore colonies of spawning bluegill. He called it "an amazing learning process." Humminbird's Side Imaging unit allowed him to pinpoint the whereabouts of what he called "some wonderful nesting colonies of very chunky gills out in places I never would have imagined."  He found them primarily on main-lake flats,  nesting at depths of  four to seven feet of water, and where few if any other anglers have dared to look.  He wrote: " I'm quite certain nobody has found or figured these fish out on the waters I'm focusing on, as I haven't seen another angler fishing them in the three weeks I've been on this bite. Everybody I've seen has been up shallow chasing the visible nesters. These fish nest deep enough that you simply can't make them out visually. I actually stumbled across them by accident  while fishing for bass well off-shore along the ends of main-lake flats, and I almost didn't believe what I was seeing on the graph at first."



According to Waldman, the water clarity at this reservoir fluctuates from two feet to four feet. It depends upon the state of the algae bloom and  amount of boat traffic. He said: " Even when you're sitting directly over one

of these beds..., you couldn't make them out. You have

to see them on your side imaging unit to know they are there, and how


big and what configuration they are sitting in. Most anglers are simply driving

right over the top of these fish as they make their way toward the coves and

shallows."


Here's what a main-lake bluegill spawning site looks like on Waldman's Humminbird Side Imaging sonar.

Once Waldman locates a colony of spawners, he beguiles them with a variety of soft-plastic baits, bee moths and crickets.He likes to affix those baits to either a chartreuse or fluorescence red Gopher Tackle 1/32- and 1/16-ounce Mushroom Head Jig.  Waldman has discovered that those two jig colors do a better job of alluring bluegill than unpainted jigs or jigs painted with another hue. One of his favorite soft-plastic options is a 1 1/2-inch tube. He removes several of its tentacles, which creates what he calls "a smaller morsel that mimics the look of numerous invertebrates." He casts and slowly retrieves it the across, around and over the spawning beds. The bee moth is the larvae of the wax moth, and Waldman threads the larvae onto a 1/32-ounce Gopher jig as if it were a soft-plastic grub. Its head is threaded  onto the collar of the jig. He presents this  bee-moth and jig combo the same way he uses the jig and soft-plastic bait combo. When Waldman works with crickets, he prefers to employ a larger 1/16-ounce Gopher jig, noting  it helps get the cricket, which is bulky and buoyant, down to the bluegill. Moreover, the 1/16-ounce jig has a larger and longer hook, which is a necessity when he employs a bait as big as a cricket. He presents this combo fished under either a Thill Mini Stealth or Mini Shy Bite float. At times, he will also use a split shot and a No. 6 or No. 8 long shank hook baited with the cricket. But day in and day out, he prefers the jig combo. When he uses a jig combo, Waldman utilizes a 6 1/2-foot medium-light custom-built spinning rod; it is a St. Croix Avid blank. This rod sports either a 1500- or 2000-size spinning reel that is spooled with with four- to eight-pound-test braided line and a four- or six-pound-test fluorocarbon or monofilament leader. If he employs a float, Waldman likes to wield a seven-foot spinning rod with a moderate-fast action by G. Loomis PR842S popping rod, and his 1500- or 2000-size spinning reel is spooled with either four- or six-pound-test fluorocarbon or monofilament line.

Waldman described his recent fling with the bluegill as being  "a wonderfully relaxing sidebar to the usual bass chase. I've kind of been like the proverbial kid in a candy store since finding this happening on my home lake. The nesting bite is starting to wane though, so I'm transitioning back to bass again. While still primarily a bass angler at heart, in true multi-species spirit, whatever is keeping the pole bent the best on a given lake or at a given time is what I want to be chasing. Fortunately, the side bar adventures tend to be short-lived in nature."

Recommended for You

Crankin' is almost a necessity for finding bass on the Great Lakes from summer through fall. Bass

Using Crankbaits For Smallmouth Bass

Matt Straw - January 31, 2016

Crankin' is almost a necessity for finding bass on the Great Lakes from summer through fall.

These secrets will put more and bigger bass in your boat! Bass

Topwater Lure Secrets for Bass

Jim Edlund - April 26, 2018

These secrets will put more and bigger bass in your boat!

Here's some important crankbait lessons from the big leagues. Bass

Deep Cranking Confessions from the Pro's

John Neporadny Jr - December 18, 2017

Here's some important crankbait lessons from the big leagues.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Berkley

Berkley's Surge Shad

Major League Fishing pro Scott Suggs has relied on the Berkley Surge Shad lure concept for years, using similar designs to capture MLF titles and a $1 million dollar FLW Forrest Cup win. With new features in the Surge Shad, Suggs tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead that even he can find success out on the water!

Spawntime World Class Crappies

Spawntime World Class Crappies

Doug Stange and Brandon Fulgham illustrate spawntime crappie patterns on one of North America's most famous fisheries.

Awesome Spoon Bluegill System

Awesome Spoon Bluegill System

Check out this deadly spoon system for big bluegills introduced by one of In-Fisherman's readers.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


Spring is prime time for pike. The Prespawn and Postspawn periods offer excellent odds at catching Pike & Muskie

How To Catch Pike In Spring

Dan Johnson - April 26, 2016

Spring is prime time for pike. The Prespawn and Postspawn periods offer excellent odds at...

'Walleyes spawn in spring and understanding spring walleye migrations, whether you live north or south, will help you pinpoint their predictable locations year after year. 

Walleyes spawn in spring, but spring may arrive in February in Mississippi, March in Walleye

Understanding Spring Walleye Migrations

Gord Pyzer - June 02, 2018

'Walleyes spawn in spring and understanding spring walleye migrations, whether you live north...

It was an August evening and I was wading the flats in Brewster, MA with my cousin. Here you can Other Fish

Must-Have Striped Bass Tackle

Rick Bach - May 04, 2017

It was an August evening and I was wading the flats in Brewster, MA with my cousin. Here you...

See More Stories

More Midwest Finesse

Here is what we discovered about the Ned Stinger. Midwest Finesse

Swing Oil Baits' Ned Stinger

Ned Kehde - November 22, 2019

Here is what we discovered about the Ned Stinger.

Midwest Finesse logs for the month of November. Midwest Finesse

Midwest Finesse Fishing: November 2019

Ned Kehde - December 10, 2019

Midwest Finesse logs for the month of November.

Midwest Finesse September logs. Midwest Finesse

Midwest Finesse Fishing: September 2019

Ned Kehde - October 10, 2019

Midwest Finesse September logs.

See More Midwest Finesse

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.