What is the Best Hook Size for Bluegill?

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Dale Shetler
By Dale Shetler
Updated March 9, 2020
Bluegill fish

Bluegill are one of the most popular fish for anglers of all levels of skill. It helps that they’re a more common fish across the whole of America, and stick around for a good chunk of the year, which certainly offers plenty of potential for practice.

You’ll find bluegill out in full force at the end of spring, moving into the summer months. They’re most known for the impressive fight they put up when you go to reel them in – which means that if you want to catch one safely and expertly, you need the right skill and equipment.

If you’re keen to learn how to hook a bluegill the right way, you’ll benefit from giving this post a read. I’ll be discussing the best hook size for bluegill, most notably when you’re fishing for bluegill with worms, a popular bluegill bait.

Choosing the Right Hook Size for Bluegill

When it comes to fishing, size matters. Specifically speaking, the size of your hook matters. To offer up a quick summary of the basics of hook sizing, the most important thing to note is that the smaller the size of a hook, the larger the hook actually is. So, a size 8 hook is actually a lot smaller than a size 1 hook.

Fishing hooks are made in different sizes for a reason – hooks of different shapes and sizes are required for catching fish of different shapes and sizes. Just like there is a recommended hook size for all other fish out there, the same goes for bluegill. In order to know how to properly hook a bluegill, it’s worth being certain of hook size.

Fishing Hook Sizing Chart

Recommended Hook Size for Bluegill

If you’re just here for the quick answer, here it is: the ideal bluegill hook size is either 6, 8 or 12. It’s maybe not the most specific of recommendations, but it all depends on the bait you’re using. Some of the more common bait used for bluegill include:

Artificial bait or lures

There are thousands of varieties of artificial baits to choose from, but in terms of fishing for bluegill, you’re best sticking to the smaller baits. Light-reflective baits work particularly well in attracting the bluegill.

Live baits

live bait worms

Crickets, worms and grasshoppers are the best live baits to use for fishing for bluegill. Live baits tend to be more successful in enticing bluegill, and worms (or even half a worm) are most appetising in a bluegill’s eyes.

Whether you opt for artificial or live bait, and which of these specific baits you go for, will call for a different bluegill hook size. Here’s what you need to know:

Consider the size of your bait. For using live, larger bait, like heavier worms,a 6 is a good size hook to go for. Smaller live bait, however, like crickets and other insects, are better when used in combination with an 8 or a 12.

When it comes to the size of your lures, it doesn’t really matter as much – but make sure to use your common sense. Remember that bluegill are fairly small fish, so they’re unlikely to go for really large or weighty crankbait.

Recommended Bluegill Hook Type

The type of hook you use for bluegill fishing is equally as important as size. Bluegill are known for stealing bait, so you want something that will keep your bait secure while the bluegill try to grab it. You also want to make sure the bait stays on the hook when you cast out.

The most common types of hooks used for bluegill fishing are:

Worm hooks

mikado worm hook

A good number of anglers prefer to fish for bluegill using worms as bait, because it tends to get the best reaction from the fish.

If you’re fishing for bluegill with worms, consider a worm hook, which – as the name suggests – will keep a secure hold of a worm of any length or size.

Worms are particularly easy for bluegill to steal, and a worm hook can stop your bait from easily sliding off the hook.

Baitholder hooks

berkley fusion baitholder hook

Baitholder hooks are really versatile, and for that reason, they’re one of the more widely used hooks for all anglers.

Again, the key is in the name with these – baitholder hooks are designed to hold bait like worms, crickets and beetles, and usually feature several barbs protruding from the shank.

Make sure you pair yours with a good baitcasting reel for optimum performance.

Jig hooks

If you prefer to fish for bluegill using a jigging technique, a jig hook is (quite unsurprisingly) going to work best for you. Jig hooks can be used for artificial bait and live bait, so you won’t limit your options with this hook.

How to Hook a Bluegill – Tips and Tricks

Now you know what size hook works best for bluegill, you’re pretty much ready to go out there and give bluegill fishing your best shot. But if you’re after a little more advice before you leave, here’s what we’ve got:

  • Bluegill have really small mouths, so the smaller the bait, the better.
  • If you’re fishing for bluegill in the summer, you’ll have the most success in deeper water in larger lakes. In shallow ponds, bluegill will be closer to the surface, as a result of oxygen depletion.
  • You can still find plenty of bluegill in the winter! If you’re ice fishing for bluegill, consider using small jigs and artificial flies as your bait. Just make sure you’re equipped with the right ice fishing suit.
  • Keep note that bluegill spook easily, so if you’re fishing in shallower areas, you may find them harder to catch. This is where lightweight bait comes in handy – the quieter you can cast it, and with the least disturbance to the water, the better. An ultralight spinning rod will also be a massive help.
  • If you want to catch bigger bluegill, explore areas that aren’t accessible to larger boats. Take a canoe into waterways that aren’t popular with other anglers and reap the rewards of your extra travel time.

Wrapping It Up

Alright, that's it! Now you should have the knowledge you need to pick the right hook size for bluegill as well as some insights into the various hook types that will compliment this exact type of fishing.