When you’re searching for slab bluegill, don’t just make a stab in the dark. Fishing for bluegill is a favorite pastime for sponsored bass pro, full-time guide and widely published outdoor writer Brad Wiegmann. Here are his tips to nail slab bluegill after slab and keep the bite on all day.

Kayak Fishing for Bluegill

While many anglers stand on the dock and cast out a bobber and worm for bluegills, Wiegmann reverses the strategy. “Look for the biggest bluegills tight to dock pilings,” he suggests. Wiegmann positions his kayak a few feet away from the structure and uses side-scan sonar to search out the fish.

person holds a bluegill caught while kayak fishing
“I’d prefer Lepomis macrochirus, if you don’t mind.” | Feature photo: Barry Beck

“Don’t get too close or you’ll spook them,” he warns. Then he lobs his bait into the structure. If the bluegill stop biting, Wiegmann suggests leaving the hole for a few minutes then returning to pick up the action.

Bobber Lobber

In spring, Wiegmann likes to pluck big bluegill off their spawning beds. When he sees a bald spot in the bottom that is hosting aggressive bluegill, he tries to stay as far away as possible and cast into the hot-spot. “Don’t cast a bobber like you cast a lure,” Wiegmann warns.

Instead of whipping the bobber out with the rod tip, Wiegmann says to lob the bobber and bait. “Keep your arm stiff and use the whole rod to cast the bobber.” This keeps the bobber and bait from spinning, reducing the risk of tangling the line and allowing the bait to fly farther with better accuracy.

Chum ‘Em Up

After pulling a few sunnies from a school, the rest of the fish can get lockjaw. Wiegmann fires up the bite with a stream of chum. “I’ll use pieces of bread,” he says, “but crumbled up granola bar or pieces of a sandwich will work in a pinch.”

Slab brim have a small mouth. “There’s no reason to glob the bait on the hook,” Wiegmann says. A small piece of worm or artificially scented bait is all it takes. Use scissors to cut the bait into bite-size pieces.

Swingin’ Single

To stay close to the structure and keep fishing, Wiegmann uses a single paddle blade that he operates with one hand. “I can spin, go in reverse, even grab ahold of the structure or push off with one hand, while keeping my other hand on the rod, waiting for the tap, tap, tap.”

Gear and Gadgets

Backwater Assault hand paddleBackwater Paddles Assault Hand Paddle

$29.99 | backwaterpaddles.com 

The Backwater Assault Hand Paddle is a single paddle blade made of hard plastic with an EVA foam grip. The little blade fits in a crook or crevice in the kayak, ready to deploy in tight structure—perfect for bluegill fishing.


This article was first published in the Summer/Fall 2015 issue of Kayak Angler. Subscribe to Kayak Angler Magazine’s print and digital editions, or browse the archives.

“I’d prefer Lepomis macrochirus, if you don’t mind.” | Feature photo: Barry Beck




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