Best Hook Size For BlueGill – A Complete Guide For Fishing Beginners

hook size for bluegill

If you are an amateur angler, chances are you will be recommended to try out bluegill fishing. Not only is this species small enough and easy to catch, but it is also super yummy. 

While bluegill is not exactly the pickiest eater, there are still several things you can do to increase your chance of success. One of which is to determine the hook size for bluegill.

In this article, we will explore the most suitable hook size and type, as well as tips and tricks on how to catch bluegill.

Choosing The Right Hook Size For Bluegill

hook size for bluegill
fly fishing for bluegills with panfish popper fly

Before jumping at the hook size designed for bluegill, you first have to understand how hook sizes work in fishing. Hooks are labeled with numbers, and each number indicates a certain disparity in weight, length, and width. 

The funny thing here is that the bigger the number gets, the smaller your hook is. Make sure to look out for this feature, lest you be confused about it.

In case you are wondering why hooks have different sizes, it is because hooks are not a one-size-fits-all product. Various species require the use of multiple hooks, and you cannot expect a single item to be compatible with all catches. 

For example, small crappie do not need much besides a hook size 2 or 4. But to chase after a bass, you will need a hook size between 1/0 and 2/0.

Now that you have grasped the basic idea of how hook sizes work, let’s proceed to learn which size suits bluegill. 

Recommended Hook Size For Bluegill

If you want some general-purpose hook sizes that tend to go well with bluegill, size 6,8 and 12 are the most popular choices. But be aware that while the sizes are common, they could fail in certain circumstances. 

This is because your baits, lures, and fishing lines all have a say in how suitable your hook size is. So, in case you need your hook size to work flawlessly, below are some detailed recommendations.

Artificial bait or lures

When it comes to artificial bait and lures for bluegill, nothing works better than spoons and minnows. Not only are they lightweight enough, but they are also highly reflective and can mimic actions underwater. 

Should you run out of things to purchase, spinnerbaits and crankbaits are the second-best options. While they are not as ideal as lighter ones, they are still sufficient to attract bluegill.

Live baits

Bluegill thrive on live baits. They have a soft spot for these baits and usually cannot resist the temptation of a squirming worm, grasshoppers, or crickets. Thus, live baits tend to be anglers’ number-one choice when they wish to reel in as many bluegills as possible.

Now, whether to use artificial bait, lures or live baits is entirely up to you. However, you need to understand that different types of bait will call for different hook sizes. 

For instance, if you want to use a heavy worm for your hook, it needs to be roughly size 6. This way, the worm itself can be firmly attached to the hook, preventing any falling off. 

On the other hand, insects or tiny crickets do not require such a big hook. Anything between size 8 and 12 will suffice. If the hook is any larger, bluegill can instantly spot the error and retreat before even considering taking a bite. 

Recommended Bluegill Hook Type

Sizes aside, another critical factor that affects the outcome of your bluegill fishing trip is the hook type. There are tons of hook types, each designed for a unique purpose. 

Understanding the anatomy of a bluegill as well as its feeding behaviors will help you pick out an ideal hook type.

Worm hooks

Worm hooks are among the most popular choices for bluegill fishermen. As the name already suggests, they are shaped like a curling worm, with an open gap, a large bend, and an eyelet that faces slightly backward. 

Given the similarity between a worm and a worm hook, it is no wonder why live baits can be stuck on this tool. Furthermore, since worm hooks are barbed, the chances of your worm getting stolen and chipped off by hungry, aggressive bluegill are significantly reduced. 

No more worries about your live baits ending up being for naught!

Baitholder hooks

If you want to ensure your baits or lures do not fall off from a hook, using a baitholder hook is highly recommended. Its shape is like the letter J, with a sharp point facing upward and a shank filled with several barbs. 

These pointy areas cling to the baits or lures, holding them in their place until a bluegill comes close. But there is one downside to these baitholder hooks. Since they are penetrative, they can be pretty damaging for the fish once it swallows the bait. 

Thus, only use them when you have no intention of releasing bluegill back into the water.

Jig hooks

Jig hooks are the final recommendation for bluegill fishing if you are a fan of jigging techniques. They are shaped rather similar to baitholder hooks, with the exception of the shank. 

Instead of having a straight shank connected to the eyelet, jig hooks enjoy a vertical shank where the eyelet is bent 90 degrees forward. 

This unique design makes it perfect for holding both your artificial lures and your live baits when you pop and snap the tip of the fishing rod.

How To Hook A Bluegill – Tips And Tricks

Hooking a bluegill is not the most difficult task in the fishing world. Still, if you are new to the game, chances are you will need some help from professional anglers. Let’s have a look and see what their best tips and tricks are!

Best timing and location for bluegill fishing

You are most likely to come across bluegill during the spring and early summer months. They start to mate and spawn within this timeframe, creating the perfect opportunity for anglers to reel in heavy fish. 

The easiest way to tell if there is a bluegill colony is to look for round craters. In most cases, they are what mark spawning nests of this species. As bluegill travels in schools, you will have to cast and retrieve very carefully so as not to disturb the whole congregation. 

Your best bet is to cast somewhere near the nest and expect the guarding male bluegill to come feed on it.

Late summer months and early autumn are other desirable times to look for bluegill. Since the temperature is no longer tolerable, you will have to cast deeper into the water. Look for brush piles, flooded timber, and even weed beds to see if the bluegill are hiding there. 

Try to stay away from daylight fishing, as the scorching heat will affect your result. Keep your fishing trips early in the morning or late at night, when the water bodies have cooled down.

While bluegill is not exactly the most active fish in the winter, you can still go ice fishing after these small animals. They tend to swarm near the bottom, underneath vegetation. 

As bluegill are quite dormant when the temperature drops, you will need to be slow and careful in your casting and retrieving. The tackle box required is also worth your attention here. Consider using ultralight fishing lines, an ultralight spinning rod, and other equally small-sized tools for the best result.

If you want to chase after trophy-size bluegill, you might want to travel into hidden waterways. Big bluegill usually hide from active fishing grounds and seek refuge there. With a little extra time and effort, you sure can amaze other anglers with your catch.

Best bait size for bluegill fishing

Bluegill have an average length of roughly 19cm and the overall body weight not exceeding 2.5lbs. Given how small they are, it is reasonable that you use tiny baits. 

The smaller the bait is, the higher chance it appears attractive and edible to bluegill. But still, you need to ensure that your bait gets stuck properly to the hook, or else you will run the risk of losing it altogether.

Best bait color for bluegill fishing

As your baits are already small in size, try to look for ways that make them stand out under the luminous water. Anything with reflective colors or can mimic slight movements underwater will be preferable to static baits. 


Determining the best hook size for bluegill is relatively easy once you get to know how it works. Next time you go bluegill fishing, make sure to find hooks that are small enough to be swallowed but firm enough to hold the baits. 

And in case you find the advice helpful, feel free to spread the words around!

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