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How to Catch Bluegills with the Split Shot Rig

Wired2fish’s McKeon Roberts shares his strategy for finding and catching nomadic summer bluegills by focusing efforts around isolated grass and wood cover. He finds productive sweet spots on featureless flats using a combination of sonar and mapping and then combs the areas with a tried and true split shot rig.

Using a bow-mounted trolling motor, Roberts quickly fishes big flats while paying close attention to any subtleties on the electronics. Waypoints dropped on side imaging are a reference when making high-percentage casts to prime cover or known fish.

McKeon’s weapon of choice is adopted from the old-school bare hook and a worm tactic but opts to use a small Berkley MaxScent ned rig bait for the look, feel, and durability. The plastic lure is trimmed to accommodate small bluegill mouths but is chosen for its size, detracting smaller bluegills from being caught. Roberts weights the rig with a small split shot to keep the bait down and moving slowly.

Fishing slowly helps keep the presentation more natural by keeping it closer to the bottom. Short twitches with the rod impart a natural, bug-imitating action. A medium-light power panfish rod provides the right power and sensitivity to handle panfish and bass bycatch.