Sunfish Fishing Tips


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Catch Bigger Sunfish | Seasonal & Weather | Time of DayWater Types & Depths


Intro: For this section, we will be covering the sunfish that are considered true sunfish. These are true sunfish.  The most popular sunfish of this genus include bluegill, pumpkinseed, redear, redbreast, warmouth, green sunfish and longear sunfish.  Sunfish are often called bream in the south.

Sunfish are the fish that most young anglers catch while learning the sport of fishing.  These small fish hang out near the shorelines, are eager to bite and provide constant action for a young angler.  Most fish are around 4 to 6 inches so fishermen can use light, inexpensive tackle when fishing for sunfish.  Some bigger sunfish in the 2 pound range have been caught and some bluegills over 4 pounds have been reported.

Sunfish Fishing Basics (Quick Links)

Here are some quick links to the basics you should know about Sunfish.  For more detailed information, take a look below.

  • Habitat
  • Fishing Rigs
  • Live Baits
  • Lures
  • Rod & Reel Recommendations
  • Fishing Line Recommendations

line-3Fishing Lures for Sunfish


line-3Fishing Rigs & Techniques for Sunfish

Popular Techniques

  • Bobber Fishing
  • Drifting
  • Slow Trolling
  • Vertical Jigging

line-3Live Baits for Sunfish


line-3Catch Bigger Sunfish


  • Cover Water
  • Don’t Miss the Spawn
  • Learn to Fish Deep
  • Find Better Waters To Fish

line-3How Weather & Seasonal Movements Affect Sunfish

Weather Patterns

  • Cold Fronts
  • Warm Fronts
  • Clouds
  • Rain
  • Sun
  • Wind

Time of Year (Seasonal Movements)

  • Spring | Spawning Sunfish
  • Summer
  • Fall
  • Winter

line-3Different Water Types & Depths for Sunfish

Different Types of Water

  • Clear Water
  • Dark Water
  • Lakes
  • Rivers

Fishing the Different Depths

How Sunfish Relate to Cover & Structure

line-3How the Time of Day Affects Sunfish Fishing

  • Morning
  • Afternoon
  • Evening
  • Night

More Resources

line-3Types of True Sunfishline-3

Bluegill are the most widespread and common type of sunfish.  They can be found in all types of water including ponds, lakes, rivers, streams and even estuaries.  You will find them in rivers and streams, but in much smaller numbers than in ponds and lakes.  Clear water with moderate weed growth supports the best bluegill populations.  Bluegill feed on insects, crustaceans, worms and small minnows.  Continue reading….


rock bassRock Bass are one of the most aggressive panfish.  They will strike a variety of baits and lures and they will hit your bait extremely hard at times.  These fish prefer rocky bottoms, but you can find them in weedy or brushy areas, along weed lines and around wood also.  Like most sunfish, rock bass rarely exceed 2 pounds.   Continue reading….


Pumpkinseed will amaze you with their beautiful colors.  They do not grow as big as bluegill, but they are nice to look at and they are very aggressive.  They prefer slack water in ponds, lakes and some streams.  They feed on insects, worms and tiny bait fish.  Continue reading….


Redear sunfish are commonly called shellcracker in the south.  They are bigger than other sunfish, averaging 7 to 10 inches in length with many fish in the 1 to 2 pound range in the south.  They have a distinct red coloring around its ear flap.  Redears feed on snails, insects, and small bait fish.  They have a special set teeth in their throat that allows them to grind up snail shells.  Redear can be harder to find because they prefer deeper water than other sunfish.  Continue reading….


Redbreast Sunfish can adapt to most types of water.  They can live in clear streams, lakes with muddy bottoms and even in estuaries.  They are very small with the average adult only 6 inches long.  Redbreast prefer slack water and they feed primarily on the bottom.  Continue reading….


warmouthWarmouth can live in warmer, shallower areas than most other sunfish.  They are mostly populated in the southeastern part of the country.  They are not as common as other sunfish because of their low reproductive rates.  Because of its coloring, many anglers confuse warmouth with rock bass.  Warmouth will average 7 to 8 inches, although 10 to 11 inch fish are not uncommon.  A 2 pound fish would be close to the world record.  They feed on insects, crayfish and tiny bait fish.  Continue reading….


Green Sunfish have a larger mouth and body than other sunfish.  If they grew to bigger sizes, their body would be similar to a bass.  They can handle very harsh conditions such as murky water and low oxygen levels.  They are found in ponds, lakes, rivers and streams.  You can locate green sunfish around rocks, weeds, brush and timber.  Because of their large mouths, they can eat bigger baits.  Green sunfish will feed on insects, crayfish, shad, and other small bait fish.  Continue reading….


Longear Sunfish are small but very colorful.  They are small, averaging 4 to 5 inches in length with very few fish reaching 1 pound.  Longear Sunfish are mostly found in slack water of clear streams, but you can also find them in lakes, ponds, reservoirs, and estuaries.  The longear sunfish has a black ear flap with some red and yellow also.  They will feed on small insects and other tiny foods because of their small size.  Continue reading….


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