Freshwater sunfish are common and often abundant fish that can create excellent opportunities to produce fishing fun and food for the whole family.
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About Sunfish

In terms of recreational fishing, the term “sunfish” usually refers to either the green sunfish (Leromis cyanellus) or the bluegill sunfish (Leromis macrochirus). The well-known oceanic “sunfish” is a monster fish of up to 1 000 kg (2 205 lbs), but is not an angling fish at all. Both freshwater species of sunfish are quite similar to each other in appearance, size, habits and distribution. These two sunfish have disc shaped bodies, the bluegill having a small mouth while the green has a larger mouth on the front of a more pointed snout. The green sunfish is mostly green or brown on the body and lighter below with a black spot below the posterior dorsal fin, while the bluegill has a dark “ear” spot. Both are most commonly caught at lengths of 7,6 cm – 17,8 cm (3- 7 inches) but can grow to a maximum of 30,5 cm (12 inches) in the green and 40,6 cm (16 inches) in the bluegill. The largest green sunfish caught measured 1,0 kg (2.2 lbs.) while the largest bluegill sunfish was 2,2 kg (4 lbs. 12 oz), caught in 1950. Bluegill can mature in as little as four months and, while many live for 5-7 years, they have been recorded reaching 11 years of age. They are both omnivorous, generally eating small invertebrate prey and occasionally very small fish and tadpoles.

How to Catch?

In most areas bluegill sunfish are more popular than green sunfish, but the same fishing methods can be used for both. Light tackle is best and most fun and while fly fishing can produce results, spinning, with a fixed spool reel, is the most popular. The fish can be found in shallow water and so bank, jetty or bridge fishing in rivers, lakes and dams can work, while small boat fishing and the use of kayaks is also popular. Natural baits work well and the best are probably worms, night crawlers, grasshoppers and other insects. These can be cast out and left, or slowly retrieved. Many people favour artificial baits and, when fly fishing, many different fly patterns and colours are used depending on prevailing conditions and the views of the angler. In terms of spinning, the best colours vary with locality, but yellow, white, black, purple and chartreuse, all have strong followers among anglers. Many other baits also work for this interesting fish. Great fun can be had by beginner anglers with the simplest equipment, often quite close to home. Sunfish, particularly bluegill, will eat almost anything small enough to be nibbled by them. In ponds where people feed ducks, the use of bread on small hooks cast close to the feeding ducks can be particularly successful and great fun.