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Despite a huge variation in color, the Bluegill is not difficult to identify. It has a rounder shape than other Bream, and a gill flap of solid black with no colored margin. Small individuals are often silvery with a bluish sheen, but the color darkens with growth. Adult females are predominately bluish with light patches. Adult males are purplish, with rust-colored fins and an iridescent patch of coppery scales on the head.Vertical bars of varying shade may be visible at any age.

SIZE: Commonly caught in all sizes, from a couple of ounces to half a pound. Specimens running 8-12 ounces are very common at times, especially when bedding, and fish exceeding 1 pound are not rare. Potential is 3-4 pounds. World record 4 pounds, 12 ounces; Florida record 2.95 pounds.

FOOD VALUE: Variable. Smaller ones are very good; so are big ones, if filleted and skinned rather than scaled.

GAME QUALITIES: Ranks among the best of its size.

TACKLE AND BAITS: Although the most, by far, are caught with poles and any number of natural baits, such as earthworms, crickets and grass shrimp, the Bluegill can stake undisputed claim to the title of Florida’s best freshwater flyrod fish. Small poppers and spiders, along with small sinking bugs of any sort are seldom refused when Bluegills are active, and especially deadly during bedding times. Ultralight spin- ning with tiny spinnerbaits, either cast or trolled, is another effective approach.

FISHING SYSTEMS: Still Fishing; Drifting; Casting; Trolling.

RANGE: Statewide.

HABITAT: Equally at home in lakes, streams and canals. Not so choosy about surroundings as some of the other bream.