Sunfish fishing tips to implement as you head out to your favorite sunfish spot, I always bring a few simple things with me. I’ve settled on the following list of items that are extremely helpful in catching more sunnies.
Sunfish Fishing Tips
Fishing tips can come in handy when you are out fishing. The behavior of fish and other conditions changes from time to time and having a few tricks up your sleeve can help you.
Get a Viewing Globe
A clear liquid-filled plastic bubble or “viewing globe”. These are an absolute must-have! They allow you to see the fish in front of your lure.
I use one on my line all the time, even when just trolling. I’ve caught many a sunfish because I could see it strike my lure or bait through this bubble.
It’s also very helpful for those really bright days when the sun is the only thing you’ve got to attract a fish’s attention. And if your fishing buddies don’t have one, they will be jealously eyeing yours on every cast!
Flexible Lead-Core Line
This is a monofilament line (thin plastic) with extremely small “balls” of lead core in it, every few inches. This line is extremely sensitive and allows you to feel the smallest nibble or bump on your hook or lure.
It has spooled on one of my reels for years and I use it when I want to detect even the slightest bit of feedback from a sunfish hitting my bait.
Use A Minnow
Bring along a minnow or grub. I use a minnow with a treble hook when trolling for sunfish, and switch to a small 4″ plastic grub or wacky rig worm when fishing from shore or in my kayak.
A Cheap Light Spinning Rod
Get a cheap light spinning rod which is used only as a “stunner”. If you want to bring your sunfish in alive for release and tagging, you’ll want a way to quickly subdue it.
I was using my expensive rod and reel for this but found that the fish would often sustain internal injuries or damage their gills when I pulled them on board.
This is not good now that more and more states are requiring anglers who catch tagged fish to submit them for data collection and biological studies.
The cheaper rod is much softer on the fish, so I only need to hook it in the lip or back and use it as a way to lift the fish from any depth. With this method, I’ve successfully caught sunnies down as deep as 30 feet (in 40 ft of water!)
Get A Good Sunscreen
For those bright summer days on the water, your sunscreen should not only protect you from the sun but also repel insects such as gnats and mosquitos.
I use an all-natural product which has been working great! If possible, get stuff that has strong smells that the insects hate.
Get a long-sleeved shirt or “rash guard”. As I stated above, gnats and mosquitos can be a nuisance on the water, so you’ll want some protection against them.
These shirts are usually made of nylon or polyester and don’t absorb sweat. Since they’re a little thicker than fishing shirts, it’s even better for warding off the bugs!
Get a pair of polarized fishing sunglasses or polarized glasses. These special sunglasses are much more effective at blocking out bright sunlight and can help you see inside deeper water. They also cut down on the glare of light off of the water.
Note: These are not sunglasses that you’d wear on a bright or hazy day – they are for when you’re fishing in extremely bright conditions (when even wearing sunscreen is not enough)
Sunfish Love Structure
Sunnies love structure. This is true for most fish, but especially sunfish. They’ll seek out any type of structure such as fallen trees, rocks, and piers to hang around.
They feed on bugs that land on them or are close to the surface. Look for “structure” in the water you plan to fish and you’ll be more likely to catch a fish – whether it’s a sunfish or not.
Be Patient While Sunfish Fishing
Patience is key when fishing sunfish. Sunnies are very skittish around boats when trolling and will spook from your lures easily if you’re not using the right techniques.
I’ve learned that waiting until they completely finish eating something before jigging another time, doesn’t always work.
They seem to only eat in little bursts, so I’ll quickly jerk the rod back and forth a few times, then wait until they’re ready again before setting the hook.
Sunfish Are Curious
Sunnies are very curious. Especially when you’re trolling for them, as they don’t see many boats around their area in the wild. A kayak is a perfect example of that.
I’ve caught more sunfish while kayak fishing than from the shoreline on the same day in the same spot. All because they don’t see small watercraft around. Sunfish are also attracted to things like prop wash, paddles, and even your feet!
Sunfish can also be very greedy. One time I was kayak fishing for sunfish, trolling along a shallow bank where there were lots of bugs.
The fish had already eaten about 5 out of the 6 lures I’d cast over them (I was using a topwater frog), so I figured they weren’t interested anymore and started to reel in.
Then, on the last half of the pull-in, I got a bite, set the hook, and realized it was another sunfish that had swallowed one of my lures!
Sunfish can be very smart. They can also easily tell when something is not a real bug in the water, so they’ll determine it’s not worth their time and swim away from it.
This is why I’ll often “shake” my lure in the water to imitate a bug that just landed on top of the water or bounce it off of rocks and logs. This tactic seems to work best with sunfish.
Sunfish Fishing Lures
The lure you choose when fishing sunfish is important. A great little sunfish lure is a small, topwater frog. The ones I use are about 5-inches long.
Any smaller than that and it’s too hard to see from a distance, especially in shallow water where the sunfish might be feeding near the surface. Make sure you’ve got a strong enough fishing rod to throw these lures.
Sunfish Fishing Tips
All the best in your next sunfish fishing trip. Apply some of these tips and I hope you have a good time out there. Follow Fishbasics Pinterest for more on fishing.