Friday, April 29, 2011

Kayak Fishing for Sunfish: Spring Techniques

bluegill sunfish (bream)

During spring, Mid Atlantic kayak anglers enjoy excellent fishing for members of the sunfish (bream) family. Sunfish species include bluegill, redear, pumpkinseed, green, and others. These colorful fish are sometimes found among other members of the sunfish family such as crappie, fliers, rock bass, and warmouth.

Most sunfish feed aggressively leading up to the spawning season. This is a good time to practice early season fishing for sunfish. Prior to the spawning season, sunfish species migrate into spring habitats and begin feeding right away. Most will attack small jigs, soft plastics, or other lures that imitate food sources. Natural baits also work well for sunfish, especially nightcrawlers, insect larvae, tiny minnows, or small crayfish.

During early spring, sunfish are sometimes found in near shore vegetation where they can feed as well as seek shelter. In some cases, kayak fishing is the only possible means of access to these areas.

In slow moving rivers, creeks and farm ponds of the Mid Atlantic, water lilies appear in spring. Sunfish quickly take up residence among the beds. As the spring season progresses, a food chain develops. This aquatic micro-system begins with tiny insects and invertebrates that come to feed on lily pads or algae. These inhabitants attract minnows, sunfish, and other species of fish.

As the season progresses these areas become important feeding areas for crappie, bluegill, and other sunfish species. Most kayak anglers are familiar with these habitats and have a preference for this type of fishing.

Some anglers carry a second rod which is rigged for largemouth bass and chain pickerel. Both species are frequently found in the same structure and are known for their habit of attacking angler's hooked sunfish.

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