Prepared Bluegill Bait for a Better BiteMany are of the opinion that when bluegill fishing - "go live or go home". While I understand that historically live bait was unmatched in performance, the times and technology are changing. Soft plastics now have better action and are far more durable than live bait. With the addition of prepared bait, it will then even have the scent of a natural prey item. Prepared baits range from simple homemade concoctions to high-tech formulas.
Homemade prepared baits have been in use for many years. Catfish fishermen have brewed up home concoctions to draw in their quarry with, let's say, unique aromas. People pursuing other fish species caught onto this and have tried various formulations targeting their fish of interest. This is a cheaper alternative to store bought products and you have the ability to tinker with your formulation for the consistency, color and flavor to get what you feel works best.
PowerBait Crappie Nibblers were one of the first prepared baits sized to bluegill proportions. They are little dough balls in a jar that have an odor that reminds me of dead minnows. They come in many different colors and some have sparkles for a little extra flash. I have found that these little nuggets are magic for getting bluegills interested in your bait whether they are in the mood to feed or not. Prior to Nibblers, I would sometimes miss fish because after the first tap they would not come back because the taste just wasn't what they wanted. Now I have the opportunity of a second try if needed to set the hook and my hooking percentage has gone through the roof. The only draw back is that because they are so soft, they are easily knocked off by the fish, a weed or just from casing repeatedly. They are cheap enough to replace but time is lost replacing lost nibblers.
Another PowerBait product line came along that is more durable than the Nibblers and comes various shapes and sizes. These prepared baits are formed into small shapes such as maggots and corn. These baits come in various full body shapes such as nymphs, trout worms and maggots. This line of products is much better for jigging through weed lines and other habitats as they are hard to knock off. The only downside of this more durable body is that they do not release the scent as readily as the nibblers so the lure has to bring the fish in close before the scent comes into play.
Now there is Gulp and Gulp Alive products formed into various shapes and body styles. These seem to be the best of both worlds. Firm enough to stay on the hook yet soft enough to ooze the scent into the water as it is fished. There are several body types that can be used directly on a hook or jig, like a minnow or grub, and small shapes like maggots and minnow heads that can be used to tip other non-scented artificial baits.
Artificial baits tipped with or made from prepared baits are perfect for the busy fisherman of today. Ready at a moments notice with the reliably consistent results makes them worth keeping on hand.