Best Bait For Bluegill! (Hint: Not Worms)

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Bluegill are the first fish I ever caught as a kid. They are super easy to catch! Bluegill fishing can be lots of fun for kids, as well as seasoned angers who just want to catch a ton of fish. Worms are the most popular bait for bluegill, but I have had much better luck with a couple other baits which I want to share with you in this article. So without further ado, the best bluegill bait is:

Bread. Bread is the best bluegill bait. It works especially well in ponds where people feed ducks. These bluegill are used to eating the scraps of bread that the ducks leave behind. Using bread as bait will help you catch more bluegill.

Bread Is The Best Bluegill Bait

Wonder Bread is the best for fishing bait

Number one on my list of bluegill bait is bread. Bread checks off all the boxes… It’s cheap, easy to use, and catches loads of bluegill.

What Kind Of Bread?

I like to use Wonder Bread. What’s important is to use the moistest white bread you can find. Wonder bread fits this and is cheap and easy to find.

Avoid wheat and whole grain breads because these are usually dry and difficult to keep on the hook.

How To Keep Bread On The Hook

microwaved bread stays on the hook better

There is a trick to this! Microwave one slice of bread in a plastic bag for 10 seconds. This will make it rubbery and stay on the hook better.

You can then break a piece off as you need it, and smash it between your fingers to make a doughy ball about the size of a pea.

Straw Punch

Although the pea sized ball I mentioned above works great, you can take bread to the next level to make it even more irresistible. This is my favorite way to fish with bread.

Immediately after you take the bread out of the microwave, leave it in the plastic bag and set it on a flat surface. Then take a plate, lay it on the bread and smash it flat. Now take the flattened bread out of the plastic bag and let it air out for a few seconds, then put it back in the bag (if you skip this step, your bread will stick the the plastic bag and become difficult to work with.)

Now when I show up at the pond I have a flat slice of bread. I tear off the crust to use as chum and the inside square I use for my straw punch.

Bread is the best bait for bluegill fishing
I made this bread box, but you really only need a plastic bag and straw.

The straw punch is simply a plastic drinking straw. I cut off a 3-4 inch section that is easier to handle and I can keep it in the bag with the bread. You can experiment with different diameters of straws, but for bluegill I like the size of a Taco Bell or Wendy’s straw which is pretty small.

Use the straw to punch perfect circles out of the flattened bread. Simply put one of these circles on your hook and start fishing.

How to fish with bread. how to hook bread
Flattened bread pellet

If the bread pellet doesn’t get eaten right away, it’ll have a chance to swell close to it’s original thickness. This creates an irresistible, soft, puffy, bread pellet that will tempt any fish that sees it.

bread is a great bluegill bait
The bread pellet becomes even more irresistible after a minute or two of absorbing water

Instant Potatoes

instant mashed potatoes for bluegill fishing bait
Only about 4 tbsp. of potatoes lasts me an hour of fishing

Instant potatoes are a little more difficult to use than bread, but have one major advantage to them. When the ball of mash potatoes goes into the water, it slowly dissolves leaving a white cloud of scent and flavor around it. This is good for when bluegill are pressured a lot and not taking your bait.

The Secret Ingredient

bluegill fishing bait ingredient

Mash potatoes are very soft and almost impossible to keep on the hook alone. The trick is to add wheat gluten. You can usually find a can of wheat gluten in the baking section next to the flour.

Here’s the recipe…

  • 1 tablespoon of wheat gluten
  • 1/2 cup of instant mash potato flakes
  • 1/2 cup of water

Mix the three ingredients in a bowl and let it sit for about 5 minutes to set up. Then kneed the dough to help the glutens bind together. If the mixture is still too soft to stay on the hook, add more gluten.

instant mashed potatoes for bluegill fishing bait

You can then take a pinch of the bait, and form it around your hook. It’ll still be very soft, but this is good because it’ll break apart and attract the bluegill. The more gluten you add the tougher the dough will be.

How To Fish With Instant Potatoes

Since instant potatoes are such a soft bait, you won’t be able to cast it very far without it falling apart. In fact I only use potatoes with a pole. This is fine because bluegill are usually close to the bank so you don’t need great casting distance.

This is my method for fishing with instant potatoes…

Use an ultra sensitive float. I get my floats from my trips to Asia, but you can get decent floats from Thill in the US. The smaller the better.

thill mini-shy bite floats for bluegill

Next I “plumb the float.” This is where you add splitshot to your line to get the float sitting at the proper depth. With the Thill float above, you want to add just enough weight so that only the red tip section of the float is sticking out of the water.

micro splitshot

Add your bait to the hook and swing it out to where some bluegill are schooled up. Since I use a pole rather than a rod and reel, I’m able to very gently set the bait and float into the water so that I don’t spook any bluegill.

Now wait for the float to go down when a fish bites. This ultra sensitive float will detect everything! You want to be ready as soon as you see it go under water to set the hook. You don’t need a powerful hook set, just a little flick of the wrist, or simply raise your rod tip. The sooner you set the hook, the less likely you are to gut hook the bluegill.

Kraft Singles Cheese

Kraft Singles cheese was the first bait I learned to use for bluegill. These days I prefer bread because it’s cheaper, and easier to use, but cheese can catch just as many bluegill.

To fish with Kraft Singles, just break off a piece, kneed it into a pea sized ball and put it on the hook.


If it’s legal in your area, chumming can be effective. I’ll usually chum for bluegill with just a few pieces of whatever bait I’m using for the day. This gets them feeding and recognizing the bait as food.

If the bite slows down, I’ll throw in some more free food and get them comfortable with it again.


Worms aren’t a bad bluegill bait, but if you are fishing a spot that gets a lot of pressure, the bluegill can start to wise up.

A less common bait like bread or mashed potatoes can help to get the bite going again. These baits are also bite sized, and so soft and delicious that you’ll almost never miss a fish.

Give it a try. It’s worked wonders for me. I also use these baits to catch stocked trout, goldfish and even carp.

Bluegill also make great catfish bait! Check out Fishing For Catfish With Live Bait

By John

Hi I'm John. I'm the author of I have been obsessed with fishing since my dad took me to catch bluegill in the creek as a little kid, over 20 years ago. I love learning and perfecting all kinds of fishing techniques. I have spent time living in different countries learning their unique traditional fishing methods, and then combining the best of all worlds to catch as many fish as possible. My hope is that this website can help you, or someone you are teaching, to have a better fishing experience early on so that you too can be hooked into this wonderful sport.