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sunfish used as bait...

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Where it is legal, do you/have you ever use sunfish as bait?

Here in MA, it is legal, so I will catch them in the 2-3" size and hook them like a shiner just under the dorsal fin under a float.

Since they are the normal forage for the larger predators they are quite effective.

The only down sides are: availability during the year, as they all eventually grow up and become too big for my use and legality to use them.
(MA allows them to be used, NH doesn't)

The up sides are: they survive better on the hook than shiners, are relatively easy to catch (either net or by hook) they are quite numerous because sunfish breed in large numbers and large groups, and best of all....they're FREE.

I don't use them every time I fish, but when I'm in the mood for live bait I know I can count on them being there.

Not legal here in Maine, but I know someone that loves to use small sunfish and perch, catches the biggest bass.

I use them all the time, in all sizes.  I trap small ones before ice season along with the shiners and my buddies use them for most of the season.  I also use up to big eater bulls in open water for pike.  Med size is good for bass.  Bluegill seem to work better than the other species and pumpkinseed seem to be the least effective.

I think they are more effective in shallow weedy lakes where they are the primary forage.  I don't think they would work well for something like trout when alewives are present, just MHO.

Catch plenty of decent cats with them too.


 Legal here in NY but they count toward your limit same with perch

Used them and small perch many times for bait. Largemouth and pike love them.

One pond I fish I take a heavy bait casting rig and an ultralight. Nothing better than feeding them what they're used to.



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