Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

65 years is a long time for this record not to have been broken... what gives? especially with all this bio engineering and genetics in play...why is this a northern strain instead of the Coppernose?

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I think the simple answer is the correct one - it's a freak of nature. It happens, just not very often.

Here is the NC one, caught in 1967 (has stood almost 50 years) and also over 4#

Most of our records have lasted a few years at least:

Species Weight Location Date Angler Lure/Bait Photo
bluegill 4lbs 5 oz Henderson County 7/27/67 Danny Case Catawba worm
green sunfish 1 pound, 15 ounces Private pond 7/12/14 Victoria Navaroli Worm
flier 1 lb 5 oz Private pond 3/17/90 Douglas N. McCall Cricket
pumpkinseed 1 lb 6 oz Trent River 5/21/03 John Koonce Eel
redbreast 1 lb 12 oz Bladen Co. Big Swamp 5/29/83 Ronald Stanley Beetle spin  
redear (shellcracker) 4 lbs 15 oz Edgecomb County 5/19/08 Travis Jackson worm
warmouth 1 lb 13 oz Richmond Co. McLeods Pond 5/7/76 Emma Sears Minnow  

Couple of observations: A good taxidermist can paint a BG to look like durn near anything...basing judgements on mounts can be problematic. We need to see the fish, not the mount, in order to be reasonably sure of anything. Sometimes, the mount is all we have. In those situations, it's basically a crapshoot.

You don't see that record being broken because fish of that caliber simply don't come along everyday, or every decade. As far as it being a northern strain rather than a copper, well maybe? Remember, the taxidermist interpretation of the fish and his/her skill, along with input from the angler, determines what the finished product will look like. It might have been a coppernose.

As I posted in another thread, I believe, just me mind you, that northern strain bluegills will grow just as large as coppernoses, all else being equal. I'm certainly willing to eat those words, and in fact I believe we may be standing on the threshold of a new era regarding big bluegills...I certainly hope so. There's a lot going on right now with bluegills, in locations all over the country. Some managed and manipulated, some occurring naturally. I think the next couple years have the potential for some exciting developments.

right now Tony my perspective of bluegill fishing is 70 percent trophy seek and maybe 30 percent food. i was never really interested in seeking trophy bluegills in most of my fishing career but hat has since changed recently. i am glad that the sport of fishing is recognizing the bluegill more as a sport fish... your right i see good times ahead for both types of fisherman. mostly with improved management and slot limits.

An odd tangent on this - I have noticed during my lifetime a major shift in preference for filleted fish over headed/gutted/scaled. A lot of guys I know will not keep a panfish unless it is big enough to be filleted. As a kid, we nearly always cooked panfish on the bone and I was always a little suspicious of fillets; I preferred pulling the cooked meat off the bones myself. I got over that and eat a lot of seafood fillets but I still like panfish on the bone.

Freaks of nature… in some cases maybe yes. Take excessive human predation out of the equation I believe more of these records could be boken. Here in mid Michigan my average smallmouth and largemouth is over 16” where fisherman regularly catch and release almost religiously. Here they are prized as game fish and I recall seeing very little on catch and keep in regards to these fish. however it seems like bluegills, crappie etc are considered food fish to feed the masses. The number one target for fisherman is the bluegill and I see limits caught all the time. Families send their boys out three to a boat and regularly haul in 75 gills a day through the peak seasons of summer. Residents on this one particular lake curbed this behavior by lowering the limit substantially of fish for catch and keep that these fisherman moved off to the public lakes to savor their limits.
There is a competing numbers game constantly with the sport off fishing. Im continuously guilty of associating anything in life or attaching numbers or statistics to them. Take numbers of the biggest and most large fish out of the system and you have a depleted fishery with small and smaller numbers out of the system. In most cases with bluegill increasing numbers of small stunted fish. Crappies are not so lucky with the numbers … they are slow growers and in many cases easy biters. Limits come quickly and sizes are reduced through the years. Result less chances for a gill or fish in general to statistically reach trophy proportions.
In my opinion florida will never see a world record bluegill or bass. The fishes metabolism is so jacked from the extensive high temperatures of waters that they theyre lifespans are significantly affected. I have seen this and experienced this raising tropical fish for forty years. Fish management. Raise the temps fish grow faster but overall quality of the fish is lower than that of the fish raised in preferred or ideal temps. Take a florida strain bass hybridize with a northern strain introduce into texas and florida waters and you literally had a bass explosion of trophies and close world records. Let a fish reside in its prefereed temp and its a guaranteed success. Florida strain bass in California eating trout in waters at 55 degs what does that tell you. Coppernose also California in 60 plus foot depths reaching that 55 deg water is producing some quality sizes.
Electronics with the geometrical progression it has seen when it comes to the sport has a significant impact. But on the otherhand may be the demise of trophy sportfishing altogether without exercising cull management quality limits. I believe every body of water has a preferred slot limit that would satisfy the food fisherman as well as the fisherman that are seeking quality or trophy fish.

But there are private ponds all over the country that have been trying to produce record fish for a long time and they have not succeeded. Excessive predation would explain why the huge ones aren't everywhere but not why they aren't anywhere.

i like this one...

I stand quasi-corrected. I say "quasi" because one out of however many have tried is still a freak thing. It would be nice to know how many they managed to raise over 4#. If the answer is 1, I am still playing the freak card. And this is now over 25 years old and not beaten.

its the numbers game .... impose strict cull slot limits for the meat fisherman as well as the sport fisherman.

statistically the record fish has to overcome some astounding odds to reach that size... predation, disease, the optimal environment and including food. the more potential trophy fish in a system the better the odds of producing world class fish.

the numbers game

We agree on that. If a freak is one in a million then if we let a billion grow to their full potential we will get 1,000 freaks. Trouble is, I think they are rarer than that. Eating panfish that are fairly young but have reached a good size is actually fairly efficient food production also. Lots of factors. I do like being able to keep a few fish to eat. It's gotten so you feel like a criminal if you keep a bass. I release most fish, but a few are going to bake or saute in olive oil (they used to get battered and swim in peanut oil) and be enjoyed.

"But there are private ponds all over the country that have been trying to produce record fish for a long time and they have not succeeded. Excessive predation would explain why the huge ones aren't everywhere but not why they aren't anywhere".

That's my thinking exactly. Public water venues are an entirely different arena than heavily managed private waters, and I am familiar with many such fisheries. BUT....the big bluegills still aren't occurring in mass, even though harvest is strictly controlled.

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