Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

I have gone to a farm pond for the past two days. Friday I rode around it and decided to fish a spot that frequently has bedding bluegill each year. I caught 18 before dark. So I decided to come back on Saturday a little earlier in the day(3:30) with a buddy. On April 3rd 2010, with two coolers we caught 96 12-14oz bluegill!! That's the earliest they have ever bed in my experience. Are other bluegill fishermen finding them on bed already? If not, what time do they usually for everyone? My buddy doesn't think they are bedding, but catching that many fish how could they not???

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wanna fish next week boogie man? They layed us off for a week. New moon!!!!
I want to Mayo, but I think I forgot how. I been gettin' skunked some this year. The new moon is Wednesday, dang nabbit! No way then. How about Monday? Or Sunday? Sunday is my birthday! You could do all the paddleing since it's my birthday. You could bait my hook! You could unhook my fish! I could start my second childhood in your presence! I'll buy the crickets, since you are temporarily unemployed! I can't wait to see what you got me for my birthday! E-mail me your # and I'll call you.
I always have envied the anglers from the south...there are so many 'natural' lakes, backwaters and creeks to fish. In my home state of Maryland, there is not one single natural lake within our borders! It's small ponds, lakes and reservoirs for many of us up north and back east.

Maryland was even more restrictive about 6 years ago when they put a 15 fish limit on crappie and bluegills. I can see where this regulation can help some waters, and even hurt others. Some bodies of water can tolerate more harvest than others, and remaining fish can actually gain in size.

I took about a dozen kids fishing last year and ran a couple of kids fishing events that had 100 or more participants. What a joy it is to see young people get off the couch and get out and enjoy some fishing!

I kept about 60 gills to eat last year, mostly 8 to 9 inchers that we ate throughout the summer. I'd love to sit in on a deep south fish fry with a bunch of people and pig out and just take it all in.

Indeed, Panfish, especially bluegills are a fish that can be harvested and make great eating. As long as an angler is within the law, then harvest options are up to him, whether he keeps 15 fish a day or 200 fish a day. From a personal standpoint, I just feel obligated to preserve exceptional fisheries and trophy class fish. Clearly, every body of water is different, and can tolerate a different degree of fish removal.
Jim, you always make a lot of sense. Pretty much the opposite of a kidder like me. I do enjoy joking around, but I am absorbing some good stuff here. As I've said in other post over the last year, I'm changing my thoughts on how many and what size to keep since joining this great site. I still don't like being criticized though for how many I legally keep, that's up to me as a steward of my own environment. I never get that from your comments, just common sense from years of seeing it all as a Game Warden. Thanks for your service to sportsmen for all those years. And thanks for your wisdom, and allowing words.

Now, back to the real world. Mayo wants to hook up with me at Escambia next week. We are going to keep anything that even resembles a world record, or a state record, which is redundant in Alabama! I will take pictures before Mayo eats it, even if we get skunked!

Boogieman
Hey Boogie and Mayo...

I expect a full report on next weeks fishing in the south from you guys. Mayo...we need pictures! And take it easy on the Boogieman, with that second childhood and all.

Hey BM...thanks for the kind comments!
Well, I don't post here much, but this topic is somewhat near and dear to my heart. My wifes' parents own a former campground across the road from our house. Former, as in it's been closed for about 4 years now. I have been camping and fishing on this land for 37 years. ( Since I was 8). In that time I have noticed a decline in the size of the average Bluegill. Sure, there are still some nice fish to be had, just not as many as there once was. I lay the blame for this solely on the shoulders of "meat" fishermen, who ravaged the bedding gills year after year. the common attitude up here is, "I paid to fish, I'm entitled to take what I want". I can understand this attitude, I know what these folks are saying, but this is exactly why I no longer fish any public water whatsoever. Too much of " The fee for my license and my tax dollars stocked this impoundment, these fish belong to me". Maybe so, I'm not arguing that point, but what a lot of these folks up here didn't stop to think about, was everyone thought the same way they did. Now, all I hear is how "stunted" the Gills' have become in that huge public lake. Wonder why? You folks down south certainly have a longer growing season, so your water may very well support such harvests' without any ill effects, and that's great, every lake or pond is different, there is no "one size fits all rule". But as for me, I am taking on a more active role in the property management of the old campground. There are six ponds, between .5 and 3 acres apiece, and last March I stocked a half acre, former swimming only pond with Hybrid Bluegill. I caught some tonight, the biggest was 9 inches and weighed 10.9 ounces. I'm shooting for 10 inches and 1 lb. I think I'll make it by fall. As I stated, the campground is gone so nobody fishes here any more. And yes, I'm not relying solely on mother nature to grow these fish. I pour Purina Aquamax to them every night. I can do that now, because I don't have to worry about someone filling his or her freezer. When I feel like it I just load the gear in the mule, take a 3 minute ride across the road, catch a dozen for dinner, turn the biggest loose, and enjoy. Please understand, I'm not trying to brag, or criticize anyone's fishing practices, I think there's room here for many different viewpoints, I'm just throwin' in my two cents worth.
Tony, sounds like you got it going on now, I believe it dosen't matter if you are from up North or down South the ponds you describe don't have enought carring capacity to support a commercial fishing enterprise to provide fishing for campers, expecially without a supplemental food source and the meat hunters removing the apex predator "bass" to eat the young of the year, that just sounds like setting up a pond for stunted fish. Now that you have removed public fishing from the equation and started a feeding program, Congratulations, you are now a fish farmer, once you get your predator/prey ratio in balance your fish wii be just like cows, they will keep getting fatter, just make sure you harvest all the big ones before they die of old age, because the little ones that escape the bass will grow up , they have genes too.

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