Do you love big bluegill?
BBG members.....a penny for your thoughts.
As I look around the pages and the photos posted here, I see a vast array of species portrayed alongside the almighty Lepomis......certainly our members are well versed anglers, capable of emerging triumphant during hand-to-fin combat with any number of fishes, but it gives me reason to ponder.
Just what constitutes a serious BG outing, or endeavor, where BBG folks are concerned?
Are you happy to just be fishing, content with a tug on your line from anything that swims, or have you set out on a mission, your quarry identified and targeted? I realize there are times when it's simply good to be outside and near the water, enjoying a simple pleasure in today's hectic world. I've been there myself. And I know there are instances where necessity comes into play....our good friend Jim Gronaw makes a living pursuing and writing about fish....All fish. And, understandably, It looks like he enjoys it greatly.
But what about those times when you're out to catch BG ( and I'm going to lump all lepomids together under this BG category....something I NEVER do!)......or do you ever set out with just that goal in mind? If you do, what constitutes the difference between a successful outing, and a skunk? I you don't catch many BG, but load up on Crappie and Catfish, was the day still a success? Or are you disappointed?
I'll stick my neck out, and admit that I am disappointed if I don't catch BG....that's what I'm fishing for. I quit multi-species angling some years ago, so if I catch something other than a Lepomid, it was probably by accident. Which does happen.....you can't always control what hits your jig, or picks up your bait....but that doesn't mean I have to be happy about it. And If I continue to catch non-targeted fish, I will move, or pack it up and head home.
So, in the spirit of conversation, and remembering that all legal practices, techniques, and personal practices are to be respected, what do the members of BBG consider a serious BG effort....or do you even believe in such a thing?
WELL TONY I'LL BE THE FIRST TO ANSWER ONLY CAUSE I'M PROBABLY THE FIRST TO READ THIS:
I PREFER catching gills of course , but will not through back or consider it a bad day if a Crappie bites one of my bugs. It just goes with the territory here , mixed catches are the norm for me about 50% of the time.
How can one complain if you catch a few fish instead of a bunch , especially if they are quality fish. Now my slant is now that I"m older I just enjoy a beautiful day like say 65 degrees , not much wind , a comfortable lawn chair , some ice water, and an Ultra light or two . Pond fishing is becoming my favorite way of fishing
Now some times when I get skunked like earlier this year , that is a bummer !!!!!!!!! I just like the tug on the line and not knowing for sure what it is till I get it to the surface .
I know there are lots of bass fisherman on here , who target that species . GGGGGGGGGood for them and the fellas who like Cats too. I used to fish for bass and still do on occasion when the weather cooperates , but not like I used to . Got turned off by the tourny crowd on a local lake mmmmmmmmmmany years ago and started fishing for panfish. Same with (SOME TROUT CHASERS ) . THEY ARE IN A WORLD ALL THEIR OWN . Yup I know about stream etiquette and all that but just something about AVID trout chasers that torques me off . I guess it's the fact that they are in an endless chase of the elusive WHAT'S NEW AND THE BEST and so on for gear . I saw a pic one time of a trout bum on a stream and it looked like he was some kind of HALF ARSED ASTRONAUT , SLIDE OUT TRAYS IN SOME KIND OF CONTRAPTION ON HIS CHEST , GLASSES ON HIS HAT NOT HIS FACE, EVERY TYPE OF ZINGER AND DEVICE KNOWN TO MAN HANGING ALL OVER THE PLACE , AND THE LOOK OF" UTTER BEWILDERMENT " HMMMMMM WHAT DO I DO NOW . REALLY can't figure out how he could even cast a fly rod with all the clutter on him.
Yup it's gills forever for me !!!!!!!!!!! or just sitting by Kent's pond in the shade on a nice day and not really caring if I get a bite or not ............
For me, the 'hook set' is also the big rush; followed by the occasional 'oh!' when you suddenly feel that power of a bigger fish. But I also see things fishing that I would never see otherwise. Last week a bald eagle tried to nail a small gill I was throwing back. Sunday, I was watching a big gator watch me. I've met some really nice people at the boat ramp (along with 1 or 2 jerks), and have been entertained many times by stupid boat ramp tricks. Thing is, when I head down to the water, I never know for sure what will happen. When I'm not fishing, I usually know what is happening
Let me jump in a weigh in on the subject. I guess my primary fish is the gill since that's what I'm totally focused on . Being as I do fish strictly ultra lite and 2and 4 weight fly rods I will say I catch different varieties of fish and to say I love that flex in my rods would be an understatement to say the least. Anything I catch on a gill rig other than a gill is a bonus. I love catching and anybody that knows me knows I equally enjoy the releasing of my fish. I keep very few fish it's always been that way I enjoy the catch and the release.
To me, a serious 'bluegill effort' is one where my main goal is to catch quality, hopefully 8 inch plus gills, with some degree of regularity with the chance of maybe bigger and better things. I would say that about 60% of all of my trips are revolving around the Lepomis species, most of the year.
There are some outings and trips where I know I will be fishing water that has the potential to produce one, if not several, trophy class gills or hybrids per outing. On such occassions, I am seeking the absolute biggest fish I can catch, because I know just how rare and precious 'big-fish' memories can be.
Then again, there are trips I take where I know that there is a good chance at keeping a mess for the pan, and it won't damage the fishery...a 'meat trip' if you will. Yes, I like to eat these delicious fish!
And then there are times when all I am looking to do is to just have a lot of fish caught, lots of action and just fun. Pole and line fishing, which I rediscovered this year, is a hoot, and I'm hooked. I consider all of these ' trip types' to be serious bluegill efforts.
Most of my closer friends never considered me as a multi-species angler, just a 'burnt-out bluegill fisherman'. But as I began to write more and more, I found myself targeting other species as the time and opportunities permitted. I love them all, and if I never wrote another article or column I would still go after all the fish, with bluegills being at the top of the list on the great majority of my excursions.
Also, I tend to take what has been graciously given to me...big bass here, cats over there, slab crappies down the river, whatever. Most of todays 'headline species' won't even make my top-five list. But I try to fish for what's biting, always with the hope that the next lake or pond will yield that perfect bluegill bite, whatever that is!
Bluegill is all we, the wife and I, fish for. All of our gear is what we have selected to target bluegill. We catch a bass or cat every once and a while but never keep any. We haven't had any thing heavier than 4 lb on for years, so a cat or a bass has torn up our rigs many times. We move if we start catching cats or bass. A successful day for us is just getting out, getting a few 8"ers and keeping enough for a meal if the freezer is low. We release all we will not use in a short time, although I love eating bluegill:) Nothing better than a day on the water going after a few 'Gill.
Mike, your strategy sounds familiar!
Great outlook and strategy!
Bluegill - ALWAYS.
Catfish - while fishing for bluegill
Bass, perch (white and yellow), and pickerel - If opportunity arises.
As for "being out there," yes. I long for it more than anything I might otherwise be doing.
"Scenery embodies much of the charm of most inland fishing, and brings balm to many a disappointed sportsman during the course of a blank day." - - F.G. Alflalo
Here is how I might rank my favorite species...which I should start another whole discussion about
#1 Bluegill, seeds, crackers, hybrid sunfish
#3 Hickory and American, or White Shad
#5 Channel and blue catfish.
All good answers, with much food for thought. How about this: When you go fishing, how long of a time do you continue to try and catch, when the fishing is tough, and the fish uncooperative? In other words, are you satisfied to be fishing, or do you need to be catching in order to spend any more time on the water??
I need to be catching.....but, my situation may be different than many on here. Having my own water close at hand is a double edged sword.....it's easy and quick to hit the water, but it's just as easy to call it quits and decide to spend my time on something more productive if the fishing is slow. I remember the old days when going fishing meant windshield time, and after putting in all that effort, ( and gas ), it usually meant hanging tough for another couple of hours, in order to make the trip worthwhile. Now, If I'm not catching then I'm thinking about everything else I should be doing. I hate to admit it, but fishing has nearly assumed a spot on my list of chores, thanks to its sheer convenience. I think I may have lost something here.
What about you??