Do you love big bluegill?
One thing I have noticed, season after season, is that once the water temperatures drop below 55 F the bluegills show a marked preference for smaller jigs and baits. Yesterday, 11-11-14, I had two rods rigged with small jigs...one was the Pink Shrimp Auto at 1/32 oz and a # 6 hook and the other was a 1/64th oz shad dart head with a #8 hook. Both jigs were spiked with very small worm segments and as the evening wore on the baits just got smaller as the gill wanted just a hint of bait on the jig. Both were fished on 4 lb mono with 5 ft drops below small sensitive bobbers. Worm segments were approximately 1/4 inch or slightly smaller.
The PSA caught some fish, but was clearly outfished by the SD head, likely because of it smaller size. Got just as many bites on the Auto, but missed many more fish. The bite was soft with the small plastic oval bobber just 'tilting' at times or slowly going under.
More than likely, I will go to 100th and even 1/200th oz Trout Magnet Heads as the water temps continue to drop and tip with a couple maggots or perhaps a wax worm. And, will likely have to switch to more sensitive bobbers as well.
Yesterdays totals were 50 gills/seeds and 2 bass. Fish were stacked up against the dam face as the wind blew in heavily from the south west on this 6 acre public lake in southern PA. Five ft down, suspended over 8 ft of water.
I just checked out chuckanddebs...prices are definately right...how are the components?...hooks, paint, and jighead definition? Some jigs are not cast (molded) as accurately as others.
Water temps have actually risen a bit since our last trip, but they remain either side of 40 degrees with a spike to 42 this past week. We continue to use 1/100th and smaller jigs with wax or meal worms and suspend them over remaining weedbeds. Warmer, 50 degree plus days allows for more active fish. I have two public venues that 'fish good' in the 40 degree water and some that have bigger fish but I just can't seem to get them started up. Last two trips were on 12-27-14 for a total of 104 fish and 1-4-15 for 54 fish. These are exceptional numbers for us in the cold, but the forecast is for near zero readings, so it looks like skim ice and lock up for a while.
Here are a couple pix of our fish from the 39 to 42 degree waters...
I know the majority of these aren't exceptional fish, and on some days would not make the highlight reel. But for dodging off-and-on skim ice, high and low temps from 50 degrees to the teens and the occasional heavy, cold rainfall...I feel lucky enough to just have a bend in the micro-light rod with 2 pound test. No one else is fishing locally. Since Dec 1 we have caught 281 panfish, with a sprinkling of bass, crappies, green sunfish and some pretty nice red ears for such a cold bite. I'm happy! All thanks to down-sizing and tipping with 'winter' baits like meal worms and wax worms.
Nice pics and reports Jim.I haven't been fishing since sometime in November.We had a cold snap in November where some ponds and lakes froze over.I was thinking early ice fishing then deer season came and went.l was hoping to fish some then.Some ponds I fish closed on Dec 31.We're getting some winter weather now so maybe there will be safe ice before long.Thanks for all the great tips.Good fishing to you.
Thanks, Steve! Good to see you on this site again! Ice fishing is a definite 'maybe' in the Mason Dixon region...we'll see!
I downsize jigs but upsize bait to pull big gills off weeds in cold water...seems to work every late fall and early spring. I usually tip a 1/32-1/64oz ball jig or a horizontal ice jig with a whole big red worm or Gulp 1" leech once the water temps get under 50
Love yur pics, Jim! glad ya got to git out agin B4 yur procedure! Hope all goes well, keep us up to date! back when I had to work for a livin, I'd go every time I had the chance. But since I retired 8 yrs ago, I can wait for better weather now! I usually wait for a day above freezin now adays....unless theres no wind! Had two good days on Buggs for crappie the 1st an 2nd of Jan. been settin close to the fire ever since!
Thanks, Keith! We're Looking at 8 above zero in the AM tomorrow so all the lakes have skim to 3 inches of ice, depending on wind and location. Been way below freezing all week with a 3 degree read on Wednesday.
Very nice catch
Maggots or Euro Larve always a go to in Cold water... and easy to breed your own.
Today I caught 15 bluegills and 3 crappie the very day of official ice out at one of our local park lakes. There was some ice on the eastern bank of the pond when I went into town at 8 AM. Made plans to try it around 2 PM and caught fish tight against old pier pilings in 5.5 to 6 FOW. 1/80th oz minnow pattern jig in black with a teensy worm piece below an almost neutrally bouyant float. Windy...25 MPH gusts from NW.
Nothing big, but 7 inchers made it fun! first trip fishing in 76 days! Yaaayyy!
What am I going to do when winter hits? One hot day, last week, I wore a midge down to a bare hook, and it got better, the barer it got. Yesterday, it was gold single egg hooks. Stealing my Gulp maggot, didn't slow them down. They just hit the hook.
A lot of fly patterns are like that. They get worn down, frayed, and still catch lots of fish. Cut it off, tie on a fresh one, and the catching stops. Cut that one off, tie the first one back on, catching picks back up........
The gold egg hooks could be a color/flash thing. I never thought to use those for just a maggot, but it makes sense. Usually, if I need a hook that small, I just take a packet of fly hooks with me.