Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

I've pondered this question for a long time now. Are lures designed to catch fish, or the angler him/herself? I've been tinkering around with incorporating flyfishing techniques into my spinning gear arsenal, and with some free time on my hands this morning, I thought I would conduct a little experiment.

When it comes to presenting your bait/lure with as natural a presentation as possible, the flyrod truly comes into its own. The ability to lay that fly gently on the water's surface, then have it slowly fall through the water column is key to triggering a strike, especially on cautious, or wary fish. It simply needs to look realistic. Or does it? Perhaps it's not the exact appearance of the lure or fly that triggers the strike, but could it be how that fly moves through the water instead?

The downside is, of course, the room needed to cast this fly..... I typically see fly anglers with a whole lot of empty space behind them, or wading out to create the needed space, or perhaps utilizing a float tube. I want that ability with my spinning gear.... no wading or floating, and if the tree branches are rubbing the back of my neck, no problem.

I have experimented with weighting flies with fine wire, tipping them with live bait for added weight, using a casting bubble, and having a custom spinning rod made from a 3-weight fly rod blank. All of these methods have produced fish for me, but I'm still tinkering with the particulars. A casting bubble, or float, will get you the distance, but at the expense of stealth... after all, a big kersploosh isn't very natural when an insect hits the water's surface. What if that commotion scares off the really big, smart fish?

For now, the best solution I have found involves micro jigheads. I use 1/100oz, and 1/80oz. My initial thought was to try and replicate popular wet flies in a jig form, but they still sink too quickly. Then, earlier this morning, I decided not to concentrate so much on what the fly looked like, but rather how it fell through the water. I needed to slow their descent. I call it my B and P jig..... as in bits and pieces. Total construction time was less than 15 minutes from conception to finished product. For sure, you won't be seeing it on the cover of Fly Fishing Monthly, but maybe that's the whole point.

I started with a 1/100oz jighead. I took two pieces of black floss about 3" long, and tied them with, get this, square knots... right behind the head, and at right angles to each other. I trimmed the free ends to about 1/2". For the body, I used a 1/4" hole punch and some black foam pipe insulation. The kind that comes in 4' lengths at any home improvement store. It had a 3/8" wall thickness, so each punch gave me a "body" that was 1/4" in diameter, by 3/8" long. I placed a tiny drop of super glue on one end and threaded it on the jig's hook, sliding it up against the black thread tied on earlier.

To finish it off, I took two pieces of red floss and simply tied them to the bend of the hook. More square knots, and another drop of glue. I trimmed these to about 3/4". That's it, all finished. With my 4.5' ultralight, I could cast this jig around 23', in my backyard test area. The 1/80oz jighead should get me up to around 30'.

Only one thing left to do....take it to the water. I purposefully chose lake #6, which is actually owned by my brother-in-law, as it is neither fed or managed. More experimentation is needed, but the initial results were very encouraging......despite what the "fly/jig" looked like............

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Interesting tutorial Tony kinda make you think. When I did fish for bass the first thing I learned was the baits are pretty for a reason they catch fisherman not to say they won't catch fish but the main objective is to catch us that's what its all about the bottom dollar. I like you are a true believer of finesse fishing and when we find out nothing else is working then we revert back to it. Nice picture and fish I'm assuming you got them from your ponds.

lookin pretty resourceful there Tony.  Looks like you had some success, great looking fish!  I have to agree that many lures are designed to hook the angler.  However, I have seen days where not only the sink rate of the fly matters but also the size and color.  All the things that effect whether the bream will bite are too many to enumerate.  If the same thing worked every time I wouldn't have to carry all these tackle boxes LOL.  Some days I think you throw a cigarette butt out there and the fish would hit it.  Others I throw everything but the kitchen sink without success. I am convinced that with artificial baits the fish get overexposed to some and  come to recognize they are not edible.  I change patterns regularly and they seem to work well for a while then the patterns popularity declines and I tie something different.  Or is it just me? Some theorize that the confidence an angler has in their lure directly relates to its presentation and subsequently the amount of fish caught.  Ever fish the exact same bait as someone near you and only one of the anglers has success?  I think you are onto one of the key elements, be willing to try something new, be inventive.  Maybe the lure resembles what they are feeding on today, but it may change up in a week, and you will be more successful with a different sink rate or color combination. The challenge is all part of the fun in our great sport

I agree that there is more to it than simply the rate of fall. I'm just not convinced that "matching the hatch" is an absolute neccessity. I am beginning to believe that approximating the size, color, AND rate of fall are the keys, tying the fly with the correct number of turns, not so much. I'm not a fly tyer, but I can appreciate the craftsmanship in what sometimes amounts to a miniature work of art... I just wonder if such exacting attention to detail will put any more fish on the bank.

On the flip side however, I am an ice fisherman, and I have stared down a hole many times while a picky Bluegill scrutinized my offering, for minutes at a time, doing everything  possible short of checking for a pulse before backing away, or deciding to hit it. I can't place much emphasis on rate of fall in many of those situations, as the jig was essentially at depth. Another factor was apparently at work, whether it be color, size, or another variable entirely. I do think that a subtle movement of the jig, or the bait it was tipped with, was the trigger that produced a take in many of these instances.

I need to contact Leo... I think his bait glue, combined with a live maggot or two, (or a single small waxworm), would be dynamite on my jigs.

The bait glue dose work, I just got some and have use 2 times with a drop shot rig,

I,ve used with small plastic's on a #4 hook, with the heat we've had here in Alabama

the brim are staying deep, the drop shot rig works great on 4lb test,this rig is a killer with crikets or smaller plastics for big gills,that stay in deeper water. 

 

I'm not so sure about the fish getting spooked off by the splash of a bobber.  I've actually read that sunnies are curious, and will come over to investigate.

If you saw the video I posted last week, where I was fly-fishing a pond and catching sunnies, you might have noticed something similar.  I am a beginner fly-fisher, and my technique shows it.  In that video, you see me breaking my wrist, and getting a large coil on my backcast, and the whole thing splashes down right in front of me.  I started stripping line in to start casting again, and wouldn't you know it, a sunnie slurps my popper and it's an instant hookup.

However, I will agree, there are times when stealth is needed.

BTW, nice fish on home-made gear!

I believe there are time's when that splash will spook the fish not always but there are times I have seen it happen to many times maybe it has to do with there surroundings or maybe where they are on the food chain and if the prowler is on the prowl, fish sense these things. Maybe the Gills or whatever are on a feeding frenzy then it's got to eat it or maybe be left out. 

Excellent work tony, i love creating things like your fly, im going to start some soon myself as well as other things fishing. I got a technique from a guy fishing around the dock with 1 of those flys with the propeller in the front, i cant remember the name but using a regular light action pole he would put a split shot 12 or so " above the line and drag it across the boat launch between the docks. Anyways i tryed that and it worked a little bit, this was some time ago though when i didnt have a boat and was shore bound. ;)

Good work Tony ! Red and black falling slow sounds like a great combination! Apparently that foam body doesn't interfere with hooksets as is poven by these Gill and Redear pics.What size is the hook?

John, that was a size 10 hook.

The best size I feel also.

Tony , there are lures that catch fish, and there are lures that catch fisherman. Went fishing yesterday with the threat of rain at any minute, the fish were soft mouthed, shy biting all day long but still burned up couple of  tubes of crickets using porcupine quills. We were on an old oxbow with a lot of overhangs , so we had to get up close and personal. We had plenty of fish in the boat but we were not ready to go, but we were out of crickets. My buddy dug a poppin bug out of his box and I put on a bream killer and wanted to see what the fish would do. after a few cast that I thought should have produced fish I changed to a bright yellow small poppin bug. The fish wouldn't chase it but if you landed it on top of them they couldn't  stand it and had to attack it. The success was all in the presentation, if you could hit a big cypress tree about a foot above the surface and let the bug fall to the surface the fish had to have the offering. We finally just started playing with them and I was making 70 foot underhanded cast to get under the overhangs and just see how far I could play the fish. Overall it was a big time, I guess that is what you call sport fishing verses just putting them in the boat.    LOFR

Goes to show persistence pays off. We can all catch fish when the bite is aggressive but when the bite slows we have to dig deep and fined what works.

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