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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I believe the days of pursuing answers through advanced academia are probably behind me Leo. Nowadays, it's just me, the fish, a glass of sweet tea, and some casual observation.

Oh well, "C'est la vie" my friend...........

 Is their any way you could smash down the jig flat.  Charlie Brewer did this to slow down his descent on his jig heads.


Good idea David... I hadn't considered that angle, and will look into it. Thanks for the tip!

Colors and what not can make a difference, but I think most fisherman don't know how to use them correctly.  As far as realism, the lure does not have to be realistic at all.  However, sometimes it can help to be realistic, and I think that's where flyfishing comes into play.  I am not a fly fisherman, but I've seen firsthand how incredibly deadly it is on panfish.  I think they often see insects hit the water and then they gulp them down.  I don't think panfish are smart enough to say 'well, that doesn't look like the flies i normally eat' I think they just go, "omg, it's food!!!!".  I don't think realism plays too much of a factor.  I think the presentation is more important than the realism of the lure. 

I completely agree Mike... unpressured fish are usually more easily caught. I made the decision to fish that particular lake based on the commonly held belief that fish on a feeding program are always easy to catch, and all of our other ponds are fed.

I didn't want anyone to think the reason I caught fish on that jig was due solely to the fish being conditioned to hit whatever landed in the water.

I had to bring this thread back up after conversing with Jeffrey on the merits of targeting un-pressured fish.........

I'd have to agree with Mr. Chell about unpressured fish... that war a good catch.
At the same time you're not far off. If you look at there preferred foods of bluegill, the idea of speed becomes an issue. I've watched them rush up to a bait, only to hold position as they examine it. Their natural forage is not "high speed" and they are not pursuit predators by nature. I think of them more as grazers, that will occasionally strike a fast moving bait out of reflex. In that case, I believe it is the lures ACTION that does the trick.
But you are on the right idea....slowed vertical presentation is crucial. Perhaps marabou tails would help, a la the traditional "Fuzz E Grub"

A "bulky" body slows the sink-rate.  Your foam body creation is splendid!  Another method to slow the sink-rate is to use hair or fur jigs to produce a "bulky" body.  I use tiny jigs dressed with duck and / or hackle fibers if a slow sink-rate is not needed.  If a slow sink-rate is needed I use kip (calf) tail - available in many colors - or hair / fur from other critters (squirrel, rabbit, mink etc.).


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