Something else weird I've done. Fed crickets fresh strawberries overnight. When you hook 'em, they ooze strawberry smellin' juice. Gills were not impressed with that experiment with their favorite food either.
Like I said, the gills were not impressed. The chocolate thing might help, but I would have to do that at home before the trip. I KNOW the crickets wouldn't like having to wear that chocolate suit that long.
Now I told the truth about strawberries Mayo. I can see lettin' 'em eat one, but does it matter to the gills? Have you really paid attention to that if you have fed 'em oranges. Now you know only little ones "nip" at regular crickets. The big ones wallpaper their belly with 'em. How about blueberries? Tried them? Orange and blue. Your colors.
Anyway, I thought you sacrificed all yours before they had time to eat.
WAR EAGLE CRICKETS! Man you got it goin on. Now even john can appreciate those. They have a satisfying scent and flavor along with very attractive colors for sight. Hang a spoon above him for an added bit of vibration since all we seem to have had this past 5 months is high muddy water and walllahhhhhh. Bluegill magic!
Fish attractants are good for dipping in cold conditions but are not as effective for our sight-feeding insectivore friends - blue gills.
Like the B.G Boogieman says, the fish aren't into it as much as they are the real thing. I am a big advocate for fishing things that fish actually eat and wish to eat.
Part of the technique that works really well for drawing bluegills in to your area and that triggers them to take your hook bait is to loose-feed some ground bait next to your float and bait. The falling bits, create a vertical column in the water and the little bits draw the fish in the same as a column of hatching insects would. The bluegills swim towards the action from far away and when they see your cricket, waxworm, spike bait, they are likely to hit it, as well as find it.
Practical use for this includes drawing fish out of brush piles, drawing fish from deeper water into your area and on slow-moving rivers it is magic. For pond fishing, you can create quite a buzz - literally a fish vacuum as you catch one fish and put a small pinch in your spot, more fish move into the area.
There is a brand new ground bait for bluegills available this Spring from your local tackle store called TopMix.
This will be very cost-effective compared to competing brands and was developed by my friend. If your local tackle store doesn't stock a ground bait mix, ask them if they would and send their information to me. I will make sure that you have it in a store near you. I use it nearly every time I fish when it is for bluegills, catfish, crappie, perch or carp. Ask me questions and I will be glad to answer.
Once again John, your post intrigues me. One, you say gills are sight feeders. Others posts here have talked of the sensitive snoz they have. I suppose we could have it both ways. If the snoz is super sensitive, the fish attractants would seem to be the trick. If sight is the trick, then you have to get the bait where they can see it. I've always tried to get it where I think they should be. Sometimes I guess right. Even when I appear to guess wrong, I often suspect they WERE there till the Boogieman spooked them away somehow.
With a name like I've got and being suspicious that it is talked about in bluegill school, you could surmise I usually fish shallow, since I think I'm spooking a lot of them. Yep, 6 ft or less usually. I see a lot of us on this site catching some BIG gills deep. It makes sense to me that the big boys would feel safer down there unless they have an irresistable urge or are hungry. What do insectivourus gills eat deep? I would think their main food source would be easiest to find shallow, especially if they hunt by sight. How well can they see in deep dark holes? I guess you can see I don't know much about how gills really live and eat.
Then there is the ground bait attractant you swear by. It draws them from deep and far away like an insect hatch. How do they see it from that far away? Even a vertical column that drifts down as deep as they are would have to be over where thay are to start with. Drawing them out of a brush pile is a lateral movement. Again, is sight primary here or is sense of smell a big factor. If its some of both, then an artificial with a fish attractant applied and fished all over till you find them would seem to be better than live bait. Then I want to think about size of gills being attracted. If ground bait chum really draws 'em to the spot, I'll be catching a lot more butterbeans than I want to.
Being an ancient boogieman, I am fully aware I am eat up with faulty thinking and stuck with unproductive habits. Straighten me out on these worries will you?
I love the conversation on here. Great input. Gills are definitely sight feeders as you can see from the close-up videos, the gill is staring cross-eyed at that shrimp.
One part of your response was a little off, this is the first I have talked scent. The ground bait does offer some scent, but this is more effective for the carp & catfish which are scent-driven to locate their pockets of food. Yes, they do sight feed too but it's awkward for these two fish because they have to turn on their sides to do this (which they do).
I referred to sensitive when I was talking about the float rig. The float rig response has a much bigger reaction to one of those fish sips than a bobber would have. You can see the bluegill sip is sensitive and at times, they don't put strong effort into eating.
In the other video where we saw the school of crappie, that man's artificial waxie or whatever it was, was pretty lifeless. It didn't catch the attention of those crappie as food. If he had that bait falling slowly through the water, I bet many of those crappie would investigate it on the drop. They were sight feeding and not interested.
The bluegill has those giant eyes up front and top of its face and they use these. The vertical column in the water represents a destination. If a hatch of mayflies is happening, there might be a few of these rising to the surface (creating a vertical target) or line in the distance. The ground bait breaks up and forms a cloud of bits. The best thing to a bluegill that falls through the water is either an insect hatching and swimming upward or floating upward. They also have insects which fall from the sky, bank edge through the water column and bits of worm.
I use the ground bait pinches to create that visual vertical (and moving) reference and it is just like a McDonald's sign in the distance to these fish. They see, they swim towards, find food and eat. They are also stimulated by sound (the small splashes in the water). When bugs hit the water, they make a sound which turns bluegill heads.
They like the ground bait but they LOVE the grubs falling through the water column. Most of the time, my hook bait is rigged to fall slowly, especially the final 12" of the drop.
The things that gills eat deep would be freshwater shrimp, insect larvae, mayfly larvae, dragon fly nymphs, snails, mosquito larvae, zooplankton (daphnia, hydra) and the mighty bloodworm (gnat larvae). Washed in crawlers and worms too wiggle on the bottom. What they eat when I am fishing is a spike.
I would say as you get deeper in the water, fish will react to the movement with their lateral line and senses. Deeper holes during the middle of the day would be lit enough for them to sight feed. The only difference is, they won't swim as far laterally to go after a bait as they would in 4 - 6 feet where it is far more bright. There they probably travel a good distance.
Yes, I think we all spook the fish. I know when I move around on shore, the fishing slows down. If I am fishing 10' from the bank, I have to stay real still while fishing no big movements. No fast movements. With the gills, they see that and it flips the switch. They aren't as likely to move around and the feeding slows.
i don't know if I can dig it up. I am also not sure you would like to watch the whole thing. I have video of a bluegill staring at an icefishing jig and spike for 13 minutes. We could not get it to bite. It got up so close to our jig that it was inspecting it to see if it was food. We eventually figured out that the fish didn't like the lure spinning. The line twist on the way down made the jig spin. We changed jigs until the line wasn't spinning and finally caught fish! They saw that jig and up close they didn't like it as food.
This is when we saw the bluegill puff (outward) on the bait. It blew water on the bait!
I've seen this in territorial behavior, fish will blow on other fish to warn them to move on. It bothers their lateral line. Like someone brushing your ear (which I believe is connected to the human lateral line).
I am pretty sure that some bluegills will fan the bottom with their fins, they will swim fast at the bottom and they will blow water onto the bottom to visually spot escaping food (bugs swimming).
I don't find any of your thinking faulty, I really love the conversation and discussing some of this. Do question what I write and if it isn't clear, I can add a little and explain.
I do have a friend that used to create do something to reduce the visibility where he was fishing. He wanted one reaction from the gills, but would create a cloud where he fished. I didn't tell him,but I know reduced visibility hampered his gills being able to locate his bait. Can you find the cheeseburger on the table- here let me blindfold you and move the buger - now locate that burger. Simple really, if they can see it, they can swim to it they can eat it fast. I beat him all the time when he chose to fish this method. Food for thought. Yes I do think they use scent but I don't think it is at the top.
One thing I think scents are good for- mask your hands or oils or suntan lotion on your artificial bait. In this case - I would dip those lures. I knew I could find a reason for scent (even though I fish yummy smelling, wiggling, live larvae).
You said: I knew I could find a reason for scent (even though I fish yummy smelling, wiggling, live larvae).
Let me remember, who was it recently told about the record holder for maggots in his mouth? 17 grams or something for a......while! Hmm, who told that story? I recall something about smelling something! "Yummy" wasn't the word!
I was refering to others talking about the sense of smell being major to gills eating habits. I do read closely mostly and I do find your post informative and interesting. Thanks for taking the time to share with us.
Oh yeah, don't bother with that 13 minute video of a fish NOT biting. I've done caught 13 somewhere else by then! Well......one or two anyway.
Now about attracting too many butterbeans (tiny gills) with ground bait? What are your thoughts on that? I'm way more into my arm gettin' tired from fightin' the big boys than from repetition with the little ones.