Do you love big bluegill?
Three lakes that seem to be super hot right now are Western Branch in Virginia, and Barkley Lake/Kentucky Lake down at LBL. Western Branch has recently produced two crackers that I'm aware of that were 14inches apiece and 2.5-3lbs apiece. You can view these fish over on Crappie.com under the Virginia state board. The crazy thing about WB is that it's a smallish lake at about 800-1000 acres tops. It must have just the right mix to grow studly crackers.
Barkley/Ky Lake has come on STRONG the last ten years with their cracker population. Now these bodies of water are tremendously large, covering over two hundred thousand acres between them. They are connected by a channel at the northern end of the two lakes. These lakes seem to produce lots of solid 1-1.5lbers with quite a few fish pushing the 2lb mark being caught every year. 12-13 inch trophy fish populate these lakes according to the Ky DNR.
My goal is to go and catch that 1.75-2lb cracker and have it mounted. The crazy big redear seem to be out west and down in South Carolina/Georgia on that river Kelly Nobles fishes.
I have used a similar technique on the lakes I have been fishing here in GA. I am not catching nearly as large of crackers, but this method is definately a winner no matter where you live. I use a size 6 circle hook to keep the number of gut hooked fish down.
What Kip said is the best shellcracker advice I've read on this site. From right now through the end of October or early Nov., these fish will be primarily in 12 foot of water or so and directly on the bottom. I'm going to go after them pretty hard starting in August and fish right up through the first of November. The Fall is usually a great time to catch redear because they're feeding fairly well for the winter.
I watch people in boats fish right next to the bank, happens all the time. These folks generally don't do very well because the bigger bluegill and especially redear, are in deeper water during this time of year.
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