Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

 I have often been amazed at the many adaptations that nature has made for the survival of individuals and species alike. One of these that is really interesting to me is the Coppernose Bluegill's color in dark tannic stained waters. I've fished these type of waters my entire life from growing up as a kid in Louisiana and my years living in the Carolinas and extreme southeastern Virginia.....The dark waters derive from the acid seeping from thousands of Cypress trees and their decaying needles which are a staple on the black waters. Many of these regions have never been disturbed existing for hundreds of years back to the days of the native Indian tribes and beyond.....Take for example the "Pocomoke" river in eastern Maryland which is Indian for black water......or the thousands of acres covered by the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia and south into northeastern North Carolina.....Santee Cooper lakes are 170,000 acres of lakes and canals that are considered by many as tannic down in South Carolina.....Not only have the fish adapted to the lower oxygen conditions associated with the swamps but they have ultimately adapted their color markings in these regions to ensure their ability to not become a prey item as easily and also be able to catch food and raise their young.

 

How many of you fish tannic waters and do you also find that your bluegill are very dark in these areas......

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Great observations Jeffrey and pics............" FISH EVERYWHERE TREMBLE AT THE MENTION OF YOUR NAME" also when they hear or see the RED CHARIOT approaching !

Thanks Tooty....

Notice how the majority of these Gills are darker....caught in the Chowan River......a black water river originating in North Carolina up near the Virginia border and spilling into the western reaches of the Albemarle Sound.

My nephew Dan holding up a couple Dark Gills from 2011...

I have fished the Okeefanokee Swamp here in GA. and the fish looked like the ones you have pictured, Jeffrey. I think they are beautiful. I would like to fish it again, and try the color pink on them to see if it works in all tannic waters, or if it is a color that works better in your waters. We mostly fished plain crickets and wigglers back when I was last there in the late 80's. All the fish we caught had that great look to them, We caught bullheads, stump knockers, and gills. 

I bet the pink jigs and Tooty's Silent Stingers along with the Gronaw Grass Shrimp would do great there Vince!

July 2011 on the Pasquotank River in northeast North Carolina...in the Dismal Swamp

Swamp Toad from 2011

Dark Bulls from the Stables in July of 2011......These fish were caught tight to flooded cypress trees and knees....

Look closely on the left side of the tree and you can see my float tight to the wood looking for big gills.....

There is also a beautiful blue metallic colored butterfly that can be seen in numbers in the Dismal Swamp.....

A Dark water bull caught in the tannic waters of the North River in coastal North Carolina just west of Coinjock.....

The home of the big dark Coppernose of North Carolina...

A South Carolina dark knight.....

Dark waters off the Back River in coastal South Carolina.......

I approach these areas with great confidence......They have the potential of producing great fish in good numbers and beautiful fish as well.....

This distinct banding is another feature of these tannic water gills and some of these fish take on awesome patterns....

The amazing thing for me is there is still relatively good visibility in these waters which almost appear red which is another reason I believe that pink rules in these waters.....Only a theory, certainly not proven at any scientific level.....

Did you say a red tint to the water Jeffrey? We have some stained water like that up here in spots and mostly in area's like Kents Pond were there is some clay . Mostly brown with a red tint to it slightly.......

A nice pair from the Bagley's swamp region of the Perquimans River...

This Albemarle/Pamlico estuary covers 2,900 square miles of water and is the second largest in the United States behind only it's neighbor to the North....The Chesapeake Bay. Estuaries are among the most important regions to our ecosystem and are formed when salt water and fresh water combine naturally......Three main rivers dump the majority of freshwater into the estuary but a total of 18 rivers feed this region and they are some of the most fertile areas for life anywhere......Truly a great region and better than that if you're an avid outdoors man like myself.......

i've often wondered about colorations of fish, some places i catch gills are very light colored but i'll catch super dark gills in the same water. Different strains? Different hangout areas in the water? Male, Female? One reason i love the panfish.

It's a cool topic for sure Jason....Spawning colors are vey unique specifically in the male coppernose where all his copper will flash in brilliance during the spawn....Seasons and temperature changes also impact fish colors and clearly their environment and adaptation play a major role in this....We have often experienced fish changing colors in the live well which can be linked to stress from the experts.....I would be lost without the gills....that's for sure!

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