Do you love big bluegill?
As an active member of Bigbluegill.com the last several years, I have learned a lot and shared many ideas that have proven successful for Sunfish in the waters I fish. Prior to becoming a member I had several secrets that remained in my pocket and only my closest fishing buddies had ever even shared in this success. This isn't to say others weren't fishing the same baits in a similar style and catching fish or using baits of their choice and finding similar success. I was a young kid with numerous anglers in my extended family and I learned early from my grandpa Foster Abney, who always told me to listen when I got around fishermen and think about things that might help me or work where I was fishing. I was fortunate to be pretty close with an Uncle on my mother's side of the family that lived one town over in Southeastern Louisiana. He grew up and lived near the banks of the Tcefuncte River in the small town of Madisonville, Louisiana and only fished two bodies of water during his eighty plus year life. A fact that many folks close to him never knew is he fished live grass shrimp for some 60 to 70 years and I couldn't begin to tell you how many Bluegill, Shellcracker, Warmouth and Crappie that he caught over the years. One Thanksgiving day in the early 1970s as our 100 member family assembled in Folsom, Louisiana for the best dinners we ever ate, Uncle Kenny walked out to an acre pond that was dug on the family farm to stock with fish for the 20 plus grandkids in the Sharp family. I was there casting a beetle spin when he asked if I had a scoop net with me. I did and we went over to some grass beds near the shore and made a quick scoop and filled a bucket up with little crustaceans called Grass Shrimp. He said put a cork and a bream hook on there and let me show you something. I eagerly followed his instructions and a few moments later we were pulling out big bluegill one after another. This went on for quite some time and my Uncle explained if you ever run out of Grass Shrimp "Jeffie" and can't find more, take a pink soft plastic jig and fish that in the same areas. He explained that I wouldn't be disappointed and don't be afraid to tip the hook with a worm, grasshopper or a cricket if you have some. I went home armed with the advice and went through seven or eight tackle boxes my dad and I had but no pink in any of them. I couldn't believe it but surely I'll find some the next time at the bait shop. A few short days later my dad and I visited the local bait shop and I rushed the fishing tackle, both shelves and found two packs of little curly tails that had a mix of white and pink, they were mine and I was excited to let Uncle Kenny know I had found some and was eager to try them as soon as I could. His only clue was Pink was the best match for live grass shrimp in our brackish waters. He explained saltwater anglers have realized it for some time but freshwater fishermen have failed to make the correlation and they are truly missing out. In the weeks ahead I will go into detail how I fish these jigs and hopefull answer many of the questions I have received about the mystery of pink.
TONY - This is my question also! I have always considered the jig a substitute for live bait! (eliminates the hassle & mess) If the fish are biting the jig, then why use the cricket/minnow? And if it is the bait they want, why use the jig? I think that the bait/tipped jigs really clouds the issue of color preference & creates a bait preference issue! To me it's bait fishing, no matter what you have it hooked on!
OH, MY !!! The tipped/untipped jig dilemma, didn't know I was walking into a debate. I would think the jig would drag "funny" through the water with a cricket on the hook. And on the other hand the cricket is definitely on the Gills menu. Why not a "pink-cricket" fly ?? All I can say.....If you believe it works (either way), then you should use which ever version you have confidence in................If you have confidence in the fly...or...bait ...or combo you are using it will probably catch fish. If it doesn't, then you are sure that the " Fish were just not biting that day "..........As long as we have fun presenting it to the fish......then it was a good day anyway. When we do catch fish.....it was a GREAT day. What ever you were using on those GREAT days will give you confidence to use it again..............Oh Yeah..........Water is slowing warming up, shouldn't be too much longer now !!!.....................Don
No problem whatsoever Don, this has been, and will be again I'm sure, a topic of hot debate. I believe Jeffrey fishes his jigs beneath a float most of the time, so the cricket probably won't cause an issue with drag, as it's essentially dead sticked, if I understand his methods correctly....(my apologies if I'm mistaken)
As for me, I've always questioned the tipping of artificials with live bait. And I do my jigs this way as well. But where does the jig end, and the bait begin??
My take on it, and this is not meant to upset any of the fine tiers here on the site, is that the jig simply adds color when fished beneath a float. I truly wonder if it matters if it's tied using marabou, caribou, or a strand of hair from Malibu Barbie.....when still fishing under a float with protein added, I just don't think the detail matters all that much.
You know how they have colored spikes (maggots) and nightcrawlers now? When they come up with pink crickets and grass shrimp, I believe the days of needing to still fish jigs under a float may be numbered. A roundball plain jighead and a colored cricket may be the hot ticket!
When casting and retrieving a jig with no bait added? I think that's another matter entirely.
you hit the nail on the head again tony.when i static fish with a float it is a strictly bait affair,plain hook or jig with bait as i want the most natural presentation as possible.jigs i tip or scent as i cast and retrieve these but most hits are on the fall,i more hunt/stalk the fish on foot or in a boat, than sit in one spot and it usually pays off.if i find fish i work the area till it slows down then move on to the next area.i may throw bait a jig and a few different flies into the same area til something works.i will put a jig under a bobber during wind as the chop jigs the bait and moves it for me.once summer settles in and into early fall bugs rule they are everywhere and flies outfish bait most times.i fish some very pressured waters and the fish are nearly always skittish but they are still there if you can figure it out
These are among the winning jigs the last few weeks.....I like most combinations of pink with chartreuse.......Second from the right is the new Shadpole from Strike King and I have enjoyed Crappie fishing with it.....not sure I will use them gill fishing because of the thick body section.....not a profile I like for jigs when fishing gills.......
when it comes to gill fishing-- Jeffery knows his stuff!!
In mid April in the Albemarle Estuary of coastal North Carolina, millions of little tadpoles are packed into the back pockets and marsh grasses......I will fish a 1/32 ounce splash jig with a wacky rigged pink tadpole very hard the next couple weeks seeking to capitalize on the swimming action of these clusters......There are no native species of frogs that hatch out pink but it is such a rewarding color in this region I chose pink over a more natural brown or black.......It's a killer right now as these guys will quickly turn into frogs over the next few weeks..........
Jeffery-- no doubt you have your area figured out!! takes a LOT of try - here technique!! congrats to you buddy!! this kind of knowledge-- comes the old fashion way!! you work for it!!
Thanks Carl.....all I hope is that this blog may give a new angler or angler new to brackish waters a head start....This type of fishing can have high yield, high reward but at the same time the amount of water can be overwhelming to some without a place to start.......Just the other day at one of the local launches a wildlife agent was conducting surveys with returning anglers and I was stunned by the amount of negative reports on a particular river that is yielding quality fish at a rate I have not often seen.....just leaves you scratching your head sometimes..