Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

Hey Guys!

 I am new to this site, and thought it might be interesting for members to relate some of their experiences with catching bluegills on popping bugs with a fly rod!

In my earlier fly fishing days down in Louisiana, my buddy and I use to go bream fishing with rubber popping bugs and fly rods on a body of water known as Black Bayou. This is a large bayou stretching from Louisiana over into Texas and holds an abundance of fresh water fish. We fished out of a Jon boat and in the late afternoon just before the sun completely set was prime time in the spring for catching big bull bluegills!

The best technique was to try and roll cast a bug where it would land about 2-3 feet up the trunk of a large cypress tree. Then you would let the bug slowly slide into the water at the base of the tree. Slight ripples would occur from the bug touching the water,and we would let these tiny ripples subside for a few seconds. After all was still and quiet a slight flip of the rod tip imparted a good wiggle from the popping bug and 9 times out of 10 action was instantaneous! It was either a sucking action action from a big bluegill engulfing the bug or a vicious all out strike.Then there were times that the bug lying motionless in the water and a slight flip of the rod tip and the bug created ripples with it`s movement and what was perceived as an all out strike would occur. But instead of an all out vicious strike, it was the bluegill breaking the water and becoming somewhat airborne

and somersaulting back over the bug to engulf it! This was a very trying situation to try to catch these bluegills! Because one would have to wait for the fish to come back down to get the bug. Natural tendency is to set the hook at the instant the fish breaks the water,but no you have to wait until he goes airborne and comes back down on the bug!

One time we were fishing and the sun was almost set, so light was fading fairly fast. My buddy told me to watch this old dead log sticking out of the water resting on it`s stump about 3 feet out of the water. my buddy cast his fly about a foot above the water upon the log and let set there and then slowly stared to twitch it down towards the water. All of a sudden out of the water comes this humongous cow bluegill fining herself up the log and takes the bug before it every gets to the water. Talk about an experience that was one that I will never forget!

Once again I was on Black Bayou in a Jon boat and this time was with my wife who was paddling me slowly through some old cypress stumps where I could take nice easy cast with my popping bug afte bluegill. Well I was doing pretty darn good and evening was approaching so I told my wife to ease over to one more stump for the last cast of the day. Well I laid a nice little roll cast and the bug went right where I was aiming and lightly touch the water right at the base of the stump. Bingo! A fast strike and I immediately set the hook and out of the water comes this little " Tight eye" bluegill sailing through the air at the end of my line. It hit the water about 5 feet from the boat and I popped it up into the air again towards the boat and just as the little fish hit in the boat behind my wife,here comes a jackfish ( Chain Pickerel) about 3 feet long through the air after this little bluegill! it also lands right behind my wife and then things went south real quick! I was able to dispatch the jackfish with the boat paddle,but that was the end of my wife ever paddling for me again!!

So let me here from you guys now!!

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hey  Sam;; yo uneed to come to our rendevou buddy!  this coming May- first week end!!  fish in kentucky lake;; staying at the nathan bedford forrest state park!  bring your wife to;; might need a little paddling done;; LOL!  check out the post on the rendevou!!  we fly rod;; use porkupine quills for floats!  we have around 10 guys coming to the rendevou;; lofr; me; tooty; keith; several others  just cant remember who right now!!

Thanks for the invite!

Sounds like a great opportunity to wet some line and meet some nice folks! Unfortunately I am getting into some home remodeling in a couple of weeks, so that will require my presence here at the home place. But I know you will have a great time and look forward to seeing some photo`s of some real rod bender`s!!

Any information that you might provide about how you set up you porcupine quills for your fly rod would be appreciated!

 I just ordered some in the 6-8 inch size.

I've had fish clear the water to take a bug.

I don't fish a lot of poppers - Im mostly terrestrial mimic's, gurglers, and dry-style flies.
With the terrestrials and gurglers, I usually get a sucking take. Occassionally, it's a blasting charge.

But with the dries, and especially the large ones, the fish seem to get rowdy. I tie one fly in particular, the Hewitt, "Neversink Skater" that especially seems to drive them mad.
Created by American fly pioneer, Edward Ringwood Hewitt, it's nothing more than two cheap hen or neck hackles wound on a light hook. That's it - two cheap feathers tied in the center of a hook, on a hundred year old design. It ends up about 2" in diameter and looks like nothing natural.

And it's a real floater. I use a long, light leader and tippet and the fly literally floats down to the water.
Once there, it barely gets wet; it just sits in the surface film.
Bluegill have good eyesight, though, and they are keen to watch for signs of anything at the surface. This is especially true when the water is smooth, like early or late day. You learned this on Black Bayou.
Supposedly the skaters as a group represent moths or butterflies - huge things that get attention!

So I've seen bluegill and bass completely clear the water trying to get these big, fluffy flies as they come down. They might still be a foot off the water, but the fish are on them! The first time
I saw a disc-shaped bluegill flash clear of the water, I was stunned. Eager to a fault and probably in competition with each other, it's grab while the grabbin is good...

If nothing happens right off, let it sit and then gently lift your rod tip. The fly will "skate" across the surface, leaving the barest ripple in its wake. This is where it gets it's name. It's at this stage you'll want to pay attention - after a few feet of skating, stop the movement. And brace yourself... Many crashing strikes come at this point. If nothing happens, do it again. As long as the fly rides high, you can keep this going. Its very quiet and deliberate and only works in smooth water.

Its fairly unusual to see gills and even bass come out of the water after prey, but these feather ball flies seem to have the magic.

PS eventually the skater does sink, albeit very slowly. Then you just fish it like any wet fly. It gets strikes that way, too. It's a Fly Trifecta!

Great info on the "Never Sink Skater"!

i immediately did a search on it and sent the info to my oldest son up in Alaska, he loves to tie flies for his dad.

Also he is in the process of finishing up a 4 piece take down 5wt. for his old dad. So I told him while he is finishing up my fly rod to go ahead and tie me up 4 or 5 of those Hewitt flies! I really enjoy catching those gills on a fly rod, they have that knack of getting sideways and into that spinning routine when they are hooked. Also pretty tasty fish  for dining, tail, fins and all!

Sam,
You may also suggest your son add a thin strip of foam to help the fly stay floating.
I tie it segmented, and then add the hackles. A similar fly I like is the "Crackleback."

The worst antics are the bait stealers. Sometimes they even come to my house the night before. Oh wait - are we telling true fish stories?

They tend to be more about me than the fish. I got lazy on my backcast fishing the river one day and hit myself in the back of the head with a little gill that took my fly when it kissed the water behind me.

One time I was standing on a boat dock at Lanier in GA and a visitor had heard that Lanier was a poor fishing lake and was convinced it was true. He was rather condescending and told me there were practically no fish in the lake. Right then a bass charged a shad right next to the dock and the both surfaced and the shad got airborne. The shad landed at his feet. The bass swam off. It shut him up. For a little while...

lol

Many years ago my family and a buddy's family went on vacation in southern FL. One day he and I headed to Okeechobee to chase some bass. We were told that the lake was low and it took about a mile or so run on plane in a foot of water to get to the lake so we decided to fish a canal that is on the edge of the lake. We were fishless for about half a day and it was VERY hot. Absolutely miserable. The water was fairly clear but tannic. I spotted a few white spots on the bottom in abut 4' of water that was just barely visible. I dug out my short 5wt Heddon and threw a 1/4" popper of my construction over one of the white spots. Shortly I was hooked up with a real rod bender. I boated a nice sunfish of about 9 or 10". I put that popper over the same white spot and again hooked up to another rod bender. After 8 or 10 of these my buddy that was not a fly fisherman pulled my 9' 9wt from the bottom of the boat and rigged it up as I directed him and he began a great afternoon of pulling 'bream' from this coffee colored water for his first and last time of fly fishing. He never did get the urge to fly fish again as far as I know.

Sam Holdt.......When I was 8 years old my dad went to Shreveport to visit an air force buddy. During our visit dad's buddy took us to his cabin on a body of water that was full of  cypress trees and sunfish. It was probably and hour away but I can't say that for sure. Man that has been 60 years ago. The man's name was Don DeLoach. Not sure of the spelling and he had 2 daughters. I am curious as what that body of water was.

Ray,

If it was about 60 years ago, the body of waters full of cypress trees and sunfish( bream) within the distance you are talking about would have to have been Cross Lake just outside of Shreveport, Caddo Lake about an hour drive north of Shreveport,Black Bayou just a little north of Caddo Lake. Black Bayou is really a mecca for bream, crappie, bass and loads of cypress trees. That was my favorite place to fish when I lived in the Shreveport area.

Also south of Shreveport that had cypress trees were Wallace Lake, and Lake Bisteneau!

If I had to take a guess where you and your dad went with his friend, I would say probably Caddo or Black Bayou!

Strange you mention the name DeLoach, I went to church in Shreveport with a guy whose name was Ezel DeLoach who also had two daughters, might have been related to your dad`s friend.

Thanks for the response....I also remember that a large school of bass surfaced near our boat and they both franticly got into their tackle boxes and dug out an artificial and began boating bass. I was young enough not to realize what was going on until it was over. It didn't last long. ....The fella may well be related but I think the DeLoach name is quite common in the area. I tried to look the fella up a several years ago and it looked to be a hopeless task. All I remember is riding in the car for a while to get to the cabin which was right on the water in a wooded area. Of course an hour in the car seems like all day to a young'n. The trees were so thick that there was very little, if any ground cover. The cabin was a well built affair but I don't remember there being any rooms. Just one big room which included the kitchen. I've always thought I would like to go back and spend a couple days fly fishing the lake if I could figure out where it was. It sounds like there is a lot of water in the area. I have never done a good map search but I am sure that I would have come up with a blank......I do remember that we filled the bottom of the boat with sunfish.

Sam- best quills are in the 8 inch range and kind of fat like a cigar!  6 inch thin ones;; not good at all!!  to make a wire loop- i use wire staples- trimed- bend it over a finish nail to get a proper  loop. make it a little big- in case you have to also run your fly lie thru the loop to fish deeper.  i use surgical tubing to hold the line to the quill also. ( wal-mart sporting goods;; sling shot replacement band- cut in 1/2 wide pices works terrific!!)  .  i also paint mine-  reason is-- so i can see it easier!! at a distance  a natural barred quill; dancing in waves; sunlight beaming down on it;; just about disappears!!   go to my page pix;; somewhere on there are some i made up for last years rendevou. or;; go to main page to lofr;s-- high tec works of art.  if you need any more help- let me know!!

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