Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

We did pretty good early fishing a submerged island. Were drop- shoting nightcrawler. Kept 13 some bigger than others some swallowed the hook. You have to be prepared to clean a few small ones when fishing this way.

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Comment by Keith Ritter on August 14, 2018 at 6:26pm

I'm gonna try some circle hooks but I'm sticking with the nightcrawlers till they quit eating them.  I need that big gob to attract fish because we are never sitting still. We constantly cast and retrieve and cover lots of water. Kinda like bass fishing.The fish right now are not concentrated in any one spot. We find a few in one spot then we move to find a similar situation i.e.  depth and cover. I haven't had any trouble with the cats swallowing the hook just the crackers. 

Comment by John Sheehan on August 14, 2018 at 6:17am

Just small Brown Bullheads last evening before Dark and by monitoring only one rod with bail open and hand on line i was able to hook all the cats before they swallowed hook .The bend of the #1 Baitholder was outside the mouth each time. Chicken Kidneys were preferred over Crayfish tails and Hotdog chunks. I haven't been catching the big White Cats and Channels lately at my favorite Cat spot .

Comment by Allen Morgan on August 13, 2018 at 8:32pm

John, that might be a good idea if you're in an area like I was in OK, with muddy water.  I've done the brine thing once.  I liked the results, but She Who Must Not Be Named did not, and asked me to never do it again.  I may have to go back to doing that now that I'm not with her.  However, in clean water like I have here in MI, it's not really necessary.

Keith, for fish that size, try to find some Gamakatsu Octopus Circle hooks, size 4.  Down in OK, Dick's Sporting Goods was the only place that carried them.  However, up here in MI, Wally World has them, go figure.

That said, that hook is also too small for a gob of nightcrawlers.  Try some Red Wrigglers or "Trout and Panfish" worms.  Smaller than nightcrawlers, but just as effective.  Size 4 might be too big for Shellcrackers.  I also carry size 8 Octopus Circles for smaller fish, and have recently learned that my local fly shop (more of a general outfitter that happens to sell some tying supplies) also carries Eagle Claw L702's in tiny panfish sizes.  I have yet to buy any and try them out.

Comment by Keith Ritter on August 13, 2018 at 5:47pm

Allen I'm using a #6  Red Mustad  J hook. I need to get some bigger circle hooks, the ones I have are  #8 Owner mosquito hooks. They are too small to really load a good gob of nightcrawler on and they tend to break when you have to get them out of a catfish's mouth. What size and brand do you suggest to be able to catch cats and crackers?                                                             I blackened some of these for my wife. 

Comment by Keith Ritter on August 13, 2018 at 4:57pm

John I fillet these and trim out the yellow meat  near the dorsal fin. I cut the fillets into strips then soak them in buttermilk. Drain ,sprinkle with cajun seasoning, roll in corn meal and deep fry. We call them Cajun Catfish Fingers. Everybody loves them even people who say they don't like catfish. 

Comment by John Sheehan on August 13, 2018 at 7:37am

My wife Linda has made me a fan of Panko crumbs for fish .

Comment by John Sheehan on August 13, 2018 at 7:36am

I have heard about putting Cats in water for awhile and letting them purge ,you do that Allen?

Comment by Allen Morgan on August 13, 2018 at 5:11am

Keith:  What kind of hook were you using?  I find that circle hooks reduce the amount of gut-hooking.

John:  I always fillet my catfish, then skin the fillets (just like any other fish).  Trim away any red meat from the lateral line.  If you want, you can soak the fillets in a brine solution before cooking; this will add some moisture to the fillets, as well as make them a wee bit saltier.  Adjust the salt in your seasoning accordingly.  I've done both a cornmeal-based breading, and I've blackened them.  Both methods are excellent!

Comment by John Sheehan on August 13, 2018 at 4:58am

Keith please tell me how you prepare those Cats for eating .I want to give it a shot !

Comment by Keith Ritter on August 12, 2018 at 11:20am
You are right on the money Carl she beat me again. Slip these came from a 500 acre state run lake about 15 min. from the house.

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