Do you love big bluegill?
I visited the South Fork of the Edisto River and Aiken State Natural Area this morning. It was a fresh, cool morning - one of those that make you glad you got up early. Sweeter still is that before long, South Carolina's summer will be upon us like a weight.... and such mornings will be gone.
The wind was only a breath and the mists were still hanging heavy when I arrived at the river. We have had a lot of rain in the past week and the river was in a pretty good flow. Most of us know that bluegill (or "brim" as we call them) are not fish of fast waters; instead, they seek out slow, languid pools off the main current. Well, When in Rome..... so I, too, went for the calm and quiet eddys. I'm delighted to say that I did not receive even one nibble the entire time I was there. I chalked it up to the waters still being pretty cool.
So after a bit, I headed over to Cabin Lake in the State Park. Again, it was cool and quiet - the creatures of the day were just waking up. Only the honking of the resident geese broke through the mists, warning me away. Here and there, a pop or frog chirp let me know the waters held life. The lake itself is a nice little 15 acre impoundment, but it is fairly well weed choked.
It's my understanding that too much vegetation is bad ( > 25% of the total surface). The fish become stunted and few in numbers when you have more than this. This goes against what we think, but this was WAAAYY more. Only a small section of the center appeared to be weed free. Since I was using a 16' telescoping pole, weeds weren't going to be any real problem. All I could do was shrug and get to it.
The park service has placed some nice benches along the shore of the lake and I set up on one.
"Now this is fishing!" I said aloud. A few frogs croaked their agreement.
I wanted to try out my "secret" ground bait formula, and this would be perfect. Mashing a park bench with my butt while feeding the swim with chum - what could be finer?
This chum is a 'kitchen sink' blend of cheese crackers, dog food, oatmeal and stale cornbread, all run through the food processor. The small fish right in front of me were tearing it up, so it seems it has the right appeal. That was encouraging.
The other thing I wanted to try out were some of Berkely's Gulp! and Power Bait offerings. I had their Gulp! Earthworms, Power Nibbles and Gulp! Fish Fry.
With my secret chum working in the swim and these super-tech baits - I couldn't lose!
Except that I could. I didn't catch even one fish. Not a single taker all morning.
I'd toss out the float on my long pole, feed, and wait. Repeat, wait and - repeat. As the morning warmed, I saw larger fish feeding in the weeds, farther off. The eruption of weed and water gave away their activity beneath the surface. I knew something was out there. But none of these fish even acted like I was there.
Watching the lake come alive with the sun, I grew convinced that these larger fish were feeding on small minnows. I had brought a lightweight spinning rig, too, so I also worked some Teeny Torpedoes and small jointed Rapala's among the weed pockets on the fringe of my swim. This is just the right thing on these calm, spring mornings... except, I think someone forgot to tell the fish. Again, nuttin!
Hmmmm, a concentrated area of attractive feed, signs of decent fish in the near vicinity - and I got skunked.
It could have been the Berkely baits - reports of their effectiveness are not always favorable. It could have been the choking weeds. It might have been none of these things, and was simply, "just one of those days." They say that a bad day fishing beats a good day working. If that is so, I had a great morning.
In fact, it was so nice there in that spot, that I may go back to get skunked again.
Hope ya'll got a few. Tight Lines!