Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

Blue Gill Joubertina, Eastern Cape South Africa

The Beginning:

There are only two types of fish here; the overly praised bass and the belittled Blue Gill. There are no other fish, the ocean is 3 hours drive away and the trout and yellowfish are many hours away(I couldn't afford that anyway)

No one knows for sure how BG got here, but they are here now and I am grateful. It is not even known how Blue Gill get into all the small dams that are used for irrigating the fruit orchards, which is the only reason this town is here.

There is a theory that BG eggs are carried on the legs and feet of ducks and geese to other dams, I don't know if it is possible.

Unfortunately the pesticides and herbicides that the farmers use on the orchards kill fish. It runs into the ground and then into the dams, dams below orchards never have fish or any water insects. Basically it is dead water that soon becomes stagnant and disgusting.

The dams to look for are the dams above orchards or far away from orchards.  

I am surrounded by dams, but few have any fish.

So far I have found two dams.

I have a pipe that my rod fits in with caps, I duct tape it to my bicycle, fill a bag with essentials and off I go!

The first is high in the mountains that gets fed by water running off the hills. There are only BG in that dam and nobody knows how they got there. It is full of BG and I mean really full. And nobody else knows about it! it is and impressive place to fish, with the mist crawling over the hills and the husky bark of baboons not far off and maybe if you are quiet an otter or a water mongoose. Don't leave any Blue Gill lying about!

It is not uncommon to catch 16 BG in an hour. The problem being that before your fly can get to the really big BG deep down some little fingerling attacks your fly. You can see the brutes down there, but your fly cannot sink fast enough.

The other dam is my pride and joy, its my dam. A great deal of my time goes into pulling out aquatic plants, clearing and planting treas around it. At the moment it is well balanced with nice bass and some +9 inch blue gill. I don't feed my fish, it is all done as naturally as I can manage. 

And I search on for alluring unfished, unpolluted and unloved little pond/dam .......

where there thar be monster blue gills hiding!


This is first for me, don't judge me to harshly! 

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Comment by Keith Ritter on January 11, 2014 at 7:30am
Awesome blog, would like to here more and HEY! From West Tennessee.
Comment by David, aka, "McScruff" on January 8, 2014 at 1:25pm

Im with the rest of these guys, Matthew - I hope we see lots more from you. Especially, can you collect and share pictures of things you see while fishing? Things like the ponds, the baboons local sights, etc.? Call it a sort of "mini-tour" of your neck of SA?

(Maybe a picture or two of Charlize Theron, while you're at it?)

Comment by LedHed on January 8, 2014 at 12:18pm

All that water and so little Bluegill. Very interesting blog - thnx for sharing.

Comment by carl hendrix on January 8, 2014 at 11:00am

that's a real good blog Mathew!!  great to hear something of this type!  keep them coming!

Comment by Mathew Blakeway on January 8, 2014 at 10:49am

 Tony Livingston

Thanks a lot for the encouragement! As I learn more and do more I will definitely add to this blog. I will upload some photos soon!

Comment by Mathew Blakeway on January 8, 2014 at 10:46am

McScruff, aka, David 

I doubt the blue gill did damage around here as most of the dams are man made.

The baboons are quite a problem around they steal a lot of the fruit, Our valley lives off exporting apples, pears etc and the baboons thrive on it! Another problem is that sometimes the baboons attract Leopards! A large population of bush pigs also live of the fruit, those are some scary critters. 

Comment by Tony Livingston on January 8, 2014 at 10:05am

Mathew, thank you for that excellent post! I find it quite interesting and refreshing to read about our favorite fish found in different parts of the world, and I hope you continue to add to your blog, as well as contributing to the site as a whole. Welcome to BBG and don't be shy!

Outstanding!! Feature material!

Comment by David, aka, "McScruff" on January 8, 2014 at 9:28am

What a great intro, Matthew!

I do know that bluegill were introduced around the world starting as far back as the 1920's, if my memory serves correctly. They go by a lot of names here...





brim - (common where I live in the South)

According to wikipedia: The bluegill or bluegulli occurs naturally in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains from coastal Virginia to Florida, west to Texas and northern Mexico, and north to western Minnesota and western New York. Today they have been transported almost everywhere else in North America, and have also been introduced into Europe, South Africa, Asia, South America, and Oceania."

At Invasive Species South Africa, they are listed as

  • NEMBA – Category 1b
  • A problem in Western and Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Mpumalanga and Gauteng
  • Dominates the fish fauna in areas where it has been introduced... tendency to overpopulate, resulting in stunted populations dominated by smaller fish. Results in considerable pressure exerted in invertebrates and on juveniles of indigenous fishes.

According to the book, "Fishes of South Africa," bluegill were planted in South Africa in the 1930s to feed the largemouth bass planted three years earlier. Both stocks came from the USA.

You can see more of this here:

The barking of baboons? Really? Ive just added a new location to my personal bucket list.

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