Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

My oldest wanted to do some bluegilling.
I wanted to actually find a few decent fish in this water hole we call Lake Redman.
Ever since I met this Dr. Bruce Condello guy and his blasted Relative Weight chart, I can't seem to look at bluegills, or any other local fishery the same any more.
It's a the mixed feelings of desire, restlessness, desire to learn, and sheer determination that guided me to hook the boat up again this morning.
Besides, I had something new I wanted to try.

I've seen this view many, many times over the last few years. Even though the scenery may change, the clothes may change, and it seems as though he's getting a bit taller - I still enjoy this view more then any other when I go fishing:


Things just seemed out of sorts from the time we pushed off the dock; everything from just last week had changed. The leaves were off the trees, surface temp. was up 2 degrees, the water was more stained, and I couldn't buy a bite.
How in the world was I supposed to selectively target the largest 'gills in the waterway when I couldn't even coax a yearling to feed?
We tried shallow, we tried wood, we tried mud flats, we tried shallow wood on mud flats, we tried deep, we tried manmade structure, we tried creek channels, we tried manmade structure along deep creek channels.

Nadda.

In all of the above locations we tried vertical jigging, long line trolling, slip floating, horizontal jigging (Musky Mods goto presentation), and tightlining.

Nadda.

We went throught the whole list of must haves: live bait, hair jigs, feather jigs, plastics, small crankbaits, casting spoons, micro blades (in-line worm harness spinners).

Nadda.

So, after 3 hours of this nonsense, I figured now was a good time to teach my oldest how to vertical jig with a 12' rod. He did quite well for his first attempt.
Have you ever watched the body respond to a sudden fish strike through Fireline and a long rod?
It's quite interesting. Add in the element of a less experienced angler and you have a cross between an '80's break dancer and cat that just got startled - a sudden, full body contortion.
How he ever managed to boat that first fish I'll never know......................how he managed to loop the line around the line guide during said reaction breaks almost every law of physics.
It was the beginning of many firsts for both of us during this trip. My oldest learned a new presentation option, at the same time boating the first golden shiner I've ever seen in this lake.


Not wanting to just walk away from a challenge, I grabbed a new-to-us bait.
They call them waxies, but I believe it's a typo. It should say maggots, because that's what they resemble in size, shape, and texture.


Whatever they are, they saved the fishing trip for us. In a little under 45 minutes, we boated 32 panfish. My oldest fished them on a 1/100oz. jighead under a slip float, and I fished a 1/100oz. chennille jig tipped w/a single waxie (fake maggot) under a slip float.



It was quite interesting to see these two baits being fished side by side. Even though the floats were preloaded exactly the same, the set depth was exactly the same, and there were times the baits were being presented closer then 2ft. apart - my oldest caught nothing but bluegill, and I had a hard time keeping crappie off long enough to get a 'gill bite.
We didn't break any records with our catch:


We did gain another chip of understanding, added a new playing card to our deck of tricks, and left feeling a certain sense of contentment.
The last thing I heard was, "Dad, I had fun. Can we go again tomorrow?"

I'm looking forward to it.

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Comment by Copperhead John on April 14, 2009 at 7:48am
What is the "relative weight" chart?
Comment by Zig on January 23, 2009 at 9:27pm
IMO - a combination of gizzard shad, white perch, and multiple years of excessively low water has eliminated any possibilty of Marburg ever being the waterway she was in the mid 70's through the '80's.
(The earliest memory I have of my angling history is from 1974, deep water jigging for bluegill under the second bridge at Marburg.)

However, I'm very torn on the white perch. Through one eye I want them erradicated so they don't bulldoze unchecked through the spawning grounds.
Through the other eye, they make an interesting fishery.

' />


They are decent on the table, grow large enough to be challenging on light tackle, and offer another YOY fish on the buffet for the predator base (which includes the bluegill).

To answer "what's up?" - I've found I've had to change the way I fish this waterway. By doing so, has rewarded us with the continued reasons to return.

(Keep in mind this blog entry was from Redman, not Marburg.)
Comment by Jim Gronaw on January 23, 2009 at 7:54pm
Great stuff, Zig. I too have fished Redman and Marburg over the years and at one time we caught alot of 10 inch class gills from Marburg...not so in recent years...do you know whats up?
Comment by Kiana Fitzpatrick on January 3, 2009 at 12:22am
very good read indeed...and I as well haven't fished with my dad in some years, this coming season may be the perfect time for some much needed daddy daughter fishin'!!
Comment by Charles Singleton on November 10, 2008 at 4:20am
Zig: good read. Keep spending good times with your "oldest" - it'll mean a bunch to him - and you - later on.

Bruce: You're making me feel old! Your dad looks about MY age! :-D
Comment by Bruce Condello on November 9, 2008 at 7:54pm
Definitely an article that needs featured!
Comment by Alex G. on November 9, 2008 at 7:14pm
What a great read! Thank you for sharing that moment with us. I too love that added touch in the mirror, how cool!
Comment by Bruce Condello on November 9, 2008 at 6:54pm

I think I'm going to spend the next hour or so at my Dad's house. Here's a picture I took of him last week.
Comment by Bruce Condello on November 9, 2008 at 7:56am
What a great Sunday morning read. I love the little "personal touch" on the rear-view mirror.
Comment by Bill "Musky" Modica on November 9, 2008 at 7:13am
After starting my Sunday morning with this read, I decided to cancel my fishing plans in exchange for a visit to my fathers place...... Although his techniques never stretched very far beyond the use of a cane pole and a float, what he inspired in me during those times changed my life forever..........Thanks Zig.

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