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Got out for 30 minutes before work this morning, and I caught 5 HBG. All good fish, although the cold killed the batteries in my scale, so estimating weight between 1 lb for smaller fish, and around 22 ozs. for largest. Ice jig tipped with spikes, water has risen to 44 degrees, air temp was 30 degrees.

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Comment by Bill Purmort on December 17, 2012 at 4:07am

I agree with Vince, just incredible...your patience and investment certainly has paid off...fantastic

 

Comment by Vince Fusco on December 16, 2012 at 10:08pm

Incredible fish to say the least! You have done a outstanding job managing your ponds, Tony. Great analogy on fed fish too!  There is a catfish pay lake in town that charges by the pound, (2.00 lb.live weight plus 3.00 a day to fish) and you must keep all you catch. I think your explanation about stopping the feed a few days prior to fishing explains why those fish are so easy to catch. The man there has several ponds, and grows them from fingerlings to eating size catfish, then moves them to the fishing lake. I just stick to the free of charge rivers when I want some eater cats. 

Comment by Jacob Hill on December 16, 2012 at 7:16pm

Those are some toads! wow awesome fish.What you said about fed vs unfed totally makes sense. And even if they are "pets" they're some darn impressive ones. 

Comment by Tony Livingston on December 16, 2012 at 6:34pm

lol....read a little closer Bill....water temps were 44 degrees, air temps were below freezing, 30 degrees that morning.

You're absolutely right, those fish are pets. They live in a 2/3 acre pond, and are fed once a day when the water temps allow it. Supplemental feeding is key to growing big fish, along with a few other management techniques. I do hear from time to time that feeding your fish makes them tame, or easy to catch, or just plain isn't the same as working for them in public waters...usually from well-meaning folks who've never fished a fed pond.

Here's how I explain it; Let's say that for supper one night, someone cooks your second most favorite meal for you. You eat all you possibly can, because after all, it's your second favorite things! Then, after you've stuffed yourself to the point of bursting, they bring in your number one favorite meal... the things you would most like to eat in the entire world.... do you dive in like a hog at a trough, or are you full??

Same thing can happen in a fed pond. BG that are fed to satiation, are far less likely to want to bite what's on your hook....common practice is to forego feeding for a few days when your pond "has" to produce fish, such as when you want to make sure someone will catch something. Certainly, fish will strike or hit a bait out of instinct, not just hunger, but they also eat when they're hungry. And fed fish aren't as hungry as wild fish. I have both fed ponds, and unfed ponds, located within feet of each other. And there are times when the fed fish are MUCH harder to catch than the unfed fish.

Then, you factor in a policy of catch and release for the fish in these photos. You can call it learning, or adapted behaviour, or whatever, but fish figure stuff out....and get hard to catch after awhile. A wild fish, one that's never been caught, or seen a hook, may have far less reason to be wary....

 

Comment by Bill Purmort on December 16, 2012 at 5:41pm
Now I know this isn't entirely in the Christmas spirit, but I see a couple of things wrong with this post....
First off 44 degree weather and wearing gloves like Bob Kratchet will not get you any more gifts come the 25 th....gloves really?
Second, those fish look like pets! You need to come clean and tell us how you kept them alive in a barrel at the end of the dock since August! It was nice that you took their name badges off before the pictures but honestly we know they probably jump in your hand for a photo op on command..."something like On Donner, On Blitzen, On Grumpie, and Sneezy!"
Next thing we'll know is your boat is powered by 8 tiny reindeer!
What a way to end the year! Thanks for sharing...
Comment by joshua malique plummer on December 16, 2012 at 7:15am

nice catch i don't bluegill that big until spring and summer spawning and sometime fall spawning and in the winter i probable catch are 10 to 15 on a good day.

 

Comment by Tony Livingston on December 12, 2012 at 8:10am

I think they're just big-boned............

Comment by Jim Gronaw on December 12, 2012 at 7:55am

Yeah, Bruce...I'm with you on that! These fish are crazy fat!

Comment by Bruce Condello on December 7, 2012 at 8:16am

I can't think of the word.........

 

Flabbergasted?

Comment by Slip Sinker on December 7, 2012 at 7:41am

when i see something like this i instinctively hit the "LIKE" button... nice fish!

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