Do you love big bluegill?
There are so many trips that I run into an individual who looks down their nose and says, "Yeah, I like fishing for bluegill too when nothing else is biting."
Today, I was just waiting for that person to come along. I needed their help - badly. I needed someone, who believes that bluegill are so easy to catch, that pretty much anything will do.
I spent so much time simply trying to figure out what I needed to do and how I needed to do it, that I never took any pictures for the four(4) hours we fished today. I captured some video simply to take the situation we were in home with me so I could torture my self esteem and confidence level some more. I mean, these are fish, there's no reason angling for them should be this difficult! They avoid predators, try to stay within a certain water temp range with enough oxygen to keep them in good spirits, pass on their genetics, and eat. This is the part that got the better of us today - they eat.
I try very hard to teach my children good manners, one of which is to not eat in the company of others without asking if they would like to join you. Obviously BG don't care what you do while they eat.
As I type this, I have to wonder at what level BG comprehend? It was almost as if they collectively got together between last Saturday and today and devised a plan to show us they control the playing field, not us.
The first factor that we walked up to was dirty, higher water. (up .15ft from last week)
The wind was the second factor that plagued Z and I. With gusts to 18mph hitting us face on, presenting our lightweight offerings was somewhat of an impossibility. I was fishing a 1/80oz. jighead rigged with a Maki Stoni, and Z was fishing his waxworm on a 1/64oz. jighead suspended under a slip float. It didn't take long for me to move up to a 1/32oz. jighead simply to cut the wind and avoid the dreaded line arc as the bait fell through the water column. Z was playing the wind by timing his casts between the gusts.
I managed to miss a few takes, Z managed to hook-up two(2), small BG. We tried moving downstream in an attempt to find some cut that would shield us from the direct hit of wind. We never did avoid it, but as the day went on it laid down enough to fish with a certain level of comfort.
An unidentified hatch took the spotlight today however, at least in the BG's eyes. Whatever winged insect was drifting on the surface film made our catch rate go down the drain. It wasn't enough that we could see the insects come by in three, fours, or even a single insect; no, we also had a front row seat to the BG coming out of the cloudy water to take these insects. By front row seat, I mean 1-2ft from our positions. While we were watching the circles disappear from the water we were watching, we could hear insects disappearing from everywhere else around us. We tried downsizing, down to a #18 scud hook with a single unweighted spike. We tried swimming baits. We tried vertical jigging baits so they stayed on the surface. We tried taking apart a dubbed jig and wrapping it on the scud hooks to get as close to the real thing as we could.
Just when frustration had gotten the best of me, and I went back to fishing a plastic bait on a jighead, I saw the line twitch from a take. A feeling of relief came when I saw the chunky 8.5" bluegill turn sideways to me to gain leverage. If there was a conspiracy in action, this was the fish that stepped up to give that false sense of security in my abilities. For the next hour, I (read:not Z) continued to hook fish on a 1/64oz. jighead and plastic bait.
Smallmouth bass after smallmouth would pick this micro bait up as more and more BG fed to their hearts content all around us.
To the casual observer, it was an embarrassment. How hard can it be to catch BG that are actively feeding (up)?
Being the Panfish Enthusiasts we are, Z and I know that days of catching less then ten(10) BG is simply the reality check that reminds us big bluegill aren't your children's fish.