Bluegill - Big Bluegill

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 Not sure what all the contributing factors are but 2014 has been an amazing panfish season to date in Coastal North Carolina......Despite getting hit by a wave of tornadoes in late April and a brush by a CAT 2 hurricane on the 4th of July......this year has been productive since New Year's Day........I've already experienced quantity records for Black Crappie and the Summer bite continues to be incredible........I topped 3,000 Crappie earlier in July and sit at 3,151 as of 8/1/2014 with 617 of those fish at 13" or larger......Even July has been productive for Crappie with 417 crossing the decks........I'm also on a record pace for Bluegills but the remainder of 2014 will be very busy at work so the jury is still out........As of 8/1/2014, 3,619 gills have been caught this year on the Albemarle with 1,470 10" class fish or better......It has been a blast getting several new folks out with me to wet a line and of course our traditional Abney Family Vacation was special again this year......Here's a few pictures I put together to look back on this great season........Let's hope the rest of the year is just as good......

 All the rivers on the Albemarle have healthy populations of Black Crappie.....Anything of 13" or better is a River Slab in my opinion.....most fish are in the 10 to 12 inch class with fish up to 16" routinely caught in these waters,

99 percent of the speckled perch in these rivers are Black.......very few White Crappie in the rivers of the Albemarle......

A Solid Crappie Daily Double from Early May on the Albemarle......

Even in the heart of the Summer we find quality fish in the shallows on flooded cuypress....

May delivered as usual....

I love it when the Big Gills and Crappies are packed in together....usually occurs in early May...

Quality Coppernose dominate our brackish water rivers.....

A Classic Coppernose Daily Double....

Memorial Day weekend produced this nice pair.....

Caught in the same area a big bull shark was caught last summer....

Remember this region is only 10 miles from the Atlantic Ocean....

My nephew Dan caught his personal best gill back in June at 1 pound 12 ounces......a great fish that will probably go to Tim Overbaugh....

My Avatar picture comes from the most productive water I fish for large bluegills.......

I owe my success in this body of water to all the information I got from a man almost 90 years old....

This monarch gill comes from a location that I save every year for just 4 to 6 trips to minimize pressure and optimize the trophy gills that reside there......an amazing place to fish and I'm usually sleepless the night before......Going back there at least one more time this summer....

And finally earlier this week after work on Tuesday......I crossed paths with my best gill of 2014 and what a tribute to the waters I fish year round.....A great season and I still have five months......incredible fishing this year for sure........

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Thanks Ben......

I'll say you had a great year so far.

Indeed Bruce.....

The stuff of legend!

The 2014 season continues to provide lots of excitement on the Albemarle of coastal North Carolina........We experienced below average air temperatures almost the entire month of August keeping water temperatures below 80 degrees for almost the entire month as well........We did have to battle significant swings in the wind tides last month but the fish were there for the taking if you managed the moving water correctly.......As often as I could I fished 6 to 12 hours after a southerly component wind started as to provide significant action in and around cover on the rivers North of the sound........the crappie bite was and historically is better during moving water events both incoming and out going tides......I personally believe the bite is better in this region when the water is moving out or falling.......one reason I believe the fish are staged and ready and capitalize as the bait starts following the movement of the water.......In my opinion the Bluegill bite will always be better when the water is high on the coastal rivers.......they often become more difficult to locate once they retreat to deeper water with a low wind tide......I got to fish 13 times last month and snagged 255 Black Crappie and 475 Gills to show for it.......I find the slab crappie numbers will drop this time of year on the rivers as the fish school up in different groups including lots of juvenile males from 8 to 12 inches.......These smaller fish are readily taken on flooded wood and cover adjacent or nearby the spawning grounds........The larger fish will seek out deeper water which is hard to come by in this region..........I don't target these fish deep again until October when the Bluegill bite drops off measurably.... As for the gills, my belief and years of experience in this region proves that some fish will spawn through the Full Moon in August and this was true again in 2014........I have only conceded in the last two weeks that they have now scattered thus putting an emphasis on the shallow bite early in the morning and/or late in the day as the sun drops quickly.... You cover more ground this time of the year to track down those treasured trophy fish of 10" or greater.......113 gills met or exceeded 10" out of the 475 last month..........That's a little under 25 percent but still very respectable for late Summer in my opinion.....I release all of those fish this time of year as I can get my fill from the 8 to 9 inch class fish and throw in a few Crappie for good measures.....LOL......The calendar has changed to September now and fishing will still be good to excellent on these rivers and that's exciting too.........here's a few shots that capture the moments that were August 2014...I surpassed the 4,000 fish mark on Bluegill hitting 4,094 on 8/31/2014 and my best Crappie season continues as I have caught 3,406 to date in 2014 including excellent trips every month of the year which is a great thing.......

Quality gills and plenty of them this season........

The big males were guarding early to mid month before finally scattering during recent cold fronts.....

This fish was caught on 8/2/2014 and still displays his spawning colors including that flashy forehead....

Had to toss a few in the fine yellow corn meal and peanut oil earlier this month......

A nice daily double from 8/5/2014.......the banding is so cool on these males....

A luxury of the Little River......big coppers......

Who can't get excited about gills like these!

We find a few nice Swampcrackers too.......

The black crappie take on "calico" colors this time of the year......kind of golden if you will......

Fliers start showing back up late Summer into Early Fall as well.....hitting your minnow tipped jigs readily......

Some big fish were taken in and around the Full Moon as well.....

Where the 10 inch fish run free.....the 11 and 12 inch fish will be..........

And these rivers always hold a surprise like a pod of solid Redbreast Sunfish encountered on the Pasquotank this past Sunday.........

Congrats on a super year and all them quality fish Jeffrey. Glad it all worked out for you and I know through the year you have gained some great knowledge. Have fun my friend and enjoy the rest of the year as I know you will. GOOD FISHIN.........

Just going fishing is fun Dick......I enjoy it that much!

Jeff, you are truly blessed to have that area to fish in.  Keep it up!

Thanks Dick and Allen......what adds to the enjoyment is using baits you guys have made......been a blast!

CONGRATS JEFFREY TO YOU AND EVERYONE YA FISHED WITH !!!!!! GREAT YEAR BY ANYBODY'S STANDARDS AND WOW THE PICS HAVE BEEN GREAT...

Thanks Tooty........it has been a lot of fun taking some guests out for their best gill fishing ever.......as for the pics it's a favorite past time for me.......I'm working on a project to add in some peak performance videos next season as well........If it helps one person catch a few more fish or try something different then it's worth doing......

MAN JEFFREY WOULD I LIKE TO SEE A VIDEO OF YA FISHING !!!!!!! SCHOOL IS IN SESSION THEN ....

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