Do you love big bluegill?
Using the analogy that the sport of Bluegill Fishing is similar to Baseball... we are in the off season and the ice will be off the lakes and opening day is coming up soon. you've probably made some adjustments to your tackle... traded some stuff and added some improvements. Maybe...possibly hitting the lake first and doing some scouting...surely something as important as this you must have a solid game plan. whats your opening day of BlueGill season going to be like?
During the off season ive upgraded my drop shot and jigging rigs spinning reels from Lews to Shimanos…. I’ve had the Lew’s now for over three years and the bail springs fail continuously for me. Hopefully the Shimano s will prove more durable. Ive also made some improvement in my live well by increasing its capacity to hold true trophy fish and keep them alive and healthy.
I plan on hitting a trophy lake just north of me. The initial look at the mapping available ive selected large expanses of reedy sandy flats that I know should be very good for possible spring spawning sites. The plan includes an initial scouting trip as soon as the ice clears to check out the breaks along this flat and develop a detailed map with my sonar. Hopefully I’ll be able to spot some schools of fish which would probably be crappie as well as gills. I’ll have my dropshot rig as well as a jigging rod to test and identify these fish.
At this point I’ll be marking these fish on the sonar and developing a pattern of waypoints recorded on the sonar and mark them as gills or crappie etc. I will then take this data home, develop the map through Insight Genesis study it and set a fishing date with a good forecast of weather on a warming trend.at that time the water warms pretty quickly into the mid 50's.
On this trip I’ll be taking some ultra light jigging rods as well as a slip bobber rig and some drop shot rigs with different weight setups. Bait will include night crawlers, waxies and gulp products highlighting Pink Gulp Maggots. Starting the trip early hopefully ill be able to last till dusk.
Thanks Jeff for sharing! I really enjoyed reading that. You bring up some excellent points including the one about nesting locations… certainly building on those locations you could organize a whole fishing season around those waypoints. After buying a rowboat just to get around on this reservoir one may… I rowed into this creek cove and I was amazed at the panfish opportunity. Crappie were on the beds anywhere sandy and up against the break walls. I would literally cast up onto peoples lawns and twitch the jig back into the water with an immediate hit from the crappie… bluegills were off deeper into the main creek channel and I would alternate between crappie and bluegill… they were in there a good month. Its been a favorite of mine and so close to the ramp fisherman would just speed by. But knowing those beds locations those schools of panfish hang out all summer long in the deeper adjacent weedy flats.
I also like how you point out checking for staging gills while you are fishing the crappie bite. I look back at my last season with a missed opportunity of not testing the staging gills. The crappie bite was so good last year including this little lake I found and added to my repertoire it consumed me till almost mid July. I basically ignored the gill at that time. Hopefully ill make up for it this year. I still consider my self a newbie when it comes to gilling. These are the tips pros and rookies need to pick up on if they havnt done so already.
… and good luck to you also Jeff. Yor going to have to work your butt off to beat your last season s tally
Thanks Slip.....2014 was special definitely on the Crappie front.......best year ever.......I have caught over 2,000 in a single month before from Toledo Bend reservoir but catching fish every month last year was challenging and rewarding too..............With no major fish kills in more than 11 years I'm very excited to hunt down a few "old man" gills........also have a couple amazing fisheries that come back available this year and all have produced trophy gills in the past.......two pound class fish.........just excited to get it started!
This will be my first year to target Bluegill. I'm new to fly fishing and I have a fishing tube now so I am anxious to try it out. I've tube fished before but in those days it truly was a tire tube and a step in canvas seat.
I've been busy tying bluegill flies of all kinds so I have plenty to choose from.
I've been out scouting the area lakes and have three to start with. First warm waters will be the city parks. Here in eastern Oklahoma I figure we have about 4 weeks before the lakes will be ready.
I'm glad I found this web site.
Bill, welcome to BBG.
I'm in Sapulpa. Lots of good fishing in and around the area.
What kind of flies have you been tying?
looks nice Bill! you will fit in nicely here... there are a lot of tyers on this site.
Have you tried fishing any nymphs? Try adding a dropper to the bend of the popper's hook, say, 12 - 18", and tie on a nymph of some kind. The popper will act as a strike indicator, as well as a lure. Sometimes, you'll catch a fish on both.
When I have used nymphs in warm months where I know there are gills, the only problem I have is that all sizes of fish take them. Pretty much every cast if they are active.
Just to clarify, the smaller ones outnumber the big ones by a wide margin and you get tired of messing with the little gills after a while.
Welcome Bill you will enjoy this site… its very informative with quite a few experts in various areas pertaining to the ‘Gill
Interested in tubing for gill … there is a nice informative group here with tubing enthusiasts…
http://bigbluegill.com/group/floattubers if you havnt joined already
do you start fishing the prespawn?
Thanks I just signed onto that group.