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.
My nearby nuke plant has an upper lake you can't fish and that flows into the larger one that you can't fish right at the inflow from the upper one. The warm water gets mixed in so much that where you are allowed it is only slightly warmer than others. It doesn't freeze except in upper reaches of the other branch far away from inflow from upper lake. No big lakes freeze hard here; just surface ice during periods like now.
even the cool side gets too hot for most species.lasalle has become pretty much a blue cat fishery as they can take the heat.braid wood has some old strip mines as part of the lake so does have some cooler areas.since exelon bought all the plants and sells power on the open market they run the plants more.they used to just produce power for illinois.we used to throw back bluegills under 10 inches when lasalle first opened.dont know many people who fish it much anymore.braidwood never had much of a panfish population.it still has pretty good bass fishing.
In south Louisiana I usually use water temp if you want to call it when season starts (opening day).
For sac-a-lait (crappie) -----> water temp about upper 50's / low 60"s degrees.
Which was about 2 weeks ago in south LA.
For bluegill / panfish -----> water temp about upper 60's / low 70's degrees.
Which is about early April in south LA.
Usually by tax deadline date (April 15) ---- Can catch em (bluegill / panfish)
with fly rod top water easily.
Last week on E-Bay bought 2 Shamino Calcutta CT 50B reels for $52.
And today I ordered 2 Sam Heaton 12' super sensitive rods from Cabela's
to use the reels on.
So U might say that I'm getting ready for opening day for bluegill / panfish.
Wag thanks for sharing...its good to be getting that early gill fishing input ... ive been later in the season type of gill fisherman... it looks like you fish them like clockwork.
im curious on the Shimano Calcutta reels that you picked up... do you use the baitcasters on the 12' rods you mentioned... i was wondering how you rig and fish them
Yes on 12ft and 10 ft rods ---- swing cast & tight lining ---- basically use reel to store line ---- have 6 sam heaton rods now (4 ea 10 ft & 2 ea 12 ft) ---- YES it's overkill but I like the compactness & heavy duty built for size of the CT 50B reels ---- don't cast em and usually set the drag kinda tight ----- have now 9 CT 50B reels ---- Shamino don't make em anymore, when ever I see em on E-Bay for < $40 and they look like in good condition I will consider buying em.
Well, I'm a multi-species. I usually fish year-round, weather permitting. This time of year I'm usually chasing Crappie. Once Spring gets going (when the Dogwoods and Redbuds start blooming), I'm usually chasing White Bass. About the same time, I start targeting sunnies in ponds when I have a little spare time. I don't start targeting Sunnies in lakes until about late April or early May.
thanks Allen!.. i like your plan... sounds like it keeps you busy!... i do pretty much the same thing around here... time the preds when they are hitting walleye, then pike, then smallmouth, then largemouth... by then June is Here and im finishing up on the crappie and rock bass... bluegill has always been on the back burner starting so late historically for me. i finish out strong with them but never fished them early.
im going to switch it around this year and try early ice-out gilling all the way through this year.
good luck with your plan this year Allen
Same here. I will be heading down to the coast a few times once it warms up. The kayak I am building is specifically geared toward paddling through breakers to go after bluefish and mackerel which are often blitzing baitfish just past the breakers. The last couple of Springs have been really strange and some tuna have been caught in that close. As far as the mackerels go, Spanish are here pretty much full time May - October in and just beyond the breakers. You have to paddle a little further, but still generally only a couple of hundred yards and the season is shorter, but there are smoker kings in the 30-50# range caught fairly often. So I will alternate some between that and panfish.
The white bass run around the beginning of April; maybe a trip or two targeting them.
The sea run shad and stripers are starting to show up already; maybe a trip or two for them also.
So while I am focusing on panfish, I do allow a fair amount of distraction... :)
Andy, if you haven't already, check out texaskayakfisherman dot com, scroll down to the BTB (Beyond the Breakers) forum and start reading. Lots of good info concerning surf launches/landings, fishing, etc.
That's on my favorites list (Prof. Salt's videos are awesome!), as is jaxkayakfishing and of course nckfa. The Texas guys have a sweet setup with the rigs (though some are being taken down) and have flatter conditions more often in the Gulf than we have in the open Atlantic. They also have a little longer season. The Jax guys have a crazy long season if they are willing to drive a couple of hours in the winter. Spanish are BTB all year from about Cocoa south.
I am 2 hours from my closest beach launch with sound option (place on Topsail where you can park in one spot and put in on either side). Closer to 3 hours to have more choices (some beaches tend to get more blitzes).
I, too, fish for many species, but at my age, I just like to feel my rod throb, and the many panfish under the bluegill heading do that with reliable consistency.
Although I fish year round despite the struggles of winter fishing there are some very important milestones as we work towards Spring of a new Bluegill season........One of the struggles in the Eastern time zone is the short winter days for those of us still in the work force..........Going fishing and tracking conditions are very important basics........I use a lot of comparisons in my 16 years of North Carolina notes........We return to Daylight Savings time on March 8th which adds some daylight to the end of the day and allows me to fish more during the work week........The March sun is a little closer to earth so water temperatures traditionally begin to slowly rise this month. I call the March Full Moon the "crappie" moon as they will begin to stage over 92 percent of the time within one week of this event. Another clue in Northeast NC is the Dogwood bloom for Crappie moving in the tidal waters.......Here comes the Bluegill piece.......I fish the Crappie hard in March and begin to check for staging gills in and around 413 documented coppernose nesting zones.........Many of these areas would produce quality fish year after year but I purposely select several areas to rest for an entire season and I believe this makes a difference......These waters are public and it doesn't mean other anglers don't fish areas I avoid but I have seen a noticeable difference both in numbers and quality.........Some of the first spots I will visit this year are places I didn't fish in 2014..............March can be up and down weather wise with more predictable conditions likely once Good Friday has arrived........April is a fantastic month as it is peak Crappie Spawn, largemouth roam the same waters looking for nesting locations and gills start collecting for their shallow push just before the May Full Moon which usually brings water temps steady around 60 degrees.......I now mark fish in as many nesting regions as possible for some of the best times we have...........but despite all of these the most important factor remains as "water temperatures" and the gradual climb to 60 degrees..........this region will benefit from milder nights more than any other factor in the weeks to come.......I have purchased or received over 3,000 new jigs for 2015...........boat goes in this week for it's check up before the big push begins........It's exciting and after the roughest month in years I'm looking forward to getting in the fish..........Good luck to you all!