Do you love big bluegill?
A recent experience might be related to the subject of attractants and how fish sometimes react to scents.
Recently I fished a favorite area by kayak in a coastal river during a strong tidal flow. I was pretty busy trying to maintain position in the current and fish 3 rods all at the same time.
At one point I got covered up by good sized catfish, both whites and channel cats. On at least two occasions, my leader got slimed pretty heavy by the catfish. Due to not having 10 hands, I simply ran the line thru my fingers, which balled all the catfish slime up on the jig head.
Both times I caught a sunfish immediately after lowering the rig. Did the slime have an effect or was the area just loaded with fish??? I can't say for sure. At least now I won't be as concerned if I get slimed again.
One final note:
In saltwater fishing, dropping slime from certain fish into the water is known to cause a feeding frenzy in some (other) species of fish. I have done this and it worked like a charm.
I use a particle attractant and also loose-feed with the grubs to attract our favorite sight-feeders. Once some bluegills move into the area, you repeat the process and more bluegills come from further and further away - faster & faster. The ultimate bluegill attractant is the sound of other bluegills feeding - it turns into a "sock sale"...!
TopMix is a USA - made product, but I have been trying to get it into more stores across the country. Little, by little. These small store owners don't stock too much as they have been "bitten" by bad product sitting on the shelf. This is a good product - there was one called Crafty Catcher but they went out of business. TopMix is making a Panfish Fury product that I have personally used- look for it this Winter/Spring.
If you want it in your store - you will have to strong-arm the owner and let him know you and your friends will come in and buy it. Bags retails for $5 - $6.50 depending on your store and a bag will last you 2x or 3x out. If you are catching a ton, the bag won't last that long, but then again, you won't care because you will be soaked with bluegills splash'n you.
I see that wacker, sell TopMix. I am going to try some. Which formula would you suggest?
Wacker is an excellent source - Paul is a great guy and runs a nice online shop.
I would recommend the Competition - that is a very fine mix which will perform nicely for bluegill fishing (not a lot of big bits).
We will have a new bait next season for panfish based on this formula.
Each bag should offer you 2 fishing sessions worth of attractant. Mix it moist (not wet) in a large flat pan or wide bucket. When you fish it - pinch off dime-sized and quarter-sized wafers or make small golf-ball-sized balls if you need to throw it further or into the wind. Fish these smaller and often for success.
If you do it right- you should get to a point where you have constant action.
SInce you are ordering - I would highly recommend some great hook-removers with the shipment.
Rb3212 Heavy (plastic)
BHDG Standard sized
These tools are a part of the secret as they allow me to fish a finer hook which is very small and I get 99% of them back fast - keeping the bluegill safe!
My thought is this - yes it works, but it is not the essential item - it is part of the formula (yes, pun intended).
Attractant should provide a visual stimulant and I think the ground baits that we were talking about work because of the action + scent combined. Liquid attractant when used alone will help and probably most importantly mask human oils (we are predators) and other man-made scents like detergent or plastic etc. Fish are excellent at ejecting items when they are hunting and sorting for food. In-out, in-out mash, mash in-out and they have taken the worm in without the hook.
In this ejecting fish scenario the attractant's job will be to get the angler just one more take by the fish. If the fish is put-off, your bait will only be taken in one time and then deemed - non-food. No second take occurs.
I really like Dick's take on the matter. I think more important than scent would be visual attractant, visual action and also angler's attention. I teach sometimes that two lines watched are no lines being watched 1/2 of the time. If you really want to catch the fish at the ultimate rate- one rod will nearly always beat two rods 1/2-attended. Be ready, be a predator. Yes, attract the fish but most importantly, don't miss the fish takes that you DO get, because you might not get another shot.
I have watched a bluegill stare down a bait for over 13 minutes at a 2 inch distance and then back away from the bait because that bait on the hook did NOT register as food. One of the components that we lack as panfish anglers is quality leader line. The stuff I am fishing with in the World Championships is .103mm thick comparing it to Suffix ICE Magic"Precision Performance Mono" at .105mm it can handle 1/3 the weight of mine - according the package. What we have on the shelves is boat rope and poor quality at that. The entire tackle (fishing line) market hinges on lures and the $$ that Bass, Muskie lures bring in - not panfish.
But- I think more people fish for gills when you combine us because even Muskie and Bass chuckers will fish bluegills at some point or they do both.
I am off to tie some lines which fish will not stare at - this will include some .08 line which will be fished on a 40-foot pole (no reel). I can't wait.
I use gulp panfish scent. Most days they hammer it, other days it draws them near the boat and they hit the rigs right next to it. Crappie rigs with flourocarbon snells along with various colored hair jigs and scent when they are deep or suspended.
Speaking of panfish, I was given a golden ticket by the wife to go on a fishing trip over winter break (late December early January). Instead of fishing in the frozen tundra up here I thought I would see if I could get assistance with some open water gill fishing for 2 or 3 days down south. I am looking to hire a guide for some slab gill action and a gent gave me your name Jeff. He said you may have something to offer down in your neck of the woods. I have been eyeballing the crappie corridor Greneda Lake in Mississippi for Crappie but I am interested in gills as well. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks much! Mark Kubal
I will try to provide you a few leads for the Santee Cooper Lakes in South Carolina Mark. I live in the Northeast Corner of North Carolina and unfortunately the period you're looking at is the slowest time of the year for gills and average for Crappie. Being a Louisiana native, I caught zero Yellow Perch so I will actually be pursuing Spawning Perch during the late December through February time frame. Now things heat up on Good Friday for Bluegill and continue through the cotton harvest in the Mid-Atlantic region. I lived in Charleston, S.C. for 13 years so I get back there often and fish....Let me check with a few of my contacts and I'll forward the information.....
I use crappie nibbles and some of the micro Gulp baits. They don't really draw bluegills in, but I fish exclusively with artificial lures and the taste of these keep the bluegill interested. They either #1 bite more aggressively when they taste this addition or #2 come back again if I miss the hook set. Not that I ever miss ;-)