Do you love big bluegill?
i have finally retired and am living just a short walk from Lake Hartwell in October County, SC. We have been moving in and today was my first day to try to fish. For now, I am just bank fishing. Today was my first chance to fish. I fished for about 3hours, beginning shortly after daylight and threw everything in the tackle box, but never caught a fish. I used 1/32, 1/64 and 1/80 ounce jugs, small soft plastics from Northland, a grasshopper type lure, etc, the fish were there. I could see them. I could smell a bream bed; the fish were there but they had lockjaw. I tried suspending a jig under a bobber at different depths. I let it sit still, and I tried a slow retrieve with gentle erratic tugs, etc. Nothing worked. And bluegills aren’t supposed to be that hard to catch. I tried a drop shot rig. I exhausted all my tricks. I tried several different locations, I tried a fish attractant on the jigs, nothing. Any suggestions?
Thanks for the cornbread tip. I’ll give that a try. As you can tell from the title of this thread, I started to ask about float and fly and ended up lamenting my fish less fishing trip. But how DO you fish a float and fly? I know there is a long running thread here about it, but rather than wade through all that, can we just cut to the chase? I assume we are talking about suspending a jig beneath a bobber. Do you just let it sit there, or do you retrieve it? What do I need to know about retrieving, if that is the preferred method? How far beneath the bobber, generally speaking? What color combinations in the jig, do you like? What else do I need to know that I don’t know enough to ask? Thanks
"Float and Fly" means different things in different parts of the country. I know in Kentucky and/or Tennessee, it's a combination of a float with a hair jig or feather jig, resembling minnows, used in streams for Smallmouth Bass.
For Sunfish, most folks will actually use flies, either dry flies or bead head nymphs. I know several people here in Michigan that swear by foam grasshoppers with a float, and throw them on spinning rods.
The float provides weight, so you can cast it with conventional gear. I like to use weighted floats for this, as it provides more weight for longer-distance casts. Either a styrofoam cigar clip-on float with a lead ring on the bottom, a balsa spring float (think Crappie float) that has a sleeve of lead around the bottom stem, or a Wobble Bobber. I like the styro cigar float because they're cheap, and you can readily get them at Wally World. The spring float is nice, because when you twitch the line, the steam acts as a lever and pulls the jig upwards, then lets it slowly sink back down at rest. I like a small spring float, as I'm usually fishing really tiny jigs, 1/64 to 1/80. Wobble Bobbers are nice, because of the inverted pear shape allowing for more of the rolling action, but since they don't have a stem, this action is rather muted. I do like them, though, because they are a slip-float. Be advised that the hole for the line is much bigger than other slip-floats, and you'll need two beads on your line plus the bobber stop. A small bead that usually comes with the bobber stop, then a larger, plastic bead that's too big to go through the hole in the float. The bigger bead can be anything, really. You might be able to find some larger 8 - 12mm plastic beads designed for fishing, but those carry a premium. You can get something similar at a craft store, or even sacrifice a dirt-cheap costume jewelry pearl necklace.
If I'm fishing jigs under a float, and the jig represents a minnow, I use a twitching motion while slowly retrieving line. I've even done that with jigs that mimic aquatic nymphs, as this allows you to cover water. However, I've found that I get much better results if I add a little protein to the jig, either in the form of Gulp! Alive! maggots (I like hot pink), or live wax worms. One of our other members, Slip Sinker, likes the Gulp! waxies, again, in hot pink.
If I were to go with a foam grasshopper fly or a foam popper, I would do a slow retrieval, close to weeds, or over an submerged weedbed on a shallow flat. Being bank-bound, you might not have access to a weedy flat.
I typically don't do the Float and Fly with actual flies, as I fly-fish most of the time.
Depth to put the jig is something to play around with. Slip floats are great for this, as it aids in casting, however, I prefer a fixed float, as I've found that retrieving line tends to pull the line up through the float and fish the jig shallower. A slip float is a great approach if you have a shallow area with a breeze just strong enough to put a little ripple on the water (to jig the lure up and down), and move the rig across the flat the cover water.
You mentioned that you could smell the bed. Perhaps the beds were in deeper water than you thought, and the bait/lure was just too high to interest the fish? Maybe try a jig that resembles a small crawfish, or a small tube jig, and drag it through the bed to induce a strike?
Color combinations are through the roof. I paint and tie my own jigs. I prefer natural colors, Olives, Brown, Black, Tan, etc. However, the Electric Chicken combo (chartreuse and hot pink) is a proven fish catcher as well. It all boils down to what colors you personally like, as well as what colors the fish seem to respond to. Some places I've fished, there are locally-known color combos that seem to work really well. That is usually word-of-mouth. Since you've just moved into that location, you'll have to ask other anglers, or owners at baitshops. Be prepared for a lot of false leads, as some other anglers are notoriously tight-lipped, or give out false info to cut back on the competition. Baitshops are trying to sell things. Hopefully you'll find one where the folks running it are truly helpful and knowledgeable about their area, but some folks just try to get people to buy stuff. This may take awhile to figure out what works in your given area, through trial and error.
Your so lucky you can fish this summer, I on the other hand just got cleared to fish from rotator cuff surgery only to have a total hip replacement last Monday so I am jonesing to go fishing . I have even thought about attaching a rod holder to my new walker , I call it Hershal . I too use a flyrod for almost all my fishing and focus my efforts on bluegill and smallmouth . As for fishing floats and fly , that what I mainly do just with a little twist , for a float I use an African porqupine quill ,they are the most sensitive float you can use but instead of a fly on the end of my line I use a live cricket and when available catalpa worms . This combination is almost like using a net on the bluegill , it will taunt even the most finicky eaters they attack these baits with gusto! The catalpa worms in my yard are disappointed they wont get to go fishing and I am too ! I hope this helps . LOFR
...Godspeed on the recovery LOFR
DAM I WISH I HAD SOMW OF THESE IN MY CLOSE AREA;;;; ONE HECK OF A FISH BAIT
FIRST;; CONGRATS ON RETIREING !! BEST JOB YOU;LL EVER LOVE !! QUESTION ON YOUR FISHING SPOT;;;; IS THERE A CHANCE;; THE FISH CAN SEE YOU ON THE BANK ?? WITH THESE TRIPLE DIGIT HEAT DAYS;; WHAT TIME DO YOU GO FISHING ? JEFFERY ABNEY HAS A TERRIFIC BLOG ABOUT FISHING JIGS UNDER A FLOAT WELL WORTH THE READ
I was there right after daylight until about 9:30 AM.
Try timing your trips to intraday solunar periods both Minor and Major… seems to me the timing of your trip may have been on a Lull.Period
One striking example I experienced a few years ago in my kayak fishing a small protected slough with water depths ranging to 2.5’. Clear water with dense weed patches and dirty surface water at the windblown shores… fishing a Major.Period I was experiencing a long flurry of fishing activity with the slip/float… then it seemingly turned off like a switch.
I began a sight fishing approach to a large B.Gill motionless alongside a weed patch in a sandy depression. I could not get the fish to budge on any presentation! Soon the depression began to fill with more Lepomis in a short period of time… with no takers! Live waxies did not even make these fish budge! This was during a Lull.Period. I might as well be at home pulling weeds or cutting grass.
Another example just recently tagging four master angle panfish in a short period during a Major.Period during the full moon… a major/major position concerning fish activity. The intra-day Lull.Period rolls around and the fishing shuts down… there was no color change in bait that will fix that. IMO live bait isn’t a fix-all either… I have seen fish turn their nose to live waxie during the lulls.
Maybe try timing your fishing trips to the solunar tables… it’s really shot up my numbers
And wow… I thought I was the only one that could smell spawning B.Gills …LOL
I've got an older book about fishing for panfish. It mentions that many people can smell when Bluegills are spawning.
I've also read once, probably 30+ years ago, that Roland Martin could smell when Crawfish were molting, and head for that area, fish a crawfish jig for LMBs, and clean up.
FOR WHAT ITS WORTH RANDELL;;; SOMETIMES;; BLUEGILLS JUST WANT ;; MEAT ON A HOOK;;;; TIME FOR CRICKETS;; WORMS OF ALL TYPE SEEM TO WORK WELL;; (( CATAPILLAR;; CATAWBA; NITE CRAWLERS; RED WORMS ETC ) THEN AGAIN;; ON SOME DAYS;;; NUTTIN WORKS !! DRAGGING A WORM ON THE BOTTOM;; MOST TIMES CATCHES THE BIG ONES;;;;;;; IF POSSIBLE;; FISH UNDER A SHADE TREE;; JUST BEYOND THE ; DAYLIGHT /// INTO THE SHADOW AREA