Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

OK...think about it, guys and gals...a high-end , national TV series that doesn't show redfish in the shallows, trout on the fly, or 270-pound bubbas skating 2 pound bass across the surface on 50-pound braid. Nope, none of that. Instead, we see darkwater Dixie swamps with Abney-like anglers poking here and there with the long pole, selectively harvesting some dandy coppernose, then releasing the brutes. We see Federico on a Texas gem, void of boats due to the late fall season, popping deepwater crackers and rediculous redbreast with refined skill. Another episode has Spoon Guru Bill Modica doing that deepwater, clearwater thing on magnum weight northern strain gills and pumpkinseeds. And check out Tony and those crazy big hybrids that he and the boys are catching ... they look like saucers with fins!

Then, the camera follows Walt Foreman, as he skillfully puts the finishing touches on one of his classic bluegill rods. Toss in Bruce slaying giants at Richmond Mill... that is, if he can keep the 4 to 6 pound bass off of his lures. Meanwhile...Jeff Soto and LedHed are using exacting techniques to get those repulsively rotund coppers and 'crackers at Perris and beyond, in a beautiful, desert setting. Then, we go north, and watch Bullworm jig up some monsters of the north through 20 inches of ice.

Finally, we'll sit down with Tooty and a couple other geezers, and spin some tales over the tying bench as one bluegill slayer after another comes off of his vise. Then...it's back to the real basics, and we watch a group of our children and grand children as Nathaniel DeLoach, Jeffrey Abney and myself haul a bunch of kids around and get 'em going on gills.

Maybe, from time to time, we'll do a show on yellow perch, hang out with John Sheehan and his bluecollar panfishing and soothing guitar licks as a post trip treat. How about that young upstart, Jacob Hill? He would embarass the most of us with his angling skill. And we can't turn down a float tube trip with Jen and Greg as they long pole it for gills and crackers on the prairie waters.

NOW THAT SOUNDS LIKE A TV SHOW TO ME! ' PANFISH NATION'  HERE WE COME!

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Jim, That would be fantastic!! It is such a great idea and very original!!! I don't there is a format like that out there. We need to at least search out some sources for networks and get this started!!!

Panfish TV; what a concept.

Actually, I'm surprised it hasn't already happened. I recently saw an episode of Hobie Outdoors where they were taking bream in Australia. Big fun and money tournament with anglers from all over the globe. Another program I like is "Uncut Angling." It's mostly just two young guys from Minnesota with handhelds, catching fish and goofing around. They got going as facebook and YouTube phenoms.

Why not a panfish specific channel? Wish I had some production money....

I think the biggest reason for not having a panfish specific channel is for the fact most anglers believe they are too easy to catch when in all reality catchin a monster 'gill is harder than a bass in my opinion

I agree, Jordan. Most anglers have not caught even a one pound bluegill, let alone a fish of 1.5 to 2 pounds or more. A 2 pound bluegill is, to me, the equivalent of catching a 14 or 15 pound bass...you hear about it, but it seldom occurs. Most anglers will see a 10-pound largemouth before they will see a legitimate, 2 pound or better bluegill. And a 2.5 to 3 pound shellcracker is in the same league, except there are more places where these giants roam...and still anglers dismiss them as mere 'kids stuff'. I'll put a 10 inch pumkinseed in there as well, and those freak-show redbreasts that Federico catches are absolutely astonishing, trophy fish in their own right.

Trophy panfish...the masses just don't get it...but to consistently catch trophy sunfish, of any species, requires talent, skill, hard work and a little luck. I give them high praise.

When I caught my first large shellcracker, I was flabbergasted. The amount of "tussle" that fish posessed was inspiring. I thought I had a real monster.

It drove me to focus on these fish, specifically. 

David, that's what happened to me. I caught a monster redbreast and some crackers one day while just messing around and like i've stated before it was like trying to pull the plug out of the bottom of the water. The crackers were over a pound and on an ultralight that's a blast. I've got pics of both in my profile.

 

Redear are superb fighters alright. But I can't pass up the opportunity to plug my favorite fish....Hybrid Bluegills will lay a native BG to shame in the 'fight' department.....

I certainly appreciate a plug. Having some marketing in my background, I like a good a salespitch...

I have never seen a hybrid bluegill that I know of. I'm pretty sure they don't swim in the waters where I fish, Lake Murray, SC. From my years of raising chickens, I know that hybrids as we usually define them, i.e., in the manufactured sense, are unnatural.

Certainly, animals will interbreed in Nature where possible and so create crosses. Fish are no different. But I believe the hybrids you are referring to are intentionally bred by humans under controlled conditions, for trait predominance.

The downside to this is that they wont breed the same in succeeding generations. The first offspring are it - thereafter the tendency of all hybridized creatures is to revert back to the something resembling the parent stock. You end up with "mutts" that no longer possess the desirable hybrid qualities, nor those of the parent stock. The feral hog is a classic example of this.

A feral hog is a domestic escapee, a hybridized animal gone 'wild,' so to speak. It is a pig that, once it is living and breeding in Nature, becomes brutish, tough and wary. With swine, this is accelerated and happens very quickly; it is noted to occur even with the original animals and is prominent within the first generation. This new creature is nothing like the docile farm pig from which it sprang. The longer it breeds in Nature, too, the more it becomes like the original ancestor, the true wild boar.

The feral hog story is fascinating and I love to tell it. I have seen some monstrous ones, myself. They defy logic, really. To think that their parents were in a pen just down the road, only a few years before, well... it boggles the mind.

Please bear with me, Tony. I'm not trying to be completely nitpicky, here. I just reckon the hybrid distinction should be clarified. Otherwise, someone is liable to go down to their local lake looking for "some of them hybrids that Livingston fella was talking about."

Understood David, and no offense taken sir! I guess I consider a hybrid fish to be a natural extension of a "regular?" fish, in that as you stated, they occur in the wild also. Look at Hybrid Striped Bass, and how popular they are. Or. closer to home, the Gillcracker.... we all love to catch those, but the truth is, they're a naturally occuring hybrid...and they are predominantly male, just like my HBG.

If a hybrid can occur naturally, in the wild, then I don't think it makes a difference whether or not the one I happen to be holding at the moment was born at a hatchery, or in my local pond....the fish is the same either way. To my knowledge, there are no instances of someone selectively breeding male BG to female GSF in reference to encouraging certain traits....although I have thought about it myself. The HBG one purchases from a hatchery are simply run of the mill fish.....although I would love to find some that had been selectively bred. ( No Georgia Giants please!)

Also, HBG are generally recognized as one of the most common fish purchased for stocking by homeowners....maybe THE most popular. They aren't scarce, although you probably won't find many stocked hybrids in public waters due to their limited reproduction potential, and inadequacy where providing forage is concerned. In my opinion, that doesn't make them any less desirable, or any less sought after as a sport fish....and take it from a guy who's caught both....you tie a HBG tail-to-tail with a comparably sized native BG, and the hybrid will pull that poor native fish backwards through the water until it drowns!

And yes, if the fish is allowed to reproduce the succeeding generations will usually display outbreeding depression. That is the entire key with this fish, as far as I'm concerned....I don't allow recruitment to take place, or I should say I do my best to prevent it....there will always be some that survive. It's like a huge cornfield: that farmer plants seed every year, as corn is not an annual. He or she doesn't expect to plant seed one time and get a harvest every year thereafter...HBG, or most hybrid fish for that matter, are the same way. You need to restock in order to maintain fish for harvest.

Sorry, Tony....I forgot to mention one of my favorites, and certainly the premier pound for pound scrapper. IMO. would be those giant hybrid sunfish we so dearly love. They are truely rermarkable fish!

I love the term, "recruitment" :-)

Although Tony makes note of the hybrid bluegill rightfully so a cross between a green sunfish and a bluegill. They are stronger and do grow more quickly. Although our nature animals don't always stay in there particular species to bred. In the animal world when they go outside the species (fish to fish ,duck to duck ect.) we call the offspring hybrids and usually it dominate more strongly in one of the parents characteristics with a slight characteristic of the others which may be ever so slight sometime so slight we can't make out which 2 species they are. 

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