Do you love big bluegill?
I got up early to day to try out a new spot. We had a lot of rain yesterday, and that tends to mess with my favorite spot, the river. So I went to a park the county maintains. This was my first visit to the site.
At the park is an old mill pond of about 30 acres. At the deepest it is probably not more than 15 feet, and the edges are thick with elodea and various shore growths. This make it pretty tough to access the water around most of the lake. But I soldiered ahead.
At the dam end is a small fishing platform, where I started tossing my patented dog food chum (all right it's not patented - I was joking. It's just moistened dog food).
Within ten minutes, I was pleased to have a surface feeding frenzy going, about 15 feet in front of me. I hadn't caught one at this point, but whatever they were - they were climbing over each other to get to my feed.
Once I figured out that slip floating and micro jigs wouldn't catch them, this is what they turned out to be:
Shiners, roach (Britain), chub...whatever you call them, musta' been a whole school of the things, I reckon. I've never seen them in any of the waters around here. They went 6"-10".
Plain #14 hook, 3 lb test line on Gulp! Natural Maggots, no weight. They would not take a worm or cricket.
I also caugth this guy:
A chunky bullhead. His pattern was reminiscent of the new digital camo seen on US military BDU's. Up close it was really interesting. He was caught on a gob of redworm, beneath one of my home made slip floats. It was in about 4 feet of water, #6 hook on 6 lb test line.
I was also chumming in this spot.
Along with these were some small basslings and bluegill, but nothing to speak of. As I was leaving, I noticed some disturbance in the water bear the dam. At my approach, I spotted two large 'somethings' lolling around in the water. When they saw me, they rolled in a flash of brown and disappeared. My guess is they were some decent sized carp. Time to break out the sweet corn!
Hope you hooked a few!
I wish I could tell you some special brand of dog food turns the trick - but I just use the cheap stuff.
Or whatever is at home for our own dogs. Ditto, cat food. The only thing I look for is 20% protein or better.
This day it was a combination of Freds Dollar Store dog food and Gravy Train, about half and half.
I had some pre-softened Freds chow left over from last week. It was still in the original 1-lb. bag, in the fridge. So last night I just added the Gravy Train to it and ran in enough water to cover the dry, newer stuff. Next morning, voila! - - Bag-O-Chum! I like to use a heavy zip seal bag, like the Freds bag, or doubled freezer bags. It's easier to tote around that way. One full bag is about all I need for 6-8 hours of fishing.
I go for a soft, almost rubbery consistency to the dog food, once it has soaked. I test it by letting the pee-poppers at my feet try it first. At one lake I recently visited, the small "guinea pig" brim wouldn't even give it a look. Probably still too cold. Today it was the opposite... the little piddlers went berserk for the stuff!
What you are trying to do is create what the Brits call a "swim," i.e., an area in front of you where the fish are drawn to feed on your chum. I look for pockets of weed or cover, close to deep water or channels, if possible. Then I toss a couple egg sized wads of the chum and let it disperse over an area no bigger than, say, 10' x 10'. You want to keep them in a confined, controlled area.
Thereafter I toss just a three fingered pinch from time to time, usually right where I reset a newly baited hook. The idea is to start them feeding and then to feed just enough to keep them interested - but not fill them up. Finally, I toss a few bits of my hook bait every third feed or so. This may be the maggots, a cricket or a worm chopped into pieces. Whatever.
This ensures that when they see your baited hook, they are both actively feeding and looking for THAT bait in front of them.
As for the Maggots, I find that the bluegill around here only like them if they have been chummed. The maggots by themselves don't seem to get much attention. Much the same can be said for the Gulp! Fry I've tried.
I tried a little experiment today, along these lines. I baited a #14 hook with one or two Gulp! maggots. When it hit the water, the fish rushed up to it as they always do. Then they stopped, as if to say, "Hmmmm, whats this? Oh.... that stuff. No thanks." Occasionally they would peck at it, but not in earnest.
But when I put the same sized scrap of worm on the same hook - they went for it with abandon. It wouldn't even have a chance to start sinking before the little rascals swarmed over it. It was like night and day.
By themselves, the fish turn their noses up at the Gulp! offerings I've tried so far.
Im a fan of the Gulp! products, make no mistake. I wouldn't say I'm a hard core advocate, since I don't see them a substitute for live bait. Admittedly, I had hoped they might be some sort of magic bullet. Imagine a jar of super bait - low cost, no muss no fuss.
Well, after a short time with them, I think their effectiveness has as much to do with time-and-place as much as anything. Pressured fish, for example, just may not be enticed by anything less than that which is alive and kicking. Other fish, like yesterdays roach, may actually prefer them.
Keeping some on hand can't hurt, as far as I'm concerned. I kinda see them as insurance and I'm interested in trying a range of the Gulp! products to see which ones work the best. I do like the look of the foam fly with maggot tip...
"I do like the look of the foam fly with maggot tip..."
- I'm telling you man, DEADLY on bluegill. It hasn't failed me yet. Going out on the lake tomorrow to try it again. I wish I could find a fly tipper like that for bass....
Is that a black bullhead? I've caught plenty of brown bullheads in my neck of the woods.
I checked in my "McClane's New Standard Fishing Encyclopedia" and found out you caught a red shiner.
Golden shiners are a different fish from the red shiner.
Golden shiners have that golden-orange body color. When I checked in the book I mentioned, I saw the red shiner has that exact body color of the fish David caught.
Just now I Googled red shiner on Google images and found it.
Forgot about this one. Gulp Maggots!
Great report and nice Brown Bullhead !