Do you love big bluegill?
As an active member of Bigbluegill.com the last several years, I have learned a lot and shared many ideas that have proven successful for Sunfish in the waters I fish. Prior to becoming a member I had several secrets that remained in my pocket and only my closest fishing buddies had ever even shared in this success. This isn't to say others weren't fishing the same baits in a similar style and catching fish or using baits of their choice and finding similar success. I was a young kid with numerous anglers in my extended family and I learned early from my grandpa Foster Abney, who always told me to listen when I got around fishermen and think about things that might help me or work where I was fishing. I was fortunate to be pretty close with an Uncle on my mother's side of the family that lived one town over in Southeastern Louisiana. He grew up and lived near the banks of the Tcefuncte River in the small town of Madisonville, Louisiana and only fished two bodies of water during his eighty plus year life. A fact that many folks close to him never knew is he fished live grass shrimp for some 60 to 70 years and I couldn't begin to tell you how many Bluegill, Shellcracker, Warmouth and Crappie that he caught over the years. One Thanksgiving day in the early 1970s as our 100 member family assembled in Folsom, Louisiana for the best dinners we ever ate, Uncle Kenny walked out to an acre pond that was dug on the family farm to stock with fish for the 20 plus grandkids in the Sharp family. I was there casting a beetle spin when he asked if I had a scoop net with me. I did and we went over to some grass beds near the shore and made a quick scoop and filled a bucket up with little crustaceans called Grass Shrimp. He said put a cork and a bream hook on there and let me show you something. I eagerly followed his instructions and a few moments later we were pulling out big bluegill one after another. This went on for quite some time and my Uncle explained if you ever run out of Grass Shrimp "Jeffie" and can't find more, take a pink soft plastic jig and fish that in the same areas. He explained that I wouldn't be disappointed and don't be afraid to tip the hook with a worm, grasshopper or a cricket if you have some. I went home armed with the advice and went through seven or eight tackle boxes my dad and I had but no pink in any of them. I couldn't believe it but surely I'll find some the next time at the bait shop. A few short days later my dad and I visited the local bait shop and I rushed the fishing tackle, both shelves and found two packs of little curly tails that had a mix of white and pink, they were mine and I was excited to let Uncle Kenny know I had found some and was eager to try them as soon as I could. His only clue was Pink was the best match for live grass shrimp in our brackish waters. He explained saltwater anglers have realized it for some time but freshwater fishermen have failed to make the correlation and they are truly missing out. In the weeks ahead I will go into detail how I fish these jigs and hopefull answer many of the questions I have received about the mystery of pink.
These tiny blue crabs are protected and can't be used for bait but we have learned that the brackish water Shellcrackers have adapted well and pig out on these guys post spawn......You can be fishing the back waters and see hundreds of these little crabs around great fish habitat.......
This explains why various shades of pink, blue, and olive colors work so well in your waters. On top of that, the nutrient levels obtained from eating the shellfishes increase the body mass and structural growths. Imagine the possibilities in raising experimental panfish populations for farming purposes, as you manage a balanced aqua-biotia in this region. Looks like I have a future focus during my retirement years.
Dumb question, maybe, but the shrimp in the photo don't look pink; why is it that the BG like the color pink so much on the grass shrimp imitators, then?
Never a dump question JB. You're dead right about the color is not pink in the grass shrimps, that is, the color that you can't see with just the naked eyes alone. Dark colors, based on the environment and the dietary food sources, are used as camouflage. However, during mating or communication periods, brilliant indicator colors are known to be used, especially in dark environment. Guess what, Jeffrey landed himself in the dark color dismal swamps. The colors that stand out the most is a sunlight reflections, which mimicked by the brilliant flashabou, and reddish/pink colors, aside from the common yellow/orange colors found on the pseeds, gillcrackers, etc.. Notice some of the fishes Jeffrey caught in the past have colorful arrays of red/pink colors near the mid body, and toward the top, but nothing near the belly. Very interesting adaption to trick the preys as the fishes mimic the communication array to draw the prey closer. This is why Jeffrey and a few lucky ones live in such a glorious research environment that people like me are drooling over. Of course, we don't get paid to do thing like this, beside earning a PhD for acknowledging what we've found which had been in nature for million of years. People like Jim discovered through color combinations fly/jig tying, and people like Jeffrey utilized the tools to prove the effectiveness of the color combos.
I checked a pond near my home last night after sunset and the grass shrimp are piled in the weed lines....The fish should grow rapidly in this particular body of water with all the food to gorge themselves.....I'll go back later this week to stock up for the weekend......it's that time of the year.....
I'm still curious of how large the fishes relative to age, due to such a massive resources of food, such as drowning insects to water based like the shrimps. Based on Bruce C., Walt's, and Tony's experimentation, observation, and note taking on relative ages and sizes in controlled feeding environment, what is the information based on the natural foraging process. The fish could be larger yet younger, since the food sources are extremely high on vital ingredients for fast growth. There are fierce competition, as well as heavy predation, which also increase the need to grow fast and spawn like crazy. You know, I have a feeling that I may be moving far east or far northeast as I reach my retiring years (like I'm going to stop working).
Pink jigs are doing great once again in the brackish waters of coastal N.C. I have so many things I would like to try/test but it's hard to get away from proven baits. The Gronaw Grass Shrimp in pink and a 1/32 ounce Splash jig with a high percentage of pink have been winners this entire month......Don't rule them out if you get a chance to employ one, might make a believer out of you.
Not ruling it out at all. I've tyed up few for a friend who will be visiting the Colorado River areas this Memorial Day weekends. He'll be carrying the Think-Pink Gronaw's grass shrimps for testing. It's going to be very interesting to see the reactivity of the jigs in the shrimp-loaded water. Lake Havasu is known for the giant monsters, feeding on the muzzles. We'll see how the shrimp fair.
I don't know if I posted the photo or not, but several weeks ago, I tied up a couple size 12 Scuds in pink. I bought some pink acrylic yarn, cut some small segments, and ran those through my coffee grinder to make dubbing out of.
I noticed that the pond at work, as well as another creek I fish, are really clear lately. When it's cloudy out, especially if there is a little ripple on the surface to limit light penetration, the water appears rather dark. Maybe not as dark as the tannin-stained water Jeff fishes, but dark for around here. I have fished the pink Scuds enough to learn that as long as it's cloudy or low-light, the 'gills love those pink things. Once the sun comes out, the bite dies for that color, and I have to tie on an Orange Scud to catch fish.
A few days ago, I completely a production run where I tied up another six Scuds.
An interesting perspective Allen......thanks for sharing your testimony.......
The grass shrimp hatch has occured in most regions of the country.....this marks the peak season for employing your favorite pink jigs whether it be a Curly Tail, Gronaw Grass Shrimp, Mini-Mite.....give it a whirl....especially in brackish water applications.....match the hatch when you can......
Pink is still working great in coastal Carolina suspended under a float.....Waters are very dark right now despite abundant rains and this has allowed for a prized hatch of grass shrimp and other food items for gills.....Olive and Chartreuse colored jigs have made a pretty good showing to date this season but I always have a pink jig tied on one of my rigs ready to attack...I almost always fish new water with a pink jig thinking it will give me the best results in my region....