Do you love big bluegill?
Have you ever had the experience where a fish in one lake will hardly take any form of artifical but on another lake they will take most any artifcal?
Vacationed at a lake this summer where my normal micro jig and gulp maggot would draw a bite but on my home lake it wouldn't make it to the bottom. Now I'm not talking about all the little guys but 7"+ size fish.
Is the population structure, available food sources or what?
Let's talk! Tell us what your experience is!
charlie have experienced this many times,used to belong to a club.2 strip mines,50 yards a part at some points.1 mine was stained fertile water.full of aggresive fish but on average not big.2nd mine was vodka clear .weeds at 30 feet.fish very hard to catch,less fish but much bigger fish.i think it is chemistry ,clarity and competition.i used to decide between numbers or a possible trophy.some days you can't catch anything anywhere.
Some lakes I have found to just be better 'live bait' lakes and others seem to have fish that are more receptive to artificials. One of my favorite public lakes in PA is in a small park setting, and not many people fish it. I have had very little success there with any type of artificial effort. Jigs tipped with bait don't work, jigs plain don't work and I have only caught a few big gills there on Bill Modicas spoon tactics. But put a nightcrawler on a slip-sinker rig, fish it on the bottom, and you will catch lots of fish, bass and bluegills and the occassional giant yellow perch.
Wish I knew the answers. Another public lake just 6 miles from this one is great for using jigs, spoons and small crankbaits for nice gills, seeds and bass...a great place to teach someone how to 'lure fish'. And none of these lures require the 'tipped' option with live bait for success.
I'm not so sure that angling pressure is always a factor either, as the lightly fished lake is a 'live bait' lake and the one that recieves more pressure yields many more fish to the artificials.
One thing for sure...the lake that recieves the lighter angling pressure produces far bigger fish than the one that has the fishing pressure...no surprise there!
Jim is dead on about live vs artificial. The only way to know whether the fish would be chasing after live baits, or artificial, would be observing the surrounding environment. If you see plenty of vegetation, be sure that live baits would be the best choice. To confirm, once you catch one, time to split the stomach up and see the content of the prior feeding. Large amount of digested and undigested materials would give and indicator of the foraging preference.
However, when you're in the wide open water, with very little vegetation anywhere, be ready for an epic battle using whatever you want. Anything that presented as a possible meal to the fish, they will go crazy to compete for the limited food resource.
Presentation is also the key of course. If the fish saw something that does not belong to the seasonal period, they will ignore it since it could be fatal for them to eat. Fish may appear to be a small in the brain department, but instinctively, they know better. This is my humble opinion on the data collected over the years.
So do I hear you saying that a weedy lake(fertile) will have more food than a less weedy lake?
You got it! In general appearance of course. If you want to get into the nitty gritty of things, what's appeared on top doesn't mean it's the same on the bottom. An example would be agricultural run-off into shallow water bodies. That will promote heavy growth of plants, which in term produce quite heavy insect, crustacean, and amphibious population.
BUT, if your water bodies has a direct feed from the local municipal waste water treatment, whether the water bodies are shallow or deep, you're going to have a massive, and I do massive, amount tubifex worm population at the bottom. Fish will thrive with these worms. I have 1/32oz and 1/8oz jigs made up with these enticing mimic of the worms.
It's all about splitting the stomach of the caught specimen open to observe what has been fed upon.
Jim, do you suppose that in the lightly fished lake you speak of, the fish haven't become acclimated to anglers and accordingly, are more likely to take a live, natural bait as that is what they're used too? While in the highly fished lake, the fish are accustomed to the vast majority of BG anglers throwing live bait, so an otherwise "unusual" offering in the form of an artificial lure gets their attention?
A million dollars question there Tony. The "unusual" offering would attract their attention, but not necessary their taste preference. Studies may suggest that if the offering mimics or resembles the natural food sources (ie. anything ranging from aquatic species to drowned victims from above), they'll take it with caution. If something completely does not match their hatches, the chance of a bite is slim to none. I tried maggots and waxworms vs beetle larvae (not found near the streams and water bodies I fished at) nearly the same size, as well as plastics that don't match with the species of the water bodies I fished at, good luck in getting a solid bite. Maybe an occasional *tap* *tap* to check things out, but never a solid bite.
But mastery veterans with greater experience may offer additional insights to this million dollars question.
Let's complicate it even more Leo... where does a reflexive strike vs. a bite from a hungry fish fit in? To my way of thinking, artificial lures are in many situations presented as a moving target. And while I believe that a hungry fish will pursue and take such an offering, I also believe that an otherwise "full", or non-foraging fish will also strike such a lure.... out of instinct, rather than just hunger. It triggers a reaction. Get it before it gets away.
Live bait on the other hand, is more likely to be presented stationary. Certainly there are exceptions to this, but I'm speaking of the general population of BG anglers, not more advanced angling techniques such as might be found among BBG members. Simple worm and bobber fishing, performed by the masses. In these cases, it seems to me that the angler stands a greater chance of missing out on those fish which are not actively feeding, but might still respond to a moving target. A foraging fish may find their offering, while the less active fish might not.
This is why I choose to tip my artificial jigs with live bait. And I mean live... if it's dead it comes off and fresh goes on. I'm trying to optimize my chances with BOTH fish....the active foraging ones, as well as the stationary ones. (And I use the term stationary loosely here) I want some movement, either by my reel handle, or the bait itself. I really believe it can make a difference.
Man, you are one complex guy tony LOL Indeed, any movement in the water or lively movement to trigger that feeding reaction (C-response) is always optimal as a selection, let it be artificial or natural. That's why I've used as much live baits where ever I go as the first rule of thumb as a natural offering. However, I also pack additional arsenal with me, ranging from flies to plastics just in case if natural offering is not the populus preference.
It has been way too long since I visit the waters to soak my lines.
You know what they say Leo.... one man's "complex" is another man's "obsession"!
Leo, I had never heard of the Tubifex Worm, so I went online and checked them out at Wikipedia and You Tube. I can see why big gills would feed so heavily on them. To me they looked like very skinny red wigglers. Thanks for the post.
Not a problem Vince. It's common aquatic worms that feed on rich nutrients, and extremely abundant in proteins.