Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?


   WHEN I started chasing Gills seriously about 25 years ago I got caught up in the gear race . Yup yours truly was bitten by the gear frenzy and bought just about every thing you could imagine. About that same time I started making bugs, with some success and thought if they catch fish I'll be set . I was already making rods for guys around here so it was logical to supply em with bugs too. Regular progression ya know .
    The rods and bugs went on for decades until one day I realized that I wasn't getting rich at it so just started making rods for my self and family.
LOTS OF MONEY GONE ON BOATS!!! TRUCKS TOO . Was it worth it . HECK YA cause they got me were I wanted to go and caught what I wanted to catch.
    Rod's and reels : I cured this problem early on . I used to buy Fenwick's back in the early 70's . They got pricey and when I started fly fishing went the expensive route there too. Sage , Powell's ( LOTS OF POWELL FLY RODS) AND then started making my own.  I have test cast some Orvis 1 weights when they first came out and realized soon on, they were just a gimmick, IN MY VIEW ANYWAY........

    WELL THAT BRINGS US TO PRESENT: NOW I USE MOSTLY VINTAGE STUFF FOR RODS ANY WAY . EITHER I MAKE EM OUTTA 50 year old glass blanks (solid glass) or get good quality stuff like Wonderods or Garcia's . Strictly new spinning reels however.
     I would be wwwwwwwwwwwwway cheaper to go and buy fish somewhere , cause when you start totaling all the expense of gear it just doesn't add up folks .......

    SATISFACTION !!!!!! IF I DIDN'T GIVE BUGS or rods to some kids I run across I'd be poorer for it . There is just something about the ear to ear grin of a kid who has just caught a fish on one of my bugs . HE ALWAYS COMES RUNNING BACK WITH A GILL OR SOMETHING HANGING ON THE END OF HIS ROD SAYING " HEY MISTER LOOK I GOT ONE "
    I SPOSE all the money I've spent in the last 3 decades has brought me to the simple life of fishing

    , relatively cheap boat now , homemade gear , self made bugs , and a  more relaxed attitude towards fishing . It just don't get any better than simple .........

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I find it fascinating to examine the progression of an angler. As for myself, I have experimented with many various approaches to my fishing, to get where I am now. And I certainly don't believe that I have reached the summit yet.....not by a long shot. As a boy growing up in the country, simplicity was the name of the game....I owned one rod and reel,  (a trusty Zebco 600), so it needed to be multi-purpose....capable of taking Bluegills one day, largemouth or channel cats the next, and quite possibly fending off the neighbors Angus bull before the week was out. Ten pound line was the norm, and the notion of a hook smaller than #6 was nearly incomprehensible to me. My tackle box was only slightly smaller than a G.I's footlocker, and contained enough "gear" to allow me to target just about anything from creek chubs to Bluefin Tuna.....should one show up in the creek that ran through our cow pasture.

As the years passed I upgraded to newer, nicer gear as finances permitted. Still however, was the need to fish for everything that swam, Bluegills included. Eventually however, I succumbed to my Bass phase, relegating the Bluegill to back of the bus status. That lasted for quite awhile, and I accumulated a lot of gear, and caught many fish along the way.

Then came the crash. The stark realization that fishing, was no longer fun.....It had evolved to the point where it required boats, trailers, multiple tackle bags and boxes, rods, reels, and trolling motors. Getting ready to go fishing required half a day and a degree in logistical management. Enough was enough, and in the span of two weeks all of that stuff was gone....all of it.

I wanted to get back to fishing....and enjoying myself. I wanted the simplistic angling life I had enjoyed as a youth. But, I had managed to learn a thing or two, and I knew that to become the Bluegill angler I wanted to be would require an approach somewhat more refined than those days spent in the cow pasture.

So, I have tried to combine the two disciplines....taking the gear and technique rich environment found in Bass fishing, and modifying it where necessary to make it suitable for Bluegills. I do have rods set up for specific approaches, and my tackle box, while smaller than a footlocker, does contain a variety of hard and soft baits, that have proven themselves as dependable.

These days, my adversary is different as well. That 1200 lb Black Angus has been replaced by the clock on the wall....time is precious, and time spent fishing even more so. When I do go, I want to be able to make the most of my outing. My goal is to catch BG, and anything that can help me accomplish that more effectively will probably find a place at my side.

"Many men spend their entire lives fishing, and never realize it isn't fish they are after." - Thoreau
I fish on a budget. I buy used gear, I make some of my own equipment.
I know I can catch fish with a stick, string and hook. Auk that's needed is a worm.
It is in the nature of men to take a thing, anything, to the extreme. I avoid that.
(I would like a boat, however.)

Yeah...I hear ya Tooty! I have spent more than I should over time, but have managed to avoid the high price of boats, motors trucks and all. 95% of my fishing has, and still is, done either from shore or wading in streams. I have a kayak that I seldom use, and Have owned a few jon boats over the years. I now have an 18 ft AlumaCraft V-bottom that I got for a steal at $1500, but it needs work.

Most of my rods would be light or ultra light. I have a few European match-style rods for panfishing and a few 7 to 9 ft panfish rods. They each have different applications. I have a few medium action spinning sticks for bass and some heavier baitcasting sticks for big blue cats w/50 lb class line and Ambassaduer 600 reels. Round it out with a pair of 12 ft Carp rods and English made bait runners. Several telescoping poles a la Abney style and a bunch of ice fishing rods fro 24 to 30 inches long.

I still find myself using but 3 or 4 different panfish rods throughout the majority of the season. Bobbers and jigs are a big part of my arsenal, and I'll go through a lot of quality mono in 2 and 4 lb test through out the year, changing line often.

I can't recall the last time I bought a rod, but the 15 or so ultra light spinning rods I have, from 4.5 to 7.5 ft, all get some use at some time. I spend more money on gas, line, jig-tying materials and bait than I do on big ticket items.

Like you Tooty, I find myself gearing down as the years go by...good for you!

"The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope".  ~John Buchan

I take this to heart, 

  I came from a bream fishing family, they had a cane pole in my hand when I was only 3 years old, my first fish I ever caught at that age was a needle nose gar and I think I said "Shark ". that could have been the end of my fishing  but Mom made me go with Dad on his fishing trips, I know she did it to get me out of the house for the day, my classroom was the swamps of south Louisiana and the acafalayala basin and "Ole River". This was the forge that tempered the steel of my bluegill fishing skills. At 10 years old I started with my first fly rod, so now I have 48 years of catching bluegill with a fly rod , I know my technique is way " Ole Skool" but that was style  long time ago, I talking porcupine quill on a fly rod, but because it wasn't purist fly fishing it didn't get the ink in the sporting magazines, and it was inexpensive to get into, but this combination was deadly effective in putting fish into the boat, sure I've caught bass, catfish,and crappie using this style but I always was targeting bluegill. I guess I'm a minimalist when it come to fishing just taking the basic with me , but that is all I need, my favorite  25 year old fly rod, my quills , and crickets . Dad taught me well ,  THANKS DAD, now I cant go fishing without thinking of him,and now when I take my kids I hope we are making great memories and learning some "Ole Skool" style of fishing. Now with all that said, yes  I'm loaded down with gear, but that because of the time I have spent working in sporting goods stores and the tackle I have collected from family and friends that are now catching 2lb'ers every cast in Heaven, So " What it worth " , you cant put a price on the time spent with friends and family making memories and having fun and of course a fine meal fit for a king when you are done!  It's a shame that there are people out there that have never enjoyed such memories .    LOFR

This is a really interesting subject for me. I fished with a cane pole and fixed bobber when I was a kid with my family a couple of times a year. I lost interest in my teens never fished again till in my late 30's when we were into camping with our kids for a few years. I started fishing with my wife at her insistance when our kid's started to leave home.

Rod's and reels have never been a big issue for me as far as expence. Mind you for the first several years we fished I couldn't walk out of any sporting goods store without some new piece of gear, it was just that the stuff I bought just wasn't very expensive. I collected lots of tackle that I never used and more rods and reels that I didn't use than I care to think about.

Boats have been my big expense. I love boats. Our current boat is our 5th in less than 20 years. Our first was used and the next 4 were new. Each got bigger, more expensive and more complex, until our current one. Mind you all we ever fished for was Bluegill.

About 3 years ago we found ourselves fishing less and less. We had tired of long tows, the expence and recreational traffic on the larger lakes. Fishing wasn't fun anymore.


We figured out that unless we changed we were going to lose something that we had enjoyed so much for years. Fishing together. We decided to focus on the small restricted waters that were close by, and going back to basics. We sold the boat and put together the Jon boat that I have posted pictures of. I gave away at least half the gear we had collected through the years. (I still have more stuff than I use so maybe it's time to purge again). 

Fishing is fun for us again and we are out every weekend the weather allows!

I have no idea what I have spent on fishing over the years. I don't even want to know.

What's it worth? Every dime!


 After chasing Bass on the tournament trail for 12 years I burned out on the pressure of that style of fishing. I still enjoy Bass fishing if the conditions are present when I'm out. My boat now is a 16' V-bottom from 1960 and my 2 motors are both 1958 restores I've done myself. 

Now days my choices 99% of the time are geared around my wife. She loves going fishing but is partially disabled so we go where she can comfortably. We fish with vintage Zebco equipment and whatever bites is fine. We target BG, but are not disappointed by anything else we catch. 

In the early summer I get out on the Kansas river alone for Cats, but less and less with age. My wife stresses out when I'm out there alone. But that's a hard one to contemplate giving up. 

Simple is the way to go for us. No stress just fishing and spending time together. 

WOW THNAKS EVERYNOE FOR YOUR OBSERVATIONS HERE ON THIS BLOG!!!!!! TONY your response really rings a bell with me and think you have a really balanced approach to out passion...David you say so much with so little spoken its' scary !!!!! Just would like to add a note to you David that over the years I"ve realized that the boat , NO MATTER HOW BIG OR SHINY OR EXPENSIVE , isn't going to get one more fish . Simple is best .

  LIke you JIm I'm gearing down too , especially from shore. I just plain love Pond fishing . Unfortunately now find myself fishing more by myself than I care too , but my old partners are getting to were they have issues and just can't go at the drop of a hat like I can . So I go by myself lots and guess that's the price I gotta pay to do what I want.
  Mike Martin and Joe Angelucci ,  ELOQUENT FELLAS .........
  LOFR : YOUR REPLY tells a lot about ya and how things were in your youth . You  are right also in your estimation on lots of people missing out on the memories we all have stored up from our outdoor passions from a younger more innocent age when we all grew up . It saddens me deeply that more won't have the experiences in their youth that we had in ours .

 Finally Earl !!!!!!!! Well buddy sounds like you have the right idea and an short but eloquent answer to it all . Less Stress and go when ya can and fish with someone whose company ya enjoy .



You and I are in the same boat - literally! Well written and clearly expresses my feelings regarding what fishing is about beyond winning tournaments and endorsing products.

A big thumbs up!


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