Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

So 2013 is off and running. There is very little ice on our waters here, so no hard water to stand on, cut through and pull some panfish through, instead, time to get some homework done and time to for training. 

I have begun training hard to get ready for a big fishing gear, rehabing an old arm injury and getting the weight off. Three weeks into the year, I hate lifting weights, but I know I will need it. I am going to have a challenging 2013 and accomplish a lot in fishing. If I want to use the 42' foot pole again to catch fish, I will need my arm at 100% again. 

24 lb. down and another 20 to go- that should put me in good fishing shape to really make a splash. This season, I don't want any hills to stop me, I don't want a sore back to cut my fishing short, I want to be able to fish all day and all night. 

I have a lot of new floats to use this season and new models I haven't fished before. This gives me a lot of reason to get excited and hopefully get more people to fish floats right this year. If I can show a few more people the true awesome power of a true bite indicator setup, the word should spread like wildfire.

One of the most exciting things to happen is that I met a few people at our outdoors show in Chicago. I watched a couple of seminars and saw some videos in which floats were set up not only improperly, but also set up irresponsibly. I have seen undershot floats and floats that were not rigged up properly. Split shot on the wrong side of the float and also slip floats used in conditions where a fixed float should - shallower waters don't need a slip float.

Most every "slip bobber" I see is set up for failure. The kind with the plastic tube through the center that sticks out of the water, with the line looping out the top doesn't help the angler out. It presents the bait horribly and I think it is time to go. There are a couple of setups that I will have to go after that include a jig and slip float which I should be "testing" or fishing side-by-side. Some things need proving out.

Much like my challenge where Gulp took on Real live bait and lost, I should do the same thing for floats. Gulp was close to three times less effective than the real live bait although the jar said that it would "Outfish All Other Baits". Gulp even claiming to "Has outfished live bait 2 to 1 in head to head field tests." The fact is it got beaten by greater than a 2 to 1 margin, making it four times worse than they claim on the jar. In fact, after my 6 heats (3-times each on the clock in the same spot). If anyone wishes the results and my test method, they are available - just ask.

You can take my word, that if I set up a float per the manufacturer's instructions and I fish one of those plastic yellow and white or orange and black slip floats with the tube, next to a real slip float which is set up properly - the real float will win. I will fish both and set the hook as fast on both. I really don't have to run the tests as anglers in our leagues who fish the slip bobbers with the plastic center tube rarely ever finished in the top half of the results. Again, proper floats fished and balanced with the right split shot on a plain hook would destroy the slip bobber - especially if it had a jig under it. All anglers fished the same time period precisely on the same waters - the plastic bobbers would loose 49/50 times.

This will be a very big year, because I am going to be very busy. I have a couple of new Hall of Fame angler friends and I intend to change fishing for good. Passing the good word and getting fishing back on track. I want to make a massive splash this season and I hope you will take the journey with me. I love float fishing as it cranks up the action. Some who read my blog posts have tried some floats and setups, but haven't gone the whole way. Yes floats are great, but slip bobbers are just a taste of what can be. Good hooks, quality split shot balancing a float out on some fine line and you will not believe the fish-catching super powers that you will posses. With a proper setup, you will have powers only Neptune or Poseidon (for the Greek crowd) can match in catching.  

You see, it is not a slip bobber that I caught 203 fish in :30 minutes, it is with a proper float. A new record to wet my appetite for fishing last Fall - an amazing pace of fishing catching. To tell you the truth, my rig could have been fine tuned a bit more. This pace for catching gets me going this year and you are in luck. This is the year I plan on sharing more fish setups and information than I ever have. 

Are you ready to get in shape this year? This is going to be a very big year if you decide to journey further into float fishing live bait. I know I plan on going further.


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Comment by Johnny wilkins on February 1, 2013 at 10:19am

I met with the Gapen co. and they are fantastic, nice and very experienced people - thus a huge reason for picking up this line of really high-quality floats for panfish (and a set for bigger fish) where the product is backed by a fail-free return policy. The finish is really nice and the fiberglass antennae are very durable.

Also not pictured is a complete line of pole floats and short-cast floats that are a lot more sensitive. The floats pictured are mainly for our casting crowd as a lot of people enjoy long-arching casts and must have that to enjoy their fishing.

Comment by Tony Livingston on February 1, 2013 at 10:14am

I do like the Gapens' for certain situations, and mine do have the slide lock. Very handy.

Comment by Johnny wilkins on February 1, 2013 at 8:28am

Do you have some with the new connector? This little slide-lock helps go from fixed position fishing to slider so you could fish shallow and deep with it - and - switch floats if the wind kicks up...

Has anyone tried that new Nanofil line? It is tempting, but at 3x the cost of standard line, I have been reluctant to try it. Do you like the Gapen floats Tony?

Comment by Tony Livingston on February 1, 2013 at 5:39am

I fish some of those Gapen floats.

Comment by Johnny wilkins on January 31, 2013 at 11:59pm

The floats cost between $2.50 - $5.75 and these are all being launched from my store. I got tired of not having this stuff available so I am distributing these nationwide. If you have a store near you that you are interested in having these stocked - I will call them and at least try to get them at your local tackle store - if not you will be able to get these within a week from the online store.

This is the first of many graphics I have to prepare to get the store ready. I worked on all the text tonight and just started in on the photos...all of these floats are guaranteed against defect for a year as well.

I have more smaller pole floats as well if you fish the pole these are the casting floats.

Comment by carl hendrix on January 31, 2013 at 11:12pm

nice looking floats; where did you get them and how much did they cost

Comment by Johnny wilkins on January 31, 2013 at 10:41pm

I do plan on restocking those redi-rigs as well as detailing how they are made. I want you guys to be able to make your own rigs as well. This is the year of specifics so I look forward to getting those to you - it is all about selection... and this year will be the year that we float anglers have the largest selection of different sized floats, float accessories and more... good stuff on its way.

Floats are very powerful and having different-sized and shaped floats travel greater distances, fish against the wind and conquer depths. These allow us shore anglers to fish further away, reaching drop-offs we couldn't reach with small floats.

I am very passionate about the live bait presentations and the success it can bring you - but I notice a massive hole in my approach. With the right float you can catch 200 fish in :30 minutes including some hog panfish.

Getting the basics out is something I need to do. I have a lot of work to do to put this all together. I need to back up and start from the very beginning. At left are some of the floats available for 2013 and there are some accessories and flies coming along with this. Some tying tools, good hooks, leaders and also some live bait fishing line are all components that need to be set up properly in order to get the floats working their best. Working their best means that you can see the takes as they are happening. The timing is key as if you can see the precise moment the bait is taken - you can react and catch. It is pointless to see the third or fourth indication as this might be the last time the fish ejects your hook - leaving you fishless. All I can say is - those who follow the floats forums will be well-armed this Spring.

Comment by Joe Angelucci on January 31, 2013 at 6:22pm


Know your view on floats. I've used your ready rigs but notice they are not available . Do you plan on restocking. 

Comment by Johnny wilkins on January 31, 2013 at 11:18am

60' - to 12' not a problem.

Do you have to throw a jig or can we improve the ease of your cast by going straight hook?

You guys inspire me - keep up the good work.

Having the weight at the base of the cast creates a see-saw motion and the weight of the jig, float and shot all fight each other in the air, taking the setup out of center. This will kill your cast.

Also - having the jig (what size are you using) weight next to the hook, will decease the ease at which the fish can feed on it. Crickets weigh  .002 grams and less in the water column. Many of the small worms and invertebrates are even smaller. So if we put a 1/16 oz. jig for example next to the food that is nearly a gram (.92) in weight that is some 475 times heavier at the point of attack. 1/32 oz., 230 times harder to eat, 1/64 we are still over 115 times heavier than real food.

I would suggest that ditching the jig, moving that weight up the line at least 3 feet away from the bait will improve your pick-ups.

Do you fish from shore and that is why you need to get the deep water 60' away? I get it because I fish from shore. Are you using 4 lb. main line? How long is your fishing rod?

Email me some pictures of the floats you use - unless they have a plastic tube through the center - if this is the case, we are in business because if the line comes out the top of your float, I can improve your presentation and get you fish more frequently. Included in this improvement is adding a fine wire hook which will allow the bait to parachute down - if your water is at all clear or just slightly stained - that dropping bait will gain you more strikes and attract fish to the hook than a lead jig dropping at lightning speed.

I have some homework to do, but I believe I have some really cool stuff in store and as of this note am down 26 lb. in an effort to get in fishing shape. Good to chat friends!

Comment by John Sheehan on January 31, 2013 at 6:58am

Stay excited Johnny, it's catching !( no pun intended)

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