Bluegill - Big Bluegill

Do you love big bluegill?

Last week I ventured back to an old farm pond that I used to fish in the early 80's.......small, about an acre....small feeder creek coming in and a substancial dam to slow the flow.....I used to catch some really nice Gills and big Largemouth there back in the day.
Traveling light...spudbar/bucket/vex/pole/scooper....I finally made my way back to the pond only to find someone fishing it....I approached in a kind manner and asked the very old gentleman if he would mind if I also fished the pond and he said...."No, but don't start bangin' that damn chisel on the ice...fish outta one of my holes!".....I obliged, he had 2 (two) other holes...each 3 feet from his current hole......introductions were exchanged, and good conversation ensued....I learned that John was 83 yrs young and was the owner of the property.....he wasn't impressed with my electronics nor my fancy ultra sensitive rod.....Johns gear was absolutley arcaic....his line was NOT line, but thread....some type of shoe mending thread...his jigs were of the eye-thru type and tied direct....His poles were circa 1950's heavy fiberglass....Side by side, our equipment had spanned more than half a century. John had us parked in nearly 5 FOW near the fringe of the existing weed edge....as I frantically fired up my vex, John hoisted a fat 9" Gill and said "That thing aint gonna help you here"...I ignored his comment and started into fishing, we had alot of fish coming thru, and I had my share of "sniffers" but no biters....meanwhile John is pounding one big Gill after another....3 feet away!....after about 10 minutes he said " I told you that thing wouldn't help you here....turn that damn thing off!"....He then explained to me the cadence of his strange presentation and its triggering abilities....We proceeded to tie into more than 2 dozen really impressive Gills using his secret technique.

During the catching and releasing of these pond giants, John asked me how I knew of the ponds existence....and having only previously fished it without permission, I hesitated to respond....He said "Don't worry....I would have run you off 25 yrs ago if I hadn't seen you releasing your catch back then".......we smiled......His Big Bluegill secret technique was in essence, a type of dead-sticking or should I say "mud-sticking" as he would purposely allow the jig to lay in the mud for several seconds before snapping the jig and setting hooks into the heavy bulls that would only take the jig after it had hit bottom, and sat motionless for a few seconds......bite detection was literally non-existent, as were the presence of bottom fish on my flasher.....His unique presentation proved to be highly productive on this small and seemingly conquerable body of water that could have easily miffed most knowledgable anglers with modern day tools.

My stay lasted close to 2 hours and ended when Johns great grandson arrived via 4 wheeler in order to take him home. As I wrapped things up, John asked me if I was planning on coming back the following day.....I hesitated to respond, and when I did I said "I don't know".....we said our goodbye's and I headed back off into the woods. Back at my vehicle twenty minutes later, I sat there thinking about the forbidden pond, John and his invitation for my return, the big Bluegills laying eye deep in the silt, the 23 yrs that had passed since my last visit.......but mostly I thought about how we smiled.

Mod

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Comment by Bruce Condello on March 18, 2009 at 5:49am
That gave me a big smile. Good childhood memories are irreplacable.
Comment by chris garton on March 17, 2009 at 10:09pm
well here goes a similar read, i too have fished the forbidden pond... except this one sits in southern iowa just south of the little farm town of good ole cambria, this was my weekend stomping ground as a young boy, my dad visited relatives down there all year.. i wish i had a dollar for every trip ive made from des moines to cambria(hundreds)
there is a pond known as hogue cemetary as it sits below and behind the cemetary we named it so.. come to find out the guy who owned it lived in des moines and only used it on weekends sometimes in the summer needless to say that was all the infi i needed.. we's just have to fish on weekdays or make sure there were no cars or trucks around we always stayed on the far side away from the mobile home and boat dock we caught huge bass 5-6 pounders, nice crappies and lots of good sized gills... we never left any trash only tracks, always used the stealth technique camo clothes and packed light.... we got caught a couple of times and were let fish once or twice and told to leave other times, man those were the days, ihave approached the new tenant a son of the old owner or relative of sort and he will not give permission still to this day, the story is told of a drowning 40-50 yrs ago and none has fished it much since, it is large maybe 15 acres..clean water great fishn olny if we could get access again, the tenant has moved in and is there every day now so no more sneakn fishn, but o.k i used the hogue pond as somewhat of a template of what i wanted in my pond someday only a smaller version! my dream came true and im blessed with 60 acres of heaven in southern iowa ... now if i can just find a way to build my retirement home there, ill be set. the pond is new but stocked heavy and should produce some great fishn this year and next , so if you have a kid and want to take him/ her fishn and you live in south central iowa contact me and i let you fish and i dont even live there, as long as you give your name and address, and cell # and agree to the rules , i will give access on a one time per permission granred call, dont get caught in there as my neighbors keep a good eye on the place and if my brother or best friend tim catch you in there you could be plucked lead outta your butt!!
someday i too will get to fish it more, once i sell the business and move back to iowa from denver..my land sits in crp right now and wont end till 2011, if my dreams are real in the next five years i will have a house not to far from the pond. remember to respect your elders and police up your trash, show a kid how to respect the freedom we all love and deserve!!!!!
Comment by John Sheehan on February 10, 2009 at 8:11am
Guess I shouldve read chris' reply ...we were thinking exactly alike.
Comment by John Sheehan on February 10, 2009 at 8:09am
Fantastic story and well reported.This is what makes fishing days so memorable.Your story deserves publication in the In Fisherman magazine.I'll bet Doug Stange would love this episode!Well done Mod and thanks!

The first ice fishing I did this year was at a hole in Sheperds lake where I was asked by an old man fishing buddies family to spread his ashes after he died.
Comment by Chris Armbrust on February 1, 2009 at 6:40pm
Wow, well written. Thats In-fisherman worthy. I think doug stange would enjoy that like the rest of us did. Mod you should send that in and see if it ends up in an upcoming issue.
Comment by thirdstoolin on January 16, 2009 at 12:24pm
Great story on the forbidden pond. Brought to mind a favorite of mine.

I am 76 myself but this is about an old guy.
Sometimes in my favorite pond here the big gills like whole kernel corn for some
reason or other. One day there was this old gent about 85 sitting in my favorite hole. After a little conversation I asked him if I could throw in alongside and join him. "Sure, go ahead" he says. Well after a good half hour watching him pull out half a dozen nice ones and me skunked I asked him " What are you doing different than me?" and he says "What kinda corn you got?' and I said IGA whole kernel. "That's the problem he says "Dontcha know you got to use the niblets". I will never forget it as long as I live and still chuckle when I think about it.
Comment by Frosch on December 21, 2008 at 9:42am
Very good story. Thanks for sharing.
Comment by Tom Hudson on December 17, 2008 at 7:26pm
Well written, and a great technique I'm going to try on Monday - thanks Mod.
Comment by Rob Greer on December 15, 2008 at 8:38pm
Great Story! Goosebummpy ending.
Comment by blackhawks on December 15, 2008 at 3:22pm
Musky Mod, this is a great read....really enjoyed this post. I really pay attention to "old timers" while on the water (hard and soft). It's even better when they want to engage in conversation. If they do, take the time and talk with them....some of them may be all alone at home. Electronics and great equipment can never replace experience and wisdom. Thanks for sharing this.

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