a difference a day makes. Twenty-four little hours.
Dinah Washington sang it better than it can be said.
disappeared, and spring arrived, just like that, finally.
didn’t take the bluegill long to figure it out, and we hit
it just right, by accident. It would have to have been called
a classic fishing day. A low front was approaching, Wind
was from the south and moving to the west. There was light
cloud cover and the wind laid nicely at mid-morning. Conditions
were about as good as they could be. To top it off, a full
moon was lurking, and everyone knows a full moon drives
just the day before, Dennis Knoy, Bloomington, and I had
endured a east wind and were beaten, but not skunked, at
Catract. We caught three 11- to – 12-inch crappie, one tiny
walleye and one tiny white bass in 4.5 hours. It seemed
tellin’ you Jordan, I wouldn’t bet on it today either,"
said Tony Abrell, Worthington, as we rode out to the fishin’
hole. It was unusual that we were riding,. We usually park
and hike, but we had a new guy with us on this outing, Cash
Currant, a Montanan whose notorious inability to walk without
taking a header prohibited hiking to the lake.
came outfitted for drowning crickets or for casting FishNSpins
or jigs tipped with beemoth. Tony uses a clear casting bobber
with about three feet of line for depth, no weight. Because
I had been rigged for crappie fishing, I started with a
slip bobber rig and a slip shot to make the line run through
it. I agree with Tony that his casting bobber, no weight
rig is far the better setup, especially when bluegill are
in shallow water.
were fishing a small, private lake of about 10 acres. Tony
has been fishing it for years, and in the past few, he has
taken me along to this lair of humongous bluegill. It was
either on the first or second cast that Tony’s ultralight
bent double. We made the circuit around the lake, Tony the
Trolling Motor sitting in the bow with the sculling paddle
and dunking crickets.
line twists and some over-eager casting by Currant, a former
hog rancher, followed by more bird nests in everyone’s reels,
by the time we ended our first lap around the lake, we had
20 enormous bluegill. I switched to a plain jig tipped with
beemoth, Currant stuck with the FishNSpin and we caught
another dozen on the second lap.
say we got four or five that if they aren’t a pound, they’re
at least 14 ounces," said Abrell as we nosed onto the
bank. We hauled a five-gallon bucket out of the boat that
was filled to the brim with bluegill, tails hanging over
the edge. We counted 34 of them. The smallest two or three,
caught mainly by Abrell, were in the half-pound class and
would have been prizes at most lakes.
and I turned those into 67 (somebody messed one up) pure,
white bluegill fillets which we bagged up and took home
the wind rose and we stood looking over this favorite fishing
hole, I noticed patterns on the surface at mid-lake. Those
surface disturbances were bluegill, cruising near the surface
in the middle of the lake where the sun still warmed the
top. Tiny insects were emerging there, and the bluegill
were feeding on them.
fish can be caught by rigging a red worm or cricket just
a few inches deep below the smallest bobber you can cast,
no weight. Cast and after letting the disturbance caused
by the cast subside, begin to slowly move the bobber. Move
it at glacial speed, then let it stop to rest now and then.
course, what kind of bluegill strategy you use now depends
mainly on where you fish. If you choose to fish farm ponds
or small lakes (a wise choice), fish will be more active
because of warmer water. Farm pond and small lake fish will
also be associated more closely with the bank.
that the huge bluegill we caught were all female. We had
one male all day. The females did not have eggs in them
yet, but they were up checking out known favorite nesting
next full moon is May 7, and if weather and water levels
cooperate, there will be major bluegill action then. If
conditions cool and storms drive them from nesting areas,
look for the full moon of June 5 to be peak spawning this
year, especially in larger lakes.
this is the perfect time to combine a fishing trip with
a morel hunt. Conditions are perfect for them, even if moisture
is on the short side. Be sure to check in the mornings after
even the lightest rain.