C&B GUIDE SERVICE AT LAKE GUNTERSVILLE - OFTEN CALLED
AMERICA'S BEST BIG BASS LAKE
Secrets to Bluegills and Shellcrackers
NOTE: Bobby Bright and Charley Slaten of Boaz, Alabama,
own C&B Guide Service and specialize in fishing
Alabama's Lake Guntersville, Lake Logan Martin and Lake
Neely Henry. These two fishing guides make their living
helping their customers catch fish, and they depend
on their equipment every day they're on the water. This
week Bright and Slaten will tell us how they fish and
how they consistently catch more fish than other anglers
Question: Bobby, on what lakes do you and Charley guide?
Bright: We guide in Alabama on Logan Martin Lake, Neely
Henry Lake and Guntersville. We guide for crappie, shellcrackers,
bluegills and bass. We do a little sauger guiding, but
we enjoy catching and eating saugers ourselves.
Question: Bobby, you're just finishing up bream season
here in the first of June, so, tell me how you find
bream and how you catch them.
Bright: When we get ready to go bream fishing, we'll
use 4- to 6-pound-test Mossy Oak Fishing Line. We like
this line because it's small in diameter and really
strong. This line not only allows us to get a good hookset
on the bream but also gets the bream in once we get
them hooked. We fish for two types of bream: redeared
sunfish, commonly called shellcrackers, and bluegills.
Bobby, how are you rigging for bream?
Bright: We use a 1/22-ounce hair jig and attach a live
cricket onto the hook of the jig. We bait the cricket
from the rear to the front so the whole cricket is on
the jig. The reason we use the cricket/jig combination
is because often a female bream will suck the cricket
off the jig, and you won't catch the fish. If you'll
let your bobber sit where it is and twitch it just a
little, the bream will return and eat that hair tail
jig. So by using this type of bait, we've got two shots
at catching the bream. Up the line 6 inches from the
jig, we put a BB split shot. We set our corks so they
suspend the baits about 6 inches up from the bottom.
We use bobbers with lead in the bottom of the bobbers.
Then we can cast our baits further, and our bobbers
will sit up right.
Question: How are you finding the bream beds?
Bright: We generally can see the beds up close to the
bank because a bream bed will look like a small bomb
crater. But that's not where we'll fish. Those beds
are where everyone else fishes and usually have the
smallest bream in them. The bigger beds are going to
be in deeper water about 5- to 6-feet deep. So we start
fishing where most bream fishermen's boats sit. We've
learned that the deeper water not only produces more
bream because those bream in the deep water aren't fished
for, but it also produces the biggest bream.
Question: How are you finding shellcracker beds?
Bright: We look for shellcracker beds where we find
grass and mussel beds. The shellcracker builds its bed
out of shells and likes to eat small mussels. I guess
that's the reason they call these redeared sunfish shellcrackers.
These beds will usually be on flats and sandy bottoms
and often out on points. We've found that the biggest
shellcrackers we catch are usually holding in 4 to 5
feet of water. One thing that we're doing whether we're
fishing for shellcrackers or bluegills is that we keep
our baits moving. We'll cast our baits out. Then when
the cork hits the
water, we let the cork sit still for about 2 or 3 seconds,
twitch the cork a few times and then if we don't get
a bite, we'll move the bobber a foot or two and repeat
the same action. We use this tactic when we're hunting
Then when we locate a bream bed, we anchor-down and
start fishing that bed. We don't mark our bream beds
with a GPS, we just remember where we've caught bream
in years past. The bream usually will bed the next year
within 15 to 20 yards of where they've bedded before.
However, the 2005 bream season in the spring has really
been strange because some of the best beds we've fished
in the past have vanished. I think when catfish and
gar start moving into the bream beds on a daily basis,
the bream find somewhere else to bed.
Question: Where are you finding your bluegill beds?
Bright: Like the shellcrackers, we're finding our best
bluegill beds in 4 to 5 feet of water. Now, you can
still catch a lot of bluegills in that really-shallow
1 to 2 foot of water, but when you find shallow fish,
you have to realize that all the other bream fishermen
in the world have found those same bream and probably
have picked over them pretty good. That's why we fish
for the bluegills in the 4 to 5 foot water. Those fish
haven't been picked over, and generally these types
of areas contain more bigger fish.
Question: Are there any other secrets to successful
Bright: I believe that one thing we're doing that solves
a lot of problems for us, is using a weighted cork.
The weighted cork enables you to cast more accurately,
especially with a wind. Too, because wind makes the
cork stand straight up, you often can spot your bites
better. We also believe that the 4- to 6-pound-test
Mossy Oak Fishing Line has been a huge advantage for
us this year. Because many of our fishermen aren't highly-skilled
anglers, they'll often use closed-face spinning reels
like the Zebcos. When we put the 4- to 6-pound-test
line on their closed-face reels, our anglers can cast
like pros and land plenty of bream. On a good day, two
fishermen will usually catch 150 bream, both bluegills
and shellcrackers, when fishing with us. Our biggest
bluegill generally will weigh 3/4-pound, and our largest
shellcrackers will weigh 1-1/4-pound each. Our average
weight on bluegills and shellcrackers will be 1/2- and
For more information about fishing with C&B Guide
Service, you can call (256) 593-7830, (256) 738-4293
(Bobby Bright) and/or (256) 572-6217 (Charley).
To learn more about Mossy Oak Fishing Line's top-quality
lines, go to www.mossyoakfishing.com.
TOMORROW: SECRETS TO FISHING