John's Journal...


Bet on the Bluegills

EDITOR’S NOTE: Billy Blakely has fished at Reelfoot Lake most of his life and has guided at Blue Bank Resort on the lake near Tiptonville, Tennessee, for the past 23 years. Today Blakely will share with us a little-known crappie-fishing secret used at Reelfoot .

Click to enlargeBlakely: One of the good things about to Reelfoot Lake for fishing is that there is rarely a day during the year when you won’t catch fish there. As soon as the crappie fishing slows down in May, the bluegill fishing really picks up. We catch numbers of bluegills on this lake. Because the lake is so shallow and has so much cover in it, Reelfoot Lake is ideal habitat for bluegill. We catch many of these bluegills tight-lining just as you fish for crappie. We use small Spike-It bream jigs instead of crappie jigs to catch the bluegills. We tight-line around trees on the shoreline. The difference in the way we fish for bluegills and crappie is that we move the jigs very slowly for bluegills. Too, instead of using 8-pound-test Mossy Oak Fishing Line like we do when fishing for Click to enlargecrappie, we use 6-pound-test Mossy Oak Fishing Line. I like longer poles when I’m bluegill fishing. I use either a 9- or a 12-foot B’n’M pole because I want to stay further away from bluegills than when I am fishing for crappie. You’re much less likely to spook the bluegills with a 12-foot pole than you are with a 9-foot pole. When you find the bluegills, you’ll often catch 10 to 12 around one tree. Our average bluegills weigh 12- to 14-ounces each, but we do catch plenty of 1 pound and better bluegills. If you love to catch bluegills on light line and limber poles, then the second week of May, be here at Reelfoot Lake. You can usually limit out almost every day.

Click to enlargeTo catch crappie at Blue Bank Resort, contact Billy Blakely at 1-877-BLUE-BANK (1-877-258-3226), or visit On a package trip, you can fish for four days, stay four nights at Blue Bank Resort and including the cost of boat, motor, bait, gas and ice spend $209 per person. If you prefer to fish on your own, Billy Blakely and the other guides will tell you where to go and how to catch them. A guide charges $200 per day for two people.

Check back each day this week for more about Billy Blakely and Reelfoot Lake

Day 1: Black Crappie
Day 2: Stumping for Reelfoot Crappie
Day 3: Flat-Topping Crappie
Day 4: Casting and Retrieving
Day 5: Bet on the Bluegills



Entry 345, Day 5