John's Journal...


Click to enlargeWhat Tactics Work For Bottom-Mopping

Editor's Note: You don't have to go to private ponds in the South to take monster-sized bluegills. You may find Goliath-sized 'gills right under your nose where thousands of anglers fish every year. Many of the best bluegill hotspots never see an angler because most of us have believed that bluegills bed only on the banks. However, I've learned if you want to catch this scrappy panfish that fights hard and tastes delicious, learn to fish offshore on deep-water structure. This week, I'll tell you the best summer tactics for finding and catching bluegills.

Click to enlargeDavid Tucker of Birmingham, Alabama, uses two techniques to mop the bottom for big bluegills. "Anytime I go to a new lake, I fish well away from the bank, cast toward the bank and reel my Beetle Spin jig in just off the bottom. If I catch a big bluegill in that area, I fan-cast all the way around that whole section of the lake to locate the school. Often I can take a limit of bluegills from one school of bream." If the fish refuse to bite, Tucker will take the spinner off the Beetle Spin jig and fish only the jig. He allows the jig to fall to the bottom and hops the jig across the lake bed. When I asked Tucker why he didn't buy just the jig apart from the Beetle Spin, he replied, "The company doesn't sell the jig or the body separately. However, I believe the Beetle Spin's jig body design gets more strikes when I'm bottom-mopping than any other type of jig will." Tucker also has found the Keystone jig will produce trophy bluegills in many lakes. When he arrives at a lake, he studies the shallow water for small minnows along the edge in the weeds or grass. He selects the Click to enlargeKeystone jig instead of the Beetle Spin jig if he sees small minnows swimming near the shore. "Bluegills prefer to feed on small minnows," Tucker explained. "The Keystone jig closely resembles a small minnow. By fishing it close to the bottom in the deep water, I can catch big bluegills."

When To Use Wooden Corks For Big Bluegills:
If bluegills don't readily take the jigs, Tucker will employ his slip-cork, bottom-mopping technique. Keeping his boat well away from the site where he thinks the bluegills hold, Tucker will make a long cast using a heavy wooden cork, allowing his line to fall from the cork to the depths he wants to fish. "I use the wooden cork to provide the weight I need to make a long cast," Tucker advised. "I use as little lead as possible, 8 to Click to enlarge10 inches up the line, to allow the live red worms to sink to the bottom. I occasionally move the worms along the bottom, but the cork still will lay flat on the surface of the water. My cork doesn't suspend my bait up off the bottom but merely acts as a strike indicator. When the bluegills don't want to bite, I stay well away from them and make long casts to mop the bottom with live red worms. This technique will produce both bluegills and shellcrackers when jigs won't." Tucker can catch big bluegills and shellcrackers (redear sunfish) all year. Tucker explains, "I can still catch the big bluegills during the hot months, but they move out into deeper water, often 12- to 15- feet deep."


Check back each day this week for more about BOTTOM-MOP FOR BIG BLUEGILLS ...

Day 1 - How To Find The Biggest Bluegills In Any Pond Or Lake
Day 2 - What Tactics Work For Bottom-Mopping
Day 3 - Catch Firecracker Bream With Outer-Space Technology
Day 4 - When I Sent The News North And Double-Dipping 'Gills
Day 5 - Difficult Bluegill Problems And Eight Keys To Taking Them

John's Journal





Entry 255, Day 2