John's Journal...


Catch Firecracker Bream With Outer-Space Technology

Click to enlargeEditor'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.

From the fourth of July until the first week in September because of the very hot temperatures, you can fry eggs on the sidewalk in much of the South. Although many people believe the temperature soars only in the Deep South during the summer months, when I called a friend in New York, he told me, "John, you won't believe it, but the temperature has hit 90 to 100 degrees here much of the summer." Click to enlarge"How's the bluegill fishing?" I asked. "Terrible," he said. "All the fish have abandoned their beds, and nobody can catch panfish up here." I explained how I planned to fish with another buddy of mine the following week. I told him that if I discovered how to catch hot- weather bluegills, I'd give him a call. Then he could try what I used to solve his fishing problem.

Ron Smith of Sylacauga, Alabama, had invited me to fish a small, shallow pond near his home. When I met him, I looked at the pond and quickly spotted some points coming out into the lake and a few shady coves that surely held bluegills. In the 103-degree weather at 2 p.m., Smith used the trolling motor to move the boat to the middle of the lake instead of motoring the boat toward the points and coves. He cast a Beetle Spin, the same black-bodied, chartreuse-striped jig that David Tucker had used. "The bream hold out here in the middle of the lake," Smith reported. "The shallow water is so hot, and the sun's so bright that the coolest, shadiest water in the lake can be found out here in the Click to enlargemiddle." We fished for about 20 minutes before we got a bite. As soon as we caught our first bluegill, we moved the boat to the area where the fish had taken the bait. I marked the spot as a waypoint on my GPS receiver.

How To Use Outer-Space Technology To Take Bluegills:
The hand-held GPS receiver enables you to see your boat's slightest movement on the GPS screen. By marking the spot where Smith and I caught the bluegill as a waypoint, I knew he and I could return to the same region at any time during the day we wanted to fish it. Using the trolling motor, we quietly backed away from the site and caught five or six more bluegills holding in the middle of the lake. Each time the fish quit biting, I'd mark the spot as a waypoint. Then we would move and cast, hoping to locate other schools of big bluegills and shellcrackers. That afternoon, we pinpointed five places in the middle of the small lake where we regularly caught 1- to 1 1/2-pound bluegills and shellcrackers.

Click to enlargeWhen we finished at our fifth fishing place, we used the GPS receiver to return to our first spot and repeated the same course we had fished earlier that afternoon. At each location, we continued to take big bream until the fish stopped biting. Then we would move to the next waypoint to catch more. During the hottest part of the summer, you will locate bluegills schooled-up in deep-water ponds. By finding their schools, you can catch these panfish throughout the day. "On slow fishing days when the bluegills refuse to bite, I'll use a small hook, 4- to 6-pound-test line and two or three live red worms on one hook as bait," Smith said. "I'll cast the bait out and let it fall to the bottom. If the bluegills don't take the worms on the fall, I'll occasionally twitch the line and mop the bottom with my bait until the bluegills have to attack. I still catch big bluegills and shellcrackers using these bottom-mopping techniques, even on the hottest days of the summer."



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 3