Captain Garry's Blog
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Bluegill Fishing, How to catch perch, bulegill, and other panfish and brim
First, I like to fish when the sun is on the water, but there is a little shade from trees and tules. I personally think these fish, which easily fit right into a largemouth bass’s mouth, are more apt to be active and feeding when they are less worried about ending up there, which certainly is more likely when the bass bite is active, such as in the mornings and evenings. But still, these little perch like to hang pretty near some structure to hide in if that hungry black bass decides for a mid-day brunch.
Using the right sized hook is important as is the right sized split shot fishing weight. The hook should be big enough to hold that chunk of night crawler (about a third of one), threaded up over the fishhook ) eye, with the hook protruding at the bottom so that the work is straight as opposed to having a “U” shape like the hook has. Threading the fishing worm rather than sewing it on so that it is bunched up on the hook also seems to have the effect of making the bait last much longer along with causing the fish to bite better. Many fishermen use much too small of a hook. The hook should be about a number 6 and I personally like use the test that it will tightly allow my pinkie finger to fit within the “U” for most of the pan fish. Rock bass, which are found in schools in certain waters, can take a little larger hook as they have a little larger, bass-type mouth.
The weight (split shot), should be as small as possible to allow the worm to sink and the bobber to be held upright. Here, it should be noted that the bobber should be small and the fishing line lightweight—I like 4 pound test for perch fishing as well as shad fishing and trout fishing. Basically, this rig is setup is to allow a minimum of interference with you and your fishing pole and the hook itself when you are toying with the bluegill or other pan fish of your prey. Too big of a bobber requires too much weight to upright. I like the good old red and white bobber but my dad liked the pencil type bobber as they are a little more delicate and streamlined to allow even less resistance in the fishing technique that I will explain here.
Trust me on this--- those sunfish, perch, and bluegill are wily little buggers. They test their prey, in most cases, before they consume it. They come up and grab the worm with their lips and nibble and tug on it before they gulp it down. If they feel any resistance on the test, they spit it out. They will come right back to it, or another one in the school will, but again they will toy with it. This is where the technique is important and the tackle rig that we talked about above comes into play. This is the “how to” part of the equation.
To catch these sly little fish, the trick is to, what I call, "meet them half way". They will grab the hook lightly and begin to swim away from the school. At this point you will easily lift the line from the water to the bobber, without moving the bobber, and let the fish cause the line to tighten to your fishing rod tip. At that point, a very small flick of the wrist to set the hook is in order, not a full yank, as just the tightening of the line to a taught line is usually enough of a hook set but a little flick at that key moment is best. It is important that you not have slack line lying too far across the water between your rod tip and the bobber as to take up this slack during a bite will certainly move the bobber and the fish will feel the resistance and release the bait. A heavy bobber is built in resistance that the fish don’t like, as is heavy line. The key is not letting the fish sense any resistance until that moment when they experience the wrist snapping hook set. Most of the time, they will feel you on the other end of the line and release the bait until the one time when the feel to both you and them is such that no movement is sensed and that line tightens between you – hence the term “meeting them half way”.
Some will argue that it is much easier to catch these fish than this how-to lesson portrays, and when the fish are full of roe and eating for a thousand, that is somewhat true. But when the fish are living their day to day lives the rest of the year, you will find this fishing technique essential to fill that stringer for the big fish fry, and even when they are about to spawn, this fishing tip will undoubtedly lead to you being the king of the pan fish anglers! And, don’t forget to Sign up here Free and post your fishing picture with these prize fish at Fishnfools.com and show of your new found skills.
Speaking of frying fish, knowing how to cook and eat these delicate freshwater fish is a must or it can be frustrating. First, you simply scale the fish (I like using a butter knife), and cut their heads off, gut, and rinse them. I never use a batter as it is too fattening and overwhelms the flavor of any sea food. I simply wet the fish with water and bread them in a mixture of 1 part flour, one part corn meal, and one part seasoned bread crumbs with a generous amount of garlic powder (not garlic salt) and salt and pepper to taste. Fry them in a deep pool of high heat oil like peanut oil or canola oil until they are golden brown. A deep fryer works best. You will find that the corn meal has a magic quality in it to keep the fish from burning too brown and allows a little forgiveness for over cooking. The cooking is quick and active, much like the fishing for these fish.
When they are done, just remember that there is a bone in the center with a nice little fillet on each side. Pull the fins out of the top and bottom with your hands (they will come out easy) and clean any fine bones left there. Then, slice your fork from the tail forward with it flat against the center bone and the filet for that side will come right off. Turn it over and scoop the rib bones from the gut area of the fillet and repeat the same for the other side. Squeeze a little lemon and enjoy. I like eating the crispy fins and the roe sacs of the females are excellent and are prepared the same way. Remember to use a screen to cover them though as they pop worse than you can imagine and can burn you or and your spouse’s you-know-what when that grease covers the walls! And, by the way, I use that same breading for striped bass, frog legs, abalone, and about every other type of fish and sea food. I will also sometimes prepare a little tartar sauce with mayo, sweet pickle relish, garlic, and lemon juice to dip the fillets in. All this goes best if you leave the forks in the drawer and use your hands for it all! Bon appétit!
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