Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lunch Time 'Gills

After a wait that was far too long I finally got to head to the lake. Friday morning and I went to teach a class only to find out it was changed to next week. From there I went to a meeting where the lady looked at me with glazed eyes when I told her some pricing. Guess she thought working all day plus buying material wasn’t worth $25.00. So, I went fishing.

I had planned on going anyway but after all that I had to get away for a few minutes. I stopped off long enough at Big Charlie’s Bait shop and Fried Pie Emporium to grab a tube of crickets and an apple pie. Driving the last few miles munching on fried dough and apples, hoping the recent floods hadn’t done too much damage I was happy to just get out. As I pulled into one of my favorite spots to fish for bluegill I saw signs of the flood laying in the parking lot far from the lake. Logs and smaller debris were everywhere.

I grabbed my gear and started picking my way through a big drift line littering the picnic area. Twigs to logs, it was everywhere along with mosquitoes approximately the size of sparrows. Seems flood waters make for a great skeeter breeding ground.  But I was going fishing.

I got to my spot which is the top of a bluff that is just at water level. The river channel runs against the bank and drops off to 85 feet just a few feet off the bank. Schools of bluegill cruise along just a short cast away, I usually find them down 3-4 feet. I rigged up with a Thill slip float with a bobber stop, enough split shot to pull it upright and a #8 long shank light wire hook. I put on a worm from my backyard worm ranch, threw my first cast and within a few seconds had a nice ‘gill on. The next 6 casts produced fish on worms and crickets.

Just right of my rod tip past the submerged rock is the spot.

Keeping it simple. Crickets, worms, hooks, sinkers, floats and a couple of spinning rods.

As I stopped to string what I had the guy fishing beside me asked what I was doing to catch them. He was fishing just a few feet away and couldn’t get a hit. He had been there for awhile without a fish. I told him the depth, rigging and even said throw where I was casting. He still couldn’t get it right, don’t know what he was doing wrong. I baited up and threw back and they started again. I love it when bluegill are doing this which in this spot is pretty much any day from spring to fall.

Didn't get this guy's name. Note the classic black socks with shorts. Logs are from flood.

This is about halfway through the trip.

I spent the next couple of hours repeating the process. Cricket or worm, change depth a few inches at times, swat skeeters and reel in fish. Every 5-6 I would stop to add them to my stringer. Near the end of my trip 5 guys on a party barge came trolling by just as I lifted the stringer and I heard,
“Man, look at that stringer of bluegill.”  come from the guy on the back of the boat.
They all turned to look so I’m guessing it looked good to them not just me.

This is what got the comment from the guy in the boat. 40 nice 'gills headed to the house.

After 2 hours they had slowed down since it was past noon with no wind or clouds. I had plenty to clean plus was tired of mosquitoes and biting flies, so, I packed it in. After close to a year I finally got to go spend a little time at the lake. Hopefully it won’t be that long till my next trip to Priest and my standing on the bank bluegill spot.

Well, not much of an epic tale of outdoors adventure or conquest but for anyone that has gone any length of time without getting to the lake or woods you can understand this was a big deal. This was a great couple of hours even with heat and bugs. I would happily brave both tomorrow and do it all again just to watch that float disappear.


Albert Quackenbush said...

Now that sounds a fun way to spend a few hours. I am envious. I am sure those other guys are, too! Truly enjoyed reading this post, Tommy. Glad to hear you had a great time. How do you like to cook up your 'poor man's shrimp'? I used to love eating them down at our friends marina. They used to lightly bread them, fry them up and we'd dip them. Tasted better than shrimp as far as I was concerned.

Tommy Ellis said...

I fix mine exactly that way. Battered, fried and dipped or not. Hush puppies and fries usually some cole slaw. Plain southern cooking.

Anonymous said...

Fond childhood memories of sacks full of 'gills, and the assembly line gut, scale, bread, and fry operation that ensued. Those were the days. Now, in SoCal, the 'gills are bigger, more rare, and they all get a new lease on life. I am a bit overdue for a fish fry. Thanks for the memories, and I'm glad to hear that the fishing wasn't disrupted too much by the epic flooding. Nice work.

Gary Hanson said...

Love them cooked on the grill, especially when their all that size, I've read this post prob 5 or 6 times, and still like it. Great Post Tommy.

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Born and raised in middle Tennessee.I'm a working wildlife and landscape artist specializing in watercolors. Now making cedar lures and custom turkey calls.



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