The importance of Blue Gill on our Psyche cannot be underestimated. For it is the Blue Gill that allows most of us to retain our pride as fisherman and as men who bring home dinner when it matters most.
When we have been skunked hunting for every other fish under the sun, it is the Blue Gill we turn to in order to convince ourselves that we are still fishermen.
It is the Bluegill that we prep our children for on their first fishing trip and it is the Blue Gill that turns our children from "Eww icky!" To "Dad let me kiss it!" We are so lucky as a state, to have Blue Gill stocked into our urban lakes as well as a feisty, selection at all our natural lakes and rivers.
How many Hooked AZ readers have gone out for catfish and bass and have caught nothing. When this happens, we can both pack it up and stop for the day or we can throw a small piece of pepperoni on a trout hook and real in ten to fifteen of the little guys.
How many readers have gone home after a weekend of fishing and reported their catch as being twenty to twenty five fish. All of your friends who were stuck home are in awe over your number of fish caught, but they Do not know that 18 out of the twenty were Bluegill!
To have a successful day catching Bluegill one must possess either a Spider man or a Barbie fishing pole with two-pound test line. One must have a little person who is under the age of eight to take with them and one must have either Crappie hooks or trout hooks and bobbers. For bait, mealworms are the most productive but anything from pieces of hot dogs to pepperoni to bits of earthworms work just as well.
The most important thing you must have with you on this adventure is patience and understanding. You are trying to instill in the young one you have brought with you love of the outdoors and of fishing, you must bring patience with you. For if they are miserable then they won’t want to go again even when they are twenty two years old.
When I go fishing with the young ones, I know that no matter what I will be untying yards of tangled up line not one time but probably four times. I know that the chances of me getting a sharp barbed hook up my nose or lodged to my ear are greatly increased.
Blue Gill and their cousins Sunfish are spread throughout every body of water in the state and they range in depth from an inch below the surface to seven feet deep. I find though to have the kind of biting that will keep young ones interested one must fish close to the bank of the river or the shores of the lakes. I also like to bring the bright shiny bobbers that glow in the dark and shine in the day. I tell the children what the bobbers close and when it goes under the water that is the time to pull back and bring your fish in. The excitement in my daughter’s eyes when she caught her first batch of blue gill was the equivalent to when she walked through the gates of Disneyland for the first time. Then to listen to her as she bragged about her catch to me was greater than bragging about my own.
I watched her that day setting hooks and learning about how to set her drag in pride I watched her reel in Blue Gill after Blue Gill and I thought about what it took to get her to this level.
My daughter was four when I first took her fishing and like any four year old it took a act of God to get her sit still long enough for a Blue Gill to become interested in her bait but when she finally did calm down enough to sit still the fish started biting. We had rigged her Barbie Pole with some pepperoni and the Blue Gill was fighting over the bait. Finally, a semi big one swam by and claimed it by swallowing it whole. The next four minutes were filled with excitement as she brought in her first fish.
Since then my daughter has become an expert fisherman in her own right. I imagine her being on television one day (after winning a pro-bass tournament) teaching other women and children the importance of fishing and conservation.
Of course she wants to be an actor and she probably will be, but a father can dream cant he?
Bluegills are not just for children or for anglers down on their luck. If you go to the Colorado river just outside of Bullhead city there happens to be a American Legion that sits on a bend in the river. Earthworms are the best here and if you toss your line into the bend, you will be quite surprised over the Bluegill that you will catch. The fish here being natural and not stocked, they are violent and large they are roughly the size of a plate and weigh anywhere from a full pound to three pounds. The meats on these fish are perfect for Fish Taco’s. The meat is flaky and delicious and with a light beer, batter cabbage and lime juice are perfect for impressing a city girl that has never ate what she has caught before. I find the flavor to be similar to Sea Bass though the amount of meat on a Bluegill is significantly less.
Final thought: So if the moon is new and you find yourself on a empty lake in the middle of summer and the fish just aren't’ biting remember the Bluegill and keep on fishing