Got out Sunday 06/02 with my daughter, and my friend John. It started out with my daughter not waking up to her alarm, and me going to wake her up, and her struggling to get there, this time. I hadn't even slept, as we went out for my best friend's going-away party, as he's moving to Arizona next weekend due to a promotion at work. She was ready to not go, and told me as much, after I tried to stir her for a good 15 minutes. I was in the garage hooking up the boat, and loading my other friend's gear in the car, when I get a text. "Did you leave yet?" It was my daughter. Told her no, and in 5 minutes she was in the garage with us, dressed and ready to go.
I'm glad she went, and so was she. It was a beautiful spring morning to get out. Air temps were about 57 in the morning, and rose to about 65 by the time we left around noon. Launched in one of our favorite "bull gill" lakes, that also happens to have a ton of redears, and the occasional 12+ incher of the latter variety.
My buddy backed my boat in, and parked the rig, and within about 5 minutes, we were fishing. I worked a dropshot rig with a red worm(this is the best presentation for the big spring gills here) as did my daughter. My friend John started with a 1/8oz little cleo, tipped with a 1" Gulp minnow. This is the normal summer panfish hot bait,(spoon and plastic or waxie) when they move back out to deeper water. Today, the red worms won the day.
I nailed the first fish on my first cast, 10 seconds after it hit the bottom, close up on shore, in about 3FOW. The first $1 bet of the day was in the bag for me. I put a 9" male gill to hand, and into the livewell it went. Lots of yellow in that one.
About 10 seconds later, my daughter hooked up, and another 9 inch gill went in the livewell, hers more purple and blue than mine.
The fish are beautiful this time of year. So many yellows, oranges, purples, and blues mixed into them. Some are tiger striped, some are just blotchy with all different colors. All are gorgeous. When you run into a few hybrids, they're even better. With their yellowish/orangish fins, and bright blue/turquoise marbling. We managed a couple hybrids today, mixes between a bluegill, and a green sunfish.
Some pretty specimens:
Nice looking 9" gill, same one as above I believe:
Another nice looking 9" gill:
Nice bright yellow gill, doubled up with my daughter and her redear on the ground:
A nice looking redear, just shy of 10:
Another nice redear, around 9:
A 10" hybrid(his twin was right above him in the pic):
Our biggest of the day, a 10 1/4" redear that Tess plucked off a bed like an expert:
I was rigging a new red worm on my hook, and drifted in a little close, right over where our fish came. As I did, I noticed beds all along the point we had started at, lots of fish on them, lots of empty ones, too. The gills started to bed. At that point I knew it would be a great day. We found a ton of fish scattered, both on beds, and just off them on the edge of the weedlines, where they were staging. A ton of males were all over the beds flashing and showing off their colors to try and entice their lady counterparts to spawn with them. Some were battling it out for territory, and the best beds. Others were just sitting around perfectly still on their beds, not a care in the world, even when the boat would drift over top of them. Not so much as a fin moving when it happened. The biggest ones were either on the beds, or just off them on the weedline. We would see a scattered bunch of empty beds, and fire a few casts right to the deeper weedline around them, and big boys would hammer it.
We ended up with 70-80 fish on the day. All three of us caught over 20, and pretty much lost count around that point. Tessa managed her PB bass, just shy of 17 inches, and just spawned out. Healthy looking fish, with a big head, but skinny, as if she just dumped her eggs. That one came while Tess was sight fishing beds with her polarized glasses on, and the bass was just cruising, likely looking for a few gills to eat, or gill spawn/fry, after the stresses of her own spawn. She flipped her rig in front of it, and it hammered it. So she landed the big fish $1 bet for the day. Most fish was a tie, as we all lost count.
We were off the water by 11:15am, with 18 big gills/sunfish over 9" in the livewell, and easily over 70 fish caught, many of those being 8 inch gills that we just threw back. We were picky. We were home by 12:45, and I was napping by 2.
Water temps were 71-73 degrees, the warmer temps in the shallower bays/coves. Best bait was the dropshot with a redworm on a VMC spinshot hook. The spoons and plastics took a couple, but not nearly as many. Get out there and get some panfish folks. It should be just about time in most places. Great day, beautiful weather, and a ton of fun to catch those big aggressive sunfish with great company in the boat. Lots of laughs were had, and lots of fish were caught.
The culmination of a great day: