After helping my twin brother replace a hot water tank
on a recent Sunday (it started leaking at 2:30 in the
morning) I suggested we finish the day with a little
bluegill action in a private pond near his home where
he has permission to fish. Being a Scoutmaster in his
community for many years, Matt has access to some really
nice private ponds and lakes.
The weather was sunny all day and had warmed the water
in the shallow end of the pond. I knew the action would
be good during the last hour of daylight, so we headed
out...me with my fly rod and he with his ultra light
spinning rod. I tied on a #14 Elk Hair Caddis to my 6X
tippet and immediately started catching some big pre-spawn
gills, and he was catching small to medium size bass with
a 1/8 oz. chartreuse rooster tail spinner. This had the
makings of an action packed evening of catch and release
for both species.
After catching about a dozen big gills, Matt saw how much
fun I was having with the fly rod and asked for a fly to
replace the spinner he had lost to a submerged log. I
looked at his rig and asked him what he was planning to
do with my hand-tied custom-made fly. His response was...
"shut up and give me one of those flies." I chuckled,
gave him a #10 Elk Hair Caddis, and watched him tie it
to his 6# K-Mart monofilament. He then clipped on a 1"
round red and white bobber about 24" above the fly, and
cast it into the area where I was catching the gills. All
I could think was; "... you can take the fisherman off the
bucket, but you can't take the bucket out of the fisherman."
I think he was born with a 5 gallon bucket on his butt and
a Zebco 202 in his left hand.
"SPLATT" went the bobber when it hit the water and a huge
ripple went across the whole area we were fishing. I though
his severely un-orthodox methods would be the end of our
catching big gills, when all at once I saw this oversized
fly get sipped in by a gill larger than my hand. The fight
was on as the gill turned broadside to the bank and started
a run that placed a good curl in his 5 foot ultra light rod.
In short order he landed and release the fish, looked at me
with that "I told you so" face, and cast the weird setup back
into the same area. After twitching the bobber a couple of
times to give some action to the fly (and send more ripples
across the still water), another big gill sipped the caddis
from the surface and took off running. All I could do was
laugh and get back into the action with my fly rod...
We fished until it was too dark to see, and went back to
the truck for the short drive home. He offered my fly back
when we got home, and I told him I didn't think I could
put that fly on the end of my fly line, knowing where it
I chalked this experience up to the resourcefulness of a
lifelong Scout, and filed it away for the next time I get
in a pinch without my fly rod. It's amazing what works when
you're desperate for some big bluegill action. ~ Joe