Come on, admit it. When the weather heats up and
the trout streams are too warm or you don't feel
like driving for a couple of hours to an already
crowded bass lake, isn't that bluegill pond about
a mile away pretty tempting? A quarter-pound 'gill
on a light flyrod can put up as good a fight as a
considerably larger trout when the water's too warm.
And usually there are more of the "brim" ready to
sample your fly.
One trouble with fishing for bluegills and other fish
with small mouths is getting your fly out of the tiny
maw without seriously injuring the fish or losing your
fly and/or temper. There's a secret method of removing
that little fly quickly and easily.
The secret is to tie your bluegill flies on 3XL to 6XL
streamer hooks of the same size you'd normally use!
It's a variation of the "low water" Atlantic salmon
flies where a small fly is tied on a large hook to
retain hooking power while using a small fly to
tempt the salmon.
Instead of tying the fly at the eye end of the hook
shank, ala low water style, tie your bluegill fly in
the last 1-1/2 or 2 hook gapes of the shank. That
will give you a considerable length of bare hook
shank to get a grip-a handle to remove the hook
from that tiny maw. And the 'gills won't pay any
more attention to that bare hook shank than they
do to the hook eye at the nose and the bend and
shank at the butt of a "normal" fly.
Oh yes, don't forget to mash down the barb. That
makes removing the fly easier too.
I picked up the idea from Oval Tinsel's "What Knots"
column in a back issue of the Wet Net Gazette, the
newsletter of the Mid Willamette Fly Fishers of
Corvallis, OR. Oval attributed the idea to Walter
Meeker of Corvallis who showed the long-shank tying
tip at an MWFF meeting about a decade ago.
So tie up some bluegill flies with a handle that
isn't guaranteed to catch more fish, but is sure
to make it easier for you to get the hook out of
those you do catch.
~ John Colburn
Armed Forces Retirement Home-Washington, DC
Copyright © 2003 John W. Colburn
Please check out the Fly Tying Section, on the Bulletin Board, here at FAOL too.
If you have any questions, tips, or techniques; send them to