When you’re a little kid and go fishing, you naturally want to keep everything. At least I did. And when I think back to the countless stringers of tiny bluegills that my grandfather lovingly dragged back to the house for me, I can’t help but smile. Oh, my grandmother would cook them sometimes, and like a normal little kid, I’d be pumped, take a few bites, then fill up on the French fries she’d make with them. Most of those ‘gills became fertilizer for my grandfather’s tomato plants. But we surely had fun catching them.
For me, bluegills have since become bycatch. But this past Saturday, I got a call from our Executive Editor, “Mad Dog” Mike Toth (pictured), with an invite to join him on an afternoon bluegill quest at a local pond. It was an intriguing idea. A trip specifically for bluegills? It was something I haven’t done since the early days.
So I’ve got a confession to make: I had more fun in those few hours than I have anywhere else locally in a long time. Maybe it was because I knew I was supposed to be specifically targeting bluegills. Maybe it was because they were particularly nice size fish. Or maybe after the fact, it’s because I don’t have to pay for lunch today because Mike fried up the product of our hour’s worth of filleting and brought them all into the office.
So how often do you stray from bass, trout, cats, pike, or any other major target to specifically chase ‘gills?