Drifting for bluegills can be
one of the most productive methods for consistently catching
trophy bluegills that a
bluegill fisherman can use. after the spawning season is over the larger bluegills will migrate to waters outside of
the spawning area which is usually deeper and has a decent area of weeds adjacent to some deeper water. these weed
beds are where the bluegills food chain (his dinner table) is located and they will mostly stay here until a thermocline
forms in the top part of the lakes waters.
A thermocline is when the
warmer surface water temperature changes very rapidly to the
cooler temperatures of the
deeper water of the lake, this is usually around 15-20 ft. down here in the upper peninsula and i would guess also be
typical in the northern bluegill states. the warmer the weather is the deeper the thermoclines will be formed as summer
progresses. this stratification of the water usually begins in July here and reaches its maximum depth by August,and
will usually be present until mid September when cooler temperatures start cooling the surface waters.
Fishing these thermoclines is
another art and is quite productive once a fisherman learns
how to use it to his advantage.
I have found that the majority of the larger bluegills will be suspended just below the start of the thermocline in the first
10 ft. Lets say the thermocline starts to form at 15 ft. and the water is 30 ft. deep, the majority of bluegills will be found
down to about 22 ft. with the largest the bluegills will be near the bottom and below them.
To catch these suspended
bluegills regularly the bluegill fisherman needs to perfect
a drifting technique and this involves
using the right type of rods, lures, sinkers and bait. the right rod is one that flexes at the tip as the boats rocks from the
wave action and at the same time gives the right action for the lure or jig to make it catch fish. I use a 6 ft. to 6 1/2 ft.
medium or light action rod and reel with 6-8 lb. firewire, I splice on 4 lb fluorocarbon leader material about 18 in. long
using a uni type splice knot. I attach a 1/32 oz. ball type jig with a 1/4 - 3/8 oz. colored sinker about 24 in. above it. I
have been painting my sinkers for over 25 year's now in florescent red's, green's and yellow's and a lot of bait mfg's have
copied them for their own bait lines. for bait i like a piece of crawler about an inch long and when i hook it on i like it
straight on the shank with the hook sticking out,if you put too much on the shank it curls the piece of crawler and this
will make the jig spin and twist your line .... not good. and the bluegills care less, believe me.
bottom 62 degrees
Being that thermoclines are usually about 15 ft, deep you will need to make sure that you are deep enough to reach
the fish in or below the thermocline. here is a trick that I use on all of my rods that will put the bait consistently
at the depth where they are. get your self a bunch of the threaded type bobber stops, put one on your line and slide
it up so it is 25 ft. from your sinker than pull it tight. now you have a visual indicator to repeatedly return to the
same depth that you have found the fish. Sometimes the know wil lbe at the rod tip or a the water or where ever the
fish are found and can also be adjusted for deeper thermoclines. when the thread color starts to fade from the
sunlight i just spray paint it with the identical florescent color paint.
When drifting you can either
hand hold your rods or keep them in a rod holder, i prefer
the rod holder myself for a
couple of reasons, one reason is that you can see the lightest of bites by watching the the rod tip and another reason
is as the boat rocks from the wave motion the right rod will flex a little smoothing out and slow down the action
of the tip on you lure and bait. I make my own rod holders which allow a person to set the hook and lift the rod out
of the holder in one smooth tilting backwards action of the rod.
Copyright 2014, Don Anderson