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Baiting Bluegill

An Unusual Method for Baiting Bluegill

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Male Bluegill In Full Mating Colors

This male bluegill is in full mating colors. You can see how muddy the pond water is behind it. The fish weighed just over a pound.

2006 Ronnie Garrison licensed to About.com
Bluegill are called brim or bream in the south and they are very common, easy to catch and great eating. They are often the first fish a young fisherman catches and are great to start them on. I caught many while growing up and we had a lot of good meals from them, but I was always looking for better ways to catch them.

While growing up some of the older fishermen I hung around with told me about a great method of baiting up bream and making them grow fast. I thought they might be kidding because it sounded kind of gross, and never tried it back then.

Their method was to get a horse or cow head from one that had been slaughtered or killed accidentally and nail it to a tree hanging over a pond. Flies would lay their eggs in the decaying meat and maggots would grow. As the maggots moved around, some would constantly fall out and into the water, offering bream a steady stream of high-protein food.

They told me you could bait up with just about anything you wanted to use and drop your hook into the water where the maggots fell in and catch a bunch of fat bream anytime you wanted them. It was fairly easy to find dead horses and cows back in those days so your source of bait was always around.

I never thought much about this method until one spring a couple of years ago. After my geese disappeared, I suspected a big snapping turtle I had seen in the pond had gotten them. I put out some hooks in my pond and caught one the first night. It was 24 inches long from tip of tail to nose and weighed 8 pounds.

It was laying on the bank and the next day I noticed all the flies around it, which brought back memories of the bream baiting method. I nailed a milk crate to a log sticking out over the water and put the dead turtle in it. Within two days bream were working under the crate, hanging around waiting on food to drop out.

After the last of the turtle disappeared I put a shovel in my truck and watched the roadside. On the way out to my pond I saw my quarry - a roadkill raccoon. I scooped it up and took it with me and placed it in the milk crate, and it worked to provide maggots for the bream.

After that I built a swing arm out of two by fours and attached an old milk crate to it. Now I can put a dead possum, raccoon or other road kill in the basket, swing it out over the pond and provide a ready soure of food for the bluegill in my pond.

I am planning a big fish fry in a few weeks. Anybody want to join me for fried bream?

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