Two Fisted Bluegills

Two Fisted Bluegills

The beauty of living in paradise isn't just having access to bluegills like this. But it helps. We punched holes in another small, local lake and worked hard all day to touch a  few wild animals like this humpback. Brilliant. Thrill of the hunt. And all that implies.

Yeah, that's Shoggie, again. Dave Shogren to most of you.

"What are you using, Shoggie?"


"Orange glow?"

"Plain orange."

I walked over and looked. Orange vertical jig with a black eye. "This?"


So, of course, I tried every other color in my box but orange. Shoggie's got another one. And another one. By mid day I was looking for anything orange. I found a horizontal jig. Nope. Digging in the box again, I found an orange teardrop. Who knows who made it. Just an orange teardrop with a chrome back. Bam. Crappie.

Pretty soon I was working this guppy off the bottom in 15 feet of water. Ok, ok. Orange. Sigh. When is it ever all orange? Maybe in 1968, all orange was in vogue with the local bluegill set.

But it might have been as simple as switching to a vertical jig, Back in the 1970s, teardrops were the only jigs we ever dropped through holes in the ice for panfish. For the past couple decades, I've become attached to horizontal jigs — tiny ball heads in particular — for ice fishing. Even today, hardly anybody uses them. Marmooska-style tungsten jigs are currently all the rage. Never cared for fashions much. Edges. Give me edges.

Back on point: Two-handed bluegills can be extremely color conscious. Turns out most fish are. I went through the entire Felix-style bag of tricks. Marabou tails. (Hot.) Rubber legs on 1/80-ounce jigs. (Smokin'.) Nail polish. Glow. Tiny. Big. Ball heads struck out leaving runners on base all over the lake.

But, then again...I didn't have an orange ball head. So, while I worked on a reluctant bottom hugger with my orange teardrop, Ricky Hammer caught the biggest bull of the day (over 10 1/2 inches). On a chartreuse jig. That I gave him. Sigh.

The beauty of living in paradise is being ready. If it's a color, it should be in the panfish box. Who knows? Maybe panfish appreciate sunset colors under the ice. They haven't seen one in a while. When the sun slants through the trees, it's time to go on this lake. Summer or winter. Heavily stained water. Not the best for evening bites. Leaves time for a cocktail after cleaning a mess of crappies. The bulls stay home, to prosper and grow.

Light dusting of snow on the steps to the porch. Citrus fish with chiles? Simple. That's what paradise is about. Pleasant to be home before dark, a fire burning, surrounded by the pungent aroma of chiles, tarragon, onions, citrus, and cumin. Everything in place. Batteries charging. Message on the phone from Tony Roach. Walleyes are on fire, too. Sweet.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

Recommended for You


Using Crankbaits For Smallmouth Bass

Matt Straw - January 31, 2016

Crankin' is almost a necessity for finding bass on the Great Lakes from summer through fall.

Pike & Muskie

Best Drive-To Pike Waters

Gord Pyzer

Some of Canada's best pike waters are within driving distance.


Spring Walleye Fishing Tackle Choices

Steve Ryan - October 19, 2017

Spring walleye fishing often means large numbers of fish concentrated in small areas.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

In-Fisherman Calendar Periods

In-Fisherman staffers target all fish and key on the revolving season calendar periods to maximize the the likelihood of catching more and bigger fish.

Swimmer Magic for Largemouths

The In-Fisherman staff shows how to get going when the going gets tough, as they apply a touch of magic for largemouth bass.

Berkley's New Terminal Tackle

OSG's Lynn Burkhead and Chad LaChance, host of World Fishing Network's Fishful Thinker television show, talk about Berkley's new innovative terminal tackle being introduced at ICAST 2019.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


Catfish Pole Rigs

Richard Peterson with In-Fisherman - April 28, 2016

Pole lines illustrate the paradox of catfishing. At a time when excellent rods, reels, and...

Other Fish

Best Carp Baits Today

Dan Johnson - June 29, 2018

To guide your carp quest, we've lined up the best carp baits that are easy-to-fish natural...


Understanding Spring Walleye Migrations

Gord Pyzer - June 02, 2018

'Walleyes spawn in spring and understanding spring walleye migrations, whether you live north...

See More Stories

More Panfish


Shooting Docks for More Panfish

Cory Schmidt - April 26, 2018

It's all about that goliath 'gill living way up under a slimy mat of milfoil; that mega school...


Find Your Biggest Bluegills During Summer

Matt Straw - July 06, 2018

Scooping out nests, laying eggs, warding off nest invaders, staring down or dodging toothy


Finding Big Bluegill in Tall Corn

Matt Straw - April 02, 2018

There are several reasons why spring is the season to invest most of your bull-hunting time:...

See More Panfish

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.