"Panfish" is kind of deceptive...

Discussion in 'Bluegill Fishing' started by Brando, Nov 5, 2007.

  1. Brando

    Brando New Member

    Messages:
    81
    State:
    Louisville, Kentucky
    I've caught a shipping barge full of bluegill in my lifetime. Not just bluegill, but all kinds of bream. The problem is that not once have I ever caught one that is big enough to be worth cooking. They are called panfish, but I've never even had one close to skillet sized. I've tried all kinds of bait from hotdog to nightcrawler to corn to minnows to crickets, and I never get anything bigger than bait-sized fish. What's the deal?
     
  2. Pacman

    Pacman New Member

    Messages:
    141
    State:
    South Carolina
    My grandma's motto was, "If it's big enough to swallow the hook, it's a keeper." Small bream may not be anything to brag about, but the meat is sweeter than larger fish. Clean em, roll them in corn meal, and pop them in the pan. You may find out that you have been throwing back a delicacy.
     

  3. Ketch

    Ketch New Member

    Messages:
    469
    State:
    Minnesota
    I gotta agree with DeWayne on this. Some of them little buggers are mighty tasty. By the way, welcome aboard Pacman.

    I do remember way back when when the panfish were bigger and a meal could be achieved with a lot less fish.
     
  4. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    Welcome to the BOC, Brando & Pacman!

    I guess how big a bream has to be before you eat it is a matter of personal preference. I can remember the time, when I would scale them, gut them, dehead & detail them, then fry them up in the skillet. These days, if it won't fillet, it's too small to eat...well, sometimes I make an exception with 3 or 4 small channels. To get a small but reasonable sized fillet off a bream, it's got to be pretty close to hand size; and IMO, a bream less than 6" doesn't have enough meat on it to even consider scaling & frying it whole. If you fillet the bream, you've got to be very careful when cooking those small fillets, or you'll over cook them. If you heat the oil to the same temperature as you do when cooking catfish fillets, and drop the cornmeal coated bream fillets into it, by the time the cornmeal is light brown, the fillet is overcooked. For this, you need to have the grease a lot hotter; even smoking hot. Fine cracker crumbs will brown faster than cornmeal, if you would rather keep the oil at its usual temperature. If you use the 'cook 'em whole' method, you are looking at longer cooking times, and the oil doesn't have to be so hot.
     
  5. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,160
    State:
    NC
    "...not once have I ever caught one that is big enough to be worth cooking..."

    I talked to a gentleman once that took all those little suckers, scaled them, cut the heads off and the guts out, and ground them up bones and all into a paste. He then mixed that up like you would a salmon patty and fried it as a "fish cake"

    While I have never tried them, I have heard from many people that they are awesome! :wink:
     
  6. CJ21

    CJ21 New Member

    Messages:
    4,303
    State:
    Montgomery, Alabama
    Welcome to the BOC, Brando & Pacman! I have that same problem, I cant seem to catch any big size bream the little always get the bait first even thou I have caught a lot of good size bream. But you might wont to try bigger bream hooks that might be the answer.
     
  7. Netmanjack

    Netmanjack New Member

    Messages:
    3,734
    State:
    Ohio
    Maybe it's your Jester Hat and they are just not taking you seriously! :crazy:lol.
    Try fishing for them on the bottom. In most smaller ponds thats where I get my biggest ones. In bigger lakes try right above deep water weed beds with a foot or two drop with a big bobber. I like pieces of night crawler on an ultra lite with about an eighth ounce split shot or less. Those little dinks that you are catching don't hang withe the big boys in deep or dangerous waters! :cool2::smile2::wink:
     
  8. Brando

    Brando New Member

    Messages:
    81
    State:
    Louisville, Kentucky
    Fishcakes, huh? If you really can do that, I'd be down for it. I just wanna make sure that I don't have any bones left in 'em that would... I don't know... puncture my esophagus. I'm not going out on bluegill.

    If anyone knows how to do this (make fish cakes, not puncture my esophagus), let me know, because I'd be willing to try it. I caught a truckload of striped bass the other night that had some decent meat on 'em, but too boney to fillet. Can you make fishcakes out of those, too? I know that a lot of people cut away the red meat along their midline (to get rid of toxins) and I would have to do that first.

    As for my hat, I only wear it around the house, in the shower, to the grocery, to church, and when golfing. It would be silly of me to wear it fishing.
     
  9. postbeetle

    postbeetle New Member

    Messages:
    6,598
    State:
    Iowa
    Brando, I have a farm pond with gills, shellcrackers, bass and catfish. The catfish are my buddies, I don't fish the bass 'cause I can't stand their taste and I need them for predators. I use cut gills for catfish bait on the Mississippi and local rivers. My problem is I keep catching hand size plus bluegills. I want to catch three to 5 inch gills and I can't keep those big guys off my hook. Maybe you can tell me your secret. You might have something going there.
     
  10. micus

    micus New Member

    Messages:
    524
    State:
    Lake St. L
    If ya know how to clean'em & cookum' they taste darn good. If cooking them whole, score the sides to make'm cook faster and easier to get the meat off. If ya' fillet'em, cook like crappie. They taste better than most other fish.:roll_eyes:
     
  11. Brando

    Brando New Member

    Messages:
    81
    State:
    Louisville, Kentucky
    My "secret" for catching puny fish! hahahaha! Awesome. I am the Pied Piper of Pipsqueaks.

    Well, *eyes dart around the room* if you really wanna know....

    I take a #8 aberdeen hook with a couple small pieces of hotdog skin from a chicken frank about the size of a dime or smaller and hang one towards the point of the hook with the tip exposed, and one on the shank. I use chicken franks in particular because the skin is tougher than regular hotdogs and I don't use the center portion of the dawg because it is too easy for them to just nibble it off. The skin is tough enough that they can't just tug it off too easily and they have to suck the whole thing in. When that happens, you barely have to move the rod tip for a hookset, and often they just hook themselves thanks to the bluegill dive and run where they flip back and fourth the whole way.

    About 8 inches above that I put one or two quarter-ounce split-shot and a foot-and-a-half above the split-shot I place a yellow, lemon-shaped bobber that I have in a fixed position (The picture that I put up is of a different kind of bobber, but that is the general shape). I fish this only about two feet awy from the bank where the water is about a foot deeper than where the bait sits, but that's just a guess. I really don't think it's much deeper than that right there. It's so close and shallow that I can still see my bait and I can watch the fish come out from the rocks and bite my bait.

    The alternative to this is to move the bobber up to an overall depth (bobber to hook) of 4 feet. It's a little trickier to cast, and sometimes you end up with the business end all up in your business, but it works if I'm fishing in about 12 feet of water, which is for me about 15 feet away from the bank.

    Then I watch the bobber intensely while my friends make fun of me for fishing for bluegill. A guy's gotta have something to do when the catfish rod isn't moving.

    If I fish out a bunch of the smaller ones, will it allow the ones that are left more opportunity for food and allow them to get bigger? Or will it eliminate food for other predators and ultimately remove most all of the bluegill?
     

    Attached Files:

  12. countrycat15

    countrycat15 New Member

    Messages:
    668
    State:
    gastiona,nc
    i have found that the biggins will be in deeper water and not hanging around the little one s so much.but i love em fried. what i do is get a little pancake mix, add some water and some evaporated milk and dip em in it..........mmmmmm makes me hungry just talkin bout it.
     
  13. Swampy

    Swampy New Member

    Messages:
    818
    State:
    Fl.


    Try using small spinner bait in the 1/64 -1/32 oz size. A jig that size ran under a small spinner blade drives them crazy. in clear water use white or pink if the water is murky or off colored try yellow colors if the water is dark purple is your best bet in most cases. Use U.L. rod & reel with 2-4# test. They will follow the jig as it falls but in most cases will not hit it until you twich it up and it start to fall back down the 2nd or 3rd time. Or fish on the bottom in deeper water as Netman Jack stated above. Those are the two best tips I can offer when trying to catch larger gills and other panfish.
     
  14. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    Rather than trying to grind them up and maybe missing a bone, it seems to me that the answer would be to can them. That would soften the bones and make them edible, just like the bones you find in canned salmon. Here's a recipe:
    http://www.norwichbulletin.com/lifestyles/food/x1086973629

    If you're fishing, say, a farm pond, it's more likely than not that the bream have become stunted. One part of my family had a farm, and when they built a pond, the county agent told them that they should never throw a bream back in the water, even if they had to throw it up on the bank and leave it there. He said that if you want to have big bream, you've got to fish them often and hard to keep them from getting overcrowded and stunted. That doesn't hold in large lakes and rivers; the bream just tend to stay with their own size.
     
  15. kyredneck

    kyredneck New Member

    Messages:
    1,021
    State:
    Kentucky
    Some ponds are simply overpopulated and the fish are all gonna be small. Other than that the bigger bluegills are gonna be deeper.

    Hehe, you're speakin my heart. I still love to take my flyrod and catch a stringer full of those pretty creek perch, and cook em' ' on the bone'. You fillet these on the plate with your fork. They're delicious, imo.
     
  16. zappaf19

    zappaf19 New Member

    Messages:
    1,574
    State:
    Monticello,IN
    Right now I am fishing the back of the docks and getting some nice gills. (deep side of the lake) It seems to me that if I catch small ones I drop the line deeper and catch The bigger ones. Once you tasted gills you will love them!
    Bill