Sunday, August 23, 2015

Going Back in Time

For the month of August I decided to go back in time. Not really but I decided to concentrate on my childhood of learning to fish from my father. As with most anglers I’m sure that your dad and/or mom took you out fishing for the first time for sunfish or bream. These feisty panfish can be great fighters for their size. When you manage to locate a school of sunfish they will inhale the bait that is being presented. This feeding frenzy makes this species ideal for kids to learn fishing techniques like tying the Improved Clinch Knot to attach a hook to your fishing line, baiting the hook with either worm or cricket, casting the rod usually if would be that famous Zebco 404 or maybe just a cane pole, and then landing that monster bluegill.

While I’m no longer using that Zebco 404 reel; I do use an ultra-light 6 ft Shimano Convergence spinning rod with a Shimano Sahara 1000 size spinning reel spooled with 10 lb Power Pro. The 10 lb Power Pro will have a diameter similar to 4 lb monofilament but stronger. I will add a length of 10 lb fluorocarbon leader tied to the braid using an Albright knot. I will either use this setup with beetlespins or maybe a baited hook, small float, and a BB size split shot for weight.

Another setup for fishing for sunfish or bream is the Bream Buster. These are nothing more than the modern day version of the cane pole except that they are telescoping. I will attach a 10 lb monofilament line just a foot or two longer then the pole with a number 8 or 10 size long shank aberdeen or panfish hook, a BB size split shot and a small float. I would suggest that you tie the end of the line to the Bream Buster by threading the line through the eye at tip of the pole and using the Improved Clinch Knot to tighten the line around the shaft of the tip. If you would attach the line directly to the eye there is the risk that a large fish will pull that eye off of the tip and your trophy will be gone.

These bony fish live in ponds, lakes and streams across North America. They normally average about 8 inches but some species like the shellcracker (redear sunfish) are the largest averaging nearly 10 inches. I targeted these species on the Quimby Creek launching from the Ralph Hamer Sr. Landing on Cainhoy Road. Quimby Creek meanders through marsh land and old rice fields for about a mile and a quarter before emptying into the East Branch Cooper River at its confluence with Huger Creek. You will see remnants of the old rice field dikes on the left bank as you approach the river. This is considered a blackwater tidal creek. On this trip I was fishing with my buddies Chris Davis and Greg Bartle targeting bream in this tidal creek. While we did not find any big sunfish we did manage to find a few around the 8 inch length but mainly they were averaging about 6 inches. We also caught a couple small largemouth bass and some pickerel as well. I think I finished this day with about 20 bream that were caught and released.

The next type of body of water is a lake/reservoir. In this situation we decided to try fishing Goose Creek Reservoir. On this trip I decided to try the Bream Buster instead of the ultra light setup. Fishing for sunfish on the reservoir proved more difficult in locating the schools of panfish. I managed to locate a couple at 8 inches and a lot at 3 or 4 inches. At one point I had a great float reaction and set the hook. The Bream Buster buckled right over. I had something that was bigger than a sunfish. I managed to get the unknown monster close to the Jackson Big Rig and noticed that I had a huge grass carp. He took another run and managed to straighten the small number 8 panfish hook.  Tying on another aberdeen hook and hooking up another cricket I sat there and waiting. No bites. I would lift and cast the bait back in the general area about 10 feet from the Big Rig. Again the float went down. I performed a hook site and again the Bream Buster was being tasked into some heavy fighting. This time I started hand hauling the line in. I managed to get another huge grass carp next the kayak. Opened up the fish grippers but the crap made another run and the monofilament cut into the hand and the line broke. At this time I decided I was going to call it quits and head back. I was way too exhausted to battle these monsters again.

I did manage to keep a few sunfish in the Orion 25 Cooler for dinner. The fish were not big enough to fillet so I decided to scale them, cuts the heads off, and gut them. Marian and I lightly breaded the fish and fried them in an iron skillet. We oven roasted some baby potatoes, and streamed some broccoli. This resulted in a super meal.

So when you decide that you are tired of chasing the same fish day in and day out give the bream or sunfish a try. I promise you that your childhood will surface and you will once again relive those memories.

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