Trucos de montaje

Getting a handle on bluegills
By John W. Colburn

Come on, admit it. When the weather heats up and the trout streams are too warm or you don't feel like driving for a couple of hours to an already crowded bass lake, isn't that bluegill pond about a mile away pretty tempting? A quarter-pound 'gill on a light flyrod can put up as good a fight as a considerably larger trout when the water's too warm. And usually there are more of the "brim" ready to sample your fly.

One trouble with fishing for bluegills and other fish with small mouths is getting your fly out of the tiny maw without seriously injuring the fish or losing your fly and/or temper. There's a secret method of removing that little fly quickly and easily.

The secret is to tie your bluegill flies on 3XL to 6XL streamer hooks of the same size you'd normally use! It's a variation of the "low water" Atlantic salmon flies where a small fly is tied on a large hook to retain hooking power while using a small fly to tempt the salmon.

Instead of tying the fly at the eye end of the hook shank, ala low water style, tie your bluegill fly in the last 1-1/2 or 2 hook gapes of the shank. That will give you a considerable length of bare hook shank to get a grip-a handle to remove the hook from that tiny maw. And the 'gills won't pay any more attention to that bare hook shank than they do to the hook eye at the nose and the bend and shank at the butt of a "normal" fly.

Oh yes, don't forget to mash down the barb. That makes removing the fly easier too.

I picked up the idea from Oval Tinsel's "What Knots" column in a back issue of the Wet Net Gazette, the newsletter of the Mid Willamette Fly Fishers of Corvallis, OR. Oval attributed the idea to Walter Meeker of Corvallis who showed the long-shank tying tip at an MWFF meeting about a decade ago.

So tie up some bluegill flies with a handle that isn't guaranteed to catch more fish, but is sure to make it easier for you to get the hook out of those you do catch.
~ John Colburn
Armed Forces Retirement Home-Washington, DC
Copyright 2003 John W. Colburn

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