Ask the old-timers. They'll tell you the best time to catch bedding bream, aka bluegills is the first full moon in May.
It may be true. Lot of them swear by it and it has been good for me. At any rate, I marked May 10, a week from today, on my calendar. I'm heading for White Oak to put an assault on them.
I have caught a lot of bream. I include in that shellcrackers or red ear although the technique is slightly different.
By far, the biggest bream and the biggest catches of big bream have come from the pond at White Oak. White Oak Plantation, located just outside Tuskegee, AL, has been almost like a second home for me for many years. I started going there over 25-years ago and have just about become one of the Pitman family.
In its' heyday, W.O. boasted over 21,000 acres of superb deer and turkey habitat and three of the best fishing lakes you could ask for.
Today, in semi-retirement, some 1,200 acres remain with lodge, office and living quarters with a lake and a pond. And that is for sale.
So, it could well be, this might be my last trip down that way. I have killed deer and turkey there and caught more big bass and bream than should any one person be allowed to enjoy. But make no mistake, I fully intend to enjoy it as long as I can.
So, I fully intend to be there on the full moon, May 10. In fact, I plan to be there a couple days before and after. But the same holds true here.
Now is when you find the big, bull bream of Old Hickory on the beds and for sure, on Center Hill. I understand some of the kayak anglers have been doing quite well on the bream and shellcrackers on the Hill of late.
Bream beds are easy to spot. They look like landing pads for flying saucers and are usually found on mud banks in shallow water.
If you are fishing from a boat, approach carefully and keep your distance. In fact, the same applies for bank anglers. Another hint is to look for willow flies among the willows on the bank.
Now. What to use for bait? Probably, the most effective would be live crickets. I tend to use 1/16-ounce, Crappie Magnets. Color may vary but brown and chartreuse are my two top picks. Truth is, any small jig can be deadly as long as you can fish it slowly. A 1/16-ounce jig under a sliding cork is a fine way to fish for them. Here is how the technique differs for Shellcrackers. They, for some reason, prefer red wiggler worms over everything else. And meal worms work well for both species. And there is no better fish to get young anglers hooked on fishing.
As for rod or pole, again, almost anything you like to use will work so long as you can handle it with light line.
I use an open face spinning reel with 4#-mono. A fly rod or cane pole will work just fine.
When bream fishing at W.O., I seldom keep any bream I can reach my hand around.
There are plenty of the big ones around. If you are looking to put several packages of fillets in the freezer for a future fish fry, now is the time to start planning.
No matter where you are fishing, if you are bream or bluegill fishing, the old timers say, now is the time.
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