By Taylor Wilson
In the last issue contributor Mark Beason detailed warm water fly fishing. And with May and June are the most reliable months for the warm-water fly flinger in the Mid-South. This is solely because of the bluegill.
No Mid-South species universally provides as much consistent line-tugging reliability as the bluegill. Peak spawning times are here and at such times, these sunfish are apt to strike—or at the least—pick up and try to move nearly any bait-sized substance that comes near the beds.
A long-time favorite for fly anglers is Ligon Bream Killer, made of squirrel tail hairs and rubber band legs, it flares with the slightest movement. Available in sizes from 2 to 10, one can also land bass on it, especially if you buy the models sized with 2 or 4 hooks. Colors are brown, white, yellow, green, and chartreuse, but it is black that anglers like the most (and likely the bluegill do too).
There are also other like models on the market, such as Bett’s Bream Madness, sold at Bass Pro Shops. But whichever model you pick of this lure, you need to almost always pair it with a popping bug. The Killer and popper are about 12-24 inches apart with the Killer on the end. The Killer acts as a wet fly floating beneath the surface while the popping bug doubles as a strike indicator or float but is also another hook in the water. Basically, you give the bream two options, the subsurface lure, or the one up top. It is best that the popping bug be a size 6 or 4 and this allows the popper to ride better on the surface. And yes, you will sometimes catch two fish at once.
There is a misnomer, misconception, mystique attached to fly-fishing in that one needs a mailbox full of Orvis catalogs to know what one is doing. But you don’t, nor do you need to go to fly fishing school. As the famed fly fisherman Left Kreh once told me, “Form doesn’t matter. The fish doesn’t know how the fly gets there. It just sees the opportunity for a meal, so get the fly to the fish.”
If you don’t have an old fly rod and reel, buy a starter kit that has everything you need in one box. (I found those with prices from $150 to $15, the latter on eBay). Next, get you some Bream Killers and popping bugs and you are good to go.
Fly fishing can be technical, but it doesn’t have to be. Combine the Bream Killer with a popping bug in May and June and go after spawning bluegill, and the sheer opportunity these fish will provide will make you better at fishing on the fly.
As for tips, the general bream-bed fishing tactics apply: fish the outside in; check the calendar for weeks of a full moon, to increase success; and constantly move and search for spawning areas.
Another big bonus to this tactic is there are PLENTY of Mid-South waters where anyone can have some awesome bluegill fishing