Fun In The Sun(nies)
Time for a break.
A fun return to simpler early summer times, simpler tactics, and fun such a simple pleasure brings that one has to wonder why it’s not done more often and the inevitable promise (always inadvertently broken) to do so.
And a quarry that has not only plenty of plain and simple spunk but a sweet white flesh that is tailor-made for bacon grease and a dusting of flour or cornmeal in a frying pan over a campfire grate.
Fun in the sun(nies)!
Yes, fun is found in the bluegill and pumpkinseed sunfish, aka “sunnies”, the ubiquitous panfish that no doubt many who today take a rod in hand started out catching these cooperative and sassy shallow water headbangers.
Indeed, the sunfish pursuit can be as easy or as esoteric as you want to make it. From ultra-light high tech high modulus spinning rods to petite 2 and 3-weight high tech high modulus graphite fly rods, to, well, any ultra-light or light action spinning or spin cast outfit to a past-its-prime 4, 5, or even 6-weight 7 to 8-foot fiberglass fly rod...the sunnies will oblige. This lip-smackin’ panfish is not a tackle snob, for sure, and on occasion, we’ve enjoyed Tom Sawyer-type fishing with a skinny tip tapered bamboo pole, line wrapped around the tip, with a bobber, small split shot, and garden and/or mealworm baited Eagle Claw hooks.
One recent break to fishing sanity involved a decades-old ultra-light rod, two-lb. test line and a pack of 1/64-oz. Trout Magnet jigs. The backup was an ancient (as from the early Seventies) yellow 5-weight 7-foot Eagle Claw Feather Light fiberglass fly rod matched with an even more ancient (the price on the box read $2.99) but very serviceable South Bend Finalist fly reel and level 5-weight line. The flies were in the forms of a dozen assorted wets and bushy dries, and a couple of small cork poppers.
We didn’t even get to the fly stuff, as the chunky bluegills, more than a few measuring between 9-10, were all over the tiny Magnets. A few were kept for that evening’s fish fry, the other dozens released. The pulling power of what we refer to as “bulls” was certainly on display in the ultra-light outfits.
Summer fun...for kids of all ages.