© 2013 Aaron Atkinson

Resurrecting Bluegills

Last weekend I did something I’ve never done before. My hunting/fishing buddy and I executed a perfect cast and blast Saturday.

It started with a quail hunt in the morning. We crunched through the snowdrifts behind Indie, flushed a big covey from the edge of the timber, and then hunted up singles over statuesque points in the waist high grass. With six birds in the bag between us, we discontinued our pursuit and headed towards the pond.

With more than four inches of smooth, clear ice, we ventured out and drilled five holes near a mid-pond brushpile. We rigged little worms on little jigs on little poles and within an hour we’d flopped nine big bluegills onto the ice. It didn’t take them long to turn into fishcicles.

Around lunchtime we exchanged our ice fishing gear for our shotguns and we followed Indie for another couple of hours. She led us to another small covey from which we shot a trio of birds, completing our day with a quail-bluegill-quail sandwich.

Tired, cold and tremendously satisfied I kenneled Indie, laid the birds neatly next to my hunting vest and put the bluegills in a bucket in the corner of my backseat. Thirty minutes into my hour long drive home I heard a flop. Then another. By the time I pulled in my driveway, all nine bluegills were alive and flopping inside the bucket. Apparently they’d frozen so quickly on the surface of the pond, that as they started to thaw out a few hours later in the warmth of my car, their systems turned back on and they came back to life.

I dispatched and filleted them on my wooden cutting board, their cold, firm fillets made easy work of that job. They were flopping when I pulled them through the hole in the ice, they came back to life and flopped around in the bucket on the drive home, and if everything goes as planned, they’ll soon flop and dance one more time as they turn golden brown in a shallow pool of hot oil.


  1. Fred
    Posted January 14, 2013 at 4:25 pm | #

    You didn’t hit yourself in the face with your SPUD? Then you were doing it wrong.

  2. Aaron Atkinson
    Posted January 15, 2013 at 1:37 am | #

    As I slid all over that pond, I thought about that fateful day and that whopper of a shiner.

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