Welcome to our new blog. We plan to feature articles by Texas fishermen who are skilled in the art of catching sunfish. If you would like to join our group please feel welcome. If you would like to post on this site please contact me at lilburn@uwmail.com. I have contacted many of you, and I await hearing from you and receiving your first article. Please limit your posts to how-to articles and stories about your fishing experiences. The more pictures the better. Controversial items, criticism of TPWD, and such should best be posted on the TFF or other forum. If you decide to post on a regular basis I will need a picture of you, your real name and your website if you have one. You will be added to the sidebar as one of our fishermen. No handles or avatars, please.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Our Tax Money Well Spent

I do not always agree with government personnel who manage or mismanage our tax money. My battles with TPWD, the City of Weatherford Utility Board and the Somervell County Water District are epic.

However, one agency commands my utmost respect: the City of Weatherford Parks and Recreation Department. Our acquaintance goes back many years, starting when I was chairman of the Field Day program of the local Amateur Radio club. I have found that this agency actually wants to serve the public.

The Parks and Recreation Department owns three lakes within city parks: Sunshine Lake in Cartwright Park, Holland Lake Park Pond and Love Street Park Pond. Sunshine Lake is an old 30-acre lake originally built to supply water to steam locomotives. It has a good population of bass, crappie, catfish and carp.

Holland Lake Park Pond is the location of two youth fishing events every year, one in the spring and one in the fall. Holland Lake is also stocked several times a year. Fish commonly caught in the lake include Blue Catfish, Channel Catfish, Bass, Sunfish, and Trout.

Love Street Park Pond is the latest acquisition and the subject of our blog today.

Love Street Park is the newest of the parks with ponds. The pond was built in 2009 and stocked with exactly 10 adult largemouth bass, 30 adult bluegill and 804 fingerling channel catfish. In 2011 612 more fingerling channel catfish were added.

The 30 bluegill have been busy. They spawned in 2010 and 2011. And the pond is now wall to wall with small bluegill. I have been able to identify two distinct populations. One group is roughly 4-5 inches long and the other is roughly 5-6 inches long. I assume that corresponds with the two spawns. Both groups are fat and healthy.

Now comes a puzzle. I also caught several yellow bullhead catfish. Neither the city nor TPWD stocked the pond with yellow bullheads. They got in the lake as passengers on birds or someone dumped them there. They were all alike: roughly 8 inches long.

The city built a really nice fishing pier and a bridge over the small creek. Both were built of cedar and looked to be of quality construction. They provided the best access to the deep water for fishing. Then came a problem: the pier and bridge were condemned as unsafe, although to my eye they were built like a battleship. The Parks people had to barricade them in February 2011 and secure funds to rebuild them. The pier reopened last week sporting a composition floor and welded iron railings. The bridge is still closed.

This picture shows the bridge. Notice the wooden rail.
 Now notice the snazzy welded rail on the pier.

I look forward to watching the bluegill grow long and feisty and catching the channel cats for the skillet. And I am grateful to the folks at the Parks and Recreation Department for their services to children and old retired folks.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A How-To Guide in Women's Fishing

Our guest blog was written by Ashley Meadows, better known by the Texas Fishing Forum fishers as Aquatic Ash. Ashley grew up in the Texas hill country. She has fished and hunted all her life at her father's game ranch as well as other various places all over Texas. Ash enjoys fishing, both in saltwater in Rockport/Port A and freshwater in local areas in the hill country but her favorite place to fish is Lady Bird Lake out of her kayak.
She currently lives in Austin with her husband and loves being outdoors and enjoys a variety of sports.

Ash has a degree in Radiology. She is sometimes called upon to work long hours but manages to work in fishing and posting on TFF in the Bluegill/Sunfish section.

This remarkable  lady writes to give us fishing from a woman's perspective.

A How-To Guide in Women's Fishing

In modern times, it isn't rare to see a female out fishing with a spouse, friend or even solo. But for some, the sport/hobby is considered a man's outing. It can be intimidating for first timers that have zero experience in fishing and want nothing to do with touching a fish or bait.

There are a few key things that can be utilized to make a fishing experience more enjoyable for a woman. Also, if you are looking to get your female companion interested in fishing, you are in the right spot.

                                    Things To Bring On The Trip

You will first and foremost need to purchase a fishing license. This can easily be done online through Texas Parks & Wildlife. Temporary fishing licenses are available and cheaper.

A main concern most women have is dealing with the nasty baits. If you do not like to get your hands dirty, I recommend bringing along a towel to wipe your hands on, a small bottle of hand sanitizer, nail clippers with the nail cleaning attachment to get any dirt or grime from under your nails, and a bottle of water to wash your hands with. Nail clippers can also be used to cut your fishing line after tying a hook or if you get hung up on a tree etc.

If you have an issue with touching live bait, there is a simple solution - buy artificial baits, corn or bread. Live bait and artificial baits are both very effective in fishing. The other option, have someone bait your hook. Over time, you will learn what colors and types of baits work best for the fish you are catching and water clarity. Such as dirty or clear water. If you are unsure of what baits to buy, ask a salesman.

If you choose to use live bait, worms, meal worms, and crickets are some top choices.

You will also need to buy a rod & reel unless you are borrowing one. To start, I would purchase an ultra light rod & reel combo with 4lb test line. You can buy a reel that is already spooled with line or get the sporting goods store to do it for you. Also fellas, women like to be in control of situations, so it might be wise to take her to a sporting goods store and let her pick out her own gear with your assistance. It can also be rewarding for her to pick out her own baits to catch fish on. A tackle bag isn't necessary, but over time if you learn to enjoy and appreciate the sport, you will need to purchase one. Many anglers can contest to owning a plethora of baits, weights, hooks, floats, and other items we claim to need. There are numerous ideals in how to tie a line and hook with or without floats. I would suggest researching a 'drop shot technique.'

Weather permitting, do not forget to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat or something to put your hair up with, such as hair ties and pins especially out on a boat. Wear clothing that you do not mind getting dirty or wet.


Most people lose interest in fishing if they are not catching fish. I would recommend that beginners  target sunfish/bluegills. These species are in abundance and tend to hang out in schools. They can be caught almost anywhere and live close to the banks. Another reason, they are not as slimy as catfish or hard to handle like bass for beginners.

You will need to be aware of poison ivy and snakes. Stay in a place that is safe.

Unhooking a fish, once understood, is a simple procedure. If you do not want to actually touch the fish, you can use a towel to hold them - this is for sunfish/bluegills. Using towels on certain species like bass takes the slimy protecting cover off the fish and can lead to an infection on the fish's surface. Hooks come out the same way they went in. You can take them out with your fingers, with a pair of pliers or a dehooking tool found at sporting good stores. If you are fishing with someone, I would recommend letting them teach you or watch a YouTube video. Hooking yourself can be painful and can require a visit to the doctor if deep enough.

Depending on the body of water, you may be able to take your catches home and reap the benefits of your work. Or release the fish to live again and to be caught again.

                                          The Next Step

Fishing is a great tool for couples who want to enjoy the outdoors together. Most men would love to see their other half take interest in something they enjoy. Even if you plan on fishing alone, this can be a great stress reliever and an excellent hobby.

This article can also be applied to getting children involved in fishing.

Just remember, patience is key with any hobby/sport. And be sure to bring a camera along to show off your catches!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Lepomis Macrochirus, The Common Bluegill

This post is a guest article by Harold Krause, who writes as the Urban Fisher on the Texas Fishing Forum. The post was originally published on the Warm Fly - Warmwater Fishing Blog. Thanks to Harold for giving us permission to reprint it here.

                Lepomis Macrochirus, The Common Bluegill

The common bluegill. Known scientifically as Lepomis Macrochirus. I am sure there have been many studies on this small fish. It ranges in waters through out the United States. It has value as an important part of the ecological system. Not on the top of the food chain, but also not on the bottom. Many of anglers and pond owners know that a good population of bluegills in a body of water can help gauge the health of that body of water. They help eat some of the small critters while providing food for the bigger ones. We are all pretty familiar with these fish. I am not going to go into a life cycle or a scientific review of this fish. Nor am I going to give instructions on how to pursue and catch a bluegill. Nope…I just want to write about bluegills and what kind of impact they have to us fishermen (or woman).

The bluegill and its relatives are one of the most identifiable fish in our country. Even the youngest and non fisher types know what a bluegill looks like. Sure it has many different names depending on where you live, but for this article’s sake it will be referred to as the bluegill. They are popular, but not to the extent of other fish. Many even consider them trash type fish. It is just natural when pursuing an animal as prey, that we are usually drawn to the biggest of its type. Large mouth bass are the top predator in many small ponds and streams. As such, they are highly sought after fish. Their size and aggression make them great sport. The bluegill however, never gets the notoriety the bass gets. I have never seen a B.A.S.S. (Bluegill Anglers Sportsmen’s Society) tournament on TV. Heck it is hard enough to find books or articles dealing with these fish. So why would one fish for and admire such a small fish? There are many reasons but I want to tell you from my own point of view.

The bluegill is probably the first fish someone catches on rod and reel. It usually starts with an older relative taking a youngster to a local stream or pond with rod in one hand and live worms in the other. They are great starter fish because they are plentiful and pretty easy to catch. This is also the first time many young fishermen touch their first live fish. You know when they look at it with awe and say “I want to let him go”. Then they carefully grab it with their fingers trying not to get them all slimy. The fish of course wiggles (as if on queue) and he is quickly dropped to the ground. This chain of events is the first stepping stone for a hobby that may become a life long passion or just an experience that is part of youth. If you are reading this, then you probably fall into the passion category.

So why as an adult do I look at the bluegill as a fish to pursue? I have many reasons, but I will explain the most important to me. The bluegill was one of my first fish. I remember as a small boy going to the creek by my house and fishing for them with bobber and worms. I was always impressed with their ability to tug on my line as they fought for freedom. Their various colors and appearance would captivate a small child like me. As I got older my fishing attention was drawn away to bigger and more sought after fish. I was able to catch some impressive bass and salt water fish that turned me into a true angler. Now after many years it seems like I am right back were it all started.

Some things in life elicit an old memory long forgotten. A visit to an old restaurant with a smell that throws you back to your childhood. A certain toy or book you discovered from your past that reminds you of a certain Christmas or other event. Bluegills do that for me. I find myself looking in awe at these little fish just as I did some thirty years ago. They offer me a comfortable feeling like a child in his mother’s arms. They make me feel like a kid all over again.

On a practical side they also fill a fishing need. No longer do I have the ability to go to lakes or bays and consume entire weekends fishing. I still fish very regularly without sacrificing time with my family. The bluegill is the perfect quarry to fill the fishing void I find myself in. Fly fishing is a whole new aspect of the sport for me. The bluegill is so plentiful I can go to any small body of water near me and practice casting while catching a few fish. The best part is that a fly rod is the perfect weapon for catching them. It is like I am starting out in the sport all over again. These little bluegills have sent me on a new learning experience that has once again changed my life forever. So the next time you are able to catch one of these little treasures, think about how many people are affected by this simple little fish. (Oh and by the way, they also make great table fare).

Friday, February 3, 2012

Those Other Worms

In Texas red wigglers are the most popular worms for Sunfish bait, followed by nightcrawlers. But what about those other worms you hear about that are very popular in Europe and the northern United States?
Meal Worms

Mealworms are the larval form of the mealworm beetle, Tenebrio molitor, a species of darkling beetle. The beetle is a mean looking rascal.

The larvae are readily available in bait shops, pet shops and on the Internet. They can also be grown at home.

When used as bait the larvae can be fished alone or used to tip lures to provide scent attraction.

The meal worms will remain in the larvae form for a long time if kept refrigerated. They are usually kept in containers of corn meal, oatmeal or bran in the refrigerator between uses.

                                                                   Super Meal Worms

Ordinary meal worms are about 3/4 inch in length. By adding chemicals to the food the grower can keep the larvae in a juvenile state. The worms can be made to have a length of 1 inch or so.


Zophobas morio is a species of darkling beetle, whose larvae are known by the common name superworm. These insect larvae resemble very large mealworms, about 1½ to 2¼ inches long. Once they reach adult size, the larvae pupate, and later emerge as large, black beetles. The larvae will not pupate if kept in a container with many other larvae, where they receive constant bodily contact. Keeping superworms this way is commonly used to hinder pupation.

Superworms are used as bait in the same way as mealworms. They are readily available from the same sources.

                                                                       Maggots (Spikes)

The name maggot is used for the larvae of flies, such as houseflies, cheese flies, and blowflies. In Europe they are called spikes. Spikes are frequently dyed bright colors such as pink.

Fishermen use maggots usually provided by commercial suppliers to catch Sunfish. Maggots are the most popular bait for anglers in Europe where they throw handfuls into the water they are targeting, attracting the fish to the area. The angler will then use the largest or most attractive maggots on the hook, hoping to be irresistible to the fish.
In North America, maggots have been used for years mainly as ice fishing bait but recently anglers have started using them year-round.

Waxworms are the caterpillar larvae of wax moths. Waxworms are medium-white caterpillars with black-tipped feet and small, black or brown heads.

Anglers and fishing bait shops often refer to the larvae as "waxies". Refrigerated wax worms are also popularly sold as fish bait, especially for Sunfish. The larvae are readily available in bait shops, pet shops and on the Internet. They can also be grown at home.


Eristalis tenax is a European hoverfly, also known as the drone fly (or "dronefly"). It has been introduced into North America and is widely established. The larva of E. tenax is a rat-tailed maggot. It lives in drainage ditches, pools around manure piles, sewage, and similar places containing water badly polluted with organic matter.

This is very popular winter bait that is not that easy to find. When available in the spring this bait is one of the best for early panfish. Like the other worms the bait is kept refrigerated to keep it from turning into the fly.

                                                                 Butter Worms

Butter Worms (Chilecomadia moorei) have been long used for fishing in their native country of Chile and are becoming a choice bait for Steelhead and panfishing in the United States. Butter Worms are well known in Europe where they are used extensively as both live pet food and fishing bait.
Butter Worms have fat smooth bodies like waxworms but are much larger.

Store your Butter Worms in the refrigerator at temperatures of 42 to 45 degrees F. They keep for extended periods of time. Make sure the bedding material remains dry, as moisture will kill the Butterworms.

                                                                       Catalpa Worms

The larval stage of C. catalpae is known as the Catalpa or Catawba Worm. When first hatching, the larvae are a very pale color, but become darker .The yellow caterpillars will usually have a dark, black stripe down their back along with black dots along their sides. There is also a "pale" phase where the black striping is not as prevalent or missing altogether and a shade of white has replaced it. They grow to a length of about 2 inches and feed on the leaves of the Southern Catalpa, also known as Catawba or Indian Bean trees.

They are highly desired by fishermen as bait. The worms are a little large for Sunfish, but are considered irresistible to catfish.