June 23, 2014 Share

Pennaz Witnesses Bass Killing Two Bluegills

I snuck out last Thursday to a public lake within a few miles of NAFC headquarters to tape some tip segments for North American Fisherman’s newest season on NBC Sports. It was a gorgeous fall day, with calm winds and temps pushing into the low 50s.

The lake we selected to tape on is known for its great population of big bluegills and incredible water clarity (20-plus feet this time of year). Both of these factors play into what happened.

As I left the dock with producers Terry Boeder and Jeff Breitenstein, I donned my sunglasses and turned over control of the boat to Terry so I could see if any fish were still holding along the deep weedline. I expected to see some fish, but with water temps in the low 40s, what I didn’t expect was to find was clouds of bluegills and some crappie holding near the surface. Of course, they spooked as soon as the boat moved over them and I got a kick out of watching dozens of them scurry over the weeds toward cover.

And that’s when it happened!

A group of five bluegills bolted over a hole in the dense milfoil when a 2-pound bass shot out from the weeds and nabbed the second one in the school! In the clear water, the entire sequence played out as if filmed in high definition—including the bluegill’s struggles to free it self from inside the bass’ cavernous mouth (the bass’ gill plates were actually moving)!

The event has forced me to rethink traditional wisdom of fishing slow when water temps drop. It also reemphasized the recommendation to go big with baits in the fall!

And the story gets even better. Just a minute later the exact same thing happened again, this time with a bass in the 4-pound class!

In a lifetime of angling, I’ve seen the predator/prey relationship play out many times, but never have I had such a great ringside seat that offered such an incredible glimpse of water truly goes on beneath the surface of every lake you and I fish.