Fishing For The Copperhead
In the Mid West the Bluegill offers a lot of attitude for their size, fighting better than any other freshwater species of panfish. They are also second to none in the frying pan, so I thought I would take a trip to Tavares Florida and try my hand at some of the their Bluegills, specifically the Copperhead. The Florida Copperhead is a much deeper bodied Bluegill than or Mid-West Bluegill, their name Copperhead is the result of the coloration of mature males, which develops a deep purple color and have a copper band across the top of their head.
When To Fish For The Copperheads
Copperheads will move into their feeding areas as early as late February depend on the weather. They will typically begin spawning in Mid-March to Mid-April and can spawn as late as September.
Where To Catch Copperheads
Before spawning the Copperheads will come into the shallows and begin to feed aggressively, focus on the lily pads using a long medium to heavy rod and a good line. You will not be casing as the lily pads are so thick that you will need to drop your hook straight down between the pads trying to pull these very aggressive fish straight up. Not an easy task for a Bluegill, I know. During the spawn the large male bluegills “bull” or “copper head” as they are called locally are highly vulnerable to being caught easily. They will in fact strike at anything that intrudes into their nesting territory. Focus on shallow, rocky, and sandy areas throughout most of the Florida lakes for the spawning beds. The lakes I focused on for my trip were Lake Eustis and Lake Harris, which are located near Tavares.
How To Catch Copperheads
To catch Copperheads before they are on the beds spawning use a small hook baited with a fresh water grass shrimp, worms or the damselfly nymphs. I prefer the grass shrimp, which can be netted easy from the lake your fishing or purchased from the local bait store. Place a small split shot 4 inches above the hook and either straight line or use a small bobber or fly fishing marker and focus on the lily pads. You will want a stiff rod and a good line as these Copperheads are like no other fresh water panfish when it comes to a good fight.
If the Copperheads are spawning you can use a casting rod with a bobber or move to the ultimatum fishing, using a fly rod, focusing on shallow rocky and sandy shelf’s. Making your own Fly’s.
How To Fillet Pan Fish
Here is a short video on how to use an electric fillet knife for pan fish.