Wanted to do a quick write up on this one for a variety of reasons. First the jist of the article,
Biologists were assessing fish populations on Loomis as they do every year on various lakes. The bullhead catfish pictured was discovered in a net along with dozens of other fish.Capturing bullheads is not that unusual. But this one was.
“The fish’s stomach was bulging and twitching,” said Bacula. “It was the fattest and most unusual bullhead I had ever seen. I wanted to see what was in there.”
“We were shocked,” said Bacula. “We counted remains of 18 bluegill in that 13-incher’s stomach. From what we could tell, those ‘gills were 3 to 5 inches long at the time they were eaten.”
Okay so here are a few of my thoughts. First the researchers seem to find this unusual because they say “bullheads are bottom feeders”, I want to dispel that half myth today. It would be more accurate to say that bullheads often feed on the bottom but they are not exclusively bottom feeders.
At one point in time I kept about a dozen bullheads in a 37 gallon fish tank. Little guys about 4-7 inches long. Just to learn more about them. There was a pond about a mile from my home, in summer it teemed with fat head minnows. About twice a week I went down to it and dip netted a bunch of them. Took them home and put them in the tank, this was dinner.
I would sit back with a beer and listen to the sound of plunk, ploop, plop over and over as they would devour the minnows off the surface. One of the largest yellow bullheads I ever caught was over 2 pounds (keep in mind the Texas state record is only 3.2 lbs.) I was fishing in a city park pond with a beetle spin and the fish hit it running only about 1 foot deep in about 8 feet of water.
One of my favorite things is kicking back and just catching a bunch of bullheads with either hot dogs or night crawlers. I usually use two rods, one on the bottom and the other with a float, I usually set the float to suspend the bait about 12-18 inches off the bottom. Some days the bottom rig produces best, other days the suspended one does.
The point is bullheads are fish and fish move in patterns and at times due to temperature, season or food availability they feed at various depths, they don’t exclusively bottom feed. Hence we should not limit ourselves to only fishing on the bottom.
Next the fact that a 13 inch bullhead was eating 4 inch bluegill should make us think about using shiners or bluegills (where legal) as bait at times, not just stink bait, crawlers, cut bait etc. My grandfather always said the bigger the bait the bigger the fish, so next time you are being overrun with 3 inchers, consider trying some live bait a bit too big for the ones you are catching.
In any event this is a pretty cool story, do take time to check out the original article at South Bend Tribune.
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