Bluegillin’ at Jim’s Pond

A lone flower showing the signs of summer coming to an end…


Hi and welcome to the blog.  It’s been busy lately with more hours at work but it seemed necessary to fit in a little camping time.  I’m feeling a lot better as well.  We had some very strong storms over the weekend (5+ inches of rain).  That cut down on the pollen; the winds that followed helped usher in the cooler fall conditions.  It’s sure helped with the breathing and fueled the desire to be outside.

While tidying up the restaurant the other day, Buddy Jim stopped in for lunch and said the bluegills were biting… and there are some big ones!  That was good enough for me!


For so many of us, bluegills were the first fish we ever caught.  Some people call them “Sun Fish” and that they are… But not all sunfish are bluegills.  There are more than two dozen members of the sun fish family including large mouth and small mouth bass, white crappies, black crappies, and bluegills.  Mild and flaky, they are really tasty!



After working until 2 PM on Monday, after that it was off to Jim’s pond.  I usually camp below the steep hill by the house but we’d recently received so much rain; it was better to park on flat ground!

This trip would be the a perfect chance to try out a special gift.  Recently an elderly friend had given me two fishing rod/reel combos that will always have special sentimental value.  The poles/reels were brand new, wrapped in brittle, yellowed plastic shrink wrap.  The only clue to the age of these poles were the manuals that were printed in 1981…  I was excited to use these classic rigs!

After pulling a chair up on the dock it was obvious that the bluegills were biting well.  I caught quite a few and kept 7 of them on Monday night.  The new poles cast perfectly.  Jim and I estimated that with even light tackle, it was possible to cast 200 feet… about twice what the old poles would do.


Jim and I having dinner. Usually camping happens near the house.


Later in the evening Jim came back out and we had supper.  I cooked up a batch of loose meat burgers which we adorned with jalapenos, sweet hot mustard, and cheese.  Jim had made up a tasty dish of cucumbers, onions, and zesty Italian dressing.  I’d also brought some fresh cut up fruit and some potato salad.  It was a lot of fun to sit and enjoy a good meal and conversation in breezy, 70 degree comfort.


The lily patch just to the west of the picnic table.


While we were chatting, Jim mentioned the lilies in the pond and I commented about how quickly they had grown in coverage over the last few years.  That odd looking green thing above is a seed pod.  When matured, the pods darken, as in the photo below.  If you shake one, the seeds inside will rattle.  Florists often use the matured pods for arrangements.



I brought a souvenir home from the lily pad as shown the last picture in this post.

After we finished supper at Jim’s, it was time to relax a bit.  I stayed up until 11 PM and watched Barnaby Jones episodes on the laptop.  The low temperature was about 54 degrees and the sleep was amazingly restful… with one exception.  Some wild geese stopped by and had a chat with Jim’s own geese and ducks … several times throughout the night.  The birds were honking and making more racket than a group of irate New York taxi drivers at 5 PM on a Friday afternoon.

One of the bigger boys.  He came in just a hair under 9 inches long… and meaty!  If he looks like he’s frowning, it’s that hook in his lip…


On Tuesday I returned home and cleaned a total of 14 fish using a folding plastic banquet table and two fillet knives: a 6″ dull fillet knife and a 4″ sharper one.  The dull knife was pulled toward one’s self to remove the fish scales, going from tail to head.  Then the sharp knife was used for all the surgery work and cleaning.  The two knife technique was one I saw on You Tube and it worked great.  The dull knife thing kept me from getting hacked to bits…   🙂


Mister Duke was curious about the bluegills.. and enjoyed some fish and cornbread. He’s spoiled.


Putting one of the seed pods to work for a decoration…


Supper tonight (Tuesday night) At the home base was fried bluegills, of course.  The flowers on the table are fake with one exception – the seed pod.


The last day or so was a really enjoyable little overnight trip and the fish caught were enough for four meals.  But the conversation and relaxation and fresh air were certainly the best part of this holiday.  Sometimes it’s not about getting away from people altogether but just a change of scenery.

Happy Autumn!   Thanks for visiting!   Safe, healthy, and enjoyable camping!


Brad and Jenny and Duke
Jones County, Iowa

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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

2 Responses to Bluegillin’ at Jim’s Pond

  1. Jo Harmon says:

    Well now I know where those seed things come from, I always liked them for dried arrangements but never knew from what plant.

    Looks like a great camp out and great fishing. The fish pictured is a beauty.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo! Thanks for the note! It was a blast getting out for a bit. I actually slept in the van last night because the weather was so pleasant. Tonight (Wednesday) I headed to another waterway and got a big old bass. 🙂 There is still some decent weather to be enjoyed. Oh, what you folks down south call cold is what we would LOVE to have all year here. But it’s a been a decent summer overall. Take care and I hope you get to go camping soon!