Sunday, February 5, 2012

First Wade of 2012

5:30 AM and my phone's alarm is going off in the ring-tone I selected for my fishing alarm.  It is a happy-sounding group of tones that reminds me why I set it in the first place: I'm going fishing!

6:00 AM my phone says the temperature is 29 degrees. Did I read that right?!?  Yeah, I did.  I'm layered up and out to the car to go to my happy place.  I'm going wading!

6:30 AM and I'm rolling into Dan's driveway and soon we're on out way.  

I had purchased fine Canadian Nightcrawlers last night at Bass Pro Shops Bolingbrook.  Dan had spikes and minnows and was set up to float from the get-go.  I had my spinning rod using a spool strung with 6# Trilene.  The last time I'd used it I had tied on a 3/16 oz round head jig and had the Grub-Of-Life on the jig.

As we entered and crossed the river the water was cold and pushing a little harder than I had remembered it. Then again the last time I'd waded this location was in the fall on a day where the air temperature was about the same as today but the other river gauges were lower and slower in height and flow.  I cast the Producto Spring Grub across slack areas near current, up on walls and in pools I knew as we walked; nothing bit in spite of my painfully-slow motion working of the bait.  It's ok.  I knew to score on the Fox on a day in early February I'd need to be slinging meat!

We arrived at the discharge.  Discharge fishing is a great way to find more willing fish to catch that you can have fun reeling in and releasing.  No one would want to keep a fish that sits at the output of a sewage-discharge station waiting for something to eat to float out of it.  I do however want to catch that fish.

Dan aka Pondboy on DuPage Angler is the more experienced angler.  He's the one who taught me how to drift-fish for anything like the steel-head fishermen do for those salmon.  (I'll detail the technique tomorrow, today is about catching)

Dan floats a minnow and catches a plus-size dink smallmouth.

Dan would continue to dominate catch totals for an hour or so.  He got this and a nicer smallmouth bass and a few walleye that will appear at the end of this post.  

I stopped flipping plastic around and rigged up a circle hook, split-shot button-hole, and float, and impaled a minnow then set my depth to 4-5 feet and flipped into the current.  

My float twitched then I found my minnow was kidnaped and I figured I'd throw a good old fashioned worm.

In short order I got a big bluegill.

And before pictures could be taken he flipped out of my hand, tossed the hook and escaped to the cold water of the Fox River.  At least I touched the fish so in Dan's dad's rules the catch counted.

The next fish to hit my worm would surprise me.  My bobber twitched and went down and I waited the second then set the hook.  What pulled back did not feel normal to me.  I know the smallmouth twitch, the bluegill flutter and fly around, and the largemouth pull, pull, pull; this didn't feel like any of those fish.  

I got the mystery fish closer to the surface before I realized it was a catfish!  A nice one at that pulling and peeling my loose drag.  I tightened up the drag and slowly brought the fish to my feet. Lifting and grabbing below the side fin spikes I held unhooked the nice channel cat and held it up for a picture before releasing it to the river who let me catch it.

Dan got a nice bluegill after that and I got a small dink smallmouth before the bite stopped.

We walked back happy if we couldn't be on the ice catching we were at least able to get out on the river and have a four species day.  

Here's the video showing the two walleye.  All in all a great day on the Fox and an exceptional day considering it's February fifth!