Monday, July 23, 2012

Wading With Friends

I needed some time to decompress a bit.  I just got over a viral infection that I'm happy to report to the CDC lasted about the five days they estimated.  That left time after my pre-divorce house duties were complete for wading with friends.

The time we started out is playfully referred to as o-dark-30.  We took our first steps in the creek early and I wondered how long we'd wade before we caught fish.  It didn't take long but I didn't catch the big smallmouth I was hoping for.

Instead I caught a VERY small largemouth.  Hey, it counts so it got a picture.  Some more little largies were caught before we found where the bluegills were camped out along a rocky shore.

I moved down the wall to see if I could score the first smallmouth of the day.  I didn't but I got a big rock bass.

I released it post-picture but had to pause my readying of my own line to run over and play photographer for Jason's first smallie of the day and the most impressive (taped at 15.25") bronzie we would have the pleasure of hooking into.

The fish was thick, healthy, and downright gorgeous.  I do love smallies!
In short order Dave got his first smallmouth, and then another

The second fish was a much better fish but a picture had to be captured of the first smallmouth bass to end up on Dave's hook.

More smallies were caught and released.  Jason has had the pleasure of feeling the smallmouth bass wiggle and tug at the end of his line but Dave got his first taste of it today.  He agreed that they do fight harder and longer than their large mouthed cousins.  Now he's in for it; they're like potato-chips you know. ;-)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Illinois Wisconsin Fishing: Fox River Illinois smallmouth

An excellent post from Blake of Illinois Wisconsin Fishing that is only partially about fishing.  Funny how rivers can strengthen life lessons learned.

Illinois Wisconsin Fishing: fox river illinois smallmouth: fishing the fox river in Illinois I remember this boy named Michael from grade school who happened to live in the next sub-divison over...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bassin' The Midwest: Kankakee River ABA Results

Friend and fellow DuPage Angler Fluke fishing the ABA Tournament Circuit. This weekend on the Kankakee River.
Bassin' The Midwest: Kankakee River ABA Results: The Kankakee river was another new stretch of water that I had the first opportunity to fish on Sunday...and man was it just as tough as th...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A new species

I spent the last few days in Florida.  While it was a pleasant trip it wasn't a pleasure trip.

I did manage to get out fishing with my friend Dave while I was there.  We walked around a small private pond in a gated subdivision that was full of .5-1.5 pound largemouth.  Fun to catch Florida-strain largemouth.  I didn't get to break out the 8" Mann's Jelly worms that I bought but a pack of 4" and 5"green pumpkin Zoom trick worms was what the doctor ordered.  Thanks to that plastic my friend Dave can add another species to his species caught list.

It looks like a cichlid to me and the best guess we had is it's a Tilapia.  I had one follow a ribbon-tail worm in on my final few feet of retrieve but Dave got this one fishing weightless worm in the classic Texas-rigged finesse style.

The proof is in the picture.  Many species fall victim to the one color plastic you should have in your tacklebox; a green pumpkin/watermellon colored worm/craw/tube/lizard/fluke/paddle-tail swimbait.....Other colors will work but something about that green fools fish. 

Another species falls to the green pumpkin plastic worm!

UPDATE: I do believe Mark, Dave's brother figured out what species this is.  It's a Mayan Cichlid.  It may  be one of the Cichlids that are grown for Talipia based on the description of the meat on the Flordia Wildlife Commission.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Illinois Wisconsin Fishing: the drought of 2012

Water in the rivers is low. Same in the ponds. Illinois/Wisconsin Fishing is feeling it too and Blake writes about it on his excellent blog.

Illinois Wisconsin Fishing: the drought of 2012: Well no, I haven’t disappeared. With vacation the entire week of the fourth, my priorities have just been other places. That certainly does...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Dave's first wade

Dave got waders and as anyone who fishes and gets chest waders knows you start to get an itch to wade once you have them.  Today was the first day off we could get out on the Fox and wade.

The morning sun was lighting the morning sky as we stepped into the river.  I pointed out the need to shuffle-walk to Dave.  There are big rocks, bricks, cinder-blocks, and boulders of all sizes in the Fox river and shuffling is the best way to not trip right over something and fall in.

Dave also took to the river drift fishing rig setup well.  It always takes a few moments to mentally change gears and realize the best way to catch fish isn't always the frantic-lure-chucking method.  The drift method allows one to slow down and enjoy the surroundings as well as use real food to help attract and catch fish of all species.  If it swims and holds to bottom cover as expected it can be caught using this method.

After explaining how to read current and where are the better places to drift we both began working current seams and bridge pilings.

As luck and good fishing karma would have it Dave scores first with the first fish; a cute juvenile channel catfish.

The Fox has been "ON" for catfish based on my wading Sunday and again this Wednesday July 4, 2012.  The In-Fisherman has an article in a recent magazine where the writer states by observation he's found the best time for catching channel catfish is in whenever the Junebugs are active in your region.  That makes sense to me as I saw my first Junebug of the year this past Sunday.

My Junebug theory held true when I hooked into a good sized channel cat while drifting a worm.

Dave appeared to be off and fishing the wrong cover.  I figured I'd let him do that for a few minutes then point out where he'd have a better chance of catching fish.  I said I figured I would do it and not that I did because this happened:

I really wanted Dave to hook into a smallie as they are my favorite river pursuit however one can't argue with what turned out to be another 20 fish day.

I did catch a dink smallie but Dave was the Cat-Master of the day.  He also must be reading my blog or listening to my stories because before he removed the hook from the fish he'd be sure to give it a touch with his index finger; You touch it, you caught it.

I hooked another big cat, let it pull drag and tire out then brought it to me in the water, lifted the cat's head out by the Trilene XT 6# Mono and slid my hand under the fish's belly to be able to lift it up more fish.  At least I touched it! ;-)

The above video shows Dave hooked into the final big cat for the day.  He handled it well and brought it in for the photo.

We worked some more river but only got bit by the cute little juvenile cats.  Catching is catching though so beating the skunk accomplished we waded to shore and left the river.  

We were sweaty, warm, a bit tired, and thoroughly exhilarated from Dave's first wade.

Later, after a nap I headed back to Dave's neighborhood for their annual Fourth of July festivities.

Dave's wife pulled me aside and let me know how much Dave had enjoyed being out, wading, and catching in the river. Dave pulled me aside and said the same thing.

I'm glad he enjoyed himself. I'm happy that I was able to get a friend involved in a way to fish that I enjoy. This was Dave's first wade but it won't be his last!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wading Downtown Oswego on the Fox

Sunday I went wading with my friends Wilks19 and CSimon from DuPage Angler.  The excellent video below is the handiwork of CSimon.  His quick editing and uploading saved me a lot of work at the computer. ;-)

Since both guys have families our morning started early and ended before noon.  After we parted ways there was just enough time to for me drive to Portillo's in my waders, get a beef, eat it, and check the weather since the western sky was dark grey and getting darker.  

Sure enough the radar app on my EVO 4G showed a dark red line of storms.  What to do...well, I did what anyone that had been up since 3:30 AM would do; park in a spot, set my alarm on my phone, and take a nap.  I woke every hour to my alarm, then a check of the radar showed 30 minutes more would likely be enough to let the storm pass.  

Refreshed I made my way to the downtown area and a park on the river off Rt. 34.  I readied my gear and walked into the river.  

I made my way across the river by way of an island.  Once on the opposite shore I began drifting worms and minnows down along the rip-rap and concrete edge of the shoreline.  I caught my share of dink smallmouth bass then I saw a rock sticking up out of the water.  It wasn't very big but it looked perfect for cover for a fish or two.  I nose-hooked a fresh minnow, opened my bail, and dropped the float in line to go around the back side of the rock.  Reel back halfway and move my rod to the left and open my bail to let the minnow drift to the left...BAM!  17.25" of beautiful bronzeback ate my minnow and came to the surface for a picture with me.

Soon after releasing this lovely smallie I stopped catching smallmouth.  I started catching channel catfish.  In total I got 10 channel cats; estimated 3 at 5# and the last one at 7#.  Good fights and good cats all of them.  This last one pulled my drag for a few good minutes before I finally got her up for her closeup.

I waded out of the river and back to my car.  I was tired in a good way.  I knew I'd sleep well and deeply and have catfish in my drift fishing dreams.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy One Year Anniversary Fishing

That's right, I, Jason Jelinek aka Darkstar/Darkstar72 have only been fishing exactly one year today in my adult life.

I fished with my father as a child and I enjoyed the time spent together but as I grew older the time spent not catching fish helped my interest slip and I stopped fishing altogether.

Last spring when I started thinking about starting fishing again I turned to the internet to find fishing forums/blogs...anything that could teach me something about fish, fishing, and catching.  It was a fortunate turn of fate that I landed on (DA for the rest of this post)

What attracted me to, and made me stay with DA is the sense of community there.  The site is run by two very caring founders who both have life long loves of fishing and both enjoy helping others find their own enjoyment at the reel-end of a fishing rod.

DA encourages an environment where I could ask any questions I had about fishing, gear, lures, and get several answers all in non-demeaning, non-smug, and coming-from-the-right-place advice to point me in the correct direction.

When I posted I was considering buying a baitcasting rod a member (Fluke) typed up info about casting setups and what makes one better than another.  Then he met me at Bass Pro Shops and showed me the rods, worked with what I had to spend and ultimately put a great setup in my hands that I still use today.  

When I posted I had gear and some knowledge but I didn't know the first thing about how to fish a plastic worm and didn't know why a fish would even want to eat such a thing Fluke met me at a pond in a subdivision that he knew to be a good one and showed me how to fish a Texas Rigged plastic stick worm weightless.  He told me to raise the rod tip up slowly, twitch, let the worm fall and wait for the TAP, TAP to set the hook.  First cast with a worm I hooked and landed my first largemouth bass.

When I mentioned I was interested in buying waders another member (Pondboy) gave me his advice (as did several others on the site) then took me wading for the first time.  I didn't own a spinning rod yet so he let me borrow one of his, rigged it up for me, taught me to drift bait, and shared river spots with me.  Teaching in a way that is more like fun than learning is another strength DA members have to offer.

When I chuckled and joked about ice fishing Pondboy and the others that enjoy the sport took it in stride.  One winter evening I got a call from Pondboy.  "I tested and the ice is thick enough.  What are you doing right now?"  My answer was that I was heading over to Pondboy's house to experience the colder side of fishing but I'll be darned if I didn't enjoy myself enough to extend my angling into the fourth season.  Now I have delusions (they'll happen) of getting an ice shelter and flasher unit.  (It's July and almost 100 degrees as I type this so one can't blame me for thinking about ice)

So when I sing the praises of DA I feel a deep personal connection.  These are the people that taught me how to fish.  They helped me obtain decent enough gear to insure I'd have a good experience.  They put up with my questions and gave me accurate and thoughtful answers.  In short order I've made lifelong friends and fishing buddies.

In January I was selected to be a member of the Dupage Angler Pro Staff.  It's not a pro-staff in the sense of going to tournaments or showing off a product, rather we moderate the site, serve to have the answerers to the questions and the help for those needing it. If I can help only one person find the enjoyment that I find in fishing I will be happy.  I will believe I've done my karmic duty as well as helped another person find the joy and connected feelings I have to nature when I'm out in it and fishing.

Tomorrow I'm getting up early.  I'm meeting Dave to take him out wading in the Fox River for the first time.  Fingers crossed we'll get him his first smallmouth bass.  They're like potato chips you know; can't just catch one.  Hey, I like that.

I can't wait to see what the next year will bring.  If I catch it, I'll share it with you here.

Pondboy's Angling Experience -DA ProStaff: Don't buy St.Croix from Gander Mountain -Triumph M...

From my friend Dan's (Pondboy) blog.  His OTHER experience with Gander Mountain has led him to rethink rod purchases from that chain.  Read on to find out why.

Pondboy's Angling Experience -DA ProStaff: Don't buy St.Croix from Gander Mountain -Triumph M...: St. Croix Triumph 6'6" ML-Power Spinning Rod Don't Buy St Croix from Gander!!! By pondboy from Dupage County Illinois on 7...