Tuesday, August 7, 2012

8.5.2012 Wading and Drifting with Dave

This past Sunday started off early but at a different spot; still the Fox river but a few miles north of some of our usual spots.  We caught a small channel cat and a dink smallmouth but the insult came when two guys in a canoe floated right past Dave and a 15" smallmouth jumped up from directly behind him right into the canoe.  The guys were riding the drift and were just beyond earshot when they finally got the bass to stop flopping around and held it up for us to see before they put it in their catch bag.  My voice couldn't get loud enough to tell them smallmouth are a catch and release only species on the Fox.  I doubt they would have cared anyway.  Ignorance is the game played when confronted with rules nevermind all the yellow signs you walk past when entering the river that tell you creel and slot limts.  

At least there was this cool spiderweb that brought me back to nature and grounded me a bit.

I was bummed.  We'd been fishing the area for a few hours and were doing worse than two guys in a canoe that had a fish jump in it.  A change of venue was in order and we loaded in the car and drove a few miles south.

This spot was better as Dave and I both hooked into a few more small catfish and smallies.  Then my float drifted my 1/2 worm around the end of a bridge piling.  It didn't even look like a big take; the float went under but not with any vigor.  I reeled in my slack and performed the "free hookset" as you often hear when talking to fisherman; try to set anyway, hooksets are free.

Fortunately my hook found it's home in the mouth of my largest channel catfish to date. Based on fish caught and weighed the last few weeks my guesstimate for this cat is 8lbs.  I fought for 10 minutes letting drag pull then bringing the line back so I could just see my float before line went out and the cat began another run.  Finally my patience was rewarded with this beautiful Fox River Channel Catfish.

Since it was the week of my birthday and I didn't go fishing on that day I consider this my birthday fish.  The head was huge and the body matched.  A big belly indicated this cat was having no problem eating.  In celebration of my fortieth year on this earth I thanked this catfish for eating my half-worm and eased it back into the water and watched it slip from my hands back to the water it came from.  Hopefully I'll get to come back when I'm 45 and catch it again when it's bigger!

8/5/2012 USGS 10.89 ft 289 cfs @ Montgomery Gauge