Monday, September 17, 2012

Ben Can Catch

Talks about fishing Sunday looked like they were going to fall apart.  Schedules didn't synchronize and thus Dave's two boys would have been home alone while we were out wading.  That wouldn't have been right so what to do on Sunday morning.  The idea hit me while I was running errands on Saturday.  The almost immediate call from Dave meant he thought it too; take his boys out fishing.

We didn't need to get up at O'Dark-thirty since we were fishing for Bluegills.  At nine AM both Zack and Ben looked like it was O'Dark-thirty.  They were up but didn't look completely awake; I can relate some days.

Dave and I tied on slip floats, hooks, and split-shot to one of Dave's rods and the boy's two Zebco 202s then loaded kids and gear into the car and headed for a local pond.

The bluegill action wasn't fast and furious but some largemouth were eating Dave's 4" Yum Dinger plastic worm.  Two bass in quick succession ate the watermelon colored stick worm.  While the boys were watching the bass their father was catching Ben's float went down and stayed there awhile.  Once it was noticed we couldn't see Ben's float as much slack was reeled out of the line as the 202 could muster but the circle hook didn't find home and the float returned to the surface without a worm.

We rotated around the pond and I started catching bass about two and a half feet down near the shore.  That was when Ben started yelling Dad, Dad, Dad, Dad, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.

This time he was watching when his float went down.  Ben knew that he was to watch for it to go down but once the float was down the excitement in his brain didn't let him comprehend what to do next.

"Reel Ben!" instructed Dave.

Reeling like a madman the Zebco Spincast reel caught the line.  The crazed reeling of a six year old finally got the line tight and the circle hook found lip.

After removing the fish and baiting the hook Ben was that much more ready to have the worm cast to the middle of the pond.  Once again he was a patient bobber-watcher until the now familiar chorus of Dad, Dad, Dad, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy occurred when his float went down again.

This time Dave, Zack, and I all said in unison:  REEL BEN!!!  

Bluegill number two proved to be the patience breaker for Ben.  He was excited to catch fish but his bobber-watching patience had ended.  

We got our gear together and walked the short walk back to the cars.  I learned a few things from our outing yesterday; Ben takes direction well and very literally sometimes, Zack can hit me in the neck with Crab Apples from ten paces, and Ben Can Catch!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A crisp morning on the Fox

The last text I received from Dave Saturday night mentioned the fact the temperature would hit a low of 50 degrees overnight.  It still felt like 50 degrees at 6:00 AM when I pulled into Dave's driveway.

We loaded up the car and headed off to the Fox for some much needed walking in the water.  Our first steps were greeted by smallmouth bass jumping across the river from us. Busting the surface after bugs or minnows or whatever they were interested in.

Dave was drifting crawlers and I was minnow man today.  When a fish busted the surface near me by luck I shot a quick cast to the perfect spot.  My float went down, my hook sank home.  First fish on the board and a healthy 15 inches to boot.

Dave quickly picked up a few channel cats on his worms but didn't feel they were photo worthy so they were released without their photo op.

This 4-5 pounder got the full paparazzi treatment without the TMZ questions.

More cats and a 12" smallie were caught but it was chilly.  The air was still cold and the sunshine at that hour of the morning didn't warm us enough to make us want to stay in the water.

After dropping off Dave I still had over a dozen minnows and some worms left over.  What could I do to get rid of my extra live bait?

Off to the Naperville Riverwalk to fish the DuPage River West Branch.  I scored a few rock bass and this nice smallmouth bass in front of the small groups of people out walking the Riverwalk this crisp morning.

I changed spots and that was when I missed my white whale.  I drifted a minnow down at about a foot and a half when my float went down.  I waited and then pulled to set the circle hook.  It felt heavy, It looked big!  I saw the side of the fish as I pulled it from the weeds by my minnow. It opened it's mouth, let my minnow go, and rolled back under the grasses mid-river.

I threw almost every minnow and crawler I had at the area that fish was in.  That or another fish kept grabbing my minnow or the worm by the body and ripped it off the hook.  I did catch another good sized rock bass but the bait thief didn't stop.

Don't start calling me Ishmael or anything but I spent an hour casting at that one section of river trying to get my hook in that fish.  Color me obsessed; I can live with that.

A chill to the car window and a nip to the air on this early September morning.  Fish were caught and released while the stresses of the work week and a very well fed bait thief drift down the river.

9/9/2012 USGS Fox River 10.87 ft 269 cfs @ Montgomery Gauge

9/9/2012 USGS DuPage River West Branch 7.64 ft 76 cfs @ Warrenville Gauge