Monday, December 31, 2012

My First Fish

The first time I went fishing was with my family and Marie Bennett's family.  Somehow we all ended up at a house on a pond with a pier.  (I was maybe was a while ago, I forget)  Cane poles were pulled out and baited and put in our young, capable hands to watch the red and white bobber drop and the beautiful colored bluegills come up at the end of our lines.

Pictured above are a much slimmer Jack Jelinek than I remember him and a downright scrawny me!  My brother and I found this picture the other day when we were going though some things.  I'm glad we did!  

This is what I remember when I think of fishing as a kid.  There were other fish, other trips but this was so simple, so innocent, such a nice memory!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Last Wade of 2012

I was up at the normal time of early.  Met Pondboy, loaded his gear into my Subaru and drove to the Fox River.

We waddled like sausages in our neoprene waders. Extra layers underneath to protect us from the numbing-cold water.

We were after Walleye. We were working to catch bigger ones than this but it didn't pan out.

My second cast brought in this cute little eye.  He hit more like a crappie; slowly pulled the float down.  The best thing to do in this case was rely on the circle hook to do what it's supposed to do.  Reel in slack, pull the line tight but don't jerk a hook set and the fish hooks its self.

 Dan got one and had to prove he's hardcore by lipping it.  Actually their baby-teeth wouldn't puncture his glove but it looks cool.

The bite stopped where we were and our toes were getting numb in spite of the chemical heat packs we'd both stuffed down our socks.  Time for another location.

Here we drifted bait as usual but this warm water discharge was wall to wall shad.  Unfortunately shad don't eat conventional bait or we'd have had a lot of fun catching them.  Dan caught first hooking a small largemouth bass.

I countered with a small panfish.

And Dan finishes off our catching for the day by catching a shad the only way you can on a rod and reel; he accidentally snagged it.

It's too bad they don't bite any bait we offer.  They're pretty fish and seem to have a good bit of wiggle to them when hooked.

Packing up and heading back to the car we talked about the weather forecast for the next week and how we'd both rather be in a warm ice shelter given a choice.  Then conversation turned to the DuPage County Forest Preserve District Hardwater Classic that I'm signed up for Saturday January 5, 2013.  We wondered whether we'd have sufficient ice by then to allow it to go on or if the fallback date of Febrauray 9th would be needed.

We talked about our recent DuPage Anlger Ice Fishing Podcast and how we only have 2" of ice and we can't recommend and won't fish on less than 4".  Oh, and Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota agree with us.

I'd love to be ice fishing but I'm interested in doing it safely.  Hopefully my next posting here will be from the ice next weekend.  

I wish everyone a safe, happy, healthy, and prosperous 2013!

12/29/2012 USGS Fox River 11.42 ft 1050 cfs @ Montgomery Gauge

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Early December Crappies

The latest warm snap was gone.  The weather stabilized to chilly 40 degree days with 30 degree and lower nights.

Degree by degree the water gets colder.  Until the water gets solid there is always fun to be had catching crappies.

My friend Monique contacted me asking if I was going fishing this Saturday.  I was planning to go anyway and it's always nice to have company.  I felt bad ever since I took her and her son Alex to fish for early fall largemouth and she got skunked.  I was determined to put us on some crappies and that is what I did.

My first cast with a minnow hooked on the Custom Jigs and Spins gold metallic diamond-head jig  hooked a nice crappie.

A quick picture, a quick release, and a quick addition of another minnow to my jig and my float went down again.  This one was bigger.

Measuring at 11" this was a nice, thick, fat bellied crappie. Getting ready for winter added some heft to this fish and the fight on my ultralight rod was all that much more fun.

I bit off the ice jig I had tied on Monique's line and tied on another gold diamond-head jig.  The jig was the ticket for crappie today.  In short order Monique began catching crappie.

What is it with people I fish with kissing fish?  Never mind, the jig-switch worked and that was what mattered.  She still wouldn't impale a minnow but after a few fish Monique got the hang of lipping crappies and unhooking the jig from their paper-thin mouths.

After we caught a dozen fish we decided to call it a day.  The nice 10.25" crappie above is the last one we caught.

Another successful trip out for some crappie catching. I'm glad I could put Monique on some fish.  When quality fish come in enough quantity that they are catchable with the right methods it makes for a fun time out in nature.  

Funny how standing next to water is so calming.  You watch the ripples in the water move your float up and down.  Then it stays down.  Reel in the slack, rod-tip up, and give a steady pull to set the hook home.  Reel when you feel the wiggle and that's how it was today catching these early December crappies.

Oops...When did it become December?  ;-)  The URL will still stay November but the crappies remain.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Early December Crappie

I arrived at Dave's before the sun was up.  That tends to be the way of things when fishing but today it is December 2nd.  The days are still getting shorter and the nights colder.

We're in another weekend "Indian Summer" this weekend with temperatures in the sixties.  I hope the crappies remember they're supposed to bite.  They forget sometimes when the weather swings too wildly in either direction.

After a suspenseful few minutes of having our bait in the water Dave scores first with a nice average crappie for this lake.

Then it was my turn for a crappie to bite my minnow.

Kind of like watching tennis but Dave and I took turns catching crappies and had a great time.

A bonus bass took my float down and came to the surface for a picture.  I eyballed him in the 2# range.  Nice and stocky bass filling up before winter he pulled hard enough to take drag a few times before I landed him.  If you look closely you can see the Custom Jigs and Spins Diamond jig in gold color on his upper lip.

We packed up our things after we used most of the minnows we had brought.  It was a nice morning and a nice time spent out fishing with my friend Dave.  We caught 15-20 quality crappie the biggest being 11.5" but more importantly we enjoyed a morning out catching.

Hopefully we won't have any more of these weekends where we hit 60 degrees in December.  Ice showed up for a fleeting few days as the temperatures stayed down low enough to let it happen last week.  Now we've got 60 degrees.  Winter, come and give us ice!  

Can you tell I'm ready?