Wednesday, July 16, 2014

DuPage Angler - Lake Patterson Challenge

Early Sunday morning I load my kayak on my car, load my gear in my car and head to a parking lot in Aurora, IL to meet 14 who share my sickness; needus bassthumbis!  Actually, the parking lot was a meeting point to all check in for this month's DuPage Angler Challenge.

Roughly each month of the late spring and summer organizes tournament style challenges.  This challenge was held at Kane County Forest Preserve's Lake Patterson.

My kayak was in the water and I paddled across the lake to a spot I thought would produce.  After nothing bit my Arbogast Buzz Plug I decided to use a finesse plastic that is a favorite of mine; the 4" curly-tail worm.  The bass in the picture ate the 4" worm.  Unfortunately that bass wasn't large enough to count toward our team total.  Here are the rules for our friendly tournament:

Qualifying fish will be (3) largemouth at a minimum of 12 inches, (2) panfish at a minimum of 6 inches, and (1) bonus Carp at any length.  Total team length of these top 6 fish will dictate 1st - 3rd place.   Big fish pot will only count towards Bass! A picture needs to be taken of the length.  We will measure up to the nearest 1/4 inch but will not round up for a fish to if a bass is 11.8 inches...we will not round up to 12 for it to count.  Shore anglers and boaters need to have a camera and ruler or bump board to take pictures.  A picture of the entire fish and a picture of the final length are needed to count.  If you are having problems ask for help from your fellow anglers.
Live bait can be used for panfish and carp but not bass.  If a bass is caught using live bait it will not count toward your total inches.  Only one line can be in the water at any one time.
Fishing time will be from 6:30 AM to Noon.  Please be back in the parking lot for Patterson lake by 12:15 PM or you will lose 4 inches of your total.

So now you can see why my small bass didn't count. I was throwing a swim jig, not getting bit when I heard another angler hook up with two quick bass on a Z-Man chatter-bait. I have a bunch of those! I had success with chatter baits a few weeks ago.

Bam! A 14.25" bass hits my chatterbait! That'll count toward our inch total! I hope we get to cull him though. Time to release the bass and make another cast.

BAM! 14.75" A better bass and another one to count. I still hope we can cull!

Take a look at that chatterbait! This wasn't unique, EVERY bass CHOKED the bait! They really wanted to eat it!

Woot!!! A 15.25" bass! That will add to my teammate Titus' 15" bass to give us 30.25" with 2 fish. We can still use my 14.75" but I'd rather keep trying for bigger.

BOOM! There's my bite!!! The chatterbait scores a nice 17.5" largemouth! She weighs in at 3.25# on my Boga-Grip.

She's thick just like the other bass here. Well fed! Well fed on bluegills!

Speaking of bluegills my other teammate Steakified who had been fishing from shore scored two nice bluegills! That's additional inches for our total.

So our three bass plus two bluegills turned in 63.25" of fish. My 17.5" was big bass of the challenge and it was the tie-breaker as another team had 63.25" too. The big bass winner tipped the scales in my team's favor! We won!

After fishing a bunch of us returned to the parking lot we met in this morning to get a burger and beer at a local bar and grill. It was great to get to talk with and get to know new members and not new members that don't get out with the group too often.

We come from all walks of life, fish different ways, use different gear but all of us know that part of us needs to feel the tug and struggle of the fish on the end of our lines. We share that common trait and what better way to show it? We descend upon a 55 acre lake en masse' and work it from land and by boat to catch what the lake has to offer, take fish-pictures, then ease our fooled fishy friends back to the 55 acre lake to eat other fish, grow bigger, then bite my chatterbait next year!

What, it could happen!