Friday, November 28, 2014

Emiquon in August

Alan and I arrived at Emiquon by mid-afternoon on Saturday.  It was the Labor Day weekend. Our goal was simple. We wanted to catch bass.  We heard from several of Alan's tournament friends and DuPage Angler's own Soonerbass this body of water off the Illinois river has some fantastic bass fishing. That was enough to get three kayak anglers to drive two plus hours to fish what you can see in the photo below has a generous expanse of matting grass before you get to open water.  

This was our first day fishing the lake so as we unloaded our kayaks we discussed our game plan.  We decided to paddle out the narrow, deep channel at the boat launch to the edge of the weeds.  We figured by the time we got to the edge of the weeds we'd have a chance to figure out if we wanted to go right or left. We knew there were probably fish in either direction so we made our choice and started fishing.  

Both Alan and I had rods with frogs tied on.  We figured out quickly that the bluebird skies and the bright sunshine would kill any frog bite so we'd have to adapt and adjust.  Alan scored the first bass throwing his favorite soft plastic.  It's the bait that gave him his forum handle; a green Zoom Fluke.  The bass wasn't huge but it took the pressure off Alan.  Now I had to figure out what to fish and how to fish it.

I caught a few and Alan caught a few more but none of my bass were long enough to count for Kayak Wars points.  It was fun catching them mind you but I like most anglers end up wanting to catch something bigger.  We did catch a beautiful sunset.  I'll end the first day play-by-play with that.

Day number two we unloaded our yaks and got in the water around sunup.  Alan noticed something yesterday that was reinforced at the boat ramp today.  He noticed boats all heading to one end of the lake.  Well they might know something we didn't so we launched our kayaks and began to paddle like crazy after the boats.

We got to another big chunk of weeds.  It looked like anywhere there was water that wasn't 12 feet deep there were thick matted weeds.  Boats were fishing the weed edge but they couldn't go deeper into the mats without clogging up their motors.  Our kayaks could.  Did I mention Alan and I both had frogs tied on MH rods, high speed reels, braid what you'd want to use frog fishing.  Alan got the first points fish before I got the hang of the retrieve the bass wanted. It was explosive!  I paused the frog for a second in a hole in the weeds and the bass just SLAMMED it!

I love frog fishing! I do!  We had several hours of bass after bass smashing up through the mats.  My Live Target frog was taking a beating. Both Alan and I were giddy from the adrenaline.  

What worked here was simple, just cast the frog, rod parallel to the water start to reel.  For me three turns of the reel handle then, two, three stop........wait....SMASH!!! Wait to feel the weight of the fish then set the hook.  

Scott got in on the end of the topwater bite but his frog got nailed enough times for him to be excited about the fishing tomorrow.  The sun was setting on us as we paddled all the way back across the lake to the boat launch. 

We got something to eat and headed back to the hotel to pass out.  Day two was absolutely fantastic!  Big bass, beautiful surroundings, and sore arms from paddling our kayaks over the weeds.  It was a good kind of sore.

Day three the wind kept us in the hotel until mid morning.  It was blowing strong in gusts and spurts.  Paddling was hard but it would get harder; the wind was at our back as we paddled to yesterday's spots.

I managed more fish including this nice 4# largemouth caught on a Texas-rigged toad that I dropped into a hole in the weeds.  Fish were sparse but catchable today our final day.

Pretty soon we had to paddle back to the boat launch.  It was time to load up and drive home. Our three day totaled a bunch of bass.  I didn't keep count, I was just busy having fun catching. Scott and Alan both caught a ton too.  I'm guessing we'd all agree coming back to Emiquon is a real possibility.  

I'm sure as the ice starts to recede at the end of the ice season 2014-2015 our thoughts will turn to warmer fishing and our trip to Emiquon will come up.  I'd fish there again; it's a frog-fisherman's place to be!  It's very friendly to kayak fishermen and offers us spots to fish where the motorized boats can't reach.