Sunday, June 27, 2010

Charter Oak North - 6/27/10

Had a family wedding reception all day yesterday and I'm planning (weather willing) to go out and do some plinking to check out some rifles with my uncle today so I got up at the crack of dawn to try and catch a couple fish today.

Ok, thats a stretch.  What really happened is I fell asleep at 9pm last night, exhausted from the reception.  I woke up at 3:30 this morning, wide awake.  So I figured I might as well squeeze in some fishing.

Headed out to Charter Oak North at 5:00AM.  I picked up a couple Ribbit frogs awhile back and since Charter Oak has excessive vegetation, I decided to tie that on and see if I could get a couple explosions on it.  It makes alot of noise when reeled through open water and is really easy to bounce on the lilly pads but I had no takers.  (Despite having hits on my Senko lookalikes the past two times I was there.)

Eventually I snagged up my frog on a tree.  Had to break it off so I decided to go to what is becoming my old standby: a 7 inch Powerworm, this time in Tequila sunrise.

A few casts with the Powerworm got me a tick from this guy:

As you can see, not a lunker by any means but its much better than getting skunked.

There's a commercial that shows about every 37 seconds on Versus with Larry Dahlberg saying:
"There are four stages of angling: You just wanna catch a fish.  You wanna catch a limit.  You wanna catch a really big one.  Finally, you wanna catch them the way YOU wanna catch 'em."
I was thinking about it and I definitely still fall into the first category.  As long as I'm able to take a fish off the hook, ANY fish, it validates my day.  Especially if it's a bass.  Even if he's about the size of the bait I'm using.

Anyway, I cast out the Powerworm a few more times with no takers.  Then, as is becoming a trend, I started hearing thunder roll up behind me.  I stuck it out until I saw a flash of lightning, then headed home.  Only got to fish for about an hour and a half total but it made my morning.

Hopefully it dries up before noon, as I'd really like to go try out some rifles before my FOID card comes in.  If anyone has any suggestions on a nice, fairly inexpensive .22 rifle, please let me know.

Hope you all have a good weekend and get to wet a line.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Big old skunkeroonie.

Went out with my dad to Lake Carlton to try to track down some bass.  After hiking as far as we could on overgrown back trails and trying everything from a spinnerbait to a fluke with no success, we eventually just sat on the edge of a dock and tossed Powerworms along the shore, reminiscing and exaggerating old fishing memories.

It was frustrating from a fishing standpoint but at the same time, I knew I had to keep patient and try to make the most of it since Dad and I don't get many opportunities to go fish or really hang out in general anymore.

About 11, we made the drive to the Coleta Trout Ponds so I could try to  pick up my first trout on the fly.  Apparently there have to be trout in the pond to catch.  I walked all the way around the pond with crystal clear water and polarized glasses and didn't see a single sign of trout-y life.  Oh well, I guess that's what I get for going to a stocked trout pond a couple months after its stocked.  It was worth a try.  I'll have to try again when they restock in October.

I apologize for the lack of fishing action on here lately, you'll have to trust me when I say its not for lack of trying.  I guess thats part of being new to something, success doesn't just happen.  I'm putting in the hours though.  Hopefully things start turning around soon.

Happy Father's day to all you dads, hope you all get to take your kids out and catch a few this weekend!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Banner Marsh 6/13

So between 85 degree weather and storms every other day, the weather has been pretty miserable here in Central IL the past couple weeks. I braved the humidity and oncoming storm briefly this morning and headed back out to Banner Marsh to do some more exploring.

I headed past the entry points I previously checked out in search of something a little more remote and less pressured than before.  I ended up driving down a road with lakes on both sides and a crossroad in the middle, with two more lakes on the other side.  I cruised really slowly and could see literally hundreds of bluegill splashing in the shallows of the first lake I drove past, it was probably the most fish I'd seen in one spot, it was pretty awesome.  Past the crossroads and towards the end of the second lake, I got out of the Explorer with my Shakespeare baitcaster combo texas-rigged with a Culprit worm.  I tossed a few casts towards some promising looking weeds and along the shore without any bites when I started hearing thunder way back behind me. 

I decided to give up on bass fishing for the day.  I knew it was going to be a learning experience trying to find the fish and a remote spot that would take longer than Mother Nature was going to give me.  I really feel like I need a majority of a day to really explore and find a "honeyhole."  Also, I had some new flies/floatant that my buddy Rhett from Central Ohio Fishing tied and sent along to me to get me started until I get my own kit.  So, I figured I'd head back to the first lake and try to salvage the day while I still had a chance.

I tied on what I think is a little mosquito fly and let her rip.  The bluegill started rising to my fly as soon as it hit.  I learned that when a fish comes up close to inspect your fly, you shouldn't twitch it or strip in line to try to entice it to bite unless you're planning on scaring the hell out of every fish interested. 

It wasn't long before I hooked this guy:
2010-06-13 11.58.47.jpg

Followed by this guy on the next cast:
2010-06-13 12.03.13.jpg

 A little bigger.  Then I realized that I was taking more time taking pictures of little bluegill than I was catching little bluegill, with time at a premium due to the storm clouds and thunder rolling closer.  So I decided to just try to catch as many as possible before having to take off.  I ended up catching 4 more bluegill, the largest being about the size of half of my hand ( the technical measurement).   

As soon as the thunder got overhead, the fish stopped biting.  I kept trying for the next ten minutes or so and the fish would come up and look at the fly but they wouldn't touch it.  I stuck it out until I saw lightning and then headed home just a few minutes before the heavens opened up for yet another heavy rain.  I really hope the weather settles down before next weekend so I can have a good trip with my dad. 

If all goes well I should have some pics of my first trout on the fly as well as a bunch of bass.  We'll see how it goes.  Even if we get skunked it should be a good father-son trip.

Till then I'm gonna go chill and watch some more of my new favorite show: Expedition Great White.  For anyone who hasn't seen it, its like if you took Jaws and made it a Discovery-esque educational show.  They use giant circle hooks and bouys to tire the shark out, tag it and release.  It's pretty awesome, I highly recommend it.

Well have a good one ladies and gentlemen, hopefully I'll have a little more exciting post for you all next week.  Thanks to Rhett for the flies/floatant, they saved the day!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fellow anglers, I need your help!

Hey everybody, hope all is going well.

Last post I mentioned my uncle briefly, well he fell into some bad luck and had someone steal about 15 rod/reel combos, a tackle bag and several boxes of crankbaits.  :(

I know alot of guys who have fishing blogs also frequent forums/trading sites/are on the lookout for good deals, if you hear of anyone selling/trading huge amounts of custom painted Rapalas, two GLoomis rods with Stradic reels, two St. Croix rods w/ Stradic reels, or an assortment of these (there were other assorted rods/reels/lures but those are the ones that really stick out), please let me know.  He said it looks like the guy knew what he was looking for so he's probably not stupid enough to sell/swap it online but if you hear of anything suspicious, please pass it on.  It would probably be out of the WI/MI area.

He's hoping insurance will cover everything and he still has enough gear to compete in his upcoming tourneys but it'd be nice to track down the guy who did it and make sure he gets what's coming to him.

Anyone who would like to help spread the word is very appreciated.

Thanks guys.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Fishing Goals!

Hola mi amigos.

After a few days of thought, I've come up with a quite a few different goals to meet as far as fishing goes.  I tried to keep these realistic so that its possible to meet all of them this year.  When a goal is met I will reassess and "kick it up a notch." 

I realized that some of the goals I have in mind have absolutely nothing to do with bass fishing.  Hopefully nobody minds that I include other species in a blog entitled "Intro to Bass Fishing".  I've just been bitten by the fishing bug in general, a day that I catch any fish is a good day fishing.

However, I did go ahead and break these up into bass/non-bass goals, as bass fishing far outweighs every other goal I have in mind.  So without further ado, here we go:

Bass Goals:
  • Catch a Smallmouth:  My dad tells me I caught a 2.5 pound smallie when I was 5 years old while fishing for bluegill with a nightcrawler but for the life of me I can't remember a single thing about it.  I read/see such great things about smallmouth bass, I really want to target them as the summer goes on and turns into fall.
  • Catch a bass over 3lbs/document it:  Those of you who remember my night adventure awhile back may remember that I think I caught a bass over 3 lbs but I had no scale and no tape measure to accurately document it.  I'm now armed with a nifty Berkley scale/tape measure AND a camera with a flash, so bring on the 3+ pounders!
  • Catch more than 5 bass in one outing:  I had one day this spring where I caught 5 bass (the largest being the one I'm holding in my profile pic at 14").  Time to do better.
  • Catch a bass on a fly/popper I made myself:  I really look forward to this one.  I can't imagine the feeling of fooling a bass into eating a lure I made myself, I'm stoked.  I'm hoping to get a fly tying kit soon, then this one will really take off.  I actually made a popper the other night out of cheap craft materials from walmart, a spare hook and my mini-multi-tool (without a vise, bobbin, or any other traditional tools I might add).  It's god-awful ugly and I accidentally painted the feathers but maybe by some miracle it'll catch a fish.  Behold:
(Told you it was god-awful ugly.  Sorry bout the "Just Married" balloons in the background, this was the only shot with a decent focus.)
  • Catch a bass on a jig, crankbait, and carolina rig:  All of which I've failed to do.  I think the carolina rig will be the easiest, as it seems to be just adding sound to a texas rig and moving the weight away from the plastic.  I've caught almost all my bass on a texas-rigged worm this year so hopefully carolina rigging comes naturally to me.  I'll count each of these as a separate goal on the official list I'll make up, just lumped them together to save space and not be redundant on this post.
  • Catch a bass with my dad:  This one is probably most important to me.  As I've mentioned on here before, my dad is really big into fishing but he's a panfish/catfish/walleye kind of guy.  He's caught quite a few bass, but has never really targeted them.  Well, he takes his girlfriend out fishing for bluegill about once a week and my recent obsession with bass fishing has convinced him to buy a cheap kit of plastic worms, dust off his ancient baitcaster and give bass fishing a serious try.  I'll be sure to mention if he pulls in a monster in the next couple trips.  Also, he and I are planning on going fishing Father's Day weekend, which gives me a pretty good segue into:
Non-bass related goals:
  • Catch a trout on the fly:  This is probably the most logistically difficult goal I have, since I don't think trout can naturally live in Illinois waters.  However, the DNR stocks trout twice a year at different sites across the state.  Dad and I are going to hit up the Coleta Trout Ponds near Rock Falls, IL first thing on our daytrip and try to catch some trout.  This may prove impossible since it was stocked in March and won't be again until October.  However, all the flyfishing blogs I follow have got me stoked to give it a try.  If it doesn't work out there, we're planning on heading to Lake Carlton in Morrison and chasing some bass.
  • Catch a carp on the fly:  I follow a ridiculous amount of blogs.  Two of these are and Carp on the Fly.  These guys make carp fishing on the fly look easy.   I remember fishing for carp on the Rock River with canned corn, that was a blast!  (We had one take off with my dad's pole because he was busy baiting my sister's pole when I was probably 9 years old.  That day was not a blast.)  If its that much fun on standard tackle, it's gotta be a hell of a fight on a fly rod.
  • Catch a walleye/sauger/saugeye:  My uncle Roy Vivian started fishing professionally in MWC and FLW tourneys last year.  He spends most of his time up north but he said the next time he has a tourney on the Illinois River, I can pre-fish with him.  Should be a good time, not just fishing but catching up with my favorite uncle.  I don't get to see him that often.  As long as that trip happens, I should accomplish this one.
  • Try cooking each of the species of fish that catch:  Obviously only if its a legal fish.  I never liked fish when I was little so I've avoided it most of my life.  However, I recently had fried catfish and grilled salmon and they were both delicious so I'm going to seek out different recipes and try them out.  If I find any good ones I'll be sure to share them with you guys.  I don't know that this can be fully accomplished because it seems like there's ALWAYS another species out there, so it may not get added to an official list of goals.  Nevertheless, it's one of my objectives in fishing.
So there they are, the things I'd really like to accomplish by year's-end.  Like I said earlier, some of them will have the ante upped after they're met.  Is there anything you've accomplished that you think every angler should also?  Do you have any goals for the coming year or just as a fisherman in general?