Friday, October 30, 2009

Back to the "Old Reliable " pond

I've been getting antsy to get out and do some fishing - ANY fishing, really. The weather in Illinois has flat out stunk on the few days I've been home. But, on Wednesday, the overcast, misty weather didn't seem like it would get any worse, so I snuck out to the ponds for an hour in the late afternoon.

As you know from reading this blog, I'm very in-tune with the fish in these ponds in the springtime. Well, Fall is a different story. I've caught some BIG bass here in the Fall, but have had difficulty patterning them. I really didn't care on this little venture - I just wanted to get out and cast a line. In addition to the usual array of fish found here - largemouth, bluegill, crappie, walleye, channel cat - there were a nice amount of big rainbow trout stocked a week ago.

I spent a little bit of time trying to catch a trout or 2. I used a Mepps spinner, and had 2 different trout slash at it, but they struck short. They were nice sized fish, and will be a ball to chase through the ice or in spring. I went back to one of my "go-to" baits - a 1/16 oz. jighead with a 2" silver grub - and started casting to the shallow dropoffs.

No great story to tell about the results - I got 2 bluegills, 2 small walleye, and 1 little largemouth. What is truly amazing is how good it felt to un-hook a few fish, no matter how small. The water looked nice, ducks were flying, and it was a great day to spend a few hours on the pond.

Don't forget, folks - Fall Fishing can be great!


Friday, October 23, 2009

Even a little fishing is better than no fishing at all

One of the "cookie-cutter" bass we caught

I spent Monday - Thursday in Pinehurst NC this past week. There was an industry fundraiser for the NSSF (National Shooting Sports Foundation) and the ASA (American Sportfishing Association). I actually got to play golf on Pineurst #2, one of the most highly rated courses in the country. BTW - I stink at golf, but periodically get to play some pretty good courses.

Anyway, an old friend of mine retired about 10 years ago and lives in Pinehurst. I hadn't seen him for years, and we managed to spend an afternoon together. That meant we went fishing on Pinehurst Lake for an hour and a half.

The lake is about 200 acres and is rarely fished on any serious level. It really exists to hold the pontoon boats of the residents and host parties. But there are some BIG largemouth bass in the lake - Roger has caught them over 10 pounds, and he (admittedly) isn't a bass fisherman.

To make a long story short - we got out, and caught a few bass. I believe we got 14 between us. All but one were the same size as the one in the photo. Roger got one about 2-1/2 pounds. We found them in 10-12' of water and covered the water with 1/8 oz. jigheads and 3" grub tails. The bass were very light / silver colored - the lake is spring fed and very clear.

The most interesting part of the trip - I asked Roger to bring a camera. His wife was on a trip with her sisters and had taken the digital camera, so all we could find was a Polaroid. I couldn't tell you the last time I saw a Polaroid camera. But it served it's purpose - he took a picture, I scanned it, cropped it, and fixed it, and here it is!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stymied by a Winnebago

Well, our attempt to fish smallies on the Mississippi didn't happen. No, it wasn't my whimpering about the cold that brought our attempt to a halt. My buddy Gregg is the boat owner and guide for this venture. He has been as busy as I have recently, and hasn't had much time to prepare for this trip. But it doesn't really need much prep time - pull the boat, buy some minnows, and catch smalies.

I was set to leave the hotel at 8 am and meet Gregg when the phone rang - never a good thing. It was Gregg, sounding apologetic. To make a long story short - he went down the storage facility where he keeps his jonboat, and it was blocked in by 2 Winnebago's! Couldn't get it out for at least a day or 2.

(Before anyone asks - he has a larger boat for fishing the lakes in MN, but on the shallow upper Missisippi, he uses a small jonboat. It doesn't come out of storage until the Fall season gets here, so this was the first time he went to get it from the storage facility this year)

I've lost days of fishing when MY vehicles have decided to quit working, but never because I was blocked by a Winnebago. Until now.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Poor timing

I had planned to sneak a half day of fishing in on Wednesday. My annual, or almost annual, smallmouth bass trip on the Mississippi River above Minneapolis.

As I sit in O'Hare Airport, waiting out my 2 hour delay to GET TO Minneapolis - snow and low visibility in the Twin Cities - I'm thinking that odds of that little trip coming together are diminishing with the visibility. Not because the fishing won't be any good - on the contrary, it would probably be great.

The real reasons (there are two):
1) I didn't pack enough clothing to make it through a bitter cold day. Couldn't fit that much stuff in my carry on

2) I'm getting older, and the days of me doing ANYTHING to catch some fish may well be seen only in the rear view mirror of life. As much as I love to catch big smallmouth - and there are very few things I like more than that - I hate freezing my butt off. If it was a local trip, there would be no question about going - I'd don my snowmobile suit, Pac Boots, and be off. But on a trip - not looking promising.

But it COULD come together - I'll let you know