Today's black cat was a Mackinaw River smallie that took a mad tom fly in green and red.
I've grown to despise first cast fish. Usually a first cast fish spells doom for my outing, but tonight the Mack had something "different" planned. I would not quite call it good luck, but a couple interesting things happened.
First, I caught a fish on a dry fly - a #14 Adams to be precise. I've tried many times before and never managed a dry fly fish - but tonight that changed. The longear sunfish seen below rose to the occasion.
Secondly, that fish would be an Illinois record....if I kept it. Last summer, there was a story at PSO about a new record pumkinseed. The article carved out a spot in the back of my mind because it mentioned an odd fact: most of the Illinois sunfish species have no entry in the record book. It isn't because the DNR does not accept applications; actually no one has ever bothered applying.
Longear sunfish is one of the unlisted species...I held a record fish and put it back in the water. To be honest, I would have kept it if I were better educated in fish identification. Getting a record would be fun, even a small one no one seems to want.
Next time I'll stick it in my pocket and head for the nearest scale.