The honey-do list had me reorganizing the storage room this weekend, most likely Saturday. With the cold snap ending in time for the weekend, I cautiously pointed out the Sunday forecast included 40mph wind...a perfect day for interior domestic work. It turned into an easy negotiation and the Sunday fishing plan became Saturday fishing.
October and November in Illinois add a curve ball to planning an outing on water. The duck/goose hunting lobby must be strong because
I found my fall fishing cap and set out with smallies on the mind. I knew the bite would be tough with nightly air temps dipping below the freeze line. I'd be fishing a new spot, but if I could find a wintering hole maybe I would get lucky enough to drop an offering in the tiny strike zone - the stars would align and I'd beat my chest with glory.
It was easy to find the public access point, it was marked by ten other trucks - each with a whitetail sticker in the window - some with camo lettering declaring the importance of "huge racks." I suited up and saw my first dead deer of the year, antlerless and petite.
Me: "Looks like you've already had some luck"Under the bridge, I missed three strikes before finally landing the first fish. A sign of life: at least the chub are biting.
He: "Ahhh, he's just a little skip"
Three kids showed up to throw rocks with Grandpa. They arrived just in time to see me lose footing and bust ass. Luckily I had the presence of mind to toss the rod far from potential damage...into the frigid knee deep water.
Gramps: "Come over here because he's fishing on that side"I rolled up my sleeve to retrieve the stick and started hoofing downstream away from shame and toward my impending glory.
Kid #1: "But I want to talk to him"
Kid #2: "You can't, he's a stranger"
Me (falling): "@#&%!"
Gramps: "You okay?"
I spent too much time working a root ball, a couple more chubs came to hand but still no sign of bronze. Three deer sneaked in and settled in a nearby thicket, only to scare the crap out of me when I finally gave up on the the hole. The deer headed off downstream, and I made a mental note to not be a huge sissy when I saw them again.
Where the creek bent, it also entered an unfishable section of ten foot shear walls. From the mouth of the "mini canyon" I could double hall downstream into the deepest water around. Close enough to work a small area of the hole and just far enough to cause a wind knot...or twenty.
If there were still smallies in this creek, that was the spot...I'm sure of it but I wasn't far from where the creek dumped into a river...there may be no smallmouth in the creek at all. This is where the gamble on location would pay and I tried my hardest to cash in. The small section I could reach was worked over with every presentation I could manage: buggers, Clousers, crawdads, meat whistles and mad toms - fast, slow, slower and slowest.
Back at the bridge I saw my butt print in the mud. The kids were gone and the hunters were starting their second shift. I wondered if my rear window was fit for the bass sticker it displays...without it there would be room for a sixteen point silhouette and camo letters.
Me: "I spooked a few downstream, you might want to head north instead"