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Rock Run Rookery Report

With the due date rapidly approaching for baby boy number 2, I have been shortening the distance of my outings. Last weekend, I limited it to a half hour with the intention of chasing some of these stocked rainbow trout in a local lake.

I prepared my 4wt, tied up a couple new leaders, and tied a few flies on Friday night. When I woke up Saturday morning and loaded the kayak in the back of the truck, I checked my license to make sure I had the inland trout stamp. I'm glad I did because, as it turns out, I did not buy it at the beginning of the year. Rather than getting one really quickly, I decided to hit a local pit lake called the Rock Run Rookery. It's close to the house and I have good cell reception there. I have fished it a few times this year and have always done OK there. Never great but never skunked.

The weather at home was pretty cool and somewhat breezy but nothing that even made me think twice about it. Since the 4wt was rigged and ready, I brought that along with my general purpose casting set-up. As I backed the truck up to the ramp and got out, I was rather surprised to have the wind rip the door out of my unsuspecting hand. The wind had this small lake pretty choppy and subsequently empty. As I unloaded, the only boat out there came in and said they didn't get a damn thing.  I sort of shrugged my shoulders and decided to leave the fly stuff in the truck.

There are quite a few spots that go from 15 to 20 feet deep up to 3 or less feet in almost no time. A lot of those drops form some small islands which is what I decided to focus on. I hit a series of islands with a spinner bait that has produced quite well this year in similar lakes but nothing was happening and I really wasn't feeling it. I tied on a creature bait for about ten minutes but wasn't really feeling that either. Ultimately, I felt the best about a deep diving crayfish colored crankbait and within the first few casts, I had my first willing participant come off the wind blown side of an island. I fished the rest of that island with no other fish.

As I worked my way over to another island, I made a cast right to the windblown side, cranked it a few times as it bounced off the rocks, and got hit again. This was the pattern for sure. I ended up with two more fish over the next hour before I was simply too cold to deal with it anymore. Four smallish bass in a little under two hours on a windy, post cold front, day - not too bad.


Attempt One at Breaking the Kayak Wars Musky Record

If you are a friend on the Facebook Page or the Twitter Page, you might have read that I was heading to Shabbona Lake this weekend in an attempt to break the Kayak Wars Musky Record in my division.

As of now, that record stands at 41.5 inches which is a very beatable number. Shabbona is known to have some big musky in there! From what I understand, four state records have come out of there. Also, since I am on baby watch, I have an hour long leash which just barely puts Shabbona in my range.

The water was a lot murkier than I had anticipated which almost instantly lowered my expectations. I am used to fishing for these fish in water that has a ton of visibility. Still, I went on knowing full well that musky have no problem finding food in all sorts of conditions.

I focused on four main parts of the lake that scream musky and absolutely pounded them trying to entice a fish. A couple of hours into the day came my first and only action. I was on the second lap of a figure 8 and was just starting to lift the lure out of the water to get ready for another cast when a mid 30's fish came charging towards the bait. Unfortunately, it just didn't connect.

What I learned in that moment is that when fishing dirty water like that, bright colors and at least four laps on a figure 8 are key. When you can't see the fish trailing, you have to assume that there is a fish every time and give him more opportunities to take a whack.

While I didn't get any video footage with any muskies, I did get some nice scenery and video of me "practicing casting". I have been wanting footage that shows how comfortably I can stand and fish from the Hobie Outback so I decided to put together a short video of that.

I'm hoping to get out again next weekend, but we'll have to see if that baby decides to come out!! We are 38 weeks, so it really could happen at anytime!!


Windy, Cold, and Crappie

So, this weekend marked the first measurable snow in much of the Chicagoland area which is the earliest ever recorded. The second record set on the same day was the lowest maximum temperature since 1939. The 20mph winds sure didn't help the situation but still, I ventured on.

The ultimate goal was flathead catfish at Mazonia's Monster Lake. The plan was to catch a few bluegill and then toss those as flathead bait. Besides the windy and cold stuff, I discovered another obstacle when I got there and that was chocolate milk water. This was sure to make it hard for the bluegill to find my little wax worms. Oh probably didn't help that I forgot to buy some.

I tried some small plastics but the fish just had a hard time seeing it in the muddy water so I decided to throw on a really small safety pin spinner. That didn't take long at all to get some attention from a surprise, but not what I was looking for, crappie.

While not the bluegill I was looking for, at least I had something getting some attention. Over the next few hours, I ended up with three more of those things!! The biggest was 10.5" and the smallest was 6".

In between the crappie, a few small bass came out to play including this little 14 incher

With the winds picking up and the temperature dropping, I decided to put the flathead quest on hold. Perhaps I will go for it again next weekend and if I do, I'm hoping the water clears up. Of course, even though things didn't go as planned, I - as I always do - had a blast exploring a new body of water.


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