What a bust!

Trip One -

I have been traveling quite a bit lately (for work) and when I have been home, I have been asses to elbows in a bathroom renovation, amongst other things. With most of that out of the way, I have really been wanting to get out and catch some damn fish! Like all fisherpeople that want to catch fish, they come up with a plan just as I did this weekend....twice.

Earlier in the week, I got a hold of Dan Sims of Sims Spinners to see if he was fishing this weekend. Dan had made some custom spinners for me that I was anxious to get from him and he is a great fishing partner, so it was a win-win. Shortly after contacting him, I got a message from him that he had a fantastic idea for a trip and he'd call me later with the details. When he called, we came up with a plan to head out to Michigan to catch some steelies. The plan was to either take my little boat on a couple of rivers or go out with his buddy on Lake Michigan. This idea sounded fantastic to me and the trip was set!

I still hadn't taken the boat out this year so I had quite a bit to do in order to get it ready. I also had some detail work to do on the newly finished bathroom. Not wanting to make my wife upset, I devised a plan to accomplish both. On Wednesday and Thursday, I would divide my time between both projects. The daylight hours after work were spent on the boat and the twilight hours were spent on the bathroom. By the time Thursday evening rolled around, everything had been finished and I was ready to go!

Shortly after finishing on Thursday, and a little incident with a neighbor, I received a call from Dan that Michigan was going to have to wait. BUMMER!!! Between weather and an inconvenient stocking of the main river we planned to fish, it just didn't make sense to go. Seeing as how I had Friday off anyways, I suggested that we launch on the Des Plaines River to target some bass and gar. Yes, gar. I love catching those things!

We got to the launch and quickly noticed how windy it was out there. Considering that my boat is a mere 12' long with a measly 15hp motor, I was somewhat apprehensive about going out, but ultimately my desire to fish got the best of me. We were also dealing with an approaching rain that we figured wouldn't get there until the evening which would afford us at least a few hours of fishing.  With a strong headwind, it took us a bit longer than we expected to arrive to the spot. Once finally there, lures were flung and hopes were high.

It took a little bit, but I finally hooked up with one gar using my trusty rope spinner that has always produced. It wasn't a big one, but it was a fish. I was definitely excited by it though because it meant that they were biting. Dan has never been out gar fishing so I was eager to hook up with another one so I could pass the rod to him and land his first gar. Unfortunately, the rain started to fall within minutes of catching the first. I pulled out the trusty Android phone and loaded the weather channel maps and noticed that the huge rain storm was about to hit. We putzed around for about 20 more minutes and decided to get back before it really started to rain.

About 2 miles in, it happened....Rainageddon!! It was pouring!!! We still had another couple of miles to go, plus loading the boat on the trailer. By the time that was all done, we were SOAKED!!! We made a quick stop at McDonalds to warm up and fill up. Meanwhile, Dan mentioned another spot nearby that could have some potential for great smallie action. Soaked and cold, the smart thing would have been to just head home.

So off we went...to the killer smallie spot. We tied up with some jigs/twisters and tubes, hiked to the spot, and started fishing. It didn't take long for Dan to get a couple bites. There was a distinct mudline that seemed to be holding the action. A short while later, Dan landed a decent smallie. That was the only landed fish and we left for home a short while later. We had both beaten the skunk, so we were satisfied.

Trip Two -

Another fishing buddy of mine, Gary, had called me during the week about fishing this weekend. Our plan was to hit a cooling lake for some giant blue catfish or hit the chain of lakes for some early season muskie. Sunday seemed to be the day that worked for both of us and the plan was set. Once again, weather forced a cancelation. We knew it was too windy for the cooling lake considering it was a "red flag" day. Not wanting to struggle with boat control, the chain was the only option. Unfortunately, Gary lives very near there and told me that there were some pretty big whitecaps out there. Ultimately, we decided to postpone the trip.

The weather here in the Midwest during spring can definitely be crazy. Sometimes, you just have throw in the towel and be productive in other areas of life when it seems to not cooperate. There will be plenty of days coming up that don't include what I woke up to this morning...snow. Crazy Chicago!


  1. Thats one thing for sure about Chicago, constant adapting to weather conditions!

  2. Gar is an unusual species to avoid the skunk with. Could you give more info on the rope spinner?

  3. Not that unusual for me, John. I, unlike many, truly target and enjoy the hell out of them.

    The rope spinner that always seems to produce is a terminator style spinner with the skirt removed and replaced with a 5" piece of nylon rope that has been unwrapped and frayed. I am going to have Dan Sims make me an inline version that I think would be killer.

  4. "What a bust?"
    Came to view and not even a single nice pair to look at. No fish either.

  5. James, you are right. My apologies! Knowing that rain was quite possible, I didn't bring my camera on this trip. My buddy Dan brought his though and I am waiting on him to get those pics to me!

    I know we are all fish porn addicts, so as soon as I get them, I will post them. I promise.


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