Thursday, November 08, 2007

Cool Technique for Cold Water

Antique lure collector Dan Basore and I were standing outside the Muskie Show at Pheasant Run talking about fishing trips we had won at the Illinois Smallmouth Alliance Fund Raiser. I had won several trips including a day on Lake Geneva with guide and outdoor radio show host Mike Norris. Dan said he fished with Mike when the smallies were stacked up on the points in Lake Geneva in the fall.

I had also won a guided drift boat day on the Fox River. Unfortunately, the fine print said there was a weight limit of 180 pounds and I weigh around 240 pounds. So I asked Dan whether he wanted the trip and he said yes.

The meeting turned out to be very good for me but not for Dan. He was skunked on his recent drift boat trip on the Fox. I on the other hand – well, let me tell you the story.

When fall came near I contacted Mike and he said he would get back to me when the smallies moved into deep water off the points. Mike contacted me and we set the date for October 5. Mike said we’d meet at the Fontana town dock and catch some perch for bait for the day. I was a little late in arriving and Mike had already caught a few perch. I helped catch a few more and we took off a short way to Williams Bay.

We used medium spinning tackle with eight pound test fluorocarbon line to a swivel. Above the swivel was a half ounce barrel sinker. From the swivel there was a five foot, eight pound fluorocarbon leader to a red Gamakatsu octopus hook. We nose hooked the six inch perch, cast out and let the sinkers fall into fifty-one feet of water and started a slow troll with the electric motor. We opened the reel bail and held the line on the tip of the finger in case we needed to drop the line and let the fish run when they hit.

Mike caught several smallies before I finally was finally able to sense a hit through the stretch of over fifty feet of line. I let the line peel out across my finger, and told Mike I had a hit. We began chasing after the fish and I closed the bail and began reeling until we caught up to the fish. When the fish stopped running I set the hook. After a short battle Mike netted a nice northern pike for me. Amazingly, the line wasn’t cut even though the hook was inside the pikes mouth. The perch had slid up the line and was a little chewed up but still lively.

We spent half the morning catching smallies and a few more pike before the bite started to slow. Mike had a second location in mind but didn’t want to leave while we were still catching fish. Finally we made a move to the southwest side of the lake not far from Fontana. We started fishing again in thirty-seven feet of water and got into some bigger smallies; my big smallie was 20 ½”. The bite was a little easier to sense as we didn’t have as much line out as earlier in the morning. We started to run out of perch and so we motored near shore and in fifteen minutes had enough perch for the rest of the day.

We finished the day with a nice lunch at a nearby Fontana Resort.

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