Gnarly

Went out fishing with my buddy Matt this morning, trying to bring in some catfish to fry up for dinner.

Anticipation was in the air as we walked down the levee, rods in hand.  You could almost hear it buzzing.

Oh wait… That was the thousands of flies, feeding on the damp muck left behind after the lake dried up enough to let the levee emerge.  It was kind of unnerving, like the background noise in a horror flick, getting slowly louder as time passes and we get closer.

We went out to Anderson Lake, which is by Manito, IL.  We started out with Matt’s homemade stink bait.  It sure stunk.  The problem was it was the first time he made it so it wasn’t thick enough to stick well to the catfish worms.  We fished it for awhile with just a few disinterested bites.  While watching my pole, I rigged up the Firebird with a jighead and 3″ Ripple Shad and tossed it around to no avail.

The whole time we were there, a group (pod?) of about 15-20 carp were cruising about 3 feet from shore.  I tied on a big bushy fly on my flyrod and tried to put it out a few feet in front of them.  I had one come up and “sniff” it but he turned around and booked it away.  I think I would like to get some weighted flies that would sink to the bottom and go out there again, I’m confident that with the correct bait, you could  clean up on carp on that levee.  Matt also gave me some advice on flycasting, so I don’t look quite so developmentally disabled.

After about two hours with no fish, I rigged up my baitcaster with a hook and sinker and threaded a nightcrawler on.  A couple casts later, I finally had a hit and set the hook into my first fish in about a month.  Little did I know it’d be this little monster:

Yea, he had a bad day.  My first Bullhead ever.

All in all, he had is back fin missing, his front fin was messed up (Finding Nemo style), he was missing a whisker, that scarring on his side, and had deep gashes on the top of his head.  Matt reckons he had a run-in with a flathead.

I wasn’t about to eat him in that condition so we let him go.  Sadly we saw him float up to the top about ten feet away a little bit later.  Luckily, something came up and snatched him so he didn’t go to waste.

A little bit later, I got another bite and reeled in this:

I believe they’re technically White Perch.  My dad always called them Sheephead.  Matt calls them bait.  He caught two more and kept all three to use for cutbait when he goes back tonight.

Matt also had a piece of nightcrawler under a bobber.  Something dragged it under super sloooowly.  Matt set the hook and the drag on his ultra-light went apesh*t.  I  moved his other rod out of way and watched him fight a fish up towards the bank.  It ended up being a 2 1/2 to 3 foot gar that snapped off the line right at shore.  Wish we could have landed it so I could get a pic for you guys.

All in all, not the day I hoped for but I still had a good time.  Matt swears the fishing is a hundred times better at night so I’ll have to go out with him some night soon and hopefully pull in one of the 10-15 pound cats he raves about.  🙂

I have a couple more pics of the shoreline to share with you, its a really beautiful lake.

Well thats it for now.  I have a Peoria Chiefs (Cubbies farm team) game to go to tonight and I need a nap beforehand. 🙂

I’ve been waiting on my FOID card for a month now.  Whenever the state police get it to me, I’ll be following up with my experiences on getting licensed to own a firearm in IL and purchasing my first rifle and handgun.  I know this has nothing to do with fishing but I know alot of fisherman are also into hunting/shooting so I figure someone may enjoy reading it.

Hope you all have a good weekend.

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