Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bear goes Fishing, Again!

Photos from this trip:

After a couple of trips back to the Monee reservoir that didn’t leave me with much to write about, I decided that my next trip would be to new water. On Monday July 27, 2009, my wife and I took that trip. We took the boat to Starved Rock State Park and launched in the Illinois River.

The last time I was at Starved Rock, they had a dock there which made it fairly easy to put a boat in the water. No dock this time. I had to pick the dog up and put him in the boat while it was still on the trailer. After my wife climbed up into the boat, I backed it down the ramp and into the water. The plan was for my wife to drive the boat off of the trailer and then I’d climb into it over the front after parking the vehicle and trailer.

As soon as I got out of the car I noticed water being spit out thanks to the bilge pump. Yep, Rookie move. I forgot the drain plug. Good thing that one of the first things I did after I got the boat was to install a float switch and replace the bilge pump with the biggest one I could make fit. That kept the water from sinking the boat, not to mention my wife, the dog, my cameras, and all my other gear. Despite the wind and strong current, my wife got the boat on the trailer on her first attempt and after I put the plug where it belonged, we were off.

As we were heading down river, we spotted a critter along the river bank. My wife grabbed the camera, took aim, and all of a sudden a young Bald Eagle swooped down on the critter. It was either an otter or possibly a mink. My wife took several awesome photos of the bird before it took off and she handed to camera to me. I got a few shots of it flying off before it was gone over the trees.

Better Picture:

For more Bald Eagle photos, check out:

We continued our journey down river looking for spots that I would return to fish in the future. I noted several as I kept an eye on the locator and side scan sonar unit. After traveling well past the town of Peru, we decided to turn around and head back since there was a slight chance of storms later on.

On the return trip I decided to stop and take a couple casts at what I thought was a fishy looking spot. Bear was really happy I was going to do some fishing. He was probably thinking about his last fishing trip. Sure enough, it took less than a minute and I had a small Sauger in the boat.

A few casts later and I had a small White Bass in the boat. We turned to make another pass over the spot and I hooked a monster fish. It ran towards me before turning and heading off to one side. I pulled back and the fish changed directions again heading away from the boat. A couple seconds later and the line went limp – fish gone. It fought like a Striper but was more likely a large bighead carp.

Rather than spend more time there, Bear was looking like he was getting too warm in the sun so we poured a bottle of water into the bowl we brought for him, then headed back after he took a drink. We stopped at one spot I had fished before and I hooked a nice Sauger but lost it at the boat. We spent less than 2 minutes there.

Getting the boat out of the water was a challenge without the use of a dock. My wife nosed the boat up to the ramp and I jumped off the front. She backed away until I had the trailer in the water and then she did another perfect job of driving onto the trailer.

My last trip to Starved Rock resulted in my falling out of a friend’s boat into the water below the dam. I was fishing from the rear casting deck when his trolling motor suddenly struck a rock stopping the boat on a dime and sending me over the side. My cell phone was the only casualty. Luckily this trip went a lot better despite my forgetting to check the most important thing before putting the boat in the water.

1 comment:

  1. Bill, where have I been! I just came across your blog this afternoon while looking around the 'net. Very, very impressed with your posts and all the photos. I will spend more time catching up on your past posts, but, wanted to let you know I am happy to join your site. I also added your link over on my blog. I will send some readers your way. Keep up the great work.