I was outside with the dog listening to the birds starting their morning songs well before the sun came up on Monday morning. All the early morning activity made me hopeful that the fish in Braidwood would be active too. A little later I was putting my gear into Al Bernicky's boat and we were on our way to the lake. The forecast was for partly sunny skies and temperatures in the low 50s. When we got to the lake it was still in the mid 30s, cloudy, and the north wind was blowing about 10 mph.
Our goal was to figure out a couple different ways to catch fish because Al has a tournament coming up there in the near future, and except for my last trip there, the fishing reports I've been getting haven't been that great. We took off for our first spot. I asked Al to stop in one spot well off a bank and he replied, "out here?". A couple casts into that spot and I had my first fish of the day on. It was good one but the fight didn't last long at all. He got away before we got a good look at him.
We continued to follow the bottom contour without another bite. We threw everything we had at them and nothing worked. We soon gave up on that area and headed for another. All we found was more of the same thing. We made cast after cast with no fish to show for our efforts. Eventually I put the first one in the boat. It wasn't the smallest fish in the lake but it was nothing to brag about. Al eventually caught one too and it wasn't much bigger.
We moved on and fished a few more spots with no luck before returning to the area where we had caught our two fish. We managed to put a couple smaller fish in the boat but they were still nothing that we were interested in catching. A short time later we found ourselves fishing a spot I haven't fished in years, and since we didn't get anything there it'll probably be a few more years before I fish it again.
We started fishing again in a new area. By this time I wasn't expecting much until Al said "Fish On" and pulled back on the rod. In no time flat he had a nice Largemouth in the boat.
On his next cast he set the hook and his rod doubled over again. This fish was a little better than the last.
I was throwing a different lure and it didn't take me long to hook one. I was surprised the fish hit as it did because it had a huge shad in its throat. I put the fish and the shad back in the water and off it swam.
I didn't get a hit on the next cast like Al did. Instead I had to skip two or three before I caught my next fish. It was even better than the last.
We were happy we had finally figured out a way to catch some fish in those conditions. This trip was the total opposite of the last trip were we started out great and it slowed down the later it got. In this case, fishing was miserable until about the last hour. Al even caught a Bluegill on one of the Bass lures.
We continued moving and manged to pick up a few more fish. I alternated between two different colored lures and caught fish on both of them. Al was throwing a few more things and also caught a few more fish.
As Al began to put some of his rods away, I hooked one last fish and it turned out to be my best one. Al snapped a picture and the fish was quickly put back in the water so that he'll hopefully end up in Al's live well on tournament day.
As I started to get my gear in order for the trip back to the ramps I noticed it wasn't quite as cold as it was earlier. Not that I was anywhere close to being warm, but I had stopped shivering. The sun never showed up and it never got out of the 40s, but the fact we ran into a few nice fish helped make it a memorable day.