Thursday, March 31, 2011

LaSalle Lake Largemouth

LaSalle Lake - Thursday March 31, 2011


After so long off the water I was beginning to wonder if I could still catch fish. Today I found I still had what it takes to catch fish, but lost it big time when it comes to backing the boat into the water.

The story starts out with me going from trying to be a Good Samaritan, to turning into a rookie idiot. I got to the lake an hour after it was supposed to have opened and saw there was still a long line. I quickly realized that the gate had not been opened yet. After thinking about it for a minute I decided I'd turn around and go to Braidwood since I'd heard that the fish were hitting pretty good over there. I backed up to where I could turn around and noticed the gate opening so I got back in last place in line.


About 15 minutes later I had reached the gate when the driver of a broken down van that I had passed midway in line came running up behind me and asked if I could give his van a jump. My only concern was being able to get turned around so I could get back in line again. Since I would hope that someone would help me out if I needed it, I decided to go for it and manged to get turned around and nosed up to his van. We were able to get it started and I backed up down the road back through the gate and was able to tun around and get back in line again. That's when I temporarily turned into an idiot.

I had my boat all ready to go into the water so when it was my turn I backed down the ramp. The problem was I was at too much of an angle and my trailer tire went off the side of the ramp between the ramp and the dock. The last time I saw someone do that, they messed up their truck pretty bad trying to muscle the trailer out. My first thought was "don't panic, get out and assess the situation, come up with a plan, then work the plan". My second thought was "My insurance is paid up, right?".

I got out of the truck and the bilge pump in my boat started firing water out the side. My third thought was "Drain Plug". Yep, it was still in the boat. About this time the guy I helped out noticed I was in trouble and came over to give me a hand. I knew I had time before my boat would take on enough water to sink, so we pulled the boat off the trailer and tied it off. The first thing I did when I bought that boat was replace the bilge pump with a much higher capacity one, and put in a float switch so I knew it could sit there a while before I'd have to worry. At that point I figured out how to get the trailer out without damaging the dock or the trailer and it worked. I repositioned the trailer on the ramp, pulled the boat out of the water and put the plug where it belonged.


Then it was time to fish. Or so I thought. As I was driving around the lot to find a place to park,  I came across two guys who had parked with their boat on the trailer and were working on trying to start the outboard. I asked them if they wanted to come out with me and they gave it some serious consideration but chose to keep trying to get their boat started - which they eventually did. I even saw them fighting a pretty good fish later on.

Finally I'm out on the water. My boat started up fine and I picked a place to start fishing and things finally started to get better. Long story short, I caught over 40 Largemouth in about 2 and a half hours. Throw in an eater sized Blue Catfish and a bunch of little annoying size channel cats and it turned into a good day. The sun was shining and there wasn't much wind. The water temp ranged from the low 60s near the ramp to about 80 near the discharge area. I never made it into the discharge chute but I'm sure it was close to 90 in there. For those not familiar with LaSalle Lake, it's a 2600 acre cooling lake for a nuclear power plant and can get quite rough when its windy.

I started out throwing a crank bait and switched to a tube after a while to make sure I didn't over work my arm and shoulder - one of the reasons I've been off the water so long. I kept snagging the tube in the rip rap so I switched to a plastic worm and they hammered it all day long. I'm sure some bigger fish were caught by others during the day, but all mine ranged from 13 to 17 inches.

When I went back to get the trailer, I noticed I had bent and moved the spare tire fixture when it hit the dock as the trailer went off the side of the ramp. Once I got home, it took a couple deep sockets and about 10 minutes to fix it all good as new. I got everything ready for the next days trip and covered the boat for the day.