I'll take small victories in life, even if Braidwood Lake could use a big one.
Even a victory as small as being the first shore fisherman to walk all the way (a mile and half or so) to fence on the west side rip-rap at Braidwood Lake on opening day felt good Saturday.
(Details of the Fishing for a Cure tournament on May 31 are at the bottom.)
As befits a March 1 opening, it was cold enough at 6 a.m. to ice-up the guides of the rod, but warm enough that I regretted throwing on my duck-hunting coat. On the walk back, it seemed to weigh an extra 10 pounds.
There was only a few dozen cars and boat trailers in the lot when I pulled in just before 6. By the time I left at 9 a.m., a few cars were already being parked in the overflow lot. There was many more on Sunday.
My plan was to walk out parallel casting the rip-rap every few spots for bass until I reached the fence. Then make a decision. If I had popped a few bass, stick with crankbaits, topwaters and bladebaits; if not, switch to panfish stuff.
Chicagoan Larry Wright was right behind going out. He had a unique get-up, a 3-wheeler bike with seven rod holders he jury-rigged from cut-up plastic pipe. Quite the creative guy, he also had brewed his own batch of stinkbait, which was pungent enough to notice when he dipped his crawlers.
I caught zip on the way out, then at the fence popped a nice 4-pound carp on a Zip, at least something to give me a tug. Boaters hadn't done much better. The water off the rip-rap was 64 degrees, according to every boater I asked.
Young Southwest Side spoonplugger Mike Lynch trolled past. He had one small bass. Later he e-mailed, ``I worked my butt off and could not figure out anything, caught one very very very small bass on the rip-rap right before I ran into you and the other 2 were caught off deep water points.''
I tried small plastics on the way back, hoping for bluegill but caught nothing else.
About 8 a.m., the sky nearly blackened with geese. It was quite the sight.
I checked with every fisherman I could ask, and a few were doing well on keeper catfish, otherwise it was mostly small catfish and bluegill. Wright and his homebrew stinkbait had the most keeper catfish I saw.
In the warmth Sunday, friend Pete Riedesel reported 3-foot waves on the west bank and only one 18-inch catfish, but the south shore was packed with fishermen catching some small catfish and bluegills.
Braidwood Announces 2008 Fishing For A Cure Tournament;
Anglers can Reel in Share of Record $10,000 in Prize Money
BRACEVILLE, Ill. (Feb. 29, 2008) – For the seventh consecutive year, Braidwood Generating Station will host Exelon Nuclear’s “Fishing for a Cure.” Anglers are invited to cast a line for charity in the team bass tournament on Saturday, May 31 at Braidwood Lake in Braceville, Ill.
Competing fishermen will have a chance to have some fun and win impressive cash prizes – which have reached a total of $10,000 this year. The first place team will reel in an impressive $4,000, with second and third place netting $2,500 and $1,000 respectively. The fourth, fifth and sixth place finishers will win $500 and teams finishing seventh through tenth will win $250.
This year’s tournament proceeds will benefit FAAN, (Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network). FAAN is a nonprofit organization that raises public awareness, provides advocacy and education, and strives to advance research on behalf of those affected by food allergies and anaphylaxis. More than 12 million Americans have food allergies — with a majority of those being children. Allergies can range from the easily treatable to sometimes being deadly.
“This is a wonderful event and a perfect opportunity for us to help a worthy cause and spend a fun day of fishing with the surrounding communities,” said Braidwood Site Vice President Bryan Hanson. “More than $80,000 has been raised for various charities in our previous tournaments. This year, we hope for another record-setting event that will generate funds for FAAN and also take our total amount raised through these tournaments well past the $100,000 mark.”
The tournament will commence from Braidwood Lake’s Kankakee Road (South) Ramp. The entry fee is $100 per team with all proceeds, including 100percent of all tournament entry fees, going to FAAN.
Rules and entry forms are available on the Internet at www.exeloncorp.com/programs/fishing.
Also on May 31 a children’s tournament will again be held at the Godley Park District pond from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Registration will begin at 9 a.m. The entry fee is $5 per child.
To receive an entry form by mail or for more information, contact Braidwood Generating Station Communications Manager Paul Dempsey via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (815) 417-3184.