Oh, we caught fish--lots of jumbo yellow perch, double digits in rock bass, a 5-pound drum, a smallmouth bass and a fat-bellied prespawn bluegill--downtown on the Chicago lakefront Saturday night.
But what stuck with me more than anything was the ambiance of the night. For good reasons, I consider Chicago one of the greatest urban settings for fishing, or maybe the greatest.
The sun, setting on the Loop and downtown buildings, was caught spectacularly, by a tall ship (above) as it passed the Chicago Lighthouse.
A cover band playing under a tent at the Chicago Yacht Club pulled memories from my youth--Prince, Mellencamp, Lipps Inc.--at a party for the (NOOD) Regatta sailors deep into the evening.
A little after 10 our fishing ended, about the time the fireworks began east of Navy Pier.
Hours before, Carl Vizzone and I began by parking in the fisherman's lot at the entrance to parking for DuSable Harbor. We then walked and fished our way toward Monroe Harbor just off Buckingham Fountain.
We made our first casts just off CYC and caught perch almost immediately. Carl popped the first one, a jumbo worthy of a photo.
Carl comes from the family that once had the longest running bait shop in Chicago--Frank's Live Bait & Sports in Old Town--and he can flat out shore fish Lake Michigan with the best lakefront fishermen.
He favors Mini-Mites and spikes. But we also threw Shad Raps, X Raps, Tail Dancers and jigging spoons. The fishing was good enough to distract us from all the distractions walking the lakefront on a warm summer eve.
Unexpectedly, Bob Long Jr., ``The Fishin' Guy'' for the park district, called Carl and came down. Carl told him he had a special guest so Bob was quite gussied up when he arrived on his mountain bike.
We took turns plying the prime spots, but tried enough lures and other casts to find out what was working best: Mine-Mites or the jigging spoons.
Both Carl and Bob are good photographers. The sun setting on the lakefront is minutes to memories, and they pointed out most of them.
None of us knew what the new building (my wife says condos) is south of the Loop, but it catches the setting sun brilliantly (below).
As night came, we moved farther south on the lakefront, past the concession stand at Buckingham. At each area lit well by street lights, we fished. And most produced fish.
The night ended with more perch under the lights just off CYC as boats came and went, picking up and dropping off passengers.
No, the night really ended with a drive west on Ontario, through the wild scenes of the club crawlers on a Saturday night, to Al's for Italian beefs and sausages.