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Ramble with Minas: On coloring within the lines

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kankakakee06-08-10minasturtlemug Sometimes reading through the fishing reports for the Kankakee River from Norm Minas is like stepping into a deep hole and finding yourself over your waders in truth.

This week's report was one of those times. I think I pulled a stomach muscle laughing. Maybe my stomach is just too big to be jiggling like that.

Here's his fishing report, and read through for the full comedic build up:

River has been steadily rising since Friday, just checked it's almost 2,600 cfs. The water temps are in the low 50's, visibility steadily decreasing as it rises. A lot of the algae is breaking off the bootom and and thru the water column, but there is still enough on the bottom in some stretches to make bottom fishing impossible. The further upstream you go , the less of a problem with weeds/algae in the water column. However, more leaves were in the mix on Monday.

In limited fishing time on Saturday, there was some surface activity that did not translate into strikes. The floating weeds had cleared enogh where I was at to allow some use of a Spook. It didn't do any good, nor did a fluke or sluggo. I fished a little under 2 hours and flew the skunk flag on the ride home.

Sunday, I got a little more time on the water and with the rising water, I hit a point pool behind a major bar at a creekmouth. I tried singlespins, rattlebaits, flukes and topwaters to no avail. I ended up figuring out the successful pattern in time to get 3 bass and 2 walleyes. I was using a Money Minnow rigged flat on a weighted 4/0 swimbait hook. I modified the swimbait by biting a chunk of the tail out about an inch from the end. The technique that worked was casting to the faster water, pulling it just inside the seam and letting it sink on a semi slack line.

I had a full metal jacket guy approach me after he saw me catch a couple fish and ask to see what I was using. I obliged and he proceeded to tell me that I had rigged it wrong and was fishing it wrong. I asked how I could be doing it all wrong when he had just watched me catch 2 fish on 2 successive casts. He proceeded to lecture me on how one should always read the instructions with the lure and follow them to the letter. He also told me that I should avail myself of online resources such as instructional videos and pro fisherman websites to use lures correctly. He also told me that if I had done so I would know I was using the wrong sized hook and had rigged it incorrectly. He further advised that the manufacturers put a lot of thought into the lures and I should not alter them in anyway as that would ruin the lure.When the diatribe wound down, I told him he was the kind of guy that always colored within the lines. He walked away going on about how unfair it was that a crazy guy with patched waders and a taped up gear bag should be lucky enough to catch fish doing everything all wrong. I was happy he left.

Monday, I fished an area with a large slow/slack area downstream of a small crick not far from the house. I started out with a 1/2 oz swimjig tipped with a 5 inch swimbait rigged flat. I ended up with three small bass about 14 inches after about an hour or so of that. I noticed some surface activity going on so I switched to the Rattling Spook. I got a bunch of leaves but I also got seven medium sized fish in the 16 to 17 inch range. That action lated over an hour. I followed up with a rattlebait, single spin and various sized flukes but none of them produced. I ended up out in front of the creekmouth tossing a crankbait off the end of the point, well at least as far as I felt comfortable in wading out to. After throughly covering that and not catching any fish it was time to head back and start providing transportation for the kids and getting my lovely, very understanding wife some dinner.

BTW, found out some local fishermen have named a spot Creekyknees.It's kinda nice but at the same time kinda strange.


For those who don't know, Norm goes by Creekyknees. And he is right about that spot being named for him.

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Area rivers are putting on a decent to good bite, especially for those switching to live bait, and crappie fishing should keep improving on most local lakes and ponds, those lead this Midwest Fishing Report.... Read More


Tinkering with lures is such a time honored tradition in fishing. I wonder if that guy realizes that's how innovations in gear and techniques come about. Where would a lot of us be if guys like James Heddon hadn't been of a tinkering nature ?

Shoot it wasn't all that long ago that "conventional wisdom" said to quit fishing for river smallmouth when the water got cold. Now you can't open up a "slick" magazine or turn on a fishing show without the latest in "wisdom". Twas a small group of guys that pushed that envelope and now everyone is on the bandwagon. You hardly hear a mention of Butch Ward who inspired me to get started.

Upon reflection, I actually feel sorry for that guy, stuck in his narrow view of how things should work. Although I do like and see the humor in my remark about coloring in the lines. It was just the first thing that popped to mind. The second can't be printed in a family oriented forum.

The main reason I've quit during the cold months is because I can't afford to replace my 5 mm neoprene waders.

Breathables just don't cut it.

Norm, next year I'll give you my version of tinkered with topwaters. They performed well on lakes years ago. Tested them once on the Fox and had some blowups. Would be interesting to see how they perform on the Kank, a much more topwater friendly river.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on October 25, 2011 10:17 AM.

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Illinois Hunting Report: Bucks moving, ducks not is the next entry in this blog.

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