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Chitown-Angler
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Joined: 10:56am - Jan 19,04
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Location: Northern IL / So. Wisconsin

Post Posted: 09:17am - May 8,05 
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Hey Everybody-
Client Mike S from Carol Stream joined me on the boat on Saturday 5/7 for a full day of chasing toothy fish and then paper mouths. His good wife had booked him a trip for his birthday-good woman that Mary Jean! We left the dock at 6:45AM and I was a bit disappointed because after 2.5 days of SSW winds and warming temps- we hit yet another cold front- NE winds (admittedly light) but definitely cooler and water temps still stubbornly stuck in the low 50's. Mike's done the musky routine and brought his gear so I told him I'd laid out a plan for 6, maybe 7 spots- to fish each for about 45 minutes- then on to the crappies for the balance of the day and he was good with that idea. My initial trouble was trying to decide in which order to tackle the day- musky first or crappies first. I chose the former- figuring the water might warm up a notch or two by then and the crappies might be a bit more active. We set up first on Catherine- tossing a topwater and a bucktail. Nothing to show for our efforts on spot #1 except a display by two sandhill cranes (nice but not what we're really lookin' for). Moved to spot #2, still on Catherine. I hand Mike a 6" superman Jake (fully adorned with retrofitted bleeding red front hook) and I switch bucktails to one of my confidence baits- a black/wht Fudally Musky Candy. We lay out the plan of attack, start working slowly into the wind and 3rd cast with the bucktail and I get bumped...hookset.. BINGO! We got one goin'. Good battle, nice showing of himself and a dorsal fin tag to boot which I'll call in next week Image. Thirty five and a half and a real nice healthy fish. Congrats, some fun for a change and after the heart slows and a quick re-tie, we're back at it. Spot #2 has given up a fish. We move to spot #3 on Channel, and I switch Mike over to a similar bucktail. We set up- make the plan and execute. Just about to leave spot #3 with no takers and I'm finishing a cast and I see a fish come "straight up outta the weeds like a missile silo going off" misses the T-Bone opportunity on my bucktail- I speed it up to the boat- he does a full barrel-roll (absolutely awesome manuever), quick chase ensues... BINGO! Fish #2 on a figure 8! Quick fight- a nice jump and a 32" fish in the boat. Healthy, fiesty- not happy to be in the land of the two-leggeds and we quickly release him cuz he's just pissed off about being here and giving me grief beyond compare- he's very green- and I don't want him injured so- no photo. Want to get back to work.. this is getting REALLY interesting and my heart is POUNDING outta my chest right about now. On Mike's 2nd or third cast in the same spot- he's got a high 30's fish RIGHT on the tail of the bucktail- I mean within an inch. He gets the fish alongside but it spooks at the boat- but it was a NICE fish- bigger than Fish #1 an hour or so ago and she was HOT. We toss a throwback bait- no dice. We work the area for another 10-15 minutes and it's off to spot #4- we'll return to #3 later maybe. We go to spot #4 to find out it's also spot#4 for about 5 other boats... :lol: and we leave that one alone. Hit spot #5 which really wasn't a spot- wanted to investigate it a bit after seeing boats there in previous outings. I see why now. We fish it quickly- no sightings- but it's in the waypoint log for future outings. On to spot #6, on Marie. We fish the spot thoroughly- even finding out something about the cover and structure that I didn't know about- interesting because I felt I knew this spot like the back of my hand but things change- seasons bring different things- and it's a different landscape than I have seen before- but it's exciting to me to notice this change. Almost finished with nothing to show at spot #6 and as I'm workin' the bucktail back my cell rings (on my belt). I'm trying to decide if I'm gonna reach for it- in mid retrieve and I feel a "BUMP"... I've got the rod high to keep the bait up in the water column. I take a half-swing set and feel the weight. Bait's about 15 feet from the boat. I go to take a mondo-set and I feel the mushy, line-loosening, heart dropping feeling of "OH NO.. I didn't tighten my drag back up after catching fish #2 on spot #3....." I feel the line go limp- I look in horror to see the big sideways turn 10' from the boat and get a glimpse of a VERY large fish profile with a very deep belly- maybe the high 40's fish I've been trying so hard for out there... and she's gone :roll: . I reel in to find two lovely cheek scales nicely impaled on the point of the front treble... "here's a souvenir" she said with a toothy grin as she lives and learns and becomes even harder to catch next time. Slap myself with my hat- we both laugh and lament and finish the spot with thoughts of "what if". On to spot #7 on Bluff. I tell Mike to not worry about speed- in fact- play "Take-away" with them. If they're gonna be aggressive- let's give em presentations to match. We go in blazing- fishing fast and on about the 10th-12th cast over the deep edge of the weeds- I feel "THUMP" and I set hard- nothing there. I tell Mike it may have been a walleye or bass as I'm reeling in. Three or four turns on the reel and the line just goes totally tight, the rod buckles and the line starts heading right at me and right across the front of the trolling motor- headed for deep water. Rod doubles- I'm on the thumb release- giving line and taking chase with the MinnKota. I'm hollerin' "She's still on!"... and suddenly- we're in 22' of water- with me right over the top of her- and she's right on the bottom- like a halibut. I pull- she pulls back. She takes a bit of line- I catch up. I tell Mike whatever this is- she's big. Finally after a minute (seemed like an hour), I get her to come up and Mike says "OH MY SHE'S BIG!". Instantly- she screams for the back of the boat and I'm running down the gunnel after her. She's around the outboard (big surprise there)... and just as fast- she's headed back to the bow.... and I'm runnin' back to the front again on the gunnel. I see one of the three hook points lodged in her upper jaw- that's it. 6 possible hook-up spots and she's got one only.... eeeesh. She decides then to jump- 10' from the boat and one heckuva jump it was- and I'm figurin' "That's It- she's gone" but she stayed on. Mike's ready with the big Stowmaster net..... two turns trying to lead her in- first one unsuccessful- second one... and we GOT HER! Image
Forty inches and just thick as a brick- one REALLY nice fish. We can't quite believe what's going on here. Five fish sighted, four hooked, three in the boat- somebody get me a lottery ticket or ten :wink: .

About noon, I gave Mike an option- either way to continue on or to chase some of the sac-au-lait mentioned earlier. He said "no way- we keep chasing these muskies". (Never having fished the Chain before- he's in awe- I'm telling him "It just don't happen this way on 999 days out of 1000")!. We carried on til 3:30 on 2 more spots (yes we re-visited spot #3 later in the day but nothing going) and that was the end of the fun. What a day though. A 35.5" a 32" a "40" and a bigger fish lost due to operator error and it was just the boost I needed. This fishery is complicated, frustrating, maddening and opportunistic but they ARE there. When a bite goes on- it makes it so much fun to be a part of the game and re-charges the batteries to keep after 'em. Couple notes. 1) Fish smaller baits (the less hair the better). 2) Fish FAST. This eliminates negative or neutral fish I think- and give's them less time to "decide" to chase or not; 3) Cover lots of water- don't waste time picking spots to death. Look for ACTIVE fish on many different spots and sooner or later the averages will work to your favor. 4) You've heard it before but it's true beyond compare- FIGURE 8 on every single end of every single cast and make that bait move FAST- do not be deliberate- it will put more fish in the boat- if they want it- they'll get it. They have 60mph burst speed and if they decide it's theirs- you virtually cannot keep it away from them.

Sorry for the long read but it was quite a day and wanted to share with all of you. Be on Delavan with clients on Monday- report in after that.

Tight lines all- happy Mom's day to all the fair ladies.

Todd / Into The Outdoors

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 09:57am - Aug 16,03
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Post Posted: 10:28am - May 8,05 
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congrats on an awesome day!!

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Chitown-Angler
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Joined: 06:42pm - Apr 7,04
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Location: Crystal Lake

Post Posted: 11:25am - May 8,05 
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Nice report Todd

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Chitown-Angler
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Joined: 05:22pm - Feb 12,03
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Location: Over By Dere

Post Posted: 03:02pm - May 8,05 
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Nice work Todd

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 06:47pm - Feb 10,03
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Location: West Burbs

Post Posted: 04:56pm - May 8,05 
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Into The Outdoors wrote:
Sorry for the long read but it was quite a day and wanted to share with all of you.

Todd / Into The Outdoors


You must be kidding, my heart was pounding sitting here in front of my computer just reading about your day with Mike.

You give great detail for those folks that like to fish the chain!

Thanks for sharing your day Todd, you spin a good tale man!

Awesome fish, Awesome report....nice avatar :wink:

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Joined: 05:29pm - Jan 15,04
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Location: SW Florida, Smokercraft 192 Ultima,115 4 stroke Mercury.

Post Posted: 07:40pm - May 8,05 
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Conrats on such a Great Day on the Water Todd, what a hell of a report, keep reports like that comin would ya... :D

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Joined: 01:18pm - Jul 22,03
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Post Posted: 08:29pm - May 8,05 
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Thanks for the report Todd!! I am planning on heading out tomorrow morning and I am now EXTREMELY PUMPED!!!!!

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Joined: 11:15am - Jun 20,04
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Location: Antioch, IL.

Post Posted: 10:38pm - May 8,05 
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Great report Todd..... and the Fish????

AWESOME :rocker

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Joined: 10:56am - Jan 19,04
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Location: Northern IL / So. Wisconsin

Post Posted: 09:50am - May 10,05 
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Thanks one and all... just hit it right is all- but it was sure fun. And Marc- YOU DA MAN! Thanks for the new Avatar buddy! You Rock.

Todd / Into The Outdoors

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