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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 11:20am - Mar 7,03
Posts: 49

Post Posted: 11:29am - Mar 7,03 
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Air 15-18 degrees, 6:15 to 8 a.m, clear and cold, river extremely low, not a cloud in the sky, jig and twister...

Totals: 1 13" smallie

A while back Ken Gortowski invited me to post reports on his forum on waterdog ink. We both enjoy the kind of outdoor writing that has nothing to do with the "how to" end of this sport, and it just kind of made sense to have more out there for people to read.

The last month or so of my fishing has been anything but noteworthy, however, except perhaps on the most personal level, and so I have been reluctant to write about it. Last year Ken wrote a report entitled "Up and down the river in search of a pattern." This year I have been up and down the river in search of spring, and, not finding it, have not been moved to write about it.

Fish or no fish, I have to get out on the water. I was trying to explain this to Bob Long last summer and I don't think I put it very well. I need this in a way I am not sure is entirely healthy. Something about escape or release accompanies the act of standing waist deep in moving water, and I am told I am not fun to be around if I am deprived of it for too long, kind of like a smoker having an extended nicotine fit.

At any rate, Ken's last report about the early morning bite was favorable, and so I had to give it a try.

I live in Wrigleyville. For me to be at the Fox before dawn requires no small sacrifice. For this reason weekend mornings begin early and dark and without need of an alarm, where warm bed and wife, the overpriced comfort of our Wrigleyville apartment, give way to a decadant street scene of drunks and trannies, the various, struggling remants of last night's party crew, hailing cabs to God-knows-where in the early morning darkness before dawn, and I wonder who looks more out of it, waders slung over my shoulder, rod in tow, still half drunk from tiredness myself as I pack up the car. Weekdays are quiet, but for the groups of cab drivers milling around the 7-11 parking lot, but still there is always this persistent sense of unreality I am usually still struggling with as I enter the river, and this morning was no different.

The broad ice shelves that have fringed this portion of the river for months seem to have steadly retreated, leaving more of the main channel open and flowing freely and undiverted, if unusually shallow for this or any time of year. The sun broke the horizon just as I entered the water. Watching from the road any passerbys would have seen a figure dissappear into a heavy vapor cloud that covered the river. From where I stood the new light showed the channel was anything but clear instead pushing seemingly thousands of small, broken shards of skim ice that reflected the growing sun into a myriad of directions, kind of like standing amid a watery conveyor belt of unpolished diamonds, and for once I really wished I had a camera to capture the image.

The fishing was slow, to say the least. One smallie took my 3" black Producto twister on a 1/16 oz yellow ball head jig, the kind of subtle bite that gradually loads the rod and sets the hook itself. The fish came at exactly 7 a.m. and saved the skunk, and for that I was grateful. Holding the fish up for a minute the sense of unreality to the scene struck me again: a brilliantly-patterned smallmouth taken from essentially a hole in the ice, with six inches of snow on the opposite bank. I released the fish and felt it regain power and surge away, and it was good to be alive and awake to see the sun climb even further above the trees, the fog now dissipating as a lone doe came to the waters edge further downstream to drink. It balanced on the edge of an ice flow, dropped its head, looked up, and was gone, and next just the white tuft of its tail bounding through the bush, and again I am wondering if it was real, did I see it at all?

Anywho, I have a theory. The earth is slowly spinning out of its orbit with the sun. I am just going to have to get used to it...

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 07:33am - Feb 15,03
Posts: 1593
Location: Yorkville

Post Posted: 04:36pm - Mar 7,03 
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We have to watch our language around here, so every now and then we'll have to take a few choice words out of our vocabulary.

Welcome aboard. See you tomorrow?

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