Friday, June 21, 2013

Fathers Day Catfish At Lasalle Lake

As usual I was up before light and ready to go. Member Darkstar and I decided to go to Lasalle Lake for channel catfish and blue catfish.

Earlier in the week I bought a four-foot casting net for catching cat bait. I had some trouble learning to cast it right. I watched YouTube videos and got aggravated as this kid in this video made it look so easy!! I realized I was leading with the wrong arm. That made all the difference in the world. It really is not that hard. With and endless supply of shad in the ponds by me catching bait will never be an issue.

My partner’s johnboat is just big enough for this cooling lake. At the beginning of our trip a front was finishing going through and the waves were getting a little high so we tucked behind a shoreline were the wind just did not have enough room to produce big waves. We were in 13 feet of water. We did not see any blues here but we slowly built up a gigantic mass of small channel cats under us. In two hours we landed forty fish. We were using small pieces of chicken liver and the bite was fast and furious. It was a blast! I could not count to ten before I had a cat on. The chicken liver went as fast as our bite. We only had some scraps left and needed more bait. I had a very old package of cheese Magic Bait. We took the pre-made balls and washed them with the liver remains. It was disgusting but effective and added 20 fish to our day!

A funny thing happened in the mist of small channel cat madness. I set the hook and finally felt some decent weight on the line. We got excited and scrambled for the net. After a few exciting moments the fish was at the boat and with it a bit of shock. I had just caught a hybrid striper on chicken liver!!! The other weird part of this was the fish’s back appeared to be injured or deformed. To be honest if I had this fish’s issues, I would be eating whatever past in front of me as well.

The weather was finally stable and had left the lake almost like glass. Jason (Darkstar) wanted to search for blues, which we believed we could find in the deeper water. He watched his Lowrance intensely until we found a drop to 30 feet. We dropped two anchors preventing the boat from spinning or moving. We each had two rigs.  We had a modified wolf river rig on the bottom and we had slip float rigs set two feet of the bottom both loaded with the shad I caught earlier. The slip floats ended up being the hotter rig. I think better bait visibility and less drag or weight sensation improved our success.  We managed to score 7 blue catfish quickly, but all fairly small. The biggest was only about 17 inches. We were still looking for that big fish and the heat, hunger and fatigue after hours of fishing were starting to take it toll. Jason had his bottom rod in a holder when suddenly he got a drive by hit. His rod quickly bent then straightened back out. He set his float rod down grabbed his bottom rig and was waiting for a bite when suddenly we heard a short scream of drag, a loud bang, and a splash!!! His float rod got slammed while he was checking the other rod. The blue whale hit so hard that the rod slammed the side of the boat popped up in the air and flew into the abyss. It was so fast you could not even say “OH SH_T!”  We sat there stunned and could only imagine what was now towing his 100 dollar combo around the bottom of the lake. 

It was a long and fun Fathers day outing. We caught plenty of fish, had some great snacks the wife and kids packed, we had some great laughs, and now we have some great fish stories to pass on.

This weeks podcast has this story and more:

Friday, June 14, 2013

Shur-Set and Crabby Bass slam early summer bass

Shur-Set and Crabby Bass slam early summer bass

My blog has a new sponsor Shur-Set Tackle! They make a wide variety of superior tackle for the discriminating angler. Jigs, Swim-jigs, Blade Baits, Weights, Stand-up and Football jigs to name a few.

Chunsum and I went out for the very first time with their Biscuit Jig in 1/8oz. We started with a Producto worm and scored 4 fish immediately. We were stunned at how sharp these hooks are. I set on one fish and the hook went through its hard tongue like a hot knife through butter. I set the jig on another and it actually went through the bass’s gill plate.

We switched to Crabby Bass plastics and caught several more fish on their Zipper, Craken, and Jerk baits. The Shur-Set Biscuit jig really had these baits standing straight up. The Biscuit and Craken was my favorite as the jig allows the many arms on this creature bait to flair out perfectly.

This was a first and fantastic showing from Shur-Set. I am expecting great things in the future!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Dupage Guide Service Finesses its Way to Finicky Summer Bass

On the way home from a wonderful night with friends and family at Sycamore Speedway, I received an email from a new client who wanted to start learning to catch largemouth bass. Usually on the weekends I am in bed early since I have a need to be in my spot before first light however I was up and sent my new friend George a message that we were good to go!

I was surprised when the alarm went off so quickly. Didn’t I just close my eyes? George shows up right on time and after a short conversation we were on our way. Today we were going pond hopping! I chose ponds that had a high number of bass. My hope was to give my new bass fishing friend more then a couple chances at landing a fish.

The problem we found ourselves facing was finicky fish and weeds. Three out of the four lakes had a 3 foot lip of algae and a shelf of under water weeds.

We need a slow small presentation that would fish well on the weed line and over the large flat shelves of salad. The answer to the problem was finesse plastics. We rigged a single slit shot size B and a number four Raven Specialist Hook. The plastics we used needed to be light and drop slowly.  So I chose CrabbyBass Helgies and Berkley 4 inch power worms.

The plan worked! George, who had never intentionally targeted bass with artificial lures before, landed 15 bass!! That does not include the several jumpers he lost!!! The bass were not huge but they were fun. George has a great sense of humor and had me laughing all day. I especially enjoyed his “Pondboy Guide Impression”.

All fishermen can learn to bass fish. There is no magic involved. Just like many great endeavors it starts with a little bit of knowledge and practice.

If you live in the Chicago land area and would like to learn how to fish or try a new style or species please take time to visit

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Darkstar72's Fishing Blog: First Fox River Wade of 2013

Darkstar72's Fishing Blog: First Fox River Wade of 2013: I was still excited but very, very groggy.  Summer wading happens at dawn and dawn is happening earlier and earlier every day.   I picked ...

Monday, June 3, 2013

Illinois Blue Catfish a New Angling Adventure for the Suburban Fisherman

The rain and wind have been giving us some fishing issues lately, the rivers are up, it is to windy for kayaking, and bass have been a virtual yo-yo of biting activity.

A small few of us DuPage Anglers needed a change, something different to break up the usual line-up. The discussion started on catfish and stopped on the possibility of blue cats at Lasalle.

There are both blues and channels that swim there so I prepared an arsenal of bait for both whiskered foes we hoped to combat.  We had:

Chicken livers
Red worms
Dough bait
Stink bait

Also the night before the outing I was carpin and noticed some splashing along the shore I grad my net and managed to catch a zip-lock bag full of fresh shad!

What started as a 2 guy outing quickly changed to a five-guy group as DA members called each other to see where they were fishing for the weekend. This trip included Sooner Bass, Dark Star, JcCrappies, Wacky Bass, and myself.

We met at 4:45am to give us enough drive time to get there for the park opening at 6.
Quick stop at Mc Donalds then a drive full of bull-shooting fishermen laughing and trading fish stories.

In my over analyzed planning to not to forget any catfishing tackle. I forgot to bring a jacket and the wind was ripping across the lake. Sooner loaned me a vest and DS lent me his jacket. Man I was still cold. Once you catch a chill they suck to get rid of.

I was nervous and had my doubts about the blues. I have fished channels my whole life so those I had covered, but blue cats are a rare gem in northern Illinois and I had never caught one before so my confidence was at level “pondboy stinks”.

We get set up and my first cast I get a small channel cat! Yes! Some of the pressure is off. We caught a couple dozen channel cats among us. These small cats are in Lasalle in force and it just takes slip floats, smaller hooks, livers, smelt, or crawlers. I am sure if we had leeches and minnows those would work as well. You could bring your kids there and have a pretty good chance of catching them.

Through the blowing wind I here someone yell fish on! Chunsum had a blue! Soo cool. I was excited just to see one that was not on TV or youtube. It was a beautiful fish He caught it on the shad I caught. About a half hour later I see my pole dip slightly. I grab the rod from the holder and wham!!! HOLY CRAP I ACTUALLY HAVE ONE!! The blues are natural strong and full of muscle. I love these fish. I was rigged with a 6 foot heavy action rod paired with a Shimano Cosair 300. I had a catfish rig form Jerry’s Flies.

I actually got the rig from a DA outing when I first joined. So glad I had it because it worked flawlessly. This fish also hit cut shad.

Marty Rogers aka Wacky Bass and founder of DA scored the biggest blue of the trip! He let ok a Hearty YAHOO!!!!  It was awesome to see him so excited.

Dark Star was next and there was a ton of excitement down the shore from me. He was quickly followed by Sooner who now had a fish on!!! Incredible. God blessed us all with blue cats. I was sooo happy everyone scored a cat. We scored a few more and we ended with 9 total. I think that was pretty cool since the only one of us with any real blue experience was sooner and none of us had fished blue cats at Lasalle before. All of the blues took the shad. I wonder if we would of caught any of these beautiful fish had I not gotten lucky catching the shad the night before.

If you want to try a new experience and have a different angling adventure, grab the gear, the bait and some friends head out to Lasalle and experience the force of the blue catfish.