September 30, 2006
Fishing at Shabbona
31 inch, 12.5-13 pound Channel Catfish
Joey and I hit the park about 6:30 AM, got on the water about 7 AM. Water conditions the same as yesterday. We headed straight up the NoMotorZone, right where that 35 incher was yesterday morning, but no muskies for us today. Oh they were still up there, splashing and rolling all over the place, but completely ignoring our lures. I could have been casting a can of corn as far as the muskies were concerned.
By 8 AM, the NMZ had been beaten into a froth by us and the other muskie hounds, so we had had enough. Joey caught the Catfish Bug this summer and was ready for some action. We ran down to the spillway bay and fired up the chicken livers. I like using a big 4-0 or 5-0 circle hook with a whole chicken liver on it. Hard to cast, but easy to catch the Big Boys once they hit (no hookset, just pick up the screaming rod and hand it to Joey). Loaded up the first rod, tossed it out right up next to the weed edge in 3-4 feet of water (wind was howling straight into the weed edge). Started rigging up the second rod and ZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!!!!!!! the bait clicker on the first rod was wailing, Joey jumps up into position, I hand him the rod, he sticks the handle between his legs, one hand on the handle, the other 6 inches above the reel and closes the bail. The rod tip lurches from almost straight up to straight ahead of the boat in two big pumps, the weedbed boils and the battle is ON !!! The fish runs away from the weeds towards deeper water in an arc next to the boat, BAD MOVE !!! Joey winches him straight over to the boat, but then the beast shoots under the boat and out the other side ( I had to grab the rod above Joey for a minute to keep him out of the lake), 30 seconds later the fish was in the net. WOW !!! 31 inches of steel gray Catfish ( looked like a shark !!!) Spring scale on the lip gripper showed 12.5 -13 pounds, not a ton for a fish that length, but still a really nice catch.
(more pictures, same fish)
The Bass Junkie in me just couldn't sit there on that wind pounded weed edge for another second (even with the big cat action), so I picked up Joey's bass rod with a blue-black Yum Grub and made a few casts straight into the remaining lilypads. 3rd cast, SMACK !!! Hand the rod to Joey and watch him fight a very plump 19.5 incher through the lilypads. Awesome !!! Bass hits right at 4 pounds.
I'm pumped, but he's not impressed after that 31 incher.
Soon we break for lunch, popcorn shrimp for him, ribeye sandwich for me !!! (hey, he could have had one too, his choice) Hot coffee, M&M Blizzard and back to the lake.
Now we head for the good ole NE Bay. Lots of channel cat action. A 5.5 pounder, a 5 pounder, several smaller ones. All up in 2-3 feet of water right around the weeds. Lost a Big Boy. Sitting there watching the geese argue with each other, and the "Lucky" rod starts peeling off line at an alarming pace, we look at each other and jump up, the water starts boiling ahead of the boat before he even closed the bail ??? It was another HUGE channel cat, but he wound himself up in a patch of lilypads and just went nuts !!!! I yanked up the anchors and jumped on the trolling motor but he ripped free before we could get to him (within 10 feet, OUCH). Never had a fish spit a circle hook before.
At one point Joey asks, "why don't we ever use the livewell ?" and it occurs to me that he hasn't seen me clean a fish in about 4 years (he's only 8) Time for a little Selective Harvest Lesson. Put the Big Boys back and pick an "eater" for a fish fry. "We can KEEP fish from this lake ???" he asks. Just never crossed my mind. Put a small one in the livewell and he's on Cloud 9 the rest of the day.
About 6 PM we head for the restaurant for dinner. You have got to try the walleye dinner, CRAZY GOOD !!!! And to top it off, as we sat in the restaurant, the storm that managed to miss us completely, formed a brilliant rainbow right over the lake.
Fish Fry next week !!!
Good Luck Everybody.