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Everything posted by Eric

  1. I look forward to plucking those lost DT-4s and 6s out of log jams while kayaking. 🤭 On a serious note, careful on those depths. Squarebills and wake baits will get it done, as will swim jigs and spinnerbaits. Wouldn’t even consider tossing a long bill in our local rivers.
  2. Cool story bro. Nice to read about your adventures.
  3. Sounds worse than it is. It’s literally only a handful of participants. Would be nice to have more interest in local, smallmouth-only tournaments. People are gonna be out fishing anyway!
  4. My brother-in-law is an aquatic biologist with the State of Kentucky and found this beautiful valley flame crayfish in Russell Springs, KY while doing field work on March 16. Thought is was neat looking!
  5. Shifting precipitation patterns, more frequent rainfall. You can read up on it here: https://www.americanrivers.org/threats-solutions/clean-water/impacts-rivers/
  6. It certainly is perplexing! I suspect that it’s related to global warming and how the upper Midwest in general is draining. I’ll be surprised if we ever see flows of 900 to 1,200 CFS for extended periods like we were used to. Higher and faster seems to be our new reality. Now if we could only get rid of the dams on the Fox!
  7. That’s a winner for sure! I saw that on the Strike King IG page. Very creative!
  8. Great story. Love that the angler took care of the fish and ensured a healthy release. That is really respectable. Kudos to him! I’d like to see IL have a record for both lake AND river smallmouth. That would better represent the species.
  9. Wednesday, October 16 @ 7PM http://illinoissmallmouthalliance.net/calendar/1-community-calendar/2019/10/16/
  10. Here we go again! Interesting that September *used to be such a reliable month with mild, stable weather and relatively “normal” water levels — affording anglers some of the best smallmouth fishing of the year. This current round of high water is sure to last into October and much cooler temps. Before we know it, the Chain ‘O Lakes drawdown will be happening (early November) and bump the level once again. Yikes! So much for great fall fishing, at least on the Fox River. 😕
  11. From tourney organizer (and winner) Collin L: Hey all, First, thanks for the interest of those who participated. I hope each time we do these virtual tournaments our numbers grow. I just wanted to add some details, as Eric did, about my catches. My biggest two fish at 20" were indeed caught up north as Eric guessed. I was lucky enough to find this stream in MN this summer and fish it twice this season. While I'd rather not post its name online, I'd offer it up in exchange for some good water in WI. As for the fish, both were caught on a 3/8 oz Terminator Jig in Spring Craw color. As a matter of fact, my two biggest fish on my last trip also came on this same jig. However, at the beginning of Sept MN saw a wicked cold front and water temps plummeted to 60 degrees. Fishing was tough on day 1 of my two day trip and I could only pull fish out from deep wood structure. It took me a few hours to figure this out. The golden colored 20 incher was caught in 8 feet in slow moving water and hit so light I didn't feel it at all until I began to reel. The second 20 came on Sunday middaywhen I was passing under a bridge beneath a highway. It wasn't your normal toss to pilings type of catch as the bridge was more of a long dark tunnel. While floating through I was letting my jig sink along the pitch-black walls and a big one absolutely hammered it to my surprise. I managed to land it without breaking the rest of my poles while slamming into the walls. At the other end of a bridge another angler was trying to figure out how to catch smallies that were annihilating beetles dropping down to the surface from nearby grass/trees. It was a cool sight to see them swimming from 4-5 feet in clear water to the surface for these bugs. So I went to the other side of the river, got out, and waded to the edge of the bridge. gave the ol' jig a couple tosses and on the third cast watched a 19.5" pick it up. The rest is history. Not far down from there bass were still coming to the surface for the beetles so I tied on a weightless, small brown hellgrammite and tossed it at a hunting pack that had just swallowed a beetle. Two twitches later I had a 19.25" in the boat. Prior to this trip I had been fishing the Kankakee and Dupage. While I caught some good fish on the Kankakee, the other 19.5" came from the Dupage under a bridge. I tossed a weightless wacky rig shad/flake colored senko at the head of a logjam located at the front of a bridge piling and let it float by. I felt a thump and set the hook on a fish that had my 6' foot rod nearly doubled over. Those last two days of the tournament I covered 22 miles of river and basically fished from sunrise to sunset on Saturday. I caught good numbers and a few big smallmouth and pike on a spinnerbait and even lost some giants on a whopper plopper 75 though the topwater bite was very slow. It been nice to see that we all have our mishaps and missed fish. Again, I want to say great job to everyone. With me being the director, I want to be as transparent and fair as possible, especially in a tournament that comes down to the wire. As always, if you have questions, comments, or concerns please feel free to pass them on to me. Collin A.K.A. “Riverman”
  12. Also, FYI, Collin setup a few more events for the year: September 28, River Runners “Fall Open” Single-Day Tournament on the Kankakee River https://tourneyx.com/app/tourney/river-runners-fall-open-2019-kankakee-river October 1-30, River Runners “Smallmouth Showdown” Tournament https://tourneyx.com/app/tourney/river-runners-smallmouth-showdown-aug-sept-1 Be sure to read all applicable rules, boundaries, etc. that apply.
  13. Gotcha. I thought it overlapped and maybe you got some shore fishing or wading.
  14. Great to see and hear the ISA President participate in and enjoy a tournament of this nature! Were you able to score any smallies from the Menominee River?
  15. I’m glad to NOT have to carry the bump board around any more, as the Ketch 26” bump board is heavy like a small boat anchor! Forgot to mention that while combing the Fox for big smallmouth, I caught three muskie in August/September while the river was low and the topwater bite was “on”. They all hit topwater and measured 39”; 29”; 31”. Two came on the Whopper Plopper 75 and one on a Megabass Dog-X Diamanté “walk-the-dog” style topwater. I was thankful to have my Lucid Grips with me for easy head control and unhooking over the side of the kayak. The 39” is my largest Fox muskie to date.
  16. WTF? Sorry for your loss ... you, Mother Nature, and all else who previously enjoyed that area.
  17. Didn't clinch first place on this one but it was a fun tournament and I caught some great fish. Came super close to winning it. Collin L. (tournament organizer) got on a really good bite over the last few days and culled all his fish with an 11.25" upgrade to leap from third place to first place and secure the win. He was on fire and there was no countering the caliber of smallmouth he was scoring. Not sure what river Collin was on but I'm guessing somewhere north (not Illinois). The fish are very dark and fat. John Schenk of the ISA was an extremely tough competitor and was putting up brute smallmouth from his local river(s). I think he fished the K3 and really repped it well! I could not believe how quickly John countered with big fish. Seems like we battled back and forth for most of the tournament. I was super impressed with John's fishing abilities and the consistency of the big ones he was catching. The deluge of rain across Wisconsin and northern Illinois late in the tournament made things interesting. I love high water fishing but the Fox rose so quickly that it seemed to overwhelm the fish and it took several days for the bite to settle in. I looked high and low for brutes and they were very tough to find. I caught a 19" on Friday morning as the Fox hit around 6K cfs and didn't catch anything over 18" Saturday or Sunday. Here's a breakdown of my five biggest smallmouth scored, where they came from, and what I caught them on: 21" - kayak fishing, mouth of the Lemonweir River at the Lemonweir/Wisconsin River confluence, bone Whopper Plopper 75 19" - shore fishing, Fox River, 3/8-ounce white swim jig with 4.8" white Keitech Fat Swing Impact tail 18.75" - kayak fishing, Wisconsin River, 3/8-ounce white swim jig with 4.8" white Keitech Fat Swing Impact tail 18.25" - kayak fishing/wading, Fox River, 3/8-ounce white spinnerbait 18" - shore fishing, Fox River, 3/8-ounce white swim jig with 4.8" white Keitech Fat Swing Impact tail As with most tournaments, I had a few mishaps. I caught a giant on the Wisconsin River and after a couple pics by my friend Kevin, I held the fish in the water while I wet the bump board. The fish caught me off guard with a powerful head shake and broke my grip and escaped. It was the day after I had boated a 21" and I swore to Kevin that it was a bigger fish. So bummed I never got to actually measure it, or score it! Last week (before the rain) I was on an awesome topwater bite (Fox) with the Whopper Plopper and caught an 18.25" in the early morning. The fish seemed to have come too easily and after photographing it on the bump board and releasing it, I sat back and wondered if I had done everything correctly. Then I realized that I had not included the tournament ID in the photo. Fail. Yesterday (last day of the tournament) I found THE FISH that I had been searching for all day. It was on the DuPage River -- which was high and muddy. I was stuck with shore/wade access and found a submerged storm drain with clear water flowing in and just stacked with 3-4" bluegill. I had a swim jig tied on and stuck my rod about halfway into the storm drain with around foot of line out. I felt a "thud" and things went tight. I pulled the rod out with a brute smallie short-leashed and it took drag as it tried to run back into the drain. Then it came back out and jumped and cut my line (15 lb Power Pro braid) on the edge of the concrete lip of the drain. My heart sunk as I watched the beast smallmouth continue to jump several yards from me and try to shake the swim jig. I like this type of tournament due to being river smallmouth only AND allowing shore fishing. Having no penalty for open mouth on the fish allows you to get the most out of the fish and take bump board pics much faster. Smallies especially fight the "mouth closed" deal and twist and buck on the bump board. Not having to worry about that is a Godsend and allows for a much quicker release. Congrats to all who competed and especially to Collin for the W.
  18. Cool! Thanks for the review and for sharing. I need to give these a try! Still have a small (new) pack of Case hellgrammites you or Rob P. gave me in 2002!
  19. The tournament organizer is leaving registration open for another week. The tourney began August 15. Late anglers will just need to catch up. A month-long tournament is a lot of time to fish!
  20. There's another "River Runners Smallmouth Showdown", this time taking place in August/September (August 16 to September 15). The entry fee is $25. More info: https://tourneyx.com/app/tourney/river-runners-smallmouth-showdown-aug-sept Tournament rules: https://tourneyx.com/app/lib/rules/1559321554_SS_June_2019_Rules_.pdf The rules and regulations of this tournament will adhere to Kayak Bass Fishing (KBF) standards, with the exception that participants may wade or fish from shore without the use of a kayak/canoe. Additionally, due to the nature of river smallmouth bass, PICTURES MAY BE SUBMITTED WITH AN OPEN MOUTH WITHOUT PENALTY. This is a good way to dip your toe into tournament fishing and have some fun competing in your favorite pastime. Good luck!
  21. Really nice sentiments Paul.
  22. Thanks. I'll give it a try. I like the looks of the big hook. Checkout the Din-R-Bell from Picasso Lures. It's super loud too! https://www.picassooutdoors.com/Picasso_Dinn_R_Bell_Single_Blade_p/pdrbsb.htm
  23. Level and flow just took a major nosedive today. Back to “normal” is gonna seem like a trickle! Good on the catching. When the flow was up around 5,500, my son and I were running into a lot of nice walleye out fishing for smallies with big swim jigs. It was rare when we didn’t encounter one during an evening outing. Brent topped out at 23.5” ... which is one of the bigger ones I’ve seen come out of the Fox. A lot of the ones we caught in the spring seemed skinny. Very different from the heavy ones we catch in the late fall. Those look like they’re right off a driftwood mount — perfect specimens!
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