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Everything posted by Eric

  1. WTF? Sorry for your loss ... you, Mother Nature, and all else who previously enjoyed that area.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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!
  5. 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!
  6. Really nice sentiments Paul.
  7. 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
  8. 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!
  9. Fox is finally flowing under 2K CFS! First time since late September 2018! That was quite a run of above-average flow! Pea soup now, given the intense heat. But slower nonetheless for those interested. Would try topwater late day ‘till dusk around faster chutes and riffles.
  10. Definitely Paul. You’d rep your local rivers well. I really dig the river-smallmouth-only format, and that it allowed shore fishing. There are monthly tournaments with KBF rules, but as of now, they are paddle-powered and include river largemouth. It’s really disappointing to string together a sizable bag of smallies only to get completely eclipsed by LM. Not in favor of tourneys that mix bass, although I’ve won several with all smallies.
  11. As far as I know, the tournament director is the only person who can see the location data on the fish photos submitted. That’s to ensure that the fish were indeed scored on or at a river and not near any lakes or pond (river smallmouth only for this tournament). Location data is not available to the other competitors.
  12. For the ISA members that fish the IL River for smallies, what’s the state of its smallmouth fishery these days?
  13. Ha! Thanks. Friend Erik O. is a veteran “river rat” who covers the northern stretches of the Fox ... and represents it well! Like us, he’s a smallmouth junkie, but realistically ... a really humble and talented multi-species angler. I don’t know too many people who have their finger on the pulse of the Fox like him. I’ve had him out kayaking with me at least a half-dozen times. We’ve traded spots throughout the years and we were encouraging and rooting for each other in this tourney. It’s just a for fun / pride thing. Kind of “let’s see what we can do on the Fox” kind of thing. Hopefully, we’ll see more local river-smallmouth-only bass tournaments in the future.
  14. Time to fish under the ripe mulberry trees and enjoy the bonanza of catfish and carp.
  15. A unique online tournament that’s River smallmouth-only and runs June 7 to June 30. Allows shore, wade, kayak, canoe fishing. Read full rules here: https://tourneyx.com/app/lib/rules/1559321554_SS_June_2019_Rules_.pdf 5 biggest river smallies scored make your catch total (inches), and you can cull along the way. $25 entry fee. Uses the TourneyX app. If interested, register here: https://tourneyx.com/app/tourney/river-runners-smallmouth-showdown This is a good one for smallmouth enthusiasts who want to dip their toe into tourney fishing and it’s very unique in that it’s river smallmouth-only!
  16. I use USGS Naperville and consider a stream flow of 200 CFS or lower good for wade or kayak fishing. When I take my kids, I prefer a lower flow — 120 CFS or less.
  17. I wonder if the man entering the river at or near the dam was some type of angry stunt or suicide attempt, and then the woman went in after him. I haven’t found an article yet that states a motive for him being in the river. Too cold for swimming. Didn’t say they were fishing or boating. A really odd set of circumstances for this tragedy for sure. You pretty much have to TRY to drown in the Dupe at this flow and they found perhaps the one area of maximum danger. Once again on dam removals, too little, too late! The great (broke) State of Illinois!
  18. The Fox Chain 'O Lakes draw-down is usually in November. I think it normally goes for a week or two, depending on how much water they want to release. I agree that a higher flow rate is starting to feel like the new normal on the Fox! It certainly has been an odd fall and winter. I've been following the USGS graph religiously and never saw a window of opportunity to get out and wade. The flow has remained beyond my comfort level. Looking forward to warmer days and kayaking.
  19. I've seen Mike a few times on the Fox and he has always given me a wide birth and a friendly wave. Sometimes he stops and we trade info on numbers caught and techniques used. I'm sure we fish a lot of the same water. He has always been courteous. I think the Fox is more accommodating to that type of activity. Lots more room to move around. Of course, there are the dams, so you're somewhat limited from pool to pool. I understand what the original poster is saying about the Dupe. Excellent points made. Not sure if Mike is posting on here much these days, but would be interesting in hearing his thoughts on it and if anything will be done differently this year. I'm kinda surprised anyone would want a guide on the Dupe. Being a small river with a plentiful population of smallies, it's a pretty easy river to fish. An inexpensive kayak and a free afternoon for a float trip will provide plenty of opportunity.
  20. I admire the risk taking and business savvy of these young YouTubers. In addition to $$$ they make off their channels, they’re teaming up with Mystery Tackle Box, etc. on licensing deals, promotions, etc. They are having a big influence on a whole new generation of anglers and adventure seekers. No doubt they are putting the time and effort in!
  21. They have to consistently publish content and work to build up a large subscriber base. Their videos are monetized, so they are getting paid from YouTube based on the #of views (#of ads shown). I imagine a lot of people are living vicariously through the YouTube anglers, especially over the winter months. I agree about the investment in quality gear and learning all the editing tools. Some of these guys have amazing artistic skills, and the tenacity to get multiple, interesting angles and add visual and audio effects to polish it off. Add in drones and cool underwater shots and it takes it to a whole new level. Jon B. seems to have set the bar for this. I really enjoyed his trip to South America with Alex Peric. I also enjoyed Alex’s trip to Lake of the Woods. There’s so much amazing content out there these days. It’s fun to follow their antics and adventurers versus the old-school “teach techniques and pimp products” that we’ve been spoon-fed since fishing shows first aired on TV. Great variety out there on YouTube!
  22. That was neat to watch. Wow that guy has skills!
  23. I’m 10 lb on my son’s caster so he can get more distance. I’m 14 on mine ‘cause I like to short-leash and horse big bass. Ain’t 14 gettin’ broke.
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