Monthly Archives: December 2010

One More Cast Fly Shop

For the fly anglers that live in the Chicago area, at about 8 a.m. this morning I received an email from Joseph Meyer, owner of One More Cast Fly Shop in Countryside, Illinois. It was very brief.

Thank you for supporting us since 1977.
For One More Cast Fly Shop,

Joseph Meyer

I quickly sent an email asking what the hell was going on. I had just talked to him a couple of weeks ago and had received email in the past week with announcements of up and coming events. Of course, I had asked if the closing of his shop was health related. As we get older, we find ourselves asking that question more often.

The response:

I have other things working…look for an announcement after Christmas as to my new endeavor.
Health is good, still have a sense of humor and I am deeply appreciative of those who cared to send a note.

I’ll miss my visits to his shop. They always resulted in a quick lesson to fix bad casting habits.

As always when a store closes, everything must go. For those that are interested, here’s the link to his site.

One More Cast Fly Shop

Now it’s wait and see what he’ll be doing next. I have my own thoughts on this, but I’ll keep them to myself for now.

I’m in a Book!

A few years ago I guided a guy and his wife out on a creek. He was on a quest to catch fish on a fly rod from all 50 states in 50 weeks. I had pretty much forgot about this until I got a phone call today telling me my complimentary book is on its way. I guess I’m in the book because I helped him catch a fish here in Illinois. I remember it being the worst possible high water conditions, but creeks always produce.

I hope he was kind to me. Looking forward to getting and reading the book.

Is it wrong to write a review of a book that you’re in?

Fishing Fifty – 50 Species in 50 States in 50 Weeks

It got him a Guinness World Record.

Kind of cool to have helped with that.

Well, Merry Christmas then…

Throughout my brief, part time work day I have to deal with people. Not always pleasant, and today was one of those days where the unpleasant ruled. I kept thinking about how much people annoyed me, how I really just don’t like them much and how it would be so nice to not have to deal with them on a regular basis. They can ruin your day.

On the way home from work I stopped at a WalMart that I rarely go to in order to pick up a few odds and ends. Because of lack of cash lately, I’ve gone without honey for over a month. In that first cup of coffee, drizzled on ice cream when I can afford ice cream, it’s one of those things I do to treat myself. With the crap part time job I’m working and the bad day I just had, I decided I needed that treat.

Honey is cheap at Wally’s World, but then, what isn’t. A three pound jar for under $9 you won’t find anywhere else. And there it was, sitting on the top shelf, all the way in the back. The last jar. At 5 foot 9 and not the longest arms in the world, it was far out of reach. I considered standing on one of the lower shelves, but I knew how that would turn out.

I wandered up and down the aisle looking for anything that might give me the reach I needed to reach what I wanted. Nothing in sight. Tools and brooms and things with long handles were all on the opposite side of the store. No small feat to go fetch one if you know how cavernous these stores are, but it was being considered.

At that moment a woman appeared in the aisle. She was riding one of those motorized shopping carts that WalMart supplies if you can’t handle walking the miles of aisles.

On top of her pile of odds and ends was a cane.

I couldn’t believe it.

“Excuse me, this is going to sound really weird, but could I borrow your cane?”

Without hesitating she lifted it up and handed it to me. “You must need something real bad.”

“You’ll see in a minute, I have to have my honey.” As I scooped the jar from the far reaches of the shelf I heard her laughing behind me. “I owe myself a present for the day I’ve had,” I told her as I put her cane back on her pile.

“Well, Merry Christmas then, I’m glad I could help.” And she laughed as she motored down the aisle.

I have a very good friend that is religious, very much so. I am the polar opposite. He’s not the bible beating holier than thou type and our conversations on the subject are very rewarding. When he reads this, I’m never going to hear the end of it. This is the very type of thing that he believes in. When in need, God gives what is needed.

On many different levels apparently.

Part of me wishes the events of the day didn’t turn out like this. That what is written above never happened and I made it all up to make a point. But then, I wouldn’t be sitting here with goose bumps on the back of my neck dwelling on the symbolism behind this days series of events, would I?

I’ll chalk this up to coincidence for now. Really, what else could it be?

Christmas Shopping

A couple of years ago I was playing around with a bunch of fish pictures I had laying around. Then I combined them into what I thought were interesting designs and put them up on a site called Zazzle.

Zazzle is a print on demand site where you can put up a design and have them printed out on a wide variety of products. No overhead, no warehouse full of stuff that nobody wants. If you like the design, you basically pick what you want to have the design printed on and order it. The pricing isn’t bad.

Problem was, I somehow suck at promoting the store I have up and running on Zazzle. Even with virtually no promotion, people were finding designs they liked and ordering them. I’ve sold a few to people in France, England, Ireland, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia. It’s interesting to see what fishing related items are bought in the different countries.

I figure with Christmas coming there may be a few of you out there that still don’t know what you want or what you may want to get that fishing/outdoors fanatic in your lives. There may be something here that you like.

First up is all the fishing related items. I covered quite a few of the fish that anglers enjoy pursuing, even carp.

Fish and Fishing Designs on Zazzle

Second is a theme I carry through on my own adventures on the Fox River in Illinois. It Could be Anywhere is something I’ve promoted regarding this semi-urban river. I seem to find places that literally Could be Anywhere. For the work in this series I offer this . . . “A portion of the sale of all Fox Valley USA 2011 merchandise will be donated to groups working to protect the Fox River.”

It Could be Anywhere – Fox Valley 2011

My Zazzle store is called wadauwant and there are a few other things up there that have absolutely nothing to do with fishing, but someone might find them interesting.

wadauwant on Zazzle

On another print on demand site called Skreened, I have another store. This one offers a larger print area on shirts and I came up with a few different designs to take advantage of the extra space.

Fish and Fishing on Skreened

One of these days I’ll figure out how to promote this stuff better, but for now this will do. You have to start somewhere.

Hope you like some of these.

They say that Jesus could walk on water

They say that Jesus could walk on water. All my life I’ve had people get right up in my face and ask, “What? You think you walk on water?” To which my standard reply has always been, “Well, yeah.”

Fact is, no matter how righteous I think I am, simple physics has always won when it comes to my attempts to see if I could actually walk on water. I learned my lesson, I like breathing air. As winter descends on us and turns water surfaces to ice, I don’t care how thick it gets, don’t care how many people, cars and atv’s are sitting out on the ice, I’m not going out there. I’ve tried it. Hearing rifle shots in the dark while crossing a pond, only to realize it’s the ice snapping beneath your feet, was enough to keep me shore bound.

That poses a winter fishing problem for me. Even if I choose to go out on the ice, which ain’t gonna happen, the idea of sitting staring into a little hole in the hopes that something swims by and eats your bait is appalling. Really, can you make fishing any more boring.

Luckily the rivers in the area have all been blessed with warm water discharges, or to put it politely, crap plants. The water temperatures at these discharges will hover around 55 degrees no matter how bitter cold it is outside. In years past I’ve gone out wading throughout the winter months and have had some pretty good fishing. Why struggle trying to catch fish out of 35 degree water when you have balmy waters so close.

Saturday was a perfect crap plant day.

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Overcast and snowing with air temperatures right at the freezing mark. I won’t go out if it dips below freezing. Fresh snow on the ground and more still falling helps muffle the surrounding sounds. The lack of urban sounds lets you temporarily believe you could be anywhere, fishing pristine flowing water.

The skies overhead were filled with waterfowl, both ducks and geese. As I approached the river I spooked a few large flocks of ducks and geese from behind a couple of small islands where they were hunkered down out of the current.

My first spot proved fishless except for rolling lures over the backs of carp. Very unusual for this to happen under these conditions. The low skies usually have the fish hitting, but not a single tap was had. The fish are there, but since I had not bothered with live bait I knew my chances of coaxing them to hit were pretty slim.

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More birds were gathering over my head.

A week earlier I had been up in the driftless area of Wisconsin for a job interview. Drove all over the area checking out small towns, the Kickapoo River and some of the multitude of trout streams that that eventually join the Kickapoo. From Rockford to Viroqua and back we drove past some of the most beautiful waterfowl holding water you could possibly imagine. Potholes, flood plains and farm fields, endless miles of them. Saw lots of skim ice on the waters and not a single duck or goose.

From Rockford south to I-88, then south to Yorkville, the corporate and subdivision prairie potholes were holding birds by the thousands. Clouds of geese were everywhere. Saw the most beautiful flock of ducks make a classic landing in a small pond directly in front of an empty blind. Yet the river was still relatively empty of birds.

I headed down river casting to the most likely fish holding spots. More rolled carp, but there was the occasional tap that told me fish were nipping the tail of the twister I was using. Live bait may have been a better choice, but I dislike lugging bait buckets almost as much as I dislike ice fishing.

The birds were flying low over the river, but they were well aware I was along the shore. Landings were aborted at the last minute and large flocks veered between the islands in order to avoid me. Apparently the lack of birds in Wisconsin and ice on the subdivision ponds that I saw all week around Oswego, are putting more birds on the Fox River, by the hundreds.

I kept fishing my way down stream and finally got a hard hit, but it was brief. When I retrieved the twister, it’s tail was missing. I mentioned this in my last report and it’s worth repeating, in this cold water the fish aren’t as aggressive and will pop a bait fish in their mouth, then sit there. Almost like they’re tasting it to make sure it’s edible. Then a few seconds later you’ll feel a second hit when they decide it’s something they would actually like to eat. That’s when you set the hook. The fish don’t hang on to plastic. There is no second hit.

I was starting to rethink my distaste of bait buckets.

The ducks and geese showing up on the river the last few days have been arriving in clouds. Today the honking of geese over head was never ending. Ducks on the other hand are pretty quiet and you don’t notice them till they’re right on top of you. A week ago in one stretch of the river I pass by daily, you could count the ducks you saw on one hand. Today you would have to give totals in round numbers, in the hundreds.

By now the snow had stopped and everything was coated in white.

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Snow was falling off tree limbs and landing in the river, you could hear it hiss as it quickly melted away in the warm discharge water. More rolled carp, more tentative hits and one more powerful hit. I don’t seem to be doing well hooking fish lately.

This stretch has not produced the numbers it has given up in the past in quite some time. Not sure what that means or why. There is one area in particular that almost never gives up a fish anymore. Used to be one of those gimme spots, now it’s more like gimme a break and gimme a fish already.

I called it quits for the day.

The birds on the river were driving me nuts, too many of them. The day before I had stopped to check out the blind that was easy for me to access. Ran into a hunter that was there the day before and he reported getting a handful of mallards. Birds were everywhere just down stream. You just have to sit and wait them out and hope they swing up the channel by the blind.

On my way home I checked out the stretch below the blind, again. Lots of geese with lots of ducks swimming along with them.

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Then there were a couple of bigger white birds along with ones that were a light grey/brown.

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All the bird identification books say these were 2 adult trumpeter swans with 3 juveniles. That I didn’t expect to see and according to what I read, it’s a rare opportunity.

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Further down along this stretch, directly across from the Saw Wee Kee canoe launch, is a private duck blind. It’s rare that I see anyone in it, though I know it gets used. Directly in front of it sat about 30 geese. The blind was empty. Such a waste.

Sunday all day I heard more shooting than I have heard to date. There are a couple of blinds down stream and the shooting from them was frequent. More muffled shots from the surrounding fields could be heard. Hunters were taking advantage of the change in waterfowl patterns.

So was the eagle. Usually there’s more than one and it’s not unusual to see up to 4 of them drifting over and down the river. They seem to show up with the influx of waterfowl, no doubt looking for relatively easy meals.

To top things off for the weekend, sandhill cranes drifted south over my house. Seems late to be seeing them. A few nearby fields held quite a few doves. They were busy picking apart areas that were free of snow. Too bad the season ended a few weeks ago. A quick check of woods and a nearby fencerow saw squirrel and rabbit tracks in the new snow cover.

My day was taken up with cutting down a Christmas tree, eating a belated Thanksgiving turkey dinner and watching embers die in the fireplace. The next 2 weeks, I’m busy. Then I’ll finally have a day to myself. Birds, squirrels, rabbits… too many options.

A friend keeps bugging me to go ice fishing. I’ll have to get right up in his face and ask, “What? You think I walk on water?”