Well, I thought it was a little amusing anyway.
No, not the picture.
Nine months out of the year my car has everything in it that I could possibly need to pull over on the side of a road somewhere and go fishing. Waders and boots, a change of clothes that include warmer layers for those colder days, both air and water. Sometimes I get that wrong and my nuts make a mad dash for the deep recesses of my abdomen in a vain attempt to keep warm. But for the most part, I’m pretty well covered.
I pay for this Boy Scout – Be Prepared attitude by endless comments from those dumb enough to get in my car.
“It stinks in here.”
Open the window.
“It won’t open.”
Oh yeah, the short. Damn electric windows. Open the back window and I’ll drive faster, get a breeze going.
“It’s not helping.”
You didn’t want to take your car, remember?
This being the end of the third week of November, the weather wasn’t awful. Air temps were in the mid 40s, I assumed the water temps would be about the same. I’ve done days like this before and have still been able to catch a few fish.
I was looking through my old reports for a November pattern. Back in 2002 we had a fall very similar to what we’re going through now. Relatively warm days and the evenings haven’t gone below freezing all that much. Back then I used to keep meticulous records and November 2002 shows that I caught 318 smallies alone. The individual reports from that month show some pretty good days of walleye and white bass too, with one day producing 75 white bass. I haven’t kept detailed records like that in years, no interest anymore.
The one thing I did notice in the individual reports was that just about all of them mentioned hauling around a bucket of minnows and using a simple hook and split shot for all my fishing. Back then I used to seine my own bait fish from a ditch that fed the river. It seemed to never run out.
I don’t seine for bait any more and even though I have a wading bucket, it’s one of the few things I don’t bother taking out of the garage. I just can’t bring myself to haul a bucket of bait fish around any more.
When I wandered out the door today, I had a couple of stretches of the Fox in mind. Within 10 minutes I was letting the car idle along a mile long stretch. On the opposite shore were spots I’ve fished in Novembers’ past. The river was up a bit, but that wouldn’t affect getting across the river. It would actually make some of the shore line spots bigger and deeper. In other words, perfect.
I’ve pulled perfect fish from these spots in the past. This one is from Thanksgiving weekend in 2002. The light sweatshirt gives away the air temps.
I mentally ran through all the other spots along here where smallies have been caught in November.
It seemed to be pretty consistent over the years.
Today, I drove away. Headed for another stretch further up stream.
The same thing happened here. I drove along checking out all the spots where I’ve caught fish in the past in November. It was a pretty extensive mental list that consisted of a few different species. I think this stretch was where back in November 2002, I had a 50 smallie day, plus a handful of walleye and other species.
I drove up and down the river, stopping at the different parks along the way. Walleye hole over there, smallie hole here. I remember catching a bunch of white bass out of that spot. I did this for a good 3 miles of the river, never getting out of my car. These were just a few of the many miles of the river I’ve covered endless times over the years. I’ve done them year round. I suddenly no longer had the urge to stop, suit up and go through all the machinations of fishing.
In the famous words of Brian Eno…Been There, Done That, Been There, Don’t Wanna Go Back.
I headed home. Part of me expected to be disappointed at my attitude, but that part never appeared. I laughed it off instead. I seem to be taking on the attitude that this has all been done before. How many times can the same information be regurgitated and be called something unique. I did a Google search on Fox River Illinois Fishing and got 1,060,000 results. I think somewhere in there is all the November Fox River fishing information anyone is ever going to want and need.
No point adding any more.
So, I won’t be heading out fishing much for the rest of the winter, now what.
I totally screwed myself this time. Something happened a few years ago when I shut down my canoe shop and got divorced at the same time. I took on a real “don’t give a shit attitude” that I’ve probably let go too far. On 90 percent of what makes up our daily lives, it applies and can be applied liberally. Go ahead, try it. Start telling me about banks, the recession, occupy anything, Republicans, Democrats, religion, anything to do with sports, Greece, the Euro, Israel, Iran, China, trade, manufacturing decline in the U.S., 30 percent of kids don’t graduate from high school and on and on and on. Don’t give a shit, really.
But when it comes to not taking the time to change the address on your FOID card, then not getting the renewal notice in the mail resulting in the expiration of said FOID card right at the beginning of hunting season, then a rethinking of that “don’t give a shit” attitude may be in order.
One must have priorities.