Category Archives: Dicky Duck

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I Went Fishing

You would think that the simple statement of I went fishing would be a given for me and up until this year, it was.

I went fishing for the past 18 years 3 to 4 times a week, sometimes more, sometimes year round.

The astute reader that also happens to follow along my WDJ Facebook page would have seen this back on August 1st, the last time I went fishing:

Rather than fishing the Fox River this early evening, time better spent would have been sitting on the toilet and picking my nose for two and a half hours.

I’ll probably hit a few creeks that feed the Fox the first week of September to see if the smallies are making their annual fall run.

No doubt come April and May I’ll be fishing those same creeks.

I still enjoy living two blocks from it and walk down to it’s shore every night. I still enjoy my walks along the river and the spots I’ve found where I photograph sunsets over the river.

I’m sure I’ll continue to explore other stretches of the river, but with a camera in hand.

As for fishing the Fox, I’m done. 19 years, over 10,000 smallies, who knows how much bycatch, waded over 20 miles of it over and over again, easily adding up to hundreds of miles, possibly well over a thousand.

There’s nothing more for me to accomplish on that river when it comes to fishing.

Since waking up on Saturday morning I considered going fishing. The final decision to go never happens till the hour arrives when I should leave if I’m going to go. I had a need for solitude, some quiet, to get some exercise, to get out of my head.

The Fox River has been at normal or below normal flow for the whole month. A recent spike from some recent rains had it still below normal, but new water tends to turn on fish. The creeks were low and I don’t like fishing them then. Like fishing in a barrel and I feel like I’m torturing the few fish that will be in the relatively deeper spots.

I got to the river around 4 PM. Weather was absolutely perfect. Temps just right, the right amount of clouds around to cut the glare of the sun off the river, a nice breeze. I did wind up seeing three other anglers out there. One was a shore angler, they’re trapped by their decision to fish from shore so I don’t pay them much attention and the other two came hiking downstream, got to within a couple of hundred yards of me, turned around and went back the way they came.

Had the whole place to myself, like usual.

I went into this expecting nothing but the serenity of being out on the river. I expected no fish, so to catch 10 and and have 7 others self release was a nice bonus. Having two of the 10 being a solid 17 inches was even nicer.

One of the things I wanted to test was my boredom level. It’s been crushing this year while out fishing.

Didn’t get bored for a second.

Maybe I’m on the road to some kind of recovery, but from what?

The first 17 inch smallie.

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Finding things along the river.

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Almost forgot about the drunken flotilla.

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Not quite right. I was about 5 miles downstream from one dam and about the same distance to the next.

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The second 17 inch smallie.

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This is where the second 17 inch smallie was caught. If you can find this spot and duplicate the catch, and here’s a hint, I’ve caught bigger ones here, then more power to you.

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MOMMY!

Mommy?

What the hell happened to you mommy?

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I knew this was going to happen some day.

You always hung around on those sleazy rivers like the Fox and the Des Plaines.

Then there were your favorite little hang outs, Salt and Kress Creeks.

And don’t even get me started on the canals.

On all of those you always picked the roughest sand and gravel bars to hang out on.

Those bastard mallards would harass you and beat you, do what they want with you and now they’ve thrown you on the side of the river like a piece of trash.

What happened to that advice you gave me mommy?

Choose your friends wisely…

Do as I say, not as I do, eh mommy?

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Well, I guess it was nice to run into you mommy. Nice to know you’re still alive.

You need to get yourself some help, I can’t help you.

You’re too far gone.

You have taught me a lesson here though mommy.

There’s no way in hell I’m going to turn out like you.

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The Day Before the Gray Day

The day before the gray day, there was a glimmer of hope for a beautiful sunset.

Blue sky and lots of sunshine.

There was a slight haze creeping upward, thawing ground, some humidity.

Problem was, no clouds.

Sunsets need clouds. It’s what gives them color, shape and form. There was a hint of clouds on the horizon, but possibly just enough to make the sunset, nice. That was a nice sunset.

Without clouds it’s just a bright yellow / orange object in a sea of blue. Nice, but not what I want.

I killed some time, I always do. Waiting for the right time, the right light and that right moment when everything comes together.

As the sun lowered, the haze rose, the clouds crept eastward.

A short window of opportunity before the light changed.

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The haze was rising, on the horizon, thin clouds. Sunset color killers both.

The haze was rising, on the horizon, thin clouds. Sunset color killers both.

By now I knew the sunset was going to be, nice. I poked around, moved around, uninspiring at best.

While waiting, I kill some time by wandering the archery range. I always find at least one. Most of the time, you don't see this much of one sticking out of the ground.

While waiting, I kill some time by wandering the archery range. I always find at least one. Most of the time, you don’t see this much of one sticking out of the ground.

Little Dickie likes his selfies.

Little Dickie likes his selfies.

The moment came, I took a shot, then another.

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Then I left.

Decisions, Decisions…

Decisions, decisions on where to go this weekend.

Do I go to this stretch of the river…

And try to catch a few of these…

Or maybe a few of these along with them…

Or do I go to one of the creeks that look like this…

And try for creek versions of the same fish…

Or humor myself catching these on the creeks…

Or do I go here, my secret ponds…

And try for these…

Or these…

Or maybe this big girl…

Or maybe some combination of all three places.

Decisions, decisions…

Whichever I choose, I really should take out my Dicky, give it a good washing and bring him along everywhere I go…

He’s getting a bit lonely.

Music to Fish and Wander By

I get songs stuck in my head.
For awhile, this one has been stuck there.
It will open in another window…

Donovan, Hurdy Gurdy Man

Thrown like a star in my vast sleep
I open my eyes to take a peep

To find that I was by the sea
Gazing with tranquillity.

Like my words, my outings have been few. I think.

I’ve lost track. I have a few pictures that helps me remember.

The heat has been repressive, unbearable at times. Standing in the water of the river does nothing to alleviate that feeling. If nothing, it makes matters worse.

The water is low, murky, at times weed choked.

The fish are cooperative, at times. Most times not. Dipping a hand in water is not a refreshing sensation. It too makes matters worse.

‘Twas then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
Came singing songs of love,

Then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
Came singing songs of love.

Water isn’t supposed to do this. It’s supposed to be refreshing, invigorating and inviting. An opportunity to cool the core, achieve balance.

Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, gurdy he sang.
Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, gurdy he sang.
Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, gurdy he sang.

Histories of ages past
Unenlightened shadows cast
Down through all eternity
The crying of humanity.

‘Tis then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
Comes singing songs of love,
Then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
Comes singing songs of love.

Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, gurdy he sang.
Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy.
Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, gurdy he sang.

Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, gurdy he sang.
Here comes the roly poly man and he’s singing songs of love,
Roly poly, roly poly, roly poly, poly he sang.

Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, gurdy he sang,
Hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, hurdy gurdy, gurdy he sang

This song came out in 1968, I was 12.
I had a paper route, I always carried a transistor radio with me.
I would turn up this song till the little speaker vibrated.

Even then I thought the words and the music were diametrically opposed.
Singing songs of love with the music being so ominous and his singing tone so dry.

I always wondered about the electric guitar and who played, only I never bothered looking it up.

Found out while doing this, it’s probably Jimmy Page.

Makes sense to me.