Wow it has been an amazing month! First one of my favorite weekends of the year is Memorial Day Weekend. For the last 10 years or so we have spent our Memorial Day weekend with family and friends camping and fishing in Farmington, IL. We are lucky enough to have the opportunity to camp out on a private strip pit and enjoy all of God’s creations. Unfortunately, this weekend doesn’t come with our surprises. In 2018 it was over 90 degrees and you couldn’t even sit in your boat past 9:00am with out burning yourself. A few years back it rained the entire weekend. What would the weather bring this year? Well it decided to throw a few thunderstorms our way but luckily the heaviest rains missed us the first night. We knew with the forecast we may not be so lucky the next night and to my agony I was right.
The rain started in the evening of our second night and it was impossible to sleep. Probably because I had my hand and foot out pushing against the tent as I realized my tent was not waterproof anymore. All I could think about is camping at over 40 years of age isn’t like it was in your 20’s. At forty-ish you need sleep. Just as I was snoring away I hear “meet me under the white tent.” In a daze I get to the side of my cot and asked Leah, “Did someone just tell me to meet them under the tent?” “Yes, Al wants you.”
What the heck does he want me for its 1:30 in the morning as I finally got to sleep? I was like a toddler trying to wake up and walk at the same time. My body was telling me “Hey dummy! Go back to bed. You didn’t sleep last night now you’re trying to go for two in a row.” Not happening.
Anyway, I stumbled my way out of the tent into the rain and back under our big tent. Al was waiting there saying “Hey man, I can’t sleep all I can think about is your boat in North Dakota.” Well to give you an idea, in North Dakota while duck hunting, we put my 16’ Triton in the water to hunt the next morning. It had rained a little where we were but nothing too major. When we showed up the next morning, my boat was completely full of water. To this day I have no idea how it rained that much but it took us a few hours to bail the water out. Of course, everything I left in the boat was under water. My trolling motor and many other items that shouldn’t have been allowed to get wet. Anyway, I said to Al “You planning on pulling out the boats at 1:30 in the morning in the darn rain?” “Yea” he said “I can’t sleep if I think my boat will be at the bottom of the lake by morning”. We started the trucks and backed in the trailers and loaded both his boat and my boat out of the water for the night. Definitely an experience I could do without.
After the rains subsided and I got a little beauty sleep we loaded the boats back in and started fishing. We had a great day on the water. Everyone was catching some nice bluegill with a bass every now and then. This trip is our bluegill trip for the year. We get plenty of bluegill so we can have it a few times throughout the year. I can say I am not a big fan of cleaning a couple 100 bluegill over the weekend but boy… when they go into the fryer and those chips come out it is oh so worth it.
After catching plenty of bluegill I was ready for a change. Tim Conover joined us on Sunday to do a little bass fishing. We caught a few small ones but nothing major until I hear Tim scream, “This is a giant!” I look over and out of the water jumped a huge bass. Leah grabbed her phone and started recording. She clicked some great shots of Tim fighting the fish and Al about screwing up the netting job. I was yelling at Al to get the net out of the water as he was stabbing it like he would a voo doo doll. He is yelling back at me to shut up and I am yelling try not to screw this up.
Where did you learn to net a fish? It was ugly but somehow, they got the bass in the boat and it weighed 5lbs 5ozs. It made Tim’s day and made me jealous. It was a great weekend with great friends as always. I always look forward to our many adventures.
As June arrives, we start thinking about Catfishing and Lake Michigan. My wife and I love to go out on a Saturday morning to the Illinois River and catch some catfish. It’s always a nice relaxing fishing trip. Unfortunately, the river will not go down. As I am writing this the river is still at 22’. I believe flood stage is 16 or 17 feet and this is as low as it has been for a month. It is the longest flood as far as duration since like 1927. It is really messing with Leah and I’s alone time. Hopefully it will soon be down enough to go fishing. Fingers crossed.
Oh, Lake Michigan. The first time I was on Lake Michigan was not a fun trip. However, I realized I went with the wrong guy. Three years ago, I called my friend Dale Florek and booked a June date on Lake Michigan to try my hand at some Coho and King Salmon. The first trip I went on that wasn’t with Dale we only caught three fish. So, I didn’t have high expectations for my next trip. Boy was I wrong. Noble Charter Service is one of the best fishing guides I have ever been around. We have been going with him for four years and not one has disappointed.
The first year with Dale we caught 17 of our 20 limit. The next two years we took 6 people and had our limit of 30. This year with the way the lake was up 4-5 feet and the weather has been horrible, I thought we might have a down year. It was cold and going to rain a couple of times throughout the morning, but we needed to refresh our Salmon supply in our freezer for 2019.
Once we got to the fishing grounds it only took about 15 minutes and we had our first fish. Leah caught the first fish then it was Bob Schackow’s turn. Of course, the fish he gets is a 23lb King Salmon. We are off to a great start. For the next several hours we caught a fish every 15 minutes or so. We had several 12lb plus King Salmon. Al caught a nice Rainbow. I caught a nice Laker and before you knew it the morning was over. We ended up catching 23 but we did miss 7 or 8 bites. I always blame any missed bites on Tim Conover. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.
So, if you want to Salmon you need to give Dale Florek a call with Noble Charter Service 224-588-7263 you will not be disappointed. Oh, and if you need a first mate to help on this trip just give me a call and I will join you. Lol!
Until next month, May your sunrises and sunsets be magical!