by Carl Strang

The art of fishing is, I argue, a primal form of inquiry: primal because of its tie to The Next Meal, and inquiry because of the practical questions that can be answered only through experimentation. Where can I catch a fish? When can I catch a fish? What bait and other methodology will help me succeed in catching a fish?

I see eagerness in Roger Raccoon Club  members as they get their opportunity to fish on the second afternoon of the camp.

RRC fishing 2b

This is a picture from a couple years ago. In this year’s second session I was too busy to take a picture. I suggested that the kids try live bait vs. a scent-treated artificial bait, both of which I provided. From that point forward my own experience was two solid hours of baiting hooks, untangling lines and unhooking fish. So, all I have are the kids’ reports that the artificial bait was a complete failure compared to the live bait. Of course, the fish at this pier are thoroughly kid tested. They see every kind of bait every day, and are expert at discerning the real deal and stealing it from hooks.

Last weekend, as I reported yesterday, I made my third dragonfly monitoring excursion on the Des Plaines River via kayak. My deck included a little extra equipment.

Deck with fishing rod b

After the monitoring was done, I had a little time for some fishing as I made my way back to the launch ramp. I used a different kind of plastic bait impregnated with scent. I had tried it before without success, but never here, never now. I got a bite. The fish was not a jumper. It stayed deep until I got it to the boat.

Channel cat 2b

Of all things, I had caught a channel catfish. In the muddy waters that flowed that day, the cat had found the bait by scent and was sufficiently fooled by it to bite. The fish looked eating sized, but I was in catch-and-release mode that day.

I don’t do a lot of fishing, so it was no surprise that I sensed a little boy jumping up and down inside me who wanted to tell the RRC kids: “I caught a bigger fish than you did!”

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