Sunday, February 21, 2016

Feathers and Lack of Fins!

I had a few days off of work this week and took advantage of the warmer than usual temps by hunting for pheasants on Friday and getting the boat out for the first trip of the year on Saturday. The wind was high on Friday, but the fields were full of pheasants and we had a great hunt. Saturday started off a bit rocky when I finished cracking the head of my trolling motor within minutes of launching, but the boat ran great and The DesPlaines River is impressive south of my neck of the woods. Although we did not land any fish, we did see some promising waters for later in the season.

I made the decision to hunt on Friday and contacted the hunt club to see if any fields were available and they were. I made the reservation and called up a friend to accompany me on the possibly last hunt of the season. We had the field for the morning and the winds were forecast to be 35-40mph. The wind definitely made this a challenging day but the fields were loaded with birds and the dogs were ready to go. Within minutes of taking the field, pheasants started running and flying everywhere. The wind seemed to have them up and they were not holding at all. Thank god for the dogs! Tino and Roxy were in an almost constant state of stalk mode because of the amount of scent in the fields and the wind but they found quite a few birds. Tino as always was tremendous and worked hard all day. Roxy did well and made another leap forward in her hunting abilities. She used to follow Tino and almost never left his side. This caused Tino to get most if not all of the points. Today, she was going out on her own quite a bit. She was still working with Tino but seemed more confident in how she was hunting the field. Roxy has always had a difficult time with the retrieve. She points solid and finds the bird with no problem however, she would not pick the pheasants up let alone complete a retrieve. I was starting to think that I would have to bring her without Tino and specifically work on picking up the pheasant so that she could learn how to complete the retrieve. This was a bit perplexing because she obviously has the drive and and is highly competitive because she would always race Tino to the downed bird. Today, she pointed a bird while Tino was working the other side of the field, and I flushed the bird and made a good shot. Roxy immediately marked the bird and went after him. I noticed her pick up the pheasant and could not believe when she just picked the rooster up, and brought him towards me. I felt like a proud papa!!!! She was finally working on her own, and now began to find the bird and complete the retrieve. We hunted for 2.5 hours and the winds just got too bad and we decided to finish up with 8 birds harvested. What a great day to be out in the field even though it was a bit windy.

Here is the video from the day. The pics were limited due to the birds not holding and the wind noise is high but I did the best I could with the equipment that I have.



Now to the lack of fins! I began earlier in the week to plan out the first run of the boat because of the warm temps. Now this was a full month earlier than I had ever had the boat out or even thought of having the boat out. In fact, most of the lakes despite the warm temps were still covered in ice. I knew the best option was to check out the rivers within driving distance from me. I remember that Nick from Brookfield Angler and I had fished The Des Plaines River out of Big Basin Marina a few years back when I had a smaller john boat for gar. I do remember talking with him about the other fish present in that stretch of the river. Here we are several years later and I am an avid bass fishermen and thought this might be a good option for the first run of the season. I went online and could not find any info on Big Basin and was not sure they were open. I contacted Nick to do some reconnaissance and Big Basin was in fact, open. I know immediately that this was where we would go for our first run. We got to the marina and the launch is well-suited for any type of fishing vessel. I liked the fact that it was an automated launch meaning that you pay the fee which was 6.00 to launch, and 6.00 dollars to recover for a total of 12.00 because all of the launched where I normally fish are 20 dollars or more. It was a quality launch and made the task easy. The boat was in the water ready to go and I parked the truck. I returned to the boat and immediately broke my trolling motor head. A bit disappointing, but it was already cracked so I could not be too upset. The motor was still operable so no big deal. We headed out of the marina and there was a solid 2 foot chop on the water from the winds the were blowing right down the length of the river. We drove up river and saw some great starting points to fish. The water temps were anywhere between 44.5-47.7 and I had high hopes of getting a few bass. Well, we did not! We tried moving baits, jigs, worms, and jerkbaits to no avail. We did however, see some extremely promising water and spots for later in the year. The temperature was in the low 60's and what a beautiful day to hit the river. The boat ran great too!!! So although we did not land any fish, it was a successful outing. Hopefully, as the year rolls on, I will have some better vids and stories to write about.

Here is my not so exciting video! Just some pics and the boat running. I hope to have the youtube channel indexing soon seeing as though this is my third video. Thanks for reading and don't forget to subscribe to the channel.