I'm a sucker for Delavan

Two of the best lakes in southern Wisconsin. Only a short cast away from Chicago.

I'm a sucker for Delavan

Postby FishinMatt » Jul Wed 10, 2019 7:22 pm

When I first started fishing Delavan in 2005 I was quite the rookie. Board member Coyote eventually showed me the ropes for targeting the pike with artificials year round, but initially I was in a stupor for when those big pike seemed to slide off the shallow weeds and disappear. To counter that I did a bunch of sucker fishing which primarily involved finding the weed edge and slowly dragging suckers along it. If I was fortunate enough to run into a heavy pod of panfish along the edge, sometimes multiple rods would go off. One of my best early memories was a triple with my brother in law and nephew. A proud moment for a new boat owner and new guy to the lake.

Eventually I would get into catching the pike different ways. Topwaters, big spinnerbaits, twitch baits, SS Raps, etc. Then the bass fishing took hold and I dropped the sucker fishing completely. It did not help that most of the sucker fishermen were reporting a decline in catches, so it was easy to dismiss it and move on to other techniques.

I recently saw a report on one of the popular fishing sites from a guide claiming to have had a great day sucker fishing out there. Chasing reports is not my thing, but it peeked my interest in giving the technique another try. Essentially it is similar to how I fish big Fall smallies on Geneva, just some bigger baits and beefier tackle.

Monday I set out with 2 dozen suckers to give it a go. I got on the lake almost 2 hours later then I usually would in the summer and I was digging the extra sleep. On my first spot I tried a sharp drop off a point and got 1 mid 20's pike. Next spot a smallie, largie, and a few more pike. I continued to slide down a well known spot and noticed lots of pan fishermen on the inside weeds. Well that was the spot. I ended up putting 3 waypoints down and the 2 dozen suckers were gone in less then 2 hours. It is comical to get a double and be holding one rod between my legs while fighting another fish. To make matters worse I forgot the net. I went back and got 2 dozen more and an hour later my buddy met up with me with another 2 dozen. All the suckers quickly met their demise. At that point my forearm and fingers were cramped up and I was done.

After hearing of the extraordinary pike tales, my 7 year old wanted to go badly. Two days later we arrived back at the lake with 4 dozen suckers. Unfortunately with the heat and the amount of bait in the bucket, many started dying. 2 dozen at a time good, 4 dozen bad, check. I purposely started far off the waypoints to see if we could find another pod of fish farther down the structure. One really nice largemouth was it in about a half hour of prodding. With that I gave in and started sliding over toward my marks. As I got close the screen lit up with suspended bait and big hooks below. Nothing had changed from the day before, except the bite may have been even a little better. The little one made a game of seeing how long it would take to get bit each time after setting lines. Never made it more then 3 minutes. I thought once we got into the dead bait it would slow down, but the fish did not care one bit. At 10 AM we were all out of bait and headed in. For anyone that cares to try best depths were 20-25 feet and my biggest tip would be to look for concentrations of pan fishermen and fish near them. Use the TM to move around slowly because sometimes moving 5 or 10 feet would make all the difference.

I guess the moral of the story is that it is fun to get back sometimes to things we used to enjoy. Soaking a bobber for spring crappie, fishing the river for catfish, using some corn to catch retention pond carp. As we progress in fishing it is easy to get away from some of the simpler methods, but man, it can be fun, especially with kids or grandkids of your own.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
User avatar
FishinMatt
Site Moderator
 
Posts: 5751
Joined: Oct Tue 25, 2005 9:41 pm
Location: Aurora

Re: I'm a sucker for Delavan

Postby joetrain » Jul Wed 10, 2019 8:53 pm

Those are some nice pike. I remember years ago I was on a guided Canadian trip and our guide brought us to a deeper area like you described and we sucker fished it with a rig that we now call a drop shot rig. He kept us over the area using the outboard and we reeled in bigger pike than the weedbed snakes we had been catching.

I was impressed especially because he knew where these small concentrations of fish were without the use of electronics.
~JOE~
A Dio sia la gloria
User avatar
joetrain
Ichthyoid Artimus
 
Posts: 2732
Joined: Jan Tue 31, 2012 5:32 pm

Re: I'm a sucker for Delavan

Postby Aux Pleins » Jul Thu 11, 2019 2:29 am

Pike bonanza. Fast action like that had to be a blast for the kid.
Nature and shit.
User avatar
Aux Pleins
Rex Rgis Piscator
 
Posts: 7093
Joined: May Thu 19, 2011 5:00 pm
Location: Gurnee

Re: I'm a sucker for Delavan

Postby SpecialEd » Jul Thu 11, 2019 7:44 am

I'm not gonna lie... this is freakin' awesome man.
User avatar
SpecialEd
Ichthyoid Artimus
 
Posts: 1744
Joined: Mar Sun 11, 2007 11:48 am
Location: Naperville

Re: I'm a sucker for Delavan

Postby billebob5 » Jul Thu 11, 2019 8:15 am

very cool. what's your go to rig for the suckers if you don't mind sharing?
User avatar
billebob5
Fishing Czar
 
Posts: 920
Joined: Apr Mon 29, 2013 12:03 pm
Location: Aurora, IL

Re: I'm a sucker for Delavan

Postby FishinMatt » Jul Thu 11, 2019 8:49 am

billebob, I use 14 lb braid, followed by 1/2 tungsten weight, large yellow bead, swivel, 18 inches of 30lb. fluro, 2/0 circle hook.
User avatar
FishinMatt
Site Moderator
 
Posts: 5751
Joined: Oct Tue 25, 2005 9:41 pm
Location: Aurora

Re: I'm a sucker for Delavan

Postby cletedius » Jul Thu 11, 2019 8:51 am

Nice haul!

FishinMatt wrote: Unfortunately with the heat and the amount of bait in the bucket, many started dying. 2 dozen at a time good, 4 dozen bad, check.


Something you can try with the dead suckers that I never hear mentioned by freshwater anglers is to de-bone the dead ones. Basically, take a small knife (exacto?) & make a cut along each side of the backbone from just behind the head to almost the end of the body minus the tail. Just as if you were going to fillet the sucker, but instead of seperating the fillets from the carcass, leave them attached & remove the backbone instead.
I do this a lot with many of the baits we use/catch in FL. Its pretty amazing how "alive" a de-boned bait looks swimming thru the water. Always thought to myself it looked like a killer presentation to try with suckers in FW for those that do the sucker thing.
User avatar
cletedius
Fishing Czar
 
Posts: 705
Joined: Oct Sat 18, 2008 2:14 am

Re: I'm a sucker for Delavan

Postby billebob5 » Jul Thu 11, 2019 8:57 am

FishinMatt wrote:billebob, I use 14 lb braid, followed by 1/2 tungsten weight, large yellow bead, swivel, 18 inches of 30lb. fluro, 2/0 circle hook.


You're the man.
User avatar
billebob5
Fishing Czar
 
Posts: 920
Joined: Apr Mon 29, 2013 12:03 pm
Location: Aurora, IL

Re: I'm a sucker for Delavan

Postby DasGoby » Jul Thu 11, 2019 11:55 am

Great post Matt! Even with live bait it takes skill to get on those bigger, deep lurking pike.

I agree on getting back to basics from time to time and also don't think we need to make excuses to use live bait. It can be fun and sometimes live bait is the only way to catch the biggest fish.
DasGoby
Ichthyoid Artimus
 
Posts: 1290
Joined: Mar Fri 05, 2010 2:57 pm
Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Re: I'm a sucker for Delavan

Postby coyote » Jul Fri 12, 2019 5:40 pm

Wow you brought back memories of our early days but we never did that well, nice going
User avatar
coyote
Ichthyoid Artimus
 
Posts: 3169
Joined: Mar Sat 24, 2007 7:24 pm

Re: I'm a sucker for Delavan

Postby FishinMatt » Jul Fri 12, 2019 6:08 pm

coyote wrote:Wow you brought back memories of our early days but we never did that well, nice going


No we never really did. We would be thrilled to go through a dozen in a day in the past. At 10 bucks a dozen it is an expensive risk to buy more then that.
User avatar
FishinMatt
Site Moderator
 
Posts: 5751
Joined: Oct Tue 25, 2005 9:41 pm
Location: Aurora

Re: I'm a sucker for Delavan

Postby Islandfisher » Jul Sat 13, 2019 11:50 am

Wow, well done out there Matt, I always love reading reports from the Geneva WI area. How's the thumb healing up? I would personally be a bit apprehensive about grabbing a big pike if I got my hand mauled by one months earlier. You just jumped right back into the game!
If you're fishing slow and not catching anything, fish slower.
User avatar
Islandfisher
Ichthyoid Artimus
 
Posts: 2376
Joined: Nov Tue 07, 2006 2:12 pm
Location: Elmwood Park

Re: I'm a sucker for Delavan

Postby FishinMatt » Jul Sat 13, 2019 1:04 pm

Islandfisher wrote:Wow, well done out there Matt, I always love reading reports from the Geneva WI area. How's the thumb healing up? I would personally be a bit apprehensive about grabbing a big pike if I got my hand mauled by one months earlier. You just jumped right back into the game!


No pain anymore but also not much feeling. It is a bit of a hindrance for dexterity functions but otherwise not too bad. I am a little gun shy but I probably should have been more cautious to begin with.
User avatar
FishinMatt
Site Moderator
 
Posts: 5751
Joined: Oct Tue 25, 2005 9:41 pm
Location: Aurora

Re: I'm a sucker for Delavan

Postby Skifish1 » Jul Sun 14, 2019 5:06 am

Wow well written report and yes so much fun to bobber fish been doing that a bit for crappie dragging plastics. The simple excitement of a float dunk. Delevan is amazing, so amazing I will probably never fish it because I'd probably skunk that first outing and then I'd feel like a chump LOL.
User avatar
Skifish1
Ichthyoid Artimus
 
Posts: 4756
Joined: Nov Thu 03, 2011 10:54 pm

Re: I'm a sucker for Delavan

Postby jmdog2003 » Jul Sun 14, 2019 1:23 pm

Dude you destroy that lake. Nicely done. And yes, getting back to the roots of fishing with basic methods reminds you what got you into the sport originally. We sometimes forget we weren't always baitcasting gunslingers.
jmdog2003
Ichthyoid Artimus
 
Posts: 2935
Joined: Apr Fri 13, 2012 7:50 pm
Location: Naperville

Re: I'm a sucker for Delavan

Postby ccorso » Jul Sun 14, 2019 1:32 pm

What an awesome report! Thanks for sharing your approach and rig, seems like it could be useful on many bodies of water
User avatar
ccorso
Game Fish
 
Posts: 249
Joined: Aug Sat 29, 2015 6:59 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: I'm a sucker for Delavan

Postby badger75 » Jul Thu 18, 2019 11:57 am

Glad to hear the pain is gone. Looks like it is not a hinderance at all.
User avatar
badger75
Fishing Czar
 
Posts: 561
Joined: May Fri 12, 2017 10:36 am
Location: Batavia, IL

Re: I'm a sucker for Delavan

Postby ohoffm » Jul Thu 18, 2019 8:03 pm

Great bunch of fish and enjoy the simple techniques
The easiest way is rarely the best way
User avatar
ohoffm
Ichthyoid Artimus
 
Posts: 2402
Joined: Jul Fri 01, 2011 11:51 pm
Location: NW burbs


Return to Lake Geneva/Delevan

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest