I was up at 4AM on this Sunday, waiting for a call from our charter captain to confirm or cancel a planned Lake Michigan fishing trip for me, my brother, and my brother-in-law. It wasn't till around 6:45AM that he finally made the decision to cancel the trip due to weather conditions. It sucked to lose out on this trip again. It's been 4 years in a row that this trip with my brothers has been scraped due to weather. The worst part is that all day long I kept seeing reports come in from Chicago and NWI. Relatively calm water, waves less than 1ft, light winds from the East/Southeast... it might be time to find another charter service.
Anyway, I was frustrated and still wanted to fish. It wasn't until about 9:00AM though that me and my youngest were finally packed up and out the door to fish, we just took our time getting ready I guess. It didn't help that I had to switch gears from having my gear ready for L.M. smallmouth to DuPage River smallies. Same fish, totally different situation though. We knew what we wanted to fish with, that was an easy decision.
A few weeks ago, him and I started pouring our own soft plastic baits. It spurred from necessity actually. One of our favorite lures for catching Duper smallies is a 2.5" ribbed mini swimbait that is part Charlie Brewer Slider, and part Keitech Swing Impact. StankX used to sell these but they've since stopped selling baits and only sell the molds now. Anyway, my last order from them before they quit was dwindling and I needed to find a way to get more. I ended up buying the mold for it, and 2 other sizes. Then I needed plastisol, and colorant, and glitter, and a microwave, and, and, and... long story short, I now own about $500 worth of bait making stuff.
(so if you want some custom plastics, LMK... it'd be nice to recoup some of this investment
We rigged up some of the green/watermelon black flake w/ivory belly 3.25" swimmys on jig heads and gave them the old clip-on spinner treatment in order to keep the jigs higher in the water column while maintaining a slow retrieve. This proved to be deadly on the Dupe that morning.
I cracked a handful of smallies in the areas we fished all on the same bait, and my youngest cracked a few more than me. Including his biggest smallmouth to-date.
He was super excited and made quite a commotion on shore when we were finally able to land the big ole girl. I think he may be watching a bit too much Mike Iaconelli!
We took some pics and released her back into the Dupe to reproduce and get bigger so we can catch her again when we fish there next time.
It's been a lot of fun the last few weeks tinkering around in the garage with him, picking bait colors, glitter/flake combinations, and going through the learning process together. I hope we can continue to work on this stuff together for years to come. Fishing with baits you made yourself has an extra layer of enjoyment added to the experience.
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