I guess it's not too early to look at the year in the rear view mirror & take stock of the good, the bad and all the rest.
This was the best bass year I've had in a long time. 2 days - a 17 LMB day at Busse in May and a between 12 & 20 smallie day on the Apple River would probably have made it so. When I throw in all the bass caught at Potawatomi Pond, Daniel Wright Woods, Beck, Skokie Lagoons and a few other spots it was a great year.
Plus the biggest smallie I've caught in years (19", West Branch, Dupe) and a few other Dupe smallies.
Also in the good column are all the days I got to spend outdoors - fishing or not, catching or not - and just simply enjoying myself. When you get to a certain age you really begin to appreciate all of it. You never know how many more springs, summers or falls you have left. That is of course, true for all of us but as you age the odds against you get longer.
Another good thing was my acquisition of a Daiwa Fuego spinning rod & Daiwa Regal reel. They replaced the broken Fenwick & a broken Lew's reel respectively and I have to say are considerable improvements - especially true of the Regal.
Number 1 was breaking my favorite rod - a Fenwick Nighthawk II - as mentioned above. At least it died in a great effort - catching a monster bass on that 17 bass day at Busse. Snapped like a brittle twig.
Also on the bad side was the absolutely shitty customer service I got from Cabelas and Fenwick regarding the rod. I'm done with Fenwick and have scaled way back on Cabelas.
More bad was the poor showing I had with pike on the DPR. This was almost entirely due to all the flooding. If I kept count of these things I'd say I caught maybe a half dozen - none of them worth writing home about. The most memorable was the one that in jerking free put the hook into the base of my thumb. Ouch.
Same goes for Salt Creek. Too high for most of the year for much fishing. Too bad since I really enjoy my days there - even if all I catch are dinks.
Also in the bad column go all the days my best friend & I got skunked - at Busse & Skokie Lagoons. We managed to consistently get on the water on days when the weather was great for being outdoors but terrible for fishing.
First on this list is the fact that at the beginning of the season I was seriously considering buying new neoprene chest waders. I never pulled the trigger and am happy about it. As things went I used my waders (hip and chest) fewer than 10 times this year. This is mostly attributable to the flooding on Salt Creek, my Granddaddy Daycare schedule and my preference for canoe fishing with my best friend. He's talking about relocating - possibly to Eau Claire - so our times together could become few & far between.
To be continued (maybe)...
Keep calm and fish on...
There's a fine line between fishing and just sitting there looking stupid