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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I went down to the Fox, around the Elgin Dam last night, and thought I'd drop a report on the fishing. My bait was live bluegill, and I was fishing exclusively for Flathead.

The fishing was quiet until about 930, just around dark. Water temp is 82.5 deg. and there was no moon, wind, or rain. Just a quiet night. Other than having an excess of night fishing traffic on the river and banks, it was an altogether quiet night. Brought in a 6 lb. flathead at 930. Not much fight, but I use heavy line. Another hit or two, but no takers. At 1150p, the fish were just mauling bluegill, but I had A LOT of problems setting the hook. Sometime I'd bait a hook and toss it, and the line would be buzzing off again before I even sat back down.

I kicked over 2 cups of coffee in about there, and was less than pleased. I'm up in the air about all the misses. On one hand, it may be that I had switched to a straight-shank hook setup, thus causing problems with setting hooks. On the other hand, the catfish I'd brought up at 930 was pretty small, and it's possible that they aren't getting a good hold on the hooks, due to being smaller. I haven't fished the Fox, and my only other experience was last weekend and a 31 lb catfish, which could have swalllowed everything but my anchor, so I don't have much of a baseline for hook types or sizes yet. But I digress...

The fishing would slow down for about half an hour at a time, and then they'd kick it into gear again. I finally got sick enough of missing fish to change back to 2 circle hooks, and I brought up another small catfish at 230. Since he ran across and tied my other lines in knots, I decided to haul it up and call it a night. A lot of hits, but a lot of small pan-sized catfish following them. Hope this helps
 

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I have been using circle hooks to with that same result. As soon as you get the gill out there there gettin bit up. Im still tryin to get my buddies camera for the pics of the 10-12 pounder.

As for were i get my bluegills I catch a few from a farm pond throw them in a cooler with a cup full of ice and they stay alive all night. After there in the cooler I drive a good hour before fishing and they still stay alive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
One hook through the tail and one hook right behind the top fin. The 2 hooks aren't more than an inch apart, and you should feel right away that you pushed both hooks through solid meat, meaning that they'll have a good hold. Something's been happening though....Either the catfish are small, gar are hitting the bluegill, or I'm using the wrong hooks. I'm undecided what the problem is. Maybe smaller hooks. Maybe an octopus circle hook. Sometimes I bring the catfish right up and other times, they run off line and I miss, run off line and I miss. I end up going through a lot of blue gill. In any event, that hook setup has been working for me for 30 years, and it's what I'd suggest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Incidentally, I'm going down to the Fox, launching in Elgin, on Friday night-probably around 800 or so. My regular fishing partner is on vacation next weekend, so if someone wants to come along, shoot me a message and we'll work it out. No insult to anyone, but the only rule I have is that you bring your own gear and go lightly on the alcohol. I drink a little, occasionally, but I'm usually more likely to drink coffee. I'm pretty quiet on the boat. We won't be going far...just to the deeper spot in the immediate area, so I don't want gas money or anything. If you want to contribute, you're welcome to get the bluegill, but it's not required. I'll be out from 800 until sometime between 130 and 3AM....whenever the fish decide to go to bed....shoot me a message and we'll work it out.
 

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I'm going to guess you mean this Friday the 8th. Where do you launch and fish from in Elgin? The new launch by 31 and 20, or elswhere?

I might be able to talk my son in to coming, I think he'd really enjoy a night fishing trip. We'd bring our boat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Slade Avenue, lip yanker. Cross the bridge by the library, left immediately after the library, down to Slade Avenue, which is a little over a mile, I'd guess, and turn left on Slade. The only thing there is the launch and parking, so you can't miss it. If you bring your own boat, you can probably find me directly across the river and just downriver of the launch on Friday. Blue boat with fish jumping into it. Say hello.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The offer still stands, if anyone doesn't have plans for tonight. I'll be leaving home around 730, and I do have room in the boat for one, or one and a kid. Shoot me a PM today if you're interested, and we'll set it up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for asking. The fish were hitting hard and fast early on, but no real takers, save one...and I missed him. The thing reeled off 50 feet of line in about 5 seconds. I picked up slowly, tightened the drag, waited about a minute and a half or so, and set the line when he took it again. AND MISSED. lol.
Everything went dead slow from about 900-1230, and then I took some hits and a little bit of line taking off, but nothing to catch still. I finally brought in a 6 lb. flathead around 330. It was a very slow night for catfishing, but I'm happy to say that at least I brought something in the boat.
The weather's cooling off a bit. The water's down just a little, as well. I'm keeping my own records on all of this, water temp, weather, cloud cover, etc...and trying to set myself up to catch more cats. Like most people, everyday(or night) on the water is a learning experience, and I'm adapting. I still think I'm running into a lot of small cats that aren't getting the hooks all the way into their mouth, which is costing me bluegill and missed catfish. I'm going out again this weekend, to be certain, and may bring some leeches along with some smaller setups, and I'll just have to see how it goes. Thanks for asking, though, and I'll continue posting with updates every weekend that I get out. -SFS
 

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Thanks for the responce,
I have a feeling the big cats are harder to come by then I thought. I have had alot of the same problems you have had. Im still tryin to get my buddy's camera for my pic of the 12 pounder. Although tough to catch those big ones are out there just got to find em'. I have heard when the water levels are down the side waters/channels can harbor big cats. Just a thought but maybe worth a try. I have only been down to the fox twice and only in one area so I dont know were the big back waters are. Good luck keep me updated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well I'm going down tonight, and it's ironic that you mentioned backwaters because I had thought to go upriver, in behind a bit of an island. The water's pretty shallow through there, but I thought I'd give it a shot and see what comes of it. I'll post in the next few days and let you know how that turns out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well I'm going down tonight, and it's ironic that you mentioned backwaters because I had thought to go upriver, in behind a bit of an island. The water's pretty shallow through there, but I thought I'd give it a shot and see what comes of it. I'll post in the next few days and let you know how that turns out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well I'm going down tonight, and it's ironic that you mentioned backwaters because I had thought to go upriver, in behind a bit of an island. The water's pretty shallow through there, but I thought I'd give it a shot and see what comes of it. I'll post in the next few days and let you know how that turns out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well I'm going down tonight, and it's ironic that you mentioned backwaters because I had thought to go upriver, in behind a bit of an island. The water's pretty shallow through there, but I thought I'd give it a shot and see what comes of it. I'll post in the next few days and let you know how that turns out.
 

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Nice,
Well good luck. Have you ever tried slashing your bait? Just like some small cuts enough to put a little scent out but also keeping the fish alive. I have heard that this can help the fish find the bait. Just a thought keep me posted on how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
you can't slash your bait in Illinois, man. Way illegal. I've never tried it anywhere else, even so. I can't see that it's necessary, to be honest. I've yet to be skunked here, and the fish always seem willing to eat. I boated a 6 lb. flathead at 9, a smaller one at 1130, and another 6 pounder at 1145 last night. Between those, I snapped my 30 lb. leader braid after a 15 minute fight at 1100. My bait was only about 20 feet from the boat, and after 15 minutes of back and forth, he went under the boat, doubled my pole over, and snapped the line before I could give a little lighter drag and let him take more line. 15 minutes and I never pulled his head to the surface. I caught a 31 pound catfish and landed him in the boat in about 10 minutes just 3 weeks ago. This one made that fish feel like a minnow. And that's not a fish story!
 

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Thanks for the info on slashing the bait. I had no idea that it was illegal and I read about it in field and stream. Congrats on the cats to bad you could get that monster in. Well good news is we know that there are some huge flatheads in there. Congrats again!!!
 

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And I was just reading up on the new measures the DNR has in place, to stop the spread of VHS disease.

Looks like you can not transport live fish from one body of water to another. So no catching gills or bullheads, minnows etc. at one place and transporting them to another to use as bait. Maybe unless they are verified as VHS free? Not sure how that would work.....

Must catch and use those baitfish on the same body of water as you are fishing.

http://aquanic.org/news/2008/vhsohio.htm

Kind of puts a crimp on pulling gills from the local pond, and using them in the river now.

.
 
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