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Fishing net Smile Fish Cap Fisherman

I usually get a trip or two in every summer with a buddy of mine that is a kayak fishing stud. He has the Fox River dialed in year 'round for just about every species and over the weekend we made plans to float a stretch near Yorkville at night soaking bait for some big ol flatties. I felt like I needed to get that trip in before the end of summer... catfishing just seems like it goes hand-in-hand with summer. My fall fishing is bass, eyes, and esox. More on that in another post.

We put-in just before dusk and made our way to our first spot. We were 3 kayaks wide, tied together and anchored, like a plastic barge. We put a 6 rod spread out soaking live gills, cut shad, cut sunfish, prepared bait, and good old nightcrawlers on bottom-slider rigs and heavy 30-50lb class tackle. Last year in this same spot my buddy's son was absolutely rocked by a fish on 30lb gear that pulled the three kayaks around and freed itself amid a furious dive into a nasty logjam.

We were ready this time.

Couple hours go by with only a few fleeting nibbles so we pick-up and switch spots to fish the edge of the river channel next to a flat littered with sporadic chunk rock. Another fresh 6 rod spread goes out and we wait...

We gave it a good hour and a half. We had one solid hit but no hook-up. I'm not going to lie, my hopes were diminishing here. The river was low, we haven't had much activity, and it was starting to get late with nothing to show.

When we decided to pull rods at this spot and move down river, I had my 2 bait rods in first so I decided to make a couple casts with my light spinning outfit. I had picked up a couple small walleye the weekend before tossing a 4" swimbait on a 1/8oz jighead on the Fox river in Montgomery, so I figured it was worth a shot here, especially seeing the nice channel edge and chunk rock around us. I really only had time for 3 or 4 casts anyway.

3rd cast in and the jig comes to a complete stop that I can't pop loose, "Snagged..." I tell the others.

As I'm about to put the max load on my 10lb fluoro to bust it loose, the damn thing starts swimming up river!

Well, with the three of us anchored, all tied together and our rods stowed in our crates behind us, as the fish makes a beeline for the river directly behind us, all hell breaks loose. I pass the rod to center man and he lifts the doubled over rod over our stowed spread and hands it to third man, he does the same and hands the rod back to me. I fight the fish across the bows of the other two and then the fish decides to go back where it came from. Haha, Chinese fire drill!

With the fish on my side now, the fight went back and forth for a good 10-15min. Trying to get control of this fish on light line was just futile. I was along for the ride and just hoped it got tired before my line snapped.

Luckily, it did.

We tried to weigh it on the lip-gripper scale that went to 30lb, but the spring-scale mechanism blew out of the handle after I got 2/3rds of the fish's weight under it. so, all I have are a couple pictures. For reference, I'm about 5'9" 225lbs. I think that fish is somewhere around the 30lb mark... maybe more, maybe less.

After those few photos we slipped he back in to watch her swim away. No hits or fish the rest of the night, but excitement remained high right up until the end.

Cool fish and absolutely exhilarating fight. I'm already looking forward to next year's flathead hunts.
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