Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The New Net

This is a follow-up on the debacle from Thursday May 10th at Middle Bar Bridge. Just a short reminder of what happened. Caught one and had the line break trying to get it over the rail without the aid of a net. The next three were caught with the net and put on a stringer. After the third one was caught, the rope on the stringer snagged, the hooks popped open, and dropped all three back into the river (one was retrieved, the other two headed straight for the bottom). The one retrieved was then put in an ice chest as well as the fifth one caught. 

I liken this little comedy of catching the trout with the net, as it was hoisted up to the bridge (remember there is no land access to the water there) to catching Asian Carp in the Illinois River.

The first thing I did when I got home was go online to Cabela's.com and order a new stringer because the cheapie one I’ve had most of my life was finally ready for the trash can. The new one was twice as heavy as the old one and should last the rest of my life. You can’t go cheap on something that goes “twang” and drops all your fish back in the river.
The second thing I ordered is called a Pop Net. Many of the people that fish the bridge have a similar net, but this one has a couple of cool extras. It’s designed for fishing off a pier or a bridge. It starts out as a 10 inch loop and opens to a 30 inch net. When you’re done, just fold it back to 10 inches and it goes in the sack it comes in or you can stuff it into a bucket. It comes with 30 feet of rope (more than enough to get it to the water) and has a capacity of 100 lbs. Where is that big trout when you need it to test the net?

Bridge Net

OK, off to the bridge yesterday morning. Got there at the usual 0830 and there was a guy and his dad set up in the spot I had last time. Again this was the “slot” where the fish were being caught. No bribing with donuts this time since it bombed so bad last time. By the time I got there, they already had 8 or 9 in the bucket. I fished the next section over and was rewarded with one about 10 inches, BUT I did get a chance to use my handy dandy new net and it worked like a charm. I fished for about 3 ½ hours and only caught that one with one other bite that I missed. The “slot” next to me kept providing bite after bite, but they missed most of them. 

The guys next to me wrapped it up at Noon and since they were one short (they had 9) of limits for both, I volunteered the one I had to give them 5 each. After all, he knew me from reading my articles in the paper. When I first walked up, he said” Aren’t you the guy who writes for the Ledger Dispatch? I read your column all the time”. He also mentioned something about me giving away all the secret information about fishing Middle Bar Bridge, but didn’t throw anything at me. 

Now, there are fishermen that tend to use excuses to why they don’t catch fish. It could be the moon phase although we’ve debunked that one. It could be the wrong bait, although with a minimum of twelve poles strung across the bridge, I don’t see how we missed offering anything. OR it could be the River Otter that was present all morning. He or she was doing a mighty fine job of providing breakfast and lunch to the little ones (one has to assume he or she wasn’t eating all the fish that was being hauled up into the brush on the side of the river). Occasionally the Otter would swim out to where our lines

were and disappear under the water for an extended period of time coming up with, yet another fish. In between diving for fish the Otter would lay on its back and look at us. I think it was giving us the finger. (Can an Otter do that?). It showed absolutely no fear of us knife toting humans. Cute (I can’t say little because it was a good 2 feet long) guy or girl as long as it’s not your stringer he or she has stripped of those had caught trout. Something like that tends to take the cuteness out of an Otter. 

OK, that’s the update from the bridge.

Tomorrow is Tenkara on the creek, Wednesday. Stay tuned.



  1. Well...I know that 20 inch fish is just around the bridge! You will fill that new net in no time...

  2. "I think it was giving us the finger. (Can an Otter do that?)." Yup, I'm sure that animals give us humans the finger on occasion...

  3. very nice, looking forward to some tenkara action, fascinating stuff

  4. What's this stringer thing you're talking about?

    1. Eagle Claw Heavy-Duty Stainless Steel Stringer at Cabela's. Item: IK-020511


  5. Time for me to go back to the Bridge...