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The Big Worm


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Myself and Roy Kramer were inspired by the talk of a record fish out at Three Oaks, but never saw an article and since I had never fished from a boat out there, a series of changes in plans and my messing up on dates for the Wisconsin Carp Championship I found myself with an actual extra Saturday with the day off....first one in three years.

Roy and I set sail on a ill equipped last minute let's go early in the morning adventure Saturday out at Three Oaks. We headed out to the three islands to the west of the beach casting and trolling spoons, lip less rattling crank baits and some deeper diving crank baits as well....nothing but a stick to show for it and as the wind started to pick up I put on a crawler and a dropper weight and as Roy continued to cast spoons trying to find a pike I got a little tap and soon a 12" large mouth.

We had drifted some from the wind so we moved back to just up wind  from spot of the first fish and again...a fish this time an equal sized Small Mouth Bass.  Roy persisted with the artificial but I could see his conviction to throwing lures fading as he seemed to make painful casts (in spirit). I lost the third fish and Roy clippers were out and I could see him tying on to fish worms...

 "If you can't beat em'..." was expressed in the lines across his face as he squinted to tie up the hook...

As he was busy rigging up I moved the boat to make another drift when two kayaks pulled up with guys wearing whistles and told us we needed to move as swimmers were going to be swimming in the area...I was a little bothered by this, and the young mans effort to sooth my very obvious disappointment was not abated by his comment to me.. "There's a whole lot of Lake away from here...." 

We headed to the nearest longer  North South edge to try and duplicate the drift situation we had used at the first location to see if we could duplicate it....and headed to an area into the wind just in case we needed it to get back to the Marina if the battery poop-ed out which that marina is notorious for.

The depth here was 20' with a steep drop at the shore line and a small reef that came up to 17', I noticed it ran the whole shoreline at  yards from shore creating a kind of  trench along the shore line...a lot deeper than the 12' to 14' at the earlier location ...but figured we'd make due as the choice was made out need to conserve battery power...along with being shoo-d away from our first spot.

I positioned the boat for a sideways drift and looked to see if Roy was ready. He was just putting on a worm when mine hit bottom and seconds after. A hit and a 18" largemouth, a lot better than the earlier fish but I was still mad about the more...Roy had a hit, and a miss followed by three more.

And we had drifted the side and motored back up to do it again, adjusting weights and tweeting the rigs.

On the next pass I hooked a fish that fought a little harder and as it came up I noticed it looked like a Smallmouth...and as It got to within grabbing range I was kind of startled by it as it didn't look right, like it might have been hit by a prop as it didn't look right in the face area...maybe it was the sun, the heat or being locked in a Bait Shop 75 hours a week, but as I was unhook in the fish with a mouth big enough to put a golf ball in it without touching the sides I was still in that though...Wondering how the electric motors in the lake could have suckered punched the Smallmouth to make it look like that or maybe there was something wrong with it to make it grow out so odd looking.....and without any fan fair I lipped the fish and lowered it back in the water...and just as it it started to wiggle to free itself as it felt the water the light in my head went on...or maybe the wind blew out the cobwebs but I realized I wasn't holding a Smallmouth, but was holding a 14 1/2" Rock Bass with a girth pushing 10". I pulled the fish back out had Roy snap a few pictures and we looked to see if either of us had a scale or a tape...no. But I figured I could scale the fish from my hand if I really wanted to ....so back in the water it went to become a great fishing story for the future. And baited up again.

By the time we were done Roy had 5 including the largest Bass and a beautiful Smallmouth and I had nine including the Rock Bass (mutant smallie).

I made a bucket list as a kid years ago that included ....

Catch a state record fish...

...of course I never said certified or registered...kind of wondering wether or not I can cross it off in pen or should I use a pencil and put an asterisk behind it...?

Keep in mind Illinois record is 1# 5oz, and a 1# 14oz was caught on the same lake two weeks earlier that measured 12-1/2" but wasn't registered as it is a catch and release lake and he had no witnesses to him catching the fish.








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Who cares about 'official records', you know what you caught.

Cross it off your list... Then aim at catching an even bigger one! 

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