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Local Sports

OUTDOORS: Questions and answers about the outdoors

I had a phone call the other day from a frustrated fisherman. He claimed that when using braided line, he misses many bites and loses many fish.

Answer: Braided line has zero stretch and can allow a fish to feel more resistance. This can cause them to drop a bait. Catfish are notorious for this.

Try fishing with a loose line and allow the fish to take the bait longer. Also, you may want to use a lighter rod with a softer tip. Fish with a light drag adjustment as well.

Big pond bluegills

Another local fisherman told me of a pond he fishes that has huge bluegills. He has trouble getting his bait down to the larger fish because the smaller ones hit as soon as the bait hits the water.

Answer: One can try using more weight above a barrel swivel. That way the bait sinks very rapidly and has a chance to get down below the smaller fish.

Once you feel the bottom, raise the whole presentation up and place it in the larger fishes’ strike zone.

Manuals pretty fly

Do you do any fly fishing and what is the best reel, an auto or manual?

Answer: Years ago, my dad bought me an automatic fly reel that had free stripping. That is line could be pulled off the reel without resistance by hand. This, however, can tangle around your legs. This can be a problem that can be eliminated with practice.

However, using a manual fly reel one can change spools with different line if the conditions call for it. It is also an advantage if one hooks a very large fish that puts up a longer fight. An automatic fly reel can also break the wind up spring, and you cannot replace it while fishing.

Chigger trouble?

I have found an excellent way to keep chiggers off of me while in high grass or working in the garden. Just wrap a flea/tick collar around each pant leg but do not let it come in contact with your skin. Many of these can cause a allergic reaction.

At the end of the day, place it in a baggie and seal it. It will then be ready for the next trip. One collar can last all summer.

An answer

I finally got word from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources on why the decline of minnows, shad, shore birds, seagulls and pelicans in the Illinois River. They feel that the colder spring temps created a very poor spawn for all fishes including minnows and shad. While I don’t agree with this theory, this is the answer I received.

My next question was, “What about the leftover parent fish?” One day I traveled clear to Peoria to find any large sauger.

They couldn’t answer that one.

Fishing report

I am seeing minnows and shad at the local boat ramps over the past week. I have been told that Illinois River fishing has picked up. One local angler said he caught a few nice crappie last week below Ottawa.

Cooling lake action is still good for bluegill and blue catfish. I am really glad that the lake fishing is still that good despite the elevated water temperatures, 95 degrees F.

Hope everyone had a nice holiday.

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