6-18-03 - Perch on the fly!
Waters Fished: Lake Michigan (Wilmette Harbor,
IL and literally 1/2 block from my HOME!)
Fish Caught: 1
Outing Date: 6-18-03
Weather: Sporadic...sunny all day with T-Storms around 4-5 pm, clearing
up until about 8:00, then back clear by 8:30
Air Temp: 90's dropping to 60's. Barometer rising
Water Temp: N/A - 50's according to satellite data
Water Level: Normal
Water Color: Clear & Blue
Fish Species: Coho & Perch
Pattern Fished: Whitlock's Hare Scuplin
Pattern Color: olive
Fishing Quality: Not so hot
I've never been one to get excited about Perch.
Growing up on Lake Como, "Perch" were little fish that
you rarely caught and were roughly 6" in length. Then Bart
enlightened me. I found some pictures of Lake Michigan Perch...time
to reconsider things.
Bart had been out Tuesday night and tried to call
(I had my phone turned off, I was WRITING THE REPORTS!). I learned
my lesson, hard-core. In 2 hours he and his GF basically limited
out. When he told me he was gonna hit it again today, I wasn't going
to pass up the opportunity!
I got to Gillson Park around 6:45 PM Took a long
walk out on the rocks; I had some dinner en-tow for CS which made
balancing and grabbing a bit difficult. It had rained earlier as
well, so everything was slippery. I got out there to learn that
his father had landed a nice perch and a Coho on minnows.
Bart hadn't been there too long but wasn't having
a lot of luck. It had stopped raining only a hour earlier, and CS
was having trouble even getting follows. I had tied up extra-long
(15 foot) leaders 'cause I knew I'd be fishing deep. On my first
cast I totally flubbed it and on the subsequent back cast I tangled
EVERYTHING. 5 minutes of untangling and I decided to "shorten"
Ok, things were back on track...the plan was to
use a Whitlock's Hare Sculpin with a Clouser (white and lavender)
as a dropper. Within a few minutes I started getting the attention
of some smaller fish that looked like young cohos or chinooks; definitely
And then I got my first follow from a perch. Man,
the thing was "huge"! At least it LOOKED huge. I got a
lot of follows but no bites. No one was interested in the clouser,
so I removed it and tied on a White Marabou Spey...size 4. That
managed a bit more interest from the fish, but still most of my
follows were on the Hare Sculpin. I got a tug, and was thrilled
when I pulled up a perch. Nothing huge mind you, but a perch. But
why was it sideways? Ass-HOOKED?! Come on...this is NOT supposed
to happen! I'm pretty sure this guy got snagged maybe looking at
the scuplin and turned, getting tangled with the dropper maybe?
Lightning is NOT a good thing when you're standing
on top of rocks, next to a light post, with a 9 foot stick of graphite
in your hands, so at 8:00 when the sky started lighting up Bart
and I decided it *might* be a good time to call it a night. Then
again, the sailboaters weren't leaving and they were out with the
coast guard (or maybe part of a sailing school)....so why should
I get off the water? When they started heading in, I conceded and
we made our way back in the rain.
I didn't think it would rain long, and it didn't.
By the time I was home it was about 8:15 and I got BACK on the lake.
I had never fished by my house, but I knew there was a high seawall
there at the local park and figured it was worth a shot. I was NOT
going to end my day on a butt-hooked fish!
Second cast or maybe the third I hooked up! WOW..that
fish looked HUGE. Not a very good FIGHT...pretty much once the fish
was on it was more difficult to figure out how to raise it 15 feet
out of the water. But man, first perch, and it's a doozy! I shared
it with another resident angler (John) who I met; great guy! We
fished the night way, he picked up another 1 or 2 for a total of
8 on the day (using redworms). I got several more follows and hits,
totally 1/5, but alas only one perch for the day. But wait a second,
this fishing is only 1/2 block from my HOUSE?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!