Outdoors: Local fly fishing and fly tying show set for Nov. 2
by BOB MACIULIS For Sun-Times Media October 18, 2013 6:46PM
Updated: October 18, 2013 6:46PM
The Bassbuggers arm of the Illinois Smallmouth Alliance and the DuPage River Fly Tyers (DRiFT) are set to host the third annual and greater Chicagoland’s only local fly fishing and fly tying show from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 2.
Held at the VFW Post 1197 building, 645 River Street, in Batavia, the show uses an effective tease: “Sit down with the area’s best fly tyers as they demonstrate a wide variety of warmwater and coldwater fly patterns. Bring the kids for free youth fly tying and view the bugs that fish eat under a high-powered microscope.”
Show features include 25-plus regional tyers. Watch them tie a fly for the waters they fish, and receive free casting instructions from FFF certified instructors.
Regional fishing guides will be on hand to book trips, and there also will be spey casting demos on the river, free guest speaker presentations, an entomology program with real bugs viewed under a microscope, free youth fly tying with all the materials provided, and area vendor booths with products for sale in a no-pressure fishing-is-fun environment.
There will be Chicago-area clubs presenting their programs — and there is no better way to learn how to fish or to discover new places to enjoy than by joining a local club.
Admission is $10 for adults. Kids under 10 are free. For more information, visit www.illinoissmallmouthalliance.net
It’s been difficult to think about the fabulous channel catfishing on the Kankakee River in recent years because it is such an incredible river for smallmouth bass fishing.
Or the remarkable resurgence of its walleye fishery thanks to a terrific management plan spearheaded by the Illinois DNR.
Local outdoors writer Bill Osuch was one of the most intrepid river fishermen I know, and he hooked up with Geno Altiery a few years back to shoot several segments for our Outdoor Notebook TV show.
Geno was showing Bill how he “skis livers” by slipping chicken livers downstream with the current, then raising them to the top and literally skiing them across the surface.
During a break in taping, Geno and Billy discussed the use of other live baits, and Geno talked about what might be the single-best bait for catfish as well as for bass and other river species — the crayfish.
“Crawdads, the mainstay in a bass’ diet, if used properly in the (river),” Altiery said, “will devastate them. I’m talking about hard shells or soft shells, but it cannot, of course, be a live rusty specimen. Illinois law outlaws the use of live rusty crayfish. A small seine in a creek can net you many crawdads or you may buy them at bait shops.”
The best crawfish size, Altiery said, is 2 to 3 inches, and of course the best is a soft-shelled crawdad. One that has just molted (shed its hard shell as it outgrows it).
“When a bass hits a soft shell, you can set the hook immediately,” he said. “If you are using a hard-shell craw, be prepared to wait a while. Smallies, especially, will pick up a hard shell, crush it and then spit it out to see if it is dead. The fish may do this two or three times before actually swallowing it.
“When this happens, hold your rod at a 45-degree angle,” Geno continued, “and let the fish bang the bait a few times. Drop the tip as the bass hits the crawdad. When the bass takes hold and starts to move off, slowly lower the rod tip almost until the rod tip touches the water and then set the hook.”
A blast-from-the-past technique from the old master of the Kankakee.