Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It was %$!#@ing cold

I've been hearing great reports of the fishing at Dusable Harbor, so of course that's where I found myself this morning around 6am. As soon as I got out of my car, I looked into the black sky and was almost knocked over by the wind. I had some second thoughts. Maybe it would be warmer by the water, I thought.

Does it look cold? It was!!
I walked up Michigan, over on Balbo, and was at the water in a few minutes. Huge waves crashed onto the pier, white streams of water flew everywhere. The lake was filled with giant waves, little white caps everywhere, and the wind was extremely intense.

It was $!#@%&ing cold as $%#&!

I almost turned around just then, but I stopped. I didn't wake up at 5 for nothing. I like little adventures almost as much as I like catching fish.

I walked north along the shore, trying to figure out how to deal with this curveball. I looked for a place that might give shelter to fish trying to escape the torrential wind. For a while I fished the area where Lake Shore Drive curves around and there are some docks. The water there was more calm, but no takers.

I kept walking north, working various lures along the lakefront as I went. I cast and retrieved with my cold, numb hands. It was supposed to be 74°F today, so I didn't bring any gloves. Lesson learned! Trying to improve my fishing skills, I've been changing lures more often. Every 10-20 minutes I tied on a different lure and tried a different technique. If any fish were biting I was determined to find them, catch them, and photograph them.

When I reached Dusable Harbor proper, I discovered a door to one of the long docks that must have been a fisherman's entrance. All I had to do was pull it open, and I walked onto the dock. A huge- no, humungous flock of seagulls was causing an insane racket over by some rocks closer to Navy Pier. I wondered if they discovered the baitfish and were having a nice morning buffet. I tried walking in that direction, but as soon as I moved beyond the big boat docked there in the harbor, the hurricane-like ice-cold wind changed my mind.

Dusable Harbor - that big boat to the right
was blocking some of the wind
No luck at the harbor, I continued walking, and found myself on the Chicago River. I fished some pilings with cranks, spinners, tubes, etc. but nobody was interested there either. I kept thinking there were certainly fish there, but I couldn't figure out how to get them. The wind was unrelenting, my hands were frozen to the core, and my three layers of flannel, sweatshirt, and windbreaker jacket weren't even enough.

The Chicago River
Doesn't look cold, but it really was
It occurred to me that I must really like fishing to be putting myself through this.

I realized I was only a 10 minute walk from Ogden Slip, where I'd had plenty of luck last year (thanks to Jim Nolan aka Bridgeport Bass for turning me on to the spot) so I headed there.

Somehow the wind was even more intense in there around all the buildings, and casting was next to impossible. I tried to work some pilings, but the wind had other ideas. I walked down the sidewalk and started fishing next to the "no fishing" sign in the corner. I had it on good authority that the city of Chicago actually built and owns the small cement dock I was on, so third party management companies cannot actually disallow fishing.

After a half hour there, working tubes, shallow cranks, deep cranks, spinners, and jigs, it was time to go. Thankfully the sun had risen enough I was slightly warm, just as I was leaving of course. I cut my losses, walked a few blocks to Michigan Avenue, hopped on a bus, and headed to work.

Not the most flattering shot....
I found a smaller, rounder bean hidden in some side streets


  1. Love the downtown back drop and certainly some great photography throughout the entire post. Keep after them, maybe on a more tolerable day.

  2. thanks Blake! I'm watching the forecast closely... one of these days


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