A Board-Way Show: The improbable journey of a planer board, Waukegan to DuSable Harbor; plus Stray Cast

Mike Thomas had a planer board drop into heavy seas off Waukegan last summer and it was found by Dale Rehus Sunday inside DuSable Harbor; plus the Stray Cast.

SHARE A Board-Way Show: The improbable journey of a planer board, Waukegan to DuSable Harbor; plus Stray Cast
Mike Thomas’ planer board found by Dale Rehus. Provided photo

Mike Thomas’ planer board found by Dale Rehus.


Dale Rehus was trying for smallmouth bass Sunday from his Hobie Pro Angler kayak at DuSable Harbor when he spotted a planer board on the north bank.

He carefully retrieved it. Planer boards, which separate fishing lines away from boats, are not cheap. Rehus also boat fishes for salmon and figured it was good enough to work.

When he looked at the left Off Shore Side-Planer, he spotted a phone number on it. Planer boards are designed for the left or right side.

“I texted the number on the board and he replied, “No [deleted]!?’ “ Rehus said.

Seems an apt response from Mike Thomas.

Both Rehus, a Downers Grove man who is partners in JumboMax Golf Grips, and Thomas, a carpenter foreman from Will County, are hardcore anglers who fish all over.

“I lost it mid-August last year offshore from Waukegan about 10 miles out, while steelhead fishing,” Thomas messaged. “The wind was blowing hard from the south and seas were 4-5 feet. Really wasn’t an option in those conditions to go back for it, so I was banking on getting a message like I got last night, because I put my contact info on all my boards.

“Crazy thing is I watched the winds the next few days and it blew hard from the south the entire time. I expected to get a call from someone in Sheboygan, Port of Washington or Manitowoc, lol, not found well south of where I lost it!”

Rehus agreed on the impossible journey of the planer board.

“The board had to go out into lake, then come in through the [Chicago] breakwalls, then find its way into Monroe Harbor through that narrow gap, then north along the breakwalls,” Rehus said. “It probably sat under the ice all winter until I saw it from my kayak.”

It’s an epic tale of odd finds on Lake Michigan, but, as Rehus noted, “It’s not quite Jim Nelligan and the ring.”

Honors for most epic tale of odd finds on Lake Michigan belong to four guys out fishing on Nelligan’s “Grey Lion II” three years ago (Sun-Times June 26, 2019). It involved love-lost, a wedding ring and a steelhead.

All same, quite the tale, as Thomas messaged, “I imagined that board as a message in a bottle when I lost it.”

Wild things

Ruby-throated hummingbirds were reported on hummingbirdcentral.com as far north as Decatur by Thursday. . . . At Wolf Road Prairie Friday night, John Elliott and Sue Dombro led the most productive woodcock walk I’ve ever done. (More another time.) . . . Even though morels are later than last year, by Monday, April 4, reports on the Illinois Morel Mushrooms Facebook progression map were as far north as Shelby and Clark counties.

Stray Cast

The Humane Society of the United States on hunting/trapping is as credible as Joe Rogan on COVID-19.

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