Ramble with Storm: Adventures of a car-topper boat

SHARE Ramble with Storm: Adventures of a car-topper boat

Mulling things on my morning ramble

with Storm, the family’s mixed Lab.

I always figured laziness was the reason more fishermen didn’t try the north old clay pit.

Maybe not.

Yesterday afternoon, I played around with Todd Carlander on both old clay pits. He brought his car-topper down from the North Side of Chicago along with his AquaVu camera and his fish-finder/depth-finder.

What a blast.

The meathead and I did the extended ramble this morning. I was a bit late getting out and dawn, a red one this morning with the cloud cover, was just beginning. Radar showed a line of showers just to our south. With temperatures in the mid-30s, I wondered if a shower drifted north far enough to hit us if it would fall in the form of snow flakes.

So yesterday afternoon, Todd and I drifted around, looked at the bottom and kind of visually mapped the two old clay pits.

We didn’t see that much by way of life. Weeds were nearly all gone or dying back. On the camera, Todd saw one nice largemouth bass and a painted turtle; I saw one nice crappie.

We made enough casts to catch a few bluegills and crappie.

A van was parked near the bridge over the neckdown between the two old clay pits. A fisherman was casting a minnow under a small red-and-white bobber. Based on what we had seen on the fish-finder and camera, I suggested he go down to the deeper hole. A belted kingfisher screeched back and forth across the pond. I suspect it was discombobulated by the combination of the fisherman and me talking and the meathead barking.

What Todd and I learned yesterday is that the south pit is far more interesting, especially for fishermen. There is varied depths, to 14 feet in the deepest spots, and structure. (I suspect I am not the only one putting Christmas trees in as crappie sets.)

The north pit is basically a shallow bowl. There is one small bay and from falling through the ice years ago I know there is a spring near the north bank. But we couldn’t find the spring, either through temperature changes or visually on the camera.

A gray squirrel jumped down the back side of the town pond. Apparently we were trekking late enough that the squirrels were coming out. Rather oddly, I didn’t hear or see any Canada geese. On the old rail bed path, I heard a blue jay squawking in the distance, then it came flying over. Good to hear blue jays again. They had nearly disappeared from town during the peak of West Nile Virus a few years ago.

Around mid-afternoon yesterday, Todd dropped me off and went to get our youngest boy after school because I knew it would be his kind of adventure.

And it was.

He got into it, even bringing along his good-luck purple lizard and the wooden boat he made in Cub Scouts. It took him a bit to get the hang of the AquaVu. His favorite part was bouncing it off the bottom, which only stirred up the mud and made seeing anything tough.

He caught one of the bluegills when I left a red wiggler drift around under his small red-and-white bobber. The AquaVu is kind of like cheating when it comes to fishing. We knew the fish were stacked up in one hole because of the camera and fish-finder.

Cold settled in with the 8-year-old, despite Todd giving his overcoat to use as a blanket.

It was time.

I took him home with the heat in the van blasting his wet feet (don’t ask, he’s eight and found a way to get wet).

Back in town this morning, the squirrels were going. The first gray crossed the street across from the light spilling from the aerobics class in the storefront gym. By the time the meathead and I reached our porch, I had counted four gray squirrels and one black squirrel.

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