May's Outdoor Column

May’s Outdoor Column

Wow has this spring been tough, to say the least!  The drought has set the mushrooms back in east central Illinois and the lack of rain and the strong winds have played havoc with this year’s crop.

Not only has this wild, crazy spring been a detriment to mushroom hunters but it also was not good for turkey hunting and fishing as many days were so windy that many a hunting or fishing trip was canceled.

It’s not that mushrooms haven’t been found, fish haven’t been taken or turkeys haven’t been harvested; it’s just that this spring was far from ideal.

We got our first rain last night, May 2nd so now may be a decent crop of mushrooms may yet be found.  Mushrooms are well over 90 percent water so even with the rain, a couple of windy days could well dry out the soil before you find them!

Have you tried the new Chatter bait sold at your local Big R Stores?  I’ve caught several bass on them and boy, do they make your rod tip wiggle.

The fish I caught were shallow, but I bet this bait might be a great night bait as well.  Try one out this spring and see how you like them.

How good of a fisherman are you?  I got to fish with all the great bass anglers that came out of my area over the years.  Many have passed on, but I learned a lot from being in the boat with them. Most of them were not bashful about showing me what they fished with; when and where.  What I learned most from them was that each had a technique for taking a lure and putting fish in the boat.

Once you have mastered catching a few fish, look to improve your technique.  Let’s take a visible stump in the water; either above the water or just below the surface.  The tendency is to cast your lure near the stump and retrieve it coming close to the target.  Drop the lure too close and you will spook the fish; drop it on top of the stump, well you better just move on!

Most of these guys taught me to angle the boat so that a cast could be made well past the stump, sometimes as much as thirty feet or more.  Working the lure on top or just below the surface of the water, bring the lure by the stump and just pause for just a second. This pause could be done by just stopping your retrieve for just a split second to letting the lure drop beside the stump and then beginning your retrieve.

The technique is mastering what you do after you learn to do it.  Refining your skills would be another way to put it. Ten percent of the fisherman take ninety percent of the good fish is no accident; it is a skill they possess beyond just being there casting a lure.


About Sam Van Camp

Born: Danville, Illinois | Married: Pam Van | Lives: Georgetown, Illinois | High School: Danville High School | College: Danville Area Community College, Eastern Illinois University | Degree: Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology with Minor in Botany | Specialties Areas: Master’s Degree – Fisheries Biology, Mammalogy, Herpetology | Previous Jobs: School Teacher – Basic Biology 36 years Outdoor Writer – 38 years (1 Book Published “Jitterbug Collector’s Guide State and Federally Licensed Taxidermist – 35 yearsWood Carver specializing in song birds, birds of prey and waterfowl 46 years | Hobbies: Bass Fishing, Hunting, Collecting Fishing Lures