(pictures and a much better report will likely be forth-coming once I bribe Becky with some sort of gift..since I am NOT a writer in any fashion!)
I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation from Josh and Becky Knuth, to come out to their place in Wisconsin and do some fishing. So, this past Friday, I picked up a rental car (5+ hours each way, in my car was NOT happening, my car is purely a 'get to work' type deal), and after work made the trek to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. I will say that with the exception of moving across country to live in Arizona, and then again to live in Kentucky, this was the longest trip I've made in my life. Pretty sad, huh? Wisconsin, it seems, has not only many species of fish that I am unable to find in Minnesota, but also some rather cryptozoological leaning species of critters as well. During my trip out to Oshkosh, along with the usual fare of deer (holy cow, do you purposely put 800 per square mile in Wisc.?), Pheasants, and the occasional opposum, I also encountered a very strange looking cat like critter. Nothing much odd about seeing a cat, except this one was the size of a german shepard, dark gray and white, with bright green eyes. JKnuth brushed it off as nothing more than a "Skunk-Ape". I think I'll bring a rifle next time... Skunk-Ape indeed!
Finally got to their place about midnight on Friday, and after some friendly banter, promptly fell asleep. Saturday came all too quickly, and once we managed to shake the sleep from our heads, Josh and Becky drove me all over the globe to find various fish. At least, it seemed like we went all over the globe. Apparently, people in Wisconsin just LOVE to drive...and drive...and drive!
Our first stop was at a park, somewhere in the middle of the Philippines (or maybe Eastern Wisconsin.. ) for Goldfish and Green Sunfish. It didn't take long to figure out that the Green Sunfish were earning their Ninja Merit badges. Those angry little buggers did not like small flies or jigs entering their water for some reason. They would aggressively attack anything that came near the lovely goldfish that also lived in this pond. Ah well. After a short time, we all had our green sunfish and goldfish (a lifelister for me!), packed up and left for the next spot. We decided it would be a good idea to get some lunch. We stopped at Subway, grabbed some sandwiches and I decided a chocolate milk would be awesome! A mistake that would haunt me later.
After some more epic driving, we arrived at a stream that was supposed to give up Longear Sunfish. Sure enough, they were there, and after catching a few small green sunfish, I managed to land my second lifelister for the trip, a small fiesty longear sunfish. It was about that time my stomach started giving me fits (the chocolate milk + heat + overtired + my luck).. we'll just say that my lunch decided to leave my body via the mouth. After washing up in the stream (ugh..) it was time to move on to the next spot. I believe it was called Beaver Dam (?) for some Orange Spotted Sunfish. Becky was able to catch a lovely little OSS, but unfortunately fate wasn't going to let me catch one. Oh well, there's always next time!
More driving found us at yet another stream for some Bigmouth Buffalo. They were there, mouthing at the surface. But, alas, it was not to be for me. Josh did get one, however it wasn't a fair hook sadly. A few small channel catfish later and we were off to yet another haunt. This time for the mighty Bowfin. Upon arriving, we caught a few small black bullhead for cutbait, and then ventured deep into banjo territory to find a small pooling of the river *deep, deep, deep* in the sticks. Baiting up with some bullhead chunks, I pitched into the pool. After a few recasts, I felt a solid thunk on the line, and another and then my drag peeled out. After a brief but worthy battle, I landed entry number 4 for my trip, a lovely bowfin!
We were going to do some flathead catfishing later in the evening, but we decided enough was enough, and we made our way back to some much needed dinner and rest for the night.
Sunday found us actually fishing IN Oshkosh (imagine that! lol). A local park had a beautiful set of ponds with Carp and miscellaneous other fishy goodness. Unfortunately, the park also held about a gajillion people attending a hotrod car show. Oh well. Becky did land a beasty of a carp, but alas, I would be denied any carpy goodness. I did manage to bring to hand a fiesty golden shiner though.
It was time to head to the lake for the elusive, Longnose Gar. Upon arriving we quickly spotted our quary lazily swimming beneath the surface of the water. YES! Now for some bait! It took some doing, but we finally had cut bait on our lines, and it didn't take Becky long before she brought to hand a handsome specimen of Longnose Gar! Not too many minutes later, I landed entry number 5 for the trip, and Lifelister number 3, a longnose gar!
Almost 600 miles (round trip)
5 Contest Entries (ok 6, but I forgot to photo the black bullhead. DOH!)
3 Lifelisters! (Longear Sunfish, Goldfish, Longnose Gar)
2 Amazing days with wonderful friends
1 Throbbing Pink Eye
I can't thank Josh and Becky Knuth enough for being the best hosts, driving my butt all over the state, and giving me an awesome mini-vacation.