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First time’s the charm

Published: Friday, Aug. 29, 2014 7:04 p.m. CDT
Caption
Andrea VanDyke poses with her first-ever flathead catfish during an excursion with CatMatt on Wednesday on the Rock River.

Another week has come and gone here in the Rock River Valley, but it brought with it promising signs of a great month of fishing to come.

I saw a couple big old slab crappies, I saw a couple of pig channel cats, and I finally started putting together good days of flathead fishing. This year, as I have said before, has just been a roller-coaster ride of all kinds junk in the outdoor world.

So at any rate, this week I got to share the old boat with a young local couple from Sterling. Jeremy Steder, a co-worker of mine at Sterling Steel, and his girlfriend, Andrea VanDyke, a beautician at Hair A Win in Rock Falls, jumped aboard for a day of flathead hunting.

First thing I told them, like I tell every woman that gets on board, is that the fishing always seems to be better when there’s a lady along. The main goal of the day was to get Andrea on her first-ever flathead. So after loading up, and a short boat ride to the first anchor – and some instruction to Andrea on what I wanted her to do on her hook set – it was time to bait and throw.

Well, it was a real good thing that we went over that stuff, because she needed it almost instantly. I mean, the baits weren’t in the water for more than 3 minutes, and Andrea was officially in her first dust-up with a pretty nice flathead. I mean, I love it when things go like this, ‘cause for just a couple of minutes, it makes me look smart ... lol.

Now, Andrea handled the excitement very well and did everything exactly right, and was rewarded with the beautiful fish you see attached to this article.

I just love being able to share moments like this with people. I could tell – or at least, I think I could tell – that she genuinely enjoyed the experience. At least when she slid her slicked-up fingernails into the maw of that old fish, she looked happy.

The day continued, and we landed a couple more fish … and I think Jeremy was reminded several times that his fish was not the biggest of the day. He did take the abuse well, though, and as most guys are, was truly happy to have gotten to experience the moment with his loved one.

Me … well, I was flat tickled pink. I mean, the way fishing has been, to have a solid day like this where everything happens the way it is supposed to was a real breath of fresh air.

On a completely different note, am I the only one who seems to be seeing red foxes almost daily? I do not remember ever spotting foxes on such a regular basis. I have seen them in every different direction I have gone. Seems like they are everywhere.

I wonder if this is pure coincidence, or if their numbers are really up? If there numbers are way up I guess the next question would be, why? Love seeing them though, they are truly beautiful animals.

Just 3 more weeks until the Cabela’s championship, and a mere 5 to deer season ... lots to do and to look forward to.

Go Catfish!

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