Fishing for a Good Time

A Fishing Tackle Swap Meet was organized by Jim Argus at the Will County Fairgrounds. –Photo by Karen Haave.

A Fishing Tackle Swap Meet was organized by Jim Argus at the Will County Fairgrounds. –Photo by Karen Haave.

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By Karen Haave
A Fishing Tackle Swap Meet lured anglers to the Will County Fairgrounds recently for a first-of-its-kind event featuring new, used, vintage, and antique fishing gear.
Hundreds of tackle boxes were on display, much of their contents handmade. Some of the lures were 50-to-60 years old, desirable for collections not used for actual fishing anymore. And many of the lures were created for catching specific fish, such as muskellunge.
Also called muskie or musky, it is considered one of the most challenging freshwater fish to catch with an artificial lure.
Abe Polesel displayed a table full of musky lures he made before arthritis got in the way. They were brightly colored and work well to attract muskies in the Kankakee River, he said. Creating them took patience and a steady hand, because they are made from hairs taken from a deer, each hair wrapped individually around the hook, and then again collectively to finish the lure. Polesel said the large wooden lures in his tackle boxes were ones he used years ago when he was a kid.
David Holston was there to buy some new fishing rods and a few lures to take later this month when he meets up with his sons in Kansas for a weekend fishing trip. Like many of the anglers there, the Monee resident said crappies are his favorite to catch, whether for recreation or consumption.
Holston said he once set the fishing poles aside and “noodled” catfish in a barrel with friends for a community fish fry, but he only recommends that if you’re doing it with someone who knows the ropes.
Also known as hand fishing, noodling  involves catching catfish with your bare hands. Holston said his friends’ method lured the catfish into a barrel and then reached in, in hopes a catfish would latch on so they could pull it out. But care must be taken, because if the catfish bites into your arm or hands, he emphasized, it will be painful.
In any case, it worked for Holston and his friends, as they successfully caught plenty of catfish for the fish fry, including one that weighed 50 pounds. 
An avid angler, he said the peace and quiet of the sport are a major part of its enjoyment. That, and the fact “Every one of my grandchildren went fishing for the first time with me.”
Crete residents Greg Ruder and Tom Blievernicht found some new gear at the swap meet.
Ruder said he likes fishing for Walleye in the spring, but added most of the time they aren’t looking for a specific fish, and they don’t have a special, secret spot. 
“You just go out and go with it,” he said.
The littlest angler at the event was three-year-old Ava Rodriguez, who was there with her dad, Cristobel, and family friend Austin Petracek.
They all agreed there was “a lot of good stuff” for sale, including lures and a couple new fishing rods. They also agreed that crappies are the best fish.
Petracek smiled and declined to tell his favorite fishing spot, but Rodriguez said it didn’t matter where he and Ava go.
“I just pick her up from day care and we go fishing…every chance we get,” he said.
Ava wasn’t too talkative, but she did say she really likes fishing with her daddy.
Event host Jim Barkus, meanwhile, was a little disappointed with the turnout – some estimates were about 100 people for the half-day event – but he said he might “possibly” do it again next year.

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