I was excited to take my friend Dave out wading in the Fox river for the first time. I had hopes of hooking into smallies left and right. I mostly fish rivers using a balsa float drifting live bait; it catches fish period. Today I was using half a nightcrawler hooked twice on a #4 Gamakatsu Octopus Circle Hook under a Thill spring float with a button-hole pattern of split shot between the hook and the float. I had adjusted my float so my depth dragged the bait within six inches of the bottom at the slow edge of a convergence of two currents.
My float went down and I raised my rod to set the hook. The fish didn't jump like a smallmouth bass. This fish took off in the opposite direction from where I had my feet planted in the riverbottom pulling drag for a decent run before I could get some line back on my reel. A second shorter run tired the cat out and I got her along side my position in the current, slid my hand up her belly to be behind the pectoral fins and their spikes. While my friend got his camera ready I worked the circle hook from the corner of her mouth then held the beauty up for a photo before easing her back to the river to make more cats for me to catch.