Brian Athern's Articles

October 2002

When to Tip and Sting for More Results
by Brian Athern
As I brought back in my retrieve I could sense it felt spongy. This registered the impulse to set the hook a short tick later and I was positive I had another one. Just as I saw the bronzed colored back, it was all over. That is, everything but the second guessing. After beating myself up and plaguing my guide, Steve Tieman of the Rock River Guide Service, I stopped the assault. Later it... more

February 2002

Tipping the Panfish Scales Under Ice
by Brian Athern
My thoughts were filled with one hundred different things that had subconsciously followed me out on the ice. After getting situated, I started to think more about fishing and less about everything else. Unfortunately, I went 1 1/ 2 hours without a bite. I was marking fish but no takers. Since there wasn't another soul out on this spot with me, I was left to my own devices. Sorting ice... more

July 2001

Camouflage and Stealth...
Not Just for Hunters

by Brian Athern
If I had stopped to really give it some thought, I suppose my attire would have raised an eyebrow or two. By no means was I trying to make a fashion statement, just attempting to sneak up on a fish or two. The stares of bewilderment confirmed that this area received minimal fishing pressure from the locals. Keeping up with the Jones' didn't apply to me. The only statement I was tryin... more

April 2001

Our Dad Took Us Fishing
by Brian Athern
The Klein brothers ascended our stairs with dad's long lost, green Coleman cooler. The suspense was killing me. What did they bring back!? The drama ended uneventfully with melted ice and canned pop being salvaged. "No keepers in there?" I asked. "Nope" Tom Klein responded. The trip began as a quest to become outdoorsmen, the first fishing trip with the men for my brother and me. Our dad s... more

March 2001

Early Season Equals Cold Bass
by Brian Athern
As I continued retrieving the #1 sized Vibrax, the bait's motion was disrupted by a mean THUMP! I jerked back on my light action spinning combo to find a pretty angry bass attached to my lure. I allowed him to wear himself out by peeling line from my ultralight Gold Max unit. The 13 inch combatant didn't pose a real threat to my 4# test but he got an "A" for effort. After lipping the vermin,... more

January 2001

Beginning Ice Fishing - Grass Roots
by Brian Athern
From an onlooker's point of view, how should the quest to become an ice fisherman start? There are some basics to keep in mind, including who, where, and what to begin with. I began my quest asking people that I'd spent time with during the open water season. Sifting through those who had any experience, one mechanic I worked with in Berwyn invited me to go out with him. ... more

November 2000

Jiggin’ Fall River ‘Eyes
by Brian Athern
A lazy retrieve of my Road Runner Jig was interrupted with a violent THUMP! The next few seconds included my light action spinning rod being buckled over, 4# Solar Trilene being peeled off the ultralight reel, and a real nice battle. Those events ended as my guide Steve Tieman of the Rock River Guide Service slipped the net under a beauty walleye. Fall temperature changes usuall... more

October 2000

Taking Fall Smallmouth on Top
by Brian Athern
"I'll circle past the swirl, and anchor so you guys can pinpoint the spot with a few quarter casts ahead of that fish." That was the strategy set forth by our guide and Kankakee River veteran, Matt Mullady. "Pop it and let it sit a few seconds, and pop it a couple more times" finished Matt's instuctions. After three unsuccessful passes, Pat's Chug Bug struck pay dirt. The wat... more

September 2000

Catching Fire at Dusk
by Brian Athern
The last bit of sunlight was fading past the tree line and I knew it was time to expect good things to happen. I was not to be disappointed. A half dozen or so casts later by my brother and myself delivered the answer we were looking for. Fish on! Almost as fulfilling as booking that trip of a life time and then catching fish that make great memories in the photo album is the aft... more

August 2000

Silent Factors - Exposure and Dehydration
by Brian Athern
While enjoying an outing with my mentor and editor Mike Yurk in June 1999, I relearned a valuable lesson. That lesson was the unforgiving toll the elements take on the human body. Now most people know about extreme cold and how it kills, but Chicago just a few years back saw heat and humidity as a killer also. I hope to present some food for thought for anglers and outdoors people to ... more
Spider Grubs- A Hop, Skip, and a Thump
by Brian Athern
Fishin' Docks for Summer Bass A dreary day was set forth and I was less than optimistic. I was elated to be sharing the boat with my new friend, actually old family friend, Frank Hyla, while he prefished for the Northland Bass Tournament on the Madison Chain last summer. What I hadn't realized was all the little stuff a pro does to seek out, scrutinize, and then conceal tha... more

July 2000

Borderline Bronzebacks
by Brian Athern
The rhythm of the jigs soft pop-flutter was interrupted by a violent THUMP! That's when all h-e double hockey sticks broke loose. What began as a tug of war in strength soon progressed into an aerial display of grace and beauty. Canada would not deny me on this cast though, finally surrendering a gorgeous 18 1/ 4 inch smallmouth bass for a few photos. My partner, Frank, profiled t... more

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