Thad Hinshaw is completely eaten up about musky fishing. It’s not just time away from the hustle and bustle of his daily life. He eats, sleeps and drinks it.
When not at his job at Country Financial, he spends time on the water with clients, friends and family or at his Hudson home tinkering with his boat and equipment.
Musky fishing is his passion. It’s a lifestyle thing. It’s like a close knit kinship with a fish at the top of the food chain, where fishing for musky takes a backseat only to family, work and God.
Hinshaw has been guiding for musky, mainly on Evergreen Lake, for 12 years, but also has taken clients to other musky hot spots such as North Spring Lake and Shelbyville. He fishes 80-90 days per year and got hooked on musky in 1973 when he caught his first one on Evergreen.
Asked why he likes to fish for musky, he replied simply, “I caught one, man … and the rest is history.”
Starting with a 14-foot flat bottom Jon boat that he had to drag through the pasture to Evergreen, from his family’s nearby home, he fished for panfish, bass or carp. When he was young he fished every day, rain or shine.
“My mom said Evergreen Lake was my babysitter,” said Hinshaw.
She made it mandatory that he always wear a lifejacket. If he got caught with it off, got bad grades or didn’t do his chores, it meant his fishing pole and/or shotgun stayed at home. Thad also is an avid hunter.
Fishing is a release, but beyond that, it gives life meaning for Hinshaw. He has competed in tournaments over the years and was the 2003 Directors Cup winner as well as top big fish winner in the 2008 Illinois Musky Alliance. He was runner up for that prestigious award in 2011, but now lives for his time on the water.
“The older I get it’s more about being outside,” said Hinshaw. “I get to see nature at its finest and it has made me a better person, too. I wish more kids would be exposed to it. It’s healthy and I love seeing someone catch their first and/or best musky, too. I get a real charge out of that.”
To date his largest musky was a 49-inch monster, but he also guided Chris Dewey to a 49 ½-incher too.
“It’s not a cheap sport to get into initially,” Hinshaw said. “Rods and reels run around $750, and a single musky bait can cost as much as $75, depending on type, but once you try it you too will get hooked.”
Hinshaw has a website www.evergreenmuskie.com and can be reached there for guiding or fishing information.
Fishing license expire
Illinois fishing licenses for 2011 expired on March 31. Before you hit the water make sure you renew your fishing license for 2012. You can buy them online at the IDNR website or stop in at a local retailer such as Dick’s or Smileys Sport Shop to pick one up.
Comlara Boat and Bait
The boat rental facility and bait store at Comlara Park is getting stocked up and is open. Hours will be 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday through Sunday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. It will carry many of the basics such as hooks and bobbers, but also will have live bait.
High school fishing
Local high schools competing at the Evergreen Lake Sectional April 20 are invited to a fishing seminar and hands-on training session April 15 at Wired2Fish Headquarters, 2024 Eagle Rd, B2, Normal from 1 to 3:30 pm. Contact Fred Myers at 309-208-7173 to sign up.
Mustad has come out with a new straight shank hook called the Ultra-Point Extreme Flipping Hook (G34131NP-BN) that is perfect for all plastic baits, but is especially good for flipping and pitching. It has a cupped keeper that is powder coated in place and keeps the plastic positioned on the top of the hook so it will not let it ball up on the hook.
All lakes in our reporting area are warming up with surface water temps in the low 60’s. The next few weeks should be prime times for catching crappie, bass and walleye.
Dawson: Crappie are showing up, but most have been small. Walleye have been gangbusters fishing nightcrawlers and rattling baits. Bass have been biting as well with several nice fish being reported.
Lake Bloomington: With minimal shad die off, all gamefish are doing well. Crappie has been the hot item with several good stringers reported. Some stripers have been caught in the last week also caught on shad and crankbaits.
Evergreen Lake: Some small bass are showing up on creek channel swings and points. Crappie are still deep but could move up any day. Tubes and minnows are best bets. A few musky are being reported on shallow flats on crankbaits, rattling baits and big spinners.