Flying Carp in Peru, Illinois

After dropping by Country Classic Cars, there really weren’t any more places to see. I drove a couple more hours and arrived at my destination in Peru, Illinois. I called the other guys, who were coming down from Wisconsin. They basically were just about to hit the road. I knew I had to kill about 4 hours before they got down. I started driving around to find a place to eat. I found this place called Beau Dawgs that served Chicago-style hot dogs.

The had an old school sort of menu so you know it was going to be authentic.

I ordered the 2 Chicago dogs. They were definitely good.

After eating, I decided to go to Walmart and get my fishing license and a few other things. I found I still had some time to kill so I ended up staying at the McDonalds for a few hours and taking advantage of the free refills and WiFi. Finally everyone showed up around 11PM and we went to the hotel. Outside the hotel there is a water tower we nicknamed the “UFO tower” since it kind of looks like a UFO.

We then got our room and 5 of us packed into the room. I made sure to get the floor by the AC to stay cool. Last time we stayed, the AC barely worked and they didn’t have anyone to fix it so I definitely made sure to get my spot.

The next day an interesting thing I saw were some vehicles with Texas plates. I did find it kind of ironic and thinking about it, I should have looked at their registration sticker to see what county they came from.

As you can tell with Illinois, it is definitely flat. This picture was taken outside the hotel.

We then drove the boat to the neighboring town of Spring Valley to launch the boat at the boat landing there.

There was a tree blocking one side of the boat landing.

At the boat landing, we talked to this old guy about the fish and he was happy we were there to kill them. The thing about these fish is they are an invasive species that have displaced about 95% of the local population. If you ever want to feel like a celebrity, come down to Illinois and fish for these things like we did. The locals will cheer you on and give you tips on finding them. There’s no bag limit so you can do it as long as possible.

The term carp is misleading as it only reflects their bone structure. If you work around the bones, it’s actually a very nice white meat and since the fish is a filter feeder and does not eat other fish, they are the cleanest fish in terms to pollutants you can eat. Another caveat of fishing these fish is, since they are filter feeders, you cannot catch them with a traditional fishing line. The one nice thing is if you get the boat motor to make noise at a certain frequency, they get agitated and jump out of the water. You can then try to shoot them with a bow, catch them with a net, whack them with a baseball bat, or just let them jump into the boat.

We launched the boat and then headed out.

For a good chunk of the first day, there was a lot of waiting with no fish. The last time we went, we had a pontoon boat that made a lot more noise. This time we had a bass boat and it didn’t make as much noise so it seemed like it was a bit harder to get the fish to jump.

We had another boat in our group and we’d stagger the boats to try to agitate the fish as much as possible.

There was definitely a lot of waiting for the fish. This is my buddy Andy getting ready with his bow.

In the meantime, we did see some cool sights. Since the Illinois River is a shipping lane there are plenty of barges.

There is also some good scenery.

We also got to see a barge full of coal being unloaded at a power plant.

After a while, we finally got some fish to jump.

Chris eventually got one with his bow.

We threw the fish in the cooler and then proceeded on.

I used the baseball bat I brought to make some noise to hopefully get more fish jumping.

We eventually got to this inlet and got some more fish to jump.

It was starting to get late and we wanted to get back before dark. We met up with the other guys in the boat. They were running low on fuel and just made it almost in before they had to paddle the rest of the way.

The next day we had a bit more success with getting the fish to jump. They liked to jump around in the boat and cause a bunch of commotion, so when I was not trying to whack them in midair with the baseball bat, I used the baseball bat to finish them off.

There was definitely a lot of shooting going on.

I even tried to catch some in midair with a net.

We made it to the Starved Rock Dam and turned around.

By then it was getting to be around noon and I had to get going to drive back to Texas. I guess it was perfect timing because shortly after I hit the road, it started pouring on those guys and they decided to call it a day. It was definitely a fun Memorial Weekend and I can’t wait to go up again and kill a few more of these invaders.

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