Larry's Fishing Hole

Hoss’s Hawg Bait on Rend Lake

We enjoy taking fishing trips to new lakes or places and this year we made a memorable return visit to Rend Lake.
We were fortunate to be invited by our friends Russ & Janice Nash (owners of Hoss’s Hawg Bait) to participate in a filming of catfishing shows on Rend Lake for Illinois Outdoors TV in summer of 2006. What made this interesting was a 2-day schedule for comparison and testing the catfish catching effectiveness of Hoss’s Hawg Bait along with a day of hoggin’ Flatheads. The exciting news that we would be spending time at Rend Lake took us less than 2 seconds to say “count us in”.
On our arrival with Russ and Janice, we were given a review and a tentative schedule for this great weekend.
We met up with the rest of the group, Don & Judy Dziedzina and Rich & Carol Komar of Illinois Outdoors TV for Sunday Brunch.
After some storytelling and some laughs, the ladies headed for a little shopping and the guys headed to the northeast end of the lake. Kevin took Don and Rich in his boat as we followed in Russ’s boat to a timbered/stump filled flat with an old flooded roadbed (great looking spot) where we put out 25 or so jugs each. Kevin’s group baited with crawlers and leeches while we used Hoss’s Hawg Bait.
Not long after we tossed out our last jug, one of Kevin’s started bouncing with a fish. Then a dip bait jug got a hit, then another and by the end of the evening, Hoss’s Hawg Bait had out fished Kevin’s bait which had him and others really impressed and ready to try Russ’s dip bait in the morning.
That evening we all again met for a fabulous dinner and lounge time.
After a superb breakfast Monday morning, the group boarded a pontoon and motored out to a break off a flat. We dropped anchor, Russ broke out two tubs of his bait and we all started fishing. In a couple minutes the first catfish was caught and it did not take long for the ladies to catch their share of nice catfish. When I say all of us fished, Rich was so busy filming the non-stop action I do not believe he had a chance to do much fishing.
Just over 2 ½ hours we had 46 keeper catfish and heading back in to clean these fish.
By now you may have guessed we all found ourselves meeting for another outstanding dinner along with even more stories and a chance to meet couple other people. Later heading to our rooms with Russ and Janice, we could easily detect the excitement building in Russ for his chance at the hoggin’ session in the morning, so much so that he was up two hours before others getting the boat and things ready.
Kevin arrived early and was joined by his friends, Jason and Chad to help and as planned I was prepared to get into water to help block if needed. Heading across the lake we got a real feel for how big and beautiful this lake really is and seeing anglers out fishing was wonderful. The first couple holes had no fish but the excitement built as we pulled up to this super looking spot. As they slid into the water, one disappeared to soon resurface saying “there is a fish here and it is a big one”. I turned to see if Russ heard that as he was hitting the water and heading towards them.
By now everyone was getting more excited as the camera boat eased closer and started giving instructions for one guy to block the end of the tube, someone would grab (or get grabbed) the fish by the lower lip as he would secure or help pull and lift the fish out. As they wrestled the fish, we all gave out a WOW as a 40 pound Flathead was lifted into view. But wait, there is word of maybe another fish and sure enough on checking it may be even bigger. This fish took more effort and once Russ grabbed it by the lower lip there was no doubt by his expression it was a big fish. By this time Janice showed some concern which all turned to joy as they lifted up this magnificent 50 pound Flathead, as yells of thrill came from the whole group.
When Russ was asked how it felt to hog his first fish - in his own words – “From my life time To Do List, scratch one more off !”
The rush of adrenalin was still obvious on our ride home as we talked about how tremendous the Catfishing, as well as other fishing possibilities are at Rend Lake. We recalled there being lots of conveniences and many great things to do in the area. And if you like roughing it, there is one of the best campgrounds adjacent to this complex that we have stayed at and highly recommend.
We all wish to give a big THANKS to everyone that made this possible &
Plus Linda and I say “Thanks Russ & Janice for letting us share in this memorable experience”.

* * Since our writing of this, there is a New lodging option with boat storage for your Rend Lake Lodging needs
and that is Gun Creek Sportsmans Club that we Highly Recommend you check out for your next stay
  - visit

Click to return