Jim Has Passed Away

February 14th, 2013 by Timm Martin

Jim doing what he loved to do best

James A. Hoctor Jr., age 76,  passed away Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at his home in Mahomet, Illinois.

Jim was born November 24, 1936 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts to James A. and Stella Teresa.  Jim married Patricia Raline in 1957 in Pittsfield.  Jim is survived by his wife Pat; sons David, Joe and Stephen; daughter Theresa; seven grandchildren Angelique, Diana, Madeline, Joel, Evelyn, Evan and Alexander; sister Joanne and brother Richard; three stepbrothers John, Thomas and James; and stepsister Jane.  Jim was preceded in death by his parents, sister Sylvia, and brother Timothy.

Jim proudly served his country in the United States Air Force where he made his career as a radar operator.  He retired from the Air Force in 1974.  He then changed careers and managed the Fashion Outlet in Champaign, Illinois for 10 years.  Jim then worked for JC Penney, Plastipak, and Plastic Container Corporation.  Most recently he had worked part time for Carle Clinic.

Jim was a very devoted Catholic who attended Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, where he served as a lectern and an usher.  He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus.

Jim was know by his family to be very patriotic, and he enjoyed painting pictures, bowling, hunting, golfing and singing.  The two main loves in his life were fishing and his family.

As per his wishes, Jim will be cremated, and a private family service will be held at Sunset Funeral Home and Cremation Center.  Jim’s remains will be interred in the National Cemetery at a later date.

Memorial contributions in Jim’s name may be made to the Mahomet Area Youth Center, 601 E Franklin St, Mahomet, IL 61853, or to the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club, 201 E Park St, Champaign, IL 61820.

Please comment below with your well wishes, and join Jim’s family in sharing memories, photos and videos on his tribute wall at Sunset Funeral Home.

I know Jim is fishing up a storm in heaven.  Tight lines, Jim!

Fishing the pond September, 2012

September 27th, 2012 by Jim

Fishing the pond September 2012 001Fishing the pond September 2012 002Fishing the pond September 2012 005Fishing the pond September 2012 004

Fishing in the pond has remained slow.  The pictures shown above are examples:  They were all caught on spinners, Blue Fox, and pin spinners with a ribbed swim bait.  Plugs, plastic worms, creature baits, stick baits, fly rod flies and poppers didn’t even get a single hit.  So, if I didn’t try the spinners, I probably would have been skunked.

I usually start out at about 2:00pm when there is shade on the west shore and there are many trees and brush, (snags) there as well.  You’d think that would be where the fish were, oh yea, there’s also no homes in the area  on that stretch of the pond.  Not a single bite…  Moving along on the south shore where there are more trees etc. in the water…nothing.  Further on almost to the east end of the lake where there is less cove, I finally got some fish, albeit, small.  The pond is full again from the recent rains and the well was pumping water to help keep the water from getting too shallow.

Where are the big fish?  I haven’t caught one in almost two years.  Talking to our neighbor, a member of the lake committee, he said, “His father and a friend of his fathers, caught some 5lb bass, hmmm!  Well, maybe so but, fishing the pond for more than 33 years has taught me a lot about the pond ad either I’m losing my touch or …do you suppose he was pulling my leg?

I keep insisting that the fishing is not good and that we need to have more plantings.  My plea has generally been ignored.  The pond did receive 250 bass  two years ago, but the pond can support  4 times as many at least.  250 cats were also planted at that time and you can see the results in the pictures above.

I hope that the people on the lake committee see this posting and see my point.  I’m all for plantings especially for the kids who fish the pond.  They want to catch fish!  Not catching certainly discourages the youngsters so, PLANT SOME FISH!  Even the bluegill fishing isn’t nearly as good as in the past.

Tight lines

Jim

Fly fishing in the pond Aug 2012

August 29th, 2012 by Jim

Fly fishing in the pond Aug 2012 001Fly fishing in the pond Aug 2012 036Fly fishing in the pond Aug 2012 037Fly fishing in the pond Aug 2012 039Fly fishing in the pond Aug 2012 040Fishing in the pond has been tough.  The heat wave and drought  has kept me away from fishing on the most part but, when the weather changed to a bit cooler I managed  to get out for short periods.

Trying for bass seemed to be a futile exercise.  I thought getting out in the evening might be the answer but, no matter what I threw at them, nothing seemed to work.  Not even my proven pond lures were getting bit.  I did manage to catch a few small bass but, very few.

So, I went to the fly rod and a light spinning rod with a spinner/minnow combination.  The spinner caught some small bass with the exception of the cat shown above.  The rest were caught on flies.  The clauser minnow and the wooley bugger were the most effective, but with an added attraction… 

I experimented trying a new trick .  When I first tried the small spinner/minnow combination I was getting a few taps but no hookups.  So, I thought why not put some of those Berkley maggots on the hook to see if that would get the fish to go for it.  I t worked.  I was catching some small crappie and the cat shown above.  Only a couple of small bass went for it  and a few small crappie.

Then I switched to the fly rod, but with the clauser minnow and  wooley bugger I added the Berkley maggot on the hook and this worked better that anything else I had tried before.  I caught several cats like the ones shown above and a couple of large cats broke my tippet.  The fish were big enough to almost empty my reel of fly line so, when I held onto the line to stop their long runs the leader tippet broke .  The tippets were 6lb test mono.  I have caught some really nice cats in the 5-7lb range on the fly rod before and it’s a blast.  This time however, I wasn’t able to turn the cats around before they got to the brush in the water near shore.  The big cats always head for the brush and I have lost several cats that way before.  The trick is to use the trolling motor to tow the big cats out away from shore , but it doesn’t always work.

Well, if you haven’t already tried Berkley maggots on your fly, try it.  The maggot also attracts bluegill and crappie on the spinner or the fly for more hookups than ever before.  And, do you know that those bluegill can actually nip the maggot off the hook without getting hooked themselves!  I’ve seen them do it, it’s amazing!

Tight lines

Jim

 

I have

Fishing with grandson, Joel and Son David on the pond 7-31-12

July 31st, 2012 by Jim

Joel and David on the pond 7-31-12 001IMG_0458My son David and grandson, Joel came to visit us this week.  I asked Joel if he would like to try his luck fishing on the pond this morning and he said ok but, I had to warn him that the fishing hasn’t been too good with all the hot weather we’ve been having.

Our subdivision had a well installed a couple of years ago and this year the well has kept the water level at an acceptable depth.  The normal depth is about 5 1/2 feet and, I think it is at about 4 feet now.  Before the well one year we nearly had nothing but a puddle caused by a similar drought.

The fish were not biting.   I had just got through explaining that channel catfish liked to prowl near the shoreline and near trees that had fallen into the lake looking for food and Joel got his bite right near the shore.  I had set up his rig with a small plastic tube and a half night crawler.  As you can see the fish is about 1 1/2lbs  and he was a happy young man.

He wanted to grab the fish at first but I explained that catfish have spines in their fins and that  if he got scratched or jabbed by one of those spines it would be painful.  The spines have a sort of venom in them so, you must be very careful when handling them.  I showed Joel where the spines were and asked if he wanted to hold the fish to let it go.  He declined and since we had the fish out of the water to take pictures we should let it go quickly so, I did.

We got the picture and had some fun but, now it was time to get ready to go swimming with Evie, Evan, aunt Tina, and Grandma.

Another memorable moment.  My hope is that Joel will continue to have fishing on his schedule at times during his life.  It is wonderful sport and has made me feel closer to our creator nearly all of my life.

Tight Lines

Jim

Fishing with Ivan at River Bend 6-26-2012

June 30th, 2012 by Jim

Fishing with Ivan at River Bend 26 June, 2012 004Ivan and I once again at River Bend and pretty well catching a few bass but, still in the 1-1/2lb –2lb range.  We just can’t seem to locate the “Big Ones”.  The weather was warm with a slight breeze and “Blue Bird”  skies.  As you can see, I’ve purchased one of the shade covers to protect my ears and parts of my face from the sun.  After having several lesion’s removed  from my face at the dermatologist’s office, I thought it was about time.  I’ve been using “Sunblock”  but, that has not been enough.  I’ve actually had some “frozen” off but some lesions had to be surgically removed and that’s no fun.

Fishing…Between us Ivan and I caught eight fish.  That was very slow for River Bend.   We tried several different approaches, i.e. plugs… deep runners, shallow runners, jigs, worms, stick worms, spinners, top waters, frogs and, at the end the fly rod with poppers.  That caught the most fish, little yellow bass poppers with rubber wings.  Bass on the fly rod is a lot of fun, there just wasn’t enough of it on this trip.

Ivan started it with his fly rod and after seeing him score…finally…I switched too.   It was slow but, fun as usual.

Tight lines

Jim

Fishing with Ivan at River Bend 19-June 2012

June 20th, 2012 by Jim

Fishing with Ivan at River Bend 6-19-2012 001Fishing with Ivan at River Bend 6-19-2012 002

Yesterday Ivan  and I finally got to go fishing together.  The last time we tried to go  the weather was threatening rain and thunderstorms so we stayed close to home and fished for a very short while on the pond.

And, sure enough the thunder and rain chased us off.   So, that ended our first try.

At River Bend yesterday, the wind was our biggest problem.  The lake was white capped and , even with the anchor down, the boat kept moving.   We did find an almost sheltered area and we each caught a single bass there but, the wind found us again and fishing was nearly impossible.  When the wind is blowing as it was your line has a great bow in it and you can’t tell if you do have a bite. Or if you see your line moving in an other direction the bow in the line won’t allow for a good hook set.  And, the was the boat was turning and rocking it was causing other line problems as well, not to mention, it’s uncomfortable.

We tried crank baits but, the fish were mostly not interested in what we were throwing.

Getting on toward evening,  we tried another spot near the boat docking area.  There the wind was blocked by the tall cliff like walls somewhat and, the wind had subsided some by then.  We managed to catch three more fish each with as many missed hook ups. The fish were caught  on Senko stick  baits in the shad color.  Mine was green and pearl and Ivan’s was black and pearl.  The fishes size was typical for River bend, around 1-1/2lbs to 2lbs.   So, we ended up with four fish each but, we did enjoy our day on the lake  together.  As you can see in the picture the water is calm at that time.  By then it was time to leave the lake before it got too dark.  The park closes at dark.

And, special thanks to Ivan, he helped me retrieve our new bathroom tubs, etc. from Home Depot with his flatbed trailer.   We’re having both bathrooms in my home  remodeled.

Tight lines

Jim

Fishing the pond mid June 2012

June 18th, 2012 by Jim

Alex's 1st birthday and fishing the pond Mid June 2012 021Alex's 1st birthday and fishing the pond Mid June 2012 022

So far this June the fishing on the pond has been very poor as compared with June’s of past seasons.  I can only think of one reason for this…the weather.  We have had some very hot and dry weather all spring.  The meteorologists for this area have indicated that we are at least 6” below our normal rainfall.  In addition,  I feel that we must have had a fish kill this year.   I can’t find a single big bass in the lake.  In fact I haven’t caught a big bass in the pond since two years ago,   that is a bass over 2lbs.  The larger crappie that I was catching this spring have all but disappeared too.

I have caught several small crappie and a few small bass so far this June but, nothing like in the past.

I believe that we need to restock the lake with bass and bluegill again this fall.  Yes, the bluegill are not so plentiful either.  I have caught some on my fly rod but again, they are not nearly as plentiful as in years past.

I’ll keep trying  and hopefully there are a few big ones left.  All of my tried and true lures have failed so far so, I bought some new plastic worms and creature baits, and swim baits.  And, my wife bought me a new St Croix bait casting rod for Fathers Day, how about that!   I am truly blessed with a wife that understands my passion for fishing.

I did take a trip to lake Mingo near Danville with Roy  a week ago.  Roy caught a 7lb bass there the week before and he invited me to go  with him in his new bass boat.  We went to the places where he and his friend went the week before but, we only manage to catch 11 bass, seven for Roy and four for me, they were all less than 2 lbs.  We did miss a few more but had bad hookups.  No matter, we had fun together as usual.  The area we fished was nearly covered with lily pads and wood so, the potential for large bass is very good.  Maybe, nest time…

His boat, a Jason, was the most comfortable boat that I have ever fished from.  We had a good time together and I look forward to our next trip.

Tight lines

Jim

Johnathan on the pond and at the river 19 May 12

May 20th, 2012 by Jim

Johnathan fishing on the pond and on the river 5-19-12 001Johnathan fishing on the pond and on the river 5-19-12 002Johnathan fishing on the pond and on the river 5-19-12 003Johnathan fishing on the pond and on the river 5-19-12 004Johnathan fishing on the pond and on the river 5-19-12 005Shown here is the future fisherman of America, a wonderful 10 year old boy named Johnathan , who someday may become the KVD of the future.  The youngster really loves to go fishing.  I can relate to that because that was me about sixty five years ago.

Well, Johnathan is actually holding a fish that he caught.  He had refused to hold a fish before that one so, I asked him “How can you expect to be a fisherman if you can’t hold the fish you are catching?”  He thought about it and then took the fish and was both relieved  and glad that he held the fish in his own hands.  After that he had no more fear but, I advised him that some fish have sharp teeth and you need to be extra careful with them.  I showed him the teeth in the mouth of the walleye.

We started the day on the pond.  The weather was very warm, nearly 90 degrees but, some clouds were forming overhead and that helped.  We were sure to put on sun block and to wear long sleeves and long pants  to prevent a bad sunburn.  I know it sounds like over dressing but, believe me, you will be much cooler afterward than if you had gotten a bad sunburn.   If you’ve ever gotten a sunburn and could not sleep that night, you know what I mean.  We were also sure to be wearing a life vest on the pond.

The pond wasn’t going to yield many fish as we caught only one bluegill even though we went to a few places that I know to hold bluegill.  They just were not biting, not even worms except the one bluegill shown in the picture.  

Not wanting to be going home  nearly skunked we decided to try the river behind the house.

On the second cast   Johnathan caught a sucker of  about 10”.  So, things were looking up.   We had to wait for the next few bites before he caught that warmouth, if you can see it, ( maybe last years spawn).  But Johnathan  did manage to catch a couple of drum, the walleye, the sucker, the bluegill, and the little warmouth.  The variety gave him a lesson on the various types of fish that swim in the river.  Oh yes, I explained that all the bites that he was getting and the worm missing but, not catching was probably  the “Ghost Fish”  the ones that bite a lot but, you never see them.  No one knows what they look like.

The the worms ran out.  Oh darn!.

Take a kid fishing.  It will be a wonderful experience, I guarantee it.

P.S. Jonathan at first wanted to keep the walleye but, I convinced him to let the fish go so that maybe could catch him again on another trip.

Tight lines

Jim

Fishing with Roy on River Bend 5-9-2012

May 13th, 2012 by Jim

Fishing with Roy may 12, 2012 River Bend 002Fishing with Roy may 12, 2012 River Bend 001Fishing with Roy may 12, 2012 River Bend 003Fishing with Roy may 12, 2012 River Bend 004Roy and I finally got together for the first time this year at River Bend.  The day was just about perfect, a nice breeze with a partly cloudy sky.  The fish seemed to be happy about the weather too as we did fairly well.  I took a lesson again from Roy he caught 19 bass in the 1 -1/2lb range and I caught 13 bass all of about the same size.  This time we actually weighed the fish on Roy’s Rapala scale.  The fish may be on the small size but, they put up a heck of a fight.  I did manage to catch a  bonus of three of the crappie like the fish I was catching the week before.  (see the report prior to this one).  I was using the same spinner /minnow combination as last week as well.  We were having a long dry spell trying to catch bass so I tried the spinner/minnow and managed to catch just these three.  They were not a plentiful as last week.  My guess is that they may have already finished their spawn early and have already scattered to mid-lake.  I was seeing a lot of fish on my fish locator about 8 to 10 feet deep when we crossed the lake to the west shore looking for more bass.  All in all we had a good time together as usual, fishing, joking and just enjoying the day.

Roy’s magic bait was the “Reaction Innovations” “Skinny Dipper”  a swim-bait that really produces.  I’m going to get me some that’s for sure.  It seems to have a really good swimming action that really catches the bass.

Tight  lines Jim

Fishing River Bend 27 April and 2 May with Ivan on the pond

May 6th, 2012 by Jim

River Bend fishing April 27th and May 2nd on the pond 001River Bend fishing April 27th and May 2nd on the pond 002River Bend fishing April 27th and May 2nd on the pond 005River Bend fishing April 27th and May 2nd on the pond 004River Bend fishing April 27th and May 2nd on the pond 003My first trip to River Bend this season was on a very windy, and I mean very windy day.  I think it was blowing at least 25 to 35 mph and boat control was difficult.   Starting out I was fishing for bass, Roy had been out a few days earlier and  told me he caught about 30 bass so, I was all keyed up to do the same.  However, as hard as I tried I could not score.  The first thing I thought was fishing in the usual places was just too difficult with boat control taking up most of my time.  I decided to find a nice sheltered place out of the wind.  So, off I went to a place where I thought the wind wouldn’t be blowing the boat all over the place.

I went to the northern part of the lake in a fairly large cove.  It’s a place I had fished  before and usually caught a few bass.  Again I was using a square bill “Lucky Strike 1.5 By Bill Clunn, in the silver with a bronze back.  I thought the fish would be over the emerging weeds and shallow…nothing.  Went to stick worms by Gary Yammamoto…nothing.  Tried the Berkley salamander in green…nothing, the Yum baby craw in the natural color and then the Cabela’s Aqua-Glow split tail “Baby Bass” 3 3/4” in green pumpkinseed and finally scored.  I had used the Aqua Glow at River Bend before but never caught a bass with it here but, on the pond it is deadly.   But, by now three hours had passed, I was not going to catch 30 bass at this rate but, I did catch 5 bass in the 1 1/2 to 2lb range.  So, I decided to change tactics and switched to a spinner combination as shown above, using a Berkley swim tail vibrating tail minnow. 

That spinner combination was a winner,  I caught 15   crappie as shown between 11” and 13” in an hour.  Well, my day turned out ok after all.  The cove seemed to be full of crappie and of course I had hooked and lost  several  more and was having a ball for about an hour.  And then it stopped!  No more bites.  I had started out about 12:30pm and now it was 5:30 pm so, I decided to call it a day.

On Wednesday, May 2nd, Ivan and I planned to go back to River Bend.  I told him to pack his Crappie gear and maybe we could have a ball with them again.  This would be our first outing together this year and I had hoped that it  would be a memorable one.   However, the weather didn’t want to cooperate.  The forecast on the computer called for a sunny day in the 80’s but, what we got was wind and clouds.  We thought we would try the pond instead as it is almost in my back yard and if it decided to rain…?

We immediately started catching crappie but, not the size that I was catching earlier in the month.  I decided to stick to the spinner/Berkley swim tail because it was effective at River Bend so, Why not…

Ivan tried some  similar spinner, minnow combinations.  The score…we managed 14 small crappie 7 to 8” and 5 dink bass that I’m sure were from last years spawn.  Then…lightning and thunder drove us off the pond but, I  got soaked wearing my “Rain Proof” suit (be careful what you buy) and Ivan stayed dry in his pancho.

We had a good time though, we talked politics over coffee  for awhile and then called it a day.

Tight lines

Jim