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Auger extension credit to creativity and inventiveness

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Northern Illinois Boat Show: Thursday-Sunday, Lake County Fair Grounds, Grayslake, Note: Free parking.

Salmon Unlimited Swap Meet: Saturday, River Park Moose Lodge, River Grove, Note: Get there early (opens at 7 a.m.) because the best stuff goes fast.

Illinois Smallmouth Alliance’s Bronzeback Blowout: Saturday, Elmhurst American Legion, $30, Note: Dan Basore’s feature is a gripping life saga; Denny Sands talks about rock structure and conservation at
Shabbona Lake.

Updated: March 27, 2014 6:43AM

The first extension Dale Rehus made for his ice auger was ‘‘too whippy.’’

That doesn’t faze a sort
like Rehus, who whipped up a way to extend his auger enough to be able to drill holes in the ice from the north wall at Navy Pier.

It takes a winter like this, one so severe that guys no longer could bust holes in the ice by dropping their anchors or smashing down coffee cans weighted with concrete and a bolt. The old ways didn’t work as winter deepened into history, so Rehus experimented.

He’s the right guy for that. Rehus is the vice president of sales and marketing for JumboMax Golf Grips, a rethinking in the golf world.

‘‘We grew up playing sports with a larger handle,’’ Rehus said. ‘‘[With the JumboMax], you can pick [a club] up like a tennis racket or a baseball bat. It makes it easier to square the club up at impact.’’

Back to Rehus and his
Navy Pier auger extension. Arden Katz noticed him using it this month and alerted me. Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait had Rehus contact me.

‘‘Typical for Chicago,’’ Palmisano said. ‘‘If there is a will, there is a way — from powerlining to smelting to
16-inch softball.’’

The timing was fortuitous. Rehus normally takes his boat out of Waukegan Harbor and trolls for Chinook, coho and trout in the summer and fall. But a buddy invited him to try fishing for perch around Thanksgiving at Navy Pier.

When the open water iced up quickly and he ‘‘almost had a heart attack throwing a boat anchor’’ to bust ice, his creativity came through.

Rehus had a StrikeMaster Lazer auger. To extend it, he used two sets of conduit, three-quarters of an inch thick at the top and a half-inch thick connecting to the blade.

His first attempt was ‘‘too whippy’’ because he had too much half-inch conduit and couldn’t control it well enough to apply useful force. His second effort succeeded. He made the bottom part 5 or 6 feet long and the top part about 7 feet long.

‘‘I wanted it long enough to fit in my car without sticking out the car window,’’ Rehus said.

He wanted the extension to be portable, to be easy to take apart and to be adjustable because he didn’t know how far it was to the water. He also didn’t wanted it to ‘‘screw up’’ his Lazer.

He drilled holes in both sizes of conduit about every
six inches, then used wing nuts to make it adjustable. He found some big knobs with bolts on them at Sears, so he could find the extension if it dropped in the snow.

‘‘You can’t go through as quick as standing on ice and putting your weight into it,’’ Rehus said. ‘‘But it beats the heck out of bashing a hole with an anchor.’’


Illinois deer

Normally, the measuring room at the Illinois Deer and Turkey Expo is a madhouse of measurers and mounds of mounts. Not this year. The official final numbers aren’t in, but the fewest deer were entered. Worse, few good entries came from Illinois’ 2013-14 seasons. There were no surprises. Most years, one or two surprise monster bucks show up.

Stray cast

Having the Winter Olympics end is like having Braidwood Lake reopen to fishing. Finally.

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