Tangled and Gnarly Perch Hooks, No Problem….

….here is the solution.


You have been fishing for a few hours, and your perch snells are starting to look a little rough.  I have the solution for when employing spreaders, and that third bottom hook on a standard perch rig. Most anglers have them, and you can get them at just about any chain store, if not some of your better bait shops…the swivel!


Installing them on a spreader is easy!  Like this plain spreader I picked up from Janns Netcraft, just slide up the coiled springs, slide one end of the swivel into the loop section and slide the coil back down to lock it down.  Then just slide the loop section of your snell into the other end and run the hook section through and snug down.


Now when you are fighting fish, they are fighting a second and third swivel on your spreader set up. It reduces line twist, kinks …. etc!  Now, I did mention the perch rigs too.  If you are from Michigan, you know you can use three hooks on each rig.  You have the standard two up on top like any normal set-up, but over the last two or three years we have been using a 3rd snell down on the snap where you place the weight.  I like 1 oz by the way.


If any hook is going to get torn up, it seems like it is this one gets the most damage.  If your experience is anything like mine, all the action comes on this hook, and the snell of the bottom lear.  That is the wire arm sticking out from the rig, I use the term all the time, but some readers might be new.  What I like about the swivel on the snap is two-fold. One reason, no more twisting and the snell lasts all day. The second reason is that it keeps my loop away from the wire of the snap itself.  Without fail, at some point during a day of fishing my loop gets hung up on the closure portion.  If the snell is going to break, this is where it is going to happen, so I eliminated some of the risk of losing a big perch!  Win…WIN!!!!

Type of swivel is up to you, will you have better luck with ball bearing swivel…yes.  Will you/could you spend more money on them… yes.  For my purposes a crane swivel works just fine. Either way, if one place sells one type, they usually sell the other, so will leave that option up to you.

Give the swivel idea a shot if you have had some pretty snells on your spreaders and rigs at the end of the day, it works and you will not be out a ton of money if you get a couple of swivels.  It is well worth the small investment, and if you happen to be crazy about fishing like me, you probably have them lying around already.  Like me, your biggest problem just might be finding where you put them last!

Copyright, 2014

Posted in Do-It-Yourself, Perch Fishing, Product Reviews | Leave a comment

Original “Perch” CatchCounter For Sale


This is the original model of the CatchCounter “Perch Counter”.  Perfect size for catching, counting and storing your perch while on the boat.  Throw in a bag of ice or a gallon jug of ice and it will remain cold all day.  I am selling it for $35.00 with the cooler.


As pictured on the boat, the cooler will easily fit 150 perch with some room to spare because of the raised shape of the cooler’s lid.   The CatchCounter mountable head goes for $35.00 by itself, and with a cooler, sells for $64.00.  The unit I am selling is two years old and functions extremely well.




Available for pickup, or meeting at Jeff’s Bait Shop near Sterling State Park on weekends.  If interested, contact me at fishingwithmace@yahoo.com

Copyright, 2014

Posted in For Sale, Perch Fishing, Product Reviews | Leave a comment

The 2014 Perch Season Has Started…..

….for me at least!  I got out yesterday and put 52 perch into the CatchCounter!  We actually could have caught more, but ran out of shiners!  Will say this though, the crawlers I brought in case we limited out early and would drift bottom bouncers for fun, were useless!  As the minnow numbers in the bucket started to dwindle, I put some bits of crawler on the hooks and not one bite.  Lesson learned, might have to bust out the ice fishing soft plastics, maybe a little Northland Bloodworm action for the bottom hook!


Actually our first stop was inside the bay, just southwest of Stoney Pointe in 19 foot of water, we caught nothing, not even a bite, so it was time to haul anchor and try some different spots.  One more move and it was on, we hooked a TON of perch, but only 52 went into the BigMouth to be counted.  We tried to keep only 8 inch or bigger fish, and caught a lot of smaller perch.  Classic case of two scoops of minnows not being enough to get the job done!




We fished in 24 fow out in front of the River Raisin, a little northeast of the buoys. Most of the fish came on the bottom hook, but all three hooks were getting hits.  We must have had a smattering of bigger fish in the school below because we pulled some 10 inchers but nothing bigger.  There were plenty of small fish to go around and if we didn’t have a bite within a couple of minutes you had your hooks stripped more than likely.

When we got back to the docks at Sterling State Park, the young man who keeps track of the incoming creels said we had done the best of anyone so far.  That was around 5 pm, maybe 4:30 pm.  As it was, I think at least, if you weren’t holding your rod in your hands, you were probably not going to catch fish.  The little perch were like piranha and did a fine job of cleaning off the hooks if you weren’t looking.  The action was so steady that I put down my second St. Croix ultra light, and only fished with one rod.  It was pretty hectic when both rods were getting hits at the same time!  My neighbor Cliff actually pulled off his first ever triple on his perch rig!


What shouldn’t surprise me anymore is that even though there is a pretty big hole in the top of the cooler where the perch go in to get counted, the frozen bottles of water still had ice in them at the end of the day. I think the perch actually insulates the ice.  Granted it wasn’t an extremely hot day, but the sun was beating down pretty good, and there were some pretty red faces back at the dock when we came in!



Once home, it was perch cleaning time.  Unloaded the CatchCounter cooler, and put roughly the same amount of perch into my Tumble Drumm scalers, and 35 minutes later, I started slicing some tasty treats off the bones.  There is nothing better than scaled perch when it comes to eating what Lake Erie has to offer!  OK, one more added benefit to scaling perch, it really makes the cleaning process so easy.  Any time you lose from waiting for them to come out of the scaler, it is more than made up for compared to having to fillet them.

Time to get ready for the next trip, tie up some more perch rigs and get to snelling some more hooks!

Copyright, 2014


Posted in Do-It-Yourself, Fishing Websites/Stores, Lake Erie, Perch Fishing, Product Reviews | 1 Comment

Clam Pro Tackle’s New Time Bomb Spoon

New for the 2014-15 ice fishing season, is Clam Pro Tackle’s new “Time Bomb Spoon”, the unique cousin of last year’s Bomb Spoon.


The brass plate/washer creates a rather unique, but loud rattling sound.  This clacker will call in crappie, perch and walleye as well.  With its bullet shaped weight, it will cut and keep a straight and tight line even in deep water.  Soon you will be able to get more information on Clam’s website:  http://clamoutdoors.com/ice_fishing/tackle.html

In the meantime, you can watch a very good presentation on YouTube.  It explains the rattle action, and gives several rigging options:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FLMZ0DcLkg&list=UUvAU-BmaW1Azs2OreO40zFA

Copyright, 2014

Posted in Ice Fishing | Leave a comment

Mister Twister Top Props, only $3 each

Mister Twister Top Props:  Only 3 bucks each!




Recently I took a trip to the cabin in the Upper Peninsula and wanted some more Top Props, my favorite pike and muskie top water bait.  I Googled for days, and then found this website:  www.excessiveoutdoors.com

All my favorite colors that had been closed out years ago, and they were only $3 dollars each.  Being the tackle hoarder that I am, well accused of being anyway, I bought four each….naturally!  Forgot to mention, these are really bass baits, but with a strong 5/0 hook, they handle the big fish just fine.

There are other items on the website also, but although the selection right now is small, there are some pretty good prices on the items they do have, definitely worth checking out!

Copyright, 2014


Posted in Bass, Fishing Websites/Stores, Muskie Fishing, Northern Pike Fishing, Product Reviews | Leave a comment

Vexilar’s T-POD/Sonarphone in Action


Last week I went up to the family cabin, which is on a small 10-15 acre lake.  I took up the duck boat for some action on the surrounding lakes with mud ramps, but our little lake doesn’t have access and we like to keep it motor free.  Here is my issue though, this was the second year for taking my now 7 yr old niece to the Upper Peninsula and last year she had an absolute blast fishing.  Wanting to keep her interest peaked, I wanted to tip the odds just a little in her favor.  I was able to do that with the help of Vexilar’s T-POD transducer with my Razr HD smartphone, which when coupled together becomes a Sonarphone!

Sounds pretty fantastic, but in this case the T-POD becomes a self contained, water activated WiFi transmitter, that sends to your phone an actual image like you would see on a contemporary fish finder.  I should back up a step, there is a free app that you need to download to your phone first.  It is available for both Apple and Android phones, you can download it here at this link:  Sonarphone App Download and see the details.

You can use it as a bobber like in the picture above, or drag it behind while trolling in this picture.


You can actually troll it up to 5 miles per hour, and that is muskie trolling speed!  It will shoot back to your phone a signal from 100 yards away from your phone.  I rigged my T-POD to an old medium heavy fiberglass spinning rod with an old reel that was spooled up with 30 lb braid years ago.  Both performed nicely when trolling, using it as a bobber or actually casting it from the shore at night so my father could bobber fish for pike from the dock at night with a good book in his hand.  With the fish alarm on he was able to know when there was a fish in  the neighborhood.


Even on the brightest days I was able to see clearly the screen while fishing.  You can see by the picture, not much was happening down on the bottom, but there was a nice smallmouth near the surface soon to be hooked.  With my Razr HD I had one of the bigger screen shots available on the market and all the adjustment tabs were able to be clearly seen. I will say this though, my Otterbox protective case was a bit too big for the free neoprene, Velcro wristband that comes with all the Sonarphone models.  It worked fine though once I took off the rubber casing around the hard case that forms the Otterbox system.


Although I never put the T-POD through the four hour test, the most I rowed that old boat around was during a good 3 hr stretch.  Just as advertised, once I was through with the unit, and allowed it to dry, I was able to charge the unit back up.  When charging the unit it glows red, and once it completes its charging cycle, it will glow green again.  You can use it during the day, and when you get done, you can leave it on the charger all night, you can’t over charge the unit.

Next up will be testing the T-POD on Lake Erie while doing some perch fishing and put it though the paces over the top of a perch rig.


Copyright, 2014

Posted in Electronics | 3 Comments

When it comes to Perch Fishing, you have to try GLOW BEADS

Super Glo Beads

Super Glo Beads


“Shhhh…..its a secret”…..is perhaps the one sure-fire way to spread the word, and when it comes to perch fishing, you have to try glow beads.

Matzuo Sickle Hooks

Matzuo Sickle Hooks

Of all the panfish out there, perch, at least in my experience seem to be most attracted to glow beads.  Whether it be one bead on top of my #6 sized Matzuo  Sickle hook, or a combination of 3 or four beads with a small Indiana blade, it seems that the perch really come to the glow.  For years I have used the plain white glow, this year I wanted to play with colors that glow, so I went to Northland Tackle’s website, and ordered some Super Glo Beads in;  chartreuse, pink and red.  The red doesn’t glow as long as the other two, but if you know perch fishing, you know perch love red bloodworms, so its worth a shot!


Wish Northland still had rattle beads, I can just imagine what a little noise could do rigged with an emerald shiner!  But, we do with what is available, and after an extensive Google search last night, could find nothing smaller than an 8 mm bead.  Which reminds me, I use #5 mm beads for the perch rigs.  So if you are making your own perch rigs, at least you should be making your own snells, you will not be sorry if you go glow with your beads this season.

Copyright, 2014


Posted in Do-It-Yourself, Lure Making, Perch Fishing, Product Reviews | Leave a comment

Perch Fishing Basics, and a Few Tips for 2014



The perch fishing on Lake Erie has started, but not into full swing just yet.  If you haven’t organized your gear yet, or even if you are just starting out, here are some basics you will need, and a few tips to get more perch in your cooler.  Maybe an idea or two for improvements too.

First off, get a good quality rod.  I wont tell you which brand to get, but I love my St. Croix rods and they would be a good choice.  That said, I would suggest a 6 foot to 6’6″ rod, you can go 7′ if you feel like you must, but I don’t see the need.  Basically you are looking at a jigging rod, but for perch.  Since we are talking perch, I suggest either an ultra light, or light action rod. Not sure what that means, look at the side of the rod and look for the line rating, and it should say something like 2-6 pound or 4 to 8 lb.  If you go heavier than a Light action, then I think you will be missing some of the nibbles that could be bites.

Reels, any good spinning reel will do the trip, something in the $50 dollar range or higher should do the trick and last you for years and years of perch fishing fun.  After all, we are just talking perch, so unless you hook a sheepshead or monster walleye, you will rarely use any drag at all.

Your choice of line might just be as important as the rod you choose.  Braid or some time of superline is a MUST.  No stretch is the key, you want to feel every bite. With a good braid like those available from Suffix, will even telegraph back to your rod when a fish bumps your line!  If it can do that, imagine what it can do when a perch gobbles up one of your minnows.  I suggest 4 to 8 lb test, but do not be afraid of going to ten or 15 lb test if you want to use that same reel for walleye or bass on another rod.  The poundage is not really the key here, and you aren’t trying to really cut the current because 95% of the time you will be anchored, with  your line already vertical.

Have a selection, or a variety of perch rigs and spreaders on hand.  Perch rigs are my most go to type of approach when it comes to perch fishing.  But, spreaders have their time and place in my bag of techniques,  and are highly effective when drifting, while looking for the perch.  I like to drift in order to find a big school, mark that spot quickly with my handheld gps.  Then fire up the motor and go back along that track and put the anchor down to drift back to that spot.


I already wrote about the new BigMouth CatchCounter a week or so back, but am telling you again. There is no better way to keep track of the amount of perch going into  your cooler than with this device.  You don’t want to go over your limit and pay a fine, and the CatchCounter is a great tool.  It also keeps an bag of ice throughout a long hot day!

I should have mentioned this with the paragraph on the rigs and spreaders, but avoiding getting a ticket seemed more important.  You will need a selection of weights for your spreaders and rigs.  I do not like the spreaders with the weights already attached, they are a “one trick pony” and do not allow you to adjust to different situations. Casting or bell sinkers are the best, those coin shaped ones aren’t bad, but not nearly as good either.  I suggest a variety of 3/4 oz and up to 1.5 ounce, with sizes in between in order to adjust to wave situations.  This is the mold I use from Do-It, it has all the sizes I want:



Copyright, 2014


Posted in Do-It-Yourself, Lake Erie, Perch Fishing | Leave a comment

Walleye are still Banging the Boards Back

While the perch anglers are starting to congregate between Stoney Pointe and the River Raisin channel buoys, there are still lots of walleye in Michigan waters.  Saturday marked the second weeks where it took three passes to get our two-man limit of walleye.  Would have been just two passes, but for the first time all season we actually lost more than one fish at the boat, three actually.  Like last weekend, the neighbor and I cleaned up using #6 blades from Big Eye Custom Lures, with a mix of purples, pinks and light greens on copper.

Big Eye Angelfish

Big Eye Angelfish


Big Eye Paula's Pride

Big Eye Paula’s Pride


Big Eye Mud Puppy

Big Eye Mud Puppy


We had a bit of a late start, and didn’t start fishing until about 11 am, at the same spot where we cleaned up on the three passes the weekend before.  Nothing at 27 fow, not even a mark on the screen, 14 waypoints produced nothing but a small white perch.  We stayed on the original track, and passed through 26 and 25 fow without a single pullback on the Church Tackle Walleye Boards.  The Walleye Boards are my favorite this time of the year, due to the combination of the board’s sliding keel weight and my employing the heavier 2 and 3 oz Bass Pro and Rednek weights when fishing deeper water.  Right or wrong, I don’t like a lot of line behind my boards, and the design of these keels allow the weight to slash through the water at a deeper dive curve, making it easier to determine the depth to run the 7′ft harnesses I tie up with the Big Eye Blades.

Church Tackle Walleye Boards

Church Tackle Walleye Boards


The weather was threatening all morning and into early afternoon with the clouds looking pretty ominous. We had two to three-foot rollers pushing the old Crestliner along.  Once we hit 24 fow, the flags starting to pull back on my side of the boat, and the port side start get in on the action too.  The action slowed down in 22 fow and we picked up the gear, having caught 5 fish, while losing one on the first drift.  Following the first track, we hooked eight walleye and lost two more at the boat.  We should have been done, but that is why they don’t call it catching.  With six more in the cooler, we only had to get one more fish to have our 12 for the day.

On the third and final pass, the action was of the boom, boom out go the lights type.  If you get that reference, you know a little old school Pat Traverse is always a good thing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4XbV3gCm2Y

We knocked off the 12th and final fish at the first waypoint, and while enjoying a cold beverage we had three more fish hammer the boards.  Threw those back in the lake for another day, picked up the gear, wrapped up the St. Croix and headed back in to Sterling.  Had some company so threw some ice on the eyes and had a great dinner, then got up on Sunday and cleaned the catch.


And of course the best part of cleaning the fish was harvesting the crown jewel of the walleye, the cheeks!


Copyright, 2014




Posted in Fishing Reports, Lake Erie, Product Reviews, Walleye Fishing | Leave a comment

Big Walleye Spinner Blades require a big CLEVIS

So far this year I am shooting a solid 50% on new things to try for putting more walleye in the boat.  Although my idea for using a keel weight to get my cranks down deeper with less line behind the planer boards wasn’t a big hit, I haven’t given up on the idea, it still might fly come November/December with the colder temps.  What did work out great was the answer to one of my biggest problem the last few years.


I love big….no, nothing to do with that annoying song….Big BLADES, AND I CANNOT LIE.   Sorry little humor on a dry Friday morning, but it is true, I love big spinner blades when it comes to dragging meat (my term for crawlers) for walleye on Lake Erie. Bigger the better, most times the harnesses are rigged with nothing smaller than a #6 Colorado, and even as big as these #8 Indiana’s.  The problem with my #8′s is that I was losing them at far too great of a rate for costing almost 2 bucks a piece.

I use 20 lb test for the rigs I make up myself, so you might ask how was I losing them?  Well before I completely spill the beans, let me tell you about the issues I was having and then work into the solution.  My line above the beads was fraying, becoming nicked and if I didn’t constantly check the line each time the blade/harness came back to the boat, I would lose the hooks, beads and blade to the bottom of the lake.

I think you might be able to tell already what my problem was, my #2 clevis was too small!  With, for a lack of a better term to apply to the situation, too much torque caused by the bigger blade spinning, it was constantly working against the line.  A smaller blade will cause the clevis to spin evenly around the so-called center axis, but a larger blade, say a #7 or larger, would throw it off kilter.



With bigger blades I thought to myself that the only solution might be a bigger clevis, and this season it has worked out perfectly.  I ordered some #3 folded clevises from Hagens parts catalog, well 500 of them, but I am sure they will all get used at some point.  At the beginning of the trolling season, I was still constantly checking the line for signs of wear and tear,  and saw none out of the ordinary.  You will still get some, but the same amount as you would get from using a #5 or #6 Colorado for two or three hours straight with a #2 clevis.  Over the last couple of years if they lasted an hour before I had to switch rigs I was pretty lucky.

After all this, to get to the point, if you are using any blade larger than a #6 Colorado, I suggest going to the #3 folded clevis to avoid having your line destroyed by overloading a smaller clevis.    Some might ask why I don’t use a quick change clevis and my answer is that they are not perfect either.  While you don’t lose the blades because of line wear, you will lose a few because the snap design just isn’t perfect and they come off here and there during the course of a day’s action.

Am I saying this is the only solution, no I am not.  Some anglers out there might already have come up with another idea.  It happens in fishing, anglers faced with similar issues come up with various solutions.  Will say this, I have not heard of anyone else coming up with this same solution.  Which doesn’t mean they haven’t.  But, not sure how many out there have thought of taking a clevis normally used with inline muskie spinners, and applying their use to walleye fishing.

Here are some of the blades I would use a #3 folded clevis with:

#7 Colorado blade

#8 Indiana blade

#6 Whiptail blade

#5 or larger Willow blade


Copyright, 2014

Posted in Do-It-Yourself, Product Reviews, Walleye Fishing | Leave a comment