Archive for February, 2012

Claire’s Critter Care

Monday, February 20th, 2012


One of the girls I used to work with at Cabela’s has started a pretty creative business,  and its called “Claire’s Critter Care”.  And by the name of the business, yes her name is Claire.  One day while on Facebook she sends a message about starting this pet service and I thought what a cool idea for people who go on fishing trips, but have pets at home.  Kind of hard to leave them behind, and most of the time, almost impossible to take them with you.

Her website is .  I had never heard of such a service and when I asked her how she came up with this idea in the first place, it had to do with the tough economy and not being able to find a job within her degree (University of Akron) field.  So as she put it, she decided to turn one her passions into a job. Fully licensed and insured is a pretty good idea, but she is also “Pet First Aid” certified through the Red Cross. To be honest I did not know there was such a thing, but if you are going to offer a service like this one, it certainly makes sense.

She works with just about any type of animal, besides spiders that is.  Takes them on their “breaks”, checks their food and water and even will take them to the Vet if you cannot make the appointment yourself.  You can email about prices ( ) or call 734-430-4802 for more information.


TJ’s Tackle: Powder Paint Fluid Beds

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

Confession time, I played with powder paint for the first time about 10 years ago and HATED IT. Overheated the lead, it clumped on the jigs and you constantly had to “fluff” the powder to get an even coat.  It looked so bad when I would get done that I put the powder paint away and broke out the vinyl and lacquer products and started dipping out of the jars.

About four or five years ago, I started to see these guys at the fishing shows with a booth with a display about powder painting.  Never even stopped by to see what they were doing, hated powder paint, the tote with the different colors could stay upstairs in the shop for all I cared.  Then this year found out I was going to be fishing the MWT walleye tournament in April.  Started thinking to myself about how many tournies in the last couple of years had been blown off Lake Erie, and been forced to fish the Detroit River.

I knew I had to take another look at my jig boxes, and update a few things.  I also knew after the MI-OH Sportfishing Expo, that Pro-Tec had come out with some pretty sweet new colors to paint the jigs with.  Which meant I was going to have to force myself to take another look at painting with powder all over again.  First night, same results as in the old days, still equalled a more frustrated me.  Powder would not stay fluffy, overheated the jigs…another messy job.

So being the informed 21st Century angler that I am, I dug through my business card collection and when that time tested method failed, I “Googled”. Did some reading, looked at some sites and when I went to the TJ’s Tackle website, the light bulb upstairs turned on.  These were the same guys I had seen at the fishing shows.  So I did some background checking, talked to a few guys, watched the video’s and read the info that was on the website.  Ended up pulling the trigger Wednesday and placing an order.


I ordered the 3 inch bed because I knew I would painting some bigger jigs for the Detroit River.  Also,  picked up three additional cups to get started, because that’s how many jars of paint I ordered.  Figured I might as well make it as easy as possible to get started.  TJ’s has a really nice selection of paints available:

After placing the order, I thought what a great article this would make with the spring river bite fast approaching.  Michigan guy with his own start up business, always a good thing. I sent off an email and got a response that night.  I replied with a  “call me”  when you have some spare time one night to get some background information, and this is the direction I want to go with the article for the paper’s website.

Thursday night I got a call from Ben Leach from Coopersville, MI, who along with Brendon Smith partnered up to operate TJ’s  Ben is a computer programmer by day, and avid angler in his spare time.  We started chatting, getting some info, and the next thing you know Ben says he is transplanted from the Upper Peninsula.  Game on,  the interview takes a back seat, and we start talking familiar haunts and fishing spots.  The kind of interviews that I love to do, and it reminded me of the times when I talked to Tom at Moonshine Lures and Dave Shappell of shanty fame.

After a half hour we got back to it, after I discovered that Ben started off making crawler harnesses for walleye fishing here in Michigan and Canada.  It wasn’t long and his son T.J. wanted to help by threading the beads and blades on the snells.  They had so much fun doing that, that they started selling the rigs on  to help pay for their fishing trips. That was back in 2003 when T.J. was six yrs old, and over the years they expanded the business to include the fluid beds, paint supplies, jigs…etc.  The most recent product addition is an air brush specially disigned for working with the powder while painting spoons and spinner blades for harnesses.

Right then it clicked for me, something to really point out to make TJ’s Tackle stand out from the rest who might have similar products.  The beds and brushes, well they made them their own.  Like the old BASF commercials back in the day, they made them better.  The cups that you put  your powder into, have a special diffuser plate at the bottom that doesn’t clog up and allows the air to come through and move the powder around like a fluid in constant motion.  One thing I noticed last night while breaking the unit in was when I shut the air supply off at the valve, the powder will actually settle a good 3/4ths of an inch back to the bottom.  This really allows you to get an even coat on the jig, without wasting the powder.  Even though during the video’s available to watch, its mentioned that you can heat up a wire to clean out the eyes of the jig, I found that only one jig out of about 50 actually needed its eye cleaned out after the process.  The diffuser works that well, it simply doesn’t allow the powder to clog in any one spot on the jig.

Even though I think its a pretty good product, and was really happy with the results last night, anyone considering buying a fluid bed from TJ’s, should watch the video’s they have online.  It makes every concept and procedure easy to grasp.  One of the issues that I had way back when was using a torch to heat the lead, using a heat gun is really the way to go.  Its a more even heat, and doesn’t leave the jigs with what I call “hot spots”.  Where one side will look great, while the reverse will be bubbled up where the powder was actually burnt on, instead of an even melt.

How to video’s, available online to watch:

Here are some of the jigs that I “painted” last night.  After my past experiences, I was really happy with the end results.


Going back out to the shop tonight and breaking out some of the old containers of powder paint and going to give some more jigs their new coat!

Copyright, 2012

Monday, February 13th, 2012
A  little blast from the past, one of the things that I talked about in Sunday’s seminar that was not inculded in Saturday’s was my lil Sharpie trick. and even though this piece was about touching up some cranks, the concept still can be applied to spinner blades. Love the colors that really pop in the light, but sometimes I just do not want that silver back, so they get touched up with the permanent marker and get a “new” metallic finish on the fly.

Final Day of the MI-OH Sportfishing Expo for 2012

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

Here it is Sunday morning, and 4 am at that.  The grand plan of going to bed early and waking up refreshed worked too well. But, it gives me time to do a quick write up, get it posted and hit the road running.

Worked in the booth all day, and slid into the seminar room at 11am to get set up for my seminar at noon.  Here is the link for Sunday’s seminar schedule:

Took some pics, had some fun and had that whole kid in the candy store feeling going on again.  Couldn’t resist getting some of Captain Jay’s blade baits before the doors even opened. Picked up my order from the good folks at Silver Streak/Wolverine Tackle, the blade patterns were exactly what I had hoped they would look like.  Also walked off with 3 new custom Deep Husky Jerk patterns from  Here some of the pics I took from the show!


Domka Outdoors booth right next to us.

Wolverine Tackle/Silver Streak booth.




The Walleye 101 crew in the corner

Amish Outfitters with those drift socks

Here is Corey Miller getting  the “Reel Naughty” Contender all set up for his seminar

If I have a little better luck today with the Internet, will try again to do some live blogging from the show.

MI-OH Sportfishing Expo today n Sunday

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Off to the fishing show, Seminars start at 10am, will be blogging live with reports and pics.

MI-OH Sportfishing Show Ad from the Toledo Blade

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Come and see us Saturday and Sunday, and stop by the booth.

The 2012 MICH-OHIO Sportfishing Expo: Seminar Topics (continued)

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

One of the things  I will be sharing during the my seminars this weekend at the show will be some rigging techniques for the trolling rods to get the most out of your set ups.

the rubber worm tip! blades on 3 hook snells

Some of it will be why I prefer three hooks versus two hooks when I snell my crawler harnesses, and one tip, that will give your crawler (live bait) more action than anyone else’s presentation!  Its a must have trick to have up your sleeve, and it will be the first time I have ever shared it with other anglers.

why its good to rock the blues

The 2012 MICH-OHIO Sportfishing Expo: Seminar Topics

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

One of the things I will be discussing this weekend at the show will be on blade selection.    Which blades perform the best,  given the right location and conditions.  Although, I am firm believer that there are no “sacred cows” when it comes to fishing, there are certainly definite trends that seem to hold true, year after year.  During the seminars, I will have several blades on display, and will have more rigged up on my St. Croix Trolling rods to help with the demonstrations.


Fishing Michigan Seminars This Weekend/MI-OH Sportfishing Expo

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

The weekend is almost upon us, and that means its time for the annual Michigan Ohio Sportfishing Expo held at the Monroe County Fairgrounds, inside the Monroe Bank & Trust Expo Center.

For times the doors open Saturday and Sunday, click on the link below:

For the complete seminar schedule, including the ones I will be giving on trolling crawler harnesses, click on this page:

And to see a complete list of  vendors attending the show, click on the last show link below:


Before and after my seminars, I can be found in Booth #10 with the crew from  The guys will have custom blades, custom cranks, beads and more to sell.  Will have more details later in the week, but the prices will be hard to beat!



Your GPS: how to make it an indoor tool

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Lets say you have a day fishing on the water coming up, and you want to make the most of your experience.  Now, you can still go the paper route map, I do because I like to get a big picture of where I will be.  But, if that is your only option, you will still be losing definition.  Meaning the paper map will only show you so much detail. This easy method, will show you what you will be seeing on your GPS while on the water, from the comfort of being indoors.

Here is what you will need to make this work.  A 12 volt battery for starters, and you probably have one if you are into ice fishing.  Commonly known as a flasher battery these 12 volt, seven to 12 amp batteries are perfect for the task.  Next up you will need a power point adapter, female end with gator clips (like the picture) or other type connectors attached.  A power cord, and in this instance, one for my Lowrance HDS-5m chartplotter.  I made a trip to Radio Shack and picked up the male end and wired it into the power cord, complete with my 3 amp fuse.  The whole process in putting this phase together takes less than 15 minutes.  Originally, this was done to make my GPS multifunctional, something that I could not only use with the boat, but also on the quad for ice fishing.

Connect male and female (power point), hook up the battery and power up the GPS.  Now you can survey everything the map will tell you on the water, but in a relaxed atmosphere.  Lets face it, things can get hectic on the water, and it can be difficult to zoom in and out to get the detail you want when your boards are rocking.  Create way-points for points of interest before you even start fishing;  holes, humps, rock points, reefs and shipwrecks.  All things that might hold fish that might otherwise escape you during the “heat of battle.”

Side note:  Extra genuine Lowrance power cords were purchased off of Ebay.  You can also make this work if you have a “jump start” unit equipped with a power point adapter already.


Copyright, 2012