Archive for the ‘Fishing Websites/Stores’ Category

Walleye Trolling Weights

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

One of the guys asked me this morning about where the fish are and what program am I running this time of the year as the fish go deeper with the rising water temps.  I gave a brief idea where I was going to be starting next time out, and that got me thinking…it is all about getting down to where the fish are.  Which lead me to the trolling weights that I use.


This time of the year I like running 2 oz or more, and because I have the most of this particular brand and type, going to start off discussing the Bass Pro Fish Weights.  For years I have liked these the best, by going with the 2 oz I eliminate a lot of guess-work when it comes to letting out how much line to get the fish.  At 1.3 mph and I see fish at 20 fow, I let out 20 to 25 feet of line from my Daiwa’s.  That way I am right above them, in the middle of the strike zone and just below so I can target a few of the bigger fish hanging on the bottom.


Church Tackle's Walleye Board

Church Tackle’s Walleye Board


When I run the heavier weights, I like my Walleye Boards, from Church Tackle.  This board is really the most versatile planer board on the market.  With its sliding lead keel, you can get this board to run perfectly no matter what you are pulling behind it.  I know some guys who actually will run 4 oz bottom bouncers and the board runs perfectly.

Rednek Outfitters

Rednek Outfitters


These are some 2 and 3 oz Rednek Outfitter keel weights that I had custom painted in a perch pattern.  Their 2 oz seem heavier to me than the Bass Pro weights, and that is ok in my book.  Anything I put down, my Walleye Boards can handle. Honestly, if I can get rid of putting more line behind my boards, the better and less chance of a fish coming off the hooks.  Now, the Rednek weights do come with a belly hook, and honestly with the limited time I have run them, I have yet to catch a walleye off that hook.  Did get some white perch, but not exactly what I was hoping for.




Ok, just got a bright idea, hence the much larger than I wanted light bulb picture…yikes.  Instead of the belly hook on the Rednek’s, thinking a couple of split rings, a swivel and either a #3 or 4 Indiana blade!  Add a little flash to the weight, and then get them to whack the spinner rig!  Who knows, but that is how my brain works sometimes, it is either out of the box thinking or just another crazy idea to get filed away under “Tried and Classic Fail”.  Think this one might work though, on reconsideration though, a #4 indy blade might be too big, would have to look at #2′s and 3′s side by side to determine which would be better.


Anyhoo, as my Uncle Chuck would say….that’s the type of program I run this time of the year when the walleye are down near the bottom in deeper water. Hit ‘em hard, and heavier the better!

Copyright, 2014


Walleye Harness Blade Basics: what do you need in your arsenal to get the job done

Friday, June 20th, 2014


Some of the most popular “vintage” posts are about walleye blades; shapes, sizes and colors.  All these things are important when buying blades and building your own walleye catching rigs.  For this article let us take an approach for the first timer, that guy or gal who wants to build their own walleye harnesses for the first time, and create a shopping list to help them get started.

Big Eye Custom

Big Eye Custom


Selection is the key when building up your own arsenal of walleye catching blades.  You need to cover your bases, but for the sake of argument let us stay with the most popular and basic sized blades to get started.  The most popular size right now on any big body of water is a #6 Colorado blade,  a #5 will work, but so will a #8 blade, and you can break down into a #4 later as well, but the #6 is the best all around fish catching size right now.

Setting the size aside for now, now we get to the blades themselves; copper, gold and silver …oh my!  Well it is getting harder to find gold blades, although they are still out there is some good quantities, silver and copper are readily available.  Copper is the most popular by far, but some colors “pop” better on a silver blade.

To truly cover your bases, you need a color plan of attack when purchasing your first blades when getting started.  With so many patterns to choose from these days, you want to make it as simple as possible.  This is the way I would break it down if I was starting over tomorrow.

1)  Purples

2) Pinks

3) Chartreuses

4) Oranges

5) Blues

6) White base

7) Anti-freeze

8) Buggy

Big Eye Blue Perch

Big Eye Blue Perch


Now, let’s discuss why I broke down my choices, in a very random manner that is….

Notice how the blue really pops or shines coming off this silver blade from Big Eye Custom Lures .  Love this type of pattern when there are tons of shiners in the water, mixes right in with the bait and catches the attention of the walleye in the area. Purples and pinks can be metallic or over a base paint to give them a different look.  When the water becomes clear, think the metallic look is best, same with the anti-freeze type blades.  No matter what is going on under the waves, it seems like an orange or chartreuse colored blade will always catch fish.  A blade with a white base falls into that category as well. Panties, eriedescent, emerald shiner, are all patterns that produce throughout the year, with some periods of producing the hottest bite of the year it seems.

Of all the colors I mentioned though, buggy might need the most explaining.  Buggy is a very specialized bite that occurs during a two to four-week bite when the mayflies hatch off the bottom of the lake.  Although I detest terms that have been said over and over again, in this case it is true, it is good to “match the hatch”.  The first thing I look for in a buggy blade is it has to be copper 90% of the time.  It is a high percentage, so for starting out, get your copper on!  A metallic purple works on copper really well during this time.   Fishlander used make a confusion blade that rocked the mayfly bite, but unfortunately they are out of business now, going on some six years already if not longer.


Never fear though, if you want a Confusion blade, I have a guy.  If you order a dozen or more of the pattern, you can have a guy too.  Don from Big Eye Custom Lures will paint them up for you, you can save the pic and email it to him from the email available on the website.  He also makes a couple of patterns now that I consider really “buggy;  Copper Oriole and Halloween.



Why spend so much time on these buggy patterns, because right now in the walleye world, the mayfly hatch is in full swing and the bite is on.  Do not ignore the other suggestions on getting started, every blade has a time and place. Before the hatch started, pinks and oranges were rocking Erie and putting a lot of walleye in the boat for us. At the start of the year it was blues and purples, the bite comes in cycles just like the weather, and it is a good thing to be, like the Boy Scouts say……prepared!

Copyright, 2014


Taking the Jet(s) Down to the Walleye

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Are you fishing spoons or crawler harnesses? Doesn’t really matter because there is a diver on the market that works with both.  The Luhr Jensen Jet Diver is in my book the best all around way to get your fave type of bait to where the walleye are in the water column.


Available in my favorite walleye stores, I can get additional colors just about anywhere in Michigan and Northern Ohio;  Jann’s Netcraft, Frank’s Great Outdoors, Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops and online at FishUSA. I do like the Jets versus the disk type divers, they seem to hold their depth better in current and rough weather. They also come in a multiple of colors, but admit I like the stealth approach with the clear models.

They a version for any type of depth you are running in, but if I had to pick a certain one just to get started with, it would be the Size #30.  At least when it comes to fishing the Western Basin of Lake Erie that is.  Saginaw Bay and down by the deeper spots by the Erie Islands, when the summer months warm the water more, getting down to 40 foot would be crucial, so then it would be worth bumping up in size to the #40 Jet.


To find out what the original type Jets would run as far as depth goes, you would need a copy of either an older Precision Trolling Guide (Trollers Bible) or the last print that they did, called the Big Water edition.  Rumors are flying about the app that is available for both Droid and IPhone having the new version, with multiple slots (holes) for changing the running depths. The IPhone version is being updated, and that is the rumor, because of some additional divers being included.  If you are new to trolling, or never had one of the books before, I suggest getting the lifetime version for $99.  With the Lifetime, you get any new updates for free.  I know basically a $100 bucks for an app seems kind of steep, but if you ever bought the books at $30 to 40 a pop, you would understand that this is really a good savings and route to take when purchasing the information.

Silver Streak's "Skittles Lite"

Silver Streak’s “Skittles Lite”


As I mentioned, you can run either a spoon or spinner rig set up with the Jets.  With my  spoons from Silver Streak/Wolverine Tackle, you can make up enough leads with a snap and good swivel to last you a season in an hour or less time.  I like the Mini’s version which is slightly bigger from Big Papa, if walleye will take a #6 Colorado with five inches of crawler behind it, this spoon is not too big!  Your lead should be roughly 3 to five foot, depending on what works for you.  The increased speed at which you troll the spoons gives the walleye less time to inspect your presentation and they strike out of reaction to the action of the spoon.  When it comes to my crawler harnesses, I don’t touch the length of the rig at all, I want that Big Eye Custom Lures spinner as far away from the Jet as possible.  Why the difference in philosophies, because I said so.  Just kidding, it is what I feel works the best for me, and that is something each angler has to determine for his or herself.  There are few absolutes when it comes to walleye fishing, as I have mentioned before there are a few guidelines or call them rules of thumb, but often what someone says can be tinkered with to make it better suited for the individual.

Big Eye Custom Lures "Angelfish"

Big Eye Custom Lures “Angelfish”


If you want to check out more of the products mentioned in this article, click on the links provided in the article or look on Facebook and like their pages for updated information as the seasons’ progress.

Rapala (Luhr Jensen):

Big Papa Sportfishing:

And if you want to see what I have been up to lately on a regular basis, friend me at:


Copyright, 2014


With the Waters Warming, It’s Snelling Time

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Actually it is way past the snelling of the new crawler harnesses, but with a great winter behind us and the ice fishing season ending later this year, everything got pushed back.  Too far back for my own comfort level, but it is time to get down to business, and that is getting the harnesses built for the upcoming season! In the last couple of days, I broke out my Matzuo Sickle hooks, the 20 lb test Suffix and got to work out in the shop. Love the sickle style hooks from Matzuo, the specialized curved bend in the hook acts like an anchor point when you stick a walleye.


I like using foam blocks of old insulation to put the rigs on while in the tying process.  And as I was recently asked on Facebook when I posted my picture, yes I love tying three hook harnesses. I absolutely never feel more frustrated when losing a fish on the way in, or getting a false read on my Church boards, then finding out when I brought the rig back to the boat to find that the crawler was bitten in half, between the hooks!IMG_20140501_102738_783


All done, just one more step in my own personal process of snelling, to brush on some Larva Lace Flex-Loc available at Hagen’s.  It is a light fly tying dressing that brushes on quickly and for my piece of mind, it holds my wraps in place.


Time to break out the beads and put the finishing touches on my rigs for the new season.  I store a large assortment of various colors and finishes to match up with various blades. Even though each blade can cost less than $2.00 each, just hate losing even one of them, so I use a folded clevis instead of the quick change type.  Again, my personal preference, you can say I am cheap, but I prefer the word frugal!


After putting the beads on, I match up my blades from Big Eye Custom Lures on each rig. I like to have at least six, preferable eight of each blade pattern at the ready.  If a blade is hot, I want to switch out that side of the boat to that color pattern first off.  Then if it continues to hook the walleye on a consistent basis, it is time to switch out the other side of the boat. Six rigs out, two spares ready to roll in case a fish or the pliers nick the line on the harness.  It could be zebra mussels too for that matter, point is this, every nick creates a weak spot, and that could lead you to losing a nice fish, or a meal for the table!

Copyright, 2014

Speed is the Key…employing drift/trolling bags

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Whether you are drifting hair jigs and blade baits in the spring, or trolling cranks, spoons and harnesses, boat speed is a crucial element in having a successful trip. Sure you can have a trolling motor employed, but on days when the wind is kicking, controlling the direction of the boat can be an issue.  This is where having a trolling bag or two in the boat can make all the difference in the world.


When you see the green, it means the bags are made in the USA, and sold by Big Papa Sportfishing Products.  Of all the fine products sold by Bob Bell, these bags just might be the most important items on his website. You just cannot stress enough the factor that speeds plays in fishing big waters like Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes.

When drifting, there are several places on your boat where you can use one of these bags. On slightly windy days, in the middle of the boat can give you a good broadside drift through your target area. Sometimes boats don’t have a middle cleat or perhaps not in the right location.  This is an easy fix, cleats are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. On windier days, I like putting a bag off the bow, and another one, off the aft cleat. Since you can be fishing in the same area, just let the bags have a little more line and fish in front of them.  During a drift you would like to be able to keep it under a mile per hour, but no more than 1 mph under most circumstances.  Call it a guideline, because every once in a while, these general rules of thumb just do not stand up to all conditions.

Why would you need a bag while trolling?  You have an electric unit in the bow you say…well on most days that is fine, but the when the wind kicks up, you will wish you had a pair of bags handy.  Some days the conditions make it hard to go with the wind, the bow mount motor can help, but it uses up more juice than when you just employ it to add a little speed.  When you want the bow into the wind and under the power of the kicker or main motor, the bags allow you to buck the waves, but keep your speed down to target the fish you are after.  For my purposes it would be for walleye fishing, but do not under-estimate their use for salmon fishing, and I even break out my bags when drifting for big Northern Pike on the U.P. side of Lake Michigan.


When trolling with the main or kicker motor, I place bags off the bow cleats and run them back to middle or slightly further back of my boat’s length.  Then I can put my planer boards from Church Tackle out to their desired distances and get to fishing.  Somebody once asked why I don’t run them off the back of the boat, the answer is easy, that is where all the action takes place.  Actually, with the additions of the TX-007 to Church’s line-up, I want the backside of the boat completely clear of any potential entanglements.

stern planer prototype2

Whether you are trolling with the bags, or breaking them out while on a hot drift, remember is speed is the key to success, and a safe trip too. If you don’t have a bag or two onboard, you can take my word for it, or ask your buddies for that matter.  If they are experienced walleye guys, I bet you will be picking up a pair before the season gets too old this year.

Copyright, 2014


Time to Get into the Spring of Things: Big Eye Spring Baits

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Tis that time of the year, despite the snow and ice hanging on by a thread under the pine trees, it is time to gear up for spring walleye fishing on the Great Lakes. I have hauled the shanties upstairs and lugged the tackle bags full of cranks downstairs.  Jigging boxes are ready to get tuned up, and there will be many nights of snelling crawler harnesses in the near future.

Big Eye Custom Lures Deep Husky Jerks

Big Eye Custom Lures Deep Husky Jerks


One of the things I will be doing is putting an order in with some more Big Eye Custom Lures.  I have one or five patterns that I want to get this year. The standard colors on the website produce some really nice fish like this 12 lber caught on a Purple Craw.

Purple Craw

Purple Craw


I had to get this color last year, and six of them too, Redhead Wonderbread, and this year will be load up with another half dozen of Chartreuse head Wonderbread.  They are both Lake Erie staples in both the spring and fall when rigging up the St. Croix’s.


The bad thing, or really good thing is you look at it with the right frame of mind, Big Eye added Willow Blades this year.


There are three things I really like about these willows, first off they come in gold blades.  Gold is just starting to get really hard to find and it works on Erie.  Second thing I like about willows is running them up high in the water column, they give the fish a bigger profile to see.  I also like running them over deep water suspended roughly halfway down. They tend to call fish in from the bottom with their longer size.

Finally the last thing I want to get is some #4 blades for drifting and dragging spinner rigs down on the bottom.  Often when the sun is high, the fish are low, so get down with them and mix it up in their strike zone! Besides, Big Eye added a hot new “Blossom” pattern, which means I will need to get some #6′s in those too.


Those and a few more baits that I already picked up at the Ultimate Fishing Show in Novi, and the MI-OH Sportfishing show here in Monroe, I will be plenty busy getting ready for the first trolling bites of the 2014 Season

Copyright, 2014







Church Tackle’s TX-007 Stern Planer, with a Rattle Modification

Monday, March 24th, 2014

stern planer prototype2


Church Tackle made a big splash in 2013 with the introduction of their TX-007 Stern Planer. The -007 allows anglers to target fish that you are seeing below the boat with your fish finder.  No longer is bracketing the sides of the boat with boards your only option.  The stern planer allows you to drift your baits back, far away from the noise of the engine and the shadow of your boat.

stern planer diagram

A good friend and fellow Church Pro Staffer, Steve Berry made an early observation that proved quite effective.  He thought of making it a rattling planer.  I converted a couple of them and started catching fish right away last season.


Making your -007 into a Rattlin’ Stern Planer is quite simple.  Church designed the planer with a small plug to add water for balancing the buoyancy while in the water. Easier to detect bites, ride better in the water…etc.  Just remove that small plug and add 12 to 15 BB’s, and then put the plug back into the rear of the planer.  I used a spoon to work around the plug when removing it, so as to not damage the plug.


For easier identification  I take a black Sharpie permanent marker and write a letter “R” for rattling on the back of the planers I have modified.  Yes it is pretty easy to tell that you have modified an TX-007 when you pick it up, but when you have a few together, the “R” just makes it easy to just grab it and attach it to your line.  In the picture below, you will also see the hole where the plug goes back in after you have placed the BB’s inside.


Once you are done with the BB’s and put the plug back into the planer, you are ready to fish.  When you have a fish on the other end, the rattling noise increases and actually makes it easier to detect the bites.  When using the rattling -007′s, the type of rod you choose to fish with can also help detect these bites and that is why I choose to fish with a softer downrigger rod.  The rod will telegraph the action of a fish on the other end of the line.


With a season of using the Rattlin’ TX-007 Stern Planers in the books, the experiment was a big success.  Four out of every six fish we caught came on the rattlers versus the unmodified  stern planers.  A new thought just occurred to me, looking back, that was all in what could be called deep water, 20 ft or deeper.  It could be that in the shallower water, say 14 to 16 foot of water, during the spring bite, that the rattlers could possibly spook fish.  Good thing I have an equal number of each and should not have to worry!

Edit Note:  I was just asked where you can buy the TX-007′s online and in retail stores…

I believe they are available at Franks Great Outdoors, but are not listed on the website, call ahead if you are in the area.  The reverse goes with Cabela’s, they are available online, but not sure if they are in the Dundee or other Michigan stores yet.

Copyright, 2014

The 7th Annual Michigan-Ohio Sportfishing Expo…THIS WEEKEND….

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

….February 8th and 9th!

With another snow storm about to hit tomorrow, you just cannot help but love this winter and all the ice fishing it has to offer!  BUT, it is the show season and despite the winter weather, it is not too early to start thinking about this upcoming open water fishing that our states have to offer. I love going to Novi for the Ultimate Fishing Show, lets face it, it has everything an angler could want. I must admit though, I like MI-OH Sportfishing expo even more!

The Expo, held in the MB&T Expo Center at the Monroe County Fairgrounds, has everything I want to see! From product to guest speakers and seminars, it’s all about fishing Michigan and Ohio waters….locally!  From the Saginaw Bay down to the Detroit River, and the waters of Lake Erie’s Western Basin…these are the waters that you and I fish all year-long!  Why not get the gear, lures and boats that match our style of fishing. I hope everyone comes out to support the local show, or we might not have one in the future, and it is a great resource right in our own backyard.  Lets face it, from Trenton to Jackson, from Monroe to Port Clinton, this show covers everything walleye, bass, and salmon that you would need to either get started, or improve your catch rates already.

The Huron Valley Sportfishing Club is proud to present the 2014 Mich-Ohio Sportfishing Expo, Feb. 8th & 9th in the MBT Expo Center at the Monroe County Fairgrounds

7th Annual Mich-Ohio Sportfishing Expo Presented by: Huron Valley Sportfishing Club

Feb 8th 9am-6pm & Feb 9th 9am-4pm @ MBT Expo Center, Monroe, MI $5.00 Admission

• Tackle deals from Local and Major vendors  • 2100 sq ft of boats  • Food and soft drinks available  • Professional Charter captains  • Crawler harness tying demos  • Over 100 tables ONE ON ONE SESSIONS WITH LOCAL BASS & WALLEYE PROS !!Fishing information at a family oriented fishing expo!!! Free Parking Free Fishing Seminars Kids 12 and under FREE Free Door Prizes—must be present to win Free Fishing Simulator Free Walleye Lure –to the first 100 paid admissions Sat. and Sun.


Capt. Dan Boileau- Detroit River Walleye

Jerome Dorlack and the Reel Naughty Team- Trophy Walleye All Season Long

Capt. Matt Sell- Trolling Crawler Harnesses

Matt Vermilyea- Bass Fishing Lake Erie

Capt. Brian Woodard- Trolling Crankbaits

Capt. Greg Warsow & Jerry Hinton- Perching the Detroit River and Lake Erie

SPONSORS Brest Bay Marina             Fisherman’s Cave Bait & Tackle

Don’t have a boat, no problem!  Some of the best charter captains for both the Detroit River and Lake Erie will be there!  These guys make their living on the river and lake, if they don’t catch fish, they go out of business, so they all keep on top of their game to give you the best trip/fishing experience possible! I just looked at the list of people coming, and I better add catfishing to the list of target species, these guys have everything at the show!

If you do have a boat, the product booths will be where you need to go.  This year they have everything to choose from, whether its cranks, spoons, blades, jig or tubes, bass, salmon or walleye, you can definitely add some goodies to your fishing arsenal!



ABC Seamless- Specializing in premium custom home improvements for over 30 years including seamless steel siding, premium metal roofing, retractable awnings, windows, and more.

American Legion Post #224

Amish Outfitters-Why Knot Charters- Manufacturers of the “Buggy Bag” – marketing trolling bags, drift socks, tackle bags and organizers and operating a charter service by Capt. Frank Kittrick.

Angler’s Quest Charters/Angler’s Quest Tackle – Owned and operated by Capt. Paul Doute. Offering educational charters on the Detroit River and Lake for  walleye and perch. Manufacturer of unique foam storage solutions for the fishing industry. Online retailer for Dutch Fork Custom Lures Ghost Blades,  and Custom Angler inline weights and spinner blades. Walleye101 Seminar  speaker. or

*Home of the Ghost Blades and a great captain!


Big Papa Sportfishing Products LLC - Offering trolling bags, tackle storage, rod holders, downriggers, spoon and harness blades in addition to other tackle items. Also offering custom embroidery, vinyl graphics, hats, shirts, banners and custom fishing shirts.

From cranks, blades, storage, and bags, Bob Bell from Big Papa Sportfishing has it! Plus stop by the booth and talk to Brian Woodward, a pro who uses it all!


Brest Bay MarinaA full service marina on Lake Erie near Newport, Michigan, offering dockage, rack and launch, winter storage, full service repair shop, gasoline, pump outs, parts and accessories, bait, tackle, ice and snacks.

Cabela’s  Sponsoring our popular “Ask Your Local Pro” promotion, with local bass and walleye pro anglers, and exhibiting some of their most popular fishing boats by Ranger and Alumacraft in addition to their line of the latest and greatest in electronics.

Catfish Andy’s Guide ServiceOperated by Andy Brennan, offering guided trips on the Maumee River for flathead catfish. Andy has been a catfish enthusiast for 25 years and has spent the last ten years pursuing flatheads on the mighty Maumee. Trips are available from late April to late October. Check out his website at

Cisco Fishing Systems - An internationally recognized brand name supplier of Premier Trolling Products and Accessories including downriggers, rod holders, planer board masts, electronics mounting systems, track and gimbal mounted systems from a first class company based in Cleveland, Ohio. They specialize in high quality, advanced techniques and top notch customer service. For more details, visit their website at

Dr Bugs Charters  -Offers perch and walleye fishing trips operating out of Wild Wings Marina April thru mid-Sept and then moves to the Huron Boat Basin until Nov 1. Capt. Dave has 21 years of charter experience and has fished the lake since the late 70′s. He is the 2013 recipient of the Lake Erie Charter Captain of the Year award for Ohio, and will be offering a special April rate for the walleye jig fishing season. Check him out at

Domka OutdoorsQuality handcrafted tackle manufacturer and creator of the original tight line rig. They carry walleye harnesses, spoons, spoon harnesses, jigs, and custom painted Husky Jerks.

You have to support local talent, and Dave Domka is one!  From custom cranks to blade baits, the booth will have it ready for your spring needs.


Downriver Walleye Federation- DWF was organized to unite walleye fishermen that ply the Detroit River and Lake Erie, for the purpose of exchanging ideas and information about perhaps the finest walleye fishing in the world.

Economical Bass Baits – Mizmo BaitsOwned and operated by local Bass Pro Matt Vermillyea, featuring spinners, jigs, terminal tackle, weights, hooks and a large selection of soft plastic baits, including the Mizmo Bait brand. Matt is one of the Mich-Ohio Sportfishing Expo’s featured “Ask Your Local Pro” participants that any attendee can approach for some one on one time with a real Local Professional Bass Fisherman.

Edgemaker Knives

Everdry Waterproofing With custom tailored solutions, innovative products and a one on one approach in dealing with homeowners, their basement waterproofing team will help you create a safe dry and liveable space in your basement.

Fish and Game Finder Magazine – One of the premier hunting and fishing publications serving Ohio and Southern Michigan. See our show advertisement on newstands and tackle shops or Contact them at 

Friends of the Detroit River - Their mission is to enhance the environmental, educational, economic, cultural and recreational opportunities associated with the Detroit River watershed through citizen involvement and community action.

Gale Force Tackle - Gale Force Tackle is a Michigan family run business with over 25 years of fishing experience who supplies a complete line of custom painted spoons, harness blades and kits for walleye, salmon and steelhead.

Great Day Improvements/Patio Enclosures- Your one stop shop for all your home improvement needs and the exclusive manufacturer and installer of custom built Patio Enclosures brand sunrooms, screen rooms, and solariums. Newest to our line of products is Stanek vinyl windows- synonymous with quality and style. With over 100 years experience and a lifetime limited warranty on all products, every day can be a Great Day!

Great Lakes Art- A small Michigan based company. We hand pick all of our wood so it’s the best. Then, its turned on a lathe, by hand. Our finally project could be a lighthouse, a bowl, a tree, snowman or even a bouy or bobber. We look forward to bringing our lathe and talent to the Mich-Ohio sports fishing expo. Please feel free to stop by and say hi and watch a demonstration.

Happy Days Boating Company -  Authorized dealer for Sportcraft, Parker, Striper, Tidewater and Rinker boats, as well as Yamaha, Evinrude and Suzuki Outboard engines, and Mercruiser and Volvo I/O and Inboard Power systems,  located in Port Clinton, Ohio. The Happy Days team will have new boats on display, and will also have information and photos of their large selection of used and brokerage boats and accessories.

Hawghunter Baits – A local company that produces some of the finest custom soft plastics for bass,walleye, and pan fish. We offer expert color matching and excellent customer service. We have over 17 different baits in over 40 colors. We work with you the angler to give you what you want.

Hot Hooker Fishingis a fishing clothier. As a new player in the industry we can offer logo merchandise of any kind for you to show off your inner Hooker. We are currently carrying men’s and women’s t-shirts and can coozies, with the availability to order just about any item you desire. Grab Your Pole and show everyone you are a Hot Hooker.

The Huron River Fishing Association- A club group dedicated to fishing the Huron River out of Flat Rock, Mich., specializing in river fly fishing. Contact Ed McCarter at They will also be making and distributing a special “Dragon Fly” and soliciting donations for the Cancer Prevention Cause. The hand tied flies are made and given away and used to help raise spirits during weekly chemotherapy treatments.

If -N – When Charters / Captain Jay’s Blade Baits  – Operated by Capt. Jay Nieman, offering fishing charters specializing in springtime blade bait walleye fishing, but also any method throughout the year. They also offer a custom blade bait lure selection, worm harnesses and ice fishing lures.

You might not know Jay Nieman personally, but if you fish Lake Erie in the spring, you know his baits, simply referred to as Captain Jay’s, and these blade baits catch walleye:


Jar Head Salsa & Tortilla Chip Co. – Headquartered in Flint, MI, this premium salsa was created by Gunnery Sgt David Smith, USMC(Ret). Gunny Smith was responsible for feeding 3000 Marines a day for much of his 20 yr career, including 2 tours of Iraq. By purchasing his products you are helping to support Veterans, since Jar Head donates 10% of their gross revenue to the VFW! Common reaction to trying his product? “This is the best salsa I’ve ever tasted!”

Michigan DNR - Have questions about fishing laws or invasive species controls and programs? These are the folks to ask!

Michigan Outdoor News - is the #1 local Hunting & Fishing publication in the Great Lakes Region. Everything related to hunting, fishing, conservation and outdoor activities all in one publication. Our local Outdoor columnists and writers keep you up to date every two weeks, instead of once a month like most.

Monroe Art Studio

Ohio Division of Watercraft - The friendly staff of Ohio Conservation officers will be on hand to answer any of your questions regarding boating and fishing regulations. They are good people to know in case of problems on the water!

Ready 2 Tackle Charters - Operated by Capt. Todd Robbins,  one of our seminar speakers last year, with his custom line of walleye lures and baits. Capt. Todd also offers his special type of charter trips utilizing his 20+ years of experience.

Sit Means Sit Dog Training-   We provide basic & advanced obedience specializing in off leash control around severe distractions. We also address behavior issues including aggression. Contact us at 734-347-8228 for a FREE in-home demo/evaluation to discuss your training goals.

Slide Diver

Tackle Junky-  supplies a large variety of custom painted crank baits and Colorado blades. Now offering J.T Custom Tackle patterns on Husky Jerks sizes 6-14.  Most custom crank baits are available in deep and shallow dive versions, Shad Raps, and Visions. Whether trolling on Erie or bass fishing your favorite lake we have a bait to change your fate.

I know these guys, when I needed some special blades for a tourney once, if the painting took too long, they were ready to drive them down to me here in Monroe! I really can’t say much more than that, well I can actually…at the show there will be for the first time, fourteen new patterns on their cranks!


Tiger Quill Images  Providing vinyl graphics for boats and charter services, brag boards for dockside charters, full boat graphics and painting, stripe replacement and logo design since 1989. Jennie will be cutting vinyl graphics and MC numbers at the show, so bring your boat info!

Tight Line Tackle – Tight Line Charters - Operated by Capt. Dan Boileau, specializing in custom walleye tackle for the Detroit River and Lake Erie, and offering perch and walleye charters on the Detroit River and Lake Erie. Member of the Lockeman’s Boats and Evinrude E-TEC Pro Staff.

First met Captain Dan Boileau right at Sterling State Park one fall during one of the late November bites a few years back.  What a nice person and a wealth of knowledge about both the lake and the river.  His T-Rex  jigs are made for the Detroit River and he has all the worms and minnows you need to rig them with!




Tight Lines Jewelry - A quality line of unisex sterling silver jewelry that reflects the passion of the angler with emphasis in Fly Fishing. Renee Schatzley Gall has fished all her life and has blended her custom designing talent with her passion of fishing. There is something for every angler- pendants, rings, earrings, lapel pins, cuff links, even bracelets. Trout, bass, walleye, even the bluegill are represented along with fly reels.

Western Basin Charter Boat Association - An organization composed of United States Coast Guard approved charter captains whose goal is to educate the public on the benefits from natural resources that Lake Erie provides.

Wolverine Tackle – “The Silver Streak Family” - One of the most recognized names in the fishing products industry featuring spoons in multiple sizes, colors and patterns, custom designed and hand painted crawler harness blades and a new custom painted body bait line.

For what may be the largest tackle producer in Michigan, you will never meet a nicer or more soft-spoken owner than Chip Cartwright.  A couple of years back I picked up a #8 Indiana blade from the Silver Streak booth and first time out trolling that spring with spinner rigs, popped a 10 lber in Brest Bay.  You can see the proof on the wall behind the counter at Jeff’s Bait and Tackle!  Well naturally, I had to have more!



I cannot wait until Saturday, lil shopping for spring, and then back onto the ice to hold on to winter as long as I can!

Copyright, 2014

Jazz Up Your Ice Spoons

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

By now, this little trick has already been spilled…I spilled it!





By adding the duolock snap to my UV Buck-Shot Spoons from Northland Tackle it served two useful purposes. The first was that the extra length provided by the spoon would increase the action of the bait swinging under the spoon.  The second is that I can secure the minnow by running the shank of the treble up through head and then attaching it back to the snap.  I can use that two ways also, either with the head torn off the body, thus increasing my scent trail in the water, or for a life-like presentation, through the gills and out the mouth. You may remember it from an In-Fisherman show a few years back, but with a different type of snap.  Well I didn’t have any of those, and found out this works just as well, while providing the same action and purpose.

Recently I was gearing up for a bluegill and crappie tourney.  On the particular lake that we were to be fishing, the crappies are typically suspended over a basin.  When a location like that presents itself, I want to get my bait down as fast as possible while providing a little extra flash.  So instead of using a big spoon like the Buck-Shots, I drop down to an 1/16th Forage Minnow Spoon from Northland.  A bit heavier than your typical vertical jig, good colors to choose from and they come with a metallic silver, gold or glow back.

Yet … I still wanted to increase the action of the spoon, but small size presented a question.  How to increase my action, but because a snap could be too much hardware for the presentation vs quarry, I would have to come up with something unique.  I “fished” around the shop and eventually found my solution, some extra #1 split rings from an early project a couple of springs ago.

I took off my treble hook, added the extra split ring to the original one, and then put the hook back on.  I will not be able to secure the bait like on the larger spoons, but then again I will not be shaking it as much as I would be while walleye fishing.  Still, the little bit of extra length now added to the FM spoon will present a unique action to the crappies, without distracting them with some heavy hardware.


Copyright, 2014

The Spring Show Season is Upon Us!

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Just wrapped a nice weekend of ice fishing and made the yearly trek to the Ultimate Fishing Show in Novi! Nothing like catching some panfish, then switching gears (at least mentally) back to the open water season. Caught some nice fish down on Bolles Friday and Sunday, including this 11 inch perch the last day out.


Did pick up a few odds and ends while there, like this depth/trolling chart for Rapala’s Jointed Deep Husky Jerks. And, yes I did cut out the good info :)


I also picked up some extra ice jigs just for the Hamlin Lake tourney, the Michigan Open/Feb. 1st in Ludington. These are from Kodiak Jigs and you may remember the name from a couple of posts a few years ago.  They are back and carried everywhere in Michigan!


If you want to learn more about ice fishing than you can do in any seminar, then sign up for the Open. It is a great event and Ludington goes all out to welcome the anglers, click on this link to learn more, it is only two weeks away!

Michigan Ice Open!

And with spring around the corner (cough, cough), I also hit up one of my favorite blade shops while at the show, Michigan’s own D&B Fishing!


Some new colors, and if you have read this blog at all the last couple of years, that Maui Waui on the top right, has been a killer blade when combined with some blue and green pearl beads and my Matzuo hooks!  Rumor has it, they will be at the Monroe show, the MI-OH Sportfishing Expo at the fairgrounds the weekend of February 8th! For more info on D&B, and the show, here are two more links!


Mich-Ohio Sportfishing Expo

You can also keep track on Facebook:

Also, I will be visiting Bass Pro Shops at Great Lakes Crossing in Auburn Hills March first and second. Look for me by the St. Croix rods, and that is a Saturday and Sunday!  All the major reps will be there and know BPS as I do, there will be seminars all day long, both days!

Copyright, 2014