Archive for the ‘Fishing Websites/Stores’ Category

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.

 

BigEyeCustomLures.com

BigEyeCustomLures.com

 

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.

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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.

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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

 

 

 

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

Monday, March 24th, 2014

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

http://northwoodsoutlet.net/store/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=2249

http://www.fishusa.com/Product/Church-Tackle-TX-007-Stern-Planer

http://www.ebay.com/itm/CHURCH-TACKLE-TX-007-STERN-PLANER-NEW-/181141301000

http://www.walleyetacklestore.com/2081080.html

http://www.xtackle.com/church-tackle-TX-007.aspx

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 http://www.huronvalleysc.org

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.

SEMINAR SPEAKERS

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!

 

Vendors

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

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. www.amishoutfitters.com

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. www.anglersquesttackle.com or www.walleye101.com/capt_paul_charters

*Home of the Ghost Blades and a great captain!

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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. www.bigpapasportfishing.com

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!

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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. www.brestbaymarina.com

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. www.cabelas.com

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 www.fishwithandy.com

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 www.ciscofishingsystemsltd.com

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 drbugscharters.com

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. www.domkaoutdoors.com

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.

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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. www.dwfonline.com

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. www.economicalbassbaits.com

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. www.everdrytoledo.com

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 ofishgamefin@woh.rr.com 

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. www.detroitriver.org

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. www.galeforcetackle.com

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! www.greatdayimprovements.com

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. www.greatlakesartllc.com

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.  www.happydaysboating.com

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. www.hawghunterbaits.net

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. hothookerfishing.com

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 ed0120@hotmail.com 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. www.huronriverfishing.com

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. www.ifnwhen.com

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:

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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!” www.jarheadsalsa.com

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. www.outdoornews.com/Michigan

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. www.ready2tackle.com

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.  www.sitmeanssitofsem.com

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. www.Tacklejunky.com

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!

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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! www.tigerquill.com

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. www.tightlinecom.com

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!

T-Rex-Colors

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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. tightlinesjewelry.com

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.  www.charterwalleye.com

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. www.wolverinetackle.com

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!

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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!

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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 :)

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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!

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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!

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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!

D&B Fishing.com

Mich-Ohio Sportfishing Expo

You can also keep track on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/471461566297224/?ref=22

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

Vexilar’s New FLX-28 Video

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Vexilar just released the new video on YouTube five days ago.  The video explains all the new features, as well as some of the best standard features.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BXXgv1GW5w

 

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Here are some of the features on the 28:

The features found in the FLX-28 read like the wish list of avid ice anglers starting with digital

depth, Auto Range, Two zoom zones, battery status, FIVE color palettes to select from for

maximum visibility, five foot depth range adjustments starting at 10 feet, Maximum range of

300, Day and Night display brightness settings, Low power options for fishing in super shallow

water, a unique Weed Mode for better performance while fishing in weeds. And to top it all off,

the unit even has its own Demo mode so you can show non-Vexilar fans how the system works

with a lifelike fish catching simulation to watch.

“What most people will not see with the FLX-28 is the advanced technology that has gone into

the making of this system,” stated Corey Studer, Vexilar Pro Staff Manager. “Vexilar has been

working for years to develop a unique brushless data transfer system which is the heart of what

customers will be seeing in many future Vexilar sonar systems in the years to come. The new

data transfer system opens flasher technology to do so much more than just show depth. For sure

this will continue Vexilar’s dominance as the world’s first and best ice fishing sonar systems.

If you would like to learn more about the FLX-28 and the other Products Vexilar is offering, just

go to

WWW.VEXILAR.COM

Those five color palettes that are mentioned is something to really look at it, for the first time ever, a unit has been introduced that is “color blind” friendly.  The option was always available to send any Vexilar unit it and have it adapted for those with color blindness, but it is already built into the unit.

Copyright, 2013

 

2013 Walleye Tip #3: Flash ‘Em High, Thump ‘Em Low……

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

……and mix it up in the middle.

That is the third installment of my walleye tips for this year and it is all about hitting the walleye where they live when fishing with crawler harnesses, in the water column, so to speak.  There are days on the water where you can technique specifically target walleye were they are.  Sometimes “max flash” up high will out perform the bottom “thump”, but only because of the location of the fish in the water column.  When the are suspended, anything goes and you just need to fine tune the presentation on the fly.

Some methods call for running your spinner rigs up and down the water column on both sides of the boat, even depths on one side, odd depths on other side.  My favorite method uses the blade presentation to target fish high in the water on one side, while going low on the opposite side. The more lines in the water, the better the coverage you have. Don’t worry if you are the solitary angler type, you can still accomplish this, but it will take a little more work.

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When fishing high in the water column, let’s say in 18 foot of water, early in the spring, I want to start out with my first outside line running 4 to 5 foot below the surface.  To accomplish that I have some 1/4 ounce bottom bouncers that I run 20 to 22 foot behind my Walleye Boards from Church Tackle.  You can even use a split shot in the same size,  six feet in front of the presentation. And, if you have some really small inline weights, they work just as good. The Double Action Flag System on the Church Boards allow you to set the tension for pulling back while running different presentations, it really is the true universal way to fish for walleyes.

Church Tackle's Walleye Board

Church Tackle’s Walleye Board

 

From there I work down to the middle of my depth range of 9′ on the shallow side.  Last year was my first year of playing around with the “Alabama Rig” style of presentation. When it comes to giving walleye the concept of a  ”max flash” presentation, it doesn’t get any flashier than this. In this case I ran willow blades as my teaser on four equally spaced out arms, while in the middle bringing up the rear was a short 18 inch spinner rig with Matzuo  Octopus Sickle Hooks.

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For two weeks straight last year this presentation was on FIRE. 80% percent of the walleye we caught came on the rig.  One of the times where you tinker with a concept and it just all comes together better than you expected…awesome feeling of accomplishment.

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Rigs made up with willow blades also work great, but over the past three seasons I have been using more and more of these big #8 Indiana blades from Silver Streak. Both the Indy’s and these Whiptail blades from D&B Fishing.com, give you the elongated flash presentation, but add a lil’ extra noise as they spin along.

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When concentrating on the bottom half of the water column, keep in mind these presentations go on the other side of the boat,  it is time to bring out the standard in creating thump type noises, the Colorado blade.

BigEye Custom Lures.com

BigEye Custom Lures.com

 

From nine foot or roughly in the middle of the water column, down to my bottom of 18 feet, it is noise making time. Although the #4′s and #5 sized blades still have a time and place, most of the time, bigger is truly better when it comes to fishing for walleye on the Great Lakes and the #6′s rule. Stagger those blades out, hitting roughly 9′, 14′ and 17 foot down.  Drag the bottom if you have to!

In the early spring, copper shmopper, give me a bright blue or shiny purple on a silver blade, and watch the boards go back!  Something like  Blue Perch  or Paula’s Pride from BigEyeCustomLures.com,  that will give the illusion of a bait fish swimming along during the transition of  from the minnow lure bite to the true crawler bite. White bases like Confetti, Emerald Shiner and Baby Doll are also very effective when mixing it up early in the year.

With a spread like that going through the column, it wont take long to figure out where the fish are living.  Adjust on the fly if need be, and remember that often in the early hours of the morning, most of your fish will be up high in the water actively feeding. Let the fish tell you what mix of blade styles they want and then give them as many of those presentations as you can!

Copyright, 2013

Matzuo Kinchou Minnow Cranks on Sale at Fish USA.comT

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

This minnow crankbait was introduced at the ICAST show, where everything new is introduced to the fishing world.

KinchouMinnow_colors

 

The 4.75″ size has already been proven a walleye killer on Lake Erie.  The bait is similar to some Erie favorites, but with some distinct differences, including its own unique wobble. It also has a back fin, but the flared blood red gills are what makes it stand apart.  When the walleye gets drawn in, the wide, flared gills makes the lure look like a struggling baitfish.

KinchouMinnow

KinchouMinnow_detail

 

They come in several sizes, from the smallest being the “Nano” to the 4.75 inch, which I would call perfect for the big water and chasing walleyes. This size will get you down to 20 foot and keep you in the strike zone. Even at the slower speeds we use in the spring, the bait provides enough action in the colder water to entice bites.

They are now on sale at FishUSA.com’s website.  Follow the link below to choose the colors you want to get started with. Kind of partial to Purpledescent and Stiletto, myself.

http://www.fishusa.com/Matzuo-Kinchou-Minnow_p.html?utm_source=flyer&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=flyer2013-3-26

Copyright, 2013

Getting Ready for a Little Spring……Painting

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

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This past week I received my order of powder paints from TJ’s Tackle.com .  These guys from Michigan have in my opinion the best selection of colors around.  When I shopped around for a fluid bed, they had by far, the best price. Picked up a couple of new “candy” colors, resupplied a couple of standards and a jar of clear with a small container of holographic glitter for some finesse looks. There are probably a few more colors to get, but for right now, this spring, I think I am ready.

One of the reasons I like powder paints for my jigs and other projects is the famed durability of the paint itself. Once you heat your “subject”, apply the paint, and then cure in an oven, it forms a very durable finish.  You can literally drop a jig on the cement floor and not chip the finish. Now think of the underwater terrain of the Detroit River and Lake Erie, and it makes sense that you want your jig to be able to stand up to the harshest of conditions.  Zebra muscles, reefs and rocks…..Oh My!

Last fall I placed an order from Do-It Molds for my first molds to make my own jigs, baits and sinkers.

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Why make your own “stuff”?  For myself, where do I start should be the question.  When thinking about it, heritage definitely plays a part.  Dad’s family is from the Downriver area of Detroit and fishing on the Detroit River  was a favorite place to go. Grandpa made a lot of his own equipment, including converting the old Victrola’s into handline reels.  It was a different day and age back in the 1930′s and 40′s, if you saw a need for something, you simply made it yourself.  Dad and my uncles were the same way, if they saw something as a problem to overcome, they solved it themselves. One uncle even went so far as to make his very own planer boards from the designs published in an issue of “Popular Mechanics”.

These days I do it for some of the same reasons, one being to make the lure the way I want it. Crawler harnesses or spinner rigs are a great example. I do not want the factory standard 14 lb test mono for the fishing I do on Lake Erie, with all the zebra mussels out there, nothing less than 20 lb test will do.  Also, I don’t care for just two hooks on my rigs, more often or not the crawler would come back with the tail section bitten off, or the worm was in snipped in half between the two hooks. Detest missing fish more than almost anything, so I tie my rigs with three hooks. Then there was the year where I could just not keep the white perch and silver bass  from stealing the worms left and right.  It reminded me of a pro who had told me that they had won a tourney using plastic worms and it worked the next time I went out. But, I still wasn’t happy with it. On the big water, #2 sized hooks are the standard for just about everyone.  My issue was the hook gap with the rubber worms, my solution was to slightly modify my presentation.  I bought some size #1, Matzuo Sickle Hooks and used those as my lead hook right behind the beads.  Most strikes take place near the spinner itself, so for that one hook I went bigger, and still used two #2′s for my trailers. Problem solved, it put more fish in the boat, and I did it myself.

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Satisfaction is another key reason.  Let’s face it, if you can do it yourself, and it catches more fish than what is readily available in retail locations, it is pretty satisfying.  It gives you a sense of well deserved accomplishment.  Sure you might have your “misses” along the way, but the “hits” are definitely worth the wait.

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One of those “hits” for me has been adapting the current Lake Erie Hair Jig, and as the commercial says, making it my own.  Lots of the standard one or two color hair patterns work, and they work well.  In fact, I probably did not need to tinker with the concept at all, as you can see above, the ones I tied turned out pretty well. In my head though, there was more I could do, call it giving it an artistic flair. Two of my hottest cranks last fall were the Helsinki and Regal shads from Rapala, so I made up some shad like patterns in the hair.

Helsinki Shad

Helsinki Shad

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Regal Shad

Regal Shad

 

Even that wasn’t enough,  so I took some more of the jigs that I had poured, then powder painted and revamped an old idea.  Way back when, say five to seven years ago, I read where the legendary Gary Roach had used skirting to dress up his spinner rigs. I had gone a step further when I rigged a few choices up with the same type of tinsel “hair” that they use in making salmon flies.  Classic fail on my part, did not catch a single walleye.

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But, not being the type to let an old idea die in peace, I brought back the look for this spring. Hopefully it works better on the jig, than it did on the rig. Not a huge fan of green lures, but I have big hopes for the bottom one with the Dragonfly painted head and the green tinsel. Face it, it looks pretty sweet and a lot of lures are designed to catch the angler’s attention, even if he made it himself.  I almost, half jokingly hope this is a fail, that tinsel is HARD to tie, but if it works, you know I will doing more of them soon.

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So with so many new ideas for this spring, there is only one more thing to do today, and that is to paint some more jigs out in the shop!

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Copyright, 2013

New Walleye Product for 2013, the TX-007 Stern Planer from Church Tackle

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

stern planer prototype2

 

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Got my new TX-007′s, the new stern planer from Church Tackle, recently via UPS. This addition to the Church line-up of planer boards is sure to be the next “BIG THING” in any angler’s arsenal when it comes to walleye fishing. Now, not only will walleye fishermen be seeing what is under the boat on the graphs, they will be able to specifically target the depths those fish are on! Before you would have a spread of boards off to the side of the boat, now you are running lines right on top of them.

My first thought naturally is that this is going to be huge on the Great Lakes,  and I started diagramming planer board spreads in my head. Then my thoughts went to Minnesota, where open water anglers are only allowed one rod while fishing. This could lead to a revolution in walleye fishing, in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” no less.  Think about it, instead of running lines directly behind the boat, often guessing how line is trailing behind them. Now they will be able to break out the linecounters, measure out to the desired depth, set the -007′s and let them slide further back, increasing the distance behind the motor. Less noise, always equals more fish in the boat!

stern planer diagram

Above is the diagram from Church’s website,  I already made some changes for running a crew of four in the ol’ Crestliner. Thinking local tourneys already!  Will run my Walleye boards off to the sides in the standard pattern, then run the four stern boards off the back, giving me a pretty good spread of 10 rods.  That’s two short of what Michigan allows, since each person is allowed 3 rods each while fishing MI state waters.  When the walleyes are hugging bottom, I can even put a guy up in the bow and have him man a pair off bottom bouncer rods up front, which would be the maximum of 12 rods allowed for four people.

In Ohio, where anglers are still only allowed two rods each, the spreads could have quite a few possible combinations. Since normally there are two other people in the boat with me, that only puts six rods in the water.  I could put four Walleye boards off to the side, and then run two of the Stern Planers off the back.  Or, if the fish are telling me something different I can either run four -007′s off the back with only two side boards. And, if for some reason the side seems to be the hot program, then all six lines will be run off to the sides.

The important thing, as always is let the fish dictate the program you run any given day. Never go into a trip with a firm idea of how things are going to go on that specific day.  Be flexible, it will allow you to stay on top of what the fish are doing that day.  It might be a little extra work with re-setting a few lines, but in the long run it will make your fishing experience a better one!

 

Copyright, 2013