If you haven’t changed your attention away from ice fishing just yet (AND WHY WOULD YOU?????), the only show dedicated strictly to ice fishing will be on this morning, and every Wednesday morning, at 9:30 am! Locally in the Monroe area, that would channel 59 if you have Charter for your cable.
Archive for the ‘Tournament News’ Category
Well the NAIFC event has come and gone, but what a great experience had by all who came to fish Hamlin Lake this past weekend.
My tourney partner, John Bacarella and I got up there late Thursday night in order to get in two days of prefishing Hamlin. The house we rented with three other teams was perfect, lots of room with everything we could possibly need right there for our use. Coming back after a long day on the ice, cooking our meals and talking ice fishing …. priceless. Really wish I had taken some pics of the place and all the gear spread though out the place.
Friday night John and I gave the seminar over at the Ramada Inn and we focused on the mindset needed to compete. Probably more than any other point made was to be flexible in your philosophy while carving up a lake and tackling the strategy needed to be successful. Basically, do not get too set in your ways and be ready to adapt when you need to on the fly.
Saturday we had the best intentions to spend the day finding fish, but the clipper came in, pretty much as expected and we called it a day trying to find fish. We headed over to the kid’s clinic (held at every event) to help out with teaching the local children about ice fishing and letting them see what it is like to be out on the frozen water. There were over 130 kids attending, plus their parents!
One of the Muskegon schools had a club attend, here is a picture of the Orchard View Sportsmen’s Club with some us who helped them enjoy their experience.
On what we commonly refer to as game day, we waited in the lineup to be released.
We hit a weed bed along with half the field, not much happened on the edge we were on so we moved to a spot outside the group and went to work catching some nice gills. Although gills we weighed were pretty good, not catching a crappie in the soup was our downfall. We did move down to the other side of the lake and try to pick up some good ones, but that trip through the slush was for naught. Stopped at one more spot with no luck and decided the best line of attack was to go back and slug it out with the other teams in our original spot. Picked up a few more fish that we could use to cull out a few smaller ones from the eight that would be turned in.
I did mention it was slushy out there, this is what the quad looked like after actually cleaning a lot off the underneath of the Polaris I fish with.
Quick shot of the field that was used as our parking lot.
During the weigh-in back at the Ramada, for a brief time we were in 5th place. When the scales settled, we ended up in 16th place out of 50+ teams that signed up.
One of Michigan’s summer time jewels is nestled on the “Mitt’s” west coast. Known far and wide for its natural beauty and great salmon fishing, Ludington is about to be invaded for the second year in a row by ice anglers from around the Midwest for the weekend of January 15th and 16th. What draws the iceheads to this city with the smalltown feel?
Hamlin Lake is the answer to the question. The small lake near the Michigama, ( native for big lake) is known for its good bluegill fishing, but as the anglers proved last year at the qualifying event, there are many big crappie to be had. Many came back to the scale weighing in above the one pound plateau.
Years ago, the guys who fished the circuit would come into a new town and destroy the myths on how you had to approach the fish in the nearby lakes to be successful by the locals. They would have their set methods, and in their own way they would be rewarded at the end of the day with a fair catch to bring home. Being confident they would come out to the lake on tourney day, only to be sent home fishless and puzzled as to what had happend.
Last year Hamlin continued a recent trend that those who pay close attention have noticed over the past season or two. The locals know how to fish! No longer are they sitting on their hole all day long waiting for the fish to appear as in years past. They are dissecting, moving, and aggressively attacking the lake like seasoned pro’s. Proof positive can be found in the final standings after last year’s weigh-in.
Why the “sudden” change? So many factors can be attributed to the better results it really is hard to pinpoint one single, or even three single reasons. It could be the overall increase in the sports popularity, people reading and attending seminars, soaking up the knowledge of those experienced in the modern methods of ice fishing. Magazine articles, videos and forums, where fisherman get ideas, put them to the test and then discuss with others in the sport’s wide following of men and women.
Most can be attributed to Dave Genz, the founder and spokesman for the modern methods being deployed in the sport today. Some of it lies with circuit reglulars like; Myron Gilbert, Joe Pikulski, Tony Boshold, Doug Bussian, Jeff Wright, Mike Boedecker and the 2010 NAIFC champions Bart Sitarz and Joe Jowrski, who took the lessons with great success to places they had never been before. Along the way, people took notice and if copying their approach comes close to flattery, they have a lot to be proud of.
Another reason for the higher placed finishes by local anglers is the equipment available to everyone these days. Not that some guys had all the secrets under wraps, but more so the fact that they put the gear into practice before others did. These days the tackle and equipment is literally available everywhere at the touch of a keyboard stroke. More anglers are tightlining like Dave Young with high vis lines like Suffix’s tangerine ice line so they can notice those delicate bites. Entrepreneurs like circuit regular John Bacarella, are designing gear made for the modern ice fisherman. His Sonic Ice Hopper has changed the way the teams approach the ice with their Vexilars and make the concept of being mobile their own.
Companies like Northland Tackle are producing jigs that work in high pressured areas on the lakes. The rods we have available are nothing short of amazing, with spring bobbers/bite indicators like those from St. Croix Rods can help take any angler to the next skill level. Several teams including my own are running electric augers from Ice Gator that tear up the ice at speeds not seen before, helping cover more ice and finding the active fish.
If you haven’t signed up yet for the NAIFC Ludington qualifying event, there is still time! You can go to the circuit website to this link right now.
Call or email Kathy Roberts, her information is at the bottom of the page and she will get you signed up for the event right away. Kathy is great and will be able to answer any of your questions.
Still on the edge and not sure? The Wednesday before the tourney there will be a seminar with past national champion, Tony Boshold, hosted by the Sportsman’s pub in downtown Ludington. There will be a kid’s clinic provided free of charge Saturday morning, where some of the regulars from the circuit will work with the children while they are actually fishing on Lake Hamlin.
Still not sure, then come to the Ludington Ramada Inn Friday night for the meet and greet and see what the experience is all about. The city is one of the best hosts on the circuit and it won’t take you long to find out why. But be warned, bring your checkbook because once you see and talk to the guys, you will be hooked!
I caught a new show for Versus yesterday afternoon, The Next Bite. It was all about trolling down by the Bass Islands in the spring during the temperature transition time period. That time slot when it could go either way with the type of lures that you use, cranks or harnesses.
It revolves around that 50 degree mark we all watch that says its time to put away the cranks and break out the crawler spinner rigs. Not familiar with this little golden rule of trolling? Below 50′ and you should be pulling cranks behind your boards, anything above and its time to dunk some worms behind the spinner blades.
But, like anything in fishing, every golden rule has some wiggle room. When the temps hover right around that 50′ mark, +/- a degree, it becomes a gray area. The topic of the show dealt with that very slot, and started pulling meat and cranks during the same sets. Not a set on television show where the action takes place, but when you put your boards out, they are often referred to as your “set”.
Anyway, with any show about fishing, I was looking for content instead of flash. The Next Bite provided both, but with more content than most shows. Have heard for years guys tinkering with putting a piece of crawler on the belly hook of the crank, and they even said they will put a chunk of Gulp on as well. Already started the wheels spinning, and think I nice big ol’ Jumbo Wedgee from Little Atom might be a nice added attraction to try this spring.
If you want to catch this particular show again on trolling walleyes on Lake Erie, you can watch again Thursday morning at 7:30 am, or set your recorder type device to tape/save it.
If you aren’t ready to start thinking about open water fishing just yet and still need to get your ice fix going, then tune in at 9:30 Wednesday morning to watch the Ice Men. Its the start of season 3 I believe, and might show some of the action from the championship just completed in Rhinelander, Wisconsin the weekend before Christmas.
This season promises more in depth, how to stuff. Again, more content than fluff. What every angler really wants, more fishing and the techniques used to get the job done. Looking forward to see how the changes pan out.
For those of you wanting to see what the competition is all about, you have to sign up and fish the Hamlin Lake event in Ludington, Michigan the weekend of the 16th in January. The team is heading up Thursday night to get a couple of days of pre-fishing in before the Sunday tourney. For more information, go to www.naifc.com !
Well here it is two days before Christmas, and just getting around to typing out a report on how last week went in Rhinelander, Wisconsin fishing for the NAIFC circuit championship. Been unpacking, reorganizing, and yes…even babysitting my (cute as button) niece, Lani. Still have more to do in the reorganizing department, but that is the way it always goes coming back from the first time out.
It always seems that you pack too much for the first trip and by the end of the season, you get down to the nitty gritty. Should have taken some pictures of the inside of the place we stayed at, but to be honest it was quite a mess with us and three other 2 man teams in the place. Gear and laptops everywhere, kind of surprised the place cleaned up so nice.
Here are some shots of the group’s machines, last Wednesday morning in 20 below temps.
Lost a day of pre-fishing right off the bat last Monday when the battery on the quad went dead. $130 bucks later at the local Polaris dealer, and she was firing up like a top. As of yesterday, still waiting for the Wisconsin ice to finish melting off the under carriage back in the shop.
Pre-fishing was tough, ended up eliminating a lot of water for the first couple of days. By that I mean, didn’t find a whole lot of fish in the places we were looking. Finally on Wednesday toward the end of the day, this crappie was suspended above a crib. She was what we call a “Zoomer”, they see the bait, and ZOOM up to it, no hesitation, just try for a grab and run!
Thursday we left for the second lake on the agenda to scout it out. Found some fish scattered and headed back to the first one for another day of tearing up the ice. It was there that we discovered another place to catch some big crappie like this one.
That night there was the rules meeting. Its a good chance to see the guys you have been buzzing around on the ice all week, but do not have the time to stop and chit chat.
Went back to the house and tooled up for the next morning after the meeting. It was probably the quickest rules meeting I had ever been too, which was really nice. Plenty of time to get back and rig up rods and take care of batteries! These are the shots of the line up in the morning on Saturday.
Those are it for the pics, got caught up in the moments Saturday and Sunday. We were a pound and half out after Saturday, and on Sunday…lets just say we swung for a home run on the big crappie and it didn’t turn out so well. At least on my end, my partner stuck five nice crappie. I rolled two on the hookset and lost a good one half way up the hole. Not the best moment, but I keep telling myself that is why they call it fishing!
Lots of good ice back here now, and looking forward to getting on some before heading up to Ludington for a qualifier in mid-January.
Have been up in Rhinelander, Wisconsin prefishing for the 2 day championship . Tonight is the rules meeting and will be leaving in a few hours after getting geared up for Lake Thompson, the first of two lakes on schedule for championship weekend. Sunday we move to Lake George.
Have been concentrating on crappies all week, with the sizes being pulled up though the ice, the bluegills have not been a major concern. The sizes dont seem to be there, they will be an after thought I am afraid. They just haven’t been showing any real size. The crappies on the other hand could produce 10+ lb limits for 8 fish. Here are some of the pics from this week prefishing.
One of the best sounds in the morning is the ringing of the doorbell announcing the arrival of an UPS or FedEx delivery. In this case it meant that my new FL-22HD Vexilar ice fishing unit has arrived. I have already heard from my buds, its only September they say! I say its time to start thinking about ice fishing, and there are a lot of new products on their way for this 2010-2011 season!
For all the new features and how to work the newest model of 3 color flasher from Vexilar, just click on this link: Vexilar’s FL-22 HD The new 3 ducer tech, allows you to adjust your cone angle in all types of fishing situations. You will also see how to work the other models available from Vexilar by just clicking on the model you have or are interested in!
Since I am on the staff for Vexilar, I have to keep on top of the newest products, and if anyone ever has any questions, you can even go to my pro staff page: Chuck Mason on Vexilar and click on the email section to ask questions without posting them on this site. As always, readers can also reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org , as well.
Taking that method to the extreme this year has been Matt Peterson of Fish Bones Custom Lures. What Matt calls the Slasher Rig is a combination of attractor and then crawler harness. Here are some of the paint combinations:
Unlike earlier models that were available, these slashers have some nice action to them, where as before it was more of a subtle movement. This allows fish to be called in from a good distance off, this is particularly nice in lakes like Erie that do not have a lot of bottom structure to hold fish. Cruising eyes can be called in by both the flash of the Slasher and the blade thumping through the water behind it.
This year Matt has been attending a lot of the big tourneys held on the AIM and MWC circuits, where his pro-staff has been catching some big fish. From Erie, to Saginaw all the way up to Green Bay, Wisconsin lunkers are being landed on the Slasher rig.
I met Matt about a year ago and a walleye dinner event, and he is both knowledgeable about not only his product but walleye fishing in general. Good people. You can visit Matt on Facebook by simply typing in ” Fish Bones Custom Lures”, ask him anything about the product, he is quick to respond or you can email Matt at this address: email@example.com
Had another great weekend on Erie, Friday pre-fishing for Jeff’s Bait and Tackle Shops 2nd Annual Walleye Tourney and then on Saturday during and after the tourney.
Friday was the day to work out any bugs that might have been in the program for the tourney on Saturday. I busted out the Hot Wings from Mack’s Lures, and my newest bright idea, using Blue Fox Sonic Vibrax Spinners (minus the treble hook) Size #4 as flashers/attractors in front of the harness.
Both approaches caught fish, in fact one of them ended up catching this surprise fish….a muskie!
She was starting wiggle some while this pic was being taken. I had to get her back in the water and didn’t have time to get another one, going to estimate at 36 inches. We had a good day and caught lots of fish, but nothing big enough to say this is the program we are going to run tomorrow. After getting our 12th fish for our Ohio limit, we called it quits for the day. It was time to head back and get things geared up for an early morning on Saturday.
Once I got back to the house, I found what I had been waiting for, a package from Northland with the bigger #6 sized blades I wanted for Saturday. Last year during Jeff’s first tourney the #5 blades (Baitfish Holographic Golden Shiner) had produced really well during the mayfly hatch. Even though this year the hatch was starting to tail down, there were still some fresh bugs coming up from the bottom.
I spent the rest of the night Friday putting those on some snells that I had already made up, for just such an occasion! I also put some more D&B Fishing’s Brown Goby on some other rigs. That brown was catching fish on Friday in the morning while the water was cool enough for the fish to be higher in the water column!
Saturday morning and 3 am came way too early, but the gear was ready and even though there was only a couple of hours of sack time, my contacts were in and I was wide awake! Called the neighbor, my fishing bud the last couple of years, to make sure he was up and he was! Another good sign! We loaded up andran to Jeff’s to meet up with his brother. Then the down time, waiting for the other boats to arrive for the captains meeting and to get on the lake.
Once on the water we made a bee line for going past Sputnik and hitting the Canadian line. Warm water mean deep fish and away we went on a 50 min sprint for our starting point. We get the lines set and see Tony Vitale, his brother Joe and partner Lenny Layhew north of us about a mile and running the same drift. These are the guys who took first last year, andafter finishing second that year, we had a pretty good friendly rivalry going. We had finished a spot or two ahead of them during the Lori C. Alston Relay for Life tourney, but this is the tourney that both boats had been looking forward too.
Radio chatter didn’t help matters much, by the time we had four in the box, they were on seven caught. By the time they had 14 in the boat, we had just started culling our top five. But, its not the number of fish caught, just the size that counts. At least that is what I kept telling myself, so that is going to be my story, and I better stick to it!
We made three or four passes on that drift line and things were going pretty good. All six Church Mr. Walleye Boards were running hot, straight andtrue through the 3 footers that kicked up. We finally settled on a program of running our 2 oz Bass Pro Keel weights 45 feet behind the boards and seemed to be dialed in. The bigger Northland blades took most of the fish, but some old Fishlander#5 Copper Confusion blades were taking a few as well. It really was all about matching the bug hatch for us Saturday. All I could think though after Friday, was no MUSKIE, NO MUSKIE! It was the last thing I wanted to deal with!
Around noon, we picked up the gear and decided to head back to the launch at Sterling State Park and get the boat loaded up. By that time some 3 plus foot waves had been kicked up by the wind. An hour and 10 minutes later we were back at the launch and waiting to get the boat loaded. Made it to the bait shop 15 minutes later and then the waiting began till the weigh-in started.
Long story short, same top three results as last year. Tony andcrew won again, I took second and the same boat took 3rd place. The weights were up a bit, but we till had a 1 lb difference between first andsecond place. Congrats to those guys, good anglers and even better people. Thanks again for Eric @ Jeff’s Bait for hosting the tourney and Domka Outdoors for being the sponsor of another fine tourney!
Here are some more pics of the fish we caught and some other things that might help some guys out while fishing a tourney or derby the next time they go out!
Our Top Five that got weighed in.
Our total catch.
One of the big fish, plus the Northland Ruler and the homemade culling system that I had made up.
The culling system worked GREAT, but one thing I did when I got back home was to put a slight edge on the snap hooks for easier use.
If you missed the post about the cull system, you can make one yourself fast and fairly inexpensively. Take one of those cheap metal clip style fish stringers andtake the clips off. Then get a lengthof wire withsome crimps, or use some big mono if you have any laying around. Next get some bobbers and attach the ends of the wire to the clip andfloats. Then findsome spray paint laying around and color coat your bobbers! This worked so well, I would measure the fish, slip on a clip, andthen write down the length and get ready for the next big fish!
Our second place trophy.
The rest of our prize package.
The real prize, cheeks and fillets! Got smart this year and decided to actually write on the freezer bag how many fillets were in each zip lock!
Last but not least, found out what happens when you drop off the fish guts back by the ditch, you get every buzzard in Monroe County flying over for lunch!