Showing posts with label crappie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crappie. Show all posts

Monday, June 11, 2018


The CARF #icatchsmallfishtour2018 just received a power boost.  A boost in the form of an electric trolling motor for my Flycraft Stealth.  Little fish beware, I am now able to find you faster!

Minn Kota C2 45
The maiden voyage for the new trolling motor was a local lake.  The sun was shining, and I was armed with a 7 and 10 wt rod, a Ziplock bag full of flies, a fully charge marine battery and a new trolling motor.  The table was set for me to dominate, and dominate I did.  These small fish never had a chance.

Pig Farm Pinkie holding up a 10 lb Larry
The trolling motor worked great, and I was able to get out to the spots I know that hold small fish so much faster than before.  They never saw me coming.  I was tossing a small black woolly bugger-esk fly with a conehead, and I SLAYED.  I even slayed while LIVE on Instagram.  If you don't follow me, you should.  There will be more live fishing outings in the future.

5 lbs of crappie
There was a point in time where I was hooking up with a crappie almost every cast.  I must have caught like 347.5 crappie of all different sizes.  If I had a bucket, I might have taken a few home for some table fare.  They were much bigger than the 5lb crappie I am holding in the picture above, but I decided that I'd let them see another day.  I have their address, so, I'll be revisiting them in the future.

The CARF Fish Slaying Water Craft
The trolling motor works great, and is more than capable to scoot the Flycraft around the lake.  Looking forward to getting it out on a river to test it's ability against some current.


Trolling Motor -

**The above links are Amazon Associate links**

Monday, January 15, 2018


Lightfield BBQ and I were back on the ice and exploring new hard water.  I don't know what I would do without the phone app Navionics.  It's seriously the best $10 I've spent in a long long time.  Without it, I would have no idea the depth I am fishing in my raft, kayak, or when I am out ice fishing.

Is your Navionics working??
On this day, we were on the hunt for anything.  Having only caught 1 fish in our previous outing "WALLY WALLY - WHERE YA AT" we decided that we would set out with the goal of just catching fish.  Any fish.  So we targeted some shallower water.

How Swiss Cheese is made.
After popping a popping some holes and contributing to making this lake look like Swiss cheese, we set up shop, and got our flashers in the holes and were immediately marking fish.  Time to get our jigs down there and see who wants to play.

Red illumination coming from the heater is a very welcomed sight when the temperature is in the single digits.  Lights on the flashers are even more welcome, and get the adrenaline going so that you can temporarily forget about the cold.

The game of lights.
We both were making so many fish.  I literally had my face in the hole as I was watching the fish take turns swipe at my jig.  I spotted a few sizable fish with my eyeballs, but the small ones were the only willing participants.  I changed jigs a few times to bigger sizes, but still nada.

Monsters Exist.
Lightfield and I had some fun none the less, hooking up with a plethora of small perch and 2 sunnies.  Nothing worthy to keep, but still a lot better than just sitting there wonder if I was ever going to see my rod bend.

The long arm technique to make catches look bigger.

The release back into the ice hole.
This ice fishing sport is quickly growing on me, and I'm looking forward to getting out on the ice a lot more, and hopefully experiencing what it's like to hook into much bigger fish.  My first fish of the 2018 year was this 10 pound perch (pictured below).  I couldn't believe the gut on this one.  It looked as if it had eaten a bowling ball.

10 pound perch.
Some advice for all fisher-people, regardless of time of year, fly fishing, gear fishing, and ice fishing.  Don't forget to close up your tackle boxes before bumping your ass into them.  That is of course, if you're not in training to be the best at the game pick up sticks.

Gear all over the place is my favorite.
Instagram - @JUSTINCARF


Rod Holder -

**The above links are Amazon Associate links**

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


This was my first fishing outing of the new year, and we were on the hard water in search of anything...but mostly walleyes and crappie.

Lightfield clearing some snow for the hub.
We pulled up to the lake we were going to fish, and there were quite a few vehicles and ice shelters already out.  It was a good sign to my homie, but to me, it just added to the fear of being on the ice.

Poppin' holes.

A gas powered auger is a luxury...need to get one for myself.
After drilling some holes, setting up the hub, we were inside sitting pretty.  I have never had such luxuries in the few times I have been out ice fishing.  A gas auger, 4 person hub, propane heater, and camping chairs...I felt like I was in the Presidential Suite.  I could get used to this...

The Presidential Suite.
We each had 2 rods rigged up.  One setup to dead stick a minnow, and the other we were jigging with.  The fishing was really slow.  We were fishing in about 26 feet of water near some drop offs, with hopes there were be fish hanging around the edges.  We also chose our spot, because, there were a bunch of other ice shelters around. :)

Working it.

I could get used to this.

Waiting for some action on the flasher.
Late in the afternoon, just as I was about to go out to the truck for something, I had glanced down at my flasher, there were some extra lights.  Finally some action!  I slowly jigged my lure and then my rod bent.  I set the hook and began to quickly reel, but the fish came undone after 2 seconds.  Bummer!  It felt like a good one, too.

Shortly after my failed attempt to bring a fish in, my buddy Lightfield marked a few more fish and he was then hooked up.  This fish put a solid bend in his rod.
Lightfield hooked up on his custom FSA Custom Rods ice rod.
Lightfield found Wally.  It was the only fish that we caught, and it was a good one.  Would have been nice to hook up with a few more, but I was just happy to be out fishing.  Looking forward to getting back out on the hard water.  Just need to get some ice fishing gear of my own.

Lightfield and Wally.



**The above links are Amazon Associate links**

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Big Trout Flies

Since moving to Minnesota, I have been trout fishing more in the past 3 months than I have the past 4 years when I lived back in Illinois.  I have also learned that trout don't shy away from big flies, either.  Usually, the big trout flies are streamers of some sort, and tied by Aaron Przybylski of Scavenger Fly or Matt Ebbers.  I've decided to mix it up and tie up some very effective small flies, bigger.... 

What do you think?

Don't forget the little caption contest I'm hosting - CAPTION CONTEST.  The winner will be chosen tomorrow afternoon.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Illinois Smallmouth Alliance & DRiFT Present: 2015 Early Show

Show season has begun.  Last month the ISA (Illinois Smallmouth Alliance)and DRIFT (DuPage River Fly Tyers) hosted their annual "Early Show" at the Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook.

The plan was to meet up and fish Salt Creek near the show with Dave of Chi-Tie / Urban Assault Fly Fishing, and Adam of Adam Alexander Photography at 06:30, but I had one of those mornings.  You know, the one where you just continue to sleep, and wake up at a time, later than the one discussed.

I arrived at the show around 12:30.  Much later than I had anticipated.  I was looking forward to sitting in on a presentation on fly fishing the Driftless Area of Wisconsin presented by my buddy PJ, but unfortunately when I sat down, he began the Q&A, which normally only takes place at the end.

PJ and his wife Donna are two of the most pleasant people you will ever meet.  They both love to fish, and are both very knowledgeable, so, if you're ever looking for a guide for Southwest Wisconsin, shoot him an email.  He even has cool shirts!
Facebook -- PJ's Guide Service
Email/Contact --
One of my few purchases at the show. Artwork by Jonathan Marquardt of Badaxe Design.
Throughout the show, there were casting demonstrations going on outside on the lawn.  Someone mentioned to me that if I haven't casted a double handed/spey/switch rod, that I should go out there and try it out, because, Douglas, the guy teaching it was awesome.  

They were spot on about the instructor.  His instruction was knowledgeable, clear, easy to follow, and funny.  After learning how to spey and switch cast, I now want a two handed rod.  While I only spent about an hour with Douglas learning to cast, I know that I can recommend him as an instructor, because, I know if I ever need to relearn it, I'm going back to him.

Here's a cool guiding service with some really cool dudes from Wisconsin.  It was great talking with them, especially, learning about "Crash Camp."  Check out their site for more information, and some fun facts about the guys.  I got a good laugh from it.

I received this fly from one of the local tyers of DRiFT (DuPage River Fly Tyers).  I was told that it's an excellent pattern for crappie, and I think I should believe him, because, the tyer goes by the name of Crappie John.  Thank you, for the fly, John!

I'm a fan of stickers and cool t-shirts, and when I saw the table for The Driftless Angler, I got exited, because, I have been wanting one of their shirts for a long time now.  Unfortunately, I didn't have much time to talk with the guy working the booth, but I did get the t-shirt I've been wanting.

I also picked up some awesome stickers from them, too.  Looking forward to finding a home for these.

Website -- Driftless Angler
Facebook -- Driftless Angler

When I was finished learning how to cast with a two handed rod.  I went over and talked with Matt Sment about Tenkara, and even learned how to cast one.  Interesting stuff.  I can definitely see myself using one of these rods for bluegill and my small creek fishing for smallies.

Website -- Badger Tenkara
Facebook -- Badger Tenkara

After the show I was walking out with Dave and we stopped by his buddy Abe's (Blackwater Fly Fishing) truck for a beer, and some great conversation.  I didn't get a chance to talk much with them during the show, but the conversation in the parking lot between the guys with Blackwater Fly Fishing, Black Earth Angling, and Tight Lines Fly Fishing Company, I can tell that all of them are pretty cool dudes, who I wouldn't mind going fishing with.

Email/Contact --

Thanks, again, for the beer, Abe!!!!

Blackwater Fly Fishing is sponsored by Stevens Point Brewery, a local brewery of the area they fish in Wisconsin.  How awesome is that!!!  That's the best sponsorship I have heard of.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Winter Jigs

+Gramps Mel over at The Pond Stalker has been tying up some jigs to start off his tying season.  That got me inspired to get to tying up some jigs myself.  Pictured below I have 4 jigs.  I completely forgot their weights, because, I'm terrible at remembering those kinds of details.  

Now I know what you're thinking, "why don't you just look at the packages for them?"  This would be a fantastic solution, had I not tore them up and tossed them in  the garbage, and placed all of my jigs in a small Plano box.

Oh, well.

The small green ones, can easily be tossed with my 5 wt, I'm thinking.  The chartreuse jigs with the white marabou tails will need to be tossed with my ultra light spinning rod.

These are super simple to tie, and the panfish love 'em.  There's no doubt that these jigs will fool some crappie, and bluegill at a local warm water discharge this Winter...pretty much the only place around here that you know for sure you're not going to get skunked.

Small Jig Ingredients:
Body - Hareline Caddis Green Ice Dubbing
Tail - Crystal Flash

Bigger Jig Ingredients:
Body - Chartreuse Chenille 
Tail - White Marabou w/Crystal Flash

Links to the jigs The Pond Stalker tied.
1. The Hot Pink Icy
2. Stayner Duck Tail Jig

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Memorial Day Fishing

This past Memorial Day I did quite a bit of fishing. Before I get to how my day went, I would just like to say, Thank You, to all of those who gave their life for our country.

I started the day off at my favorite creek. The weather was all over the place. It was cloudy, drizzling, sunny, down pouring, sunny, cloudy, drizzling, etc.... I didn't mind the weather too much. I was prepared with my rain coat. The fishing was excellent. I caught 2 smallies, and 1 shad. I was tossing a damsel like fly in an olive color. The fish seemed to like it. After spotting 2 really nice sized smallies, I went home to make myself an early lunch.

Once lunch was done, I hung out with these 2. Per the usual, we ran around the house and played tug of war, and that lead to a nap, to wait out the down pouring rain.

Once the skies cleared up, I took the pups on a walk, and then I grabbed my spinning rod, so, I could fish the backyard lake. Hooked up with the bass pictured below on a wacky rigged Senko in the purple color. I hooked into a bigger bass soon after, but it proved to be no match for my skills, because, she snapped my line. I guesstimated it to be 4-4.5lbs. I think I tried to over power the bass...whoops.

As the evening progressed, I decided to take a short drive with, Bo, to check out my honey hole. There was a ton of top water activity across the lakes surface. I decided to toss a black popper, and the crappie just could not resist. The swan was not impressed....STOP LOOKING AT ME SWAN!

Thank you, again, to all of those who gave their lives for our great country.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mixed Bag

Over the weekend I did a little fishing in the backyard lake. Had a few things to do around the house, so, I had to stay close. There was also quite a bit of rain in the forecast, so, I didn't want to press my chances on my free time.

The backyard lake was on FIRE! I tossed around a size 6 olive woolly bugger, and I never had to change it. The fish were all over it. Bass, crappie, bluegill, and green sunfish/warmouths. I think the ratio of crappie to bass was 8:1.

So, I've had a few talks about this fish. In the past I have always referred to these as warmouths, but others say that their greenies (green sunfish). I've looked them up on the Google, and everything points to them being a greenie. Forever, I have called these warmouths....what are they!?!?!?!?!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Blue Skies

This past Saturday (05/02/2015) I fished in the GLKFS first event of the 2015 season.

Location - Lake Delevan in Wisconsin. I've never fished it. The water was crystal clear and you could see 20-25ft down.

Start time - 0630.

Target species - Northern Pike.

My results - I arrived and launched 35 minutes late. I missed 5 pike, and ended my day skunked of all species. All 5 follows came on a smaller black baitfish pattern of mine with my fly rod. The lures I was tossing with my baitcaster didn't even warrant a follow. The day was not a complete loss, I did win a Backwaters Fishing Assault Hand Paddle as a raffle door prize. It was a gorgeous day to fish, and my tan lines prove it.

Fist full of feathers, flash, and fur.
Sunday. I needed to stick around the house to help with some of the outside work, so, I lined up my new featherweight and Abel reel fiberglass set up and got to casting. 

My line from Shadow Fly Fishing came in, and after lining it up, it doesn't even load my rod well at all. I figured the 7 wt WF line would be great for my 5/6 rod, but I think there has to be some sort of error, and was sent a lesser weight line. My sinking 5 wt line loads this rod better. I've got to email someone about that.

Well, I managed to miss a bunch of crappie, but I did get to land one. Bo Marley came over to give him a once over, before I tossed the little fish back.

Bo Marley approves.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Recent Orders

I've been keeping busy at the vise the past few weeks. With the weather warming up some of my friends are getting those fishy feelings, and realizing they need to restock their boxes.

I've been keeping busy tying up marabou and bucktail jigs. All different sizes. These are great on any body of water with a spinning rod. Here are some white ones that are sure to fool some river smallies, and possibly some Lake Michigan coho, and perch.

...and per usual. I've been tying up what I think I do best. My big bass, pike, and musky flies. As the temperature warms up, I've got a few friends that are gearing up to fish the DPR for pike once they're done with the spawn. These are proven patterns and colors that work. The one below is a favorite of mine. It's prodominantly white with a slight layer of pink underneath. Looks great in the water. Also pictured with the fly is a sticker from a local bass fishing crew in Chicago - Cast Crew - They're a real cool bunch of dude that have some really great appearal ideas. 

Check 'em out at 

Got them big bass in my sights.

I hope everyone has nice weather to get outside in this weekend!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Spring Cleaning

Spring is right around the corner, and I am excited! I decided to start cleaning up and organizing my boxes, prepping them to be messed up all over again after the first 2 outings.

I really wish tacky built a fly box for a bass angler. I am starting to really dislike seeing this recurring issue. How about you? What kinds of fly boxes do you recommend for bass flies?

While I was going through all of my flies, I took notice and made a separate pile for flies that I did not tie. Other than most of my trout dry flies, these are the only other flies, that I don't tie, but love to fish. Those Todd's Wiggle Worms drive bass absolutely insane...and the Boogle Eye could you not love those top water flies. Great quality and they have a great popping action for bass and panfish.

Anyone else use those 2 flies, and love them??