Showing posts with label ice fishing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ice fishing. Show all posts

Sunday, March 4, 2018


Fishing trips are the best with some fun friends.  Before the Minnesota bass, pike, and walleye season closed on February 25th, my homie Ed drove up from Chicagoland to go ice fishing with me and Troy.  The chosen destination was Leech Lake and we were staying at Trappers Landing.

Of course I caught a small fish.  It's what I do.
The fishing was slow, but the beer and laughs were plentiful.  I made a short video of the weekend trip.  Check it out below, and don't forget to subscribe to the new channel.

MY GEAR Camera - Lens #1 - Lens #2 - Lens #3 - GoPro - Microphone - Laptop - Memory Card Case - **The above links are Amazon Associate links**

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


It's official - I have caught the ice fishing itch.  I went out and bought myself a used single person flip over sled, 8" hand auger, and a real cheap ice rod combo.  Now my Vexilar is no longer alone as the lone piece of ice fishing gear.

I will not ice fish without one of these.
I drove out on White Bear lake.  Since there were roughly 3 billion trucks on the lake already when I pulled up to the boat ramp, I figured the ice would be safe enough for me to drive out on.  This was the first time I took my own vehicle out on the ice, and let me tell you, it was extremely nerve wrecking.

It's so loud - I love it!
Using my Navionics, I looked for what would be the best spot.  After driving out to the spot I had chosen that would yield fish, I learned that I was not the only person who thought that was a good spot.  There were already quite a few ice houses over the exact areas I wanted to set up shop.  I settled for an area somewhat near them.

Didn't realize my auger and shelter were from the same company.
I set up a tip up with a jig and tipped it with a few Gulp grub worms, and then I set up my shelter.  If was much roomier than I had expected for 1 person, and it kept me out of the cold wind.  I was loving it.  I started jigging and marked a bunch of fish on my flasher, but couldn't get anything to commit.  When I did finally coax a fish into biting the jig it turned out to be a MONSTER...not really.

Monster Perch.
The action was non stop with twinkie sized perch.  I was entertained and super stoked that the CARF Outdoors #icatchsmallfish tour was on fire to kick off the year.

More Monster Perch.
Below is a live stream of the action that is ice fishing with CARF Outdoors.  Don't look away, because, you might miss the action.

Real Time Feed of the happenings inside the ice shelter.  Don't stop watching!
White Bear Lake - You've been conquered by CARF Outdoors.

White Bear Lake.

Flip Over Shelter

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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 -

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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.



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Monday, November 13, 2017


Winter has definitely arrived, and fast.  The weather I've been experiencing up here in Minnesota is usually what I expect toward the end of December and January.  My vise is out and fly tying is in full swing here at CARF Headquarters.

With winters arrival comes ice, and up here in Minnesota a whole new season of fishing begins.  Hard Ice season aka Ice Fishing but my homie Jay "Lord Boogie" Johnson calls it "Man Fishing."  I have a sonar, but nothing else.  I'm in the market for a rod, auger, jigs, and some homies that want to get out and hit the hard water here in Minnesota.

A whole new world of gear for me.  I'm kind of a sucker for gear, too.  I've been eyeballing the 13 Fishing Descent and Free Fall Ghost Reels.  I've never used them.  They visually make me happy, and I know that's not a good way to shop for gear.  Suggestions for rods, reels, and line welcome!!

Frozen shoreline on the Rum River.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Ice Jigs for FSA Custom Rods

My homie +Ed Schmitt of FSA Custom Rods reached out to me, and asked if I would be interested in decorating some ice jigs he plans on pairing up with some custom ice rods he's building for some Veterans.  Without hesitation, I agreed to the job.

About 2 weeks later, my GF was going through our mail, and asked what I ordered from the "Used Anal Bead Emporium.  Wait...what did you say?!?!  I got something from the WHAT? HAHA!!!!  Luckily the contents of the envelope contained zero anal beads - used or new, and only some tungsten ice fishing jigs, stickers, and a note from my buddy Ed.  Oh, what a funny guy you are!  Haha  I got a really good laugh out of that.

Now what the heck to do with these jigs.  Very different than what I'm used to, but a hook is a hook, and after much thought, I had an idea.

I painted them all orange.  In retrospect, I should have only done half in orange, and the other half in another color or left them the original color, but oh well.  I'll just blame it on the beer that I'm pretty sure I was drinking that night.

A little flash, Senyo Fusion dub, and viola, ice jigs completed.  Hopefully, these will go great with the ice rods that Ed is building, but more importantly I hope they catch some fish for those Veterans that need some fish action through some hard water.

Ed is a Veteran of the Marine Corps, a very talented rod builder, and obviously a funny guy who is a fan of used anal beads.  He's built rods for quite a few of us here in the Chicagoland area.  He can do any type of rod; casting, spinning, fly, or ice.  Some others that can attest to the quality of his work are Brookfield Angler, and The Impractical Fisherman.  

So, if you're in the market for a new rod, shoot Ed an email at - and be sure to like his Facebook page FSA Custom Rods.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Cold Hands and Panfish

The wind, it's unforgiving and cuts right through you like White Castle sliders on a Saturday morning.  You're freezing cold, and you're unsure you have a face, because, you can't feel it anymore.  The snot dripping from your nostrils is uncontrollable, but it doesn't even phase you, because, the fish don't care, and neither do you at this point.

Your mind starts to wander, and you start talking to yourself in your head...
I should have worn that extra layer.
I could be home tying flies right now.
Do I have boogers hanging from my nose?
I wish I could feel my face.
I wish I could be poppin' bottles instead of holes.
I sure could go for some chili and my couch.
I should have spent the extra $10 bucks on the nicer gloves.
Should I leave now?
Why am I out here?
I wish I had a shanty.
Is this ice going to break?

Welcome to the exciting world of ice fishing.
(In my opinion.)

Big thanks to Catchafew for bringing his shanty.  It was used a total of 15 minutes.
I don't always ice fish, but when I do, it's because, I forget how miserable I'm going to be out on the ice.

Invited a few friends out to ice fish my backyard lake after work one night.  DanK, BassMan Kevin, and Catchafew all arrived around 7 PM on a Wednesday night.  Have more friends around this time made the outing a lot more tolerable.  The stories and laughing made me forget about the cold.

The ice was 8-10 inches, but it had me buggin', because, it kept making noises.  It didn't phase the other guys. They're experience ice anglers, and kept reassuring me that I wasn't going to fall in, and if I did, I would have only been in about 6 foot of water, and a 100 yard walk back to my house.

DanK trying to coax a bite.
DanK and BassMan set up some tip ups, while Catchafew and I jigged with waxies under a vexlar.  I had a nice sized bluegill on, but lost it right at the top of the hole.  Eventually the wind picked up, and Catchafew set up his shanty.  What a life saver that was.  I even caught a small panfish.

Catchafew was the only guy not able to hook into a fish.  DanK and BassMan found the same size sunfish as me, in about 2 foot of water.

After drilling holes everywhere, some false hope, because, the tip ups being triggered by the wind we all decided to call it a night around Midnight.  Even thought I couldn't feel my face, I had a good time, mainly because of the company.  Thanks, again, for coming out guys!

My first fish of 2016.  Definitely a wall hanger.
If you come across any melted ice in my backyard, BassMan Kevin and his centerfold jigging pose is to blame.

BassMan Kevin aka Mr. January melting some ice.
A little play on a very disgusting videos that I've seen and most everyone has heard about.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Winter: It's Here

2016 is here...Hooray!

Winter is finally here...Boo Yah!

Justin already has cabin fever...Woohoo!

Lots of time on my hands.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Ice Fishing

As I was wandering through Cabela's killing time, and looking at a bunch of hooks, I came across some very small jigs that looked perfect for ice fishing. The hooks were 1/100 oz, and they had a clean hook shank to work with. 
  1.  I tie on some marabou for a tail (Do not cut off the excess.)
  2. Add some crystal flash for an attractor.
  3. Wrap the excess marabou around the rest of the hook shank.
  4.  Whip finish.


I am going to give ice fishing another shot this winter.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

It's a Midwest thing

Reasons why I have never gone ice fishing in the past:
1. I don't see the enjoyment of fishing from a hole in the ice.
2. If there's ice, that usually means it cold....not a big fan.
3. Being a bigger guy, I have a fear of stepping on the ice, breaking it, and falling through.
4. I like to move around when I fish, not sit in one spot.
5. Did I mention that it's usually cold out?
I knew not to expect this...but there nothing wrong with wishful thinking, right!
So, I went ice fishing for the first time with a friend who had invited me out. He had an extra ice fishing rod, and I needed a fishy fix.

The outing was short, different, and exhausting. The ice was 16 inches thick, and a pain in the ass to auger for a first timer. After drilling my first hole through the ice and dropping a line, the action was immediate. I hooked up with 3 bluegill, one after another. FUN! Then the bite died. My buddy finished the short outing with 6 bluegill and 1 crappie.

Did this change my mind about ice fishin...No.

Will I go ice fishing again...Yes, but I'm not spending a dime on ice fishing gear!


***(For some reason this post went back to draft, and took changed on me.....WTF Google!)***

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Cold Weather Outings

Went out for a quick wade this past Sunday on Poplar Creek. It was about 25 degrees, and there was ice forming in the slack water. 1 hour of wading, fishing, and getting rid of the ice build up on my guides produced a runny nose. I didn't mind that at all, because, the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day, despite the cold. Then it was off to Cabela's for some more tying material. Ha!
My FSA custom 3 wt on ice.
Skunked Photography
Here are some more pictures from my last few outings.
Late October stocker rainbow trout taken on a royal wolf.

Late October DPR northern pike.