Showing posts with label lake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lake. 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

**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 -

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017


Since moving up here to Minnesota, I had visions of hooking up with monster musky - regularly.  That's definitely not the case, and you're probably thinking to yourself, who the hell does this guy think he is that he's going to catch musky all the time.  Trust me, I think that same thing, but what can I say, I'm a dreamer.

My homie Tom Hazleton of Voyageur Pursuits heard I was on the hunt for my first Minnesota musky, so, he invited me out.  The conditions seemed almost too perfect.  It was the evening, and there had been gray skies all day.  I had such a great feeling that today was going to be the day I caught my first Minnesota Musky.

Well, the evening did not go as planned, but it was a great time none the less.  There were no musky caught, but we had a few beers, and brought a few pike to the boat before calling it a night.  Huge thanks to Tom for inviting me out and showing me that musky really don't exist in Minnesota.

Catching Northern Pike on the Great Wall of China.
Photograph: Tom Hazelton
Voyageur Pursuits

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Now that Winter and Spring have gone, the open tie nights at Lake Monster Brewing hosted by Bob Mitchell's Fly Shop have come to a close.  For those of us that don't ice fish or do any winter fishing, it's a great excuse to get out of the house, drink a beer, talk fishing, and shake off that little bit of cabin fever.

My first open tie night back in February when I first moved to Minnesota.
The last open tie night was back in April, so, I know this is a very late post, but I still wanted to share.  These open tie nights, were super beneficial to me while being new up here.  It allowed me to get out and make some friends, and have some fun at the same time.

Articulated streamer on some very sharp Partridge of Redditch hooks.
I've tied a few flies, but mostly socialized at these gatherings.  It was a great way to put some faces to quite a few people I have interacted with through social media.

2 flies tied....and then given away.

What a cool pair of scissors....can you see what it is??

Rhea Hawkins working the crowd, per usual.

Good times had by all.
The picture below is a funny one - I was told the moon was out, and it did look out, but something was a bit fishy about it.  I didn't have my glasses and don't see very well at night for distance, so, I was almost fooled.  Almost, Rhea.

They were almost fooled, too. Almost.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

It's Colder Up North

A decision has been made, and I have decided that I will be doing a multi-state road trip.  After work on Thursday (Today), I will be headed in my favorite direction for adventure...North.  I am planning on doing some exploring in Northern Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  I'm going to be doing quite a bit of hiking to seek out new rivers, lakes, access points, and sights I'm not used to seeing in the summer months.

I will most certainly be wetting a line, as well.  Hoping to find some rivers with shore/wading access way up North that come from Lake Superior, and maybe, just maybe, there will be some willing salmon or trout that will want to party.  

A few other things I'm sure I'll encounter on my adventure.
  • Cheese Curds
  • New Glarus Beer
  • Friday Fish Fry
  • Peace
  • Quiet

Thank you, all, for your suggestions!  
Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Juice. We Can Still Go Fishing.

It's Monday, and I had planned to take my cousins Sam and Dom fishing after work.  It was storming most of the afternoon and in my head, the chances of us fishing were out the window.  I text my Aunt informing her that I don't think I'll be coming by to take the boys fishing.

When I finally got off of work there was light rain, but the skies to the west were all gray.  Once I arrived at home, I received a text message from my cousin Sam that read "We can still go fishing..."...and after a quick glance outside at the dark skies in the West, I said to hell with it, and told him that I was going to pick him and his brother up shortly.

When we arrived to the lake, there was a steady drizzle of rain, but no thunder or lightening, so, we were all good to fish.  The boys didn't mind the rain.  They were just so excited to get out and fish.  Awesome!

We all hooked up with fish.  My cousin Sam (Grey shirt) was the first to hook up, and he ended up with 2 on the day.  Dom (Orange shirt) caught 3, and ended up with 2 sunnies and 1 small bass.

It was really awesome to see how excited they were to get out and fish with me.  I'm hoping to take them out more and more before the cold weather arrives.

I ended up hooking up with a decent sized bass on a top water lure.  I was doing a lot more coaching than fishing, but that was A-okay with me.  I really wanted them to hook up with some bigger fish.  I know they will eventually.  They were super excited to see the big bass I caught.

...but they were also quick to remind me that they were up on me in the fish count numbers.
  • Dom - 3
  • Sam - 2
  • Juice (My family nickname) - 1

When the mosquitoes were too much to handle, we packed it up, and I treated my cousins to some cheese curds and ice cream from Culvers....a dinner of champions.  Ha

Always a good time when it's family time!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

2016 Great Lakes Kayak Fishing Series

With a new year comes a whole new Great Lakes Kayak Fishing Series aka GLKFS is a lot of fun and organized by some knowledgeable kayak anglers such as +Colin Belle and Brookfield Angler.  I have participated in a few of the events the past 2 years, and have always had a great time.  Unfortunately, I do not think any of the dates will work out for me this year, but I highly recommend you give 1 or all the stops a shot!


May 14th - Fox Chain O'Lakes
Target Species - Walleye, Catfish, and Panfish

June 11th - Madison Chain of Lakes
Target Species - Smallmouth & Largemouth Bass

July 24th - Mazonia/Braidwood
Target Species - Smallmouth & Largemouth Bass

September 10th - Manitowoc/Lake Michigan
Target Species - All Trout/Salmon

Tournament entry fee is $45 per event, but if you pay up front for all 4, it's $160, and that nets you a total of $20 in savings.  There are cash and gear prizes for placing in each event, but there are also a ton of door prizes to be raffled away to everyone at the event after the winners are announced.  Like I said, I had a great time at past events, and while I never placed, I walked away with some pretty sweet gear won in the raffle/door prizes.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Hardly, Strictly Musky

McMinnville, Tennessee Musky, I am coming for you, but totally not expecting to catch you or even see you.  I'll be attending the 2016 Southern Classic - Hardly, Strictly Musky hosted by Towee Boats.  The event runs May 12 though the 14th.  

The Team - Dave and Chris.

The Goal - Have Fun!

While I'm not too positive that I'm going to even see a musky, I do expect to have a great time spent drinking beer, and talking with other musky nuts.  There's actually going to be quite a few guys from Illinois making the trip down.  Few of them I haven't met, but I am looking forward to meeting.

There's still time to register if you're interested in the event.

 Tenetive schedule for this years event.

I should note, this event is fly fishing only.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Tenkara Angler - Spring Edition

The Spring Edition of Tenkara Angler is out, and if you haven't yet, I suggest you check it out.  Whether you're a Tenkara angler or not, you will most certainly enjoy the articles in this magazine, and maybe, just maybe you'll find yourself wanting to pick up a Tenkara rod, and giving it a shot.  I know I want one, and definitely see one in my future. 

The articles/essays I enjoyed.
Brookies & Beer
The World in Black & White
Matching Nature
Tenkara Abroad

Click on the link below to view the eMagazine

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Spring Is Here

Spring is here...not quite, but the sun is staying out longer and I have ample time to wet a line in my backyard lake before dark.  

The crappie bite has been crazy awesome!  I hooked and lost an unexpected bass that was a very nice size, but totally schooled me and my 3 wt.  I even snagged a carp that took off like a bat out of hell, and left me with a little parting gift.

Spring is here.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

R4F - Stop On By!

Just a reminder, this weekend, CARF Outdoors will be in River Falls, Wisconsin participating in all of the fly fishing fun.  So, if you're headed to the Fly Fishing Film Tour aka the F3T on Friday night, look for +Dave Kuntzelman  (Urban Assault Fly Fishing + CHI-TIE) and myself.  Dave will be tying up some of the biggest flies for bluegill you have ever seen, so, you definitely won't want to miss that.

On Saturday, we will have our own tables at the Fly Fishing Expo.  We will both have stickers and flies available for sale.  Our friend PJ's Guide Service will also be at the show.  Stop on by and lets talk fish!

I should also add, that we will be doing as much fishing as we can with our free time, so, if you want to share some information with me about fishing opportunities in the River Falls area, that would be awesome and greatly appreciated!  Shoot me an email at - CARFOUTDOORS@GMAIL.COM

Hope to see some of you there!

For more information please click on the links below.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Bass On The Mind

Just some recent flies that have come off of my vise.

CARF's clouser minnow variation.
I was wandering around Bass Pro Shops fly tying section one day and they had these Rainy's popper heads on clearance, and I just couldn't pass up the deal.  The green ones are medium, and the yellow are small.

Size 1 poppers in a froggy pattern.
Size 4 poppers.
There was a theme that night....can you guess?
Has Google fixed the G+ comment issue, yet?  I apologize if I have not replied to a past comment of yours.  I know Google is working on the issue, so, hopefully, they'll resolve it soon.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Keeping Busy

Back in August when I was visiting my best friend in Ohio, I stopped at a fishing store about 8 minutes from his house.  It's called Jann's Netcraft.  I have come across their website online a few times, and know a few people that use them for lure making supplies.

Well, I went in there, and decided that I was going to buy some supplies to make inline spinner baits, because, I don't have enough hobbies already Haha.  My intention with these were to just give them to friends and use them myself.  You know, something different.  I bought some size 4 french blades, heavy gauge wire, brass weighted bodies, split rings, and clevises.  Pictured below you will find my first attempt.  

That heavy gauge wire is strong and was not easy to bend.  With time and repetition I will refine my skills.  Oh, and I plan on dressing up some treble hooks with bucktail and just putting those on the split ring. 

Fly tying and lure making are not at the top of my list of things to accomplish this Winter.  My #1 mission is to get my singing voice back.  I have neglected my acoustic guitars and voice for far too long.  It's been so long since I've sang on a constant basis that my voice has gone away, but like with most things, I am a firm believer of practice - practice - practice.  While I never had a voice that will win me any television contests, it would just be nice to be back to where I once was, plus, playing my guitar and learning a song are just as satisfying to me as catching fish.

For those that don't know...I used to do quite a few cover songs.  Don't remember if I have ever posted any of them here to share with all of you.  Here's a cover I did of "Here Without You" by 3 Doors Down.

Here are just a few scenic shots of me reminiscing of a time when there wasn't snow on the ground. Haha

Wood Dale Grove
Lake Michigan and Downtown Chicago