Showing posts with label smallmouth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label smallmouth. Show all posts

Friday, May 5, 2017


My first fish in the state of Minnesota was illegal.
The photograph above shows a beautiful healthy smallmouth bass, a big smile on my face, and my ever so popular white sunglasses, but there's a big issue that is not shown in the photograph.  This fish was caught during the closed season for bass here in Minnesota, and I had no idea.

I had completely forgot that I wasn't in Illinois, and overlooking the fact that each state has different regulations, even for catch and release.  I'm thankful for the 2 guys that shot me a message to inform me, because, I would have kept fishing on my lunch break while unknowingly breaking the rules.  Big shout out goes to Tom of Voyageur Pursuits and Aaron of Scavenger Fly.  You guys saved me a future fishing ticket, and I THANK YOU!

Minnesota Fishing Dates

Walleye, Northern Pike and Bass - May 13 - Feb 25

Musky - June 3 - Dec 1

Crappie, Blueys, White Bass, Perch, Channel Cats, Bull heads - Open year round

For more information on Minnesota fishing regulations, please visit this link - MINNESOTA FISHING REGULATIONS

If you're traveling or have moved to a new state, don't be like me, remember to check the regulations.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


With today being the official first day of Fall, that means a few things to me.

  • The days are shorter.
  • The temperatures will start dropping. Get your hoodies out!
  • Leaves will begin to turn, and blanket the ground. Making it hard to sneak around outside without making that leafy crunch sound.
  • Real football weather. Go Bears (Say what you want - I stand by my team.)

and last but not least.....IT'S MUSKY SEASON!!!!

I will have you all know, that I am leaving tonight (9/22) for a much needed adventure in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.  I'll be exploring, hiking, kayaking, fishing, car camping, jamming out on my guitar, drinking beer, all while sitting by a small campfire and hopefully not eating cold hot dogs.  

Basically being a complete fish/outdoor bum for the next 4 days...rediscovering my old self and decompressing with some good old fashion outdoor therapy.

  It's going to be awesome, and I am stoked!

I hope everyone has a great rest of the week and weekend!!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Zombie's Need More Cowbell

The weather has been super fantastic here in the Chicagoland area.  (That's sarcasm.)

Rain - Rain - Sunny - Rain - Snow - Sunny - 30 degree's - 50 degree's - Snow - Sun - and more rain.

With that said, it gave me some much needed time to get some cleaning done around the house, and more importantly get my fly tying desk in order, so, I can once again sit at the vise and fill some spaces in my personal fly boxes, and to fill some orders.

With the end of my favorite show The Walking Dead last week, and the start of their other show Fear The Walking Dead, I was in the zombie mood, and the flies I whipped up yesterday displayed just that.

Zombie inspired Minimum Cowbell's

Zombie's need more cowbell, right?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Minimum Cowbell

Ah...feels good to have dug up some motivation, and with that I sat down at the vise and tied up one of my favorite streamers.  A fly I have named "Minimum Cowbell."  It's a play on another streamer pattern named "Maximum Cowbell" created by Nick Granato.  Nick's pattern is articulated with 2 hooks, and mine has only you get the name for mine now?

White meat.  Dark meat.  All will be carved.

Ready to hunt for bass, trout, and whatever else is lurking.

What's a trout or panfish fly box without some San Juan Worms.  A fly that everyone has in their box and loves, but doesn't admit it.  These flies simply catch fish.  These ones are for my personal stash.  I also fancied up the black bead head SJW with some black ice dubbing behind the bead. (size 14)

Monday, December 21, 2015

Muddy Explorations

The Chicago Bears weren't looking pretty, and it was seemingly nice outside, so, I took the dogs for a walk, and then venture over to the area of Poplar Creek that I had never fished before. Click here for the previous post - Local Exploring.

Armed with my 3 wt, a sweater, and the bare necessities packed in my Vedavoo Utility Belt, and Hip Pack, I set out with zero expectations.

Gray skies, bare trees, and muddy banks.

It sure was nice to get out and wet a line in some unfamiliar water.  Although, I was not able to entice anything.  Looking forward to fishing this stretch in the summer months.  I have a feeling it's a happening place for fun sized smallies and panfish.

Minimum Cowbell.
A bass pattern I've been tying that's inspired by Nick Granato's pattern Maximum Cowbell.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Jigs Up

After work yesterday, I made it home with day light to spare.  I quickly changed, grabbed my already lined up  3 wt from the laundry room, and rushed outside to wet a line in the backyard.  Shortly after my 4th cast, the sun began it's decent.  I wasn't complaining about it, either.  It was a beautiful sight.  It almost seemed like there was a fire in the sky.

10 casts, a beautiful sunset, 2 skunks (wandering around near me), and 1 skunk of my own, I decided to call it a night and head in for dinner.

After dinner I sat down at the vise and began to tie up some more jigs, but not without some fly tying fuel.  I sure do love IPA's.  Didn't have high expectations for this one.  I bought it, because, it was made with one of my favorite punk rock bands growing up, NOFX.

Here's the end results of some jigs that will pair well with spinning rod and some winter fish.  Nothing fancy.  Just materials that get the job done that fish enjoy.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Local Exploring

Took my girl Daisy out to a local forest preserve for a change of scenery, and to do some exploring.  I've been to this forest preserve before, but never bothered to explore past the decent sized lake near the parking lot.

While on our walk Daisy found a trail that led to a creek that I fish often, but further west, and to my surprise it looked fantastic and fishy!  I was always under the impression that it was skinny super shallow, and covered by dense forest in this area...Goes to show you should never assume anything.

Daisy and I doing some recon.
There was tons of shore access, and a beaten trail along the bank, which tells me that I'm not the only person that knows about it.  There was quite a few riffles, and boulders/rocks in the water, which to me, screams smallmouth.  There was also quite a few fallen trees into the creek, even more cover for smallies, and possibly some hammer handle pike.

Looks fishy, right?
Can't wait to bring Daisy out here to explore this trail some more before winter is here.  She enjoys this 60 degree Fall weather, and so do I.  Not too hot, and not too cold...just right.
Daisy taking in all of the new scents.
I'm also going to try and return to this spot with either my 5 wt or my ultra light spinning rod to see if I can stir anything up.  There's rain in the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday, so, I'm hoping it doesn't blow the creek out, too much.

Daisy taking in some fresh Fall air.
Hope everyone else had a great weekend!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Float The Fox

Floated the Fox River with my homie UA-Dave (Urban Assault Fly Fishing) and his canoe, in search of anything that would bite.  While driving in the morning my car thermometer was saying it was 32 degrees outside, and it felt every bit of it.  I knew the catching was going to be tough.  Dave ended the day with 1 smallie caught in a great section of water that would more than likely produce a fish every cast, and I finished with 2.

It was a fun float on an unfamiliar section of the river, we both caught fish, and we found a great bar with awesome food and drink to end the day.

Here's a short video of the outing.

+Howard Levett  - I came across something in the middle of the river that you would enjoy seeing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fly Fishing with The Slaunch Mob

My buddy Adam aka The Slaunch Mob (Instagram - @theslaunchmob) decided that he wanted to pick up fly fishing.  We were finally able to get out and fish with one another, and since we both have a love for smallies, we decided to wade a stretch on the DPR that he fished the day before with minimal luck.  There were some storms that rolled through, so, the water was high, but that didn't stop us from getting out and getting some casting time.

We were skunked, but it was a good time none the less.

Here's a short short video of the outing.  Basically, it was just me playing with different camera angles and working on my editing for future stuff.  Turned out pretty cool.

Enjoy the skunk.

Here's an awesome shot that Adam took while I was casting into the morning fog with the sun peering over the trees.  If you're on Instagram, I suggest you give him a follow.  You certainly won't find fishing shirts quite like his anywhere else.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fly Fishing Poplar Creek

The GF wanted me out of the house, because, I was bugging her while she was baking cookies for a work event.  So, I went fishing of course, but this time, I decided not to take any still pictures.  Instead, I recorded some video. Check it out!

I didn't realize my camera wasn't aimed down far enough, but you can still see what's going on.

I had a lot of fun creating this video, and it made me realize that I had forgotten how much I love the editing process or making a video, so, be on the look out for more in the future.  That's a promise!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Exploring the Northwoods: 2015 - Part 1

Few weeks ago, I had a last minute opportunity to do whatever I wanted, so, I decided to quickly pack my car, load my kayak, and head to the Northwoods.  The weekend forecast called for clear sunny skies, and 90 degree weather.  I was hoping to arrive with time to spare on a Friday night, so, I was racing the sun.  Fall and Winter are on their way, because, the sun is starting to set at 8 PM and rise shortly after 6 AM.  Need to take advantage of what strange summer we have left.

Racing the sun on beautiful open roads.
Almost there.
I made it to my destination with minutes to spare.  I grabbed my bait caster and tossed a few top water lures into the river with no luck.  After providing many mosquitoes with a 5 star meal, I decided to call it a night, and head over to a familiar campsite.

There were a few strong storms that passed through the area throughout the day, and I'm sure this tree fell casualty of the high winds.  Luckily it left just enough space on one side of the dirt for me to pass.  There would have been no way I would have been able to remove it.  I do carry an SOG tomahawk in my trunk, but I would have been chopping away at that tree for quite a long time, if it came to that.

Bumps in the road.
The next morning I got my waders on, loaded up my kayak, and tied a rope from the front of it and attached it to my wading belt with a carabiner.  Wading up river, I was dragging my kayak, and I didn't even know it was there.  It glided over the water and didn't hinder me once.  With the kayak I was able to bring a spare fly rod, my bait caster, extra water, tackle boxes, and a dry bag with some miscellaneous stuff.  In hindsight, I could have just loaded up my Yeti Cooler and had a really nice lunch out on the water.  Hell, I could have just brought everything in my car. Haha

The smallies were en fuego, and still loving the brown fly I had so much success on them my last trip back in June.  So enjoy some fish porn!

I really cannot get enough of these fish.
Catch and Release.
Got some from the kayak.
And more tanks!!!
This place is special to me, and I pick up any trash I find along the way, I only found 1 can of Old Style this trip, but 1 piece of trash is usually all I find.  Another good reason for the kayak.  As I reached the end of what should be a 2 day wade, I hopped in my kayak and floated all the way back to where I launched....BRILLIANT.

Athletic tape saves my wrist and fingers from blisters before they even start.
Be on the look out for Part 2.  I did quite a bit of exploring of new waters this time.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Creek Time

My buddy DanK and I decided to meet up for a wade on our favorite small creek. I was up extra early, so, I decided to fish the backyard lake a little bit, and work on my wacky rigged worm technique. Caught a decent one before I called it quits and hopped in the car to leave.

I was tossing a fly on my 5wt, and DanK was using his spinning rod. There was no action on the creek, and with the rising sun, the temperature started to rise. It was not making for a fun wade. Now if we were catching fish, I wouldn't mind being in my waders sweating my butt off, but as a skunked outing loomed over our heads, I just wanted to be out of my waders.

DanK under one of the many bridges we cross on this urban creek.
We decided to fish on until we reached our determined turning point on the creek. Immediately, DanK got a follow from a very small pike, and then on his next cast he hooked up. At first we were both thinking it was the pike, of course.

....but it actually turned out to be a quilback! I have only ever seen 2 of this species in my time fishing, and both have been caught by, DanK. He's like the quilback whisperer. Haha

Big Quilly Style
As we approached where our cars were parked, BOOM, we doubled up to end the day. Pretty awesome. I was able to shake the skunk in the final moments.

Doubled Up!
After we finished up the wade, we headed on over to my house. DanK hasn't seen the new place, yet, and I've been ranting and raving about the fishing I have in my backyard. DanK is like a Jedi Master with a jig and soft plastic trailer. He was tossing a Tight Rope Jig with a small crawfish pattern plastic as a trailer, and he killed it! 

I never knew there were bass of this size in my backyard lake until DanK started landing monsters. With every bass he caught, it seemed like they just kept getting bigger. It's really good to know this exists in my backyard. I have yet to catch these big ones, but I sure do like knowing their in there, regardless if I catch them or not.

Biggest one of the day. WOW.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Obsessed with the Northwoods

This is a picture heavy post, but it's worth it.

One day mid June, The Fat Gordo, hit me up and asked if I wanted to head answer was YES!

What perfect time, as well - The Fat Gordo's birthday was the 12th (Friday) and mine was the 14th (Sunday - Flag Day). It's funny, because, the two of us really don't like celebrating our birthdays, so, it was kinda perfect we spent it on a river in the middle of nowhere with one another. Ha How cute, right?

I casted 3 flies the whole trip, and found great success with a brown pattern I had tied this past winter. The Fat Gordo used his usual double blade inline spinner, and mixed it up with a frog.

The smallies were definitely ready for us, and wanted to do battle with us often. These river smallies never cease to amaze me with their strength, heart, and willingness to hit big ole musky flies. 

This particular small jaw (pictured below) put up one hell of a fight, making multiple runs, and never giving up. I could not believe the fight this one put up against my 10 wt. As it was bent over, I shouted to the Gordo, "It's a TANK!....Whoa!!!!!" As I held her up, Gordo and I, were in awe of her beauty. The colors and markings were just beautiful. After a successful release, Gordo and I, must have high fived and fist bumped a hundred times. Good times!

What you can't see is the biggest smile on my face. Like Christmas morning.
Another shot of the big beauty.
After a super long wade...which should have been split into 2 days, we decided to find a backwoods road I know of in the dense forest, and hike it back on land. We knew that it was going to be a very difficult wade back, and both of our legs were jello. The Fat Gordo already took an accidental dip in the river, and we didn't want to chance anymore.

Killed around 6 ticks on my waders when we made it back to camp.
Walking along the road we came across this big bad momma. She was relaxing in the middle of the road soaking up the last of the sun, and did not like our presence. We saw a few areas on the road where it looked like something was digging. The Gordo and I, started to think she was looking for a place to lay eggs. I'll have to do more research on that, because, I'm curious. Anyone have knowledge of snappers and when they lay eggs and where?

Also, I am still AMAZED at how fast they snap. She snapped at my GoPro camera, and my jaw dropped. Excuse my language, but HOLY SHIT!! I advise everyone and their mothers to never put your fingers near their face, that is, if you still want them. It's safe to say that I will never go noodling after this experience. F THAT! Hahaha

SMILE you're on camera!
...and of course no trip North is complete for me without stopping and picking up a 6er of something from Wisconsin's finest breweries, New Glarus. I usually go with Moon Man or Spotted Cow, but I've never seen this one before, so, I gave it a try, and I was very pleased with it.

New Glarus Hopster

My Nautilus Premium Fly Reels Yeti Cooler is pretty awesome, and I am thoroughly impressed.
Some more fish porn. Another thing about the smallies in this river is they are all kinds of different colors. Some are dark, some are light, others have more markings than others, and some don't have any at all. Really interesting stuff. I know some people associate it with spawning, but I guarantee that these fish were not spawning.

The Fat Gordo with another small jaw
One of mine. Keep 'em wet.

The Fat Gordo was determined to catch a smallie using a frog, and he was successful. The first one he did not get a photo of, because, of some sly tactics from the smallie after the Gordo removed the hook. The small jaw pictured below fell victim to a Booyah frog, and you can just see how happy the Gordo was, but I know he wanted a picture of that first one.

What a great trip. There's nothing better than having a successful trip, getting back to your truck at the end of the last day, packing up all of the gear, enjoying a quick lunch, starting the truck....trying to start the truck...SHIT...the truck didn't start. I forgot the headlights on. The Fat Gordo's truck does not have a beeping notification telling you that you left them on, in turn, leaving you with a dead battery if you leave them on.

So, here we are, a few miles away from the main road, in the middle of nowhere USA, on a Sunday afternoon. Luckily, we were able to get a hold of a 24 hr wrecker service that was very familiar with the area we were in. 1 hour later...the truck received a jump, and we were finally on our way home.

Already looking forward to my next trip North.