Friday, May 30, 2014

The bluegill

Far too many people over look the bluegill, and think of it as an annoying fish...

I can guarantee when those same people started out fishing, one of their first fish was a bluegill.

Next time you catch a bluegill, take a closer look at it, and you will find an array of colors revealing a beautiful fish. A fish that's always willing to bite, and save the day of a skunk.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Short visit to the big pond

My second visit to the big pond (Lake Michigan) this year.

Had an appointment to be somewhere at 09:30, so, I decided to leave extra early to beat the morning traffic, and to fish 31st harbor. It's a new harbor that has fishing piers, and was nearby where I was supposed to be.

What a beautiful harbor. I was a huge fan of the fishing piers. I didn't need a long net, because, I was practically on the water. I was the only one there, and that kind of threw me off, because, the lake is a popular place to the other harbors. I didn't mind though. I rather enjoyed the solitude, because, I really don't know what I'm doing when it comes to Lake Michigan. No one can witness my follies ha

I started out casting a small berkley swim bait on a small jig, then a small shad colored flicker shad. I was able to hook up with a few small smallmouth bass, and a few small rainbow trout.

Then I decided that I wanted to cover more water, and tied on a silver and blue spoon. After a few casts I had a follow from a HUGE brown trout, I twitched the spoon and he was aggressivley swimming toward it every twitch, but just wouldn't commit. After another cast, he followed, again, but just wouldn't commit. The next few casts and he was no where to be found.

Beautiful day out there. Cannot wait to return to the Lake, because, the perch have started moving in, and I love perch fishing in late May early June.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Love is in the air

Love is definitely in the air. I floated the lake I have so much hate for, for 6 hours.

The weeds have taken over a very well known popular area for kayaks and boats. Now I know what you're thinking, that has top water written all over it. Indeed it does, but stupid me left all of my top water flies and frog lures at home. D'oh!!!

I chucked a size 6 black/red/silver gotcha fly with my custom FSA 3 wt rod, and was able to hook up with several dink LMB and bluegill in the shallows.

On my spinning set up, I tossed a weightless fluke, and enticed 2 very nice sized bass, but 1 spit the bait before the hook set, and the other...I just flat out lost to a couple head shakes. It's been awhile since I tossed a fluke, and forgot how much I loved the action on it, when weightless.

The carp were all over the middle of the North pool gettin' down and dirty with one another. I floated right past a bunch of them, through the chocolate milk colored water they had made. It was quite humorous.

All in all it was a beautiful day to be on the water. Regardless of the missed fish, I am just loving being on the water, and being able to paddle around.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Party until you're blue in the face!

I stopped by my local honey hole to see if the big bluegill wanted to play. Casted a small boogle popper with my custom FSA 3 wt, and the bluegill did not disappoint. They accepted my blue popping invitation with excitement, jumping out of the water with each delivery. Every cast was greeted with as much excitement as the last. It was a fun 30 minutes.
Taking more than they can handle.
All jacked up on mountain dew, and came at me like a spider monkey, but I was ready. I came in first, and he came in last.
The Fuzz showed up forcing everyone to dip.
I even made a new friend. There's no doubt his kung-fu will grow strong, and he will enjoy plenty of pizza.
Turtle planking...this little dude is on some next level shit. Look at that focus...and the form...perfection.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Grandparents Camper

Helped open up my grandparents camper at Fish Lake. Did some cleaning and helped with all of the heavy lifting to get it all ready for Memorial day weekend when the whole family usually goes up to get together.

Lot's of memories at this camper, and it's very hard to believe they've owned it for 14 years now.

Before this permanent camper/trailer, they had an old pop up camper. They belonged to a camping group that went to different campgrounds every year around the states of Illinois and Wisconsin. They're one of the reasons I learned to love and appreciate the outdoors.

Looking forward to making more memories with the family sharing laughs and stories around the campfire, taking my cousins fishing at the lake, and just having a good old time with the family.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Yak Bass

Finally - I found a bass at the lake I have a love/hate relationship with.

Got out early to beat the storms that were in the forecast. With some tips I received from my buddy Geo over at Geo Fishing on Facebook, I headed toward an area he had success in the day before. I brought both my fly rod, and spinning rod. I was casting a double willow spinner bait along the edges of the weed beds, and what do ya know...I hook up with my first largemouth bass on the new kayak. It was also my first decent bass of the year. I was stoked!

Not the biggest of bass, but that doesn't matter to me.
I had a few misses later on before calling it a day. On my way back to the boat launch it seemed the fishing was starting to pick up, because, I saw a few guys fishing from shore hook up multiple times with bass tossing spinner baits.

Catch - Photo - Release
Slowly but surly I am starting to figure this lake out.

I am also starting to really need/want an anchor trolley on my kayak, but I need to hold off, because, there is a possibility of me upgrading to a Hobie. Negotiations are in the happening as I type.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Abel Nippers

$50 for a pair of nippers…. You must be out of your damn mind!

That was my initial reaction when I saw the price tag on the Abel nippers. In fact that is still my reaction to the price tag on the nippers. One day I was just browsing around and found the nippers for $25. That still seemed overpriced to me for something that is just going to cut line, but I caved and bought them for the discounted price to find out what all of the hype was about.

I have been using them for 11 months now, and I must say…I absolutely love them! I like to think of them as the Lamborgini/Ferarri of the nipper world, because, of their performance. They cut line of any test with ease. It’s like you’re cutting line with a mini light saber. The teeth/blades on the nippers are replaceable, so, if they ever do get dull, you can try to sharpen them yourself or order a replacement set from Abel (Cost unknown to me).

Another great use for the nippers is cleaning the eyes of hook or small jigs. There is a place on the nippers that was made for this. Come in handy when you forgot to clean the eyehole of a fly you just tied, and got a little carried away with the head cement or Clear Cure Goo.

There have been a few days where I have forgotten them in my truck on an outing, and I needed to use my spare $5 Orvis clippers…let’s just say I was not a happy camper. Not that it would ruin, rather one of those thoughts in your head that you just can’t let go of – “Damn it, I forgot my clippers.”

Sounds absurd, right? Well it is…. They’re clippers for crying out loud!! What the hell is wrong with me? Haha

If you’re ever presented the chance to purchase them for $25, I’d say do it. I guarantee that you will enjoy them. Hell - if you don’t care about money, do it, and buy me an extra pair while you’re at it! :)

I don't even want to get in to how much the custom painted ones. Sheesh! They sure do look pretty though.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I hate it, but not really....

Is there a body of water that you absolutely hate, but can't seem to stay away from?

Well, Busse Lake is that place for me. It's a large body of water that offers a variety of species.  An angler can catch bluegill, crappie, carp, largemouth bass, walleye, northern pike, and musky...and it's only been 10 to 25 minutes from me for the past 15 years, so, what's not to like!

I have yet to hook something huge at Busse, and my visits to the lake have decreased throughout the years. I was proud of myself for only fishing there 5 times last year. It was a challenge, because, every week I would read reports on a local fishing forum of guys consistently killing it over here, catching huge bass, keeper walleye, and musky!

Fast forward to my heavier days a few years later. One of the first fish I caught on the fly.
Now that I have a kayak, I can now fish off the beaten path that is usually crowded. I can get to those places that I could only see from a distance. This is the year that I make Busse Lake my bitch!

After work today, I headed on over to the lake. As I was unloading a guy was just finishing up his day on the water from his kayak. He told me he landed a 30" musky on a night crawler. Awesome - I brought my 9 wt and musky flies :) 

4/0 single.


I floated around and tossed the usual musky meat. I hooked up with a few downed trees, but no fish. Paddled around some more. Saw some activity near some downed trees, so, I slowly and silently made my way to what looked like baitfish trying to get away from something. I casted. Thump. I could feel something with significant size on the other end...could this be?!?! Then as fast as it happened, the line went slack. I felt broken. I made more than a few casts back into the area, but there was nothing. Could that have been a Busski (Musky from Busse)!! I'll never know....

Crotch Shot!
Finished the day skunked for the 3rd time in the past 2 weeks at Busse.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014


A late post, but it's all good.

After I left Fort Meyers, I spent the remainder of my Florida vacation in Orlando. The hotel I stayed at had a big lake with kayak and 2 person pontoon rentals, but I only had 1 free day to do what I wanted while I was there. 

I was able to take advantage of the lake, and rented a 2 person pontoon (I should have taken a picture of it, because, it was pretty damn cool). My girlfriend and I just cruised around the lake as I fished. I was able to hook up with some small largemouth bass tossing some bait fish patterns with my 5 wt. I was hoping to find some big Florida bass, but they didn't want to come out and play.

These swamp donkeys loved my bait fish patterns.

After returning the pontoon, I fished from the pier. I was catching some more swamp donkeys, when I noticed something big cruising along the surface in the almost crystal clear was a gar! (A Florida Gar to be exact.) I got excited, and made a perfect cast past the toothy fish....strip...strip...strip...across it's face and I paused...that gar had a face full of fur, and it was GAME ON! It was an awesome fight and definitely pushed my 5 wt beyond what it's used to. My one worry during the battle was my 9 lb held. I was ecstatic! My first gar on the fly.

There was no one around to take a picture, and this was the best I could do. *sad face*
10 minutes after releasing the gar, I saw an even bigger one cruising. This one had about 1 foot and a few more pounds than the one I caught. Again, I made a perfect cast...strip...strip...strip...the gar turned and caught the back of the the gar made a second attempt to demolish my fly, a huge bowfin came out of no where and went at the gar, scaring it off. My knees were shaking...this thing was big. The bowfin then took a look at my I gave it a few strips, and it followed...then it just slowly sank into the depths. Gasp.

That fish would have definitely tested all of the backbone my Orvis Access 5 wt had. 

When I was done fishing I saw the species list for the lake, and there was a fish on there that I would have absolutely loved to have hooked up alligator gar. If I only had more free time.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Great Lakes Kayak Fishing Series: Walleye

After the purchase of my new kayak, +BrookField Angler, suggested to me that I join the Great Lakes Kayak Fishing Series.

The 3 part series is as follows:

May 3 - Walleye @ Fox Chain of Lakes
June 14 - Largemouth Bass @ Illinois River at Heritage Harbor Ottawa
September 6 - King Salmon @ Lake Michigan out of Manitowoc Marina

Yesterday was the first tournament for walleye. I have almost zero experience with walleye. I have never went out and targeted them in my fishing career. The only time they were ever caught by me, I was bass fishing.

The day had it's ups and downs, but overall it was a good day. The sun was out, but the wind was howling. It made it extremely difficult to paddle, but I managed. I toyed the idea of using my fly rod, but to decided to dust off my baitcasting and spinning rods. I casted crank baits, and dead drifted a 3" gulp leach all day. I ended the day catching 2 fish on my dead drifting leech, but none of them were walleye. At least I wasn't skunked!

I am not the fish you are looking for.

The guys who organized the event did a stellar job. There were a ton of giveaways on top of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes. They were even nice enough to start the grill and treat everyone to bugers and brats when everyone returned. So, a big "THANK YOU" goes out to them.

I believe there were 15 people in the field (just a guess). Only 2 fishermen hooked up with walleye. The guy who won first place caught 3 walleye (12, 14, and 23 inches). Second place went to an 8.5 in walleye. Since there were no other walleye caught, everyone else name was thrown into a pot, and the third place winner was randomly selected.

Looking forward to the next installment on June 14th. It's my birthday, so, I have to win, right? Haha. The fly rod will definitely be joining me on that one.