Monday, June 30, 2014

Took A Walk

I left the fishing rods at home, and opted to take a walk around the forest preserve down the street from my home. I recently borrowed my friends DSLR Nikon and decided that it should come to.

Poor little guy had an injured back leg. I wonder what he escaped from...hawk..owl...coyote...
Cool silhouette shot of a bird in flight.
Who doesn't like a sunset shot. Very happy with the lighting on this one.
Sunset on the Soob.
Way better than watching TV. You'll never know what's around the bend, unless you get out there....or use Google maps. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

New Toy

Received some awards points from my employer to use towards a prize/gift/small bonus.

I cannot wait to start using this for my fly tying. I have a lot of foam and balsa wood that needs shaping.

Exciting things are on the horizon at my fly tying desk.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Goat Head Gear Sole Spikes

I've been following Goat Head Gear on Instagram for a long while now, and their product seems to have a solid following, and I really enjoy the stuff that they post.

I purchased the combo pack that included the sole spikes, and sole spikes driver. On a recent trip to Wisconsin's Northwoods I was out fishing on a river, and had a few close calls. I completely forgot that I never replaced the original studs that were missing from my wading boots. Luckily, I remembered that I tossed the sole spikes in my backpack when they arrived in the mail a few months before.

Not only did I replace the missing studs, I added a few extra in places that I knew traction was needed.

The next day I waded and fished for 7 hours without incident while wading across gravel, climbing boulders and trees. The sole spikes provided exactly what I needed out there on the water...TRACTION.

I will definitely be keeping these stowed away in my car just in case. I might even add some to my hiking shoes after it rains, to keep a solid grip on any of the trails/rock I hike on, and just remove them when I'm done. 

If your boots are in need of some replacement studs, I say you check out these Goat Head Gear Sole Spikes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Not the fishing type of skunk, either.

Like every morning before I let my dogs out in the yard at 3:30 AM, I turn the light on and make sure there are no critters in the yard. The coast was clear, and I let the dogs out. Daisy usually runs to her spot and does her business and she's back right away. Bo usually wanders around a bit. Well, Bo wandered around, but Daisy, did not do her usual, instead, she kept sniffing all of the bushes very closely. This sort of alarmed me. While I was paying close attention to my dogs through the window on the storm door, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye, I looked down, and I'll be was a baby skunk standing on the step on the opposite side of the door. The skunk was watching Daisy sniff all of the bushes.

Even knowing that the baby skunks don't have the glads to spray, I knew that momma or pops, couldn't be far. I began to panic. I opened the door and tried "shooing" the baby skunk away with my foot, but that only drew the attention of my dogs, who now noticed that there was another animal in the yard. Thankfully, the little skunk jumped off the step, and under my porch.

....then I got a nose full of that god awful skunk smell...

I called the dogs in and smelled them the best I could. Daisy was perfectly fine. Bo on the other hand, caught a little bit of the spray. My guess is that Momma or Poppa skunk sprayed from under the porch hitting mostly the porch, and a little bit of Bo.

Bo received a quick tomato bath. I only had a can of diced tomatoes, but I think it did the girlfriend thinks otherwise.

They are living in a hole they dug out underneath my cement step, under the porch.
I've been researching ways to get the skunks removed without having to contact someone to trap them. (and pay them.). I taped a flashlight to my GoPro camera, and used the app on my phone to view the underside of my deck. I found where the skunks have made a home/hole. I soaked some rags with ammonia and used a pole to stuff the hole best I could.

My GoPro light set up.
Screen shot from my GoPro camera - Before I placed the ammonia soaked rags inside.
Screen shot #2 - I did the best I could with the rags. It was an awkward angle.
Hopefully, that will force them to relocate to someone elses backyard or the field nearby.

My New Ride

Back in September 2012 my Toyota Matrix was totaled when I hit a deer, and then was hit by 2 other vehicles on my way up to fish Wisconsin's Driftless Area. I've been doing a lot of research, and finally, figured out what I wanted...

I am the proud owner of a used Subaru Outback.

So, far I am loving it! It has all the space I need for my fishing and camping gear, kayak, dogs, and more.

Can't wait to take it on it's first to go....

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Great Lakes Kayak Fishing Series: Bass

Tournament number 2 of the Great Lakes Kayak Fishing Series.

The day - June 14th...Flag Day...My birthday!

The location - A large stretch of the Illinois River down in Ottawa, Illinois.

The target species - Bass...Smallmouth, Largemouth, and White.

Going into the tournament I thought I had birthday luck on my side, so, I was feeling good. I have never fished the Illinois River before, and have only seen it when I went hiking around Starved Rock State Park (...and Google Maps).

At the launch at Heritage Harbor - Ottawa.
It was a beautiful day, but the rain during the week raised the water levels for tourney, and the river was moving. I spent some time out on the main river, but not much time fishing. Most of my time was spent paddling upriver, to get out of the current, and back into the harbor, where I stayed a majority of the day. The river was just, too, much for me.

At the mouth of the harbor. 
Out on the river. Took me 5 minutes to paddle back to where I was after taking this picture.
I ended the day catching no bass. There were quite a few people with bass skunks, so, I wasn't alone. I know a lot of people caught sauger along the walls and places the bass would normally be. I ended the day with a gar, and a sheepshead. I am becoming a tournament sheepshead master! That's 3 in the last 2 tournaments. Hilarious!

There was little to no fight in this one. Once hooked I just  dragged him in.
Congratulations, to +BrookField Angler of on taking 3rd place at this event. I would also like to say, thank you, to the organizers of the event. It was a great time. 

I'm really looking forward to catching some sheepshead at the 3rd and final event September 6th out of Manitowoc Marina in Wisconsin. (North or Milwaukee). Target species - King Salmon. For more information click HERE

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


In a recent post, I mentioned that I have never caught a bass using a frog lure with my bait caster. I have tried countless times only to come up empty. I am the only person to blame for missing over a billion hook ups with a frog. I just get so damn excited seeing that explosion underneath the frog, I tend to set the hook way too early, and pull it away from the fish.

I finally thought that it was time to put line on my old bait caster once I started seeing the spool show after a long cast. It's been paired up with the same 30 lb test braid that I put on when I bought it...say 8.5 years ago. Not bad, huh!

So, 2 days after I had it relined my reel, I ventured out to my honey hole, because, I really wanted to work on my frog techniques, and I knew that the bass there would cooperate, and help me out. I ended the day going 2 for 12. I can honestly say that 8 of those missed bass were due in part to my drag getting changed in the relining process at Dicks Sporting Goods. I had some monster hook sets, because, the frog was so far out, but failed to hook up, because, my spool just let out line, in turn, letting the bass spit the frog, and get away.

I should also give a shout out to my homie DANK for inspiring me to use a frog lure, again, and give another shout out to my other homie Fat Gordo who told me some key advice when fishing the frog. He said, "When you see the bass hit, just keep telling yourself - "don't f#@king do it! don't f#@king do it!" and just wait until you feel some weight on the other end before setting that hook."

Pre-workout bass fishing - Got this one at 5 AM at sunrise. Missed at first, but came back.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Huge Relief!

I haven't been able to find my 5 wt reel for 3 weeks now, and I have been going absolutely bonkers! I even skipped out on fishing for northern pike this past Saturday to tear apart my truck, and home in search of my beloved reel. (My 5 wt is my goto setup)

It's been found!!!!!

I look a heck of a lot happier than this.
Turns out I left it my mothers truck the one day I borrowed it from her. The one place I never ever would have thought to look. Cannot wait to begin casting medium sized poppers for bass, again! Those bass I missed with the frog lures and big frog flies have no idea what's coming...or maybe they do, because, I caught them last year. Oh, well. HA!

Saturday, June 7, 2014


Took one of my good friends DANK, and another buddy GEO to the honey hole I found last year for the first time. I've been trying to get him to come out, but just never happened until now. He doesn't fly fish, so, he was wondering what would work...I told him to bring his frogging rod, and his finesse set up for a weedless rubber worm. DANK is a Jedi Master with a frog, and I knew that he wouldn't even need his finesse set up on this lake, because, the weeds have started to take over. I have never caught a bass using a frog with my regular rods, and I am truly envious of his skills.

Foggin' force is strong with DANK
DANK with a tank!
GEO hooked up with his first top water fish of the year with this fine specimen. 
GEO and a beautiful bass
A lot of bass were caught. The aerial display put on by the bass was quite impressive. On 2 occasions I had 2 bass come straight out of the water to take my frog fly offering. It reminded me of Discovery Channels Shark Week and how the great white sharks attack and fly out of the water at Seal Island.

Air and water show participant
I love top water!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Visiting the Grandparents at Fish Lake

Took a short day trip to visit my Grandparents at Fish Lake. One of my cousins was up there and wanted to fish. After dinner my cousin grabbed one of my grandpa's fishing rods and his tackle box. We quickly sifted through it, and he asked my advice on what to use. It was a mix of old and new lures. I was intrigued by a few of the older ones.

Here's an old popper I found in the tackle box. It has a light wire in the front that serves as a weed guard. This was my favorite find in the tackle box. He used to toss this with an ultra light spinning rod. Very cool!!

Unfortunately, this lake apparently had an extremely bad fish kill this past winter. Lots of reports and locals indicated that a frightening number of bass, crappie, and other fish were casualties.
Golden roach. There were schools of these guys around the fishing piers. There were some with more size.
I ended the evening catching a few golden roaches, and one small bass tossing a black and red gotcha fly with my 3 wt. My cousin tossed every small lure he brought, with no luck. I'll get him hooked up next time!

My cousin Giacomo looking for his first fish of the year....It didn't come this night.