A Hero's Fall Musky Lures

     I've gotten a few questions about what I am using to fish from shore now that the water is so cold.  Most people that know me can tell you that I am not a fan of live bait.  I don't keep the fish I catch, so I have a hard time rationalizing killing a fish to catch a fish.  I totally get it if you don't understand and I also respect your right to keep the fish you catch.  It's just my philosophy so if I am not floating suckers, then what am I using to catch pike and musky?
     Just 2 lures, yup that's all 2 lures.  You're probably thinking to yourself he must be a bulldawg guy, or maybe he throws glide baits.  I don't use them, nothing against the lures but I have no confidence with them.  Also I have arthritis and carpel tunnel in both my hands and wrists so the weight of bulldawgs causes problems.  I get some serious pain and numbness when fishing heavy lures.  This pain is the same reason that I don't use glide baits anymore.  The repetitive motion of working glide baits can cause so many problems for me that after a few hours of fishing I end up wearing wrist braces all week.  So then what lures do I use?
     First off a swimbait, a big swimbait.  With my wrists I need a lure that's easy to retrieve, light to throw, and has a big profile.  I always tell people that I'm after trophy fish.  To get a big fishes attention I usually need a big bait.  This swimbait is available through www.bogbaits.com.  It is 10 inches long and with a magnum jighead from Fintech it only weighs about 6oz.  This is perfect for fall muskies.  You can rig this bait up normal or sideways, swim it through the water column,  even jig it off the bottom.  The lure can be setup weedless, or with the hook exposed.  It has almost unlimited possibilities.  Plus Bog Baits is a Wisconsin company!
     The other lure I have been carrying this fall/winter season is new to me.  I came across this lure while on Facebook.  I was impressed by the testimonials and the fact that it was extremely versatile.  The swimbait is awesome in shallow/weedy water, but waiting for it to sink to depths over 20 feet can take awhile.  Also sometimes it is just nice to change up the presentation.
     It is blade bait, called the Echotail.  They only weigh 4oz. but the profile lets them sink fast.  The holes you see on the top of the bait allow you to control how much it wobbles, how fast it rises in the water column, and the tails are replaceable.  This lure is really neat and I have been using it lately to vertical jig as well as casting it out to steep drop offs.  You can bounce this thing off rocks and if you bend it just straighten out the body and and toss it again.  Plus it is from Wisconsin!  Check out the lures at www.VibrationsTackle.com
     So that's it, I keep it pretty simple.  I throw 2 lures, from two companies I believe in.  You won't be disappointed in the quality or service from these companies.  They have lots of lure options to target all species of fish in all kinds of conditions.  Ice fishing to Saltwater they have something to fill the needs of every angler.  
     Tight Lines.

The Surf Weight Advantage

      Fishing in the fast current of rivers here in Wisconsin can be frustrating.  You rig up, cast out, and get your weight snagged on the bottom.  Rocks and logs are everywhere and everytime you snag you end up cutting your line and losing your rigging.  This senario has played out for me countless times and I thought that was just what you had to deal with.  That was until I went to Florida to try my hand at shark fishing from shore.  In my quest for the gear I would need to fish the surf I stumbled across these.
     I know they don't look like much, but they changed my river fishing.  What you are looking at is a spider weight.  They are made from copper pipe filled with 5 oz. of concrete that has smaller diameter copper wire inserted into the end.  They are used by surf anglers to dig into the sand and keep the bait from being brought back to shore by the waves.  It looks like this when you open up the wire (get why it's called a spider weight).
     The secret is that unlike a round or pyramid weight these don't get snagged.  If they get caught up on the  bottom those thin wire fingers bend and free the weight.  The 5 oz. of concrete help it drop quickly through the water column and they cast really well.  I also like the fact that since they are significantly longer than standard freshwater sinkers you can add more weight.   Just clip on your round sinkers and they don't interfere since they are shorter.  In strong current or sandy bottoms they work just like they would in saltwater and dig into the bottom so can place your bait where you want it, not where the current decides to let it settle.
     I rig them up just like I would any other weight for catfishing.  I run the line through a weight slide, bead, and then tie on the hook. 
     As you can see it has many advantages and is just another tool in the arsenal available to saltwater anglers.  You can find these online or make them yourself.  I think they are a game changer in certain conditions when fishing for catfish and sturgeon.  Give them a try in strong current and you won't be disappointed.
     Tight Lines!!!

13 Fishing Black Betty Reel with New Ice Fender

     Ice fishing is just around the corner and if your anything like me you love to chase those panfish.  For the last year or so I have been using the 13 Fishing Black Betty Reel.  I really enjoyed the reel when fishing shallow with the exception of the spool getting caught on my glove when feathering the reel.  This year 13 Fishing has came out with the Ice Fender to solve that problem.  The reel works flawlessly now and I am so pumped to fish it over the next few months.  
     The included video is a quick review I did of the reel and the new Ice Fender.  Check out the reel, ice fender, and all of their other products at www.13fishing.com.

Tight Lines!!!

Surf Rods for Freshwater?

     Ever notice that the boats are catching fish just out of your reach from shore?  For me at least it always seems to be 20 feet farther than I can cast.  No matter how hard I throw, how much torque I put on the rod, or even which reel I am using, I can't close that distance.  One day while killing time on YouTube I saw a video of surf fisherman in Montauk casting for stripped bass.  The rods were long and the distance they got was incredible.  Now this got the gears in my head turning and I started to wonder if this would work in Wisconsin?
     I wanted to try this idea out on muskies.  My thought was if I could cast out to the weed edge and get the fish to follow, they would have more than enough time to commit.  The locals I talked to thought the idea was crazy.  Most didn't say it to my face, but I could tell from the looks I got that I was on my own in this endeavor.  I kind of gave up on the idea until I ran into Larry Dahlberg from the tv show The Hunt For Big Fish.  Now Larry Dahlberg uses saltwater ideas all the time for freshwater fishing and seemed excited about this idea.
    The only thing to do now was pick out the rod.  I was after a versatile rod that could handle braided line and cast a lure that weighed 1 to 8 ounces.  After about a month of looking online I ended up back on the Stingray Tackle website.  The Heavy Hooker rod had everything I was looking for in a rod and the price was perfect.  Check them out at www.stingraytackle.com

     When the rod arrived I headed outside with the camera and shot this quick video.
     Now as you can see it casts much farther than a musky rod, but would it work on the water?  Well so far yes and no...Some lures don't cast any better with a longer rod.  If your lure fouls out you have alot of lost time reeling in all that line.  Also if trees or people are around you need to be really careful swinging that 12 foot rod around!

     The surf rod advantages:
  • I was able to cast much further (the rod is 12 feet long).
  • The handle was much longer so I could comfortably put much more force behind my cast.
  • The rod has no trigger so you can use spinning or casting reels.
  • The extra length allows for much easier figure 8's when standing on a break wall.

     I have been playing with it for awhile now and it is showing some promise (for catfish).  Only time will tell how effective it will be chasing muskies from the shore of Lake Monona.
     Until next time I will keep on casting and I promise to keep you updated.  Tight Lines!!!