EP:13 Musky Lure Basics

EP:13 Musky Lure Basics















     In this episode of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast we covered the 5 basic types of musky lures.  This episode seemed appropriate based on the sheer number of musky lure questions I've been fielding lately both in person and on social media.  A lot of people seem to believe that you need a bunch of expensive lures to chase the mighty Muskellunge.  This just isn't true, I personally only own 6 musky lures and am able to catch fish just fine.  Braking the lure categories down to how they work the water column allows you to pick and choose which lures you actually need.  Knowing which lures to own can save you a ton of money.  As promised here's a few links to some of my favorite lures in each category.

                River 2 Sea Whopper Plopper
                Joe Bucher Top Raider
Bucktails (Blades)- Mepps Giant Killer
                            Musky Mayhem Cowgirl
                            Bucher 800 Magnum Buck
Glide Baits- Phantom Soft Tail
                 Drifter Hellhound
Jerk Baits- Suick
                Squirko
                Musky Mania Burt
                    Chaos Tackle Medusa
                   Pearson's Grinder
                   Savage Gear 3-D Pike
Lee Lures H2O topwater musky lure.
     Thank you for listening to Episode 13 of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast.  You can subscribe to the podcast on ITunes and Podcast Garden.  If you do choose to subscribe take 30 seconds to leave a review.  The reviews are essential for getting the podcast recommended in the search results of our fellow anglers.  Before you leave please take a second to sign up for my free monthly newsletter.  It comes out on the 15th of each month and only on the 15th.  It's full of tips, tricks, some discounts, and of course subscriber only content.  So make sure you get yourself signed up today!
     Tight Lines.

How To Stand In A Kayak

Spencer Jones casting for largemouth bass on Lake Monona.
     For alot of kayak anglers learning to stand up and fish is the ultimate hurdle.  Standing up offers many advantages from improved casting, to better sight fishing, or even just the ability to stretch out sore and tired muscles.  Standing up is a game changer when out on the water.  Here's a few tips to help you get on your feet, when out on the water.
Sight fishing beds during the spawn.
     1. Use a Stable Platform- Make sure the kayak or SUP your using is big enough for you to stand comfortably.  This is more about the size of the angler than it is the size of kayak.  Take me and my Slayer as an example.  I'm a solid flabby 250 pounds.  It takes a much bigger kayak for me to feel comfortable standing than it does my 12 year old son.  He's a sprite 133 pounds and he can easily stand in the 10 foot sit on top that I started with a number of years ago.  I couldn't even kneel in that thing without flipping over, let alone stand in it.  So tip number is start with a stable kayak.
     2. Get Some Assistance- There is no shame in needing a little help to get on your feet.  The first time I stood in a paddle driven vessel was in a hand me down canoe.  It was very easy to stand up in that canoe when I was out on the water.  It's not much bigger than my kayak so I figured standing in the Slayer would also be easy, I was wrong.  The kayak was missing the thwart.  I used the thwart (bar between the gunnels) to pull myself up.  Many kayaks don't come with a stand up bar, but most can have one installed.  Jackson, Harmony, NuCanoe, and even the Hobies have stand up bars that can be attached to the kayak.  All you have to do is pull on the bar with your feet facing forward and suddenly, you're standing.  They are one of those accessories that I believe are worth the investment.  Not looking to spend a bunch of extra money for the ability to stand?  Look into buying yourself a pull up strap.  I use the one from Native Watercraft, but any strap will work.  They are inexpensive and make a world of difference when getting on your feet from a seated position.
Notice the stance, feet apart and head centered...stable.
     3. Keep Your Feet Apart and Your Head Centered- One of the greatest lessons I learned from my years as a stilt walker and juggler was that your balance is best when your head is at rest.  It might seem like a no brainer (haha), but balance starts at the top.  Keep your head inline with the kayak all the time.  Regardless of what the rest of your body is doing if you keep your head in the middle in the boat you won't tip while standing.
So easy even a child can do it. 
     4. Practice- The best advice I can give you is to constantly practice standing in your kayak.  Put on your PFD, find some deeper water, and go have fun!  For many anglers the inability to stand is all in their mind.  You'll probably find that learning to stand in your kayak is much easier than you thought.  For me learning to stand up in a kayak has made the whole fishing experience better.  I can make more accurate casts, stretch out my back, and sight fish much easier than I ever could from a seated position.  Do you have any tips to help other paddlers stand on their own two feet?  Leave them in the comments below.
     Tight Lines.

Shorebound Hero Tips and Tricks is Back

     So I admit I let the SBH Tips and Tricks Videos fall by the wayside.  I also admit that I know that consistency in any online medium is key to keeping the audience engaged.  So I'm bringing it back and will do my best to keep the videos coming on a regular basis.  Here is the 6th tip in the series on YouTube.  If you want you can even subscribe to my channel in the sidebar.  When the subscriber total reaches 500 will have our first give away here on the blog so be sure to share it with your followers.
     Tight Lines.

EP:12 Your First Kayak Tournament

EP:12 Your First Kayak Tournament















     In this episode of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast I talked about competing in your first kayak tournament.  I get asked a lot of questions about kayak tournament fishing.  These range from "How do I know if I'm good enough to compete?"  All the way to "How do they keep the fish alive all day?"  I've answered all these questions by looking back at my own experiences.  It wasn't that long ago that I was competing in my first tournament and I made a lot of mistakes.  Hopefully this episode will help you have a better showing then I did when you sign up for your first event.  I talked about prefishing, what to bring, using a Hawg Trough, and some basic participant etiquette during and after the event.  The important thing to remember is that tournament fishing is a lot of fun!  Testing yourself against the clock in a tournament setting is a great learning experience.  However the best part of tournament fishing is the new friends you'll make while out on the water.
  Thank you for listening to Episode 12 of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast.  You can subscribe to the podcast on ITunes and Podcast Garden.  If you do choose to subscribe please take a second to leave a review.  The reviews are essential to getting the podcast recommended in the search results of fellow anglers.  Before you leave take a second to sign up for my free monthly newsletter.  It comes out on the 15th of each month and only on the 15th.  It's full of tips, tricks, some discounts, and of course subscriber only content.  So make sure you get yourself signed up today!
     Tight Lines.

3 Tips For Topwater Muskies

     Sunday morning my buddy JJ from the Madison Musky Addict Guide Service invited me out for some early morning musky fishing.  While wandering around Lake Monona in the dark casting a water chopper we got on the topic of top water technique.  We both rattled off a bunch of different ideas.  That list would have went on forever.  Since I don't have that much time this morning, I thought I'd offer up a few tips to help those of you that are new to the sport of musky fishing.

  • Sharpen Your Hooks-  This should be a no brainer, but we all have that one buddy that never sharpens the hooks on their lures.  Muskies have an extremely hard mouth.  That hard mouth can deflect a dull hook resulting in a lost of missed opportunities heart break.  It only takes a few seconds to run a file over your hook points before you start casting.  Give it a try and you'll be amazed by the results.
  • Look Behind The Lure-  Many times when guiding new clients they're aware that muskies follow, but still miss fish because they don't know how to spot them.  When bringing the lure back to the kayak, shoreline, or even a boat, don't watch the lure.  Watch the water a few feet behind it.  Start watching the water and not the lure and I guarantee you'll see more fish.
  • Sweep The Hook Set-  Once the musky hits your lure don't lift the rod to set the hook, sweep it.  As we said before, the mouth of a musky is really hard.  This isn't bass fishing, lifting the rod won't set a hook on most muskies.  The easiest way to put the hooks into Esox masquinongy is to sweep the rod (with force) across your body.  This will help bury those hooks.  Which normally means more fish make it to the net.
     Give these 3 tips a test run the next time you find yourself out tossing top water lures to the water wolves.  They're some of the basics that many forget to talk about when giving advice on the fish 10,000 casts.  Muskies can be frustrating to even the most experienced anglers.  Nobody has them figured out all the time.  The difference between the novices and greats is in the details.
     Tight Lines.

Death, Blood, and Trout


Tenkara rods travel well.

     This past weekend I finally got the opportunity to head home to Iowa.  Unfortunately I don't make getting back to see family as big of a priority as I should, but they are always happy to see our family when we do make it back.  Anyways...I refused to let this visit mess with my fishing and I quietly snuck a Classic series rod from Badger Tenkara into my backpack (thanks again guys).  The tenkara rod being the only rod packed meant I would be chasing trout.  Normally I'm only a fan of pursuing trout on the Great Lakes or if I get invited out to a Driftless stream by Tristan Kloss.  When it comes to Iowa trout though, one stream is special to me because I grew up in the neighborhood it runs through.
     Waking up early Saturday morning  quietly grabbed my gear so I wouldn't wake up my in-laws and headed to Walmart to buy an Iowa fishing license.  This was when I found out about the die off.  The clerk asked me where I was fishing, "McLoud Run" I said.  "What about the trout die off?" he asked, "Die off?"  "Yeah it was all over the news earlier this year."  "Hundreds of trout were found dead in the water."  I bought my license and headed out to the truck.  I did a quick Google search on my phone and he was right.  Over 300 trout died this year and nobody had any idea why.  Still I wanted to go fishing, and there must be a couple of trout left right?
     Pulling into the parking lot I was amazed at how empty it was.  I began rigging up my rod and a cyclist pulled over to let me know that all the fish were dead.  I told him that I had heard, but I really wanted to fish this creek.  He wished me well and I started walking the shoreline making my way downstream towards Cedar Lake.  I know you're not supposed to fish upstream of the trout, but I didn't have any waders with me and the overgrowth along the shoreline is insane.  I had to use old trails off the beaten path that I remembered from mountain biking this area when I was younger just to get a chance at making a cast.
     I worked my way through the trees amazed at how beautiful the area had become.  When I was a kid this was just a random trail that nobody really cared about.  Now it's an integral part of the cities layout.  A gem hidden in the urban sprawl of the city of Cedar Rapids.  Wildlife was everywhere and I was shocked when I rounded the corner and saw a whitetail deer cooling itself in the creek bed.  Sure you could still hear the sirens, trains, and residential noises, but it felt special, it felt like home.  Occasionally I would see a fish flying through the shallows.  Not sure if it was a trout, but something was still very much alive in this creek.  I continued to work the shore as best as I could.  The fishing could be considered strenuous at best.  This creek seems to eat flies due to being so crowded and overgrown with plant life.  Even with the precision casting the tenkara rod afforded me I was struggling.  Suddenly, while teetering on the edge of a sketchy undercut bank, the ground fell out from underneath me.  The whole thing just collapsed and took me along with it.  I managed to save the rod, but my pride was a little wounded and so was my leg.
Ouch!
      It was at this point that I decided to call it.  I slowly made my way up the embankment and back to the car.  No trout today, zip, zilch, nothing.  It was as thorough a skunking as I've ever had, but I was happy.  Coming back to Iowa always brings a smile to my face.  I didn't fish here as a kid so everything is new yet familiar.  McLoud Run is an amazing urban fishery with 3 different species of trout present when it's at it's best.  It may be struggling a little right now, but the DNR is already restocking the creek.  When it's back up to par I'll be back to get my revenge, and I'll be sure to tell the story right here.
     Tight Lines.

EP:11 Saltwater Tactics for the Freshwater Angler

EP:12 Saltwater Tactics for the Freshwater Angler




















     In this episode of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast we talked about 3 saltwater tactics that can benefit the freshwater angler.  The use of saltwater tactics in freshwater is nothing new.  In fact some of the best anglers I've met in the industry don't see any difference between the angling disciplines.  They believe that experimentation across fishing styles is a sure fire way to stay ahead of the game.  So give surf weights, surf rods, and braid stacking a try.  You'll probably find that they work just as well for you as they have for others.  Remember to keep learning and experimenting on the water.  You may just find that catching more fish is a wonderful side effect.  Below are some links to the products I mentioned in this episode.
   Thank you for listening to Episode 11 of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast.  You can subscribe to the podcast on ITunes and Podcast Garden.  If you do choose to subscribe please take a second to leave a review.  The reviews are essential to getting the podcast recommended in the search results of fellow anglers.  Before you leave take a second to sign up for my free monthly newsletter.  It comes out on the 15th of each month and only on the 15th.  It's full of tips, tricks, some discounts, and of course subscriber only content.  So make sure you get yourself signed up today!
     Tight Lines.

New Article In Midwest Outdoors Magazine

     This month I have reached a milestone in my angling/writing career.  I wanted to share my excitement with all of you first.  As many of my readers are aware I have no interest in fishing as a full time job.  For me the guide service is a teaching opportunity.  I do however want to write articles and books that will help other anglers catch more fish.  My long term goal is to become a speaker and writer in the outdoor industry.  I've made a lot of progress towards this goal in the last few years.  I've been blessed to be featured in multiple online media publications, but I still hadn't been published.
     The getting published goal goes way beyond fishing, in fact it reaches all the way back to my high school days.  A number of years ago (like 20) I chased the dream of becoming a published nature photographer.  I won some photography contests, took photos for both people and events, even worked in a film development lab for a few years.  Unfortunately, I gave up on that dream because I let the process get me down and one day I just stopped taking pictures.
     Fast forward to 2016 and I can finally say I've done it.  For the first time I've gotten something published in a print magazine.  A print magazine that somebody actually has to pay money to get, Midwest Outdoors Magazine.  I wrote an accepted article for the June issue on crappie fishing.  The best part?  They bought the pictures I provided too.  The high school kid in me can't stop smiling.
     Tight Lines.

EP:10 Wading Lakes

EP:10 Wading Lakes















     In this episode I answered some questions and gave some tips about wading lakes.  Wading lakes can be an extremely productive method of fishing.  No longer left to those who frequent rivers and streams lake wading is the final frontier for those on the shore line.  We talked about safety, how to determine where to wade, and I gave some personal gear choices.  Below are some affiliate links to the products I use day and day out on the water.
  Thank you for listening to Episode 10 of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast.  You can subscribe to the podcast on ITunes and Podcast Garden.  If you do choose to subscribe please take a second to leave a review.  The reviews are essential to getting the podcast recommended in the search results of fellow anglers.  Before you leave take a second to sign up for my free monthly newsletter.  It comes out on the 15th of each month and only on the 15th.  It's full of tips, tricks, some discounts, and of course subscriber only content.  So make sure you get yourself signed up today!
     Tight Lines.

Sailfish and Tuna On The Fly

     So recently my buddy Javier Guevara from Ecuador Fly Fishing Tours sent me this video.  It's a sweet compilation from his recent trip to Columbia in pursuit of sailfish and tuna on the fly.  To learn more about Javier's budget friendly fishing tours all over South and Central America check out the site here.
     Tight Lines.

DIY Truck Topper Rod Holder

     This weekend I finally got around to building my rod storage system for the back of my Silverado.  As a land based fishing guide I constantly struggle with where to keep all the rods that my clients bring for a fishing trip.  It doesn't take many rods to clutter up the cab of my truck and since the bed is usually filled with waders, tackle boxes, and kayaks.  I can't just lay the rods on the floor of the truck bed.  I needed a way to carry a lot of rods and keep them out of the way.  While doing my research I ran into this idea from the great John "Toast" Oast from Fishyaker.com.
     It's really simple to build and so far it's performing flawlessly.  All you need to do is purchase 2 adjustable shower rods, a 12 pack of shower curtain rings, and a pack of zip ties.  Watch his video above for all the details and be sure to subscribe to his channel if you have any interest in kayak fishing.  This system let's me hold up to 12 multi-piece rods.  I've also found that I can hang my 1 piece musky rods on it if I hang them diagonally (corner to corner).  Give this DIY a try if you carry a lot of rods and space is a premium.  Until next time...
     Tight Lines.