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Showing posts from August, 2016

EP:22 Kayak Muskies

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EP:22 Kayak Muskies







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In this episode of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast we talked about Kayak Muskies.  Pursuing the fish of 10,000 casts from a small plastic boat is a lot of fun.  It does however present some challenges for the human powered angler.  I gave some advice on kayak specific rod and reel selection, lure choices, and how to seal the deal with an oval at the side of the kayak.  We talked about the differences you'll encounter trying to land a fish with a net compared to a set of lip grips.  Finally we had a quick discussion on the importance of a healthy release.  Take these tips out on the water the next time you find yourself in pursuit of the mighty muskellunge.  Just make sure you send me a photo of your monster fish. Thank you for listening to Episode 22 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 ar…

How To Tie An Egg Pattern Fly

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The seasons are right on the cusp of changing here in the Midwest.  For me that means that before you know it the salmon and steelhead will be in the rivers and harbors of Lake Michigan.  I've really learned to love the various salmonids that have been stocked in these waters.  More importantly over the last few years my interest in pursuing these fish with a fly rod has become more and more intense.  For guidance in this pursuit I've been picking the brain of the guys and gals over at Orvis of Madison.  Last fall they showed me some of the ways you can fish an egg pattern.  On one particularly cold evening they even took the time to show me how to tie one up.  Turns out they're pretty easy.  So easy in fact that I'll never waste my time tying my own.  "Don't tie what you can buy," is my battle cry when it comes to fly fishing.  If you're not of the same opinion then get out your vise, a #10 hook, some egg yarn, and a spool of olive thread.  Then just…

A Little Tape Goes A Long Way

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Aquick tip for my fellow anglers out on the water.  I like to wrap the handles of all my different fishing pliers with some electrical tape.  You only need to 8-10 wraps, but those wraps of tape can save your day. Let's say you land yourself a beautiful musky.  You realize that the hooks of your bucktail are buried deep and that it's in the muskies best interest to clip the hooks and get it back in the water.  As you get ready to replace the hook it suddenly dawns on you that you didn't bring any heat shrink tubing to hold the hook in it's correct position (I know it sounds crazy, but it happens).  A few quick wraps and your back in action, just make sure the lure is dry so that you get good adhesion.  While your at it a few wraps around the base of the hook will keep your silicone or tinsel skirts from getting stuck in the hook itself.  It also helps to reduce the amount of weed slime your hook picks up as it travels over the weed beds. Another use I recently discovered…

EP:21 Some Thoughts On Human Powered Vessels

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EP:21 Some Thoughts On Human Powered Vessels







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In this episode of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast I discussed the use of inflatables to help you leave the shoreline.  First I explained why renting a kayak or canoe might be a great way to fish open water.  Then we covered why inflatable kayaks, paddle boards, and float tubes, can be a cost effective introduction to human powered angling.  They've come a long way since the yellow inflatable kayak I sank in years ago while trying to musky fish on Lake Monona.  The ease of storage makes many of these vessels a great alternative to a rigid kayak when lack of space is an issue.  I also talked about Lucid Fishing Grips and a wonderful buzz bait rig made by the Bog Baits Company that can be added to any top water lure.  So if the water is calling you to leave the shoreline, this episode may have the answers you've been looking for.      Thank you for listening to Episode 21 of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Pod…

What To Do If You Flip Your Fishing Kayak

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Sooner or later it's going to happen regardless of how good you are as a paddler.  Whether due to a lapse in judgement, a rogue wave, or a large and unruly fish, eventually you're gonna flip (turtle) your kayak.  It happens to everybody, it sort of comes with the territory.  Instead of worrying about when it will happen, take the time to put a little thought into what you'll do to right the boat and continue your outing.  I recently went through this myself on the Wolf River in northern Wisconsin.  It was my first time to encounter true whitewater on a fishing trip and I survived just fine because I planned ahead.
The first thing you need to do is pack your parachute.  Make sure you follow the basics.  Dress for the water temperature, wear your PFD, leash everything (I know it's a pain in the ass), strap down your crate/cooler, ALWAYS have a knife, and carry a bailing aide.  For many of us kayak anglers in SOT kayaks a bailing aide such as a pump seems pointless, but it…

Tackle Storage for the Human Powered Angler

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One of the biggest differences I see between traditional boating anglers and human powered anglers is how they choose to store their tackle.  If you fish from a boat your gear is less likely to be totally submerged in water (hopefully).  I guess you could call that a perk?  The simple fact that the boat keeps you isolated from the water means the gear you carry will stay safe and dry.  Human powered anglers however face an entirely different challenge.  It doesn't matter if you wade, paddle a kayak, sit in a float tube, or cast from shore, sooner or later the tackle you carry is going to get soaked.  It just comes with the territory.
To help combat the rust and rot associated with wet tackle I've personally made the switch to waterproof tackle trays.  These tackle trays have made a huge difference in the life of my lures.  I no longer have to deal with rusted hooks, rotting bucktails, or dingy pitted spinner blades.  The boxes do a wonderful job of keeping my gear dry, clean, a…

EP:20 Considering A Pedal Driven Kayak

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EP:20 Considering A Pedal Driven Kayak









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In this week's episode of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast we looked at pedal driven kayaks.  Not really the differences between the brands, but why as a kayak angler you'd even consider one for purchase.  Pedal driven kayaks offer some unique advantages over their paddle only brethren.  From hands free fishing, to trolling, to just overall versatility they are hard to ignore when you're in the market for a new kayak.  Now more than ever companies are stepping up and offering kayak anglers options.  Starting next year almost every major brand will have a pedal driven kayak on the market.  It's an exciting time to be looking for an upgrade.  Also this week we launched our first contest.  The prize is a Shorebound Hero Sticker Pack.  All you have to do is listen to the podcast then visit the blog and comment with the answer.  I'll use a random number generator to choose the winner.  I'll announce …

So I'm Getting A Divorce

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This Thursday almost marked 14 years of marriage.  A milestone that was very important to me.  However, I came up short and will have to settle for 13 years.  It's not how I thought my life story would play out.  In fact, I was blindsided when she let me know that she wanted out.  Trying to make sense of it all just left me angry, depressed, and feeling lost.  It didn't end because of an affair or abuse...it just kind of ended.
When I posted this picture last week someone commented "Something must be off, you're breaking to many rods."  They were right, something was off in a big way.  My marriage is the one thing that I always thought I had going for me.  We weren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it worked.  Since finding out about the divorce I have had more than a few broken rods.  Many things appear to have broken in different areas of my life.  Some I can fix (like my eating habits and smoking) some I can't fix (like my marriage and lo…

The Importance of Casting Practice

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As we unloaded our gear from the vehicles Spencer asked if we should rig up tonight or in the morning.  "Probably tonight" I said, "Got to practice anyways."  The look on his face was priceless, "Practice?"  This seemed strange to me knowing Spencer's penchant for exercise.  He's a guy that constantly work outs, eats right, and prepares for physical activity.  Practice is important to him, so is routine, yet he still looked confused.  "Practice 20 minutes everyday regardless of what you fish for was my answer."
It's something that I kind of live by as a "Pro Angler."  Professionals in any industry don't rely on luck to meet goals.  They put in the work required to reach them.  The roman philosopher Seneca once said, "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity."  Words to live by I think.  You see if you don't practice than you can't react.  Over the years I've noticed that many of my so…

EP:19 Fly Line Management

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EP:19 Fly Line Management










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In this episode of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast we talked about fly line management.  Fly fishing provides some unique challenges for the human powered angler.  Whether you're on the shore or casting from a kayak, fly line management can become a major pain in the A$%.  This issue has been something I've struggled with since taking up the sport a few years ago.  We also talked about a few of the products I use to manage my fly line when out and about.  The first was the Orvis Stripping Basket which really takes the pain out of fly fishing from the shoreline.  The second product that I recommended was the Bonefish Hippies Urchin Stripping Mat.  I stumbled upon this last year and it has quickly become a must have accessory when I'm fly fishing from my kayak or SUP.  Give these concepts a try the next time you find yourself casting a fly.  They work great and will keep your fly fishing line tangle and swear word free. T…

Rigging Up A Native Watercraft FX12

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This weekend I had the opportunity to take a Native Watercraft Ultimate FX12 up north to catch some smallmouth bass on the Wolf River.  I had a great time and we were able to land several bass in the double digits.  Taking the time to rig up a kayak for river fishing was a fun experience.  Before we left for the trip I took a few minutes to record a quick video showing how the Ultimate FX12 was going to be setup.  Native Watercraft's Ultimate FX12 proved to be a great kayak on the river.  I hope this video will give you some options to think about the next time you get a chance to take your favorite fishing kayak to a flowing body of water. Tight Lines.

Native Watercraft Titan Propel 13.5

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This week Native Watercraft announced a new kayak at the Outdoor Retailer Show.  It will be called the Titan Propel 13.5 and I haven't been able to focus on anything else since the photos and videos have started rolling in on social media.  The new kayak promises to be able to compete head to head with the Pro Angler from Hobie Cat.  I'm stupid excited about this because this new boat addresses all of my perceived shortcomings relating to my current rig the Slayer Propel 13.  Let's take a look at what the Titan Propel 13.5 kayak has to offer.
The Titan Propel 13.5 will be released with a length of around 13 1/2 feet (obviously).  The width is a staggering 42 inches!  Talk about a roomy and spacious water craft.  You should be able to stand and even turn around easily on this kayak.  The boat is of course rotomolded plastic for strength and features the ever popular Propel pedal drive to move it along.  A beefy hand controlled rudder is a given and the factory promises great…

EP:18 Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention

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EP:18 Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention








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In this episode of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast we talked about Aquatic Invasive Species (A.I.S.).  We discuss some of the species that are effecting the Midwest as well as the announcement of the Illinois DNR to reintroduce alligator gar as a means of natural population control for Asian Carp.  I think it's a great idea since studies have proven that they don't have any adverse affects on the game fish populations.  Plus, I would love the chance to catch a monster gar relatively close to home.  I also gave a few tips on how as human powered anglers we can be proactive in helping to stop A.I.S.  One of the products I mentioned was the Rinse Kit, a self contained pressurized spray unit.  It works wonderfully and is an inexpensive answer to cleaning our boats when a water source isn't present.  Aquatic Invasive Species prevention is something we should all take seriously.  It all starts with you (and m…

3 Favorite Terrestrial Fly Patterns For Big Bluegills

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As the dog days of summer start to wear on here in the Midwest my mind turns to the bluegills.  These little fighters can be just the thing you need to get your thoughts off the crazy heat and humidity.  My fly box is overflowing with terrestrial patterns of all types and colors. However these 3 patterns keep ending up on the of my line.
The first pattern I must recommend is my current go to fly on the water.  It's called Gibson's Dragon Fly and it's the most productive BIG bluegill pattern I own.  The bluegills are crushing this fly on a regular basis.  They just seem to lose their minds when these dragon fly imitations hit the water.  Which makes sense since you can't walk (or paddle) more than a few feet without seeing little blue dragon flies buzzing about.  If you get nothing else out of this post, get this fly! Next up is the Bully Bluegill Spider.  If you've read the book Bluegill Fly Fishing and Flies by Terry and Roxanne Wilson then you know how effective th…

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