EP:37 T'was The Night Before Christmas, A Musky Tale

EP:37 T'was The Night Before Christmas, A Musky Tale



















     In this episode of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast I read an poem I wrote called A Musky Tale. I wrote it back in 2012 in the pros of the T'was The Night Before Christmas.  I always loved that story around the holidays each year and I was excited to read it for all of you.  I hope each and everyone of you have a great holiday season.
     Thank you for listening to Episode 37 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 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.

Sailfish Smackdown 2017

An opportunity to chase down a dream.
     So this weekend I casually mentioned an idea to a buddy of mine on Facebook.  It was a simple enough idea, "Want to take a break in February and try to catch a sailfish from a kayak?"  That's all I asked, that's exactly what I said.  After reviewing my schedule I realized that I only had one weekend free from January to March so I might as well spend it driving to a saltwater tournament.  The Sailfish Smackdown 2017 Tournament is one of those bucket list events.  I've read about it, listened to it, and dreamed about it.  I don't want to win the thing or really even catch a sailfish.  I just want to be able to say I was there.
That's Spencer standing up, fishing, backwards, on his seat.
     That's how this whole thing started.  Now it's actually happening and it's Spencer's fault.  I was just indulging in a fantasy.  He became fired up and started making phone calls.  Now I'm driving to Florida in  two months.  It should be a good time assuming none of us go broke trying to pull this off.  Spencer's on board, obviously I'm going, and are most recent addition is our buddy Doug the local Viking Kayaks pro.  Doug's the only one with any real saltwater experience (he's from Texas).  I'm guessing us Midwest boys will be relying heavily on his advice.  Apparently will have to learn how to surf launch, use a live well, and not die in the ocean.
Will be bringing our Jackson, Native Watercraft, and Viking kayaks.
     See sounds like a good time!  Look to these pages in the next few weeks for rigging and setup ideas.  I'm hoping to get each of us to write up a review of our kayaks and what we hope to accomplish by attending this tournament at the other end of the country.  I also think a round table discussion is in order for the podcast.  This should be a fun experience with a great group of friends.  The Sailfish Smackdown 2017 is gonna be epic.  You should probably follow along...
     Tight Lines.                                                                                                                                                                    

Kayak Sailfish, BlackTipH, Epic Shorefishing, and Catch The Vibe Outdoors

     So the trucks broke, it's snowing like crazy, and I'm trapped at the house.  Not a huge deal all in all, but that means I've been surfing the internet.  My mind tends to wander a bit when I have free time and this week has been no exception.  I stumbled across a few videos and an article or two and have become so enamored with them that I just had to share.

The first video I've been watching is from fellow Lucid Fishing prostaffer Christina Weber.  I know it's a couple years old, but I just love the footage of that sailfish jumping.

The second video is the one that got me going on the whole shark fishing from shore dream.  BlacktipH was in Wisconsin this week chasing brown trout so that's probably what led me back to his channel.  You should check it out either way.

Third up is a great compilation I've been watching to keep myself fired up by Dennis Verreet.  He's the guy that catches monster yellowfin tuna from the rocks and as a self proclaimed Shorebound Hero his videos really get my heart pumping!

Lastly is the new video from Catch The Vibe Outdoors.  It features a nice musky caught on my local chain of lakes.  I'm a musky nut and a huge fan of Lee Lures so really this video is just about perfect.

Tight Lines.

Tenkara USA Tenkara Line and Fly Keeper Review

Tenkara USA Tenkara Line and Fly Keeper
     A few years back I got interested in a great fish catching technique called Tenkara.  It was started in small streams in the mountains of Japan.  The whole concept is simple, mostly because it was a style of fishing developed for sustenance instead of sport.  Tenkara uses a fixed length line and is cast in a loop similar to western fly fishing.  Many of the advantages I see in Tenkara are in its simplicity.  The rod is telescoping, the line is a set length (no management), and the flies are basic.  In all reality it's a great way to catch a fish on a fly.  There was however a few things that I didn't like about the system.  The first was the need to constantly remove the line to transport the rod.  This usually left the line coiled up and tangled.  It was a huge mess every time I loaded up to switch spots.  The second issue I had was that I still needed to carry a small assortment of flies which meant I needed to bring a fly box with me.  These issues weren't addressed by anybody I knew that practiced Tenkara.  We all just kind of dealt with it in our own way.  Then Tenkara USA released the Tenkara Line and Fly Keeper.  It promised to solve the line tangle issue and it had an integrated fly box so I quickly went online and ordered one for myself.
     When it arrived I opened the packaging and was impressed with the build quality. It was apparent that a lot of thought went into designing this product.  I was really excited to get it out on the water and try it out.  Before we talk about how well it performed though, we should probably take a look at the specs.

The Tenkara Line and Fly Keeper features:

  • Robust Plastic Design
  • Capable of Holding 2 lines and Tippet
  • Tangle Free Line Catching System
  • Integrated Fly Box
    So here's my thoughts after a season of use.  I can honestly say that it holds up well.  I'm notorious for being extremely hard on things and so far I haven't broke it.  The line catching system works well and is shockingly simple.  It works great whether you're carrying 1 line or 2 and not having to remove the tippet and fly makes tearing down and switching locations a breeze.  Even the fly box is well thought out and does a great job of keeping nymphs and small dry fly patterns secure.  It's a wonderful little product and it fits in your pocket!  I was really impressed with it's ease of use.  As a bonus it's price was very wallet friendly.
Obviously a popper won't fit in the fly keeper.
     Still this wouldn't be much of a review unless I shared a few of the things I didn't like about using this product.  The first issue I had was with it's size.  It's a compact little device and that means it gets swallowed up in my backpack.  I don't just Tenkara fish and as a by product I'm usually carrying my conventional or fly fishing gear in a bag and the Tenkara Line and Fly Keeper gets lost.  Not a huge deal, but annoying when trying to get everything organized for a guided trip.  The other thing is that the fly holder is definitely biased towards trout patterns.  Again not a huge deal, but I rarely use my Badger Tenkara rods to chase anything smaller than a largemouth bass.  Even my standard foam poppers and chenille panfish flies don't fit in the holder.  So I still have to carry a small fly box which defeats the whole point of using this product as a grab and go answer to keep all my Tenkara gear together and in one place.
     All in all I really wanted to like the Tenkara USA Tenkara Line and Fly Keeper, but for me and my style of fishing it just isn't a good fit.  If you're primary a trout angler that relies on just a few fly patterns this is going to be a great addition to your Tenkara arsenal.  I would highly recommend it to any trout angler that needs to carry multiple lines in a small convenient package.  If however your Tenkara fishing involves the use of bigger warm water patterns you'll be disappointed with the fly keepers performance.  To learn more about the Tenkara USA Tenkara Line and Fly Keeper follow the link to a video here.  If you're interested in picking one up for yourself follow the link here.
     Tight Lines.

     


EP:36 An Introduction To Tip Up Fishing

EP:36 An Introduction To Tip Up Fishing















     In this episode of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast I gave a brief introduction to the world of tip up fishing.  Tip up fishing is one of those angling techniques you can only do on the ice.  It's a specialty of those of us in the north and it can be ridiculously effective.  I cover basic tip up options, how to carry them, line choices, hooks, even baits and setup.  The tips I offer in this episode will help you catch a fish on a tip up this ice season.
All setup and ready to fish, now we wait.
     Thank you for listening to Episode 36 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 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.

SBH 2016 Survey

Always thinking about fish.  Photo Credit: Spencer Jones
     The 2016 season is winding down, but 2017 is only a few weeks away.  Those of you that follow the blog or the podcast know that I've got some big ideas for 2017.  Many of those things cost a significant amount of money to make happen.  To help me determine how to best serve you in the upcoming season I'm asking you take a short survey.  It's only 10 questions and it goes stupid quick!  I'm hoping this will answer many of the questions I have about the 3,000+ readers who stop by every week to follow my random thoughts.  You can take the survey as many times as you want and if you'd be kind enough to share it with your angling friends I'd really appreciate it.  The link to the survey is here, in the sidebar to the right, and will be shared on my Facebook page throughout the rest of December.
     Tight Lines.

New Ice Check List

     I woke up the other day and it turns out ice fishing season is already upon us.  The main lakes don't have enough ice for me to feel comfortable yet, so I have been out on the many ponds in the parks and recreational areas of Madison, WI.  These ponds get almost no fishing pressure in the winter and normally produce lots of bluegills so the fishing is fast and fun.  As I post the pictures online from my little fishing excursions I have been getting a lot of questions about how I know if the ponds are safe to fish.

Here is a quick list of the 6 things that go through my mind when venturing out on new ice:
  • Does this pond have any springs or feeder creeks?
  • Only 1 person walks out to check the ice.
  • Are my self rescue spikes around my neck?
  • Untie my boots (Seriously!)
  • Use the ice spud with some force
  • Does the ice look spongy or fluffy?
     So why these 6 things?  Well to put it simply, I don't have any interest in dying to catch a fish.  Using Google Earth to check the satellite maps of a pond I can see if it has a creek feeding it.  Moving water under ice usually means that the ice is thinner.  Why only one person at a time?  This makes sure that if the ice isn't safe only one person goes through it.  That leaves your fishing buddy free to make arrangements to try and save your life (or notify next of kin).  Why the self rescue spikes and untying your boots?  If you fall through the ice your best chance of surviving is to get out of the water.  Keeping your boots untied means that when they fill with water they can't drag you to the bottom.  Rescue spikes are always a good idea, keep them around your neck for the entire season.  If you don't know how to use them they are useless so I have included a video link here.  When using your ice spud to test the ice drop it with some force.  I weigh 250 pounds so lightly tapping the ice as I walk out won't tell me if the ice is safe.  Hit that ice, like your life depends on it!  Finally after drilling your first hole check to see if the ice is thick and clear or if it looks spongy and fluffy.  Fluffy ice can be really dangerous and unpredictable.  It has probably been through some melting and refreezing cycles and can have lots of air trapped in it.  If you drill a hole and have only 2 inches of ice make sure it looks clear like the ice cubes you put in your drinks not like the ice you use for a snow cone.
     Please keep these tips in mind when venturing out on new ice this year.  With some pre-planning and a little common sense you can enjoy the great fishing that first ice has to offer.  Until next time...
Ice safety is no joke, even if the size of this bluegill is funny.
 
     Tight Lines.

EP:35 Prepping Your Ice Fishing Gear

EP:35 Prepping Your Ice Fishing Gear















     In this episode of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast I talked about prepping your ice fishing gear for the upcoming season.  While out in the garage the other morning looking for my ice fishing gear I found that much of it needed to be fixed, replaced, respooled, or just found!   Instantly I thought about all my buddies that are going through this and thought it needed to be addressed in an episode.  So I laid out 8 steps that I'm taking to make sure my own gear is ready for the frozen water.  Use these tips and I promise your ice fishing season will get off to a great start too!
All setup and ready to chase some fish.
     Thank you for listening to Episode 35 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 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.

Big Brown Trout for SWTU

     Join me at the Southern Wisconsin Chapter of Trout Unlimited meeting on January 10th.  I've been asked to be the speaker and will be presenting my latest seminar on Lake Michigan Brown Trout From Shore.  Those of you that know me know that I don't get all that fired up for the small trout of the Driftless area.  I do however lose sleep in the fall thinking about the monsters that roam the Wisconsin shoreline.  Big Lake Michigan brown trout have really gotten under my skin over the last few years.  I've been lucky enough to catch a few with some size and I'm excited to share my stories and angling techniques.  The meeting starts at 7pm at the Coliseum in Madison, WI.  Hope to see you there!
     Tight Lines. 

Bass, Golden Dorado, and Epicness!

     Wandering through the interwebs this week I found a couple of gems that wouldn't get out of my head.  I love to fish, but when I can't, I watch other people do it.  So here's a couple links to some of my favorite videos that have spent some time on my browser.  Hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

     First off was this video from the guys of over at Capt Jack Productions.  It's a great video about the pursuit of Golden Durado in Argentina.  The video quality is always top notch and I've been daydreaming about what one of these fish would feel like on the end of my line all week.

     Second is a sweet little number by Key West Kayak Fishing.  Mostly because it's about catching sharks from a kayak.  Also because it's finally starting to get cold here in Wisconsin.  I love his videos because he shares exactly what he's using all the way down to the knot he's tied the bait on with.  Check it out!

   
     Third favorite this week is a kayak bass fishing videos from Work2Fish.  It's a one man-one camera video with some great bass fishing action.  I love to pursue some largemouths from my kayak during the summer so this is the kind of stuff that helps me make it through these colder winter months.

   
     Tight Lines.

5 Great Fishing Gifts For Less Than $50

     December is finally here and it's almost time for Christmas!  I absolutely love this time of year.  Getting to see the faces of family and friends.  Decorations hung in every window and my favorite songs are all playing on the radio.  Christmas is a special time of year.  I love getting to pick out presents for all those I care about it.  Soon though I start to get asked what I want for Christmas?  Or occasionally somebody will write and ask me what they should get for that special angler in their family.  The internet is full of great articles recommending a myriad of gift ideas.  I've probably read them all and although I'd love it if somebody would buy me the $500 fishing rod or new Nitro bass boat that these folks say will make my Christmas one to remember, I don't think many of these lists are very practical.  So here is a list of 5 Great Fishing Gifts For Less Than $50.  I already use each of these products and am happy to recommend them for that special angler in your life. 


Silver Max Reel by Abu Garcia

Abu Garcia Sliver Max Reel
The Silver Max Reel by Abu Garcia is packed with features for the price.  This reel has a graphite frame and side plates.  A machined aluminum spool for strength.  6 total bearings for a silky smooth cast and retrieve.  It's been recently upgraded and now uses the Power Disk drag system as well as Duragear and the MagTrax brake system to allow for infinite adjustment to aid the novice caster.  Best of all this is all wrapped up in a low profile and well balanced package.  It may be an entry level bait casting reel, but it's a reliable performer.  Check it out here.

Lucid Fishing Grips by Lucid Fishing

Lucid Fishing Grips
Lucid Fishing is a sponsor of mine so let's just get that out of the way.  Now on to the features.  The grips are made out of stainless steel to prevent rust and corrosion even in saltwater.  The EVA foam grip is robust and comfortable.  It's rotating head makes them not only safer for your use, but much easier on the mouth of the fish.  They're integrated scale is IGFA certifiable for all of you that are chasing records.  Best of all?  They're made right here in the Midwest!  Lucid Fishing grips are a must have if you spend anytime pursuing critters with teeth.  To order a set just follow the link here.

Berkley Gulp by Pure Fishing

Berkley Gulp
Gulp fishing baits have been a force in the fishing industry over the last few years.  I've personally developed so much faith in this product that I no longer use live bait.  Through proteins, scents, flavoring, and who knows what else, Berkley Gulp puts science to work to help you catch fish.  Whether you buy a couple small packs for a stocking stuffer or get the bucket for a season of angling awesomeness you can't go wrong with Gulp.  You'll never have to worry about taking care of live bait again.  Check out my favorite Gulp baits here and here.

Deluxe Fly Tying Kit by Scientific Anglers

Fly Tying Kit
Looking for a fishing gift for a fly angler?  Check out this deluxe fly tying kit.  It comes with the fly tying vise, tools, materials, and a DVD to teaches how to tie a bunch of popular fly patterns.  Whether you want to tie dries, nymphs, or streamers, this kit from Scientific Anglers has you covered.  It's a good kit that will show you the basics and get you tying.  Fly tying is great way to get deeper into the sport of fly fishing.  Nothing beats the feeling of catching a fish on a fly you've tied yourself.  To check out the specs or get one for the angler on your list follow the link here.

Echotail Bass Kit by Vibrations Tackle

Echotail Bass Kit
Again I added a product from a sponsor, but I used Echotails way before the company found me.  You just can't find another lure that is more versatile.  The Echotail is a blade bait that features a barb on one end.  This barb allows you to attach ANY soft plastic bait.  You can add scented baits, pearl baits, glitter baits, pork tails, ANY kind of soft plastic bait.  SBH TIP: Add Berkley Gulp to any Echotail to catch more fish by offering scent and vibration at the same time!  The Echotails come in a variety of sizes and rigging options, but a great way to get started with these lures is to order the bass fishing kit by clicking here.

     These gifts are a sure fire way to put a smile on any anglers face this holiday season.  Remember you don't need to spend a fortune to improve your loved ones fishing.  The greatest gift you can give any angler is to ask them to take you fishing.  Because the time we spend with each other is worth way more than any gift we could give.  That said, I wouldn't think any less of you if you were to buy me that  fancy bass boat.
     Tight Lines.