EP:42 Ice Fishing For Deep Water Perch

EP:42 Ice Fishing For Deep Water Perch















     In this episode of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast I share how to locate and catch perch in deep water through the ice.  I covered all the basics including:
  • Locating Perch Holding Water
  • Rod and Reel Setup
  • Popular Lure and Bait Selection
  • Jigging patterns and Tips
     Using this information will help you get more of these delicious little fillets on your table.  Ice fishing for perch is a lot of fun.  Although it can be challenging at times it's definitely worth trying out this winter.  Also as promised here's the link to my review of the 13 Fishing Wicked Long Stem Spinning Reel.
A beautiful Lake Monona yellow perch ready to meet the fillet knife.
   Thank you for listening to Episode 42 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.

Creating a Spark Hoping for a Fire.

   Awhile back I had the opportunity to take 4 ten year old boys out to experience salmon fishing from shore.  I couldn't wait to share my fishing passion with these young men.  Now these are real boys, burping, laughing, running, yelling video game playing boys.  The plan was to take them up to Port Washington WI and use 3 way swivel bottom bouncing rigs to pull some of the last eatable salmon coming in from Lake Michigan.  
 
     We started out the door at 3am to work our way up state so we could secure our spot on the harbor wall by 4:30am.  This was no small feat when you consider that I last heard the boys laughing and talking around midnight.  Finally on the road I found myself alone with my thoughts as all 4 boys quickly fell back asleep for the 2 hour trip.  When we arrived at our destination I found that we had just made it in time and would be in a good location as we saw fish rising in the darkness.  The tributaries of  Lake Michigan have start time restrictions and that gave me time to chat with the locals and finish rigging up all 5 rods by headlamp.  The boys were busy running around and watching the fish jump from the rail.  Just kidding, they are video game playing boys so while I tied knots and weights, they played video games huddled around a lone tablet.
     While the boys stayed busy shooting zombies I finished baiting up and listening to the chatter on the wall.  Stories of big fish caught and the smell of coffee filled the air and I was getting extremely restless waiting in the dark.  Finally the signal was given and we all stood shoulder to shoulder and dropped our lines into the water.  With in a few minutes one of the boys got a bite and in his excitement snagged my line.  That brought the other boys over to see what was going on and soon we had all 5 lines tangled.  As I calmly lit a cigarette and started cutting the rigs apart I realized that the standard 3way wasn't gonna work if any of us wanted to actually to catch a fish.  With 5 knots per rig I was looking at a case of carpal tunnel syndrome by noon.  I had to think of better i.e. faster way to effectively get these boys fishing.  I decided a standard sliding weight rig was the way to go since 1 knot was faster than 5.  I was right and soon we were back in the hunt.  Lots of lost fish later and way to many smiles to count I was again tying up rigs.  By this point I was tying up palomar knots to the weights and snells perfection looped through the dipsy sinker.  We were having fun the boys were starting to wander.
     One thing I have learned from fishing with my kids and teaching kids to fish through scouts (both cub scouts and girl scouts) is that they need to be allowed to be kids.  I can get pretty intense and serious when I am fishing.  That usually spells disaster when kids go fishing.  They need time to explore, get loud, talk, laugh and sometimes they fish too.  The boys wandered down the harbor wall and spent a lot of time running off to see the fish others were catching.  They were having so much fun I almost forgot one of the boys was still fishing.  
     Now this was when the day got interesting.  The boys were down fishing the bridge that crosses the river, casting and eating all my doughnuts.  The sudden yelling got everybody's attention and sent me running down the wall and across the bridge.  I couldn't believe the sight I was seeing, here was one of my scouts with his ultralight panfish pole hooked into a 25 pound salmon and giving that 6 pound line the work out of a lifetime.  The fight went on for almost 20 minutes!  The people on the wall were cheering him on and he was so in the moment that at one point he almost fell through the railing on the bridge.  I tried to keep him calm and reminded him to breathe when he would turn red.  The fish was eventually landed and the smiles and high fives were infectious.  Do to the condition of the fish we decided to release it because the meat wouldn't be very good.  He agreed that if it was already rotting alive it probably wouldn't be good dead.  Everybody on the wall congratulated him as we worked our way back to our spot.  He proudly exclaimed that it was the biggest fish he has ever caught and I quickly set about getting photos and texting the surely proud parents.
Now that's a proud kid!
     Once we all calmed down we set out about fishing again, the bite was starting to slow and the boys were getting restless.  I asked them if they were ready to go and they said almost.  What they meant was they were busy poking dead salmon and will be ready soon.  I started gathering up the gear and loading it back in the car to head to Madison.  We grabbed the stringer with the fish we had caught, a nice female brown full of eggs and a very tasty salmon, and headed to the cleaning station. We hung the fish and gathered for a photo.
     Fillets and eggs bagged up we took one last walk around the wall and talked about the fun we had.  As a father and Cubmaster I never fail to be impressed by the intelligence of our youth.  They have an amazing way of showing us that life is meant to be enjoyed not trudged through.  Until next time please take a kid fishing.  You may just create the spark that starts a fire.  
     Tight Lines.

Remove The Hook Or Cut The Line?

     Last summer while messing about in my plastic boat I had a hit on my topwater fly.  I set the hook and dragged an angry largemouth bass to the side of my kayak.  Lifting him out of the water I noticed that he'd taken the fly really deep into the esophagus.  While trying my best to dislodge the hook he started to bleed.  Quickly placing the fish back in the water I reviewed my options.  Should I keep trying to remove the hook?  Maybe I should just cut the line?  What was best for the fish?  If I did cut the line would he even survive?  The questions kept rolling through my brain.  I had no idea what the best plan of attack was to save the fish.  I decided to remove the hook and let him go.  It was a messy job to say the least...I'm guessing he died.  These kinds of situations happen to every angler if you fish long enough.  I'm sure it's probably happened to you too.  So what's the answer?  Cut the line or remove the hook?
     Recently while reading the latest issue of International Angler Magazine I came across an article about this very topic.  It references a 2009 research study done by a group of scientists at Carleton University in Ottawa, ON, Canada.  The researchers tested mortality rates in bluegills that were deeply hooked (past the gullet).  What they found surprised me to say the least.  Here's a quick look at the numbers.

  • 33% of fish died when the hook was removed within 48 hours.
  • 8% of fish that survived 48 hours died within 10 days of the hook being removed.
     These numbers kind of shocked me.  That's a lot of dead bluegills all because time was taken to remove the hook.  Makes me feel kind of bad when I think back at all the bluegills I've tossed back into local lakes that were bleeding after I fought to free to the hook.  So what happened to the fish that had the line cut and the hook left inside the fish?  Here's the short explanation of those numbers.

  • 12.5% of fish died when the line was cut after 48 hours.
  • 45.5% of fish that survived the 48 hours were able to expel the hook on their own within 10 days.
  • 71.4% of the fish that expelled the hook returned to normal feeding behavior.
     As you can see from this study cutting the line is definitely the better option.  So would the same thing work for bass?  No idea, I do know though that the numbers seem to lean towards a much better survival rate if you just cut the line and let nature do it's thing.  I'm gonna keep this in mind the next time I deeply hook a fish.  What do you do when when you hook a fish to deep?  Drop me a comment below.  If you're curious about the rest of the study, follow the link here.
Much easier if you hook'em in the lips.  It makes for a nice guilt free release.
     Tight Lines.

EP:41 Sailfish, Fishing Rods, and Drinking With Scissors

EP:41 Sailfish, Trailers, and Drinking With Scissors















     In this episode of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast I talked about everything.  These past few weeks have been extremely busy.  I've been working tons of overtime, preparing for an upcoming tournament, and spending a bunch of money.  I've got a new rod coming from Stingray Tackle, a new kayak coming from Native Watercraft, and have pissed off a lot people with a recent post about the use of fishing grips.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't loving every minute of it so be sure to check out all the fun on this weeks episode.
Random picture for a random episode.
     Thank you for listening to Episode 41 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.

How To Choose A Fishing Grip


Different grips=Different Uses
     One of the most common set of questions I answer is in regards to the use of fish grips.  People are always curious about-

  • Why I use them?
  • Do they hurt the fish?
  • The differences in design?
  • How to handle the fish?

     
Although I'm normally more than happy to answer them I thought there has to be a better way to spread the knowledge I've gained after using Lucid Fishing grips for the few years.  With that in mind I sat down the other day and recorded this video.  Hopefully it answers these questions and many more that I've received from you the reader.  If you can think of anything this video is missing drop me an email or leave a comment below.  Oh yeah, if you want more tips and tricks be sure to subscribe to the YouTube Channel.

     Tight Lines.

Loon Outdoors Fly Tying 101

     This week I finally sat down and checked out the Loon Outdoors Fly Tying 101 class.  It's a live streaming fly tying show that will teach you all the ins and outs of getting started in this great hobby.  It features simple and well known patterns that will make sure you have a solid foundation.  My favorite part is the downloadable material and tool list so you only have buy the materials for what you want to tie.  That way you don't waste money on stuff you'll never use.  It's very a cool concept and I'll definitely be back every Thursday in January.  For more information on this free live class follow the link here.
     Tight Lines.

The Fishing Nightmares Are Back

Me with the Arapaima mount in the Natural History Museum in Milwaukee, WI.
     A while back I was haunted by nightmares of giant fish.  Not them attacking me or anything crazy.  I would just suddenly lose them in my dreams.  I'd have them on and then for whatever reason the line went slack, or I missed the hookset, or the circle hook would pull out.  They were vivid almost surreal dreams.  So realistic that I could still smell the water and hear the bugs buzzing around my face after I woke up. The scary part?  They always involved the same fish, the gargantuan Arapaima.
Arapaima in Shedd's Aquarium
     I first saw this fish at an aquarist auction in my early twenties.  Way before I started fishing I had some huge aquariums.  In those aquariums lived big fish that I adopted from pet stores.  People would drop off fish that had grown to large for their tanks and the stores would call me to pick them up.  My tanks were full of arrowanas, pacus, and redtail catfish that needed a new home big enough to turn around in.  What I longed for though was an arapaima.  Luckily, I never acquired one because they grow way to large for the average enthusiast and it would be cruel to keep one in an undersized tank.  Still they swam around in my mind and I would often daydream about what it would be like to actually touch one.  Eventually though the dream faded like dreams do and I moved onto accomplishing other things like competitive yoyoing, juggling on stilts, and making balloon animals.  Or as I called it...I grew up.
Photo Credit: Animal Planet
     Fast forward a few years and fishing had become my whole world.  I couldn't get enough (still can't) of the show River Monsters.  The host Jeremy Wade would travel the world chasing huge fish.  That's when the nightmares started.  In my sleep I've almost caught the arapaima numerous times.  These dreams have gotten me in trouble.  I sprained my ankle once when I jumped up off the couch in a frenzy to grab the imaginary gill plate and wiped out on the ottoman.  Another time my wife wouldn't speak to me because while setting the hook in my sleep I missed and accidentally punched her in the face.  The last time I missed this fish I collapsed a tent during the fight and scared the hell out of my cub scout pack.  Then one day the dreams just stopped, my mind apparently busy sorting out more important things.
The rod that started this whole crazy life I'm living.
     Last week I dug my shark rod out of storage in preparation for the upcoming Sailfish Slam Tournament.  When I bought this rod years ago it brought with it so many opportunities.  It was the first rod I ordered with my name on it.  I've caught huge catfish and muskies with this rod.  I've landed sharks with this rod.  Because of this rod I went from the idea of Israel Dunn Trophy Hunter to Israel Dunn Shorebound Hero.  You could probably argue that purchasing this one rod set about the series of events that's led to where I am today.  Then again maybe I'm just over analyzing everything because of all the personal changes I'm going through lately.  Still I awoke yesterday drenched in sweat.  The massive arapaima was fraying the line on a submerged branch.  I was physically shaking and struggling to catch my breath.  One strong head shake and I could no longer feel the weight of the fish.  I think the nightmares are back...
     Tight Lines.

EP:40 Prostaff vs Professional Angler

EP:40 Prostaff vs Professional Angler















     In this episode of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast I covered the differences between being a prostaffer and a professional angler.  I talked about what each one means to the angler, the companies they represent, and the general public.  I also took sometime to discuss the ways both fit into the industry and how they are compensated for their time.  Hopefully this episode will help you make the jump into being a "PRO" or at the very least it will explain what sponsorship really means.
That booth shows off everything that makes prostaffing great.
     Thank you for listening to Episode 40 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.

Beaver Grip Tip Up Rod Holder

Beaver Grip Tip-up/Rod Holder
     I love to customize things, actually I change pretty much everything I own.  From vehicles, to reels, to lures, to my tattoos.  I change stuff so that it is definitively mine.  When I got my ice fishing bucket, the first thing I did was cover it in stickers.  Next I added a sit and store so I could organize small items.  Then I added a fishing rod holder.  I thought that was about all you could do, but then I found the Beaver Grip.  The Beaver Grip is a 3 pack of molded plastic holders that allow you to store your Beaver Dam tip-ups tangle free.  This handy storage device lets you keep them on the outside of your bucket.  I loved this idea because I already fill the inside of the bucket with my rods, skimmer, and gaffe.
     So on to the Beaver Grip bucket installation.  As you can see in the pictures installing this system is easy.  I only attached 2 of the 3 holders that came in the kit.  They can be easily separated by cutting along the seam with a utility knife.  If I want to add the other one, I can do so in the future.  Anyways here is the installation step by step:
All hardware is included.  Don't throw the packaging away.  Instructions are on the back.
Select your placement then mark your holes.  Be careful not to set the holes to close to the bottom of the bucket or you won't be able to get the screwdriver on the head of the screw.
Use a 5/32 inch drill bit to punch the holes in the bucket.  Watch your fingers!!!
Place the holder on the outside of the bucket.  Then place a nut in the holder recess and insert a screw from the inside out.  Loosely install all screws before you tighten them down.

That's it, not much to it really.  Just take your time.
     Okay just a few things to mention.  Your bucket no longer holds water STILL HOLDS WATER!  You just drilled holes in it.  Also If you store rods on the outside of the bucket be careful not to smash them on anything.  You're gonna love this product if you've ever spent anytime on the ice untangling tip-ups.  Until next time...


     Tight Lines.

Blue Fin Tuna, Cobia From Shore, and a Van

   This week while wandering around the internet I bumped into a few things.  I've been going a little stir crazy with the upcoming Sailfish Slam, expo season, and the serious lack of safe ice in the area.  So I've been reading and watching a lot of things lately.  Here's a short list of some my favorites.
      Fly fishing for anything huge is pretty crazy.  Yet alone blue fin tuna!  Here's a teaser I keep watching over and over again from BFT Media.  You should probably just press play.

Teaser BFT M├ędia - Blue Fin Tuna on the Fly from BFT MEDIA on Vimeo.

     The next thing that's been destroying my brain is this video from Morning Tide Fishing.  These boys are legit and in this video they land a massive Cobia from shore.  If you're not subscribed to their YouTube Channel you should be.



      Finally, I thought you'd all get a kick out of this sweet little video from Live Work Wander.  Some of you probably know that I have long term goal of moving into a van and traveling the country to fish.  It's so close I can see the van, kayaks, and big fish pics.  This couple is a little closer to the dream than I am and I'm loving the new channel.


   Tight Lines.

Come Hang Out With Me In The Fox Valley

     This Saturday from 9am-4pm is the Fox Valley Trout Unlimited Cabin Fever Day.  This is the 16th year for this event and it's gonna be great.  I'll be speaking at 10am on choosing and rigging a fishing kayak.  I'll have a booth setup with different kayaks from Rutabaga Paddlesports.  My personal tournament kayak the Native Watercraft Slayer Propel 13 will be fully rigged and on display.  I'm also lucky enough to have Spencer Jones the newest Jackson Kayak Pro in the booth with me throughout the day to help answer your kayak fishing questions and his kayak will also be fully rigged so you can see the myriad of options that exist in kayak fishing today.  The event will feature fly tiers, casting clinics, and many other vendors!  Be sure to stop by and say hello if you're in the area.  For information on the Fox Valley Trout Unlimited Cabin Fever Day follow the link here.
     Tight Lines.

EP:39 Lake Michigan Brown Trout Seminar

EP:39 Lake Michigan Brown Trout Seminar















     In this episode of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast I shared the recording of a recent presentation I did for the SWTU.  I really enjoyed giving this seminar and would like to thank everybody that braved the weather to attend.  This seminar covers everything you need to know catch a brown trout from Lake Michigan in the fall.
Thanks to everybody that came out and filled the house.
     Thank you for listening to Episode 39 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.

5 Ways Community Can Improve Your Fishing

Regardless of what you paddle you belong.
     Recently I joined a group on Facebook to help me stay accountable for my workouts.  I was skeptical at first because of my long track record of failed attempts at exercising and losing weight.  I've always struggled to keep going because after awhile I just ran out of steam and then since no one was watching I would just stop all together.  However lately, I've had measurable success and I know it's because this time I have a community of people helping push me towards my goals.  This got me thinking a lot about the anglers I know.
     Almost every angler I respect has some sort of community.  It could be a fishing club, a tournament series, a cause, a species, or even the style of fishing.  All of this comes together to bring out the best in you as an angler.  So I thought I'd offer up 5 ways community can improve your fishing.

Number 1: Conservation
     Anglers working together have a louder voice.  Groups like Trout Unlimited and Muskies Inc. depend on their members to make a difference on local waters.  Many of us have the conservation minded community to thank for our fishing and access.

Number 2: Competition
     The tournament community is a huge multi-million dollar industry.  It provides many anglers the opportunity to prove just how good they've become.  Tournaments and competition is one way I've been able to up my game and meet some amazing people.  Besides you'll never know how good you are as an angler if you don't compete.

Number 3: Friendship
     It goes without saying that our time spent with friends is more important than the actual fishing.  Still many of my closest friends are a direct result of time spent on the water.  You'll meet life long buddies when wetting a line and the best part is you already have something in common.

Number 4: Styles
     Many times the way you fish is just as important to you as the fish you catch.  Whether fishing from shore, from a kayak, or on the ice, they all have little nuances that separate them.  Joining up with anglers that fish the same way you do will shorten the learning curve when you head to your favorite body of water.  You'd be amazed at the things you'll learn when fishing with people that love to chase fish the same way you do.

Number 5: Cause
     I personally believe that working together we can move mountains.  When angling communities are started around a rally cry they can really help make a difference.  Sometimes it's to raise money for an individual, a town, or to fight a disease.  Whatever the reason there's definitely strength in numbers.

     Take a long hard look at your angling community.  I'm sure through local clubs, tournaments, or social media you can find a community that fits your particular fishing style.  Check them out and try to get involved.  Hell you probably already have a group of anglers you're a part of, even if you don't know it.
Some of my closest friends were met on the water.
     Tight Lines.


EP:38 Used Fishing Gear and Kayak Registration

EP:38 Used Fishing Gear and  Kayak Registration














    In this episode of the Bluegills to Bull Sharks Podcast I gave my thoughts on purchasing used fishing gear and talked about registering recreational paddle crafts.  The WI DNR is facing a 4 million dollar budget deficit this year and one of the proposals to close the gap is to require the registration of kayaks and canoes that are to be used on the waterways.  I know in neighboring states this is common place, but I certainly have mixed thoughts about this as an angler, guide, and owner of multiple paddle driven boats.  What are your thoughts on the idea of having to register a kayak or canoe to be able to use it?  Have an opinion on purchasing used fishing gear?  Drop me a line or leave a comment below.
Truer words never written.
     Thank you for listening to Episode 38 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.

Stupid Brown Trout

     This morning came quick, like stupid quick.  I'm transitioning into a new position on first shift so I've been playing with my sleep schedule and to say the least my butt's been dragging.  Add to that the fact that JJ and myself were once again attempting to catch a brown trout through the ice and that alarm seemed to arrive a little too early.  I was exhausted and the day was just getting started. 
The jig/fly that proved to only be good for a single bite.
     I had spent the previous evening trying to tie up a jig/fly hybrid that would allow us to vertically work the water column while mimicking a medium sized shiner.  This meant that my mind was shot because all I had to work with was a blurry screen shot I had taken from a video I found online.  Still since JJ agreed to drive (it was his idea) the least I could do was solve the "What lure to use?" issue.  After arguing with the alarm for a few minutes I got out of bed, made some coffee, and watched out the window for JJ to pull in the driveway.  We loaded up his truck with our hopes and dreams and were soon headed down the road destined for Milwaukee, WI.  Hoping to finally land a brown trout through the ice.
Pretty clever little fishing device.
     I say hoping because despite several attempts in the past, JJ and I have never landed a single fish.  We've taken others out to the harbor and put them on fish, but neither of us have the hero shot we so desperately wanted.  This time though JJ had built a secret weapon.  He made up a set of homemade automatic fisherman.  For those that don't know what an automatic fisherman is check out the video link here.  We were confident that this time we would finally land a brown trout.
My trusted tip-up doing its best to catch me a fish.
     Once we had all the tip-ups and automatic fisherman's setup we retreated to the warmth of his Frabill shanty.  Slowly the hours ticked away, along with our ever shaky confidence.  We replaced spawn sacs and checked on our minnows, but it seemed the bite wouldn't be happening today.
     I passed the time watching Yak Fish TV on my smart phone.  Poor JJ passed the time watching Facebook videos of others catching massive trout through the same ice.  To be fair I had a short hookup on my jigging rod, but I lost it because I wasn't paying attention.  Remember how I always say no slack in the line when jigging?  That's how I lost what turned out to be our only chance at landing a fish.
     So what did we learn from this experience?  That we're gonna hire a guide on our next trip.  I'm tired of coming home from Milwaukee ice fishing trips with my tail between my legs.  I guess I'm finally ready to part with some money in the hopes of a shiny brown fish.  Judge me if you want, but I admit defeat.
     Tight Lines.