Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Time to Brush-Up on what your VEXILAR is telling you

Fall wasn't here long in Iowa, and I sure hope that winter shows up quickly.  Neighboring states are on the ice or getting very close as I publish this.  Iowa ice anglers, our turn will be next.  It is time to get the gear ready and brush-up on our electronics that will help us this ice season.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to present a seminar at the new Clear Lake Bait and Tackle shop representing Vexilar.  At this event I presented to about 60 anxious ice anglers trying to gather as much information as they could to help them land a few extra fish this upcoming ice fishing season.  Each and every time I present tips and tricks about using a Vexilar to its fullest, I see the same "ah-ha" looks in the crowd.  I want to pass along the biggest items that anglers at my seminars learn from so you too can learn and catch more fish using your Vexilar.


As ice anglers we choose to use electronics to help us tell us many things.  In this illustration we can see a Vexilar read-out with the bottom being at about 12 feet.  We also see that our jig is at the 10 foot level in the water column.  The part that is the most important is the green line showing us a fish is below us.  Remember, green and yellow lines are signals that are away from the center of the signal from the Vexilar transducer.  So, the fish signal shows up at about 11 feet of water, but as we can see in the picture the fish is actually swimming at 10 feet.  This illustration shows/reminds us that we always need to fish above any green or yellow mark on the Vexilar.  If you need more information about this picture or tip, just drop me an email.  I will also be at Hank's Bait and Tackle Ice Fishing Open House November 30th.  

Photo Credit:

Monday, November 21, 2016

Fall river fishlng

As November fades away, so does another season.  Fall has come and gone but it wasn't without some fantastic river fishing.  Largemouth started the fall season, but when the calendar turned to November, the smallmouth showed up and they were plentiful.  Depending on the current of the river and the weather for the day smallmouth found there way into the boat time after time.  The Hot Rod Baits tubes were fantastic and when the weather wasn't the best, small finesse worms fooled the smallies.  It was a blast sharing the Ranger and the small jon boat on the river with family and friends.

As Thanksgiving approaches my attention has once again turned towards ice fishing.  I'm not saying that all my Quantum rods and reels are put away, but the time is certainly right around the corner for just that.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Late October Fishing

Fall is in full force, and so is the fall bite for bass.  Like clockwork each year as the water cools, the rivers around the Midwest heat up!  I have shared time at the Mississippi River and Wapsipinicon River this last month and I wouldn't have it any other way.  Whether it was a quick couple hours after work, or an entire afternoon, these rivers have not disappointed once.  This past weekend I have the privilege to hit the Wapsi on Saturday for a little while and targeted smallmouth bass.  They have been hitting well and hanging near the current seams.  Spinnerbaits, and Texas rigged tubes have worked really well all month long.  It was no different for these smallies today.  Fish after fish came aboard the boat on this beautiful day, it isn't often you can fish in a t-shirt on October 29th.

The following day on the Wapsi I hooked up the jon boat and went in search of largemouth bass.  I never caught one the previous day, and I figured the smaller boat would get me into some backwaters to search out the green bass.  I used the same exact 2 Quantum PT combos from the previous smallmouth trip, but today it was all green bass.  It was so typical of fall river fishing.  Get out of the current, but close to it and you will find largemough bass.  Today though, the largemouth bass were really wanting the Hot Rod Baits tube, they wouldn't chase the spinnerbait like their smallmouth cousins did the day before.  I never caught a smallmouth all day long, totally different habitat was focused on, which led to totally different fish living there.  One day hooking smallmouth bass, the next hooking largemouth bass, river is simply the BEST!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Small Rivers are shining

October is one of those months that brings mixed emotions for anglers around the Midwest.  While a lot of guys have changed their rods/reels in for shotguns and shells, October remains one of my favorite times to fish.  I keep the Quantum Rods/reels at the ready when my schedule allows to hit the water for a few hours.  October brings less boaters, clean water and actively feeding fish.  With a recent purchase of jonboat, and the Wapsi only a few minutes away from my house, this month has been a great month to catch bass on this interior river.  While the jonboat doesn't have all the bells and whistles of my bass boat, the biggest thing I miss are the Talons, however this jonboat allows me to venture anywhere on the wapsi and get to places that a fiberglass bass boat cannot.  Keith Donnelly and I took a trip this afternoon to go on the river to see what we could find.  We found some active smallies and largemouth hitting a variety of baits; spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and Hot Rod Baits tubes.  Today, for the first day of this month, slower baits produced more bass than the fast bait presentations.  I am pretty sure the high pressure had something to do with this.  It was a fantastic day to be on the river, shorts, short sleeves and catching bass in doesn't get any better than that!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Mississippi River in October

One of only two keeper smallmouth
in two days of fishing
There is no doubt that I have been looking forward to October for quite some time.  This summer was an extremely busy one for me, which increased my eagerness for the fall weather to show up.  October also means that the rivers get a jolt of energy and the bass fishing takes off.  I rarely turn down a time to fish a river system, and this time of year I cannot get enough.
This past weekend I was joined by Don Henry for a weekend trip to Pool 9 of the Upper Mississippi.  Don also enjoys the river and was looking forward to our, what now has become a tradition, to fish the river in October.  I have said for many years, that this is the best month to fish the river for sheer numbers of bass and the amount of keepers an angler can catch in a day.  Don and I eagerly drove north to find a much cleaner river than it was a couple short weeks ago.  With the cleaner water, much cooler water and less current there were plenty of bass to keep us busy.
We hit several areas, main channel, sloughs with current and backwaters without current, all had bass biting, but locating the current with "medium" current was the key on this weekend.  As usual, any rocky structure held bass when current was present.  What amazed me the most this weekend, was the bass were very particular on what baits they were going to bite on.  They wanted something slow.  Craws, small jigs, sticks, and especially tubes from Hot Rod Baits did the most damage.  We caught a few on swim jigs, and crankbaits, but not very many.  Dozens and dozens of bass came aboard each day on slower presentations, and on Saturday we were able to catch some nice largemouth bass nearing that 3# mark.  It was great catching high numbers of bass, and having a few big ones tossed in the mix as well.  With the river being up about 3 feet, current was easy to find, almost difficult to get out of.  We didn't struggle with it at any time over the two days, with the Minn Kota Fortrex 101 on the bow and Minn Kota Talons on the back of the boat, fishing was easy.  A quality trolling motor with lasting power and ability to anchor down in current really allows a angler to enjoy fishing, nature and not have to worry about batteries or moving through fishing areas too quickly.  Two great tools that every boat deserves.
I just got back from the big river, but I can't wait to get there again...yes, I'm addicted!

Chilly mornings on the Mississippi
are rewarded with a HOT bite for bass

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Quantum Fishing's NEW reel

I have had the chance to use the latest reel made by Quantum fishing for the past few months.  The SMOKE HD is a baitcasting reel specifically made for heavy duty fishing.  Quantum wasn't going to release it until later this fall, but the bass touring pros just had to have it and thus they sped up the deadline.  Once the pros got this reel in their hands, they just had to more of them.  It is available in 3 different gear ratios and can hold up 180 yards of line.  This is important because the more full your reel is the more line you can gain from each turn of the handle.  The 7.3:1 gear ratio reel can bring in 31 inches of line per rotation of the reel.  Everything about this reel is smooth, and solid, and I really like the new handle that Quantum has added on this model.  It is slightly longer than previous handles and has over-sized handle grips.  It features the tension knob, and the ACS externally-adjustable cast control dial for fine tuning the reel and weighs less than 7 ounces.  This reel is one that you will want to add to your arsenal!  Click on over to the Quantum website to see more details and some short videos by professional anglers.
The NEW Quantum SMOKE HD is an
awesome reel for a variety of fishing presentations.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Last Tournament of the year

This past weekend I participated in the long awaited end of the season tournament held by the Tri-County Bass Club.  It wasn't just the fishing, or my area to fish, Pool was the company that I knew I would be hanging around with for the weekend.  Since moving out of Marshalltown I see less and less of those friends/club members and this tournament would once again bring us together.  It was nice to meet up with them once again and share a meal and swap some fishing stories.  However the tournament did take center stage Saturday morning and it was a great day to fish.  Air temperatures in the 70's and water temps in the low 60's, however Mother Nature rose the river over 2 feet in less than 2 days prior to the event.  Pool 9 looked like the Hershey's factory had leaked into it.

In my 20+ years of fishing the Mississippi River I have never seen areas of the river as muddy as it was this past weekend.  Thursday evening the river rose 12 inches in less than 12 hours...that is an unreal amount of water in such a small amount of time, thus causing the river to turn into what looked like chocolate milk.  My partner and I searched the northern part of Pool 9 the entire day on Saturday, not one bite...this was the first time in my life I believe to not even get a bite while fishing for an entire day.  Frustrating didn't even describe my feelings.  After talking with friends, I regrouped and decided to head to Pool 10 for Sunday's action, I just couldn't stay in pool 9 and beat my head in again.  The 30-mile trip to Pool 10 was worth it in the end.  It was a relief to find some cleaner water and put the Quantum PT rods and reels to work.  I caught every fish on Sunday using the GreenPumpkin/Blue tube from Hot Rod Baits.  The bass were liking it, around a dozen or so in total, and I even managed to flip 3 keepers in the boat before heading back to the weigh-in.  Just like all year long, the Minn Kota TALONS kept me in place and helped me to catch more fish.  The shallow water anchors continue to impress me, and each angler that gets to see them in action first hand.  Those three keepers ended up catching me 3rd place and a sense of satisfaction after a disastrous day on Saturday.  It ended up being a great weekend on the river, partly due to those 3 green fish I caught on Sunday, but mostly being the outdoors in a beautiful part of the state and catching up with the Marshalltown boys.