Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Late April

Not much happening. The bite slowed up and so did we. Took the opportunity to get stuff done around the homes and take in a couple Cubs games.
We managed a few fish here and there on the Husky Jerk. But again..I wouldn't go out with just that in the box right now.
River smallmouth bass are doing ok right now. I picked up a couple in a short 30 minute trip to a local river. Mike got a couple here and there on his lunch hour too. He also got into a few big crappies in a local pond.
Here's a couple photos from the past week.

Art with a nice smallie that hit a Fish-N-Spin lure (kinda like a Beetle Spin)
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Here's Jamie with the first topwater smallie of '05. She hit a Zara Puppy (frog pattern). Notice how slim this fish is. She's done spawning this year.
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Here's MIke with yet ANOTHER 23-24" largemouth. Nice fish!!
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Thursday, April 21, 2005

The past 4 weeks in pictures...

Well, looks like the bass are going in to spawn. it's official. So we're going to leave them alone for a couple weeks and try to find some that aren't spawning.
It was fun while it lasted though. April was a good month here at Customfish.com .
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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

4/19 & 4/20

Well..it was fun for almost a month, but the smallmouth and largemouth bite on the quarries has gone south. There wasn't a bass to be found last night even under optimum conditions. We'll let them spawn and hit them again in a couple weeks when they're done.
Crappies and channel catfish, on the other hand, are going ballistic near ANY incoming water source. I got a few crappies on smallmouth bass jigs just by accident. I spoke to another fisherman who had been catching dozens of crappies and 10 channel cats up to 25" long in about 2 hours. He was using crappie minnows under a slip bobber by a downed tree at a creek mouth. He said he caught 3 nice walleyes in Batavia earlier in the day, which he iced...Boooooo! Guess he doesn't know what a Life Size Trophy Print is.
So...now it's back to the rivers where the fish should be in the stages that the lake fish were in 2 weeks ago. Hopefully we can score big again and get you some more pix of 20" smallies.
Stay tuned....

This just in from Mike:
Hit the bridges today looking for bass but not expecting much. Started with a Jig and didn't see squat on all four pilings... not even a splash mark.
Half way across the river, I notice upstream, a fly-fisherman looking guy decked out in ORvis making a bee-line for the same spot I'm heading to... he beat me to it, so I let him cast all over. Then I switched to a white buzz and ran it right along the wall. As soon as the blade clicked the cement... POW! A nice fat 18-19" er.
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Had another fish blow up on it in the same spot.. 6 times and I couldn't hook it. I swear the fish was slapping at it with it's tail all most. If I didn't hit the wall with the buzz, he would ignore it.... but as soon as I made contact with the cement.. bang... Wound up with 2 more as time ran out. Both about 13"... I'm starting to like the river again. There are a lot more bridge pilings to hit around here and knowing the buzz is working will cut back on tackle..

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

4/18

We tried the sundown bite last night for bass and had some success. They are definatle going into spawn right now. A sure sign of that is blooming lilac bushes. Even with temps in the 80's and a south-west wind for the past 3 days, it's still tough to get anything to go out there.
We are targeting PRE-spawn fish and possibly POST-spawn fish in deeper areas than the actual spawning fish.
Again..we can not stress this enough. WE DO NOT ADVOCATE FISHING FOR SPAWNING FISH! It isn't very sporting and proves nothing about the skill of the angler. All it does is damage the fishery and the potential for a good year class.
We manages to get a few fish including a nice 16" smallie on a fish-n-spin and a 17" smallie on a Zara Puppy...the first topwater smallie of '05! There were many crappies caught while waiting for the bass to turn on as well as a yellow bass, a couple bluegills and even a green sunfish . Mike lost a monster smallie on his signature buzzbait and I missed one as well that blew up on a Sammy topwater stickbait but missed the hooks.
there's a major weather change happening in Chicagoland tonight. So get out and fish today if you can...it should be pretty good. temps are in the 80's and going into the 50's tomorrow. They gotta eat NOW!
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Monday, April 18, 2005

4-15 to 4-17-05

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Jamie here with the past weekend's report:
Mike didn't get to fish this weekend so I'm taking on the report solo for the past three days. I had a couple trips of run & gun 1-2 hour expeditions.

Friday evening was a pretty good one. The late afternoon/sundown bite is in high gear right now. We can go most of the day and get a fish here and a fish there, but once sundown hits the action really heats up.
I got a few smallies and largemouth while hitting a quarry lake. All on Husky Jerks (Black & Gold) worked in the same manner that we've talked about all month.

Some of the smaller smallmouth bass are starting to hit now as the bigger females are starting to spawn. We leave them alone. We DO NOT advocate fishing for spawning fish!!! All fish do NOT spawn at the same time. Fish away from spawning zones to catch fish that are pre-spawn or post-spawn!!
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This one is a 23" largemouth that hit in the exact same spot where Mike got his 24"er last week!
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And a smaler 19"er (+-) . Notice how dark it had gotten.
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Saturday I hit some local waters with our good friend Gary and we managed to get a few smallies and a couple largemouth. Nothing huge. I lost a few fish because I was trying out a new softer rod with mono .

Sunday was another short trip. With rains the previous night, 75 degree temps during the day and mostly cloudy skies with a southwest wind, we thought it would have been good. But sometimes the fish just don't cooperate as was the case on sunday from 10am-12. Rob (a friend of ours who owns Kolar Bait & tackle) managed to get 3 smallmouth bass, a 25" walleye and a carp. I got one very small largemouth bass and lost two big smallmouth bass.
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later in the afternoon I went back for a very short trip to a smallie spot and got my one for the day. I couldn't take a total shut-out by Rob after he schooled me in the morning.
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Sunday night Mike got back into town and brought his pet northern pike over to be released in Lago Casa. We fished for a few minutes ofcourse and picked off a few bluegills and crappies on 1/16oz white jigs with 1" twister tails set about 1 foot under a thill bobber and reeled in very slowly. The kids enjoyed catching a couple too!
Tonight (monday) Mike and I are heading out for the sundown bite on a prime smallmouth bass lake. Stay tuned for some pictures tomorrow!
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Friday, April 15, 2005

4/13 & 4/14

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Jamie here with your report.
The action is still very hot in the northern Illinois area with largemouth bass now taking up the slack for the smallmouth bass action that has slowed slightly due to a massive cold front this past weekend.
Mike got out on 4/13 for an hour or two of sundown largemouth fishing and racked up 20 or 30 in no time by working incoming water sources on ponds after the rains the day before. He got several in the 18" range and 3 that went 23" + !!! His main lure was a Rattle Trap reeled in with a lift/drop/lift/drop cadence. Husky Jerks and Strom Sub Warts also worked well.
I got out on 4/14 on the same waters abiding by Mike's recommendation. Steve J and I nailed a few in late afternoon while he was taking a lunch break. Skip & Buzz met up with me as Steve left and we threw for about two hours. Skip picked up a nice 16" smallie and a few largemouth by throwing Chompers soft plastics on Slider Head jigs. Buzz did the same and got a few largemouth. I stayed with the Storm Sub Wart, a gold Husky Jerk and a bleeding shad Rattle Trap and did ok myself. I even picked up this 23" largemouth that took me for a ride.
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Go find some water coming into a pond...any pond. And throw the baits mentioned. Or use the crappie jig under a float trick. Drop us an email and let us know how you did.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Order a Hat.

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The NEW Customfish embroidered hats are available now for only $10* ! Just drop us an email and we'll get your order in today!

*plus shipping.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

4/10/05 mid day.

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We tried for smallmouth bass at mid day today and found a way to dig a couple out. By using small Rapala jointed Shad Raps we could hit the deep edge of the breaklines that we find the smallies using at sundown. They don't move very far from where we usually find them...just a few feet deeper off the drop-off. Twiches and jerks of the bait still work with a Shad Rap too.
Mike got into a couple in the early afternoon including a 23" 6lb+ largemouth bass that hit...what else? A Husky Jerk.
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And even a couple yellow bass on the Husky Jerk!

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April 9th, 2005

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Friday, April 08, 2005

April 8th

Jamie here straight off the water:
I really have nothing to add but a few pictures from this afternoon. Keep throwing those Husky Jerks and rippin' them thru the water like you're trying to hook a car...or a 21: largemouth and a 21" smallmouth like the ones picture below (and a few other fish...)
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Solo pictures are really difficult to do and have look good. That's the downside of fishing solo sometimes. We don't recommend setting up a shot by using a timer and having to set up a tripod....Trophy fish are too valuble to have out of the water for extended periods of time.

April 7th,2005

Jamie here with the latest.
We've been doing a few short trips here and there in the evening hours lately. Mostly just getting that one hour fishing-fix before or after dinner.
The bait of choice is still the Rapala Husky Jerk with the Salmo Boxer coming in a close second. At one of our favorite last earlier in the week, Mike and I showed muskie fisherman Rich some pretty good bass action while using the Husky Jerks. Total for that evening was around 15.
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The smallmouth bass action remains very good just about anywhere they live right now. You can see the lure of choice in the two that were caught recently on back-to-back casts.
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Mike's tip: When you're bringing in a Husky Jerk, snap it as if you're trying to clear weeds off of it. That's what's triggering big fish right now.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

April; 5, 2005

From Mike:
The bass are really turning on.... 23 LM in less than an hour. Even wore the finish off of my Mirrored Husky jerk... the technique that worked best was 3 jerks then pause.. jerking downward to drive the lure deeper. Not twiching.. I talking JERK
. At one point I had 11 fish in a row.... nothing over 12" or under 6" but it was pretty dang fun. . Tried the Storm Rattlin Craw and didn't get a tap. Even had 4 bass chasing my rapala at one point.
Local lake temps are in the 50's. Local rivers are in the high 40's - low 50's.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

April 2, 2005

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Jamie here with your report for the first week of April.
Well, It's been a busy time at Customfish lately. We wrapped up our winter season of fishing shows and started our fishing season as well. So let's get right to it.
Mike and I have been getting out a few times when we can and doing very well. The keys to catching big bass right now are temperatures, rain, crayfish and speed.
We're throwing Rapala Husky Jerks and Rattle Traps in natural colors (even in stained and dingy waters) and using very fast eratic retrieves. Almost like you'd work a jerk bait for muskies. Two or three big twitches and then a dead pause for one second has been driving them crazy for 3 weeks now. When throwing a Rattle Trap, give your rod a pretty quick upward lift while reeling to get that bait ripping thru the water and then just as quickly let it die and flutter down a foot or two. If you remember the bass called Mama Cass from last year here at Lago Casa, she let her presence known and clobbered that very Rattle Trap retrieve about 4' in front of Mike's feet just to let us know she's still alive and kicking at well over 5 lbs. She had no intention of staying hooked...but we'll get her photo again later.
Another thing that is working for bass right now is any jig & plastic combo that looks like a crayfish which means THROW BROWNS AND BLACKS!! We tried 3 or 4 different plastics today and caught largemouth up to 20" and smallies up to 18.5" all on brown or black. We tried white, yellow, chartruese, bluegill patters, etc and got nothing...then we'd put brown or black on and whammo!! Fish on! Don't be afraid to go with 3 & 4" plastics too. There's guys out there catching dinks on 1 & 2" plastics but at this time of year it's a trophy that you have a chance at. And trophies don't want a small meal after a long winter.
If it rains..find an incoming creek or drainage pipe and hit it where it dumps into the lake or river. The temperature rise and the insects that it brings after a spring rain are as good as gold if you're looking for seom fast and furious action.

Crappies..crappies..crappies. I think we've caught about 300 in the last week. Along with yellow bass. They're all ready to spawn and can be found near any shallow brush pile , in any shallow channel and especially at any incoming water source. We had a competition the other day between Mike, his brother-in-law and myself. We hit 16 crappies EACH in about 10 minutes and decided to call it a draw.
Now here's where yoou're 1-2" plastics come it handy. A 2" white twister tail on a 1/32 oz ball head jig set 12-18" under a float and reeled in dead slow is probably the single best crappie rig we have found yet. We have been outfishing guys with minnows at a rate of about 5 to 1 with this set-up. It's deadly on yellow bass as well.

I was on lake LaSalle with Bill Anderson on Easter morning. ( See Bill's site on our affiliates page under CatchPhotoRelease.com) I used a Matzuo deep piving crankbait in a bluegill pattern while Bill and his friend Chris used primarily Zip Blades in our search for striped bass along the mile-long breakwalls that line LaSalle. We each got a nice striper for the day along with a few smallmouth bass, a bunch of cats, a huge bluegill, a couple drum and a partridge in a pear tree. For tips on fishing ANY cooling lake in Illinois and the Illinois River, please send Bill an e-mail on his site.

Last tuesday the Customfish.com crew played hooky and headed to the east side of Lake Michigan to try to catch the steelhead run up some tributaries. We missed it by a few days, but still managed to get some brown trout, a few small rainbows and a harbor coho. I even got my first pike of the year.
We had some great hikes that day...probably covered 5 or 6 miles of thicket and thornbush ladden forests and waterways as well as a 1/4 mile of Lake Michigan breakwater wall made out of car size boulders.
Thank you Mike for leading me to my first wild brown trout and my first rainbow this side of the continental divide.
For up-to-date trout and salmon reports in the midwest check out Matt's reports on ramblingreports.com . He's got the steelhead down to a science right now on the Wisconsin side of the lake.

Drop us a line via email and let us know if any of out tips pan out for you.
We'll leave you with a bunch of photos from the past two weeks to start out the all new "Customfishing Report" !

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