Tuesday, May 31, 2005

World Record Blue Catfish

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We were called on by the State Of Illinois this weekend to do a Life Size Trophy Print os Tim Pruitt's 124lb world record blue catfish that he caught last week in the Mississippi River near Alton ,Il. He'll be awarded honors during a ceremony at the State House tomorrow (June1, 2005) . We got the print out and shipped it overnight.
Not bad, eh? We got a world record fish in on Tuesday morning and it'll be hung up on Wednesday morning.
Congradulations Tim!! You got alot of jaw-dropping-stares here in the Customfish.com shop when that fish rolled off the press!
Thanks to Marc Miller and the State Of Illinois for choosing Customfish.com for this very special project.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day weekend

Fishing is still going very good. Mike and I got out this weekend a few times and had pretty good success. We're finding the smallies in the rivers just about everywhere. It may take some time to get into a real nice one but if you just keep fishing, you'll connect sooner or later. I got an 18" smallie this morning on a 1/16oz Slider Head jig with a 2" black Berkley Power Grub . She was in a small area of 5 or 6 boulders along a shoreline. Sometimes that one lone spot can have a good fish in it. Other notable river catches this weekend were 4 or 5 smallies in the 14-16" range. Lures that are working are jigs & plastics, Storm Sub Wart in baby bass pattern and a white Rooster Tail Spinner.
Buzz and I hit a few ponds on saturday. These ponds uses to be great just last year but they were overfished quickly and are now nothing but dink factories. We only got a couple wirth photographing out of the estimated 50-75 bass we caught. The rest were all very small. Our main lure was the Wave Worm "Tiki Stix". They are very comparable to Yamamoto Senkos but stay on the hook better. I think I caught 20 bass on ONE as opposed to the normal one or two fish you'd get on a Senko before having to pitch it. We're recommending that you pick up some Tiki Stix at your local tackle shop.
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Thursday, May 26, 2005

topwater!!

Jamie here.
Looks like the spawn is just about over if not totally done. Sundown is the key time right now and topwater lures or flies can be tremendous during that last hour of light.
I hit a local pond known for big largemouth bass this evening with a 5 weight flyrod and a couple of wood poppers. The action was pretty steady just before dark as the bass were roaming the shollows right next to shore in search of an easy meal.
The bigger one pictured is my personal best on a flyrod. a 20" largemouth that hit in about 1' of water.
Grab a fly rod or some topwater lures on spinning gear and start throwin'! This is a great time of year for some fast action at sundown!
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Monday, May 23, 2005

More New Stuff!!

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5/16 to 5/21

it's been a bit of a tough week. The fish are on once in a while but for the most part we're still seeing alot of spawning bass that we just leave alone.
Rich D and I hit the river on wednesday after work til sundown and had a pretty good wade. We got about a dozen or so smallies with the 2 biggest being about 15" each, one on a jig for me and the other on an 8 weight fly rod for Rich. I think he was using a rabbit fur leach on that fish. We also got a couple nice crappies and a whole bunch of green sunfish.
That same evening Mike was on a local lake just tearing them up with a buzzbait. He lost one that would have beat his 24" largemouth from last month. He also caught a couple smallmoiuth bass up to 15".
Saturday morning Mike and I went to a lake that we haven't fished since last year. We walked the shoreline in the morning and caught 10 or 12 largemouth bass, a couple smallmouth bass and even a very nice walleye that Mike got on a YoZuri Minnnow outside of a weed line.
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Saturday evening Dave, Christina and Alexis visited Lago Casa for a BBQ and bonfire. Alexis had never fished before and was ready to learn. And learn she did. Quickly I might add. I think she caught about 10 bluegills, a couple crappies and a small bass. She even hooked up with the legendary Mama Cass who was released without a photo. Great job Alexis!!
Here's some pictures of her catching fish on her first day of fishing!
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Sunday, Tim and I hit a couple different places in search of bass on flyrods. Again...we found quite few that are stil spawning, so it was more of a good hike than anything. The bass that were hitting were mainly small ones that aren't spawning. We're just waiting for some of the 4 & 5 pounders we saw to get off the beds and start hitting again.

Lures to try right now: buzzbaits, poppers, sliderhead jigs with plastics, Rapalas and YoZuris.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

New arrival

Been a little busy this week. Especially today.
Leo...say "hi" to the world.
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Monday, May 09, 2005

NEW STUFF and the 5/9 report!

NEW STUFF!
We're going to be making a new page on www.customfish.com just for our latest items. here's a sneak peak at what we can do FOR YOU!
Here's a nice picture of Mike's 24" largemouth bass from last month done perfectly above his mantle. Notice the inset picture. We can do multiple shots and overlay them for you. The smaller inlay shot is Mike releasing the fish...a classic fishing moment that tells the whole story!
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We really like this method! Life Size Cut Outs of your fish! We'll take your perfect shot of your trophy fish and print it direct on plastic or even a DECAL FOR YOUR BOAT OR TRUCK. Then we cut it out to the exact shape! And it's still a FRACTION of the price of a mount!
This is one of two 21" smallies that Jamie caught last month.
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Ok...On to the customfishing report!
Storms have been looming all day and should until wednesday. With temps hitting 80 and winds from the west, the bass have hit the shallows again in just about every body of water. Grab a white buzzbait and cast parallel to the shore...it's just that easy. if you're on a river going for smallmouth bass, try the early morning hours. Rich D and i got 9 smallies in the first half hour on sunday with another 6 coming here and there later on. they were hitting anything that moved right after day break,
Here's some photos of topwater bass.
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While I was out this evening I filled a bag with shoreline garbage courtesy of a couple of morons who think the world is their trash can. Please be kind to the environment and pick up after the trash-hounds. You'll feel good about doing something for everything else that lives in the areas we use for fishing and hiking.
These guys will thank you for your efforts.
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And so will the Big Guy upstairs whose responsible for this piece of scenery.
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Friday, May 06, 2005

5/6/05

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Same thing as the previous night. Same lures..same spots.
Buzz (Steve) picked up a couple really nice 15-16" smallies in a local river on wednesday by targeting a bridge that has deeper water under it and some shade. He was using the SliderHead jig and an Orange Hellgie. He also hit the lake with Mike and I and picked up one more. Mike got 3 and I got one on Salmo Bullhead shallow diving crankbaits.

Mike went out on friday during his lunch hour and gives this report:
Picked up a couple smallies but nothing to brag about... but I was working towards my bite-off spot where I lost something with teeth yesterday. One cast with a #2 white mepps and POW a nice fish slammed it as I quarter cast into the hole. Nothing like yesterday's size but as it got closer I could tell it wasn't a smallie.. Hot Damn! a 19" walleye... not fat like a lake fish but still it's a walleye and they aren't that easy to catch out of this river.
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Makes me wonder about what I thought was a pike/muskie that screamed past before biting me off yesterday. Hmmmm... Got one more Dink smallie and then my time was up. Back to work...UGH.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

May 3, 2005

I started out on my sundown fishing by targeting the same area I was at last night. Not alot happening today because the water flow was about half of what it was last night. But I got one nice picture of a largemouth from the area that hit a Husky Jerk.
Notice the water flowing into the pond. that's the key to what's been happening lately. With temps driving down to 30 dgrees, these fish are looking for anything warmer such as this inflow.
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As the sun set I made my way around to the western shore. I was quickly chased out of there by an eastern wind that kicked up and turned the glass surface of the water into an unfriendly place. As I made my way to the calmer waters of the east shore I made a cast here and there but with no results.

On the east shore I noticed quite a bit of activity in the shallows. I was thinking they were carp digging around in the shallow 1' deep flats. But as I made a cast towards them one of them shot around and chased down the Salmo Bullhead that I was throwing. The lure stopped and I set the hook on a monster smallie of the 20"+ variety. Within the first three seconds she left the water and came crashing down. She was one of those big fish where you start apologizing for not going to church more often as you pray to God that you land it. After a few more seconds I saw my line racing skyward again, She left the water a second time...and then....slack line. Nothing, She was gone.
The next cast to the same spot I got her much smaller friend. Again..notice the shoreline. sand with a little bit of rock. That's where I found these fish.
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I made few more casts in the general area and cast at another carpish looking wake in the shallows. She turned around and sped after the lure and nailed it! Another bass. this time a pretty good size largemouth.
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This happened 3 more times but without a hookup. The bass were chasing the lure all the way in til it was too shallow to go any further. With very limited time and darkness setting in I didn't want to change to a jig and spend the time needed to weed them out.
On one of the last casts the Bullhead got slammed again by a wake that shot over 10 feet to grab it. It was another big smallie. This one about 18 or 19". She jumped three times and just like the last one she got off. Ya can't win 'em all. Especially when they do THIS to your lure. Check out the back treble hook and wire. She took the turn out of one hooks and just about ripped the wire out of the body. That's why I love smallmouth bass fishing!
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Monday, May 02, 2005

May 2, 2005

Cold..cold..cold.
We've had one massive cold front here in the Northern Illinois area that has been sitting on us for 2 weeks. Nightime temps are going down to about 30 and daytime highs rarely reach 55. The temp today topped out at 40.
BUT...fish gotta eat. If you wait them out long enough, you'll get lucky at some point. It's all about time spent. You have to put in the hours to get the reward right now. Or be smart and stay inside. I've been limiting my trips to a half hour here..an hour there.
Yesterday I hit the river and was able to eek out one 16" smallie that was in a 3' deep hole/ eddy. She slammed a rootbeer color Yamamoto Fat Ika on a 1/8oz Sliderhead jig at my feet when I was reeling it in to make another cast. Purely accidental but it gave me a clue that at least some of the fish were saying "Screw the cold front that's lasted 2 weeks...We're gonna eat anyway!"
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This evening I decided to take an hour and hit a couple of ponds to see if anything was moving. I targeted inflow pipes and creeks that are bringing in warmer water. In this case "warner" meant a degree or two, which sometimes is enough to get something going.
I picked up one 6" largemouth on a jointed Shad Rap (walleye pattern). The skunk was off. The wind was going pretty strong and temps were in the high 30's. I figured I better be happy with what I got.
On the way back to the car around this 2 acre pond, I stopped at the inflow pipe where I started to make a couple more casts.
While reeling in the Shad Rap thru the tail end of the current that the inflow creates I got slammed by dead weight. I thought it was a carp for sure. It moved to the side for a few feet and had no intention of being turned..a sure sign of a carp....maybe. As the fish came close to the surface I saw a huge boil and then felt slack line. She was gone.
Three casts later I feel the same dead weight. I must have ran into a school of carp at the tail end of the uncoming current. Maybe. This fish dragged me around for 30 or 40 yards. I didn't see her for the first 30 seconds of so...until she cleared the water! To my suprise I hadn't snagged a carp but instead hooked a monster largemouth that t-boned the Shad Rap in mid current. After a realy good fight I brought her to hand. Tomorrow I'm going to go buy a wide angle lens.....
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After those shots I called Mike on the cell phone and told him that I may have him beat. Upon further review of the photo I think I missed his benchmark by about two inches.
I was ready to pack it in at this point and call it a day. But..me being me..I had to make a couple more casts. I changed lures to a Sugoi Minnow that Mike has been getting some bass on lately. On my second cast the lure got hammered with about 10 feet of line out, right next to the current. I wasn't thinking that I had a huge bass on at the time til I saw her race past me near the waters surface. I had a bass on that easily beat the last one! The fight wasn't nearly as long as the first fish due to the close proximity to the shoreline where she hit. But she did manage to clear the water twice. What a great way to end the day. 5 minutes later I was on my way home thinking about what I was going to write.
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It may be cold outside. the wind may be blowing. You may need a snowmobile suit. But it may be worth it. they gotta eat sometime.
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