Monday, April 24, 2006

Spring Panfishing Is On!

Mike here with a quick report... small male Crappies are in the shallows, big females will be soon to follow.

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We finally found the perch, including some nice ones. Only problem is the 4 jumbos I hooked fell off as I lifted them from the water.. DOH! (I'm not a quick learner) Last year I got a 14" so I know they are out there!!!!

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Slab gills are in too along with a bonus.. How'd that get there?

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My step-father Roger Misgen and I had a blast. The fish were picky though, and the bite wasn't steady but the fish were quality.

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With 25-30 mph wind gusts the casting was difficult but as the front passed through, the sun came out, it warmed up and the wind died... AND so did the bite.

4lb test, 1/16 jig, PowerBait Micros in Chartruese/White was the ticket. On my 9' Rapala ultralight it was a blast! Got bit off also... wonder what that was?

What a great day! With the water being gin clear, a 4lb mono leader was a must. No leader = NO BITES. Didn't waste much time chasing the bass. Panfishing was too much fun. We kept a 4 perch and 2 crappies for the skillet.... released all the rest including the post-spawn walleye.

Friday, April 21, 2006

which way the wind blows

The lakes and ponds have slowed down a little in the past couple of days. Still some bass to be caught but it seems that the majority ( for me anyway) have "other" thoughts on their minds. I also choose to blame it on the wind. We had a steady east wind all last week that changed to a south-west wind a couple days ago. That seemed to drive alot of the bass off of the rocks that they were using. Steady weather, good or bad, is always a welcome thing...even an east wind for a week.

Mike did way better than me on lake "W" the other day. Basically he cleaned my clock. I was able to squeak in a couple bass and miss a couple more while Mike got into double digits pretty quick. In my own defense I wasn't really concentrating too much that day ( yeah..right) and had other stuff like work on my mind. His magic lure was a Mann's Minus One in Autumn color.

Mike also seems to be doing very well on the river. As a general rule we fish two different rivers. He lives close to one and I the other. I followed his advice yesterday and made a quick half hour stop at one of my favorite river spots. Got a couple smallies , nothing to write home about. Judging by the silt line on the rocks, the rains of wednesday had the water crankin' about 3 feet over normal which on my little river is a major change. I think in another day the smallies will have re-adjusted to life at normal water levels again. On my river high water is a bad thing. On Mike's river ( much bigger major river) it's a good thing. Ahh.. all these funny little nuances, right? Hey..it's still easier than golf.

Today I took a fast trip to a local pond and picked up a couple largemouth and a couple smallies. Again..nothing to write home about but at least that says things are still happening despite the weather changes of the past three days.
Lures that I have been using are Rapala X-Rap, Husky Jerk, Storm Sub Wart, mann's Minus One and the Salmo Boxer. The boxer is still beating the snot out of every other lure used. For jigs I'm using a 1/8 oz Charlie Brewer Slider head with a Berkely Gulp Minnow. Seems to be working pretty well the past couple of weeks.

That's all for now. Get out and fish!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I've got that smallmouth tick again...

OK I admit it. It was a complete blast today. Fished a local feeder creek for the first time this year. The quillbacks are in by the hundreds.. almost thousands. They were everywhere in every inch of the stream... fast water, slow water, no water. Hell I expected to see them up in the trees or sitting in my truck when I got back.

Anyways... Salmos® were the ticket. I started off throwing the Salmo® Bullhead™ and picked up a scrappy SM on my first cast.

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They were just hammering the Bullhead™. Got another fish in the next pool, and the next, and so on..

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Ended up with a total of 8 smallies plus one green bass in a 45 minute lunch break. At the end of my run I switched to the Salmo® Perch™ and worked my way back up picking up a couple additional fish. In a deep pool I got slammed by a 6 lb ..

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That fought like a monster. What a great day! The smallies weren't huge, the biggest was 12" but I forgot how much fun they are. They make a Largemouth fight seem like a wet sock!. I'm bringing the waders next time _ Mike

Oh yeah I forgot. The ticks are really bad in Chicagoland this year so keep an eye out for those little @#$%'s. I hate em!
I've gotten one or two the past 5 times I've gone out. I can feel them crawling on me right now.. EWWWWWWW!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Mid April bass

We're still using the same methods that we outlined before and we're still having great success. You can even throw in the Mann's baby Minus One,Storm Sub Wart, Salmo Boxer and Berkley Gulp Minnows on 1/8 oz Slider Head jigs....it's al working right now.
Here's some pictures of some recent catches. Sunday was better than friday or saturday. The numbers for friday weren't that impressive. I did manage 4 largemouth bass from a local usually-hot pond, 3 of which were in the 18" range. After that trip I stopped off at my local river and caught two respectfully sized smallmouth bass in about 6 casts. I guess I should have stayed in the river.
Saturday morning Mike and i headed out at 6am for a couple hours on a local lake. Not a bad trip but not the best trip either. The late morning hours are a better bet right now but you gotta go with what time ya got. I caught 4 nice bass and a decent size catfish that hammered an X-Rap. Mike got about the same.
Sunday I had a couple hours to kill and hit my old stompin' grounds of Lake W. When my numbers are low...it's off to Lake W I go.
Throwing shallow diving crankbaits over shoreline boulders was the key. I had 7 within the first half hour. My total for this short trip would be 18 caught. Probably another half dozen missed. In that mix was another "Easter Pig", a 20"+ largemouth.
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Later in the day I was able to sneak out and run down the road to the river before it got hit by heavy rains ( don't try the rivers for a couple days). I got another largemouth along with 3 smallies caught and two more missed in 30 minutes. One of those smallies was 18"+. All caught on a Berkley Gulp/ Slider head combo.
Here's some pics from the last couple of days.
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Right now you could probablt catch dozens of male bass this size just about anywhere in the shallows.
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But these are the ones we're looking for!
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A couple shots from the river just before the rains hit on sunday. Notice that one of these smallies is missing a tail! Seems to be doing just fine. She was even sitting in a fast current area. Fought like heck too!
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I lost two more this size out of an ULTRA fast current area. The key was to get the bait to land within 3" of the rocks. Anything outside of that small current break wouldn't get touched. Sometimes the "spot on the spot" is that small! Nice healthy 18" female smallie. She was obviously putting the feed bag on just before getting ready to spawn.
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Remember to check your state rules and regulations in regards to catch and release of fish like these. In Illinois all smallmouth bass are C&R ONLY from April 1- June 15
April bass fishing with shallow cranks...



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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

That Jerk is Good!

Mike here with a quick report. Hard to believe it's finally spring. The Husky Jerk & X-Rap bite is in full swing so get out to the local waters nearest you ASAP. Of course if your local water is a put-put golf course with a pool on the fourth hole, you're not going to do much. It always helps if there are actually fish in the waters you are fishing. Unless you are out there just to practice your technique and in that case it's always nice to let others play through...

The jerk, jerk, jerk - pause technique picked us up a quick 24 Largemouth in a 45 minute break yesterday, along with a couple small crappies. Don't be afraid to change up your speeds until you find what the fish want. And remember if the fish want you to go home and work on the honey-do list THEY ARE LYING!

With the consistantly warm weather (60 - 80°) finally hitting the midwest, the bite is on and who knows, you might lucky and land that trophy Pre-Spawn bass. We here at Customfish take CATCH. PHOTO. RELEASE. very seriously. Please take a quick photo (don't lay the fish on the ground) and get it back in the water. If you don't have a camera, there is not time to put the fish in a 5-gallon bucket, drive home, have someone shoot a photo of you in front of the garage, and then drive the fish back to the lake. Your intentions are good but you just killed that fish. It may swim a way but someone else will find it floating belly up a short time later. Our rule of thumb is hold your breath when you take that fish out of the water. When you need air, so does the fish. This is most important during the spawning season than any other time!

Take two casts and call me in the morning.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Early April bass fishing 101

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It's go time! The water is officially over 50 degrees! That means bass of both kinds prowling around in fairly shallow water looking for a fast meal before they get their freak on!
The ticket...we talked about this before, kids. Husky Jerks, Rattle Traps and our new secret weapon the smaller size X-Rap by Rapala!
Along with these two nice smallies I caught 3 more laremouth, missed a couple more on the pause of the bait AND had a great fight 15 minute fight with a tail hooked 20# carp.
Get out there kids and use Uncle Mike's version of the Insane-O retrieve with a suspending stick bait and bang some big fish! It's go time baby!!!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

4/4/06 radio show.

this is an audio post - click to play