Saturday, March 31, 2007

"Just like that...*poof*..he was gone" ~ Kaiser Sose~

Darn cold front! Killed the bite for me. Cranks didn't do much yesterday. 90 minutes with 1 14" largemouth to show for it. Areas that were crawling with prespawn hefty female smallies are now empty. On the flip side, the only guys who caught anything in the area yesterday were Customfish friends Mick and Dan. They had a blast with live bait while putting up some big numbers of a mixed bag of bass, bluegills, crappies and cats. I wish I had some live bait on me!
And then there's these thunderstorms rolling in. That aint gonna help either with temps going down to the 40's mid-next week. Looks like sunday-tuesday is gonna be the windowof opportunity. But...are the fish gonna be staging again with yet another massive cold front coming thru wednesday? That gives them a couple days to set up shop. Ahhh..the plot thickens.
If you're heading out, I'd reccomend using tubes or other 3" plastics today. Work em slow. WAY slow. The fish may be on a crayfish bite due to crayfish becoming more active with faster than usual warmer water temps. Tomorrow they could be back on the husky jerk, rattle bait bite. I dunno..give it a whirl. Drop me a line and let me know what works for you and I'll put you up here.

In other news: I stopped at my local tackle shop yesterday to get some Rattlin Raps and some Storm Swimmin Shads. I also picked up a new pair of polarized sunglasses.

Ok..there's a difference of opinion on polarized sunglasses. Me personally, I think it's absolutely stupid to spend more than $20 on a pair of sunglasses that you are sure to break at some point. I had a pair of Gargoyles once. ONCE. And I managed to scratch the lenses. I would rather not get that angry again over a pair of sunglasses.

Ya see, sunglasses are sold by the name. I work in an industry where we have to buy ALOT of sunglasses to counter the 8k watt UV high intensity lamps that we use. While I am no expert in the science of sunglasses, I can tell you that a fashionable pair of $20 UVEX sunglasses from Lab Safety Co are alot better than a $100 pair of Bat Wings. Oh..and they look the same as all the fancy name brands. So while some guys are buying glasses that the "pros" use just because of the name, I'm buying glasses that are better so that we don't go blind. And Costa Del Mars aint gonna help us out that much in the polarized department.

Normally I buy knock offs for $15 a crack. These are my leisure/fishing/non work glasses. There is not a person on the planet who can tell that my Ray Ban knock offs arent Ray Bans unless they are WAY too close in my personal space. Plus..no matter what the knock off type, the polarized ratings are just about equal. How equal?? Equal enough where I'm gonna spot that fish in the water as fast if not faster than anyone wearing Costa Del Mar or Oakleys.

So..here's my official recommendation. Get yourself sunglasses by Calcutta. They are awesome! I was able to again see fish, mudlines made by currents 100' out, rocks, everything. Here's the good part...$20!! Or go online and find em cheaper.
http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/browse/browse.aspx?c=114&s=165&b=CALCUTTA&search=GO
Save the extra cash for more lures. Trust me on this.

And if anyone thinks that the $100 Bat Wings they're wearing are any better at sighting things underwater, I'd like to issue a challenge. Let's go fishing. If you spot more than I do I'll give you $100 so you can buy an extra pair of Nicole Richies and matching handbag. If you don't, you pay me $100 and I'll go get 5 more pairs of Calcuttas.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Early spring tips

In the past couple fo weeks I've been putting up posts with names of different baits along with a coupole pictures of said baits. I'll go into a simple explanation as to why we use what we use at this time of year, without the long winded magazine article style that is surely confusing to most.

Ok..here goes.
The fish are eating theses:

So... we're throwing these. See past posts for exactly how.

Makes a little more sense now, doesn't it?
There are people out there who throw these and other baits in wild colors like firetiger,bright yellow,purple with chartruese. But until I see a firetiger colored minnow in the water I'm going with what looks like the real deal year round. Seems to be working for Mike and I so far.
So there ya have it folks. There's 3,000 lures at yout tackle shop. I tried to narrow it down to 3 for you. Good luck.

3-29-07. Moon+Sun=fish

Here's a tip for ya: When you can see the moon rise and the sun set at the same time, GO FISHING!

That was the case yesterday late afternoon 6:30pm-7:30pm. With only an hour to run & gun a half mile of shoreline I went with...you guessed it...the Rattle Trap. This time I concentrated on main lake points next to the spawning areas. As you can see from the photos, most of the smallmouth bass yesterday are in the 'pre-spawn' stage where they are set on doing a little bulking up before they do their thing. Catch and release is critical at this time. During the spawn we stop fishing for smallies and target largemouth instead or go to another river where the spawn is done.

In these next pictures please note the bottom content. THIS is what you're looking for. All these fish came from depths of 3-7' at the very extreme edge of the spawning areas.

Again, I'll remind you that you can NOT reel in a rattle trap fast enough right now. Even with a massive cold front that was parked over us tuesday and wednesday with temps in the low 40's, it only took one day of temps in the 60's to get these fish back on a serious bite. Plus, the moon and sun were visible in the same sky...and THAT, my friends, is like gold. Fish were exploding everywhere.
All the smallies caught were hooked on the trailing hook of the bait, which means they'll chase it down and hit it but they wont crush it like they were doing last week. 1 or 2 more days of nice weather and they'll be trying to nail the baits harder than a loan shark collecting a 90 day debt.
Now, for the honest park. I missed more than I caught due to the fish hitting that last treble hook. But again, that's all part of the game. Still...not bad for an hour huh?


IN other news: Mike is fishing in Florida. He's doing good on largemouth bass. On the saltwater side of things I hear the redfish & snook is a little slow right now. He'll have a full report when he gets back next wednesday.

And finally a note on the pictures. I had to go with the cameraphone again. Rechargable batteries apparently can only be recharged several times before they lose their power holding ability. Lesson learned. I had to use some artistic license on a couple shots due to quality issues. It was alot darker out there than the last photos indicate. I have night vision on my camera phone but it still looks pretty grainy.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

"We're gonna need a bigger boat" he says.

And now for a lesson in humility, brought to you by Customfish field reporter Pat Halko.
Pat spends a little time in Florida every year. While in florida he goes fishing.
You think muskies are tough? Bwhahahahahahahaha!
I'll tell ya what's tough.
Ya see, Pat fishes for sharks.
Big sharks.
And he does it....
From a kayak.
So, until someone here lands a world record muskie from a belly-boat...Pat Halko has got all of you beat.
So without further delay, Ladies and Gentlemen, Customfish.com proudly presents....Pat Halko.


Oh..and don't forget to go shopping in the shop. And for God's sake..buy a hat! They're only $15!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

...At some point we sent him back to the car....

One of the heirs to the customfish throne is Mike's son Christopher.
As you have seen in posts from last year, he's pretty good. Well, as of the past weekend he went from 'pretty good' to DAMN GOOD! Here he is with a couple of huge bass (18" & 17") he caught while outfishing 4 grown adults.
Just when we thought we were professional fishermen...we get our butts handed to us by Christopher.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A new look.

Monday, March 26, 2007

3-25-07 So...there's crack in the water.

What do you call a carp on crack?
A quillback. It's a pi$$ed off member of the minnow family that (as you can see) gets pretty big, fights like hell, and chases down a Rattletrap to crush it.
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The keys this week are Rattletraps and shad swim baits on jigs burned in as fast as you can reel them. Plus Husky Jerks being retrieved with the Kauchak RIPRIPRIP/pause/RIPRIPRIP. As you can see in the last picture, small, fat cranks are also starting to work. Reel them in a little slower than blazing speed and try to hit rip rap rocks near the shoreline...particularly wind blown shorelines. Rich and I were connecting with fish on almost every cast in one wind blown corner. With temps hitting the upper 70's outside with a south wind, the fish are REALLY on right now!
Rich caught 13 bass and one crappie...all on Shad swim baits/jig reeled in lightning fast. He also got a nice white sucker. I got 10 or so bass for the day plus that carp, the big channel cat, and my biggest quillback yet. Great day! Get out and fish!!
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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Aye Aye, Captain! 3-24-07

Look at it outside! ( well if you're in Chicago anyway) It's gloomy! Looks awful! Who would go out in this? It's gotta be all muddy out there!
Yes. It's gloomy. And yes it's muddy. And yes..we're out there!
Mike, his son Christopher, team member Kevin, Captain Jade Miller ( back home safe ) and myself all started out 7am at Lake W. The same key elements were used today as we've talked about all week. Warmer-than-the-lake water coming in. Christopher took top honors with a monster 18" laregmouth and he followed that with a 16". I concentrated on crappies with my 1/32oz jig & Thill float set-up. Jade used a 2" Storm swimming shad bait to key in on them as well when he wasn't catching a couple largemouth bass with a worm set-up. Mike and Kevin were using crawlers and a few other things. A mixed bag was caught;bass, suckers, carp, bullhead,crappies. Crappie fishing was so-so. We probably caught a dozen nice ones in just over an hour. The key was to concentrate on casting to the first break outside of the inflow of water. The bass, carp, suckers..even a bullhead that Chirstopher got..were all at that same spot. The water at the incoming water source is 3' deep. It gradually goes to 5' deep over about 20 yards. Then there's a sharp break into 12' . THAT was the spot. Usually on a not-so-great-day, that's the kind of a 'safe harbor next to a good but void spot' you might want to look for.
I'll put up more numbers when I talk to Mike later today. But it was a very good morning.
10:30 Mike and Christopher left as did Kevin. So Jade and I went to one of the Customfish honey holes.
Now, the last time you saw Captain Jade Miller he was our overseas fishing reporter stationed in Iraq. Ok..ok..so he was there fighting to give people the freedom they deserve, but we had his fishing pictures from Saddam's private ponds. Well...Jade is home now safe and sound! Mike and I couldn't think of a better way to say 'Welcome Home & Thanks for all you do' than to give Jade the keys to our private ponds. This time he didn't take an attack helicopter to go fishing (by the way Jade...that's a great story and it was a great picture!). And our ponds are WAY nicer than the ones in Iraq!
And I just have to say that even though I caught a nice smallie yesterday it was overshadowed by 2 things today. 1) Chistopher catching his biggest bass ever! and 2) Captain Jade Miller catching his 2nd largest smallie from one of our customfish spots!
Remember that swim bait Jade was using for the crappies? We were fishing one of our prize feeder creeks and because of how Mike and I have been speed-reeling for bass lately, Jade says" I'm gonna burn this in as fast as I can."
REELREELREELREELREELREELREELREELREELWHAM!
I thought he snagged a carp. Til it jumped. All 18" of her. Congradulations Jade on another trophy fish for you.
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So class...let's add swimming shad style baits from Storm on our list of must-have's in early spring. And dont be afraid to reel it in as fast as you can. Jade's lure was almost out of the 51 degree water, he was reeling so fast. Jade also managed a couple other largemoth. I even caught a nice largemouth that I didn't even think to photograph in the shadows of Jade's monster smallie. I swear...I thought he snagged a carp. It was awesome!
Oh..and I caught another nice smallie. Same thing as before. RIPRIPRIP/PAUSE/RIPRIPRIP. Blah blah blah.
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I'll add pictures of Christopher as soon as i get them from Mike later. Please check back...you gotta see those too!!

Friday, March 23, 2007

3-23-07. It's like I said...JERK!

I'm not going to go over too much that we haven't already. You can review the tricks in revious spring posts from the last couple of years...It's all in there. Just remember; A) Husky Jerks. B) Any warm water flowing in. C) The Kauchak Husky Jerk Retrieve.
And bingo. The results of 30 minutes worth of fishing on the way home today. Also caught were a few big crappies, a yellow bass, a huge foul hooked carp and a couple other missed fish ( carp) that I couldn't turn.
Here are a couple worth a shot. 18" largemouth and a 20" smallie. Water temp 50. Depth 1.5' . Distance between where these fish were caught....about 6 feet apart on 3 casts. Both caught Kauchak style; RIPRIPRIP/pause/RIPRIPRIP/pause.
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Now, I know what you're saying. Why is a guy who owns a business that deals in large format digital photography and printing using a camera phone? Yeah...that's what I was thinking when I realized my camera is still sitting next to my keyboard! Cut me some slack...it's still early and I wasn't prepared to catch a trophy yet. D'oh!!

Go shopping for new cool #@*%! in our store!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

3-19-07. what's hot.

Stopped at one of the hot crappie lakes to check temps and crappie action. Temp 44. No crappies in shallows yet. One more week and they'll be in.
Ran over to a small roadside pond by the house (kinda like Lago casa but reed lined. Only fisheable for the next month). Threw a red rattletrap. Rip/drop retrieve. 3 bass 13-15" in 5 minutes. Changed to a minus 1. Nothing. Tried a new Storm Kickn' Minnow. Looked great..but no hits. Tried a Husky Jerk in shad pattern. Did the Kauchak retrieve, which is fast snaps followed by a pause. Got one 14" bass. Saw him hit in the gin clear water...interesting thing, he missed it 3 times and I never felt a thing. Saw it...but didnt feel it. makes ya wonder how many times that happens down there!
Next lake. Hit a water inflow at a local lake. 51 degree incoming. Missed one fish on 3rd cast. gave it 5 minutes. Left that spot and kept hiking.
Went to a channel known for a crappie run. STACKED with shad. Found crappies. 8-12". 1/16 oz white jig with a 1" white powergrub set 12" under a Thill. Got a dozen quick plus 3 more small largemouth. Use that set-up around incoming flows of warmer water and you'll find them at some point.
Started throwing the red rattle trap. Snagged some trophy shad. probably 8 or 10. Quit that and went to the main lake. Blanked out there ( happens alot on this tough-to-fish-trophy-lake). Water temp 46. Got a couple misses on rattletrap. I felt them breeze the bait or over run it. Missed em all. Ring rust, I call it.
Mike showed up for the last hour. We tossed Husky Jerks and Rattletraps. Traps were the ticket. We missed some BIG hits. Again,rust
BUT..check this out..we get into one channel and get on some HUGE hits. Drag ripping hits. Missed a couple. THEN, Mikie ties into one that had his pole doubled over. Great fight. Well, turns out we hit a pod of spawning Quillbacks. But not the Fox River kind that hit a pound or 2. These were 5-10 lbs and chasing down Rattletraps! Holy %#@* what a riot! Mike landed one and I landed one. Biggest quillbacks I've ever seen and they were pissed!
So... 7 bass, a dozen or so crappies, 2 hands worth of shad, and our biggest quillbacks to date. Not a bad day at all.

Give it til the wekend and every lake around here is gonna be a crappie honey hole.

Big fish? Not really. But here's the baits that are working right now. The Husky Jerk and the Rattletrap.



GO SHOPPING! click here YOU NEED A NEW HAT TO COVER THAT BALD SPOT!!
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

It's GO TIME for crappies!

The ice left Lago Casa (my private lake) yesterday morning and by afternoon the crappies were already in the shallows. Almost every cast get a bite. Caught 4 in 10 minutes. Missed a bunch more because they are still very cold and very slow.
The key is to find any incoming water source. Something as small as a trickle of water from an incoming storm drain will have them lined up in front of it as long as the water is slightly warmer than the rest of the lake.
Grab an ultralight rod with 4# Trilene XL. Tie on a 1/32 oz. white jig with a 1" white Berkley Powergrub. Set it 6-12" under a small Thill float (they'll be near the surface trying to absorb heat from the sun.) Cast past any incoming water source or shallow structure like a stcik, old reeds, anything that might hold the heat of the sun. And SLOWLY reel it back in. I'm talking DEAD slow as in if you went any slower you'd fall asleep. The float goes down, wait 2 seconds, set the hook. And yes..it's that easy right after ice-out.
Get out and fish! It's been a long winter.
GO SHOPPING when you get back!!!

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Monday, March 12, 2007

ON the board!


Ok..ok.. so it's a carp. Hey, at least we were out there catching (ok..ok..so it was accidentally snagged) something as we hiked around looking at what waters are open. I caught one ( ok..ok..so I snagged one too) that was about half the size of the brute Mike is holding up.
Half the waters we checked were open. It all depends on the incoming water source. If the incoming water is slow then it may take another day or two, but the ones where there is a stream coming in where open. Look for lakes or ponds with a storm drain pipe inflow..those will turn on first!
In lakes that have shad in them, as many do around here, you'll start seeing them in the extreme shallows right after ice out. We were locating huge schools in the thawed out incoming streams and were targeting any bass that may already be following them up stream or hanging out at the mouth of the incoming water source. While we didn't find any bass with Husky Jerks and Rattle Traps, we did find a couple of carp.
So..let's sum it up. Lakes are thawing. Shad are coming in. Crappies and bass wont be far behind (2 weeks of nice weather and the fish will be ON). Oh..and there's some carp milling around the shallows.

And yes, Mike really IS that attractive. Heh heh.

YOU NEED NEW CLOTHES! Don't forget to visit the shop.
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Thursday, March 01, 2007

THEY'RE BAAAACK!

YOU NEED SOME LUCK! You need the kind of luck that pros like Chad Cain & Mike Norris have...and part of that luck is the mojo. The customfish cap mojo they use!

The Customfish embroidered caps are back!
We have three sytles to choose from this time around.
1. Orange w/black "wicked fish" logo
2. khaki w/ black "wicked fish" logo
3. orange w/ steele blue "ghost fish" logo


Features:
Anvil 6-Panel Low-Profile Twill Baseball Hat with 7,000 stitch count logo.
Features: 100% cotton. Unconstructed; 2 metal grommets on side panels; fabric closure with brass buckle and brass grommet hideaway closure; matched-color sweatband; 4-row stitching on pre-curved bill.



HERE'S THE GREAT PART!
Buy one hat for $15
Buy two hats for only $25 (save $5)
Buy three hats for only $30 (who the #*@% authorized THAT??)
NO SHIPPING CHARGE!!

Drop us an email and we'll get your mojo out to you today!
trophyprints@customfish.com , mike@customfish.com or jamie@customfish.com

Chad Cain with 46" of mojo!