Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to ALL

Hope everyonne is having a wonderful Christmas Day, wherever you may be.

This was the scene here in Illinois last nite

Doves in the ice covered birch tree

The ice covered tree out front

Now it is just raining and windy.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas List

OK, OK - I always say I don't want anything for Christmas - I really don't - but if I think REAL long and hard about it, there are always a few things that pop into my mind that I may need for one reason or another. So, in the spirit of Christmas (and mostly because everyone else's blog has a Christmas list), I bring you my Christmas List 2009

1) A Red Dot scope. I just picked up my new Bushmaster today and decided that I want a Red Dot scope for it. Don't really know why, but I want it.

2) A GREAT windblocking outer shell. I've had a lot of windbreaker-type jackets over the years, and most have been OK. But, when I'm going on a weight restricted floatplane trip - often 40 pounds - I want the best, lightest weight wind shield that is pretty good as a water repeller as well. Something under one pound. Won't let ANY wind through. I take care of the "cold-factor" with layers of UnderArmour, but the early morning boat ride is what kills you on these trips, as well as the windy days on the water. I have my eye on 2 of these pieces. Mountain Hardwear's Windstopper Tech jacket, and/or a Marmot Minimalist.

3) I LOVE the 2 pair of Muck Boots I own. One is a pair of shoes; the other is a full over-calf length boot. I found out this past summer that I need a third pair. Muck makes a shoe that goes just over your ankle. I found out that I needed them at Athabasca this past summer. HEAVY rains were with us on 2 days - so much so that the rain poured off the raingear, right down the rainpants, and right into the Muck shoe! I don't use the boot on these trips - too heavy - so the mid-size will be perfect -just high enough that the rain won't flow INTO my footwear.

4) Mostly what I want is more time to fish where I want to , when I want to . I think this is a pretty universal wish. I really miss fly fishing in the Rockies, and I haven't been on a good smallmouth bass outing for a couple of years. And I certainly need to knock off a few more of the states in my "Catch a Fish in all 50 States" quest.

5) I think I need a new ultralight spinning reel. Mine are pretty much on the back nine of their lives.

6) Finally, I really DO need a new Digital Camera. I want to do a better job with photography in the coming year. I want a compact camera that does a good job and, most importantly, is FAST. The current model I'm using - an Olympus something-or-other, about 8 mp - takes nice pictures, has a good image stabilizer, does all the things I need it to do, EXCEPT - it is terribly slow going from the last photo you took to being able to take the next one (Don't know what that is called in "photographer language"). Any and all comments re: which digital to buy would be greatly appreciated!

That ought to do it. Nothing that I really NEED, just a short list of WANTS.

Here's hoping that you all get ALL the things you want for Christmas, especially the time to do all the things we all love to do.



Monday, December 14, 2009

The "Traveling Dark Cloud of Doom" remains firmly in place, over my head.

Last week I was in Louisiana for a day and a half on business. Our plans were to stay at the house of an older gentleman who is a FANATIC bass fisherman, and possibly (probably?) sneak out and catch some fall bass. The most astute of you will realize that Louisiana is one of the states in which I have NOT caught a fish (the list is on the right hand side of this blog, following the Blog List), so it had a little more importance to me. But, before I proceed with this tale, let me take you back a few months . . .

1) The first failed mission was the Minnesota smallmouth bass adventure in October. First, there was the early snowfall. I wavered about fishing, but was convinced to give it a shot. Until the morning of our scheduled trip, when the boat was blocked in by a couple of Winnebago's. Part bad weather, part bad luck.

2) I had plane tickets to fly to Arkansas the second week of November to try my hand at tailrace trout fishing, Arkansas-style. Never fished Arkansas before, so that would have been another state to check off of my list. 2 weeks before my departure, torrential rains hit Arkansas, and the Little Red River rose somewhere around 20 FEET. Another trip dashed by the weather gods.

Which brings us back to last week. You may have noticed that the upper Midwest garnered most of the attention for it's crappy weather - snow in Chicago, bitter cold temps across heartland. Well, that cold front ranged FAR to the South. When we arrived in Monroe LA on the afternoon of the 9th, it was 35 degrees with a strong NW wind. The previous afternoon, it was 72 degrees and the front was moving through, with the requisite storms that accompany these strong cold fronts. The next morning dawned with a temp of 27.

Being from the Chicago area now, and previously from Syracuse, I would classify the 27 and windy weather as "Chilly". In LA, on the rare occasion that the temp falls to these depths, they hunker down and wait for spring. Needless to say, there were NO fish caught during the short attempt we made to get a few.

Three trips planned, three trips un-done due to weather.

Can't wait for 2010 - it HAS TO be better than the past 3 months!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The BIG GAME Lure giveaway winner is . . .

Time to draw the winner of the final installment of my 3 GIVEAWAYS OF CHRISTMAS - the Big Game / Pike package. Recent trends show it will be a woman, because the winners of my first two were women. Let's see how the trend plays out. By the way - with only 10 commenters, these are the best odds for all involved. Good luck to all. I'm off to the number generator.

And the winning number is: 10!! That means the winner is the last commenter to the contest, and is a newcomer to the blogsite - tmc480. AND a newcomer to pike / musky fishing. This will definitely get you started!

Thank you to all who participated in my Giveaways. I picked up a few more followers and got a lot of blog hits. And, hopefully, made a few people a little happier this Christmas season.

Now I get to go back to the usual blog posts, although this is the season when I struggle at times to come up with posting subjects. But I've got a few up my sleeve!

Thanks again to all who participated.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Time for the third, and final, GIVEAWAY - the Big Game Package!

Alright, time for the last installment of the 3 GIVEAWAYS OF CHRISTMAS. Readers of this blog know that Big Pike are near and dear to my heart - probably my favorite fish that swim. I love the aggressiveness of the strike, the fact that it is often a visual strike, and they can get BIG. The package that follows is an assortment of my favorite lures for these toothy critters.

Even if you are not a die-hard - feel free to throw your name in the hat. These baits will work for musky, striper, saltwater. Good luck to all.

A selection of jerkbaits

The jerkbait selection includes a number of the baits that were the hottest on our Athabasca trip this past summer. The 2 large Rapalas - Jointed X-Rap 13 and SW X-Rap - were our best producers. The Jointed X-Rap accounted for the 47"]er that was the best of the trip. There is also a Clackin Rap #8, an Excalibur Suspending Jerkbait, and new Glide Rap.

The Spinner - Spoon collection

The items shown above are another indispensable part of any pike arsenal. The bucktails are a Mepps Giant Killer and a BIG Dominatrix double bladed bucktail. There is a 1 oz. Eppinger 5 of Diamonds and a 1 oz. weedless Dardevle. And finally, a Magnum King Jr. spinnerbait.

A selection of Big Game swimbaits

I love to fish big swim baits for pike. The group above contains a package of 6" Salt Shakers and a package of 6-1/2" Strike King Shadalicious. There is also a 10" Storm Kickin Minnow and a Worden's T-60 Flatfish - the lure preferred by giant lake trout everywhere.

There you have it. The rules are the same - contest will end next weekend 12-12-09. Add your comment below.

A) Are you a pike angler? Other big game? Or just planning to be.
B) Best Pike / musky / ...

Thanks again for participating.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

The BASS Package drawing winner is . . .

Well, it is 2:30 pm and, while it is a little later than I planned, it's time for the BASS GIVEAWAY. (Actually, I'm doing a science project with my 12 year old son, and if I don't walk away, I might have to bludgeon him. Just kidding, of course. Maybe)

There are 22 comments, so I will use 1 - 22 on the random number generator. If it comes up to a comment who doesn't bass fish, I'll re-draw.

And the winner is - 5!! The 5th commentor is: Luvs2Fish - Laurie. She found the blog through Ashley in Canada. Congratulations Laurie - I'll need for you to email me with your address and I'll get your stuff out to you.

The final installment in my "3 Giveaways of Christmas" is a Big Game package. I originally thought it would be a pike / musky package, and it certainly does apply to that, but it will also be good for stripers and salt water game fish, too. Not quite as many pieces in this one, because they are more expensive per piece.


I'd like to thank everyone who has been participating in these events - it's been a lot of fun for me. I am astonished by the number of fellow bloggers who have written about the Giveaway - thanks to you all.

The only "bad" part about this is that, by design, I don't do another blog entry until the date when I declare the winner. So, if I appear quiet, it's only because I want the GIVEAWAY post to come up first on my blogsite.

Thanks again to all, good luck on the pike / musky/ big game package, and Good Luck to all of you big game fishermen.

By the way - if everyone is as excited about winning their package as Rebecca was with her fly fishing package, my wildest dreams for this contest will have been fulfilled.