Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A GUN GIVEAWAY at Whitetail Woods!!!

Everyone loves giveaways and contests. I've seen some fairly nice ones in my brief time blogging, but none like this.

Rick Kratzke at Whitetail Woods - you can click over to his blog from my Blog List - is a Product tester / Field Staffer for Connecticut Valley Arms - CVA. Through this affiliation, he is offering the opportunity to win a CVA Wolf 209 Magnum Break Action .50 cal. blackpowder gun!

This is a terrific opportunity for all you hunters to throw your hat in the ring for a great gun - opportunities like this don't happen very often. And, even if you don't win, you'll get better acquainted with a terrific product through Rick's blog, as well as getting more familiar with the blog itself. A Win - Win if there ever was one.

The contest deadline is May 31, so you still have time.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Donation to Susan G. Komen 3-Day event

In my blog post a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I was auctioning off a few batches of lures and donating the proceeds to a friend's 3-Day walk in Tampa FL to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and breast cancer research. I also said in that post that I would make a blog post stating the final total of the donation. The reason for doing this post is to provide complete visibility of the monies raised, so anyone who may have bid, or won, knows that the money is going where I said it was going, and not in my pocket.

The total raised through the auctions was $187.90. I added an additional $12.10 to make it an even $200 donation.

The donation will read as being from Flowing Waters Blog on Mollie's page.

Thank all of you for you support.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Trying to beat the rain over lunch

When we got a couple of bass on the upper pond last weekend, I thought that one more week might really turn on the fish. I've been pretty busy all week, and haven't been able to get out to check it out. Then, I watched the weather forecast last night - rain from Friday thru Monday, starting Friday early afternoon. I figured my best chance was to take an early lunch on Friday and head straight for the ponds. I got there a little after 11AM.

Good Spring bass cover

The bass just started moving in shallow last weekend, and wanted a slow retrieve on a small spinnerbait. When they get really aggressive in pre-spawn, they'll crush topwaters and big spinnerbaits. I figured that the best way to see if they were up and aggressive was to tie on a buzzbait and bring it back tight against the rock edges, casting parallel to the shoreline. It took 3 casts to find out if they were going to be aggressive. I got 4 hits on about 15 casts and landed 2 nice largemouth right away. A great way to start, but they were still not crazy turned on. When they are, the strikes are more frequent. So, I switched out to a 1/4 oz. double willow Strike King spinnerbait. Now we were cooking! They hammered the spinnerbait with much more frequency. I lost track of the number of hits and fish landed, but it was GOOD!

A buzzbait bass

This one fell for a spinnerbait

One of the things I frequently do, which a lot of people find ridiculous, is change baits even when I'm on a great pattern. Remember - I'm not in a tournament - just having some fun. So, off came the spinnerbait. I tied on a 3/0 wide gap worm hook and put on a Zoom fluke. I also put a handful of Tiki Stiks and Kinami's in my pocket. Amazingly, the fluke did next to nothing - one hit. I replaced it with a wacky-rigged worm. While it certainly means slower fishing than fishing a spinnerbait, the worm cleans up on these ponds. I pretty much caught fish everywhere I cast as I worked my way back to the car. I caught a bunch of fish in 45 minutes, and I still had about 10 minutes left. NOTE - the reason the pictures are all from the same place is that I had to use the self timer (fishing alone) and the only level place was the roof of my car!

This one fell for a worm

Another nice pre-spawn bass

I got down to the lower pond and pulled out an UL spin rod and a 1/24 oz. jighead / 2" grub combo. It was just as good down there. Crappies were everywhere, I got my biggest walleye ever from the pond - a little over 16", and a few 'gils. Time to go back to work.

I expected to get a bunch of fish on this short trip. There was a big front approaching (the rain started about 5 minutes before I quit) and the time of year is perfect. I've always done well in front of approaching fronts and rain. I really wanted to put the fish on patterns so I could bring kids and newcomers back here in the next couple weeks and have them catch fish. And they will.

Finally, I want to make sure people understand why I make these posts. It's not so people comment and say "Nice Fish". I love to fish just as much if I DON'T post stories and pictures. Use the information you find in these stories, from me and the others who post. If you're anywhere close to the northern Illinois latitude, your ponds are heating up right now, too, and you might catch the biggest fish in your body of water in the near future. Get out and enjoy the feeding frenzy!!

A woodland flower - no idea what it is. Any thoughts, Owl???

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Back to what I do best - fishing on the ponds.

My wife suggested that we go out to the ponds this afternoon. Never one to disappoint her (at least when she suggests we go fishing), I started putting gear in the car. I told our son he could invite one of his friends, so soon we were en route to pick up Josh. I don't think Josh had ever been fishing before - at least not ion a long time. We got to the ponds around 3:45 PM.

I'm always eager to go fishing, but when I take kids along, I REALLY want it to be good - to keep their interest up. I really wasn't very sure about this trip - I had done pretty well on Friday afternoon, but last nite there was a freeze warning, so the water was still cool. In the next couple of weeks, the fish will absolutely turn on to a frenzy, but you never know about the early season. Still, it was a nice afternoon, so we gave it a try.

The kids catchin bluegills at the pond

Joey with a 'gill

One of Josh's bluegills

We fished the upper pond first. It is shallower and holds largemouth bass and bluegills - lots of gills. While the kids ate their Subway sandwiches, I tried to put the fish on a pattern. I found a pretty good concentration about 2' down over 4' of water. they started getting hits right out of the gate. Josh had a few initial hiccups learning to cast and retrieve the spinning gear, but soon he was going just fine. I spent the time unhooking fish and taking pictures. We decided to try the lower pond around 5:30. But first, I decided to try a small spinnerbait along the exposed rock on the dam shoreline. I hadn't caught a bass in this pond all Spring, but it has a LOT of bass in it. I made a total of maybe a dozen casts, hooked 4 bass, and landed 2. the spinnerbait had to be slowly rolled in front of the rocks to get their interest. Like I said - 2 weeks from now it will be buzzbaits and bigger spinnerbaits burned along the weds, but for now, they're moving toward the shallows and wanted something a little slower.

My first decent bass from the ponds in 2010

Another nice pond bass

The lower pond can be hit or miss. It holds more species of fish - bass, crappie, channel cats, walleye, bluegill, rainbow trout. The walleye and crappie are more active in the cooler water, especially in the evening, so I figured we might catch a few of them. I was right. We caught a bunch of bluegills. In 1 small area, we got about 10 crappies. Walleye were caught as the sun dropped. We got a few smaller bass, and lost one good one. Finally, I threw a spinner and hooked 3 trout, landing 2. Josh got a trout on a small grub to end the evenings fishing adventure.

Joey with pond walleye

A decent pond walleye (they don't get very big here)

Josh's trout

Highlights of the evening included: my son sliding down the bank, into the pond (with his arm in a cast). It was shallow, but he got soaked from the knees down, and spent the rest of the evening barefoot. Catching my first nice bas of the year from the ponds. And, best of all, were the words Josh uttered at the end of the evening - "This is even better than video games!"

I love taking kids fishing!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ultimate Bass Fishing assortment

Again, I'll start by thanking everyone for checking out or, in some cases, bidding on my auctions on eBay. I still have a few to go. That's the reason for this blog post.

After seeing the positive reaction to the auctions, and the Susan Komen 3-Day event, I decided I should do a little more. After all, I was merely selling baits that were given to me, and donating the proceeds. So - I decided to dig into my own ridiculously large collection of baits and donate MY stuff as an assortment, with the auction proceeds again going to Mollie's efforts in the Tampa 3-day.

This new listing is described (by me) as the ULTIMATE BASS FISHING ASSORTMENT. It is 52 pcs of new, in-the-box bass lures. It has everything from hooks to crankbaits, spinnerbaits to plastics. Feel free to click on the following link to see the auction on eBay. And, if you you have a blog that appeals to bass fishermen, feel free to let people know about the auction.

(You may need to copy and paste the url - I'm having my usual bout of uncooperative hyperlink issues)

This will be my last post on this subject - except for the final tally next weekend. I'll get back to fishing from this point on. I actually had crappie for dinner tonite, compliments of 13 crappie I got at the ponds yesterday. Outstanding evening fishing, and great subsequent eating!!


Monday, April 12, 2010

An auction for the Smallmouth Bass guys, too

First of all, I have to say I am flattered by the attention that the auctions are getting. Thank you to all who have checked them out, or commented.

I started thinking after I put the auctions up (aren't you really supposed to start thinking BEFORE you do something??) - every auction was geared toward basically the same group of fishermen. So, tonite I posted a Lucky Craft auction targeting the smallmouth bass guys (and gals). I certainly didn't want to make them feel slighted.

The link for the smallmouth auction is )

And, I will make an offer to my Followers - if any of you win an auction I am running, I will throw in an additional Lucky Craft lure free! Thanks again for supporting a great cause and being a part of the solution

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I actually caught a few fish, and doing something that really DOES matter.

I made it out to the ponds this evening. Yesterday was beautiful and windy, with highs reaching the lower 70's. today was cooler and windy - low 60's I figured the ponds had a chance to heat up since my skunking on Friday, and I was after revenge. I started off on the upper pond, and immediately got into smallish bluegills on 2" grubs. Even though they weren't very big, they meant that the skunk would stay away. Any fish is good fish.

Even the little bluegills are good ones!

We went to the lower pond, and I figured the crappie and walleye might be receptive to the grub. I was half right. I got 5 small walleye, but never saw a crappie. Rounded out the evening with a coupe of gills from the lower pond, and 2 VERY small bass. The sunset was especially nice this evening, too.


As you read in the blog post title, I AM trying to do something that actually matters to someone other than myself. I recently got a box of baits in the mail from a friend. Details aren't important. They were primarily Lucky Craft's. Now, I love fishing LC's, but I already have a lot of them. then, a phone conversation on Friday made up my mind for me.

I was talking to Mollie Simpkins on Friday. She is a friend from the D.C. area, and she was telling me about her commitment to participate in, and raise money for, her 4th consecutive 3-Day walk for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Her personal fundraising goal is a mind-boggling (to me) $30,000!!! Feel free to see her story on the following link: So, while I donate to her cause personally, I decided to do something else - I am running 5 auctions this week on eBay. ALL the proceeds from these auctions will be donated to support Mollie's efforts.

4 of these auctions are for bass / walleye lures, and the 5th is for saltwater big game lures. So I am going to ask all of you reading this for a favor - if you know anyone who may be interested, have them use the following link to view the first eBay auction. Anyone viewing the auction can click on the link that shows Seller's Other Auctions to see the others that are running. I'll post the results on here, and anyone who wants to can see the donation after it has been sent to Mollie can see it on her page.

It's only a small gesture, but together all the small gestures can make a difference in this world.

Thanks for your help

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Day to Remember at the ponds

I decided that I needed to get out to the Old Reliable ponds over lunch today. Even though there was a lot of sunshine, it was pretty chilly, with a stiff wind stopping the suns rays from feeling very warm. I went with the usual lures - a 1/24 oz. jighead and 2" grub, and the old reliable Cubby under a small weighted bobber. My tally after 40 minutes of casting:




I hooked one nice largemouth but didn't bring it to hand. No bluegills. No crappie. No walleye. No trout. No catfish.

The weather here has been very cold over night, but I figured something would bite. Something ALWAYS bites here. Not today. Remember - this is the place that I go to over lunch and often bring 10-20 fish of mixed species to hand. I crimp down the barbs on my hooks just so I can shake off the trout and not have to land them and have them thrash around.

Maybe I was getting a little too cocky with these fish - the fishing gods have a way of getting even with us when we do. Or maybe, as I look back on it, it's just the way fishing is. And it's why we keep coming back - to try to figure these critters with the pea-sized brains. Well, today the pea brains kicked my butt.

But I'm planning on going back after them as the water warms.

And I WILL remember this day, because I din't like to get blanked!

I did remember my camera today, and got a few pictures. One I like one in particular. I hope you enjoy them.

Emerging may apples - spring is here!

A sapling gnawed off by a beaver

Great contrasting color

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Friday in Alabama - a different lake, and still more bass.

I think that when you see an egret in a tree in the fog, it's a sign of good fishing to come!

On Friday we tried to continue the success we enjoyed on Thursday, but headed out to a different lake. This one was a touch smaller than the lake on Thursday, and had not been fished at all in 2010 to this point. This is also the lake that I had previously caught my biggest largemouth ever in 2006. This particular piece of water is also full of big brim - which I love - and we had our ultralight spinning gear along in case we found some of them.

Foggy morning on Lake #2

There was a pretty dense fog as we drove along some deeply rutted dirt roads to get to the launch. The road would have been completely impassable if it was muddy. When we finally got to small launch, I could see multiple places where shad were being pushed into the banks by the bass and were being attacked. This shad pattern held all morning. Early in the morning, when we started, it was a bank pattern. As the sun rose and the fog burned off, the shad moved offshore and the bass followed them. We would take the boat out to the center of the lake and let the wind push us a cross the open water, casting at boils when we saw them, and just covering water when there was no surface action. But the bass were there, and we caught a lot of them. Lucky Craft crankbaits (Fat CB's) and LVR's ruled the day on Friday. Joey and I didn't count the fish on Friday morning, but I'd estimate we landed about 60 bass. We also found some brim. They were nice sized, but the really big ones eluded us. We primarily used Roadrunner Turbo Tails for the brim on the ultralights. the really fun part is, if we caught 15 brim, we got about 10 bass on the UL gear while fishing for the brim. Nothing over 3 pounds, but on UL spinning gear, it was all we could handle. And, the neatest occurrence of the day happened while we were catching brim. I had a typical brim on - 9" - 10" - and , as it got to the surface, I saw a HUGE bass chasing it. It never caught the brim, but gave a few quick lunges. This bass had to be in the 10-12 pound range - it was HUGE. We cast in the general area for a while, but never saw it again.

A typical sized brim from Friday

Joey with a nice bass from Friday

A bass caught on a crankbait on Friday. Crankbaits were the key on this day.

Another Friday bass for Joey

The size of the fish on this lake was very good, but not as big as the bass from the day before. With one exception. I hooked and landed a giant largemouth about a half hour into the morning. I'd put it in the same league as my biggest fish the day before. Again - no scale, so size is an estimate. 8#? 10#? 11#? Don't know . Just know it was very big. And I'm glad I caught it.

My big bass from Friday

We had to get washed up and leave for our return flight right after noon. I could have stayed there for a month, but am grateful for any time I get to spend on this property. We landed somewhere in the neighborhood of 180 largemouth in a day and a half, and some of them were truly trophy class fish. Now it's back to reality in Illinois. Our ponds will really heat up in the next 3 weeks. I'll get out to the ponds over lunch and after work, and I have plans to take some of Joeys friends out with us. Probably a newcomer or two from work as well. there should be no shortage of fishing adventures to write about in the coming months. Come along for the ride!

How do you determine if a bass trip has been a good one? A bad case of BASS THUMB!!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Back from 'Bama - Thursday's recap

Another lake resident swim aways

My son and I returned home from our trip to Alabama on Friday nite. I wrote about our trip last year, so my readers may be familiar with the lakes from a prior post. This marks the 8th time I've been on the property fishing for bass and brim, and it is truly astonishing at times. But, it is fishing (rather than simply catching) That was played out to the extreme this past February. The BassMaster Classic was held in Alabama on Lay Lake. Extreme cold and muddy water made it a challenging tournament, but KVD ended up winning again. The same time as the Classic was going on, some co-workers who were working the Classic fished the property I was just on. These are GOOD bass anglers - I would rate them as considerably better than me. On the lake we fished on Thursday, 4 people fished it hard in Feb. and caught, as I understand it, 4 bass. All day. So, it is NOT like shooting fish in a barrel. Last year we were here for 2 - half days of fishing and we landed 24 bass between us. Not bad fishing, but not great number-wise, either.

Alabama just came off its coldest winter ever. The water temp at the surface is just now approaching 70 degrees. But 6 feet down it is still in the 50's. In the past 2 weeks, they have had the longest sustained warm spell of the year, and it has turned on the fish. Timing can be everything, and we were fortunate enough to have GOOD timing on our sides this time.

The islands that were loaded with fish

The large pond / small lake we fished on Thursday is about 40 acres in size (I'm terrible at estimating acreage, so that might be close, or maybe not). There are a coupe of extended points, 2 small islands, and a bunch of shoreline. I believe the lake is about 15 feet deep at the deepest. We generally cruise the bank about a cast away from shore, and pepper the shoreline. The usual go-to baits are Lucky Craft LVR's, big Culprit worms, and spinnerbaits. I like to try different stuff - baits the fish may never have seen. On this trip, I brought along a bunch of swimbaits, some Strike King Red Eye Shad, Strike King Ocho's, tubes, and some other favorites. This was also the first trip for Joey since he broke his arm last week, and we weren't sure how he's be able to do with regard to hook setting, reeling, or landing fish. It took some adjustments, but overall he did great!

Joey does pretty well for a kid with a recently broken arm!

Another NICE bass for Joey

To make a long story short, we slayed the bass. While I was launching the boat, Joey was hooked up from the dock. And, the average size of these fish was the best I've ever seen here (or anywhere else, for that matter). Last year's average size was good; this year's was better. I lost track of how many 4-5 pound fish we caught. I got 4 that were over 7 pounds, and 1 on Thursday that was pushing my biggest ever.

Here is the tough part - I brought along a Weigh-In scale, and it died before it weighed a fish. Completely pissed me off, because I like to know the REAL size of the fish I catch. For personal edification only. I had to estimate weight on all the fish on the trip. Now, understand, I've caught a lot of bass in my life, and I think I'm a pretty honest judge of weight. A lot of "10 pounders" are really 6-1/2 - 7 pound fish. If you are accustomed to judging the weights of fish and think my estimates are off - tell me! I won't be offended. Someone like Tami Curtis, who fishes professionally for bass, may be able to glance at my pictures and say "That fish you think is a 7 pounder is actually closer to 6" Let me know!! On another note, I have NO tolerance for gear that doesn't work, so I'm getting a Boga Grip for the next trip. Nothing electronic to fail.

Another nice bass on Thursday

In the morning we got our fish casting toward the banks. LVR's and plastics ruled. While experimenting with a big Optima Line-Thru swimbait I got a big bass. LOVE that swimbait! When we fished around the islands in the morning, I put on a flipping jig and Brush Hog. It caught bass on every obvious piece of wood I threw at!

Jig-n-Brush Hog fish

After a break for lunch, we returned to this lake for the afternoon/ evening. Joey and I figured we got around 35 bass in the morning, and we decided to try to keep count in the afternoon. That proved more difficult than we thought. The bass were beginning to bust shad against the banks, or out in the open water, and the shad bite intensified as the day went on. I got another BIG fish on a 4.5" Strike King Bleeding Tube. We caught fish everywhere. When we got back to the islands in the afternoon, I decided the throw a spinnerbait and bang it off the wood. The results were amazing - I believe I got 15 bass by throwing into the wood on the small islands. As the sun starting dropping, the fish starting blasting isolated schools of shad all over the lake, as well as pushing them up on the bank. My last fish of the day came at dusk and inhaled a Lucky Craft Fat CB shallow crankbait. I believe this bass broke the 10 pound barrier.

The count at the end of the afternoon - 35 in the AM, 78 in the afternoon - a total of 112 bass. And we still had Friday morning to fish! Enjoy the pictures.

This bass fell to the Optima Line-thru swimbait

This bass thought a Bleeding Tube was a shad - WRONG

This may be my biggest bass ever - 10? smaller? bigger?

The end of the day

Wiped out after a long day on the water