Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Upcoming Seminar! January 6th @ The Squirmin' Worm!

Squirmin' Worm
Seminar Series

Come see the premiere event! 

Tip-Down Tactics for Crappies

Blogger, Radio Host, and Tournament Angler Jeff Kelm will be here to discuss chasing tasty crappies.
He will talk about using tip-downs, where to position them, and different presentations that you can use.
Contact the store to register. Space is reserved for the first 30 people to register.

Thursday January 6th, 2011
6pm at your favorite bait shop

Squirmin' Worm Farm Bait & Tackle
N4991 Hillwind Rd.
Plymouth, WI 53073
(920) 893-BAIT
(920) 838-1399

I will have the new Jiffy Pro 4 propane auger for folks to start up and see how it runs, also a set of HT Enterprises POLAR FIRE clothing specifically designed for ice fishing.

Monday, December 20, 2010

NAIFC Championships

The results are in.... Our first championship was what I would call a success!

With a total weight of 7.71 pounds team #711 placed 30th overall. And with a big fish of 1.55lbs we took home the BIG FISH award for the weekend.

With very little pre-fishing done on Friday only we did not feel all that confident about our chances. But we are a positive team for the most part, we are willing to do some dirty work to find fish, not afraid to move at all.

On day 1 we found ourselves headed the to the complete opposite side of the lake from everyone else but one other team, looking to score on some crappies that I had found the day before. Now I had not found many, and most of the fish I did catch were little perch but I figured away from the crowd would be a good place to start. Once we started to fish we found it to be a very tough bite. The first fish of the day was a small perch but soon after that we found some bluegills, very tiny bluegills, like we are talking the size of your mouse bluegills, but they are one of the species we needed to register so in the bucket they went. We fished there for half the morning until we had our 8 we needed to register and we decided to move to find crappies. That was tough! We drilled many holes looking for any active fish, any sign of fish wanting to feed. We struggled for a while, Adam did get one in a spot we took a gamble on but we needed to find more and we were running out of time. We made one more move to an area we had seen people fishing all day, figuring the last hour of the day we had to gamble. It paid off. We found ourselves on the outside of folks, 20 yards or so away. Drilled our holes and within minutes we had crappies. We even found a little better gill, but still not a size I would even bother to keep while fun fishing. Within the last 20 minutes of the day we had our last fish we needed, we quickly marked our big fish and headed for the launch to weigh in. The end of day one found us with a weight of 2.55lbs of fish and in 40th place out of 57.

Day 2 begins with much anxiousness and anticipation. The lake we needed to fish was rumored to have nearly 2# crappies! Thats a monster! But we needed to find them in order to stay in the hunt for the championship. We found the spot we wanted to fish quickly and as we drilled the first holes the auger Adam was using started to leak gas very badly everywhere. So we quit using it for the day. Being down an auger is a bummer cause we normally can drill a ton of holes in a hurry and start to troll, but with one auger its much slower. We caught no fish in the first spot of the day. We decided to move about 200 yards and try again, as I pull the cord on my new auger the pull cord handle shatters, literally shatters into pieces on the ground, thinking immediately that we are now without a power auger I stare at my drill for just a split second. Fortunately there is still a nub from the handle to grab onto and start the auger. This is all with in the first hour of the day. Day 2 was tough to say the least, with multiple moves all over the lake we did not have a fish until almost noon when we moved to the outskirts of a large crowd. I drilled many holes and Adam began to fish, it was not long till he hooked up with his first fish. As he gets the fish to the top of the hole he leans over to move his Vexilar and falls over kicking slush into the hole and causing the hook to pop out of the fishes mouth. Needless to say he was not happy for a very short time. Once he up-righted himself he scooped out the slush and noticed the tail of the fish still in the hole! He still had the fish!! So in the bucket it goes, a nice crappie. We get on a bit of a roll at this point, catching a fish every 10 minutes or so. Then it happened, my fish story, the thing you look forward to when fishing anytime but especially when fishing a tourney, I hook up with a monster. I knew it to, as soon as I set the hook I could tell it was a good fish, a big fish. In fact when I did get it out of the hole another team commented on how nice of a fish it was, thats when you know its a good fish. We stayed in that area for the rest of the day, only making a small move to find crappies we could upgrade. Day 2 finished up with 8 crappies and one bluegill, one junk auger, and a broken handle on the other auger, and Adam lost his ice skimmer down a hole.

We had a great time, and can not wait to start the 2011 season over in Ludington , MI. This so much fun and the NAIFC is a great organization to be apart of. The fellow competitors are a great bunch and you can learn so much in a very short period of time. This is an absolute rush, and the quest for the 2011 championship begins soon!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fishing Report! 12-7-10

This fishing report is brought to you by - The Squirmin'Worm Bait Farm and Tackle

Woodlake- Kohler, WI

Ice Depth: 4"

Fished 7-10' of Water

Charturese and White plastics (Custom Jigs and Spins, Little Atom) caught the most fish. Not many fish to be had though. Crystal clear ice makes the fish very spooky.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

First Ice

The following is an article written for publication in the Squirmin' Worm December Newsletter. If you don't get the newsletter yet sign up now. Lots of great information every month and "Newsletter Only" coupons for the store.
First Ice

Covering thousands of square feet of water eight inches at a time where only weeks ago you covered the same thousands of feet with just a touch of a pedal? That is the joy of first ice!

First ice is a great time to fish, just keep in mind some very basic safety advice.

Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return, bring a spud bar with you to check for ice thickness in front of you and wearing a PFD is not a bad idea, at the very least have a throw rope in your sled or on your person. It may not be you that falls in and its a great tool to have in case you unfortunately need it.

There are few times in a year that fish are as accessible and hungry as first ice, and nearly all species at once can provide a great experience for a first time ice fisherman or kids.

There are many reasons for first ice being such an active time for fish and fisherman.

Shallow weeds are still green in the first 3-4 weeks of first ice which bodes well for panfish as they seek shelter from the very aggressive gamefish. The green weeds also mean available oxygen, just the same as you and I get it from the air, fish filter it through the water. Green weeds provide that oxygen
and as the weeds die off fish will seek deeper water where oxygen levels are higher, inlets to the lakes where oxygen rich water pours in or they will slow their metabolism down to the point of almost lifelessness.

In the same shallow water predators like Northern Pike are actively feeding on baitfish, making a set of tip ups a great way to catch them.

The panfish that reside in the shallow weeds are still hungry too, and presentation can be a bit larger than normally thought of when ice fishing. #10 jigs or larger are a great way to attract big gills and slab crappies wanting to add weight for the winter. Its a great time to try some small jigging spoons for panfish. Tip them with your favorite grubs and it may surprise you how much action such a large presentation can provide.

Maybe one of the best things about fishing first ice is the amount of untouched water. Many folks are still thinking about hunting, or the holidays and if you afford yourself some time in the early season there is a great chance you can have an entire lake to yourself. Fish have not been pressured since the boats left weeks ago and they are hungry.

You will want to learn to be mobile at this time of year. The weed growth will cause the fish to be spread out much like they would be in late fall, but with the ice being relatively “thin” it is still comfortable to drill many holes with a hand auger.

Of course the make up of the lake its self will have a lot to do with where the fish are and what they eat but as a rule of thumb first ice is a great time to fish. Please be careful and enjoy!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Lake Research

I begin every fishing trip to a new lake the same way. I sit in front of the computer and research the lake like crazy. I want to find out the color and clarity of the water, whether or not there are artificial fish cribs placed in the lake, natural fallen timber, where weed lines maybe, if there is an inlet or outlet on the lake, stocking info of all species. There is so much information that can be found online these days, but it can be hard to find and it certainly is not in one spot.

First things first, a simple Google search of the lake to view any lake associations, and a aerial map of the lake. In fact the aerial maps on Bing seem to be of a better quality at this time. Then I begin to search for a lake map. Be it from the DNR or a map manufacture a lake map is absolutely vital to successfully pulling up to a lake and catching the fish you want to catch.

Calling the state DNR is a great way to find information as well, though many states or under budgeted and you may find it hard to talk to someone who really knows anything about the lake or find that there has been no recent creel surveys or updates on the lake.

After obtaining as many lake maps as I can for the lake I wish to fish I start to browse the online forum sites to see if I can notice a pattern on where people have caught fish before. Now it is well know that you can not believe everything you read online, but after searching enough sites and pages you should begin to develop a pattern deciphering the truth from the bull. Forum sites are a great way to find out if there is any obvious landmarks that you may want to reference. Restaurants, bridges, islands are all things most likely listed in on the sites referring to where fish may be caught. The search button on forum pages are your best friend when looking for information from scratch. Also don't be afraid to ask questions on the websites. 90% of the folks that will answer you will do so in a civil manner and be genuinely will to help you, though you will have a few that you may want to ignore.

Calling bait shops can yield some results but that can be sketchy at times, bait shop owners tend to be nice folks when your in the store purchasing something, but while talking over the phone they may sound a bit, whats the word, rude.

You may want to try to talk to fishing guides if through your search it reveals there are some that fish your lake. They may not part with lots of info but they are always willing to talk.

Many times while during a search on one lake I find others that I may want to try or others that may be a better choice for a day on the lake.

Google the lake, look at all the forums you can and call anyone who may know something about the lake. Of course you won't know how the fishing really is until you step out onto the ice that day, with all the GPS coordinates in hand and auger ready to go.