Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Eve Ice Fishing

As a tournament ice angler, you get very busy, in a very short period of time. Its obvious you can't ice fish without ice, so when it happens its game on. It does not leave much time to stop and smell the ice crystals if you know what I mean.

In 2012 I will be traveling to 6 wonderful cities across the ice belt, and also across the world to Kazakhstan for the World Ice fishing Championships. From January 8th-March 4th I have one weekend home, not fishing in a tournament. It does not leave a lot of time to get out and fun fish, so I had to do it early
This past Christmas eve day I gave myself that chance to fun fish with a couple of special guests. My Father and my Brother accompanied me on the ice Saturday. It was the first time my brother, August, had been ice fishing in what we could think of was 15 years. My Dad and I seem to get out once a year together. None of  us live very close to each other, my Dad loves to fish, but keeps himself extremely busy, and my brother really isn't much of a fishermen.

Saturday morning was a perfect morning for ice fishing in so many ways. The pressure was steady, the solar/lunar calendar pegged it as the best day of the month to fish, and when we arrived on the lake we found no one had drilled a hole yet! Nothing! 4" of virgin ice with just a light snow cover on top.


We brought the hand auger out, be it a very fast / expensive hand auger and I started to drill holes as I do (20-30 at a time). When I was finished drilling I gave August an instructional on how the flasher worked so he could see fish, we grabbed a bucket for him and placed him in 9 feet of water with standing weed 3 feet high. The fish were there, but it took August a bit to get the hang of jigging, then setting the hook. He moved to a couple different holes and I came over once again to help him out. I talked him through the process and BAM! He hooks up with his first fish! That was a moment and a smile I will never forget! After that, he had it down, moving from hole to hole, catching fish after fish.

August caught the biggest fish of the day, a 11" Largemouth Bass and also added to the catch we brought home of a few bluegills and a perch. My Dad did well for himself too, I don't have to coach him at all, I just rig his rod the night before and send him off, no matter what, he catches fish.


I had a great day too, not only sharing the joy of August catching fish, and fishing with my family, but I did well fishing too.

The fish (mostly Bluegill) wanted all meat, tried plastics but there didn't seem to react. Orange HT tungsten Marmooksajigs tipped with 2 red spikes worked well for my Dad and August. I was using my Jonttu Palm Rods with a Russian Mormyshka tungsten jig tipped with 2 red spikes.

Good Luck fishing!!- Jeff

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

NAIFC Championship-2011

Every Once Counts, that’s the North American Ice Fishing Circuit’s motto and it could not be more true.

The NAIFC Championship was held in Rhinelander, WI December 16-18th with 45 teams of two anglers competing for the title of national champion. This was our teams second championship.

So many thoughts run through your head when trying to get ready for a tournament, but getting ready for the nationals is even more grueling. You want to do well at every event, that’s why you compete at this level, but the championship is so much more. The checks are larger and the rings look great on anyone, plus you can call yourself the champion.

We approached this weekend as prepared as we were going get. We purchased the best mapping units available for these bodies of water and we did some back study on the lakes from previous tournaments held in the same locations. The information we gathered last year for fishing the first lake of the championship, Lake Thompson, was extremely valuable. We knew where we caught fish before, and we knew where others would concentrate their efforts. We managed to stay away from the large crowds and didn’t have to fight for the spots we wanted to fish in our game plan.

We fished a crib first thing Saturday morning which during pre fishing produced some average bluegills and even a couple of kicker crappies. On tournament day the Crappies were not found but the bluegills were still present and hungry. Within the first 45 minutes of the tournament we had caught the 8 gills we were willing to register and we were off to find crappies.

The crappies we had found while pre fishing were not large, but average size (8-9”) for Lake Thompson. They were in multiple places, we just had to pick where we thought we would catch a few heavier fish.

That’s one thing people sometimes don’t take into consideration when they ask us how big the fish we caught are. Most are hung up on length of the fish, we are by far more concerned with weight. I would much rather have a fat 8” crappie then a skinny 11” any tournament day ever! Folks are not as impressed by the length, but Every Ounce Counts is not just a slogan here.

The crappies we found were very aggressive, but did not yield a lot of weight and we knew we would have to spend the day upgrading fish. It was brought to our attention while we were fishing that few teams plan for a successful day. The plans are always for if something doesn’t work, and for us that morning, everything worked according to plan within the first hour and a half of the day. For just a minute we were left scratching our heads asking ourselves what do we do now? We have a our fish, not what. We did spent all day exploring or “trolling” the lake for upgrades to the fish we had in our bucket. We finished day one registering our maximum 16 fish, 8 crappies, 8 bluegills with a total weight of 4.23 lbs. Setting us up in 9th place for the day.

The game plan for Sunday was to fish the deep water basins for crappies for at least the first couple hours of the day. We were confident we could get into the sloughs and back waters to pick up bluegills, but crappies are the weight in the competition. The spot we wanted to fish in the main basin of the lake was thought to b a popular spot, we were 32nd in line and did not think it would be open for us to get to. Fortunately when we arrived, there was plenty of room directly over where we caught our fish while pre-fishing. Once time allowed we began to fish fast, even Adam was jumping from hole to hole every couple minutes, which is rare for him, he is much more patient with a hole than I. It did not take long to pick off fish. Adam carried us Sunday, he had the right touch to hook up with the deep water crappies. Within one hour we had 11 fish in the bucket and we where off to the slough to catch bluegills.

We had a bluegill “spot” in the slough picked out, no one was there while we were pre fishing and no one was there now either. We rolled in, drilled our holes and in no time I was catching bluegills, not giants but good enough for us. It was not long into searching these holes when we started to catch crappies out of them, in fact these were upgrades for us. We were astounded, the game plan we laid out worked and we had all the fish we could have asked for within the first hour and a half for the second time in a weekend.

We spent the rest of the Sunday riding back and forth from the slough to the main basin to upgrade fish, which we did numerous times.

Day two came to a close at 2:00pm Sunday. With weigh-in starting around 4 it was a anxious wait to find out how our finals totals were.

The second day yielded 6.71 lbs. of fish for our team, giving us a 7th place finish overall in the championship. We were floored! Our goal was top 15, to finish 7th was outstanding.

Congrats to Myron Gilbert and Dave Ellis for the win, you guys had great bags of fish and are super good fishermen.

Fish on day one were hitting a couple of things. White and orange HT Marmooska jig tipped with a chartreuse plastic tail and a orange and black HT Marnooska jig tipped with Copper colored Ice Mite from J and S Custom Jigs.

Day two fish came on a large mix. Going with a big presentation was key for the crappies in the basin, Magnum Ice Mites from J and S Custom Jigs worked the best. The gills and crappies in the slough came on the regular Ice Mites in a wide range of colors.

Good luck fishing!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Outdoors Radio with Dan Small (Dec 9th-16th)


Exclusive to podcast and FM 100.5 ESPN broadcast: guide Ron Barefield reports muskie action on the Madison chain is slowing down as winter nears and early-season ice fishing should be good for panfish on lakes Monona, Mendota and Wisconsin. Fred Nickel, director of parks, recreation and trails for Adams County reports on snowmobiling, ice fishing and other winter activities in Adams County, Wisconsin. (www.adamscountyparkswi.com) Tom Gruenwald, of HT Enterprises, reports on last weekends St. Paul Ice Fishing and Winter Sports Show and talks about new HT products for this season. (www.icefish.com) Gary Eddy, ATV and snowmobile administrator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, shares some safety tips for early-season ice fishing. (www.dnr.wi.gov) To enter this weeks drawing for a Jiffy Full Ice Auger Case - fits any power auger, a $70 value. Later this winter, well give away a Jiffy Model 30 power auger. (www.jiffyonice.com) Give us a call at 414-297-7554 and leave your name, phone number and mention the Jiffy giveaway, or email us at outdoorsradio@gmx.com.
To begin listening to the show, click on the player in the upper left hand portion of the page. Enjoy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Long and Short of It....Rod Length Discussion!

Ice fishing rods have come a long way in a very short time. They have become specialized tools in the anglers hands. However, some are better than others. One question to explore is, whats better, long rods or short ones?

I'm not discussing true long rods here, the 48” plus tools of the long rodder. That is a specialized technique. I want to discuss rod lengths for standard panfish presentation and how my views have changed in the last 2 seasons.

A few years ago, ice fishing rods truly underwent a transformation. They became highly sensitive instruments, with designed load points to cushion light line. However, many of the early premium rods were on the long side, at 26 inches or so and more. My first 'good' ice rod was a 28 inch Berkeley Lightning Genz series rod. It was sensitive and effectively protected 2# test line.

However, over the last couple years and my introduction to tournament fishing, I've become a fan of shorter rods. New rods are now engineered to offer the same advantages as the longer rod in a smaller package. Short rods pack easier into a case and weigh less. When actively fishing for panfish, I spend a lot of time on my knees next to the hole. The short rod allows me to sit closer to my electronics to offer a better view. It also keeps me closer to my line and strike indicator(s) allowing better strike detection.

Short rods also offer the advantage of being able to double as sight fishing rods. In this technique, you must look down the hole. Try that with a longer rod and see how long your arm lasts! Along with sight fishing is fishing in a shelter. Again, the short rod shines by not hitting the roof as easy when working fish.

In the end, rod length comes down to personal preference and fishing style. But I have definitely become a believer in shorter rods. Check out the vast selection offered by HT Enterprises and give them a shot this year on the ice. You may become a believer in the saying 'longer isn't necessarily better'.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Support the Home State- WI


I am one of the most fortunate ice fishermen I know,  it’s true. I am so lucky to be able to work with so many great companies in the outdoor industry, more specifically the fishing industry. Many of the companies I have the pleasure of representing are from our wonderful home state of Wisconsin. We not only have the most dominant football team, we have the most dominant industry leaders as well.

Jiffy Ice Drills, Sheboygan Falls, WI has been manufacturing ice drills for over 60 years. Last year, they revolutionized the industry with creating the first alternative fuel powered drill. The new Pro4,  4-stroke propane auger! It is the coolest auger I have ever seen, and I love using mine. Jiffy’s drills are easily recognized by anglers being that they are bright yellow. They are a great family owned company with deep roots in Wisconsin and look to continue for many years to come.

J and S Custom Jigs and Plastics, La Valle, Wisconsin. A relative newcomer to the fishing world, J and S is making a big splash with the ice fishermen. Ice fishing plastics have come a long way in just 5 or 6 years and J and S is quickly growing into a powerhouse being featured in the annual In-Fishermen Ice Guide for 2012. J and S offers some for the most unique designs and I would be willing to say the brightest glowing plastics available.  They can be found online only at this time. If you don’t have any in your box yet, after watching the pictures roll in on my blog this season, you will!

The Automatic Fisherman, Kewaunee, WI. Kerry Paulson and I met in 2007 in Green Bay, he handed a single unit to me at that time, I used it the following week and was immediately a huge fan.  I fish for Brown Trout and Rainbows quite often in the harbors of Lake Michigan, the common occurrence for these trout is to drag and drop the baits from a standard tip-up. The Automatic Fisherman is fully adjustable to allow only inches of line out before IT SETS THE HOOK FOR YOU! I am not kidding when I say it works. Many of the fishing guides up and down the Lake Michigan shoreline swear by this devise and I do too.  It works great on inland lakes for Northern as well. I have even set it up with ultra-light rods and caught gills and crappies on small fatheads.

HT Enterprises, Cambellsport, WI. It’s amazing how large HT Enterprises is in the ice fishing world, yet few realize it. HT remained relatively low key for many years, providing the essentials for ice fishermen all over the world. This year HT is busting out and introducing some fantastic new state of the art products. From competition ice rods to tungsten jigs and fully redesigned ice fishing clothing, HT Enterprises looks to take over as number one! HT is another company with a long standing tradition in Wisconsin and the Grahl family and the great Tom Gruenwald leading the way. Look for many HT products to be featured on the ice and my website this season.

Thee Fishermen’s Soap, Eagle, WI. It’s a part of the fishing most don’t think about I guess. The clean up, the smell, it’s not exactly the things we dream about, it is reality though. Fishermen’s Soap is a fantastic product with a ton of uses around the home beyond cleaning up after your fishing trip. I was first introduced to Fishermen’s Soap last year before the North American Ice Fishing Circuit Championship. I had spilled gas from filling the auger on my hands and used this soap with the help from a snow bank to wash the smell off. I went on to win the “Big Fish” award that day. Was it the soap? Pick some up and see for yourself!

Rod-Bobb’s Inc.- Eau Clair, WI. This is the first year the Rod-N-Bobb’s and I are working together. I know most have used a Rod-N-Bobb’s product in the summer, but you must try theMr. Ice floats for winter fishing. Whether it’s a dead stick or jigging the Mr. Ice is a no-brainer to attach to the rod. Rod-N-Bobb’s is another great family owned company with multiple products available everywhere. One of my open water favorites is the Lucky Jack Lighted bobbers for catfish, try it, you will love it.

Americanfishingcontests.com,  Waukesha, WI.  I know, I know, not a physical product company, but Americanfishingcontests.com was founded here in Wisconsin but Don Kaldunski. Don had an idea that he wanted to find out about ice fishing contests around him without having to watch the wall in the bathroom in the local pub. He created a web based company that now stretches all 50 states listing thousands of fishing contests, freshwater, saltwater, ice, carp, you name it, he has it. It is a great place to promote your own event to. If you have a fisheree, tournament or jamboree coming up this winter contact Americanfishingcontests.com today. Don may even attend your event and help to promote further.

So many great companies in this state. I love Wisconsin, the weather, the people and certainly the companies with roots right here. Shop local, buy local and enjoy!

To find more info on ice fishing log onto Hardwater-Angler.com. Follow me on FacebookTwitter or Google +. Also listen to Dan Small and I every week on Outdoors Radio right HERE!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Outdoors Radio with Dan Small (Nov.2-10th)

Watch Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2011 Nov. 3 on Public TV and Nov. 10 on the Fox Sports Network. The rut is on, and you can score on a buck. Rechargeable light for outdoor activities and emergencies. Lots to do in Mercer this fall and winter. Jeff rattles in a nice buck. 


Special guests: Exclusive to podcast and FM 100.5 ESPN broadcast: Gene Dellinger, proprietor of D&S Bait on Northport Drive in Madison, reports turnover is complete and anglers are catching muskies and walleyes on the Madison chain. (www.dsbait.com) Ron Bice, communications director for Wildlife Research Center, shares some tips for bowhunting big bucks during the rut using Special Golden Estrus deer scent. (www.wildlife.com) Steve Nagel, inventor of the Paqlite, explains the technology behind this innovative light and its many applications for outdoorsmen. (www.uvpaqlite.com) Vic Ouimette, president of the Mercer, Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce, reports on the great fall hunting and winter sports activities in the Mercer area. (www.mercercc.com) To enter this weeks drawing for a Supercharged Scent Killer Combo Pack from Wildlife Research (www.wildlife.com), call 414-297-7554 and leave your name and telephone number, or email outdoorsradio@gmx.com.


To begin listening click on the player in the upper left hand side of the page. Thanks and enjoy!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Ice Fishing Preparation and Anticipation


The ice fishing season is getting seriously close now. Most of us still have to put some deer in the freezer, but you cannot let time slip away to quick or you will find yourself in a rush, and maybe out of luck to hit the first safe ice of the season.

As a competitive ice angler, my season never completely stops, there is always something to do. Whether its speaking with potential sponsors, working with current sponsors, upgrading equipment or just cleaning up the garage form the hectic winter season, I always have something ice fishing related to do.
Now even if you’re not a tournament person, you still have off/pre season work to do. The one most common item I see neglected is line.

Your fishing line is the only link between you and the fish, why wouldn't you want new line every year? Or every month!? Ok maybe every month is excessive at times, but certainly you must change the line on your rods AND tip-ups every year. Even the best lines deteriorate over time and the edge of the ice creates small cuts in the line that you may not feel, so even spooling off ten or fifteen yards normally is not enough. The other obvious reason for the line change is the memory. Most ice angler use spinning reels on their ice rods, those spinning reels not only twist your line while using it, but also create a line memory issue after sitting for 8 months. To reduce line twists use a Fly Reel or The old standard ice reels you used to use as a kid.

Ice drills are certainly an item that is not remembered till you want to hit the ice. NOW is the time to take it out of the corner and look it over, or get it in now before the large winter rush of snow blowers and other items shops get pounded with as soon as we get cold weather.  Gas caps begin to leak after a number of years, blades dull and recoil cords get frayed. Items like that you don’t remember till you areon the ice normally, take a look at them now and be prepared this season. Jiffy Ice Drills' service center in Sheboygan Falls, WI becomes extremely busy the second week of December, but right now the turnaround is within a few days.

Tip-ups I believe see more abuse than most other items during the season and off, but there is some simple thing you can do to those tip ups to keep them working well every year. It’s as simple as re-lubing them with any of the cold weather lubes available from HT Enterprises or Frabill. Most tip-ups disassemble very easily and the process of lubing them is easy to accomplish, and worth every minute.

Throughout my process of doing all this I get a chance to reminisce about the season past. It’s interesting sometimes the items you come across while cleaning everything up.  Besides braking off a few dried up minnows and wax worms from hooks and jigs, I believe I have acquired 2 pairs of gloves and 3 hats that did not belong to me at the beginning of last season. So, if you went fishing with me last year and left you hat or gloves in my sleds or ATV, please contact me, lol.

There are many more things to check. How are the runners on the bottom of you sled/shack? You have gloves, boots, hats? Reels lubed? Replenish jigs and plastics? All the paint out of the eyes of your jigs? Of course checking batteries, ATV or snow machine maintenance. Do this now!

Look into all the things you can now, before it’s too cold, and before you are behind the rush of folks purchasing all the new equipment. Most stores have a good selection of ice fishing equipment out already, or will within a week or two. Get this stuff taken care of, and enjoy your hunting season! See you on the ice!

To find more info on ice fishing log onto Hardwater-Angler.com. Follow me on FacebookTwitter or Google +.

Monday, October 24, 2011

My first Post-An Intro and some Pre Season Insight

I was recently invited by Jeff to contribute to this fine blog site. As the other, somewhat heavier and hairier, half of NAIFC Team 711, I hope I have some useful information to share with everyone.

A quick intro to myself and why I might be in any way qualified to blog on the subject of ice fishing and other outdoor activities. I am an all seasons outdoorsman. In spring, I enjoy hunting for morel mushrooms as much as I enjoy hunting for turkeys. As the year progresses, I try to steal any time I can to get a little fishing in for any species that may be catchable. Come fall, my focus shifts to hunting season. While I will hunt for anything in season, I particularly enjoy waterfowl hunting. Throughout all of this, I enjoy target shooting of any sort. Finally, as the air and water chills and eventually freezes, my focus shifts to my favorite outdoor activity, ice fishing.

I've been ice fishing as long as I can remember, though it became an obsession once I could drive myself to the lake. The idea of competitive fishing only appeared in front of me two short seasons ago and I'm eagerly awaiting a new tournament season.

As the season nears, there is a lot that I've been doing to prepare for this years hardwater experience. A short list of some of the things I've been up to:

1. I acquired an ATV

This was essential. Mobility is a key to success. Last year I tried to fish the season using a used snowmobile and ran into mechanical issues that forced us as a team to use one machine. This definitely hurt us, especially in prefishing.

This doesn't mean you need a shiny new quad every season. However, take the time before the season to go through your machine mechanically, tighten bolts, check fluids, make repairs, check and replace your battery if needed. Get out and ride it a few times to ensure that everything is functioning properly. Now is the time to straighten out issues, not on the ice when there are fish to be caught!

2. Organize your Gear

This may sound trivial. But it isn't. In the off season, I've acquired new gear. New plastics from end of the year sales and our wonderful sponsors at J&S Custom Jigs. New line from Vicious, another wonderful sponsor. Take the time now to get it all in order.

Organized gear means you can find it when you need it. You know when you need to purchase more. Every second counts when the bite is hot and you don't want to be left in the cold without the bait that could have caught you a limit.

Also, I got a new rod case. Turns out I can pack 6 ice rods into a hard sided break-down shotgun case. This solution was cheap and will provide superior protection over soft sided cases for travel. Keep trying to streamline your fishing and become more efficient.

3, Do some homework

Ice fishing is a sport that is evolving incredibly fast. In order to stay at the front of the tide, you need to do a little leg work.

Buy the publications and read up on the articles. This will allow you to glean out new presentation ideas, new location ideas, and new techniques.

Find lake maps of lakes you plan on fishing. Study them, make a game plan for the winter so you know exactly how you want to attack that lake as soon as you can safely get on it. If you have time and the ability, get out on the lake with a boat and mark potential hot spots on your map or GPS. Again, efficiency can make or break your day sometimes.

I hope you all have a safe and productive season. Keep checking back for more posts. As I type this, I'm sitting on a bucket and it just feels right. Ice season must be approaching.

-Shoey

Monday, October 17, 2011

Gear Review/Preview- Aqua-Vu "Micro" Underwater Camera


While every company in the ice fishing industry is looking for the next big thing most overlook some obvious issues consumers have with products. Many times that issue is the same, ease of use. When it comes to underwater cameras, it’s no different, many companies want the latest technology, for clarity and screen size but forget about an issue that has plagued underwater camera users since the beginning, portability.

Aqua-Vu, known as the “Original” underwater camera, has created what I think will be the next big thing in cameras used for ice fishing, the Aqua-Vu “Micro”. The “Micro” has a screen size as big as your smart phone, 50ft of 22# test cable, a camera the physical size of chestnut and IR LEDs. The “Micro” is a mobile ice fishermen’s new best friend because the entire unit fits into your jacket pocket.
I have used it in the open water of the local river, which is not easy to see through, the LEDs powered through the muck and I could see roughly 3 ft from the camera. In the clear water of the small lakes I frequent, I could see as far as the eye. This will absolutely change how I fish. I enjoy using electronics to ice fish, every advantage I can get I will take. This small easy to use camera will certainly be helpful. The battery life is another impressive feature, I have used it on 4 trips, total amount of time the unit has been on has far exceeded 3 hours and the battery still has over half life. Of course a true test of battery is in the cold, but it so far looks like it will have great stamina.

Aqua-Vu has redesigned most of their cameras for this upcoming season. Listening to the fishermen, taking advise and making the necessary changes to fit into the industry better. Some of Aqua-Vu’s cameras this season will even feature levels of zoom as well as HD quality picture. Check out Aqua-Vu’s new lineup at Aquavu.com and watch for the new cameras to arrive in stores soon. The Aqua-Vu “Micro” is available now  in most major retailers and online.

I had wrote a post earlier this year before I received the Micro, there are videos of the unit in action HERE.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Tungsten Is The New Black

What a difference a summer makes. This time last year, folks in the ice fishing “know” were talking about tungsten jigs, discussing the few companies that made them and the limited selection. This upcoming season will breathe new life to the tungsten ice jig conversation. We will be blessed with a couple major companies releasing new tungsten jigs for customers.

Northland Fishing Tackle has released the Northland Hard-Rock jigs. These jigs will feature the shape a designs of the popular Bro Bug collection. The colors look to be more of the Vegas jigs color selection. With the introduction of these jigs Northland has begun to set itself up to have a banner year in sales. USA Ice Team member and former North American Ice Fishing Circuit champion Tony Boshold has promoted Northland for years and is super excited to introduce these jigs.

HT Enterprises has teamed up with a company in Latvia to bring you a tungsten Marmooska. These will be one of the hottest jigs on the market this winter. With the classic Marmooska design and a respectable amount of color patterns this tungsten jig will be filling many slots in my jig box.  I have photos and will be doing a full review soon about HT’s tungsten jigs at Hardwater-Angler.com.
HT Enterprises Tungsten Marmooska

Fiskas have been in the market for quite some time, Yourbobbersdown.com has been one of the few places to purchase Fiskas. They are great jigs, I have many and I even have a go-to Fiska, 3mm School Bus, great jig! With a good selection of epoxy, painted and unpainted, Fiskas will continue to be a solid choice of tungsten jigs.

Sportsmensdirect.com offers some tungsten jigs and based on what I know of Sportsmen’s Direct and the products they offer, I am certain these are high quality. The proprietor of Sportsmen’s Direct, John Bacarella,  is one of the nation’s best competitive ice fishermen, and does not settle for poor quality, and would not stand to pass it on to his customers.

Skandia is another company that has been around for a few years, with a growing size and color selection and available in many of the small retail shops they have a good following. I do not own many Skandia jigs but when the opportunity arises I will purchase more. NAIFC team “Hardwater Maniacs” swear by the Skandia jigs and would have a better selection of information for you to check out at GreatLakesIcefishing.com

Bentley Fishing USA seems to be an intriguing company that has a limited selection. You may purchase their jigs online, but only in packs of 6 or more. They seem like they would be very high quality jig, but without having personally used them, I could not give a fair assessment.

Tungsten IS the present and future of ice fishing, explore the companies listed, and do your homework. Good luck fishing!

Monday, September 5, 2011

More 2011-2012 Ice Fishing Products from HT

HT ENTERPRISES, INC., industry leaders in modern progressive ice tackle design and manufacturers of the original Polar Tip-Up, are pleased to introduce their deluxe 2 in 1 Gaff hook. These first class quality gaffs feature super-strong telescopic aluminum handles that extend to 32.5” long when open, yet retract to 20” for convenient transport and storage. Each features interchangeable single and treble hook inserts that securely thread into the handle, comfort hand grips and security wrist lanyard. For more information, write: HT Enterprises, Inc., P.O. Box 909, Campbellsport, WI, 53010, or visit WWW.ICEFISH.COM.





HT ENTERPRISES, INC., industry leaders in modern, progressive ice rod design and manufacturers of the original Polar Tip-Up, are pleased to introduce the new Laker Pro Series ice rods and combos! All HT “Laker Pro” rods feature solid, sturdy composite blanks with strong backbone, and are tempered with just enough tip action for controlling your presentations and sensing strikes. In addition, these precision balanced ice rods feature comfort grip EVA handles with fixed reel seats, heavy duty aluminum oxide guides--and the 32” medium-heavy, 38” medium-heavy, 44” medium-heavy and 45” heavy action models are ideally suited for a variety of lake trout and other big game winter fishing situations! For more information, write: HT Enterprises, Inc., P.O. Box 909, Campbellsport, WI, 53010, or check out their website, WWW.ICEFISH.COM .

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

NEW 2011-2012 Ice Fishing Gear from HT Enterprises!

The ice fishing industry is always changing, it is so gadget driven, such a "whats new" mentality that it has chewed up and spit out many many companies. Few remain steadfast, willing to take chances and introduce new gear every year.

HT Enterprises has developed and enhanced many of the ice fishing tools used throughout the world. This year they have worked with companies from around the world to produce some remarkably high quality equipment for the up coming season. HT's Polar Fire brand exploded onto the scene last season and they have taken the line even further, a re designed suit now matches other items offered by HT. 



POLAR FIRE premium ice gear is a brand-new, superior line-up of high end, premium ice product developed by HT ENTERPRISES, INC. One of the POLAR FIRE introductory products is the POLAR FIRE BUCKET SEAT. This heavy duty, extra large seat with back rest fits conveniently atop any five or six gallon bucket. Features include a large padded seat base and fully adjustable, ratchet style back rest that also folds flat for storage! Each POLAR FIRE BUCKET SEAT includes a handy carry case for convenient transport and storage.

Another product HT Enterprises Inc,  is releasing this season is the Ice Stopper in cooperation with Cansport Recreation. HT now offers a system to freeze-proof your lines! Designed for use with tip-downs, wind tip-ups, ice riggers or anyone jigging outside in brutal cold—anywhere your line is exposed to freezing--the ice stopper eliminates frozen lines. Just slip the ice stopper on your line, fill with the non-toxic ice stopper solution, and let it float in the hole. Your line will flow freely from the spool into the water, without ever freezing, and thesolution treats your line so it won’t freeze above water--meaning ice won’t form within rod guides, either.





Those who purchased an Automatic Fisherman last season were introduced to this revolutionary invention. A legal way to prevent your exposed Tip-Up or Tip-Down line from freezing. I use the Ice Stopper laste year and I have to say it was exactly what was needed. 

There is so much more that HT is offering this season and I will post more soon.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

NEW Jiffy Ice Drills 4G!!

4G Technology on ice! Kind of.

It is certainly not the same 4G we expect on our phones, but certainly is the 4-stroke performance serious ice anglers expect on the ice.

The Jiffy Model 41 4G 4-stroke gasoline fueled ice drill is new for the 2011-2012 season. It features a similar EZ start system as the the Pro4 Propane fueled drill introduced last year. No mixing gas, plus no smoke, plus QUIET! Not even kidding, I ran the Pro4 last season and at full throttle is was half the decibels its 2-stroke counterparts recorded.

Its an ease of use thing, you carry gas for your quad, or snowmobile, why have a separate mixed can of fuel for the auger.

No power problems here. Being the same motor on the 4G as the Pro4 I can tell you it has the power for any size auger and any ice depth. We drilled a lot of holes last season and no matter the conditions the 4-stroke OHV engine performed great.

Look for more videos and info here as more is released!

JIFFY ICE DRILLS! We put THE WORLD on ice!!



Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Coming This Winter Season!!

The begining of August is not the "normal" time of the year most think about ice fishing. There are a few of us nuts out there that never actually STOP thinking about ice fishing. But every year at this time I like to find the new products that will be available this winter. This year there is no shortage of great equipment to put on the wish list!

Aqua-Vu has the new "Micro" camera along with a rejuvenated product line carrying on a tradition of excellence. The Aqua-Vu Micro looks to be the sweetest little tech gadget on ice, and I do mean little. The the whole screen and main controls of the camera are no bigger then you average smart phone. With 50ft of  22# test camera cord and a camera sized just about the same size as a teaspoon this will be the most portable way to find your weed lines, cribs and to check out bottom composition. And with a retail price or right around $300 bucks, its not a break the bank investment for something you can store in your pocket and use to scout at the drop of a hat..or auger blade.

Here is a you tube video showing some of what the Aqua-Vu Micro camera can do.

Keep your eyes open for the Aqua-Vu "Micro" coming to a retail store this fall.


Here is one more video, Now I have been desperate to try out my equipment before but this takes the cake!






Friday, July 1, 2011

USA Ice Team Fundraiser-August 13th 2011

The USA Ice Team is headed to Kazakhstan!

Each member of the team is responsible for raising funds to help the team get the the World Ice Fishing Championships. For the next many months team members from around the Mid-West will be having events to raise money. Some will do Brat frys, others golf outings, and mine will be an outdoor expo!
 The 1st annual OutdoorFest will be held August 13th at the Squirmin' Worm Farm in Plymouth,WI. 
We have lots of items to give away including 3 HT Enterprise ice shelters and Jiffy Ice drills has donated an 8" Model 34 STX Pro II to raffle off as well. We will have prizes from other companies and fishing guide services too. 

Come purchase a brat, buy a raffle ticket (or ten) and enjoy a seminar. See you at OutdoorFest!!



Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wisconsin Conservation Congress

Monday April 11th at 7:00 p.m. The Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC) held the 2011 Spring Fish and Wildlife Hearings.

Here are the results of the hearings.

2011 Spring Hearing Results

I was also elected to the WCC for a 2 year term. If you live in Sheboygan County and have questions about the way our natural resource are being managed, please feel free to contact me. Also if you are aware of any sportsmen's events (Club meetings, fundraisers, etc.) please contact me with the details. I would like to attend many and learn what Sheboygan County has to say about the management of the outdoors.

Jeff Kelm
3410 S. 10th St.
Sheboygan, WI 53081
(920) 627-3312



I intend to keep citizens informed on what the WCC working on throughout the year and keep the line of communication open for everyone.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rate This Season

A very popular thread title now on many forum sites. How would I rate this season, is WOW a choice? I had such an amazing season, not just the fishing, but the people I met, the places I have gone, all of it was awesome.

The beginning of this season started lake many others, spending the first few Saturdays of ice fishing in stores promoting products, which don't get me wrong, I LOVE doing, but it does cut into fishing time. I then had the chance to fish the NAIFC Championship with my partner Adam Schumacher, at which I won the "Big Fish" award. After the championship it was back home to fish the small Kettle Moraine Forest lakes, many not fished hard in the winter, and many with lots of good panfish. The 2011 NAIFC season started in January and we had a great time doing that. We had the chance to brag about all the great sponsors that helped us get there, and we made many new friends along the way.

This season certainly peaked for me two weekends ago when I made it onto the USA Ice Team. That will be something I cherish for a long time.

The next ice fishing season starts now basically. Its time to get the bio refreshed, time to sit down with the people that helped us last year and work on a plan to continue to grow their brand. Its also time to find others that may want a unique promotional opportunity.

I have many things to work on while there is no ice, but believe me next season has already started.

Oh and an actually rating of this season, I'll give it a 9 out of 10. There always has to be room for improvement or we would have no goals to strive for.

Monday, March 14, 2011

USA! USA! USA!

Ladies and gentleman I present to you the 2012 USA Ice Team!!!


I had the fantastic opportunity to try out for the USA Ice Team this year and I'm so very glad I did. I will be traveling with the team to Finland in March of 2012 to represent the United States. How awesome is that?!?!

It started like this. While we were competing in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Jack Baker asked the competitors who wanted to try out for the USA Ice Team. I saw no one raise their hands at first, so not wanting to have this opportunity be wasted I raised my hand. It was a tough decision because pre-fishing for the NAIFC event had not gone well and I didn't feel confident we would do well on Sunday. I didn't have the proper equipment with me, and one of the rules for the USA Ice Team (and all international competition) is the use of hand augers. My tournament partner Adam Schumacher was in Sheboygan at the time and grabbed the augers before traveling to Oshkosh.

Saturday morning I woke up and began pre-fishing again for the NAIFC event.  I reluctantly pulled up all the gear after again not finding fish and headed to where the USA Ice Team trials were to be held. Upon my arrival I remembered the Kids Ice Camp Ice Clinic was happening in the same place. After helping a couple of kids out the last few minuets of the clinic, I grabbed my rods and realized I had none of my lite pan-fish gear with me; no spring bobbers, no super lite rods. I had all the gear with me that I usually used when fishing for jumbo perch and two pound whitebass. I did, however, have one rod with a schooly reel on it, and after taking almost everything out of my Jeep I found a spring bobber on the floor, tucked under the floor mat. ( If you have ice fishing equipment hiding under the floormats of your vehicle...You may have an ice fishing addiction.) I then found some electrical tape in the glove box and taped the spring bobber onto the rod. It wasn't a pretty sight; it wasn't balanced, certainly not tested, and I had no idea how this would work, but it was all I had.

We were placed outside the "zone" that had been coned off for us to fish in, there were only seven of us competing against each other.  We were already allowed to compete in the finals because less than ten people total signed up, but we needed to determine a ranking. After I drilled 2 holes, I tipped my gold diamond jig with one red spike and dropped it down the hole.  Instantly I had a small perch, perhaps 2 inches, but it counted since weight wasn't a factor for this competition.  This was a race to catch 15 fish as fast as I could, and I didn't care how big it was. I was hammering the little Perch, one after another, after another. After about 20 minutes of catching fish on a steady basis, the other competitors started to notice.  They had all been catching fish too, but not fish that counted since they had to be pan-fish (Perch, Bluegill) or rough fish (Shiners, Shad) and they were catching Large Mouth Bass. Those are not pan-fish AND in order to put one in a bucket in Wisconsin, they must be at least 14 inches.

I finished first with 15 fish in 36 minutes. Second place had 5. I did well that day with equipment that I had not tested, but luck was on my side.

That was all in January, now fast forward.

We ("We" is Adam Schumacher and I. He qualified for the finals in Monticello, MN.) arrived in Rhinelander, Wisconsin this past Friday night, ready to take on the next challenge. We attended the rules meeting and presentation at Bugsy's in downtown Rhinelander, then went back to Holiday Acres on Lake Thompson, (which by the way is AWESOME! What a great place to stay.)

Saturday morning found us on the east end of Lake Thompson in the exact same area Adam and I started our day on Day 1 of the NAIFC Championship back in December. We already knew there were lots of little fish on this part of the lake. The organizers had sectioned off a zone that we were allowed to fish in, and the first three-hour heat that morning was all about how many fish you could catch in three hours. Start time was 8 am. The first four holes I drilled, I didn't find any fish, but after observing others catching fish in a different part of the zone, I moved in on them and began to catch fish consistently.

I finished with 7.5 points in that heat with a count of 65 fish.

Let's put some things into perspective here:  first place had caught 117 fish, and he didn't even catch one for the first 40 minutes! (Officials walked around counting fish and dumping them back into the water throughout the heat so we did not break any bag limit rules.)

The second heat began after lunch, this time it was a race to 25 fish.  They gave you three hours to do it. A zone was again established and we began fishing at 1 pm. Lake Thompson is very stained water and where we were fishing was only about ten feet deep. It was a good place to start for us newbies to the game. I drilled five holes in the second heat, and caught 20 out of 25 in only one of those holes. I finished this heat in 3rd place.

At the end of day one, I had 10.5 points, (the fewer points, the better) and was in the top ten. This was a really good position to be in, since all I needed was a top 10th - 15th finish in the last heat on Sunday in order to qualify for the team. They planned on taking the top ten finishers at the end of the weekend.

Sunday morning, they had us drive to Washburn Lake. This, in contrast to Thompson Lake, was a very clear lake, and the zone they set up for us was twice as deep as the zones on Thompson. It took longer to get the bait down the hole, and it took longer to get the fish up. We started to fish at 8 am. I was having a hard time getting the fish to stay on the hook all the way up to the hole, but eventually I changed how I baited my hook, which made all the difference in the world. I started catching fish quickly.  I drilled two holes, I caught all but two fish in just one of those holes. I finished first in that heat; the first person to catch 25 fish. It was awesome.  I ran across the "time-out" cone and I knew I made the team, it was such a cool feeling. I counted the fish out and after confirming I had the 25, I called my wife and my parents. I was so excited, I could have shed a tear.

I am a proud member of the USA Ice Team, and I will represent the United States of America this coming March in Finland at the World Ice Fishing Championships. WOW, still can't believe that.

Thanks to the great guys that put all this together, and GO USA!!!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

NAIFC Qualifier Monticello, MN

The streak ends...No "BIG FISH" award for me this weekend but still a great time.


The start of our journey was interesting and felt like a continuation of last weekend equipment issues. We hit the road a 2:00am Friday morning with an approximate arrival time in Monticello at 8:30am. As we are driving north on Interstate 43 we blew out a trailer tire, right next to a semi along side of us, after that scare and about 45 minutes of messing around we continue. The drive up was nice, traffic was good, weather was COLD. When we left Sheboygan it was -5, as we drove through Wausau it was -14 and when we pulled into Monticello, MN it was -22. -22!!!! Holy wow thats cold, Minnesota knows what cold is and they bring it! We purchased our fishing licenses and drove to the nearest tire shop to get a new tire on the spare trailer rim. We arrived at the lake about 11 am Friday morning. -17 at this point, little bit of wind, and one of two quads would not start, yup again we are hit with an equipment malfunction. The battery in the borrowed quad was totally dead, froze maybe, I don't know but it a a paperweight that stayed on the trailer ALL weekend. So after having to change pre fishing plans for the second weekend in a row we rolled out to the designated fishing area and drill only a few holes knowing we would not be able to fish many of them before they froze up once again. Within the first few minutes we caught some fish, what a relief. We had worked so hard to find fish in Ludington and we just dropped on them in Monticello, we quickly found out that fish were EVERYWHERE! If you drilled a hole in 7-10 feet of water, you have fish, big fish too. Big is a relative term of course, the size of fish we caught most of the weekend were a good eater size panfish, in fact some were downright monsters in most lakes in Sheboygan County. We had heard of 1# bluegills in Pelican Lake, we were hoping to find some, even just one would have been cool to hook up with, sadly it did not happen. We finished up pre fishing around 4pm and headed into town to check into our hotel and grab something to eat before the seminar Friday night.

The Seminar was given by Pat Smith, a legendary angler from MN, he Pro Staffs for many companies and works with Thorne Bros. as well. This lake he says is his favorite, its where he "Cuts His Teeth". When a guy like him says its where he fun fishes, you know its good. We found out the growth rate of fish in this lake is 1 1/2 times the growth rate of most any lake in Minnesota, and the MNDNR wants to draw it down for waterfowl land, basically causing a disastrous condition for the fishing. This lake is a haven for pan fish, there had to be 200 ice shacks on the ice, 75-100 of them were the $5,000-$9,000 style, you know, satellite tv, all the amenities of home on the ice. Lots of money sitting on that lake that will not be there if they draw it down further. But I am not here to talk about that. Friday night Jack Backer, the head of the NAIFC, asked if I would help drill some holes and help with the kids camp the next morning. Of course I said yes, what a cool thing to do, and Shoe and I felt pretty good about pre fishing so I helped with the kids and Shoe went fishing.

Saturday came and we hit the ice early, -10 that morning, heatwave! We fished in a few places and then I went to the kids camp area to drill holes, Shoe went on to fish more, and he also was preparing to fish in a qualifier for the World Ice Fishing Competition. He signed up the night before, its a chance to fish for the USA IceTeam in 2012, with only a few people signing up he only had to show he could do it, he did. We met back up in the afternoon to continue pre fishing, we found fish almost everywhere, it was so much fun to find fish. They wanted big baits, spoons, larger jigs, stuff that made a lot of noise and movement. Saturday night was the rules meeting, where Shoe was recognized as one of the World qualifiers (Being a qualifier at this stage allows you to fish in the "Fish Off" held in March in Rhinelander to determine who the 2012 USA team will be). I was recognized for helping out with the kids camp as well. We felt good about Sunday, we figured most everyone would have a limit of fish, we were just hoping for a few "kickers" or bigger fish to give us a good weight.

Sunday morning comes quick, always does. It was cold, -15, no wind though. You see that, I justified it being -15 with saying "no wind though", come on its -15! Still way cold. Lol. We were 2nd in line up,waiting is the name of the game on tourney day, wait in line to be inspected, wait to get on the ice, once on the ice wait to start fishing. The first place we stopped to fish actually produced nothing, not even a mark on the flasher. We made the decision to move in about 45 minutes. We then moved to where we were fishing the afternoon before, we pulled up, no one was on our spot, we drilled our holes and were on to fish the rest of the day, just upgrading most of the morning. The thought crossed our mind to move a couple times, but its tough when every now and then you find a fish you can upgrade. We did have to watch how many Crappies we had in the bucket. You are only allowed 10 per person in MN and we quickly had 15 for the two of us, so we needed to get picky. The bluegills we had were nice, not monsters but nice, and the crappies were cookie cutter 9 1/2" fish.

The weigh-in was at The Station, a sports themed bar in Monticello. There happened to be a Green Bay Packer game on the tvs in the place and it was hard to pay attention to the weigh-in. I will tell you something, it was strange to be watching a Packer-Bear game in MN. Our total weight was 6.5#, thats for 8 Crappie and 8 bluegills, we finished 28th place out of 71 teams. Our goal was to be in the points and we did it.

We have one more event we are doing this year, Lake Winnebago this coming weekend. Hopefully we can do well as this is out "Home" lake. Go Team 711!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

NAIFC Qualifier Ludington, MI

Well, its over, we are back home safe and we even have a bit of a story to tell. The Ludington NAIFC Qualifer was just as fun to fish as the others, but this one came with a few more struggles.

We left Sheboygan at 2am Friday morning to head to the other side of the big pond, Ludington, MI, down and around Chicago, then back up along the east side of Lake Michigan. That in itself was interesting. Adam "Shoey" Schumacher my partner had 2 hours of sleep, while I had about 6, we drove into Chicago following the directions of the GPS, expressways to tollways to the skyway, and 14 dollars later we were through. $14!!! To drive on your roads!! Hmmm. At one point we missed the continuation of the express way and managed to make it into down town Chicago, with a trailer, not fun. But we hopped back on the interstate and the rest was easy travel all the way to Ludington, MI.

Once we arrived in MI we purchased our licenses and trail passes (We found out later we did not need a $34 pass for the sled, sorry Shoe.) and found our way to Hamlin Lake. They had 13 inches of snow on the ice which made for relatively slow travel the first day, we split up to pre fish hoping to find our honey-holes quickly. Shoe did find some bluegills and all I found was tiny perch and shiners, lots of them, in fact so many of both that I really want to fish for northern pike and walleye in this lake cause they must be HUGE with all the forage they have. We wrapped up pre fishing after Shoe made his way to me on the 1980 Yamaha ET340 snowmobile and it died, just out of the blue, done, dead. So I started the trek back across the lake on the quad to get a tow strap and pull the sled back to the trailer, about 1 1/2 miles away, through 13 inches of snow, not looking forward to it. As I arrived at the truck to unload the equipment before driving back to Shoe I noticed a snowmobile screaming down the ice, it was Shoe. He had somehow revived the sled and made his way back, which was very relieving. We unloaded the equipment from the quad into the truck and then proceeded to load up the snowmobile with no problem, it was the quads turn to get loaded on. I had to take a bit of a running start to get the quad on the trailer and get the trailer to tilt down again. I did so, and as the trailer came down the wheels of the quad slid across the end of the trailer and the front of the 4-wheeler dropped off the the front of the trailer, fortunately I was not hurt, but we had quite a problem, and you know those embarrassing moments where you do something and you look around to check if anyone saw you do it, I didn't have a chance to do so before there was a television camera on us, and the camera operator/ tournament director Mike McNett asking us what happened. So I guess, Yay! We made it on TV! Oh but not how we wanted to. We managed to lift the machine back onto the trailer, with a little help from some other great people. That was the end of our first day, it was a slow go on the ice, rough day for my pride but still a great day of education and of course anticipation for the upcoming tournament.

Day 2, Saturday started of before sunlight, at BIG BOY, a real BIG BOY! It was awesome. We then headed to the launch once again, the previous night we received 3 more inches of snow and winds were near 20 mph with gusts of 30-35 mph. If this was not pre fishing there is no way I would have been out on the ice. We unloaded all the gear, the snowmobile, the quad and drove onto the ice, 300 yards later, the snowmobile was stuck, to much snow for such a low riding machine. The quad didn't exactly love it either but it was able to continue. We messed with the snowmobile for a little while, we even had one of the "Ice Men" Myron Gilbert stop by and offer us a tow strap, which we did have already but we certainly did appreciate the offer. We were eventually able to tow the sled a bit to get it unstuck and then just keep moving fast to make sure it didn't sink down into the snow again. The sled died once again, out of the blue, dead. Talk about frustrating, windy, colder, snowy, and a now stuck and non running snowmobile in the middle of the lake. Some days you want to scream. After some choice words for it and some pondering we willed it back to life and took off once more, all the way to where we wanted to try and fish, we made it, after about an extra hour of messing around. We drilled our holes and began to fish, it was not long and I had pulled up three 8 1/2-9" bluegills out of the same hole. We quickly packed up and felt good about that location for the next days tourney. We traveled everywhere across that lake that day, but nearly every time we needed to move we had to hook the strap up to  the snowmobile to tow it to free it from the snow, I am sure it was quite a funny operation to watch. The wind was brutal, it would swirl the snow around everything, my glasses were covered in snow even when I wasn't facing the wind, and the fishing was not great either. We packed it in around 1:30pm. We figured we were not learning anything anymore, and it just wasn't our day. We had discussed other options of how to fish the tourney the following day without the use of the snowmobile, you must stay within 30 steps of your partner at all times and that included on the machines, and the sled could not move slow without sinking into the snow and the quad could not move fast because of the snow. It really was not going to work for us. When we arrived back to the truck and trailer we decided we would give something a test run for the following day. We hooked up the trailer to the back of the quad and Shoe was going to ride on that as I pull it across the ice, we pulled onto the ice and quickly realized that was not going to work. We now had the 4-wheeler and the trailer stuck on the ice. Myron Gilbert said to us earlier in the day, "If it wasn't for bad luck you guy wouldn't have any at all."  He was not kidding. We did eventually get the quad and trailer off the ice, the equipment loaded up and we started to brainstorm what we were going to do the following day. The rules meeting was that night, the community of Ludington was so cool, they had all kinds of raffle prizes, they had a chili cook off, they really did a fantastic job of welcoming us into their city. After the rules meeting we went back to the hotel and retied jigs, thawed and dried equipment and watched the Green Bay Packers stomp the Atlanta Falcons, which was nice, and went to bed.

Day 3, Sunday was much nicer weather wise than Saturday, up at 5:15am to load up,  check out and get to the launch for the tourney.We decided to attach a long rope to a shelter we had with us, and that was going to get us both across the ice, Shoe driving the quad and me riding in the shelter. We arrived in line, were inspected, allowed to travel to our fishing spots and we got our holes drilled. Where we started fishing that morning we had fished later in the day on Saturday, only pulling out some small perch, but we noticed many many other teams had stopped here too, so we were going to find out what they were catching. Once we could begin to fish we quickly had to very small bluegills in the bucket, but it then died for us. We spent about 25 minutes in that spot before making the decision to travel to where I caught those really nice bluegill the day before. When we arrived to the new spot we found the gills were not there, lots of little perch were, some shiners, but no gills, then I hooked into something big, or at least bigger than perch and shiners, but lost it after only a few seconds. 15 minutes later I again hooked into a nice fish, I called Shoe over to help with it, we landed a 1.07# Crappie, a really nice fish and a surprise to us because we had not caught a crappie once during pre fishing, plus this is where the bluegills were supposed to be. I hooked up with one more nice crappie but lost it at the bottom of the hole. We caught a total of 5 fish, 4 small bluegills and the one crappie. It was tough, we had one thing going for us though and that was it was tough for everyone, including the locals. We traveled back across the lake before weigh-in time and checked our fish in. Knowing that we would have to hope for a whole lot of bad luck from other teams in order to place well overall. Shoe did say he thought I may be in the running for "BIG FISH" again because of the size of the crappie. I figured being it was about a pound someone would have a bigger one. Weigh-in began a little after 3pm and the buckets being weighed were not heavy, 3 pounds here, 2 pounds there, we knew we had only a pound and a half of fish but it was encouraging to see others had a rough day too. We were called up to have our bucket weighed and they always weigh your big fish first, our was the crappie, 1.07# was now the big fish for the tourney, with about 20 buckets left to weigh. I was told by Tony Boshold that they had a "pounder" or two in their teams bucket so I trusted he may have beat me. His team was called and their big fish weighed, .92#. With only three buckets left to weigh Shoe and I started thinking we did it again. We won "BIG FISH" for our second tournament in a row! We did, and it is a great achievement, big fish is always a bit more luck, we need to work on placing in the top ten, getting our total weights up, but "Big Fish" is cool too. We finished right where always have, 33rd, right in the middle or so.

That was our weekend, fun and frustrating sum it up, we will be off to Monticello, MN in just a few days for another one and we can't wait. We could use all the luck we can get this time.