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Showing posts from 2017

A(nother) Plea - It CAN Happen to You!

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It was a beautiful day for a river float.  Hot, sunny, slight breeze, and the Red Cedar River was finally back to normal/safe levels after a raining June.  Our friend and other Small Craft Outfitters Guide, Chang Lor of www.cxfishing.com, planned a fishing float.  My wife opted to come along, looking to get a relaxing day sans children (they were beachin' with my parents for the weekend).

The night before we prepared the coolers, food (Chang and I eat a lot better when the wife comes and makes good food), water, etc.  The fleet of Feelfree Lures for Chang and I (and a Feelfree Moken for the wife) are on the trailer.  Rods are prepared with river tackle, and our Bending Branches paddles are at the ready in the back of the Jeep.  Kayak anglers and gear are impatiently waiting for the next day.

Morning arrives, we enthusiastically hook up the trailer, jump in the Jeep, and head towards the meet spot while sucking down some caffeine.  My wife stands back as Chang and I go through the…

It Gets Better!?!? - The New Bending Branches Angler Pro!

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It is no secret, I love my Bending Branches Angler Pro.  So much I got a second Pro Plus for paddling my narrower kayaks.  I even became a Bending Branches dealer through my new business, Small Craft Outfitters!

I have my Feelfree Lures and Bending Branches Angler Pros to thank for allowing me to paddle longer and safer.  They have saved my life once, and recently were critical in rescuing a family of 5 (another article coming soon on that adventure).

I am lucky to live close to Bending Branches HQ in Wisconsin and made a trip to visit and pick up a customer paddle (yes, it is true they make all of the paddles by hand and to-order).  I was welcomed by an extremely talented, passionate, and kind group of people.  They were enthusiastic about the new paddles, talk to me about my new business, and went as far as asking if there is anything they could help me be successful.  I was completely taken back.  This is a giant in the industry with amazing values, I'm truly honored to be part…

All in the Family

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Kayak fishing.  It brings you closer to the water and nature (figuratively and literally).  We love the challenge, the peace, the health benefits, and the thrill of the sleigh ride when we hook a big fish.  Something not considered/realized until you join/reach out to the kayak fishing community is the the brotherhood/sisterhood/family of kayak anglers.

When I joined the kayak fishing community, I expected it to be fun.  I never expected to be welcomed with open arms immediately, such an immediate positive response to my writing, being immediately considered a brother to my fellow kayak anglers, or the unparalleled amount of support given.

I have seen on countless occasions the kayak angler family come together to help others with questions, help locate a fellow angler's stolen kayak, or help fellow anglers in times of tragedy.  A time of tragedy is again among our family, and we need your help to bring this sense of family and support to a fellow member of the kayak angling fam…

Not Your Grandpa's Inline Spinner

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When I was a kid, I remember my Great Grandpa telling me stories of fishing for Catfish and Musky on the Fox River in Illinois.  Some of the bait would be frowned upon today and would cause an uprising from PETA.  But in those times, it was as normal as a night crawler.  He used to tell me about some of the old lures they used.  Spoons and spinners.  Simple, flashy, effective.  To this day, though having more advanced engineering, materials, and manufacturing, just as effective.  My best fish have been caught on spinners.

I've always loved inline spinners.  The ones my Great Grandpa told me about, and we have all seen in magazines and on the interweb, are amazing.  Horse hair, a treble hook, a wire, and a hammered-out buffed piece of metal as a spoon.  Sure, lure manufacturers made some.  But in my Great Grandpa's youth, they didn't have the funds or supply chain to get things instantly.  Some made them in their machine sheds on the farm.  But they caught fish.  Without ti…

Wisconsin Fishing Opener 2017 Part 2

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After a rough start to the 2017 Wisconsin fishing season in Part 1 of this story, I was out to redeem myself. My good buddy Chang Lor of www.cxfishing.com suggested we start at a big lake then move to a body of water connecting two large lakes in Western Wisconsin.  A bit sore from the previous day, I'm running late and tell them to launch sans me.  I arrive at the launch on the big lake, go through my rigging exercise, and hit the water.
Eventually I merge with my fellow yakers and we hit a small area of the water.  Chang manages to haul in some bass.  I'm targeting crappie once I see the size of the slabs spawning in the shallows.  To make a long story short, the big crappie won't bite on anything.  They have other things on their mind.  I do eventually landing a few nice ones.  A bit later, we try the big water, but it is fruitless.  We opt to head to the smaller water.  Chang tells us stories of the amazing vegetation there, making it a frog heaven.  
I am closer to t…

Wisconsin Opener 2017 Part 1

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It has been a long Wisconsin spring.  We had a wide range of weather and temperatures.  Anything from 20 degrees to 80, sunshine to snowfall.  This has made the bite difficult to lock down.  Early in the season the pike bite was hot on spinners during their spawn.  The temps rose and I was able to boat over 40 bass and a nice 4.5lb bass in one day on PowerTeam Lures Grubs and the James Gang Fishing Lovertail2 both covered in JBs Fishsauce.  The two weeks following were slow when the water temperatures dropped back into the 40s with the cold temps.  I was able to coax a few bites, but not the hot pre-spawn bite while temps were on the rise.  The first weekend in May, Wisconsin Fishing Opener, a sacred day to some (myself included), was no different.

I'm still in winter sleep mode, my mind still sleeping late to avoid the bitter cold mornings from the Wisconsin winter.  To avoid side affects (severe irritability) I ease into my summer up-and-at-em-for-fishing sleep schedule by waki…

KBF National Championship Recap

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Man things are finally starting to settle down again.  Even though KBF NC was a few weeks ago things are just now beginning to go back to normal, just in time to pack up and head to Michigan in a couple weeks...  Any ways the Kayak Bass Fishing National Championship and Open was one heck of a good time! I got to meet so many new people and hang out with some great friends from my personal club, Kayak Bass League.  Plus I got to fish one of the best bass fishing lakes in the nation, Kentucky Lake.

In case of the odd chance that you have never heard of Ky Lake...this place is huge.  Just think to go from the North end of the lake to Paris, Tn (weigh in location) was over an hour and a half drive....definitely don't want to paddle that!  I spent a whole week down there hanging with friends and of course fishing!  While practice had its ups and downs, I was having a great time!  Throughout the week we had rain, hail, wind and sun causing the bite to be all over the place!  Going into …

A Plea - Pine River Safety

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Pesticides, roadways, pastures, etc.  Though inevitable, runoff is a reality in our water ways.  I'm not a "hippie" or "tree hugger".  I drive a Jeep, love my guns (have a CCW and carry one in my kayak), and do not have a compost pile in my yard.  But I'm a realist that loves the outdoors.  Runoff happens in our society, a fact of the evolution of society.  As an avid outdoorsman, professional kayak fisherman (who fishes tournaments, owns an outfitting company, is a guide, and a mentor to up-and-coming kayak anglers), I understand the importance of preserving our waterways for future generations.
Let alone environmental issues, there are enough waterway issues to make your head spin.  Where do we start?  We start with responsibility and mitigation.  This includes picking up your own garbage, picking up garbage of others you encounter on the water, and respecting the body of water you are on.  The last item has become a concerning issue in my hometown of Rich…

The Itch

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For those of us in the north it is inevitable.  Winter hits, water turns to ice, and our kayaks are put away to hibernate for the winter along with our souls.  This winter, I would open up the shed to sneak a peek and say hello to my Feelfree Lure and Bending Branches Angler Pro whilst they slumbered.  A tear would drip from my eye and instantly freeze.  Head hanging low, I shut and locked the shed before retreating to the warmth of the house.

A couple ice fishing trips slightly abated the urge to hit the water.  It at least gave me an opportunity to wet a line and land some fish.  But the odd weather this winter ranged from dangerously cold to dangerously warm.  This made for tough and/or unsafe ice conditions.  I was unable to get as much time on the "hard water" as I would have liked.  Still, I had to scratch the itch to fish.

I was able to accomplish this by stocking up for the upcoming season and the first season for Small Craft Outfitters, my new kayak sales/guide busi…

The Best Kayak Fish Finder Battery!

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One of the most essential kayak accessories is a fish finder.  A fish finder allows you to a lot of knowledge on the water such as depth, water temp, structure, and even fish.  Some fish finders also have GPS features that can help keep you safe on the water.  These units range from 3-10 inches, I'm sure somebody has gone bigger but not that I have seen...yet.  The one trick with these units is on a kayak you need a power source that isn't as big as the yak!  Bass boats have the luxury of being able to hold multiple 12v 30-50 amp batteries.  In a kayak you need a battery that has a lot of power in a small size.  Currently there are two major options for batteries, Sealed lead Acid (SLA) batteries and Lithium batteries.

Now before we get into talking about the differences between SLA and lithium batteries, a very common question is what battery do I need?  What I say is to look at what that the amps per hour that particular unit draws.  This is usually estimated at the highest…

From Bass fishing to Bowfishing

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Two weekends ago was beyond busy...busy with fishing!  With the recent warm weather than we have been having I knew it was time to break the cabin fever.  It also meant I finally get to take my brand spankin new Hobie Pro Angler 14 out.  I was like a kid in a candy store as I spent all week getting it rigged up for its first voyage.
Now that the pre-excitement stage has been set...to the good stuff!  Sunday is when all the adventuring began.  I was meeting quite a few KBL members and other area kayak fisherman at Coffeen Lake, a local power plant lake in Southern-Central IL, for a preseason shootout (aka a friendly competition).  The day began for me around 3:30 a.m.  Even though it's only an hour and a half drive and we were meeting at 6 a.m., I could not sleep any longer! I was so excited to try out my new yak!  I paced as the coffee machine slowly but surely poured my caffeinated jolt that would get me to the boat ramp.  As I made my drive down their the fog was so bad that I d…

Making Your Own Path in the Fishing Industry

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The sport of fishing as we know it continues to grow exponentially.  Fly fishing, bank fishing, float tubes, jon boats, kayaks, canoes, bass boats, paddle boats, arm floaties, pontoons, mom and dad's speed boat, decked-out bass boats, etc.  As the vessels and technologies of each advance, we see the sport continually evolving.  Beyond the type of vessel/method you use, our sport has evolved even further.  We have tournament fishing, leisure fishing, fishing-when-the-wife/husband-lets-me, guiding, social media fishing.  Tournament fishing is spreading like wildfire (in a good way) thanks to technology, such as TourneyX.



The social media fishing scene also evolves constantly.  Prostaff applications now ask for your YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, blog, website, and related information.  Some choose to use all of these platforms, some focus on one and supplement with another.  I focus on the blog/writing and Facebook, using YouTube and Instagram as an additional tool.  No mat…