No Excuses

No excuses. Rain or shine. The love of fishing with the "no excuses" approach has served me well in the past. I've caught some of my best bass in rainstorms while others are warm in their homes.  Last year I landed a nice largemouth in my Jon boat while a good Samaritan was cleaning up the river bank. He looked up while I was admiring the beautiful 19" fish and said, "Wow! Nice fish!".   I smile and release her so others may enjoy catching her and the future generations she will create. The good Samaritan yells, "What!?!?! You aren't keeping that fish?!?!".   I reply, "No, I'll let her make more bass and be caught again." By the look on his face, you would have thought I was skinny dipping in the river.  We silently agree to disagree and carry on as we were. To clarify, I occasionally keep fish for a Wisconsin fish fry.   I believe people are free to choose to keep or release fish within the local laws.  But I am

I've Got Worms

Like Harry and Lloyd from the movie Dumb and Dumber, I've got worms. Well, my daughter does. But the are the good kind - night crawlers. Up until the end of last year, she was afraid of touching my plastics, let alone night crawlers. Though I am a bass fisherman at heart, I target panfish during ice fishing, when bass season is closed in Wisconsin in the spring, or when fishing with my daughter. Her favorite fish to catch is crappie. (As of last year, she catches them but doesn't touch them). Towards the end of last season, she suddenly lost her fear of touching worms. With spring (finally) arriving in Wisconsin, she has filled me with pride and embraced the hobby of worm hunting. She loves the outdoors and nature. She also enjoys fishing (though our trips usually end with a trip to build sand castles at the beach). This spring, she has also convinced her friends digging for worms is fun. In this iPad/tablet generation, I was proud she was willing to dig in the

Tomato Juice

Yesterday I was out of my comfort zone. I got skunked. I love the experience gained from fishing new waters and meeting new people. However, a part of me is bothered when I'm skunked. Whether the cause of said skunk is fishery or fisherman, it hurts a little. To get the skunk off of me, I visit my home reservoir. I've spent countless hours learning every inch of the water and features beneath. This is my homefield advantage, my comfort zone, my place of peace. I don't get skunked here. On the contrary, this place gets the skunk off of me. It is my tomato juice. On this beautiful (finally) morning in Western Wisconsin, I launched at sunrise. The reservoir was all mine. The water like glass, the skies clearing, and the panfish feasting on the bugs now emerging from the cold. The sight of my FeelFree Lure awaiting to carry me into these perfect conditions made me smile. With the calm conditions, I took a moment to use my new Garmin Striker 4DV to get a better vi

Comfort Zone

I consider myself a bass fisherman. I'm an equal opportunity fisherman, and am happy to catch any species. However, I know bass best. This time of year, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources dictates bass off-limits for inland waters. I am also intimately familiar with multi-species hot spots in my local reservoir. In addition, I have recently chosen a kayak as my primary fishing vessel over my Jon boat. I have also chosen to connect with fellow kayak angers via social media. Today, the comfort zone of my species, local reservoir, and fishing partner were abandoned. This morning I targeted panfish and rough fish on a new lake with a new fishing partner. It. Was. A. Blast. Sure, I was not properly prepared, as my new fishing partner was, with minnows. However, it was a new experience. I enjoyed the new waters, meeting a new fellow kayak angler, and learned a few things about fishing. The most important is to have the proper bait for the species and conditio

Damn Proud

I fell in love with bass fishing as a child.  I remember my dad taking me to the cranberry marshes where we lived in Tomah, Wisconsin where we regularly caught monster bass. We moved to Richland Center, Wisconsin when I was in fourth grade.  Shortly thereafter he upgraded to a nicer boat and made it a yearly tradition to take my friends and I fishing at the end of the summer before school resumed.  These memories started my love for bass fishing.  As a father, this holds strong in my mind. My daughter is nearly six years old and loves fishing (though she bores easily as I did at that age).  She loves going out on the jon boat at our local lake.  She is great at fishing, though she isn't quite ready to handle the fish.  She still has a love for the sport kindling. Today we were shopping at Scheels Sporting Goods in Eau Claire Wisconsin.  While waiting for my wife to find some baby clothes for my three-month-old son, I decided to take my daughter to Scheels to pass the time.  We

Training Day

Ever since my Feel Free Lure 11.5 was delivered, I have been itching to take it out on my local reservoir. Ever since the end of last open water season, I have been itching to get back out. Though I enjoy ice fishing, there is nothing like the gentle rock of a small boat on summer days. And gliding over smooth-as-glass water as the sun comes over the horizon on summer mornings to burn off the night fog. Today was not one of those beautiful days. Though it was in the high 50s in Western Wisconsin, the water was 41 degrees and choppy with 20 MPH winds. I couldn't stand it anymore, I must get the kayak out for the maiden voyage......because I can't find where I put the Jon boat plug last fall... Bass season is closed in Wisconsin, so I leave the jigs, frogs, spinbaits, and buzz baits in the tackle box. I load my crate with my hook tray and my ice/pan fishing boxes. I'm looking forward to using my favorite ice and panfish plastic, the Panfish Plastics Chigger Fry .

The Addiction

There is just something about it, the addictions.  The first is the addiction to catching fish, bass, the topwater explosions. The outdoors.  The second is pushing the limits of the small craft.  Jon boats, canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, SUPs, etc.  The addiction of pushing these low-cost, low maintenance crafts to seek bass.  The adrenaline rush when you have a hit and go for a ride. Beyond my family, moments like this are what I live for.  I also live for the repetition of these moments that cause the big bass boat weekend warriors to follow me, when my entire setup cost less than their electronics. Sure, I'd love a decked-out bass boat.  But it isn't practical for my family.  For my fishing, my 12' Alumacraft given to me by my father-in-law and my recently added kayak are what I enjoy fishing from.  They push my creativity and planning.  I can't simply fire up my 250 HP motor and cover any body of water I please.  I must plan my lakes, floats, and launches.  It pus