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Hypersketchy and Hypothermic

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First of all, I'd like to apologize to my regular readers for the silence.  I was going to school to become an EMT while dealing with some family health issues over the fall/winter.  I am back, and it feels good to be writing again!  My first big outing of 2018 was exactly what I needed to resurrect my writing.  A day kayak fishing with my good friend Chang of www.cxfishing.com!

It is March in Wisconsin.  Temperatures range from -10 to 45.  We can see 50+ degree swings in a day.  The robins and geese are returning from the south, bald eagles and ravens enjoying feasts of the roadkill previously frozen under feet of snow.  Wisconsinites are out in t-shirts and shorts, anxiously awaiting warm-weather activities.

When this happens you'll find a majority of Wisconsinites doing things the rest of the country would deem "crazy".  We wear shorts, we grill (though we never actually stop doing that all winter), we take convertibles out (top down), motorcycles will be spotted …

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…