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Mid Winter Ice Report

Lots of ice on area lakes. Just stay out of channels and areas with moving water.

The fishing has gotten a little slow in many of my favorite areas. Some have gotten too much pressure, some lost important weed growth, the list of reasons for a slow bite can be long. I decided to scout some new water this week in hopes of finding some better action for client trips and an annual guys weekend trip I have coming up. I stayed close to home but drove the truck to areas I had never ice fished before and that had no signs of other guys fishing. Areas that I know well from summer time.
First hole I drilled was spot on what I was hoping to find. A deeper weed edge with healthy weeds. I dropped the camera and immediately had a dozen gills staring at me.
While sitting in the drivers seat of my truck, I dropped a Custom Jigs and Spins Majmun tungsten jig through the slush and started catching blue gills right away. Will enjoyed reeling a few in from his car seat. Then I got a hard hit and drag started flying off my reel. This Largemouth pushing 3 pounds was a serious test for my 2 pound ice line.

I let her go and caught a few more gills before driving off to look for more new water. It was nice to go to new areas that I thought should hold fish and catch em. Especially since no one else was in the areas.

Here are a few more pics from recent outings.

Will waiting for a pull.

Henry with a little northern in the house.

Korey with a nice 36" Tonka toothy.

Thanks for stopping by! 

Denali Anglers Prep for the Classic



Denali Anglers Prep for the Classic


It's been an embarrassment of riches for the Denali pro staff lately. Along with several high finishes in triple-A level events and numerous smaller tournaments, Denali anglers won a Bassmaster Open and the Co angler side of the FLW Championship. It was the former victory that created another first for the company; Pete Gluszek's berth in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic on Grand Lake in Oklahoma.


The good news didn't stop there, as shortly after Gluszek's win, Denali staffers earned two more berths into the Classic field. North Carolina's Hank Cherry qualified by winning the Southern Open on Smith Lake in early October and Nebraska's Jared Knuth got his golden ticket by winning the central division's berth at the Federation Nation National Championship held later that month.


A Classic berth means a lot to an angler. Not only is it a shot at $500,000, but it also gives an angler the chance to become forever cemented in the annals of tournament fishing history. That fact is not lost on each of the Denali anglers, and it seemed like a good idea to see how they have been preparing for the big event, and what state their nerves are in as they get ready for the Super bowl of bass fishing.


Pete Gluszek

Gluszek was able to spend six days on the Oklahoma Lake prior to the off-limits period. "I spent the majority of my time just getting to know the lake and breaking it down by structure type. Essentially, I was locating and recording which areas of the lake have which characteristics. Whether that is bottom composition, water clarity, a depth change, or man-made structures like brush piles, I now have a pretty good idea of where I need to head if I'm looking for specific factors."


He noted that though the conditions are certainly going to be very different, having the baseline knowledge of how the lake sets up will allow him to be much more efficient once the limited official practice time starts, saying "If I see that they are relating to dirtier water, or staging in pre-spawn areas, I'm not gonna need to spend a bunch of time running all over the place looking for that type of water, I'll already have a pretty good idea where to find it."


Though his focus during pre-practice wasn't on fishing, he did in fact spend a few hours at the end of the trip fishing and was thoroughly impressed by what he saw. "I didn't fish much, but the little bit I did showed me what this lake has to offer as far as quality. I've never in my life caught fish that were so stuffed with food and had such big bellies. They were absolute footballs, and I think that's gonna make this Classic even more exciting."


Since this isn't his first rodeo so to speak, (he qualified for the 1997 and 1999 Classics) Gluszek doesn't feel too intimidated at all by the stature of the tournament. In fact, he thinks his experience in past tournaments will definitely help him, with the added advantage of being an underdog. "One of the things that I think is gonna help is not having to deal with some of the spectator traffic that some anglers will have to deal with. Also, it's nice having that underdog attitude. I've been an athlete all my life, so being an underdog is something that I can really use to motivate myself."


Hank Cherry

Hank Cherry has long been known as an instinctive angler. That's because his best finishes have often come when he limits his pre-practice and just trusts his instincts. Now he's not saying he thinks practice is a bad thing; it's just that to him, practice more than a couple days can sometimes do more harm than good. "I've just seen conditions change so much between an early scouting session and a tournament that it's rarely the case where you find something that actually holds up during that off-period."


For that reason, Cherry decided to forgo making a trip to Grand before the cutoff and he isn't too worried about it hurting his chances, saying "I've had most of my best tournaments when I didn't take a bunch of pre-practice time. I think it helps to start my practice without any preconceived notions about what to expect. I'd rather just get on the water and deal with the conditions that are actually there for the tournament, than have to worry about what the weather and fish are doing the whole time between trips."


Cherry cites his ability to find fish that suit his style as the key to his success in the Classic and doesn't plan on doing anything too wild once he gets to Oklahoma. "I'm not gonna go out there and do something I'm not comfortable doing, so if I spend my time looking for fish that suit my strengths, I won't need to worry about becoming uncomfortable. Only one person can win the Classic, so I'm gonna pick up a Jig, Jerkbait, and Crankbait which are things I'm already very comfortable with, and just go fishing."


He feels that his lack of pre-practice will also help him mentally, by preventing him from getting caught up fishing memories, or places the fish were in earlier months. "My main focus is going to be to make good decisions, fish my strengths, and not be afraid to do poorly, which I think sometimes prevents anglers from making the decisions they need to win."


Jared Knuth

Though Knuth is the least heralded member of the Denali team to qualify for the derby, he definitely has the most experience on the Oklahoma impoundment. Grand lake is only about six hours from his Wahoo, NE home and Knuth has fished approximately 30 tournaments on the lake over his career. He considers himself pretty comfortable with how the lake sets up; a fact that didn't stop him from spending an additional 15 days on the lake prior to the cutoff, time he spent mostly just "idling around and looking".


Being familiar with how the lake sets up, Knuth really focused on marking lot of new structure during his pre-practice, including some unique stuff. "They had a flood a few years back on Grand, and I was able to mark several sunken boats, docks, and rubble that weren't even there in years past. Off the wall structures like that could really make a difference if the fish are still out deep."


Mentally, Knuth isn't letting his lack of top-level tournament fishing get to him. "Qualifying was the hard part" he continued, "I'm really feeling as prepared as I can be. I'm not fishing against the other anglers, just the fish and all I need to worry about is getting five bites a day. If I concentrate on that, and fish cleanly I don't think the stage will bother me too much."


Almost There

There are still a few weeks left before the start of the 2013 Bassmaster Classic, and indubitably all three Denali anglers will be working hard, preparing tackle, and studying maps all the way until it's time to depart for Tulsa, but they won't actually get a chance to fish until the first of two and a half practice days.


Gluszek, Cherry, and Knuth are in an enviable spot. Each has a 1 in 53 (1.8%) chance of becoming the next world champion, something that most bass addicts around the country can only dream about. Although their individual preparation plans may have been slightly different to this point, it seems they each feel pretty comfortable with their chances. Here's to hoping that one of them can figure out the Grand Lake bass to the tune of $500,000 and a place in the record books.

Happy New Year and A Quick Ice Update

New Years Greetings and Quick Ice Report

Ice Report

We have been out on the ice all over the midwest. Conditions vary however so make sure you check local conditions before driving on ice. With very cold weather lately, most all lakes will be safe but remember to avoid any areas that may have current. The bluegill bite has been a little slow but patience will help get you some fish. Low water levels n many area lakes may also afect your favorite holes. Use your electronics and be willing to move around a little bit and ou sould be able to relocate the fish. Norherns are still eating sucker minnows and big shiners. Set up a few  tip ups while searching for active pan fish.


Tonka Gills

Will and I have been out on tonka a few times. As you can see Will enjoyed a friends big wheel house and was happy to reel up a few sunnies. He spent plenty of time abusing our minnows as well.

The Tip Ups were active and we brought home one 23" northern. Stay tuned for a video I shot on how to clean a Northern without Y bones.

Little Bay de Noc Perch

I took a trip over to the UP of Michigan and spent a few days chasing perch out of Lindbergh Cove Resort. Lack of snow cover and a large pressure crack close to shore made getting my dads 2 man permanent shack where we wanted it a little challenging. Once we got setup though we started catching perch. We setup not more than a quarter mile from the resort on a sand flat in about 14 feet of water. The ones we caught were not jumbos but the action was steady and the ones we kept tasted awfully good. Wigglers probably produced the most bites.

A Quick Thanksgiving Note

The Boat is all tucked away and the ice is just starting to form on area lakes. Duck Season is closed now and deer season is essentially done as well. I get pretty depressed this time of year. All I can really do is plan my next trip and reflect on the last season.

Thanksgiving was a week ago but I would like to take a moment to thank all my sponsors that helped make my summer fishing season a great one. I got some help from a couple new sponsors this year and if you read my past posts you know I put their products to good use.

The ima Skimmer has became my favorite topwater and accounted for some quality smallmouths in several tournaments this year.

    ima Skimmer

I used the Optimum Double Diamond as a swim jig trailer, on an alabama rig, as well as a trailer on a Mad Bass Shaking Mad Jig. It can also be fished all by itself on a wide gap hook. This is a very versatile bait to have in your boat and it is offered in a ton of colors and sizes.

    Optimum Double Diamond

At the beginning of the season I sold all my Shimano rods and filled my rod locker with Denali rods.
I never looked back and love the rods. My rosewood dropshot rod landed plenty of tournament fish for me when the bite got tough.

Along with these new sponsors, I was very happy to help launch a new shopping cart for Mad Bass Custom Baits and was super excited to use some of the new baits they put out for this past season. 

On my trip home for Thanksgiving/deer season last week, I was able to have a couple beers with Johnny Lindberg of Lindberg's Cove Resort. Little Bay de Noc was giving up some monster Walleye on a night bite and guests at the resort were taking advantage of the mild weather to catch them.

I want to thank these sponsors and especially, my family, for all the support they gave me throughout the 2012 season. I look forward to a great 2013 season. If you would like more information about these companies or products feel free to drop me a note or follow the links in the post. Christmas is right around the corner so get that fisherman in your life a few new lures or a new rod.


Hard Water Season is Almost Here.

I put the boat away last week and wont be seeing it again till April. It is always a sad day when I put it away, so to soften the blow I stopped at a popular bank spot and managed a quick smallie on the first cast and lost another a couple minutes later. It was just me and Will so I snapped a quick shot with my phone before letting him go.

This guy hit a Mad Bass tube first cast.

The first annual Hard Water Expo is coming up in a week or so. It will be held out at the National Sports Center in Blaine. I believe it is being organized by the same people that ran the Bass expo last spring. For a first time show the bass show was really good so I would expect this one to be pretty good as well.
See ya there.

Elite Series Marshall Report (Lacrosse WI)

This past summer I was lucky enough to get the time to marshall for the Elite series events in Wisconsin. I got a great draw every day and figured I would give a little run down on what I saw and learned.

Day one of Lacrosse I was paired with Russ Lane. Russ was a heads down fisherman like many of these guys are, so conversation was limited. Thats not too big a deal for me since I spend most days with a 5 year old girl that has no real off switch. Lets just say I probably needed the quiet time.
Russ locked up into pool 7 and shared a back water area with several other anglers including KVD, Scott Rook, Bernie Schultz and a few others. He was working a frog over a milfoil/duckweed mat and flipping back to missed fish or bigger open pockets. He missed plenty of fish like you would expect with frog fishing but managed a nice limit. One fish came as KVD laughed at him for missing a blow up on a frog. Russ quickly pitched back in with a soft plastic and caught the fish. KVD pulled up his trolling motor and we never saw him the rest of the day.

Day two in Lacrosse found me in the boat with Aaron Martens. Aaron was in second place after day one and it was easy to see why as he caught 5 fish on 6 casts and had a limit in the boat while we could still hear the other competitors taking off. He spent all day within a mile or two of take off and had a magic little school of  2-3 pound fish all to himself. He was dropshotting a robo worm and could call his shot on every cast. I love to drop shot as any one who has fished with me can attest so to watch Aaron do it was a real treat.

    Aaron Martens works some bridge pilings during River Rumble

One interesting thing I picked up was he does not tie a palomar knot for his drop shot. He ties a double uni knot instead. Aaron also said he had been working on a new hook that was stronger than other thin wire drop shot hooks on the market to allow for easy hook sets while eliminating hook straightening. I look forward to trying those. Aaron was very willing to share what he was doing with me and was very gracious to the crowds that swarmed his boat as soon as we pulled out for weigh in.

Day three I drew Dean Rojas. We made a good distance run toward the bottom of 8 and again started fishing a magic little spot with no other competitors around. The spot had current flowing over a wing dam or levee and Dean worked back and forth pretty much all day throwing his frog into the current and bringing it back. Largemouth would come up and crush the frog. If things got slow he would switch to a crank bait or chatter bait but any time he got to calm water the frog did the work. Just like day one misses were not rare and I had to keep my head on a swivel and duck when the bronzeye came flying my way, especially early when the bite was best. Again it was a real treat watching one of the best at a technique do his thing.

Hanging out during weigh in and checking out all the anglers rigs was almost as much fun as spending the day on the water. It is obvious that some of these guys want to see who can have the biggest least fuel efficient trucks.

Ish Monroes rig (above) could drive over my wifes car without slowing down.

All in all a great time. I will post up a report of Green Bay in a few.



Duck Report (late october)

Fall is in full swing now. My bass boat is due to be put away for the winter next week and although that is always a sad day, I look forward to doing some hunting and the upcoming Ice season.

Local ducks hung around much longer than I thought they would this year. Woodies were on my pond up until about 4 or 5 days ago. A hunting buddy in Michigan shot a nice mixed bag out on Little Bay de Noc a week or so ago that contained a teal. Sure sign that the migration is still young.

A couple days ago I did see two hen shovelers on the pond. Hopefully the cold front we are currently in will bring down a few more flight ducks. The local mallards have grown pretty smart on where they get shot at and where they are safe.

I will be getting out this weekend so I will let you know how we do.

Happy hunting

Fall or Winter?

It is cold this morning. Ice over most of the pond in my back yard. Not very good news if you have a bass tournament tomorrow (like I do). Good news if you are a duck hunter as ducks will be moving looking for open water. 
I made a reservation for the Skeeter to be stored somewhere other than my garage this year. The boat gets put away November 1. It is sad but will leave more room for ice fishing gear this winter.  

I have been out both fishing and hunting with some success in both.

Spear looking for more ducks after harvesting a nice redhead. We also bagged a big honker. I bet it weighed 25 pounds.

Sarah is 48 inches tall now. You cant quite tell but this goose was just a couple inches shorter than her.

Fishing buddy Steve Brummer got himself a boat. We took it out for a few hours the other day. Will had a blast even though air temps and water temps were both around 50.

Get out there and have a great fall everyone.


Taking Advantage of a Quick Outing With My Boy.

The weather has been unseasonably nice. It hasn't rained in as long as I can remember and the sun shine every day along with changing color of tree leaves calls an angler to the water. I gave in to the call the other day for just a couple hours. It was actually the first time for Will and I to go out just the two of us. I had him and his sister out a couple times this summer but never he and I alone. He turned two last month and the ever present risk of him deciding to take an unplanned dip is always in the back of my mind while on the water. 

My plan was to just let the sun get up and then get out and hit a few docks. Hopefully catch a few nice fish and then get home and pack for a family trip. As I launched a couple guys were coming in. They said the bite had been good in the morning but had slowed. Figures, I wait for the sun to get up and I should have gone out early. Water temps are falling but weeds are still fairly healthy. I hit a stretch of good docks and got only one tap. Obviously not working I flipped into an isolated patch of pads and managed a decent largemouth. Will assisted in reeling the fish in and helped with the release.  

I ran out of time shortly after that but took Will for another quick ride around the lake and enjoyed the fall colors before loading the boat.



Great deal on optimum 7" minnow

I found a great site a few weeks ago. They buy up overstock and discontinued baits and then sell them at a steep discount.
Today you can get a great deal on an Optimum bait. They are also selling some Gander brand jigs and more. Check it out.

I have a few tournament recaps coming soon. Stay tuned.