Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Customers Fish Pics

A couple photos that were sent to me by a customer of a nice perch taken on one of my little 5" swimbaits.

I always like seeing fish other folks are catching....especially when they're caught on one of my creations.
Thanks for sharing the photos.

Back To Work.

A few random shad bodies and some tail hooks
I've run through the paint room since I returned.

Slow Weekend

A few fish pics from this past weekend.
The bite was very slow but we managed a couple little guys.
In the first photo,  I was fishing alone so I just held this little guy with the grippers while I removed the hooks. I released him without even taking him out of the water.
I did have a boat partner when I caught the bass. That bass got more than he bargained for when he jumped on that bucktail.
In the last Photo my cousin shows the mid 30" fish he got on the last morning we were out.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Testing Time Is Over....Time To Go Live !!

If you've been keeping up with my blog you've heard me mention that I've been doing a lot of testing lately.
I have several different designs I've been working on trying to get them to function in a way that makes them efficient both in cover and open water but most of all to make them interesting to the fish.
Each and every bait has little nuances or tricks, you can do, to make them perform at their best, whether its making it cast better, or maybe come through cover with less hangups or sometimes its just making it easier to retrieve. The only way to figure out these little tricks is to spend time fishing the bait.......there is no substitute for time on the water.

Two of these "new to me" designs are modifications of the twin spin spinners I posted photos of a little while back.

Here's a couple pics of the new version twin spin ...... but instead of your standard hair/tinsel skirting these have a replaceable soft plastic swimbait  body.  In addition to the unlimited color options of the soft plastic, I also make the bodies in two different tail styles......a ribbon tail version and a wide tail version.  The different tails project a totally different look in the water. The wide tail version has a very slow, very wide, consistent swimming action while the ribbon tail features a very fast, frantic swimming motion. 

The two baits are shown complete with a few extra bodies.

Other features of these baits are the side by side clevis mounted blades. This configuration gives me lots less tangles than blades that are attached with swivels. They start easy and spin consistently even on a slow speeds......plus they're louder. When pulling these along side the boat you can actually hear the raspy whirring sound that these blades produce. 

The main wire is .062" and the blade arms are .051" so they are pretty heavy duty which should withstand lots of abuse.

The head is 3/4 ounce which stabilizes the bait very well, is light enough that you can fish it shallow, actually wake it with a high rod tip and med fast retrieve but with a slow steady retrieve you can get this down to 10 feet pretty easy. 

Hooks.....the jig hook is a 6/0 and the two belly trebles are 4/0's, all are black nickle. The rear belly treble is actually mounted on a swivel.

I've moved a couple fish already in the testing of the bucktail/tinsel versions of these twin spins so I have fairly high hopes for these swimbait bodied ones this fall.

The second variation of the twin spin frame is in a buzzbait configuration.

These feature the large size, offset axis, counter rotating , aluminum blades. To the ears of these blades I've added some small colorado or indiana blades. The addition of these free swinging blades give the bait more of a sloshing sound instead of the normal slap or plop of the stock blades. A nice added bonus is that they click and clack against each other and you can tune it so the hit the main wire for a chattering sound.
I seem to get more action from blades modified like this because they sound different than your standard buzzbait.  

The wire frame is the same as stated above but these are molded with a 1/2 ounce flat buzzbait  head with a 6/0 hook. The trailer hook is a 5/0.

The black & red one has your standard silicone skirting and the blue & silver has a silicone and tinsel mix.
 If you look close at the blue & silver one you can see I've added a 1/8 ounce swimbait weight to the trailer hook.  This additional 1/8 ounce at the rear makes the very wind resistant bait fly straight on the cast and really improves the casting distance. I was really amazed how that little 1/8 ounce addition made such a difference in the casting of this thing....I will add one to the other bait before I use it.

Both baits have some sort of soft plastic grub trailer.
 I'll change these trailers out, while on the water to fine tune the bait for the conditions at hand.

With a musky only trip coming up very soon I'll finally be able to quit the testing and actually try all these new toys out for real and see if I can stick a fat one or two.
Here's the way my luck normally runs
.....if I've got a new spinnerbait to try out, then the muskies will want topwaters
...if my new bait is a soft plastic swimbait then the fish will be biting jerkbaits.
Murphy's law I guess...but for once I'd like to have a trip where I catch all the fish on the new thing....whatever it is.
If I have any success with any of these twin spins I'll be sure to let you all know about it.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Seasons Are A Changing

I spent a few hours out on the water yesterday in a effort to do some testing of a new private label shad body I've been working on.
This test secession started out like many others I've done recently but it didn't take long for me to notice the signs of the changing seasons. These signs are sort of bitter sweet.....I am very excited about the fall fishing to come, fall can be the best time for both numbers and size of fish and is surely my favorite time .....but I also know that winter is not to far behind .....I'm not a winter person and the older I get the more I dislike the cold temps.

In some areas along the bank the trees are beginning to show signs of a color change. Some species of tree are starting to drop their leaves. In some of the eddies and slower current areas your starting to see the leaves accumulate on the water. 
The water temps have fallen 10-15 degrees below the summer peak.
With this drop in water temps it has triggered the fall migration of the shad in to the creeks.
Here's  a couple photos of some of the smaller shad schools 

While this shad migration is just beginning, it will build with each coming week until the creek is choked with them.  With the baitfish moving into the creeks, along will come predator fish such as this long nose gar and many other more desirable sport species.....like bass, striper, catfish, crappies and sauger just to name a few.

With these signs of the coming fall I had hopes that my new shad might interest some of the creeks resident musky population. But as usual, the muskies were just being muskies,  they disappointed me with their lack of interest but that didn't stop me from continuing my testing.
After a while I came upon a stretch of shoreline that seemed to have biggest concentration of shad of anywhere in the creek. As I continued along fishing my shad in, around, over and through the shad schools .... all of a sudden,  a long cast up the bank the shad exploded in a splash of water and jumping baitfish. The explosion was followed by several large swirls.....then it was over almost as quick as it started. I hurried and got the boat close enough to reach it and repeatedly fished my shad in and around the area where the disturbance had happened...... without success.
A few minutes later it happened again, this time  a little ways down from my position. From the size of the splashes and swirls and from the amount of water these fish were moving I could tell these were some decent sized fish.  Most times you can tell the fish species by the sounds they make when feeding on top.....judging from these sounds these fish were making, I guessed these were probably bass. After the third blowup I put down my musky rod opened the rod box and took out a few bass rods.
 First I tried a small white senko with no luck. This small senko is usually killer on breaking fish.
Then a topwater bait was worked in and around the area, no luck there either.
 Next was a jerkbait same result no action.
By this time there had been several blowups as the fish continued to feed up and back this short stretch of shoreline.
The next bait in the line up was a spinnerbait. I had picked it up made a couple casts with it when the water erupted about 50 feet from the boat. The swirls and splashing was still happening as the spinnerbait landed just past the commotion. Three cranks into the retrieve the rod loaded with weight of a decent fish. After several jumps and a few partially out of the water wallowing head shakes I lead her to the boat and lipped the fish.  I estimated this fish at four to four and a half pounds.
While not the target species I'll never turn down the opportunity to tangle with a bass of this size.

As you can see in the photos the fish was barely hooked and would never have been caught without the use of the trailer hook.
I've had several folks tell me they only add a trailer hook after they miss a fish or two on a spinnerbait.....
Me, I always use a trailer hooks on my bass and musky spinnerbaits.  The only time I don't use one is when the cover I'm fishing forces me to remove it to keep from constant snags.
With a little practice and the right size trailer hook you would be surprised on what you can fish this bait through even with those two hooks.

A great few hours on the water....the new shad body was tested and it swam as designed....caught a decent sized bass.....with the fall process officially started and great fishing to soon follow , I think today was a success.
I look forward to many more great adventures this fall season.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Half Dozen Cool Ones

I've not made a lot of baits this week....at least ones I can show you right now.
 Been working on some new prototype stuff ...... but if things go good,  I'll be able to post some pics shortly.
In the mean time here's three 12" shad swimbaits and three Widetail swimbaits I did for a couple fellows recently.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Bonus Fish

I spent a couple hours on the creek this week checking to see if the local muskies would cooperate.
As usual they we not in the mood for play but I did catch this decent bass.
A little while later I hooked another one about the same size but right next to the boat it jumped and shook the hook free.
While catching a nice bass is not normally a big thing..... but this creek is not known for big bass.....also for the last few weeks you could bass fish this creek for half a day and maybe get two bites and those would be from 10"ers so catching a fish this size from here is fairly rare.......let along hooking two the same day.

This fish was a little over 20" and was pretty fat.
As you can see she got that size by eating big meals.......however that Grandma crankbait was a little more of a mouthful than she thought.
She made the mistake of biting off more than she could chew.
You can tell by the way she's hooked, with the tail hook outside her mouth, that she hit the crankbait sideways....and it was one of the hardest bites I've have in a long, long time.
I'm sure I enjoyed the encounter a whole lot more than she did.
As soon as these photos were taken I removed the hooks and she swam away strong.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Few More 12" Bodies

Friday, September 5, 2014

Finishing This Week With Shad Bodies

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Repair Work

Here's a photo of the little Widetail  swimbait after I put it back together. This is the one that was featured in the previous post and was dismembered yesterday with a run in with an angry esox with a mouthful of teeth.
The tail has been reattached and most of the major cuts have been fused back together.
For this repair work I used a product called Mend-It.....good stuff.   While not as quick to cure as a super glue, Mend-It leaves no residue like a glue does. This product chemically melts the pieces together. 
While the little bait maybe not as perfect as it was when it was new, it will still function as designed and is ready to go to battle with another fish....or two. Those battle scars gives it a special kind mojo that I wish all of my baits had.

Here's a few photos of four other baits that have come from the shop recently...
....two Widetails and two Big Boys
Hopefully these will meet the same fate as the one pictured above.

One is in my new favorite creek color and the other is about as old school as it gets.

And the Big Boys
Two vastly different perch flavors.....
but both look good and will undoubtedly get a fish or two.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

One Very Short Trip

A short story of the events of this morning.

After taking care of some necessary things this morning, had a little time to kill.  With fall approaching I have been getting the urge to get out and try the creek muskies. In the last couple weeks I had located a few fish in the creek, while catching one little sub 30" class fish. With some weather coming in knew these fish should be active enough that I should at least see a couple.  After checking the radar and reading the weather channels predictions, I estimated I had about 2-1/2 hours before the rains came so I hooked up the boat and off I went.  The ramp is less than 2 miles from me so it usually takes me about 5 minutes from the time I pull the boat out of the garage till I back it into the water. After parking the truck I noticed the clouds were growing darker by the minute,  my 2-1/2 hour window was shrinking very quickly.  Of the 2 fish I had located, one was down the creek and one was up the creek....both about 10 minutes on the trolling motor from the ramp, so I started up.
Recently I had been experimenting with some side by side double bladed spinners, actually one of the fish I had seen previously was on one of these prototypes, so I snapped one on the leader and started casting at some of the many lay down trees that are present in the creek.  About six casts into it I had a fish come in low and slow behind the spinner, hard to tell how big is was with it being so deep and the water here was fairly cloudy......as I went into the eight the fish stayed with the bait but would not commit....just seems content to follow it around and around for probably a dozen figure eights. I tried all my tricks to make her bite...fast, slow, deep, shallow, went from figure eights to big circles but nothing worked all I could get her to do was follow. Finally I just took the bait away from her as the breeze had pushed me away from the spot I had originally raised her.  With the bait now out of the water I hoped she would go back to her spot so I could make another presentation. I could hear the rumbles of thunder in the distance so I knew I didn't have much time before the skies would open up.
I let her rest for about 5 minutes while I searched out and rigged another bait and repositioned my boat for another cast to the spot where she had originally come from. The bait I chose was one of my little Widetail swimbaits in a orange, white and silver color.   First cast back to the spot produced nothing....same for the second cast. I adjusted the boat position so I could hit the tips of the lay down trees and made the cast. As I worked the Widetail with a pull and pause retrieve I paused it right at the tip of the laydown and with a flash of silver she smoked it. Upon setting the hook she came up and jumped I realized she was much bigger than any of the other fish I had seen in this creek this year.  After a few power dives and several jumps I led her to the boat for a few quick pics and a in the water release.  I estimated her length at about 39" but she was very thick and girthy.  While a 39" fish in not a big fish by any stretch..... in this creek it is a very respectable size.   

Here's a few of the quick photos I took while leading her to the boat.

 As soon as I got her unhooked and revived enough to swim off the skies opened up and the rains came......and it came down in buckets.  With the thunder rumbles getting closer I headed back to the ramp.....which was about 30 yards away. I put the boat on the trailer and put it back in the garage.
Total time the boat was out of the garage was right at 35 minutes and I made less than 10 casts. I've done some short trips in my time but this one was probably one of the shortest.

Here's a few pics of the Widetail bait that she pretty much wrecked.
 The tail snapped off during one of her jumps and it sports many cuts and gouges that will need to be mended. These things mend back together pretty easy so with a little effort it will be ready to go again.