August 1, 2010

Rapala 2011 Lineup Changes

New sizes and new colors for 2011 from Rapala

Ok, ok, this isn't so much a blog as it is a quick update on some of the new additions for Rapala in 2011 - special thanks need to go to the folks over at Rapala USA who sent a ton of useful press materials!

Clackin’ Rap® 07 and 09
One of the most versatile lures on the market, the Clackin’ Rap® has made its mark across the globe. This year, the Clackin’ Rap explodes again with the introduction of two new sizes and colors. Size 07 is 2-¾ inches long, weighs 5/8 ounce and boasts a number 6 VMC® SureSet® Belly Hook and a number 4 VMC Round Bend Tail Hook. Size 09 is 3-½ inches long, weighs 1-3/16 ounces and touts a number 2 VMC SureSet Belly Hook and a number 3 VMC Round Bend Tail Hook. Both sizes are available in 19 color patterns, including two new ones: Regal Shad and Helsinki Shad. Whether you cast, troll or jig your Clackin’ Rap, there’s a size and color that’s sure to take you on the ride of your life.

Suggested retail price: $11.99-14.99

MaxRap® 11, 15 and 17
Last year, fresh and saltwater anglers discovered love at first sight with the introduction of the MaxRap®. This year, anglers asked for more and Rapala answered in a big way with three new sizes and two new color patterns. Size 11 is 4-3/8 inches long and weighs 7/16 ounce, size 15 is 6-inches long and weighs ¾ ounce and size 17 is 6-¾ inches long and weighs 1 ounce. All sizes feature noncorrosive VMC® Spark Point Treble Hooks and are available in 10 MaxRap colors, including new Flake Olive Green and Flake Blue Sardine. Whether anglers rip, dart or straight retrieve this premium wonder, they’ll be amazed by its aerodynamic shape balanced with Tungsten balls, a patented internal MaxCast™ Mechanism and a see-it-to- believe-it internal laser-engraved scale pattern. Get the nets ready, it’s time to reel in the big ones.

Suggested retail price: $17.99-20.99

X-Rap 04

Born to be wild, the X-Rap® 04 stays true to family tradition with its hard-cutting, aggressive, “slashbait” style action. The new X-Rap 04 is 1-½ inches long and weighs 1/16 ounce. Like the rest of the family, the X-Rap 04’s translucent body, internal scale pattern, holographic foil and 3D eyes combine to display an action more intense than a 3D movie. Ideal for all species both fresh and saltwater, the X-Rap 04 is available in 11 colors, including new trout patterns Olive Green Muddler, Brook Trout, Brown Trout and Hot Mustard Muddler.

Suggested retail price: $8.99

Trolls-To®-Shad 10 and Trolls-To®-Minnow 10
Anglers never knew trolling could be so easy until the introduction of the Trolls-To®-Shad and Trolls-To®-Minnow. These balsa bad boys are designed to troll to a specific depth with a tight flashing action, while their built-in rattle chambers beckon the bite. Now, with the Trolls-To-Shad 10 at 2-½ inches long and 3/8 ounce and the Trolls-To-Minnow 10 at 3-1/8 inches long and 3/8 ounce, Rapala has trolling enthusiasts covering the 10 foot water column in style with 100 feet of 10 lb. Sufix® monofilament line. But that’s not all. These eloquent swimmers will run 25 percent deeper with 10/4 Sufix® Braid or Fuse and are available in 12 fish-catching colors. Trolling just got simplified.

Suggested retail price: $9.99

Flat Rap® 06 and 16
Winning its first Grammy in 2010, this hard-rolling, action-packed lure struck a power cord with anglers and has become a go-to staple in their arsenal. Its flat sides and scooping triangular lip allow anglers to produce the ultimate “wounded minnow” action. Anglers can now choose between two new sizes that are guaranteed to crank up the fish-catching volume. Size 06 is 2-½ inches long and weighs 1/8 ounce with a running depth of 1-to-2 feet, while size 16 is 6-¼ inches long, and weighs 1 ounce with a running depth of 4-to-6 feet. Equipped with VMC® Black Nickel Hooks and available in 18 color patterns, anglers will be reeling ’em in at a steady beat.

Suggested retail price: $8.99-12.99

July 28, 2010

New 2011 Rapala Clackin' Crank Review

This is my first ever 'official' product review of a Rapala, I have no idea if there is any sort of 'scientific formula' for a product review, so I'm just going to wing it.

Before I start off I must thank the great folks over at Rapala USA for giving me the opportunity to preview some of their new upcoming 'class of 2011' products. As always there is a lot to get excited about...ok, well I get more excited than most people about this stuff. Anyway...

New for the upcoming fishing year from Rapala is the 'Clackin Crank', which combines the qualities of a crankbait with the 'findability' of a search bait. The distinctive rattle chamber of its pioneer, the Clackin Rap, is also prominent.

The Clackin Crank's debut sizes are the CNC-53 and CNC-74- these model numbers may not make much sense at first, but the method is simple. For example, on the smaller of the two models, the CNC-53, the '5' simply means the lure is 5cm long, and the '3' is the diving depth. Therefore the CNC-74 is 7cm long, and dives to 4'. This type of logic is going to make it very easy for Rapala to expand the lure line to larger models, and possibly deeper diving models in the future.

Both lures feature square lips suitable for bumping off of cover, which is critical - as anyone knows, fish love to strike a lure bumping off timber or rocks. The lips seem thicker and more durable, as it appears to marry very well to its plastic body. They are also equipped with rear SureSet trebles-which is a plus for those short strikes.

The lures' body shape is similar in profile to last years' DT-Thug, but with a flatter and wider head. It almost feels like the offspring of a DT-FAT03 crossed between a Clackin Rap, and this is what you would get get.

As a bass fisherman at heart, I immediately gravitated towards the larger CNC-74 model. The smaller CNC-53 also casts well, and is a nice smaller alternative for those times when the bite is off due to a passing front, and the fish are taking smaller baits. I've always been a proponent of using lighter line, but I think even if I was using 20+ lb line this lure would still cast admirably. I was able to get great distance casting towards shallower waters, even with some significant wind present.

The lure has good action but nothing overly exaggerated that is going to make the rod jump out of your hands upon retrieve. It has the right around of wobble and feels similar to other square lipped Rapala cranks like the new Crankin Rap and the aforementioned DT-FAT03. Around late morning when the shallows bite seemed to go away, I threw it out into deeper waters to see how well it trolled behind my canoe, and it performed excellent. Some lures will rattle the fillings out of your mouth (ok, if you were holding your rod with your teeth maybe) but not the Clackin Crank. I landed a nice bass in around 10’ trolling it which was an extra bonus.

The lure I used with SB ‘Silver Blue’ pattern, a Rapala staple color on virtually all of their baits. My home lake tends to fare better with Silver pattern in general, but the Clackin Crank will be available in 16 colors:

BOS Bleeding Olive Shiner, FT FireTiger, GO Gold Olive, HSD Helsinki Shad, OPSD Original Pearl Shad, PRT Parrot, RSD Regal Shad, S Silver, CSD Chartreuse Shad, GCW Green Crawdad, HM Hot Mustard, MBS Mossback Shiner, PGS Pearl Grey Shiner, RCW Red Crawdad, RUCW Rusty Crawdad, SB Silver Blue.

Overall I think Rapala has another winner on its hands. Even though I am a huge Rapala fan, there are actually some lures and products I am not particularly fond of. I was never a big fan of the Clackin’ Rap when it first appeared, I guess the exposed rattle chamber took awhile to get used to. I think this was the perfect time for them to unveil their expansion of the Clackin' Family.

November 21, 2009

The Talston River Revisited by Jan Eggers

It was June 1988 when I was so lucky to join my good friend Bill Tenney on his first spring trip to the Taltson River in NWT. He had been there in fall 1987 and reported of the best place for big pikes in the world and it was for during that trip I caught 66 pikes over the European dream limit of 100 cm , so around 40 inches.

A trip I will never ever forget, not only for the primitive conditions, the incredible stories of trapper Ray Beck who fed his sledge dogs with 20 pound northern but most of all the wild nature with bald eagles, beaver, moose, golden eagles, crane birds and… pelicans. No joke, so far north there were hundreds of pelicans fishing in the rapids for whitefish, just like the pike.

From that day on most years saw me flying in the 2nd week of June to this hot spot for big pike. I helped Ray getting more customers from Europe and also saw my good friends Bill Tenney, Steve Dusek and Mike Ellis from the States each spring.

In 1993 I fished without my good friend Bill Tenney for he intended to go to Lake Baikal in Russia after we had fished together in the brackish Baltic Sea in Sweden where we both caught some 25 lb pike. In July 1993 Bill went again to Russia and because that is the month to go on summer holidays in Austria with my family, in two days I’ll go there for the 41st time, he went alone. During that trip he got a heart attack in the boat and died the way he had wished it as he had told me several times

When Ray Beck got cancer and died the end of the nineties, his son Arthur took over the camp at the mouth of the Taltson river and also had a camp near the big rapids with the pelicans. Accommodation got better and the tents disappeared and we could sleep in log cabins and even had a tiny shower next to the kitchen.

Almost every year I managed to there with a group of 8 – 12 people and saw many surprised faces of guys from Holland, Germany, Belgium, France and Italy catching lots and lots of big pikes and also the size of the many walleyes was increasing. For me this was pike heaven and one can understand I was very disappointed when Arthur Beck didn’t answer phone calls, letters and later on e-mails about 5 years ago. I was told he lost his license for the mouth of the Taltson River, better known as his camp on Hook Island.

I go the idea I would never ever fish this area again and had to tell this bad news to all my pike fishing friends who loved to go there another time.

But see what happens. I think it was late 2007 or spring 2008 that I got an e-mail from Jack Penny, who had fished this area too during the same period I fished there with Bill Tenney.

He told me that the youngest son of Ray Beck, named Eric, had started a new camp not far from the rapids with the pelicans and that he had fished there with good results, so big pikes.

This e-mail was for me a reason to contact some of the pike fishermen who had been there before and in no time 6 regulars and a new guy signed for a trip the second week of June 2009 and I could start booking the flights, hotel rooms, ordering drinks for when we arrived on Sunday at Fort Smith the liquor store was closed….

Then you realize how awful nice e-mail is and Eric’s wife, Kim which I had met already in 1989, was the one who answered all my e-mails with many questions straight.

I can honestly say I never ever had so smooth preparations of the trip and everything, from cabins, sleeping bags, drinks, flight connection with the float plane at Forth Smith, boats, guides, food, just name it, was excellent. When we arrived that Sunday evening at 05.00 p.m.

expectations were high, also because the weather forecast for that week was sunny and warm.

Old and new friends plus tons of pikes

It was good to see Eric and Kim, his mother Doris, Chad who had become a big boy now and what to say of our guide Steve, which I remember as “Little Stevie” from 20 years ago. The wooden cabins for two fishermen were perfect, complete with stove, good beds, sleeping bags, electric light and coils against the muskietos.

Nice to see all these facilities but… the only thing these fishermen were interested in was if there were big pike around. Believe it or not, the very first pike caught by a member of our group, it was Danny from Belgium, was 105 cm and he caught it in front of his cabin.

We did some fishing from the bank that evening. Just a little for the 8 hours time difference, so it was early in the morning of the Monday in Holland, made us quite sleepy.

Next morning at 08.00 breakfast was ready and new seen a hungry pack of pike fishermen swallowing pancakes, fried eggs and bacon, it tasted better than in a 5 star hotel…

I had a bad start, loosing 2 big pikes because the ring of my rod tip was damaged, must have happened during the trip from Amsterdam to Canada, and when I fished with another baitcaster the problem was over. That morning my biggest pike was 112 cm and a good number of other pikes over 40 inches was caught. Although the water was quite low, there was a possibility of fishing the Rat River, only the first part was very shallow and one had to use the paddle. My fishing buddy Joop Kragt loved fishing with surface lures in crystal clear water with weeds just as much as I do and casting the big pikes you see, just stalking them, is great fun. We also gave it a try this afternoon with small jerkbaits like the Ace Flipper and Salmo Slider 10. At a certain moment Joop broke his line and a nice pike disappeared with the Ace Flipper in its mouth. An hour later, on our way back, I hooked the same pike on my Salmo Slider and made my mate happy when I returned it to him.

I am not so much interested in numbers of pikes we catch, fishing is fun and no competition, but during this afternoon we caught about 125 pikes the two of us. The biggest one from the Rat River was 109 cm and that day pikes of 110, 113 and 114 cm were caught.

Deep holes hold big pike

In the evenings we always exchanged stories, and to evaluate with the pleasure of cold beer, a glass of coke with some additives or just cold water from the river, is great fun.

We learned that the Mepps Syclops no 3 is still the best lure for average conditions but if you wanted to be successful in the deep holes next to the current, you’d better used heavier lures or 35 grams jig heads with a soft plastic shad or twister tail. In these deep holes you could not only expect big pikes but also nice walleyes between 65 and 70 cms, dinner was saved…

Because Eric and his Aurora Nights Lodge also have the right and license to fish about a stretch of 40 km upstream the Taltson River, a group of 4 with the boat went that direction on Tuesday morning. We had to pass 3 rapids, and there were new boats on the other side of these rapids and now we came in an area where I had never ever been before. Also here good fishing and I was really amazed about the possibilities here and Eric will build some new cabins here so that his guests have the possibility of fishing in almost virgin waters. We stopped at the 4th big rapids although there was another boat available for we preferred spinning instead of sitting in the boat and looking at nature.

Of course, it is nice to see a lot of beavers, the bald eagles on their nest looked big and the black bear around the corner was just as surprised as we were. But what to say of 3 bent rods after the first casts at some rapids? The 110 cm pike of Sjaak Koster that was too big for shore lunch Eric said and at the next cast he had one of 95 cm that tasted very well an hour later.

Shore lunch with fried pike and walleye, unions and potatoes and beans plus fresh cold water from the river, I can only dream of such an excellent meal in Holland.

Coming back that evening we heard that the other Jan of our group, Jan Kuin, had caught a fat pike of 116 cm and that both our Belgium friends, Danny and Paul, had fallen into the water when they tried to land some good pike from wet and slippery rocks.

To cut a long story short.

Each day had its own stories and I was already used to broken rods, lost monsters, trebles that went into fingers instead of pike jaws and big ones that escaped during the last seconds.

Still some experienced fishermen used too light lines, I advice 0,28 and even 0,32 mm Power Pro in combination with 40 lb leaders with a Berkley Cross Lok Snap-Swivel at the end

When we fished with plugs and jerkbaits we removed one or even two trebles so that we had a lure with only one treble of which the barbs were flattened. Doing this makes not only the unhooking a lot easier but also less risky for your own fingers

For two days the 3 biggest pikes had a length of 116 cm and we wondered if there would be bigger ones from the deep holes. Our friend Danny lost one that was estimated 120 cm and he is happy to have the drill on film. On Thursday I was the lucky one with a nice pike of 117 cm and 5 minutes later my buddy Joop caught one of 116 cm, amazing two big ones so close together in the same spot.

Next morning Joop caught 5 pikes over one meter in a row on a 45 grams copper black Blue Fox spoon on which we had mounted a bigger treble hook. Amazing, 5 monster in just 20 minutes and then we moved to Slims, the place where a lot of big ones were caught.

More or less slow jigging close to the bottom I hooked something heavy thought I got snagged on the bottom but then it started moving. I had at once a feeling it must be a big fish for it stayed deep and felt very solid. Joop started filming and at a sudden moment this big pike jumped straight out of the water and I knew it was the biggest of the trip so far. And it really was, it was even a new personal record after 13 times fishing the Taltson and Great Slave Lake. A lot of times my biggest pike of the trip, and also of other friends, was 122 cm but this fat baby was 123 cm and when we tried to weigh her, the scales went down to the maximum of 25 lb at once and I estimate it a bit over 30 lb, a very nice fish.

That Saturday another big one of 119 cm was caught by old time Hero Peerdeman who also had fallen into the water that morning. On Friday Jan Kuin was number 4 to go for a swimming lesson when he played a big pike from slippery rocks and he was lucky that only his rod tip broke and not his legs or arms.

What a week it was, excellent is just a too normal word for a wonderful week with good friends, good cooks, good young guides, warm water for a daily shower, and of course the cooperation of our friends under water.

And when the float plane arrived at 07.30 that Sunday morning, it was a hard job to say goodbye to Eric and Kim plus their staff. I have made reservations already for the second week in June 2010 for I am even more convinced now Aurora Nights Lodge is the place for catching big pikes and with big I mean 25 lb and 44 inches and more.

Finally I would thank our regular contributor Jack Penny for giving me the information about this lodge. To visit this camp at the Taltson River was an unexpected dream come true again.

Jan Eggers

Pictures -

A first view of the rapids wit pelicans, we are almost there.
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A first view of our camp through the window of the float plane.
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Paul Tempelaere with a nice pike without scars.
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The Salmo Slider 10 was very effective on the Rat River.
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A pike of 117 cm has taken my spoon completely and comes to the boat.
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This for me the safest way of landing big pike, I still have 10 fingers…
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I prefer to unhook my own pike when they are deeply hooker, better for the pike, better for the guide and no problem for me, I do it for more than 50 years…
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Quick a nice picture and….
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Back she goes
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My friend Joop caught this one of 116 cm a little later.
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She was also released without problems in the cold water, look at the wide back.
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Another big one with probably some wounds caused during spawning
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It is not easy to land this pike with gloves, I never use them, Eric does!
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I don’t know if this pike was 108 or 110 cm long, it doesn’t matter.
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I caught with my Slider the pike + Flipper back Joop lost just before.
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Hundreds of pelicans fishing for an easy meal of whitefish.
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A spoon like this is the easiest and best all around lure for this area.
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I was more than happy with this new Canadian p.r. of 123 cm.
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Eric prepares nice shore lunch.
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Danny Bueds with his biggest pike of the trip.
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The end is near, the floatplane comes to pick us up.
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I would like to thank Jan Eggers for sharing this with me and allowing me to post it here on the site.

September 29, 2009

A Fisherman without a 'boat' is still a Fisherman

There was a time in my fishing life, where I thought I had to have a boat as good as a Bass Tracker or Triton, in order to be a good fishermen. After all, it works for all those other guys right?

So a few years ago I bought a used Lowe semi-V, and decided that I had to modify to make it look as close to those bass-catching machines we always see on ESPN outdoors. Believe me, it needed it.

I basically gutted it, and spent close to 10 straight days recarpeting it, redoing the electrical, new pedestal seats, new trolling motor, fish finder, and even fabricated a new casting deck. It was a labor of love, and I could envision it so clearly in my mind as I was building it that it pushed me to finish it faster.

And for someone who has zero skill with tools, Id say it came out pretty good. My friends all loved it. Its too bad I hardly even went fishing in it, and eventually sold it. What happened? Well, life happened. After two kids within a span of 2 years, the boat sat. And sat. And sat some more.

Eventually, I decided to sell it.Every day it sat in my garage was a 14 foot reminder of how much fishing IM NOT doing. I cringed each day when I looked up on it. I didn't have to go, but then again, it had to go.

The guy I sold it to was in love with it, and was ga-ga even more when he came to pick it up (I had listed it on ebay). He was smiling the whole time he was here, probably only-half listening as I tried to explain the various quirks the electrical had.

After the boat left, I thought that was the final nail in coffin, with my fishing life ready for burial inside. I sulked for a long time. How could I fish without a boat? How could I fish without a boat that had a 9.9 outboard and a 50lb thrust trolling motor? Impossible I thought. There is no way I can fish without those things, every fisherman NEEDS those things.

Actually, I found, they don't. At least I didn't.

Several months later, I figured I would try to replace the boat with a canoe. I had never owned one before, and I figured I was taking a huge step backwards in my fishing life by using one, after previously being able to fish from my kickass boat. So I started to do some scouring around on ebay, and I found this ugly black canoe located in PA. This was not your father's Old Town Canoe; this was a black plastic monster made by Coleman, and it looks it had even been repaired (poorly) in a couple of spots.

But none of those repair spots where anywhere near the hull, or any other part that came in contact with water. I was desperate to get back on the water SOON. After all, I already had the cash in my pocket, enough rope to tie down an elephant, and I wasn't driving back two hours empty handed.
My ugly ebay canoe purchase.

Eventually I lassoed the canoe to my Jeep (after it fell on me a couple times during the process) and headed home. I took the canoe off the Jeep by allowing it to fall on me clumsily, at least I cushioned the blow with my body. The one positive thing about this canoe was that it already had a sturdy aluminum trolling motor mount; well I thought, at least I'll be able to have SOME kind of motor on this thing.

Several fishing trips (and a couple minor back injuries later), I eventually realized that there are just thing about my old boat that I did not miss. I do not miss hitching and unhitching the damn thing. I do not miss the fact that my trailer lights only worked when they felt like it. I do not miss trying to launch my boat at crowded launch, especially with big burlier, surlier fishermen waiting behind me. I do not miss trying to get the boat back on the trailer when the wind is blowing 20 mph or higher. I do not miss it. At all.Hey guess what? I'm still fishing, boat or not!

The only thing I do miss is being able to stand up from time to time, but other than that, I have had a hell of a time fishing with my canoe, and in fact, I am having more fun fishing now than I ever have. And I know this has nothing to do with it, but I think as a result, I have even caught more AND bigger fish as a result! Why?

Well, I don't really know, but here is what I do know. I don't ever have to worry about fuses going out on the boat, or if I have enough gasoline, or if the outboard is going to start, or if my backup battery is going to work or not, or if the water I am in is too shallow,and a whole 'boatload' of other things I no longer have to worry about.

I even got to the point where my big ugly 16' Coleman stays on the canoe rack at my 'home' lake, and I was able to stumble across a much more manageable sized 13' Indian River at a garage sale, which is even easier to move by myself.

The only thing I really have to worry about now is if I am using the right color Rapala.

But I suppose that problem is never going to go away.


August 31, 2009

Fishing in a hurricane (sort of)

I've come to the realization that in order to have the lake all to yourself, you need to get out when no one else will. This is, of course, aside from getting to the lake well before first light and getting first shot at lake's hot spots. A couple of times I had gotten to the lake so early, that I couldn't even see - and literally had to sit there and chain smoke until there was enough light to launch the canoe.

Ok, well Im not talking about fishing during a real hurricane, just during some of the crappy weather these large systems seems to drag along with them. I'm located in the northwest corner of the state of NJ - not exactly prone to hurrianes, but close enough to the point where you can feel their effects.

Back to back weeks of pretty miserable weeks at my "real job" usually only have one cure - getting on the lake. Getting nice enough weather to do it in - totally different story.

One week is was Hurricane Bill crusing along the eastern seaboard. Followed by Tropical Storm Danny. Now, these systems were nowhere near NJ - however their presence alone was enough to take a good looking weather weekend, into a pretty miserable one.

So I decided to take my stubbornness to a new level: I was going anyway. The forecasts pretty much called for: 90% chance of showers and thunderstorms, starting from 6am until 2pm. This was on subsequent weekends. I went fishing both times.

My wife already knows Im crazy. This just confirmed it once again.

So I packed up my gear, including a share of ziplocs to keep my phone and cigarettes dry, made sure I had my Frogg Toggs packe, and off I went.

This was definitely not any kind of weather that indicate a storm was anywhere near the area, not with this thick blanket of fog. The shoreline disappeared only after a couple of minutes.

The lake was as still as it gets, but sadly there was no topwater bite to speak of. But what was there was priceless - silence.

No other fishermen. Not a soul. My lake is dotted here and there with lakefronts, and for once, not a single whine of a leafblower or lawnmower to be heard.

Being a dad with two young small kids, and it being summertime, there is almost always something to do to have fun with them outdoors. One needs to take advantage of those nice days, before winter rears its ugly head, and its all indoors, all the time. But on days like this, when the only one who will go out is yourself, and the wife doesn't care that you're burning a crummy day to go fishing, its just win-win for everyone.

And the fishing turned out to be ok as well!

Now both days it wasn't exactly spectacular, but I did end up getting 5 fish each time I went, which is fine enough by me.

I got out of the house, had some quiet time, was on the water, stayed pretty dry, and did catch some fish. And no one called and asked when I would be home, and no one bothered me.

Except of course, the local beaver, which always deems it necessary to follow me around and slap his tail around wherever I go, until he gets bored and goes away:

Still better than the sound of a leafblower.


August 19, 2009

Turning Great Lures Into Awesome Ones

A few years ago, the very thought of someone 'modifying' a Rapala by repainting it would have made me cringe. I mean, how could someone possibly take something that is so perfect, right out of the box, and think they have the right (or the skills) to improve up on it?

Well, recently, my entire outlook has changed, and let me tell you why.

Since I am an avid ebay fan and user, I regularly scour the Rapala listings for something new, rare, cheap, and different. And different is what I had definitely found.

To backtrack a bit, this year I started asking various ebay sellers if they would like to have links to their Rapala-related auctions placed on my website, In return, all I would ask for is a simple tackle donation, in which I would use for various free Rapala lure giveaways.
(For more info on this, click here!)

Anyway, I have been coming across some unreal and eclectic Rapala lures on ebay lately - a lot! I wonder how I had been so blind to this for so long.

Or have I? I don't know if I had just been blind to it, or has the custom repaint business been a recent boom?

I can't really be sure, but all I know is, there are a lot of extremely talented people our there, and they are doing things to Rapala lures (and other models, of course) that I would have never even dreamed of before.

Well as we all know, fishing lures catch fishermen as well as fish, and I was hooked. I started taking a closer look at the custom Rapalas on ebay, and various other places, and it seems that with each artist, each one seems to make a few lures that are heads and tails over the rest - but you can't really say which lure artist is 'better'.

A few weeks later, I was able to team up with Joe from JoesCustomBaits; he recently got a new website, so feel free to drop by and see what he has, or view his current ebay listings. Joe has some really unbelievable patterns, and does repaints on Rapala lures as well as other brands.

What makes it so exciting, is that everyone does things differently, and it is this variety that makes it so very fun. As I started teaming up with some of these talented folk, little did I realize that one of these artists resides right on my site, and I didn't even know it.

Steve Polaski, aka 'muskiehunter' on RapalaNation, is an avid fisherman and Rapala fan, and is fortunate enough to have Lake Michigan right in his backyard. Before JoesCustomBaits got his site up and running, I posted all of his patterns on my site so my members could view them all.

A few days later, Steve started posting some of his own work, and once again, I was amazed at how a few coats of paint can really make a lure jump out at you. I hurriedly rifled through my tackle box, and threw a pile into a box and asked Steve to give them a makeover for me. It is a great way to get some new life out of those old Rattlin Rapalas, or take advantage of some Rapala sales on less successful models (such as the Glass Fat Rap)

You can view his entire line of work here, but I just wanted to display a sample of just some of his work. He keeps adding patterns all the time, I simply cannot keep up!

Mean Green Craw

Wavy Gravy

Lastly, I would also like to introduce your to Rob from Xtreme Lure Concepts; I am hoping that Rob and myself will be able to help spread the word about our respective sites, but he deserves mention here simply because of the beautiful work he does in his natural patterns series. You can see some examples below; Rob sells his baits to tournament fishermen, and is also an aspiring tournament fisherman himself. All of a sudden I just because very jealous of this man!
Rob also lists some of his customs for sale on ebay as well, if you're lucky you may be able to snag some of them for less than the going rate!

With all being said, my love and pursuit of Rapalas initially began to try to find different Rapala lures to fish with; with all of these great lure artists in the world, the possibilities are now inded endless.

Before I go, here are some custom lure sellers that you should definitely check out!

July 22, 2009

Tales Of Desperation On The Lake

Fishing on the wrong day

Lately, it never seems to fail that each time I plan a day that I am going fishing, about 90% of the time, a front seems to move through 24 hours beforehand. My usual scenario is that I need to be on the water at first light...yes it's exhausting, but it's like religion. You just have to.

Whether it be on a Saturday or Sunday morning, there are always thunderstorms that roll through the night before. Without fail. Even if its not even in the forecast. And as we all know, the result is always this:

The infamous "bluebird sky", where the fish are spooky and can see you coming from a mile away...even if the water is as stained as a baby's diaper. And not even a single breeze to break the mirror reflection on the water.

Granted, most of the times later in the day the wind does pick up, but the fishing usually doesn't. I have never considered myself a good fisherman, just someone that loves fishing. To the point where you will try everything you have for 8 hours straight in hopes of catching a measly bluegill.

Now I have done my share of reading of some general fishing tips and techniques for these types of situtations... "downsize your baits"...."natural colors"...blah blah blah. I guess my problem is that I usually ignore it. Since I usually like to target the hungry fish, instead of working the edge of a lilypad for 20 minutes to try to figure out if the fish that is nibbling on your 4" downsized wussy worm is a sunny, or a lunker largemouth.

My other problem is I just have so many Rapala lures...and dammit, I just flat out want to use them, and more importantly, catch fish with them. Each day starts out with assembling a pile of Rapalas that I know i want to use, usually because they've worked before. Of course the first lure you always grab has 9 other lures attached to it.

Typically when it comes to fishing, I am pretty patient...actually stubborn is probably more like it. But when it comes to lure patterns and when nothing is working...that's when desperation starts to slowly creep in, and the bottom of your boat is littered with baits you've already used, and the next batch of baits you're going to use.

These are usually the days you wish you invested in a 'Color-C-Lector', so you wouldnt be flying around blind, deciding to use a Bleeding Olive pattern one minute, a Hot Tiger the next, and good 'ole Gold the next. I guess it wouldnt matter anyway, since I would probably ignore any said advice, and keep rummaging through my 8 Plano boxes of Rapalas looking for the next gem.

Shallow Shad Rap or SR-5? Original Floater in F-11 or F-13? Countdown in CD-7 or CD-9? SureSet or non Sure-Set model? Jointed Shad Rap or Jointed Floater? Husky 13 off that point? Husky Jerk by the rip-rap? Throw a Japan Special next to that stump? (maybe some other time)

By the end of the day, it usually takes me about 30 minutes or longer to put back all of my baits back into their respective boxes. The bottom of my canoe is littered with failed casts.

Having too many Rapalas will do that. But at least I know I have the right bait in there....somewhere. That's what makes it all fun.