Downrigging, not just for the big lakes!

As the years continue to come and go I find myself often reliving certain memories.

Why do specific recollections stand out so profoundly?

Could be a variety of reasons for this, might be because of who accompanied you on your adventure, maybe the location where it took place, possibly the weather conditions during the event, and so on.

For me, a certain fishing technique triggers some of my most recalled reminiscences. The method responsible for these wonderful memories is; “Down Rigging”. Although not having an extensive down rigging history, reliving these excursions definitely stand out.

The reason for not having a great deal of experience with this exhilarating approach is my proximity to typical “deep water” species. The area where I live doesn’t offer abundant Lake Trout opportunities and the nearest Salmon fishing is beyond what I’m willing to travel. There are some Lake Trout waters available but as my outings are decreasing with every passing year when I do get to get out to wet a line it usually has to be close by and easily accessible.

I could use this technique for walleye but my walleye fishing is mostly concentrated on the Ottawa River where I find it very difficult due to a very inconsistent bottom which is where I like to concentrate my efforts.

It is a good idea to maintain a buffer zone between your cannonball and the bottom so as not to get hung up if you troll over a hump or an abrupt escalation of the bottom, not to mention the debris-filled structure lying beneath you on this historical waterway.

Common characteristics of this historic river are the ever-fluctuating depths combined with an unforgiving and snag-filled bottom. These peculiarities enabled me to master another of my favorite techniques to produce fish, “Bottom Bouncing”! This approach also provides me with many enjoyable and productive getaways.

A good definition for downrigging that portrays the approach best is, “controlled depth” fishing. A quick explanation of this terminology is, having the ability to position your presentation at the depth of your choice. Seeking suspended fish, those that are marking a substantial distance off the bottom on your fish finder is usually a good starting point. This however doesn’t mean that you can’t entice fish near the bottom to make an abrupt ascent to attack your bait. In researching this deep water method of fishing further I uncovered data stating that “Lake Trout” are known to emerge 30 feet and beyond to chase prey.

It is a good idea though to maintain a buffer zone between your cannonball and the bottom so as not to get hung up if you troll over a hump or an abrupt rise in the bottom.

Downrigging probably associates most with big water fishing like that found on the great lakes or big deep inland lakes. Although this is not necessarily always the case, searching the depths for cold-water species like Salmon and Lake Trout which are usually much more plentiful on the great lakes does account for a large percentage of the downrigging fraternity.

Now, while the above statement is probably pretty accurate this post’s objective is to re-live one of my favorite fishing memories as well as possibly light a fire under some of you to try this adrenaline-charged rush!

Many years ago a group of us got together for a fishing trip into Algonquin Park. The location we chose had drive-to access as well as being boat launch facilitated.

This was an important factor because it was the middle of the summer and we were in search of deep-water lake trout.

Although this feat was possible to accomplish with a canoe it was much more practical by boat. With the group all being equipped with deep-water”trolling rods and reels” and a good supply of large trout enticing lures I also included my clamp-on downrigger, medium action rod and reel, light tackle, and my portable fish finder.

Probably not as popular as this method is out on the great lakes or on large inland lakes where you can add salmon to the mix, backcountry lake trout fishing is also conceivable with a small or portable downrigger.

Now, although this is possible on its own the experience is much more enticing and practical if you can also add a portable fishfinder. In my opinion, being aware of the depth your in is crucial, if for nothing else, to give you the knowledge as to what depth you should run your cannonball.

A second big advantage of a fish finder is to locate any suspended fish.

A great example of this brings me back to that trip into Algonquin Park. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Our group had 3 boats in all and everyone but myself was working their heavy “trolling” rods on or near the bottom with very little success.

I was keeping in constant communication with my buddy who was operating the motor and monitoring the fish finder for depth readings as well as replying to my continual inquiries regarding if we were marking any suspended fish?

It wasn’t long before he informed me that we were in 80 feet of water and that we had started marking fish at 60 feet.

Immediately I reset my downrigger to 55′ allowing for my presentation to drop slightly behind my cannonball.

In a matter of minutes, my rod tip started to twitch, which was then followed by the invigorating spectacle of my rod springing from its exceedingly bowed position a new-sprung and erect stance. Fish-on!

I quickly grabbed my rod from the rod holder and began to retrieve the slack in my line which was created on the release from the cannonball. As the excess line began to tighten up on my reel I thrust my rod forward and set the hook, the battle was on!

Fighting this fish on a regular spinning rod with light line at 60′ down is an experience all on it’s own, a feeling that, for me, cannot be over-exaggerated. The struggle that ensued probably lasted at least 15 minutes and turned out to be a very respectable 4 to 5-pound lake trout. Still excited, the sight of this lake trout left me dumbfounded though, if this fish would have gotten off without seeing it I would have definitely presumed it to be a 20 pounder or larger. Fighting this fish from that far down on light tackle gives you an undeniable sense of a much heavier fish, a fish that is in a life and death struggle to return to the safety of the depths below.

This story didn’t end there, this encounter was only the first of many that weekend. Some of the other guys managed to land a few with their customary trolling rods but my portable downrigger was definitely the hit of the party.

This is not my only downrigging recollection but it is my favorite. I’m sure it will continue to bring me pleasant memories of a weekend that will never be forgotten!

Isn’t that what it’s all about!

It may not be your cup of tea but if you get a chance get out and downrigging a try!

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Back to the basics!

Hey everyone, let me begin this post by saying, I love eating fish!

Preparing my delicacy varies somewhat at times because I like to try different methods and recipes but the bottom line is I love eating fish! (think I already said that, lol)

Ok, so it’s probably not a surprise that when I’m lucky enough to catch a few, it’s a pretty safe bet that I squirrel away a couple for my next hankering.

Having let you in on my obsession with “eating fish”, I do like to experiment with the preparation of my indulgence, trying different recipes. I don’t always share the same scrutinizing quests in achieving the primary goal though, that being, catching the fish to satisfy my addiction!

Years ago I had a friend let me in on a little secret for catching speckled trout which turned out to be very productive for both lake specs as well as creek brookies.

His little tidbit fit right into my wheelhouse and I’ve been using this technique ever since for times when I want to be fishing, but also feel lazy and just want to relax.

He told me, you wanna catch trout, just throw a worm in and let it sink to the bottom! Sit back and wait for the slack in your line to tighten up then set the hook!

Since then I have employed this technique for other species as well, all with great results.

Smallmouth bass are also very susceptible to this presentation. Once located, switching to a hook and a worm can provide you with endless action not to mention the scrumptious results that follow a successful outing!

I have, however, developed a couple of small modifications to this method which I believe increase the success of this plain but effective system.

What I’ve done is created a short 2-hook harness utilizing fluorocarbon (the invisible line) with a loop for fastening to a swivel or leader (I use an overhand loop knot, but you can use the knot of your choice to accomplish this).

These two hook systems can be made up of your choice of single hooks usually hooks with the typical bent eye to accommodate a snell knot or as I prefer with either a smaller hook or a small treble for the trailer. I prefer this 2 hook system for a couple of reasons;

  • short biting fish, bottom or stinger hook accounts for a much greater success rate than the top hook
  • presentation, a juicy nightcrawler looks much more natural if it’s outstretched rather than all coiled up.

This system works well with all-natural baits including leeches and minnows, even imitation baits can be threaded on the 2 hook system.

Believing you can’t go wrong with this technique and having used it for a very long time now, I credit this simple practice for many more fish on the stringer over the years.

Another practical application for these little mini harnesses is to use them on in-line spinners as well.

 It has been my experience that sometimes increasing the distance between the attractor and the bait further intensifies your quarry’s follow-through and the actual ambush of your offering.

Whatever your choice of enticement never underestimate the allure of “keeping it simple”! Big juicy nightcrawlers are often all you’ll need to satisfy your next craving!

I’d like to conclude this post by saying that these little mini harnesses have consistently produced for me over the years for a variety of species. I’ve stated on many occasions that if you want to catch fish, use live bait where it’s legal!

My mini harnesses are just a little extra to help improve the odds even further.

Good luck

&

Enjoy the outdoors

 

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Near North Fish Batter

Catch and release should be practiced as much as possible, however, there’s nothing like a good snack of walleye!

I have sampled many delicious recipes in my life but a recipe which I have developed on my own over the years continues to be my go-to coating recipe. These combined ingredients along with the procedure below earned me the most memorable compliment I’ve ever received, “whatever you do for a living, quit and open a fish restaurant, you’ll be a millionaire!”   

Deep-fried pickerel, although not the healthiest, is one of the most popular approaches for preparing this succulent reward to a day out on the water!

Even though I continue attempting to refine it even further when the craving gets too intense I always default to this amalgamation of ingredients.

 

Ingredient List

I use these ingredient amounts for a small group, enough to coat at least 10 average-sized walleye.

  • An optional step here is to take your washed fillets, dry them on a paper towel and dip them in beaten egg (I personally don’t do this) but it does help your batter stick better to the fillets.
  • 4 Table Spoons of Flour
  • 1 Pouch of Italian Shake & Bake
  • 1 Extra Spicy Pouch of Shake & Bake
  • 1 Regular Pouch of Shake & Bake
  • 3 Large Tablespoons of Cajun Fish Crisp
  • 3 Large Tablespoons of Combined Spice Mixture (See Combined Spice Mixture below)

For a smaller serving reduce the amount of;

  • Flour
  • Cajun Fish Crisp
  • Combined Spice Mixture

Combined Spice Mixture (Equal Amounts of Each)

These combined seasonings are what I believe give this coating it’s unique zing and are responsible for the unforgettable flavour.

Start with small amounts of each then adjust to your preference and mix larger quantities for convenience.

  • Montreal Steak Spice
  • Lemon Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Roasted Garlic and Peppers
  • Steak Spice
  • Montreal Chicken
  • Garlic Plus            
  • BBQ Spice
  • BBQ Chicken
  • Spicy Pepper Medley
  • Spicy Bourbon
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Procedure

  • My method is to mix the necessary ingredients for the required amount in an appropriately sized bowl first.
  • Once thoroughly mixed transfer smaller quantities (I usually use about 4 heaping tablespoons) of batter to a plastic margarine container, add your fillets, secure the lid and shake vigorously to coat fish.  This procedure works great if you’ve mixed more batter than is required. The excess can be stored in a plastic container and used at another time.
  • Add 3 or 4 fillets in the mixing container, shake well to coat, and remove, placing your battered fillets on a plate or clean surface.
  • When you’ve completed battering all the fillets that you intend on cooking you can start adding them to the hot oil. Do not add too many fillets at one time. Overfilling with too many fillets at once will reduce crispiness and the golden-brown color that is usually associated with legendary fish fries.
  • I usually use this batter for walleye (pickerel) but it also works well on other species; trout, bass, perch, and pike to name a few that I’ve tried. Also is a great grouse and chicken coating!

Enjoy!

Print Recipe

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Best Technique for Walleye!

One of my favorite techniques for catching “Ottawa River” walleye is bouncing a jig off the bottom. Usually, for the first few weeks of the season, an assortment of jigs is all you’ll need for success. My preference is just plain round jigs normally 1/4 or 3/8oz for heavier current conditions. My go-to colour for this historic river is without a doubt “Orange”! Chartreuse is also a good choice but at least 90% of my success over the years can be attributed to this unrivalled preference.

From season opener through till the cool waters of fall this technique probably produces more fish than any other method.

My jig fishing though can be broken down into a few different techniques.

  • Casting and retrieving with a jig/grub combination varying retrieval speeds if necessary as well as stopping and letting your presentation sink to bottom every few feet, often triggers strikes.
  • Adding a spinner blade to your jig and casting or trolling also produces great results at times.
  • My personal favorite though, along with many other walleye anglers is to hook a minnow on a plain jig head and bounce it off the bottom to trigger strikes from wary walleye.

The actual technique for hooking the minnow varies between anglers but I will discuss my personal methods for attaching bait in a later blog post.

Bouncing a jig off the bottom can also be coupled with casting your presentation to attract walleye that are within casting distance of you.

Cast your presentation, let it sink to the bottom then lift your rod tip retrieving your slackline slowly, let sink back to the bottom, and repeat the process until you have completely retrieved your offering.

This technique along with just bouncing your jig beneath you can be extremely effective especially if you’re using a rod with a sensitive rod tip. Walleye are known to bite very lightly at times and the more sensitive your rod tip the more chance you’ll have to recognize a strike, or if a wary walleye has possibly inhaled your offering.

I started using a system that even further increases the success rate of jig fishing.

Because I get a lot of my offerings stolen or stripped from my hooks I decided to increase my odds by attaching lead lines to my jigs whereby I have attached a second hook approximately 1ft above my jig giving me a second chance at walleye that manage to get a free meal from the first hook.

This also works well due to the fact walleye usually travel in schools with usually more than one walleye eyeing up your bait.

Another positive feature of this presentation is you don’t necessarily have to reel up and re-bait when you miss a strike because you have a second offering to maintain their interest.

I call these creations my  “Jigging Harnesses”

Tie some for yourselves and give them a try, I’ll guarantee your success rate will increase.

If you don’t want to produce your own, Contact Me to try this practical innovation.

Until the next time,

Have Fun Fishin,

Dave

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Baked Trout

Spring-time, time to shed those winter blues and breathe in some clean fresh spring air.

Little harder these days with following the rules associated with COVID-19 but when done properly is the best form of “Social Distancing”!

It’s also a great time to catch open water trout. For trout enthusiasts, ice-out usually signals aggressive feeding thus making this time of year a good time to catch these tasty critters.

If you are fortunate enough to be successful there are a couple of options for preparing your upcoming feast.

My preparation method is usually determined by the size of the trout.

A general rule for me is;

If they are filletable, meaning if they are big enough to produce nice quality fillets without too much waste I will generally go this route. Typically, a fish with an overall length of anywhere from about 14 to 18 inches I normally fillet.

Anything larger or smaller than this size is usually baked in the oven or better yet on the barbeque. I don’t make a habit of eating larger fish but a 3 or 4lb Lake Trout stuffed with onions and peppers or whatever you’d like to add makes a scrumptious main course.

Baked Trout

Baked Trout can be either filleted trout or whole trout, personally, I usually bake whole fish and batter or coat fillets with my favorite store-bought or personal coating recipe then deep fry. I will be sharing an extremely tasty coating recipe I have developed over the years in an upcoming post (Walleye Coating Extraordinaire). I have quite often baked filleted fish as well, for me the only difference is the time to cook them (less thick = less time to cook), always making sure to flip them equally. My guideline to fillets in foil on the BBQ is  6 to 7 minutes (average-sized fish, 14 to 18 inches) each side with the temperature set to medium. Checking their progress during the cooking progress is a good idea to ensure your preference.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole trout with the head and innards removed

or

  • individually foil-wrapped trout fillets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • You can also substitute lemon pepper for lemon or as I sometimes do, use both
  • Increase amounts if cooking more fish

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse fish, and dry with paper towels.
  2. Rub inside of fish or fillets with olive oil, and season with garlic salt and black pepper, I season with Near North Spice Mix. Place fish on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Squeeze the juice from the ends of the lemons over the fish. Arrange lemon slices on top of fillets or inside of fish. Carefully seal all edges of the foil. Place the foil pouches on a baking sheet or on the barbeque grill.
  3. Bake whole fish in a preheated oven or barbeque for 15 to 20 minutes, 6 to 7 minutes for individual fillets depending on the size of the fish (a little longer for bigger fish) flipping occasionally. Fish is done when it flakes easily with a fork.

Serve with grilled potatoes.

Combine this with thinly sliced potatoes, chopped onion, carrots, and mushrooms sprinkled with Near North Spice Mix and wrapped in foil coated with butter or margarine. Seal the foil well to lock in the juices!

Now place in the oven or barbeque before the fish as the potato packs will take a little longer to cook. You may have to carefully open one end of the foil during the cooking time to check on the progress to get them the way you like them. Make sure to flip the pouches equally during the cooking time as to not burn them. I usually flip them at least twice.

When both the fish and potatoes are ready I like to serve them with a loaf of home-made bread smeared with softened garlic butter.

Enjoy!

Print Recipe

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Anxious for the Trout Opener to try this Underwater Advantage!

Can fish be spooked by the sight of our line?

I can honestly say that until recently I hadn’t really given this subject much thought.

I, probably like many other avid fishermen, spend a lot of time in front of the television watching fishing shows, especially during the cold winter months. If you fit this profile I’m sure you’re used to hearing about using Fluorocarbon or Fluorocarbon leaders with your presentations.

What is Fluorocarbon?

In a nutshell, Fluorocarbon is the newest innovation in “Fishing Line”.

What makes it such a breakthrough, and what about it is causing all the hype with our tv fishing heroes?

The simple answer, fish can’t see it, it’s invisible underwater, removing the possibility of spooking wary fish, especially in clear water!

Along with this very beneficial feature are other additional attributes that make this line even more appealing.

A second appealing quality with this new innovation is it’s transmission sensitivity, or, an increased feel of what’s going on at the other end of your line! Maybe the light inhalation of a vigilant walleye or the insignificant feel of our bait touching structure on the bottom, added sensitivity triggers a quicker response!

Being a passionate walleye angler, adding increased sensitivity automatically catches my attention but isn’t the only related advantage to fluorocarbon. As well as making it easier to decipher strikes with this new and exciting advancement in fishing line, this line also sinks faster than regular monofilament reducing the slack in your line on the way down. Using lighter presentations (reducing jig weights) is extremely significant when fishing lite-biting walleye and is now an additional option to increase your success.

Although this line has a long list of benefits the last major influence for me lies in it’s composition. I believe the increased density enables a firmer hook setting ability with a lot less effort like that associated with monofilament.

The above characteristics have transformed me into a Fluorocarbon believer! There is however one drawback to spooling this line, “Twist” seems to be a consistent issue with Fluorocarbon so my advice is, use this breakthrough line as leader material ideally in combination with a braided line to greatly increase your success rate!

Along with this blog, I am also the creator of Strike Zone Tackle which I introduced many years ago.

Since then I have scaled the business back but continue to operate. I no longer keep the large inventory that I used to but still enjoy filling my dealer orders as well as individual requests for some of my more popular creations.

Custom designing with individual specifications is also something I really enjoy, especially when the customer returns with successful results.

Most requests are now assembled as they are received.

I would like to add that, the main reason for not remaining full scale with this initiative is based on not being able to continue offering competitive prices. I can offer reasonable price comparisons for the actual items but once the shipping charges are added it leaves the total cost inflated.

I continue to tie harnesses and have now added a Fluorocarbon option.

Putting together my own creations and being successful with them still produces an even greater thrill than actually catching the fish.

I’m very excited to get out with my new harnesses for the upcoming trout opener. I’ll keep you posted!

Contact me if you’re interested in trying some of my harnesses.

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Sweet and Sour Venison Ribs

Well, staying in has provided me with more time for working on my blog and trying to improve my culinary skills.

My latest attempt at perfecting a recipe was motivated by my little guy’s love of ribs. The outcome was, delicious, but still needs some adjusting.

I’m gonna go over the steps and ingredients I included in this pursuit for the perfect venison ribs!

  • Trimming off excessive fat

My last attempt at venison ribs was great if you like the taste of deer fat (I actually do) but it was a little much and most people don’t so I spent a substantial amount of time trimming fat off each section.

An added method of reducing the fat content in your meat is boiling.

  • Boiling

Another procedure you should consider to remove the fat flavour if you are not a fan of what I consider a natural venison taste.

I myself enjoy this distinctive trait so with my next attempt I intend on performing these 2 preliminary procedures again, however, scaling back some. (i.e. leaving a little fat during the trimming process and lessening the boil time).

This effort consisted of boiling the ribs for 20 minutes, my next try will see me cut this time in about half or between 10 and 15 minutes. You can see from this picture that, although this is a preparative practice, in actuality, it should also be taken into consideration as part of the cooking time.

Not realizing the significance of this step made for, although still very tasty, an increased toughness to the final outcome.

Completion of this practice gave way to the next step in preparing my ribs for the oven.

  • Rubbing Spices into Meat and sprinkling Worcestershire Sauce

I defaulted to my go-to spice mixture, Near North Spice Mix for rubbing into the meat.

This step definitely adds to the zest of the final results. I firmly encourage you not to skip this step as the added flavours are well worth the effort. I’m going to leave the amount of these seasonings to you, the final result depends on your personal preference.

Now you’re ready for the oven!

  • Place in the Oven

Bake for 1 1/2 hrs – 2 hrs @ 375° was the original cooking time however after this attempt I am now going to reduce the temperature as well as the time in the oven.

My next bid at this recipe will see me baking the ribs for 1 hr @300°. I will share the results!

After removing from the oven I then added,

  • Sweet and Sour Sauce 

I added a full jar (341 ml) of name brand sweet and sour sauce.

  • Return to the Oven

In order to have the spices and the Worcestershire sauce penetrate the meat properly, it is recommended to place the ribs back in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes per side at the same temperature.

  • Now Ready to Serve

Take out of the oven, add potatoes and vegetables of your choice and,

ENJOY!

Seeing that I’m going to continue to modify this recipe to my liking I have not included a link to a Pdf format for you to be able to Print.

I will include this destination when I reach my desired results.

For more recipes, check out the Recipes Section of this site;

 

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Spring Fishing Plans

  

Since last fall I have been looking forward to the spring and getting out to enjoy some springtime sun in search of my new favorite trout species.

Splake fishing fits right into my wheel-house especially after doing a little research into these hatchery-produced Lake Trout/Speckle Trout combos. Splake reproduction outside a hatchery environment is extremely rare. The only known natural reproduction of this species was documented in a few lakes in Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario Canada.

With the natural reproduction of this species being relatively non-existant they are ideally suited for put-and-take stocking programs for area cold water lakes and ponds. Not having to account for natural reproduction makes it easier for population projections thus making it easier to control and maintain healthy numbers.

Splake are normally introduced to their new environments at 2 1/2 years of age as fingerlings and have a higher growth rate than that of their Lake Trout and Brook Trout parents. They can grow to 46cm (18 inches) in length in only 2 years.

These fish are also considered hardier than native Brookies and Lake Trout. My favorite attribute though is that they are noted as, “easier” to catch than mom and dad.

Catching Them

Spring and Fall are my favorite times to go searching for these tasty targets. Water temperature plays a major role in the timing, like with any trout species the cooler water is essential to finding active fish.

The cooler water also means you can look for them in shallower water and use a variety of baits ranging from spinners to various swim baits and flies for the fly fisherman or woman.

My personal preference is a light 2-hook spinner harness in Gold/Red or Silver/Red. Gold/Orange also produced very well for me last fall.

I have another colour combination that has yielded great results for specks but wasn’t as popular on any of the splake lakes I visited. I still have a lot of confidence in this striped combo given the success I’ve enjoyed in the past with speckles.

A close friend of mine got me onto these colours for speckles. He has worked in Algonquin Provincial Park for 20+ years now and has used this colour combo as his go-to colour when he gets a chance to wet a line.

These harnesses, as well as many other configurations for most freshwater species are another of my side-lines that I take great pride in.

I still get as excited today when I feel a fish on as I did way back when, but the added exhilaration of catching fish on tackle that I designed and put together even deepens the experience.

For a more complete look at my collection, visit;

Strike Zone Tackle

Not really sure what to expect in the upcoming weeks, as of now it still seems we’re able to go fishing, will this change, time will tell. I sure hope not because for me there’s no better “Self Isolating” than going fishing!

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Spring Bear Hunt 2020

Wow, I began putting this post together a few days ago but this morning I find myself with a very different outlook for the foreseeable future.

I have to say that I am experiencing a lot of emotion, and feelings of guilt.

Normally, this time of year see’s me getting ready for “Spring Fishing” but I had been pondering the possibility of taking part in this years’ Spring Bear Hunt. My plans, however for this spring have changed.

How can I make plans for anything pleasurable when people are dying, when we’re told to;

Stay Home to help stop the spread of COVID-19!

I find myself sitting here at my computer tapping away on the keys because I think that immersing myself into my blog is helping me to deal with this very real situation that’s going on right now, I’m scared, really scared!

This post was originally intended to help me decide on my plans for this spring. How selfish can I be, the only concern plaguing me, my own enjoyment when there are so many people out there on the front lines risking their lives to get us through this very difficult time. The only thing asked of me, please stay home! It seems like a no-brainer, not to mention essential, for all of our well beings.

In order to keep my mind occupied, I am going to try and focus on my blog and sit here in solitude trying to maintain my sanity or what’s left of it.

The thoughts I’ve encountered this morning have generated a different perspective on my future plans. As much as I was looking forward to initiating this new spring prospect I believe I’m going to put it on the back-burner and plan it for the fall when God-willing COVID-19 has been downgraded to a bad memory.

Being that this would have been my first-time bear hunting in many years I still need to research the current “Need to Know” essentials to ensure that I’m aware of what’s legal as well as gain any information or advice on how I can make any upcoming hunting attempt successful.

Thanks, Darryl for the great pic!

I have decided that maybe the best way to get some of my questions answered is to create a form with your input. I’m hoping that you would be kind enough to help me out by;

Please participating in this;

Black Bear Hunting Questionnaire

Thank you for taking the time to support me in this effort.

 

Please Stay Safe!

 

 

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Are You Ready?

With this COVID-19 dilemma happening, along with being isolated, I believe it’s important to keep our minds occupied with something else, something pleasant and relaxing.

We will get through this and life will return to normal, don’t know how long it will take, but there is light at the end of the rainbow.

The light at the end of my rainbow is getting out and enjoying the spring air on one of my favorite lakes, sounds a little selfish but it does accomplish social distancing.

With or without COVID-19 I would have probably already done an inventory check of my tackle box to see what has to be re-stocked before I get out on the water.

A typical visual of the average fisherman’s tackle box may include;

Fishing Tackle

 Terminal Tackle

 Tools

My tackle inventory, on the other hand, is a little different. Although there are some of the above-mentioned items, my actual tackle consists of mainly self-made creations.

There is only one thing for me that can add to the exhilaration of catching fish and that is catching fish with tackle I created.

I began making tackle over 20 years ago and have been doing so ever since.

In the beginning, it was all about saving money.

I stumbled onto a web site dedicated to “Walleye” fishing, a wealth of information on various aspects of my favorite freshwater species.

This site led me to a technique that a lot of the pros were using in the big tournaments across the U.S..

Bottom Bouncing with floating Crawler Harnesses was, at that time the latest rage in enticing walleye.

Little did I know how uncovering this knowledge would lead me where it did.

Apparently this technique had already become quite popular down in the states but up here in North Eastern Ontario it was unheard of and was yet to even hit the stores and bait shops. In order to attempt to learn this approach for landing walleye, I had to resort to ordering the required elements (Floating Harnesses and Bottom Bouncers) from the states.

I soon realized I could reduce my costs by purchasing the tackle components and building my own.

There was definitely a learning period, a lot of trial and error, and many hours of experimentation and practical application, but in the end, I had discovered my new favorite system for taking one of the area’s most sought-after fish!

My success rate continued to increase with every outing as I got used to the feel of the apparatus. It is very important to develop a feel for bottom for this technique to achieve the success that it has the potential to.

Soon some of my fishing buddies, guys who laughed and ridiculed me when they first saw my bulky and cumbersome riggings were swallowing their pride and asking if I could make set them up.

  • This new endeavor gave way to a couple of shared spinoffs, my newly found interest in tackle building which ultimately led to the creation of;

  • and a new passion for “Harness” fishing.

I have also, over the years successfully created a variety of additional spinner creations as well but tying harnesses has been my mainstay.

Although scaled back, Strike Zone Custom Tackle continues today offering wholesale sales as well as volume discounts to Canadian fishermen.

My vehemence for harness fishing has gone away beyond just success with “Walleye”. Most freshwater fish including all species of trout, northern pike, perch, any and all members of the bass family, pretty much anything that swims are vulnerable to the temptation of these natural presentations.

Getting back to the point of this post, my supply of appropriate harnesses for the individual target species as well as the required terminal tackle makes up my inventory update.  

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