Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Man from Ireland Catches Huge Catfish From a Float Tube

If you know me you know I spend quite a bit of my time fishing from my float tube.  The float tube allows you to get into places that are pretty much untouchable by people on boats or on the shore.  To say the least, it's an absolute blast.  There is nothing like being taken for a sleigh ride by a large bass, pike or carp.

However my experience being dragged around is nothing compared to Gerard Smyth of Roslea, Ireland.  You see Smyth was fishing for giant catfish on the Ebro River in Spain with guides from Monster Tours when he hooked into the catch of a lifetime.  A behemoth of a catfish weighing in at 169 lbs.

According to this man on a mission to catch a giant catfish from a float tube, this fish hit a dead dead
Vietnamese Swamp Eel like a "Steam train".  "I didn't realize just how hard it would fight," Smyth said. "Quite a few scary moments throughout, when the float-tube was getting dragged under like a (fishing bobber) with only my head and shoulders above water level.  I finally got the strength to use one armand loosen the drag on the reel a tad as instructed."

Wow!  After a mile long sleigh ride, being pulled around like a man-sized bobber, Smyth was able land the catfish with some help from his fishing crew.
I have to say this get's me riled up to push the limits of my float tube and catch some of the large fish swimming around at the bottom of my local fishing haunts. Congrats Gerard Smyth you're an encouragement to us all!
Pictures and story sourced at grindtv.com.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Great DIY Ground Blind Idea

I've been looking around at DIY ground blind projects to try this coming year on the property I hunt and came across this youtube video.   The design is very simple and got my creative juices going on some things I can do differently on my own ground blind project.  I can't wait until next spring to get started.  Feel free to check out this video.   Courtesy of Longbowdave Youtube Channel

Understanding Gamefish By Temperature Pt.3: Cold Water Game Fish

Friday, October 25, 2013

How to Hold Largemouth & Smallmouth Bass

It seems obvious to many of us that holding a bass by it's lower jaw may cause injury.  But many of us just don't know, so we blindly follow the lead of the "professionals on tv" in possibly killing bass unintentionally.   I know I'm guilty of doing it as well while taking pictures with fish before I release them.  But to me, knowing better should mean doing better especially when it comes down to being a spending time outdoors.  For this reason I've been carrying a small landing net with me every time I'm chasing largemouth or smallmouth bass.
This isn't a preachy type of post just something else to consider while we're out enjoying the resource. Thanks for reading and be blessed.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Product Review: Reef Runner Cicada

Description:  A darting flutter action on the fall and unmatched vibration patterns when retrieved make this lure a fish-catcher.  Its bug-like appearance and concave blade produce vibration patterns no other lure can duplicate to attract fish sonically and visually. The cicada comes in 18 different color patterns and 6 sizes.

Sizes: 1/16 oz, 1/8 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/8 oz, 1/2 oz, 3/4 oz

Colors: 18 color patterns available but the cicada is easily customizeable with reflective tape.

Review: I can't say enough good things about this bait.  It puts off so much vibration that it seems to call fish to it which is absolutely awesome.A great bait for just about ay species. I've caught perch, largemouth, smallmouth, crappy, sunfish white bass and catfish all on this bait.  I've caught fish on both gold and the silver cicadas.  The gold one seems to be better in murky water, in fact I lost my gold one to a catfish while fishing in murky lake water.   In the picture to the left all of the white bass were caught with the silver cicada.  The double hooks rather than trebles actually do a good job of keeping the the bait from snagging.  The cicada can be either jigged or retrieved steadily which ads to it's versatility.

How I Used:  I fished the reef runner cicada on an ultra-light Berkley Cherrywood fishing rod and a Quantum Optix 30 reel spooled with 6lb flourocarbon P-line . A steady retrieve landed me over 60 white bass 5 smallmouth bass and one catfish in a few hours.


  • Extremely versatile bait that catches anything swimming.  Also is very easy to use.
  • Because of the flat sides of the cicada, when the paint or reflective tape rubs off, its pretty easy to customize the color pattern with any reflective tape you like. 
  • The cicada can be used in multiple ways from straight retrieves to jigging.  
  • Jigging the cicada is a good cold water tactic as well as a good tactic for catching walleye and lake trout.

Cons: This bait should be attached to the line using a swivel and clasp if you tie it directly to the line after a while the bait tends to cut the line slowly making it more apt to break off on any structure.

Price: 3.09 - 4.59

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

How to Tie Bunny Leech Jig

The bunny leech is something decided to tie up after seeing a fly tied just like it for bass so I figured why not give it a try on a jig.  I figured the bunny leech jig would be a good bait to throw at smallmouth on some pressured water I fish.  It's not the most beautiful jig in the world but it's effective.  My first time fishing it was this past weekend in a lake I've been itching to fish for quite while.  Despite the gin clear waters this bait produced the biggest largemouth I've ever caught.  So here is how I tie it.

Tying Trailer Hook (tie trailer first to make it easier)

1.  Wrap a base of thread from the hook eye along the hook shank to the point just below the point of the hook.

2.  Using hook point puncture through your zonker strip leaving a little to hang behind the hook.  This will help cover the hook as well as keep the zonker strip from moving separate from the hook when in the water.

3. Using the bobbin and thread wrap in the zonker strip in midway up the hook. Use only 2 or three wraps to do this.  Pull back the zonker strip and wrap the thread along the hook back to the eye of the hook and tie it off with a few whip finishes.

Attaching trailer to the jig:
1. Wrap a base of thread from the head of the jig along the hook shank to the point just below the point of the hook.  This base is wrapped in order to give the monofilament to grab when it is tied in to attach the trailer hook.

2. Tie in one side of the 8 inches of monofilament, or braided, line that you cut off, leaving a tag end of about an inch. Thread your #4 hook up the monofilament then wrap in the other side of the line leaving an additional 1 inch tag end.  When done with this step you should have your trailer hook neatly attached by a four inch monofilament loop.

3.  Pull back the two tag ends of mono and wrap along the two pieces with your bobbin and thread to further secure your trailer hook to the jig head.  It may seam like overkill but I'd rather be safe than sorry.  Additionally you may won't to use a bit of zap-a-gap to secure this portion as well if you'd like.

4.  Wrap your thread back up to the head.  Next wrap in the front end of your zonker strip (Thats already attached to the trailer hook) leaving a little room to tie in the marabou collar.

5.  Wrap in the marabou collar.  Use hackle pliers if necessary to wrap the marabou forward (making sure to pull the fibers backward as you wrap so they don't wrap over each other) then lock the marabou in with a few wraps of thread.

6. Throw in few whip finishes and cut off your tag end of thread.  (Feel free to add some zap-a-gap for further security if you'd like)

This bait can either be jigged or swam.  Some people will cut off the jig's hook leaving only the trailer hook in order to lesson snags or to stay with whatever is legal in their state.  Either way this bait will be effective.  As well don't be afraid to try as many colors and color combos as you'd like and let me know how it turns out.  Thanks for reading and tolerating my not so perfect tying ability :)

Kwan Stafford

Sunday, October 13, 2013

My Biggest Largemouth Bass To Date

Today was an exciting day for me. It started with me taking the time to explore Ford Lake, in Ypsilanti, Michigan, on foot.  See, I've been thinking about hitting this lake on my float tube all summer long but haven't had time to do it.  In fact the only time I've had to fish it was this spring when I was chasing carp with corn. (I'll be sure to show you my set up for that another time.)
But today was my day to fish it on foot and hopefully if we get a few more of these 70 degree days I'll break out my float tube and fish some of the less pressured areas.  So I loaded up my book bag of newly tied hair jigs I'd been itching to try and a couple of other of my usual standbys.  Well to say the least I had a few chases on the sluggo that overall turned out nothing. Then finally when I'm headed out I decided to try out a jig I tied up last night in hopes of landing a few smallmouth bass.  Well, that got me a few follows from smallmouth but because the water was super clear as soon as the fish got sight of me they turned tail.
Well I finally was on my last little spot under a bridge where I eyed a smallmouth bass sitting under a rock ledge.  One pitch past the ledge and a few hops back up to it and the small mouth ran away from my jig. With the clear water conditions I could see it all and at the time the smallie spooked my jig was sucked under the ledge into a hole I couldn't see.  So with the feel of a bump I set the hook and all heck broke lose.  She took off like bat out of you know where going airborne then making an attempt at taking me under a bridge pile on.  Can you say, fun times on 6 lb test line and an ultra-light rod and reel.  About 4 minutes later I had her in hand, my biggest largemouth bass to date.  The fish measured out at just over 18 inches but I'm not sure what it weighed, I'm guessing around 4lbs, but it was worth almost getting skunked today and even more gratifying cause I caught it on a jig I tied myself.  Let me know what you guys think this bass weighs?
Here is the link to the bunny leech jig I used to catch this bass.  How To Tie The Bunny Leech Jig

Thanks for reading
Kwan Stafford

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Product Review: Matzuo Nano Minnow

Description: The matzuo Nano Minnow offers anglers the perfect downsized lure for those heavily fished waters where finicky fish prefer bite-sized baits.  The tight swimming action of theses lures resembles a fleeing minnow.  These versatile mini baits trigger powerful strikes from trout, bass, crappie and all other panfish.  These tiny floating lures are sure to become favorites among ultralight fishermen fishing tiny brooks and streams to larger ponds and lakes.

Additional Features include:

-Bright, prismatic finishes
-Durable Contoured Bodies
-Matzuo black chrome treble hooks with stainless steel split rings
-Realistic 3-D eyes
-Floating Lures Dive to 3 ft.
-Comes in sizes 2” and 2 ½”

Review:  This bait is great and will definitely be a permanent addition to my bait box.  (The color I used while fishing is the shiner pattern) The bait dives to between 3 and 4 feet when retrieved steadily.  But what is great and actually stimulated a few strikes for me is that the nano minnow suspends at that depth when you stop your retrieval.  Additionally the nano minnow has great action when being retrieved.  The bait wobbles and swerves  a bit erratically which fish can't resist.  I've seen both largemouth and crappy chase this bait down from behind structure. Over the course of two days of continual usage I caught 12 largemouth, 1 smallmouth, 15 white bass and 5 crappy. 

How I used:  I fished the nano minnow behind an ultra-light rod and a Quantum Optix 30 reel on 8lb line.  The flaw with this set up is that the line was a bit too heavy for the set up so I couldn't cast as far as I wanted with such a light crank bait.  In the future I'll be using the same rod but will switch out to a smaller reel with 4lb or 6lb line. 

Pros:  This bait catches anything and everything.

Cons: The bait job looks great but has started to come off a bit after using it.  As well because it is such a small bait even a small piece of grass attached to the hooks causes the bait to lose its action.  

Price: $3.99

Thanks for reading

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Understanding Topwater Baits

Ask any angler what their favorite way to fish is and odds are your answer will be topwater fishing. Why? Because there is nothing like seeing a fish explode out of seemingly no where to engulf your bait.   The adrenaline rush it gives anglers is unparalleled and will have you eager to throw your bait back in the water after landing that fish.                

Not only that but depending on what bait you're using topwater baits give you a great way to fish areas blanketed with fish harboring weeds and lilly pads.  So just to simplify things a bit for you here is a list of the different types of topwater baits available.

Hollow Frogs & Rats:  Hollow bodied frogs and rats are probably the ultimate lilly pad fishing bait. This is due to the fact that they are weedless and easily crawl across weed mats and pads producing a big silhouette for fish to see from the underside of pads.  Don't be afraid to tie a frog or rat on and give it a whirl, fish love them and trust me you will too.

Poppers:  Poppers also known as chuggers and spitters have concave faces that cause them to pop, gurgle or spit water when you twitch them.  Unlike frogs and rats poppers are not weedless and need to be fished in relatively open water or in water where the tops of weeds haven't reached the top of the water yet (I've had great success in this case).  Poppers are retrieved with a series of rapid twitches but don't be afraid to vary it up.

Stick Baits (Walkers):  I believe the Zara Spook might be the most widely used stick bait there is on the  market.  It's cigar shape and weighted rear end allows it to have a walk the dog (side to side) action as your twitch the bait.  Stick baits are also baits for open water or waters where the weeds have not reached the surface as they, like poppers, have treble hooks at the front and rear end.

Crawlers: The Jitterbug is the standard for crawling topwater baits.  The wide concave lip causes the bait have a side to side action accompanied by a "plop plop" sound that fish can't resist.  Simply cast it into open water or waters that have weeds below the surface and hold on.  Crawlers are great baits for night time, heavily overcast and rainy day fishing.

Propbaits:  Propbaits look similar to stickbaits with a more narrow profile and small propellors at each end. They're fished with twitches and frequent pauses that make props spin simulating feeding baitfish.  Like many others on the topwater list they are good for open water and water with below surface weeds.

Buzzbaits:  Buzzbaits are great baits for covering large amounts of water within a short time.  They have a large propellor like blade that throw a lot of water making the buzz sound across the surface. Retrieve them slowly and steadily as they sink when you stop reeling.  As well you want to retrieve the slowly in order to keep the bait in the strike zone longer avoiding missed strikes.

Topwater baits are a great choice for fishing as any fisherman will tell you.  However don't get drawn in to the belief that they are only a bass fishing bait because almost all fish will take bait off of the top you just have to chose what they want.  In fact my preferred method of fishing for panfish is with a small flyfishing popper or a foam spider.

Thanks for reading


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