Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tax Break

With a pot of coffee close at hand, I decided this morning to start digging into my 2010 taxes. Not the brightest idea in the world for a Monday morning, but what the heck, they have to be done sometime. After a few hours of gathering all my papers and pondering over why I don't just hire a good tax accountant, I shut the computer down and headed out to the river. The Fox was looking as beautiful as ever, with the bright blue sky and golden sun above, the river bottom shown right through the crystal clear water below.

Fox River, South Elgin, IL

I walked along the banks enjoying the warm weather and fresh air, while looking for a few deeper pools to cast a float-n-fly and entice a smallmouth bass or two into an early season tussle. On this day however, the water was quite shallow and so clear that any fish who dared to be in this area would have been an easy meal for Mr. Hawk as he circled above the river.

For the next couple hours I made a fairly good attempt at fishing, while spending a great deal of time studying the river bottom and it's newly formed structure. Fallen trees from the blizzard of 2011 have strategically landed in some superb locations and I can't wait for the river to rise and create some new homes for Mr. and Mrs. Smallie.

When I first moved to the area in 1994 this creek to the right would flow so hard that it would create a deep pool. Over the last few years the creek flow has been reduced to a trickle and has filled in. No more walleye or smallmouth in this spot!   
I like to search the river this time of year for key structure such as riffles, pools, boulders, logs, etc. to familiarize myself where the good locations will be, once the river returns to it's normal stages. Taking a stroll over the South Elgin bridge I could see the base of the bridge pilings and the rocks below. When the spring rains hit and the water clouds up and becomes murky I will have a visual of the hot spots to target for bass, walleye, crappie, pike and muskie. It's a good tip, and I highly recommend you do the same on your local river. The added knowledge you gain at low water stages can be very beneficial later on in the season.

These boulders always hold a fish after a few good spring rains!

Well, I made it back home with no fish, completed the taxes, and gained a better understanding of what lies ahead on my next wading trip in the Fox River! Thanks, as always, for taking a little time to come fishing with us at Cappy's Pond.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Visit With An Old Friend...The Fishtrap

A few weekends ago, I spent a Saturday afternoon walking around America's Outdoor Show, looking at all the latest items for 2011 in fishing tackle and other outdoor gadgets. A number of items caught my eye and I stopped to investigate and chat with the exhibitors, listening to them pitch the reasons why I need that particular item. A brochure was often handed to me to read later, in the quiet of my home or office, where one can make a better informed but less compulsive decision. In most cases I would say thanks for your time and move on down the aisle to other booths or displays.

Late in that afternoon, when most of the crowd had headed home, I came across a booth that had some lures on display. The sign behind them read Weedless Bait Company and I almost walked right past it without even taking a second glance. Then I noticed the familiar looking yellow and red packaging with the word Fishtrap on them. I couldn't believe my eyes! I hadn't seen these lures in over 20 years and thought that they were out of production. A conversation was quickly started between myself and the current owners of the Weedless Bait Company http://www.weedlesslure.com/ about the many northern pike that we would catch while using these unique spoons.

I started to think about the many products that I had walked by, glanced over and viewed with skepticism throughout that afternoon. With all the different tackle that is available to us today it is difficult at times to know what works and what really doesn't. It often takes a good friend, known fishing celebrity or someone you trust to get you to try a new lure or product. I'm here today writing to you as a fellow blogger and outdoor friend to tell you that this is one of those lures that truly works!

The concept is quite simple when you think about it. Pike live on the edge or right in the weeds the majority of the time. Spoons have always been a great choice for pike fishing except the treble hooks tend to foul up in the weeds. Single hook weedless spoons will help get you through the weeds, but many fish can be missed by the single hook only presentation. The lures from the Weedless Bait Company will get you right in where the big predators await, and help keep you there, catching fish instead of pulling weeds.

Two of the hooks are positioned within the body of the spoon (as pictured above) while the third on the bottom is held secure by a retractable weed guard. When a fish strikes the spoon the hooks are disengaged, allowing a split second stationary pause of the treble hook while it is engulfed by the fish. How many times has a fish hit your bait from the side and missed the hooks completely? The amount of times that this will happen is significantly reduced by this spoon. If you are going to go pike fishing this year, you've got to take a few of these spoons along with you, give them a try and you'll see just exactly what I'm talking about.

The spoons come in three different sizes, with 25 fish catching colors to choose from. The Musky (5-1/2 inch 2 1/8 oz), The Senior (3-5/8 inch 1oz), and The Junior (3 inch 5/8oz). My favorites are the Red-White, Red-Yellow, Black-Yellow but as you can see on the website, there are many great color patterns. I've used the spoons many times and have had great success with them. I will be purchasing some new ones for my next pike fishing trip, now that I have been reacquainted with an old friend. To tell you the truth, I have never used the plugs at all, but based on the spoons success It would be worthy of a good try. I'll have to get a few of those too!

Visit http://www.weedlesslure.com/ and pick up a spoon or two and give it a try on your next fishing trip. I think you'll like them just as much as we do here at Cappy's Pond!

Disclaimer- This was an independent review of the Fishtrap and the Weedless Bait Company. Cappy's Pond and Kirk B Cahill did not receive any compensation for this review nor is Cappy's Pond or Kirk B Cahill associated in any way with the Weedless Bait Company and http://www.weedlesslure.com/  As with all product reviews at Cappy's Pond, our goal is to provide you the reader with an honest review of the products mentioned to help you catch more fish!     


Friday, February 4, 2011

Underwater Views

I dropped the tiny pink ice jig down to 13 ft, about a foot or so from the bottom. Watching the wax worm as it wiggled and writhered upon the hook, a perch slowly swam toward the bait. My son and I watched intently as the fish inhaled the offering and spit it back out of its mouth. "Bryan! I never felt that at all. If he does that again I'm setting the hook." The perch mouthed the jig one more time and I reeled him in, shaking my head in disbelief for what I had just witnessed. Even with 2lb test and the most sensitive of ice fishing rods, I never felt that fish take the bait. Our first fish of the day had been a long time coming, but what I learned on that Sunday morning will stay with me forever.

A week before I had checked out a new underwater camera from Cabela's. While browsing for some new ice jigs, clothes and such, I stumbled upon a skid of fishing cameras all marked down to make way for the new spring items. Should I or shouldn't I? Well in the end I decided to wait, and after an hour or so of contemplation, I headed home. After weighing the pros and cons of the almost purchased, I realized that I would take Shirley's wrath over going on another ice fishing outing without an underwater camera. I ordered it online, had it shipped to the store and it was $10.oo less than at the Cabela's store. Go figure. Shirley turned out to be an easy sell, when I told her that since it's technically for the boat, Keith and Kevin would be willing to put up their share of the cost. Whew! Jumped that hurdle, now I have to sell that one to the brothers.

I made another trip to Cabela's, Hoffman Estates, IL store to pick up the camera. I brought it home, charged it up and was quite surprised at the quality of the 7" LCD display, case and battery pack.

We managed to get out on the ice that following Sunday to use it for the first time. Pisatkee Bay (Fox Chain-O-Lakes) was our destination and a windy day greeted our arrival. After checking a few locations and not marking any fish on our flasher we headed to the east side of the bay for some signs of aquatic life. We marked a few small fish and decided to set up base camp and poke around a bit with the camera to see what was going on.

The first fish we encountered were small bluegills, which had taken cover near a submerged Christmas tree. We had the bluegills zoning in on our baits when a member of our group decided to walk near our portable shanty. Whoosh! They were gone when they heard the crunching of the snow and vibrations. A good lesson was learned about the importance of being light of foot, when at all possible, to avoid spooking finicky winter fish.

A little while later I noticed a walleye had swam by, but off in the distance. After searching the camera in all directions we found that he had taken up residence within the same submerged tree. The next hour was wasted trying to antagonize a walleye from it's lair, only to realize our attempt was futile!

If you look closely at the photo to the right you can see the walleye relaxing within the tree. He was most likely taking a nap just like all the other fish in Pistakee Bay on that Sunday morning. We managed to see some sheephead (drum) on the camera, a few white bass and a perch, along with the bluegills but it was a tough go around and the boys and I had enough of drilling holes, moving and working baits over the few fish that we saw.

We opted for the comforts of a warm bar, a pizza, and a few good drinks to warm the insides from another good day on the ice. I still adhere to the old saying that a bad day fishing always beats a good day at work, even when fishing and work become one in the same. A day outside in the fresh air with my good friend and our sons is about as fun as it can get during mid-winter. I'm looking forward to our next ice fishing adventure and hopefully some better fishing. The camera worked flawlessly and I believe that I made a good purchase. We will see if it helps me catch any fish, well I guess it already did. I caught one perch!

Thanks for stopping by and taking a few minutes from your busy day with me at Cappy's Pond!

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