Minnesota Vacation '10

I just returned from my annual trip to Bass Lake in Minnesota. As always I had a great time, enjoyed the beautiful country around me... oh and I did some fishing. This year I hit four bodies of water Bass Lake, Deer Lake, Lake Winnibigoshish (Winnie), and the Mississippi River. Deer Lake was a beautiful body of water, very clear and blue, and I caught a lot of Rock Bass and one Largemouth and one Smallmouth. Also the first time I fished Winnie, the fifth largest lake in Minnesota, did very well on Walleye. Overall Fishing was good but slower than last year and we had some windy days that made boat control a bit difficult. I went in to last week with two goals: catch a Northern Pike on my fly rod and catch a 10 lbs Northern Pike on Bass Lake. I achieved the first but not the second. To be honest I came away a bit bummed that I didn't boat a large Pike but that's fishing and the appeal and challenge of the sport. Some days you can't pattern the fish and there is always more to learn. Here are the pictures of the trip: 

Evening on Bass Lake

Nice Walleye from my Dad, bottom bouncer and leech on snell. Lake Winnie

Bass Lake Largemouth: despite its name catching Bass, Smallmouth or Largemouth, on that lake is always a challenge. Wacky Worm

First Northern Pike caught on a fly rod. 8 weight rod, Clauser Fly

Engine blew on my Uncle's pontoon. It was my job to be Theodore Tugboat and bring them to shore. 

Nice Bluegill. Jig 

Fly fishing the Mississippi River

Nice Northern Pike from Chris. Mepps Aglia #5

Baby Ducks

My first Walleye of the trip. Bottom bouncer and leech on Snell. Lake Winnie.

Smallmouth from Chris at the Mississippi. Wacky Worm

Another Pike on Fly Rod. They put up a good fight. Clauser Fly

Fishing the reeds at Bass Lake.

A few Walleye from Winnie, thanks to guide Reed Ylitalo. 

Lots of Rock Bass caught. Feisty little guys. Wacky Worm 

Chris working really hard on Winnie to catch Walleye. 

My Mother's Northern Pike. Mepps Aglia #5 


Rig Series: Wacky Rig

Tuesday, July 06, 2010 , , 0 Comments

The Wacky Rig was developed a few years ago in Japan. Since then it has apparently been boiling under the surface as the new secret of the Pro's. The problem with professional tournament angling is if your matches are televised your technique is bound to get out. However, unlike most new techniques billed as the hot new thing in fishing--this rig works. Let me reemphasize, it really works well and will help catch a lot of bass. I promise. 

At first glance one may be repelled by its simplicity and awkward appearance. It looks anything but sexy or sleek and its not but it is subtle. Setting it up could not be easier. I use two approaches. In both I use a straight plastic worm with no tail. I prefer the Gary Yamamoto Senko and the Jackall Fick Shake. In still water I take a size 1 wide gap hook and hook the worm straight through the middle; in water with current I substitute a light jig head for the wide gap hook. 

To fish it simply cast along side a fallen timber pile, under low brush, in holes in a weed bed. Let the worm fall straight down to the bottom, let it sit for a few seconds then jerk the worm up and let it fall again. Strikes will almost always come on the fall. If this fails try slightly moving your rod tip up and down as the worm falls to impart more action. If fish are there you will get a bite. 

A sensitive rod is crucial for this approach in order to feel the fish take the worm. Most often they will tap the worm a few times like a Walleye and then you will see your line start to move. When this happens reel in your slack and set the hook. If you attempt to set the hook too early or before you have felt the fish fully on with your rod you will lose your worm as the bass is most likely just mouthing it.

Above: Senko 5" Worm with Owner Size 1 Wacky Hook
Below: Jackall Flick Shake Worm with Weedless Jig Head
*Fish pictured is 4.5 lb Largemouth Caught on Wacky Rig


One of the Best Feelings in the World

Thursday, July 01, 2010 0 Comments

Just got this picture from the guide in an email. I always love the feeling of rehabilitating a fish after you have caught it and watching it swim away but it was a particularly surreal feeling on a Muskie, knowing it will go on to grow, thrive, reproduce and on some other day be caught again and give someone else that same excitement only this rare North American giant can produce.