Monday, June 30, 2008

News of the Week: 30 June 2008

Angler catches massive freshwater stringray...Berkley/Pure Fishing abandons its Iowa roots...cormorants are the bane of European fishermen...the art of filleting fish...tackle legend Jay B. Rhodes gets profiled...a world record tiger shark...a profile of Lefty Kreh...the world's first biodegradable plastic must be THE NEWS OF THE WEEK!

The Big Lead: British angler catches massive freshwater Stingray.

From the Sign of the Times Files--Berkley (Pure Fishing) to leave its ancestral home at Spirit Lake, Iowa.

Canadian women can learn to fish in the "Ladies, Let's Go Fishing" program.

This Iron Mountain, Michigan man repairs fishing tackle for kids.

Rapala VMC releases .new products.

The European Fishing Tackle Trade Association is shocked by the negative impact of cormorants on sustainable fishing populations.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune teaches us the art of filleting fish.

The Crevally is a sought after fish, according to the Malaysia Star.

A third species of Bonefish has been discovered.

The economy is having a deleterious impact on the fishing tackle trade in British Columbia.

This angler doesn't spend much time on the water, but he makes his time count.

Florida Today declares that the price of fishing keeps going up and up.

Jay B. Rhodes--fishing tackle legend--gets a write up for his patented oil spout in

The Horry Independent regales us with a tale of a world record tiger shark.

Virginia has a new state record Golden Tilefish.

Alaska man lands 248 pound salmon shark.

There is a new world record spadefish.

According to outdoor writer Bill Ferris, bass eat anything.

This halibut is roughly the size of Shaquille O'Neal.

Hunting Tiger Muskies is a true challenge.

It was a dark and stormy night, and somewhere in the blackness, a big fish lurked...

One of America's best outdoor writers, Ray Sasser, profiles fly fishing legend Lefty Kreh

One man is on a mission to popularize Spey Casting.

Finishing With a Flourish: A Six-year effort results in the first biodegradable plastic lures.

-- Dr. Todd

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Funhouse

The Friday Funhouse

Video of the Week

Captain Miller has a bit of trouble tying a knot....

Things I Would Buy If I Could Afford Them

This is an interesting Maine made creel.

South Bend/Cross marketed some very underappreciated fly rods, including this 8 1/2 foot Model #346.

While not rare, the Pflueger Fas-Kast shows up in the box much more infrequently than most Pflueger reels.

H.D. Folsom Arms Co. trade rods have attracted greater attention of late, and this fly rod is no exception. Plus you might get a $1 bill as an added bonus.

This Cozzone German Silver #60 fly reel is a rare bird indeed.

Walt Carpenter, who worked for the Leonard Rod Company, made some damn fine fly rods.

I think more than a few people will be surprised that a Pflueger 4 Brothers fly reel can command these kind of prices.

A Heddon Spin Diver is always a nice find, even in less than perfect condition.

This early Van Staal has spinning reel collectors in a frenzy.

Bronson Invaders continue to impress.

Here's a Sears Ted Williams model....

Usually Pflueger reels command all the attention, but this week two lures in scramble finish are stealing the show. Both of them are Pal-O-Mines, this one and this one, but only one is shown.

Don't know much about Ben Smith shrimp lures, but they have great eye appeal.

This Bagley Killer B shows that this company's lures are still going strong.

This Heddon Zaragossa in gorgeous big Green Scale is a lure with real curb appeal.

A CCBC Surface Dingbat in black with white spots? Nice find.

Sinker and hook tins get the short shrift; this Wells Sporting Goods Co. model may help reverse that.

This Doug English Pluggin' Shorty lure shows the interest in Texas baits is still strong.

This George Burtis fly book containing 11 marked Burtis spinners, despite its massive opening bid, is a fantastic find.

A Heddon 3-25 German Silver casting reel makes for a wonderful display or to take out casting vintage tackle.

Have a safe weekend, and as always, be nice to each other, and yourself.

-- Dr. Todd

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fishing Handmade Lures, Part II

Fishing Hand Made Lures, Part II:

Home Made Lures That Work

The biggest step in fishing with your own lures is convincing others that they catch fish. This is particularly true if your fishing companions include (1) the best fisherman in the world (your father); (2) the most skeptical young angler on earth (your daughter); (3) a man who only fishes once a year and really, really wants to catch fish (one of your best friends); (4) a girl who doesn’t really want to go fishing (your niece); and (5) the only witness to the time you put a dremel through your thumb trying to drill a pilot hole in a fishing lure (your wife). Not the most forgiving of crowds.

So if you’re going to try and convince others to fish with your lures, you better darn well bribe them ahead of time. A trip to Park Point in Duluth, Minnesota worked wonders in putting everyone in the proper mood for fishing with my home made lures.

Two completely divergent opinions about sitting on the beach WITHOUT a fishing rod in your hand.

WAY too happy for people NOT fishing.

Having gotten the beach thing finally out of the way, it was time to hit the Northern Wisconsin waters for a second go around. The first (as chronicled yesterday) was a great success, with the Orange Crackleback Neodingbat (as I call it) hammering the northern pikes. As an aside, I discovered first hand the reason that you find so many tack-eyed lures like Paw Paw, Best-o-Luck, and Horrocks-Ibbotson without paint on the eyes. A day of hard fishing and all the paint on the Neodingbat’s eyes were gone.

Getting prepared for a day on the lake.

This day we were after bass—smallmouth bass, to be exact. The first person I attempted to convert was my eight-year old daughter, who is already a highly skeptical person. When I put the Diving Grasshopper, as I call my creation, on her rod she looked at me like I had tied on a dead rat. “What in the world would eat THAT,” were her exact words. Touché, little one. Touché.

The Traditional Todd’s Turtle (left) and the Diving Cricket (right)

The Diving Cricket was carved out of red cedar, so it is a buoyant little bugger. About 2 ½ inches long, it has hook holders on both sides and long shank single hooks. Why, you might ask? Because they look cool. The lure would probably be more effective if it had the hook holder on the bottom, but then it wouldn’t look like a grasshopper, would it? Sometimes form wins out over function. With a mouthpiece made from a folded-over Colorado spinner blade, this little bug dives about three feet deep and wobbles with a wide wiggle. I thought the bass would go crazy for it.

I was wrong. It’s not that the lure didn’t work, it just wasn’t the best choice of lures for this early in bass season in Northern Wisconsin. The daughter began grumbling early when our fishing companion—who was NOT fishing a Dr. Todd special—began to take bass. As dad was fishing the Turtle (with little success I might add), it seemed like she would lose faith in her father’s creation.

Daughter taking a break from fishing the Diving Cricket.

Fortunately, providence struck at just the right time. Drifting over a sunken island, where the water goes from 12 to 6 feet, the daughter hooked into one of those legendary Northern Wisconsin smallies on the Diving Cricket. Once again, she made her dad proud, fighting the fish to the boat herself. Dad boated the fish, took out the hooks, and then handed it back to the girl for an obligatory photo.

Daughter holding a three pound smallmouth.

The fish could not have hit at a better time. The weather began to turn—it was one of those weird moments where the sun still shone brightly while heavy, dark clouds rolled in.

The weather started getting rough; the tiny ship was tossed. If not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minnow would be lost.

So we rolled off the lake, having successfully proven that fish could be caught on another home made lure. And with at least one more convert to the idea that you can make fishing lures yourself that really catch fish.

It was not the end, however, of our fishing experiment.

Coming this Saturday: Walleye Fishing with Home Made Lures.

-- Dr. Tod

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Fishing Handmade Lures, Part I

Fishing Hand Made Lures, Part I:

Home Made Lures That Work

This year for my northern Wisconsin fishing trip I planned something a bit different. I wanted to see if I could catch fish using only lures that I made with my own hands; this would include flies, poppers, and casting lures. What follows is my chronicle of the good, the bad, and the ugly of fishing with your own tackle.

Making fishing lures has been a hobby of mine for a number of years. While I respect the carvers who make “fantasy” lures, I am more of a traditionalist—if it doesn’t work in the water, it gets rejected. And although some of my lures are original, more or less, there are others that are my homage to the lures of yesterday.

One of my favorite all time fishing lures is the Creek Chub Dingbat, so it was logical that when I began the current batch of carvings, I would make an attempt to fabricate an updated version of this all-time classic.

The first thing to do was to decide what I liked about the Creek Chub version, and what I might change. Having fished a Dingbat before, there were only three things I thought would make it more appropriate for the clear, deep waters of the Northern Wisconsin lakes I frequent. First, I thought I would make it larger as I always felt the Dingbat was a bit on the small size (and the Husky Dinger was basically a different lure). Second, I wanted to make it heavier so that it would both cast further and run deeper. And third, I wanted to increase the size of the diving plate to slightly increase wiggle and diving depth.

I chose a heavy grained pine wood to turn the body, which ended up being slightly rounder and thicker than the traditional lure, and cut the slot for the mouth piece, which would be attached by a screw from below. I made the diving lip from marine brass, and the line tie on the diving plate from a nail. This was followed by a pair of rounded brass tacks for eyes.

After sanding the body, I coated it with a base of primer and then used a dremel to recess the cup hardware and set the screws in with epoxy after having attached a pair of new Mustad trebles. I then decided to paint it in an orange coach dog color. The final step was to take dyed yellow bucktail, drill out two holes for the hair legs, and epoxy them in.

Then it was to the testing pond where the lip was adjusted so the lure ran perfectly. After having ascertained that the design was sound, I turned out three more, two of which I painted green frog and a third that was also painted orange coach dog.

The lure as it appeared after some hard use.

This and a dozen other lures made up my angler’s kit for this trip—a small spinning lure, a grasshopper wobbler, a pikie minnow type, and several others including one of my favorite creations, the Turtle Lure.

It was a beautiful June day when I was first able to break out the Improved Dingbat. I discovered quickly that the lure ran about 16-18 feet deep, with a nice, tight little wiggle that would have made the original proud. It had neutral buoyancy (a nice bonus but one I did not plan).

We arrived off a large weed bed noted for being packed with fish. Literally the first cast and WHAM! A big hit that stopped the lure dead in its tracks. A few minutes later, and a new fishing lure got christened:

Several hours later and a half dozen fish in the boat, and we were satisfied. The first day of the fishing trip with homemade lures was a great success!

Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow.

-- Dr. Todd from Northern Wisconsin

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Voices from the Past: The Michigan Grayling, Part II

The Michigan Grayling, profiled in last weeks Voices from the Past, was once a common fish but soon found itself imperiled both by overfishing, destruction of natural habitat, and the introduction of invasive species. The last known Michigan Grayling to be caught was in 1935, leading the Ironwood Daily Globe to print its obituary four years later.

Epitaph of Michigan’s Grayling to be Written

As the closing of the 1939 fishing season brings to four years the period in which no authentic report has been made of a catch of Michigan grayling the writing of the epitaph of this almost legendary fish of early Michigan needs to be postponed no longer.

Last known catch of this “trout of the pines” was made in Otter River near Houghton though the grayling was properly the trout of lower Michigan as the brook trout was the trout of the Upper Peninsula. A gamey fish though it had a delicate mouth, graceful in motion, beautiful in its markings and when alive in its iridescent coloring particularly of the long wavy dorsal fin, the fish achieved a fame that brought anglers from far and wide to Michigan.

When lumbering began there are records of grayling being taken from the streams at dams by the wagon load. They disappeared with the timber. By 1880 they were gone from the Jordan and Boyne rivers. By the turn of the century their decline was well underway. Now they have a place with the passenger pigeon.

What caused extinction of the grayling is still something of a mystery. Destruction of the forest may have changed the nature of their streams too greatly. Log drives coincided with the spawning season and did much damage. Introduction of brook trout may have hastened the end though in England the two species live in the same waters. Overfishing had its influence. Because grayling took the hook readily, to the last fish in a pool, the species is considered unsuited to present day fishing pressure.

A few Montana grayling, a closely related fish if not the same species as some believe, are still planted in Michigan waters by the fish division of the Michigan department of conservation for experimental and sentimental reasons. Planting of about 20,000 were made in 1934, 1935 and 1937. There are now 60,000 fingerlings at Wolf Lake hatchery, hatched from eggs furnished by the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, which will be planted in the spring of 1940.

-- Dr. Todd

Monday, June 23, 2008

News of the Week: 23 June 2008

A bachelor party gets busted up by a huge Asian Carp...a fisherman dies tragically in a fishing tournament...why your favorite lures are the best bets in the dog days of returns to the formerly dead Aral Sea...why you should allow listen to your fishing guide...Press Powell of the Powell Rod Company gets a fellowship endowed in his must be THE NEWS OF THE WEEK!

The Big Lead: This 64 pound Bighead Asian Carp busts up one man's bachelor party.

From the Tragic Files: One boater dies at the Jollymon Fishing Classic.

The New York Times references a man who takes his cue from angling.

The Windsor Beacon tells us that fishing is a hobby you can get hooked on.

Why you should go to your favorite lures during the dog days of summer.

This tackle shop owner reveals his tricks of the trade.

These families spend the day fishing together.

Why fly anglers love to target bluefish.

A Pocono Record reporter has the time of his life fishing from an inflatable boat.

The World Bank says that fishing will return to the Aral Sea, the site of one of the world's worst ecological disasters.

This Toledo resident finally lands a trophy Permit on a fly rod--after 12 long years of trying.

The Maverick Boat Company opens its doors to visitors.

John Holyoke declares that anglers do well to heed the advice of fishing guides. And doctors...And accountants...folks they are professionals. A fishing guide knows what he or she is talking about.

The East Hampton Star reports on where the sand eels gather...sounds like the title of a cool kids book.

Bass Pro Gene Gray informs us how to extend the life of your soft baits.

The fishing report from South Africa: now is the time for the 'die hards.'

Kansas City will be the home of the new 400,000 square foot Pure Fishing distribution center.

Pro fisherman Jamie Hartman gives his bass fishing tips.

The Monster Pike of North Caribou, Ontario.

This shark story is a big fish tale.

Press Powell of the Powell Rod Company gets a research fellowship established in his name.

Brad Harris boats a 904-pound marlin off the Bahamas.

The Journal Press orders us to keep those catfish.

Angler catches 50-pound, 51-inch striped bass.

Finishing with a Flourish: This angler is set to raise funds for a hospice.

-- Dr. Todd