7-25-12 – Stacked Up Jumbo Perch

With a few hours of freedom from the grind, we got out on the water for an eventful evening. The lake was calm with the exception of boaters. We had high sun with temps in the mid 70’s and best of all, tonight we had our first opportunity to test out a Humminbird 998c SI. With no prior experience with the unit the learning curve was steep.

We started off the evening by motoring around a good portion of the perimeter looking for structure previously unknown to us. We thought if there was any, the perch roaming the deep basin might relate to it. Unfortunately this was not the case. We struck out twice with our hopes. We found no perch relating to structure mainly because there was no structure!

Using the side imaging and down imaging simultaneously, we were able to locate a good pod of fish in an area that we have had success recently. After noting what fish, as well as other features, looked like on the unit, we dropped a line.

It didn’t take long for us to start catching fish. We were using two different presentations. The first was a 1/4 ounce jig head from 2 Jerk Baits tipped with a piece of night crawler and the second was the same jig head tipped with a “star light black blue/chartreuse tail”  Charlie Brewer Crappie Slider. At times we would tip the slider with a smaller piece of crawler but I don’t think it made much of a difference either way. For a jig color we found bright was best. Blaze orange, hot pink, and yellow chartreuse were the main colors.

With the wind not moving us around, we fought with the waves from other motor boats in hopes to stay true on our drift over the school. It became apparent quickly if we missed or hit the school. We didn’t have to jig much. Mainly, the slight drift as well as attention to slack in our line kept us off the bottom and in the feeding zone for these perch. We found them to be between 6″ to 2 feet off the bottom. We caught the majority of our fish between 20 – 25′ and we knew our drift was over when we hit the green slime line. Our jigs would start “pulling” not “thumping”and you could barely see your jig when you got it to the boat!

Our day ended as the sun hit the trees. We couldn’t buy a bite so we packed up and hit the road.

Check out Deep Water Perch on our YouTube page. We will work on getting some images off the Humminbird  as soon as we get a better grasp on it!

7-23-12 – Mixed Bag On Champlain

The weather forecast wasn’t looking good as we got on the road. The ride from Barre to northern Lake Champlain was short and warm. A bigger concern than the weather was blowing a tire on the hot pavement. The temperature was in the high 80’s and there was steady breeze with predicted severe thunder showers. At the time we launched the boat the sky was blue and only a few clouds on the horizon.

The fishing started off slow. We were pitching to shallow docks and the shaded side of boats but were only able to hook up with pumpkinseed, bluegill, and a few smaller bass. As we fished our way through the maze of boats the wind kept us working to not make a bumper boat course. After a while with minimal results, we decided to make a big move.

The spot we moved to started producing quick. Mostly perch and bluegill but we managed a few decent crappie. We found these fish stacked up under a few secluded boats and docks. At first we were tossing “Live” Baby Shad and the fish were biting. The only problem was many of the fish were small so hook ups were an issue. We made the switch to worms and that was the ticket. We started catching more fish everywhere we went.

We got a call after a bit on the water that the fish were biting back at our original spot. As we started to head back the clouds let loose. Luckily we had the foresight to put our rain gear on and managed to stay mostly dry. We endured rain,hail, frequent lightening, and whitecaps. What a 2 mile trip in a small boat! How did we not see this coming right?

After the clouds parted we were able to focus back on fishing. The bite was decent. Just about every cast yielded fish but they were all bluegill and pumpkinseed. At one point we were vertical jigging and could see a while Lake Champlain sized school of sunfish. Pretty cool sight to see. About this time we got a call from a passerby saying that there was another storm coming that was going to produce a more violent passing than the first. It didn’t take much for us to pack up and head out.

As we rounded the point to the boat launch the skies looked fine so we decided to fish a few more docks before loading up. These docks held a ton of fish. Some nice gills at that. We started off by casting to the docks but at the wind pushed us closer we were able to vertical jig them. The fish were biting at just about every depth in the water column.

While the fish were biting good, the black cloud we saw approaching over the tree line was less than inviting. About the time we turned the final crank onto the winch, the sky let loose. The rain came down so fast that it took about 5 seconds to be soaked head to toe. The ride home took a bit longer than usual as there were downed trees and visibility was very low for about half of the trip. I guess we got lucky even thought the fishing wasn’t great!

7-19-12 – Vertical Jigging Perch In The Wind

With motor issues before we left the house, we were wondering if we would ever get out fishing. Once the problem was fixed, we made the trek and got on the water a bit after 5 pm. The lake was rough because of wind and numerous boaters but we weren’t pushed off because we wanted some jumbo perch!

We started where the fish were biting on the last trip. We didn’t get any bites until the southern most extent of our drift. The fish had moved a bit more shallow but were still in about 20 feet of water. Each consecutive drift had the same results. We randomly picked up fish in deep water but consistently pulled them when we hit the break. Because of the wind and waves, each drift was slightly different than the last. We had one line that produced more than others so we tried to hold as true to its course without having to use the motor.

The set up was simple. We were running 1/4 ounce jig heads tipped with a piece of a crawler. We used orange, chartreuse, and pink jigs. The fish didn’t seem to have a preference to one color over another as all rods fired about the same amount of times. With a strong wind we were forced to run all of our rods off of the same side of the boat but fortunately we only got tangled once but it was with three lines!

Check out our Jumbo Perch Fishing In Vermont video we made with clips from the trip.

This is what the side of the boat looked like for most of the trip. We call it the “bearclaw”.

Here’s a few of the fish we caught

First double of the day.  We had two but didn’t take a picture of the second.

Final take

When the lake started to calm down we made a move towards shore to start casting for bass, bluegill, and pumpkinseed. The bass weren’t very hungry as we only caught one around two pounds but the bluegill were very aggressive. We were catching them on plastics, worms, and Heddon Baby Torpedos.

This is what I would call a survivor bluegill!

7-18-12 – Sight Fishing Pumpkinseed

If it weren’t for the constant action throughout the evening, the duration of our trip would have cut short due to the cramped space in the tiny row boat. We were fishing a small pond and for sake of gas mileage and amount of daylight left, the roof top boat made the most economical sense.

We began by casting “Live” Baby Shad by Lake Fork Trophy Lures about three feet under a bobber for perch and crappie. Perch were the only takers other than a 12 inch loner crappie as we fished a 7-15 foot range of water. With the air temps finally on a cooling trend after a week long heat wave, we decided to move shallow to see if the fish pattern had changed.

When we got in closer to the lily pads, we started to get bites but were not able to hook up. We switched to fishing a small section of a crawler or a small piece of a LBS so just the tip of the hook was covered. We began pulling pumpkinseed one after another. As the wind pushed us in, we got right on top of the school and our drift stopped when we floated atop the weed bed. Staying in one spot, we began vertically jigging them sight fishing. Check out the Sight Fishing Pumpkinseed video on our YouTube page.

As the novelty of catching pumpkinseed wore off, we moved back out towards deeper water to see if the crappie had put their feed bags on for the evening bite. One of the first casts, bobby pulled a nice 11 inch fish which was quickly released to see if others were to follow. Unfortunately, the remainder of the night was filled with only perch.

Lake Fork Trophy Lures Fluorotex Panfish Line

After working with the “Live” Baby Shad by Lake Fork Trophy Lures with great success, we got a chance to try out some of their new Fluorotex Panfish Line. The description given to us of the line is as follows: “Lake Fork Trophy Lures’ new “Fluorotex” panfish line is an amazingly limp (extremely low memory), but strong, fishing line which is fluorocarbon coated. It has excellent knot strength and comes in both clear and fluorescent orange in 6, 8, and 10 lb. strengths.The spools have 700 yards of line and are retail priced at $9.99 each for the 6 lb. and 8 lb. test spools and $10.99 each for the 10 lb. test spools.”

For our needs, we requested the 6 pound test in orange. Neither of us had ever fished with an orange line with red being the closest. We were interested to see how it compared to the usual clear lines we fish. With panfish being our main target, 6 pound line might be considered overkill to many but at times we get off of our panfish kick and chase walleye and bass so being versatile is necessary.

Line diameter is an important dimension to what fishing line we select. Many of the jigs we fish have very small eyes and at times the line can not be threaded through. The line diameter of the 6 lb. line is 0.010″ (0.26mm). The other two options are as follows: 8 lb. – 0.11″ (0.29mm) and 10 lb. – 0.012″ (0.32mm). It is on par with many competitors products.

Detecting bites for many is done visually so having a line has good contrast against many different water coloration is important. The line was tested on several bodies of water as well as some streams. The line stood out best on some of the tannin diluted inland ponds and high elevation streams that we fish for bass and native brook trout. While fishing Southern Lake Champlain, the line proved to be highly visible against the stained waters that are frequent. The only time this line was hard to see was on the Connecticut River when pollen was pooling up as the colors are very similar. Being able to see a small tick in the line makes the orange color very useful in a variety of conditions.

Using this line, we have landed some toothy critters as well as some heavy fish. When you look at the teeth on pickerel and walleye, you would think that they would slice right through any line that isn’t braid. The ability of the line to function properly and resiliently even under the highly stressed areas near the terminal tackle makes it a great option for any angler who wishes to stay light and avoid braid.

Check out some of the videos we have put together using this line (as well as the “Live” Baby Shad) to see how well it has served us. If you want a line that is highly visible, limp, and durable. Don’t take our word for it, give some Fluototex a shot!

This is a list of videos where the line can be seen:

And a list where the “Live” Baby Shad can be seen:

Here are a few shots of some fish that were caught using Lake Fork Trophy Lures Products

7-13-12 – Jumbo Perch

After running a few errands when I got out of work I was on the water around 4:30 pm. It’s been hot for about a week now and today was no exception. With temps in the high 80’s, little to no wind, and a good deal of humidity, being on the water was about the only thing I’ve been looking forward to all day!

Fishing for perch that are constantly roaming the deep water basins of a lake can be frustrating if you aren’t versatile. This lake in particular is known to be very hit or miss. I choose my spots on this lake by one of two ways. My first option is to attack deep water areas with structure that I have previously located. Secondly, is to hit spots where they frequent as they roam. Today, I began with the later option. I found this spot by trolling deep diving crank baits a few years ago.

I was using two presentations.The first was a white Lake Fork Trophy Lures “Live” Baby Shad on a pink – 1/4 ounce jig head made by 2 Jerk Baits. The second was just a jig head with a piece of crawler. At times I would put a tiny section of worm on the tip of the jig with the LBS. I have found this method to be effective at times when the fish are tight lipped. I also used a spoon for a portion of the day but was not getting the action I was with plastics and worms.

I was able to catch a bunch of perch but only by deadsticking. Usually, I would vigorously work the bottom six feet of the water column for these perch. Today they wanted the presentation still and suspended between six inches to a foot off the bottom. Check out the video on our YouTube page from the day!

7-11-12 – Shoreline Bowfin

Having never caught a bowfin, I jumped at the opportunity to go out for an evening. We left work shortly after 4 and made the trip up to the islands on Lake Champlain. After making a pit stop for a drink and worms, we arrived at our first location to find the parking lot vacant and the fish were rising.

Having never fished the area (or species), I relied on my fishing partners experience in the area for what to do. The setup was simple. I ran a size 2 treble hook attached to a steel leader under a large round bobber. The depth the bobber was set at depended on how tall and thick the weed growth was. On average we ran about two feet of line under the bobber. I was using my medium action 7′ St Croix Premier Series rod strung with 20 pound Power Pro Braided Line. I chose this rod mainly because of the line on the reel but also because it has a bit more backbone than the rest of my bass and panfish rods. If I continue to fish for bowfin, I will look into a slightly heavier rod as well as a other hook options.

The plan was to cast out some chicken fat to see if it perked any interest but fish for perch as back up. After a while of unsuccessful waiting, the fish continued to rise around us and frustration grew. We kept trying for perch as it is one of the few legal baitfish that doesn’t need to be bought in the state. It wasn’t an issue catching fish but perch eluded us for much of the time. The rockbass and pumpkinseed were plenty hungry! Once we caught a perch, it was on. I hooked up within the first minute!

On the ride up, I was told that when a bowfin takes the bait, the first strike will pull the bobber under quickly but it will pop right back up. After the initial hit it will pause then start running. The x-factor in fishing for bowfin (at least for us) was knowing how long to wait before setting the hook. Being that wasn’t going to eat the fish and preferred not to risk killing it just to better my odds for a hook up, I set the hook somewhat quick. Many times this method didn’t work out so well. I would let the fish run a good 20 yards before setting it but I was still only able to land one fish. I was able to get two other fish right to shore before they turned and spit the hook as I was trying tucker them out. I think next time I would try a circle hook or even an Eagle Claw Alaskan Hooks to see if my hook up ratio would improve.

The fish I did land was 28″ and between 7.5 – 8 pounds. As I was standing on the shore with a perch head out, I looked down and had the fish I ended up catching slowing cruising by only a few feet away! I reeled in my line, pitched it a few feet over its head and it was on. My bobber popped, paused, then took off. I set the hook and a few minutes later as we were landing my fish my buddy’s bobber took off. We ended up catching our only two bowfin of the night at the same time.

We could see the fish rising the majority of the time we were there but they slowed just before sunset. When we caught our fish it was right around 7 pm and the hour that followed would have been very successful if the hook sets we made had held. We had at least dozen decent opportunities over the course of about 3 hours as well as a few bites that were hit and runs.The fish that I hooked but wasn’t able to land were all battled for a few seconds before spitting the hook. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong!

I’m looking forward to going again soon!

It was a nice evening of fishing!

7-8-12 – Vertical Walleye On The Connecticut River

What can I say, walleye are addicting! After a decent day yesterday, I decided to head back as the water conditions appeared to be more ideal for my style of fishing. We were on the water right around 6:30 am and the fish were on quick. We pulled 20 fish in five hours with the majority of them being between and above the slot. It was a good day of catching walleye as long as you aren’t trying to catch fish for dinner! It’s nice to see that the quality is there for future trips but where were all the eaters!

If you have missed the description of our tactics and how we locate fish, check out “Tips on Fishing The Connecticut River For Walleye” on our YouTube page or “Walleye In Wood Part II” in a recent post. Once again white was the color of the day and crawlers were the ticket as a bait.

7-7-12 – River Walleye And Deep Water Perch

We started the day on the Connecticut River bright and early chasing walleye. Using the same tactics as the past few trips, we were able to hook up with quite a few fish. If you have missed the description of our tactics and how we locate fish check out “Tips on Fishing The Connecticut River For Walleye” on our YouTube page or “Walleye In Wood Part II” in a recent post. The hot color for the day was white. We tried several other colors but had very limited success.

The majority of the fish we caught today were in the slot (16-18″). We ended up taking 3 fish home for dinner. One was over the slot and two were under. With the conditions of the river we endured the results were fair. The water was not high but it was stained and they were drawing water through the dam at a faster rate than ideal. Between the two of us, we caught a dozen fish and we got to watch our buddy pull in a 27.5″ 7 pound 11 ounce hog!

I also caught this nice sized fallfish!

After the walleye got a bit shy of our jigs, we packed up and headed to a pond on the way home to search out roaming perch. Using the same tactics described in “Deep Water Perch“, we found the fish quick. Without the fish graph, our trip would have been much less successful! We caught about 15 hogs before heading home early in the afternoon to clean them. We caught them on just about every bait we tried but the Charlie Brewer Crappie Slider was the ticket. Darker colors worked best.

We ended up taking home a few good eater sized fish for supper!

7-6-12 – Vertical Jigging Crappie On Champlain

With a constant breeze from the north, my buddy Jamie (Fish Hound Outdoors) and I worked hard to fish structure for crappie. With temps predicted to climb into the mid 80’s, we got on the water early enough to get a few meals before we would be forced to retreat into the shade. To start the day off, we fished in a half and half mix of sun and clouds with a steady 10+ mph wind.

To combat the breeze, we positioned the boat perpendicular with the wind and fished upwind of the structure. Because the boat blocked the wind at first, the fishing was easy. Bites were easily detected and fish were plentiful as they were unpressured for a few days. After catching a few fish they became scarce. We started pitching our baits to both sides of the structure making sure not to go over the top so we didn’t snag. When those fish seemed to shut down we let out some line on the anchor rope and drifted downwind of the structure. We pulled some slabs in the slack water of the structure while battling the wind. I also pulled a few off the top of the structure suspending only a few feet below the stained water from recent rains.

Being so close to the structure, we spent the majority of the morning either dropping the jigs straight down or casting it only a few feet which gave the baits a good natural action as they swam through the water column to where the crappies were holding. With the bite being steady all morning I never switched colors or bait type. I used a pearl “Live” Baby Shad by Lake Fork Trophy Lures.

Throughout the morning we kept a few fish trying to release all the bigger and smaller fish. Most fish we kept were between 10-11 inches.

We got off  the lake for lunch and to clean fish so they didn’t spoil in the heat of the day. I think we got our meals!

After cleaning fish and lunch we met up with our buddy Mike for the afternoon bite. We tried trolling around for a bit with no luck. We found a lot of floating vegetation throughout the main lake causing lots of problems with our longlines and downriggers. After an hour of abuse from the conditions we called it quits and headed for the water chestnut mats to fish the hotels.

The wind was an issue as we cruised through prime flatfish habitat. We skipped over lots of pockets because of the wind only catching a few bluegill, pickerel, bass, and a lonely crappie.

After we fished through the hotels with minimal success we headed back out to the broad lake to fish more structure. The fishing picked up as the evening went on. We found that fish were more picky with their location on structure. Your presentation had to be perfect or else you wouldn’t get a bite. The wind had us taking longer casts at the bases of structure but the fish had some quality size.

Check out these clips on our YouTube Page!

The last fish of the night was a decent black pulled from the shady side of a deep water dock.