Tag Archives: Clam

3-3-15 – Growing The Sport

As I add more years on to my age, I grow more and more concerned about getting our youth involved. A few of my students approached me about advising a Hunting/fishing club and without a doubt I accepted. I’ve had the chance to take them on the ice few times this year and as February break was almost over I took two of them to what I thought was going to be a hot bite and a positive time on the ice for these youngsters.

We made our way to the lake with a few extra Vexilars for the boys to use. Dylan and I had fished this spot the previous week and it was a hot bluegill bite. I thought it was going to be an easy day for the boys giving them a little confidence by putting some fish in their buckets. I drilled the area out and got the boys all set up and ready to jig. It didn’t take long for the two of them to start a baseball game, there was a great deal of swinging and missing going on as I fished beside them.  After a few tips on presentation and ready the electronic in shallow weeds they were both hooking up a bit more. We fished for a few hours and I soon realized that the fish just weren’t here. I cut another grid of holes and went searching. I was able to locate some fish but they had slid to the weed edge in 9 feet of water and the weeds were right to the ice. This wouldn’t be a problem for me and Dylan but knowing that I had two young fishermen with me that had no experience reading electronics in thick weeds I decided it would be best if I took them to another body of water to target deep water suspending crappie.

We packed up our gear and made the short trip to a nearby setback. This particular setback was well known for a decent crappie bite early ice and I was hoping there might still be a few fish we could talk into biting. The conditions were poor, we had about 16 inches of heavy snow to deal with. I sent the boys out to clear a few spots in the channel for me to drill about 20 holes. It didn’t take long for one of them to get hooked up. As a matter of fact I don’t think I had even got my rod out yet. The first fish to come up was a decent little crappie, which to these boys was like pulling up a piece of gold. We had a short spurt where the fish would bite but it seemed like you’d only catch fish out of a hole that was fished for the first time, these fish are the fussiest crappie I have ever met. Both boys were able to catch a few fish, one even landing a nice pike. That’s what this sport is all about.  Teaching and passing on what we have learned to the generations will only support a positive experience for those to come.

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2-25-15 – It Was Good While It Lasted

The trip for the day would be a quick but early one.  My plan was to arrive to the lake and have my holes drilled by 6am in an effort to capitalize on and early morning perch bite. The perch that swim in this particular body of water are typically that of the larger, “jumbo” variety and the best best has always been the first hour of light.  I made it to my coordinates a little after 6 and talked briefly to a fellow fishermen as I cut about 8 holes. The bite hadn’t started yet according to the voice coming from the shanty so I was relieved that I hadn’t missed it.

I fished my first hole without a mark on the Vexilar and then moved to the second. As soon as the transducer settled in the hole, I could see there were a few stacked beneath me. The perch in this lake are notorious for non-stop movement when they’re feeding. If you’re able to catch more than 3 out of a hole you’ve done good. The best method we’ve used is the leap frog method the chase the school, but i’m without a fishing partner so that wouldn’t work. This year, for some reason the fish seemed to be staying put, meaning they were in the exact same holes for a better part of a month. Because of this, a nice area had been all plowed out for decent fishing conditions. I quickly caught 8 nice jumbo perch and was now on my third hole as were a few old timers. The guys that plowed the area out a few days prior pulled up and asked me how the fishing was. I replied with “they’re just starting to turn on now”. Well once that was said they decided they needed to make some more room for themselves to fish so they began plowing more of the area out. The fish were gone once that plow hit the ice.

I fished through the rest of my holes without marking any decent sized fish and picked up my auger to venture away from the plowed area.  The fish had vacated the area completely.  It’s amazing how noise on the ice can impact fish in 35 feet of water, but if I had a plow blade being dropped in my house i’d probably leave too!  Oh well, it was good while it lasted.

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1-30-15 Light Em’ Up With The Hydroglow

After a successful jigging new waters, we decided to test out the night time crappie bite. As many of your probably already know crappie can often be great night time feeders. Most fishermen choose to fish at night using some sort of illumination, anything from a lantern to a car headlight. For a few years now we have been fishing for crappie and trout at night use the Hydroglow Fishing Light. The Hydro Glow illuminates by using Green LED’s which are less abrasive to the fish and their feeding attitude.

We cut three holes, put the light in the middle hole and shacked up. As you can see in the pictures below the light really illuminates the ice and the water underneath it. It didn’t take long for the light to begin attracting bait-fish and crappie. Dylan hooked into a crappie within the first 10 minutes of the light being deployed. Night fishing requires a lot of patience. The fish typically are cruising at night searching out an easy meal. The longer you can stay in a hole with fish nearby the better chance you will have of putting a few topside. We fished them the same as we would during the day. Small jigs tipped with Maki Plastics and spikes.

The area we were fishing didn’t have much for weeds or any other kind of structure. When you would mark a fish on the bottom they were usually pretty easy to entice them into biting. We were able to ice a decent number of crappie with a few bluegill and perch mixed in a matter of a few hours. Not a bad first trip for a new spot.

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1-11-15 – Back To Learning

After a semi successful first trip chasing walleye, we decided to take another stab at it. We decided to fish the exact same body of water, same reef, same everything. This time however we were able to get set up a little sooner in the day since we had updated our GPS location on our Navionics app from the previous trip.

Our 21 lines were set and baited by the time the sun peeked over the hills. Our expectations were high and we felt confident the action would be fast right off the bat. Well, we were wrong for the most part. Just after getting set up our first flag fired and we were able to land a nice fat walleye just under the legal length. We were off to a great start, however, from there we went a few hours without getting another flag and quickly became a little discouraged.

One thing that we’ve learned over the years of trying new spots and new techniques is not give up. Being discouraged is tough to handle but can be a good thing to experience as long as you use it to figure out what you might be doing wrong. Something had to be different so the conversation was started as to why the fish weren’t acting the same as they did the week before. We soon came to two major differences.

Walleye, and their feeding habits can be severely altered by the moon phase. This trip was right between full moons while the week before we were directly following a full moon. Walleye love to feed during a full moon, a “no moon”, and for the three days or so on either side. We were in limbo with this trip, well after the full moon and enough before the “no moon” phase that the fish weren’t super active. The fish still bit but not as consistent as the week prior.

Another important detail that we determined was a factor was the pressure. Now I know when you hear pressure you automatically think barometric pressure. We’re talking about fishing pressure, and not even so much the number of people on the ice but the amount of noise top side really seemed to impact these fish. The first trip we had flags go up and barely spool out any line. Often times this is a sign that we surely had a walleye. Makes sense now. On the first trip, we were the only people fishing, noise was minimal, fish were relaxed and feeding.  The second trip consisted of 14 plus fishermen in the area we were fishing and two of the groups were using ATV’s to check their lines. What tipped us off to this was this time when a flagged tripped the spool was burning. The fish were spooky from the noise, they were still feeding but they didn’t sit under the hole to eat the bait. They were on the run once they got the bait.

Walleye are very sensitive to noise and the phase of the moon! Remember that next time you target them and hopefully you’ll be able to put a few more on the ice.

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2-22-14 – Final Leg Of VSHTS

The final leg of the VSHTS was today at Laphams Bay on southern Lake Champlain.  Today was about the points championship and Dylan had a slight lead over the rest of the field. He was feeling the pressure for sure.  Reports of fish in the area were encouraging for the field of 38. You could find fish throughout the bay scattered but the fishermen seemed to focus in on two key areas.   It was sure to be a shootout in close quarters.

Walking conditions were difficult for us short legged people at the start as we made our way out to our fishing spots.  The plan for the day was to set up shop in our Clam shacks and see what we could do sight fishing.  The water to start was fairly clear, and fishing 5 feet of water or less seemed to be the go to method for most anglers.  Bobby’s first drop of the day produced a short black crappie but that was pretty much it.

Dylan made a major move to an area he had pre-fished the day before while Bobby stayed put and cut a few more holes working back towards the launch.  With Dylan’s move he also changed his game plan for the most part.  He decided to fish outside of his shack in hopes of fishing a few more holes searching out the aggressive fish.  By 10 am Dylan had connected on a decent limit and was now looking to upgrade, Bobby on the other had was struggling again yet to catch a keeper crappie.  By the end of the day however Bobby was able to put two decent crappie, a perch and three gills in his bucket for the weigh in.  From what we had heard it was going to be close at the weigh in in terms of the points.  Close was an understatement, Dylan was able to hold onto his lead and edge out first place by three one hundredths of an pound.  This solidified Dylan’s points chanpionship for the 2014 VSHTS! Way to go Dylan.  Bobby was able to have a decent season as he came in 8th place in total points for the four events.  Can’t wait for next season.

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1-3-14 – Looking For The Crappie

I had a few hours to kill one Saturday so I decided to go check on the crappies in a pond that has had our numbers lately.  The weather was cold with a high of the day reaching 9 above but with the wind chill it was hovering right around zero.  I have had one good day in search of crappies on this pond, which was last winter right around this time of the year so my hopes were up.

I made my way out to a point and drilled out my grid of holes working from 8 feet of water all the way out to 20.  I knew that the fish were going to be mostly dormant but I was hoping by covering a lot of water I would be able to find them balled up somewhere.  The pond has very little shoreline contour and the spot I chose was one of the only points that had a sharp break with weeds on the inside falling off into an inside turn of the deep basin.  It’s didn’t take long to mark some fish on my FLX-28 Vexilar released this year.

I started deep and began picking up mostly Yellow Perch.  I know that the crappie run with the pumkinseed in this pond so once I found them I was hoping I would find the crappie.  Usually the target depth is 18 feet but all I was find in the deeper water was perch.  I cut a new grid of holes along the shoreline headed towards a natural pinch point working along the edge of the weed bed.  The closer I got to the pinch point the more pumkinseeds I was catching, I knew that I had to be getting close.  I drilled and drilled and fished using my T7 custom rod and my Maki Plastics for four hours and was never able to find the crappie.  Sometimes you get them and sometimes you don’t, every venture out is still a learning experience.

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11-1-2013 – Between Seasons

As summer comes to an end, our fishing trips become more limited in the Northeast.  We spend much of our time in the woods doing a little hunting and preparing for the upcoming ice season.  Right now is a great time to go through your tackle, charge electronics, and set your shanty up making sure the mice didn’t have an extra meal over the summer. We thought we would take a few minutes to highlight some new products for this season.

On that note, there are a ton of new products out from Clam Outdoors this year that we would like to introduce you to.  First is the new one man portable fish traps; the “Legend Thermal”.  “The “Legend Thermal” has all an angler will need and want in a one person shelter. Full thermal top, lightweight design, rod storage and deluxe seat system to name a few features. Genz himself put his stamp of approval making this the best one person shelter on the market hands down. I think we know which one he will be fishing out of next ice season!”  A dependable portable shelter has been a major factor in our ability to stay on good bites and determine new patterns.

Set Up Size L 92″ x W 43″
Pack Size L 43″ x W 35″ x H 14″
Center Height 67″
Weight 70 Lbs.
Fishable Area 16 Sq Ft

THE ICEARMOR LIFT™ Cold weather suit is more than just a cold weather suit. Yes, it certainly will protect you from the cold, wind and ice. Yes, it is 100% waterproof and windproof. But More than this, the Icearmor lift suit includes an internal “lift” lining that provides added buoyancy versus our edge suit, giving the angler an extra “lift” when it’s needed. Yielding cutting edge design, look and function, the bibs and parka have the same great features as the original Icearmor blue/black edge™ suit. Everything you’ve come to expect from Icearmor —from strategically placed pockets to ballistic nylon-covered padded knees—this suit will surely fit the outerwear expectations of today’s ice angler.

732468_L1Clam Outdoors has also entered the market with a new line of tungsten jigs this year.   70% denser and 30% heavier than lead,  this makes for small jigs that fish heavy, punch through slush, sink fast, show up on electronics, and give you sensational feel as you pound ‘em. It’s like the difference between ‘glass and graphite. Instantly, you’re better at bite detection.

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We have fished tungsten jigs for a number of years now and there is a noticeable difference in both presentation and fishability.  They make for a more effective presentation using small micro plastics like the “Maki” from Maki Plastics,  (also found at Clam Outdoors) and the heavier weight allows you to get your jig back to the fish after a catch.

Another product that we are really excited about is the new flasher that Vexilar has came out with.  This season Vexilar has introduced the FLX 28 to the market and it is sure to make a huge scene.

UP28PV_Softpack_400pxThe features found in the FLX-28 read like the wish list of avid ice anglers starting with digital depth, Auto Range, Two zoom zones, battery status, FIVE color palettes to select from for maximum visibility, five foot depth range adjustments starting at 10 feet, Maximum range of 300, Day and Night display brightness settings, Low power options for fishing in super shallow water, a unique Weed Mode for better performance while fishing in weeds.

Specifications

  • Frequency: 200 kHz
  • Power output: 400 watts peak-to-peak (50 watts RMS)
  • Display resolution: 525 segments
  • Current draw: 200 ma at 12V DC
  • Dimensions: 4.4″H x 6″W x 2.5″D
  • Depth Range: Maximum 300 feet
  • Weight: 1.1 Lb.