Friday, March 31, 2006

LaSalle 3/29/06

Mike here with your fishing report for Lake LaSalle,Il.

Well for numbers we did great. For size we struck out. Jamie and I caught over 50 fish of all types: 10"catfish, 16" largemouth, 13" catfish, 12" smallmouth, 16" catfish, 11" yellow bass, 15" catfish, 16" drum and of course 12" CATFISH! No big blue's...

The fiddler cats or as Jamie and I call them, SAND CATS were everywhere the temps were 65° and higher, hitting everything. It was really a challenge to not catch a catfish. They'd chase a crank right to the boat like a smallie.

We were originally targeting the big Blue cats with shad but the wierd thing about that was after about 5 minutes after you put a fresh shad on, they wouldn't bite it. In fact you could throw a gulp minnow on and catch cats all day and they outfished a fresh shad by 50:1. Our shad must smell different than LaSalle shad I guess. The biggest cat we got was only 18" and that is stretching it. We hoped to catch a drum and cut that up and put it on a circle hook but by the time we got a drum we'd had enough of the catfish.

The yellow bass we got were huge, pushing almost 11 inches or more and they were really fun to catch. Couldn't find the stripers though I did hook up on one in school of busting shad but only for about 15 seconds of screaming drag.

Decided to take a break from casting and ended up doing really well (Actually I kicked Jamies butt) trolling the wind blown rocks with my new favorite crank the Reef Runner - Rip Shad in chrome.This is the same lure I did so well with at Powerton with Pete a month back.

It runs about 9' to '11' down and if you trolled it right along the base of the rocks it would get slammed by a mixed bag of catfish, largemouth, catfish, smallmouth, catfish, yellow bass, catfish, drum and of course 12" CATFISH!

I lost 3 or 4 big fish because I apparently had my drag too tight and according to Jamie was ripping the hooks right out of their mouth. I thought maybe my hooks were just dull. So I swung my Rip Shad™ to Jamie and asked him to give the hooks a sharpen while I kept the boat off the rocks and he missed a nice fish immediately after putting his rod in the holder. Sorry about that but thanks for that drag tip Jamie. I wish you would have told me sooner. I think it was intentional!

12 straight hours on the water in my boat was fun too (Thanks SteveJ) Even got Pete R on board at about 3:30 for the last 2.5 hours.

Pete of course kicked our butts with the Zip as we expected. Jamie switched over to topwater towards the end of the day and picked up several basss one pushing 17". A very interesting body of water for sure. Not much to look at but figuring out the temps is the key from what we hear/found. From our results we have a lot to learn.

Only took a couple of photos . Thanks to PeteR and Mike A for the tips and tricks.

Weather was cloudy and 46 with relatively strong winds.

I still have to reach my goal of a big striper too. Next time.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

How to shoot a fish.

There's been alot of talk lately about the world record muskie. I've already expressed my opinions on the subject ( see radio shows from last week) and we at have determined thru our expert opinions that the photos are angled in such a way as to make the fish look bigger than it actually the fact the Louie Spray was like 5'10" and not the 6'3" that was reported. (Shoe lifts, I'm guessin')
But I digress.

Anyway, there's a RIGHT way and a WRONG(totally ridiculous) way of taking a fishing picture.
Let's look at the RIGHT way.
Here's a picture of our friend Chad Cain with a nice 30 pound muskie. The scale of the photo is correct. Chad is getting low ( we encourage this. ) but at the same time keeping himself on the same plane as the fish. He has it right up against him and it shows us that it is indeed a no B.S. shot of a nice muskie.

* a note on kneeling. It's a good idea to get down like Chad is doing. You can see the same thing with some of our pictures in previous posts here at Fish look better when everything around them is compacted BUT still on the same level plane as the subject.* let's look at the WRONG way to take a picture.
Oh. My. God.
How big would you say this fish is? 9 feet? 10? 11? Ok..truth be told that's probably a mid 40's fish. Not a bad muskie...but most certainly NOT the ridiculously huge freshwater beluga whale that is featured in this shot.
Now..we can appreciate a fishing magazine trying to impress, but seriously..a shot like this just begs the question "over compensating?"

A great picture of a big fish is going to look huge anyway after gets done with it. There really is no need to do a "over compensation" shot, especially if you are having it done life size.

Please check out Mike's photo tips on the site to get the most out of your photography. Click here for Mike's tips and other FAQ's

Monday, March 27, 2006

3/26/06 50 degrees. Go!.

this is an audio post - click to play

Friday, March 24, 2006

Muskie prints

Today is the week of our winter sale!! To get any fishing picture on the wall at our SALE price, please send us an email today to reserve your job or call us. Sale ends 3/31/2006.

Also..we're running a limited number of special prints. This one will be available for a very short time so drop us an email ( ) and order it today!
This one will be printed direct on foamboard with 2" blocks mounted on the back to make it hang off the wall ala a gallery style piece of artwork. Final size is 18" x 24"
Price: $40 each.
This is a limited run. Please reserve your print today.

Get ready!!

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These are photos that you might remember from April of '05. Catches like these are just around the corner! Stay tuned to to find out when action like this is happening.
As a side note, most of these fish were caught on the Husky Jerk in a gold/black pattern as described on the customfish radio entry from yesterday.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Oh...and another thing!!

this is an audio post - click to play

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Take two.

this is an audio post - click to play

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Customfish Radio is on the air!

this is an audio post - click to play

GO AWAY!!! you! This cold weather. The water temps went back down to the low 40's again in the past two weeks and pushed everything back to...well, I don't know where but they sure as hell aren't where they were two weeks ago!
I've tried a couple of spots in recent days but have nothing to show for my efforts. I'll let you know when they are back on the bite again.

Stay tuned to and keep an eye out for Customfish Radio! We're going to start up audio radio show posts here soon! Think Howard Stern
This is about to get very interesting.
And yes, we will be accepting sponsorships while providing live read commercials.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


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Mike and I split up from Ken and Tom to go hike some new ground and find new waters to fish. We stuck with the methods outlined in the last report. Twitching minnow imitating hardbaits and throwing rattle baits ( see previous entry)
Mike caught 5 bass. I got one. Ken and Tom found a few sunfish here and there.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Going against the grain.

Sometimes you have to do the exact opposite of what logic dictates.
I guess you could call this period of time "ice out" even though there really wasn't much ice this year to speak of. The lakes and ponds get covered with a skim of ice every other night which melts to open water by mid day. So basically the water has been in this "ice out" stage for a month or more, never really getting much above 36 degrees at any time.
So..what do you do to catch fish when it's this cold? Most anglers would say to use finesse methods, soft plastics creeping along ever so slowly, dead sticking for minutes at a time or sitting there with an ice cold bucket of ice cold minnows to handle on an ice cold day. Screw that!!
Rob Kolar of Kolar Bait and Tackle in Carol Stream,IL gets full credit for giving me this next tip: When the water is ice cold, throw a rattling bait and reel it in as fast as you can!
What?? Huh?? Did he just say reel it in as fast as you can??
Yes. The faster and crazier the better. The biggest largemouth I ever caught in my life was caught on this method along with probably 3 or 4 others in my top 10 largemouth and smallmouth bass.'s where I added my own little twist to things. I combined Rob's tip with's very own Mike Kauchak's method of spring bass fishing. Mike uses a Rapala Husky Jerk and retrieves it as if he's bringing in a 12" jerkbait for muskies...3 HUGE jerks followed by a short pause, repeat. Man, he gets some monster bass doing that. So, what I now do with a rattling bait is cast/let it sink a couple feet/ rip it upwards 3 times violently ( Starting at the 9:00 position) /let it die again and flutter a few feet/ repeat.
Now, mind you, you probably wont get numbers of fish ( but then again you might...) but you'll definitely get the biggest most aggresive fish by using this extremely reactionary tactic.
Here's the baits I like to throw. Rattlin' Rapalas in either a natural shad color or a bluegill color. ( I HATE neon colored firetiger super duper glow colored baits..they catch fishermen in stores. Have you ever seen a parrot colored minnow??)

And here's the results from yesterdays 1 hour sundown trip with Ken Schumacher. We treid soft plastics for 45 minutes before we switched baits.
*Note: These fish were all caught in a window of about 10 minutes. 3 more were missed. Timing IS everything.*

Click here to see what to do with these fish!!