Jan 31, 2009

Powerton Cats

As previously alluded to, Dave and I hit up Powerton Lake today. We came there with expectations of hybrid stripers, catfish and redear being the back up. Good thing we had a back up plan. It's not that the stripers weren't cooperating, they just were not cooperating with us. We watched angler after angler real in stripers and take home heavy creels. Note to self, next time I go striper fishing I'll do some research first to figure how. Well, like I said we had a couple back up plans.

Catfish turned out to be the ticket for us. I ended up with seven cats about the size of those pictured below. Dave caught one cat, and one shad. I think this shad stagging thing is going to catch on. Judging based on what I saw other anglers doing, we were a couple top notch catfishermen. The seven I caught happened in a period of about 30 minutes, then I got bored with it and tried to find the stripers. Hoss's Hawg Bait definately gets my (unpaid) endorsement, I was catching fish at an astonishing rate compared to others on the bank.

I caught my second catfish on my second cast.

Action shot!

Dave's cat

Guess I'll have to wait to catch my first temperate bass. We need to give them a chance to fatten up anyway.

Jan 30, 2009

While visions of temperate bass danced in his head

We've had a pretty cold winter so far here in Illinois. A couple weeks ago my daily walk from car to cubicle turned into a tramatic event when air temps were in the neighborhood of -20 and wind chills were closer to -40. Needless to say it's been a while since I wet a line and I've got the itch. I got it bad.

The only wet water around here right now is Powerton Lake, a power plant cooling lake a few miles south of Pekin. The word on the street is Powerton was stocked with hybrid stripers this past summer. This is good news, a couple weeks ago I had heard white bass in the 8-10 inch class were being caught in good numbers this winter. I've never caught any temperate bass so I saw an opportunity; Dave and I planned a trip tomorrow to try our luck on the white bass and red ear, also a recent addition. Then today we found out they aren't white bass at all, well technically speaking they are a little...ok, maybe half. The DNR stocked 87,000 hybrid stripers and 20 stripers this past summer. My personal theory is this was done to try and control the asian carp that have started to show up in Powerton surveys.

I spent some time tonight listening to Willy and getting stuff ready. I set up my bait caster with 30# Spiderwire, a stink bait rig and a pyramid weight because Powerton also holds some trophy cats. Hoss's Hawg bait is made locally and I plan on giving it a shot. I respooled my best open spinner with 8# mono in hopes of hooking into one or two hybrids. And my 8wt fly rod is ready to go for hybrids and/or redear.

Getting to the warm water outlet on Powerton involves a 3/4 mile walk, and in the past I've walked long distances with my tackle box at the expense of my shoulders. It's either a backpack this time or I find a way to reduce the load....so I moved all my tackle into the backpack I keep for just such emergencies. The backpack and vest are going to be especially handy because we're going to turn the long hike into a short bike ride.

Sunday you can come back and read an exciting story of us catching hybrid stripers or you can read this post again. If the day sucks, I'll hide my shame by not posting results and hoping you forget this ever happened.

Sleeping is going to be a challenge tonight, it's been too long.

Jan 26, 2009

The great gar harvest of 03

I recently promised another trip in the way back machine and am finally following through on my threat...

Picture this if you can. Two young men, at home from college for summer break, treking out on their own to learn more about a new found sport: fishing. The two men have spent a year, maybe two, working to perfect their craft. On this particular day they're hitting a little known strip pit in Lacon, IL where they have had good luck in the past. It's a lake with light pressure, contains a wide variety of species because it's connected to the Illinois River and most importantly, its gravel banks make shore fishing a snap. Well you guessed it, one of these young men was me. The other was my high school buddy Scott who has since married, moved away, is now expecting a baby and has left me and fishing to his personal history book (yes that jab was to get you out fishing more, resistance is futile).

The year was 2003 and one sunny June morning we didn't know it but we were about to embark on the most exciting period of fishing I have ever experienced. We stopped at the local Casey's and bought some beer. After digging a hole in the gravel to hold the beer on ice, we started hurling crank baits into the deep lake. We had discovered a successful pattern for finding sauger, and that was the plan this day. I hit first and almost immediately, reeling in a 36" monster. It was no sauger and I say monster not only because of it's size, but it was also unlike any fish we'd seen before.

We later identified the specimen as a long nose gar and in this first encounter we learned a valuable lesson; wear gloves while handling gar. A gar has a terrifying mouth full of teeth, but the teeth are easy enough to avoid. It is the razor sharp scales that pose the real problem. While holding a gar it will flop - guaranteed. They are so stinking strong you can't stop them and when you try, you get torn up. We ultimately resorted to putting a shoe on the fish and yanking the lure from it's mouth using pliers; the mouth is so bony the lure wasn't normally hooked well. From that first fish I got a scar that festered for two years. After two years I decided to perform some exploratory surgery on the scar, I dug a scale out of my left hand using fingernail clippers. What followed the surgery was a quick recovery and I now have only this tale to share my story.

What also followed that first fish was hour after hour of pure unadulterated glee. We caught so many gar it was unbelievable. We had fished this particular body of water for a year or two and never seen a gar. Yet on this day we couldn't help catch anything but. If we cast more than four times without reeling one in, we were thinking about a new lure or a new spot. Ultimately I discovered a Tigerfire pattern on 4-5" narrow bodied crankbaits seemed to work best. We fished all day and caught lots of fish, finally calling it quits as the sun went down.

The next day we came back camera in hand, and our friend Kerr in tow. The second day produced just as many fish and just as much fun. Gar after gar after gar. I've heard stories of fishing like this, but if it wasn't for my experience I wouldn't believe it. Here are some pictures from day two, we didn't get a picture of all of them but this gives you an idea.

Back when I still pulled the "hold the fish closer to the camera" trick.

Note the gloves...we were smart by this point.

Look how hard Scott is trying to hold this fish. They're strong.

And here you'll find Kerr demonstrating his best gar containment technique.

I'm no G, I wore my hat sideways to keep the setting sun out of my eyes.

See how sunny it was?

Sometime before the sun rose on the third day, the sun set on gar fishing. The third outing proved worthless. We didn't catch a single gar (though the sauger were still around) and sadly we admitted to ourselves it was over. Spawning season was through and our fun had swum out into the channel to fatten up for next year. We left totally bummed, but we had together experienced the best fishing of our lives. All while catching what many consider to be a junk fish. These fish weren't junk to us and even though I have a few years more experience under my belt, I'd love to be back there catching the hell out of those gar. I'd take an hour like that over any day catching bass.

Sadly (this gets quite sad now) we returned the next year (we kept a mental note of the day and made a pact to return) to find our fishing hole ruined. The lake was owned by Archer Daniels Midland and during the off season they had posted "no fishing" signs in front of a landscape that broke our hearts. They had torn down all the trees leaving a lake surrounded by dirt piles. The lake was full of barges and we drove on by in silence. I've never been back to see what it looks like now. Now that six years have passed, I'm curious....

Scott or Kerr, do you have any other pictures from this era? These are all I can find. I think I remember a CD containing them but can't find it; see if you can and let me know.

I like all my bar beds to be single

If you haven't already been, I suggest a visit to SingleBarbed. What a wonderful, intelligent, light-hearted and generally well written fishing blog. I found it while browsing the fishing directory over at BlogCatalog (or, in Dave speak, the Blogalog) and became a fan instantly.

The title of this post is my attempt at a tribute to the style you'll see when you click that link.

Edit: This is not a promotion. Its just that I really enjoy reading SingleBarbed and want to share with you the things I enjoy.

Jan 25, 2009

Finally Painted the Plugs

Remember those plugs I shaped with a Dremel? If you don't, I mentioned shaping two poppers and two divers in this post. Well I've finally got them on hooks and painted.

Now, for your viewing pleasure I give you my art.

Spring can't get here soon enough. I've tied enough flies now they're starting to become a nuisance. I need to get on the water and lose some of them before they take over our dining room.

Jan 22, 2009

Hit your mark, out fish your buddy

Have you ever been fishing with a friend struggled, or even blanked, while watching your partner have immense success? I’ve seen this scenario play out time after time. For example, last year I went fishing with two friends. One got blanked while I and the other combined for 20 or so bass in a few hours. All three of us were throwing similar patterns and we were fishing the same water out of the same boat. It doesn’t make much sense, but I’ve put a lot of thought into why this keeps happening to good people. It has a little to do with luck, and a little to do with your position on the boat. However the key is often skill. I’m not talking about casting skill or retrieve skill. I’m talking about having spent enough time on the water to think like a fish. An experienced bass angler knows where the fish are. For example, knowing that bass go deeper on bluebird sky days can come in handy from time to time.

While the guy on the bow gets first crack at fish, an experienced angler on the stern can capitalize on the bowman’s misses and also have good or better day. The key for everyone on the boat is to hit their mark first. When you pull up to a spot, experience will tell you (sometimes it screams) the single most likely spot to hold a fish. Concentrate on that spot first, then on to the second, third, etc. A new angler will pull into a spot and throw his lure around, wildly searching while you’re more focused. You might not always find a fish on your first cast and he may, but over the course of the day I think you’ll have the advantage. Unfortunately the only way you can improve your skills at this is to either observe your partner’s casts or to try and read up on the subject in a book or websites such as the fine example you’re now reading.

Now on to the good stuff... I’ve taken the liberty to snag some pictures from the net to get my point across and try and transfer some knowledge. Sorry, but I felt it was important to provide examples I’ve never actually fished to better simulate real situations you’ll be in. These pictures were not chosen at random, I chose them to represent some very specific conditions you're bound to find. In each picture I’ve circled my first cast location and provided some commentary on how I picked it. Everyone will have opinions on this, but this is what works well for me.

I'm starting with a nice easy one. It's a picture of a spill way with a log dam floating against it. First off this has a spill way, I love spill ways. You'll always find bass holding tight to the concrete walls so normally I'd pick a corner and start working along the wall. However in this case the situation changes because of the logs. The logs provide cover while the walls provide structure, so you'll likely find bass hanging out where the two meet. After throwing to my circle, move to the corners and finish by paint those walls with little bits of Senko rubber.

The second one is also easy, but only if you know what to look for. First thing to notice is all the rip rap lining the shore. This is always good structure for smallies. Add in the transition between rip rap and sand and you have a definite place to place your first cast. After starting at the transition, fish your way on up the rip rap until you get to the other transition. Also notice the slope of the shore is pretty "shallow." The ground will continue this same slope underwater for a ways, so keep in mind your depth. If you don't find fish against the shore, move a little deeper.

Now we're getting a little more tricky. At first glance you see lots of cover, and a nice submerged log. Most anglers will fish the log first, but I'd take it one step further: I'd cast to the island first. The convergence of two kinds of structure (tree and island) plus the cover (weeds) this is the best spot. However, I don't want to discount fishing along the tree then poking through the weeds, I just want you to beat your buddy to the good spot.

Now we're really getting tricky. First thing to notice is all the structure, most people can't get past that and I agree there are all kinds of places to hold fish here. However, also notice that you're fishing a river/stream, also notice what appears to be a channel on the left. I'd first focus on the structure next to the channel. Bass are ambush predators, so they can sit there and wait for food to just float on by.

Finally I'm posting a good example of one of the hardest things to read but at the same time the most common. You can replace the lilly pads with any sort of weed and my approach would be the same. Most people see all the grass and become overwelmed, not knowing where to go first. However in the above example there are a few clues to help. First notice there is a convergence of two kinds of cover (lilly pads and shrubs). Thats a good start, now for the hard part. Vegetation usually grows in specific depth ranges, so the area infront of my circle that has no weeds indicates there is probably a underwater cove where the water is deeper than the lilly pads can grow in. My circle is where the structure (cove) intersects the two cover types.

WARNING: Use this strategy at your own risk. If you always out fish your fishing buddy, you might soon find them to be just your buddy – no fishing. I’ve never intentionally used this strategy to out fish a novice friend. However, I do use it sparingly (perhaps subconsciously) because who wants to get blanked? First you have to consider your buddy; is he/she the type to get upset, or will they be excited about witnessing your success? I’ve also found myself laying off for another reason: your friend can’t learn how to be successful if he/she doesn’t catch fish; this is the trial-by-fire method. As a counter point, some people will learn better by watching what you do, in that case you both win. The one situation you can always just have at it is when you’re fishing with an equally experienced angler and you’re knee deep in a bragging rights competition, but I have only fished with two such people. Now that I have revealed this strategy, we'll see if anyone but those two will still come fishing with me.

Jan 20, 2009

Shuffling things up a bit

If you're a loyal reader, and most of you are aren't, you'll notice they layout has changed a bit on this blog. If this is your first visit, then you'll notice nothing at all. These changes are aimed and boosting my readership, but no reason to fret, I'm open to changing things more if you don't like it. Just make your voice heard via that comment button below.

It all started last night with a long session of research into how to add a second sidebar. The session was frustrating and did not appear to be worth the effort until late last night when I had a breakthrough. I'm hoping a second side bar doesn't clutter things up more than they need to be, because I hate cluttered sites.

Once I had the new side bar, I needed something to fill it. For starters I moved the archive up there on the right. I admit this is a blatant attempt to convince people to stick around a little more than they do, but I think this should have little impact on your inclination to enjoy this blog. My statistics service indicates people don't spend much time on my blog and I'd like to change that. Hopefully by putting the older posts up front and center (well...a little to the right), I'll be able to interest you in reading on.

The other major change is that, also on the right, I've added a fishing news box. Over the years I've put together a nice sturdy base of sites that feature fishing news and my hope is to share the most interesting stories with you. They'll probably end up being mostly the type of light-hearted stories I enjoy reading on my lunch break and now you can too. Honestly, I'm not sure how this one will pan out. If I find I'm lacking the dedication to keep it updated, I'll pull it and jedi-mind-trick you into thinking it never happened.

Jan 16, 2009

How to tie Clifs Crawdad bass fly

Update: All things change with time. Click here to see this fly in it's latest evolution - with a tying video. The basic construction remains the same with a few slight variations.

I've had a request from Jonn Streamstalker Graham for a recipe to tie Clif's Crawdad, and much to my surprise I've recently had a reader who navigated to my blog by Googling "Clifs Crawdad." One can only imagine how someone arrived at the point in their life that they were Googling that particular arrangement of letters, and their ensuing surprise to find a useful link here at Lunker Hunt. Anyway....

To appease the masses I tied another tonight, this time taking pictures along the way and including some improvements I thought of while tying the first. It took me about an hour to whip this one out, but I was taking notes and snapping pictures so you can do it faster I'm sure. I also came up with some new ideas for the next that I've included below. So as I relax in my living room with a frosty adult beverage and soothed by the sweet rhythmic sounds of Camera Obscura's album Underachievers Please Try Harder we'll dive together into a step-by-step instruction of how to tie Clif's Crawdad bass fly. This bass fly is an attempt by me to imitate a crawdad (or crayfish). Don't tell anyone, but it is weighted to sink so I suppose you could probably cast this on regular spinning gear.

1) Put a rattle on a 3/0 offset worm hook as shown below, a straight shank is required but don't use a bait holder. This style hook is readily available because it is often used with soft plastics. Start your thread behind the rattle. I like a 210 denier thread for this particular fly, but that can be up to you. You'll definitely need to pick a thread color to match the color you plan for the fly's body, in my case black.

2) Tie in a length (2-3") of monofilament line to act as the weed guard. Wrap it down the curve of the hook as shown below. In my case, I happen to have some 20lb test laying around; I wouldn't any lighter than this, but anything heavier should work fine.

3) Tie in some chenille near the start of the bend and wrap it 3 times tightly to make a ball. You'll use this ball later to make the antennae stand up. Again, I planned a black body so I've used black chenille.

Protip: I discovered the first time that you'll end up using a lot of chenille so I suggest you leave it on the spool to avoid having to tie in another piece. Tying in another piece later is going to be tough because of the rattle.

4) Flip the hook over or rotate your vise, this will put the fly in the position that replicates how it should sit on the lake/river bottom. This is important because you want the antennae to stick up into the water and not down into the mud. Fold a rubber feeler in half and tie it on the hook. Make it snug against the chenille ball and wrap the thread up to the ball to make the feelers stand up. You'll want to position the feelers so they stick out on either side of the hook, but still point upward. I used a orange/black striped feeler to go with this particular color scheme.

5) Using a figure eight pattern, tie on lead barbell eyes (like the Clouser Minnow) behind the rattle then wrap your thread forward to the position shown below, securing the rattle to the hook along the way. The first time I tied this, I positioned the weight closer to the hook eyelet and used the small size barbell eyes. This time I've moved the weight toward the bend to try and get a better weight distribution.

Protip: In this fly I upped the eyes to the medium size but I think this was a mistake because they are so large it's difficult to wrap the chenille over them. So stick with the weight position I show below, but use a small set of barbell eyes.

6) Take a rabbit strip and remove the hair from about 6 inches of the center of it. I used scissors to cut off the hair, then rubbed the scissors' edge against the skin like a razor to pull off the fine stuff. I'm using orange and black rabbit strip. An alternative would be to cut the strip in half and shave ~3 inches from each. This would allow you to make sure the two strips lay in the fly with the same "grain direction" so the hair lays in the same direction on both strips.

7) Fold the strip in half and tie to the hook just in front of the rattle. Or, if you opted to cut your strip in half, tye both strips side by side in the position shown.

8) Run the strips down the sides of the fly and wrap with thread. Make sure to do a couple extra loops on each side of the barbell eyes to help secure them. Wrap the thread back to the eyelet side. You want the strips to be positioned on opposite sides of the hook.

9) Flip your hook back over and start wrapping the chenille forward toward the thread. Make sure to wrap the chenille tightly to secure the antennae and rabbit strips against the chenille ball you made previously. Also you'll find yourself making a few extra wraps in front of the weight as shown below. This helps keep the body of the fly straight and uniform.

10) Continue wrapping the chenille forward to the thread, when you get to the end of the rattle you need to transition it back to the hook. I find it helps to do a couple loops over the chenille (like you're tying it off). Otherwise the chenille will keep slipping off the rattle.

11) Tie off the chenille at the point where the first bend is near the hook eyelet.

12) Cut out a piece of Thin Skin that is about the size of the fly body. I don't think Thin Skin is too commonly used so I also included a picture of the packaging to help you find it at the store. It's a thin plastic material you cut to size, then peel off a backing material and use in the fly.

13) Flip your hook back over and tie the Thin Skin to the side that will end up being the top. Tie in such as way that it looks "articulated" (has humps), then trim off the excess.

14) Remember that mono that you tied in and have been fighting with this whole time? Well it's time to bring that up and through the hook eyelet. Put a couple loose thread loops over the mono as I've demonstrated so well in the picture below. Then slide the mono around so that it is inline with the hook point and you think it will provide some snag resistance.

15) Tie the mono down tightly and cut off the excess. Tie your favorite knot to finish a fly and cut the thread.

16) Now it's time to take the fly dad out of the vise, but you're not done yet. None the less, it's starting to look good, isn't it?

17) Cut the antennae and rabbit strips to length.

Protip: Bass will be reluctant to pick up a crawdad with really large pinchers.

18) Shave some more hair off the strips to make the two even.

19) Dip the whole body in head cement. This will help give it some durability. But don't get crazy because the strips will soak it up and you'll end up harding part of the pinchers, robbing the fly of some action.

20) Hang the fly in your vise with the eyelet down. This orientation will help keep the cement from running "downhill" into the rabbit strips. Let the cement dry over night.

Protip: (not pictured, but well advised): You can judiciously apply a drop or two to the base of the strips then clamp them to the vise in an orientation that will help them "stick out" from the lure once dry. But again, don't get crazy. Once there's too much cement in the strips you can't get it out.

Now get some sleep, you deserve it and your fly will be ready when you wake up. If you can't contain the excitement and don't catch a wink you can refer to your cement instructions for curing time. Now congratulations are in order, you've tied Clif's Crawdad. If you're interested in seeing how the fly behaves under water, I had a video (here) in a previous blog post.

Jan 8, 2009

Clouser Mad Tom Imitators

I tied the following flies tonight. The top two are inspired by (and very close to) Bob Clouser's popular Clouser Mad Tom fly. It is something I originally saw on a pretty cool fly fishing gallery. I added 20lb mono to make them snag resistant. I also made an unintentional mistake by not wrapping the rabbit strip over the eyes before bending the bucktail back. Maybe after I lose these to a wood bass, I'll make them right. Also, because the only 3/0 hooks I have are offset I used those rather than running out and buying some straight shanks. I think that should help keep them upright during a retrieve, but I'll have to wait for open water before I know for sure.

The bottom one is inspired by the Mad Tom but totally different; no name that I know of, maybe I'll come up with something. I started the fly by wrapping the hook with thin foam, then omitted the dumb-bell eye weights. I'm hoping this one floats either at the surface or just below and imitates a dead or struggling mouse. I thought it up after noticing the middle fly kind of resembles a mouse. After much consideration, I decided a mouse wouldn't be hopping across the bottom. So I made this one more buoyant.

Click here to see video instructions of how to tie a Clouser Mad Tom fly.

Efficiency Improvements

As previously mentioned I recently spent 3 hours hand carving a popper. I shaped the four plugs above in about 2 hours total. There are two poppers and two floating divers. I started with a 5/8" hardwood dowel and shaped them with a Dremel. I did most of the shaping with a sanding drum tool and hollowed out the noses of the poppers with a medium sized round cutting tool. I found the course sanding drum was a little too quick to remove material and hard to control. If you're going to try it, make sure to use the fine sanding drum (I don't know the grit count, but there were only two grits available). I finished it off by hand sanding with 120 and 220 grit sand papers.

The epoxy is already drying to hold these to hooks. I don't plan to spend as much time painting these either. I'm think of solid colors with some silver leaf. Maybe some eyes.

Jan 7, 2009

Swimbaits and Deep Water

One of the many hot new products to hit the bass scene is the soft swim bait. There is even a swim version of my beloved Senko available. The editors of In-Fisherman magazine seem to be pretty keen on swim baits. They seem particularly happy with the Berkley Hollow Belly Swimbait (shown above in the Gizzard Shad pattern.) In their January 09 issue there is a five page article on using soft swim baits to catch bass. They cover the wide variety of swim baits on the market as well as weighted hook options one can use. This weekend on the In-Fisherman TV show the swimbaits were pulling in huge walleye from one of those Minnesota lakes that folks like me are lucky to fish once in a lifetime. Their sales pitch has worked on one guy; I'll have to give it a shot in the coming year. Looks like the Berkleys run quite steep in price: ~$10 per 3 pack versus the $7 I give for a dozen Senkos, so if anyone can find some bargains let me know. Otherwise I'll see what sort of knock-offs I can find.

Update: I found Shadalicious Swimbait sell 5 for $8. Thats a little more reasonable and I bought 2 packs. Can't wait to try it out.

Maybe it will help strengthen my weakness: pulling bass out of deep water. This is a skill I've read plenty about and seen TV anglers have success but I just can't seem to figure it out. It is especially important in ice out fishing before the bass come up to the shallows. I can count the number of deep (I'll say deep is below 10 feet) bass I've caught on one hand, so it is one thing I'll focus on this year.

The recent addition of a fish finder has me pretty excited about the deep water possibilities too. I'll be able to scope out the structure much faster than with my usual "drag a jig on the bottom" technique. While it's taken me a couple years to get a good feel for the bottom structure in a particular Banner Marsh lake, I hope to be able to accomplish this in just a few outings on new lakes. If your curious, my fish finder is a Hummingbird 130 Fishin' Buddy. It's mounted on one of those handy poles with the transducer included, so I can pull the whole package off my boat and use it on anyone's. I have not yet used it, so I can't give an sort of review.

Updated on 19 Jan 09: I found Shadalicious Swimbait sell 5 for $8 at my local outdoors store. Thats a little more reasonable and I bought 2 packs: blue gizzard shad and neon ghost patterns. Can't wait to try them out, this hard water can't thaw quick enough. This is not a paid ad, I would just hate to see you waste money.

Jan 5, 2009

Someone get the Louvre on the line

During these long cold months I struggle without regular fishing. This winter I've tried to stay busy, one way to do this is tying flies. I'm happy to report to the faithful Lunker Hunt readers that I've created a fly so beautiful, I've decided I can never use it. I now have to find somewhere safe to keep this thing safe to some day be treasured at the Smithsonian Institute.

I guess I can say it started this fall while fly fishing at local bass hot spot Banner Marsh. I had a couple balsa plugs on hand, but after repeatedly bouncing them off the ground and ripping them through the grass to my rear they were destroyed. I needed something that would last long enough for me to catch a fish.

I'm sure if I had a better back cast, a balsa popper would be no problem. However, until my new skill develops I can either continue to purchase poppers or make heavier-duty ones.

Couple that need with my new fly tying kit and a scrap piece of pine 1x2 and I started in on carving my own. Granted, my attention to detail can seem to most as obsession with the meaningless but I really wanted this to look great so I spent some time.

Hollowing out the nose was really hard and it didn't come out too smooth, but nothing a little sand paper and an extra coat of paint couldn't fix.

Three hours later I had shaped what I think is a pretty good, one inch long piece of wood.

I used epoxy to attach that piece of wood to a simple fly I made with buck tail, silver flash and a #1/0 Eagle Claw Aberdeen hook.

I then painted...

...and painted...

...and painted and lacquered.

After all that, I now have a bass popper that comes with it a total 6 hours of love from yours truly - don't worry it wasn't continuous. Fortunately, along the way, I thought of ways to make simpler, easier plugs. Mostly these new techniques start with a dowel rod and utilize a Dremel for shaping. Of course the next few will be painted much more simpler as well.

I already have the dowel rod purchased and a new cutting tool for my Dremel. I also added a silver leaf paint to my arsenal. I'm thinking I'll make a couple more silver poppers and a couple simple floating divers then wait and see how they work.

Unless someone gives me a good reason (think green), this is the last time I spend 6 hours on a fly.