Aug 31, 2011

The Wheel Don't Lie

When she pulls out the honey-do list, I have her spin the Whatodo wheel instead.

Sorry hun, the wheel don't lie.

Aug 30, 2011

Where the Creek and River Converge

Where the creek and river converge, a train runs overhead about every fifteen minutes and the beach nearby is sandy.

I looked like a liar with a red face. I promised Mark good fishing and instead delivered a tough bite. Last time I fished here, the flows were more favorable existent and the fish were willing. Sunday we had to walk all the way to the mouth of the creek before we found a sizable hole of semi-stagnant water. In that hole I found a green sunfish.

A mile and a half is a long way to trudge through muck for a chance to catch small greenies. Luckily, I brought Mark along and he was able to trick a couple largemouth. My prowess as a guide isn't absolutely terrible.

The walk back was easier, having seen the creek once we opted for the firm bank and more direct route. No less treacherous though - poison ivy was thick.

Aug 29, 2011

I Live With a Ten Pound Bass

The parentals recently returned from Alaska with my first two pieces of fishing related bric-a-brac.

Wednesday I unleash part two...

Aug 26, 2011

Your Heart as Well as Your Body

Happy Friday, I'm publishing this one earlier than normal cause it's about time for bed.

Here's a band that's been around for a little while but just recently pinged my radar....perhaps a bit too olde-timey-Appalachian for some, but haters gonna hate.

Mumford & Sons showed up one day recently on my Pandora station (btw, Pandora on a tablet is the best thing ever.) Now they won't get off the air and that is OK with me.

This next one is kinda slow for a minute or so, be patient.

Now something a little different, for you uncultured types.

Aug 23, 2011

Boba Fett on the Right

Chub number one
When I awoke Sunday I had never caught a creek chub. By lunch time I had caught more chub than certain other (unnamed) species.

First casts, only a few feet into our trip
My guide for the day was Mark, he keeps the blog Intro to the Outdoors. Go check it out and follow his progress in learning all about fishing and hunting. He is also publicly tracking his weight loss and has made impressive progress with all three ventures. Encouragement and advise is welcome.

I found a bass too
The goal for the day was to puddle hop down a creek he discovered a few weeks ago, get some exercise and maybe catch some fish. Last time he went upstream, this time we went down.

Before we even started, I should have yelled "stop." Right out of the gate Mark was tromping through poison ivy...and now I'm hoping he didn't get too close. His right calf features a Boba Fett tattoo, it would look bad with blisters.

Mark rolled this one around in the mud
Even without any new rain to speak of, the creek still flowed.....slowly. We found ourselves fishing anything that looked deeper than six inches, those were the holes. Jubilee Creek should be renamed Chub Creek. I lost track around fifteen, and that was in the first hole.  I'm willing to admit I caught at least twenty-five of the feisty buggers.

Still fighting
The lure of choice today was the classically simple 1/16th ounce white grub. If you can't catch fish with one of those, you shouldn't be fishing. Bass, bluegill, crappie, walleye and apparently's irresistible. Bait size is important and catching numbers means throwing the smallest one you can.

Note to self: don't drink the water
With that many chubs there are bound to be bass near by. The holes are shallow and spread out, but I think some exploration ought to reveal deeper water and pay dirt. Until then chubs can put a good bend in ultralight rods.

Aug 19, 2011

Every Time You Close Your Eyes

Four weeks ago, I quickly created and queued four Friday night posts. Each post featured some music I like, but not everyone was a fan. Somewhere along the line, a group of yahoos starting posting crap on Fridays....said yahoos shall be left nameless.

Here we are on week five. My quiver is emptied. Do I join the shenanigans or stick with the plan? Hows about a little bit of both? I'll start with music and end with the crap.

Last year Arcade Fire plopped on the populous to mixed results. Most weren't prepared to have their mind blow while watching the Grammies. It wasn't Bieber or Britney...what was that? I had already heard and adjusted to the fire and watched with amusement reactions from folks I knew and didn't. Sure they're kinda strange, but watch this with open ears and mind...close your eyes (if you must) and maybe you'll find something special.

I love how they finish in a different mode than starting, along they way your ears are tickled on so many levels.

And on a completely unrelated note, here is something to distract the haters....The Rodenator Pro

Aug 15, 2011

Two Pound Blues or Head Meet Wall

The goals are up there, staring at us both - I'd be a failure if I didn't finish them off. We are now 7/12ths of the way through the year and my chance to complete everything is diminishing by the minute.

And I'm banging my head against a wall

Specifically, the goal about catching a three pound bass on four pound line is giving me nightmares. That is the one goal I expected no trouble with, yet I've logged countless hours with light tackle in hand....nothing but a dozen (or so) two pounders to show for the effort. Only in my current state would I be disappointed in fish like this:

Mark my words. Next year there will be no least none you will know. It is not the failure that scares me, the need to put a strike through each one is ruining the only "me time" I get.

On second thought, maybe I will have one goal:

Aug 12, 2011

A Smoking Gun Holding Ape

Friday night again..damn it, why don't we ever have anything to do?

I first heard Rilo Kiley on Austin City Limits. Digging a little deeper revealed a band I could really get into. With few exceptions I am not a fan of female vocalists. Jenny Lewis is the first exception, in fact this band has a few songs with male vocals - those songs suck. Check out their biggest hit:

See below for more...

Aug 11, 2011

Add Attitude Like That

One of the most beautiful fish is the smallmouth bass. Every time I catch one, I wish there was enough time to study it...learn all it's secrets. I'd like to talk to them and see what they see.

So many varieties and it's easy to miss the details - most don't look close enough. Sometimes they're kinda green, others are pure bronze. They always have bars on their cheeks, but body stripes come and go. Eye colors vary from black to red to yellow. If given the chance, please take a close look. What I love best is their fight, even the little twelve incher above can do this to my 8wt....

Add attitude like that, the smallmouth's beauty is unmatched.

Aug 10, 2011

Outdoor Blogging and Outdoor Blogging Theory

As I prepare to turn the page onto my fourth year of actually caring about Lunker Hunt, it's time to reflect. Is this a good blog? Does this blog accomplish what I think it should? Does this blog provide value to the world? No, no and no. I'm never happy with it and always looking to improve. Perhaps you're the same way and would like a few pointers. Here is what I far....

10 habits of highly effective outdoor bloggers:

To start this discussion I need to lay down a couple claims. I claim that all bloggers are egomaniacs. We all want as many people as possible to read what we say, and we want some feedback that you read it. If that doesn't sound like you, think about it for a moment. When you accept you egotistical ways feel free to proceed.

1) Interaction is the crutch of the entire operation, without it our ego won't inflate and good blogs die. Respond to comments from your readers, it encourages more comments.

2) See number one? It's a two way street. Visit other blogs and feed their egos, they'll reciprocate.

3) Use pictures and video. Eyes glaze over when presented a screen full of text. Bonus points for shoehorning a beautiful woman into your topic. Sorry ladies, but sex sells...especially when it's the first picture in a post.

4) Understand and accept this is a niche market, you're not going to be the next Perez Hilton.

5) Because you are not Perez Hilton, every reader is sacred. Focus on converting each one to a repeat customer. Maybe this means an entire post written for the express purpose of attracting one particular person.

6) Outdoorsy type people don't read blogs on the weekend. They do, however, read blogs while they should be working. So save that post until Monday (prior to 11:00am eastern).

7) Be accessible. Provide a feed and option for e-mail subscription. Get a Twitter, Facebook and Google+ account. Everyone interacts with the web uniquely, so you have to cater to everyone.

8) Proof read your posts damn it! Preferably prior to publishing them. It doesn't have to be perfect, but it should be readable.

9) Save your breath. Few people read long posts. Make your point and be done with it, even if you have to leave something out.

Aug 9, 2011

They Never Saw Me Coming

When stalking skittish fish in low clear water, it is important to wear drab clothing. Camouflage is better, perhaps you have something with a floral pattern?


Starting today Lunker Hunt is on autopilot for a few days. Early this morning, I hit the road for another "business adventure." In my absence, please direct all complaints to my complaint department, Ivan will be happy to service you.

Aug 8, 2011

Beak or Bill, Either Way it's Odd

I spied a fish, perhaps a small bass, cruising a deep hole known to hold fish. It's the kind of hole where the water darkens enough to hide the bottom and you know better than to attempt a crossing. These are the places fish congregate as the flow drops to August's trickle. My Clouser minnow cratered the surface, it was a perfect forty footer to the strike zone with a proper amount of splash. Two strips later and my fish spooked into the dark. An instant was all it took to feel disappointment, in the same instant I felt a tug from the beast that scared my target.

This section of river has always held a fair population of gar, most of them small and only a foot long. The recent addition of Asian carp may explain the recent explosion of larger gar. Usually it's an annoyance; you can hear them surfacing for air all around, and the uninitiated get excited about nonexistent topwater bass action. Nine times out of ten, when a gar takes a fly the fight is over quickly because the jay is bony and the teeth sharp. But sometimes it all goes right and you're left claiming victory over a dinosaur.

Gar fossils are known to exist from the Cretaceous period onward. Things haven't changed much in the last 65 million years and to behold such a fish leaves the angler with an odd combination of awe and disgust, perhaps with a tinge of the heeby-jeebies. Bowfin, Sturgeon and Gar like to get together on Saturdays to reminisce about the strange they nailed during the Paleogene period.

For a torpedo shaped fish, the fight is impressive and their strength is ridiculous - seemingly without end. Even on shore, the air breathing fish can wrestle with the best of them. Keeping a firm grip was my original strategy, but the proper handling of gar was one of the very first fishing lessons I learned. The larger specimens are stronger than me and their bodies are covered beak to tail with very sharp scales. These very scales were once used by Native Americans as arrow heads and one wiggle thrash will leave your hands bloodied. While still in college, I was bitten by a gar and received a small wound that would not heal. Two years later, I got boozed up dulled the pain and cut into the festering scar on my hand. After removing a gar tooth, my wound healed in a week.

While leather gloves may save your hands, the best strategy is to not handle the fish at all. Saturday wasn't my first rodeo, so I dragged the dinosaur onto the beach and removed the hook. Luckily it was poorly hooked and this fish avoided additional leverage provided by boot. After posing for a few pictures, the fish had enough strength to flop itself across ten feet of beach and swim away.

There are plenty of Asian carp babies to eat and I wish him the best. He owes me a couple flies though.

Aug 5, 2011

Don't Go Revenging In My Name

Happy Friday you loser. While the guys are out sniffing glitter, you're stuck here with me and these two beards:

This past summer, I was hanging out with the parental units while Summer Camp was rocking within earshot. It's seriously cool to hang out on their deck and listen to music all weekend long. The biggest name of 2011 may have been Hewey Lewis, but The Avett Brothers were the ones I loved most...this video is as fun to watch as hear:

This next one was, by far, the most fun to listen to live....

Here is some more, soak it up...

Ok, that's too sappy Friday posts in a row. Next week it'll be something more manly, if I can figure out exactly what that means.

Aug 4, 2011

Michigan Knows Not What She Misses

We here in Illinois have a big problem with Asian Carp. It's one of those "Oh holy hell, what the pluck are we gonna do?" kind of problem. Luckily we also know how to make the most of a difficult situation. If When Asian Carp make it to your state, please don't be a stick in the mud about's only got about 99% downside.

Do you have some free time this weekend? If so, head to Bath, IL for the seventh annual Redneck Fishing Tournament. There is one rule: "Fishing poles not allowed, nets and baseball bats are OK." Might as well have a beer or two while you're at it.

Some pretty big media names (ESPN, National Geographic, CBS, Time Magazine, etc) have been present in past years, so put on a silly costume to maximize your chances of fame. Did I mention there is a prize for best costume? Bonus points awarded for gratuitous vuvuzela.

Now for the grand conclusion to the fun guys video, during which the boat sinks and things get serious.

This weekend, watch your nightly news and think of the lucky people of Illinois. We've been polishing this turd for years and it still looks like shit.


Aug 3, 2011

And I'm So Proud

My dad is not a serious fisherman. In fact, I dare say he's no fisherman at all. Imagine my surprise (with a tinge of pride) when I saw this in my inbox yesterday...

I read Alaska is chuck full of Humpies right about now. Dad and Uncle Gene have more cell phone pictures and I'll see if I can get my mitts on 'em when they get home next week. So far, this is all they're giving up.

If I can learn the name of the saint who put up with those two, I'll let you know that too.