Tuesday, August 28, 2012

5 Lure Challenge

I was checking in on my buddy Rich Lindgren's website when I noticed he was asked to partake in the challenge, the 5 Lure Challenge. Basically, if you could only fish with 5 lures for the rest of your life, which 5 would it be? Easy enough right? Not really. I started thinking about it and honestly started to get a bit wigged out once I started thinking about it. I'm used to having basically whatever I need for any day no matter the circumstances, I got it covered. The thought of throwing it all out and working with just 5 straight freaks me out but hey I'm still a gamer so let's play.

1. I'd easily have to agree with Rich on this one and opt for a 1/2 oz. jig. I'd prefer tungsten if it's available and would go for a hand wrapped green pumpkin/brown skirt. I do use a lot of 3/8 oz. but I can always slow down the rate of fall by adding a larger chunk but really have no way to speed up the fall for deeper situations. So a 1/2 oz. is the deal.

 2. Now's where she starts getting tough....but with careful consideration I'd probably go with a 3/8 oz. Outkast Swim Jig. A reaction bite is always a thing and a swim jig can be thrown anywhere at anytime. It's a power finesse presentation that can be thrown in wide open water or in the nastiest trash imaginable. Like any jig, it gets bit and gets bit hard by good uns. When it comes to color I'd probably ask for the Brown/Blue, a custom Outkast color that gets bit no matter the water clarity and no matter the forage. I'd ride it out with a single tail grub.

3. A staple for me, the Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver. I'd texas rig it with a Lazer Tungsten Weight and a Trokar 4/0 Magworm Hook. Color is well thought out and I'd opt for the Xmas Pumpkin, equally as deadly in clear water as it is in stained. The Beaver simply produces bites and is an excellent bait choice when probing relatively shallow water but should not be overlooked in deep water as it is equally as deadly on a flip shot rig.

4. The Biovex Deep Runner, easily my favorite deep water crankbait but one I choose carefully because of how perfectly balanced it is and how exact the bill placement is this bait rolls over every snag which means I can get away with fishing it in shallow areas as well. A great choice when fishing any of the rocky lakes throughout Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas and absolutely ideal for fishing ledges throughout the entire Tennessee River System. Color is an easy pick, as long as it's blueback chartreuse.

5. For my final choice I find myself staring at my computer screen in an absolute daze. uhhh............... My brain says I need a topwater. Should I go with a spook? Perhaps a buzzbait? Or wait, how about a popper? What if there's vegetation around, it has to be a frog....right? Well in the end it looks like if the bite is on top then I'm in trouble, because even though every single bass angler better have a topwater I think I'm going with a Zoom Baby Brush Hog, a green pumpkin one to be exact. I need to have a carolina rig in my boat and nothing catches 'em better then a Baby Brush Hog! I just better hope I can wheel my swim jig fast just under the surface when the bass start schooling on topwaters!

When it comes to an honorable mention though I'm going to go with a single blade black buzzbait. A hog slayer of epic proportions!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Recipe's Off the Water

Walleye Ceviche

This is one of my all time favorite eats and one that can come very easily to those that live up here in Minnesota and catch walleyes on the regular. Ceviche is a popular dish that originates from coastal regions throughout Mexico and Central and South America. Ceviche is when you take fish or seafood and use citrus juice from lemons or limes to actually cook the fish, then spice it with various chili peppers.

I've taken this traditional form of cooking and gave it a Minnesota flare by using our state game fish as the main ingredient. If you don't have wallleye you can use other fish native to wherever you live such as stripers, catfish, crappies or saltwater fish like shrimp, halibut and grouper. Ceviche is also a very healthy dish packed with not only healthy protein but also consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, mostly grown in my back yard.

Great for watching football games or enjoying a non traditional breakfast while watching Bassmasters on Saturday mornings.

Here's what you'll need:

1 Walleye Filet (skinned and boned)
1 Jalapeno
1 Tomato
1 Onion
1 Avacado
Juice of 4 Limes
5+ Dried Chili de Arbol Peppers
Tortilla Chips

Preparation is simple.

Dice raw walleye filet into very small pieces and throw into a mixing bowl.
Dice jalapeno and onion and mix with the walleye and add juice of 4 limes.
Cover and let sit in refrigerator for 3 hours, stir around every hour or so.
Once the 3 hours is up, the fish should have changed in color and actually cooked from the citrus.

Next, add diced fresh tomato and cilantro to ceviche mix. Take a handful of dried chili de arbol peppers or less or more, depending on your spice level and throw on a dry skillet and heat. This is to open up the oils of the dried chili's. Once warmed, put into old coffee grinder and grind into a powder. Add ground chili's to ceviche mix and place back into refrigerator for another hour.

After an hour, take out ceviche, add diced avacado and a pinch of salt to taste and serve with your favorite tortilla chips as well as a couple ice cold beers and enjoy!

Intro to "Recipe's Off the Water"

Anyone who is reading my blog knows I'm an obsessed bass angler that spends almost every single waken hour out on the water. The rare times I'm not on the water, I enjoy spending time at home in the kitchen with my wife Bri, cooking up some of our favorite dishes and enjoying some of the finer things nature provides to us all.

"Recipe's Off the Water" is the newest addition to my JD Fishing Blog and one I've been brainstorming for some time. The point of this segment is to share some of our other hobbies such as growing fresh produce and fiery hot peppers and combining it with my passion for fishing and hunting. I love nature and everything about it and really take great pride in using nature's gifts in the kitchen to make flavorable and healthy dishes!

I eat a lot of fish and vegetables and am a spicy food addict! Though I always catch and release when bass fishing, I on occasion will run into a couple nice eating sized walleyes or other game fish and find it very rewarding to bring home and cook up. I also love grilling and smoking meats and will make a point to use game meats like deer and elk venison as my family and friends are avid hunters.

My wife is my inspiration behind "Recipe's Off the Water" as she is enjoying great success with her own website, The Fisherman's Widow. Her "Trials and Tribulations of a Fisherman's Widow" themed website pokes fun at the obvious but it's her content that is producing a very impressive following.

One of Bri and I's biggest goals for the future is to buy land in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee and not just to be able to fish every renown bass lake on the Tennessee River but to also be able to live more off the land and grow all our own fruits and vegetables as well as raise our own chickens and sheep. All part of the big dream that continues to drive me to accomplish my lifetime goals of holding a Bassmaster Classic Trophy high over my head and enjoying life's finer things with my family.

Thanks for reading and I hope to bring you more fantastic reads well into the future! If you have any outdoors-like recipes that are a must try, please send them over! If I like them, I'll post them!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Denny's Super 30

Lake Minnetonka, Mound, MN

Today was the fourth stop of the Denny's Super 30 on Lake Minnetonka. As I've stated before, I cherish the Denny's Minnetonka tournaments. I get as excited for this event as I do any other tournament all year as the lake is local and the competition is fierce. We're talking about some of the best fisherman in the state making up the 50 teams and all playing in their back yard on what Bassmaster just recently ranked as the 7th best bass fishing lake in the world.

Despite preparing for my move south and a hectic past few months, I was able to get on the water a few days before the tournament. Mostly half days between meetings and guide trips but it was enough to agree that the dock talk was spot on. The recent cold snap after having months of record breaking warmth was making for a tough bite. The lake was changing and though I usually have tried and true areas to fish, I was finding that even those areas weren't holding up. My buddy and team tournament partner Paul Coffey jumped in my boat for the weekend, we pulled the brim of our hats down, dropped the trolling motor and just went fishing.

We'd go hours without much more than a pike or two and then all of a sudden run into a load a bass, waypoint the area and move on. It was a very mundane approach to fishing but was proving to be effective none the less. By the end of the first day we could connect the dots and start making sense of everything so that the next day we could simply start where we had left off. In the end we felt like we had found some key areas that if we milked them effectively we could put ourselves in position. We also knew we needed to keep an open mind because the weather was starting to get warmer by the hour and we knew the bass could fall back into their normal summer haunts at any time and wanted to be sure we let the lake tell us what was going on.

Tournament morning couldn't have started better as we managed to pull together a nice limit rather quickly. Being that we had a comfortable limit in the box early we decided to venture out and see if we could bang a few good ones of a few off our traditional summer spots. This was the decision of the day as we started to upgrade on every spot we stopped at and by 9:30 we had roughly 26 pounds in the livewell.

Knowing we were sitting in good position, we decided to start hitting all the big fish haunts we have ever known in the past. We managed to catch fish all day but none that helped us. In fact it wasn't until the last minute that I jumped up on rock retaining wall right next to the weigh in and caught a 2.8 pound bass to cull out our smallest 2.6 pound bass. Nothing like catching a last minute bass on a Outkast Pro Staff Jig to help the cause!

In the end, we finished with our 8 fish limit totaling 26.9 pounds good enough for a 7th place finish and a much needed paycheck. Though we were super happy with the result the competitor in us was a little ego bruised. Not everyday can you start out with a bag like that and still have six hours to try to upgrade. Really we only needed one five pounder or a couple more three and a half's and we would have had the win at a tournament I've wanted so bad for the past few years. On the other hand we fished strong, even more important we fished smart all day and the results show at the scales. Hat's off to the boys that did it better, it's never an easy feat.

Up next I'm hoping to swing this momentum for the Bassmaster Open down on Fort Gibson Lake, in Northeastern Oklahoma. The last and final stop of the 2012 Bassmaster Central Opens! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Bachelor Party Mille Lacs Style!

What a great weekend! My Good friend and fishing buddy Corey Brant and a bunch of fellow fishing friends all got together and headed up to Mille Lacs to partake in Corey's bachelor party. Honestly, I can't think of any better bachelor party then sticking toads before heading to a cabin to rock out.

Lake Mille Lacs is easily one of the top fishing lakes in the world let alone Minnesota. Known as a champion walleye and muskie lake, the lake is finally getting the reputation as one of the premier bass lakes in the country with plenty of quality bass both smallmouth and largemouth.

Of course being as competitive as we all are you just know that we had to make it a competition, which of course brings out our best. In the end, it was a day to remember and one I know I'm going to miss once I move south. We all caught plenty a good fish to make it all the better, Here's some pictures from our day on the water.

Corey, congratulations buddy!

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