The Best Walleye Bait For All Seasons

Catching Walleyes

Catching Walleyes is not hard as long as you have the right bait. Now you can use minnows, leaches, nigh-crawlers, ect.. but if you want to limited the different types of baits then the ice Fishing Jigging Rapala is one you want to have. The Jigging Rapala is the best all Season Walleye bait out there!

Jigging Rapala

I like to get through the Morel Mushroom season before fishing for Walleyes & Bluegills, but the temperatures have been so warm this Spring I needed to get out onto the lakes. Now this year has been outstanding so far for Walleyes and as in the past years the Jigging Rapala is my top Walleye bait, then the 200 & 300 series Bandit.

Jigging Rapala In Action

When using the Ice Fishing Jigging Rapala in open water you want to find a sand bar or weed line for your casting and retrieving. Start with the #7 size Rapala and move to a #5 if you are not getting any bites. I have found in some cases the Walleyes prefer the smaller #5 Rapala over the #7.

How To Fillet a Walleye

When you fillet a Walleye you want to make sure you fillet the cheeks of the Walleye also, as these are the best tasting part of the Walleye. Then you want to remove the thin layer of bones in your fillet, these steps are shown in this video.

Best Crappie Bait For 2018

The Best Crappie Bait For 2018 is the Berkley 2” Minnow

The Bluegills are still on the beds spawning, but it’s to windy for a fly rod, so what do you do for action? Well what other than bluegills can provide lots of action during the middle of the day? Crappies! So I rigged a couple of poles up with a Crappie Hook and the Berkley 2” Minnow and headed for one of my favorite late summer Bluegill spots, hoping we might find some Crappies (typically I do not start fishing for Crappies or Bass until July).

Early Crappie Action

It did not take long as my wife tossed her minnow out, before I even had the anchors set, and the bobber sank out of site. She now had our first Crappie of the year and the start of a great Crappie Adventure.

Wind – Bluegills No – Crappies Yes

In this video we went out twice for Crappies since it was to rough for the fly rods. Our first trip we hit the water at 3pm and kept ten 11” Crappies, the next day we hit the water at 1pm, keeping a nice mess of fish.

Best Bluegill Bait For 2018

Best 2018 Spring & Early Summer Bluegill Bait

It’s late May and temperatures have gone from the low 30s to low 90s within two weeks, pushing the Bluegills into the shallows for feeding and spawning.

So I got the fly rods out, put on new leaders (just 6 lb monofilament), waxed the line, and tied on one of our foam spiders we made this past January. See Making your own Dry Spider.

Fly Rods & Bait

During the Spring there is nothing better than a fly rod with a Dry Fly (spider). On these homemade spiders you can catch 50 to 100 bluegills before it falls apart. That’s catching a lot of fish without having to mess with worms or any other type of bait. If you are interested in trying a fly rod then purchase a cheap kit with the fly rod, line and reel and take it out and give it a try. To practice you can watch my videos or just take a spit shot and place it on the end of your leader and practice with it in the backyard.

Bluegill Action

In this video you will see non-stop action as my wife and youngest son try out our new foam spiders. The distance they’re casting the fly-line is 15 to 30 feet, but you can move in closer if needed, it will not push the bluegills off.

Fishing For Shellcrackers – The 2018 Catch

Let’s Get Fishing

It’s the first week of April and we just had a Blue Moon (two full moons in the same month) so the Shellcrackers should be moving in to spawn.

Searching For The Shellcrackers – The Signs Are There

We are in Tavares Florida on a chain of lakes searching for the Bully of Bluegills, which should be spawning. The spawning signs we look for are; a full moon (it just ended), the Gar-Pike spawning (very active), the Gators are very active (yes see video), and water temperature. Unfortunately the water temps were lower than we were hoping for.

How We Started Our Search

We first started by checking out every spot where we have caught Shellcrackers in the past. Next we spent hours moving down the shoreline and dropping our freshwater shrimp, only stopping when we ran into a small school of Copperheads (Bluegills).

Where Are Those Bullies

So why could we not find the Shellcrackers? My guess is the spawning season was pushed back a few days or a week due to an abnormal cool Spring and high water. For this first week of April the water was two feet higher than normal, very murky, and water temps a little lower than we like. Or due to the high water the Shellcrackers found areas to spawn that we could not get to or find.

The Catch – Copperheads

Even though we could not find any Shellcrackers we did have a great time fishing and catching Copperheads. See our video on the catch!

The Bait – Freshwater Shrimp

Our bait again this year was the Freshwater Shrimp. I like this bait for the main reason it’s native to the lake and easy to net. On this trip we caught the following fish using shrimp; Bullheads, Bass, Crappies, & Copperheads.

How To Get Started In Making Maple Syrup- 2018 Best Taste

How To Start Making Maple Syrup

If you’re interested in making your own Maple Syrup you may want to start out small and learn everything you can the first year with minimal cost. I recommend setting your goal at 1 to 2 gallons of syrup, which will require ~80 gallons of sap (40 -1 ratio). What will you need; taps, buckets, evaporator/pans, fire/stove and a planned process, all which we will describe in this article.

Tapping The Trees

The first thing we need to do is tap and collect the sap, so how do we do that. Start by purchasing a few taps (24), a few buckets/pals (10), and a few feet of tubing. Next drill and tap your trees using a battery drill and small hammer. For our first year we gather 100 gallons of sap (10 trees tapped) then pulled our taps. Again we were in the learning stage and set our goal to 1 – 2 gallons of the final product “Maple Syrup”.

Sap Collecting

We started by tapping ten trees, putting in two or three taps per tree. Smaller trees use only one tap and very large trees can have up to 4 taps. We then used our Vinyl Tubing and Tee Connections and fed the tubing into our buckets (drilled hole in lid). In the first week we had plenty of sap to start boiling. You will want to filter your sap before boiling to remove wood, bugs, etc.. and filter the final syrup to remove the sugar sands.

Boiling Down The Sap

We collected 100 gallons of Sap and boiled off 95% of the water or down to 5 gallons, which gave us a very high concentration of Maple Sugar Sap. The first major boil-off was with our homemade fire pit and evaporator, using dead elm for firewood. The next step was to take the 5 gallons of Sap up to the house and boil that down to 3.5 gallons in a Turkey Cooker. Next we divided those 3.5 gallons into 3 pans to finished our boiling on the stove where we could control the heat and boil to perfection (Maple Syrup).

Fire Pit & Evaporator Boiling

Here you will need to design your own stove and evaporator. We use bricks for the stove and stainless steel pans for the evaporating. In our design we used two pans and six concrete blocks per side (recommend 9 blocks per side and 3 pans). The stainless steel pans are 6” deep and 20” long.

Materials:

Cement Blocks @ $1.05/ea
Stainless Steel Pans @ $30/ea
Turkey Cooker @ $108.99
Tree Taps “Fleet Farm CDL Maxflow 5/16” clear smart spouts (12 PK)” @ $4.29
Tee Connections “Fleet Farm CDL Maxflow 5/16” Tees (12 PK)” @ $5.29
Vinyl Tubing (10 trees 40 ft) @ $0.32/ft.
Ten Buckets with lids @ $3/ea
Filters @ $2/ea

Stages Of Boiling

Stage 1 Fire pit & Evaporator “See pictures, video & design layout”.
Stage 2 Turkey Cooker “See video”
Stage 3 Stove “See Video”

Results “Maple Syrup”

We found that the Maple Syrup was light in color (Amber) for the big leaf Maple Trees and much darker for the other Sugar Maples, as seen in the pictures.

Learnings:

We found once you’re set up and have the initial cost that collecting the sap and boiling it down in the woods is nothing but time spent. So 100 gallons or 1,000 gallons would not of been any more cost other than time and cutting more firewood. We also found out that when burning Elm we only use 30 – 40 logs for our 100 gallons and we had plenty of wood to do 5 times that. It took us 9 hours to boil our 100 gallons down and with 3 pans we may of be able to cut that to 5 hours? We did have great weather for boiling, but a Sugar Shack would help shorten the boiling time even more. We also discovered that making Maple Syrup is easy to do and was much less work than we thought it would be. As for knowing when the syrup was ready we watched for the foaming and color and took it off the stove at that time (did not use a thermometer or barometer). We must of guess correctly each time as the taste and thickness were great/perfect on each batch.