Monday, February 15, 2021

Only Show in Town

Jon Pickering holds a nice
bass that he caught on a
shiner today.

We are still all iced over in RI, and holdover striper fishing is non-existent in this state (as far as I know). My carp fishing in open water has also taken a dive this winter.  So, the only show in town is ice fishing in freshwater.

I'm reconnecting with ice fishing.  Many years ago when we had ice from late December to early March, I would jig just about every afternoon after work and before supper. The kids and I used to catch a lot of fish back then in many of the local ponds. I'm back to fishing those ponds in between my skiing. And, the action lately has been real good. For instance, I went out this morning for about an hour and a half and went back to my holes for another hour this afternoon. Using a small gold Kastmaster with a meal worm on the hook, I jigged up a combination of bluegills, sunfish,

I jigged up this largemouth
using a Kastmaster tipped 
with a meal worm.

largemouths and crappie.  In all, I must have gotten at least 50 fish as they were actively feeding today.  While I was doing that, my son Jon was fishing with shiners and tilts in another pond.  He caught a combination of yellow perch, pickerel and largemouth bass. 

At this point, the ice is not thick.  There was about 4 solid inches where I fished today, and Jon reported a similar amount where he was. With warm weather and a lot of rain in the next 24 hours, that ice will become very iffy in the coming days.  I sense we might be seeing the beginning of the end of ice fishing in 2021. But, it was fun while it lasted!

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Photo of the Day....Frozen Stuff is Where it's Happening!


It ain't a striper, but it's one hell of a nice bass! Great catch!

Monday, February 1, 2021

On the Hard Stuff

 It's on to ice fishing.  For the first time in a couple of years, I fished the ice this morning with my son Jon.  We jigged one of our favorite ponds and came away with quite a mix of fish.  We landed largemouth bass, crappie and bluegills.  They were hitting small Kastmasters tipped with a meal worm on the small treble.  This is a deadly combo for jigging, something we used a lot of in past years.

The ice was thicker than I expected on the small pond that we fished.  It was about 5 inches of hard, clear ice.  My son also fished a larger lake yesterday and that also had about 5 inches of hard ice.

If you are into ice fishing, now is the time to get out and fish.  No telling how long this will last.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

At a Standstill


Just about everything fishing related in RI is at a standstill right now.  On the saltwater striper scene, nothing is going on. The holdover fishing has been shut down in every spot I know due to icing.  In freshwater, my carp fishing is also in a dormant stage due to icing.  I can fish running water, but that has not been producing.  I saw a photo today of someone ice fishing in RI and catching stocked trout. So, apparently there is safe ice somewhere.  If it’s not safe now, it’s a good bet you’ll find safer ice this weekend if you are into ice fishing. But, the window here will be short. Expect a snowstorm in the beginning of next week.  I hate the feeling of walking onto snow covered ice since I just don’t know how much ice is under the snow.  Real dangerous.  In addition, expect a warm-up at the end of next week with rain which should mush up the ice. Doesn’t it seem like just about everything these days is screwed up including the weather?

Fortunately, I’ve got my skiing to turn to.  That has been great, and I’ve been sliding down the hills almost every day!

If you’re a fisherman, hang in there, because who knows what will come our way in a week or two. Things can change very fast in February.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Coming Attraction: My Old Town Sportsman PDL 10.6 Kayak


My latest fishing machine, an Old Town 
Sportsman PDL (pedal) kayak!

I'll be doing more kayak fishing in the coming year in Narragansett Bay. While I currently own two paddle kayaks that I've had for years, I am making the move to a new pedal kayak. I ordered one yesterday. Pedal kayaks are the latest rage in kayak fishing. You move these more efficiently with your feet like pedaling a bike, freeing up your hands for casting. Most serious kayak fishermen these days are opting for these types of kayaks.  If you want to paddle them, you can easily take out the drive and paddle. Another reason I made this purchase was because I have developed minor arthritis in my shoulder (an old age thing!), and the paddle kayak does rub my shoulder the wrong way so I figured this pedal kayak was the way to go.

The kayak I ordered is an Old Town Sportsman PDL 10.6. This will fit great in the bed of my truck. With a weight of 75 lbs.,  I might purchase a kayak cart to get it to the water in some spots that are a distance from where I park. For info, check out the PDL kayaks and the Old Town website here. This particular model that I purchased gets phenomenal reviews and the Old Town PDLs are some of the highest rated fishing kayaks on the market today, and they also carry the best warranties. Here is some additional info:

*Kayak measures 10 ft., 6 inches long

*Width is 36 inches wide, making this craft extremely stable

*Weight is 75 lbs. without the drive and seat (both removeable)

*Weight capacity is a whopping 450 lbs.

*Pedal drive moves forward and reverse depending on how you move the pedals

*Steering is by rudder with a control on the side of the seat

*Hull and pedal drive come with and industry leading 5 year warranty

*Seat is a rigid high back adjustable mesh seat

*Comes with 2 rod holders in the rear and one on the side

*Fitted with a transducer mount if I want to add a fishfinder

*Tracks along the sides for adding camera mounts, rod holder or fishfinder

*Multiple wells and hatches for additional storage

I plan to do a more extensive hands on review of this kayak in the spring on this blog along with posts about my fishing adventures in my new toy! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Tackle Tinkering, Carping and Skiing

No snow in the backyard, but more 
than enough at Wachusett Mountain.
I've been out skiing 5 days a week!

 I'm doing a lot in January, but it does not involve striper fishing.  I tried a couple of times for holdovers in January.  I had to cope with icing, moving ice sheets, freezing water and little action.  So, the holdover striper fishing is currently on hold.

But, a lot of stuff is going on.  Like many other fishermen, for me, winter is a time to get the gear in order.  I've already cleaned all my reels, done some rod guide repair, changed out rusted hooks on plugs, tied a bunch of bucktail jigs and made a bunch of floats. So, right now, I am ready to go!

I am still doing some fishing.... open water carp fishing.  It's been quite good.  On Jan. 2, I had an outing that produced 10 fish from 10 to 19 lbs. Those numbers  would have been a great day for striper fishing. I will continue to do the carping all winter long so long as we don't get a hard freeze. I might do this a couple of times a week.

What I have been doing the most is skiing.  I will do this about 5

Carp fishing has been good in open water
in January.  Here's a fish in the teens 
coming ashore.

days a week. I am very comfortable skiing down a steep hill that I would not dare walk down.  I've been doing it so long, it's like walking. I have a season pass at Wachusett Mountain where I ski midweek.  I teach at Yawgoo Valley on the weekend. It keeps me in shape and I enjoy the thrills of zipping down the hills. It's healthy and safe exercise outside in the winter.

As for my winter fishing shows and seminars, everything is cancelled this winter due to Covid.  Still, I have more than enough to keep me busy!

Monday, January 4, 2021

Daiwa Parts a Reel Problem

 I have written favorably many times about the Daiwa BG series of reels.  They are inexpensive and work great out of the box, but when a problem develops...well, it's a problem.

This fall I was fishing a lot with my Daiwa BG 4000, a reel that was a year and a half old.  One day I went to cast and the line parted and the plug flew off.  Ok, thought it was just a weak spot in the braid. Later, I had a hit, pulled and the line parted again. So, now I knew I had an equipment problem.  I immediately suspected a cracked guide, but when I checked with a magnifying glass at home, no cracked guide.  Next, suspect....the reel, more specifically, the line roller.  Upon inspection I found out the roller was frozen in place and the braid had grooved a sharp edge into it which was cutting my line.  So, I figured I would simply order a new roller.

I found out the part # J08-9902 was the same roller used on the BG2000, BG2500, BG3000, BG3500 and BG4000.  So, this was a very common part.  I also found out through the Internet that this grooving of the line roller caused by corrosion was a common complaint of the BG4000 because the roller rested on the bail with no sleeve or bearings under or around it. Corrosion can develop very easily under the roller without you knowing it. 

I called or went online with every Daiwa parts dealer in the US.  Not one of them had this part....all backordered.  I then called the Daiwa headquarters in CA. They did not have the part either.  The rep told me the part was backordered till at least mid March. I did order the part but who knows when it will come in. 

I began this whole process of trying to find a line roller in November.  It continues.  Meanwhile, the reel remains useless until I can get a 5 dollar line roller. As I have stated in the opening lines.  These Daiwa reels are great until you have a problem.