Saturday, December 18, 2010

Well, It started with a bang...

Duck season is 23 days old, and I have to say that it couldn't have started any better.  We absolutely were covered up with ducks for the first week.  Since that time we have went through a series of ups and downs, with several really good days, either followed or preceded by some really tough  days of hunting.  In the last ten days, we have experienced some of the coldest weather in December that I can remember in a long time.  Daily temps (highs and lows) are running ten to fifteen degrees below normal.  When it gets terribly cold, water sources begin to freeze, and when that happens the ducks will not fly very well.  When the cold weather lingers for very long, the ducks will migrate to warmer climates.  We are currently dealing with that very situation.  Lord willing, it will turn around, but until some new birds migrate, or it warms up, I believe we are in for some tough days in the field.
God Bless,
Duke

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Duck season is under way...

Thanksgiving day marked the start of 2010-2011 waterfowl season.  So far it has been a good one.  We got some much needed rain (3.5" in one day).  It made for some wet conditions, but the ducks sure didn't mind.  I guess that's where the old saying "Good weather for a duck" came from.  I don't have any pay hunters today, so I'm going to take Harley my young dog on his first duck hunting trip this afternoon.  This should be interesting.  Hopefully y'all had a good Thanksgiving.
God Bless,
Duke

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Twas the night before...

Ha!  I bet you thought I was going to say Christmas didn't ya?  Nope, Duck Season, that's what I'm talking about.  Tonight marks the night before the opening day of duck season.  For waterfowlers, there is no difference between these two nights (as far as anticipation goes), tonight it is our "night before Christmas".  With that said, tomorrow's weather forecast shows the signs of weather that is only fit for a duck.  Rainy, windy, cold, I'm getting goose bumps thinking about it.  Tomorrow marks the first day of a 60 day adventure called Duck Season.  Some would call it battle of wills, others a testament to a person's insanity.  Me? I call it the best, most wonderful time of the year!!  Happy Thanksgiving everyone, take a minute and give thanks tomorrow.
God Bless,
Duke

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I got together with Bass Tackle Depot and we shot some video...

I shot a video with Bass Tackle Depot (http://www.basstackledepot.com/) promoting Powell Rods (http://www.basstackledepot.com/powell-rods.aspx) .  I had a blast, it was a little windy, but otherwise it was a gorgeous day for mid November.  Check out the video below.
God Bless,
Duke

Friday, November 12, 2010

I got some great news...

I recently got the privilege to join the Powell Rods Pro-Staff, and am I ever excited.  Powell Rods is a west coast based company, that makes not only some of the best rods on the market, they make them at a very affordable price point. Personally, I think they are one of the best values in the fishing rod market today.
For the last month I have put some serious time on the water with my new fleet of rods, and I have no complaints.  I'm usually pretty candid about products I use and their capabilities, regardless of my relationship with the company.  I have to admit, these rods exceeded my expectations, they are an extremely sweet rod, regardless of cost.  With only a month of use under my belt and hunting season around the corner, I guess I'll have to wait until spring to put some serious time on them.  But that's ok, I know they'll be ready when we go!  I'll leave you with a picture of the "new crew", they are nice!
God Bless,

Duke


Monday, November 8, 2010

It's getting closer...

With only two and a half weeks until the start of waterfowl season, I still have a few last minute items to take care of.  I'm headed to the local home improvement store to pick up some flat gray paint to touch up my Green Head Gear Full body Mallard decoys.  After two seasons of use, some of the gray on the Mallard drake decoys has taken some abuse, so a little touch up painting is in order.  Other than that, I just picked up a new complete set of Drake waterfowl gear, including waterproof insulated bibs, a windproof fleece jacket (new in the Drake lineup this year), a waterproof quarter zip pull over, fleece cap and neck gaiter.  All items are on the Realtree Max-4 pattern.  I'm pretty stoked about the new gear, I can't wait to use it. 
We atarted pumping water into our field Saturday, it's been so dry in Southern Illinois that we will lose a lot of water to absorption, but we should have enough water to get the job done.  Which is good, as a few ducks have already begun to migrate.  I'll keep you posted on the progress.
God Bless,
Duke

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What do you do with over a month of downtime?

I haven't had a fishing tournament since the first week of October, I think I now understand the term "Stir Crazy", that, or I'm going through the DTs, haha.  I have been fun fishing several times, and that was a hoot, no pressure, just plain old catch em if you can, if you don't, no big deal. 
I have spent a few days getting ready for duck season.  The pit blinds are ready, firewood is split, the only remaining item is to put the pump in and add some water to our field.  Duck season doesn't start until Thanksgiving day, so that still leaves a month of what to do?  There is a buddy tournament at Kinkaid lake on November 7th, its an Anglers Choice event.  I think for lack of a better thing to do, I'll go fish this one.
Other than that, I'll spend the next month working my Labrador retrievers, Calli my oldest dog is seasoned veteran, Harley, my youngest dog (just over a year old) has been getting some training every day, he's at a pretty critical stage in the learning curve (he's learning hand signals right now) so I'm sure I'll be busy with him.  Other than that, not much going on here!
God Bless,
D

Monday, October 18, 2010

The season is over...

Last week's PAA event marked the last tournament on my schedule.  Unfortunately, I was unable to attend, so minus a buddy tournament or two, the 2010 fishing season is over for me.  That's a bummer!  I'll spend the next few weeks storing tackle, checking inventories of baits, and trying to decide what direction to go next year.  I have a couple of leads on potential sponsors, they're slim chances though.  This is the area of fishing that I have had the most difficulty in getting going.  I have been able to acquire several tackle sponsors, Lunker Lure and Hawg Caller Baits, my newest sponsor Powell Rods (www.powellco.com) , even with over 22 million media impressions in the last two years, it has been difficult to acquire any paying sponsors.  So, It looks like, Lord willing, I'll start 2011 with enough revenue to get the year started and see if anything materializes.  I'll just have to let the Lord guide the business, and do my part with preparatory work.  On a bright note, duck season is about 5 weeks away, and it looks like we are in position to have a fantastic season.  I'll post more about that later.
God Bless,
Duke

Sunday, October 10, 2010

BFL Regional is finished

I just competed in a BFL Regional event at Lake Barkley in Eddyville, KY.  To tsay the least this was not a very good event for me.  I was able to locate a couple of areas holding quality fish, but never capitalized on the bites that I got.  My day one co-angler did however manage to catch all of teh fish that bit for him, as he finished day one in 2nd place.  On day two of the event, I managed to catch several nice fish, but it was not enough to pu tme in the check line, or advance me to the BFL All-American.  My day one co-angler made the cut in the strength of his day one catch, and managed only one keeper on day three, but it was enough to give him a berth into the All-American.  Congrats Louie!!
For me, it looks like the season is over, I have opted not to compete in the last PAA Tournament at Table Rock Lake, or the American Fishing Series Invitational on Lake Wheeler.  Hopefully, I can get a few things going in the sponsor world and be able to fish again next year.
God Bless,
Duke

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

BFL Regional on Lake Barkley

3 full days of practice are complete and two have been good, and one has been brutal.  I'm looking at a pretty long run to get to where I am fishing, Lord willing the wind won't blow too bad.  I'm going to spend a half-day on the water tomorrow, closer to take-off to see if I can locate a back-up plan if the weather is rough.  Lord willing I'll be able to get to where I'm wanting to fish, and have a successful day. I may not have any internet service during the tournament, I'm switching from the hotel where I'm at, to a friemds house. so I may not be able to update until after the tournament.  Stay tuned!
God Bless,
Duke

Monday, September 27, 2010

The BFL Super Tournament is over...

The Illini Division super tournament is over.  I finished somewhere in the mid-forties.  I could give you a laundry list of reasons, but all boils down to this:  if you don't figure out what the fish are doing, it makes it very difficult to be successful.  I had practiced a day and a half for this event, and actually thought I had an idea of how to catch a few.  I thought I could catch 8-9 lbs if everything went right. Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned.  The river rose an additional 6-12 inches overnight, which I believe repositioned the fish I was targeting.  Regardless, I finished the event with three fish for 3lbs - 15oz.  I did however finish the year in 17th place overall, which qualifies me to fish in the BFL regional on Barkley Lake next week.  I'm looking forward to this tournament.  I like Barkley Lake, it should be a good event.  I'll keep you posted on my practice.
God Bless,
Duke

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Final event for the 2010 Ilini Division set to take place this Saturday

The last stop of the 2010 Illini Division BFL is scheduled to take place this Saturday and Sunday at Golconda, IL on the Ohio River.  The final tournament is titled the "Super Tournament", it is the only regular season two-day event on the schedule.  20% of the field will advance to the second day.  Lord willing I'll be one of those. I'm hoping to head to the river on Thursday.  That will give me a  couple of days to figure out what the fish are doing.  Stay tuned, I'll post the results.
God Bless,
Duke

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Some more video from the PAA Event at Lake Tawakoni

Day one:
http://www.anglerschannel.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=radio.home&filename=2010-09-09-05-paa.wmv

Day three weigh-in:
http://www.anglerschannel.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=radio.home&filename=2010-09-11-06-paa.wmv

Some Video from the Final Day Weigh-In

Here's some video from the final day weigh-in taken by my friend Chad Morgenthaler's wife Debbie.

http://sharing.theflip.com/session/3d1b24b3b956d42c6c994910ecb2aa6b/video/18330941

Check back, I'll have some more video links posted form Angler's Channel.
God Bless,
Duke

PAA Tour: Lake Tawakoni...finally, a good tournament!

I just finished the third stop of the PAA Tour at Lake Tawakoni, near Garland, TX.  I finished the event in 23rd place, Yahoo!! Finally a finish in the money.  The troubling issue is 23rd is not indicative of how well I had figured out the fish, it's more of an indicator of how well I could have done. I had a lot of trouble landing the fish that bit my lure on the las two days.  I had about a 25% landing rate, in other words, for every four bites I got, I only landed one, that's just downroght terrible!  The lost fish were due to the vegetation I was fishing, it was a very thick, tightly woven vine, I believe it's name is aquatic smartweed, it's very similar to the plant called Gator Vine found in Florida lakes, regardless, it's tough to land fish in this type of vegetation.  Boy, did I learn that the hard way.  With all of that said, I'm still excited about the finish, I was very blessed to put a good limit of fish together on day one, which helped propel me in to the final day cut.  All in all, it was a great tournament!
Next up is a BFL tournament at the Ohio River in Golconda, IL on September 25th.  Lord willing I'll be able to piece together another strong finish.
God Bless,
D

Sunday, September 12, 2010

On my way home from

On my way home from Texas. I finished 23rd. I'll post more when I get home. God Bless, Duke

Thursday, September 2, 2010

PAA Tour visits Lake Tawakani on its third stop of the season

The Lake Tawakani PAA Tour event will take place next week in Norhteast Texas.  It looks like the lake is primarily considered a shallow water fishery which I hope will fit my strengths.  Lord willing it will be a good tournament for me, I need to get in a better position in the angler of the year race.  I don't know if I'll have access to the web, while in Texas, I'm staying at a private residence.  So, check back next week I'll update as soon as possible.
God Bless,
D

Monday, August 30, 2010

Oh So Close Again....

You might have saw the post I made about the 5th Annual Chad Morgenthaler Special Olympics Benefit Tournament, well, it took place last Saturday and I finished 2nd.  It took 18.32 I believe to win, and I had 17.12 so it was another good bag of fish, just not good enough.  But, I feel very blessed to generate a little revenue to keep me going. From that standpoint, the tournament was a success. 
On a side note, I believe I overheard someone say that in five years, this event has generated over a hundred and thirty thousand dollars for the Illinois Special Olympics. 
Lord willing I'll leave Saturday morning for Lake Tawakani near Dallas, TX for the third PAA Tour event.
God Bless,
Duke

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fifth Annual Chad Morgenthaler Special Olympics Tournament Aug. 28th

The fifth Annual Chad Morgenthaler Special Olympics tournament is scheduled to take place on August 28th, this coming Saturday to be exact.  It is always a great event.  If you live in the Southern Illinois area, come out and compete.  There is a pre-tournament meeting on Friday evening that includes an auction and a dinner, as well a lot of door prizes.  Registration runs from 3pm-5:30pm with the meeting starting at 6pm.
If oyu can't make the tournament, don't miss the weigh-in, which will take place at 3pm at the Sailboat Harbor in Wayne Fitzgerald State Park.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

PAA event at Lake Norman is over!

Well, the second stop of the PAA Tour is over, and I bombed in this one.  I finished in the low 70's, not where I wanted to be, but it's where I was.  I ran into a little difficulty on the way to Norman, about 6:30 a.m. on the way there, I sheared four lug bolts on the wheel of my trailer and was stuck at mile marker 89 on interstate 24.  I managed to get to Lake Norman and only missed one day of practice.  In the little bit of practice that I did get, I never figured anything out.  Well, not anything of any substance.  So it's oof to Lake Tawakani in Garland, Texas for the third tournament of the series, Lord willing I'll get thigns figured out down there.  I'd like to give a special thanks to Mike Walker of Phoenix Boats for helping me get my rig back into operating condition.  Mike was able to contact a local boat dealer, Mid-South Boat Sales and get my boat in for repairs early Monday morning.  So thanks to the crew at Mid-South and thanks Mike.
God Bless,
Duke

Thursday, August 5, 2010

PAA Tour gears up for second event of 2010

The PAA Tour will hold its second event of the 2010 season next week at Lake Norman, near Charlotte, NC  
I started the season off with a middle of the pack finish (56th place) at Lake Cherokee, so I need pick it up a little bit at Lake Norman.  There would be no shame in a top ten finish!  lol.  Seriously though, my intentions are to try and figure out what the fish are doing, fish hard, give the glory to God and let him take care of the fine details.  I'm sure it will work out like it is supposed to, hopefully like I'd like it to.  I'll keep you posted on how its going.
God Bless,
D

Monday, July 26, 2010

Illinois Bass Federation Open Trail at Rend Lake

The IBF Open Trail event is over, and I narrowly missed another win!  I finished 2nd with 15.29 lbs   Check back, I'll be posting baits and pattern info for the Ohio River BFL and the IBF tournament soon!

Monday, July 19, 2010

4th stop of the Illini Division BFL is Complete

Saturday I competed in the the 4th BFL event in the Illini Division.  As you know I've had a "less-than-stellar" year in the Illini Division, I've had a string of 30 something finishes, pretty lackluster at best. 
That all changed this week.  Yep, I was finally fortunate enough to put it all together, almost.  I finished 4th in the tournament, got a good check, and missed winning the event by one pound.  By my best calculations, a 2.5 lb fish would have won it for me.  As most of you know, you're allowed 5 fish per day, as you continue to catch fish, you can replace your smallest fish with a bigger fish (as long as you can continue to catch bigger fish), this is called "culling".  In the limit I had, I weighed in a 1.5 lb fish, had I caught another 2.5 lb fish, I just might have pulled out a win.  With all of that said, I'm confident that I was blessed to catch what I caught, so I'm grateful for that. 
Stay tuned I've got an Illinois Bass Federation tournament at Rend Lake this weekend and in two weeks I leave for Lake Norman in Charlotte, NC for the second PAA Tour tournament.
'til then, God Bless,
Duke

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

PAA Tour - Lake Cherokee is in the books

I think if I had to choose one word to describe the first event of the 2010 PAA Tour, the word BRUTAL comes to mind.  I know there were fish caught, there always is, but other than one decent bag of fish brought in by winner Tommy Biffle, nobody elcipsed the 16lb mark.  Two other anglers topped 15 lbs on day one, but that was it.  A ten pound limit was worth its weight in gold, at least figuratively.  I finished the event in 56th place, basically on the strength of my day two catch.  I bombed on day 1, I had a late weigh-in on day 1, which means I had a long day of fishing, usually that translates into more fish.  Not so, or at least not for me.  My day 1  weight was 1.32 lbs, I never lost any, I just didn't get bit, period! 
On day 2, I caught four keepers fro a total weight of 6.42 lbs, not great, but a ton better than day 1.  My two day total was 7.74 lbs, it took 10.32 lbs to get a check.  That is what has me frustrated, I lacked a little more than two and a half pounds to get a check, and limped in with one keeper on day 1, what a extremely poor performance that was.  To add insult to injury, in the last fifteen minutes of day two, I made a bait change and caught my two biggest fish of the tournament.  Had I adjusted sooner, like on day 1, I feel like I could have caught enough weight to not only get a check, but also make the cut (it took 11.5 to make the cut). 
So that's how the tournament went, not a horrible finish, but not what you would call good by any standards.  I'll be putting up the baits and patterns information later this week, I gotta get a few picutres first.  Thanks for stopping by, and a special thanks to all of those who took the time to pray for me, I appreciate it.
God Bless,
Duke

Monday, July 5, 2010

Cherokee Lake...Wow, it's gonna be brutal!

Quite often, I have struggled in practice and thought the fish weren't biting well, only to watch bags of bass get toted to the scale.  I've got to say I don't think I'm off too far when I say this is going to be one tough son-of-a-gun!  I've been in tournaments where I wasn't catching them, and then nearly every angler in the whole event whacks them.  I don't think I am missing the mark too bad on this one, I have caught three keepers in two days of fishin.  That's how tough this place is!  Normally I would think I'm the only angler not catching them, but after talking to a couple anglers I trust, and they are having a tough time catching them as well.  So this is going to be an interesting one.  It'll be a tournament where every bite is critical.  Hopefully I'll figure out a little something more.  Check back, I'll update as the week goes on.
God Bless,
Duke

Thursday, July 1, 2010

2010 PAA Tour kicks off next week at Lake Cherokee

The first event of the- 2010 PAA Tour will take place next week on Lake Cherokee in East Tennessee.  I'm heading out in the morning, with a day and a half stop over at my good friend Wesley Strader's house.  We're going striper fishing below Watts Bar dam, or at least that's the plan.  I'll keep you posted on my practice and on how the tournament goes.  Stay Tuned!
God Bless,
Duke

Monday, June 28, 2010

Good Ole Shelbyville!

Right now, if I could, I'd let out the best imitation of Charlie Brown's "AAARRRRGH!!!" I could muster, but I don't think it would help.  It would be fitting though, just like when Lucy sets the ball up for Charlie Brown, he eyes it up, feels good about it, and off he goes towards Lucy to give that ball the best kick he can deliver, and just at the last minute Lucy jerks the ball away and good ole Charlie Brown swings and misses.  That scenario pretty much sums up my tournament last weekend at Shelbyville.  You see, I too have a long lasting realtionship with Lake Shelbyville, just like Charlie and Lucy, and for years Shelbyville has been jerking the ball away at the last minute, just when I think I got it lined up perfectly, Shelbyville changes the game plan and I deliver a Chrlie Brown style "swing and a miss".  Case in point, I had an excellent pre-practice trip a week before the tournament.  I didn't set the world on fire, but I caught them pretty decent.  Which left me feeling pretty good about last Saturday's tournament.  That's when it all began to unravel...well, sort of.  It rained every day, practically from the day I practiced until last Friday (the day before the tournament).  Which in turn raised the lake about 7 feet.  I never could relocate the fish I found the week before.  So I limped in to the weigh-in with 1 keeper that weighed right at a pound and a half.  That my friends is terrible!  But, on the bright side I survived both events at Shelbyville this year (that's a new trick for me) so maybe I am learning a few things out on the road, that can help me at home.  I fell from 23rd in the points standings to 25th, so no major damage occured.  The top 40 anglers at the end of the season advance to the regional championship.  The last two events of the year are scheduled to take place on the Ohio River at Golconda, IL.  I haven't been to the river in about 5 years, but I always did like fishing down there, so maybe, just maybe, I can get this ship turned around and headed in the right direction.  Lord willing, I'll get it together.
God Bless,
Duke

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Spent some time on Shelbyville

I got to spend a day on Shelbyville last week.  Actually, to my surprise, the fishing was ok.  I didn't get very many bites, but most of the bistes I did get were keepers, so I'm somewhat encouraged about this next tournament.  I'd like to say I'm pretty fired up about it, but having played this tournament game enough, I know that a lot of things can change between now and tournament day.  I caught seven keeper fish (big enough to make the 14" minimum lenght requirement), I caught all of them on a Norman DD 22 crankbait.  Which, is another reason I'm a little bit excited, I really like deep cranking, I doin't always have an opportunity to do so, so when I do it's a refreshing change.  Anyway, we'll see how my practice plays out in real-time on Saturday.  I'd like to think everything will stay together, and overall I think it will.  It'll be a situation where I have to pay attention to where and how my bites come to determine exactly how the fish are positioned, if I am capable of figuring that out, I should be in good shape!  Lord willing I will be.
God Bless,
D

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Two weeks until the BFL at Lake Shelbyville

I've got two weeks until the BFL at Lake Shelbyville.  I decided this year to fish the Illini division of the BFLs in hopes of qualifying for the end of the year regional that is on Kentucky/Barkley lakes.  With that said, Shelbyville has always been my arch nemesis, I mean it has treated me pretty badly in the past.  I think I have probably fished 20 events on this lake in my life, and I know for sure that I have blanked nine of them.  Yep, never caught one in 9 of 20 events, that's downright terrible!  Hopefully, the tides are turning, I have learned a few things since those early trips to Shelby-town.  I finished in the top third of the field at the last BFL (at Shelbyville), but the fish were shallow, now that warm weather has arrived, it is most likely going to be a off-shore bite, which is good, if you can get your timing right.  It has always seemed to me that on this lkae you can get out of time with the fish, and when they're actively feeding in a ledge, and miss the best bites the entire day, only to have fellow anglers tell you that they clobbered them on the very places you fished.  Ugh, that just adds insult to injury.  Anyway, Lord willing I'll bag me a few, or maybe even better catch enough to get paid and move on to the next one.  We'll just have to see.
God Bless,
Duke

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fun fishing complete!

I went to the lake Saturday, didn't get there until about 10:30 a.m., yep, I was in no hurry.  I spent the day on the lake with a friend of mine who I fish buddy tournaments with, and his 8 year old son.  We had a blast!  We caught a lot of bass, even located a couple areas I am going to go back and look at this week for my tournament.  We kicked back, dodged the pleasure boat traffic and absolutely whacked 'em, I mean clobbered em (go ahead and plug in any other term you use for having a great day of fish catching).  I even managed to catch a giant...I'll post a pictue of it in a second.  I know a lot of things can change before tournament day, but as far as I am concerned, mission accomplished, it was FUN fishing at it's finest!

Oh yea, the big fish, well here ya go...

(Did I mention it wasn't a bass?  Oops, sorry)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Heading to the lake in the morning...

I'm heading to the lake in the morning with a good friend of mine.  On a fun fishing trip!  yep, fun fishing.  I have tournament on this lake in two weeks and it's too early to try and "figure out" what they're doing exactly, but we're going to go beat around the pond and see what we can come up with.  I'm ready for tomorrow, no pressure to perform.  We'll probably clobber 'em, catch them like crazy, that's what always happens when you don't have to have them, they bite like crazy.  If they do, I'll post a few pics.
Have a good weekend!
God Bless,
Duke

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Egg is in action!


As many of you know, I own a Big Green Egg.  It's been neglected this spring, but since I have a few weeks off from fishing, I'm going to make up for some lost time.  Here is the first project from the egg.
An 8lb bone-in pork butt!  I cooked it for 16.5 hours at 190-200 degrees.  When I took it off the egg, I shredded it, added a little seasoning, and man it is crazy good!

 Here are a few pictures of the project in progress:

(Just a few key ingredients are all you need)


(The Egg is lit and the pork butt is going in)


(It's ready to come off after 16+ hours of cooking)


(Shredded to perfection!)

Pinckneyville High School Bass Fishing Begins...

Today was the first qualifying tournament for the 2010-2011 fishing team.  Our team runs it's qualifying events in the summer to prevent any conflicts with the school's traditional sports schedule. 
Today's tournament was held at the Pinckneyville City Lake, a small lake of about 150 acres.  The top three finishers for today's event were:
Ryan Chapman     10lbs 8oz
Eric Tabing           9lbs  6oz
Brad Baudison     7lbs  8oz

Congradulations to these anglers!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Got a few weeks off...

Since the American Fishing Sereis central division wrapped up last week, I have until July 2nd before I leave for the first event of the PAA tour (http://www.fishpaa.com/).  So, I think I'm going to take it easy for a while.  I'm going to try and go back to Kentucky lake and get in some good ledge fishing, and probably fish a few local events to stay tuned up.  I'll might even fish a BFL or two, other than that I'm looking forward to some fun fishing.  Yep, that's right, fun fishing, I can't wait.  No pressure to perform, just plain ole fun, if you catch one great, if not, who cares!   Fishing and of course, I'm going to fire up the Big Green Egg for some long overdue cooking.  I've slightly neglected the egg in the last couple of months, and I'm going to do my best to catch up...I can smell the baby backs right now.  Check back, I'll be posting some photos of my off-time adventures.  It's going to be like a vacation.
God  Bless,
D

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Baits and Patterns for Kentucky Lake American Fishing Series

As promised, here are the baits and patterns used last week during the American Fishing Series event held on Kentucky Lake.

During practice I had been able to find a few fish in the flooded bushes and trees in the backs of the creek arms and along the sides, near secondary points.  As the tournament neared, the Tennessee Valley Authority began to drop the lake at a rapid rate.  This brought a lot of the fish out to the edge of the flooded bushes and creek mouths.  It also provided a little better access to the fish living in the flooded trees and bushes located on secondary points.

On day one I ran secondary points, creek mouths and small pockets on the sides of the creek arms that had only a few flooded bushes or willow trees in them.  I ended the day with 16lbs and 15oz, just 3 oz out of tenth place.  I caught most of my fish this day flipping a Dunn's Premium Baits Big Bite Honey Bug and throwing a Fire tiger Rapala DT6.

On day two I managed only 12lbs and 5oz.  I never had a big fish on, so I have no complaints.  I caught all of the fish I weighed this day on the Dunn's Honey Bug.  I did manage a keeper on the DT6, but culled it out a little later in the day.  One other bait I used this week was a Lunker Lure Ultimate Rattling Jig, a 3/4 ounce jig in Black, Blue and Purple color with a Zoom Super Chunk jr trailer in Sapphire blue. 

Pictured below are the baits I used in this tournament:
  • The Dunn's Honey Bug was fished on 30lb Maxima Fluorocarbon line, a 3/8ths ounce or one-half ounce Penetrater Tungsten weight and a Paycheck Lures Punch Hook.

  • The Ultimate Rattling Jig was also fished on 30lb Maxima Fluorocarbon, both the jig and the Honey Big were fliiped with a GLoomis 7'5" Flipping stick model # BFR894

  • The DT6 was fished with a 7' GLoomis crankbait rod model # CBR845, on 10lb Maxima monofilament line. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

One good bite from making the cut...

The Kentucky Lake American Fishing Series is over, and as you know, I was in pretty good shape after day1.  I managed to catch another limit on day 2, but was never able to get a big fish, one in the four to five pound range.  I ended the tournament in 27th place, with a two-day total weight of 29-05.  It took 32-02 to make the top ten cut.  If I had it to do over, I don't think I would change anything about the way I fished this tournament, I just never managed to generate that one good bite I needed to boost my total weight high enough to make the cut.  With the three tournament season now over, I ended the year in 15th place in the angler of the year race.  That's not too bad, it qualifies me for the American Fishing Series Invitational this fall on Wheeler Lake in Alabama.  Stay tuned, I'll have pattern and baits information available in a few days.
God Bless,
D

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Kentucky Lake American Fishing Series is underway...

Day one is over, and I was very fortunate today to catch a good limit.  I had 16lbs and 15oz for the day, which left me in 14th place.  I'm just 2 ounces off the top ten, which is where they cut the field to after tomorrow.  I believe that I need another 16 to 16 and a half pounds tomorrow if I want to make the cut.  Lord willing that will happen.  I know I was blessed to have caught nearly 17lbs today, so I'm grateful for that.  Check in tomorrow, if I make the cut, I'll have a  new post, if not it might be a day or two before I report.
God Bless,
D

Sunday, May 9, 2010

High, Muddy and tough as a pine knot...

It's definitely a different Kentucky Lake this week.  The lake is currently 9 feet over summer pool with an inch or two of visibility.  Fishing is terribly tough right now.  The TVA is going to start lowering the lake tomorrow, progressively pulling more water as the week goes.  Possibly lowering the lake by several feet in the next three days.  At least it can't hurt the bite too bad, lol.  Stay tuned, it's gonna be an interesting one.
God Bless,
D

Pinckneyville Finishes event in fourth place

The Pinckneyville HIgh School Bass Fishing team finished the state tournament in 4th place Saturday afternoon.  Congradulations to Jake Bathon and Ben Harris.  Nice Job Guys!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Going to be out for a while

As I mentioned yesterday, I am heading to Kentucky Lake for the final regular season American Fishing Series Event, and again, I will be in the land of not internet.  I am staying with a friend, so no Wi-Fi for this trip.  I may give an update or two from the water via instant blogging ( I think that's what it's called).  Until next week, when Lord willing I can give you a run down of my winning pattern...lol, well maybe I'll win, we'll have to wait and see.
God Bless,
Duke

The Illinois HIgh School State Bass Fishing tournament is up and running...

Friday marked the start of the IHSA (Illinois High School Sports Association) state bass fishing tournament.  As many of you know, I help coach the Pinckneyville HIgh School team.  I am happy to report that Pinckneyville sits in 4th place with a five-fish total weight of 14lbs and 15oz.  We are currently 3lbs behind the leaders (I'm sorry to admit in my excitement over our teams success, I forgot the name of the team that is leading).  Take-off for day two is at 7a.m. this morning with the final weigh-in starting at 3 p.m.  Regardless of the outcome, we have had another great year with our team.  We have been fortunate enough to qualify for the state championship every year it has been held.  It would be awesome if we could bring home some hardware...you know, some wood...come on, you know what I mean...a trophy!  I can't wait to see how this one ends.
God Bless,
Duke

Friday, May 7, 2010

Leaving for the Kentucky Lake American Fishing Series in the morning...

Despite what some people are calling the 500 year flood, the Amercian Fishing Series at Kentucky Lake will still go on.  Scheduled to start next Thursday morning, FLW outdoors was unsure whether the event would take place, due to the coast gaurd shutting down the entire Tennessee river from Pickwick Landing to Paducah, KY.  The current lake level is 368.95, that's aproximately TEN feet above normal elevation.  It looks like the picnic table and barbeque grill pattern will be in effect for this one!  FYI...if you're not familiar with that pattern, it's a comment used to describe the flooded conditions on the lake, like the campground areas, hence the picnic tables and barbeque grills.  It looks like this is going to be an interesting tournament, I hope it turns out well, but I truly don't know what to expect.  Lord willing it will be a good one.
God Bless,
D

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Can you smell that?

If you are smelling what I am smelling, let me tell you what it is...it's me.  Yep, me, actually it's my fishing ability.  I competed yesterday in the opening event of the Illini Division of the BFLs, and man did I stink that one up!  I finished in 30th place, they paid 16 places.  I was two pounds and seven ounces out of a check, that's downright terrible.  I shouldn't really blame my fishing ability, I caught every fish that bit, but one.  I just couldn't get a good bite, I didn't get very many bites at all.  It was just a tough day of fishing. I know I was blessed to catch what I caught, so I'm going to take my own advice and remember that it's a points race and this was the first tournament out of a five tournament series where the top forty anglers from the points list (an accumulation of all points earned over the whole season) advance to the regional-championship and I'm sitting in good shape for that.  I know that's sound advice, but...it sure sounds better when I'm saying it, instead of having to listen to it!
God Bless,
Duke

Friday, April 30, 2010

Illini Division of the BFL starts tomorrow at Rend Lake

Tomorrow morning will start the first tournament of the FLW Outdoors Bass Fishing League Illini Division. Whew, that's a mouthful.  THe same tournament organization that runs the American Fishing Series (AFS) that I compete in, also runs the Bass Fishing League (BFL).  The major difference between the two is the BFL are all Saturday only tournaments, they are geared toward the working angler who doesn't have the time or desire to spend a whole week at an event.  It has been a couple of years since I competed in a BFL, so I'm a little excited, it will be nice to see some old friends.  I'll let ya know how I do.  Lord willing it will result in a trip through the "check" line. 
God Bless,
D

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Illinois High School Bass Fishing

As many of you know, I help coach the Pinckneyville High School bass fishing team.  In the spring of 2009 the Illinois High School Sports Association (IHSA) sanctioned bass fishing as a high school sport/activity.  Despite some of the naysayers, this has turned out to be an incredibly positive decision by the IHSA.  I can only speak for our team when I say we have had a blast.  We hold 4 qualifying events in the summer for our students.  From those events we select our 6 competitors for the state senctioned competition (each school is allowed two 2-man teams with an alternate).  We meet every other week for two hours in a classroom setting to educate our anglers about fishing patterns, fish behavior, fishing mechanics and seasonal patterns.  It has been pretty rewarding to watch students who didn't know the difference between pitching and flipping not only learn the difference, but know when to use which technique.  With all of that said, the 2010 IHSA bass fishing sectinal tournaments took place last Friday, and for the second straight year Pinckneyville High School was fortunate enough to advance a team to the state tournament.  The state tournament will take place on May 7th and 8th at Carlyle Lake in Carlyle, IL.  Good Luck to all of those who qualified.
God Bless,
D

Monday, April 26, 2010

Baits and Pattern used at Lake Ouachita

As you know from my last post, I sight fished my way to a 36th place finish at Lake Ouachita two weeks ago.  As promised here are the baits I used and how I used them for that tournament.
I pimarily used three baits when I was looking at a bedding fish.  I used a Lunker Lure ball-head jig, 8th ounce in Cumberland Craw color (top left of photo), a white Mizmo tube (center) and a green pumpkin candy w/ blue tail Mizmo tube (far right).  I rigged both tubes on 25lb fluorocarbon line with a 3/8th ounce Penetrater tungsten weight on a 7' 5" GLoomis rod model BFR 894.  The Lunker Lure jig was rigged on 12lb fluorocarbon line on a 7' 1" GLoomis rod model number BCR854.  As far as the "pattern"  I used at this tournament, basically, I ran new wateer each day.  I looked for spawning areas in the major tributaries, as well as spawing areas in main lake pockets.  Most of the fish were spawning in the backs of small pockets on the sides of the tributaries.  If you looked for the little quiet, slick water areas in the back of a pocket, most likely there would be a spawner, or several spawners located in these areas.  I basically ran as many of these as I could each tournament day.

I caught an equal amount of fish on ball three baits.  The white tube was used on beds that were a little deeper or difficult to see, the white tube allowed me to stay back off of the bed as far as I could and still see the fish bite.  The green pumpkin tube was used when the fish would shy away from the white tube. It seemed that some of the fish were a little bait shy and would more readily bite the natural colored tube over the white one. 

A few of the fish would circle around or spook out of the bed when the 25lb fluorocarbon line would lay on the water's surface above their bed  when I pitched into or past the bed.  These fish I could catch on the Lunker Lure jig on 12lb line.  These were the most spookiest of all the bed fish I caught.  Often the fish would not spokk from the 12lb line, when they would bolt out of the bed when the 25lb line rippled the surface above them.  This may sound odd, but it is what happened.  The lighter line coupled with the natural colored jig would often get the fish worked up pretty quick.  Although, I can say I never had to fish longer than 10 minutes on any fish during this tournament, before I was able to catch them. 
On the subject of the spooky fish, most anglers would say leave them and find another one, I would have liked to do that, but I had to scramble to find these spawners during the tournament, and felt that if they would hold still remotely, one of these three baits would catch them.  If I would of had a bunch of fish on beds that I could have just rotated through, I probably would have skipped over a few of these. 

All in all, it was a good tournament, I feel very blessed to have finished well.

God Bless,
Duke


Sunday, April 18, 2010

American FIshing Series...Lake Ouachita

The second stop on the AFS central division schedule took us to Lake Ouachita in central Arkansas.  Normally, the scenery is much better than the fishing (if you've never been, it's beautiful place),  but not this time, the majority of the fish were up shallow either cruising the bank looking to spawn, or actually spawning.  Coming from Southern Illinois, we don't have a lot of opportunities to sight fish, with only a few lakes clear enough to see them, it's something we don't so very much.  Unfortunaltely, those lakes don't show up on very many tournament schedules I fish during the spawn, so I was a little under equipped for this one.  The only saving grace for me came from two days of practice for a Lake Norman FLW Tour event when I practiced with my good friend Wesley Strader, and the fish were spawning there also.  In two days he taught me more about catching spawners than I had ever seen or read.  I gotta give a thanks to "W" for teaching me how to catch 'em.
I spent the first day and a half trying to catch fish that had not come to the bank, the ones still in the pre-spawn phase, but that proved more difficult than I expected, so the last 3 days of practice, I put the trolling motor on high and ran every little pocket I could looking for spawners, marking them with my GPS.  On the next to last day of practice I found the "Mother Lode" of spawners, I mean not just a few, and not just nice ones: Giants, Gorillas, Toads, Donkeys, Mules (insert any other name you have for big bass here).  The big ones were laying around everywhere, I knew I had found where I was going to fish. 
You ever get punched in the stomach?  You knw how that feels?  At the pre-tournament meeting, it was announced that you couldn't fish within 50 feet of a "commercial" dock.  I read that rule before practice and thought it meant the marina docks, the ones where they pumped fuel, sold sodas, etc., the docks that had businesses on them.  At the meeting I found out that meant every dock that someone had paid to rent a slip, or store their boat.  I had found all of these fish in the backs of pockets in behind the big long marina docks, under the walkways, beside the cables that stabilized the docks., all within 50 feet of a dock, that apparently was considered "commercial".  In thirty seconds at the pre-tournament meeting I lost over 40 spawners that I felt I could catch.  I was anticipating 15-18lbs per day, if they just cooperated a little bit. 
I managed to scramble around on day one and catch 11lbs 11oz, I had one other area that had a few fish in it, I had marked them the day before, just no big ones.  On the afternoon of day one while looking for more fish I found a cove that had a bunch of fish in it, they wouldn't sit still, but they were decent ones.  I started in there on the moring of day two and managed a limit that weighed 11l bs 15oz (I lost 8oz due to a fish care penalty) and ended the tournament with 23lbs 2oz, 36th place.  It took 23lbs 0oz to get a check, yes you read that correctly, I snuck in and got a check by the skin of my teeth!  That was after losing all of my fish to "off-limits" areas. 
All in all, I feel very fortunate to have cut a check for several reasons, one being I had to scramble to find the fish I caught during the tournament due to my incorrect interpretation of the rules two, I caught all of my fish sight fishing, which was a first for me, I had never spent an entire tournament sight fishing, this was only the second time I had ever tried. 
So I'll leave Lake Ouachita with a good feeling, a little more confindence in my abilities to catch them, and a little more confidence in myself, by that I mean the ability to overcome some minor (or major) set-backs, and still be able to re-group, collect myself and still finish in the money.  My beliefs say that a "Thank you Lord" is pretty much the best phrase that descruibes this one.  I'll post pattern and baits information later.
'Til then, God Bless,
Duke

Saturday, April 17, 2010

No Wi-Fi?

I just got home from Lake Ouachita near Hot Springs, Arkansas, actually it is in between Mt. Ida, AR and Hot Springs.  Since I do not have an air card for my pc I rely on internet service at the hotels or campgrounds I stay at.  I stayed at the Colonial Inn and grocery in Mt. Ida this week, it was a simple place, neat, clean and super nice people.  Only one issue...no Wi-Fi, For several days I was lost, and by the end of the week I was wishing they had no cell phone service also.  I had forgotten how nice it was to just go fishing, come home, eat supper, go to bed.  I definitely got to go back to a simpler time.  The only restaurant within 40 minutes closed at 8 pm, it was at the Shangra-La resort.  They had the best home-made pie and sweet tea you've ever had.  Most evenings after we came off the lake, we ate supper sat around for a short while and then went to bed, by 9 pm at the latest, definitely it was a simpler place.  I'll post some info about the tournament later.
God Bless,
Duke

Monday, April 5, 2010

Leaving for Oauchita on Friday...sick as a dog today!

I'm not sure what happened between Friday night and Saturday morning, but I have been demolished by some form of bug!  I had a scratchy throat Sat am, left for Coffeen Lake fished all day drove home and was in bed by 8:30 p.m. (What a night life right?)  Woke up Sunday to go to church (it was Easter Sunday, the day we celebrate Jesus Christs' rising from the tomb he was placed in) and by 1 pm I was down for the count.  Couldn't swallow, hurt to walk, headache extraordinare, I was in bad shape.  In a day and a half, I went fom scratchy throat to bedridden.  Went to the doctor today and found out what was after me...Strep throat!  Yuck!  Picked up some meds at the pharmacy and Lord willing, I'll be in good enough shape to pack the truck this Thursday as I head for Lake Oauchita in Hot Springs, AR.  There's nothing like getting ready for a tournament when you're sick.  Apparently the ibuprofen has kicked in, 'cause as of right now, I feel pretty good, good enough to do a little bloggin'.  I know that's going to change when they wear off!  Hopefully it's all good news by Thursday! 
God Bless,
D

Oh, it wouldn't hurt to pray for a speedy recovery for me if you have the time, I know I could use it!

Coffeen Lake, practice for the IHSA Bass Fishing sectional tournament

Have you ever been to a lake that you just immediately like? Despite only a few trips there in your life?  Coffeen Lake is one of those lakes for me.  I spent the day on the lake Saturday with one of our High School anglers Jake Bathon.  He is one-half of the sectional championship team from last year.  Based on what we saw Saturday, it looks like its going to be a catch-fest for this year's tournament.  With a 12" limit for this years tourney, Jake and I would have caught approximately 35 keepers.  It seems the only issue with this tournament will be catching better quality fish.  The lake is absolutely full of 12-13.5" fish, we did manage to catch a couple of fish better than 15", one really nice one.  The top three teams from each sectional advance to the state finals, hopefully this year we can get both of our teams to the state tournament.
I'll keep you posted!
God Bless,
D

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Illinois High School Bass Fishing starts on April 23rd

The Illinois High School bass fishing tournaments will begin on April 23rd.  I help coach the Pinckneyville High School team, and just as last year, we will compete in our sectional tournament at Coffeen Lake near Greenville, IL.  The top three teams from each sectional advance to the state tournament in May.  Schools are allowed to enter two 2-man teams.  Each team works on acquiring a collective 5-fish limit.  We were very fortunate in 2009 to win the Cofeen Sectional and advance to the state tournament.  Our teams placed 1st and 6th respectively.  We are returning three of our four starting anglers from last year's squad, which should not only provide us with two good teams, but also allows us to have two teams with prior tournament experience, that's a huge bonus.  Both of our teams practiced this weekend, I'll post a little info on how that went later.
God Bless,
Duke

Monday, March 29, 2010

Illinois Bass Federation Open Trail Event - Lake of Egypt

Four words can describe my tournament...too little, too late!  I spent the better part of the tournament day cranking grass lines in 3-6 feet of water.  I had caught too many fish in practice to not give it a good try during the tournament.  What I feel like hurt me the most, was fishing history, and not fishing the durrent situations the lake provided.  I'll explain.  In years past I have had a lot of success cranking grasslines on this lake, and if you stay at it long enough, at some point during the day you will connect with a school or two of active fish and load the boat.  Currently, the lake has less grass in it than I've ever seen, which really limited the amount of water I could fish.  Instead of adapting to the current situation, I forced the issue and continued to fish the grass lines with a crankbait.  With about two hours to go, I pulled out my flipping stick and went shallow and connected on a couple of keepers before running out of time.  I managed to get 6 bites flipping in two hours, and only converted two of those into caught fish.  Had I committed a whole day to flipping, I believe that I could have overcome a few lost fish and still weighed a good limit, at least enough weight to get payed.  As it stands, I'm writing about another tournament where I missed getting a check.  This time by my own hard headedness and unwillingness to change.  History hurt me on this one, it's time to practice what I preach, and fish the current conditions, instead of forcing things that are not working.  For the record, I finished with two fish for 6.03 lbs.  That's about as "run-of-the-mill" as it gets.  Nothing like a large dose of mediocracy! 

On a better note, Lord willing, I'll leave April 9th for Lake Oauchita in Hot Springs, AR for the second tournament of the American Fishing Series Central Division.  Until then, God Bless!
Duke

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Illinois Bass Federation Open Trail set to begin

The IBF Open Trail is set to begin this Sunday on Lake of Egypt in Southern Illinois.  This is a pro-am format trail put on by the Illinois Bass Federation.  There will be five tournaments across the state, with an end of the year championship.  These tournaments are always a good time.  If you're in the area, swing by Pyramid Acres marina around 3pm to watch the weigh-in.  Lord willing this will be a good tournament fro me.
God Bless,
D

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rounded the corner and the wheels fell off...

From hero to zero would be a good description of day two.  I managed to generate more bites on day two than I had generated on any single day of the event, practice included, I just failed to catch any fish that met the 15" minimum length requirement.   I gotta tell ya, that stinks.  After a good day one, I was sitting great position to cash a check.   No keeper fish on day two pretty much derailed that effort.  If I had the opportunity to do day two all over again, I don't think I would fish any different areas, a friend of mine fished the same area as I did and caught four keepers that weighed 9lbs and 11 ounces, so I know the fish were there, I didn't make the proper adjustments to catch them.  Overall I finished in 58th place, not good, but not disasterous, so its off toLake Quachita in Hot Springs, AR.  Hopefully I can keep the wheels on for this one!
God Bless,
D

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day one is in the books....

Day one is in books, I had three keepers that weighed 8lbs and 7 ounces.  Currently I'm sitting in 21st place, can you BELIEVE that!  I got to tell ya, I thought I might catch a couple of keepers, 5 lbs of fish at best.  I was very fortunate to catch any, even more fortunate to catch a 4lber that's what moved me up the leader board.  Talk about divine intervention, it was a huge blessing to catch what I caught, I can't wait to see how tomorrow turns out, it's going to be tough, but I'm excited!  I even got a little media exposure on the FLW website (just click the link) http://stren.flwoutdoors.com/tournament.cfm?cid=3&did=27&t=news&tday=1&atype=4&tid=6494&tyear=2010&aid=150806
Hope everyone else had a good day!
God Bless,
Duke

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day one...starts tomorrow

Tomorrow starts it all, the start of a season, the start of the third year in fulfilling your lifelong dream of being a professional angler.  It's day one of my junior season, and it looks fairly bleak here at Lake of the Ozarks.  I said when I strarted this deal that I'd turn it over to let the Lord handle it, and I'll tell ya, when the fishiing gets tough I start second guessing what to do, why I'm here, why I passed up job offers, I second guess a lot of things.  I truly believe that it's been an answer to prayer to get to be a professional fisherman, and I take comfort in the passage in the book of Matthew (Matthew 6:25-34) that promises that we'll be taken care of, in the way God chooses. 
So when my boat number is called in the morning, Lord willing I'll be headed down the lake in search of a winning bag of fish, praying for divine intervention, it's all I can do.  Keep my head down, my line wet and do my best to grind out five keepers.  As tough as the fishing is, it really is going to be an exciting start to the new season, and I got to tell ya, I got goosebumps thinking about it.
Check back tomorrow, I'll post the results.
God Bless,
Duke

Monday, March 15, 2010

It's getting a little bit better at the Ozarks...

I managed to get 4 bites today, adn I have to tell you, I'm excited about that. It's hard to believe that a person can get excited about four bites, but I am. I actually believe I got in the right part of the lake today, thae part of the lake that the fish are biting the best in. Of the four bites I got today, three were keepers, two were located on the same type of stuff, which in laymans terms means, I'm maybe beginning to put the pieces of the puzzle together. I've got two more days to figure it out, Lord willing I will! Stay tuned, the tournament starts Thursday.
God Bless,
D

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lake of the Ozarks...a cold rainy mess!

Day one of practice for the American Fishing Series event at Lake of the Ozarks is in the books, and man was it terrbible!  The weather didn't make the day very enjoyable, it was 44 and rainy most of the day, what a crummy day.  I think what bothered me the most, was the fact that there was a tournament on the lake today, and they caught them pretty good.  Nothing like having your competition whack the heck out of 'em on a day where you struggled.  I had one bite today, a two pound fish that barely measured big enough to be a keeper.  Things are going to have to change in a hurry,or I am going to get clobbered in this event. 
Its, early in practice though, and I have several days to try and figure out how to catch 'em.  Lord willing it will all come together.
God Bless,
D

Sunday, March 7, 2010

It's finally warming up...

It's finally warming up here in Southern IL, its 64 degrees today.  I shot a little video while driving the boat other day, as you can see, it was not warm that day!  I can't tell ya how glad I am it's warming up!
God Bless,
D

Saturday, March 6, 2010

4 hours and counting...

I'm up to 4 hours on the new motor, and so far so good!  I made it through the portion of the break-in that allowed me to open it up for no longer than a minute...all I can say is wow!  I didn't expect the hole shot to be as good as it is, there is definitely a night and day difference between the Series 2 motor and the 2.6 liter HPDI 200 hp motor that I had.  Top end so far has been a GPS speed of 68.4, that too is better than my previous motor.  I truly am surpirsed at the difference in the motors. 
I'll be spending the week getting tackle ready for the American Fishing Series event at Lake of the Ozarks.
God Bless,
Duke

Monday, March 1, 2010

Fired up the Yamaha for it's maiden run...

I spent a few hours on the lake today, breaking in my new Yamaha HPDI Series 2 motor.  I'm very pleased to say it ran like a top!  What a blessing and comfort that is.  Maybe it's just me, but anytime I break in a motor, or fire one up after the winter hiatus, I'm always a little anxious about the initial run.  Well, I'm anxious no more, this new motor sure does seem like it's going to be a nice one!  After a couple of hours of running around the lake, I'm ready to go fishing! 
Stay tuned, I plan on doing just that this week, I'll keep you posted on the progress.
God Bless,
Duke

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Phoenix Boats

The PAA booth was located directly across fromt the Phoenix boats display, and after several hours of watching people flock into their display, I coupldn't take it, I had to go see fromyself, what everyone else apparently already knew.  Phoenix had brought 5 boats to the show, two 721's a 719 and a 619, all of these boats were currently listed on Phoenix's list of boat models they manufacture.  The fifth and final boat they brought was a new model introduced at this very show, it was the 618.  Phoenix CEO Gary Clouse mentioned that we wanted a smaller boat with all of the big boat options.  They definitely got it. The 618 is nothing short of a "mini-me" when compared to the flagship of the Phoenix fleet, the 721.  It comes in at 18' and 10" I believe.  It is rated for a 150 hp motor and apparently achieves some excellent speeds, it has the exact same hull design as the 721.  I managed to get a few pictures of the 618, when there wasn't a throng of people gathered around it.  When I asked Gary Clouse what he thought it would retail for, he said under $30k...that's impressive.  Here are the pics:

Monday, February 22, 2010

Fishoflage...What?

I ran into a pretty interesting group of guys at the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors show. THey had an even more interesting product, Fishoflage, that's right Fishoflage. It's pretty cool stuff. Here's a shot of the guys at their booth and another picture of their product. I gotta tell ya, I had to have one, couldn't stop myself. Here are the pics.


The rest of their products can be found at http://www.fishoflage.com/

God Bless,
D

Back from the classic...

Got back from the classic last night and man that was a good trip. Several things stood out . One was the sheer size of the outdoor show, or I should say the bass fishing show. Secondly was the Phoenix Boats display, and last but not least was the fishoflage guys and their products. I'll post individual information about each one. All in all if you have never been to the classic, you should go, it's a good time, That is, if you're a fishing nut!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Going to the classic...

I'm headed to Birmingham, AL on Thursday morning to go to the Bassmaster Classic. Actually to to go to the Outdoor show associated with the classic. I'm going to spend a little time in the Professional Anglers Association (PAA) Booth and a little more time down at the Phoenix Boats Booth, I am also going to spend a fair amount of my time checking out the rest of the vendors at the show. There are a TON of exhibitors at this show, it is a great opportunity to check out products and meet the people responsible for creating them, as well as see the newest products available in the fishing world. I'll post some pictures when I get back!
God Bless,
D

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Spent the day on the pond.....

I spent the day on the lake today, never got a bite! I went with a friend to Cedar Lake in Southern Illinois. Thanks to a calm night and overnight lows of 16 degrees, we had to break ice for a little over an hour to get to open water. I think we needed our heads examined! By afternoon it had warmed up nicely and a light breeze was blowing. This allowed the lake to thaw considerably. The ride back to the ramp was a lot quicker in the afternoon, it took about ten minutes. I shot a little video as we were leaving the ramp, actually it was about twenty five minutes into the trip...I think my comment at the end of the video says a lot! lol. Until it warms up some, I think I will stay at the house.
God Bless,
D


video

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A little classroom session with the Rotary Club...

I had the pleasure of being invited to speak at the Cape Girardeau, MO Rotary Club today. What great group of people, it was a good time. I guess if you call listening to me talk about professional fishing a good time? I do! No, all kidding aside, I had a good time and got to meet some really fine folks. Again, thanks to the Cape Girardeau Rotary Club, and Mike Radake for inviting me to speak.
God Bless,
D

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Number 2000

Waterfowl season is over, well, over today to be exact, but for all practical purposes it ended last Saturday when our geese began to migrate back northward. The last week was pretty slow, mostly unforgetable, with the exception of one thing, Calli made her 2000th retreive in the field. 2000th lifetime retreive that is, which caused a little celebration in the pit. So I grabbed the camera and we shot a few pictures. I know there are a lot of dogs who have retrieved more times than this, but I've kept records since she started hunting and the incredible part is of 2000 retrieves, she has only failed to find approximately seventy-five birds. We hunt standing flooded corn, which can be challenging for a retriever, but she has made it look easy. Here's a picture of number 2000, and a thanks to all who came and hunted with us during the 09-10 season at Pike's Hunting Club.
God Bless,
Duke
(check out the right leg of the goose...see anything shiny?)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Shining like a new penny...

I picked up my boat today from the dedalership, complete with a new Yamaha VMAX HPDI Series 2 motor. Man, that new motor looks good. I can't wait to get it out on the pond!

I couldn't resist, I had to take a picture of it before I left the dealer....to quote Clark Griswald's dad from the movie Christmas Vacation...."It's a beaut!!"

Monday, January 4, 2010

A day off!!! Well, sort of...

I got a day off...well from hunting anyway. We didn't have any hunters coming in today, so I came home to Pinckneyville and took care of some domestic duties. You know, like paying some bills. Yuck. I did get to sleep in, I woke up at 6:45 this morning, thats 2 + hours past normal, very nice!

I managed to get some pictures from the field, the whole video thing has wore me out. I just can't manage to get it done. Between calling at the ducks or geese, keeping hid so they don't see me, telling my hunters where the birds are, so they can get ready if they come in...well you get the idea. Apparently, I have a limit to my multi-tasking.

I hope ya'll have a Happy New Year!

God Bless,

D

Here's a picture of my best friend in the goose pit with me...

(Calli is her name)