Friday, September 17, 2010

Bass Mania

Largemouth Bass caught at St. Ellen Mine Park in O'Fallon, IL. 09-12-10.
It is not uncommon for me to go fishing and not even come home with a bite let alone a fish. I am ok with that. I may grumble a bit, but I love getting outside and being on the water. Catching fish is an added bonus. I think I get a real kick out of the chance to catch a fish. You never really know what you are going to hook up with.

Well, last Sunday, the good Lord smiled on me! Actually, in 2 ways. 1. Our church started a Sunday night service at 6pm. Of course this actually means that I now have Sunday am as a fishing option. Sweetness. 2. Somehow I was in the right spot with the right bait or something because I caught a bunch of bass. Many in the 2lb range. That may be a wimpy day of fishing for most, but for me it is unheard of. I usually only get one or two fish. This was great. I was using a plastic worm and fishing next to weed beds. This was my second trip out with the fish finder I installed on the canoe. That may have played a part in catching fish as well? Who knows?

It could also be that I was on the water for 6 hours. My wife, Abbie, dropped me off at the lake and went to St. Louis for the day with her sister. We share a car, so I really only had 2 options. Go with them, or be dropped of at the lake for 6 hours. Hmmmmm...... Easy decision for me!

Either way, God gave me a beautiful day and fish to catch. What else does a person really need?

I haven't been using the fly rod as much lately. I am still trying to learn how to fish deep with that tackle. I am reading all that I can and watching guys who know how to do it. I bring it with me every time I go out. I fish streamers with it to practice. One day, hopefully soon, I will be able to fish well with streamers and deep water fly fishing tackle. I suck at it now, bigtime!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fish Finder Install in the Mad River Passage 14 Canoe

After tons of reading and searching, a free fish finder (laying around in my Dad's garage - thanks Pops!), some online shopping, I am now a proud owner of a Mad River canoe outfitted with a fish finder with the transducer mounted inside the canoe. 

Things you will need:
1. Fish Finder with transducer and a mount for the display unit
2. Marine Goop, or similar marine silicone based sealant
3. Battery holder for 8 AA batteries
4. 9volt snap to connect the battery holder to the power leads of the fish finder
5. Tools (whatever you need to make it happen)

The install was quick.  The marine silicone had to cure for 24 hours, but the actual install was quick.  It did take a lot of planning and reading on my part.  I was undecided on the best place to put the stupid thing.  I fish solo most of the time and that placement was easy.  I do fish with 2 in the canoe sometimes, so my install needed to move the display unit around a bit to make that work. I decided to leave a bit of extra cable to mount the display towards the back when I have 2 in the boat.  When I am solo, I sit in the middle seat and the display goes right behind the front seat.

1. Get your materials.

battery for fish finder install on mad river canoe
8 AA Battery Holder

9volt Battery Snap Lead
Marine Goop 
Find A Fish Finder On Amazon

2. Wire up your power and make sure the fish finder is going to work.  My unit worked on 8 AA's for 5 hours this last trip.  I didn't turn it off once!  You are going to need a dry bag or something to keep your batteries dry while on the water.

Battery Holder from Amazon
9volt Snap from Amazon

transducer thru-hull in the Mad River Canoe.
3.  Install the transducer in your canoe.   I installed the transducer under the middle seat of the canoe.  This was the best place for me because it is out of the way and that part of the canoe always touches the water.  This installation is called thru-hull.  The signal shoots through the canoe.  Sonar doesn't work through air.  It has to make contact with water.  That is why you have to use the silicone.  I gooped the marine sealant all over the bottom of the transducer and placed the transducer on the canoe.  Rock it back and forth a bit and let it set for 24 hours. Make sure you put a lot of sealant on there.  The transducer needs to sit on a cushion of the sealant.  No air bubbles in the sealant.  

Fish Finder in Mad River Canoe
4.  Place your display.  You will have to figure out a place for your display.  That means drilling a hole in your canoe.  Pick your spot wisely.  It shouldn't be in the way of fishing, paddling, or feet!  Think this one through.  Figure out all the options and pick the one that works best with you. 

5.  Run your wires.  Keep them out of the way of your feet.  You are also going to have to travel with the canoe. "batten down the hatches!"  You don't want 15ft of fish finder cable flying out behind your car driving down the road!  I used zip strips.

I was very skeptical of this kind of installation.  I didn't think it was going to work, but it did. Works like a champ.  The install is portable (except for the transducer).  Easy to install.  I didn't want the transducer outside of the canoe.  It would get caught up and damaged while loading up the boat and traveling.  I also didn't want a clamp on model.  that would get in the way of paddling and fishing.  It would also slow the boat down.  I highly recommend this thru-hull fish finder installation on a Mad River Passage 14 canoe.

Hope this helps.  Be creative and cheap!  Do what works best for you.

Check out the specs, costs and reviews of the Mad River Canoe.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New Canoe

New Mad River Passage 14 Canoe

My wife and I upgraded to a brand new canoe!  And it was her idea.  I love my wife.  She puts up with all my crazy interests and my fishing addiction.  She loves boats and water, so it all works out.  Abbie loves to read and just hang out in the boat while I fish.  She even likes to paddle and drive the canoe around.  Abbie is like my fishing guide!

We sold our old (as in 40 years) 17' aluminum canoe to some of our friends and bought this 14' plastic type canoe with padded back rest seats!  It was a great all around upgrade for us just in time for the fall and great weather.  We loved our old canoe, but it was hard to lug around by myself and my wife didn't think it was too comfortable.  Those are both things that didn't phase me from being out on the water with it as much as I possibly could, hours at a time.  This new canoe is like a luxury car.  It has rod holders and even cup holders!  Who would have thought, a rod holder.  How convenient.  Now I don't have to figure out where things go when I am trying to paddle and what not.

first time on the car.
Our first trip was to Ramsey Lake State Park outside of Vandalia, IL.  This spot has some special family meaning for me.  My family tent camped there a bit when I was growing up, so I have fond memories of Ramsey Lake.  My wife and I love paddling creeks and exploring the water that feeds lakes.  No other boats can get to these small creeks and shallow waters. We are often the only people who can reach certain parts of water with our canoe.

I have been taking the baitcaster and a plastic worm lately.  You just can't beat how well that works when it is hot out.  It is a fun way to fish.  I like to slow things down a bit and feel the bottom of the lake for a while imagining the stumps and contour of the lake floor.  I stalk fishy type hideouts and holding spots.  I am not the best at finding fish, but the worm certainly lets me cover a lot of water.  Anyways, I caught a few largemouth out of the creek and we were able to paddle it for quite a ways.  The water got to about 4 inches and we turned around because of log jams.

Then I took my German friend, Kai, out to St. Ellen Mine in O'Fallon, IL yesterday.  Bass fishing with the worm again.  Did ok out there too!

The new canoe gets 2 thumbs up.  I can't wait to take it out more.