THE JAMES GANG HAD A BLAST AT THE 2018 WISCONSIN FISHING EXPO.....
CEO & LURE DESIGNER ALEX JAMES PROUDLY DISPLAYS HIS IKE FOUNDATION PLEDGE AS HE BEGINS HIS BOOTH SETUP FEBRUARY 23
What a fun weekend we had at the Alliant Energy Center! We attended our second trade show ever, and fortunately this one is 100% fishing related. We really appreciate the people at Bast-Durbin for stressing that when choosing which vendors were allowed in the building. It really made the weekend a lot of fun talking fishing with everyone. Attendance was thought to have been up about 11% from previous years, which would put it well over 20,000 people. I know we personally sold lures to people from Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and even South America! He did buy our musky lures to try for peacock bass down there too. Remember to email us your fish catch pictures at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post them on this fishing report/blog every few weeks during the open water or prime ice fishing season!
Madison Wisconsin was rocking this past weekend!!
Click below to watch the Alex Fishing Show in Madison!!
PETE MAINA, KEITH COMBS, & SETH FIEDER ALL HUNG OUT WITH ALEX AT THE EXPO!!
We were excited to see some professional anglers at the show, and we weren't surprised to find that they were all awesome people, much like the majority of the professional fishing world that we had met in the past. Keith Combs, a superstar angler from Texas, has met us a few times prior when he was pretty new to the Bassmaster Elites, but in the last few years he has been the most dominant "big bass" angler on the tour. Keith has won the Toyota Texas Bass Classic THREE TIMES, and has been one consistently nasty angler on the Texas lakes with giant largemouth. Keith told us he caught twin 14 lb largemouths already! He almost won the Bassmaster AOY last year and came up a little short on Mille Lacs, but stressed out the eventual winner Brandon Palaniuk as much as he could in 2017. Keith has always been friendly to myself, Alex, and our buddy Doc Gilles, and it was nice chatting with him about the Classic coming up in March and his fun he has fishing on Sam Rayburn Lake. Best of luck Keith, thank you for spending time with us, you WILL be a Classic champ very soon!
It was our first time meeting professional musky angler Pete Maina. I always found him funny watching him fishing on TV wearing his goofy ski mask with his rock star hair hanging out of the ear holes. He is a great guy, very friendly, he signed one of our Musky Lovertail 2 weedless inline spinners, and he even took one for himself that we offered him to try out. I think that he will be impressed. We gave him the heads up on the healthy population of muskies where we fished an MLF tournament and hopes he goes to check it out, maybe even film a show there. You can watch Pete on the John Gillespie Waters & Woods show all the time, as well as The Next Bite show with Keith & the Parsons boys, walleye experts. Thank you Pete for being classy and kind!
This goofball doesn't need any introduction to the fishing world, as he did a pretty fine job himself in the past two years. When the talk on ESPN2 and in the bass fishing world has been steady about Kevin VanDam & Mike Iaconelli for the past 15 years, all of a sudden Seth Fieder has been the guy that they can't stop talking about. Out of nowhere our local boy (Bloomington, MN) qualified into the Bassmasters by doing extremely well in the Bass Opens in his first 2 season attempts. Then after struggling most of his first season, he gave everyone but Ott DeFoe a huge beating in LaCrosse, WI, then the next tournament he destroyed everyone on Mille Lacs, weighing in 3 five fish limits over 76 pounds! All monster smallmouths! After his momentum built and he found his groove, he had an outstanding year last year, consistently fishing well all over the place, and wound up in the top finishers for Angler Of the Year standings. He qualified for his first ever Bassmaster Classic and will be going for the world championship in a few weeks. We have never met Seth before, so we didn't know what to expect of him. Within a few minutes, I figured out he is just like Iaconelli, a hilarious goofball that fits right in with us. We chatted a bit at his Daiwa booth, when I mentioned Alex's Lovertail 2 lure. Seth was so cool he actually asked to come hang out at our booth for quite a while and look at them personally. He chose his favorite color of Alex's lures, and hung out a long time telling fishing stories, talking about what its like fishing the Bassmaster Elites trail, and a lot about fishing his home areas in Minnesota. He is a super cool guy. He took time to take pictures with all of us, took our card, and even though he is very booked this summer, was kind enough to take one of our brochures to compete in our Major League Fishing tournament in Rice Lake in June. Now chances are this rock star probably can't make it, but the gesture was appreciated and maybe we will see a surprise RSVP. Any craft is allowed, so maybe he and Cade Laufenburg can show up in belly boats or a rowboat together as a team! Thank you for being cool, Seth, best of luck in the classic, keep representing the Cutlass Supreme driving rock star mullet heads of 1985 with that cool mustache and rack up some trophies this year!
TRAVEL, LODGING, SETUP, 3 DAYS OF EXPO, TEAR DOWN.....
Alex, Kevin, and I all enjoyed our first "business trip" with our fishing lure builds. It was a great vacation from back in our home area, the weather was nice, and the area of Madison in which we were working our show had everything close by. Our dinners, our hotels, gas stations, everything was within a 3 mile radius. We were moving a lot from Thursday to Sunday but didn't use hardly any gas or take any time. Everything was RIGHT THERE. The Alliant Energy Center sets up as a great place to deal with as a vendor.
ALEX BEGINS OUR SETUP ON FRIDAY MORNING. HE DID A GREAT JOB & WORKED HARD!
HARD TO BELIEVE HOW THIS EMPTY BUILDING FILLED UP SO FAST!
ALEX IS BUSY STOCKING LURES. HE BROUGHT 584 OF HIS DESIGNS TO THE EXPO
BEING A LURE DESIGNER CAN GET YOU PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES WITH PRETTY GIRLS, SUCH AS THE ADORABLE MISS HAYLEE FROM SMALL CRAFT OUTFITTERS KAYAK GUIDING & SALES
OF COURSE WE HAD TO CHECK OUT SCO GUIDE TYLER THEIDE'S BOOTH. TYLER & HIS GOOD FRIEND CHANG LOR ARE KAYAK GUIDES IN WESTERN WISCONSIN & PREMIUM KAYAK DEALERS. THIS 11.5 LURE KAYAK IS A BLAST TO USE, AND NOW HAS A PEDAL-DRIVE AVAILABLE!! OF COURSE HE HAD THE MUST-HAVE JB'S FISH SAUCE FOR SALE!
TYLER & HAYLEE PREPARED FOR THE LONG WEEKEND & HEAVY TRAFFIC IN THE KAYAK CORRIDOR
EXHAUSTED BOYS GOT SOME REST, AND EVEN BLUE BUNNY MADE THE TRIP. HE HAD FUN TOO!
RIGHT BACK AT IT SATURDAY MORNING. FACEBOOK LIVE TO KICK OFF THE DAY, AND BY 10 AM THE EXPO WAS PACKED!
THE LOCAL CONSERVATION CLUBS, THE COUNTY, THE STATE, & BAST-DURBIN WORK TOGETHER EVERY YEAR TO DONATE TO CONSERVATION EFFORTS. THEY ALSO BROUGHT THIS COOL TANK IN FULL OF WISCONSIN NATIVE FISH. THOSE PERCH LOOKED SO TASTY!
VERY SPECIAL PICTURE THAT I WILL NEVER FORGET
MUCH-NEEDED NIGHT OUT FOR FOOD WITH SOME OUTSTANDING GUYS IN THE KAYAK BUSINESS! THESE GUYS WERE ALL VERY KIND TO US & A LOT OF FUN! THANK YOU FOR INVITING KEVIN & I! WE LOVED IT!
I WAS VERY SURPRISED & EXCITED TO SEE THAT THE UW-STOUT BOYS SHOWED UP. WE ARE SPONSORING THEM THIS SEASON & ARE PROUD THAT THESE GUYS ARE THROWING OUR LURES. WE MAY EVEN HAVE A NEW "BLUE DEVIL" COLOR TWIST DESIGNED PERSONALLY BY PRESIDENT ZACH HANSEN (RIGHT.) BRADLEY LORRIGAN (LEFT) IS THE TEAM'S TREASURER. GOOD LUCK IN 2018!
AND A GUY I WAS REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO MEET WAS OUR SALES REP FOR OUR ACME/KALIN'S PRODUCTS, CHRIS WILSON. CHRIS IS A SUPER COOL GUY AND IS BEHIND A LOT OF THE MARKETING OF THEIR KILLER SOFT PLASTICS. THE KALIN'S SIZMIC SHAD IS DYNAMITE ON OUR LOVERTAIL 2. I LOVE THEM ON CHATTERBAIT-STYLE JIGS AS WELL. ALSO CHECK OUT THE KALIN'S 3" SCRUB TRAILER AND THEIR 4" SIZMIC TOAD. BOTH HAVE PADDLE FEET FOR KILLER VIBRATION.
ALEX MAKES WISCONSIN OUTDOOR NEWS WITH HIS BABY SQUID BAIT CATCH!
THANK YOU CUSTOMERS FOR GIVING OUR LURES A CHANCE! PLEASE EMAIL US YOUR FISH CATCH PICTURES AND ANY CUSTOM COLOR LURE DESIGN ORDERS THAT YOU WOULD LIKE US TO MAKE FOR YOU!!
Fish are still biting, but the schools keep moving!!
CEO Alex and his cousin Mason got out for some ice fishing on February 17th on Potato Lake in Rusk County. They managed to get on some large schools of crappies, but they could only catch a few in a row super fast, then the school would move. The speed of their movement was amazing. By the end of our 3 hour fishing day, the lake looked like an air hockey table from all of our holes. Good thing that our Jiffy 4GLite does such a great job, there was probably 2 feet of ice!!! Our auger was near bottoming out on every hole. A Flirty Girty, scented with some JB's Fish Sauce (Crawfish Scent,) tipped with a pink Gullickson's Beavertail did the trick on all 12 fish caught. 9 of them were fryed up at home, while the 3 small fish were released. Mason did most of the damage, reeling in 8 of the 9 keeper sized fish. Alex was too busy running around having fun with the kids on the ice on this beautiful 32 degree day. He did lose one small fish, as well as myself losing one very nice fish, probably a decent crappie. We had some bonus perch mixed in again, and they were tasting fantastic with garlic and butter in the cast iron pan.
MADISON EXPO ONLY 1 WEEK AWAY!!!
We are doing very well with our lure builds leading up to the big fishing expo in one week. It looks like we are still shooting for 500-600 lures to present at the show to customers. We were worried about our lack of Junebug Bee Whacker buzz baits but our supplier stocked their lure bodies up just in time for us to get a hold of them in time for the show. So far all is well at James Gang Fishing, as we were buried for a bit in bookkeeping, tax paperwork, trade show paperwork, and all of these crazy builds. We got all of the other work done and are well on pace to get all of our lures complete in time for the show. I have a feeling that our Lovertail 2 weedless inline spinners and our Bee Whackers will dominate our sales, much like the show in Eau Claire last spring. Now we are hoping for good driving conditions and a huge turnout. Hopefully seminar speakers Keith Combs & Seth Feider make a quick stop to visit with Alex and get a picture with him at our booth sometime during the show.
BEE WHACKER BUZZBAIT IN "JUNEBUG"
BEE WHACKER BUZZBAIT IN "FIRETIGER"
LOVERTAIL 2 "WHITE CRAPPIE" LURE BUILDS IN PROGRESS
BASSMASTER Carhartt College Series
Zach Hansen displays his Louisiana bass caught on a James Gang BABY SQUID BAIT
The UW-Stout fishing team competed on Toledo Bend in Louisiana in late January. The boys managed to catch a few bass in the tourney, but it was shortened due to weather and they didn't place as high as they hoped. I hope they had a blast and learned a lot about fishing deep in the South in the land of cypress trees, which is a huge change from their home waters of Wisconsin. Congrats to UW-Platteville for taking the win against 180 teams from all over the US!
NEW PAPERBACK BOOK COMING TO AMAZON IN SPRING!
Thanks to all of the positive feedback and crazy amount of views on our blogs and basic "how-to" fishing articles on this website, I was inspired to look into writing a paperback book on the basics of fishing. I feel that the web and the magazine and video world is loaded with advanced fishing tactics, something that I myself am not really qualified to teach since I am not an expert or champion angler. I do feel that there is a lack of basics, though. I am talking about for people that have ZERO experience in fishing whatsoever. If you have never ever fished and don't understand why people like it so much, this is a book to read. It will explain why to fish, what kinds of fish to go after, what equipment you need to fish on a budget, presentation methods, weather variables, etc. Remember this will be presented at a very BASIC level. I would be very happy if young middle schoolers got into this book. Or adults that did not grow up in an outdoors-driven household. This book will be of no value to tournament anglers, or hard-core "fish heads." Those people have much better options, such as hiring a fantastic guide, becoming a member of BASS U TV for the best seminars ever, as well as watching educational shows and DVDs such as Lindner's Angling Edge, John Gillespie's Waters & Woods, Zona's Awesome Fishing Show, and Bill Dance Outdoors. I don't have close to the experience or knowledge of Dale Stroschein, Josh Teigen, Mark Schutz, Caleb Zorn, Marc Jackson, Jim or Al Lindner, Jeremy Smith, John Gillespie, Mark Zona, or Bill Dance. As of today, I have completed 2 chapters and an intro to the book, which will need photos and a complete edit before self-publishing through Kindle in spring. I will have chapters devoted to tackle, locations, Panfishing, Pike fishing, largemouth fishing, smallmouth fishing, trout fishing, river bank fishing for power fish, and ice fishing for panfish as well as pike. I am looking forward to the feedback I receive from this experience and will be interested in doing more in the future if all goes well with it.
BEST OF LUCK ICE FISHING, SEE YOU IN MADISON, WI AT THE FISHING EXPO!!!!
Jesse James is an avid fisherman that loves smallmouth bass fishing, loves spending time with his family, with other family-orientated people, and loves seeing children fish. A huge fan of BASSMASTER Elite Mike Iaconelli, like Mike, he is known to be a little strange, and obnoxious, but only to have fun and make people laugh.