DAD ENJOYING TIME WITH JAMES GANG CEO & DESIGNER ALEX JAMES BY CATCHING CRAPPIES AND BLUEGILLS IN NW WISCONSIN
COLD FALL, WARM WINTER, MULTIPLE FRONTS
LOCAL FEMALE YOUTH TOURNAMENT ANGLER ALAYNA H. WITH TWO KEEPER BLUEGILLS IN CHIPPEWA COUNTY
Our fall season started off with extremely cold weather as compared to previous years, as we found solid ice on most regional lakes as early as November 6, 2019. Several smaller bodies of water already had fish on the ice by local brave (but "crazy?") anglers that ventured out on the first few inches of ice. The cold weather remained all the way through the late November WI gun deer hunting season, and led most anglers to believe that driveable ice would be present earlier than ever. During the early part of December the temperatures remained stable, not fast enough to create thicker ice at a fast pace, yet not too warm to lose ice. But by mid-December, the weather took a fast turn for the worst (for ice anglers) as the weather became warm and refused to budge through January as the ice became sketchy and covered in slush all over the state. A few places finally found a safe thickness of ice to drive on, but the heavy amounts of slush caused issues of vehicles getting stuck. For the most part, most anglers in Wisconsin have given up on driving on the ice as of this point in the year and have been resorting to long walks and snowmobile or ATV traffic. The positive of the warmer than average winter - beautiful, comfortable days on the ice and many days without the nasty wind that we typically see in January the puts our wind chills around -40!!
JAMES GANG MEMBERS - GOOD BUDDY ZIM, DOC, & KEVIN ENJOYING THE WARMER THAN AVERAGE JANUARY WEATHER WHILE PIKE FISHING
WOOD-FIRED BEER BRATS ON THE ICE - DELICIOUS!!!!
FISHING WITH THE KIDS
Fishing with kids is always a fun time and is something that our company was obviously founded on when our 7-year-old genius owner became a lure designer and acquired his business license in 2016. We attempt to get a few outings every ice and open water season with a few children to have fun and introduce them to the outdoors. This year during Christmas break from school, CEO Alex met up with local young female anglers Brynn & Alayna in Chippewa County, and found bluegills in about every hole that we drilled! Many fish were running small this day, but the three children caught all 7 of the keeper panfish that were brought to the ice, as the adults failed to land a fish of keeper size. These three had a blast together and had great attitudes as they caught several fish in the late afternoon. Alex was treated with a delicious pizza at a local bar and grill when it was over, and for an appetizer we drank two hot cocoas to warm up from the time on the ice.
ALAYNA H WITH HER FIRST FISH OF THE DAY (RELEASED)
ALEX JAMES WITH AN 8" BLUEGILL, HIS BIGGEST OF THE DAY!
ALEX, BRYNN, & ALAYNA ARE SMILING HUGE AFTER A FUN OUTING ON THE ICE!
BOAT RESTORATION 2020
After 2018 & 2019 were spent pretty much fighting boat issues instead of fishing, we have made some purchases and drawn up some design ideas to improve the CRAWFISH BANDIT General Lee boat for the 2020 season. We are really excited to dump our 2 broken 40 hp outboards and replace them with a 2020 Mercury 25 EFI 4-stroke. We will be losing about 8-10 mph top speed, but feel like we will have plenty of fun at speeds around 20 mph in the 16' Lund. We chose to save the price difference of the lighter motor and invest in a new Hummingbird Helix 12 with mega side imaging, and also got a hold of a 2017 Motorguide 36V X5i to battle winds and current with. New trailer tires, fresh grease in the bearings, and a new coat of paint on the interior and bottom half exterior will shine the boat up nicely. We will replace the jackplate with fresh marine-grade wood for the heavier 25 hp motor, and we will build a 3' platform to mount our first bow-mount trolling system. Our platform will be replaced to accomodate the recessed foot pedal for the trolling motor as well as provide access doors to the batteries. The General should run fantastic for Alex as he spends 2020 working on his boater's permit license from the WI DNR. Upgrade pictures to come.....
CRAPPIES AND BLUEGILLS HITTING BEAVERTAILS W/FISH SAUCE
Last Saturday, Alex and I met some awesome people out on a popular lake in Rusk County, WI. With a perfect weather pattern of a moving front and a low barometer, we figured an aggressive presentation would work very well and that we would manage hundreds of fish on the ice. When we started fishing, we had an unusually tough time for this body of water locating fish. We were in the correct area, but we hardly marked a fish even hopping holes over and over. Finally we found a few schools, and we went after them aggressively - bright colors, big trailers, etc. The result was a school of fishing "fleeing the scene" as fast as they could. It didn't take long to figure out that all of us had to adjust to this unexpected reaction. We went with a small black Acme tungsten jig, and then modified a pink Beavertail bait by cutting the width about as skinny as a silver wiggler. The jig was previously treated with JB'S FISH SAUCE in "Crawfish" flavor. As I began marking fish that would approach but fail to commit with my typical jigging cadence for this lake, Alex took over and threw 5 of the nicest crappies (of the day) on the ice while 5 adults were still skunked.
ACME PRO GRADE 3MM JIG IN "NIGHT RIDER" TIPPED WITH A PINK BEAVERTAIL
TREVOR MEEKS & DREW ERICKSON ARE ON THE MOVE SEARCHING FOR SCHOOLS OF PANFISH
After Alex got off his his fine start towards next weekend's dinner, Sierra & Andy began catching a few fish, including our first 8" bluegill of the day. Moments later Trevor & Drew found a place to set up camp and sit on a few moving schools of fish, getting a few spurts here and there of fish willing to bite in a row with their finesse presentations of darker, smaller jig selections. All 6 anglers seemed to go a small time of catching fish, then as the school would leave we all waited a while without marking fish until the schools would cycle back through. Typically in these situations, I choose to hole hop all over the area and only target holes where fish are present on the flasher. This day was the first time where this run and gun approach failed to pay off, as the 5 anglers that stayed put seemed to consistently catch more fish by being patient and waiting for those cycling schools to find their way back to the area. Towards the end of the day, I decided to go their route, and I ended up catching some better bluegills to add to Alex's pile of black crappies. When the day was over, the group of us brought home around 60+ panfish for the lard, garlic, and cast iron skillets. The biggest bluegills were around 8" and the longest crappie was around 10." These fish made great meals and left us all very happy as we headed home from the lake.
THE VIEW FROM A WISCONSIN LAKE IN WINTER IS ALWAYS BEAUTIFUL!!
NOT A GIANT, BUT TREVOR MEEKS LANDS HIS FIRST PAN-WORTHY BLUEGILL AT 7"
I LOVE THE COLORATIONS OF A BULL GILL, THIS ONE 8" IN LENGTH
ALEX FORGETS TO HOLD OUT HIS 10" CRAPPIE TO MAKE IT LOOK BIGGER
A MR. HEATER BUDDY AND A FRABILL FORTRESS MAKES WINTERTIME FUN!!!
SOMETIMES IT'S WHITE, TODAY THE PINK BEAVERTAIL WAS THE KEY BAIT
LOVERTAILS ON SALE!!!!
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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.