A DELICIOUS MEAL OF TAINTER LAKE PANFISH CAUGHT WITH JB'S FISH SAUCE & BEAVERTAIL BAITS
ICE FISHING SEASON IS MELTING AWAY
As spring arrives in Wisconsin, the game fish seasons close, the ice can no longer handle pick-up trucks driving on them, and eventually the safe ice melts off into the open water. This year was a very successful year for many Wisconsin anglers on the ice. First ice in December was its usual dependable self, as the majority of anglers found the fish to be very aggressive as their first jig sightings of the year showed up. As the ice thickened and fishing pressure increased, anglers often had to downsize their approach and use less aggressive colors to activate some feeding to put a few on the ice. Enhancing your presentation with JB'S FISH SAUCE is always a wise choice, as the oil-based scent trail can help convince some "tasters" into "biters" when they are in sampling mode. A great alternative to live bait is using Gullickson's BEAVERTAIL BAITS as a finesse trailer on small tungsten jigs. I find myself almost always cutting them in half (length-wise) with a knife when ice fishing to mimic a spike or silver wiggler vs a large waxie. More often than not, this small detail can really increase your odds of hooking up. I did struggle at times this year because on most trips they really wanted a smaller presentation. I was generating bites but on very small tungsten jigs, which ended up in several lost fish during the retrieve to the hole. There isn't much that you can do in these situations, other than maybe trying to increase drag tension slightly, but not to the point that leads to broken off fish. I guess in the end, I would rather lose a few quality fish than not get bit at all using a bigger presentation. Our good buddies Kevin & Trevor found success this winter with me, and we even got to play with LiveScope for the first time on one of our trips. Live Scope has absolutely exploded in popularity this winter in Wisconsin, and because of that the anglers are able to chase down moving schools of fish instead of waiting for them to cycle through at very slow paces. Fish catching is getting much easier with theis new technology, please responsibly harvest and avoid slaughtering our local fisheries on your best days of the year.
ENJOYING THE FLORIDA EVERGLADES
JAMES GANG FISHING CEO ALEX JAMES HOLDS AN ALLIGATOR IN THE FLORIDA EVERGLADES
Alex James decided to take a week vacation from his schooling and head down to the Florida Everglades for 4 days, hitting the beach, chasing alligators, swimming with dolphins, and catching peacock bass. Alex found his first flight ever to be a pleasant experience, as he made it from Minnesota to Miami, Florida in just 3.5 hours. As he stepped outside of Miami International Airport, he saw his first palm tree and a 60 degree jump in temperature compared to back home in the midwest. Alex had a choice of which Turo rental car to ride in, a 2017 Porsche convertible, or a 2018 Dodge Challenger. Alex chose the Dodge, as the Challenger was one of his favorite cars from Zum Off Rentals. The Lamborghini and the McLaren were slightly above our budget.
TURO RENTAL CAR OF CHOICE FOR THIS TRIP WAS THE 2018 Dodge Challenger V6 WITH 293 HP
Alex had never seen such a large city before, as we drove past skyscrapers and changed lanes quickly in 16 lanes of traffic headed to Hwy 41 West. After 9 miles of craziness, the highway slimmed down to 2 lane traffic straight through the Florida Everglades. The sides of the roads all had guard rails separating them from canals of water and backwaters of the Everglades. Thick trees, vegetation, small Cyprus trees, palms, and tall, wet grasslands were to be seen from all directions. Wildlife is very thick here, as birds were hunting for food. Occasionally you would see parked cars on the side of the freeway as all of this water was public domain, you can fish anywhere! These waters contained saltwater fish as well as alligators. The drive was beautiful for 51 miles as you work from eastern Florida, through Everglades City, to Marco Island on the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way there are plenty of Florida panther signs, and even Gopher Tortoise crossing signs. We didn't see any alligators in the road, or any other wildlife besides turkey vultures. I think the guard rails probably do a pretty good job of keeping them off the road. On day one we arrived at our beautiful and affordable hotel, Port of the Islands Resort in the Everglades located on a gorgeous marina. The property was full of palm trees, and even had alligators and crocodiles hanging around the waterfront. We were fortunate enough to see a manatee in the wild eating next to shore, as well as dolphins attacking a school of mullet fish, and those gators & rare crocs.
PORT OF THE ISLAND RESORT IN THE FLORIDA EVERGLADES IS A GREAT PLACE FOR LODGING!!
WALLY GATOR IS NOT VERY SHY AS HE MAKES LAPS AROUND THE MARINA WATERS AT PORT OF THE ISLANDS
After our exhausting day of flying and driving, we crashed for the night at the Port of the Islands hotel. Since we arrived after dark, we were not aware of how beautiful this property was. Sunrise was unbelievable, the the property was surround by palm trees, yachts, dolphins, and more. The marina was full of houseboats that were in use as the owners enjoyed their time relaxing in the harbor. Alex and I headed to Everglades City to check out what its like to rip through the famous mangroves in Florida in an airboat. We did our research and found that Captain Jacks's was a popular place. After the ride, we were invited to visit their zoo, attend an alligator show, and have Alex hold an alligator for a photo opportunity. The driver was an awesome guy, and he entertained us with some pretty funny comedy over our headsets as we traveled through the crazy mangroves of the Everglades.
EVERYONE ON BOARD WAS SMILING DURING THIS AWESOME AIRBOAT RIDE IN THE EVERGLADES!!
During our trip, we were able to see schools of hungry catfish (that love to eat orange peels) and a solo alligator hiding in the shade in the mangroves. Our driver spun us around for some fun donuts on the water, and ripped through the mangrove tunnels at high speeds. The 30 minute trip was so much fun! At the Wooten's Zoo, we saw lots of wildlife, including wild gators and lots of fish outside their fenced in property. They had a nice gift shop with lots of clothing, dried alligator heads and feet and much more for your display areas of your dining room.
FATHER & SON TEAM OF JAMES GANG FISHING ARE LOVING THE FLORIDA EVERGLADES AFTER AN AIRBOAT RIDE
After our fun looking at alligators and riding on boats, we decided it was time to head to Tigertail Beach on Marco Island, which is located on the Gulf of Mexico. This city is full of picture-perfect mansions on the waterfront. Palm trees everywhere. A slow, relaxing place without heavy traffic. A perfect way to spend the afternoon in the sunlight. Alex enjoyed his first tall waves that the Atlantic Ocean threw at him, but he did not care for the taste of salt-water that he accidentally swallowed more than once. The beachfronts were white & sandy, the water temperature was tolerable, and there was some pelicans hanging around chasing some baitfish for supper. Local real estate was on fire as there were homes listed from $4,000,000-9,000,000! This is a high-dollar beautiful place for retirees that have a solid amount of money invested in their retirement.
TIGERTAIL BEACH AT MARCO ISLAND, FL ON THE Gulf of Mexico
The next day in Florida led us to a drive in the Challenger across the Everglades to Miami, Florida. We drove through all the traffic and skyscrapers to cross the ocean on a bridge to Key Biscayne Island. The final destination was the Miami Seaquarium, a zoo filled with wildlife with marine animals including dolphins, orcas, sea lions, flamingos, manatees, manta rays, sharks, fish, and more! Alex treated himself to an adventure in which he was able to swim with the dolphins in the park for 30 minutes with the dolphin trainers. In this time, Alex was taught hand signals to instruct the fish to do flips and shake "hands" (or fins.) He experienced feeding them fish treats, felt the dolphin's belly, and for the grand finale, Alex grabbed on to a dorsal fin and went for a ride across the entire pool. As an animal-lover that loves being in water, this was the ultimate experience for him. He thought the dolphins were hilarious as they were very fun and playful with everyone.
SWIMMING WITH DOLPHINS - HANG ON TIGHT!
After spending the morning with his bottlenose buddies, Alex had me fire up the Dodge Challenger and head back across the Everglades back to the hotel to swim in the 85 degree pool and eat some fresh-caught sea trout, baked to perfection at the Angler's Cove restaurant. Alex said the pool was much better than swimming in the ocean, even though he missed the waves, he did not miss the taste of salt water. The palm trees surrounding the hotel pool were neat to look at, and the large pool had a lot of deep water for him to swim under. We ran out of time to fire up one of the many barbecue grills on the property, but we did find time to search for gators and crocs at the marina and located across the street at the Port of the Isles Recreation Area.
PORTS OF THE ISLANDS POOL IS SCENIC AND HEATED TO 85 DEGREES FOR PERFECT COMFORT
PORT OF THE ISLES RECREATION AREA IS FULL OF REPTILES AND HAS MANATEES PRESENT NEAR THE HWY 41 BRIDGE
PEACOCK BASS FISHING WITH MONSTER MIKE IN MIAMI'S CANALS
A few years ago we were watching another episode of "GOING IKE" with Mike Iaconelli, and there was this hyper, crazy guide named Monster Mike leading Iaconelli down the banks for Miami looking for peacock bass and exotic fish in the clear canal waters. Later on, Mike brought National Geographic Wild's film crew down these same canals to re-connect with Monster Mike on his Miami episode of "FISH MY CITY WITH MIKE IACONELLI." The passion from Monster Mike was as wild as Iaconelli himself, and I thought that this was a guy WE NEED to fish with someday. Since our flight and car rental were based in/out of Miami, we checked with Monster Mike's guiding partner Bryan "The CEO" to see if there was an opening on our final day. We lucked out and were able to book a half-day trip with the 2 guides before heading back home at night with our 8:30pm take-off. We took our final trip across the scenic Everglades Hwy 41 back to Miami to meet the two at their local bait shop. Monster Mike bought out the remaining shiners in inventory as we waited for Bryan "The CEO" to make an appearance. As Bryan pulled up in his HEMI Ram, we fired up the Challenger and followed them through neighborhoods of beautiful homes in southern Miami. We stopped several times as we hole-hopped different canal locations through the day of fishing. On my first cast that hit the water (my first cast was in the trees - or as Monster Mike and Alex called it - I caught a TREE POUNDER) I hooked up into a super aggressive peacock bass! This fish would end up being the smallest one of the day, but even at under 2 lbs it really put up a huge fight!
MY BIGGEST OF MANY PEACOCK BASS THAT I CAUGHT WITH MONSTER MIKE FISHING - THIS ONE APPROACHING 3 LBS
The previous day brought on a cold rain to Miami, and it sure seemed to affect the fishing on this day. We had a very slow start after the first cast peacock that I had landed. Monster Mike and Bryan "THE CEO" made decisions to try other locations. The sun came out and the temperature began climbing, and eventually it turned into the warmest day of our vacation. As the temperature increased, the peacock bass became more aggressive. I was feeling bad as Alex wasn't having any luck, but I was catching them at each location it seemed. We ended up sight-fishing for all of our fish, and I saw a "flared" peacock bass under my feet at stop #2. As I dropped my shiner in front of the colorful fish, a bigger one shot out from the rock undercut on shore and smashed my shiner. I saw it happen so I gave it my best power hookset, and nailed that peacock with all that braided line could handle. It gave me an awesome fight and was easily the biggest one I would catch all day. With a super orange belly, this was one of those that I was hoping to snap a photo of by the end of the day.
As the bite picked up, Alex noticed a pair of peacock bass in front of him at stop #3. He dropped a shiner in front of its face and the smaller one instantly erupted on it. Alex gave it a tournament-style power hookset (jacked him) and he landed his first peacock bass, a colored 2 pounder. While he was holding the fish with Monster Mike for a photo, Bryan "THE CEO" hooked the larger of the pair, so Mike had to hold Alex's fish as he ran to reel in his 2nd peacock bass in less than a minute. This one was much larger, weighing approximately 3.5 pounds! We noticed that this larger fish had a huge lump on his head. Monster Mike & Bryan "THE CEO" said that the trophy peacock bass typically get that lump and grow a much taller back to their shape vs the younger class peacock bass. As we sight-fished the area, Monster Mike continued scouting the shores looking for trophy fish lurking around. After fishing this stop out, he had 2 more on his mind that he really wanted to try out. The next stop would be where Mike Iaconelli was filmed on National Geographic Wild reeling in a large cichlid for the show.
MONSTER MIKE & BRYAN "THE CEO" PUT ALEX ON THE LARGEST FISH TO DATE IN 2022 - A 23" PEACOCK @ 6.75-7 LBS!!!
We hopped back into the Challenger and followed Bryan to the location where Iaconelli was filmed with these two guides. Instantly, Mike notices several peacock bass present as he scouts the banks of the canal. Bryan "THE CEO" sees a trophy busting on the surface numerous times, but finds its way into hiding from us under a thin cloud of debris on top. After a short time, the wind shifted directions and the could of film leaves the area, exposing all of the peacock bass. We caught a few smaller ones, but then I noticed the larger one under my feet. I kept casting at it, getting several missed swipes from the fish. Monster Mike got up close and estimated it to be well over 4 lbs, and was super excited to get one of us on this fish. Monster Mike had us step back towards the truck to prevent spooking the fish. As we stood motionless, he made multiple casts past the fish trying to get it right in the strike zone. After he experienced some missed strikes, the peacock hooked up. Alex quickly took over as we assumed we were dealing with a 4+ pounder. During the fight, the drag was screaming on 20 lb braid, and the fish kept rising towards the top. Once it reached the surface, we realized we were fighting with a GIANT peacock bass! Bryan coached Alex all the way down the shore, reminding him to let the fish take drag, and let the rod do the work before reeling. Monster Mike positioned himself on the bank near the "landing station" that they often use when helping their clients land peacock bass. As he grabbed the fish by the mouth at shore, we all let out an Iaconelli celebration scream - the beast was landed! With incredible colorations and a massive build, this was truly a fish-of-a-lifetime! Monster Mike estimated the weight to be around 6.75-7 lbs with a length of 23." We safely released the fish unharmed after photos and high fives, and will be ordering a fiberglass replica of this trophy peacock bass. These fish have the most stunning colors of all fish in North America, and I highly recommend booking a trip with these two fantastic guides! Monster Mike Fishing can also be found on YouTube, so go ahead and LIKE/SUBSCRIBE to his fishing channel as he puts peacock videos as well as comedy videos on YouTube on a regular basis. Also find him on Instagram to see his entertaining content that he creates with Bryan "THE CEO."
LOVERTAIL 2 Weedless INLINE SPINNER SALE!
LOVERTAIL 2 inline spinners are ON SALE now with FREE shipping! These are great for catching largemouth bass, northern pike, and other large gamefish. Our top 2 fish-catching and selling colors are offered in our current sale - BULL BLUEGILL & WHITE CRAPPIE! For more information, click below to our online store link:
Lovertail 2 Weedless inline spinner BASS
WHAT IS A LOVERTAIL 2? It is a premium-quality weedless IN-LINE SPINNERBAIT! These lures are fantastic around weeds and wood cover, and great for catching that giant kicker bass that you need in the tournaments. Northern Pike LOVE these lures as well, a fun time to be had in Canada!! Throw this lure where you would NEVER dare to throw an in-line spinner!!!! The lure is hand-crafted on a 300# stainless steel wire, using tarnish-resistant nickel-plated blades and beads. Following the beads is a beautiful UMBRELLA-FLARE silicone skirt. A stainless steel split ring attaches a swinging VMC HD weighed hook designed by Bassmaster & MLF WORLD Champion and AOY MIKE IACONELLI.
Check them out in YouTube https://youtu.be/AxCu5ejXchs.
The LOVERTAIL 2 is the top-selling lure crafted by James Gang Fishing Company and will help you catch more 4-5 lb or bigger bass, like it has for Tyler Theide, Kayak Guide, Kevin Rogalski, Pro Staffer, and multiple satisfied customers from Missouri to Louisiana.
JAMES GANG FISHING Lovertail 2 Weedless Inline Spinner in "BULL BLUEGILL"
THANK YOU FOR YOUR BUSINESS AND FEEL FREE TO JOIN OUR JUNE 12 MLF EVENT ON RED CEDAR LAKE. 2 PERSON TEAMS $35/ANGLER. SEARCH "James gang" ON FISH DONKEY APP TO REGISTER!!
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.