Ice-Out to Pre-spawn
BRAD PEPLINSKI FINDS HIS FIRST BASS OF 2023
The 2023 open water season arrived at an average point of the calendar year for NW Wisconsin. Although we were trending for a late ice-out, we gained ground the week before the WI Fishing Opener and had open water just in time. The month of May showed steady, comfortable temperatures with a lack of frost at nights, which led to a spawn season ahead of schedule by a couple of weeks. The bass were tough to get to bite for the James Gang in the colder water temps, but as it began to heat up the panfish showed up and were cooperative.
PAPA STEVE WITH A 13" & 12.5" BLACK CRAPPIE CAUGHT IN DUNN COUNTY, WI
JAMES GANG MLF - LAKE ARBUTUS AT SPAWN
The sunrise was beautiful at the launch of the 2023 James Gang Fishing Company MLF event on Arbutus Lake. A gorgeous fog began to lift as the anglers arrived to launch their boats and fire up their outboards.The fishing started off decent in the early morning, reached a very difficult lull for about 4 hours, then lit back up in the final hour and a half as the scoreboard began bouncing all over the place. Matt Smith and 6 year old Sullivan took the lead with 2 solid bass in the final 24 minutes remaining as the duo held off 3-angler teams for the victory and the Daily Lunker Award with a 3.58 lb smallmouth bass! 69 bass were registered in this event among 20 teams, most of them being smallmouth bass. The weather held up throughout the week and made the fishing conditions very comfortable in this super-tight event. A FULL RECAP TO COME IN A FUTURE BLOG!
A FOGGY START TO THE JAMES GANG MLF EVENT ON ARBUTUS LAKE
DRONE FOOTAGE OF ARBUTUS LAKE WI - DAN HACKETT PHOTOGRAPHY
BRAD PEPLINSKI WORKING THE REEDS ON ARBUTUS LAKE
CONGRATS TO THE WINNERS 6 YR OLD SULLIVAN & MATT SMITH!
$120 DONATED TO THE IKE FOUNDATION & FISHERS OF KIDS ANGLER ACADEMY
RUSTIC CAMPING & BASSIN' WITH THE JAMES GANG
3 RUSTIC SITES IN 3 NIGHTS - ARBUTUS, SMITH LAKE, TURTLE FLAMBEAU FLOWAGE
At the finish of the MLF event, 3 members of the James Gang hit up three rustic campgrounds in 3 nights for a relaxing and mosquito-infested tent expedition. The goal was good food, good bass fishing, and good laughs. All three goals were exceeded! It was much-needed after the dismal performance by our team in the recent tournament. At our 2nd lake, we managed to catch several small northern pike roaming the Flambeau River near Park Falls, WI on Strike King Naked Rage Blade baits. The next morning was when things really turned around. Several smallmouth bass made themselves present as they smoked multiple finesse presentations. Dan Hackett landed a beautiful female smallmouth getting prepared for spawn in the cold northern waters of the Flambeau River. Kevin Martinek did some damage with a very powerful northern pike that fell for the James Gang NEST INVADER weedless swinging jig in "Mississippi Mayhem" skirt patterns. Multiple friends of that pike joined the party as Kevin continued to land fish.
DAN FINDS A SOLID SMALLMOUTH, JESSE HITS A SPREE, DAN WITH A PIKE
27" NORTHERN PIKE ON A JAMES GANG NEST INVADER JIG
CRAWFISH BREAKFASTS, DEER DOG DINNERS, DUCK BREAST DESSERTS AT CAMP
UNCLE JESSE IN HIS ELEMENT ENJOYING NATURE & MAKING MEMORIES
PRIME TIME TURTLE FLAMBEAU FLOWAGE
LOG JAMS = SMALLMOUTH BASS = JAMES GANG FISHING MAGNETS
Another wild time at the rustic Turtle Flambeau Flowage took place in late-May, and the end result was boated fish - lots of them! 21 Small mouth bass, 13 Northern Pike, 4 Rock Bass, and a surprising walleye came out to the party in this undeveloped beauty of a reservoir. We started the day carrying over some of the lures that worked on the Flambeau River from the previous day - sinking worms by Scheels Outdoors, Kalin's Jerk Minnow Jrs, James Gang Nest Invader Jigs, and Strike King Naked Rage Blade. Like usual, the presentations had to be adjusted to the location and the conditions, and we quickly dialed in the patterns as the bass and pike smoked the 3/8 oz James Gang BABY SQUID BAIT in "Mississippi Mayhem." Other lures that played very well were the weighted worm, as well as the Strike King Ned Rage CUTR worm as a comeback bait after a miss. Topwaters failed to produce, but ultra-finesse showed to be the correct choice during this outing. After hooking into some nice smallmouth bass and northern pike, Dan shocked us as he yelled "get the net!" while his lure was directly under the boat in only 2 feet of water. I grabbed the net and scooped up a pleasant surprise - a 20.5" walleye! Since we don't target these tasty fish and seem to only accidentally hook smaller ones, we didn't bring the fillet knife or livewell to this adventure. We took some shots of this golden-colored beauty and released her back to grow.
DAN HACKETT WITH HIS 20.5" WALLEYE & UNCLE JESSE WITH A MEATY BASS
KEVIN MARTINEK SHOWS OFF THE ARTWORK OF THE TURTLE-FLAMBEAU FLOWAGE
On the night of our Turtle Flambeau stay, Uncle Jesse set the hook on a beautiful smallmouth bass that appeared to be the lunker of the trip. This was in a brand new area of exploration in the flowage. We try and check out a new area every year before resorting to our previous successful waypoints. The bass instantly broke the line off while using a VMC worm hook and a Kalin's jerkshad. We left the area and caught several fish before heading in to camp for dinner. The following morning, we set back out to that area in search of that particular fish. Uncle Jesse felt that an ultra-finesse lure with a perfect cast could entice a bite from that lost fish. Dan missed a large fish that swiped at his sinking worm at the end of a dock. Uncle Jesse quickly tied on a Strike King Ned Rage CUTR worm and threw it where his fish was broke off from the previous night. The line tightened and a power hook set was employed. Dan grabbed the net and the lunker of the trip was landed - with the hook from the previous night still sticking through the roof of her mouth!
LUNKER OF THE TRIP - 16.25" SMALLMOUTH BASS 2 LBS 9 OZ
GOLDEN SHINER BASS JERKERS IN STOCK NOW!
THE JAMES GANG BASS JERKER SUSPENDING JERKBAIT IS IN STOCK IN GOLDEN SHINER OR BLOODY CISCO, OUR 2 BEST COLORS FOR SMALLMOUTH BASS, LARGEMOUTH BASS, NORTHERN PIKE, AND WALLEYE! BLOODY CISCO = CLEAR WATER. GOLDEN SHINER = STAINED RIVERS AND LAKES! TO ORDER PLEASE EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org for PayPal billing.
JAMES GANG BABY SQUID BAIT ON FIRE! AVAILABLE IN OUR ONLINE STORE!!
BABY SQUID BAIT finesse tube spinner 2 pk
This ultra-finesse spinner has been our #1 fish-catcher since 2018. Black and blue work in stained waters, especially rivers, and on cloudy days. Baby Gill ( Green Pumpk/Chartreuse blade) works excellent in clear to stained waters with heavy bluegill populations or around bluegill beds. Green Pumpkin / nickel is the go-to in the clear waters of the Great Lakes with secchi disk readings up to 25 ft deep. Great for any spring fed, difficult bodies of water in your area.
CONGRATS TO JACE ON HIS 17" SMALLMOUTH BASS!
JACE USED A JAMES GANG BABY SQUID BAIT WHILE SHORE FISHING IN WISCONSIN!
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.