Monday, December 31, 2012

My First Fish

The first time I went fishing was with my family and Marie Bennett's family.  Somehow we all ended up at a house on a pond with a pier.  (I was maybe was a while ago, I forget)  Cane poles were pulled out and baited and put in our young, capable hands to watch the red and white bobber drop and the beautiful colored bluegills come up at the end of our lines.

Pictured above are a much slimmer Jack Jelinek than I remember him and a downright scrawny me!  My brother and I found this picture the other day when we were going though some things.  I'm glad we did!  

This is what I remember when I think of fishing as a kid.  There were other fish, other trips but this was so simple, so innocent, such a nice memory!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Last Wade of 2012

I was up at the normal time of early.  Met Pondboy, loaded his gear into my Subaru and drove to the Fox River.

We waddled like sausages in our neoprene waders. Extra layers underneath to protect us from the numbing-cold water.

We were after Walleye. We were working to catch bigger ones than this but it didn't pan out.

My second cast brought in this cute little eye.  He hit more like a crappie; slowly pulled the float down.  The best thing to do in this case was rely on the circle hook to do what it's supposed to do.  Reel in slack, pull the line tight but don't jerk a hook set and the fish hooks its self.

 Dan got one and had to prove he's hardcore by lipping it.  Actually their baby-teeth wouldn't puncture his glove but it looks cool.

The bite stopped where we were and our toes were getting numb in spite of the chemical heat packs we'd both stuffed down our socks.  Time for another location.

Here we drifted bait as usual but this warm water discharge was wall to wall shad.  Unfortunately shad don't eat conventional bait or we'd have had a lot of fun catching them.  Dan caught first hooking a small largemouth bass.

I countered with a small panfish.

And Dan finishes off our catching for the day by catching a shad the only way you can on a rod and reel; he accidentally snagged it.

It's too bad they don't bite any bait we offer.  They're pretty fish and seem to have a good bit of wiggle to them when hooked.

Packing up and heading back to the car we talked about the weather forecast for the next week and how we'd both rather be in a warm ice shelter given a choice.  Then conversation turned to the DuPage County Forest Preserve District Hardwater Classic that I'm signed up for Saturday January 5, 2013.  We wondered whether we'd have sufficient ice by then to allow it to go on or if the fallback date of Febrauray 9th would be needed.

We talked about our recent DuPage Anlger Ice Fishing Podcast and how we only have 2" of ice and we can't recommend and won't fish on less than 4".  Oh, and Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota agree with us.

I'd love to be ice fishing but I'm interested in doing it safely.  Hopefully my next posting here will be from the ice next weekend.  

I wish everyone a safe, happy, healthy, and prosperous 2013!

12/29/2012 USGS Fox River 11.42 ft 1050 cfs @ Montgomery Gauge

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Early December Crappies

The latest warm snap was gone.  The weather stabilized to chilly 40 degree days with 30 degree and lower nights.

Degree by degree the water gets colder.  Until the water gets solid there is always fun to be had catching crappies.

My friend Monique contacted me asking if I was going fishing this Saturday.  I was planning to go anyway and it's always nice to have company.  I felt bad ever since I took her and her son Alex to fish for early fall largemouth and she got skunked.  I was determined to put us on some crappies and that is what I did.

My first cast with a minnow hooked on the Custom Jigs and Spins gold metallic diamond-head jig  hooked a nice crappie.

A quick picture, a quick release, and a quick addition of another minnow to my jig and my float went down again.  This one was bigger.

Measuring at 11" this was a nice, thick, fat bellied crappie. Getting ready for winter added some heft to this fish and the fight on my ultralight rod was all that much more fun.

I bit off the ice jig I had tied on Monique's line and tied on another gold diamond-head jig.  The jig was the ticket for crappie today.  In short order Monique began catching crappie.

What is it with people I fish with kissing fish?  Never mind, the jig-switch worked and that was what mattered.  She still wouldn't impale a minnow but after a few fish Monique got the hang of lipping crappies and unhooking the jig from their paper-thin mouths.

After we caught a dozen fish we decided to call it a day.  The nice 10.25" crappie above is the last one we caught.

Another successful trip out for some crappie catching. I'm glad I could put Monique on some fish.  When quality fish come in enough quantity that they are catchable with the right methods it makes for a fun time out in nature.  

Funny how standing next to water is so calming.  You watch the ripples in the water move your float up and down.  Then it stays down.  Reel in the slack, rod-tip up, and give a steady pull to set the hook home.  Reel when you feel the wiggle and that's how it was today catching these early December crappies.

Oops...When did it become December?  ;-)  The URL will still stay November but the crappies remain.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Early December Crappie

I arrived at Dave's before the sun was up.  That tends to be the way of things when fishing but today it is December 2nd.  The days are still getting shorter and the nights colder.

We're in another weekend "Indian Summer" this weekend with temperatures in the sixties.  I hope the crappies remember they're supposed to bite.  They forget sometimes when the weather swings too wildly in either direction.

After a suspenseful few minutes of having our bait in the water Dave scores first with a nice average crappie for this lake.

Then it was my turn for a crappie to bite my minnow.

Kind of like watching tennis but Dave and I took turns catching crappies and had a great time.

A bonus bass took my float down and came to the surface for a picture.  I eyballed him in the 2# range.  Nice and stocky bass filling up before winter he pulled hard enough to take drag a few times before I landed him.  If you look closely you can see the Custom Jigs and Spins Diamond jig in gold color on his upper lip.

We packed up our things after we used most of the minnows we had brought.  It was a nice morning and a nice time spent out fishing with my friend Dave.  We caught 15-20 quality crappie the biggest being 11.5" but more importantly we enjoyed a morning out catching.

Hopefully we won't have any more of these weekends where we hit 60 degrees in December.  Ice showed up for a fleeting few days as the temperatures stayed down low enough to let it happen last week.  Now we've got 60 degrees.  Winter, come and give us ice!  

Can you tell I'm ready?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thankful for Windy Day Crappies

For the Thanksgiving Holiday today I'm thankful for a lot of things.  One of those things are my dogs.   Ebony came along with me today to go crappie fishing.

Pre-turkey dinner I loaded my gear in the car then loaded my dog Ebony in the car.  Ebony is the younger and smaller of my two dogs.  She's always excited to get to go somewhere but she didn't know what was in store for her when she came fishing with me on this windy November 22nd.  

We parked and walked to a spot on the lake I have learned is productive for crappie.  I discovered that it's a bit more difficult than I had assumed it would be to handle two rods, a tackle bag, a minnow bucket,a small stool to sit on., and a nine year old black lab mix on a leash all at the same time.

Ebony is an AKC Canine Good Citizen and is generally well behaved and listens.  Today she was overloaded with the smells brought to her by the wind.  Oh, the wind was something else.  It brought rain to us this afternoon.  It certainly made it more difficult to cast this morning.

The wind made waves across the surface of the lake.  It was in our faces as we watched my float.  It was pushing my heavy float into the weed bed.  The first time it did that I set the hook into the weeds.  Better to do that then miss a fish.  I reeled in my ultralight rod's line and chucked it out into the lake.  The weeds pretended to be a fish again and I gently pulled the minnow over the weeds when the float went down more slowly.  I set the hook and brought in Ebony's first crappie.

She sniffed it's tail and it flapped her nose with it. Undaunted she sniffed a bit more while I fussed with the camera before releasing this nice, healthy crappie back to the lake.

It seemed I spent more time with line management today then fishing or catching for that matter.  I did manage to land two more including a nice 12" crappie measured on one of my Plano boxes.

I was thankful to catch these pretty crappies today but eventually I had to pack up and get away from the wind.  A man and a dog can only stare into the wind for so long before one of them wants to leave.  To my surprise today it was me.  I figured Ebony would get fidgety after a while but she didn't.  She's sweet companion to go wet a line with; she enjoys a good walk, likes to lay in the grass and sniff around, and doesn't mind waiting for me to catch crappies.

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving and enjoys what for many is a long weekend.  Get out there and go fishing if you can.  The weather is forecast to be cold and clear and the wind should become a breeze tomorrow.  I've got minnows left but the cold weather lets them stay vital for much longer than the summer months.  Hopefully I'll get out again this weekend to a pond that has them and catch the fish I am thankful for on Thanksgiving; the wily crappie.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cold Wet Eyes and Warm Crappie Surprise

38 degrees Fahrenheit.......
Why do Pondboy (Dan) and I always have to go wading in the dark and cold?

The answer to that question goes back to two places; Dan's childhood river stomping grounds, and my 2012 fishing goals from a post on DuPage Angler.

During the "ice-season that wasn't" last year a post was started on DuPage Angler asking members what their fishing goals were for 2012.  I responded I wanted to get into the Five-Pound Club on the website and I wanted to catch a "toothy-critter".  The Five-Pound Club is simply a forum area dedicated to catches of any fish species weighing greater than five pounds.  The toothy-critter is any of the species of local sport fish that have teeth; IE: Northern Pike, Muskellunge, and Walleye.

I cemented my entry into the Five-Pound Club early in June.  The toothy critters had evaded me.  I was thinking I'd have to work Silver Lake in the DuPage County Blackwell Forest Preserve extra hard on first ice (hoping it happens before Christmas) and bag a walleye or pike through the ice to get my toothy-critter this year.

Now that the what, why, when, and who have been taken care of the where will be known as several locations on the Fox River where Dan knew there could be walleye.

Wading in November isn't for the casual angler.  Some specialized equipment promises to make the task more pleasant and that equipment is a set of neoprene waders.  This material used in wetsuits insulates well  and conforms tightly to your body.  Out of the water this feels like a warm hug.  In the water it holds back the dark, cold of the Fox River and enables you to stand mid-stream and try to catch fish.

We spent from sun-up to 8:30 AM working a hole in the river.  This hole is off of a fast current area and stretches for 30 feet or so.  It can be deep at times and today it was between five and six feet deep.  Deep, cold, long hole, fast current....toothy critters....a text book walleye spot.  

We drifted, dissected, switched up the bait, changed the presentation, dragged bait across the hole, up it, down it.  Nada.  No bites, nothing resembling a nibble, and to add insult to injury Dan learned that his patch job to the crotch of his neoprene waders wasn't completely sealed and I learned that my brand new neoprene waders leak in each stocking-foot.

We moved to a nearby bridge to work two pilings.  Drifting minnows and crawlers I got no fishy-love and Dan got three fish but they were all bluegills.  Nice gills mind you but this was not what we were there to catch.  To make matters worse I repeated a performance I made last year at this spot and tripped over a submerged slab of concrete and submerged my forearms and got my jacket and chest-bag pretty wet.  This sucks...two years in a row this spot skunks me and gets me wet and makes me cold.

Dan suggests Plan-B.  You see Dan always thinks two spots ahead of where he is fishing.  This is a quality that makes him a great guide.  We didn't catch at the first location so we changed cold river spots to another spot I could try for my first toothy-critter.

We bumped into JC1Crappies from the DuPage Angler at this spot.  He was spending a little time catching fish off a current stream from shore. (catching and kissing; I guess he loves eyes)  Dan and I waded in 10-15' to allow us more accurate casts and better coverage of the area.

My float goes down!  Could it be toothy?  Naw, just a bluegill.  But it was a nice gill and I was now under no pressure to beat the skunk.  

Dan pulled in a few largemouth bass and bluegill before he found the walleye groove.

Ok, JC1 caught some walleyes and Dan caught some walleyes.  What do I catch?

My float goes down in the slow water near the current stream, I set the hook and feel the wiggle at the other end of my line.  What could it be?

My first ever walleye!  Yeah, it's the size of a king size candy bar but it's better than that because it's my first toothy critter!

Then I couldn't cast without catching one.  Cute little eyes with their firm, unique skin that feels different than the other species I have caught thus far.

Eventually we both had to cry uncle.  We couldn't feel our feet too well and Dan's poor leg was moist with cold Fox River water.  Not the most pleasant thing to be moistened by.  We changed out of our waders, put on warm, dry clothes, and stopped for a bite to eat before heading to Plan-C.

Plan-C involved ultra-light rods, heavy floats, and ice jigs.  We had several dozen more minnows left over from the morning fishing and we wanted to catch another fish that turns on in the cold weather; crappies!

Dan catches the first, then another, then a double.  I get a nice 12" crappie then a double, then another.  Dan sets the hook on one crappie, reels it in, lips it, then picks up his second rod to set the hook then reel in another crappie while he is holding the first one.

So far Dan and I are at around 60 fish for the day thanks in no small part to the big, beautiful crappies in this catch and release lake.  What could cap off the day?  I'll tell you what.

How about a 4.25 lb largemouth bass that ate a minnow on a Yellow Perch-colored Fiskas tungsten ice-jig, I think that caps the day off nicely!  Add to it that I caught it on  Pflueger Ultra-Light rod and reel on 4# test Trilene monofilament.  To the uninitiated, smaller tackle adds a pretty high level of excitement to catching a fish this size.  Your line is lighter so it could snap, the rod is bendy and less able to absorb the shock of  larger fish, and the reel is smaller with smaller drag which this bruiser peeled off my reel for a good long run before I tightened it down a touch to tire it out. 

I dropped Dan off at home, stopping in briefly to say hi to Dan's family and his golden retriever who has a canine-crush on me.  Dogs like me, what can I say?  We chatted a bit more then parted ways.  Neither of us had any idea the day would turn out this well.  Both of us were cautiously optimistic and even hopeful we'd have a good day and catch our quarry.  And we did just that and more.

The day started off with Cold, Wet Eyes alright  but the Surprise wasn't a Crappie.  That's what makes fishing so much fun.  You can try for one species in particular and end up catching something completely different.  I'll take bass this size all year round if I can catch them.

11/18/2012 USGS Fox River 11.24 ft 710 cfs @ Montgomery Gauge

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Trying for Crappies

Temperatures rose to almost sixty degrees today as Indian Summer temperatures made what is likely their last appearance here in the mid-west.  I had made plans with PWoody from DuPage Angler to meet him at a pond near his home and try for crappies.  When I mentioned my plans to my friend Monique she jumped at the chance to come fish with us as she and PWoody are cousins                    by marriage and she enjoys fishing.

We all met at the pond.  I had heard from Pondboy that the bite wasn't happening for crappies today in his normal crappie spots.  That didn't bode well for us but we walked the pond anyway.

It is always nice to get out and fish with members of DuPage Angler and it was a pleasure to meet PWoody this mild Saturday morning.

We had figured live bait is best for crappie today so we came prepared with crappie minnows (fathead minnows of a smaller size, not actual crappie fry), wax worms, and red worms.

The standard live-bait rig I use for crappies is similar to the way I drift rivers.  In place of the circle hook I use an ice jig for weight and presentation and replace the spring-float with a slip-float.

None of us got skunked but none of us caught crappies; all bluegills, all day.

We fished for two or three hours until the scattered showers that were promised in the weather forecast came to pass.

It got dark in a hurry.  I guess if we'd have started walking to our cars when we heard the thunder none of us would have gotten as wet as we did.  "One more cast" was the mantra until the small rain drops turned into big ones.

As we loaded our cars and said our goodbyes the heavens let loose and gave us some rain to fill in a small part of the gap left in our ponds, lakes, and rivers by this past dry year.  

Autumn into Winter is a challenging time of year to fish.  The weather and temperature fluctuate and days get shorter.  Fish know the ice is coming.  Signs posted around this pond ensure the fish will be safe from anglers under the ice.  That's a pitty.  I'd love to search for slabs here this winter.  I will ice fish for crappie this winter, just not at this pond.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Crappie Day Fishing

Thank goodness it has rained as much as it has the last week.  I could see the effect when I went fishing today.  The water level in this pond was a good foot higher than when I last walked it a few months ago.

I met my friend Monique to fish a pond that her neighbor, fellow DuPage Angler member Pwoody had good luck in.  Any pond that you hear has good size largemouth and crappie makes you go fish it at least a few times.  I had done that and only scored a bluegill and a tiny largemouth in all the time I had spent at this pond.  Still my hopes were high that we'd catch crappie as the weather has begun the slide from cool to cold and that's when crappies can turn on and feed.

Our first casts were with bass in mind.  We both had swimjigs with Big Hammer swimbait trailers.  This is a combination I've grown to love as it produces good hits when bass are willing.  Today they weren't willing.

Since science hasn't figured out a way to force fish to bite yet I decided to change course and switch to an ultra-light rod rigged up with a slip-float and a tungsten ice jig tipped with wax worms (waxies).

My first cast my float went down slowly, I got excited at what I knew to be a crappie bite and set the hook into nothing.  I set too early.  Reeling in and checking my waxies to be sure I still had them I cast my float right to the same spot I missed the fish in and sure enough the float slowly went down.  A short hook-set later I caught a black crappie!

It was about palm sized and decently thick.  If this was a lake with a creel limit I don't think this would have been a keeper.  I was fine letting it go to grow bigger.

I set up another ultra-light the same way for Monique and she was catching bluegill after bluegill.  Come to think of it I was too.  There was only the one crappie that bit.  Well since crappie school and roam an area I figured we should walk the shoreline a ways and try our luck at a different spot.

I quickly pulled in a small bluegill when Monique said what she had on felt heavy.  I turned and saw the fish flop in the water.  I only saw it's back but thought it was probably a largemouth bass.

I was wrong!  Monique caught the second crappie of the day.  It was the biggest crappie I had ever  had the pleasure of lipping.

After I stopped saying, "Holy sh#t that's a nice crappie" over and over I handed the fish to Monique for the picture with her catch.  Then I got out my Boga and weighed the fish.  2 1/4 pounds!!!  I've heard of bigger crappie being caught in southern lakes but I've never actually SEEN one before.

Plenty more bluegills were caught and released but we didn't catch another crappie and not one bass.  The best part is we didn't care.  We were both excited by that thick, black-speckled, slab of a crappie Monique had hooked and landed.

Fishing in the colder months of the soft-water season can be hit or miss.  The weather may be nice and the bite is off or the bite should be on but the weather is lousy.  Today was a Crappie Day of Fishing with blue-gill skies and temperatures in the 40s.  

Soon the water will be hard and this blog will take the turn to hard-water fishing.  Until then I hope to have many more crappie days fishing!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What I did last weekend (and it wasn't fishing)

Last weekend I didn't go fishing.  It's not because I didn't want to go but I had signed up and paid for something in the spring that would keep me from fishing this weekend.

I was in Wisconsin.  Milwaukee to be exact at the Rod Building for Beginners Class.

I walked into the hotel and turned into a conference room where I was told to write my name on a name tag and pick a solid color thread and a metallic color thread.  Then I was to sit at a station that didn't have someone sitting at it already.  

I have to say I was excited.  I was going to learn something new; I love learning new things!  I wasted no time in unpacking my plastic baggie of parts.  There was a cork handle, rubberized cork butt-cap, cork foregrip, reel seat, a bag full of guides plus a tip-top guide.  Another small baggie contained small slices of surgical tubing.

The instructors began the class by handing out 6'6" medium action rod blanks.  Long, tapered, dark-grey in color and nearly impossible to keep from poking the rod tip into the ceiling in the conference room.  We then learned one of the things that makes a custom rod better than a factory produced rod.  A factory decides where to place the guides based on the straightest side of the blank.  A rod builder figures out which side of the rod has the spine, marks it, then places guides based on how the blank naturally bends. This means a custom rod works with the naturally stronger part of the rod on the back so when under the load of a fish the custom rod will be stronger.

Next we took our cork handle and slid it down the rod as far as it would go without forcing it.  Pull the handle off the rod blank and ream out the center hole with a textured-grit stick or an Extreme Reamer

Once the hole was large enough to slide down the rod to the base without slipping off it was time to mark a line on the blank at the top of the handle.  Next the reel seat gets slid down on top of the handle to make another mark and finally the cork foregrip was reamed out to fit snugly atop the reel seat.  Another mark was made at the top of the foregrip.  Then all pieces were removed and we received a cardboard square with a glob of epoxy (quick setting since this was a one day class) and two popsicle sticks.

The lines I had marked before were there so I could "paint" on a layer of epoxy from the base of the rod blank to the first line.  Once epoxy was on the blank I had to slide the newly reamed handle back down the length of the rod and twist it around in the epoxy to allow it to penetrate all the cracks and grooves in the cork before it landed in it's home at the base of the rod blank.  With some of the extra epoxy I spread a layer inside the butt cap and twisted it to its final resting place at the base of my rod.

For the reel seat we used masking tape to act as arbors.  The instructors all work at MudHole so when one told us to use masking tape another corrected him and called it specialized rod building tape.  He was joking of course just like he was when he referred to the the plain old razor blades in our kit as special rod building razor blades only available from  Once the reel seat fit snugly but not tightly over each arbor.  This is the first time I need to pay attention to the line I drew when I figured out where the spine is.  I drew a few inches lengthwise in china marker on the inside curve of the blank because I was building a spinning rod.  

I received another glob of epoxy and two more sticks.  I buttered up each arbor with a liberal coat of epoxy and globbed more into the spaces between the epoxy-buttered tape arbors.  Sliding and twisting the reel seat down the epoxied arbors until it rested against the cork handle and the dots that show where the reel will go are lined up with the china marker line.  This needs to line up with the backbone so the reel centers on it once the rod is complete.

The files we were given in our pile of tools and clamps were used to grind down the front edge of all of our guide feet so they were thin.  That allows me to place the guides then wrap them in nylon thread to hold them in place once I mark their locations on the blank.

I melted a sliver of hot glue into the tip-top guide and twisted it on the top of the blank.  The rest of the guide locations were marked on a long strip of paper then transferred to my blank with china marker.  For the purposes of the class this was a decent placement for all guides but was layed out to allow favor the last guide closest to the reel.  The guide closest to the reel needs precise placement and can be best tailored to the custom rod by knowing what make/model/size of reel will be used with it.  In this case it was placed in as generic a location as possible to work with a wide range of fishing reels.  The small pieces of tubing get stretched down the length of the rod to each of the guide markings.  Then the guides are lined up so the front of the guide is even with the mark on the blank and the tubing is stretched up the guide to hold it in place.

The solid color thread I picked was set in a tension spring loaded contraption on the hand wrapping setup.  The first guide was lined up with the spool and the thread was wrapped around, crossed, then run down the blank and taped to it.  Now the rod is rotated or turned around to wrap the thread completely around the blank once, then again, then a few more times before the tag end is cut snug to the wrapped thread that is trapping it down.  More turning to advance the thread up the guide foot and up the guide until I need to cut the tubing or pull the tape off then wrap more until the guide starts going vertical.  

About five or six turns before I get to the part of the guide that starts upward from the foot I place a loop of thread on the bottom of the rod blank below the guide then wrap the five or six wraps up the guide.  Keeping the tension on the string I cut it from the spool then while keeping tension put the new tag end through the thread loop.  Finally I pull the tag end under the wraps to make it be trapped under the wraps on the bottom of the guide.  One careful cut with the razor blade makes the tag end disappear into the wrap.  Each guide was wrapped down to the blank then the metalic thread was used to accent and make smaller wrapped lines below the main guide wraps.

Instructors from MudHole were moving around the tables in the class offering assistance and their expertise in the rod building arts.  They wanted to be sure we were all progressing at a decent rate and also that we were understanding the steps we were learning and their importance in creating a quality custom rod.

After all the guides were wrapped I held the rod up to look up the rod.  I made an imaginary line from the tip-top guide to the dots in my reel seat.  All the guides were wiggled and adjusted to line up along this imaginary line.

The final step in the building process is to mix up some thread epoxy to seal in the threads, locking them in place so the guides don't move and so the threads don't unravel. This is done on a rod dryer.  A rod dryer is just a motor that turns at a very slow RPM.  The slow turning allows me time to paint the epoxy on the thread and over any decals or other wraps I do on the rod to seal them away from moisture and abrasion.

The class rods were put on a large spinning dryer which allowed half of the total rods in the class to load on to each one to spin all night.  This allows the epoxy to dry in a uniform round way as it doesn't stop spinning until the epoxy is dry.  At least in a perfect world it doesn't stop.  Some time during the night our dryers were unplugged and all the epoxy on our rods sagged leaving epoxy stalactites on each epoxied area.  These stalactites were clipped off the rods for us by the MudHole staff.  We received brief instruction on how to fix our rods to make them pretty but they were cured and functional so I could fish with it now if I wanted to.

So here are some pictures of my blog color themed rod; it's a 6'6" Medium power spinning rod.

Day two we were able to pick up our finished fishing rods and attend two sessions with the MudHole instructors where we got to observe two advanced techniques to add some visual appeal and further create the custom experience.

I enjoyed my time learning how to build rods so much I ordered some ice rod kits to build in the coming weeks.  Then my fellow DuPage Angler Pro Staff members are interested in rods built to their specifications.

I can already tell I'm going to enjoy this facet of the hobby just as I enjoy the catching facet.  I love to learn how to do new things and thanks to I can build custom fishing rods!