Sunday, January 29, 2012

Tuna Fishing Venice, LA!

This upcoming weekend we are heading down to New Orleans for a family cruise on the Carnival Elation with all 25 of my brothers, sisters, kids, and parents. Well, we finally talked the ladies into letting us head down a day or two early and go out fishing for Wahoo, Tuna, Sharks, and Amberjack! That means we are headed South Friday morning as opposed to Sunday morning!!!!!!

I looked at every fishing website in Venice and talked to pretty much every captain who answered his phone getting the scoop on exactly what the fishing scene is like down in Venice this time of year! Out of about 20 captains I narrowed my choice down to what I thought were the best 4 and then I hounded them for 3 straight days before finally getting an opening for Sunday morning! I talked about their boats, their experiences, their preferred method of fishing, read all their blogs, websites, photo galleries, facebooks, outdoor forums, articles, videos, tv shows, etc, etc. Basically when it comes to researching a fishing trip I dont sleep until I have all of my questions answered. I now know more about the guides down in Venice than all the guides down in Venice know about themselves and their peers....

So anyhow, this upcoming weekend the moon phase is going to have the Wahoos and Tunas feeding a bit more than normal and all the good captains were booked up. Thats where the whole 3 days of pestering comes into play and finally we were able to work out a deal with the best guides that shuffled some things around and we are headed out on this 36 foot yellowfin with Captain Trey! I dont know if you know much about yellowfin boats, but they cost about twice as much as my new house going up... Here is the boat we are fishing on:

If your looking for more information about offshore fishing in Venice, these are the guys I would recommend talking to first! and We booked Trey through Captain Josh Howard with deep south. Josh has an awesome fishing blog via his website where you can research in depth the archives of what he fishes for during the time of year you would be able to head down to Venice!! Captain Trey texted me this pic of a big yellowfin they caught last week:

Captain Josh caught these 9 yellowfin a couple weeks ago:

Here is a pic of a wahoo we hope to run into first thing in the morning:

So we fish Sunday morning lord willing and then I am going to UPS ground the fish meat back home Monday morning in New Orleans before getting on the cruise ship. When I am somewhere not able to take meat home, I use my UPS account to save about 30% off retail shipping rate and get insulated boxes that usually hold around 40 lbs of meat and some dry ice. Hoping to send about 10 or more of those boxes home with fresh Wahoo, Amberjack, Tuna, and maybe mako shark, grouper, etc!!!!

So I definitely am going to be posting pics after the trip either Sunday night from the hotel or Monday night from the cruise ship! Also we will be filming the trip, but that video will take a couple months to turn around.

Anyhow, the forecast wasnt great for this Saturday here at home, so I took Friday off work and set the trusses on my house then instead of Saturday. We got em all up on Friday afternoon and then Brook and I headed downtown Peoria at 6 pm to volunteer on a work project at the renovation of the Family Core Foster Care center. Got home about 10 pm and spent the rest of the night researching Venice fishing and then back out to the house at 6 am Saturday morning. The house is starting to take shape:

By saturday night I was pretty tired and I fell asleep a couple times in church this morning. Getting home from Church I conked out for a couple hours and now am ready to rock and roll for this upcoming week! Gonna be one of the more hectic weeks, since I have to get friday and saturdays work done in mon-thurs now due to the last minute fishing trip. If this week wasnt jam packed though, I would go crazy waiting in anticipation of the vacation. Instead its gonna fly by.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Actual Ice Fishing Update w/ Pics

On Saturday I was putting up walls at my house all day, but my dad and Steve Ryan and his buddy Doug were out at my lake ice fishing most of the day!! I knew with the warmer weather in the forecast all of this upcoming week that the safe ice was only gonna be around till Sunday, so I actually skipped church Sunday morning and went out ice fishing! That perhaps could be my only ice fishing trip of the entire winter????

Here are some pics from the weekend ice fishing:

Reports around the area said fishing was generally good on Saturday, but very inconsistent on Sunday.

The ice is not safe any longer, so dont even think about ice fishing this upcoming weekend. Speaking of this upcoming weekend, I will have a crane at my house on Saturday setting trusses. Anyone out there with nothing to do come on over and get some fresh air. Last weekend my brother in law's parents Barb and Tony came out and helped us set walls all day long. They were invaluable! I can't thank em enough for helping out!! (Their new 4 acre pond over by wildlife prairie park is gonna be extra awesome, I can tell you that for sure!).

Here are some pics from Saturday:

We were able to get all of the walls up and straightened on Saturday! It was a looong but very productive day! We figured out a way to set the exterior walls with the skid steer so that helped tremendously!! Justin has been going to town on the new skid steer. It is a 90 HP beast! This winter he has been pushing snow, planting trees, grading lots, and he has a couple big timber clearing and trail clearing jobs for hidey hole food plots with the new machine. Already have over 200 hrs in just a couple months which is awesome!

This week I have been finishing the remodel of a cabin at Oak Run and the rest of the week I will actually be setting trusses at a big new house we are also building at Oak Run. We custom design and build the coolest lake houses and cabins on the planet!

Just 9 more days and we are heading to New Orleans for a cruise to Cozumel! I should have been a travel agent because planning action packed trips on a dime is my forte. I found a 5 day cruise from New Orleans for $209 per person and with taxes, etc. it came to $247 each. My parents and all of my brothers and sisters and all of their kids (25 of us in all) decided to head down and cruise to Mexico! It is about a 12 hr drive to New Orleans and we are staying just a couple miles from the port. All food is included and let me just say that the Herman family will eat their moneys worth in 5 days on that ship.....

I found every fishing opportunity from New Orleans to Venice to Cozumel to Progresso and every patch of water in between, but the women said absolutely no fishing on this vacation....Is that possible to be that close to the Ocean and not go fishing??? Seriously, the full moon is gonna have the Wahoo's and Yellowfin Tuna feeding like crazy off the oil rigs the day before the cruise leaves! Amberjacks which are my favorite are piled up near Venice in February.... Spearfishing in Cozumel looks sweet, and the only Captain in Progresso who speaks english is available to go to the big shipwreck bottom fishing the day we are in that port. Then on the way back some backwater redfish fishing near New Orleans would have topped it off on the way home......I just dont know how I can be so close but with no cigar......

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Otter Creek Ice Fishing Update

Well, as you all already know, the ice just isnt safe yet.
I am going to have to postpone/cancel the big Ice Fishing Derby/Workshop scheduled for Otter Creek on Saturday the 21st. Also if the 10 day weather forecast is accurate we definitely wont be ice fishing by the 28th either and who knows what exactly will become of this ice fishing season altogether.

With the event being canceled we definitely will refund or credit everyone who signed up. I wont be in the office the rest of this week, but will get that done early next week. This week me and the guys are working on a very cool lake house renovation out at Oak Run. We have to get er done by May, pretty much tearing out most of the inside and putting in lots of very large wood beams, gonna be incredible.

Speaking of construction, this Saturday instead of fishing at Otter Creek I will be putting up walls at my house in Cobblestone Estates over near wildlife prairie park. Since there is nothing else going on outside, you might as well come on over and hang out for a bit to get some fresh air and get some exercise.........

I have heard of two people that made it out onto the ice last weekend. One group near Washburn caught a bunch of rainbow trout from a 1/2 acre pond and the other group near Victoria had one of their members fall through the ice and my cousin on the rescue dive team was called out Sunday to try and find his body...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Hooked On Fishing Park Update 2012

Lots of stuff happening at the fishing park right now! Many volunteers have spent the winter building/remodeling a new volunteer clubhouse, putting in bathrooms, and even Presley's Outdoors is building a new Presley's South Side Wormranch II tackle storage shed down at the park!

2012 is shaping up nicely to be the best year yet for kids and seniors down at the park! We could still use lots of help for the upcoming season! We still need some good used furniture for the volunteer building and also some good volunteers to hang out in that new building between helping kids how to fish!

Also we need volunteers of all shapes and sizes to help finish up construction of that building along with volunteers for the upcoming season for all kinds of routine maintenance at the park.

Here is some updated print information for the new year. Hope you all can help us with this mission in some way shape or form!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ultimate Ice Fishing Derby/Workshop!

Otter Creek Preserve Ice Fishing Day 2012!
"Illinois Best Multi-Species Fishing Lakes!"
Ice Fishing Workshop and Derby
January 21, 9 am - 5 pm
Must Pre-register by Jan 16th, limited to 200 guests.
Click Here to Register.

Finally, here are the details for an amazing opportunity to ice fish at world famous Otter Creek Preserve! Otter Creek is a private 682 world class hunting and fishing property and is perhaps the best fishing in all of Illinois.

Here is a short, cheesy, but fun video Chef Todd and I put together about the event:

So you must pre-register and then on the day of the 21st we will start signing in at 8 am at the Main Lodge. Then at 9 am we will have a short introduction. By 9:30 am we will head out to the lakes and start fishing! At 10 am we have hands on demonstrations at each lake that you can attend if desired. Noon is a gourmet lunch prepared by Chef Todd and his crew. (definitely a highlight). Then one more optional workshop about using electronics for those who want to learn and back to fishing where we will have guides and prostaffers to help anyone and everyone. About 5 pm we will have the final weigh-in for all the crappies and will award the prizes!

8 am- Registration
9 am- Introduction and Orientation at Main Lodge
10 am- Walleye and Muskie Techniques on Prestigious Canadian Lake
10 am- Introduction to Ice Fishing on World Famous VIP Lake
10 am- Catchin Suspended Crappies over the Flooded Timber at Big Lake
Noon- Lunch at Main Lodge
1 pm- Ice Fishing Electronics 101- Big Lake
1 pm- Open Fishing World Famous VIP Lake (Guides on Staff if Desired)
1 pm- Open Fishing Prestigious Canadian Lake (Guides on Staff if Desired)
1 pm- Open Fishing Big Lake (Guides on Staff if Desired)
5 pm- Big Crappie Weigh In, Shoot the Breeze in Main Lodge.

Here are more details:

Main Lodge Overlooking the Big lake is heated and comfortably seats 200. Chef Todd Kent and his staff have a world class lunch and snacks prepared! All Food, Sodas, Hot Chocolate, Coffee and even Bait is provided and will be available all day long in the Lodge. Bring your own ice fishing gear. Rods and Reels and Vexilars are not provided, but Contact Nate in advance if you need anything. We will have plenty of Augers and Jigs and Bait on hand for the event!

$110 per adult
$50 per child less than 16 yrs
Group rates apply for parties greater than 8, high school fishing teams, fishing clubs, bunch of friends coming together, etc. contact Nate for details. Any topic for small group workshops can be accommodated if desired!

From the basic intro for first time ice fisherman and fisherwomen to in depth technology and technique for experienced anglers, this Otter Creek ice fishing workshop has something for everyone! Professional guides and prostaffers from across the midwest will be on staff at each lake to make sure your ice fishing experience is first class and educational! No better
opportunity to get started ice fishing or to come and enjoy fishing some world class lakes.

Otter Creek Preserve is a private property created with Herman Brothers Lake and Land Management to be the best recreational fishing in the entire state of Illinois! The VIP lake boasts lots of large 1 lb+ bluegills, the Canadian Lake features schools of large walleye, muskie, and smallmouth bass, and the Big Lake is a monster crappie factory that also showcases 13 other species of trophy fish!

While out on all three of the lakes, we will be keeping all crappie caught as part of our management plan for 2012. You can take them home for dinner or put them in designated fish baskets for others. Right now we have a huge surplus of 10-12 inch crappies and we need help thinning them down.

At the crappie weigh in at the end of the day, The person with the most crappie caught wins $200 gift certificate to Presleys Outdoors! The person with the biggest crappie of the day wins $200 gift certificate to Bass Pro Shops and the person with the smallest crappie of the day wins an all inclusive guided ice fishing trip for 2 with Nate Herman and Chef Todd!

These fishing lakes are intensively managed and fish quotas for certain sizes and species are inventoried and tracked annually. There will be additional fish species and sizes to be harvested, but they wont be determined until the day of the event.

Many hunting and fishing shows featured on the outdoor channels have been filmed at Otter Creek, and now here is your chance to come and fish these same private waters with some of the best ice fisherman in the industry. An awesome opportunity like this does not come along very often!

Hope to see you all out at Otter on Saturday, January 21st! Food, Fun, Fishing, and Fellowship. Get the gang together and come on out. I am excited for this, if your an ice fisherman you better be there. If you've never ice fished before or just learning, come on out and I will teach you a few tricks of the trade!

Click Here: Otter Registration to Register Online or for more information/pictures.

Visit for more details.