Saturday, July 27, 2013

Super Huge Bluegill

Here are some of the pictures from last saturday's bluegill fishing trip. We started fishing about 7 am and fished till noon or so... was a pretty good outing. What is crazy is that the best is yet to come in terms of the bluegill fishing in this lake over the next year or two....

When you are bluegill fishing with rattle traps and crankbaits, it gives you an opportunity to also catch some nice walleye.....

After lunch we took the kids out for some fishing too:

Then we got hot so we decided to get in the water and swim with the fishes:

So that wraps up Saturday... Anyhow whats crazy is that is only a portion of the pictures from the day. Whats even crazier is that we have only scratched the surface on how big these bluegills are gonna get once they grow up.... speaking of growing up, I never imagined this is what I would be doing when I grew up.... some would argue that I may never actually grow up....

So anyhow onto yet another jampacked week. I spent this week building a waterslide near Secor, hanging out with thee Pond Boss Bob Lusk and his family for a couple days, and then finished the week shocking lakes and speaking at a big lake and land management expo near Cedar Rapids, Iowa.... Here are some pics from along the way:

This is the portable catfishing pond we brought to the expo for the kids to fish for catfish in:

The one albino catfish got caught about a dozen times:

Justin and I got back home with just enough daylight to scout out who is coming in to our food plots:

We saw three nice bucks and over thirty other deer. Monster Bull Bluegills and Monster Whitetail Bucks....... Once the sun set we met up with Chad and Jared and spent the next hour going through trail camera pics from Ellisville Farm... Right now the deer are hammering the alfalfa plots way stronger than any other plot we have planted.....Over 15 different bucks in two weeks from just 3 acres of alfalfa..... Here is a pic of the plot getting hammered the most. Once I get the trail cam pics onto my computer I will be posting them, they are mouth watering awesome... We have several pics of 3-4 big bucks all eating from this plot at once...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Secrets to Growing Trophy Panfish

The beautiful weather this summer turned into some serious hot this last week. Whenever it gets hot, fish start to die in a handful of lakes and ponds across the midwest. Then when a cold front with some rain follows a super hot spell, even more fish will die..... so begins fish kill season....

Anyhow on a much more fun note, August Issue of Infisherman Magazine has a 4 page article about my secrets to growing trophy panfish!! Its a must read, so get a copy and track down that article written by Steve Ryan.

So anyhow last weekend we caught some big panfish at my lake. Here is a big hybrid bluegill from my lake Saturday night. We were catfish fishing with chicken liver when this beast of a gill decided to join the fish fry pile. We caught enough catfish to feed 70 people that night!!

Then the next day I went fishing with Grandpa, my brothers, and dad after church. We again loaded up on fresh fish to feast upon... The stripers were hitting and so did this big nice rainbow trout:

Oh yeah, I forgot that before we went out fishing in the boat, Chad and I decided to check a couple catfish holes for spawning catfish. We dove down and sure enough the first hole there is a big catfish guarding her nest. I stuck my hand in, wiggled my fingers and bam she bit my whole hand! She bit hard, but I latched on even harder and wrestled that fish up to the surface and into the 375 degree oil...

So then Monday Chef Todd and I left a 3 am and headed for Beecher, Illinois. We shocked two ponds and toured Art's company Dutch American Foods. Art wants to grow a state record largemouth bass in his 1/2 acre pond. We might not get the state record, but we are going to grow a double digit bass there...

Anyhow his company specializes in mixing and packing food. A tour through here not only makes your mouth water, but it is just downright impressive to see the organization and efficiency of that place operating full bore.... Here we are finishing our tour, naturally chef was drawn to the fish taxidermy wall....

Art's friends pond had a real cool albino catfish in it, but not much else in there worth fishin for....

So then from Beecher we headed into Indiana to help David Adamson learn more about the property he wants to purchase and build a pond and house on.... The property presents some great challenges, but also on the flip side some great potential for reward. He decided to go for it so hopefully in a year we will be growing some big fish near Lake Village, Indiana!!!

I spent the rest of the week at Purina Mills Research Facility south of St. Louis, Missouri. We talked alot about new product development, marketing, and about educating their dealer network about their aquamax line of fish food. I signed on as their aqua ambassador and am super excited about the opportunites and possibilities of what lies ahead! Here is the group of lake mgmt people from across the US that I will be working with:

I got to spend some time with Purina's 'mad scientist' Kent and we are going to design supplemental diets for fish to grow us 2 lb bluegills and 10 lb largemouth bass!! Obviously nutrition is just one part of the equation, but the water quality and habitat stuff we have figured out, our limiting factor right now is year round nutrition and folks let me say fish across the midwest are gonna be growing much larger!!!

Justin spent a couple days this week building this hatchery pond/ silt retention pond out near Knoxville, IL. It will collect silt and grow baitfish for the pond, thats a double whammy....

Jared and Allen spent some time this week working on some properties that will be coming for sale with Illinois Land Company in the next couple weeks. One property is a 50 acre hunting farm along the spoon river near Dahinda. Another property is 80 acres near Wildlife Prairie Park that is 1/2 tillable, 1/2 timber. And the last property is 120 acres in Germantown Hills that will get gobbled up pretty much instantly.

The Dahinda hunting farm is just minutes from Oak Run and will be 100% ready for hunting this upcoming season with deer towers, stands, cameras and food plots all in place. The work is done for you, ready to rock n roll....

Saturday I spent the morning fishing with Steve Ryan and Dave King for trophy panfish and we indeed caught many trophy panfish. Those pics will be a couple days. I spent the afternoon swimming and playing with my kids and we had a blast just basically hanging out in the water and stayed out long enough to watch the sunset...

One last pic before getting ready for church this morning. Chris keeps catching monsters from his lake near Princeville, IL....

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Iowa Lake and Land Management Event July 26/27

B and B Farm Store is hosting a very cool Lake and Land Management Extravaganza on Friday, July 26 and 27th near Cedar Rapids, Iowa!

Herman Brothers will be speaking about growing big fish, pond aeration, vegetation and demonstrating Electrofishing at this event!! Everything will be hands on, interactive, laid back, fun, and super informative! Come with a list of questions!

Also there will be a fishing derby at the pond on Saturday morning as well as fishing in the portable catfish pond both Friday and Saturday so bring the kids!!


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Monster Hybrid Striped Bass

Shew Boy its crazy how summer is flying by! As of late the weather has just been spectacular and the mix of sun, heat, and rain has been perfect. Its been a couple weeks since I had a free moment to post any updates so I don't even know where to begin.

I guess no better way than to start with some really big fish... Shelby Condello came up from Nebraska with her daddy and smoked some big hybrid stripers at our lake in Fulton County. We caught about 30 of them that day, here are the three best:

Hybrid Stripers grow faster (and bigger) than any other freshwater fish here in Central Illinois, and we are growing them in 1/4 ponds to 100 acre lakes....If you dont have a handful of them in your pond or lake, you are missing the boat...

Bryan from Wisconsin has been staying at the lake for the last couple weeks as they finalize the adoption of their little newborn Lily. (Lily is doing great, she was a high risk baby from a lady who chose to do drugs during her pregnancy). Even at such a young age, Lily is having withdrawal symptons, but overall is doing awesome... Anyhow Bryan and his family have been introduced to the crazy summer life out at the lake. They have fit in pretty good overall:

We started another fun floating boathouse dock over in Lewiston. In just two days we take a pile of lumber and floats and turn it into this:

Obviously its not finished, but not bad for two days of work so far.... Also right before the 4th we squeezed in a dock for Dr. Ed near Iowa City. We left for Iowa City about 5 am, started building by 8 am, and we were home by 5 pm with the dock completely finished:

We have successfully spawned out thousands of albino catfish this year! They just hatched last week:

We have built an underwater fish viewing platform and that is perhaps becoming the most favorite activity at the lake... the fish will come eat out of your hand. We have two levels, the first level is about 40" deep for those who dont want to go underwater, the second is 12' deep for those who want to hang out down under with the fish. We also rigged up a breather machine where 4 people can breath underwater at the same time.

Somewhere in the mix I took Dan Joseph and his boys fishing one evening late. They caught monster bluegill, bass, stripers, and a catfish:

Drake came along with us that night too:

Pucker Up Ladies, these are some soft lips:

So then 4th of July was an adventure beyond...Jared, Chad, and I decided to take our 9 kids primitive camping along the spoon river...Ages 3-10. It wasnt 30 minutes in and I realized we didnt think this through all the way when I hear "I have to go number two"...... So anyhow within the next hour all the kids did their business in our homemade bathrooms...

We did our bathing in the river that night before bed:

We made a big fire and all slept around it....when I say slept, I mean we layed around it all night... Drake was so fascinated with the stars, and the leaves, and the fire, and the animals making noises, that he just couldnt sleep... plus eating smores at 10 pm didnt help either.... but by 1 am he finally slept.....until 4 am he was wide awake again.....he wasnt scared of the dark at all, he just wondered around.....the other kids stayed tight like glue out of fear of what was out beyond the darkness..... he wasnt fased at all, he just wondered around:

Mae partied a little too hard and woke up with a camping hangover:

So anyhow the next morning we went for a float on the spoon river...the kids absolutely loved it and for sure we will be doing that again this summer...(the floating, not the camping). We decided the camping was just a once per year thing with all those kids and no moms to help make sure they do their business properly and eat healthy and stay safely supervised... Oh yeah, we introduced them to "itch weed" and all kinds of bug bites, thorns, and splinters...

Believe it or not, the kids are the ones chomping a the bit to go back camping, they loved it beyond!! Freedom has its price, but ultimately when they are camping with us dads they tasted freedom and they liked it...

So we got back to civilization and spent the rest of the weekend playing in the lake:

Anyhow, now is the time of year to be building or renovating ponds. We have lots of very cool pond construction projects ongoing and some just getting ready to rock n roll:

Yesterday I shocked a smallmouth pond near Brimfield, IL

Then I headed out to Fulton County to check on some apple trees that had some dying leaves and rotting apples. This is beetle damage to a cherry tree that didnt get sprayed:

But then on the flip side, here is rotting fruit and burnt leaves on an apple tree that did get sprayed:

Anyhow, either way you can't win. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what is happening to all the fruit trees at this farm. We have about a dozen orchards we are maintaining and they are all rocking and rollin awesome, except for this one. Any fruit tree experts out there that would perhaps want to come tour one of the premier hunting properties in the midwest and offer some insight on all these fruit trees contact me at this farm is set up for world class pheasant, quail, deer, and turkey.

Here is a sweet idea for a handgun range from this farm as well:

So anyhow, next week I will be shocking lakes in Beecher, IL and helping a guy buy some property in Lake Village, Indiana. Then the next few days I will be down near St. Louis at Purina Mills Research facility and then back home about Thursday. The following week I will be speaking at this awesome Lake and Land Management Expo near Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Yall should come on out, it will be alot of fun and alot of good information: