Saturday, August 31, 2013

Giant Illinois Smallmouth Bass

The stripmines of Fulton County, IL have grown some giant smallmouth bass over the years.... I have been gunning for the state record smallmouth, but I have a feeling that once we do get the state record it will be short lived as Lake Michigan smallies are taking off up north... Anyhow, yesterday Jared caught a very big and super thick smallmouth bass while trolling a rapala over 30' of water:

Jareds fish was 14 oz smaller than the current state record, but is only 5 years old....Back in 1985 Mark Samp caught the state record 6 lb 7oz beast in a Fulton County stripmine:
Illinois hunting and fishing

So anyhow with all the up and coming smallmouth bass lakes we have made in the last 5 years, I am very confident in growing 6 lb smallies very soon, but I am also pretty confident that Lake Michigan is going to be pumping out 7 lbers very soon....

Here are some more big smallmouth pics from Fulton County:

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Big Bass, Sunflowers, and Fish Stockings!

My good friend Bruce Condello caught a nice bass this week at his pond. He is an absolute fellow fish geek who is also pushing the envelope of growing abnormally large fish.. he is more known for his work with bluegills, but he has a pretty fun bass experiment ongoing....

Photo: A nice 6+ to ease the mid-summer doldrums.

After Church we took 8 kids bowling at Bass Pro Shops to do something fun indoors to beat the heat... I realized quickly that if I had a bowling alley, the kid rate would be twice as expensive as the normal adult rate.... kids can do some damage and still manage gutter balls and such with bumpers, we had fun though....

Then after bowling me n Drake took a little nap. We are avoiding going outside for pretty much the first time in our lives, its hot out there and we sure aren't used to it this year....

So there's more going on right now than I can keep track of and my mind is working all day and all night; but I'm trying to just stay sane and slow things down a bit.... Noah turned 6 last week and Mae turns 8 this week... Drake keeps saying he is 5 so he can play soccer with them at the Christian Center... Anyhow just 14 more years and it will be all over as my kids will all be growed up and out the house....

So anyhow kids are back to school and it finally decides to get HOT out... should make for a good dove opener next weekend though... usually cold front pushes em out a day before season, but this year looks to be good. Here are some sunflower pics:

So anyhow below is perhaps one of the top ten boring pics ever posted on this fishing blog, but its a pretty important one. A Purina Mills caravan was touring places like John Deere and Caterpillar last week here in Illinois and they brought their tour bus to Norris and spent some time with me n Justin at our lake.... We will be taking our fish experimenting up a few notches by teaming up with them... Our goal is to grow 2 lb bluegills and 10 lb largemouth in 5 years on a regular basis.... we will do it, we are putting together all the pieces to the puzzle...

Alot of pond renovations are wrapping up this summer, now its time for some rain so we can stock some fish!!!

Speaking of fish stockings, we have alot of fish still available this fall! There has been a smallmouth bass shortage the last couple years, but I have a surplus of about 1000 smallmouth that need to find good homes this fall... Also we will have plenty of walleye, tiger muskie, northern pike, rainbow and brown trout, catfish, hybrid stripers, and we even will have quite a few BIG fish available as well... Big Largemouth Bass and Big Blue Catfish for sure.... Just send me an email to with as much detail about your lake or pond and I can help you nail down some fun bonus fish to stock in it this fall.... if the pond has no fish in it yet even better, let me help come up with a fun fish growing experiment for ya...

This week I will be traveling alot.. tomorrow going south to Flora and Carmi, Illinois... Tuesday Rushville, and Wednesday will start in Walnut and move south to Minonk, Gridley, and then Lexington... Thursday is Lewiston and Friday Im trying to leave open to kick off Labor Day weekend hopefully by noon......

I have alot of sunset pics lately so Im gonna just burn em all up here on the blog....

Friday, August 23, 2013

All Hook'd Up

Well, we just built what is perhaps the coolest mancave on the planet... Its a volcano themed floating island that is totally solar powered. Inside is cave walls with hieroglyphics, glass bottom floor, big screen tv, running water, heating, air, dart board, foosball, and many more mancave type amenities... Oh yeah it also has an upper deck, lower deck, neon lava lights and is totally solar powered!! Here are some pics:

We built this floating mancave for our new tv show called All Hook'd Up... its a design/build show for the DIY Network that may air late this fall or early next spring! You will have to watch the show to see the rest of the pics/process/features!!!

So for our second episode we did a big boathouse renovation over near Fiatt in Fulton County... We added a full blown waterslide, rope climbing wall, grill, bar, tenshon shade sails, boat lifts, and a bunch of cool furniture, etc.... Here are some pics:

So filming was actually alot of fun. We had cameras in our faces for about 2 weeks, but after a day or so you kinda get used to it. Here is a fun pic of our crew- camera guys, designers, director, audio, etc:

So now we just wait to see if America likes the show and hopefully they order more episodes..... Here is a link to a news interview we did recently:
Build It Show Focuses on Local Family

On the flip side beyond the tv show we have some crazy awesome stuff happening... I am meeting with Wildlife Prairie Park tomorrow to talk about creative ideas for their lakes which I am totally excited about the potential there!! Then in the afternoon filming a fishing show for the new product out there called Fizzards, then in the evening Purina Mills guys from all over the country are stopping in at my lake to go over some fish feeding stuff......

Also right now I am in the brainstorming process of working on creating one of the nations best hunting/fishing clubs with about 4000 acres of Fulton County land and lakes.... I think we can pull it off.... We have the biggest fish and biggest deer, now we just need the infrastucture set up:

I've got a big road trip scheduled for next month for Cedar Rapids, North English, Independence, Iowa and then onto Lincoln, Nebraska...

I'm running behind on sleep right now...I've been falling asleep at random places at random times.... I couldnt be more excited about the adventures that lie ahead, I just need to get some rest so I dont miss out on everything happening....

On the home front, Noah just started Kindergarten today and Mae is going into Second grade... Drake we decided to hold back a year from starting pre-school... He isnt dumb by any means, he just isnt quite ready for preschool... In fact Drake is ready to skip the whole schooling process completely and strap on a tool belt and get to work... he is the most focussed hard working 3 year old on the planet... all he wants to do is work..... Probably by the time he is 5 or 6 he will just come to work with me everyday and I would learn him everything he needs.....

Here are a few sunset pics from the lake this month:

So in all this fish related craziness, at the end of the day I give thanks to God for what He has done and continues to do. I pray that I can use my time wisely and that I can become the man, the husband, the father, the brother, and even the contractor and friend that I was created to be. I have found time and time again that when I draw on my own strength I can only succeed at one or two and fail with the rest. With God all things are possible, give it all to Him and then buckle up.....

Sunday, August 4, 2013

This Is The Day....

This is the day that the Lord has made; Let us Rejoice and be Glad in it...!!!

I woke up this morning feeling very blessed....I slept in a little longer than usual..... my body ached a little more than usual..... but I was excited for the days ahead and thankful for the days behind....

The next month is going to be an adventure beyond. The month after that is also booked to capacity and the month after that I hope to get some time to chase after our good friend Fenceline....
Fenceline was featured on Bill Winke's Midwest Whitetails 3 years ago and is now the King of Fulton County Typicals. This is his last year on top so he is the deer we are after....

Nobody can see in and nobody can see out of any of our food plots this year:

While I was in Cedar Rapids, Allen and Tyler along with client and his father pumped out this nice floating boat dock in short order...

Here is a sneak peak of a really cool project under construction... a floating cabin.. solar panels, second story deck, bathroom, big screen tv, etc... all the amenities of home.....

Brook is sporting some new earrings that can double as christmas tree ornaments when not being worn and in a pinch can be used for fishing as well.... Fellas, Dinks bait shop in Lewiston is the place to get these for your upcoming anniversary/christmas/birthday shopping....

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Waterfowl Calling Contests in Bartonville!

Bartonville will be Duck and Goose Central for the next few weeks!
Slide 1

Callers from all over the Midwest will be in town thanks to two different weekends of calling contests atPresleys Outdoors. The contests are being held in conjunction with the store’s annual preseason fall waterfowl sale Aug. 1-31 (Click here for the free catalog).

First up this Saturday and Sunday are the various Meat Calling Contests, featuring guaranteed first-place payouts of $1,500 for the open meat duck and open goose contests.

Here’s the schedule:

Saturday, Aug. 3
9 a.m. - Novice Goose, $30 entry
Noon - Two-man Goose, $40 entry
3 p.m. - Open goose, $50 entry

Sunday, Aug. 4
8:30 a.m. - Junior/Intermediate goose, $10 entry
10 a.m. - Junior/Intermediate duck, $10 entry
12:30 p.m. - 2-man duck, $40 entry
2:30 p.m. - Open meat duck, $50 entry

Also on Saturday, Aug. 3, celebrity guests will include Fred Zink of Zink Calls and Avian-X, Clay Hudnall of Field Proven Calls, Scott Madison of Team Xtreme Waterfowlers and Wade Walling. Zink, Hudnall and Madison will also be in town Sunday, Aug. 4.

The following weekend should attract even more of the top callers for Presleys North American Duck & Goose Calling Championship. This is the old IWA event that had been held in the Quad Cities for several years, but is moving to Bartonville.

First prize for each contest is $1,000 and all three duck calling events are sanctioned by the World Duck Calling Championship in Stuttgart, Ark.

Contests on Saturday, Aug. 10, start at 9 a.m. and include:
• Presleys North American Regional Duck
• Presleys North American Live Duck
• Presleys Illinois River Regional Duck

Contests on Sunday, Aug. 11, start at 9 a.m. and include:
• Presleys North American Live Goose
• Presleys Central Illinois Regional Duck
• Presleys Masters 2 Man Goose

The entry fee for each event is $50.

In town Aug. 10-11 will be southern Illinois goose calling legends Tim and Hunter Grounds, Scott Madison and Wade Walling.

Butch Richenback, founder of Rich-N-Tone Calls, will be in store on Saturday, Aug. 10.

The contests are a great time to hear some great callers, plus get some great deals on shells, guns and duck-hunting gear.