Minnesota Fishing Questions Answered, Fishing Product Reviews and Fishing Tips From Pro Fishing Guide Jeff Sundin

Minnesota Guide Jeff Sundin

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   Fishing The Fall Turnover 9-21-2010

    Q) Hi Jeff, I just read your latest update. You're expecting Winnie to turn over soon? And after that no fish? I always thought they kept their feed bag on until ice hits. Erling Hommedahl

    A) Erl, I don't recall saying no fish, I said "slow-down". Here's a link to the original comment. The peak of activity is occurring right now as is always the case. Pre-turnover is the most active feeding period of the fall, but post-turnover doesn't stop the fish from feeding, it just signals a change in how you approach catching them i.e. more success at evening than during midday, selection of baits, depth of water etc..
We will find a productive places to fish, but after the surface temperatures dip into the lower 50 degree range, surface water sinks to the bottom and warmer watrer rises to the top. This reminds me of the old coffee pot on the stove as it just starts to perk. The affect of this turnover is that now all of the water in the lake is equally Oxygenated and becomes similar in temperature. Fish that were forced to inhabit the shallows when deep water became un-inhabitable during late summer are now free to roam until they locate preferred structure and or bait supplies.
When turnover occurs and the large schools of fish seem to disappear, we look for lakes that either haven't turned yet or in some cases, lakes that never turnover i.e. deep, spring fed lakes or lakes fed by rivers with heavy current flow.
Watch for additional information soon. - Thanks, Jeff


   Fishing Regulations - Walleye Limits

    Q) Jeff, I am going to be coming up to Lake Winnibigosh this fall and I was just wondering about the fishing limits. I have looked at the fishing regulations and wasnt sure if the limits were daily or total possesion. For example am I allowed 6 walleyes daily or 6 the entire week i'm there? If you could clear up my confusion that would be great! Thanks, Matt

    A) Matt, In Minnesota the possesion limit is equal to the daily limit for Walleye and almost all other species. In other words, on Lake Winnie, you are allowed to have 6 Walleye in possesion for the entire week. If you catch and eat six walleyes today. You may then keep six again tomorrow, as long as you never have more than six in possesion. An exception is the bag limit regulations for Yellow Perch which is a bag limit of 20 daily and 40 total in possession.


Tip: Cleaning Up Rusty Jigs

I opened one of my tackle boxes and discovered a pile of wet, rusty jigs. In the past, I would have thrown 'em out and started from scratch. Yesterday, I decided to try getting rid of the rust using Iron Out and it worked like a charm. It was so simple, I can't believe it. Just drop the whole pile of jigs into a plastic container that can be covered. Liberally sprinkle on the powdered Iron Out, add a small amount of water, cover and shake for a few seconds.
Remove the cover, rinse with clean water and dry out the hooks. As a measure of extra protection, I sprayed mine with WD40 after drying.

Water in the boat from rain or waves is hard on your fishing tackle. (click images to enlarge) Rust will eventually ruin the hooks, but if you act quickly, you can still save them. I put my jigs into an empty plastic container, sprinkled on the Iron Out, added some water and shook them up. It's amazing how fast the rust comes off. i sprayed on some WD40 and they're almost good as new.
Waves Over Transom Rusty Jigs Before Rusty Jigs After

   Lund Alaskan - Mercury Outboard 1/30/10

    Q) You are one of the few people that have much experience with the 20' Alaskan tiller. I have been looking around here in Wisconsin and had limited success with dealers, I guess I just don't want to buy on unseen. I am even considering booking a trip with you just to ride in one and see the power tiller handle. Living within 45 minutes of Green Bay and Lake Winnebago I am looking for boat to do it all including duck hunting.
I have been told the power handle is the way to go with a tiller that large, what is your opinion after running it both ways? The cost I was give was $3,000 for the power tiller handle, for that I could possibly get a SS and save money, but I really would like an open floor tiller.
I would like to run a 4 stroke just for noise reduction and with my choices being the 115 or 90 what do you see as performance differences? One dealer was only going to charge $300 more for the 115, unless there is a reason to choose the 90 that seems like an easy decision to me for $300.
Not sure what you have had for trailers, I would like a roller to launch at smaller lakes but could I expect to see hull damage in the form of dents?
What is the length of the boat motor and trailer? Currently I would rent a storage unit to keep it indoors. That my require me to downsize to a 18. I am assuming they all have the swing away tongue.
Thanks for any insight you may be able to give, Bob Hannes

    A) Bob, Thanks for taking the time to get in touch. I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to run these Alaskan's. They have worked out perfect for the job I have to do.
As luck would have it, I've run one with the 90 HP Johnson 4-stroke (made by Suzuki), two of them with 90 HP Evinrude E-Tech engines, one with the Mercury 115 HP 4-stroke and the most recent one with the 90 HP Mercury OptiMax.
For this boat, you need an engine that trolls down, and of all the combinations I've owned, the Mercury Opti Max 90 HP has been the best performing engine from a pure fishing point of view.
You are correct that the 115 4 stroke would be somewhat quieter, but the Opti is very pleasant to run and your trolling performance will be much better. In terms of top end performance, I lost only 1 MPH when I switched from the 4-stroke 115 to the Opti 90.
The "Big Tiller" with power steering is really nice. I really didn't have any complaints before either and I think you could go either way with this and be happy. If this is a rig you're going to hold on to for a while, the extra money may be worth it to you.
I've had all five of my Alaskan's on Shorelander roller trailers. I can launch these boats in shallower water than any rig I've ever owned in the past 30 years. You have nothing to worry about, it will easily go where most other boats won't. In fact I was so impressed with my first one that for fun I had some stickers printed for the side that said "4X4". These boats can just go anywhere.
I know you're concerned about the cost. These are big decisions for me just like they are for you. When it comes to dealing with someone for a competitive price, it's going to be hard to beat Ray's Marine in Grand Rapids, MN. I know it's a little outside your home territory, but I think they will be happy to work with you. Why don't you try making a call to Dave Hernesman, 218-326-0353.
If you happen to get over this way occaisionally, I would be more than happy to let you take a test drive. Just give me some advance notice so I can work it into my schedule.
If you have any more questions let me know, I'm happy to help out. - Jeff Sundin


    Fishing Near The Twin Cities? 7-16-08
    Q) Jeff, Hope you are having a good week. Question for you... we have a family get together in August east of Zimmerman. I think Isanti is actually closer. Do you know of any places to fish around there? I have checked out many different web sites and none of them mention fishing. I even checked out explore MN and nothing came up. I think where we are staying the rum river is near by but it looks to small and shallow for a boat. Thank you! Jason
    A) Rum River is a great canoe trip for fishing, there are lots of Smallmouth Bass, Sauger and some Walleyes. From Isanti, the next major Walleye fishery is Lake Mille Lacs. But there are some small lakes that have good Crappie and Bass fishing with potential for some Walleye too. Over to the East are the Center Lake Chain near Lindstrom, these have been good lakes in the past. Rush Lake, to the Northeast of Isanti used to be and I hope still is,  loaded with Crappies (smaller than we get up here, but something fun to do), a bit further up near Pine City, you'll find good fishing on Pokegama where there have always been good crappies, but now has good Walleye fishing also.
If all of that sounds bad, then the stretch of the St. Croix River on either side of Taylor's Falls would be the final answer. If the water level is good, you can run a boat up stream from Taylor's Falls for a few miles. Downstream is better for a boat and either way there are fish to catch. Mainly Smallmouth and Sauger, but Walleye and other fish are in there too.
    That's the rundown as I know it. It's been a while since I fished that stuff, but as I remember my experiences, the ranking would be in this order.  #1) St. Croix River, #2) Pokegama, Pine City, #3) Rush Lake, #4) South Center lake. Hope this gives you a starting point. Good Luck, Jeff

    Walleye Bag Limit Comments 2-12-09

    Q) Very good article. Click link to Walleye Bag Limit article.
I'm not sure that the "Walleye" is in trouble up here, I don't know. There are other fish in the water . How come walleyes always seem to be money fish? That's what it sounds like to me. "Four" seems like more of an atainable number for an average angler. What's wrong with that! Those two extra walleyes might help the system. Tom H.

    A) Thanks for getting in touch. Like you, I love fishing for other species of fish too, but lots of folks simply like the Walleye best, there's nothing wrong with that either.
Regarding the Walleye bag limit, from my point of view, it's not the number of fish that's important, it's the message.
Theoretically, you could improve fishing a lot by making all fishing "catch and release" only. The problem is that Walleye are not considered great fighters and the typical Walleye that people catch are not trophy fish either. In reality, most folks seek them almost exclusively for food because they are great to eat.
When the DNR suggests lowering a limit, they send a message to the world that we have a problem. It's as if they are saying that "for some reason we believe that our lakes cannot sustain a bag limit of six fish". But if their own statistics are true, Walleye populations are up and license sales are down. According to that, shouldn't we be looking at increasing the limit?
I'm not really advocating an increase in the bag limit, but what I am saying is that if a family from Indiana or Missouri are willing to spend a couple of thousand bucks to stay in our area for a few days and all it takes to make them happy is the possibility of catching six Walleye....well, do the math. Thanks again! Have a great day, Jeff

    Fishing Near The Twin Cities? 7-16-08
    Q) Jeff, Hope you are having a good week. Question for you... we have a family get together in August east of Zimmerman. I think Isanti is actually closer. Do you know of any places to fish around there? I have checked out many different web sites and none of them mention fishing. I even checked out explore MN and nothing came up. I think where we are staying the rum river is near by but it looks to small and shallow for a boat. Thank you! Jason
    A) Rum River is a great canoe trip for fishing, there are lots of Smallmouth Bass, Sauger and some Walleyes. From Isanti, the next major Walleye fishery is Lake Mille Lacs. But there are some small lakes that have good Crappie and Bass fishing with potential for some Walleye too. Over to the East are the Center Lake Chain near Lindstrom, these have been good lakes in the past. Rush Lake, to the Northeast of Isanti used to be and I hope still is,  loaded with Crappies (smaller than we get up here, but something fun to do), a bit further up near Pine City, you'll find good fishing on Pokegama where there have always been good crappies, but now has good Walleye fishing also.
If all of that sounds bad, then the stretch of the St. Croix River on either side of Taylor's Falls would be the final answer. If the water level is good, you can run a boat up stream from Taylor's Falls for a few miles. Downstream is better for a boat and either way there are fish to catch. Mainly Smallmouth and Sauger, but Walleye and other fish are in there too.
    That's the rundown as I know it. It's been a while since I fished that stuff, but as I remember my experiences, the ranking would be in this order.  #1) St. Croix River, #2) Pokegama, Pine City, #3) Rush Lake, #4) South Center lake. Hope this gives you a starting point. Good Luck, Jeff

    Mercury Opti Max Performance Questions 7/13/08
    Q) Jeff - I see you’re running a Mercury Opti Max on your boat this year. In your opinion how does it compare—both trolling and running hard-- to the Merc 4-stroke you ran last year and the Etec you ran prior to that. Thanks, Matt ** Kearney, Nebraska
    A) Matt, This is by far the best engine I've had for "pure fishing". With the 90 HP Opti Max, my top speed is about 35 MPH which compares to a top speed of 37 MPH with the Mercury 115 4 stroke. I can troll significantly slower with the Opti Max and it is easy to keep my trolling speed at or near .5 (1/2) MPH. In flat water, I do still use a drift sock. The Opti Max is not as quiet as either the 4 stroke Mercury or the E Tech, but it is very tolerable. The Opti Max uses more oil than the E Tech but compares very favorably in Gasoline consumption. So far my daily trip average is about 5 gallons of gas per day. Spark plug life with the Opti Max is hands down better than my E Tecs were.
    As an added bonus, I have the new Mercury "Big Tiller" and power steering on this engine and so far this is also working very well for me. They've thought out the handle design so it's easy to use and the power steering makes operating in heavy water much easier.
    We're in a time historically when most of the engines on the market are good. Now we enjoy the luxury of being able to "fine tune" our choices to match the job we want to do. So far, this engine has been my favorite and I'll probably continue to run this model each year for the foreseeable future. Good luck with your fishing, Jeff Sundin

    Landing Nets That Really Work 6-28-08 (review Jeff Sundin)
    Several years ago I bought a Tangle-Less landing net made by Loki Nets at Ben's Bait in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. That particular net worked out great for me until one day up on Rainy Lake we were rushing back to the resort to try and dodge a storm and the net blew out of the boat. Since then I looked in all of the local stores for a replacement, but never found the same net again. I tried some other nets along the way that look like the Loki Tangle-Less Nets, but none of them worked out quite as well. The truth is that most of the others I've tried worked for a while, but either didn't have the durability of the Loki or had a basket that's so deep it defeated the purpose of the Tangle-Less design. (They use the term Tangle-Less to describe the benefits that come from the plastic coating on the knot free netting material.)
    I finally realized that I had to take matters into my own hands and contact Loki directly. Now thanks to their help, I finally have the net that I've been looking for and I'm happy to say that I can get fish out of my net again without spending five minutes un-tangling hooks and Walleye Teeth. My particular preference is for a shorter handle on the net and a shallow basket that allows me to get the fish out of the net in a hurry and get back to steering the boat. Your preference may be a bit different, but these folks have the net you need! I really want to try and do what I can to spread the word about their product up here in the north country, so if you're in the market for a net, take a look at their line up. Here's a quick link to their website:
link to Loki Landing Nets

    Cool People I Meet On Fishing Trips! 6-30-08
    Every once in a while you meet somebody who really makes an impression. Last weekend I meet a gal who in my mind, sets the standard for the "ideal fishing customer".
    A good friend of mine booked a fishing trip as a Christmas gift for "Grandma" and after waiting all winter, the big day finally arrived. We met at the lake landing on Saturday, I handed her a fishing rod and she kept me busy the rest of the day. Among other attributes was the fact that she can out-fish all but the best of the "guys" I've fished with. What really impressed me though, was her energy and eagerness to be out there on the lake. You just got the feeling that come rain or shine, "grandma" was going fishing, happy to be there and thrilled with every bite she got. It just sort of makes you forget your aches & pains and makes you hope you can be half that energetic.
    Valora Lundberg from Lake Lillian, MN. Farmer by trade, fishing woman by choice. Has a reputation on Big Kandiyohi Lake as one of the best anglers on the lake. At 80+ years old, still lives on her farm and maintains it. She's fished off coast in Florida, Bass in Oklahoma, Stripers in Texas and practically every kind of fish in Minnesota. She also enjoys Deer hunting, her German Shepard dogs and cats.

Fishing Action Valora Lundberg 6-28-08 Smallmouth Bass Valora Lundberg 6-28-08 Walleye Valora Lundberg 6-28-08


    Mid Summer Walleye Tactics on Lake Winnibigosh 6-24-08
    Q) Jeff, My family and I are planning a vacation July 12-18 at Lake Winnie. We have been vacationing in Canada for the last several years, but Walleye have seemed to slow down, not to mention the dollar exchange being absolutely crazy right now.
I was just wondering if you have any suggestions as to techniques for this time of the year, and any suggestions for the best Walleye locations to get a starting point?
Look forward to your ideas....Stephani
    A) Good morning, Thanks for getting in touch. Here's a link to an article that will get you in the ball park.
http://www.jeffsundin.com/Planning%20Your%20Fishing%20Trip.htm#Walleye%20planning%20your%20trip
There are always some fish in the weeds, so fishing weed edges in Cutfoot Sioux or on Lake Winnie will be an option. As of this week, the fish are also moving out into the open water on Lake Winni where you'll find the in 20 to 30 feet of water on the main lake bars and small humps (reefs).
Good luck on your trip, Jeff

    Late Summer Walleye Tactics on Lake Winnie 6-24-08
Q) Hey Jeff, Just wondering what I can expect for a walleye trip to Winnie in early August. Friday August 8th to be exact. Is it pretty tough that time of year? Are you available? Thanks, Joe
A) A) Joe, Thanks very much for getting in touch. Here's a link to an article that may help get you in the ball park.
http://www.jeffsundin.com/Planning%20Your%20Fishing%20Trip.htm#Walleye%20planning%20your%20trip
I'd sure love to fish with you, but I'm afraid that I am booked solid during the time you'll be here. Mid to late August is up and down, but I have had some very good fishing at that time of year. Faster moving presentations are often very good. Crankbaits like the Salmo Hornets or Shad Raps, Spinners and sometimes fast moving jig and minnow presentations will work.
If you're flexible, you'll find that panfish, Perch and Pike will also be active at that time. Good Luck, Jeff

    Matching a Reel With a G. Loomis SJR720? 6-6-08

    Q) Jeff, I know this is a busy time. I just bought an SJR720 IMX 6' Loomis. I have several reels what do you recommend? Mike Nolan

    A) Mike, That is about as versatile a rod as you can get. A really nice reel in an affordable price range is the Shimano Sedona. Here's a link to the page at the Shimano site.

http://fish.shimano.com/publish/content/global_fish/en/us/index/products/reels/spinning.html

They offer additional reels with more features as well, but this is a good all around performer. The 1500 is the size that matches that rod the best. Let me know how you make out, Jeff


late Summer Fishing Lake Winnibigoshish? 6-6-08

    Q) Jeff, My wife and I are planning a trip to stay at either Bowen Lodge or High Banks Resort on July 26-Aug 2. I was wondering what we can expect for the fishing during the heat of the summer. Walleyes, Pike, Jumbo Perch, Crappie, Bass ??? I’m teaching my wife to fish and would like to get her into some action (wouldn’t mind brining a few home too) any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Great job on your website it has helped me to find some of the lodges available in the area. Thanks, Joe D’Aquila

    A)  Late summer is typically boom or bust for Walleye. I've had some really great trips, followed immediately by some really poor ones. If the water is really warm and Walleye are sluggish, I try to go for panfish at least part of every day. Cutfoot Sioux and Little Cutfoot have awesome Bluegill (big ones) fishing that can often be at the peak during the warm water times like late July. Fishing in the weeds for Bluegills, you'll also "stumble" into bass, Perch, Crappie and even Walleye.
For someone on their first trip to Winnie and Cutfoot, I'd suggest fishing weedlines with live bait rigs and leeches or night crawlers. After a bit of poking around, you will certainly begin to discover some patterns to take advantage of. There will be people fishing the deep water structure on Lake Winnie at that time as well. If you're comfortable on the big lake, you might want to spend some time looking at the deep structure too.
If you contact me again as the time for your trip draws near, I can give you a couple of weather reports and maybe some hints as to where to begin when you arrive. Good Luck, Jeff Sundin


Crappie on Lake Winnibigoshish? 3-10-08

    Q) Jeff, I've fished Winnie for Perch through the ice for many years.  In that time I've never caught a Crappie or even seen one caught.  I heard from a co-worker that some Crappie are caught on Winnie through the ice.  He conveniently doesn't have any details.  What do you know about Crappie on Winnie through the ice?  And I'm talking Winnie not Cut Foot.  Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Branden

    A)  Before I give you a long flowery answer, please understand that I don't consider myself an "expert" on fishing Crappies or Bluegills on Lake Winnie. We do catch some and I'm always happy when we do.
     Most folks agree that there are a few isolated schools of Crappie on Winnie. The problem is that there aren't enough large schools of fish to make them reliable to target. Often, people fishing in Third River, Tamarack Bay or Lake Harry will stumble into a school. Sometimes the fish stay in an area for a few days, but rarely are there enough fish to withstand a lot of pressure.
As long as the Walleye and Perch population stays high, Crappie will probably never blossom into a high percentage target, but it is really fun when you do stumble into a school and it does happen from time to time.
    These few clues are about all I really have to go on. If you find them, they're worth catching. But more often than not, I can do much better by fishing the smaller lakes in the area which produce plenty of numbers and good average size fish. Good Luck, Jeff


16 Foot Lund Alaskan vs. 16 Foot Lund Classic 2-19-08

    Q) By way of introduction, my name is Chuck of southeastern Pennsylvania. I’m currently exploring the purchase of a Lund aluminum boat, specifically the Classic 1625 SS (665 lbs) or the Alaskan 1600 SS (915 lbs). The boat will be mainly used in local freshwater lakes of approximately 1500 acres. My main concern, and question to you and your Website readers, is regarding the weight of the boat, horsepower and performance. The majority of lakes in Pennsylvania are horsepower restricted, maximum of 20hp. While I’m not necessarily concerned with maximum performance, given the relatively small size of the lakes I’ll be fishing, the weight of the Lund with the IPS hull is making my choice somewhat difficult. I like the Alaskan size, layout and features compared to the Classic but the extra 200+ lbs is something to consider. Do you or your readers have any experience in this area? Can you comment on the performance I can expect given the hp restriction and weights of the two boats? A friend of mine owns a 1990’s model Alaskan SSV18 (~600lbs), standard V-hull without the IPS, equipped with a 15hp 2-stroke engine. The performance of this rig, while not optimal, would be good for my purposes. Are their any comparisons I can make here? I’ve looked at some Performance Bulletins from Mercury, Honda and Yamaha; however, none seem to match the configurations I am considering. As a Lund owner I would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks, Chuck.

    A) Chuck, It's been quite some time since I've run a rig with less than 90 HP, so I'm definitely not the final authority on this subject.
    I'm all for protecting our resources, but it sounds like the State of Pennsylvania has put you in a difficult position. In my opinion, you could do better to minimize the negative impact of boating on a lake by allowing boats to be "correctly powered" for better performance. In other words, if I lived on a lake, I'd rather see boats operating efficiently, than to see underpowered rigs plowing water, causing large wakes and burning extra gas. With today's improved engines, a 40 HP limit would likely serve the same purpose environmentally and still give boaters a few more realistic options. I can think of a bunch of really nice fishing rigs that could be paired up with engines in the 25 to 40 HP range.
    That said, If I had to choose between the two boats, I think the Classic 1625 gets the nod this time. Honestly, a 1500 acre lake is going to be manageable with either rig and even if I had to cover the whole lake at trolling speed, I could still cover a lot of ground in a typical fishing day. But that classic is a nice rig and you can't ignore that weight difference. I think you'll do great with the Classic. Here's a little trick I learned a few years ago; Check into pontoon boat props for your outboard engine. These are "anti-cavitation" props built for applications where the prop needs to get "good traction" and while you will lose some top end speed, they really do help you get up on plane better and improve the responsiveness of your rig. For me, a boat that handles properly is a lot more fun to use than one that only goes fast.
    Now that you know my personal preference, maybe some of the folks reading this will add their two cents worth by clicking here. Good Luck, Jeff


G. Loomis SR842-2 Spinning Rods, Matching Reels 2-5-08

Q) Hello. I have a Loomis Sr842-2 GL3 spinning rod and I was wondering what spinning reel do you recommend for this rod? All I keep seeing when I search is the GLX (version). I just thought I would let you know. Thanks, John

A) I have several of the SR842-2 GLX rods. In my opinion, this is the best light rod I've ever touched. I use them primarily for Walleye and Crappie fishing with light jigs in the 1/32 ounce to 1/18 ounce range.
I've used the SR 842-2 IMX version as well, but really prefer the faster recovery time of the GLX. I've not used the GL3, but I guess that it's probably somewhat "whipier" than either the IMX or GLX versions and just a touch heavier.
    Because I seldom use line heavier than 4 pound test with these rods, I generally match these rods with a 1500 series or sometimes even a 1000 series reel. With the GL3, the 1500 series might feel better, but you'll have to take the rod into the store and try out a couple. Hands on testing is the best way.
    Shimano, Daiwa and Garcia all have some nice lightweight reels in this size range. I went through a phase where I bought quite a few "high end" reels and eventually came to the realization that my money was better spent on getting the best rod, then matching that with a reel of decent quality, but not necessarily "top of the line". Last year I bought some moderately priced Shimano Cienna 1000 series reels and I had good luck with those. I prefer a front drag on mine, you may choose a rear drag. As long as they have a good drag and feel smooth, you'll be okay. If you want to go into a higher end reel, look at the Stradic FI.
I hope this helps, good luck, Jeff
    Note: If you check the G. Loomis website under trout rods, they do list the GL3 version right along with the others. Dealers may choose not to stock that model, but they can certainly order it for you. Use this link to view the G. Loomis Product Page


Alaskan and MinnKota Question 1-29-08
Q) Jeff, Was the Minnkota transom mount 74lb. 24v a Maxxum or Vector series? How much running time could you normally get before discharge and which series do you prefer? Also, do you know any Lund dealers that currently have 20ft.tillers in stock, Alaskans of course. Thank you for your time, Nick.

A) Actually, It is an 80 pound thrust and it is the Vector 3X Tiller model. When you have good batteries, you can run it hard all day long without a problem. When the batteries start getting tired, lets say 190 to 250 trips on them, then I can use them up in a day. For me, I try to run the trolling motor instead of the outboard, so I have it on a lot. For a typical angler, you may even go three or four days on a charge, but if at all possible, I'd recommend re-charging every time you use the rig and you'll get longer battery life.
The dealers seldom keep the 20 foot Alaskans "on-hand", but your first call should be to Dave Hernesman at Ray's Sport & Marine in Grand Rapids 218-326-0353 or email him at rays@raysmarine.com


Lund Alaskan Follow Up Questions 1-29-08
Q) Jeff, Since your so good about answering questions, I guess I have to ask a couple more. Thanks in advance for you willingness to answer them. Are you running a 24volt system? If so were do you put the batteries? Would it be possible to run a 36 volt system? Do you have an on-board charger?

A) Yes I run the 24 volt and I've been using the MinnKota 80 pound Vector 3X models and they are a perfect match for this rig. Beginning with the 2007 models, there is a built in battery compartment just below the front deck under the cockpit floor. There's room in there for two group 27 batteries so the 24 volt is no problem. If you want to go 36 volt, (you really don't need to) you could add another battery in one of the storage compartments in the front deck. This isn't that heavy a boat though and typically the 24 volts system will do a great job.

I always install MinnKota's three bank on board charger and I've never had a failure. I will never be without one.


Mercury Outboard Question 1-27-08

Q) Hello Jeff, I was looking at your boat, and setup. The Alaskan looks like a very nice setup, but with a 115hp tiller??? I guess that sounds like a lot, how does it handle? Have you had any troubles with the mercury motor? Looking for your insight since you probably run the boat every day in the summer. Thanks and good fishing, Matthew

    A) Matthew, This was my first year with a Mercury Outboard since the late seventies. Most folks know by now that Mercury Marine's parent company, Brunswick Corporation acquired Lund Boats a couple of seasons ago. To make a long story short, this opened up an opportunity for me to switch over to the Merc.
From the beginning, I've had a great experience with the outboard and with the company itself. They are very well organized and the products are delivered really fast.
    Another change resulting from Brunswick's acquisition was the re-rating of the Alaskan 2000 Tiller Boats. Previously rated for a 90 HP Tiller Engine, the Alaskan has been upgraded to a bit larger boat with a few bells and whistles and a new rating up to 115 HP.
    Not knowing what to expect, I decided to spend my first season with the 115 HP four stroke and this turned out to be an excellent engine for me. It starts great, sounds great and looks great to boot. A lot of folks that fished with me last summer complemented the engine on it's quietness. On this boat, this engine has all the get up and go I could ever ask for and it was zipping me along at just shy of 40 MPH. I switched to a lower pitch prop, 16 pitch aluminum "Black Max" to get a little slower trolling speed and that dropped my top end down to around 37 MPH.
    At the time I ordered it, Mercury's new "power steering" tiller handle wasn't yet available, so I went with the conventional tiller steering control. That's the tensioning system with a swing arm that slides through an adjustable plastic sleeve. I really didn't have much problem controlling the engine because it had plenty of power to get me up on plane even at low speeds. Tiller engines are easy to control when you're boat is on plane and you have the engine trimmed up to it's "sweet spot". They're only tough to control when you're plowing water, in other words you're a lot more likely to have trouble with an underpowered boat or when you don't have the correct prop installed.
    This year the new power steering tiller is available and I will certainly have it installed on this year's rig. From what I've seen so far, these power units take virtually all of the work out of steering a tiller engine. As soon as I hit the water this spring I'll be sure to post an updated review.
    Trolling speed with the big four stroke is acceptable, especially when you use a good drift sock. For me, if the water is calm, I do all of my best work with the electric motor and tend not to run the engine until there's a "Walleye Chop". With a few waves slapping into my Wave Wackers, it trolls down just great.

Walleye Sundin with Mercury 4 stroke   I hope that helps, Good Luck - Jeff


Lund Alaskan Questions 1-27-08

Q) > Jeff, I am looking at purchasing a new 20 ft Alaskan. I cannot find pictures of this boat anywhere and dealers don't keep them in stock for me to see. I understand your boat is sold. Can you send me more pictures of it so I can get a better feel for the boat?

A couple other questions: Is the livewell big enough? How does it handle rough water? How fast with a 115hp? Thanks a bunch, Matt.

    A) Matt, this was my 4th Alaskan and they have all been good boats for me. I fish large lakes like Leech, Rainy, Red and Lake of the Woods. These boats have taken everything that any of them can dish out.
Top speed with the 4 stroke 115 is really dependent on the prop you choose. If all you want to do is go fast, you can put on a higher pitch prop and your speed will be well over 40 MPH. In my case, I want to troll down, so I run the lowest pitch prop they offer which is a 17 pitch, 3 blade aluminum prop. My top speed with a light/dry load is about 38, heavy/wet loads I get about 36 MPH.
    The livewell (for me) is where I keep the bait. I use an ice chest for the fish because that keeps them delightfully fresh in warm weather. If I were to choose to use the livewell for fish instead of bait, I believe it's plenty big enough for your average fisherman. It is not a "tournament" size livewell, but on one occasion where we need to keep fish alive for a photo session, I had a 15 pound Pike and a 10 pound Walleye both in there at the same time and we kept them alive easily. So if you don't over-do it, it will be more than adequate. Here are a few pictures I have on hand. Click to enlarge them.

Lund Alaskan Electronics Installation Lund Alaskan 2007 interior stern Lund Alaskan Stern Mercury 115 HP Lund Alaskan Port Stern Mercury 115 HP Lund 20 Foot Alaskan 2007 interior bow Lund Alaskan 20 foot starboard side


G. Loomis WRR 8400 GLX - Good All Around Rod?
Q) Hello from fargo, I recently won a G. Loomis WRR 8400 GlX fishing rod. It's seven foot long and I've never fished with a rod longer than 6ft.,I fish primarily for walleye and I can exchange it for a different one if I want to, but since I haven't fish with a seven footer before I'm not sure if I'd be doing the right thing by exchanging it for a shorter one. Would really appreciate your opinion.. thanks, a.c.

A) The 8400 is a great rod. I use that rod for live bait rigging in deeper water where heavier sinker weights are needed and for trolling crankbaits. If this is the type of fishing you like, keep it.
    If you prefer to fish Walleyes in shallow water using lighter sinkers and jigs, then that rod might be a bit heavy for day to day fishing. In that case, I think the ULTIMATE light line/light lure rod in the entire G.Loomis lineup is the SR 842-2 GLX.
    Another thought with regard to versatility; The SJR 720 IMX is probably about as good a choice as you'll find for an all around rod that you can use for multiple applications.
    I hope this helps. If you want more specific selections, let me know more about your fishing style and the baits you most often use. - Good luck, Jeff


Line Selection For Musky Rods? 5/20/07
Q) I'm an avid walleye fisherman, who for many years fished Lake Winnie. I've now built a cabin on Leech Lake, Portage Bay and seen some of the pictures of the Musky that people catch by me and want to start fishing them again. I fished Musky about 20 years ago, but I don't even remember the basics. I pulled out my old Musky reels and want to replace the line, when to the store - didn't even remember what pound line to get, asked, got about 5 different answers, so I thought I'd email you. . My reel is a Abu Garcia 5500-C3 I also have a 4600 - C3 and a Zebco Quantum IR4C that I could use. No clue what I have for rods, as they are stuffed in the corner up north. I remember the fun catching - but not the basics - I have one 43" under my belt again many from years ago. I'm sure one I get started again this will come back to me - any help? -David

A) David, You're going to see a lot of choices out there for line. I've been using the Berkley Fireline on my musky gear. The line weight you need is going to depend a lot on the rods you're using, but generally, the 50 pound test should be okay for most applications. Here's a link to an article I wrote that might be of interest to you.
http://www.jeffsundin.com/article_musky_mystery_part-one.htm - Good luck! Jeff


Outboards and Fishing Rods 5-14-07
Q) Hey Jeff, What will you be asking for the boat. Is the Merc a 90? What is your choice rod for Shad Rapping and your rod for drifting a worm or jig. Thanks much Mike J.

A) Mike, The Merc is a 115 HP 4 Stroke. I am anticipating the price of the boat to be around $17,900.00 but I don't have that locked in just yet. For trolling shad raps and other crank baits I like a casting rod with a line counting reel. I use all Loomis Rods and the models that work well with crankbaits are CR 842 IMX, PR 8400 IMX, CR 843 IMX (for larger baits). There are a lot of good models for jigging and live bait rigging. When I can't decide on a specific rod for a specific job, I go with the spinning rod SJR 720 IMX. This is a six foot rod that will perform most of the work an average fisherman can throw at it. The 1500 Series Reel should match up well with that rod. Good luck! Jeff


Matching Reel to Fishing Rod 4-20-07
Q) I had emailed you earlier about the sjr720 rod. I'm looking at a Shimano Symetre reel to put on the rod. Would you recommend the 750 model or the 1500 model reel for that rod. I mainly due walleye and crappie fishing. - Brad

A) Brad, I'm not super familiar with those reels but if their numbering system is uniform throughout all of the models, the 1500 should be good. In the store, you can tell easily which one will be best by installing it on the rod and then using only your index finger, balance the rod just ahead of the reel seat on the handle. If the rod falls backward your reel is too heavy, if the tip falls toward the ground the reel is too light. An ideal combination should balance on your fingertip and feel comfortable to hold. When it's balanced correctly, you can fish all day long without getting a sore or tired arm. Good luck! Jeff


Guiding Insurance 4-15-07
Q) Hey JEFF.
My name is Tim, I live in Ames Iowa about 35 miles north of Des Moines I've been a compulsive fisherman for over 25+ years and have did a few guide trips by word of mouth and was thinking about doing it as a part time income I have a question for you in Iowa you don’t need a license any more the DNR tells me but I was wondering about what kind of insurance you recommend? I'm a a 1 to 2 times a year visitor to Lake Winnie I absolutely love the north country!!! you are blessed to live there if I was single I would pack up and move but a wife and 3 kids might have a different opinion!!!!! anyway I me a regular visitor to your site and love the reports and especially like your articles you post intelligent information so please keep it up. Thanks, Tim

A) Thanks Tim, Chances are that it won't be more than a couple of hundred bucks to get the guiding coverage under your homeowners policy if you're not guiding full time. Most insurance companies will let you add the coverage under your homeowners and they usually have a rule that equates the percentage of your income from guiding to determine whether or not you are eligible.
    If you earn more than 50% of your income from guiding/fishing, you'll probably need to cover yourself with a commercial inland marine policy. I have mine through Charter Lakes Insurance at the Dwight Swanstrom Agency in Duluth, Minnesota. If you want that contact information, let me know.
    Be sure that your insurance agent knows that you're guiding and let them tell you what you need. Now days if you don't disclose it, don't be surprised if they deny a claim based on the fact that you don't have the correct rider on your policy. Chances are that it won't be a big deal to get coverage under your homeowners.


Crappie Fishing in Minnesota, Memorial Day on Sand Lake 2/13/07
Q) Jeff, I will be spending memorial weekend on Sand Lake fishing for crappies I will be staying on the part they call the Boot can you give me some tips and other resources that you may have to insure that I may have some success? I would like to know if there are any spawning areas around the boot? Is the fishing pressure at a high level on sand lake over memorial weekend? Please let me know. - Gil
A) Gil, I presume that you'll be staying either at Lakewood Lodge or Campbell's. The Crappie fishing and Bluegills for that matter seems mostly to center around the channel that leads from Sand Lake into Portage Lake. The move in and out of the shallows in that passage during the evening. You might have some luck fishing the deeper breaklines at the inlet and outlets during the daytime.
    There are other "main lake" areas where Crappies will spawn as well and if we have a warmer than normal spring, you may well find Crappies in the weeds anywhere from 4 to 10 feet. A great way to go is to rig a slip bobber, 1/16 ounce jig and tip it with a small minnow. Troll slow with your electric and cover some ground.
Don't overlook the weeds on the shoreline out in front of Lakewood Lodge either. That small bay is connected to "the boot" but technically not a part of it.
    Yes there will be significant pressure around Memorial Day, but you'll soon realize that there's a lot of space and structure out there. Sand is a good size lake with plenty of protected areas. You'll be able to explore to your hearts desire. Good Luck, Jeff

G Loomis Models, Combined Walleye & Crappie Fishing in Minnesota 2/5/07
Q) I was reading your website and have a question regarding rods. I am looking at the G Loomis SJR721-IMX and SJR722-IMX for general walleye fishing and also crappie fishing with my boys. Is there one that would be best suited for Minnesota fishing?
A) As soon as you mentioned combining Crappies with Walleyes in Minnesota, the answer was clear as day, SJR-720. If you've been looking at the 721 and 722's you've probably already seen the 720. I have at least eight of these right now and they have become the standard issue, multi purpose rod for all of my guests. These are light enough to make a sport out of the crappie fishing, but plenty powerful enough to take care of any Walleye you're going to hook in the Midwest. There isn't any doubt in my mind. The 722 is not well suited for light line and light jigs like you'd use for Crappies (we use the 722 for Bass and Pike), the 721 wouldn't be bad, but even this great all around rod is heavier than you need. Bottom line: Go with the SJR-720 IMX and you'll love them.
I hope this helps, good luck. Jeff

MinnKota Transom Trolling Motor Models 2/3/07
Q) Because I will likely not be switching boats for a least a couple more years, I will need to be investing in a new transom mount trolling motor. I would guess that you have probably used several models over the past few years and would like to hear your recommendations. I had the MinnKota Vantage 24 volt at 74 lbs thrust and didn't have much trouble with it till last year. The auto up and down was nice at times but the shaft was barely long enough (36") and the prop would lose force when faced toward the body of the big gas motor. There were also some minor problems that you would not get with the manual up and down. I am looking at replacing my 24 volt to a 36 volt to increase power and also battery life. The pro v is still a heavy boat and on windy days the extra power would be nice. The 2 options I am looking at are the Vantage with 101 lbs of thrust and the Vector X3 with 101 lbs thrust. The vector is about $450 less than the vantage. Haven't herd much about the Vector. Have you ever used one? - Vern
A) With my 20 foot Alaskan, the two battery system is a lot more practical and I can honestly say that I've never worried about not having enough power using the 80 pound, two battery version. So I haven't used the 3X 100 lb version, but I have had a several of the earlier (74 lb) and 80 lb versions. I've been extremely happy with them, in fact this is the only trolling motor I've ever had that went a full season without a hiccup. In my experience, the simpler the system, the better. That's why I chose these over the vantage and I've never regretted it.- Good Luck, Jeff

Handheld GPS Models 2/2/07
Q) Searching around for a GPS thinking handheld, but possibly with the chip so I can transfer spots in the future...What GPS should I be looking at.
A) Lowrance i-finder H2O Color version. Nice, bright display, takes the chips and not too expensive either. You'll also see great deals on the black and white version. If you don't mind a little less crisp display, the pricing makes these excellent starter units right now and the upgrade to other Lowrance models is easy as snapping in the MMC card and transferring your data.  - Good Luck, Jeff

GPS Mapping Cards for Lowrance Units 12-2-06
Q) Hey buddy, Tim Nosal here with a GPS question. Remember the GPS you were using when we fished together? You had software in it for Lake Winnie. Where the heck do you get something like that? I see these CD-ROMs with lake info on them, do you download that onto a smaller card for the gps unit? I'm pretty illiterate when it comes to this. I definitely want to put one on my boat, and I'll probably get a gps only unit since I already have 2 nice graphs on my boat. They supposedly have a slot for a card, but I didn't know if you have to buy a card just for that lake or what? Let me know. Hope all is well with the family, and did you get the new Lund yet? Also, will you be doing any Chicago shows? Let me know, and we'll hook up my friend. Take care!!
A) Hey Tim, Mine was a Lowrance 332. This model along with many other Lowrance units including some really nice handheld units have MMC card readers built in. In my particular case, I have two map cards, one is the Navionics Map and the other is the Lakemaster Map. There are a variety of map styles available on these MMC cards sold under different brand names. You just insert the card into a slot on the unit, make a menu selection or two and you're in business. You choose mapping software that has coverage in the area you plan to fish or hunt. These MMC cards are sold separately and generally run anywhere from 50 bucks on specials up to a couple of hundred bucks for the latest versions with all the bells and whistles.
There are links to Lowrance and Lakemaster on my web site that will get you pointed in the right direction. If you have some questions, let me know! Jeff

Lund Alaskan for Texas Reservoirs? 11-20-06
Q) Hi Jeff. Greetings from Texas!
I fish Lake Amistad, near Del Rio, Texas. The lake is 56,000 acres (3rd largest man-made lake in the world, 214 feet at the dam.). Additionally, the lake is laid out in such a way that it is like 3 separate oceans. Very dangerous in rough water.
I’ve heard of people using the Alaskan on Lake Erie, and would appreciate your guidance on selecting a boat for such waters. I spend most of my time trolling & spoon plugging. Sincerely - Joe M. Bass
A) Joe, We have our share of windy, rough days up here like you do in Texas. The lake I fish most often in our area is Lake Winnie (Winnibigoshish) which is 59,000 acres that's all one big round body of water. I also fish Leech Lake 111,000 acres, Red Lake 109,000 acres and others in this same size range. I have had three Alaskans so far and have found that they were all very dependable in heavy weather on these lakes.
These are exceptionally nice boats for people who like the no frills, straight forward style. The all work, basic design makes it a great boat for what I do. You're not going to find anything that's more dependable.
Lund has many other models that offer large, sturdy hulls with a greater variety of features as well. If you'd like some additional suggestions, let me know and I'll expand on these comments. - Good Luck, Jeff

G. Loomis Fishing Rod for Bluegills 11-7-06
Q) Jeff, I did a search on the web for the G Loomis SJR720(GL2) and your site came up. I have a quick question for you. I do not own any Loomis rods at this point and was thinking about purchasing 2 of these rods for my wife/I to panfish(bluegills) and wondered what your thoughts were?? Thanks, Max
A) The SJR-720 IMX is the rod I use as my standard "workhorse fishing rod". We use these for everything from Bass to Walleye and even for panfish. These will do a decent job for you, but if you fish only for panfish and don't need the extra backbone, there are several fantastic rods listed in their Trout and Panfish section that will be even better. For the ultimate (I really mean ultimate) fishing experience in spinning rods, you can not find a better rod than the SR842-2 GLX. I know they're expensive, but you can tell when the fish touches the bait in even the slightest way. My next favorite for Bluegills and Crappies is the SR-781 IMX, this is a very light weight rod with a super soft tip that is especially good for teasing those finicky biters. We use these and the SR-782 IMX on Walleyes from time to time when light baits (1/16 ounce) is required.
Since this is your first experience shopping for a Loomis Rod I hope you will take some sincere advice from someone who has been fishing them for nearly 20 years now. Get the best ones your budget will allow. This is a lifetime investment and you will never regret getting the best and you'll be back for more.- Good luck! Jeff

Walleye Fishing on Pokegama (Grand Rapids) 10-6-06

    Q) Any tips on Pokegama walleyes this time of year? Lyle

    A) It sounds like Pokegama is somewhat sluggish right now. But you should be able to catch at least some fish by working the weed edges and deeper breaklines from 12 down to about 30 feet. I am particularly fond of slow back trolling the drop off while I have one angler casting a light jig tipped with either a night crawler or shiner minnow into the shallow weeds and the second angler using a live bait rig on the deeper edges. I vary the bait on the lindy rig according to which type of fish I encounter along the way. Good choices are night crawlers, large rainbow chubs or redtails. I don't use shiners on the live bait rigs because they're not real hardy and don't keep swimming.
    There are also some Crappies and Bluegills that you can find by watching your electronics as you slowly move along outside the deep weeds and into open water near the drop off edges. Read this article for a couple of tips on how to go about it. http://www.jeffsundin.com/Article,%20Crappies%20Following%20Fall%20Movements.htm
    I hope any of this does you some good and I'll look forward to hearing from you this winter. - Good luck, Jeff


Question About Fishing Reports 9/28/06
Q) Hello. Again, thanks for the excellent web page. Your tips, suggestions and companies you market have been invaluable. Fred’s has been a heck of a tackle shop over the years too – fair and generous.
I was wondering if it wasn’t too much to ask for some specifics related to Winnie. I’ve been sifting through all of the reports and info trying to figure out where I might try this weekend and I’m hearing conflicting data. Some say deep weeds and others are saying stay really shallow. When you say deep weeds are you referring to lakes other than Winnie? If possible, could you share some more specific thoughts as it relates to this body of water? I’m not looking for coordinates, just general data on what’s been working. I’m heading up tomorrow at noon hoping to be on the water around 5:00. I’ve typically done well in the Ravens area all the way up to the Big Tree on the north shore – usually in 5 to 12 feet. With the low water being reported, I’m curious if my old reliables will be productive.
    I understand that Cass has been hot of late too. Have you ventured over there? Any general thoughts about Cass?
Regards, Tim Walden

    Tim, Whenever I write a report it's intended to outline trends in the area. I try several lakes each week and I may be referring to Winnie, Cass, Leech and many more. "Deep weedline" is a relative term and generally should be taken as a clue to fish the outside edge of the weedline. As you already know, Winnibigosh has weeds out to maybe 10 feet at the deepest except in certain isolated bays. So on that lake your fishing will be centered around those depths that you mentioned 6 to 10 feet is a good rule of thumb.
    The recent reports about fish being "super shallow" are too old to be reliable now, however there are still a lot of Perch and some Walleyes on the rocks in water of 5 to six feet . The rock bite is usually dependant on getting a good wind for at least several hours to get the fish moving and up onto the rocks. You already know where some of those good spots are and they will work now if the wind is right.
    Your regular stomping grounds should provide you with some good opportunities, but keep Cutfoot Sioux in mind as a backup plan. There are getting to be more fish in there every day and it will soon be the only place you really "need" to go.
     I have been over to Cass Lake several times this fall and while Cass has been good, it has not been as good as Lake Winnie (in my opinion). If you are a good deep breakline fisherman, you'll find some good fish in 18 to 30 feet of water and a few spots where there are smaller fish between 30 and 50 feet of water.
    In either case, jig and minnow should get you into some action. Hope that helps, Jeff


Jumping Fish and Smallmouth Bass 9-24-06

Q) I have been fishing in a place called pretty boy dam in Parkton, Maryland, and I have some luck with small mouth bass (maybe 1 or 2 if I’m lucky), but I have seen the fish in this lake jump out about a foot off the lake and they are big but I throw live bait and different jigs but no luck on the big ones I think I am doing something wrong what’s your suggestion on this. And every time I go fishing their, the weather is the same over cast, Walter type is cloudy and green. Thank you for any suggestions you have.

-Christopher

    A) Christopher, If there a lot of Smallmouth in that lake, you should be able to find them schooled in small groups in deeper water at this time of year. Unlike Largemouth, the Smallies are a lot more prone to eat meat so your best bet for getting some action is to try and locate areas with rocks along the drop off. Points, sunken islands (reefs) or even just rocky areas on straight breakline edges in 16 to 30 feet of water are locations that I try to find here in Minnesota. Live bait rigs tipped with Leeches or large minnows generally gets me into some action.
    About the jumping fish, check with your fish and game department about getting a lake survey or fish population assessment . Most often when I see fish jumping out of the water as you describe, it is a White Sucker. Plentiful around here, they are not usually caught on the same lures we use for other game fish. I can't say for sure that this is what you're seeing, but you could have a similar species driving you fish crazy out there. There is an old saying around here "Jumping Fish Don't Bite" and I'd focus my attention on the ones you can't see.
    Please take my advice about getting in touch with folks who can give you a population assessment. It's a lot easier to fine tune your approach when you know exactly what you're looking for. - Good Luck! Jeff


Lund Alaskan Seat Locations 9-7-06

Q) Hi Jeff, well I'm back again to ask you a couple more questions re my 20' Lund Alaskan single side console:
    From previous correspondence it's my impression you backtroll using an electric trolling motor (I'm also under the impression your Alaskan is a "tiller" model). On which side of the transom is your trolling motor mounted, port or starboard?
    My Alaskan came with two pedestal bases installed behind the drivers seat, each located very close to the side of the boat and not in a good position to backtroll; sitting in either of these two seats puts you either too far away, or too close to the side of the boat to backtroll, depending on which side you're attempting to fish from. I prefer to fish over the port side of the boat and operate the trolling motor with my left hand. I intend to install another pedestal base somewhere back near the transom, more in the center of the boat, kind of in-between the two rear pedestal bases that came with the Alaskan (I hope I'm not making this too confusing), either on top of the lid of the floor compartment in front of the motor that opens open for storage, on perhaps directly in front of that storage lid, on the panel that is positioned over the built in gas tank. So, my second question is: In your boat, where is the seat positioned that you sit in when you backtroll?
    You've always been very prompt in replying to my E-mails re my Alaskan, and I very much appreciate it. Sometimes I think I'm pushing my luck a bit in continuing to ask questions of you, but I know you've had several Alaskans, so who better to ask, huh?
    I'll look forward to your reply when it's convenient for you. Thanks again, Dennis Gregory

A) Dennis, I have my MinnKota Vector 3X mounted on the starboard side. It's very handy for me there. The seat pedestal is mounted just to the starboard side of that gas tank/storage door panel you mentioned and it is centered at the hinge of that storage door.
    If you want to go closer to the center, I'd suggest using one of the "Half Pedestal Bases" (has one flat side) installed on the center panel just ahead of that hinge. You have to remove that center panel first to be sure that you have the correct clearances between the floor and gas tank. I would suggest mounting the base with stainless screws and lock nuts instead of using wood screws. Wood screws will eventually loosen and force you to relocate the base.
    That sounds like a job, but you can remove that panel in just a few minutes. A good hole saw to cut out a spot for your new bases(s) is the only special tool you'll need.
    Have fun getting it dialed in. Stay in touch, Jeff


Low Lake Water Levels 8-10-06
Q) What lakes are deep enough to produce decent walleye fishing? Around here? I'm not sure one snow or rain season will bring the lakes back to normal Is water still going over the dam at Winnie? Bob

A) Deer Lake, Pokegama, Trout Lake, Turtle and others are deep, cool lakes. Walleye fishing is not generally considered great during the day, but at least they're not shut down.
We had good news yesterday already, a cool windy day without sunshine. The Walleyes on Lake Winnie got really active while the wind blew. For the next week or two, wind and slowly falling temperatures will be the key to better fishing.


Musky Fishing With a Fly Rod 8-8-06
Q) I am heading to Wisc. next week and will have a couple of days to try for Musky's with a fly rod. My question is--How leader shy are Musky's and what to you recommend for a leader(heavy mono, wire) lenght, test or diameter? Much thanks, Bob

A) Bob, I love to fish Muskies, but I am no expert on fly rod methods. Click on this link to take you to Larry Dahlberg who is a Musky/Fly Rod expert. There's a forum where you can ask questions. I hope this helps, good luck.

http://www.huntforbigfish.com/cgi-bin/mb/view.pl


Musky Fishing on Winnibigoshish 7-27-06
Q) We are heading up to Lake Winnie next weekend. We love to fish musky, but are looking forward to some walleye fishing. I plan to do some musky fishing while on Winnie. can you tell me where a good place to fish might be? I have never fished Lake Winnie before but am looking forward to some great catches.
Thank you! Rick from MN
A) Rick, Musky fishing on Winnie can be good, albeit a little hit and miss. We like the weed beds around Farley Creek, Pigeon River and Musky Bay. However, with the shoreline weed fishing, every weed bed has some potential to produce a nice Musky. Cutfoot Sioux is also producing nice Fish especially in the evening. Look at Seelye Point, Deer Deer Lake, the big bar in the center of the lake just North of the "Gap" and the weedline in the North bay near Eagle Nest Resort.
You'll find more spots as you start looking and if you spend a week at it, you're going to see some nice fish, maybe some above average Pike as well. August is a great time to be looking.

Fishing North Star Lake 7-23-06
Q) Dear JEFF: I am very interested in fishing North Star Lake near Marcell, Mn next year probably early September primarily for Walleye and (Northern Pike). I have heard various opinions regarding the abundance of walleye and am looking for an unbiased opinion from you. I am a little hesitant in fishing lakes with very good clarity but have been assured by the resort owners that walleye fishing is done between 12' to 20' which is acceptable if true. Also, can you advise if this lake fishes like a classic walleye lake, namely, live bait rigs, jigs, crankbaits, etc. I do not have definite dates at this time but I would surely hire you when I know. Any other information would be appreciated. Thank you very much! Sincerely, George Porto
A) There are some fish there to be caught, but it can be a tough lake at times. Sleep during the day and fish the evening/night if you want to have the best Walleye fishing. North Star has virtually no natural reproduction (or very little) so you can assess your chances of success by studying the stocking reports. Use the link below to see them now. I usually fish the weedline using live bait rigs, but there are also suspended fish that could be caught cranking over deep water. - Good luck, Jeff
http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind/showreport.html?downum=31065300

G Loomis Rigging Rod Suggestions 6-6-06
Q) Hi Jeff, I was wondering if you would have a recommendation for a good fishing pole for rigging. I have been using one that you recommended to me for jigging--a G Loomis #842-2 GLX. I have been very happy with this. Thank you! - Doug
A) Doug, There are two ways you can go. When we fish deeper water where heavier sinkers (1/2 ounce to 1ounce) are needed I like the WRR8400S this is a 7 footer with a butt section that's heavy enough to keep my arm from getting tired of moving the heavy sinkers, but the tip is light enough to feel the pick up without spooking fish.
For rigging with lighter weights and in weeds, you still can't beat the SJR720 IMX this is the standard of all rods for me. It's your basic 6 foot rod that can be used for almost anything that Walleye fishing might require. It's a good all around workhorse with great touch and sensitivity. Take a look and those two models. If your needs are more specific, give me a little more detail about where and how you like to fish and I'll fine tune some suggestions for you. -  Jeff

G Loomis SR842-2 GLX vs. G Loomis DRS820S 6-1-06

Q) Hi, I’m looking at getting either the SR842-2 GLX or the DSR820S GLX. I already have the IMX version of the SR842-2 as well as the non GLX version of the DSR820S which I was told is closer to an IMX blank. I use the rod primarily with either 4 pound Fireline or 6 pound Fireline for casting either small crankbaits like Ecogear SX40Fs or small jigheads (1/32 – 1/6 oz ). Which would be better suited to my preferred use? - Regards, Chung

A) Chung, I have many of the SR842 GLX rods and I personally love this model. The Drop Shot rods are really designed for "vertical" presentations where a flexible tip section and fairly powerful butt section are combined to make hook setting (really, simply lifting the rod without jerking) easier.
You'll notice that the GLX version of the SR842-2 feels significantly less "whippy" in your hand than it's IMX counter part and these are simply the most sensitive rods I've ever fished with.
Now we get into a debate about line, these rods are highly protective of light line and I swear by using 4 pound mono instead of the braided lines. In my case I use Triple Fish Line which is extraordinarily cast-able and as tough as most of the six pound lines I've used. With the GLX, I'd be careful about using the braids. In my opinion, this is a "High Performance" rod, delicate, sensitive and probably the rod least likely to gain or benefit from the use of braided super lines. - I hope this helps, Jeff
Bug Eyed Shorty Jig? Where to get them? 4-24-06
Q) Hi Jeff, planning a trip to Island lake 6/3. Can you tell me where to find the Bug eye shorty jig you talk about in your articles?
A) I know for sure that you can get them in the area at several bait shops and resorts. Here's a fairly good list; Fred's Bait Deer River, Frontier Sports Marcell, River Rat Bait Cohasset, Winnie One Stop Deer River, Ben's Bait Grand Rapids, Bowen Lodge on Winnie & Cutfoot, Cutfoot Sioux Inn Deer River there are other places as well, but this should give you a start.

20 Foot Alaskan with Mercury Opti-Max 2-17-6

Q) Just would kinda' like to get your opinion on a couple of things. I've corresponded with you in the past: I'm buying a new, '06, Lund 20' Alaskan, single console. You've written about this boat several times, so I know you're a fan of this model. After exchanging a couple E-mails with you, it was my intention to put a 115 hp Evinrude E-tech on this boat, however (and you probably know this), I've found it is about impossible to buy a Lund boat and Evinrude motor from the same dealership. The couple of Lund dealers in my area that did carry the Evinrude line, now tell me they're not going to carry the Evinrudes any more. So now, I've opted for a 115 hp Mercury OptiMax; looks like my only choice! So, I'd like to get your thoughts on this outfit - 20' Alaskan with 115 Optimax. Also, the dealer has recommended a 24 volt MinnKota 80# Power Drive troll motor. Before talking with the dealer, I had kinda' thought I'd go with the MinnKota Maxuum troll motor, because that seems to be the one I see on most bigger boats. Have you had any experience with the MinnKota Power drives and/or the Maxuum.
Thanks, I'll look forward to hearing your opinion...........Dennis, Peoria, Illinois

A) Dennis, That's going to be a peppy rig. I get enough speed and lift out my 90 to satisfy every desire. The Opti Max is going to be fine, but if you really want the E-Tech, Ray's Marine in Grand Rapids, Minnesota can get you set up and they sell out of state all the time. I have used the 74 pound Maxxum on the last five boats and always had plenty of power. This year I have to get a new one but the 74 lb is gone and there is either a 70 or an 80 lb version. This is a coin toss because either of them will be plenty of power. In my world, I'll probably go with the 80 lb. because if I can leave my outboard shut off a couple of extra days, the gas savings will be worth the extra few bucks for the larger electric. Good Luck, - Jeff


Alternate Wines For Pickling Northern Pike
Q) Hello, My husband and I are trying to pickle some Northern for the first time, and we are using your recipe. However, we can not locate any Silver Satin wine. Is there a similar wine we could substitute? We live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, right on the Wisconsin border. Have contacted all of our local liquor stores and grocery stores and no one has ever heard of Silver Satin. If you don't have any recommendations for a replacement, could you email us what type of wine it is? Dry, sweet, etc...
Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.
Many thanks, - Steve and Sharon Opolka
A) Good morning, We've gone through this before too. We live in a rural area where lots of other folks pickle fish as well and I've had my best luck finding good substitutes by going into the smaller liquor store and telling the owner what I plan to do. They usually know what other folks are using. We recently used a California Wine called "Fairbanks White Port" that worked fine. Generally, the sweeter white wines like a port wine will do a good job. The dry wines probably wouldn't, but I never tried them so who knows?
Good luck! - Jeff (click here for the pickled fish recipe)

Crappies fished vertically?

Q) Hi Jeff.Your website says to "fish vertically" for crappies. What does that mean? I've been fishing crappies with a slip bobber and minnow/jig combo and did really well until this year. This year, I'm not doing so well - so I'm needing to refine my technique.
Cheri M. Bialke

A) Cheri, Vertically means to hover over the fish and drop your jig straight down below the boat. It's almost the same as slip bobber fishing except the point is to keep the boat and therefore the jigs directly in front of the fish at all times. With a slip bobber you can never be 100 percent sure that it is where the fish are and you can't make instant visual adjustments when the schools move up or down in the water. The real secret is to be watching your electronics at all times and keeping the boat over the the schools of roaming Crappies. Slip bobbers are a better option in locations where the fish are relatively stable and unlikely to move. Places like small rock piles, brush or isolated weeds are perfect for slip bobbers. Crappies that roam in open water need to be pursued a little more aggressively so the vertical approach is perfect for these moving schools.
     I'm not sure where you fish, but there are times when the Crappies in a given lake become over pressured and harder to find. It might be time to experiment on some new lakes where there has been less pressure recently. Right now, should be a good time to do this.

Good Luck!


Evinrude E-tech 2 Stroke vs. Johnson 4 Stroke 6-16-05

Q) I need to repower my 30 foot Gemini cat with 40 horse tohatso two cycle outboard. How do you feel about e-tech vs. 4 stroke. weight is a factor.

Thank you Skip

A) I've run the 2 Stroke E-Tech and the Johnson 4 stroke and between the two engines the Johnson 4 stroke was sweet starting, smooth running and really quiet. The 2 stroke E-Tech is sweet starting, really quiet but not quite as smooth running (mine is a three cylinder). I think me E-Tech has a bit more power that is to say I get up on plane easier and I can run the boat up on the trailer easier etc.....I don't notice any particular advantage in either direction when it comes to economy of either engine. The two stroke will be a lighter engine and if I'm not mistaken, Evinrude is still including a seven year warranty on the E-techs. That's an awful big advantage to you if the program is still being offered.
Both engines have been reliable and efficient and I'd happily run either one next year. For me, the E-tech has a slight edge because of the extra power. I sometimes have a heavy load in my boat and it does get me up easier when I'm fully loaded.
If you have more specific questions, give me a shout and I can go into it a little deeper with you.
Good luck, Jeff


Lund Alaskan - How about Big Water? 5-27-05

Q) HI,
saw your ad selling your Alaskan and wondered how you liked it. I am thinking of buying a 1996 20' and don't know much about it. It has a 75 hp Merc and a 9.9 kicker. It looks pretty shallow on the sides and I don't want to get into any trouble on the great lakes.

For the most part, I'll be fishing with my 4 year old son on local lakes, but I do take the occasional trips to Lake Erie to go walleye or perch fishing. I pay close attention to the weather forecasts, but it's not uncommon to get caught out there in 4-5' waves. I would never take my son out there, but I also don't want to leave him without a father either. I also do a fair amount of trolling on Lake Cumberland in the spring, but I'm pretty sure the Alaskan will handle that with ease. I've just never heard of the Alaskan, but I do like the Lunds, and I don't want to buy a boat I'll be sorry about later. I really appreciate the advice. - Gary

A) Under those circumstances I think you'll like this boat. The new ones have a livewell and are rated for a 90 Horsepower engine. I like that a lot better than the 75 HP you mentioned, but the one you're looking at is still a solidly built boat and it will handle waves if you ask it to. I fish Leech Lake, Winnie, Red Lake and Rainy Lake. All of these are large lakes that can easily produce 4 foot waves. I've never had to worry about getting back to shore yet and I would compare this to any fishing boat on the market as far as dry ride is concerned. It does not have high sides like a Tyee or Fisherman, it's depth is more comparable to a Pro V, Mr. Pike etc.......
If you're after a basic, no frills working boat, you'll be happy with it. - Good Luck! Jeff


Lund's Alaskan Boat Line, 20 Footer vs. 18 Footer? 4-25-05

Q) Hello there Jeff. I came across your site after searching for info on the 20 Lund Alaskan. Great site by the way. I currently own an 18 Alaskan SS w/3 cylinder Evinrude 60 hp 2-stroke. Had it since new in 99. Absolutely love it. Fish mostly inland in Maine. The question I have is this . I'm seriously considering upgrading to the 20 Alaskan. What hp would you recommend for this boat to get up and go with 3-4 people in it. (My 18 Alaskan flies out of the hole with 3 or 4 people) Also , I would like to continue trolling (trout and salmon) without a kicker motor. I'd love a 4 stroke or new E-tech but my budget probably won't allow it. My brother is a marine mechanic and has a line on many reasonably priced used 2 strokes. The 20 Alaskan would be brand new. Thank you Jeff. I appreciate you taking the time to answer this email. - Jason O'Connor

A) Jason, Thanks for the comments and kind words about the site. If you're happy with the 18 footer, you'll love the 20. Better stability for casting and plenty of extra room to move around. Only a few years ago, this boat (tiller model) was rated for an 80 Horsepower maximum and I started with one of the first few 90 HP rated boats. I have had the 90 Johnson four stroke on my first Alaskan and the 90 Evinrude E-Tech on the second. Neither of These engines ever had to be been pushed hard, even with the heaviest loads.   This year I'm going with the E-Tech again. It has all the power anyone could ask for. I have a friend who operates his 20 footer with a 70 Horsepower and he generally has no problem with his rig either. If you rig it up with the 70, you'll save some money and it will do a nice job for you on this boat. Even giving all consideration to the benefits of a four stroke, I still prefer the E-Tech for slow trolling speed and it's nice to have the extra push when I put the boat on the trailer. I think it saves my prop from a lot of damage at the shallower landings. Obviously this extra torque also gives me a fast lift when I need it and helps me keep my crew dry in rough water. If you go with the smaller engine, you might want to try a trick that Charlie Johnson (formerly of OMC, now with Bomardier) passed on to me several years ago. Test your rig using a lower pitch prop that's used for pontoon boat applications. You'll lose a bit on the high end speed, but the responsiveness and quick lift will feel great! This also slows your trolling speed so you can creep along when you want to.
 

Good luck with your new rig, drop me a line and let me know how it works out for you. - Jeff


G.Loomis Rods for Jigging and Crankbaits 4-17-05

Q) Hi Jeff,
I am in the process of buying some new G.Loomis rods. I was wondering what rod you would recommend for snap jigging a 1/8 oz. jig and minnow? I am also looking for a rod to cast shad raps and fat raps for Smallies. Have you tried any of the G.Loomis Crankbait rods or do think one of the spinning rods would work better for this?
Thanks for the help - Dale

A) If money is no object, the best rod there is for jigging with light jigs (1/16 - 1/4) and light line is the SR842-2 GLX It's a super light weight rod with fantastic sensitivity and a comfortable handle. It will be your favorite of all rods. The tip is light and has enough give not to spook the Walleyes when they pick up the bait and it's got enough butt section to handle most of the fish we would hook in Minnesota.
Second choice (for me) would be the SR782 IMX this is really a little light in the butt section, but has a great tip for when you have to drag the fish before setting the hook and it also has a great small handle that's easy to hold all day long.
Casting small crankbaits for Smallmouth can be done with any of about 20 Loomis rods. I don't use casting rods very often for these light baits because the distance is better with spinning gear.
I have a nice rod from their Bronzeback Series SMR750S-SP This is one of the few rods that still comes with a Tennessee style handle. It can also be used for several jigging applications. If I was using a crankbait rod for this, the CBR841C would be the one I'd use. These longer rods are nice for casting. Remember to pay close attention to the reel and line you use for this job too. Those lighter crankbaits are a lot easier to cast when you have a smooth free spool and good fresh line. Good Luck - Jeff


Mississippi River Shore Fishing Opportunities 4/1/05

Q) Hey Jeff,  I currenty reside in the Grand Rapids area and I am interested in fishing the Mississippi up here. Do you have any advise for shore fishing in the spring. I am also curious as to what is in the river up here (i.e. catfish, crappies. smallies, etc.?). Any information would be much appreciated. Thanks A lot, Ryan

A) If there are Catfish in this area, they have eluded capture by me. As you move down river toward Little Falls, you will find more Catfish and other fish common to the lower Mississippi. Below the Blandin Dam in Grand Rapids, you'll find Walleyes, Smallmouth, Northern and panfish. Above that dam and heading toward the Pokegama recreation area, you'll find Largemouth, Musky, Bluegills, Crappies and even some decent Perch. After you get above the Pokegama Dam (West of Grand Rapids on US Hwy 2), you can work your way into several other lakes; Jay Gould, Little Jay Gould, Pokegama etc....In this system you can find most every species common to this area. Above the Minnesota Power Plant and further upstream you will find mainly Walleyes, Northern and Perch. There are also some Bass, but these won't be in large numbers as they are in the stretch closer to the power plant.
There are several areas where shore fishing can be good, the "hot pond" by the power plant outlet is popular. So are the fishing docks located at downtown Cohasset and at the Pokegama Recreation Area. Just below the Blandin Dam, there are good stretches of hard bottom where wading is an option and some folks do really well on Walleyes in this stretch of river early in the season. It's hard to get much more specific, but a few days of snooping around and you'll get the feel of several good places to fish. Add a canoe, then you can really cover some ground.
Good Luck - Jeff


Deep Water Trolling Without Downriggers 3-27-05

Dear Jeff,
I live in California and I rent so I don't own my own boat. I love taking my girlfriend fishing and she has never been. When we go we usually rent a boat and just anchor it and fish with jigs, float bait, or spinning lures. Last time I was camping the guy next to use showed me his 3.4lbs. trout that he caught trolling.
I was wondering if I am renting a boat is there anyway to troll and get down deep enough to catch fish, without using down riggers? If so could you let me know? Also I would need a little help figuring out how fast to go with the motor? They are usually 6-15 horse power motors.
Thanks for you time and help. - Matt

Matt,
There are several ways to get baits deep enough for trolling without downriggers. Remember, there are portable downriggers too. You can use them on a rental and take them home when you're finished.
First things first, you need to have a reasonably good graph that shows where the fish are in the first place. Once you know how deep they are, you can begin solving the problem of how deep to fish and begin experimenting with a variety of baits.

We use lead core line with a ten to 12 foot monofilament leader connected with a swivel. Sometimes we'll use heavy bell sinkers attached to a dropline from the third eye of a three way swivel.
Experimenting with either of these methods should get you down into the 40 feet range plus or minus. It will take a fairly stout rod like a magnum bass rod, Musky bucktail rod etc... to handle the weight. Trolling speed? Somewhere in a range from 1.7 to 3.5 mph. This can vary quite a bit, so keep experimenting. Always remember this one key point. If you don't know for sure that there are fish under the boat, you will become frustrated. This will work for you provided you keep at it until it starts to pay off.

Good Luck, Jeff


Lund Alaskan For Big Water? 3-25-05

Jeff,
I was looking for Lund Alaskan's on the internet and came across your old boat. I run a Barron now, and as soon as it sells, I will be looking at Alaskans for my new charter boat. I want the walk through windshield model, and I was wondering if you have any opinions on them? Can 3 clients and the captain be comfortable, or is that to crowded? How does it ride in 3 footers? Is it a wet ride, or does it throw the spray out pretty descent? Any thing else you have for me would be appreciative.
Thanks again, Captain Jay

Moving from a Barron to an Alaskan is quite a leap. There will be plenty of room for 4 people, but you'll notice a difference in the width. But, people each have a good bit of territory if they don't run around too much. For me space with four people hasn't been a problem.
I run water like Leech Lake, Rainy Lake and Big Winnie. All of these are capable of producing large waves. My Alaskans have been nice and dry on all of them. I used to run Pro V's all of the time and with the Alaskan I believe I am actually dryer than before because the 90 horsepower tiller is a better match for a boat in this weight range. In big waves I have to go a bit slower to get a smooth ride, but the boat is very responsive and easy to plane, making it pretty easy to stay on the top or in between swells. I haven't had any complaints from customers about the ride. In fact most of them have been quite surprised by the ride. It's a very workable rig and it has the potential to do more than most folks realize. I haven't been in the full windshield version, but I see quite a few of these up on Rainy Lake and lake of the Woods. I bet you can find a couple of testimonials up there too.
Good Luck!, Jeff


Musky Fishing Trip Question 2/20/04 Mike

Q) I am looking to set up a trip for Muskies with my son sometime this summer. I have fished just about everything but never Musky...I always heard it takes +40 hours fishing per Muskie caught, which sounds like a lot of work. What time of year and where would you recommend fishing to increase the odds of catching a Muskie within two days of fishing? Would appreciate any advice you may have. Thanks, Mike

A) Sometimes Muskies are pretty darn finicky, but other times you find them feeding and it can be easier than you think. A lot of the myth about how hard they are to catch is related more to the fact that they aren't as numerous as other fish. So there are fewer bites than you could expect from other more plentiful species like Pike or Walleye. Personally I enjoy the challenge of trying to outsmart them and if you view these trips as a total learning experience, you can get a lot out of them.

In my opinion, someone planning their first Musky experience should base the trip on either the Full Moon of June or the Full Moon of August and preferably, a couple of days before the Full Moon. June is a key time for the fish that are returning to feeding after their spawning run and August can often be associated with Oxygen depletion in deep water and a movement of bait fish to the shallows. As with any other great plan, the weather plays a key part in this as well. If you get the right conditions, everything seems to fall in to place. This year there will be Full Moons on June 3rd, July 31st, and August 30th. All of these periods would be promising and if I were planning the trip for my own kids, I would key on the August 30th time. But this is strictly based on personal experience and the other times have good potential as well.

The lake you choose must be based on additional information. For example; if you never want to wet a line for any other fish except Musky, you would choose a lake based solely on it's reputation as a Musky fishery. If you want multiple opportunities on one lake, this will move you in another direction. Make these decisions first and then begin your search for the right lake.

Q: Lund Alaskan Seating 2/13/04 Tony Pridmore

Jeff, I'm seriously considering ordering an '04 Lund Alaskan 20' tiller with 70 or 90HP Johnson 4-stroke... Like you have on your web site:http://www.jeffsundin.com/alaskan9303_interior.jpg

This picture shows the 2nd seat from the back was relocated to the center of the boat. I like the placement. What was involved in the installation? I haven't had an opportunity to look below the center floor panel on one to see how difficult it would be. The folks at Lund told me that centering the seat was not a factory option, so I plan to make the modification myself.
Any other recommendations or comments about the 20' Alaskan tiller are welcome.

A: I'm glad to hear that you're looking at the 20 foot Alaskan. I fell in love with mine the first time I had it on the water. For those of us who want a multi purpose boat with lots of room and handles easily with a tiller engine, this is the perfect rig.
If you look close at the photo, I didn't move the original floor base, I just added a new one in the center. This was one of the easiest I've done because there is a lot of extra space between the pilot seat and the 3rd seat, this allows you lots of placement options.
The center floor panel comes out easily with an ordinary Phillips screw driver. Just lift out the panel and mark a safe spot for the new base (stay clear of the fuel lines, gas tank and other wiring under the floor). I used a large hole saw to make a neat cut for the new base. I install the base with stainless steel screws, oversize fender washers and lock nuts.
You wind up with very comfortable seating for 4 people and you are free to move easily between the bow and stern when you need to net fish or do other small jobs in the boat.
Just another side note, the 4 stroke Johnson that I ran last year worked like a charm, but this year I'm going with the Evinrude E-Tech outboard. They have this engine set up to be maintenance free for 3 years and you enjoy the performance benefits of a 2 stroke combined with the reliability of a 4 stroke. Go to the Evinrude site and take a look at that engine before you make your final decision. Good luck with your new rig, I'm sure you will love it.


Q: Vexilar Ice Fishing Performance 1/23/04 Dave German - Hi, is the Vexilar the only depth finder for winter fishing?
A:  Dave, There are other flashers out there...
 for winter fishing. But it's going to be pretty hard to do better than the Vexilar. Even buying their most basic unit will put fish in your pail that you wouldn't have caught otherwise. I've been using the basic FL-8 (first known as the Si-Tex FL-5, Then as Hondex, Then as Micronar and now known as Vexilar) for almost 25 years. I have never been disappointed by one unit along the way. If you are going to fish 5 to 50 feet of water, the most basic FL-8 unit will work great. If you have more specific needs, you'll need to start comparing the other features and choose the one that does the job for you.

Pickled Fish Recipe and Cleaning Advice - Jamie Bullis 1-20-05

Q) Jeff - Just a quick question. I am new to the northern pike fishing, but have been lucky and done well. The "Y" bones are still a pain in my neck and I don't quite understand the instructions in your website. You don't cut the whole top off, right? Just a notch with the bones in it? As for your pickled pike recipe, I tried it with eggs before using pike and it was FANTASTIC. I am just now attempting my first pickled pike. Will the bones dissolve in the brine if I left them in? And to make sure, you don't cook the pike, right? In Christ - Jamie

That's right there isn't any need to remove the back section, just a shallow cut on either side of the Y bones will allow you access to remove them. For pickling, there's no need to remove the Y bones before pickling because they will dissolve during the process. I do make a point of cutting the pike fillets into pieces by making the first cuts lengthwise. You'll have four or five long strips that you can further cut into the smaller pieces required for pickling. By making the long cuts, you are cutting through the Y bones and making it easier to dissolve. I do not cook the pike pieces before pickling, just begin the process with nice fresh fish and they will be great. In my experience, the fresher the fish is, the firmer the finished product will be.

GPS On Line Interface Programs Eldon Skoglund 1-26-05
Q) My customer gave me a nice gift, I think Tony may have contacted you for advice on a portable GPS. They got me the I-Finder H2O. I have been looking for a map chip or create program but can't seem to find anything that includes Thunder Lake. Any ideas? - Eldon
A) Eldon, I don't think you'll get a detailed version of Thunder until the really major lakes have all been done. They actually go out on the lake and completely re-map them and it's really time consuming. If you buy the "Navionics Brand" chip for the H2O, it will work in all of the new Lowrance color models and the base maps will include whichever map the original Fishing Hot Spots Paper Maps were available.When I go to smaller lakes (Bowstring for example), a map of the lake does appear on my screen, although it's not as detailed or accurate as the new ones. Occasionally, there is no map at all, this is because there was no paper version to copy at the time.
Last year I had a subscription to www.mapcard.com their premium membership was about 30 bucks and it included access to lakemaster lake maps. You could point the cursor and get coordinates to locations on the map, then manually enter those into your GPS. If you check that out, they may still offer the lakemaps. If you get GPS Locations from this or any other web site, be sure to get the DATUM settings and set your GPS to that Datum so the coordinates will be accurate. Read more about this in the article I have posted on my
web site. Click here for GPS article

Lund Alaskan For Big Water? 3-10-05
Q) I just finished reading your experiences with the 20 ' Lund Alaskan. I am about to purchase my first boat (I'm only 54 years old). My son and I think an Alaskan (side steering) would be an all round choice. I'm wondering if an occasional trip to Lake of the Woods (15 miles offshore) with an Alaskan wouuld be safe, whether or not an 18' or 20'? We're leaning toward the 18 footer, only because there is usually only the two of us fishing and isn't an 18 foot boot easier to handle?) I'd appreciate your advice.- Thank you! Steve

A) Good morning Steve,
If you like, you are welcome to take a test run with me to get a feel for the boat. There are a lot of folks getting by very nicely with the 18 foot Alaskan, but I have to tell you that I really love the 20 footer and you plan to fish some big water. This will be my third 20 foot Alaskan and they have exceeded my expectations.
Currently, I travel to Lake of the Woods about a half dozen trips each summer, in addition to that I spend a couple of weeks on Rainy Lake and I do many, many trips on Leech Lake and Winnibigoshish. The 20 footer handles all of these lakes and providing that you are a reasonably safe operator, you will enjoy this rig. In my opinion the 20 foot model will be very easy to control and it's responsiveness and handling will surprise you. When you look around up there, you'll see quite a few of these on the water.
Now, if big water was my only requirement, I'd be looking at the Fisherman models. Since versatility is my main consideration, the Alaskan shines for me.


Got a fishing question? Just ask! That's what we're here for.