Great Lakes Angler Blog

A Wearable Underwater Cam!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Crosslake, MN – What if, rather than carrying that smartphone or tablet in your hands, technology allowed you to actually “wear” these indispensible devices? Imagine having the device always at the ready in front of your eyes, convenient, low profile and completely hands-free.  Read Full Story

Ice Fishing from a Boat

Friday, November 08, 2013

CROSSLAKE, MN – Just because your favorite lake has yet to freeze over doesn’t mean you can’t go ice fishing. No, we’re not talking about performing miracles, or walking on water like another ancient fisherman once did.


Rather, it’s all about the fact that as water temps move into the mid to low 40s, fish of many species are fairly settled in the same spots they’ll be once the surface seals the lake shut. Find ‘em first in a boat and you’ll be light years ahead of the pack once safe ice arrives, with fresh hungry fish awaiting lures below.



Last year, three top teams at the North American Ice Fishing Circuit (NAIFC) Championships hopped into boats a month before the December tournament and discovered some real gem fishing spots—places that eventually lead to monster crappies and winning weights. Anglers Shawn Bjonfald, Kevin Fassbind and Brandon Newbie travelled to Mille Lacs Lake in Central Minnesota on a cool fall day to literally search the water for hotspots.


The key, Bjonfald noted, was the use of GPS alongside Humminbird Side Imaging sonar, which made clean sweeps of large shallow flats. The anglers’ eventual quarry—palm-stretching crappies and sunfish—were known to haunt very specific patches of vegetation. But on Mille Lacs’ shallow southern bays, the best plant patches—including pondweed, elodea and coontail—only grew in small gardens. The choice greenery housed the biggest panfish, too, but was often surrounded by empty acres of clean sand substrate.


“Finding these spots with Side Imaging in a boat,” noted Bjonfald, “was infinitely more efficient than it would have been on ice. We searched hundreds of acres of featureless, fishless water before finally finding our best spots; can’t imagine how many holes we would have had to drill had we waited to start searching at first ice.”



For Bjonfald, Fassbind and Newbie, the strategy involved motoring slowly across expansive 10- to 15-foot flats in a parallel grid pattern, simultaneously inspecting 100 feet of real estate on both sides of their boat.  Bjonfald’s Side Imaging unit clearly uncovered not only the location of vegetation, but revealed the tallest pondweed stalks interspersed with little openings—perfect habitat for monster crappies and sunfish.


“Not only did the Humminbird reveal the best weed beds,” he said, “Side Imaging also let us zoom in and drop GPS waypoints on tiny pieces of turf—areas we returned to during the tournament to catch big panfish.” Bjonfald and his comrades noted that the coordinates were often so precise that literally just one hole was needed to position them directly over a sweet spot.


The teams also attributed their precision and eventual success to Aqua-Vu Micro underwater cameras. “In prefishing, anytime we saw something promising on screen, we would drop the camera optics and verify it—often spotting fish relating to specific plant stalks. When we returned to fish the Championship, the fish were still there.”


After the two-day competition, which hosted nearly 100 top-qualifying teams from across North America, the enterprising anglers had nearly made a clean sweep of the tournament, capturing 1st-, 3rd- and 4th-place finishes. Bjonfald took “big fish” honors with a trophy 2-pound crappie, eventually finishing 4th. Fassbind and partner Nick Smyers took 3rd, while Brandon Newbie and partner Ryan Wilson iced nearly 25 pounds of panfish to win the Championship by over 6 pounds. Newby and Wilson also won two other qualifying events in the 2012-13 NAIFC season, leading to a Team of the Year title.


Recently, Bjonfald and company were back afloat Mille Lacs. Once again, they searched the shallows for those elusive giant crappies and, perhaps, another successful showing at the upcoming 2103 NAIFC Championship, December 21 and 22.


Even though most of us won’t be fishing for anything more important than bragging rights among buddies, the same strategy of scouting for fish prior to the big freeze can make you a big winner. Wait for one of those nice, calm late November or early December days. Launch the boat and you’ll likely have the lake all to yourself— and set the stage for the best ice season you’ve ever had.


  Read Full Story

Recent Posts


Sheldon's Insurance Wisconsin Salmon Bass Pro Shops fitness Venice, Louisiana Owners tournament Ditch Kindle book Army Corp of Engineers Skarlis Ascend Gunnison, CO Home Port Marine Marketing The Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls Sunstream Boat Lifts Ice Features marlin Brad's Raritan Turning Point Props Lures Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Port of Indiana BOLT Padlock Brite Wash Rods Speakers Kevin VanDam iPhone Kill switch spoon National Guard sunglass Aqua Vu JVD Evinrude mudsnail Smart Guide to Freshwater Fishing Custom Jigs & Spins BoatUS Angler Chronglobal Magnum Flow-Troll DSC Extreme Baitcast Reel Simrad KVD Speedbag St. Croix Rods Uncle Norm's Tim Popfinger Forage Minnow John E. Phillips Church Tackle Shurhold La Mar Spencer Yachts NAIFC Championship Mark Zona FLW USCGA New Lures Games ice fishing, Bro Show, Traditions Media Grunden's treestand injury Bro Brosdahl Michigan Accon Marine Corey Schmidt Scott Glorvigen Lock Green Bay, Wisconsin Global Spectrum Grand Rapids Ultimate Outdoors Show Berkley Boating safety Tip-Up Free Fishing Weekend Mack's Lures Bass fishing Beckson Marine Stowaway Bag Plate Wind Power Storage McMurdo Cliff Pace Northland Lake of the Woods Lake trout Angler 175T Pharmaceuticals Contaminants KVD Speedbag Wormfile Slide Moor ShowSpan B.A.S.S. Big Bear Products Iaconelli News Dave Genz Plano Clam Electronics Louie Stout News/Social MWC Brian Brosdahl Bass Pro Shops Four-Person Dome Tent with Screen Porch Bass Pro New York Weather Buoy Micro-Mobile Pro Viewing Case Beckson Marine Stowaway Bag Plates and Kits Technology Tommy Skarlis Brandon Newby Manistee Traxstech USCG Wildlife Forever Video iPad Kayak South Haven, Michigan Mike Seymour binoculars Crankbait Net Aqualuma Bob Schmidt OHIO Boat US CMP Global Trout Unlimited Mary Snyder Quantum Pop-Up LED Bowlights Triton Boats Line Recycle Bin Smartfind S20 Personal AIS Beacon STRATTEC One-Handle-Does-It-All System Dogs Dave Mull Blog Snow-Shoe Tip-Up Sportsman's rights thieves trailer tongue Soo Locks Wedding Ring Buff Tides Lighting Lake Michigan PulseTech YUMphibian Dave Mull spinning rod Cannon Aquatic AV LakeMaster Western States Version Shipping MATE USA Jonathon VanDam Sunglasses Kayaks Lakemaster USO Multi-species Invasive species Marine General Ditty bag ABT X-2 Countdown Alaskan LineGrabber Orca Fin System jigs clubs Ranger VS1780 Deck Plate EZ BoatPort Jerky Olcott, NY Walleye Keep Kool Gene Larew Wounded Warriors Muscle Squared 65 Faria Whistler Spoon Torpedo Divers 360 boat rental Coast Guard Marine Speakers New Zealand Baitcast Fishing Pole BBQ Lighter Downriggers Lake Superior Ethanol Sharpeners Walleye tournament Steve Wood Foul weather gear WileyX Lake Huron Size limits Audio Topwater weather On board Chicago barrier Conservation Marathon Rippin Lips Mag Light ASA Rapala TRAC Dollahon toilet USSA Aluminum Deep V Series River Fishing Greater Niagara Fishing & Outdoor Expo Blue Heron Communications iPilot Monel Metal Angler Trade Shows InvisaSnap Mack's Lure Kurt Mazurek Bethel University Macho Minnow Slender Spoon Delorme Traditions Mystery Tackle Box Great Lakes Troller Homeport Marine Marketing Hevi-Beads Beckson Seakeeper gyro Mark Chmura Wild River series HELLA cruzin Smart Guide Publications Brown trout Ryan Wilson Navigation Multitools RAT FINKEE Rugged Shark Mercury Marine Mr. Twister YUM SeaEra QC Betsy Davis Instruments Tackle Bag LOTSA Rig'N Tails Optima Catfish Side Thruster Extended Warranty Princecraft inReach Fuel Side Imaging Fishouflage dock lines Lake Ontario Tom Neustrom Full Throttle Black Velvet Sphaera Bibs Onyx Swim bait great lakes Jack Links KVD Radio tree stand injury Nautical TRAC Ecological Safe boating Rain gear Whale Pumps Hamlin Power U.S.S.A. Insect repellent Swim Whizz Green Bay Mazurek Marine Radio Soul5 Tackle Labs Beckson Marine Silver Horde Larson Electronics bimini top Lake Erie Oakley Sunglasses Humminbird Innovative Outdoors Launch ramp Gull Lake Marine Gill NA Michigan City, Indiana Boat Covers Bass Pro Shops Gift Card Fishing Skamania Mania exotic invader Husky Jerk Normark radar Tight Lines Jewelry Accessories IGFA splice Goby SeaLife Cameras Ice Fishing CLASSIC Strike King Minn Kota Minnesota Chatterbait Pro Polish Endura Costa Del Mar Gear Prosepec Electronics Muskie Lure Northwest Indiana Steelheaders Catch & Cook Glorvigen University of Buffalo Grab Rail LCWCC Rushton Gregory Boat lifts Barry Brown Marine F-Series Storm Gear Boat maintenance Grady-White Oculus Reese Fiberglass tiller Andrew Semprevivo Marcum Lund Boats EVOLVE FISHING CO Boats Spreads Practical Sailor 1675 Pro Guide PFDs Line Milennia MIL-iDock Frigibar PRADCO YUM Dinger GPS Speedometer Bad Elf Air show Lake Assault ABT Tournaments Aqua-Vu JBL NMEA Moisture Muncher BASSMASTER Rescue Indiana DNR Evolve LineSnubber hardbaits Fishing Clubs Records MULL BLOG Sport Shows Dogwood Canyon Trail Runs Interlux Dan Egan Camera mount Tournament Grade Circle Hooks Bait Rigs Yamaha ATV Thermacell Flat Slider 75 Okuma Footwear Water Buddies Masters Walleye Circuit AKOYA Shelter Alabama Rig Martin-Flory Bheestie Bag Batteries Costa Sunglasses Shoremaster thieves Shock Wave exotic species Personal Flotation Device Personal Flotation Devices Earth Day Mosquito repellent BoatUS ChartSelect Legend Extreme Bug bite relief Titan Chain Fish America Foundation Balog Traditions Media Matt Serbenski WFN DuraSafe Electronics Lock Matt Straw Fort Wayne, Indiana Serious Shine METS Bait Holder Beckson Marine Deck Plate Knives Frabill Knife sharpening Lund Rain suit Hobie Absolute Outdoor, Inc. 580P lenses Swedish FireKnife FRIDAY FUNNIES Telescoping JIggler Long Rod Vick Boat names trailer tongue Ryan Kleckner AmVets Lead Swanson-Russell BASSMASTER CLASSIC Bristol Bay Salmon Hunting Bass lure Tools Jeff's Tackle Shop Chaco Bug repellent Clay Dyer Rovermax LR 100 Coleman cooler Odd'ball Fin Spin Oshkosh Fiberglass boat Marine Lighting spreader light Apps Bristol Bay Team Aqua-Vu Bass Coleman Sun protection Gary Giudice Andrew Dordek Airmar Mustad High school bass fishing Ultimate Flannel Shirts DuraSafe EZ Splice Fasteners Safety Gravity Ravenswood Media Glacier Glove Contest Rippin' Lips Salmon Unlimited of Illinois Todd Sokolow Boga Brian "Bro" Brosdahl Acme Chargers Cabela's Shoes Radial SOG PLB Michigan DNR Izaak Walton League Lights Future Fisherman Foundation Scott Martin Black Earth Creek Dunkirk, NY Boating Plano Tackle Boxes Patrick Hurst Jeff Wenzel Scholarship Deep Sea Diver Ranger Aluminum Deep V Series Jeff Gustafson Tyee redfish VMC Whale Honda Marine NewsWire Autotether Ultracoat ONIX tackle storage Blue Collar Outdoors The Harry Lure EZ Dock blue marlin Kevin Van Dam Wake Fishing Dollohan Alaska Youth Synergy Outdoors Niagara Falls Tournament iPilot Link award CUSTOM JIGS 'N' SPINS Tracker Marine MUSHING Headgear GPS for Lightning Connector Up Stream Hydration Back Pack Marsh Madness WeatherStation Asian carp Ranger Boats Rubrail St. Croix Ranger Costa RedHead Hobie Pro Angler Fish Hawk XD4 Yamaha Rough Weather Promise Keeper Streams ODNR Stabenow Holland Legend Gold Volvo Penta Ned Rig Lip-Stix Conservation Walleyes theft Lowrance Soft Jigwobbler Z-Man South Haven eZSplice ATV Reef Runner Gary Dollahon Plano Synergy Bait head