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The Shotem' and Caughtem' Blog is the place to find the latest reviews and commentary on gear, destinations, conditions, events, and general knowledge to inform our readers and give our opinions to anyone listening.

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Monday, 22 April 2013 21:50

Top Water Fishing Season Tips

Eventhough we in the Midwest are getting a possible flake of snow in the forecast again this week, we at Shotem and Caughtem can not hold back the excitement any longer on talking about spring top water fishing.  Nothing gets us more excited than the time when fishing season becomes its most fun.  This is when the water temperatures rise and the predators come out to feast.  We prefer to lure or predators up to the surface, like Air Jaws (Great White Sharks down by South Cape, Africa since its almost Shark Week).  Nothing gets them to the surface like using top water fishing lures so here are some tips on what we use to get them leaping.  Let us know what you recommend in the comment section below or post photos to the gear section and tell us your stories.  Most of all get out there and Caught em'!

If you ask five different fishermen this question, you'll probably get at least three different answers, and they will probably all be right. You may have to try them all to see which one (or more) works for you. When is the best time to use them? Another question with several correct answers. In general, topwaters are most effective when the water temperature is in the high fifties or above.

The most common and probably the most popular topwater is the buzzbait. It's easy to use; just throw it out and reel it in, or so it seems. Throwing and reeling will catch bass, but a few variations might increase your odds of success. Throw the lure in the weeds, retrieving it over holes in the weeds, along edges, parallel to laydowns, or close to stumps. Start out with a slow retrieve in early spring and speed it up as the water temperature rises. Experiment with a varied retrieve; slow it down , speed it up, or jerk it every now and then to create more noise and a more erratic action.

Stickbaits such as the Rogue, Bomber Long A, Rapala Minnow and The Thunderstick are all excellent "twitch baits". Basically, in the spring, these lures are cast close to cover such as a weedbed, laydown or stump, and twitched to create a darting erratic motion. Try twitching and letting the lure sit for a short time or use a slow twitching retrieve. The fish will tell you which one they like. In the summer, these baits are very effective on bass feeding on shad on the surface. Just throw it into the scattering shad and retrieve it like it's hurt. They are also very effective on stripers when they are feeding on the surface.

Chuggers like the Chug Bug or the Pop-R are great summertime surface baits. These lures can be worked continuously back to the boat with a short jerking type motion, or they can be jerked a few times and left motionless for a short time. They can be worked in shallow water or over schooling fish. Vary the speed of your retrieve until you get the desired results.

The king of the big bass topwaters is the Zara Spook. Once you learn how to "walk the dog" with a Spook, you can consistently catch big fish in the early spring and fall. To "walk the dog", keep your rod tip down and make short (less than 1 foot) twitches with your rod tip while reeling at the same time. The lure will walk side to side as it moves toward you. Once again, vary the speed of your retrieve until you get bit. Spooks are especially good on points or in the backs of pockets where the big fish come to feed.

No matter which topwater you choose, they all have one common characteristic, the strikes that they trigger are heart-stopping. Usually, the fish explodes on the bait, sending water everywhere, and instilling in the angler an almost irresistible urge to instantly strike back. Don't do it! Wait until you feel the fish, then set the hook. Believe me, it's much easier said than done.

The down-side of topwater fishing is that you tend to lose more fish than you would when fishing other types of baits, but the excitement is well worth it. 

We at Shotem and Caughtem realize that this kind of news only makes the want for the year to pass by faster but the state of Arkansas has approved the hunting seasons for deer, elk and bear.  We thought we would pass along the information to raise your spirits that the season is coming.  We hope until then you post your bragging photos to the Shotem wall or your game photos to the Caughtem wall and tell us your story.  

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has scheduled the dates for this fall's deer hunting season.

The commission approved the dates at its monthly meeting Thursday. Modern gun deer season will open Nov. 9, and the end date varies by hunting zone.

Archery season opens Sept. 28 and will run through Feb. 28, 2014, for all zones in the state.

Muzzleloader season will open Oct. 19.

The commission also approved some changes to bear hunting regulations for Zone 2, which covers parts of western and central Arkansas. The commission moved the archery hunting opening date to Oct. 1 and reinstated a 150-bear quota for the zone.

Elk hunting season will take place in two segments: Oct. 7-11 and Oct. 28-Nov. 1.

We at Shotem and Caughtem want to see your trout photos in the Caughtem gallery as the state prepares for next months season opener.  They are stocking places where reproduction numbers have been low to help with their sport fishing numbers.  Here are some of the details.

State Department of Natural Resources officials say they hope to add nearly 330,000 trout to Wisconsin waters before the inland fishing season opener next month. 
DNR fisheries crews have been stocking rainbow, brown and brook trout raised at hatcheries in Nevin, Osceola and St. Croix Falls. Volunteers and students have been helping, too. 
The crews are adding fish in waters where the habitat is marginal and there's no natural reproduction. 
The season opener is set for May 4. 
Interactive maps of trout streams are available on the DNR website's inland trout page.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013 22:24

Alligator Hunting in Texas

We at Shotem and Caughtem were not aware that the State of Texas had a hunting season for alligators.  We were made aware that the season started April 1st and we thought we would pass along the details.  Sounds like Texas might be able to run their own version of Swamp People we think a good title might be Lone Star Gator.  Let us know if you have ever had the opportunity to hunt gators and leave your comments or suggestions in the comment section below or share your photos in the Shotem and Caughtem galleries.

With the open season in progress for gators in non-core counties, hunters are hoping to harvest one of the 250,000 alligators living in Texas.

The open season in non-core counties occurs April 1 through June 30.  During this time, hunters can only take gators on private property with the permission of the landowner.  

During the spring gator season, alligator hide tags are issued to private landowners. Biologists research private lands to determine the amount of gators living on their area and, depending on the gator population, tags are given out to the owners. The owners can then charge hunters to fill those tags. The “non-core” counties allow one alligator per person, per season and all hunters are required to have a valid hunting license. 

Game wardens are made aware of how many tags are given in their areas, which gives them an idea of where hunters will be during the season. Angleton Game Warden Capt. Nick Harmon keeps his eye on how many gators are taken and where they are taken. 

On private lands in the non-core counties, gators cannot be taken by firearm, but can be dispatched by firearm if caught by a taking device. 

Harmon said that even though using a firearm may be legal to dispatch an animal, he insists that hunters check with any city regulations before discharging a firearm.  

In many instances, gators wander from public creeks to private lakes. In that case, the landowner can use one of his tags to take a gator if it’s in season. If it’s not, even though the gator is on their property and possibly a danger, the owner cannot kill that gator. If the gator is killed without a tag, the landowner can be subject to a fine. 


We created Shotem and Caughtem so that people that love to hunt and fish could communicate and share with one another on a site dedicated to Hunting and Fishing.  A fun social network where people could connect based on their shared interested and find others who share their passion.  Over the past four months since we launched the website we at Shotem and Caughtem have had the opportunity to start just such a relationship with the women from the Queens of Camo.  They like us try to live as much of the Shotem and Caughtem lifestyle as we do and have become a great resource to help us promote and get the word out about the website.  Because of this relationship we have tried to repay their generosity by showing them how they could expand there own network by using Shotem and Caughtem as a resource.  We have started a place where our members can go and ask questions about their experiences and what has worked for them (Ask The Queens of Camo ).  Here is a little information as to who they are so that you might learn more about them.  


We at Shotem and Caughtem can not support enough the hunting of Wild Boar as not a paid expense but a necessity to curb hog populations around the United States.  Luckily, Florida has adopted a good way to curb this population.  Check out the regulations below and let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.


We at Shotem and Caughtem have been made aware, in what might be just a publicity stunt, the organization PETA might begin using drones over popular hunting and fishing areas to video tape and enforce laws and regulations.  PETA plans to purchase several Aerobot Cinestar Octocopters--eight-rotored octocopters designed for use by the film industry and landscape architects. The Cinestar is designed to carry heavy cameras and has a 20 minute flight time when carrying smaller cameras; it is also intended for use by a two-person crew.  Once deployed, the animal rights organization says it will use the UAVs to collect footage of illegal activity such as hunters drinking while in possession of a firearm, maiming animals for fun (leading to possible persecution on animal cruelty counts), and using locally-forbidden hunting or fishing enhancements such as spotlights and speed lures. In a prepared statement, PETA's Ingrid Newkirk said that “Slob hunters may need to rethink the idea that they can get away with murder, alone out there in the woods with no one watching.”


We at Shotem and Caughtem have had Labradors throughout our lives.  They make some of the best dogs for hunting because of their intelligence and loyalty.  We blogged about how much a great hunting dog can effect a hunters life.  The attached video is just another showcase of what a great dog, guilty or not, the Labrador is in ones life.  Let us know your interactions with your four legged friends in the comment section below.


We at Shotem and Caughtem typically do a seed mix from a local seed market to create the perfect wildlife food plot.  However, since we launched this site to inform people of products related to hunting and fishing we decided we would break from our normal routine and try some pre made products.  This year we traveled to Gander Mountain to see what our local store might have in stock and our options.  We were surprised that many of the products carried in stock were mainly for big bucks.  Though we love deer season, the amount of work it takes to install a food plot makes us want to attract more than just deer.  We like to make sure we have the opportunity to hunt all types of wild life and support our full ecosystem.  With this in mind we were disappointed that there was not a one solution option.  The company that provided the most options in stock that we decided to create our wildlife buffet was from Evolved Harvest.  We selected the four options above which we felt provided the most variety for the wildlife we intended to support but as you can see focused a lot on deer.  Again we only wanted to go off of what one can get on short notice since we like many farmers like to time planting to a good rain forecast like we had for this week.

We decided that these four products offered our best options with these criteria in mind.  A food plot that would keep a steady stream of wild life happy.  The soy beans, forage rape, turnip, clover would keep the deer more than happy.  The oats, sunflower, grain sorghum, and chicory for all things bird.  Granted we would have liked to have an option that would better cover the multitude of animals we love to see year round but this is what our options were in stock.  Cost was 90 dollars after tax.  

We wanted to give the product a less than ideal test bed to work from to really get a good test.  Since many food plots are created in less than ideal situations we wanted to do the same.  We choose a place that had never been used for this type of test.  It is a pasture that has raised cattle since it was stead ed in the late 1800's.  It had been grassland its whole life.  It did have some positives on its location as seen in the photos below.  It is right along a well traveled wildlife trail along a wooded creek in a small valley.  We did not test the soil.  But we wanted a good test of how good the product can preform in an untested rural area.  Places we like to hunt and enjoy the great outdoors.    

We first brush hogged the grass as low as possible.  Then because it was undisturbed ground we disc-ed the area several times to break the soil just enough for planting.  The more roughed up photo shows the soil conditions after we planted.  We broad casted the seed in separate strips so that over the next couple of seasons the crop would have room to grow.  In all the bags planted about half of the 3 acre patch we prepped.  It took us most of the weekend to get the ground to a point we were comfortable would be a good test of the products capabilities.  

We will keep you posted on growth and conditions as the season begins so that you to can make an educate decision on the products you choose and a true test of effectiveness.  Let us know the products you have used in the past and how they worked in the comment section below.  Or post your food plot photos to the gear section and let us know what you used and why.  

Well in true Shotem and Caughtem style this dynamic duo now holds a husband/wife largest blue catfish caught in the state of Kansas title.  Stephanie Stanley, of Olathe, got hers when she reeled in a 82.05-pound blue catfish at Milford Reservoir on Saturday.  As big as it is, though, it was about 20 pounds shy of her tournament partner/husband’s best-ever blue catfish. Robert Stanley holds the current state record for blue catfish at 102.8 pounds, caught from the Missouri River on August 11 of last year.  So you have a state record lake catch by the wife and the state river record by the husband.  We just thought this was too cool and wanted to share the couples unique and fun record.  Plus that is definitely a catch for the caughtem wall.  Show us your big catch this fishing season and tell us your stories in the comment section below.    
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