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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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Contest rules and information:

We will be adding three new sections to the home page of the website in the near future.  They are Shotem of the Week, Caughtem of the Week, and Recipe of the week.  You must follow the rules listed below to have your photo be apart of the selection process for a weekly Winner, however, we reserve the right to use this space as we so choose and there might not be a new winner every week.  Winning members will be chosen by us, likes from members and will receive some free Shotem and Caughtem Merchandise for being featured in one of these three categories.  Winners will be rewarded swag so that they will no longer have to search the truck or boat for something to write on or with.  


1.  Only members of the Shotem and Caughtem Website are considered for the Contest so make sure you are a member of the website.  You must be able to prove that it is your photo since it must be you in the photo to win.  No false bragging, those end up in the Mishaps Gallery!

2.  Must be a photo that pertains to one of the three categories. (Shotem, Caughtem, or a recipe from the Gear Section)

3.  In order for us to know if you would like to be included in the Contest we ask two things.  The photo must say "Shotem And Caughtem" somewhere.  You could type it into the photo on your computer,  use one of the logos off our site, write it on a piece of paper/on a piece of toilet paper and have it with you in the photo, or scratch it into the print, we will not discriminate, but it must be legible and easy to see.  The photos below are a great example.  

4.  We ask you to provide some details on what you have going on in the photo.  For example, the photo below is of me and my buddy and the pheasants we killed while we were out in Southwest Kansas.  We were hunting crop circles with a group of friends.  He was using a 20g benelli and I was using a 12g 870.   We had a blast!  You could also provide stats.  For example,  "5lb bass caught on Table Rock Lake near the bank with a watermelon lizard as bait.  It was 8am and about 60 degrees out."  The more info we have the better.  Provide your name, location, size, or what you used.  We will take as much info as you are willing to provide.  We might even e mail you to find out more if your photo is selected.

5.  Should your photo be selected, you will be notified by e mail and be asked to provide an mailing address where we can send your prize.  Your photo will be shared as our weekly winner across many different media platforms.  We will not share your personal information (name, address, etc) but will share the link to the post on the website.  Beware! If you do not want to provide this information or want us to brag to others we ask that you not enter the contest!

As the website grows prizes will continue to change so keep your photos coming.  You never know what you might get.  Once you recieve your free swag we hope you might brag about your prize in the gear section of the website.  That's why were all here anyway right?  To share, brag and connect with others about our outdoor experiences!  Spring is here so get out and start the Shotem and Caughtem season and win some cool free prizes!  


Published in Specials

We at Shotem and Caughtem learned from a New Zealand News Channel of this monster Brown Trout that was caught.  This large catch, as well as some of the changes we are getting ready to add to the website, could not have come at a better time for us to announce our new contest.  He might even land himself with some cool Shotem and Caughtem swag for his monster catch.

Otwin Kandolf said the brown trout he caught recently in New Zealand looked like a submarine because it was so long and abnormally fat. The behemoth, caught in a canal near a salmon farm, weighed 42 pounds, 1 ounce. It’s the heaviest brown trout ever caught in New Zealand and could land Kandolf in the book of world records.  


Published in News/Events

We at Shotem and Caughtem believe that without a healthy and robust sport hunting and fishing industry that the economy would lose yet another valuable resource in the fight to conserve our natural resources.  We searched the web to help find valuable facts that show just how great these industries are not only for their economic value but in their efforts to help sustain and conserve our natural resources.  Here is just a short list of all the great things these industries provide and just a few of those that help make sure the sport continues for future generations.  If you feel we missed a vital part or aspect to these industries please leave us a comment in the section below.

State natural resource agencies manage fish and wildlife for the benefit of all citizens, regardless of whether they hunt or fish. Yet, sportsmen who buy licenses and purchase equipment provide most of their budgets. Despite the significant contributions by sportsmen and their supporting industries, wildlife agencies constantly hear the old, worn-out argument about “jobs versus the environment.” The fact is, employment, economy and environment all start with “E.” Healthy natural resources create jobs, enhance the economy and support both rural and urban communities that properly manage those resources.

In 2011, 90.1 million U.S. residents 16 years of age and older, roughly 38% of the population, participated in wildlife-related recreational activities.  The recreationial sport lovers spent 145 billion dollars on their fishing, hunting and wildlife watching.  This includes permits, expenditures, passes etc.  Overall hunting, fishing and other outdoor-related activities contribute an estimated $730 billion each year to the U.S. economy and one in 20 jobs.

The fisheries program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state agencies and other conservation groups, contributes $3.6 billion to the nation’s economy and supports 68,000  jobs.  The federal agency’s National Fish Hatchery System generates $900 million in industrial output and $550 million in retail sales. Hatchery programs generate 8,000 jobs and $256 million in salaries and wages.  The National Fish Passage Program works with partners to reopen an average of 890 miles of river habitat annually, which has an economic value of $483 million and supports 11,000 jobs. That is more than $542,000 in economic benefit per stream mile restored.  

We had trouble finding the overall stats that show the money invested in land and wildlife conservation measures by many of the groups that do so much to make sure we sustain these sports and our industry.  Organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, Quail Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Fishery programs both private and public, and governmental programs such as allocations in the Farm Bill, and the National Wildlife Federation just to name a few. 

Unfortunately due to the economic downturn and the recent decisions in Washington many of the conservation efforts provided by the revenue generated by this industry will have an impact on these types of conservation efforts.  It will be up to us as an industry to stand up and support these organizations so that we can continue to enjoy the sports we dedicate so much of our hard earned money.  We hope that one day Shotem and Caughtem might be added to the list of organizations that help provide support to the cause we all love........the great outdoors!

Published in News/Events
Monday, 25 March 2013 21:55

Preparing your Fishing Gear

With much of the Midwest and Upper North East covered in what we hope will be the last snow fall of the year forcing us to stay a little closer to home.  We at Shotem and Caughtem thought we might break out our fishing gear and get it ready for what we hope will be warmer weather in the near future.  Many of us have neglected our equipment over the winter months and need to make sure our gear is ready to catch the big one.  Here is what we try and do at the start of every season.  Let us know what your tips and tricks are to prep your gear in the comment section below or post a photo of your must have gear in the gallery and start a dialogue.  Then be ready to post your photos to the Caughtem Gallery and brag about em!

Spring is nearly here, and it is time to look over you fishing gear and update, repair, and maintain it. Every year at this time there are a few tasks that you should do to get your fishing equipment ready for another season out on the water.

Tackle needs to be cared for at the end of each fishing season, to prepare it for a long winter in storage, unless you enjoy ice fishing. As you open your tackle box to prepare it for the upcoming months, check to make sure that your hooks, sinkers, and other tackle are not rusted. Hooks, snaps, and sinkers are all inexpensive and should be replaced when needed.  We know that a little WD 40 or gun cleaner and some light grit sandpaper can do a lot when it comes to rust and removing grooves should you want to spend the time instead of replacing.  Make sure you remove any left over residue with paint thinner and let it dry as the left grit and WD 40 might cause your line to break easily if it is left on the metal.  

Give your rod a good once over. Is it scratched, dented, or otherwise damaged? Small nicks are not an area of concern, but larger grooves in the rod could be reason to replace the pole with a new one. If the wear on your pole is moderate but still significant, take it to your local fishing shop, which offers repairs on poles and other equipment.

Rod tips should be replaced every spring, as the line can dig into the tip. This can lead to your line breaking, causing you to lose your catch. In addition, a worn rod tip can also increase the friction between itself and the line passing over it, reducing casting speed and distance.

Also check the guides. Any that are broken or bent should either be repaired or replaced. Rod tips used in fly fishing are especially prone to wear, as a typical cast of this type can reach line speeds of between 50-60 MPH.

Check your reels as well. Is the action still smooth and easy? Reels can tend stick if they were not cared for properly before winter storage. Once your reel is working, you should change the line, particularly if you do a lot of fishing on salt water, which is worse on both line and gear. If you do your own maintenance to your reels, it is important that you oil the equipment, but do not overdo it. Too much oil can be just as bad for a reel as not enough.

Line should either be replaced, or you should at least turn it around on the reel. This can be done outside in a large field, tying one end of the line to a tree or post, unwinding it, turning it around, and winding it back on.

This is also a great time to organize your tackle boxes, keeping similar items together and within easy reach. Saltwater and fresh water gear should be kept in separate boxes whenever possible, as this will help keep your freshwater gear safe from the corroding effects of salt. Don’t forget to give the box itself a once over as well, making sure that it closes properly and does not have holes.  Should you have left something in the box that has left an odor in your tackle box a 20%bleach 80% water mixture can eleviate smells once washed and allowed to dry.

With drought conditions in the Midwest continuing to put pressure on water levels in rivers, lakes and ponds we went looking for solutions to how we can still get to good spots for fishing.  Many water levels will be low enough at the start of the spring fishing season that many spots we would normally fish will be hard to access by different types of fishing boats.  Boat ramps, river access points and low water tables will make it hard and risky for many fisherman and woman to get to many areas that provide the best fishing spots.  Due to the fact that areas prime for fishing will be crowded by those who have not thought of other means, we wanted to find a great way to get away from the crowd.  We think the solution is the Kayak.  

Kayaks are not just a boat used to whisk ones self down a river of rapids.  They have evolved to be quite the nice little fishing rig for conditions such as the ones we might be facing this year due to the drought.  They are fairly light weight, small and could be pulled by hand or by smaller machines to give you access to areas many boats can't.  They need very little water to travel through so hitting some low spots here and there to get to deeper water in rivers and along edges of lakes and ponds where trees and other hazards might start to become a factor will be less of a problem in a kayak.  Many of todays kayaks offer multiple places to hold rods, tackle and other needs as well as live wells for your big catches.  They can be transported on roof racks, small trailers, pickup truck beds, by ATV's and UTV's allowing you to get to even the most remote spots with all the gear you need.  

Some other pros from fishing from a kayak might come during the catch itself.  Due to its light weight nature should you hook into a decent size fish the capabilities of you and your vessel being involved in the fight itself is greatly enhanced.  Many fisherman talk about hooking into a good size fish and being dragged around by the fish as it fights its way towards and away from the boat.  

Some of the Cons to fishing from this vessel are the fact that it tends to be a one man or woman in one boat type of adventure.  They are not a platform that we would recommend buying one day, loading up and going out the next.  They require a bit of time to get use to when it comes to proper weight distribution and making sure you are comfortable paddling so that you avoid tipping over.  More importantly they do not allow you to transport the amount of beverages that we feel is necessary for a successful fishing trip.  

Though many of the pros will outweigh the cons once you have mastered the capabilities of the kayak, we at Shotem and Caughtem feel they will provide a perfect vessel to access good fishing spots.  With drought conditions likely to continue this year we feel they might be a good option for those that might worry that their fishing boats might just collect dust or not get them to the spots they love to go.  Let us know how you might get to remote fishing spots in the comment section below or post your solutions to the Gear gallery and tell us your story.

Published in News/Events
Tuesday, 19 March 2013 13:58

Hunting vs Fishing

When we decided to create the website Shotem and Caughtem, we were tasked with trying to figure out which sport would garner the most attention.  We chose to create a place that has both.  We have decided that most outdoors men and women, like us, have a passion for both hunting and fishing.  Men and woman alike seem to split their love for the great outdoors between seasons to make time to hunt that thunder chicken or throw a line to catch a bass.  They also seem to want to learn new ways to hone their skills in all aspects and are willing to try new experiences when the opportunity arises.  Many sites seem to focus on one or the other.  We decided to discuss why we chose to have both.



Friday, 15 March 2013 20:23

Fly Fishing's Fatal Attraction

Those of us at Shot em' and Caught em' would not say that we have devoted the time to fly fishing but the art of it is mystifying.  The beautiful sway back and forth that takes so much time to perfect.  The look of a shallow stream and the sun glistening off the rapids.  It all makes for quite the scene in our minds.  But for Dan Blanton it comes down to finding the big fish and he found the perfect fly to bring them to the shore line.  We thought we would pass along the information of what he calls a Fatal Attraction.  Let us know what you use on your fly fishing rigs in the comments section below or post a photo to the Gear Section and tell us your story. 

Published in News/Events
As the warm weather is quickly approaching, it is time to blow the dust off the rod and reels and get ready for some summer fun. Be it sitting on your favorite farm pond or zipping across the bass filled lake at 70 mph to beat your buddies to your favorite fishing hole. Shot em' and Caught em' thought these proven tips might give you a bigger bass to post to the Caughtem Gallery and brag to the world.  We found this article/video and thought we would pass along the information.

Published in News/Events
Thursday, 07 March 2013 17:43

Alabama Striped Bass is A Record Breaker

Well apparently someone must have read our recent article that we posted on fishing for Striped Bass in Cold Climates and landed a monster.  An Alabama resident has reeled in a 70-pound striped bass that shattered a 54-year-old state record and could land the angler in the book of world records for the heaviest striper ever caught in a landlocked fishery.  James R. Bramlett, 65, reeled in the behemoth on the Black Warrior River on Feb. 28.  The catch, weighed on a certified scale, exceeds the previous record, set in 1959, by 15 pounds.  The striper measured 45.5 inches long and boasted a girth of 37.75.  The current IGFA record for landlocked stripers is a 67-pound, 8-ounce specimen landed in 1992 in Los Banos, California.  The fight lasted only 20 minutes.  We at Shotem and Caughtem would love to see your monsters on the Caughtem Wall and brag about your story and how you landed that big catch or leave comments below.  Makes us realize its about time for fishing season here in the Midwest!


Published in News/Events
Friday, 01 March 2013 21:30

Early Spring Fishing Tips

So we at Shotem and Caughtem can not wait to start fishing.  With the Midwest covered in snow we thought we might use this time to dust of the tackle boxes and ready the lines and poles for it won't be long and water temperatures will start to rise.  The itch to watch a bass fly out of the water chasing a hoola popper and the beginning of Turkey season means that we outdoors men and woman can come out of hibernation!  With this in mind we thought we would offer some cold water tips and tricks for fishing.  As always leave us your comments below and we can't wait to see what our members start pulling out of the water on our Caughtem gallery in the months to come.

In early spring water temp. is probably the most important factor for me. The second would be water clarity. By asking these two questions I can pick out what part of the lake or river I should concentrate on, in order to locate the most aggressive fish for this given time of year. Notice I said the most aggressive, because you can catch fish on other areas of the lake. I want to find the best area, and then fine tune that pattern to the next step.Water temp is crucial because I have to keep in mind that the bass and its food source is cold blooded. So I want to find the warmest water that I can find. This is where water clarity will play into the picture. Water clarity will let me know how the bass will be able to hunt its prey.

Lets look further into water temp first. If the water temp is 55 degrees then the bass will be moving fairly slow, but not at a turtles pace. So the bass will need either cover or another camoflauge to aid him and off colored water will enable him to be successful. Off colored water will also be warmer this time of year and the reason is because the dirt particles in the water will also collect and hold heat. Lets say if the water temp. is 65 degrees then I may choose clearer water because then the bass would be able to use its speed as an aid in capturing its prey. But in a colder water situation he will use his surroundings in every way possible, a bass will and so will all predators use its surrounding to stay alive but we must learn how and when he will feed depending on the season/ current weather. This will enable us to be much more successful as well.

Depending on the geographic region of the lake, will tell you a lot about the lake itself. I classify lakes in six different categories highland (rocky), midland (hilly), lowland (semi hill with flatland), flatland (usually river type lake), river systems, and natural lakes. I will discuss further into this in an later article, but just be aware of this.

All lakes can be broken down into four sections. The first is the lower section and that is the dam area, the second is the mid section of the lake where the lake usually starts to narrow down and the lake will have more creeks in this area, the upper section is the third area and is where the lake begins to turn into more of a river, and the forth would be where the lakes river runs into the head water, you will have more current here and it is usually present year round.

For a quick run down on how I will begin fishing the lake in the early spring and on into late spring. I will focus on the second section in early spring on most lakes. The reason is this area will have some off colored water that I spoke of earlier and the water is a little shallower as well and this will help in warmer water. (the deeper the water the longer it takes for it to warm up.) I will look for the main river or creek channels that will swing in close to a bluff wall or channel bank and I will want it to have some type of cover on it rock, gravel, or stumps. I’ll fish a crank bait or a rattle trap in a crawfish pattern until I locate some fish. It would appear that I would be fishing fast, because I would keep my boat moving but at the same time I would be fishing my bait fairly slow. One of my favorite technuqes for this time of year is to fish a rattle trap and hop it or yo yo it off the bottom like a crawfish trying to escape.

I will fish these channel banks moving from one to the next until I locate a school of fish, and once I did that I should be able to go to the next creek and fish the same section/location of that creek and duplicate the pattern. (note that I will keep fishing several creeks until I have eliminated all of them in this section of the lake.

As the water keeps warming I will be able to go to the third section of the lake and repeat the same thing all over again, then I’ll move to the river section and finally to the dam area. This process will last for about three to four weeks depending on the size of the lake.

What I am doing here is keeping myself in the prespawn stage and this will be the easiest fish to catch in the spring.

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