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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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We at Shotem and Caughtem, like many, are getting to the tail end of our ability to Turkey hunt.  With spring hunting season coming to an end the Shotem and Caughtem life will begin to shift focus from the Shotem side of the brain to the Caughtem side.  Luckily for us this weekend marks the start of the spring hatching season for caddis and mayflies.  What does that mean for us?  It means that the predator fish are going to come to the surface to gorge themselves on the little bugs.  This means it is fishing season.  So dust off the fly rods and the fishing gear cause the trout will be in full attack mode.  So take advantage of not only the hatch but the fact that nothing says happy mothers day better than some quality time in the great outdoors.  Here are some fly tricks and tips to aid in your adventure.  As always leave your comments in the section below and post your catches in the Caughtem Gallery or start one of your own to share with others.

What is the secret? Efficiency. The principle is simple; the actual attainment of it is not. Many anglers flail randomly, their fly occasionally crossing those areas where vulnerable insects concentrate, catching fish only when their fly is in a prime area. The expert, however, changes his tactics as the prime areas change, and keeps his fly for as long as possible in the productive zone.

The key to anticipating, or “ambushing,” a caddis fly hatch requires breaking the common notion of what it is. Too many fishermen only recognize the peak of the action, the frantic surface feeding coinciding with the heaviest concentration of insects on or under the surface film, but these fishermen miss out on fishing before or after the peak — fishing that is sometimes even better.

The first time an angler encounters heavy insect activity, he cannot anticipate it. It is a blind situation — he is unprepared for the ensuing feeding spree. He fumbles in his fly box for some kind of a matching fly and casts to the rising trout with various techniques. If he fails to find the right combination with his hasty attempts, he probably ends up frustrated and fishless.

Even a regular on a stream, lacking an understanding of entomology, cannot fully master such a situation. He might have enough experience with a particular insect to use proper flies and tactics during the main hatch, his methods worked out by past trial and error, but he can still only take advantage of the activity he sees, the hour or so of actual surface feeding. He cannot take advantage of the subsurface activity he does not see.

The fly fisherman who understands the typical life cycle of stream caddisflies, however, knows the vulnerable subsurface stages. He discovers where, when, and how the concentrations occur during an emergence, which allows him to anticipate and prepare for the appearance of the insect. This knowledge also allows him to take full advantage of the predictable daily feeding schedule of the trout. Such an angler is not a member of a scientific cult, but simply a fly fisherman who is prepared to match his tactics and flies to the changing concentrations of insects. There are three areas in which caddisflies concentrate during a hatch.

1.  Usually, hours before the main hatch, some caddisflies begin popping out. The first of these random emergers often reaches the surface safely because trout are not conditioned to the occurrence, but soon fish take notice of the hatch. Even when they do start feeding, however, the trout seldom rise to grab a natural from the surface.

2.  Once out of the silk-lined, stone or vegetable cocoon, drifting freely in the stream, the swimming caddisfly emergent begins inflating its surrounding skin with gas bubbles and beating with hair-fringed legs, both of these actions lifting the insect up through the water. At the surface the adult hesitates, pushing against the underside of the meniscus (surface film) and struggling to shed the pupal skin.

3.  When the peak hatch is over and the surface of the river is blank, most anglers quit fishing, or at least stop trying to match caddisflies but there is still an hour of so of very exciting action left. There is one more concentration of insects that pulls fish, often the largest, into specific areas of the stream.

Published in News/Events
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 20:09

Tarpon Fishing along the Florida Coast

The spring fishing season has started to kick off along the Florida Coast.  After watching this past weekend of River Monsters with Jeremy Wade, apparently Tarpon season is in full swing along the coast as they migrate to spring spawning locations.  Here are some tips to landing your own River Monster should you be in the area or thinking about making a fun fishing trip.  Let us know about your experiences in the comment section below and share your photos of your River Monsters in the Caughtem gallery section and tell us your story.

Tarpon are making their presence made from down in the Ten Thousand Islands to off Fort Myers Beach. These are the big fish on the annual trek up to Boca Grande, and then offshore to spawn.

Fish are being hooked up that range from 80 to 180 pounds, and the two favored methods are live bait or cut bait. One of the most effective cut baits is the lowly catfish.

Catch a few catfish, cut off the head and the tail, and put the chunk on an 8- to 10-ought circle hook. Put the bait out in a likely area, and then place the pole in a holder. Sit back and enjoy a cold one while you wait.

When one of the large silver-side monsters picks up a bait, you quickly will understand the power these fish can put out. Make sure you use appropriate tackle. While it is nice to use lighter tackle, it can really stress out the tarpon. A well-worn-out fish also makes a great target for a huge shark. Get your fish to the boat quickly and take a picture with the fish in the water, and then safely release the fish for another day.

The linesider snook are also in the mix, and they are really starting to bite well. With spawning months of May through June just ahead, the fish are more than eager to eat an offered bait. Artificials work well early in the morning and later just before dark. For the rest of the fishing day, live pilchards are the best bait around.

When the water is somewhat high, make sure to get your bait well under the branches. While we are seeing a good number of slot-sized fish, a lot of us don’t think that there are enough to warrant the reopening of snook season this fall. There are a lot of snook, but not enough of the large breeders when compared to the year before the big freeze back in 2010. Please carefully release all snook.

Large trout continue to fill out dinner menus for area anglers. Some of these fish are so large you will think you have latched onto a good-sized red. Remember that these trout don’t freeze well. Keep only what you will eat in the next day or so. Trout are hitting live bait, shrimp, and a variety of artificial baits. Look for them anywhere from the passes to the grass flats.

Pompano are to be found around the passes, and especially on the flats adjacent to those passes. If you are running on plane over one of these areas, it is not uncommon to “skip” some pompano behind the boat. If that happens, make a big loop, shut down and fish that area where you saw the fish. Bright-colored jigs that are tipped with shrimp work well, but sand fleas are hard to beat.

Red grouper are on the feed in offshore waters. Fish in the 30-inch range are being boated by area anglers. Live bait or cut bait will work well on these guys. If you don’t have some “numbers” for a fish-producing area, use your bottom reader to find some hard bottom, and try a drift or two over the area to find the fish. Once you get a hook up, hit the man-overboard feature to instantly mark the location. You then can go back and anchor up to see if the area will produce numbers of fish. A little chum will help.

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.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013 20:22

Spring Turkey Hunting Tips and Tricks

We at Shotem and Caughtem have a love hate relationship when it comes to turkey.  We felt we would pass along the reasons why.   We hope to give you the tools to create that same relationship, since very few outdoor experiences can compare with spring turkey hunting. The sport can, to say the least, be challenging, exciting and in some cases almost addictive. When a gobbler sounds off up close, or he’s strutting just out of range, even the most experienced hunter’s heart tends to pound uncontrollably.  Due to their keen eyesight and hearing they can be one of the harder animals in the kingdom to hunt which causes the love and frustration of the sport.  This is the challenge that makes turkey hunting so intriguing and is helping to attract droves of new hunters to the sport.  So here are some pointers to help your experience.


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.

We at ShotemandCaughtem this weekend went around to the several gun and ammunition retail stores around town to see if things had slowed down from the recent rush.  Unfortunately what we found is the days of going and grabbing a couple of boxes of ammo before going on our hunting trips might be over.  It was not long ago when a hunting season approached that we could run out that week, grab the necessary license and ammo, and then head out for our hunt.  After our outing this weekend further planning is definitely going to be needed.  With Spring Turkey season just around the corner, and pheasant and quail season ending in many parts of the country we thought we would look for the ammunition we might need.  However, what we found was that much of the ammo needed for a successful hunt is non existent on the shelves.  As a matter of fact one Walmart we went to only had a couple of boxes of 30-06, 270, 300 win, 7mm and a couple of 100 boxes of 20g and 12g target loads.  No other ammo was available.  This seemed to be the repeating pattern over many of the retailers we visited.  Only the most expensive ammo for the more unique calibers was left on the shelves.  In fact the 12g shells we need for our turkey hunts are gone.  We have decided to begin randomly visiting stores throughout the week to acquire the three or four boxes we need as a group to go on our turkey hunt.   Our season starts on April 10th here in Kansas.  We felt that our members needed to know that the recent rush on ammunition has not been limited to some calibers but all calibers.  We talked to many people across the country and they seem to have similar problems.  The need to grab a box or two of your necessary hunting ammo when you see it should be at the top of your priority list, even if the season is not here yet.  In fact we grabbed a couple of boxes of 30-06 and 7mm for deer season and a couple 100rd boxes of 20g and 12g 7 1/2 for dove season just in case the problem persists.  As different spring and summer hunting seasons begin to get close, many would be hunters will find their ammo of choice is unavailable.  This might also be the case this fall and winter.  So start planning for your favorite hunting seasons now so you can post your photos to Shotem and Caughtem.  As always let us know how things are in your neck of the woods.  You might even meet some people here in the Gear section that can help you out getting the things you need, so that they might get the things they need!
Published in News/Events
Thursday, 24 January 2013 23:25

Kansas Fall Turkey Season

The 2012-2013 fall turkey season is coming to a close, but not before Kansas hunters get one last chance to bag their late-season bird. From Jan. 14-31, hunters will have the opportunity to hunt turkey once more in any of the five open units. The next opportunity to hunt Kansas turkey won’t come again until the beginning of April, so it’s time to hit the blind one last time!

Fall permit holders can hunt Units 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 for fall turkey and may only hunt within the management unit printed on their permits. In addition, hunters must have a Kansas hunting license, unless exempt by law. Any hunter with a fall turkey permit can purchase as many as three turkey game tags during the fall season, valid in Units 2, 3, 5 and 6. During the fall season, both toms and hens may be taken.

The 2013 spring turkey season will begin with the archery, youth/disabled season, April 1-9, and the firearm season will run April 10 - May 31.  This happens to be the time of year when we at shotemandcaughtem love to break out our decoys and start calling in the big boys.  Even though we saw plenty of turkey this fall......when they were not in season we have not got to shoot one this fall so show us what you were able to do this fall on our shotem gallery!


Published in News/Events
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