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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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Friday, 10 January 2014 23:14

Willing to Brave the Cold?

We at Shotem and Caughtem thought we would end the week with a little trivia and information.  Should you be willing to fight through the cold or have access to a shelter on the ice and have the itch to fish, ice fishing is a great way to land a monster.  To wet your taste buds we thought we would find out some of the biggest catches on frozen waters.  Let us know your tricks to land the big one in the frigid cold in the comment section below.

As of February 8, 2013, Sederberg’s fish—estimated to be 40 to 44 pounds—officially replaces the Fresh Water Hall of Fame’s old world-record ice-fishing catch-and-release lake trout on pole and line, which was a 44-incher caught from Clear Water Lake in Manitoba, Canada, by Brent Danylko on April 11, 1920.

Still smiling Father Mariusz Zajak proudly displays his 18.30 pound walleye he landed while ice fishing on Tobin Lake, near the Resort Village of Tobin Lake, on Tuesday afternoon Jan. 4, 2005. The Roman Catholic priest now has legitimate bragging rights to the provincial record for walleye.

The all tackle world record, caught in New Jersey in 1865, weighed 4 pounds, 3 ounces. It is the longest-standing, freshwater sport-fish record.

26-pound, 12-ounce catch is the new IGFA All-Tackle world record for landlocked Atlantic salmon. He set another record too catching it on 6-pound test line.

A Great Lakes muskie 58 inches long, with a girth of 29 inches. It weighed 58 pounds.

SOme massive fish are caught if one is willing to brave the cold.  We hope you take time to share your photos and adventures to the galleries and tell us your stories.  

Published in News/Events
Tuesday, 22 October 2013 19:28

Hunting and Fishing Survival

With the recent rescue of 5 fisherman in the Bering Sea it has reminded us at Shotem and Caughtem that many of us might take things for granted when heading out to the field or water.  With the weather changing into fall here in the U.S and many of us heading out to hunt or fish we felt it was a good time to remind ourselves about good things to throw in our tackle boxes, backpacks or vehicles for the OS factor.

Many of the worst stories come from those who do not prepare for the worst case situation.  When close to civilization many of us take for granted that help is always close.  Sometimes things happen that can cause things to go south fast.  

Some of the most important things to make sure one has in their possession or close by in any situation are fairly inexpensive and easy to have around.  First like Bear Grylls taught us a good knife is a necessity.  Second is water.  Third would be a lighter and if you want to add a little insurance a medicine bottle with vasoline soaked cotton balls.  Four would be a pack of your favorite protein/carbohydrate filled snack.  These are mere basics but should increase your chance of making it out of most tough situations that might only last a day or two.  We feel they should be close by at all times.  

From these four basics and your length of time to potentially be out for longer periods you can begin to add other essentials.  Coat and Gloves, basic medical pack, proper side arm, bite kits, cordage, plastic tarp etc.

Let us know your basic pack in the comment section below and remember to be safe.  Fall is here and that means the weather and Mother Nature will be changing their tunes.  Most of all be safe and share your stories to the photo galleries!

Published in News/Events
Wednesday, 16 October 2013 21:07

Steelhead Fishing the Great Lakes

We at Shotem and Caughtem have been spending a lot of efforts on the Shotem sides of our brains.  We would be remiss to not throw some tips and techniques for another winter favorite that is quickly approaching.  Steelheads will begin to make the move to partake on the buffet of salmon and trout eggs that will be quickly filling the rivers.  

With this in mind creating your own artificial egg ball buffet might be the best way to attract these delicious predators.  Using a typical weight, bobber and hook rig filled with a ball of things that look like eggs can help increase ones haul prior to the fish moving into the rivers.  Allowing this to naturally float in the water will attract a light bite so using a lighter rod could help you notice the initial bite.  

The run is just weeks away so we hope you get prepared and get a little Caughtem on the brain.  Let us know your tricks in the comment section and keep posting your photos to the galleries and tell us your story.  

Published in News/Events
Tuesday, 03 September 2013 21:48

Opening Weekend Dove Hunting Tips

We at Shotem and Caughtem celebrated our lack of labor to adventure out for the opening day of Dove Season.  As many of you have already read it happens to be one of our favorite hunts.  So lets talk about the patterns that we saw and what we found out about the birds patterns prior to a hopeful cooling of temperatures and another wave of our winged friends from up north.

Water...........lots of water.  In years past you could find a good water hole located to good feed and have a blast hunting.  This year however, the Midwest got a lot of rain just a few weeks prior to last weekend.  Ponds were full, some spilling over, streams too and where we hunted about every hole that could hold some water had some.  Too many water options make for a difficult Dove hunt.  Because they could find water just about anywhere, we could not hunt a pattern.  

Also due to the rain, crops have done really quite well which also made food abundant.  When we were cleaning our birds we found them full of all types of crops.  Millet, corn, sunflower and wheat were found in several different birds.  This meant some where in fields of millet, some in the corn fields and some in the wheat fields.  Again no pattern.  Too many yummy morsels.   

Day two required us to shift tactics.  Active prey equals active hunter.  So we opened  the morning sitting at a spot where we had seen decent flight traffic. As soon as the activity slowed we began walking to where we had seen birds perch from the afternoon heat, going to gravel and going to feed.  Then repeat.  We found this tactic resulted in not only a beautiful walk enjoying the great outdoors but also garnered more action and more Dove.  The picture above was our second morning after just a couple of hours of hunting.  We had not had that good of luck the day prior in such a short amount of time.   

Let us know how your tactics worked this past weekend should you have ventured out in the comment section below or post your photos to the Shotem gallery and tell us your story.


Published in On Location
Thursday, 15 August 2013 21:28

Rainy Midwest brings Duck Hunting Tips

Rainy days here in the Midwest have made the team at Shotem and Caughtem a little worried.  The fishing has been difficult with the amount of rain we have been experiencing after three years of drought and with dove season right around the corner we are just crossing our fingers that the weather doesn't cool and push birds south too early.  However, like any loyal hunter and fisherman/woman knows when one door closes another opens.  What it does mean is between the cooler temperatures and the influx of rain it is shaping up to be one heck of a duck hunting season.  So it is a perfect time to start prepping your favorite pond, field or potentially flooded stream and here are some tips.

A hunter knows that when it comes to migratory birds the only thing on their mind is food, shelter and heading to a better climate.  In order to create a pleasing area for waterfowl to stop and take a siesta they just need the basics like any other animal.  With cooler temperatures right around the corner and the increased moisture one of the best ways to secure a nice duck pond is to plant some food.  If your once dry earth is now a beautiful pond or flooded stream, the recent drought might have left the food supply a bit lacking.  Waterfowl like the high fat content giving foods such as millet, buckwheat and corn.  Add in some cat tails and water grasses for cover and the only thing left is making sure you have the proper blind.    

It also might be a great time to approach farmers who have has fields ruined by the flooding.  Corn crops that have been pushed to the ground and rendered unusable by farmers could be purchased by hunters and re transplanted next to your potential honey hole for fake cover and maybe a little nutrients.  If you are getting a late start there are an abundance of ways to create a visually stunning duck atmosphere capable of bringing them close enough for a shot.  Just like well positioned duck decoys the appropriate positioned nutrient sources and cover could be the perfect combination.  Pampas grasses, millet grasses and other plants from a variety of local stores mixed with a little of the ponds environment might make the perfect flooded area into an enticing resting spot.

Let us know your duck hunting prepping tips in the comment section below and keep posting your photos to the galleries as we start the changing of the seasons.  

Published in News/Events
Wednesday, 31 July 2013 16:10

After the Heavy Rain Fishing Tips

We in the Midwest have been experiencing some unusual heavy rainy season this summer.  It has made the fishing in the lakes and rivers difficult to say the least.  We and Shotem and Caughtem felt it was a perfect time to discuss some tips when fishing in conditions like the ones we are experiencing.  

Initially fish may hold at the original water level before moving shallow. But soon afterwards bass adjust to rising water, presenting opportunities for catching aggressive feeding bass by following the water as it rises. Bass follow the water as it rises into newly flooded areas of shallow water. First start ultra-shallow (if the water temperature permits) and work to deeper water. Fish visible cover such as trees, buck brush and lay down trees as well as lawns, pastures and other clean areas with spinner baits, buzz baits, top water baits and shallow running crank baits. When contact is made with a fish take note of the depth, type of cover, lure retrieve, and how the fish took the bait. Then slow down and repeat the scenario. Use slower baits such as jerk baits, lizards, worms, jigs, etc. to pick off any of the less aggressive fish and to find larger bass that may not have bit on the first pass.

Another consideration when fishing after heavy rains is the influx of muddy water. Bass in lakes that are clear will be affected more than the bass that live in stained water. When a lake muddies the fish "should" move shallow and tight to cover. Bass will follow the water in search for food. This makes it easy for an angler to locate fish. Look for any visible cover such as logs, stumps, and laydowns. Also, consider fishing vegetation. Grassy areas help filter the water and will clear up faster than non-grassy areas. When fishing, remember to slow down and try to keep the bait in the strike zone as long as possible. First try horizontal baits such as spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, and crank baits and top water baits. Spinner baits with chartreuse blades and skirts as well as black spinner baits with copper blades. Chartreuse and bright reds and black for jerk baits and crankbaits are preferred. Use crankbaits with rattles and a wide wobble to displace lots of water to help bass locate the bait. If these baits don't produce, try bulky vertical baits such as jig-n-pigs, brush-hogs, worms and craw-worms that stay in the strike zone longer. Shake the plastics while fishing cover to trigger a strike and help bass find your lure. Also remember that scent and sound become more of a factor when water muddies. Try using rattles on soft plastics or use baits that make a lot of noise. And, use scent on plastics to increase your chances of a strike. FISH SLOWLY!

When waters begin to recede fishing can become really tough. Fish will become inactive and suspend. Often bass will move into deeper water suspending around cover or near break lines away from the bank and shallows. Try moving out to the next line of visible cover away from the bank in your search for fish. Use a slow methodical approach to your fishing. Remember to try to appeal to the bass' senses of sight, sound and taste as well as reaction to baits. If a reactionary flash of a spinnerbait doesn't produce, try vertical plastics and jigs fished slowly, making repeated casts to cover and to entice a strike. You have to be confident the fish is there, be patient and persistent. Keep the bait in the strike zone and keep your confidence up.  Most of all leave your comments below and post your photos to the Caughtem Gallery and tell us your story.

Published in News/Events

We at Shotem and Caughtem love when we get the opportunity to hunt feral hogs.  We already have talked about tricks to use when night hunting and thought since the summer is upon us that we would also tell you about some tricks we use to hunt them during those hot days ahead.

Wild Boar definitely have a daily pattern.  Due to the fact that pigs don't have sweat glands they must rely on a couple of things during the hot summer days.  They need shade to get out of the sun, water sources for wallering and keeping cool and mud to keep the insects at bay.  They have a great sense of smell but they lack good vision and hearing.  So how to find a place to obtain a good shot or lure them in should you not have the luxury of a feeder.

One of the first things to look for is places where they have been coming to obtain water or to waller in the mud.  Because of their destructive patterns these areas are not hard to find.  If these places should go dry they will look in the near vicinity for options.  Like deer, pigs love to escape the heat by finding bushy areas to nap and stay cool.  You will be able to track these areas by finding game trails and looking for low hanging broken branches and tracks.  Note these areas will also be close to the water source they are using at the time.

Should you find a good wallering place and want to help your chances of luring in the animals to stay for a while for a clean shot here are some tips.  First is rotten corn.  You can take a 5 gal bucket, fill it three quarters of the way full of corn and then fill the rest with water.  Seal the bucket and leave it in the sun for a couple days and you will have what you need.  You can also use different fruits such as apples or oranges a bit of vinegar and water and do the same thing.  Another good tip is save your table scraps or unused vegetables from your kitchen place them in a bucket and then pour cherry or strawberry flavored cool aid on them to help as an attractant.  Once you find a good spot, dig a couple of holes and bury part of the bounty and throw the rest around the area to help cover your scent.  We always take out a spray bottle with diesel fuel in it and spray it on the bottom 3 feet of trees around the area.  They will rub their bodies up against the diesel laden trees and use that scent and oil as an insect repellent.

Let us know what tricks you use to lure in hogs on these hot summer days in the comment section below.  As always post your photos to the galleries and tell us about your adventures.  Most of all have fun and be safe.

Published in On Location
Wednesday, 05 June 2013 13:02

How to Filet a Fish Tips and Tricks

With fishing season starting to be in full swing we at Shotem and Caughtem thought we would do a quick line on the steps it takes to appropriately fillet a fish.  As any outdoorsman/woman knows the best food we eat is that which comes straight from the water or field to our plate.  This definitely holds true with fresh line caught fish.  When procured from a good habitat the taste of fresh fish does not have the tastes that store bought net fish have with a slight exception for bottom feeders.  

Bottom feeders such as catfish, halibut, etc. take a little more time and care should you want the best tasting fish.  For these fish we recommend having a tank or horse trough filled with clean water and a an aerator.  This is not always the case and you can usually tell by the color of the fish as to whether it will need this extra step.  If pulled from a clean/clear lake or stream they will have their bright clean colors.  However, when pulled from a muddy or dirty river or stream you will notice that the color of the fish is also muddy or off.  For these fish a trip to the tank can provide you with the clean tasting fish you are craving.  You will notice after the fish couple of hours the color of your tank water will start to change as the fish cycles out the toxins and muddy water from its body.  We usually have to change the water out a couple time to achieve the right color on our fish.

Before starting the steps below we recommend finding the sharpest set of knives you have and not just one.  As with any animal, when it comes to skinning or filleting their tough skin and scales can make quick work on even the sharpest knife.  Make sure you have a knife sharpener.  Also a fish cleaning board or something that will allow you to nail the tail end or the fish to the board will help you make a nicer fillet but is not required.  


Here are some steps to follow when filleting your fish:

Step 1 - Put the scaled fish on a chopping board and, using scissors, trim off the fins by the head on each side, and any fins that run along the top and on the underside of the fish.

Step 2 - With the tip of the knife, pierce the stomach of the fish using the small hole by the tail as a guide. Run the knife from the tail to the head, cutting open the stomach. Clean out the contents of the stomach and rinse the fish in cold running water or by dipping it into a bucket of clean water.

Step 3 - Return the fish to the chopping board and make a long cut around the head and just below the gills on both sides: remove the head.

Step 4 - Tail towards you, run the knife down the spine to the tail in a gentle slicing - not sawing - action, working the blade between the spine and the flesh. Repeat until the fillet begins to come away - lift the fillet to see where you're working.

Step 5 - When you get to the rib bones, let the knife follow the shape of the fish and slice over the bones. Once you've removed the fillet, set it aside.

Step 6 - Turn over the fish and repeat with the second fillet, this time starting at the tail and working towards the head. Be careful - the second fillet may be a little trickier to remove.

If you have any tips or tricks you think we missed add them to the comment section below.  Most of all post your photos and tell us about your adventures in the galleries.  

Published in News/Events

When we at Shotem and Caughtem were young our Dad took us to Aspen Colorado for Memorial Day Weekend.  While we were there he had planned a trip to one of Aspens great trout fishing lakes.  We hope that some other Dad's out there will be making the same kind of trip this Memorial Day Weekend.  Aspen Colorado has some of the best fishing lakes and streams in Colorado.  As we reported earlier last week it is a perfect time to go trout fishing with the recent caddis hatch and we wanted to give you a fishing report. 

To match the recent hatch it looks like the weather will be perfect for spring trout.  Temperatures all weekend look to be in the low 70's making some of the hikes needed to get to the best lakes and areas very comfortable.  Also, it will bring the fish closer to the shoreline during the mid day so the fish can warm their bodies and hunt.  

We at Shotem and Caughtem have a great trick for those of you that have never tried trout fishing in lakes.  Especially the ones that are rarely fished because they require a bit of a hike.  Just an hour hike can get you to some great lakes around Aspen.  Here is the tip.  With a small rod and reel, a handful of small hooks and weights, a couple of light weight bobbers, and a can of Jolly Green Giant Corn you have all the gear you need for fishing.  I was able to fit all this plus some survival gear in a small backpack weighing about 10 pounds.  

If you know of a great Aspen Colorado fishing lake and have some tips and tricks you use for trout fishing let us know in the comment section below.  As always share your Memerial Day catches in the Caughtem gallery and share you story.  Please check with local laws and regulations before your adventure.  


Published in News/Events

We at Shotem and Caughtem have noticed that throughout the fishing world it is peek season for the Take your Kids Fishing Programs.  There seem to be a plethora of different events and programs throughout the United States geared and stocked to get the fishing world to grab a child and get them outdoors.  We could not be happier and more supportive of any program that involves special things to get them out and teach them about the great outdoors.  All of us hunters and fisherman/woman remember our childhood and our times with friends and family in the great outdoors.  These programs have either done some extra stocking of rivers and lakes or have set up some fun filled events surrounding fishing and the great outdoors.  We hope that many of our readers will look into the different programs in their local area and take advantage of these events to help train and educate the next generation about the great outdoors.  If you find any great events in your area post them to the events section in the caughtem gallery or tell us about yours in the comment section below.  Most of all post your monster catches with your kids to the Caughtem Gallery and brag about your adventure.  Here are just a few of the tips if you happen to be taking advantage of these great programs.

Published in News/Events
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