Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2/26 Panfish Trip

Another typical Sunday on the water for me. Fished Rocky Fork Lake all afternoon until sunset (12pm - 7pm). When I arrived I caught a crappie on a wax worm jig on the first cast. Excited that it seemed that it was going to turn out to be a good day, my morale was lifted. Boy was I wrong. I ended up fishing around 4 hours without any bites soon thereafter. The wind was pretty bad at around 20mph all day and this could have been the biggest cause. Hard to see the light winter bites when the wind is blowing your line all round not to mention the choppy water. Even though my spirits were down I continued to fish as I already had made my mind up to fish until sunset. My persistence and patience did end up paying off. Around 5pm It was like somebody flipped a switch and the wind was gone, the water calmed. With the wind gone I started getting bites nearly every cast. I found the fish holding within a couple feet of bottom in about 15ft. Ended up catching 9 bluegills, 3 crappie, and 1 white bass on the day with all but one crappie coming in the last 2 hours until it was too dark to see. All fish were caught jigging a wax warm near bottom in 12-15ft except for the white bass. The white bass came on a minnow under a float at about 13ft. Also measured the surface temperature at 43 degrees.
The biggest bluegill of the day
white bass enjoying a tasty minnow
Not a great day, but not too bad there at the end either. Moral of the trip, don't fish for panfish in the winter if the wind is strong, and never give up, the weather or fishing could change in an instant.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

14' Modified V Jon Boat............2/19/2012 UPDATE

Fished a couple times this week, but the bite was slow. We ended up fishing twice for a combined 7.5 hours. Nearly spent as much time driving to our spots as we did fishing. Can't complain, It's just nice to be able to fish in February.

With that being said I had plenty of time to work on the boat again. Been thinking about hitching the Monte Carlo up and seeing if I can get the car to pull the boat. It has a 1000lb tow limit, which is fine because the boat weighs a little over 250lbs loaded and the trailer is nearly 300lbs. So the weight should be no problem at all. However I watched a guy on Youtube use a tilt trailer to launch a jon boat, and he did so without letting the trailer touch the water. If I could do this with my tilt trailer I feel that the Monte Carlo will handle nicely and save me tons of gas money, as well as allowing me to use the boat without having to ask to use the truck. Here's the video of the guy using his tilt trailer to launch his boat.

Since I will be fishing solo on occasion I figured that I would need to get the boat on and off with as little effort as possible. After a little research I found that there are a few products that allow boats to slide off of trailers much more easily than the carpet on the bunks. So I ordered a few last week and installed them this weekend. The product is called E-Z Slides from Ironwood Pacific Outdoors. 
The idea is that by adding a smooth plastic surface, you will reduce friction and thus your boat will slide off with less effort. The pack that I ordered came with two bunk enders and 8 regular E-Z slides. It turns out that I could only use 4 of the regular slides, maybe we can equip Rylan's boat trailer with the left overs. 
 Above is a picture of the bunk end slides and two of the regular slides that I was able to place at the rear of the trailer. I simply lined them up, drilled holes, and screwed them down. Below is a picture of the two E-Z slides I mounted up front.
With the rollers fully greased I figured the boat should now slide off pretty easily.

Before I went to bed Thursday night I decided to give the transom wood a fresh coat of black enamel. So I sanded the wood down and gave it a coat of enamel. I have to look good while I'm fishing.

 I also gave the opposite board a fresh coat of enamel as well.
The majority of the weekend was spent installing the rocker switches, cigarette lighter, battery gauge control panel. Since there will be times when I will be fishing alone, I decided to install it under the fish finder on the middle bench seat. I cut a hole in the aluminum seat, and began carving the Styrofoam out with a flathead screwdriver to allow room for the wires. I then re-ran all of the wires using half inch pvc and got rid of the half inch cpvc. The pvc allowed for more wires to be ran through. I then ran the wires through the opening and began attaching wires from the battery to the panel.
I decided to keep the transducer wire separate from the other wires because the Lowrance manual said that other wires may cause excess noise on the fish finder when in use. I simply zip-tied it to the top of the pvc in order to keep it out of the water, if it were ever to get in the boat. Once all of the wires were in place I then began to connect the wires to their individual toggle switches. (It was very complicated and really irritating, no instructions were given.) After all of the "lets see if this wire works here" testing, I only blew one fuse.....but its all operational now. I'll be connecting the control panel to the battery with one set of clips and I then have a separate set of clips that run wires to the back of the boat if I ever need to mount a trolling motor to the transom.
Below is a view from the captains chair. I thought I had the panel level, but it appears to have adjusted itself once I started adding screws. I will probably drill new holes and line it up a bit more in the upcoming week.
Next weekend I hope to get the trailer weighed at a local feed mill so I can get it registered. I'm going to order a few life jackets this week, and once they arrive I should be ready to go. All I'll need then is some nice weather and a hot bite.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Carp Pictures

Carp are considered to be a trash fish by many people. Even so they have still been one our favorite species to catch over the years, especially in our early years before our carp fishing efforts swayed to catfish. Nothing beat carp fishing on a warm summer night when we were younger, and we still enjoy it on occasion to this day. Despite carp having such a bad reputation we love to catch them all the same. In my opinion carp put up one of the best fights and are loads of fun to catch on light tackle. Some of the best if not the best battles I've had have been with a carp on the end of my line. Here is a look at some of the best carp we have caught over the years.

11lb and 4lb Carp
12lb 12oz Carp
20lb Carp
32lb Carp
32lb Carp angle 2
32lb Carp angle 3
14lb Carp
9lb Carp
9lb Carp
35lb Carp
35lb Carp angle 2
10lb Carp
11lb Carp
8lb Buffalo

Monday, February 20, 2012

Keeping a Fishing Log.........Part 2

In this section of keeping a fishing log I will cover how to make scatter plot graphs within the spreadsheet programs Microsoft Excel, and Open Office Calc. First I want to cover possible headings for the columns you may want to keep in your fishing log, as well as where to find the data to fill each of those columns with accurate and reliable data.

In the first part of Keeping a Fishing Log......The Basics we covered a few of the possible headings one can use in their log, but I really didn't explain why. I'll do my best to explain some of those here; There are a few basic elements that all fishing logs must have whether simple or complex. These are Date, Location, Time (Start and End), and a column for the fish caught. This will allow the angler to make general observations on fishing conditions from the past month, or years. i.e. I caught 10 largemouth on May 2 last year out of my pond when fishing from 7am-10am, but I only caught 3 largemouth on May 5 last year when I fished from 12pm-3pm. The angler can then hypothesize why he/she had greater success one day over the other. Was it because I fished an earlier time of day on May 2?, Was it a better moon phase? How was the barometric pressure? Wind? This brings me to the next point, keeping a general log tends to leave you asking more questions than you have answers for. Don't fret, there is a way to get all of the elements you are looking for, as long as you kept the date and time you fished.

Recently I found a website that allows you to look at past weather conditions by location. Some of the data collected is in five minute increments while other days have hour increments. The website can be found at, Here is what the home page looks like.
To access let's say, the weather data for May 5, 2011 for Columbus, Ohio start by clicking on the "Local Weather" tab and then selecting "History Data". Then fill out the data that it asks for. Location: Columbus, Ohio, Date: May 5, 2011. This page will show you all of the weather related data you will need to know. Scroll to the bottom of the screen for the hour by hour data. It should look like this. To change the date, simply scroll to the top and change the date and hit enter.
From this you can get a general idea of the recorded temperature from start to end, the windchill, dew point, humidity, pressure, wind direction, wind speed, gust speed, precipitation, events, and conditions of each hour. Here you can begin to get a good idea of what kind of other elements you want to keep track of in your fishing log. I personally keep track of beginning temperature, ending temperature, humidity, pressure, wind direction, wind speed, precipitation, and conditions of each trip. It's free and easy to access so why not? After all, I will teach you how to compare each of these with your fish caught to measure your success by each element via a scatter plot shortly. You might be surprised at what relationships you can find.

Other elements that one might keep track of are baits used (both artificial and natural), Moon phases, water temperature, individual species of fish caught (I will elaborate on why individualized columns are important in a moment), total number of fish by trip, Total points (or other qualitative measure), girlfriend/wife's fish, buddies fish, and a general comments column. These are the columns that are currently in my log, but who knows in the future some angler or scientist might come up with a crazy idea that seismic wave activity affects fish activity, then I'll add a column for that as well. (River Monsters television show reference.) In the end it's really up to the angler, only you will know what you want to track.

Now that we have covered a broad range of elements that one can keep track of, we can now look into how we can use those elements to determine trends in fishing success. For this demonstration I am going to use an "edited" version of my log from last year. By edited I mean that all of the locations have been removed but they are color coded so that you can see which trips were to the same locations over the course of the year. This will not look as neat and clean as the first run through, but if you click on the images they will enlarge. You can download a copy of the fishing log I'll be working with here.

Okay, here's how you would make a scatter plot graph in excel. (Sorry if I make it too simple for some of you, I just want to make sure that its as easy as possible.) The open office "calc" spreadsheet program is very similar in selecting data, however inserting the table is slightly different....explained later. My "edited" fishing log looks something like this. 
The first step is to Highlight a column of data that you want to compare. Lets start with wind speed. Begin by pointing the mouse at the title, "Wind Speed(MPH)", which is located in column "J". Holding the left clicker on the mouse drag to the bottom column. Make sure not to go to far and get the total row. This log is color coded by locations, so just stop at the last black row. It should now look like this.
Now to select two rows at once you will need to hold Ctrl on your keyboard. While holding Ctrl, repeat the previous step, left clicking and dragging to select the contents of the channelcats column.  Make sure not to get the total. Your screen should now look like this: Note here that there is more to my log that can be seen on this screen, that's why the above image begins in row 1, and the image below ends in row 116. The columns extend well past the screen as well, indicated by the scroll at the bottom right.
After selecting both columns make sure not to click any other cells or you will have to restart the process again. Now look to the top of your screen for a tab that is labeled "INSERT". You will want to click insert and then click the scatter chart under the chart headings. It will look like this. Open Office's Calc program: "Insert" tab, "Chart", "XY(Scatter)" and so on.
You will now have a generic scatter plot graph. It should look similar to this.
To add a line, titles, etc. Look back up to your tabs at the top of the window and you should see that you are now in a design tab. Select one of the tables that have a line. This line will show if any correlation (relationship) exists between the two elements. For me it looks like this.
Now your almost done. To change the color you will notice that on the top where your design was, you will have a few boxes with different color dots to the right. If you click on the sliding bar on the right it will then drop down a bunch of different styles. I prefer the ones near the bottom in black. I don't know if excel 97 will have them, but pick one that satisfies you. It will look something like this.
You can now click on the titles and edit what they are. Just click them and type the name you want.

From there it's just reading the graph. This graph shows that wind speed and number of channels caught are not related. i.e. it doesn't have a positive correlation and it doesn't have a negative correlation. This isn't always the case though. Here's what the number of Largemouth Bass compared to barometric pressure looked like. 
Here you can see that there is a negative correlation between barometric pressure and number of largemouth caught. Meaning that when experiencing days of high barometric pressure I caught less bass. These kind of scatter plot graphs can be made for all quantitative data. Number of fish caught, weight of fish, wind speed, total fish, hours, etc. Fish weight by barometric pressure would be interesting to see, as well as fish weight by wind speed, or fish weight by precipitation. Questions, questions, questions. However to use qualitative data in comparisons its much different, one example would be wind direction. I'll leave that to be explained another time.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Keeping a Fishing Log........The Basics

Over the last three years Rylan and myself have kept quite extensive fishing logs. It started out rather simple, but quickly became a very complex system. We are constantly finding things that we want to keep track of for each trip. Last year I began recording barometric pressure, wind speed, wind direction, etc. so that I could compare each weather related condition to other values such as fish caught, or points made.....see The Fishing Points System post.  However, keeping a fishing log does not have to be this complex, and for most people a simple journal will work just fine. In the next few paragraphs I will explain some of our methods for keeping a fishing log.

The most simple method of keeping a log is the above "journal" method. One simply takes a journal along with him or her every trip and writes down what he or she wants to remember about the trip. I have found that this method tends to work with people that fish less than 30 times a year, any more than that and the pages begin to deteriorate, the ink runs, and its hard to compare multiple trips at once. Another way one can keep a journal is to write each log/trip in his or her phone. I have a droid smart phone and I often times use the "Quick Office" feature to keep track of basic fishing conditions, time spent fishing, and my catches. I will then convert this data to my primary log when I get home after each trip.
Droids "Quick Office" used to keep a log.

The second method of keeping a log is using a word/document processing software such as Microsoft Word or Notepad to keep track of each trip. There is also free online software called Open Office, which is very similar to Microsoft Office, except that it is not as user friendly. (Hard to beat free though.) The document processing program within Open Office is called "Writer".  The first year Rylan and I kept fishing logs, this was our primary format. We'd simply add small paragraphs for each trip with consistent formats. One example would be as follows:

Rocky Fork Lake (Fisherman's Wharf)
5pm to 3am, 10 Hours, Cloudy with a light sprinkle around Midnight
11 Bluegill, 2 Carp (5lbs 8oz, 7lbs 20z) 3 Channel Cats (2lbs 2oz, 4lbs 7oz, 4lbs 12oz) 1 Largemouth Bass
31.5 points (An Old point system total. Once again refer to the point systems post)
Bait used: Nightcrawler, Wheatie Balls, Cut Bluegill

Ohio River
5pm to 1:30am, 8.5 Hours, Clear
1 Channel Cats (8lbs 10oz) 3 Drum (2 less than 1lb.,1lb 5oz)
15 Points
Bait Used: Nightcrawler, cut shad

After a year of fishing we typically had 80 or so trips and we found that by using this method it was possible to compare trips but a lot of hand calculating had to be done. Therefore we eventually switched to our current log format....Microsoft Excel.

As mentioned above we currently use Microsoft excel as our primary program to keep and analyze our fishing logs. Open Office calls their spreadsheet program "Calc". We have found that by using a row as an individual fishing trip we can compare our data much easier than the above mentioned paragraph format. The columns allow each individual factor of a given trip to line up with the same factor of other trips. This is helpful when comparing lets say number of fish caught between location a and location b. Spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel and Open Office's Calc are very powerful programs when it comes to computing formulas, analyzing patterns, etc. Since this post is just basics, we'll cover the essentials, and then the more complex things in another post.

To begin lets start by opening Microsoft Excel, my version is 2010, so many of yours may look slightly different. Open Offices Calc will look different as well, however the processes are the same. (Feel free to follow along if you have spreadsheet software available.) At the bottom right hand corner there is a slider that allows you to zoom in and out, for this log I chose to use a small number of columns so I zoomed in quite a bit.
Empty Spreadsheet in Excel

To begin start by adding titles to the first row/line of horizontal cells. For this walk-through I chose a few simple titles. Starting from left to right they are as follows:  Date, Location, Start, Stop, Total Hours, Weather, Bluegill, Bass, Carp, Catfish, Points, Bait, and Comments. To add these titles simply click on the first column and begin typing, when your done hit the right arrow on your keyboard or select the next cell. Your spreadsheet should now look something like this.
The next step is to fill in some log information. I also added two more columns, Fish Caught, and Points Per Hour. For the first trip I chose to fill in the following data: 3/21/2008, My Pond, 5:00pm, 8:00pm, 3, Cloudy, 3, 5, 0, 0,  3 Bluegill, 5 Bass (1lb 3oz), 8, 2.667, Black and Chart. Spinner Bait.

This needs a little explanation, under the fish caught title the cell should read 3 Bluegill, 5 Bass (1lb 3oz). This means that all bluegill were smaller than half a pound....requirement for points, and that all but one bass was smaller than a pound. I use this format so that I don't have to keep track of all of the fish's weights, and in turn make the cell way longer than it has to be. The Points Per Hour column reads 2.667, this number is derived from the number of points divided by the number of hours spent. For this calculation I always use a calculator or do the math on paper. I choose not to use a formula here because it takes more time to create the formula than it does to actually just go ahead and do the math.

Now that we have a log in, we can begin to see that a few stylistic changes should be made. I chose to bold my tittles. To do this select the first row, this can be achieved by clicking on the "1" on the left hand side to the left of the "Date" cell. Then above in the tools you will notice an area where you can change font settings, here you will find the bold tool. It's represented by a large "B". You can also achieve this by selecting the desired cells and holding "Ctrl" and B on your keyboard. This is known as a short cut command. Here's where the bold function is located, and what your screen should now look like.

Now you can begin to add your next log. For this log format the cells as follows: 4/16/2008, Rocky Fork Lake, 6:30pm, 2:30AM, 8, Clear, 8, 0, 2, 1, 8 Bluegill 2 Carp (3lbs 2oz, 4lbs 8oz) 1 Channel Cat (3lbs 3oz), 14, 1.75, Nightcrawler, Wheatie balls. Here you will begin to notice that your Fish Caught column is getting cut off, to help with this try using abbreviations. You could use this instead: 8BG, 2CP(3lbs2oz, 4lbs8oz), 1CC(3lbs3oz) Note the # sign can also be used instead of lbs for those who catch more fish than others, or choose to keep track of more weights than others. Here is what your screen should look like at this point.

Now go ahead and format the next three trips to match the following image.

The next step is to utilize the functions of the spreadsheet programs to do a few calculations for your log. Here we will use formulas to obtain the total hours spent this year, total bluegill, total bass, total carp, total catfish, total points, and total points per hour. To begin start by adding a title. In cell A9 Type the word TOTALS. Now move and select the cell E9, this should be the cell directly under the total hours column. If using excel click the formulas tab in the tool bar, and then select the autosum function. Shown below. If using Open Office Calc, you can do one of two things. You can manually enter the formula (   =SUM, then manually select the cells and hit enter) or you can go to the insert  tab, and the function heading. This will bring up a box that has TONS of functions, scroll to SUM and double click. Next you will have to manually click and drag the cells you want to sum. Hit enter and you should have a total. This is the reason I mentioned that Open Office is not as user friendly as Excel, where as they have more functions but they have made it impractical to sort through hundreds to find the one you need. Assuming you don't know the abbreviation for the function you want, if so they are in alphabetical order and it would then be easy.

Once you click the autosum function your screen should look like this. The cell should now read =SUM (E2:E8). This formula is telling the program to add all of the numbers in column E rows 2 through 8. For Open Office's Calc, you will need to manually add the formulas once again.
Hit enter and the cell should now read 38. Note if you put the word hours after the number in the cells excel will not recognize the number and will give an invalid output. Now move to cell G9 and select the autosum function again. Hit enter and your cell should now read 26. Do the same for the Bass column. Now move to the Carp column, you'll note here that when you select the auto sum feature it will opt to sum the row 9 totals, this is just excels way of trying to be helpful. Picture shown below. Simply highlight the cells you want to select instead. Do this by dragging your mouse pointer to cell I2 and left clicking, holding the left clicker of the mouse drag the pointer to cell I8 and release. Hit enter and your cell should read =SUM(I2:I8), or 2 for the total carp.

Now do the same for the catfish column and the points column. When you get to the Points Per Hour column you will have to use a different formula. Summing the points per hour will give you a huge number instead of an average. Instead select cell M9 and hit the = sign. This tells the program that you want to create a formula. Now select the total points cell, L9 and hit the / key. Then select the total hours cell, E9 and hit enter. You have just told the program to divide the total points by the total hours you have spent, thus giving you an average. Your cell should now read 2.223......

Now you have a basic idea of a few of the calculations spreadsheet programs can make, thus saving the angler time and allowing him to fish more. On this small scale it would be easy to do hand calculations, but imagine doing calculations for 113 trips and 16 separate species. That is precisely how many trips and species I logged last year. It can become very monotonous, and makes me appreciate programs such as Microsoft excel that much more.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

2/12 Warm Water Discharge Trip

Took a trip to a local warm water discharge last Sunday. With the coldest temperatures of the year Sunday morning (12 degrees), I expected the fishing to be good as they say the warm water discharges are the best on the coldest days, personally I've yet to see this proven but my experience on the coldest days is limited. Since Sean's been having the best luck on shrimp, I went in with shrimp as my primary bait. Wanted to try nightcrawlers as well but forgot to pick some up. Started off fishing close to the discharge in heavy current and snags. Immediately I got several bites on tight lined shrimp with circle hooks. Hooked something decent and seen it splash top but got it wrapped in a snag in the heavy current and had to break my line. I also tried casting a 4 inch luminescent grub and managed to catch one small hybrid striper. After snagging several setups I quickly realized that I didn't bring enough big sinkers to fish the heavy current any longer. I moved down stream from the discharge where the current is more manageable. At the new spot I quickly had success on the 4 inch luminescent grub catching a nice crappie and a small Largemouth bass.

10oz White Crappie
Largemouth with 4 inch grub
While having success on the grub I was also getting many nibbles on the shrimp. Soon thereafter I landed a 2lb Channel Catfish.
2lb 3oz Channel Catfish
Pictured above you can see the Channel with my 6/0 Bottom Dwellers circle hook buried nicely in the corner of the mouth. Soon after that, I also caught a 2lb 2oz Blue Catfish on the shrimp but didn't get a picture of it. My hot bite ended shortly after this. The remainder of the day was filled with small nibbles that failed to load my rods up. Did end up catching 4 more small Hybrid Stripers on the tight lined shrimp though. In the end it was good day of fishing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Introducing Bob the Bullhead

Readers, meet Bob. Bob is my Brown Bullhead catfish and he enjoys hiding under rocks, feasting on nightcrawlers, and stalking smaller fish in the shadows of the night. This is the first episode in a series that I'm putting together staring Bob and me attempting to feed him various things. To kick things off in the first episode we get to see what happens when minnows are introduced into Bob's aquarium. Enjoy the video. Leave comments of things you would like me to try to feed Bob. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Constantly Learning

At an early age I was very competitive, I played games to win. I continued playing games if I won more often that not. My hobbies were my hobbies because I was good at them, or better than average. I quit anything that I found to be challenging, or too difficult for me to master. I joined my schools band in 5th grade, turns out I didn't have a musical talent, so I quit. I went through a phase of playing video games, and for a while I thought I was good at them....well until my younger brothers mastered video games quicker than I. I too also quit that. I bought a bow last fall because I thought since I was good at shooting guns, maybe I could do well with archery. The bow is now up for sale. Throughout my life I have quit more hobbies than I have kept, mostly because I didn't initially have the talent that made me better than others.

Fishing for me began at an early age, when I caught my first fish from my car-seat as a child. Fishing then took a back seat as my parents raised 3 children. When my youngest brother was old enough to behave himself, we began fishing once again. We went through periods of intense fishing, mostly during summer and fall. We'd head out to the lake and fish for catfish and carp. At this point fishing was still just fishing, just enjoying the family outing and having fun. However when I turned 16 and I received my license, fishing became more, it became a passion. I fished every moment I could, even cutting my sleep to a few hours a weekend. Which inevitably led to my first car wreck, which ended up costing me a summers worth of wages. At this point fishing became serious, If I had a bad night of fishing I would be a pain to be around the next morning. Or so I was told. Depression is a strong emotion, but to some extent I became depressed during fishing droughts. I have seen my fishing partners go through similar phases, and it simply shows how passionate about the sport they are. We've all heard it, maybe even said it, "I'm done, I don't wanna fish anymore." (Or something like that.) In fact I have a great uncle whom I'm told fished as much as I do, but after losing a huge bass one day, packed his rods away for good. It's been nearly 20 years since he's fished.

Now I haven't always been the best at fishing, and I don't claim to be. In fact within the last few years I have been introduced to fisherman from all over Southern and Central Ohio that are leaps and bounds greater fisherman than I. Some of which I admire and look up to for their passion of the sport. For one reason or another fishing has been something that I have stuck by through the thick and thin.

Fishing is (to me) a sport, one that takes constant effort and practice. Lebron James doesn't quit playing basketball after the playoffs, he continues to practice and hone his skills. He doesn't quit thinking of basketball when he's off the court. When he lays down to sleep at night, he thinks of what he could have done differently to help his team win. This is the attitude I have toward fishing, and thus the reason for the name of the blog, Eat, Sleep, Breathe Fishing. After every fishing trip I think about what I could have done differently to catch fish. (Maybe they wanted this bait?, or, we should have fished there instead., why did that fish come from that area?, etc. )

One of the things that I have found to lay my mind at ease has been to do research. Research allows me to further my knowledge as well as pass the time when I can't be fishing for one reason or another. Over the last two years I have accumulated a small library of fishing articles, books, and videos. Most of which have an emphasis on catfish, in particularly flathead catfish. For some reason the flathead catfish has been one of the most elusive fish of all of the available game fish that swim in our local waters. Even after reading thousands of pages of literature and watching a dozen dvds, I still can't consistently catch flatheads.  

Shown above is my collection of books related to fishing. I have read all but 2 entirely cover to cover. The collection includes introduction to bass fishing books, basic rig books, a rod making book, catfish books, and so fourth. Not pictured here is the first of the three In-fisherman catfish series books. Rylan borrowed it this summer. Of the books I would highly recommend reading Baits, Rigs, and Tackle and The Life and Times in Catfish Country. However I also recomend picking up a few older books on fishing for they are far more simple and easier to understand. Pictured above are 3 books I recieved from a garage sale, How to Rig and Fish Natural Baits, How to Make Your Own Fishing Rods, and Bass and How to Catch Em. It's fascinating to read books that are 30 or more years old and find tactics that seem new to them, at the time, that are still in use today. For example there a dozens, if not hundreds of similarities between the How to Rig and Fish Natural Baits and the Baits, Rigs, and Tackle books.

Here's a collection of my dvd's, all of which are catfish related except the In-fisherman season 36. Not shown here are In-Fisherman seasons 34, and 35 dvds. Rylan is currently watching those. In fisherman has been for some time one of the leading innovators on catfish and cat-fishing. The story of the beginning of cat-fishing as we know it are both highlighted in many of the dvd's and the In-fisherman books.

And the final part of my collection is a set of three ring binders. In these binders I keep articles I find useful from the magazines I buy. I simply cut the articles out, place them in a protective sheet, and put them into a three ring binder by category. The binders are grouped by Panfish (Bluegill, Crappie, Perch), Bottom Feeders (Catfish, Carp), Fish with Teeth (Gar, Musky, Pike, Sauger, Saugeye, Walleye), and Bass (Largemouth, Smallmouth, Striped Bass, White Bass). I constantly refer to these binders when I can't find what I'm looking for online. I also use them to share ideas with Rylan and friends on online fishing forums.

Even with all of these resources at my fingertips, I still find that the most useful information you can get comes from the people who are out on the water where you live. Especially those with many years of experience. Anytime someone that has 20, 30, or even 40 years of fishing experience has something to say or something they want to share, I try to listen.