St. Johns Racine

Generally we like to get out to our ice fishing spots before anyone can beat us out there so we can set up for the fishing and make sure we have enough room for the group.  This morning I decided to sleep in until 5:30 and meet the guys by 6:30.  I pulled up at 6:20 while it was still dark and looked out on the lake to see about 10 lights and four wheelers pull up to the bay I wanted to fish.  By the time we were heading out the lake was getting pretty busy already and we decided to fish the opening to the channel where tip up fishing can be good.  We put a spread of tip ups out and began searching for fish with the Vexilar and jig rods.  For the hour and half we were there we only had one flag and found some really small panfish.  I wondered over to the lower part of the bay we normally fish and instantly starting catching some nice bluegills while watching the other group hammer the crappies on tip-downs.  I called the guys and had them move our location and began to make swiss cheese of the ice.  It proved to be the right move as we began to catch crappies, gills and had some tip ups go off within minutes of setting up.  People began to come out around 9:30 and come and go throughout the day.  We caught multiple Pike and big bass on the tip-ups and the automatics.  We even had a 2 year girl reel in a nice Pike which was awesome to see.  Ryan once again did an awesome job of cooking lunch for us and helping with the set up and take down of the day.  After the last people left Ryan and I took a few minutes to do some fishing ourselves and pulled a few more nice crappies and gills through before making the haul back to the trucks.  Another safe, fun and blessed day on the ice. God is Good!!

Ice Fishing Jamboree on Pike Lake

We arrived to the lake well before light to set up for the kids' fishing section at 4:30am.  We picked an area where we thought the perch would give the kids some action with the chance to catch a Pike, bass or walleye on the tip-ups.  By 5:15 we had a line out the door for the registration starting at 5:30 as we shuffled to get all the tables set up for the day.  Throughout the day we had many people come and fish and check out the Jamboree.  In fact we had over double the number of tournament entrants and triple the number of total overall people at the event.  As for the fishing it was tough once again but some nice fish did come in.  Most people caught fish from the 4inch perch to the winning perch at a whopping 12 inches.  The biggest Pike of the day came later in the afternoon and was the only fish caught by this group at 31.5 inches.  All categories weighed in at least one fish with only one bass and one walleye registered.  The panfish and Pike categories had 3 different winners which is typical for this lake.  We sincerely thank everyone who came out for the Jamboree, for all the helpers and for all of our sponsors involved in this day.  Some of the best ice fishing of the year is yet to come with the warmer temps and melting ice producing some great oxygen levels and active fish.  

Our Redeemer Group Outing

We had a great time working with Our Redeemer this week and actually were able to work with 100 students at the school with the casting program.  Fishing for the Heart was able to give 100 new anglers the opportunity to learn how to fish and every participant received a free rod and reel combo with a small tackle box.  As our on water activity we decided to open up an ice fishing trip for the school and church.  Even with the warmer temps and the number of concerned people with the ice conditions we were able to teach over 90 people how to ice fish.  The fishing was decent and we were marking fish most of the day but many of them had lockjaw.  However we were able to pull some nice crappies, bluegills, pike and bass through the holes.  As a part of the week Our Redeemer actually raised close to $5,000 to help fund Fishing for the Heart.  We are extremely grateful and thankful for this generosity and backing of our program.  God is good!

Girl Scout Outing 2017

All I can say is Wow!! Today we fished a private pond and the fishing was unbelievable.  I honestly was not able to get all of the tip ups in the water because the fish kept biting and we were constantly resetting the few we had in.  Every single person caught multiple fish on all the different set-ups.  The girls caught bluegills the size of a five gallon pail, crappies, bass and pike with continuous action the whole afternoon.  We had great weather with 32 degree temperature,  with little to no wind and sun.  The absolute best conditions for ice fishing a person could ask for, especially when getting kids involved for the first time or in this case the second time (beginners).  The biggest catch of the day came when one of the automatics went off.  Sophia was the first to get to the rod and she began reeling but this fish just kept taking out drag.  I tightened the drag a little bit but we still had no leverage on this fish as it continued to pull the rod down to the hole with Sophia bracing herself.  It seemed like forever but she finally got the fish close to the hole and as I looked down into the hole I saw the fish which covered the 8 inch hole, this was a beast.  The fish took one last run but we were eventually able to get the head turned and coming up the hole, I grabbed the fish by the head and dragged it onto the ice with the belly scraping on the inside of the hole as it was too fat to come out by itself.  All the kids screamed as I pulled it out of the hole and stepped away from the fish as if Jaws had just come out of water.  What an amazing fish!! After holding on so the fish could get some oxygen she gave us one tail flap as if waving goodbye and she was gone.  This is a memory that will last a lifetime and Sophia will always remember the day she encountered the monster Pike!  God is good!!

St. Johns Random Lake on Kettle Moraine Lake

Well we didn't have the best conditions for our ice fishing day but we did still have some success on catching some fish.  We battled 30mph winds with -20 degree wind chills and holes that would refreeze within minutes and still had over 25 people show up for this awesome sport of ice fishing.  The day started out okay with quite a few flags and even a couple walleyes for some of the new anglers.  Action for jigging was decent to start the day and could have continued to be okay but our shanties turned into wind sailing vessels and fishing outside of a shack was impossible.   I was very impressed with the kids and parents that came out to join us on such a brutal weather day and especially for many of them their first time.  Thank you St. John's Random Lake for the opportunity to work with your kids and then get them on the ice for a real adventure.  Looking forward to getting on the open water this spring.  

The Ice Fishing Season is in Full Effect

This is going to be a great season for ice fishing as some of the smaller lakes were safe for fishing by late December.  I was able to get on the hard water the last week of December and we did well on big Gills and Crappies.  It was awesome to be out walking on the ice, drilling holes, watching the vexilar and seeing that spring bobber move, setting the hook with one pound test line and catching bluegills big enough to use the drag system.  A former student of mine came home from the Navy for the Christmas break and we were able to get out on the ice for a morning of fishing. Cliff is one of those students that did everything and more to learn how to be a great angler.  He reminds me a lot of myself when I was his age as he fishes hard and will fish from morning till evening without taking a break.  You know he will eventually be putting fish on the ice cause he won't stop until he finds them.  Cliff and I ended up with plenty of gills and crappies for a nice fish fry, which is something his mother was looking forward to.  We made our annual trek to Shawano for Christmas break and got out on the Wolf River for tip up fishing big Pike.  The weather w

Trinity Freistadt Men's Retreat

I went up to Long Lake to pre fish and see what was going on with the fish as far as the pattern they might be in.  Arrived at the lake at 9:30 where I picked up my dad not knowing what to expect with the wind blowing from South to North across the lake.  We fished many different areas with all kinds of techniques using artificial and live bait but did not get an indication as to where the fish were.  However it was nice to talk with my dad and spend a few hours with him on the water even though the fishing was to no avail.  After dropping my dad off at the launch so he could go home and work on his projects I continued to fish some more spots in search of some action.  I finally did find a few fish to commit on rattletraps as I would jig up quickly and then let it flutter down on the edges of wind blown structure.  I ended up catching 4 total fish, with two bass around 18 inches, a smaller bass and a pike.  As a guy who teaches fishing I am always looking for the best possible way for my students to catch fish and this type of fishing was just way to technical for a beginner to grasp.  Needless to say it was not the report I was excited to bring back to the guys signed up for the next day fishing adventure.  That night I decided to fish a lake nearby as it was smaller, shallower and I thought the fish might be more active.   My first group left in the early am and we started fishing but it took 45 minutes to get our first bite.  However after that it was game on.  Everyone in the morning group caught fish including some nice crappies, smaller pike and a few bass.  One of the boys had never been fishing before and even before he caught his first fish was trying to convince his dad they needed a boat.  I was real happy that the fish cooperated and the smiles and gratitude this group showed is what makes this so uplifting.  The middle group also did an awesome job as we had the fish dialed in now using a roadrunner jig with a twister trailer for most of our fish as well as a weed weasel with a night crawler chunk.  The pike and bass continued to bite for the last group of the day and we had many doubles with some really nice bass mixed in!  Thanks for the great day on the water Lyle, Scott, Rylan, Serial, Josh, Keith, Fred, Robin, Jake and Andy!!

Fall Alumni fishing trips

This fall has been a good time to be on the water.  I have especially enjoyed getting back together with some of my former students.  It is truly a blessing to get to spend some time on the water with them and get to know where life has taken them and also meet some of the significant others.  We have had some really good days on the water and some days where the fishing could have been better but anytime on the water is a gift and the chance to get away from this hectic world we live in.  

Bass fishing for Muskies

It's been a great fall for fishing! Especially while fishing for bass on Pewaukee and catching Musky on topwater Ribbits!! In 3 outings there have been 5 Musky caught and we have seen over 12 different Musky.  We had a 46, 43, 42, 38 and a 33 all caught with bass fishing equipment on 50lb braid with 20lb fluorocarbon liters.  Oh and we did catch a few nice bass too:)

Fox6 News Taping Day with Brandon Cruz

Today was a great day for Fishing for the Heart as Fox6 News met us to do a story on our program.  I had to stop at Cabelas before arriving to the lake and buy an extra anchor for the gail force winds of the day but it wasn't raining and we even had some sun.  Brandon showed up at 2:30 as scheduled and 3 students from the Lutheran Special School were raring to go when he got there.  Brandon did some interviews with the students, myself and Nash's mom on what exactly the program was all about and how it can help kids realize the true benefit of being involved in the outdoors.  After the interviews we did some on land practice with casting plugs and then it was off to the lake to try the real thing.  We fished a couple spots but I sure had an issue keeping the boat from drifting even with 2 anchors in which made it challenging.  The kids did awesome casting and trying to catch some fish with lots of bobbers going down but few fish hooked.  And so it goes with fishing sometimes you hook'em and sometimes you don't but to be on the water with some kids new to the sport was a real blessing.  The story is suppose to air this coming Wednesday on Fox6 News on the 9:30 nightly time slot!!