Where is the Guide?

  • Lake of the Woods: Walleye Capital of the World
  • Anchor, Relax, Catch Fish All Day…Seriously
  • Simple Jig-Minnow Fishing

By David Gray

Captain Cassy Geurkink makes happy anglers when they come to fish Lake of the Woods near Baudette, Mn.  Dave Gray Photo

“Where is the guide?” was my second question.  My first question was, “Which boat is mine?” 

The boat was one of many 27-foot long Sportcraft walleye charter boats neatly tied-up to the Border View Lodge docks on Lake of the Woods, Baudette, Minnesota.

This was my first experience going out on a walleye charter.   I really was not excited, a walleye charter never did sound like my kind of fun fishing.   

I was attending a conference at Lake of the Woods in Minnesota and fishing buddy, Dave Barus, a skilled Lake Erie angler, had arranged this Walleye Charter.  Going out in a big boat on big water with six anglers and a guide did not appeal to me.  By the end of the day, I found out it was not only productive, it was great fun!  It was a very enjoyable way to spend a day on water…in the rain!  

I enjoyed every minute of our fishing trip on Lake of the Woods, catching walleye and sauger at an unbelievable rate. Forrest Fisher Photo

Tom at Border View Lodge answered my first question, “Your boat is the one in that slip.”  “The one with the girl in it?” I asked.  “Yes, that is your boat.”

The girl, Cassy, answered my other question.  “Good morning, I am your guide.  Get in and we’ll get going.”  My first thought was this local trip has been engineered as a tourism publicity moment with a lady guide.  Preconceived notions are not good things, but one crept into my brain that Cassy did not look like an experienced or hardened north woods woman.  Of course, I really can’t describe what an experienced north woods woman should look like.

Cassy had a very serious look on her face as she readied six anglers and their gear, nosed the boat out into the river current and headed for the open water on Lake of the Woods.  I would come to understand this serious look latter in the day, it was pure focus.

The new Kamooki Lure is spreading like wildfire across the fishing world. They’re a unique vertical jerkbait that will invoke a strike even when fish are not hungry.  Forrest Fisher Photo

My thoughts turned back to Border View Lodge.   Part of the charm of fishing in the North Country is visiting a new lodge.   All have a charm of their own.   Border View Lodge had a special charm that makes any angler feel at home the minute you walk in the door.   Wood paneling, fish mounts on the wall, dining area overlooking the docks and river and friendly people saying welcome.   

Border View Lodge is a family owned and run business.  The original lodge was a commercial fish operation when burbot was harvested to make cod liver oil.  Around 1962, Border View became a fishing lodge serving anglers.  In 1981 the current family purchased the resort.  Today, Mike and Lisa Kinsella run the resort, oversee nine guides and 10 launch boats.  In the winter they have 60 Ice Houses on the lake.  Border View is a full service resort for people that like to fish and the resort has amenities all anglers like.  Mike has a variety of packages to fit the needs of any group.   Call Mike at 1-800-ProFish, tell him what you want and he will take care of you.

Another glance at our guide, Cassy, and the same serious look was locked on her face as she stopped, put out the anchor and baited up six rods with a jig and minnow. 

Charter Captain Cassy Geurkink at the helm, showed us a fun time on a rainy day when nearly no other boats dared to leave the dock due to the weather.  With the best country and western music playing from Sirius, we knocked the socks off the fish!  David Gray Photo

It wasn’t long before the first walleye hooked up.  A nice walleye and as Cassy skillfully netted it I noticed the serious look was replaced by a huge smile.  That was it, serious look when getting clients loaded and handling the boat, but all smiles when the bite starts.  That is my kind of guide!  

The rest of the day made me smile.  I went from never wanting to do a walleye charter to, “Can’t wait to do this again.”   We hooked more than 75 walleye and sauger, some to 28 inches long, and we put six fish apiece in the cooler.  Cassy kept minnows on the jigs – baiting every one with her secret hook-up method, netted every single fish, and kept everyone fishing and in conversation. Quite a feat. 

So much for pre-conceived ideas! 

Share the Outdoors editor Dave Barus says, “We learned that walleye and sauger, big and small, live and thrive here thanks to a good fisheries management program and plentiful baitfish supply.  David Gray Photo

Cassy Geurkink is currently the only lady guide in the area, we found this out when we returned to shore, AND, she is considered one of the best guides on this part of the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods.  Cassy grew up fishing and hunting with her dad Tom who is also a guide.  Before becoming a guide, Cassy worked at a Chevy Dealer in the Minneapolis, St Paul area. Cassy eventually worked her way up to the Sales Manager position.  She would visit Dad on the weekends and started not wanting to go home.  Cassy left the car dealership and for a season worked in the lodge office.  But, as she says, “I am an outdoor girl and wanted to be outdoors.”  To be a guide on a waterway that borders another country, you have to have a Charter Captain’s license which involves study and a lengthy Coast Guard test.   So I started studying and passed the tests.

Cassy now guides four to seven days a week.  On days off, she takes her 7-year old son Finley out jig fishing.  Cassy said the best part of guiding is meeting different people.  She says, “Guiding teaches you even more about fishing.”  She learned how to be patient and how to help people catch fish.   When Cassy first started guiding, a lot of guys looked and said, “Oh boy a girl guide.”   Now many of those have become regular repeat customers and ask for Cassy.  I can understand why.  Pure dedication, highly skilled, not afraid to try new things and focus with a smile.

Cassy puts you on the fish and makes a happy boat.  If you can book her, say, “Oh Boy,” because you are going to have a great fishing day.   

Catching fish with Cassy explaining the details, the options, the reasoning behind using chosen jig colors, that was pure fun.  It was an education in fishing.  We pay for the fishing, the fun and instruction is free.  Can’t wait to do it again. 

For more info, here is the link: http://www.borderviewlodge.com/.

Where Fishing is King

  • Walleye Capital of the World – Lake of the Woods
  • Sportsman’s Lodge, Oak Island Resort, Eagle Ridge Lodge
  • Catch a Sturgeon here too!

By David Gray

Thanks to the fisheries management program for Lake of the Woods, happy angler and book author, Bob Holzhei, caught many healthy and plentiful walleye like this one, while fishing with guides from Sportsman’s Lodge.  Forrest Fisher Photo

It goes without saying that Sportsman’s Lodge on Lake of the Woods, Minnesota, is one of those iconic destinations where everybody with a fishing rod meets to catch fish. If you are a walleye angler and live in the north or mid-west, you have probably visited (or heard of) The Sportsman’s Lodge. It’s a bucket list destination for every honest angler.
If you have never been to Sportsman’s Lodge, you need to go. You WILL enjoy the lodge, the staff and most of all, the fishing. Anglers can target walleye, sauger, northern pike, musky, sturgeon, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, yellow perch or crappie. Choices. A good thing. I’m drooling again! On each of three trips there, my friends and I caught more than 50 walleye and sauger per trip, simply jigging with a minnow, the old-fashioned fun way. Hard to beat the fun. So many fish.
Located right on the Rainy River, Sportsman’s Lodge offers long-standing fishing success story traditions with a proven heritage. The service of hosting outdoor guests started here in the 1940’s (Jesmes Resort) and has continued to grow since. For the last decade, Gregg and Diana Hennum have expanded services with modernization and new comforts for guests.

Walleye and sauger during September and October can fill the sonar screen just a half-mile from the outlet of the Rainy River.  Forrest Fisher Photo

For 46 years Sportsman’s Lodge has been a family owned and operated resort. Family-owned means the guests are treated like family and that is evident the minute you walk thru the door.
The staff are hard-working, friendly folks, dedicated to assuring that your stay is nothing but the best. Sportsman’s Lodge can handle groups from 2 to 200. They host weddings, family reunions, corporate groups, meetings and father-son fishing trips. The Lodge is full service. They provide anything and everything you need.
The great restaurant selections are offered in two large dining rooms: the Dockside and Riverside. At the end of the day, the “Sandbar” will accommodate your fish catching tales and provide refreshments for relaxation, the bar is over 70 feet long! A choice of hotel rooms, cabins, villas, ice houses and, of course, fishing guide services are at your option and are available. You only need to bring your clothes, a camera, yourself and be ready to put some fish in the boat.
In 2003, Sportsman’s Lodge expanded with the addition of Oak Island Resort, 34 miles up the lake by water. Oak Island is smaller, but a full service operation for multi-species fishing. Favorite fishing targets from this location include musky, walleye and smallmouth.
Not far from Oak Island Resort is Eagle Ridge Lodge, a beautiful and ultra-private vacation home resort with all the allure of the wilderness and all the comforts of home. Eagle Ridge provides the best of both worlds not often found on an island located in one of the worlds best sport fisheries.

Gregg and Diana Hennum have provided coordinated programs for fishing, food and accommodations at the Sportsman’s Lodge.  David Gray Photo

In any location, you have choice of meals and guides, or if you are an accomplished angler, bring your own boat and guide yourself.
Gregg shared that a new “Adventure Package” is becoming popular. You leave Sportsman’s Lodge main location in Baudette on a Charter Boat, then fish your way up the 34 miles to Oak Island, stay overnight, then fish your way back. A no-hassle fun fishing outing, though customized trip packages are also available.

The new villa accommodations offer brand new rustic seating that is accompanied with a view of the Rainy River and a beautiful sunset each evening.

Fishing is king at Sportsman’s Lodge and Oak Island Resort. Winter Ice fishing is very popular and Gregg added, “More people are coming in the summer to get some relief from the heat of farther south, but winter fishing is also a tradition here for hundreds of families.”
Sportsman’s Lodge is a large, family-owned resort that has not forgotten its roots of treating guests like family. Fishing is king at Sportsman’s Lodge. This location on the Rainy River area of Lake of the Woods is noted to be the Walleye Capitol of the World. I asked Gregg Hennum why, he answered, “Because we have 10 Million of them!” After just spending three great days at Sportsman’s Lodge, I think it may be more than 10 Million!
My buddies and I can’t wait to go back next year.

Get Walleye Savvy Quick – ST. CROIX Walleye EYECON® FISHING ROD SERIES

  • Eyecon® ECS-70LF, 7ft., Lite-Power, Fast-Action, SCII Graphite
  • When a Fishing Rod Icon creates a Walleye Fishing Eyecon®
The St. Croix Eyecon® WALLEYE SERIES of fishing rods are sensitive, powerful and affordable.  

By David Gray
Part of the fun in the sport of fishing is the never-ending search for new equipment that works and fishes better. Last April, a friend introduced me to a new rod, the Eyecon ECS-70LF from St. Croix. The rod had such a “great feel,” I talked him into letting me borrow it for a couple of months so I could try it out.
The Eyecon ECS-70LF is one of the most impressive rods I have used in a long time. It says “Walleye Series” on the rod and it does a great job presenting finesse baits, but that is not all this rod does. The rod fishes well for walleye, crappie, bluegill, float fishing for smallmouth, and is great when spin fishing for trout. I used the 7-foot Eyecon with 3-pound line and 1/32 ounce jigs for trout and the rod was pure joy. Such are the numerous unadvertised advantages, since it can also handle medium-sized crankbaits with ease too.

Finesse fishing for walleye can be very successful with the right tools, beginning with the right fishing rod.  Forrest Fisher Photo

How a fishing rod casts, or more precisely, how the rod transfers energy to cast a lure, is where most rods fall short. It is one performance task to bring a large bass or walleye to the boat, but a very different performance task to achieve casting distance and accuracy. The Eyecon excels in both performance tasks.
My first use of the Eyecon was an eye-opener. When I picked it up, it made me stop to do a double-take on the rod, then the line and the lure. There was a captivating synergy in just picking the rig up to hold. Simple moments that are remembered like that mean good things. My first cast with the Eyecon surprised me. It went 10 feet farther than I was aiming. My second, third and fourth cast did the same. Every cast was 10 to 15 feet further than my aim point. The Eyecon is so efficient at transferring energy, it was casting farther than most similar action 7-foot spinning rods.
My experience with fishing rods is that when they can cast light lures well, they usually do not have super-sensitivity, but the Eyecon surprised me there. It is a very sensitive rod and lives up to its finesse label.
Every once in a while, a new product raises the performance bar and the Eyecon does exactly that. Everything that you want a fishing rod to do well this rod does extremely well.
The Eyecon ECS-70 LF is as a great buy in a 7-foot spinning rod. It delivers a higher level of fishing performance, helps you fish better and makes you a better fisherman. You gotta love fishing tools that allow you to achieve all that. I have one of my own Eyecon’s now. They sell for $120-$130 and come with a 5-year warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service.
If you need more info: http://stcroixrods.com/products/freshwater/eyecon/.

One of Too Few

  • One Man Trout Angler, Fly-Tyer, Wisdom-Provider
  • Roaring River State Park Trout Secrets
  • Tim’s Fly Shop – Fishing Advice for the Day
Beautiful trout are the usual order of the day with the right fly in the right place.

By David Gray

Opening the door to Tim’s Fly Shop, I walked onto “I Tie Flies” Boulevard.

Grinning without knowing it, I somehow felt a new twang of destiny on my side, positive energy and the odor of dry fly silicon or something.

There are times when you know your first time into a place, you made the right turn.

The quiet, the warm glow of the shop, this was going to be a powerful day.  You know the feeling when you are in the right place at the right time.

There was feathers, hackle, dubbing, chenille, thread, hooks and all that, but a guy named Tim Homesley sitting at his fly-tying bench with a fish-catchy grin and asking me if I needed some help.  That sealed the deal.

Some say that fly-fishing mentor Tim Homesley is one of a kind.

Others say Tim is one of too few.  I know that to be true.

Tim’s Fly Shop sits just outside the entrance to Roaring River State Park nestled deep in the Ozark hills of Missouri.

A baby boomer will call his shop “old school” where product selection is excellent, prices are fair and service is genuine.

A millennial will call his shop “trendy” where selection is great and service is awesome.

Tim Homesley is about real, live advice. No CD, no DVD, no memory stick. It’s just Tim’s way with words of wisdom, face to face.

Tim is one of the few.  Many tackle stores and fly shops like Tim’s that were prevalent not so long ago are now mostly gone.  Many have given way to on-line shopping and large retailers.

But what you will find at Tim’s you will never find online or at any big box store.   At Tim’s you will not only find tackle, you will find incredible knowledge that is shared with enthusiasm.

Mr. Tim Homesley is the owner, proprietor, tackle salesman, fly-maker and advice-giver at Tim’s fly shop.

Tim knows a lot about fishing.

His fishing advice is Priceless, Accurate, his fishing advice is a Sacred Vision into your Fish-Catching Future, his fishing advice is worth listening to. High-value wisdom is not found just anywhere.

“Dad probably thought I wanted a fly rod and brought one home for me when I was five,” Tim shared.

That fly rod sparked a 49-year long passion for fishing and learned knowledge about fishing.   Tim reminisced how before he could drive, Mom or Dad would drop him and a friend to the trout stream in the morning and pick them up that evening after they fished all day.  The passion started then.  Tim learned a lot about how to catch trout.

Prior to opening his shop, Tim spent 9 years managing the Roaring River State Park store.  And Tim added even more to his knowledge about trout fishing.

Perfectly perfect flies are the usual fish-catchers from Tim’s Fly Shop.

Then 23 years ago, he opened Tim’s Fly Shop.  That adds up to 49 years of fishing knowledge.

Buy $10 worth of tackle at Tim’s and you will get a couple hundred dollars of fishing knowledge thrown in.  Live advice.  No CD, no DVD, no memory stick. It’s just Tim’s way with words of wisdom, face to face.  Even if you don’t buy anything, you still get a couple of hundred dollars worth of knowledge and tips just by walking around at Tim’s Fly Shop.

Tim and Tim’s Fly Shop is one of too few.   Tim is so informative.

Question:  Other than Roaring River in Missouri where else do you like to fish?

Tim:  I like Montauk Trout area in Missouri.  It is the headwaters of the Current River and not many people know me there so I can just fish and enjoy.  I also like to float Missouri streams to catch and always release smallmouth.

Question:  Where do you like to fish outside Missouri?

Tim:  New Zealand, it is a favorite, beautiful country, friendly people and great trout fishing.

I also like the Western US.  There are some great places in the west.

Question:  What do you enjoy the most about running Tim’s Fly Shop?

Tim:  Helping people learn how to fish and catch trout. The best is teaching younger people how to fly fish and get good at it. I have taught kids to fly fish who are now Dad’s and they now bring their kids in for me to work with and teach.

Tim’s Fly Shop is like going to visit with a friend at your home. I have to stop there every time I drive by.

Question: What is your fondest memory of running Tim’s Fly Shop?

Tim:  I worked with a young man name Trent from Springfield for several years teaching him how to be a very good angler.  He wrote me a full length sincere letter thanking me for that.  It was special to receive that letter.

If you love camping, hiking, trout fishing and nature, Roaring River State Park in Missouri is one very special place to visit.  When you visit, be sure to stop by that special place called Tim’s Fly Shop, it’s located on the lower northwest side of the park on Highway 112.  On Wednesday, the shop is closed and you won’t find Tim.  He may be somewhere with rod in hand accumulating more knowledge about fishing that he will be more than ready to share with you on Thursday.

You can email Tim at timsfly@hotmail.com, but the best bet is stop in at his store address: Tim’s Fly Shop, 233387 State Hwy 112, Cassville, Missouri, 65625, or call to be sure if you are traveling, call at 417-847-4956.

For lodging, campground and park information for Roaring River State Park, call 417-847-2330

One TINY Secret to Stabilize GIANT Outdoor Fun

My 3 outboards (from 9.9HP to 200HP),  my Sea Doo, lawnmower, 4-wheeler, pressure washer and chain saw all get a little more “LOVE” from me since I started using StarTron fuel stabilizer.  Everything runs great with this incredible engine life-saver for spring start-up fun in the outdoors.

By Dave Gray

It’s not glitzy, but it will show you some love!      

Jump on most e-commerce tackle store sites or walk into a Bass Pro Shop store and as anglers, we can browse an almost endless variety of equipment, gear, and tackle.

Today’s tackle is not only better performing, but better looking than ever. 

Rods, reels, lures, and about everything on the shelf is all jazzed up and makes you want to push two shopping carts so you can load them up. 

Even the new Plano tackle boxes are not just functional, but darn good looking containers.  So good looking it makes me want to retire my old shabby lure boxes and treat them to a new Plano.  

If you are like me, it is looking, shopping and putting new tackle in your shopping cart that is half the fun. 

It is hard to beat the fun of opening up the packages and stowing new gear in the boat.  Every angler can relate to the feeling of great anticipation.  And we know some fishing items work well for us and some disappoint.  That is OK, it comes with the sport and it is great to experiment with our tackle.

There is one item a fisherman needs where if it does not work it brings more than disappointment.  A lost day of fishing is only the beginning of what it costs if it does not work.

It is fuel additive stabilizer.  

I guess most anglers are like me.  End of season and time to store the boat.   Grab some fuel stabilizer, whatever brand they have, where you shop and dump it in.   And hope it works, so that next spring the motor runs when you want it to. 

I have not used every brand of fuel stabilizer on the market.  I used to grab any brand on the shelf.  And I have been disappointed more than once come next spring with hard starts, or non-starting engines.   I also had problems with fuel stabilizers that caused spark plugs to foul during the first spring start up. Leaving the boat on the trailer to go buy spark plugs is not a fun way to spend a first spring fishing or boating day.  

One product I came across and now ALWAYS use, is StarTron Enzyme fuel additive.  It works, and works so well, I use it in all my gas-powered equipment.    I use StarTron in 3 outboards from a 9.9hp to a 200hp.  I use it in my Sea Doo, lawnmower, 4-wheeler, pressure washer and chain saw.   And they all start and run the next season.  

Check out the engine formula type you need, order from this link: http://www.starbrite.com/startron.

Try StarTron Enzyme fuel treatment and it will show your equipment some love!  

Rapala DT® (Dives-To) Series Crankbaits

• Wear Out the Fish!
• Balsa Lures with “Swagger”
• Best Lure in my “Go-To” Arsenal

By David Gray
“Gimme my GO-TO bait!”
Most all of us have heard that, especially in a fishing tournament, or right after a tournament when the winner says, “I just went to my “GO-TO” bait and it hammered them!” You know, it’s a bait or lure we throw when our confidence is down, the bite is tough and it seems we just can’t get a fish-catching pattern put together.

The most important feature for a lure to reach “GO-TO” status is that it must perform, wiggle, wobble, dig down, float high or slurp along to attract a curious fish so that we catch fish consistently when we throw it. Our confidence is sure and high when we throw this bait.

In a slow or tough bite condition, we reach for that one GO-TO bait to eliminate the possible that it is the lure that is not working. After we throw that one, we’re sure that fish must not be there and it’s time to move and try a new location.

Rapala says DT® (Dive-To) series baits:

• Get to the strike zone and stay there longer, we find: they do.
• Their streamlined shape and strategic weight placement allows them to be cast to 150 feet, we find: they do cast farther than many crankbaits.
• Pull easier and we find: DT series have a uniform retrieve force less than some baits.
• Are hand tuned and tested, and we find Rapala DT baits do have a superior performance right out of the box.

My favorite sizes are the DT-6 and DT-16. Both sizes fish well for me. They come equipped with premium VMC Sure-Set Hooks that don’t miss on hook-ups from short strikes. As for GO-TO baits I always keep the DT6 (runs 6 feet deep) and DT16 (runs 16 feet deep) in two colors: Parrot (which I think outperforms Firetiger on most days) and Pearl Grey Shiner which seems to work everywhere.

Rapala DT series lures come in 5 sizes and depth ranges from 4 feet to 16 feet.
Look ‘em over in this video for a better look:

If you like ‘em like I do, check out the best assortment and inventory here:


The Two Most Asked Questions in the World

  • Is There Really a Big-Foot? 
  • What Does Santa Do After Christmas?   
  • Campfire Island
Ever wonder where Santa goes and does after the Christmas holiday is over? We think we found the answer!
Ever wonder where Santa goes and does after the Christmas holiday is over? We think we found the answer!

By David Gray

Our good fortune last year allowed us to dig deeply into the Santa mystery.  Arriving at Campfire Island Lodge on Rainy Lake, Ontario, we did get to meet the man.

We are pleased to report that Santa not only likes to fish, he is pretty good at it too.

for-sto-12222016-fishing-picture-2of3Bumping into Mr. Claus at Campfire Island should not have surprised us.  As the world class traveler he is, we asked Santa about best places to wet a line and he shared there is no better place than Campfire Island.   Excuse the pun, but we hope Santa did not let that out of his secret bag, as we have not made our next year reservations at Campfire Island yet.  Maybe we should put that on our Christmas list?  For info: www.fish@campfireisland.com.

We asked Santa for an extensive interview, but the twinkle in his eye always turned toward the dock to see if his guide was ready.  We understood.

As he jumped into his boat we asked what tackle he liked and, ever the gift giver, he pointed to his bag left invitingly (or was it suspiciously?) right in front of his cabin.  Was this for us?  We’d been good.

We raced to check his bag while Santa walked to his boat and drove out of sight.  We discovered that Santa really does a have a big foot!

He also likes to catch big fish.

Awe, oh, and what to our eyes should we find:

Then out on the lake we heard a whoop and holler with a HO, HO, HO.  Had Santa caught the biggest Smallmouth in the lake or was he inviting us to come join him?


We ran to the dock as we heard his jolly laugh and proclaim, “Merry Christmas and a great fishing year to all.”  For info: www.fish@campfireisland.com.


Gamma – What? Gamma – Who?

  • Better Fishing Line through SCIENCE
  • Increased Angler Touch and Feel
  • Affordable High Performance 

for-sto-12142016-fishing-picture-1of2By David Gray

When your fishing has spanned three or more decades plus, you have likely:

  1. Learned a lot
  2. Tried a bunch of different brands
  3. Seen a lot of lofty marketing claims about fishing product.

So when I heard the name Gamma fishing line, my thought was that it was a catchy name, but would the brand be worth trying?  I saw information that said Gamma line is molecularly altered for more performance and I assumed it was just marketing hype – what does that mean?

I did not try Gamma for a number of years and that was a considerable fishing strategy error on my part.

Anglers move from brand to brand of fishing line.  Like me, you probably saw line on sale and gave that brand a try, or a friend told you his brand and you tried it yourself.

I did too.   Over the course of years I tried lots of lines. Some of my “go-to” line brands were Trilene XL, Stren, Trilene XT, Big Game, Maxima, and Bass Pro Shops Excel which I continue to use.

Then I met Dale Black, owner of Gamma Line at an outdoor show.  Dale is an angler.  He is a business manager too, but most important, Dale knows fishing and he knows line.  He gave- not just a sales pitch, but an angler’s explanation of why Gamma line delivers increased fishing performance.  Why it’s a better line.  When I see and hear that sort of fact-presented passion, I am all ears.

for-sto-12142016-fishing-picture-2of2As fluorocarbon is the fussiest of line materials, I decided to start with Gamma Edge Fluorocarbon.  If it fished as Dale said, I would try other Gamma line.  Let me share all my issues about fluorocarbon with the qualifier that not any one line brand is best for all anglers.

Gamma Edge Fluorocarbon provided considerable improvement for my fishing in these areas:

  • Did not jump off my spinning reels – it had less memory issues
  • Excellent knot strength for someone that is not a good knot tyer
  • Strength did not decline in colder water
  • Life of the line on my reels lasted my complete season

I next tried Gamma Fluorocarbon Transparent Leader and Gamma Touch Super Fluorocarbon with continued excellent results.  Thumbs up for Gamma Fluorocarbon Line, it does deliver superior fishing performance.

Review Gamma and let us know how you like it.  Find out more or click Buy Now at    www.gammafishing.com.


Survive Big Fish at Campfire Island

  • Giant Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Northern Pike
  • North Country Grandeur, Great Food
  • Peace, Nature, Sacred Moments 
  • The Perfect Christmas Gift – Affordable
Dale Black, Gamma Fishing Line inventor, used the giant Campfire Island smallmouth bass and walleye to come up smiling big and often.
Dale Black, Gamma Fishing Line inventor, used the giant Campfire Island smallmouth bass and walleye to come up smiling big and often.

By David Gray

If you were writing a Hemingway-like novel and wanted to pick a really eloquent name for a fishing destination, you couldn’t choose a better one than “Campfire Island, Rainy Lake.”   Even the name just sounds perfect and if you are in love with fishing, not just fishing, but fish, fish, fish – then you will find Campfire Island to be a sanctuary for unforgettable fish-catching moments.

Campfire Island Lodge is about just that.  Guests arrive by boat, tour the lodge and guest cabins, than get ready for a world class fishing experience.  At Campfire Island all you do is eat, sleep, fish and enjoy.

Although the island is close enough as the crow flies to Fort Francis, Ontario, and International Falls, Minnesota.  Folks that want to stay connected by cell phone realize that they might just turn it off, as Campfire Island is a true north country fishing lodge resort experience of distinctive quality.  Myself, I choose not to sacrifice my time here with distractions and like most folks today – I’m a busy guy, but I need some time to talk with my creator through the elements of where big fish live.  I figure I owe myself and my work crew this unforgettable destiny at least once a year.  This is that kind of sacred place for me.

Rainy Lake, which is divided by the US – Canada border, is a world class fishery, but at times I have set my rod down and just absorbed the natural beauty of the lake.  There is sanctifying silence occasionally interrupted by the shrill cry of an Osprey or Bald Eagle.  You will never find an angler who has fished Rainy Lake that will not rank it as one of the most stunningly beautiful lakes in North America.  The Campfire Island guides will target the species you want, but their specialty is trophy smallmouth and walleye, and you can see form the pictures that they deliver.

The lodge at Campfire Island is subtle and stunning with masterful amenities that earn respect and admiration from comfortable anglers and visitors.
The lodge at Campfire Island is subtle and stunning with masterful amenities that earn respect and admiration from comfortable anglers and visitors.

The main lodge was built in the mid-60’s and has been maintained just as it was many years ago, emanating that special charm of a premium Canadian fishing retreat.  I suspect that over the years the porch has seen far fewer fish tales than truthful “big fish” fishing stories every day.  The camp may be the perfect corporate or business fishing retreat experience.

The old saying goes that you get what you pay for.  Campfire Island is not a drive-to-do-your-own-thing resort.  At Campfire Island you eat, sleep, fish and fish and fish, while the cooks, guides and staff do everything else.  And the cooks, the guides and owners are some of the best folks I have ever been lucky enough to meet.  You cannot ask for a more justifiable fishing experience, even from a comparable wilderness fly-in fish trip.

The cost is affordable, the value of the services are worth twice the price.  The staff and guides, as well as Pat and Wayne – the owners of Campfire Island, Rainy Lake, all are connected to providing a boundless experience on the water as we meet the forces of big fish and nature in the grandeur of this place.

Campfire Island is a 5-star “Fishing Jewel.”  For more info, call 1-800/363-2018, e-mailfish@campfireisland.com  or check out the web at: www.campfireisland.com.

Gary Abernethy found great success and heavy-duty tooth mark souvenirs using action-style stickbaits in rainbow smelt or golden shiner colors with these effective LiveTarget Lures.
Gary Abernethy found great success and heavy-duty tooth mark souvenirs using action-style stickbaits in rainbow smelt or golden shiner colors with these effective LiveTarget Lures.

IceArmor® Clam Dry Skinz Gloves

DRY SKINZ Photo1Staying Dry, Keeping Warm – a Winter Priority

If you are an avid angler, hunter, or love to participate in anything outdoors, you have DRY SKINZ Photo2likely seen or read hundreds, if not thousands, of product reviews. Just about every TV show, magazine and website has them. The STO team does real world In-The-Field Product Reviews that are offered free and represent the consumer viewpoint. Nothing is more disappointing than getting to your destination and then discovering that the product you selected cannot you’re your expectations or the environment as anticipated.

Test Date: Dec. 20, 2015; Location: Bennett Spring, Missouri (Ozarks)

Activity: Stream Trout Fishing; Air Temp: 41 degrees

Water Temp: 54-56 degrees, spring fed all year long.

dryskionzIf you live in the ICE Belt of the northern United States and Canada, and you like to Ice Fish, then you already know about the IceArmor Clam brand. Clam is a leader in Ice Fishing Gear and related equipment for hard water anglers, especially those outdoorsmen that frequent the frozen north and get their hands wet. We had the opportunity to visit Clam Corporation in Minneapolis, Minnesota during the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers conference in September, 2015, and met with Clam staff to discuss new products. Dry Skinz Gloves entered the product discussion at that time. We learned that Dry Skinz Gloves are exclusive to IceArmor by Clam, where they are a relatively new product. Dry Skinz gloves are constructed with a waterproof, breathable membrane to offer a seamless and waterproof fit that is snug, but comfortable, over your fingers and hand. They offer dexterity and touch control, and they also provide an extra-long cuff for complete protection from wetness. We think they work everywhere outdoors, and we recommend that you don’t go outside when it’s cold and wet without them. Cost is under $30 and sizes are available to 2XL. After testing, we think this product is PRICELESS!

The Meaning of Christmas

Bass Pro Picture 1


Not just about Reindeer and Santa Claus, it’s about sharing the joy of family and helping other people be happy everywhere!

I looked the calendar, 6 days to Christmas Eve. Where has the time gone? Can’t put it off any longer, got to get started on my Christmas shopping. Noon, I was out of the office. Got out my list and checked it twice. I headed to the Mall and beyond.

First stop was the ladies apparel store. Next stop, yep, the next ladies apparel shop. Then the specialty gift shop. Next off to the sports store, had to pick up some KC Royals World Series shirts and hats. Next was hardware and home improvement.

This was a good day happening! Every store had many shoppers, gifts, and holiday specials, lots of items to choose from and buy. Some, but not all, had colorful holiday and Christmas decorations.

Remaining on the list were the outdoor items. I had saved the best for last! This is my kind of shopping! I headed to Bass Pro Shops in Independence, Missouri. This is my kind of store! But truth be told, any store with great fishing, hunting and outdoor gear is hard for me to pass up.  I got out my list and headed in. The greeter said, “Merry Christmas” with great sincerity. I think he really meant it. I dove into the list. Rods and reels, lures, a fly box, some fly tying materials, a pair of boots, holsters, targets, a couple of fleece shirts and a mid-weight jacket.  This is my favorite part of Christmas shopping. Outdoor stuff! I would take my time. Maybe I would throw a few items in the cart just for me (somebody has to help Santa).

Suddenly, I stopped. I realized something was different.   I had not seen these in other stores.  Everywhere I looked I saw families, lots of families. Families together, enjoying the season. I saw kids and children and toddlers with smiles. They were playing and having fun. Special kid’s areas were set up with toys just for them. A racetrack was here, a pop gun shooting gallery there, a radio-controlled toy over there, and tables and tables with lots of crayons.

I saw families taking kids to see Santa at Bass Pro. I saw smiles looking at the pictures with Santa. I saw Christmas decorations. When I entered the store I had heard, “Merry Christmas!”

When I left I heard, “Merry Christmas.” I replied Merry Christmas too. Part of the meaning of the Christmas season is to make others feel good.

Thanks Bass Pro Shops, for making families and kids happy.

And Merry Christmas to you Bass Pro Shops.

Thank you Lord.

2015 LUND Impact 1850 XS Review

LUND 1850 Impact XS

Real world boat tests are always the best. They answer the questions of how will this boat run, ride, fish and perform after purchase. The test of this 2015 LUND 1850 Impact XS was very real. We had scheduled an on the water testing with its new owner prior to participation in a fishing competition on Lake Minnetonka near Minneapolis Minnesota. Boat test date was September 27, 2015.

The staff and team of Share-the-Outdoors are not professional marine test personnel.    We are passionate anglers with heavy experience using many boats. We write product and boat reviews from a user point of view.   We may not include some technical specifications like the grade of rivets used but we do include what the boat will do for its owner.   We think what the boat will do, how it runs, performs and fishes is the information we all need to know.

Getting information about a boat from a sales person in a dealership is always helpful. Our boat tests information comes from a slightly different perspective.   Let us know if you like the way we do our boat testing.

Performance of the LUND 1850 Impact XS

The lake conditions were challenging! A windy day combined with a sunny warm weekend created heavy wind waves blending with heavy boat traffic to provide a mix-master of quartering waves in every conceivable size coming from every direction. Experienced boat operators can adjust a boat for optimum ride using a combination of throttle, motor trim, and angle of boat direction. Not so easy to set up for a cauldron of waves crashing into each other from boat waves and wind, but the LUND Impact XS handled this well.

Like all aluminum LUND’s this 1850 Impact XS was solid. Let me repeat that this boat was SOLID.   Despite extreme wave conditions the 1850 Impact XS exhibited the strength and structural integrity LUND is famous for. Pounding thru the waves this boat felt like it was made out of solid metal. We have to give it 5 Stars for rough water strength and hull rigidity.

A stable platform for fishing is important for all fishing boats. Some Deep V boats do not excel as a stable fishing platform but the 1850 Impact XS was stable and exceeded our expectations.

We put the boat thru moderate and high speed turns in waves from every direction and the boat handled the turns like a pro.   No bucking or jumping between the waves.   The 1850 Impact XS tracked well thru the turns.

The 1850 Impact XS was powered with a Mercury 150HP four stroke outboard engine. The motor and boat matched up well and the boat jumped on plane with 3 people aboard using 75% throttle.   We were greatly impressed with the Mercury 150 four- stroke.   It was quiet, very responsive to throttle change, and delivered exceptional smooth power.   The very rough water conditions prevented us from performing wide open throttle high speed runs but the boat achieved 46 MPH in considerable wave conditions with the throttle at approximately 75 to 80%. The motor was equipped with a 3 blade stainless steel prop.

The fit, finish and workmanship were exceptional.   Credit goes to the LUND manufacturing brand.   If you are in the market for a quality Deep V in the 18 to 19 feet range that will serve you fishing and taking the family for a boat ride or ski run then the LUND 1850 Impact XS is a good choice.

Specifications of boat tested: LUND 1850 Impact XS
Length: 18.7 ft.
Beam:   94 in.
HP: 150 Four Stroke Mercury equipped with 3 blade stainless steel prop.
Hull: IPS-Integrated Power Strake with double plated bow.
Chine width: 79.5 in.
Fuel capacity: 32 gallon.

Lund Boats website:     www.lundboats.com