Welcome to Week LXXVI of 'Fishing Parkland Shorelines'. Like most of us I am a novice fisherman, loving to fish, but far from an expert. In the following weeks I'll attempt to give those anglers who love to fish but just don't have access to a boat, a look at some of the options in the Yorkton area where you can fish from shore, and hopefully catch some fish.
The last thing, as a fisherman, all right just in general terms, I want to see is snow on the ground.
Sure the skiff we had early last week disappeared quickly enough, we are well aware it was the harbinger of 'Old Man Winter", and that means a curtailment in fishing.
Yes there is 'hard water' fishing, but without the prerequisite gas ice auger and a hut with a stove to keep the toes toasty, I won't be fishing winter weekends near as hard as I do open water when the snow is not on the ground.
So my interest in fishing begins to evolve about the time most are figuring out what they need to transform into Dracula, a zombie, or something else equally appropriate to celebrating All Hallow's Eve.
It's not that fishing gets shelved for the six months, if we are lucky, for winter. That would be far too long for a fishing addict to go without something to do with hooking scaly critters of the deep.
One of the best ways to deal with the winter ahead is to be a bit creative. I say a bit because as an artisan I would never suggest I was more than an interested neophyte. I have neither the toolbox of gadgets, nor the skill of hand to create truly fantastic lures, and believe me there are home-artisans who create outstanding lures.
But I'm not convinced a pike in May is a particularly discerning predator, ready to pass on a homemade lure it doesn't think measures up in terms of artistic aesthetics. If they were that fussy I doubt they would have gone after my bottle cap lures, discussed in this space many months ago now.
I'd still offer that a bottle cap lure is about as easy a foray into lure making as you can undertake, but they are not the only option.
So far my focus has been on creating lures from other items; bottle caps, wire connectors, wine corks, stainless steel teaspoons.
If somebody else has started the process by shaping the spoon, cork, etc, then why not take advantage of their design efforts in fashioning lures?
Which brings me to clothespins.
In this case I am not talking the alligator clip clothespin most of use these days, well those that still have laundry to dry, which I imagine is a steadily dwindling segment of the population.
There are 'old style' wooden clothespins, round on one end, with a split at the other which acts to hold laundry over a line. These older style pins are still commonly found, albeit in the craft aisle of a few stores. They are cheap, already shaped round, and made of wood which makes them easy enough to work with.
With a bag of clothespins the options for creative lure design are about as diverse as one's imagination.
Of course you will need some hooks, and a screw eyelet to attach the lure to your line.
You will also need some small, 'BB'-style weights if you want a bit of sink to the naturally buoyant wood. A small drill bit can be used to create holes for the weights. How such weights are placed can help create lures that nose dive, put the weight well forward, or they can be spaced to keep the lure level in the water.
If you want a surface floating lure the weights can likely me left out of the design.
After those essentials you can peruse the craft aisle of a range of items to help create a design.
Glitter applied in a glue base over any paint job can be a nice effect.
Pipe cleaners make great 'bug-like' legs.
Small coloured feathers are a natural.
And never discount the attraction a pair of googly-eyes can create.
My basic recommendation is go a bit crazy, and have some fun with clothespin lures.
Once drilled, weighted, and any other elements are added, I would suggest you brush on a coating of epoxy. It will create some shine, add strength, and protect the paint job and the wood.
Of course if you are not into sitting at a workbench trying to be creative in making a lure which would look tasty to a spring slough shark, then you can wile away some hours over the winter studying catalogues, and maybe making a few forays into your favourite lure shop looking to add to your tackle box.
One line I'd recommend a look at is Matzuo, a company with a good looking catalogue available online at www.matzuo.com
This summer I fished a number of Matzuo lures, in particular the Kinchou Minnow, a hard bait which has a rather unique design which is a great crank bait, and I would suspect a high movement trolling lure, although as regular readers will know I am a boatless bloke, so I don't get around to trolling very often.
As a bit of background, Matzuo was started in 1999 by now company General Manager Don Hoben, explained my company contact Greg Stawczyk.
"We made our first shipments to the industry in 2000, our mission is a commitment to continuous product improvements and innovation," he said.
Now while the Kinchou, as a minnow-like lure, and in a variety of colours, you are going to please a lot of pike over time.
But, Stawczyk noted Matzuo has lures they feel can cover most species.
"Matzuo tries to focus on specific species to have a broad range of lures covering the entire spectrum; walleye, trout, bass, salmon, and now saltwater, both inshore and offshore," he said.
"Being this broad with our lures/hooks allows us to penetrate any market in the world."
So I asked Stawczyk which Matzuo lure has proven the most alluring to fisherman, who of course are an easier mark than even the most famished fish.
"Wow," he said. "Our Nano family of lures has been a consistent seller since we introduced the line years ago, it features minnows in two sizes and cranks in two sizes. It targets a broad spectrum of species including panfish, crappie, trout, and bass.
"Last year we introduced the Kinchou Minnow in four sizes. It has been our number one selling bait hands down, the success of the Kinchou has been outstanding and was named one of the best new lures for 2013 and featured in Field and Stream Magazine. The bait features a perfectly balanced lure with an arched body. Its signature is our flared gills (the unique design I mentioned). It's been widely accepted in North America as well as in Europe and appeals to a wide range of species.?
"Some additional lures that are extremely popular include our Zander Shads, Spit N Sputter top water, and our Kroker Frogs in our regular size and our Nano. Our Hook the SICKLE (with its patent bend) are great for all species including Bass, Walleye, Salmon/Steelhead, Panfish, and Saltwater. Its acute 'angle bend' below the hook point holds a fighting fish more firmly than a regular hook, vastly reducing 'frantic game fish loss.'"
Of course the best thing about corresponding with someone like Stawczyk is getting a little peek at what a company such as Matzuo is working on.
"We have a lot," said.
"With the success of the Kinchou Minnow, The Kinchou Pike/Musky Minnow…..a welcomed addition to the Kinchouseries of baits, with all the features of the standard Kinchou – realistic bloody red gills, chambered body with stainless steel bearings to resonate sound and is perfectly balanced to float at rest. These baits also feature a thru wire construction from eye to the last treble to hold all the monster pike the world has to offer. The floating bait is designed for trolling or casting. The Kinchou Pike Minnow is offered in two sizes; size 14 at 5.5 -inches in length this bait weighs in at 7/8 ounces and dives to 6-10-feet. The size 18 is 7.5-inches in length this bait weighs in at 1 ½ ozs and dives to 8-12-feet. The Kinchou Pikefeatures our chemically sharpened needle point trebles and is available in 8 colors - Bumble Bee, Brown Sucker, Loon, Yellow Spots, Shad, Natural Perch, Lemon Steel, and Glass Satin.
"Our biggest introduction for the 2014 season will be The Kinchou Shad. The tight wobble of the Kinchou family can be found in our new SHAD body! Featuring our Shad profile with our Kinchou features.
"This floating bait offers our signature bloody red gills, chambered body with stainless steel bearings, and is perfectly balanced. The Kinchou Shad will be available in eight colours – Baby Bass, Blue Gill, Fire Tiger, Goby Glass, Natural Perch, Natural Walleye, Purple Chartreuse, and Shad. These fish catching colors can be found in two sizes. An aggressive diver with maximum 'wobble action"' covering a wide range of the water column; crank it or troll it. The size 7 is a 3-inch bait that weighs 3/8 oz and will dive 4-8-ft and the size 9 is 3.5" bait in length weighing ½ oz.
"Other new items we are launching include our RIP-N-ROLL hooks with swivels… A specially designed hook that slowly rolls live or artificial bait. Designed with a swivel attached, this allows the hook to spin freely, enhancing the bait action and preventing any possible line twist. 1/0.
The Fast Slide Clip Bouncer' and the 'Fast Slide Clip Bouncer' is the Newest concept in bottom bouncer design fishing. It's designed for easy on/off to any diameter line up to 20lb test mono and will slide freely. This will provide the angler with not only easy to use and change weights, but the feel of every game fish on its end without the fish feeling the weight of any bouncer. The "Fast Slide Clip Bouncer" slides over jagged rocks, timber or whatever is on the bottom of your water without snagging. Available in 5 sizes ½ oz. thru 2 oz.
As you can see, Matzuo Fishing has been busy development wise, and while spring 2014 seems a long way off from the perspective of October, a few new lure designs always add to the excitement of a new open water season.