Monday, September 28, 2015

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Milwaukee and Wisconsin News: Northern Pike

The Milwaukee and Wisconsin News: Northern Pike: You won't see pictures of famous athletes on my website.  But you will see something from a different sport that is far more beauti...

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Homemade hard baits

... two nights ago I was able to 2nd step carve out some small bait bodies out of wood to use in the Spring but also during the season.  They are hardwood.  The first step was to put a 1/8" hole from end to end inside what would be the center.  I don't remember what the pounds per square inch of the power in a muskies jaw are but I have heard that they can chomp up wood baits.  I also believe that plastic baits without wire from end to end inside will fail on the fish of a lifetime.  I have had bucktail spinner baits of about 43 diameter bent at right angles when hit!!!!  You hold it up in front of you in the boat and just look at it in amazement when you see it; not wanting to comprehend it? *** Then the rough shapes were cut on the band saw.  Then the rough sanding a few times on the stationary belt sander.  Some might need to be band saw split and hollowed for buoyancy.  I will include a photo. (see two attachments.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Monday, February 9, 2015

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Milwaukee and Wisconsin News: Long Nosed Gar 07 22 2013

The Milwaukee and Wisconsin News: Long Nosed Gar 07 22 2013: The Long Nosed Gar is something out of pre-history.  This fish is capable of breathing air!  And as a natural adaptation for survival it...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

First Fish of the Season 05 11 2012

Good eating size.  Caught it casting Lake Michigan from shore on the South Side. 

Thomas Paul Murphy

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A catch and release at Cedar Creek 06 07 2010

A catch and release at Cedar Creek Today
Now I am not an expert but I would say that is a Tiger Musky
Thomas Murphy

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fishing Log Items

Fishing Trip Log

Lake Fished: County:

Date: 10.09.2009

Time Left:              Mileage to:                Water Temperature:

Time Arrival:


What Fishing For:

Bait Bought:                    Where Bought:

Structures Fished:

Type Fish Caught:      When Caught:     Lbs.       Inches Long:      

Bait Caught On:


Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy

Fishing From Shore Checklist

Fishing from Shore Checklist

Mosquito Repellent
Plastic Bag for Fish
Size limits Regulations
Fishing License
Multitool vise grip
HB Eggs
Fish Pole
Select Lures
Net or Stringer
Jaw Spreader
Plastic bag for fish
Insect repellent
Put small box in fanny pack
Hunting boots “Big Rubber Ones”
Neoprene socks

Fishing From Boat Checklist

Fishing by Boat - Checklist

Remember to Bring Fishing License and Size Limit Regulations

Boat and Motor Specific Fishing Related
Fresh gas and TCW3 2 cycle oil
Fresh Depth Sounder Batteries
Get boat lights and see if work, Fresh  D batteries if needed
Marker buoy
Wooden stick and clamp to hold transducer
Rope to hold motor
Gas Tank and Lemon Line
Life Vests
Anchor and Rope:   If going to a windblown lake consider Dan forth if have room
Food and Drink Related
Cooler with blue freezer  inserts
Hard boiled eggs and put in blue cooler
Water in blue drinking container
Lunch Bars
Other Lunch
Vitamin D & Kidney pills
Colostrum drink in cooler
Beta sistosterol and ZMA
Natokinase and B12
Container with Gatorade

Fishing Tackle Related
String line on Rods: Can have 3 rods?
1.       Casting rod wil have a jig head for soft plastic
2.       Red Rod will have a slip sinker rig
3.       Light spinning rod will have a slip bobber

A leader  for northern pike
Yellow file
Rods and reels
Plastic bag or Bucket for Fish
Jaw Spreaders
Lures and Formula


Second set of Glasses besides polarized and glasses cleaning wipes
Fingernail clippers
Casting reel instructions
Rain coat and all weather Gear
Broad Rimmed Hat
Vented Baseball Redhead Hat

Maps and Navigation aids
Lake Maps

Skeeter repellent
              Fully Charged Yellow Flashlight and Small      Led  Light
               Glasses cleaning swabs
               Microfiber Towel

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My Big Fish

I thought I would share this catch with you. I caught this on July 7th 2008, casting of the pier, at Big Bay Park. I was using 10Lb Trilene XL, a ball bearing swivel, a Shimano Sedona 4000RB reel on a 9 ft Cabelas blue label fishing rod. This is the link to the lure I caught it on:

If you want to know the truth very few fish have been caught at this location since 1985. Some blame it on the shallow water being warm. I blame it on pollution. Anyway I caught this in the early morning before a storm of strong winds and rain blew through, and almost took me with it. The storm came from the west. This one was a rarity you can get some clue as to how big it was by the brown paper grocery bags. We ate it. :)

Thomas Paul Murphy

Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy

Monday, April 5, 2010

How to Make a French Spinner Introduction

French Spinners 04 05 2010

Before I present you with my much awaited series on how to tie a Musky Buck tail I want to show you how to make an easier spinner. I.e.: A wire spinner without hair. As a fisherman you know that a small difference in lure can make a big difference in fishing. This article will get you started with your own vision of lure engineering and design.

There are basically two steps to making one of these lures pictured above:

1. Selecting the components to place on the wire.

2. Bending and forming the eyelets.

Step One- The easy step

You pick the colors and styles to your own “taste” of choosing. And for those who don’t understand that phrasing this article is not for you, go spend your money on beer at the Regal Beagle and meet a new regret or count your pennies as you sit in mother Bates rocking chair. I usually buy mine from Barlow’s Tackle or Janns Netcraft for ease of selection. A nice store in the Milwaukee area is Reinke Brothers, 3144 W. Greenfield Ave., they are very helpful.

Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy

Wire Component

A. Single strand stainless steel wire. Always opt for the larger diameter when looking at the lists and thinking you should compare prices to diameter. I use “American Fishing Wire”‘s “Tooth Proof” 500LB, # 22, Stainless Steel Leader Wire.

Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy


Clevis: This is the half circle part that holds the spinner blade to the wire. Get one of single piece and not a wrap around the wire type. It should have holes drilled in the ends and be big enough for the diameter of the wire you use.

Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy

Spinner Blades

Spinner Blades; these are French #5 spinner blades; they can also be used on Musky baits. (These Lures were made for Trout and Salmon, they could also be used for Musky.)

Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murpy

Lure Body

Lure Body: This is the part right behind the blade on the wire. It is usually metal beads or a barrel type. The metal beads are either hollow or solid. Solid are heavier but can balance the lure to the front which leads to it doubling back to the line when you cast, creating a fouled cast. Lure bodies are heavy too. I tend to prefer solid beads for added weight and I think they look better. Solid beads are counter weighted with a lead weight in front of the rear of the hook to balance the lure upon casting so it doesn’t “jack knife” to the line.

Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy

Lure Weight

Lure Weight: This is the weight in front of the hook. I started using steel weights because I don’t like the lead rubbing off on my fingers. It is a health hazard. The ones you see on these lure are ¼ oz and came from Cabelas. I like to drill the hole bigger where it fits over the eyelet to the hook; it stabilizes the lure and balances it better.

Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy

Treble Hooks

Hook: On these I used a size 2 Sohumi Hooks 203R Treble. On Musky baits I have gone to a size 8/0 treble. On hook sizing, if they have an 8/0 that means the hooks get bigger as the number goes up. If they don’t have the forward slash with the “aught?” after it means the hooks get smaller as the number goes up.

Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy

Step Two Eyelet Formation

Step Two: Step two is the much harder part because it requires manual strength with precision dexterity. It is an art to form them correctly. The goal is to get an eyelet round with end tangents directly centered to the wire. This allows it to run smooth in the water.

Tips to making the eyelet:

• It is easier to bend the wire closer to the “Stalk” wire if the piece you are bending to it is longer and you are bending from a distance where you are holding the pliers that is farther away from the eyelet, more leverage is created this way to form a tighter wrap to the wire.

• Don’t forget to put the hook on the bottom eyelet before you close it with a wrap of 1 ½ to 2 turns.

• Use one of those bull nose snipping pliers to snip the end. If there is still a bit sticking out bend it to the “axis” using two pliers and a fixation point method.

• Start by straightening your wire with a few friction strokes of your fingers, but don’t run them off the sharp tip end or you will cut yourself. The ends of cut wire are of spade or hoe formations. A more appropriate analogy is they look the front of a hammerhead shark.

• Don’t cut the wire too soon and start with more than you need or you risk a blade that won’t turn because the axle on the front of the spinner is destabilized from balance by hydroscopic force. You need some length in front of your spinner to balance it and resist this force. The principal here is similar to the woodworking principal measure once and cut twice except it’s more of a measured guess.

• More on bending the eyelet. When I first started making these 30 years ago I put a large framing nail in the vise and bent the wire around it to form the round part of the loop, while holding the two ends with vise grip pliers. Then to center the loop to the wire body you must put a slight bend in the other direction where the wire is to be wrapped around above it. Today I have bought a pair of needle nose pliers with round tips and they allow me to form these eyelets better. I wouldn’t want to go back to the nail in the vise method.

• On one of these lures above the spinner blade I have placed a crimping sleeve to keep the blade orientated to the back of the lure during casting and so that when it hits the waters it starts spinning faster because it does not have to take up the slack in the wire. I have not tried it yet and it might go through some variations and I have never seen this done before.

These lures are much simpler to make than a Buck tail lure and will provide you with the basic skills necessary before trying to do the same with the added complexity of using Buck tail or synthetic hair on the lure. They are harder to work with. The addition of hair might mean a few nicks, scrapes and bleeding cuts to your fingers as the hairs hide the sharp tips of the hooks. “The fish are said to respect this.” J

Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Caught at Oak Creek Today

Caught at Oak Creek Today, about 15", good eating size. Had another one on that was about 3 feet long but lost it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Check back for a series on how to tie a Musky Bucktail Lure

Stay tuned for a series on how to tie a Musky Bucktail.

How to weight your musky net.

How to weight your musky net.

If you are fishing alone and have to land a musky it can be a very demanding task to hold the rod in one hand and dip the net in very quickly to scoop the fish. Often the problems source arises from the fact that there is air resistance and water surface resistance when the net hits. Here is a successfully tested method I have used that allows me to net a fish with one hand from the boat using a large net.

1. Buy a can of insulating foam from your hardware store (Menards, Home Depot, Lowes, Ace, Etc.) Undo the cap on the net handle on both sides and spray this in. Use safety precautions, i.e. gloves, full face mask, old clothes etc. Put a piece of tape over the ends and poke a hole in it. This will allow air in to complete the curing. Also if your handle has a lock button be sure not to freeze it in place. After you take the tape off in a few days it may gooey out so be careful then too, it still needs more curing time. What this process does is gives the handle mass without significantly sacrificing buoyancy.

2. I also unscrewed the loop and ran a cable TV cable through it up to the screw holes. This allows you to have weight in the loop which helps break the surface and dive in deeper. But we are not finished yet because it is oddly weighted. We need something that works like using a Winchester rifle on a horse. And that’s the most important step 3.

3. Weight the handle pole by the back end tip. This allows you to use a balanced lever approach and makes it more maneuverable. To do this I duck taped a metal chisel or two (got from Harbor Freight) to the back of the handle. You can also use any heavy pipe scrap metal you can find. I had initially planned on fixing it inside the handle but never got that far. The secret to this step is to use just the right amount of weight at the back end of the net, an iterative decision process.

This makes for safer fishing also, and a quicker release. PS I cut the net to get a small musky out quicker and you should do this also. Net repair line and instructions are available for sale at Netcraft Inc. website. It’s not too hard to do and you can also weave a new net basket once you learn this also. If you make a net you will feel a sense of nostalgia or a connection to ancient fisherman. I guarantee it. With the latter suggestion you might make your misses jealous of your manly knitting craft.

Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy

Add weeds to minnow bucket

Keep minnows alive longer by adding some snagged weeds from your lure in the bucket with the minnows. It creates more of a natural environment for them and makes them more lively. Also make sure to follow your regulations regarding transporting bait and curbing the spread of invasive species.

Copyright 2010 Thomas Paul Murphy



Quick Release Anchor Knot:

It helps to tie a quick release knot when anchoring frequently and tying off to depth. This knot greatly speeds up lifting and having it ready for the next place allowing you to move from spot to spot quicker.


1. Form a loop from the desired section and run it through your bow eye.

2. Lap the loop under the sections from the anchor and from where you have the end tied off “permanently”.

3. Form another loop or ball from the section of your loop and put that ball in the loop created in step 2.

4. Synch this off tight so that you only have about six inches of loop that you pull to release the knot.

This knot ties quickly and releases easily because the doubled up strand has less friction to pull but enough material to hold fast and tight. It is helpful to keep the sections of rope straight when tying.

Test yours first before relying on it.

I doubt that I am the first one to use this knot, but did think of it myself. If it already has an origin or creator let me know and I will ask for permission and give them a byline.

Thomas Murphy