Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sexy new Spinner - Cousin Itt or not?

This one's a beauty if I say so myself. It's our biggest spinner to date, weighing in at 1 3/4oz and 8 inches in length with a stacked #2/0 treble hook hidden in the skirts.

It may look like a propeller head Cousin ITT to some, but to a Muskie, Pike or Steelhead, she's a sexy cancan dancer!

I'm sure we'll get them over 2 ounces in coming months. This is the first, Numero Uno.

It blade is a #7 Gold fluted Willow (a big dog). The body is made of black bullet weights and gold separator discs. It's a real cancan dancer with two 8 inch silicon starflash skirts, one white with gold fleck and the other black with silver fleck.

Its a nice new edition to our large spinner category. Probably make a hundred or so, so its a limited edition. Get em while we got em.

Sea Salmon hits new FCS Squid spinner in Surf!

These pictures came in yesterday from my friend and west coast angler Doug.

Check out his new blog. There's some great fishing material being assembled and shared.

Here's those pictures.

Here's a picture of the 1oz Squid with a Stainless #4/0 single hook hidding in the silicon skirt.

 I put a Squid in the February Assortment, btw.

Two days left to signup for Spinner giveaway Just sayin.. Bump.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fishing Gill Trail - South Platte River - Deckers, CO

Two and a wakeup left to signup for February Spinner Drawing

Gill Trail is a known destination for large trout. The trail runs along the South Platte River, from the tailwaters coming out of Cheesman Reservoir to a parking lot trailhead just West of Deckers. I'm not sure how many miles of greased canyon overlooks that is, but its a long day, even for an old ridge running goat like me!

I picked up Ben for the early morning hour and a half drive. We left Boulder with the car lights on. As the crack of dawn edged up in the east, we started climbing into the Rockies around Morrison, just past Red Rocks amphitheater.. We turned left off 285 at Pine Junction. Headed Southeast to a Pikes Peak sunrise view as we dropped back down to the river canyon thru a moonscape of forest fire desolation and miles of lodgepole pine. Standing zombies, blackened by the fire.

Pikes Peak View dropping into Deckers, CO

Nobody was on the river yet. The parking lot held only one other car. We used the facilities in preparation for the long walk, gathered our stuff out of the back of the car and got ready for the walk.

The hike gets your heart rate up, but it's pretty easy going in. Climbing out's a different story. After a full days fishing, fighting the current and fighting the trail, your knees and feet start complaining. Up one hill staring at the trail and down another, watching every step.

Once we reached sight of the river, a large hawk called and took flight out of a pine tree. It landed a hundred yards farther away. I saw from its bent V wings, it was a lone Osprey. He called while we approached and then took off again as we got closer. As the sun rose into the canyon, he was scoping the river below looking for trout silhouetts and shadows.

South Platte scenery below Gill Trail

We began copying his behavior and were quickly rewarded. They were down there in numbers.  The Osprey kept up his vigil, leading us farther along the river, reappearing throughout the morning. It was a good sign.

The trail dropped down to a big pool emptied into a fast running trough through a narrow rushing chute. Ben went to the pool, I took the chute. It was fast whitewater but then deeper and swift. White mounds of bubbles drifted and circled, then settled and raced downstream. The flow was strong, dark and deep.

Ben and I had decided to fish black and gold armadillo's 1/8 and 1/5oz back at the car. I was going to get some video footage. The spinners were far too small for this flow and I had brought along a 1oz black zonker spinnerbait I wanted to save for this type of deep chute. I normally don't fish them for trout, but having seen these chutes on prior trips on the Platte below Deckers, I decided to bring it along and give it a try. It didn't take long to find an opportunity. Time to tie it on and get it wet.
1oz Zonker with awesome Slip Stinger

Don't ask me why, but I took off my backpack containing my camera and headed to the water, finding a place on the bank, where I could work both the stretch up and downstream. I guess I figured I'd be back filming Ben in no time. He was already working the pool.

I started with an upstream cast into the white water, leaving the spinnerbait get some depth as it worked downstream through the trough. I covered this area with a couple casts and could see the bait looked irresistable. The gold blade had great strobe and the zonker looked like a big leech. I had cabled a single stainless hook stinger on it, covering it with a piece of translucent pvc slipped over the hooks eye. The stinger was waving enticingly above the black zonker as the bait suspended in the current. On the third cast, something heavy hit it as it was just reaching its hover point.

The fish stayed low in the water, letting me sweat the current and listen to my drag. He made a run upstream into the faster water, back and then started to tire, stall and holding his place in the current. He was well hooked and I felt pretty confident I could bring him in. It took several minutes before I was ready to grab him. This allowed Ben to show up ready to help and witness my handiwork. It was a good size rainbow, maybe 25 inches. Plenty of sharp teeth, with deep red pulsing gills teaming with oxygen from his exertion. This one's a beauty and it wasn't a stocker.
Healthy cold water Rainbow 
What a way to start the day!

Hand Carved Fishing Lures - Interview with Ben

Here's a Birthday interview with Ben about his hand carved lures and wall mounts. Happy Birthday Ben!

Why on earth would you want to invest so much time to make one fishing lure?
I love to make them. Every time I make one, it gets a little easier. My friends like them and I enjoy making them, it’s a passion.

Do you like making lures or fish carving more, which is more rewarding?

Carving fish is more rewarding, cause I wont loose them when I’m fishing!

The surface paint jobs are incredible, where do you get the ideas?

I try to envision the lure and make it come to life. The lures just come together as I go, each has its own personality and is one of a kind.

Fish Creek Spinners gets a lot of web traffic searching on hand carved lures. Once I got an email somebody wanted 200 of a specific one. I kind of laughed, because he was clueless. How long does it take to carve and paint a lure? A fish carving?

About 3 hrs, for the lures, not including paint drying time. The fish are harder, depending on size, 8 to 20 hours. Again, not including dry time.

So you fish these, are you nuts? What kind of fish go after them?

I catch trout and bass. I made one that a lot of trout actually chased on to the bank “out of the water”! I caught the biggest bass I have caught in years on one of my lures.

Now that’s an incentive to keep improving skills.

Does the water damage the paint?

Not really, I’ve learned to seal the screw-eyes to keep water from penetrating the paint. I cover each lure with  waterproof epoxy to protect the paint, add shine, and harden the wood to protect it from fish teeth.

Has your carving influenced your job at Fish Creek Spinners?

Definitely, I’m always trying to come up with new improvements to the carvings. Carving fuels my creative energy, which carries over into spinner design.

I love my job! 

In addition to his carvings, Ben made around 24,000  Armadillo’s, Spinnerbaits and Trolling Cowbells in 2010. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Painting Fishing Spinner components

Powder coat painting fishing spinners

You can find quite a lot of information on Youtube for powder painting fishing jigs (jigs are blessed with the hook which is a ready handle when painting), but painting spinner components is different and I didn't find much info or instruction.

What I did find, didn't work well for me. Could be a liveware problem! Heat sources varied from candles, to lighters, to hair-dryers. I use a portable propane torch. It works for me.

Why are spinner parts different?

It's because 1) the components have holes that plug with hot powder paint and 2) they seemed to easily fall into the powder once hot while dipping (which is a major pain).

Here's a few pictures and explanation of my techniques and some tips you might find worthwhile, if you want to try it.

What you'll need.
  • Spinner components (body bullets, beads, blades, etc)
  • Powder Paint (I used ProTec - bought through Hagens)
  • Dippers
  • Hangers
  • Toaster Oven
 Here's my Black and Decker oven (it has a timer). Notice the wire hangers (stainless bent in a C to hang from ovens top grills. I suspend other removable hangers from these to help with loading and unloading.

 Here's a dipper I made with a big brass body bullet on it. You can also see my propane bottle. The dippers are stainless wire seated in 2x2 x 3 inch wood. It stands up by itself which is a must when doing larger quantities. I'll explain how I made it later.

Here's another component on a dipper. Notice the wires on the table. Those are the removable hangers I mentioned earlier. Also the collection of waiting dippers standing at attention.

Here's a dipper about to put the hot component into the plastic powder paint bottle (really not hot for the picture).

Kind of an overview shot. You can see the torch nozzle for the propane. I prefer the camping version of the portable propane, but was using a taller version on this day. Notice all the empty dippers standing at attention and ready for duty.

Here's the process I use.

Seat up a bunch of components on the dippers
Shake, Open and Stir the Powder you choose
Fire up the torch

Run each dipper's component thru the flame 3-4 seconds depending on size then do opposite side the same.
If the  light is right, you can see the oil evaporating off the part. Chase it off with the flame, then flip and heat parts opposite side.
I then let heated part cool  3-4 seconds, to even out its heat before dipping it into the powder.

Dip 'hot' part completely into powder. As removing, I tap a the dipper wires on the rim of the bottle a couple times to even out the parts top coverage which tends to collect as its melting.

You'll need to experiment with how hot to get the part, too hot the liquid powder bubbles or burns and wrecks it. Too cool and the powder finish sucks and looks crystaline. Because parts are different sizes, remembering or experimenting with timing is everything. To get consistent finishes you need to keep records or practice, by part. Heating consistency is important period, even when doing many of the same part.

Stand dipped part and dipper up (out of the way) to cool. Getting branded by hot parts, not fun.
Repeat dipping cycle on next Part.

If you heat a part too long, the paint will bubble and smoke, kind of ruins the part. If you dont heat long enough, you get crystaline looking paint coverage which is easier to deal with, so make your error on the side of cooler parts, (got a tip from Blog post to use heat gun vs flame) until you get the heat timing down for the size part your working. Also helps to try to keep the torch running at same sound. When propane starts getting low, you'll notice it happening cause the sound  decreases. Not a big problem, but try to be consistent with flame size if using a torch.

Baking Process
You may want to let them chill awhile before baking, I'm still working wrinkles out of this process to see if warm baking causes drops to form, or if its based on certain paints. I like all the transparents, they dont seem to form drops. The fluorescent solids seem to be more difficult to do without causing droplets to form during baking. Which make the part non-symmetbric and require manual rework.

After you're out of dippers to paint, you should have a bunch ready to put on hangers. Remove them first to last (if warm baking) to let them cool. This is where the stainless wire helps by not sticking as much when you remove the part. I tried softer wire and it lost its temper and broke inside the hole. Once off, put the part on a removable hanger wire and hang from one of the oven hangers. Keep that up til the ovens full.

Paint will collect on the wires. After painting a batch, I usually run the empty dippers thru the flame to burn off excess paint that collects on the wires.

Set the timer and bake at 350 degrees 20 minutes (per ProTec instructions).
Let them cool before trying to remove them.

Don't put the oven C hangers to close to each other or you can end up bonding parts to each other. The little buggers dance around pretty good during the bake process and can shift.

Final steps
After parts are cooled, take the parts and removable hangers (stainless steel again) out of the oven and remove the parts. This can be problematic if paint seeps it way down into the parts holes. My experience is it seems to be unavoidable on the solid colors. If you end up with a part with a clogged hole, I put the part in a hand vise, and heat a spare spinner wire red hot to ream out the hole. Works fine to salvage the part.

Making a dipper
I use 7-8 inch stainless wire, maybe .031in gauge.
I use 2x2 wood cut in 3inch lengths, drilling a small diameter hole thru it to seat the stainless wire.
Put a wire in one side about an inch and bend to a right angle along the 2x2, then to a 60 degree at the top edge
Repeat for other wire
You should have a pretty good X overlap to give the wires spring
I duct tape the wood and wires to secure them into position and staple them with a staple gun.
I leave about 4 inchs of  length on each and bend another right angle at each end, snipping to leave 1/4inch for inserting each into a part.

Try to seat a few parts. The dipper should reach to bottom of bottle, as powder level starts dropping the more you paint the color. If wire's are too short you cant get to the good stuff at the bottom of the bottle!

Have fun, don't brand yourself and dont tip over the torch or drop a hot part in your lap.

Take a look at more of the painted bodies!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

February Spinner Drawing

Just Follow the Blog to enter 'monthly' drawings!

Blazershane wins the February spinner assortment - Goes to show you, it pays to be feelin lucky! 

Get'm wet and send me some fish pics!

Easy? Well maybe not. I'm new to the game and have added a bunch of things called gadgets in hopes of you getting your mugshot in the grid - Follower - as I understand it.

Once there, I hope I can send you an email notification of your esteemed status (should you win). If that doesn't work, I'll post a comment with the followers name, hoping to get an email from you with mailing information.
To follow, Try this - Add to Google Reader or Homepage
or this, send me an email- - asking to be included. Also provide some handle/ID thats suitable for posting as a comment notification, should you win. Note: Emailed posts are pnly valid for the current month drawing.

Back to topic at hand

Big Splash drawing and great odds for the few, the brave BFFs! Maybe a $50 value. Be brave, tell your friends to sign on and lower your odds!

Hmmm. not much of sales pitch, was it?

Be nice to get some more FCS interested parties, though!

1oz White Dinnerbell Squid (New) - Salmon, Pike, Muskie
8/10oz Red and White Early Season Dinnerbell (New) - Salmon, Pike, Muskie, Trout
3/4oz Black Zonker Spinnerbait - Muskie, Pike, Bass, Trout
1/5oz Black Glass Armadillo (New) - Trout, Pike, Bass, whatever
1/4oz Psycho Yellow Bullet (New) - Trout, whatever
1/8oz Fun Fusion Glow spinner (New) - Trout, Perch, whatever

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chasing Skirts

Muskie fishing - Silicon Starflash Skirts

Isn't Muskie fishing great!

Here's a few pictures showing some silicon skirt color choices. These are 8 inch 53 strand skirts, so there's a 4 inch drape. What will the fish like... Hmmm, comments appreciated! We've got plenty of bodies waiting for some time in the water.

Finished Product - 2oz with Slip Stinger

Yes, Muskie Fishing is great!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

South Platte River Rainbow - Video

Fishing the backside of an island with spinners

Farther downstream on backside of the island.

Fishing with grand-daughter Sable.

Nice Rainbow on the Black and Gold Glass Armadillo, always a fish getter on the Platte (and across the land).

Music by Lefty Frisselle - Saginaw Michigan

Fishing Zirkel Wilderness - Video

High Country Beaver Pond fishing

Fishing with the top ponds with my grand-daughter Sable. Just got here after an hour wilderness hike.

You can see the wilderness beauty in the first few seconds. Plenty of wild flowers and old growth pine.

The beetle kill is evident, but maybe the -25 degree freeze, this year, will save some.

Plenty of healthy frisky cold water fish, released 'em all.
Music by Lucida Williams - Can't let go (fish out of water lyric)

South Platte River spinner fishing below Deckers, CO - Video

Fishing South Platte - Deckers, CO

Here's some footage from a fishing trip with my grand-daughter Sable. We were using 1/8oz Armadillo's. The Platte is a great great great river to wade. It's a tailwater from Cheeseman Reservoir and the bottom is sandy gravel and easy going (for the most part). Gill trail excluded in that statement, btw.

This trip the river was a nice flow and it was a beautiful low humidity sunny Colorado day. Judge for yourself
Excuse my photograpy skills. I used a Gopro handsfree camera on a chest harness. I'm still learning to use it and tend to miss the shot miserably on any closeups of a catch (it doesn't have a viewfinder, hoping to compensate with the fisheye lens. I plan to perfect my skills this year.

Music - Jerry Jeff Walker - Great Gonzo - London Homesick Blues - written by Gary P. Nunn e.g. I want to go home with the Armadillo!

Fishing Rocky Mountain National Park on a windy autumn day - Video

Fishing a RMNP stream in the wind - Video

Boy, talk about spooky trout! I think they're over fished and really love to head under the banks, even hearing an approaching footstep on the gravel bottom. Don't these fish get enough elk traffic to be used to noise?

My best luck came from finding stretches of bank where I could approach on land and cast upstream, retrieving along the bank undercuts. Thats where they waited less afraid.

Nothing big, but still great solitude and problem scrubbing mother nature to thank!

Here's a video of a trip.

Music by Taj Majal

Monday, February 14, 2011

Fishing in the Carolina's with Fish Creek Spinners

Here's some fishing pictures taken and sent by Carolina anglers (North and South) of fish caught on Fish Creek Spinners. Nice looking Trout in the Carolina's! Looks like Red and Orange Armadillo's.

Fishing Carolin'a Trout with Spinners

Fishing Carolina's warm water with spinners

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bass Fishing with FCS Armadillos

Often Overlooked - Bass fishing with Spinners

Spinners are often overlooked as Bass lures. FCS Armadillos are catching Smallmouth, Largemouth, and Rockbass nationwide.

I've caught Bass on the black Armadillos, the Red Armadillo's, AngleIrons, and Red and Orange Armadillo. Medium weight spinners for Bass

Something I've tried with success in really stained pond water, was to skewer a fluorescent 1 inch long zonker strip on one of the treble barbs. It seemed to show up and improve the strike and it was easy to swap colors.

This year we've added zonker spinnerbaits. Here's a link to them in the webstore. 1oz Zonker Spinnerbaits

Here's some of those Colorado Bass pictures

Pond Pumkinseed with skewered zonker Armadillo

Pond Largemouth with skewered zonker

Pond Largemouth with Black Armadillo

Pond Largemouth with skewered zonker

North Carolina Drift River Smallmouth

Pennsylvania Rock Bass

Pennsylvania Smallmouth