Tag Archives: salmon

#LakeOntario – The Last 100 Mile Stretch

It’s amazing how quickly you can be on the top of your game and end up at a complete loss. This past week I was on route to having my best season since I started this guiding game over 3.5 years ago. Over the past 2 weeks I have been experiencing motor problems “again”. I mean lets face it, owning a boat means you are constantly doing maintenance, weather its a brand new boat or a used one, there is always something to be done. what does BOAT stand for? Break, Out, Another, Thousand.  Just over the past 2 weeks alone, first a fuel pump went down on one of my mains, then I had  spark plug cables need to be replaced, then coils, none of these items you would think are a big problem right? well in order to get these issues looked at and assessed properly each time,  you need to have a marine mechanic come out to your boat at the marina because you cant move a big boat like mine easily. Well first, everything costs 10 x the amount when your talking boats compared to cars, and then try and find a mechanic willing to come out to you is nearly impossible unless you have deep pockets.

 

After calling almost every mechanic listed on craigslist, Kijiji, Yellow pages, and online, It seems you need to have someone recommend you to the mechanic in order to get any decent service. otherwise you probably won’t have anyone come out to see you for weeks on end. Now just to have a guy show up to the boat 20 minutes away from his shop is around $150 to $250 and he hasn’t even looked at your motors yet. Needless to say after all of this you hope/pray that the mechanic that shows up is a good one. now I am sure the guy that came to my boat was a good mechanic but after everything was assessed he had to go back to his shop and order the right parts, this takes a day of 2 to get the right parts in, especially when you have motors like mine.

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So trying to save a few $$$$ I picked up the parts in a few days and went back to install them myself saving a few hours of labor and another $250 delivery fee, probably a $600 saving overall lol. Once the parts were back on the boat the boat seemed to run like a dream, so I started booking clients once again. I had a party of 4 show up to the boat, but as I headed down the channel to the open water they started sputtering and then stalled out and would not turn back on,  Now I couldn’t figure out what went wrong just that one of my mains wouldn’t start again. I had to call a buddy of mine, another guide and let him take my clients out for me.  I spent 2 days trying to figure out the problem and decided it was not worth spending the money to have the mechanic come back out again as paying for another “show up fee” would just piss me off. I made up my mind to take the boat back to my home area of Napanee in the #BayOfQuinte. The journey would be right around 100 miles on the water with 1 main engine completely down and the other was running, iffy at best.

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I started off from Bowmanville harbor on my #Yamaha  kicker motor, a small 8 horse power 4 stroke motor that I have never had an issue with in the past, very reliable, infact that motor is the only reason that I decided I would even attempt the journey at all. I started off at 4am by trolling out of the harbor. In about 10 minutes I was in 45ft of water and decided to throw out a couple lines as I have a ticket for the #GreatOntarioSalmonDerby anyway, and since I’m trolling my way along I may as well be #fishing, right?

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well it wasn’t long before I had my first hit of the day, a decent but much too small for the derby, 12lbs king salmon, as it was not big enough to weigh in I carefully released the fish because I was on a 2 day journey and the fish would spoil if I kept it. Soon after the first fish I had my second fish of the day on the line, a bit smaller than the first, so again the fish was released. then I had a massive hit on a wire dipsey line with a #SeafourLure spoon on the end of it, a little Shad sent from #LiquidMayhem to entice the bite & WHAAAAMO. The Line screamed out of the reel, my excitement level rose drastically making me forget I was even in a broken boat on a 100 mile journey. All I cared about was landing what ever was on the other end of the line. I fought the monster for approx 35 to 40 minutes before I was able to tire it out enough to be able to get my net underneath her and lift her into the boat. She was not as big as she fought but it was still a decent 20lbs plus fish anyway. When I tried to put her on the scale, my scale was reading all over the place I could not get an accurate reading which means one of 2 things. Either this fish is bigger than I think it is or the batteries in the scale need to be replaced LOL.

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The sun was now up and running low over the water. the fish I just landed may be the last of the season for me so I figured I’d better keep her and get it weighed in at #PortHope which should only be a couple hours away from my current location. In the Livewell the fish went, with some ice to keep her as fresh as I could.

By approximately 10:00am after catching & releasing 3 more smaller fish, I arrived at Port hope marina. I pulled up to the fuel pump station and was greeted by a beautiful young women working the weigh station/and fuel pumps. after fueling the boat I asked her to weigh in the fish I had kept. The fish weighed in at 25.10lbs  which was exciting as I knew being the beginning of the week that this fish would probably make the derby board, (which it did) and it stayed there until Wednesday too until I got beat off the board with a 25.84. oh well I can say I made the board for a few days anyway LOL.

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I had a quick breakfast at a nice little cafe (great breakfast by the way) right at the marina by the beach,  bought new batteries for my scale (ha ha ha) and of course had to go and see the beautiful girl at the weigh station one more time (to buy ice)  before heading back out in the big water on my journey.

There was only 1 other stop I could have made before committing to go all the way to Brighton which was only 40 miles away from Port Hope, this was Coburg #Marina but it was only 5 miles away from Port Hope Marina. the decision was either to spend the night in Coburg or try and make it to Brighton. Take into consideration that the top speed of my boat was about 3 to 5 miles an hour on my kicker motor, or 7MPH on my one main half working main motor, which would put me in Brighton around 8pm that evening, I had started the day at 4am. that is a long day to be on the water in the sun, trust me. anyway of course I decided to make my way to Brighton the wind was in my favor with west winds.

 

It seemed like forever  to get Coburg out of my sights. It made the day seem like I was making very little to no progress, and to make things worse the winds had kicked up to 25 west winds with gusts of 42km west wind. This made for some large rolling waves, maybe 6 footers at times, it was travelling in the right direction allowing me to get a bit better timing 8 miles per hour as with each passing wave the boat would almost be pushed enough to start surfing. then once the wave passed the boat would slow to 2 miles per hour. this jerking motion for hours on end mean you need to be on the ball in terms of steering or you can be turned around in a split second, constantly counter steering the boat to try and stay in a straight line. I was praying that the waves would get just a bit bigger so that I would be able to surf the boat and ride the waves to my night time destination.

 

at around 7pm I got to the point that leads into Brighton harbor as I rounded the point to head into the harbor it got very shallow. I went from 45ft of water to 5ft of water within a few meters and with the rolling waves (now white capping) that I had been riding were now big enough that the boat actually was able to do a bit of surfing only this time I was in dangerously shallow and unknown waters. Yes in case you were wondering I was getting a bit nervous LOL.

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Once I got around the point and the land blocked the wind, the water instantly became like a sheet of glass and I calmly made it into the Brighton Marina. I pulled up to the marina about 7:45pm as I needed a bit more fuel to make the rest of the journey. I had came 65 miles and was now only 35 miles from my home destination. After I fueled up, the marina told me they had no 2 stroke Oil to sell me which I needed as I pre mix my fuel.  I hoped my friend  Sean, from #PresquileBayOutfitters was around and I prayed he sold the oil I needed. His shop was just steps from the marina.  It wasn’t long before I was able to find Sean and  like he has done on several occasions in the passed he (saved my behind) again LOL. Sean has great customer service and great deals on #fishingtackle and #Kyakrentals. I recommend everyone go and see him if your in the Brighton area. here is the link   http://www.presquilebayoutfitters.com/

anyway after fueling up and a short visit with Sean I was on the water again to find a spot to tie up for the night, have some dinner, and get some sleep. I headed up the Trent canal and immediately found a good spot to tie up to, right next to a very impressive sail boat who had also decided that they had enough travel for the day. the sail boat was heading to where I had just come from 16 hours prior. They figured they would try to get to Port Darlington or Whitby by the following afternoon.

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I was up early as was the sail boat next to me, and off the pier at 6am the next morning to try and get a good head start on the day, however I was quickly brought to a halt by the first swing bridge in the canal only 1 mile from where I tied off the night before as there was no attendant to swing the bridge open until 9am that morning. I tied off again and got out to walk around only to find 3 other boats tied off on the other side of the bridge that had just missed the last turn the previous night and were forced to spend the night in the canal as well. I spoke with a few of the boaters and everyone seemed very relaxed and well rested but were just waiting for the bridge attendant to get to work. It wasn’t long and the attendant showed up for his shift the bridge was swung open and everyone was on their way to the various destinations all over the lake (and further).

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It took several hours but by about 11am I had made it from Trenton  about 18 miles to the #Belleville Bridge. Just after the bridge there were about 30 to 40 small sailboats all crossing my path in every direction, I think they had all been part of a sailing school. I tried to go around them but everywhere I went they would cut me off, now normally I would have easily been able to get out of their way but with only running one of my main  motors and going about 5 miles an hour I had no choice but to bull dog my way right through the lot of them. As soon as I made my way through There was a guy waving at me to slow down his hands in the air and I thought to my self,  what a fool, as if I’m going too fast LOL. anyway I almost came to a halt thinking he might be in trouble only to clue in that it was actually a good friend of mine Dave, out for a day of fishing on the Bay.

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Dave pulled up along side of my boat tied his boat to mine and climbed aboard for the next few miles. I was relieved to have someone on the boat to chat with but I soon realized that I was very tired and probably had a bit of heat stroke, needless to say I probably wasn’t making much sense at the time. Anyway I took some time and cooked up the last of some chicken legs I had in my cooler, put them on my BBQ to have a bit of lunch with Dave before he had to leave  climb back onto his boat to finish his day of fishing.

It didn’t seem long,  maybe a few hours after leaving Dave before I was back crossing under the Deseronto Bridge and was at my destination to meet my wife at the launch so I could get the boat hauled out and get it to my mechanics.

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Im not sure whats in store for Sea’s The Day Fishing for the rest of the season? I can only wait to hear from my mechanic about all the issues I will need to deal with. I will be back out on the water soon enough, but for now I’m just happy to be home treating my sun burn and heat stroke LOL

 

Thanks for reading about my 100 mile journey across Lake Ontario. Also feel free to leave any comments you may have below

So you think you want to be a fishing guide? eh!

It has now been over 3 years and now into my 4th, since I made the decision to become a full time fishing guide in the Quinte region. Truth be told when I had made this decision I really had no idea what I was in for, and probably still don’t. each year has been a crazy learning curve. I am writing this blog because of the amount of people that have said to me that he/she, either would like to be, or maybe knows someone  that they think would make an amazing fishing guide. So I’m going to put into perspective what being a guide is really like and what to expect.

Being a fishing guide can be one of the best jobs in the world its true, but it does not come easy and without blood, sweat, and tears, oh and unless you have a tonne of money in the bank, then be prepared to be financially strapped for years to come. If you love fishing, then do not become a guide. Over the past 4 years and over 400 days spent on the water, I think I can count on 1 hand how many times I have actually gone fishing, TRUE FISHING, meaning where I get to go out and enjoy the act of fishing for myself and not worry about other peoples comfort levels while on the water.

Guiding is one of the hardest industry’s I have ever been involved in, but it sure beats flipping burgers, or a busy city commute, or cutting lawns. If I had thought about it, I would have started guiding a lot earlier, maybe when I was in high school or shortly there after. The key is to begin laying the foundation at an early age by working hard to become the best fisherman you can be, by learning everything you can about fishing tactics,  techniques, and by studying the biology and behavior of the species that you want to fish for. This is difficult to narrow down at an early age I know, In fact I’m not sure I really know if I have found the right species for me yet and I’m almost 40.

Now for the part I say to people that think they want to become a guide LOL. Most people that want to get into guiding, fail to realize that “guiding” does not mean “fishing”.I have a buddy who has a son, he takes his son fishing all the time, and because I am a guide, he always say’s to me when I ask him what he’s doing for the weekend? he reply’s that he will be “guiding” his son on the bay for the weekend. Im not sure if he says this to get under my skin, or if he does it because he is trying to relate to me with what I do for a living but either way it definitely gets to me when he calls himself a guide, and over the years now has even hurt our friendship a bit. In my mind you have to earn that title.

When you take a paying customer out on the water, you are expected to be an instructor, a cheerleader, a helping hand, a butler, a maid, a cook, have incredible customer service skills, and in some cases be a babysitter. The worst case scenario requires you to choose a lure, tie the correct knots, teach the clients how to use the equipment, show the client where the fish are, choose the correct speed, and steer the boat, and then stand there and watch while the client proceeds to do everything wrong after a fish bites, usually the client, after loosing the fish due to too much slack in the line looks at you and blames you for not teaching him the correct way. You then have to nod and bow your head as if it were your fault and try all over again.

Before all of this goes on, you are required by law to take separate courses that allow you to take paying clientele on your vessel plus hold the proper insurances all of which are extremely costly, and all before you have any clientele or income into the business to help recoup your costs.

Now that you have done all that and you are trying to find any way possible to advertise your business for free because you have just spent your life savings, your wife’s life savings, the down payment you had for a house,  begged, borrowed, and stolen tens of thousands to get a suitable boat and equipment to accommodate strangers, oops I meant clients to go fishing you are all set right? NOPE WRONG.

This is the most difficult part of being a successful guide. Earning the respect of your peers. This is possibly the most important portion of becoming a successful guide. Just because you can put a few fish in your boat does not make you a good guide. If you do not have the respect of the other guides in the area that you fish in you will not last long.

Lets think about that. Especially if you are anything like me LOL. Ok lets say  you get everything in place and you come to a marina and plunk your boat in the water and your ready to start taking on clients, where are your clients coming from? now you need to go and find fish, so you ask one of the other boats your tied right next to and say hey brother so where are the fish biting today? do you think his answer is going to be “? hey new guy, ya the fish were on fire at these co-ordinates xxxyyyzzz”. NO NOT A CHANCE. it will be more like this if he doesn’t just tell you F off, “hey new guy ya we caught lots about 15 miles just west of the red marker out by ZZZXXXYYY”.  now excited you just got up to date information and thinking  wow  what a great guy. you will get up early in the morning have the gear all ready to go, your clients meet you, and you head out to what you think is going to be the best fishing grounds in the area. wondering why you are the only boat out on the water that day, you fish hard all day and nothing to show for it. you head home with your head held low with angry clients that you know will never come back. not to mention you would like to give them the trip for free but the cost of fuel to get to the spot and back and troll around all day almost broke the bank, so you have no choice but to charge the clients you just skunked.

back at the dock you talk to buddy that gave you the co-ordinates and again if he doesn’t just tell you to f-off he probably tells you “oh sorry man I heard first thing that the bite was hot somewhere else so he went there instead”. this kind of thing will probably go on for anywhere from 1 to 5 years before guys will start sharing info but you will have to earn their respect first.

While this 1 to 5 years of initiation from your peers is going on you have everyone and their dog that fishes and knows you, wanting to come out for a fishing day. when you mention the cost they look at you, laugh, and say “ok but how much for  me?” LOL thinking you need to find places where the fish are you take people out for next to nothing barely covering costs and definitely not making any kind of a wage.

within the first year, “guiding” has now become more about taking a lot of friends out for a next to free day on the water and because you are a so called “guide”  you no longer get to actually reel in any of the fish, you get to watch people learn your spots that you have worked like a dog to acquire and they get to reel in fish that you basically caught for them.

fishing that was once a passion will become a job like any other, where you have to wake up earlier than any job you’ve had in the past, around 4am, any, and every day of the week, and get home late, with what seems like very little reward. This will go on for a while, but if you can get past that time of becoming a guide to the part where you earn the respect of some of your peers, (remember you do not need the respect of ALL of them) then you will start to have fun with the job and it will eventually become the best job in the world.

remember that without the respect of your peers you truly fish alone. even though you are on your own on your boat, make all the daily decisions alone, are solely responsible for all the bills, do the clean up daily all alone, you can not do this job, WELL, alone. I can personally tell you that it is considerably easier to get onto active fish with many boats covering areas and sharing info than to have to find it on your own.

If I were to give anyone looking at becoming a Fishing guide some gentle advise it would be to, 1- remember to take advice from any guide willing to give it. 2- even if some of the information you get from someone turns out to be bogus, make sure you thank them and learn from the experience. 3- you will not like all the advice you get from people so remember to pick and choose advice that pertains to you and even if you did not like what someone has to say does not mean they are wrong. 4- this business is not for everyone and it is ok if its not for you. 5- make sure you have your own & informative good information to share with others, nothing earns respect faster than this, (a good hot lure, or spot) but be selective to who you give it to remember you have worked hard to gain this intel. 6- And lastly, remember your boat doesn’t run on thank you’s, it runs on fuel.

Now for the good part. I know I may have come across a bit sour in this blog up to now but it is the truth about becoming a guide in my eyes. Ok, moving on, so you have got through the initial initiation stage and you have found a small clientele base after a couple years spent grinding it out on the water and your still here. you have made a few alliances on the water, and you know a few good producing spots where you know you can put a few fish on the boat for clients. it is at this point you will start to enjoy your new profession. Even though you started this job thinking you could do it because you were an ok fisherman, now you realize that your potential is limitless  with the right people behind you. watching people catch fish, becomes your passion, the smiles and excitement on especially the little childrens faces that you helped put their biggest fish they have ever seen or caught is what drives you to get up every day. You start to take in the beauty and nature that surrounds you day in and day out, that you remember was one of the reasons you wanted to be a guide in the first place. a sense of relaxation consumes you every day while on the water with clients instead of a kind of stress that no individual should ever have to feel, your dream that became a job is now becoming your dream job once again, and it all becomes worth it as you truly make the transition from a passionate fisherman to “GUIDE”. Just because someone has a registered business name and a boat with the proper paper work does not make someone a “guide” it takes time to earn that title, but once you do, then no-one can take it away from you.

So if you think being a “guide” is for you, I would welcome anyone to the challenge and good luck.

PLEASE LIKE AND SHARE IF YOU LIKED THIS BLOG POST .

Thank you  

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Trouble in Port Hope

Over recent weeks there have been problems arising around the sport of Salmon fishing along the Ganaraska River in Port Hope.

I have known about this fishery for decades myself  but 2 years ago was the first time I got to witness the spawn of the King Salmon along the Gan. This is an incredible site to see if you have never had the chance. crystal clear water filled with giant dark shadows that move every now and again. Then in a fit of energy one of these shadows move at striking speed towards a small waterfall in the hope of making it up the falls to the next stage of the river where they will rest a bit before they do it all over again. I’m a bit of a hypocrite though, because although i do not believe one should be allowed to fish during this time I too would love the chance to hook into one of these fish the fight looks incredible. Please do not get me wrong here I do not look down on people that fish during these times as it is a legal fishery and I believe in our System in Ontario. I believe that if everyone were to follow the rules then we could sustain our fishery without a problem, (sort of ha ha ha) so by all means keep fishing LOL but do it respectfully, follow the rules, they are in place for a reason. STOP over fishing, this is what damages our fishery more than anything. Also The Ganaraska River is a beautiful place so please keep it that way.

I find it strange that we are allowed to fish for these salmon during the spawn anyway, When it is against the law to fish almost every other species during this time. Although I’m sure it is a great time to catch these mature salmon I too find it unsportsmanlike to target these fish during their spawn. The issues on the Ganaraska seem to be about the garbage left behind (which there are already laws in place to stop this from happening), and about illegally snagging, and over fishing, which again there are already laws in place. So although I agree with the idea that all rivers should be shut down during this time I think the real issue at hand, is there are not enough MNR and OPP around to enforce the laws that already exist. if we could enforce the existing laws properly then the problem in Port Hope would be minimized and people would be able to continue fishing without any problem, and without a serious threat to the salmon fishery. If there was something else to possibly consider to try and help the fishery, and some people will not agree with this I’m sure but I truly believe that every angler in addition to their fishing license should be required to carry proof of holding a valid OFAH membership this would greatly improve the resourses to help in restoring and populating our rivers and lakes with these fish we love to harvest every year. here is the link https://www.ofah.org/membership/club-membership/

Anyway these are just my personal thoughts on the issues at Port Hope as of Late.

Tight Lines

check the link for a video of the salmon run you may have to copy and paste the URL   https://www.facebook.com/james.mathias.58/videos/655195691180682/?l=6458353256261804642

The Blessing Of The Boats

The Blessing of the Boats

Today was a special day down at the wharf. Father Angus of St Mary’s Parish in Mabou came down to the wharf today to bless the boats and fisherman of the harbour. It seemed to me this was a long ongoing tradition of the area, and a good one at that. However although it seemed that many people were numb to activity that was going on, and treated it as just a tradition, myself, I found it very inspirational, and rewarding to have been part of such a tradition. I have heard about the blessing of the boats in many other areas where I have commercial fished in the past but have never witnessed it before.

It is a tradition where the local priest comes down to the wharf and many or all of the local people/fisherman in the area come to pray for a bountiful catch and the safety of the fisherman that year. It is a tradition where locals come to support their local fisherman and remember the fallen, in years past. For me it brought back memories of the horror stories of fisherman lost at sea, and the close calls I myself have had. Knowing there is such a local support made me feel good I had landed in this small town for my next fishing adventure. With holy water flicked onto the Boats in the harbour and a short community social afterwards, the parking lot slowly emptied and I was back listening to the birds, the sound of the wind blowing through the rolling hills off in the distance, watching a few lone fisherman tinker around the wharf, and staring at the motionless boats tied to the wharf waiting for the season to begin.

I walked down to the waters edge, fishing rod in hand, and casted a line in to the water. As I sat back in my chair sipping a glass of wine and staring at the tip of my rod for any movement to happen, I began to take it all in, everything around me, the rolling hills, the Bald eagle soaring above in search of its next meal, (I bet it catches a fish before I do) LOL, the sea water beneath me, and the smell of fresh coastal air with a hint of salt. A true bit of Paradise can be found in Mabou.

There is still too much ice for the DFO to open the season although I have heard that they may be opening the season this coming weekend. Captain Andy and I took a tour to see what the seas were like.

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If anyone is looking for an awesome tuna fishing adventure this year take a look at the following and I can vouch for Capt Andy he is one hell of a good guy and by the word of the locals a great fisherman too.  Check out http://www.rankintunacharters.ca/ for a great day on the water and the catch of a life time.

Feel free to leave a comment and LIKE or Share my page through social media

Spring 2015: Extreme Fishing

If Deadliest Catch, Wicked Tuna, and Cold Water Cowboys are on you nightly channel surfing list; follow this Blog and my social media over the next few months. I am not a stranger to the commercial fishing industry. Over the years I have found jobs over seas off the coast of Scotland in the North Sea, and back in Canada on The Bay Of Fundy in Nova Scotia. Now after several seasons of chartering my own boat in The Bay of Quinte and Lake Ontario, I am preparing to head back into the commercial side of things for Spring 2015 and hope you will follow me there (online of coarse).  Have you ever thought it would be cool to land a commercial fishing job when watching extreme fishing shows?  Get ready to experience what it is really like to become a deckhand on a commercial fishing vessel and watch/read my real life interpretation of our favorite reality shows.

click the links to my social media pages, from my home page, for updates

SeaFour Lures

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I am proud to announce that I am now a representative of a great product called SeaFour Lures

This is a Canadian based business on the west coast and is possibly the only company that produces a mouldable lure on the market for Salmon and trout. Have you ever been fishing for a specific species of fish and they just don’t seem to be as active as they should be so you try a different lure and they turn off altogether? well the answer is simple you may have had the right colour and size of lure but just the wrong action, sometimes all you need is to change the action just a bit, well now you can.

SeaFour Lures are a mouldable lure just warm the lure up and shape into whatever you like. then dip in the lake and the lure will hold the new shape. This lure has been working well on the West coast for a couple of years now and slowly the fisherman of the Great Lakes are discovering this great secret.

if you would like to learn more about this product then please follow them on Facebook and check out their website at the following links

SeaFour lures Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/seafour.lures?fref=ts

and SeaFour Lures website   http://www.seafourlures.com/

Its like fishing with DYNAMITE