River Currents

by Free Speech on May 14, 2009

Lodi, WI~

Lodi Valley News serving Lodi, WI & the Lake Wisconsin area with local information since Earth Day 2008.

Lodi, WI-5/14/09
by Gary Engberg
©2009 Gary Engberg Outdoors

Shooting Video and Hiring a Guide

Big 'gills like this one are now active in shallow water.

Big 'gills like this one are now active in shallow water.

I’ve been working on an outdoor show for a couple of years. My “master plan” has been to shoot outdoor video about activities of interest in Wisconsin (fishing, hunting, children’s programs, etc.) and eventually edit the video for one of the local or national networks. This year, I found an excellent videographer, Daniel Robinson, who recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin. Daniel isn’t a fisherman or hunter, but knows how to take great video. We’ve been making considerable progress in recent months with finally editing and shooting more video this past winter and now this spring. As they say, we have a considerable amount video “in the can”.

One thing that has been the general theme is to do most of the show on outdoor activities that  can be filmed in Wisconsin. Our state has some of the nation’s top freshwater angling for all species, there is outstanding hunting for most of game animals and gamebirds, and Wisconsinites participate in many outdoor activities . Why travel when you have the tremendous outdoor opportunities which the Badger State provides and you’re on a very limited budget? This show is going to be more than “hooks and bullets” and will encompass the many diverse outdoor activities that are available here. Some of the other activities include; canoeing, kayaking, outdoor photography, snow-shoeing, hiking, camping, camp fire cooking, bow-fishing, and so much more. Wisconsin is truly a “Mecca” for the outdoors person and we hope to capture much of this on our program.

Now, is the best time of the year if you’re a fisher-person and I’ve been busy trying to get valuable footage of this fishing. Despite being a fishing guide for decades, I wanted to go fishing with top-notch anglers and guides who are experts in catching all fish species. Though, I’ve fished and fish for all fish species walleyes, muskies, and smallmouth have been my strengths. I usually fish the Wisconsin River and Lake Wisconsin, but I wanted some video from the Madison Chain of Lakes who has outstanding fishing for most gamefish in an urban setting  As said I earlier, now is the time to fish local waters because fish are shallow (less than 10 feet deep) and the good fishing locations over-lap with walleyes, largemouth, smallmouth, muskies, northern pike, and panfish being in basically the same or near-by locations. I wanted to catch largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and panfish on film. The best way to accomplish this in my mind was to go out with a guide who knows the Madison area’s lakes well. Since, I don’t consider myself a great largemouth angler; I called two guides and friends who are members of the Four Lakes Guide Association. I’m also a member of this elite group of fishermen which includes; Wally Banfi, Terry Frey, Tony Puccio, Lee Tauchen, and Ron Barefield.

This is my point, if you’re looking to improve your fishing skills, learn area waters, plus the best tactics, and techniques then hire a guide who educates to take you on the water. I wanted to catch shallow water pre-spawn bass and Lee Tauchen and Ron Barefield are experts at this type of fishing. Both Lee and Ron fish all species with Lee being one of the country’s top young muskie anglers and Ron being a true “pro” on all species of fish. There is a reason why Ron has fished over 150 days a year for going on 30 years and Lee was recently on the History Channel with Jim Lindner in their Monster Quest series where they attempted to catch huge muskies during the winter.

Guide Ron Barefield with a nice largemouth bass caught on Lake Waubesa

Guide Ron Barefield with a nice largemouth bass caught on Lake Waubesa

The money spent on hiring a guide is money well spent with these two guys and all members of the Four Lakes Guide Association. Besides their fishing skills, these individuals are educators who take pride in teaching people how to fish Wisconsin waters. All of these guides give seminars to fishing clubs and at sport shows all year in which they teach and educate anglers in the sport that they love.  What one would learn in a day fishing with a quality guide doesn’t have a price tag because what you’d learn is priceless if you watch closely and ask questions. I don’t care how long you’ve fished or what your skill level is because anyone can learn more when fishing with a quality guide! My fishing years goes back farther than I care to admit, but I still learned techniques and tips when I fished with Lee on Thursday and Ron on Friday. Anyone can be a “guide” these days, but individuals who have to make their living fishing have to produce most days and have to be able to teach their clients the many “basics” of angling. Whenever you decide to hire a fishing guide, do some research and ask for references of people who have previously fished with the guide. A key to hiring a guide is to find out how many of their clients are repeat customers. I know that Lee, Ron, Wally, Terry, and Tony have many of the same people fishing with them every year and that speaks for itself!

Both Lee and Ron still showed the enthusiasm and excitement that you get when fishing and especially when the fish are active and biting. Lee and I fished Lake Mendota Thursday and the initial plan was to try to target smallmouth on the lake’s rock bars. But, with the water being crystal clear (When was the last time you heard that Lake Mendota was crystal clear?) and no wind, we soon realized that we would have to find another plan for the day’s filming. But, this is what a good guide can do, switch to Plan B and have success.

Lee decided to move to the north shore of the lake and pitch, flip, and cast the piers and shallow water for pre-spawn largemouth bass. It turned out to be the right decision and we caught many nice largemouths up to 5 pounds with constant action. Daniel Robinson filmed the fishing and we now have a very good segment for editing and a future television show.

On Friday, Ron Barefield and I fished Lake Wabesa despite a full parking lot and 3 tournaments on the weekend’s docket. There were boats everywhere and jammed near Rockford Heights and Hog Island. Most of these anglers were targeting crappies and panfish. We stayed away from the other boats and fished the east shore while looking for newly emerging weeds and shallow water fish. This is also a good time of the year to sight fish with most fish going shallow as the water warms after a chilly morning. If you wore a good pair of polarized sunglasses, you could see the fish cruising the shallows of Lake Wabesa. Despite the large number of anglers on the water, there were muskies, bass, and panfish almost everywhere on Lake Wabesa. The muskies were just through spawning, so they weren’t interested in our large muskie baits. Again, Ron made a good decision and we moved to the southern end of the lake and fished the piers successfully for both crappies and largemouth bass. Daniel again got some good footage and another segment was completed with the help of an experienced professional guide.

The important things I’ve tried to pass on is that it’s a great time to be on the water in southern and central Wisconsin and the added importance of hiring a experienced guide who takes pride in educating others to their lifelong passion if you’re interested in improving your fishing skills.
Contacts; Lee Tauchen (608)-444-2180, Ron Barefield (608)-838-8756, Wally Banfi (608)-6444-9823, Tony Puccio (608)-845-5410, and Terry Frey (6080-220-6366.

Check out my website at www.garyengbergoutdoors.com for some video of my day’s with Lee and Ron.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Previous post:

Next post: