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Author: James Collins

Best Lure Ever – Al’s Gold Fish

Best Lure Ever – Al’s Gold Fish

When I was a kid, Al’s Goldfish, the best lure ever, was free with the can of shaving cream my Dad bought.  I can’t remember the brand of shaving cream, but I got the best lure ever with every can he bought.  The lure was bright gold metal with a slight bend upward in the center.  It had a treble hook.  The was a simple eye to attach line.  The lure was light, but it seemed to catch every kind of fish in the lake.

Fishing the Best Lure Ever

Casting the Best Lure Ever from the Shor

The Goldfish was light so it rarely got snagged when I cast from shore. A count to 3 was enough to get the lure to the depth I wanted.  The light weight of the lure plus the shape of the body caused the lure to almost float down. The slight bend in the Gold Fish created a wobble as it was retrieved.  I always tried to figure out ways to maintain that wobble no matter how I fished the Gold Fish.   I attached the lure directly to the line most of the time using a loop through the eye and around the body.  Sometimes I added a very tiny swivel if I thought I would be switching lures.

Trolling with the Best Lure Ever

Trolling was a different matter because the goldfish was so light.  I would add spit shots about a foot to 2splits shots help the best lure ever troll well feet about the lure until it trolled at the depth I wanted.

Adding steel leaders for fish like pike, walleye and muskies meant adding action while trolling.  I would quickly pull my rod tip forward and let it slip back.  I did this frequently in consistent intervals.  The forward motion of trolling with the drop as tension was taken off the line allowed the lure to do its signature wobble.

Species Attract to the Best Lure Ever

I caught this with the best lure ever.I have never tried the Gold Fish in salt water.  In fresh water, whether streams, ponds or large lakes, I have caught every species I have fished for with this lure.  That is why I call it the best lure ever.  Letting the lure drift for pools and through in rivers, I have caught lots of trout.   Casting from shore, I have caught panfish, perch and even cat fish.  Off docks I have caught walleye and bass.  Trolling, when the lure is rigged right, I have caught bass, chain pickerel, walleyes, northern pike, lake trout and even a small muskie.

If you are stocking up on lures for the spring and summer, make sure you pick up several of the best lures ever.  The gold fish is a spoon.  Now there are various colors and sizes.  I still stick to the original gold fish which I think is the best lure ever.

Casting Flatfish Lures – Fun Anywhere You Try

Casting Flatfish Lures – Fun Anywhere You Try

When I was a kid, the lure I used most was a flatfish.   Casting flatfish lures always caught me fish.  At the time, I was fishing for small mouth bass and walleyes.   I have used flatfish my whole life.  They work in any water in any conditions.

Casting Flatfish Lures on Calm Water

A brightly colored flatfish cast on still water is a great surface lure.  The flat tapered nose dives the lure with a hard pull which the body brings it back to the surface.  A finger on the line just before the reel adds a side to side motion.  In calm water, the lure is deadly.

A flatfish tends to run at a medium depth, but most models float.  They can be used for surface fishing.  The surface retrieve needs to vary between slow and  fast.  The lure should be bobbing and splashing.  Fish in the shade of rocks can’t resist the motion.  It pulls them out of weeds.

Casting Flatfish Lures in Choppy Water

On choppy water or  whitecaps, retrieving a flatfish on the surface does not work.  Waves of any sizeChoppy water makes casting flatfish lures more difficult throw the lure out of the water.  As a result, fish tend not to hit a lure that is completely leaving the water every couple of seconds.  Consequently, in waves, a steady retrieve that keeps the flatfish under the waves is needed.   Pulling the rod tip forward and letting it bend back while reeling will add extra action but keep the lure in the water.   In choppy water, the best method for fishing a flatfish is slow trolling. Again, pulling the rod tip forward and letting it slip back will add extra action.

Fishing Flatfish in Deep Water

Flatfish are really a mid-depth running lure depending.  The faster the retrieve the deeper the lure will run.  Ten feet is about the depth with a normal retrieve.  For really deep retrieves, weighted line works best.  The color tells the depth.  The action of the lure does not change as long as it is always moving forward.   Any lure can be fished deep using weighted line.

Also, rigging a weight on the line can take the flatfish deeper.  Usually, a weight is used with bait, but it works with a lure.  The more line let out the deeper the rig goes.  This can only be done while trolling.  The line must be presented in the water while the boat is moving forward to avoid tangling.  A flasher can be added to change the motion of the lure and attract fish.  The weight should be a least 18 inches from the lure.  If a flasher is add, both should be at least 2 ft.from the lure.  If this rig is used, the rod tip should remain steady to avoid tangling. This setup with bait is called a Carolina Rig.

Casting Flatfish Lures in Saltwater

The largest flatfish are needed for saltwater fishing.  When fishing in salt water, a flat weight should beanimated-fishing-image-0131 added right in front of the nose because the lure will not sink without weight.   When surf casting flatfish lures, the retrieve should be fast without stopping.  The action of the lure will change, but will still be effective.   Perhaps the best salt water method for using flatfish is jigging.  When drifting or anchored, drop the lure to the desired depth and pull it up at varied speeds stopping to let if fall a bit and then retrieve again.  If trolling in salt water, a huge lure is needed.   Flatfish may not look like other saltwater lures, but if fished correctly, they work.

Buy flatfish that are the same size and color of other lures that work where you fish.  From there, experiment with color and size.  I have used tiny inch long flatfish for trout in streams and foot long flatfish in the ocean.

Flatfish are a versatile, old school lure.  Give them a try.  They might become your go to lure.





Tik Tok Take Away – Buy What You Saw

Tik Tok Take Away – Buy What You Saw

I show a lot of my favorite fishing equipment on under: drjec.    My grandkids all call me “Papa” so I guess that’s who I am.   People keep asking where to find the things that I talk about  on TikTok so I started this page called Tik Tok Take Away.

What Can You Take Away?

This is a tik tok take away question mark.

You get 50 seconds of watching me as an immediate Tik Tok Take Away.  Scroll down to check out what I talked about.  After all, if it works for me, maybe it will work for you.  You can click on any item to purchase it or to view more by typing a keyword into the search bar that opens. But don’t wait too long to buy, things will change as Tik Tok changes.

jitterbug – $8.98


Index-Challenger K-1 $90.99


Kid’s Combo – Everything they need for a summer of fishing – $29.99
15 assorted sizes by Junix – $8.99


Rapala Original Floater – $5.98


Newport Vessels 36lb. thrust Trolling Motor $139.95


tik tok take away
10 Assorted spinnerbaits                 $12.99
Tik tok Take Away
South Bend Spoon Kit                        $8.99


Shakespeare Ice Combo                $19.67

I have been spending about 50 seconds per video reading through One Man’s Mile.  Listen to more at Papa’s Reading Room on Youtube.  For information on One Man’s Mile , click on the picture.

Fishing Lure Mart

Scroll down to read posts about fishing or check out the menu at the top of the page because there is a lot more to than just Tik Tok Take Away.  We all tend to stick to what works for us no matter what kind of fishing.  The great thing about is that you can look at every kind of fishing equipment imaginable just by typing in a search bar.

Hit the “shopping” tab in the menu.  You will find yourself in one of the most extensive online shopping centers on the net.  From Bass Pro Shop and Orvis to Russell Stover Candy, you’ll find almost anything you need for anything you do.

Homemade Ice Chisel – Inexpensive, Easy, Effective

Homemade Ice Chisel – Inexpensive, Easy, Effective

If you ice fish, you need something to cut a hole in the ice.  I have reviewed ice augers in the past.  The quickest to use is the gas powered auger.  A hand auger is less expensive and easier to carry, but difficult to use.  When I hiked into a lake, I did not want to carry a power auger.  I found the best alternative for me was an ice chisel.  I decided to make a homemade ice chisel.

Ice Chisels

ice chisel
54″ heavy duty chisel $22

Ice Chisels come in different lengths and weights.   This one piece chisel is 54″ long and heavy-duty.  It is selling on Amazon right now for $22.  Just click on the image to buy this chisel.

Other models, including two and three piece pack-in chisels are sold at:

Click on the banner.


Homemade Ice Chisel

A good ice chisel cuts fast but the hole will not be completely round.  There is a tendency to make the hole wider at the top than at the bottom with an ice chisel.  This isn’t bad as long as the bottom is the size you want.  You will need a good ice scoop if you use a chisel.  It’s easy to make an ice chisel.


two 24″ x 3/4″ pieces of galvanized pipe with both ends threaded

galvanized cap

galvanized coupling.

3/4″ steel chisel

Quick set cement (optional)



Block of Wood


Stand one section of pipe on end.  Place the handle of the steel chisel into the  pipe.  Place the block of wood on the chisel blade and tap the chisel into the pipe with the hammer.   The fit will be very tight, but the pipe is soft so the chisel handle should go in up to the blade.

Screw the coupling onto one piece of pipe and screw the other piece into it.  Place the cap on the open end of the pipe. Tie something around the pipe to act as a wristband.  I have lost more than one hand chisel with that last chop that breaks right through the ice unexpectedly.

For added weight, pour some very loose quickset cement into the section of pipe with the chisel.  Connect the pieces after the cement dries.

You will have a nicely weighted, very sturdy, two piece ice chisel.

Enjoy Your Homemade Ice Chisel

I love to ice fish, but I don’t like carrying a power auger.  They are too noisy and too frustrating when they won’t start.  Hand augers are cumbersome.  I also find them difficult to use.  I like my homemade ice chisel.  It packs easily and gets the job done quietly.  What’s your preference?


New Ice Fishing Gear 2021 Needed

New Ice Fishing Gear 2021 Needed

Halloween decoration have been in stores for two months.  Thanksgiving decorations are up.  This means that its time to start thinking about ice fishing and new ice fishing gear.

Ice Fishing Tip-up Rigs

Traditional Rigs

If you need one, you need 3.  Don’t exceed the rod limit.  These tips ups are basic but keep.  With a hit, they  new ice fishing gear includes tip-upsspool out line until you get to them.  You even get a minnow net.  Add a little bell to the arm so you don’t have to watch.  Tip-ups are as old as forever.  They’re simple and effective.  Just cut the hole in the ice and place the rig.


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COVID 19 Impact Changed Fishing

COVID 19 Impact Changed Fishing

I fish all year.  I usually have my boat serviced in February.   For me, at least, COVID 19 changed fishing this year.

The Impact of COVID 19 Changed my Summer

COVID 19 parked my boat and my motor home.

My boat is where I parked it after my last fishing trip in early February.  The motorhome is right in front of the boat and hasn’t moved since late November.  I should tell you that my wife won’t let me take the boat out by myself anymore because I am old.  With COVID 19 made it tough to find someone to fish with.  COVID 19 changed my summer.  We had planned to camp and fish in several different places.  Instead, we stayed home.  I did prepare for fishing next year.

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Downrigger Review Choose Fresh or Saltwater – They’re all fun.

Downrigger Review Choose Fresh or Saltwater – They’re all fun.

This guy needs a lot of things…. a bigger boat, a plan, a lifejacket and a downrigger just to name a few.  We all have our favorite fishing equipment brands.  Usually, they become our favorites by trial and error.  It’s helpful when someone tells us about a great product or when we read about something new.  Then all we have to do is give it a try.  This is no less true for something as common as downriggers.

Downrigger Review

This guy could have used a down rigger.

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Bilge Plugs Can Cause a Disaster So Install Them Properly

Bilge Plugs Can Cause a Disaster So Install Them Properly

Its true.  Bilge plugs can cause disaster.  More accurately, forgetting to install bilge plugs can cause disaster.  Friends of mine have sunk boats large and small by forgetting the bilge plug.  I have been running boats for 60 years.  Last week, I forgot the bilge plug.

Bilge Plugs Can Cause a Disaster

The Idea

My brother-in-law and I decided to spend a day on the water looking for bass.  We chose Lake calm bay ready for a boat with a bilge plugNacimiento in San Luis Obispo County in California for the excursion.  Boots towed the boat behind his truck.  I navigated.  We picked a weekday because weekenders and folks with kids weren’t likely to be on the lake.  As it turned out, we had the lake to ourselves.  That didn’t mean that the day on the lake would be easy.

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Fishermen, Frustration, Shrinking Lakes

Fishermen, Frustration, Shrinking Lakes

Where’s the water?

Frustrated fishermen keep asking, ” Where’s the water?”  It’s a legitimate question.  Despite a lot of  rain last winter, central California is still suffering through low water levels.

This is my dock on a large lake in Central California.  The closest water is almost 3/4 mile from where this picture was taken.  The “full” level is the light brown line just below the trees.


fishermen frustrated on lake nacimiento

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The Best Fishing Lure

The Best Fishing Lure

The Best Lure Ever – In My Opinion

I have been fishing since I could walk.  At some point, I talked my Dad into buying me a fishing package advertised on a comic book…. 6 ft. rod, open-face spinning reel, plastic tackle box, stringer, bobber, a package of hooks and a plastic weight for casting.  I practiced casting in the yard for hours.  I decided I needed a lure to cast so I went to the local bait shop.  A wooden floating Rapala caught my eye.  Its still the best lure I have ever used.

Best lurerapala is the best lure


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State Parks, County Parks – Family Fishing Fun

State Parks, County Parks – Family Fishing Fun

State parks can provide great fishing.  We think of county and state parks as great places to hike, camp, picnic and play.  When there is a lake, there is so much more to do.  Type “state parks” or “county parks” into your browser.  You will probably find a list of parks, in your state, that offer fishing and boating.  These parks are accessible and inexpensive.  They can be a vacation destination out of state or a great day trip.  Fishing lodges and guided trips are great, but not a possibility for everyone.  Not everybody can get to an isolated lake or stream to fish.  Accessible fishing in parks can be fun for the family or someone who wants to get away for a few hours of fishing.

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Fishing Spots – Hard Walking, Better Fishing

Fishing Spots – Hard Walking, Better Fishing

Every fisherman wants to find hidden fishing spots with untouched water.  Anglers ask, “Is there a good fishing spot near me?”  It might be a rock sheltering fish in a creek.  A drop off near the shore of a lake may attract feeding fish.   A spring fed pond off the beaten trail attracts few people.   A boat makes it easy to find an isolated spot on a lake or river. On board electronics make it even easier.   On land, with so many people fishing, hidden fishing spots can be hard to find, but offer more fish.



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Stream Fishing – Challenging, Exciting, Peaceful

Stream Fishing – Challenging, Exciting, Peaceful

I love stream fishing in the spring.  Its too late fish spoons as water levels drops.  Its too early to have a lot of success with dry flies because of debris on the water.  But, choosing the right bait is pretty easy this time of year.  Almost anything will work.  There’s water in every stream.  The fun and challenge of stream fishing is reading the water and knowing where to find the fish.

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Boat Cover – Long Term Protection, Beware

Boat Cover – Long Term Protection, Beware

How do you store your boat?  Years ago, our porch became a boat house.  You may store your boat in a garage or undercover at a storage facility.  Over the last few years, I have stored my boat, in my yard, under a good boat cover.

Why a Boat Cover?

There are good reasons to store a boat, long term, under a boat cover.

  • Boat Covers are cheap compared to Storage.
  • Covered boats are easily stored in a yard and kept safe.
  • The cover can be removed quickly and applied all season long.
  • A cover can be opened to get something out of the boat.
  • One person can put on the cover.
  • The cover can stay on when the boat is moved.

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Fast Water Fishing- Spring Runoff Action

Fast Water Fishing- Spring Runoff Action

We’ve waited all winter for the chance to get into that stream or stand along the bank of that river.  Its time, but fast water from spring runoff can make things challenging and dangerous.

fast water fishing

Fast Water Means Safety First

We should think about safety when we think of the fun of fishing in spring runoff.  Ultimately, we want to be around to fish the rest of the year.

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Power Ice Augers – Effective, Heavy, Expensive

Power Ice Augers – Effective, Heavy, Expensive

If you are ice fishing, you need  a hole in the ice.  Most people use power ice augers.  What are the advantages to a power auger?  Are there any disadvantages?  Need more time to ice fish – start an online business for free.

Power Ice Augers – Effective?

Of course, power augers are effective.  They cut through the ice in seconds.  But there are things to keep in mind.

  • Because they are heavy,  snow machine, sled or several trips is needed to carry them.

    power ice augers
    Eskimo Stingray S33 8 inch $349.99 You Save: $45.74 (13% ) $304.25

  • They are noisy.  But, only while running.
  • Test start your auger before you leave home because they are finicky.
  • They can pollute.  Make sure the gas cap is tight.  Use the right oil mixture.
  • Because they are powerful, they are dangerous.  Wrists can snap.  Clothing can get caught. Feet can get augered.
  • They are expensive.

The speed and ease of a power ice auger more than makes up for these issues.

There are a number of models of power augers ranging in price from $250  to over $1200.

Price is determined by cubic inch of the engine.  This determines the ease of drilling.  The size of the auger is also a factor in price.  Blades run from 6″ in diameter to 10″.  The larger the blade the bigger the hole.  Larger blades are more difficult to control.  An extension can be purchased for power ice augers.

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Ice Fishing Tip Ups – Ice Fishing Rods

Ice Fishing Tip Ups – Ice Fishing Rods

If you haven’t tried ice fishing, you don’t know what you are missing.  You can sit in a shack.  You can run between fishing holes.  Watching ice fishing tip ups or jigging with a rod, its just fun.

Inside or Outside

In a Shack

Ice fishing tip ups and rods are used in a fishing shack.  If a tip up is used, its generally set as a second line while a rod is used a few few feet away.

Rods makes more sense in a shack.  You don’t have to go very far to tend a line.

Know you ice fishing regulations.  Ontario, Canada allows two ice fishing lines per person. But, they must be 60 feet apart. This makes multiple lines in a fishing shack impossible.

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