Monday, December 30, 2013


JawJacker Ice Fishing
There are quite a few different "Tip-up" and "Hook-set" set ups for ice fishing these days.  One comment I recently saw someone make on a discussion board about legalizing the use of devices in Minnesota such as the JawJacker was this, "Don't we have enough electronics already? Does someone really need more to catch fish? Remember, it's fishing not catching!!! If they do pass it I wont use it but if someone wants to then fine but I would say no." - Doug. 

My post is not to necessarily argue with Doug making this comment but rather point out some misconceptions that many people (such as Doug) may have and give some reasoning and benefits of using the JawJacker.

JawJacker Ice Fishing

Misconception #1 "Electronics"
Well the JawJacker, along with all of the other devices of this kind, are not electronic at all.  It is unfortunate that those who are "against" using these devices are under the misconception that the devices are electronic and some how give the fisherman an some unfair advantage by being electronic.  The truth is that the JawJacker is a device that is powered solely by the ice fishing rod that you put in it. 

JawJacker Ice Fishing

Misconception #2 "Spring Loaded"
Even though there may be a spring on the trigger adjustment of the JawJacker to adjust the tension of the trigger mechanism, the spring does absolutely nothing other than adjust how sensitive the device is set.  There is no spring loading in the way the device sets the hook or in the way the device is held in the ready position.  The JawJacker relies primarily on the tension of the rod itself to set the hook which can be adjusted to match the fish you are attempting to catch.  The angle of the rod in the rod holder as well as the length of the trigger arm will fluctuate the momentum of the rod from an extremely light hook set to a harder hook set for bigger fish.  To demonstrate how these devices work please watch the video provided by Matt from JawJacker!  

Misconception #3 "Fishing not Catching"
One thing I am a huge believer in is that this device does EXACTLY what it says it will do!  I have never used a product in fishing that is more spot on with what it promises to its consumer!   The JawJacker website state, "The JawJacker is a new ice fishing device that is designed to help ice fishermen catch more fish. When a fish bites, the trigger releases the bent fishing rod so it can snap up and set the hook.  The trigger is very sensitive and can detect light bites."  There is also a slogan that JawJacker stands by which says that this device "Makes good ice-fisherman better" which is exactly what this product does.  It is important to point out that this device is not 100% guaranteed that you will catch a fish.  There are times that this device is set off while missing the fish, why it's still called fishing not catching!  There are lots of tips to up your hook-up percentage with the JawJacker but even with these tips nothing is 100%.  So this device does not make ice fishing into fish-catching.  It is also obvious that you need to be where the fish are to catch fish as well as use the bait the fish are biting on.   The misconception that the Jawjacker will take the sport out of it is simply just not true.

JawJacker Ice Fishing
Lastly I just want to say that no one I have visited with, chatted to, or tried to convince about the JawJacker has really been completely 100% sold on it until they have seen them in action (either in person or on YouTube)!  I have been ice fishing numerous times this year where I have had people come over to our group to see "what we were doing different" or "what all the excitement was about".  The answer to their question is quickly given to them as they watch the JawJacker in action! 

Check out how much fun this kid has catching fish on the JawJacker!

As many times as I have been out ice fishing I still get the rush when the JawJacker goes off, but nothing to me is as exciting or fulfilling as when I take a few "first timers" or a few kids up ice fishing with the JawJacker!  Watching kids run from pole to pole as they go off with a school of hungry fish swimming through is irreplaceable!  As I said earlier that the biggest selling point is watching these in action so I want to not only show you a video of the JawJacker in action but also a way to get entered to win yourself a JawJacker!!! That's right, here is your post-Christmas present from JawJacker!

To get entered just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below and be sure to share the word so that we know you like what we are doing!  Good Luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

3 Brothers Flies (Ice Flies)

This post will be pretty simple and to the point.  I was contacted by 3 Brother's Flies and asked to review a few of their ice flies in my area to see how they worked.  I have used ice flies a time or two in the past but haven't used them for years so I will admit I wasn't super confident in them working here in Idaho where I usually ice fish.  I received two types of flies to review and here they are:

1) The Slab Spike!
Slab Spike
 In the picture above you can see the fly hooked onto the end of my ice fishing rod.  I have always used bigger jigs than some of the typical ice flies so this one was pushing it for me being a #12.  The bead on the head of this ice fly is tungsten (3.5 mm) which made it nice for sinking it down to where the fish are.  The slab spike was the most popular with the fish on the day I used them and seemed to be what the fish were after.  The day I used them was actually a very slow fishing day and no one around us was getting any bites let alone catching fish.  I caught a few fish on the slab spike jigging while I also caught a few letting it sit and the fish would still grab it on their way by. 
Rainbow Trout Caught on the Slab Spike

Brook Trout caught on the Slab Spike

Now for my personal favorite.... Ice Fly #2!!!!!!

2) The Gill Shrimp!

Gill Shrimp

This little guy was also pretty popular with the fish.  I ended up tying this guy on about a 12 inches above my "go to" bait that has been my most productive jig.  The interesting thing is that there were a few fish who snagged up both baits while looking for some food but by the end of the day I ended up catching more off the Gill Shrimp than I did my bottom jig which in the past was always the #1 producer.  The Gill Shrimp is a #14 which was very small for me to use but the design of it was irresistible to the trout throughout the day.

This Brook Trout had both my jig and the ice fly in its mouth...
If you click on the nave of the fly in my post it will take you to a link where you can check out the prices of these flies as well as the different sizes you can order.  Be sure to check out 3 Brother's Flies for more of their products which is way more the ice flies!  Thanks again for the opportunity to review the flies!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Geigerrig Insulated Tube Garage

Geigerrig Tube Garage
Insulated Tube Garage by Geigerrig
Needing a simple gift idea for the outdoors enthusiast on your Christmas list? I would strongly recommend Geigerrig’s Tube Garage!  Straight up, this $30 dollar purchase will be one of those gifts they never thought to put on their list, yet find themselves using it more than any other gift they receive all year!  Let me explain why.  I will first explain how the Tube Garage works and then I will share with you the benefits and reasoning why this product will be one your outdoors person will use constantly. 

Geigerrig Tube Garage

This product is made by Geigerrig, which that in itself packs a reputation for going above and beyond the normal backpacking experience.  One thing I like about the Tube Garage is that it is compatible with any hydration pack you may have.  The Tube Garage is pretty much exactly what it sounds like… This contraption straps onto your backpack shoulder strap and encloses the hydration hose/tube in an insulated compartment.  The Tube Garage attaches by two Velcro straps which prevent it from sliding around on your shoulder strap during use.  The tube garage is also equipped with a side zipper to allow you to access your hydration tube whenever necessary by simply grabbing the zipper and opening the garage. 

Now, the benefits of using the Tube Garage! 

1st – Just like a garage for your vehicle, the Tube Garage protects your hydration tube from all of the outdoor elements.  Before I used the Tube Garage, I used to always get frustrated when using a hydration pack; if I ever put my pack down to rest, there were times I would realize that my drinking valve was covered in dirt, mud, or some other random substance.  Even with the Geigerrig, which sprays water rather than depends on the user to suck the water out of the bladder, I would have a difficult time cleaning off my drinking valve to the point where I didn’t taste whatever it was that was on it…

Geigerrig Tube GarageGeigerrig Tube Garage

2nd – Another benefit from using the Tube Garage is allowing yourself to forget about tubes and hoses!   No matter how many clips or loops my pack has on it to keep my hydration tube out of my face or out of the way of me doing other tasks, my hoses seem to have a mind of their own and always seem to get in the way!  With the Tube Garage your hose will always be secure tightly in the enclosed compartment unless you open it up and let it out.  This is a HUGE benefit for those who use hydration packs when hunting, especially archery hunting.  I myself have almost damaged my bow and my hydration pack because my hydration hose has gotten tangled up in my bow string while at full draw.  I would strongly suggest that anyone who archery hunts or anyone who enjoys the sport of archery shooting should get the Tube Garage.  
3rd – The last benefit I will mention about the Tube Garage is its durability!  The TubeGarage provides your hydration tubes with an insulated housing that protects it from the cold and elements you surround yourself with while doing so is a durable and compact fashion.  This product actually allows you more freedom, movement, and safety than any other simple $30 purchase I have seen.  Inside the Tube Garage there is also an internal pocket you can use to place a hand warmer in to use when in extremely cold conditions.  So no matter what pack, hydration system, terrain, and activity you will encounter, I can see the Tube Garage being one of your most simple yet rewarding items to have for yourself or for that outdoors person on your Christmas list!
Ice Fishing with Geigerrig Tube Garage
Ice Fishing in -16 degrees wasn't the most fun...
I used the Tube Garage in -16 degree weather without using a hand warmer (just because I forgot it at my house) to keep the tube warm/above freezing… I wish I could say that the Tube Garage was awesome enough to fight off the -16 degrees plus wind chill when keeping my tube above freezing but it is not the superman of insulated compartments.  In this type of weather without the assistance of the hand warmer it was a no-brainer that my hydration tubes ended up freezing. 

Geigerrig Tube GarageGeigerrig Tube Garage

I did use the Tube Garage again during another ice fishing trip when the temperature was a whopping +18 degrees.  This trip I still didn't use the hand warmer  and my hydration tubes stayed nice and free all day long without freezing or even icing up a little.  I strongly recommend this product as well as anything else Geigerrig makes.  I have not been anything but impressed with the quality and durability of all of their products I own.  

As with all reviews on Idaho Pursuit, the following review is my honest opinion. I am not a pro-staff member of, sponsored by, or associated with Geigerrig and am not accepting any  compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this review.  My independent status may change in the future but, as of the date of publication, no relationship other than described above has been pursued or established.

Friday, November 15, 2013

6 Point Bull Elk

I would love to be the one writing this next story but even though I'm not, I can't help but want to share it.  This story is of my cousin Jackson Clark who was lucky enough to draw out and fill a late season bull elk hunt with his rifle! I'll let him tell the story...

6 Point Bull Elk
Jackson Clark with an Idaho 6 Point Bull Elk

Like most hunters, this hunt for me didn’t just start on opening day but instead it started months earlier when I found out I drew out on the late bull elk hunt in my area.  This hunt is a pretty rare one to draw out on and is often a “hit or miss” opportunity depending on the weather.  The fortunate part for me was that I spent most of the summer working up around the area I was going to be hunting so I was able to get to know some of the area pretty well.  When hunting season came around I was getting excited and nervous hearing about everyone’s success or failures while I waited patiently for the general season to end so that my late season hunt could begin!
It was a cold foggy morning with 6 inches of snow on the ground when I had the opportunity to get to the mountains.  As my friend and I hit the saddle we knew it was going to be a cold wet day as it had already dumped about 7 inches of snow the day before while continuing to snow.  Without being able to see more than 100 yards ahead we decided to travel as slow and silent as we could on horseback. As we made it half way up the mountain we spotted a herd of elk!  My heart was racing as I tried to make out the distinction of the silhouettes walking through the storm.  Once we were able to get our optics to focus in on the herd of elk we saw that this herd was full of cows and a few smaller bulls, but nothing we were looking for so we continued up the mountain.   My heart rate still hadn’t returned to its normal pace by the time we were sneaking through a nice draw when all of a sudden we spotted a nice bull making its way across a clearing.  By this time my heart felt like it was stuck in my throat stopping me from breathing.  I reached for my gun and before I knew it I was off my horse with a 6 bull centered in my cross hairs.  As I watched him in my scope he was standing broadside looking at me just like I had been dreaming about for 5 months since I drew out on this tag.  The bull turned his head to run but I wasn’t about to let this opportunity pass me by, there was no way I was even going to give this guy the chance of getting away. Just as I pulled the trigger and saw his body buckle underneath him as he hit the ground. When I pulled the trigger, my horse spooked and took off running about 40 yards away then slowed down…  My friend and I got my horse and then waited about 15 minutes before going up to the elk.  The feeling I got when I walked up to my elk was just the way I had hoped I would feel when I first drew this tag.  I didn’t want to settle for a small bull when I knew what I potentially could put my tag on in this area.  We celebrated for a good while before field dressed him and figuring out how to get him out of there.  The snow turning into being a blessing in disguise allowing me to drag this guy out behind my horse.  It was easy going for the most part except for when we would have to tie up the horses and drag him through the random rock piles.  When we finally got to the trailer we were exhausted from all of the work and excitement but knew that all of our efforts had paid off exactly the way we had hoped they would! 
My Trophy!

Elk Hunt
Draggin him out!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ice-fishing Is Coming!!!

So I have been thinking non-stop about ice-fishing lately.  Some people think ice-fishing is crazy and stupid but I absolutely love it! One reason I love it so much is because in my area I am able to use up to 5 poles per person while ice-fishing which can make for a very exciting time when the fish are really biting!  Without going on and on about lots of the other reasons why I love ice-fishing I want to share with you my top 3 items that I feel are essential to ice-fishing!

#1 - Ice Shelter
My Eskimo Quick Fish 6
I know there are plenty of times that I take my ice shelter and do not use it, but I can't express how essential one is when you do need it! It is like the common saying that you never realize how much you need something until you don't have it... Even on the days when it is good weather and great fishing it is good to have the shelter set up and a place to keep your gear.  I have used the shelter to not only keep me warm on the freezing cold bad weather days, but I have also used it to keep me from getting sun-burnt on the clear calm days sitting on a snow covered frozen lake which refects the sun rays no matter what direction you turn!  A shelter can also be used to dry out wet clothing if you have a heater or some other heat source inside.

#2 - The JawJacker!!!!!

JawJacker with a nice brook trout I caught

Another view of the JawJacker
If this contraption is legal in your state then get one!!! Honestly it has been a blast using this product and I have zero complaints about it!  For those who don't know what the JawJacker is, it is an ice-fishing pole holder which holds your pole bent down and then releases the tip of the pole when a fish bites your bait... this release allows the bent pole to straighten out and set the hook for you resulting in more hook-ups when ice-fishing.  I wrote a post review about this product last year and if you want to read more about it be sure to check it out here.  I will be posting videos of me using this product this year and hopefully get some footage of me pulling out some great fish. This product is great as a pole holder if you are able to fish with more than one pole.  I know some people who use these on all of their poles while I myself like to use them on a few while jigging the others.

#3 - Sled
My Otter Ice-Fishing sled
As basic as this item is, you can never leave home without it! I am also realizing now that it is better if you get a bigger sled than you need so that when you take extra people with you or extra gear you don't have to small of a sled!!! My dad is always giving me a bad time because I convinced him that I only needed a small sled for ice-fishing and now I am always asking him if I can borrow his bigger sled... I have seen people build their own as well as build a 2 story sled which is like having a sled with an upper shelf.

Bonus Item #4
Ice Fishing Success
Have something unique which makes you stand out!  I have a hat my wife bought me when she was in Russia a few years ago... This hat has now become my favorite/lucky ice-fishing hat!  Things like this just add to the fun and craziness that often goes on while ice-fishing... Like I mentioned earlier some people think I'm crazy because I love to sit on a frozen lake and try to pull fish through a hole.  This hat just keeps those rumors and people talking :) Make it fun!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

That's My Spot!!!!

This post is not aimed at any one group of outdoors enthusiasts but rather as a general suggestion for any of us who may travel to an area other than our own to hunt or fish.  I am very fortunate with where I live.  I am surrounded by wonderful hunting opportunities including elk, deer, moose, as well as small game and bird hunting also.  I am also smack dab in the middle of some of the countries greatest fishing/fly-fishing locations that are available.  To put it lightly I would say that where I live could be considers an outdoors paradise to some.  With that said, it is not uncommon for me to run into a few other outdoors men while I'm hunting or fishing who share the same passion for the sport as I do.  As much as I wish I could be the only person who knew about some of my favorite hunting or fishing spots, I am a realist in the fact that I understand my desire is not reality.  When sharing with those I encounter on the mountain or at the lake/river, sad to say I am often appalled at how rude and inconsiderate some individuals can be.  The following is not a set of rules we need to follow but rather they are suggestions that I feel could make everyone's experience better when encountering someone in "your spot".

Respect the other person:
As upset as you are it is a key principle to remember that we are all human, make mistakes, and are not perfect.  Even if you think the person who is in your spot is doing it just to piss you off, chances are they have the same motivation you do which is to enjoy the outdoors.  On the other hand if you see someone fishing or hunting in an area you were wanting to be, do not be immature and ruin their experience just because you are jealous or upset that they are "in your spot".  I have had my share of ignorant people attempt to ruin my experience by yelling while I'm sneaking up on an animal, circle their boat over top of my fishing lines, paddle their float tube right through my fishing lines, or purposely spook an animal just because they were jealous I had the opportunity they were wanting.  Respect them as a person and do not ruin their experience.  This includes respecting their space.  If you are wanting to hunt or fish in that spot don't just assume its public access and you can go as close to their party as you want. Yes legally that would be okay but out of respect for them it would at least be nice to ask them if they would  mind or if they would be upset if you hunted/fished next to them.  My worst example of this is fishing Henry's Lake in the fall.  If one person catches a fish it seems to attract every boat and float tube around who feel the only fish in the whole lake must be right under that person's boat... Respect the other person's space and don't be entitled to believe you are the only one who deserves to have success.

Respect the land:
This is one I feel very passionate about and am sad to see happen in any location.  No matter if it is right in your back yard or if you're clear across the world, respecting the land is a principle that needs to be followed.  As I mentioned earlier I would love it if I was the only person who knew about some of the hunting and fishing spots I enjoy, but reality is that I'm not.  As upset as I could be when I find someone in my spot, it upsets me so much more when I get into that location to see that the person who was there last treated the spot will little or no respect.  I have picked up bags and bags of garbage other sportsmen have left behind and am just shocked to see how some of them destroy the natural landmarks (trees, rock formations, and other items) with little or no thought of those who may be there next.  When people treat an area as if it is dispensable, replaceable, or of little or no worth I often wonder why they were there in the first place.  I was taught by my father to not only take care of an area but to try and leave it in a better condition than how you found it.  If all sportsmen lived by this principle we could all enjoy these "spots" a lot more than what we already do.
Google Images
Respect the wildlife:
When hunting or fishing in an area, especially when traveling far distances, there is always a sense of pressure to not come home empty handed.  Not only do people not want to go home empty handed, but they also want to come back with a trophy.  While this may be our goal/desire at times, if that is the only reason we are out we may just want to stay at home.  It is not bad to have this goal/desire if we truly respect the wildlife we are after.  I know of a few fisherman who are so controlling about their spot that they keep every fish they catch to ensure that no one else will catch that fish there.  These fisherman have wasted fish at times because they keep more than what they can eat.  I have also heard of hunters leaving animals in the woods because they weren't "big enough" or cutting off antlers and leaving the rest of the animal because they only cared about the horns.  Hearing a hunter say something like, "yeah we gave up lookin for it because it just wasn't worth it" is poison to my ears.  No matter what terrain, what species, or gender the animal is, it is worth your effort to do all in your power to recover than animal.  I have found two quotes/sayings that have really summed up my opinion on this principle and here they are.

These three simple principles are standards which can and should be followed to not only make your experience in the outdoors better but also the experience of everyone else who may follow behind you.  No one wants to go outdoors for a relaxing hunting or fishing trip and deal with some person who is rude, ignorant, or immature.  Respect the land, the people, and the wildlife no matter where you are, especially when hunting out of state or out of your original area.  Remember we are all guests in every area we hunt or fish.  It is not our own and we have been blessed to enjoy it for the time being.  Being an outdoors men goes deeper than filling tags and filling the freezer, its about conservation, management, and friendship.  The outdoors is supposed to teach young men and women about respect, hard work, dedication, and other wonderful concepts yet fails to do so when bombarded with the irrational actions of those less observant of these principles. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

What Does Opening Weekend Mean to You?

The view from our Elk Hunting Spot
Opening weekend...

Those two words alone have carry a lot of meaning and excitement for many different people.  Those words also bring a flood of memories and emotions to many of us who have spent that time with friends and/or family in the outdoors. To me those words take me back to when I was a kid hunting with my dad and brothers.

Before I go much further I do want to give credit to Sole Adventure's blog for sparking my interest in this topic for a blog post. His post a while back gave tips on how to have the right focus concerning hunting and responding to other hunter's success. One point he made in his post was a bold statement which emphasized, "HUNTING DOES NOT MATTER"... To some, those words may be offensive but in the grand scheme of things the act of hunting is very close to zero on the list of important events in life.  If that statement doesn't sit well with you it may be time to sit down and evaluate your life.  I am not, nor was the original blog post, indicating that hunting is not fun or enjoyable but rather just that the act of hunting itself is simply not a life or death priority even if it may seem like it to some people.  His post shared a lot of great tips to make sure your priorities are where they need to be if you are a hunter this hunting season so be sure to check it out! ( So back to my thoughts...

Some families go on big vacations, some go on trips through out the summer, and some families have other traditions such as a family get together on holidays.  Part of my families tradition growing up was hunting together on opening weekend as well as throughout the hunting season.  One of my favorite hunting memories was when we were all pushing through the river bottoms looking for white tail deer as a family.  When we hunted this way we were always safe to keep track of where everyone was that where we never shot in the direction of another person.  While we were pushing through the thick river bottom brush, I suddenly heard my brother Dustin holler out, "DEER!!!".  When my brother hollered out that he had just spooked up a deer I knew there was a good chance that deer would be heading in my direction so I had to get ready.  I pushed through the little brush pile I was in and stepped out onto a small trail I hadn't seen until the moment I stepped foot on it. Just at that time I saw a flash of tan from my left... The next few seconds of my life moved slower than ever as I watched a white tail doe come around a small tree, leap into the air about 3 feet away heading straight toward me!  The deer didn't realize I was there until the same moment I notice her. The deer's reaction was a lot like mine as we both curled up into a ball turning our shoulders to preparing ourselves for the impact.

That deer could have played on any NFL football team delivering hits like she did on me.  She flat out knocked me off my feet and threw me onto my back while knocking my gun out of my hand.  We both scrambled to get back on our feet and do what we had both come there to do.  As the deer hurried to her feet, I was looking around desperately to find where my gun had landed after the collision.  By the time I got myself together, the deer was nowhere to be found... Shortly after I got to my feet, I was met by my brother Dustin who was asked me if I had seen the doe he scared up... I used to think it was hard to convince someone of a big buck you saw without someone else there to verify it, but trying to get my brother to believe me that I was knocked down and ran over by a white tail doe was difficult.

My dad and brother Travis hiking
Elk Wallow
An elk wallow we found on our trip

Memories like this one are one of the most important reasons I hunt.  Yes I love the sport and man do I love a fresh back-strap dinner, but none of it would mean half as much if I didn't have my family right there with me.  This year on opening weekend I was lucky enough to go out with my brother Travis and my Dad on an over-night elk hunt which didn't turn out to be very successful in regards to filling the freezer, but this was the first over-night hunting trip the three of us had been on together.  On this hunt we didn't have much go our way to help us on hunting but we still had a blast hiking around, talking, and spending time together in the outdoors. 

Bear Tracks
Bear tracks by our tree stands
Dead Moose
Winter moose kill... had all the elk scared away

This archery season will be closing up soon and for me that is a little hard to cope with.  I haven't gotten out much and to me, like I said earlier, its not the hunting I will be missing but the excuse to get outdoors with my family and friends is what I am not looking forward to letting go of.  I am not saying we don't spend time together other than the time we are hunting, it is just the type of bonds that we build while hunting are a kind like no other.  These things may sound odd to those who don't share the same passion yet everyone knows what it takes to create a lasting memory! So get out there and make some memories with those you care about this fall!
Shout out to my brother Travis! You are a stud!