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MinnesotaMuskie

What do you look for in a spear and decoys?

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First off...I am a Muskie Man...hence my username. But, I still enjoy spearing even if I have not been very active. Not really interested in debating spearing vs. angleing.

I am building a new house and putting a couple spear holes in as my son has shown an interest.

Now here is my problem...what do you look for in a quality spear?

Any suggestions on what to buy?

Any thoughts on decoys?

------------------
Practice CPR...Catch, Photo, Realease. Unless you pickle a small northern of course.

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I went out spearing (mostly just throwing) a couple of times last winter. First time since high school, which was over 25 years ago. I use the same spear that I used back then. It was homemade by somebody that I don't remember. It's nothing fancy, but it is far better than any of the things that you will find at Fleet Farm or Sportsmans Warehouse. I think buying a spear is like buying a gun, you will probably have it a lifetime, and then pass it on to your kids, so spend a little more and get something nice.
I went to then John Jenson Decoy Show and competition in Perham last February or March, and they had some VERY nice hardware there. I don't remember what the price range was, since I wasn't shopping for one, but I know they weren't cheap.
What I did find was more spearing decoys than I ever imagined, most were far better quality than you can find in a retail store, in a far wider range of styles and colors, and generally at a better price. I was there just a few hours before the show closed, and came across a vendor who was selling his $15 decoys for $5. Why I only bought 1 I don't know, I'm definitely going back next spring.

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I guess I didn't answer your questions did I?
I my opinion, the most important thing about a spear is how well you can throw it. (actually it's more of a push) How the spear is balanced and weighted has a lot to do with how well you can launch it, I guess it has to feel right when you hold it.
Functionally it doesn't matter, but nicely ground welds look a lot nicer.
I think a lot of spears today have the tines too far apart, mine are about 1 1/4", but I've seen some in the stores at 2". You're not going to be releasing these things so I figure if I can get 2 tines into them instead of 1, they will have less of a chance of getting off, again, it's not like they're spitting a hook or breaking a line, they have no chance of living, so I want to make sure they make it all the way to the frying pan.
On that same note, make sure the tines have a large enough barb on the end so that the fish doesn't slide off, although every one that I've seen seems to be OK in that category.
As far as decoys go, one guy at the decoy show said that you could spray paint an old tennis shoe and hang it down there and attract pike. He's probably right, but pulling and watching a nicely made decoy is a lot more enjoyable, because sometimes that is the only thing you'll be looking at for hours.

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Muskie, A guy I work with is a spearing fanatic. Last year, he ordered a custom made spear from some place out east. They lazer cut the spear heads out of old sawmill sawblades. He said it slides through the water like its greased. The first fish he hit, he almost cut apart. The downside is that it cost him some serious bucks. If you're looking for a lifetime investment, let me know and I'll find out from him the name of the company.

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Aside from feeling "right" in my hands and traveling through the water well...doesn't sail on me when I chuck it, I would look for a spear with deep tines. Nothing would be worse than having a wall-hanger get off the end of a spear because the tines weren't long enough to go all the way through the body.

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Muskie, just a couple thoughts. I have the name of a guy in Melrose who makes some very nice (great) spears. As for decoys, store bought is good, live suckers too. But some of the best decoys are at the shows. I'm with the Mid State chapter of the dark house & angleing association and would be most happy to help you if you wish. Let me know. Mike

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Good Topic Guys!

I am glad to see there is some interest in spearing out there. Does anyone have information on upcoming decoy/collectible tackle shows? I am interested in purchasing a new working decoy as well as some collectible decoys. Thanks for your help.

Owen

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MNMuskie- As far as spears go you want something that's straight and that goes straight in the water. I have a weighted and not weight spear. I like the weighted one better but it's all personal preference. I use a five tine but lots of people use 7 tines. The guy from Melrose makes awesome spears. If I didn't have two already I'd buy one from him. As far as decoys go store bought ones work just fine. Bear Creek makes good ones. I'd go with the realistic looking northern that's about 8" long and the chartruse nothern. They both have done good for me. Otherwise there are some good carvers out there that take orders to do custom decoys. If you find the right guy you could end up with a graet decoy. Let me know if you want some names. The decoy shows are a good place to find decoys too. There's going to be one in Brainerd this winter I believe in January otherwise the Perham show is great too but that's in late march/early april. A sucker will work good too. They can help keep you awake. When I put both a sucker and a decoy down the hole I usuaully have the sucker a little above my decoy so when I swim it they don't get tangled up. Hope this helped. How big of hole are you making?

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The main problem with 'store bought' spears is that they usually are too light - just that skinny handle to try and get a grip on. You fix that by getting a piece of steel pipe that just fits over the handle and covers about 2/3's of the length and having it welded on. Adds extra weight and makes it easy to grip. I prefer a 5 tine but have noticed that they are hard to find.

As for decoys I have found that anything bright and that swims well works just fine. I usually have a live sucker in the hole at the same time. Another good draw is to use a large red and white daredevil with the hooks removed. Just jig it around. Seems to work when nothing else does. They definitely don't sneak up on that one - they hit it like a freight train. Really wakees you up on a slow day. Good luck.

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I'm a member of the Darh house association and if you want to contact me about joining or at least looking into the subject I would be glad to help all. We have a schedule of shows and many other goings on. We promote winter fishing as whole, nit just spearing. I do think it's a very good group and there are chapters all around the state. Mike

[This message has been edited by Paul Waldowski (edited 10-11-2004).]

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Good Topic.. Can not wait!! Under 2 months.. I use a decoy and sucker at the same time. Seems to work well. I use the northern and red/white decoy. Each day is differant to what color they like. I also like to use a BIG Daredevil (classic red/white)no hooks of course. At times, this seems to really bring them in. Fun to use when it gets slow. I also want to go to the Perham show. I was going to go last time but something came up. Hopefully next time.

Has anyone out there ever used a painted, weighted can with some sort of rattles or something in it to make noise? I remember going with my dad years ago on Mille Lacs (when it was legal). He used one of these and on certain days this thing really worked. It is hard to explain but was a 3-4" round, sealed can painted like a fish and weighted. On the rounded side of can was a place to clip your line. When you lowered it into the water and kept it a couple feet off the bottom, I remember as he lifted it up and down it made a vibrating rattle noise. Kinda like a bell in a way. I would be interested to hear if anyone else has seen this and/or used one. It was made for spearing and not sure where the heck he got it?? It was something else to look at and have fun with for a while down there...
Thanks... Good Luck.........

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Russ, I too like this subject! The Perham show was great this year. We had one Alexandria this year too. We will be having another this year too. The can you are talking about, I have one. They were from the old Herter's before they went belly up. I have used decoys that look like mise with great success. I want to try the painted golf ball next!! Bring on the ice!! Mike

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Boy do I need some hard water...

Mike, I am very interested in finding some decent decoys. I have 6-7 old ones I was given by by Great Uncle. He speard out by Ortonville. These are mostly red/white.

I guy in Foley, where I live, Is putting me on a couple spears. Several guys in town have had them made by this Amish Gentleman and have been very happy.

I am putting 24 x 36 holes to spear out of...hope these are adequate.

The roof is going on the house smile.gif The frame is just about done. It is going to be a great house...should have under 2K in materials.

I will try to find out how to post a pic and "brag a bit."

I am interested in the Darkhouse Organization mentioned abouve...who do I contact?

Have a great night.

SteveO

------------------
Practice CPR...Catch, Photo, Realease. Unless you pickle a small northern of course.

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Any suggestions on where a rookie should plan my "return to spearing" inagural trip once the water gets hard.

I live 13 miles NE of St. Cloud.

We are pumped.

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MinnesotaMuskie, hang onto the old decoys. Who knows, maybe you have your retirement fund sitting there!! As for where to go I do think you have a large amount of good waters close to where you live. When the shows start I'll try to post them here if it's alright to do so. I see I had post edited and I really don't know what was wrong! I know my spelling can be atrocious but who knows!! I do like setting up near points and water flowing into the lake when possible. Mike

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This is great...all the good input. My boys and I just cam in form working on the house...it is fun.

Thanks to everyone who is giving us advice...we will need it. It is great to get back into a great tradition and hopefully pass the spearing on to all three of the boys.

Keep er cuminand Git er Done smile.gif

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Well, not to sure about the lakes NE of St. Cloud. Little Rock holds some northerns but not sure about being able to spear. When I have fished it, it was NOT very clear. Which brings me to a survey I guess. How deep do you all spear? Last year towards the beginning of the season, most of the lakes I went to were clear. But as the season went on, most lakes got very dirty, hard to see. Not sure if it was just last year or what. Even 7' was a tough one. It depends on the lake and structure but I try to set up in under 10'. Mostly 7-8'.. Also, was talking to a buddy who used an ice saw last year and said it was amazing. Anyone ever use one.. Thinking of getting one this year. Thanks for keeping posts on the show. Want to go to one in the near future.

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MinnesotaMuskie for early season spearing head to Winnie stay close to either end where the river goes in or out and you should see plenty of fish, not always lunkers but nice numbers. I usually go through Nodak's near Bena for house rental. By the way I live east on highway 23 about 10 miles or so from you and am looking for a nice local spot for spearing, any suggestions?

------------------

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Just two quick comments:

1. I second Winni as a top notch lake for a spearing adventure. As was said before, the Third River Flowage and the other river areas seem to be the most popular.

2. As far as the ice saws go, I bought one a few years ago and it was the best $100 bucks I have ever spent. A little advice though, you might want to consider tying a rope to the handle in case it should ever slip and fall in. Don't ask me how I know.

Owen

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Hey guys. Good to see this topic getting some attention. Last year I speared on a small crystal clear lake just outside of Aitkin and I was in 12' of water. I like to get on the edges of drop offs. I've been told that the northerns like to hang out in the holes looking for crappies perch and other baitfish and that the sharp drop offs next to the holes are where to find the northerns. It all depends on the lake. Obvisouly if it's a darker lake you're going to want to go shallower. I use eggs shells and potatoe peels to help with depth perception and seeing the bottom. It just kinda clears things up in your head, plus makes the hole brighter. I have an ice saw and it works great. I would never want to lug a chain saw out there or screw around with drilling a hole bunch of holes with the auger. Just a tip if you get an ice saw. When you cut your hole, cut at an angle going away from the inside or going out. This way it helps you see the fish sooner and you can see more water area vs. if you cut straight down you can only see straight down for the most part especially when you have a foot and a half of ice. It's hard to explain but hopefully you understand. With an ice saw during early ice (3-6") it's just like a hot knife through butter. Muskie were you able to figure out pictures? I would like to see your house. Good luck. Oh yah be sure to tie a rope to your saw like Owen said. My buddy dropped mine down the hole last year. With an aqua view, some time, and a little luck he was able to get it back...oh and my decoy that went to the bottom after it fell off my lap while I was switching them.

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Don't forget about LOTW for spearing. I went to Zipple Bay 2 years ago for the first time. I also am used to spearing in 7-8 feet of water, and I used to go to Winnie a lot. When I got to the house it was in three feet of water and I was mad. I thought the resort just set houses wherever they could find a spot, but after a couple of minutes I had a big northern come through. Throughout the day I saw 17 northerns, two of which I am sure were in the upper 30's maybe 40". It was pretty fun to see all of them, especially in three feet of water. (Those fish look HUGE at that depth)The only thing that really miffs me about LOTW is all of the speared, big northerns, that fall into the protected slot that are left on the ice or sent back down the hole. Every house in our party could see dead northerns on the bottom of the lake, and there were several hidden in the weeds by shore. If you aren't sure don't spear it!

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I agree G Man.. If you're not sure about the size of the northern don't spear it, bottom line!! I personally do not like to spear anything real big. I think the 3-5's taste much better, but that is only my opinion. Anyway, how deep of ice have you guys used the ice saw and still went thru with ease?? I speared late season once last year and WOW, I drilled the holes with my auger then hit it with the chisel.. That was a work out. There was a good 24" of ice. Does the ice saw work with that much ice or more??
Thanks

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I'm actually interested in carving my own spearing decoys. Does anyone know of a good reference to learn how to do this?

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This is great...

My house is not done yet. I am waiting on a frame. The guy that welds the frame is also a farmer...busy now. I do intend to post pics...I think peoeple are going to be interested in the style.

The prototype is currently for sale. I am telling the guy about this site and see if he wants to post as appropriate. I do not want to say anymore as it may be abusing the HSOforum. I am one of the peopel who dearly miss the "Under 100" category and do not want to abuse this great site...but stay watching the For Sale slot.

I am going over and over in my mind how to best lay out the inside of my house...I have a pretty good plan.

Will the SPearing Shows be listed somewhere on the site?

------------------
Practice CPR...Catch, Photo, Realease. Unless you pickle a small northern of course.

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Hey Guys

First off I want thank you for a great topic..

Second I would like to thank the people who oppsose spearing for not turning this into a "I don't like spearing and all people who spear are not real fishermen....

On the topic of spears I recommend staying away from any spear with a wooden handle. they tend to drift off target when you release them....

On the Ice saw topic ... they are by far the greatest way to make a spear hole... although when the ice is 24" of more it becomes to much like work ...lol

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If it was so easy to catch fish.... they'd call it catching and not fishing

[This message has been edited by BMAT43 (edited 10-13-2004).]

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