Monday, April 1, 2013

Gear Up For Early Season Northern Pike

As the ice moves out and water temperatures creep up in Canadian lakes, early season anglers can expect to see ravenous northern pike lurking in the shallows, spoiling to smash anything resembling prey.
As a Marketing Director for Eppinger Lures, All-Canada Show sponsor and maker of the iconic “Dardevle,” John Cleveland has been successfully stalking monster Northerns on Canadian water for the last twelve years and recently offered some advice to anglers seeking to boat a few of the bruisers.
Following the opener, Cleveland suggests zeroing in on fairly shallow southern bays where the earliest warming takes place. Dark, muddy bottom structure is more likely to hold active fish than light colored sandy bottoms since the water warms more quickly there. 
Cleveland is a huge fan of Eppinger Lures’ “Five of Diamonds” spoon all season long, and he‘s found, in general, dark colored lures will out fish lighter ones, though the classic red and white Dardevle should be a staple in any pike fisherman’s tackle box.  Downsizing to ½ to ¾ oz. spoons is a good tactic in the spring, according to Cleveland, and a sporadic retrieve—letting the lure flutter down after every few turns of the crank can be a deadly technique. John’s terminal tackle usually includes a seven foot medium action rod paired with a spinning or casting reel and 20 pound test fluorocarbon line with a wire leader. “Pike are not leader-shy,” he contends.
Though fishing with spoons can produce plenty of exciting action, Cleveland also enjoys fly fishing for the bruisers. He has caught Northern Pike topping 45 inches using dark, leech-like flies which can be stripped in more slowly, teasing less active early season fish to strike. His fly fishing gear includes a 9 or 10 weight rod shooting an 80 pound fluorocarbon tippet. A catch and release angler, Cleveland mentioned fly fishermen can get by with equipment that is less stout, but he prefers to stress the fish as little as possible. During the spring, huge Northerns can often be sight-fished, sort of a Canadian version of salt flats fly fishing. 

John also mentioned he was looking forward to trying Eppinger’s new “Spinnin’ Rex” on pike this year. The ½ oz. lure features a spinner blade and rubber skirt. Again, favoring darker colors, Cleveland recommends a root beer colored brass blade with a black skirt. 
For more inside information, product information, and tips on using Eppinger Lures, visit or call toll free: 888-771-8277.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Climb Aboard an Otter: The Swiss Army Knife of the Sky

“Ultimate Bush Aircraft,” “Yellow Bird,” “Big Beaver,” “King Beaver,” “One Ton Truck of the North.” The many names and phrases used to refer to the De Havilland DHC-3 Otter are a testament to its utility, versatility, and popularity with passengers and pilots around the world.
The DHC-3, designed by De Havilland Canada in 1951 and then certified in 1952, was first intended to be the big brother to the already then popular and now iconic De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver. Though originally called the “King Beaver” by De Havilland, the plane eventually christened “The Otter” was longer, heavier, and more powerful than the Beaver, accommodating 10 or 11 passengers, as opposed to the Beaver’s four or five. A single engine, prop driven plane, the Otter can be outfitted with floats, skis, and retractable wheels to make it truly amphibious. 
In its infancy, the Otter was used extensively for mapping the North and South Americas by the U.S. Army, originally the biggest purchaser of the 460 planes that were produced. Army Otters were also used extensively in the late 50’s and early 60’s to explore Antarctica, with one cresting the South Pole in 1957. Otters were given a different role in Vietnam, where they were in used combat for about ten years. 
Of the 166 Otters still in operation today, many are used to ferry hunters, anglers, adventurers, and naturalists to remote outposts in Canada and Alaska because of their well-earned reputation for reliability and ability to make short take-offs and landings. However, Otters also see service carrying forest fire fighters, “water bombing” fires, planting fish, and conducting wildlife surveys.
Otters still in service have sometimes been modified with more powerful engines and even turbo chargers, but whatever configuration or function or paint scheme, the De Havilland Otters are sure to be familiar “Yellow Birds” in the Canadian sky and mainstays of the outpost fishing and hunting industry for many years to come. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Behind The Scenes: Wolf River Expo, LLC

Driving through blizzards, working around the clock and muscling 60,000 pounds of equipment around. Sound like fun? Welcome to the life of Steve Cegielski, owner of Wolf River Expo Services, who manages booths, show decorations, signage and more for the All-Canada Show.
After working as an operations manager for the All-Canada Show for 12 years, Steve Cegielski decided to form his own exhibit design company, Wolf River Expo Services, LLC, which has handled the All-Canada Show for the last three years. In addition, Wolf River Expo manages all kinds of venues such as career expos, bridal shows, job fairs, and home shows, handling around 50 different events each year. 
Steve says the most challenging part of working the All-Canada Show is the grueling schedule. Between each of the first five shows Wolf River Expo has to take down, load their trucks, travel, and set up for each show overnight. All-nighters come with the territory, and though Steve tries to provide some extra time for error, flat tires, weather, and tricky loading obstacles can make for some nail-biting moments. He recalls one trip where his group hit a foot of snow outside Des Moines on the way to Omaha at two in the morning. He counted 60 cars in the ditch, and the top speed for his three truck convoy was limited to 25 miles an hour. “You don’t have to run, but you’ve got to keep moving to get it done,” Steve says, and despite the unforeseeable complications of his job, he’s established a streak of ‘getting it done” for 150 All-Canada Show events without one postponement or delay.
Over the years, Steve says that besides making sure all the facilities at an All-Canada Show run smoothly, he’s at times found himself doing everything from cleaning walleyes in the back of a truck at 4 a.m. for a morning TV Show to grooming a mounted Musk Ox. However, it sounds like the All-Canada Show is as much a labor of love for Steve as they are his business. He estimates he’s seen about 150 different Canadian camps and spent over 43 weeks over the last 15 years in Canada, harvesting every big game animal and just about every fish species Canada has to offer. Steve also writes articles for the All-Canada magazine, All-Canada Adventures and the direct mailer, the All-Canada Guide and has been a presenter himself on the main stage at All-Canada Show.
As owners of Wolf River Expo Services, LLC, Steve and his wife Jessica say their business is all about service. Though the All-Canada Show is obviously special to them, they try to make each show they manage enjoyable for both the exhibitor and the visitors, and they are looking forward to being "on the road" with the All-Canada Show in 2014.