Thursday, June 30, 2011

Up close & personal with: The Worlds Best Bass Frog

You need to be pretty sure about your product before you name it “Worlds Best”.  So I will be honest when I came across Ken Dauberts frog named ‘Worlds Best Bass Frog” I was a little skeptical.  But being a frog loving fool I had to take the plunge and try one my self.   

Since my fingers are already hurting from the thought of typing “worlds best bass frog” over and over again, from now on we will call it the WBBF.   

WBBF’s can be found and purchased on various fishing sites, none that most of you will have heard of before today (Strike 1 against the ‘Worlds Best Claim”). I purchased my frog from http://www.reelgoodguide.com/ (they offered a special to provided an extra pack of frog hooks with my purchase)   

The frogs arrived fairly quickly and I was able to give them a up close and personal once over.  Here are my thoughts…   



Quality & Design:   

The Design of the WBBF is similar to a older frog body designs but not to anything currently on the market. It is made up of a high density foam that is soft enough that it has some give when the fish takes it in it’s mouth, but firm enough that it will hold up to some abuse (Toothy critters may cause some damage). Due to the design of the bait and material used this frog floats well and if by chance a fish (or snag) breaks you off, you should still be able to retrieve the frog.





The legs (also known as Mega foot hotlegs) are highly flexible and have some stretch to them; the material is thick enough that it should not rip while battling a fish.  They are easily exchangeable and are a much better product in person then when viewing it on the website.  (see video below)

The Hook provided is very similar to the the hook used with the banjo minnow. They have some strength and use the same rubber band style weed-guard. The biggest complaint i have heard about this frog is the hook up ratio. Hook placement is not ideal and the fish will really have to swallow this frog if you want to get a hook in it







Options & Price: 

There are a few series of WBBF, the clone is the entry level series, it comes in 6 color options and will cost you about $10 a frog.  The paint jobs on the close series are pretty good, I own both the leopard and Bull frog version. With each frog you will receive 1 hook as well as a whack of rubber bands to run the bait weedless.  In my opinion 1 hook is not enough for this bait and 2 if not 3 hooks should be included for the price being charged.  (You can buy additional hooks in 3 packs for $4).  

The Designer or replica series is a thing of beauty but comes in at $35 a frog, this is not for the faint of heart and more of a showpiece in my opinion. That being said they are extremely well done and would look great on your shelf    



Tips:  

 There are a ton of videos on line showing the WBBF in action. It seems like a pretty straightforward bait that can easily be pulled or swam back to the boat. It appears to sit well in the water and mimics a frogs body and motion. I think like other baits (the banjo minnow) a learned technique will improve your catch ratio, but don’t expect to go out there and catch fish on every cast.  

Keep in mind this is a product review of the product out of water. I have yet to fish with it, and I’m giving my opinion on the bait as I see and feel it. Like most fisherman I have fallen victim to lures that caught way more fisherman then fish them shelves… the flying Lure and banjo minnow to name a few. Only time will tell if the “Wolds best bass frog” will join these two lures in my hall shame. I beleive naming this bait the WBBF is a long shot, not only is this not the best frog on the market today, but it is not even the best from in my tackle bag… but if you are a frog Junky like me, be sure to give one a try,  at the very least they are a cool addition to your frog collection.








Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Yamamoto spreads the word on Dobyns Rod



For those of you not already reading "inside line" you should check it out. Yamamoto does everything right and with their Ezine that trend continues

Currently there is a great read on Dobyns rods. The article gets into Gary's back story as well as his philosophy on rod building.. balance over weight.. it is a great read and you should take a moment to review it. Im looking forward to part 2

http://www.insideline.net/index.php/equipment/628-gary-dobyns--making-the-perfect-rod-part-i.



Monday, June 27, 2011

Fear & Loathing on the Tournament Trail: Elephant Lake



Not only was this past week the season opener for Bass in Ontario, but it was also the first event in the BTTS series. As mentioned perviously this is my first season fishing an entire tournament series (6 events) and the season opener was on Elephant lake, a lake I have never wetted a line in.

My partner and I were excited about the event but held little hopes of winning, but that being said we wanted to make sure we left the lake with some weight to help keep us in the running for the team of year (highest total weight).

The weather conditions for the day were cloudy with some sunny breaks, the temps did not get above 20 degrees until well into the afternoon.

The day started early (4am) but on a high note, we drew #5 for blast off which put us in position to get to some spots we had scoped out using Google Earth.

we started the day fishing shallow weed flats, mats and some submerged timber. throwing spinnerbaits, top water and some worms, we were able to get 5 fish in the boat fairly quickly but each fish came in under 1.5lbs.  So with 5 fish in the boat we knew it was time for a change, and made the move to a back bay on the lake to fish a little bit deeper water.

The second spot produce fish immediately .. just the wrong kind of fish.. Pike where chasing our top water baits all over the place and wasting the precious time we had left. We switched up again, moving to some deeper weed-beds just off the shoreline.

The high and low point of the day came when my partner hooked into a smallmouth that looked to be pushing 4lbs.. the fish ran under the boat and made it impossible to net, after a few minutes he quickly ran back out and caught us short-lined and with one jump threw the hook. After we slammed our hats, rods and the net down, we regrouped and tried to find a twin for the fish we just lost... no such luck

Spot number three was another set of shallow but submerged timber. It produced one fish in the hour we where there, but the fish ended up being the largest in our bag at just over 2.5lbs.

As the afternoon wore on the bite slowed way down.. i dont think we had more then 2 bites from 1p on. When we called it a day we had just under 10lbs in the bag. We were happy with our production but could only think about the one that got away.

We ended up in 10th place (7th in Team of the Year Standings) not bad for a lake we have never set foot on prior to tournament day. The winning team had a nice bag of just over 17lbs, and of the nearly 30 teams 7 teams came in with 0's.. a tuff day on the water.

Next up is Weslemkoon on July 17th,. This is  a lake we are very familiar with and hope to make up some of the ground we lost this past weekend.

Friday, June 24, 2011

OPENING WEEKEND!

it is finally here, the weekend that is more important then Christmas,  New Years and all those other celebrated Holidays.. this weekend is Bass opener!

Many of us have waiting long months for this day to come, cleaning and organizing our gear, practicing our casting in the hallways and backyards. Spending money on new equipment knowing that one day we will get to use it.. this is that weekend.

I dont know about you, but I will be spending 2 glorious 10+ hour days on the water this weekend and hoping to take home some great opening weekend memories as well as some cash for my efforts.  Rain or shine I will be chasing the green and bronze all weekend long, testing out some of the new equipment i stock piled over the winter and spring.

so if this blog is quiet for a few days you will know why.. but then again why are in inside anyways.. it is opening weekend!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Police Officer Shot - a Husband, a Father & a Friend



This is a fishing blog.. and I promised myself that I would keep it a fishing blog.  But yesterday and incident occurred that rocked my families world and I had to share it

My brother in law is a Police officer in Peterborough, Ontario, he has been on the force for 7 years, he loves his job, and I can honestly say he was born to be a Police officer.  While on duty yesterday he was shot three times during a raid on drug house in a small Ontario town. He was airlifted to a major hospital in Toronto where his condition was upgraded from "critical" to "guarded". My sister was rushed to side with a Police escort and she was able to be there to support him while he endured what must have been a very painful and very scary ordeal.

I spend the afternoon waiting by the phone.. Im proud to say I have many friends that serve on various Police forces and they were kind enough to provide me with updates as the day went on. The mood lightened as I got word that he would be ok.. he was sitting up, joking and trying to laugh (hard to laugh with 3 shattered ribs).

Late last night I received final word from my family on his injuries. He has been left with some bullet fragments in his shoulder, some possible nerve damage to his hand, and three shattered ribs (as mentioned above).. but he will be ok.. and to a family man with 2 young children and a foster child.. is there anything more important then that?

The next time you pass a cop on the street or are handed a ticket, but sure to take a moment to thank them for what they do. Not many of us are willing to put our lives on the line on a daily basis.  These guys (and gals) never know what is around the next corner but still go to work every day for us.

Out of respect for Keith and my sister I will not include the photo of him on the stretcher that the press is using, they dont need to be reminded of that image.. instead I wanted to include something to show who keith is.. a police officer, a husband and a father and a friend

get well soon

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Erie Darter - not your average poor boys bait

I was recently invited on a trip to chase down some legendary smallmouth bass on the world famous Lake Erie. The trip itself was cancelled due to a work schedule conflict, but something good still came from as I found the “Erie Darter” by Poor Boys Baits. 

When the trip was first booked I did the obvious thing, jumped on the net asked some questions and did some searches. One bait pop up a lot and that’s the Erie Darter and the Darter jr. Both of these are not a traditional bait for me to fish, but I though what the hell and decided to place an order and give them a try.

These two baits are obviously family members with only 1inch separating the two in size. The Standard Erie darter comes in at 4” and the Jr. At 3”. (if you want to step it up a notch, be sure to check out the Dixie Darter coming in at a whopping 4 ¾ inches)Other than the size, they are identical from their ribbed bodies to the flat mini paddle tail. 


 Poor Boys wants to blow your mind, and when you get to their site you will be mesmerized by the 42 color options available for the darters.. In these 42 colors you still have your 2 size options and two bag qty’s...an 8 count or a 25count.  For the most part the color options stick towards the natural part of the scale. Lots of variation of pumpkin and watermelon colors. I personally like the smoke options as well as a few of the watermelon colors, they are killer smallmouth colors and produce well in the lakes in my region

The one thing that is not so great about the poor boys website is that the colors are not shown on the order screen. (I should say that not all colors are visible in the order screen) You will have to jump back and forth between he “color chart” screen and the order screen when placing your order... Your best to make your color choices first then go to the order screen.



 How to Fish them...

The Darters are highly versatile baits, and can be fished in many ways and  It fits into almost every anglers  style or technique.  If you a finesse a guy, you can break out the drop shot, the Darter Jr. Is the perfect bait for a drop shot rig, the body and tail give it a nice action when fluttered on the line.  The body of the bait is thick enough that it will hold up to multiple bites and still sti properly when twitched or paused.



 If you prefer  to flip, pitch or skip a bait, the darters body is perfectly built to fit into the tightest cover. It can be Texas rigged with out without a bullet weight, and fits perfectly onto a 3/0 EWG. (I like to throw the darter on a thin wire EWG Gammakatsu hook). The Darter skips well and will allow you to get your bait deep under the docks and pull out any monsters lurking back there.
 For the Tube or grub fisherman the darter can be rigged using your standard grub jig head and hopped , swam or dragged like a tube or grub. The tail and ribbed body give off great motion in the water, and give the darter it’s “darting” or swimming motion. The thin profile allows you to pull it thew cover with minimal snags. Like with the any finesse option lighter line is required if you want to feel what this bait is doing, I like to throw it on 10lb braid, but 6-8 mono would also do the trick







For the power fisherman, you can fish these babies on a flipping jig, just rip or bite off an inch or so, and slide the darter onto your lucky jig, the bait hugs tight to your jig and gives is a fairly slender profile. And a good flapping or waving motion on the fall, again the slight ribbing will also provide water movement.

So as you an see other then top water fishing or cranking it back to the boat, this little guy can pretty much be fished any way you choose.

The Low Down :Darters range in price from about $4.99 to approximately $12. They are available from Poor Boys baits on-line at http://www.poorboysbaits.com/catalog.cfm/darters or can be purchased from select retailers such as http://www.landbigfish.com/, obviously the other retailers will not have the selection that you can get when you order direct from Poor Boys, but they do offer easier to navigate websites.

All in all the Erie Darter and Darter Jr. Are great products, they are versatile, and can be used when targeting both largemouth and smallmouth bass. Give one a shot; I don’t think you will be disappointed 


Monday, June 20, 2011

There's a Buzz in the Air

Buzz Baits, the loudest, easiest and yet most annoying way to fish top water.   

Maybe it is just me, but the clacking and squeaking blades combined with the constant need to burn a bait back tot the boat gets to me, I don’t fish a buzz bait often enough and I’m missing out on some good fish and some exciting blow-ups.   

Buzz Baits have been around for years and have changes little (depending on who you ask). They are a simple bait, kinda the top water version of a spinner bait.  

Buzz Baits can be broken into a few categories as I see it..   

 -       Single Blade
 -       Single Blade (with clatter)
 -       Double Blade
 -       Long Shank

All four options have many things in common and a few things that set them apart. The Single blade is just that a bait with a single prop, blade or head. The Prop usually consists of 2 wings made of aluminum to give them that god-awful squeak. Buzz Bait are know to gurgle their way across the water and disturb more water then the average top water bait. 

If you want a little more noise a single blade with a clatter will up the ante by adding a clatter that works similar to the old baseball cards in your spokes trick. As the prop spins the clatter makes contact with the prop/blade and emits a clacking noise.







  For those who want to step it up even further, the double blade buzz baits give the bait more lift (less arm strain) and emit twice the squeaking and twice the water disturbance as a single blade.  








The long shank buzzbait is not as common in my area, and I personally don’t throw one. The long shank gives a fish more time to decide if he wants to pound your bait. The shank can be anywhere from 3inches long to 12inches long. When retrieving a long shank bait the body of the bait passed the through the strike zone after the blade has already passed, and works as it’s own follow-up bait.

Pros:

Buzz baits are an easy bait to work, you toss it out there and reel it back in,  there is not much technique required and most people can work one with ease. It is almost 100% weedless as the prop works similar to your boat prop and will cut or toss aside any light weed in the area.  As with any top water bait the best thing about it is the strike,  the blow-ups are fierce and after witnessing one, you will quickly be hooked on this style of fishing.  

Cons:  

A steady and fairly constant retrieve is needed to keep  buzz baits afloat.  This can be tiring if done for long periods of time and can cause arm strain. By sliding up to the double buzz, it will have more lift and allow you to slow your retrieve speed.  This will add weight to the bait and you should match your gear accordingly.  









Tips:
There are a huge number of companies that product quality Buzz Baits, and there are many options available. Look for one in your price range and give it a try.  I personal like to use Booyah Buzz Baits as well as Terminator Buzz Baits, both a re a quality product and hold up well to abuse by hungry largemouth’s

When choosing a bait Look for ones that weigh  in around 3/8 or 1/2oz  and have a flat head similar to a swim jig.  I use three colors when it comes to Buzz Baits.. White, Black and Chartreuse, funny enough those are the exact three colors I choose when spinner bait fishing, so if you are having a hard time choosing a bait, look at your favorite spinner bait color and look for something similar in a Buzz bait. As mentioned above both these baits are similar and can be throw on similar rod and reel combinations. A longer rod at the 7ft mark with a good backbone will allow you to set the hook at a good distance, a fast tip will ensure the bait is not ripped out of the fishes mouth

Buzz Baits are reaction baits, you should know fairly quickly if the buzzbait bite is on. If you don’t get any strikes or blow-ups early, it is time to move on to a new bait. I’m notorious for starting early with a buzz bait but cutting it off quick in exchange for another top water lure or a spinner bait. Similar to Spinner baits, short strikes are common I  use trailer hooks on most my buzz baits to help my hook-up ratios.

When it comes to weather conditions I throw a buzz bait in the morning or evening on calm days (pretty standard top water advice). You can throw Buzz Baits when there is chop on the water, but in my experience the chop negates the motion and sound that draws a fish to the buzz bait. The key to success with these baits is that annoying squeaking sound and the water disturbance.  






Thursday, June 16, 2011

NIX Tattoo Convention - Work & PLay

Just to keep you all in the loop, my regular blog schedule will be slightly disrupted as me and my team are headed to the Norther Ink Xposure Tattoo convention (also know as NIX) in Toronto, On. I will be working 13 hour days from today till Sunday..

One of my sponsors and also my employer will have a booth at the show.. World famous tattoo artists coming from all around, so if you are looking for some new ink, this show is a must. These guys can bang our some serious fishing tats, I know, Im the proud owner of a few myself



Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fighting the Elements: Footwear

Previously we discussed the different glove options to help protect your hands when out on the water. Equally as important is keeping your feet happy, this means, warm, dry and comfortable.

We all know that standing for 8 hours in a boat can be killer on your feet, legs and back. The same goes for shoreline or dock fishermen who spend there time trekking into that secret shoreline haunt or standing on a hard wooden or cement docks.  Your feet get you where you need to go and keep you in an upright position ready to set the hook when a bites comes. 

Over the years I have found that not one single pair of shoes will be able to provide you with what you need in all situations, so I have 4 go to pairs, that allow me to stay warm, comfortable and dry when on the water. Here is a break down of what I wear and why  



CROCS





Ok, these guys have been on the market for a while now and a lot of guys swear by them. I own a pair and they do have a place when on the water, here are some pro’s and con’s   

Pros: Crocs are made of a light weight durable material that make them easy to wear. They have a great cushion and ease the pain of walking on hard surfaces for long periods of time. They have great traction and grip even in wet conditions. They take abuse well still protect you feet. Odor is also not an issue in crocs.. let your family rejoice

Cons: Although the boast great traction on the sole or the shoe, one area the traction is not so great is in the shoe. If you get the inside of a Croc wet, it is easy for your foot to slip within the croc, this can lead to rolled ankles or slips and falls.  Cros are meant to cushion feet that spend longs days on hard surfaces, I find that the cushioning is not as great when standing still for long periods of time. At the end of the day if I spent 8 hours standing in the boat I still felt the wear and tear on my legs and back

 Applications:    Boat (B-)                       Dock (A)                         Shoreline (C+) 





Running Shoes/ Sneakers 



Everyone has a favorite brand so there is no use arguing that here. Sneakers are meant for athletes and fisherman are athletes, so there is definitely a place for sneakers on the water.

Pros:  Obviously the comfort factor is high, a good quality sneaker is like walking on a cloud (same goes for skateboard shoes). Sneakers also provide additional warmth on those cold days on the water. Most sneakers have a great tread and make standing on a boat or on the shore a breeze.


Cons: Sneakers are not meant to get wet, and lets face it, there is a good chance your feet are going to get wet while on the water. Whether it is in the rain or when launching the boat, it happens, our feet get wet. Sneakers will take a long time to dry and will make for an uncomfortable day on the water.

Applications:  Boat  (B)                        Dock  (A)                        Shoreline (B-) 





Sport Sandals  


 



Like running shoes/sneakers, there are many brands of sport sandal. I wear Merrells as they are a hiking grade sandal that is very comfortable.  

Pros: I find that sports or hiking sandals are comfortable but not as comfortable as a standard shoe or Croc. They offere advanced protection while still allowing your feet to breath and stay cool on a hot summer day. Full toe protection is great when there are hooks, and toothy critters entering the boat.

Cons: Sports sandals can be heavy. This is the price you pay for the extra protection and comfort added

Applications:  Boat  (B)                      Dock  (B+)                        Shoreline (A-)







Water Shoes: Drain Maker





Standard water shoes I would not even include in my list, but the Columbia Drain maker is an advanced water shoe and is worth a mention 

Pros: the Drain maker is a water shoe, so it is meant to get wet and dry quickly. It is a full shoe and will offer more warmth then a croc or sport sandal. The drain holes in the sole of the shoe allow water to drain quickly keeping the shoe dry and lightweight. It has been designed for hiking with good traction and great comfort.

Cons: this is a newer shoe to me, bought my first pair this year. They are hard to find unless ordering on-line and have limited color options. In the testing I have done I have not concerns with comfort or durability. They don’t offer the same toe protection when hiking to a shore line spot as a sport sandal does, but will suffice in standard conditions  

 Applications:  Boat  (A)                  Dock  (B+)                     Shoreline (A-)


And before you say it, yes, all my fishing shoes are black, it's not a Johnny Cash thing, just some weird compulsion I have. They stand up better to sweat and water stains, then most other colors. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

News: Dobyns Rods Partners with the FLW!




http://www.flwoutdoors.com/fishing-articles/press-release/152509/dobyns-rods-flw-outdoors-announce-partnership

Just want to take a moment to congratulate Gary and the rest of the Dobyns family on the above. Dobyns rods has worked hard to get where they are today, they are quality people that make a quality product.

The FLW is a class organization and Im glad to see them adding Dobyns to the ranks


a Pitch, a Punch & a Flip

You may not agree with me, but where I come from there are a awful lot of similarities between pitching, punching and flipping. A lot the same baits and terminal tackle can be used for each, and sometimes it just comes down to where you are and what kind of water you are about to launch your bait into.

Lets start off with terminology,( since in different region each can mean something slightly different) today Im talking about flipping, pitching and punching Texas rigged baits only, so get the bulky jigs out of your head. When i say pitching or flipping, im talking about the throwing baits in and around cover and structure. A quiet approach of slipping my bait into areas that I hope is holding fish. Now when I say punching! Im talking about the art of punching my bait through the thick slop or matted weed beds. This approach is not so stealthy as the other method but it does require accuracy and patience.. now that we have that out of the way...

As with all techniques gear, terminal tackle and bait are all very important and each angler will argue a case of each of them being more important than the other. For me they are all equally important.


Rod &Reel Lets start of with your rod and reel. For the rod i like to go with something atleast 7ft in length a MH rod with a F to XF tip. This is a great rod size for flipping and pitching. If the rod was only for punching, then i may opt up to a H rod over the MH. As for the reel, you need something with cranking power that picks up line quick. I use a Shimano Curado 300 series.  Everyone has their own preference in brands so I wont be insulted if you choose a Quantum

Line When it comes to these techniques you really have two choices.. braid, or braid with a leader.  The leader may come in handy in clear water situations but for most of the lakes i fish, i can get away with using straight braid. On average I will spool up with 50-65lb Power Pro, this season Im giving the new Suffix 832 a shot as well. There are many quality braids on the market so choose one you like, because at $20 or more a spool you don’t want to be throwing any away. 





Tip: If not using a leader when pitching and flipping you can use a marker to darker the line. This will allow you to get away with higher vis line. This tip is shared by many of the pro’s so I don’t think it will be news to you.


Hooks You want something sharp, and you want something strong.. Im guessing this is not news to you either. There is always debate over wide gap off set hooks over standard hooks. I use the standard hook for punching; I don’t need anything making it harder for my bait to slide through the slop. For pitching and flipping I still use a wide gap in most situations. You cant go wrong with Gamakatsu hooks, i carry both the standard and lighter gauge wire, in both red and nickel. 





Tip: Try new hooks when they hit the market. Purchasing a pack of hooks is relatively inexpensive. Even if you are happy with your current brand it is a good idea to see what’s out there, see with different options are available. You may be surprised and find something that improves your hook-up ratio or presents you bait a little differently.


Bullet Weights 
This is a vastly changing and growing market. With the introduction of Tungsten it has allowed for smaller and stealthier presentations. But tungsten is not the only change, weights went from being pegged or screwed down to being insert free and bobber stopped?  If you had looked at my collected of bullet weights 2 years ago you would have seen nothing but screw down weights with an insert. Now you will find insert free tungsten weights and a collection of rubber bobber stops. These new options still provide the snug fit of a pegged weight but do less damage to your plastic bait. If you are flipping and pitching you can ease up and leave a bit more play and when punching you can increase the pressure and keep the weight firmly on the head of the bait.





Baits

Here is where things start to veer indifferent directions.  Im not going to get into specific baits, but more styles of baits. I run with three styles.. Small (compact), medium (a bit of bulk) and large (bulky). If Im flipping and pitching I will usually opt for the medium to large baits. I don’t need to sneak into smaller holes and the bulky baits can ensure Im seen and seen quickly. When punching I tend towards the small baits.. remember small does not mean short! a 8in worm may still be small, since the thin profile allows me to get it into holes without hanging up. Each of these baits will cover a variety of areas and it all comes down to what the fish want.






I did not cover the skirt aspect of punching since this is something I have never tried. It is not a common method if my area , we stick to punching baits and leave the shirts on our jigs


So as you can see a few simple baits, a hook and a bullet weigh make up the key to all three of these techniques. Each may have it's suble differences, but if you have all of thee above, but sure to give each method a try.. you will catch more fish

Friday, June 10, 2011

Living Rubber Mop Jigs are Mopping up the competition

Mop jigs have been on the market and anglers radars for a few seasons now. These bulky wide bodied hand tied jigs made primarily of living rubber have been winning tournaments and adding a new dimension to a jig fisherman’s  arsenal. Living rubber lives up to its name and makes your jig move in the water with no action required from the angler, it takes longer to settle when sitting on the bottom and produces a slow fall action as well as some bubbles in the water  

Here are three Living  rubber jigs that any jig fisherman should have in his back pocket   

1)      Buckeye Mop Jig
The Mop jig by buckeye is really the founding father of the Mop jig or living rubber jig.  Rumour has it the phrase Mop jig was coined by KVD when he saw Davy Hite using it and said “that think looks like a mop head” or something similar. Buckeyes mop jig comes with a standard swim style head or a foot ball head. It is equipped with a double rattle a mustad hook.  The Mop jigs stands up well in the water and the living rubber takes time to settle giving the jigs a great motion in the water. Available in 9 colors and 4 weight sizes, you can pretty much find a mop jig for any situation 







2)      Booyah Alton Jones A-Jig 
This was the first living rubber jig I purchased. I’m a fan of Booyah products and of Alton Jones, so it was a no brainer to give this Jig a try. Like the mop jig the this jig is made of living rubber with some silicone accents to add color. It is hand tied and comes equipped with a 5/0 hook. The living rubber strands are thicker then those used on the buckeye jig and may give the bait a fuller look. It is only available in the swim style head, but comes in 6 color options and 3 weight choices. Like all Booyah jigs it is a quality product .







3)      Shibui Ookii Living Rubber by Talons 
In my opinion this is the most unique living rubber jig on the market. It is a huge jigs with extra long skirt and contains both living rubber as well as silicone. Unlike other living rubber jigs this one is designed to also stand up, the living rubber strands never settle back down and are always in motion. You really have to see this jig in action to believe the profile. (see video below) This jig comes in 8 colors and 2 weight sizes. It has a larger head and is wrapped with copper wire to ensure the heavy skirt cane stay in place. 













You really can’t go wrong with any of these three jigs, and I recommend giving a few of them a try. You definitely  want to test out the Shibui Ooki  i have not seen much that can move like this jig in the water


here is a small kitchen made video to show this jig in motion



Wednesday, June 8, 2011

There's an advantage to Outdoor Advantage Lures


While surfing a fishing board a week or so back (www.ultimatebass.com) I came across a link for a company called “Outdoor Advantage Lures”. They are a mom & pop shop operation out of Illinois that is making tournament quality baits without the tournament quality price tag.
I was very impressed by the bait selection offered on their website as well as the cool color options available. Almost immediately I started filling up my shopping chart with a few baits that I just had to have. When i got to the check-out I was highly disappointed that the site did not allow me to ship my order into Canada. But because I was so interested in this product I dropped the company and line to see if they were willing to send some baits my way. Sure enough I got a quick response and they were happy to help me out. I placed my order via email and they send me a paypal money request, done and done... about a week later the baits are in my hand as I type... happy, yes I am.

Company Info:As mentioned above Outdoor advantage run out of Illinois and has been making quality baits since 2008. They specialize in hand poured plastic, you can buy right off the shelf or you can place special orders.. yes, Im talking about plastic baits made to order.
When you place an order with Outdoor Advantage lures, not only do you have a great color selection but they also offer a good selection of scents (anise, garlic, crawfish, earthworm, coffee, and more) and . Since you baits are made to order, you can also choose your scent of choice (Anise in case you’re wondering). (This added little or no time to the order I placed with them)

Website:

The website is user friendly and easy to use. They have a good base of baits available with a great color selection ( i think I said that already). The cool chart is helpful, it is not a small color swatch but a bait actually completed in the color you are looking at. I used it to choose all the colors I ordered. They have a featured section as well as a best sellers areas.. for my money head straight to the special order section, great concept and well executed
PayPal is available and those that know me know that thats a must. For Canadian customer as previously discussed you will have to email them to place an order, the site is not currently set-up to ship up north.

Product:

Here is where it gets good, and I don’t know why Im even sharing this with you guys.. Outdoor Advantage currently has 25 soft plastic bait variations.. Im not gonna name them all, so be sure to check out there site to see what they have. I will discuss the baits that caught my eye and made me place my order..

3” Chunk Craw - My goal this season is to throw jigs till I just cant throw no more, and these chunks are the perfect compact size, but till offer great motion in the water. Wide wings (claws) with a slight lip with give the bass fits. I picked these up in 3 color options (Copper Head, Spicy Shad & Brown Pumpkin w/blue).





3.5” Boss Frog - Im a frog lover and buy up every model I see. The boss frog has a firm body and fairly thick kicking or swimming legs.It is built with a nice slot to hold the hook in place and appears durable enough to hold up to a few fish. (i bought the frog in Copperhead)

Tip: Although I did not order any, Outdoor advantage has a cool option allowing you to “Go Green”, Green or recycled plastics are used to make the green series of frogs, the use a mix of plastics from other baits so you don’t get a color choice, but you will get a one of a kind “green” frog



The 4.2” Advantage Bug XTL is a very cool looking flipping bait. The body texture makes this bait stand out more then any other feature and the arms and legs ( i guess you can call them arms and legs?) are compact enough to slide through cover while still giving the bait a nice profile. When I saw the road kill color on the site I knew it would be perfect for this bait.

Customer Service:

As mentioned above the customer service has been great, they have been very friendly and helpfull in placing my first order with them, and placing an order that their system was not set-up to take in the first place. My order shipped and arrived fast (and correct) and as an added bonus I was provided 4 samples of other baits made by outdoor advantage.. this is a great idea, one of the samples provided is of their 3’ stick bait, this is something I would have never ordered sight unseen ( I have a hard time ordering 5’ senko style worms) but after holding it in my hands I do think there is a place for some in my arsenal

Price & Shipping

Averaging anywhere between $3.25 and $7 these baits are well priced and easy to want more of. Shipping was also reasonable and for the Canadian shopper you will be glad to know they shipped USPS and it still arrived in about a week.. Just an FYI I placed an order with another more well know tackle company and wait on average 3-4 weeks for my shipment to arrive.





Recommended: Hell yes, give these guys a try you will not be disappointed

Check them out at...http://www.outdooradvantagelures.com/

Monday, June 6, 2011

Allot of noise about a silent bait - KVD Square Bill




With the introduction of Strike Kings KVD square bill this season, there has been an awful lot of talk about this quiet little bait

I guess it did not hurt the Kevin Van Dam won the 2011 Bass Master Classic throwing this crank, but still is it all hype? Or is there something to this move to silence?

I wont claim to be extremely knowledgably when it comes to the perfect crank bait, but ever since I first asked the question “what makes a good crank bait?” One of the first responses iI always get is "noise!" They are loud and obnoxious, the make the bass angry and bully them into biting. Many companies are competing to make the loudest crank, (see Rapala Clack'n lures) so what made Strike King and KVD want to make the quietest crank?

Well as the saying goes “silence is golden”. A Silent crank such as the KVD square bill is great for sneaking up on shallow bass or surprising fish on those high pressured lakes . Fish get use to those loud rattles passing all day and if you want to entice them into biting you may have to show them something a little differen, wether that means wobble or noise, a little change is a good thing.

Maybe this is the start of a reversal of the rattle effect, years ago we started added more and more rattle to entice the fish and show them something different, now as they got use to our rattles, we are headed in the opposite direction and getting quieter and quieter.. It is kind of a yo-yo effect, what’s old is new and vice versa.

All joking aside like all KVD products the HC silent crank is a quality bait. Well made with a great finish, and decent hooks (although I find it funny that KVD changes out the hooks on his KVD designed Crank to KVD model hooks.. confused yet?). This bait has great motions in the water and gets to where it needs to be quick. I have made some room in my already crowded crank bait box for one of these and I’m looking forward to sneaking up on some bass this season with it.



Strike King KVD Square bill cranks can be found at most magor retailers on-line or at your local bait shop (if they are not already sold out.. KVD has that effect on baits). It comes in two sized a 1.5inch and a 2.5inch, both baits run from 3-6ft. These cranks are available in over 10 colors including Kevin's popular Sexy Shad color. On average these cranks are priced from $5-$6 a bait

check out more info... http://www.strikeking.com/




Friday, June 3, 2011

Slipping Crappies on & under the Dock




I know this blog is suppose to be all about bass fishing, but I love crappie season, as the weather starts to warm these golden beauties start to stack up and can be easily caught from the shore or boats alike. This past weekend I spent some time fishing with my father n law, doing what we love to do.. slip bobber for crappies.

Crappies are like most other pan fish or bass, in that as the weather warms they move up and in, and look for some nice shady spots to relax. This makes dock fishing for crappies a great way to fill your bucket.

First things first. Like with all types of fishing you need to get your gear right

Step 1: The Gear

Crappie fishing in my mind is a finesse style of fishing, long rods, light line and tiny baits. I use a 10ft pro crappie max rod from the BPS, I pair that with a Okuma Stinson reel. My line of choice is 4-6lb Crappie line from the BPS in either the yellow or camo pink (who knew)

90% of the time I will be using a crappie tube and slip bobber when fishing the docks. If the bite slows or changes I will opt for a tiny spinner bait or a crappie sized crank bait. Those are both last resorts as the crappie tube is king when it come to flipping docks

For a slip bobber I have been using the Wally Marshall series from the BPS, they are a high vis bobber with a weighted end. The small weigh on the tip of the bobber allows for longer casts while still keeping your tube size to a minimum.


Step 2: The Approach

When in a marina or a boat launch with many dock slips, the goal is to hit as many sides and angles of the dock without spooking the crappie for underneath it. Try to avoid walking on the docks if possible, and never walk on an un-fished dock.

I start off flipping to the tip and sides of the first dock from well back. Once they have been fished I move in and flip under the dock. Once confident I have fished the first dock, I may walk on it to hit the tips of the surrounding docks. Depending on how spooky the fish are I may wait till all docks have been fished prior to walking on any of them.

The goal is to keep you bait suspended with the slip bobber, I like to leave at least a foot if not 2 where applicable. If Im not getting the bites, I may raise or lower my bobber. I usually find a clear test spot to drop my bobber and see how close to the bottom my bait is sitting. This is a good gauge.

I find the key to slip bobber and tube fishing is to keep them moving. Small drags or twitches work wonders. On some days they will chase you done and on others you will need to be subtle.



Step 3: Switch it up

As mentioned above nothing will work all the time. So be prepared to switch things up, wether that means a new color, or removing the bobber and bottom dragging, or going to something like a crappie tube or crank.

Also.. be prepared, just because you are throwing small tubes to panfish does not mean you wont run into a monster. I have caught a few bass over 5lbs while crappie fishing a tube.