Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Rant: Boaters Exam card replacement policy

Let me start off by saying that I support this program and have had my card since 2005, long before it was mandatory. But recently the now 6 year old card has become brittle and has now broken into two pieces.

I emailed the BoatersExam people to ask for a replacement card.. and guess what, they want $19.99 to replace my card. or $29.99 for 3 cards. Am I missing something here? does anyone know of any other companies that charge for replacement cards (other the the government)

There has been many a rumbling that the boater exam was strictly a cash grab, and they always responded that "oh no, this is a one time fee" but now to charge nearly $20 to replace a card. thats is a cach grab. That is above and beyond the replacement cost and shipping of these cards. I had no issues paying for my exam and card up front, and hell if I constantly lost or damaged cards i would have no issue being charged, but to damage one card in 6 years, and then be asked to pay $19 to replace it.. brutal

Customer service goes along way. I support the Boater Exam program, but they will not be getting $19 more out of me.. time to laminate and tape up this beast.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Venom.. A Bully Frog with no bite!

Anyone heard of Venom baits? I know I have as they are pretty common in my area. But this little company gets little play from many of the larger retailers. that being said they do bang out a fairly decent product.

The Bully Frog is the only frog in the Venom line up, and to this day its hard me to give it a thumbs up or a thumbs down. it has some perks and it has some downfalls.. wich out weighs wich, Im still undecided.


this bait fishes well, the body has a wide enough stance that it sits flat in the water and while the legs kick you dont have an issue of the bait spinning. The legs are similar to many on the market today and provide a slight buzz in the water but not a heavy churning. (this is my preferred wake).

The bully frog is made of a softer plastic and makes for easy hook placement. The belly slot holds the hook in place and you can easily hide the hook point in the frogs back. This frog casts well and can be fished weightless or with a weighted hook.(i prefer to fish my frogs weightless.)

5 frogs to a pack an under $5, thats always a good thing in my books, this frog comes in at about 0.94cents each. Venom has always been color heavy and Bully frog is no different with something like 12 color options


for all the perks listed above about the soft plastic used by Venom, it has some cons as well. this stuff rips easily, the nose can be damages in thicker cover or when fighting a fish (this is where cheaper prices come in handy).

the legs themselves give off good motion, but they are thin, and tear off easily. After a tuff retrieve or aggressive blow-up dont be surprised if your frog is an amputee . these are so thin I have had the legs ripped of by perch and blue gills.

Weapons of Choice: 

I fish this frog on a Dobyns 735c rod. It has the perfect length for throwing long distances and the backbone to pull you out of some nasty cover

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

TGF.. Gone but not forgotten

Terry Ronald Sweet
Oct 14th 2011

Second only to my passion for Bass fishing is my passion for ice fishing. For just over 6 years now that passion has become an addiction and as autumn turns to winter this BassJunky quickly becomes an IceJunky.

Back in 2005 I would have considered myself a newbie to the world of ice fishing and I joined a forum called . Within a few days of posting a quickly bonded with a fellow Canadian member named TGF for "Terry Gone Fishing". Terry although settled in BC had some family in my area of Ontario and we quickly became friends.

A few days ago now I got word of Terry's untimely passing. Shocked and saddened I took to the keyboard and spread my condolences with the rest of the IS members. Many of us had Terry stories to tell and images to share of his crazy antics on the ice. Terry had two things he enjoyed doing while on the ice, once was showing off his famous glass eye and the other was kissing/biting those ugly burbot he loved to chase. Always zany, always smiling, Terry was a true ambassador to the sport of ice fishing. Although he kept it quiet Terry spent some time on the Canadian Ice fishing team and got to do some traveling for the sport he loved. He taught me a lot in a short period of time (convinced me to buy my first marmish rod)

Without a doubt the IS forums and the world of ice fishing lost a friend this past week. Im sure going to miss that one eyed, fish kissing fool. this place wont be the same without him.

Here's hoping there is always a place to fish buddy..


Reaction Innovations Trixie Shark.. a bait you wont see on Shark week!

Reaction Innovation.. these guys have been around for awhile now and really made there name on products like the big and littler dipper (two baits I love!). That being said many of their baits are hard to find in my area, and the ones I can find I usually have no interest in using.. the Trixie Shark has been on my hit list for awhile and last week when I walked into a local bait shop I found 2 packs of this shark (both in white) and could not resist the urge to buy them.. even at a whopping $7.99 a pack.


the Trixie shark has a long slender frame with slight fins/wings on the side and a shark like fin on top. It moves well in the water and the legs kick very well. I do like the back fin on the frog as it allows for a good weedless retrieve. the hook stays put.

In open water is where you will find success with this bait. It autumn now and with the vegetation dying off I have started to buzz this frog in and around cover. Over deeper pockets and off to the side of live vegetation have proven successful.

this bait does get the fish angry. the legs move very well and I had multiple blow-ups within minutes of throwing the bait.


the body consistency is very soft, the damage seen on the below image was caused by the first blow up. The body has a slight tear and the legs have begun the deteriorate. This is looking like a one fish kinda bait. I found it hard to get good hook placement in this frog. no matter where the hook was placed the frog would spin or veer off to the left or right.

The material used is not the best for dragging a frog over thick cover and/or pads. It seems to be a bit sticky, and the cuts in the legs also grab onto the pads and force you to pull more then reel.

Weapons of Choice:

because I throw this frog in very little cover, or around cover, I like to go with a longer rod with a good tip. Again for this frog I use a Dobyns 805CB RM, yep it is a crank rod, but it is perfect for this technique

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Out of Office - Alberta Bound Tattoo & Art Festival

For those who check out this site on a regular basis (thank-you), I just wanted to let you know that I will be away from the keyboard for the next 6 days.

Im away on officially business, also know as having a blast at the Alberta Bound Tattoo Convention. This is an annual event and the company I work for a a major sponsor. The event has some of the worlds best tattoo artists all in one spot.. over 200 in all. This will be my second year at the show and as long as an Air Canada strike does not ruin my day I will be in the air by noon tommorrow

If your in the Calgary area be sure to drop by and check it out. if you are looking get ink, there is no better time or place

check out the details... here!

The Rant: Reaction Innovation Sex Sells, but not in fishing

I  have a bit of a rant about Reaction Innovation when it comes down to the marketing and packaging of their product. What kind of fishing company decides that the best way to package their product is to include cartoon drawings of busty scantily clad women? what is your target market, 14 year old boys? what angler that you know goes into a shop and says "hey this one has a naked lady on the pack lets buy it? 

I know, I know sex sells, I work in the Tattoo Industry, it is a predominant theme, but this just does not work. How about standing on the quality of your bait and not the packaging. (and yes I do realize that not all the packs have the image of the women on them). If you go to Reaction Innovations website (here) you will also notice they lead off the home page with the picture of a women next to the their logo.. is she the owner, or the girl I get on the line when I call in to place an order? if not why is she important to your brand? This just seems odd, and kind of dumb. what's the purpose? whats the value?

Tacky bait names are part of fishing,  fisherman love them, sure "sweet beaver" is a pretty funny product name, but do we really need the image of the women on the pack to reinforce the joke? I got it! I understood.

I dont want to make this rant sound like women's rights speech,  Im not worried about my wife or kids seeing the packs,  these are not the point of my rant. I think using images like this degrades the product, not the women, what you are telling me is that this product cant sell itself.. and since I use a few of RI's products, I know they can.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Canadian Thanksgiving - Done Right!

This past weekend was the Canadian thanksgiving, and although the weather was amazing, my family ate up most of my time and I did not get a chance to hit the water. That being said I did get to take part in a Thanksgiving tradition, no matter if you are Canadian or American, nothing says Thanksgiving like deep fried Turkey.

To Start things off, I like to give the Turkey a shot, you can buy all kinds of injector sauces, something butter based, is what you want, after that it is all preference. I give it a shot 24 hours in advance and then again about 30 minutes prior to hitting the fryer.

Tip: I always make sure the Turkey sits out at room temp for 30 minutes prior to frying. This helps speed up the cooking time. I also like to wipe it down just prior to dunking to get rid of any excess moisture

When it comes to getting the bird in the pot, check you oil level lines and the weight of your Turkey. My frier only holds a 10lb Turkey and I always check the appropriate oil level by adding water and the Turkey to see when it is covered. then I empty the pot dry out all water and add the oil. You should make sure you have at least 6 inches of clearance from the top of the oil to the top of the pan. Remember as it heats the oil will rise slightly

I heat my oil to 375, then turn off the heat and drop the turkey once the flame is out. This is very important, as the oil will bubble up and over the top on the initial drop, once it settles you can turn the flame back on, your temp should still be between 300 and 350, slowing work it back up to the 350 mark.

On average this will take about 4 minutes a pound. Time it out, and try not to pull the Turkey out of the oil while cooking.

Once done, pull the turkey out of the oil and use a thermometer to get a good internal reading. As with all frying just because the outside is brown does not mean it is done. Check your temps.

Once comfortable that the Turkey is cooked, you need to let it rest. Tent it with tin foil and lest it sit for 20 minutes prior to carving.

Thats the final product, crispy skin and juicy perfect turkey meat. You cant really do this wrong, just follow the safety rules and you will be sold on this 40 minutes Turkey.

The perfect Thanksgiving is always finished with some home made pie. I was lucky enough to hit the farmers market on Saturday and score some apples for a fresh pie.

Last thing here.. the only real difference between a Canadian and American Thanksgiving (other then the date) is our post meal ritual.. Hockey, not Football

Friday, October 7, 2011

Z Man brings their A game when it comes Frogs

I have been sitting on this review for awhile now, it is parts of the lost last days of summer. I was at the family cottage near the bankroft area and was running low on my go to frog baits. With still 6 solid days of fishing ahead of me, not to mention a two day tournament I headed into the small town to see what the local bait shops had to offer.

The selves were not exactly loaded with options, but this Zman quickly caught my eye. It was a frog I had been meaning to order on line, but had not yet had the chance. So I scooped up a couple packs, headed back to the lake and quickly tied on one.


Im going to start off by saying, I like this frog. It has a nice kicking motion in the water without over churning. It moves well in open water and across the pads. The elastic body is very durable and holds up well to the abuse the fish will put it through during a fight. On the pause this frog will float (even when using larger hooks), the entire body sits flat on the water in a neutral position giving the fish a great profile to stare down

I like the color selection offered here, it is not huge, but a good mix of natural colors and many with white bellys, and a bit of red as a kicker.


Package size is the first con I see to this bait, they come in 3 to a pack, I know these things are built tuff, but I still want to think Im getting my moneys worth. I dont need an 8 count bag, but give me 5 at least!

When looking to place an order on line I noticed that tacklewarehouse has a disclaimer on all Zman plastic baits it reads.. "dont mix Zman elastic baits with standard plastic baits" Im not sure what this means. I was unable to find similar info on the Zman website and for fear of an explosion Im not brave enough to mix these baits with any of my other plastics.. Anyone else know why?

Overall this frog was one of my favorite finds of the 2011 season, it may not be new, but is was new to me, and I had a lot of fun fishing it. This is an early fish caught with the zman hard legged frog. I dont know if they are readily available near you, if not jump on line and give these a try.

Weapons of Choice:

the soft flexible, stretchy plastic make these a very light bait. I like to use a longer rod then usual when throwing them, and went with a Dobyns 805 CB RM, yes this is a cranking rod, but the it is built perfect for this presentation. Long rod, mod/fast tip and some nice back bone

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Deps Invents a whole new Frog species.. the Hard Belly!

Recently a post on asked the question: "if you had $50 and could spend it on any piece or pieces of fishing equipment, what would you buy?"

Well that post rang very true to me, since i had in my hand a $50 gift certificate that I won in one of the tournaments i fished this past summer. Found money! is there really anything better? Found money is money well spent, it gives you the chance to buy what you want with little fear of the cost and little fear of the product not living up to the hype.. If it does not work out.. Oh well.. at least I did not spend my hard earned cash on it.

That being said I will get to the point of this post. I took that found money and purchased a Deps Hard Belly frog also called the Basirisky. This frog runs at the Hefty price tag of $22 in my area and has been something I always shied away from.. it looks odd and it costs twice as much as the frogs I use on a daily basis..  but found money is easy money to spend and the Basirisky found its way onto the end of my rod.


this is a very cool little frog that gives off some pretty crazy motion in the water. It can be fished a few different ways easily and really draws the fish in with its erratic walk.  The legs face forward and pull on the water while you retrieve. it walks and rocks back to you and leaves a large ripple, driving some fish crazy.

What I like most is you can easily very the retrieve and still get some very sweet action on the frog. You can raise the rod tip and make slow pulls or burn the frog back quickly to cause more of a ruckus. 

Due to the heavy weighted tail end, the frog sits very well in the water will the tail end down, and should help your hook-up ratio. It also makes the frog reasonably heavy, and easy to casts long distances. Im still not sure about the use of a single hook, but it stays close to the body and does not get in the way so thats a plus.

I bought both the hard and soft body versions of this frog. The hard body improved slightly on the already good design. The hard Portion of the belly help push the hook solidly into the fishes mouth on a blow-up. It is designed to only allow a portion of the frogs body to be compressed.

(this image is not the Hard Belly it is the standard Deps frog, but allows you to better see the inside of the frog)


I have only had this frog on the water for a very short amount of time. I do see some possible cons, but have yet to experience them. Both the hard belly and the weight system and both separate pieces to the frog that have been attached. Over time these will wear with abuse and may let additional water in the body cavity. 

the hook system is interesting (see above pic) It is a two piece system that keeps the actual hook separate from the nose of the bait. There is three pieces inside this frog and as with most things the more pieces the more things can go wrong. I can see a few breaking points and at this price point I dont want to be replacing too many frogs.

The legs of the frog are a huge pro when working the bait in open water, but can become a con when using the bait in a heavily padded area. The Hard body frog is an improvement over the original as the hard portion of the belly slides easier over pads. The legs and rubber on this frog can get caught up and almost stick to pads a bit as the come across them. 

Obviously some would consider the the price to be a con. At $20 or more per frog there is not a huge market wanting to drop that kind of money. I really liked what I have seen from this frog, Im glad i used my found money on it, and will not hesitate to use some of my hard earned cash in the future.

Weapons of Choice:

As mentioned previously this is a heavy frog. I would recommend a couple different rods depending on how stiff you like your frog rods. I used a Dobyns DX795 flipping stick, this rods is ultra light, but tuff as nails. works great with all hollow bodied frogs. If you want something with a bit more give and tip, I would recommend the Dobyns 736c, this rod is the king of hollow body rods