Monday, November 28, 2011

Quantum Exo Reel... it's like fishing with air, only lighter!

(photo from

I'm not a Quantum guy, in my life I have owned two Quantum reel and promptly sold both of them. But when i started hearing the rumours about the new Exo reel, i thought, "this is something i need to get my hands on" and today i did.

Weighing in at 5.9 ounces the Exo reel does not even feel real in your hands. it feels more like a toy (or a hard marshmallow). This thing is so incredibly light weight it is hard to get comfortable with it. I found it awkward to reel and I had bad flashbacks of me breaking my nephews Wii fishing rod remote (only minutes as he opened it on Christmas morning). I was a questioning the strength and the power of the reel although by all accounts it felt durable.

For those of you reading this and looking for a review, i cant help you, i have not had this thing out on the water, this post is more of a reaction post to handling the lightest reel i have ever picked up.

Handling both the Exo baitcaster and the Exo spinning reel I will say I much prefer the look and feel of the baitcaster. There has been so much material removed from the spinning reel it looks like Swiss cheese. I know how dirty my reels get each season and with openings like that, id be real nervous about the amount of dirt that is getting inside my reel.

My tournament partner is braver then i am, he purchased one of the Exo baitcasters, and I jokingly said "I'm sorry to hear that", but in all honesty if this reel is as Strong as it claims to be, and i know it is as light as it claims to be, then i think we will see a bunch of these on the water this coming season (my local dealer tells me he has sold 10 already.. but all fisherman lie) I recommend that you search one of these reels out, and whether you are a Quantum guy or not, put that reel in your hand..keep your eyes open, or you wont even know it is there.

P.S. I also put my hands on the Exo rods.. very interesting, strange to see the micro guide trend carried over to a collection of spinning rods.. but i think i will stick with my Dobyns rods.

Quantum did a series of mock videos for the Exo, This is one of the better reel videos I have seen, worth a watch if you haven't seen it yet

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ice Fishing... A World of Plastics

When I first started ice fishing the biggest difference (other then the cold) was getting use to buying live bait again. Not since i was a child using worms did I spend time in an actual bait shop buying bait on such a regular basis. But over the past few seasons I have been spending less and less time in search or minnows and wax worms because in that short period of time the "plastics" market has exploded.

Although still dominated by some of the bigger names in the industry (Berkley, Northland) there are a number of small plastics manufacturers that have really started to product quality baits at a reasonable price. Here are a few you should keep an eye out for and maybe you too will spend less time hunting minnows this winter.

Customer Jigs & Spins:

Not exactly a new comer to the ice fishing game, CJ&S has been the standard in ice fishing plastics for years. Their line-up includes  the Ratso, Shrimpo and Rat finkee jigs and all are quality products and panfish slayers.

CJ&S makes each of these baits in close to 20 colors including my fav's.. Pink/White, Motor Oil and Pearltreuse. The bodies of these jigs hold up well and replacement bodies are readily available If you decided to take the plunge and make an order, I recommend picking up some of their "slender spoons" these are some of the best spoons on the market today

J&S Custom Jigs:

J&S are new comers in plastics industry, they have 5 styles of bait available in just over 20 colors, including some glow options. I first heard about J&S when they made the smart move of becoming an sponsor on the icefishing website Not only did they sponsor the site but they started out by offering a free sample pack that would have 1 of each of the baits they carry. I was so impressed i placed a $20 order to go along with my sample pack. (at $1.99 for a pack of 8, $20 bucks will get you a nice little collection)

The ice mite and paddle bug are my two favourites. they are the perfect size and both have great motion in the water.

You can check them out at the site below, or purchase them from Sportsmans Direct or ReelGoodGuides

be sure to try the glow jigs

Maki Plastics:

Ok, this part of the post could take a while, Maki plastics must be the most comprehensive of the plastics companies on the market today, with close to 30 different styles of bait and 11 color options of each of the baits, you could be there for a while.

The Maki plastics are a bit more expensive then J&S coming in on average at $2.79 a pack. I own a wack of these plastics, but tend to gravitate towards the "maki", the "eggi" and the "poli" all three make for a simple presentation while in the water with limited movement by the angler.

my colors choices are "glow", "motor oil" and the "red"

KJB Plastics: 

KJB is the first of these companies that I purchased from. They have 21 different bait options and nearly 40 color options.. yes i typed that right.. 40 Color options!

KJB's baits are the most durable of the plastics that I have yet to try. They are made of a firmer plastic but still impart great action while in the water. I will be the first to admit that some of the bait options they provide are kinda useless (the hummer and the grub come to mind) but they also have a few real nice baits.. check out the "V", "Spurn", Hook-Guard" and the "BB Body". for color choices you should give the "silver pearl", "pearlesence" and the "iridescence pearl"

KJB sells their plastics for $1.25  a pack, and ship pretty quickly.

(a close-up mix from some of the above companies)

I know most of these companies are small and not local to most anglers. But they are readily available on-line for good prices. I mix and match the above along with plastics from the Berkley Gulp arsenal. You cant beat the line-up of Gulp waxies, minnow heads, and maggots. They are a bit cumbersome and sloppy in those damn jars, but the product is good. As for Northland tackle they are currently expanding the "Bro Series" that was launched last winter. I really like the "bloodworm and "slugbug" both are excellent crappie and gills baits. but i tend to steer clear of the scudbug. One company I didn't really touch on was Little Atom, and I would be remiss not to mention the "nuggie" a main stay in may fisherman's arsenals. This bait is the best of two worlds, the egg like body holds well on the hook and give off the beaded look that drives many panfish crazy, and the long twitchy tails moves extremely well in the water. Little Atom makes a quality bait but is priced higher then most of the baits listed above

be sure to check out some of these while on the ice this season, they wont completely replace live bait, but you will quickly learn there is a whole new world out there once you get hooked on plastics

Monday, November 21, 2011

Straight line on the Ice .. just fancy talk for a "Fly Reel"

The world of ice fishing has been taken over by talk of "straight-lining" but what does this really mean? Well straight lining is just a fancy way of saying that we have started to use "fly reels" on the ice, and we are better for it!

Pan-fisherman, make up a good portion of the ice fishing population, im one of them, sure i chase giant walleye on the Bay of Quinte and set tip-ups for pike all over the Kingston area, but im most happy jigging for perch, crappies and blue gill on any lake that will hold my weight.  And as a pan-fisherman I know there are certain issues that come with the territory.. light line, and tiny jigs are one of those things.

tiny jigs weighing almost nothing tied to Ultra thin lines and dropped 12+ feet down through an ice hole into frigid water, can only mean one thing.. line twist. It happens, if you have an underwater camera you have seen it first hand, you jig spins when you first drop it and the fish that dont pass out due to dizziness often wander off from boredom as they wait for your jig to stop spinning. Swivel can help this, but with these tiny jigs they are not perfect.

So the other option you have is to join in on the straight-line craze, I know i have.

The first straight-line rod & reel i purchased was a Thorne Bros Quiver stick paired with an Okuma Seirra 4/5 reel. It was magic at first touch, not only does Thorne bros make some of the best rods on the market but they also  will cut the cork handle to fit a fly reel perfectly.  The Quiver stick is ideal for this method of fishing as it is super sensitive but also tuff as nails. You can pull huge panfish out of the depths with ease.

Okuma, makes a great fly reel, and with a few reels available under the $75 range they are the perfect fit for an ice combo. I settled on the Sierra as it was the best price ($35) and I liked the look and feel of the reel. I used some fly line backing (or braid) to fill up the back end of the spool, then attached a 2ft leader of Asso ice line (2lb). This combo is now ready for action.

As the craze slowly built up and then took off, other retailers got in on the action.  Frabill a formidable name in the ice fishing industry has jumped on board this season with a Straight-line combo of its own.  A Frabill branded fly reel paired with a 32 or 34 inch quick tip rod will run you about $60. This is about $50 cheaper then the Thorne bros rod paired with the Okuma reel above.

The quality of rod that Frabill produces is top notch, Im a big fan of of the Quick tip and Ice Hunter series, and I look forward to test driving this combo soon. The reel it self is not up to the standard of the okuma, but may be suited well for the ice.

If your a panfish angler it will be worth your while to give one of these combo's a try. Not only will they reduce (or eliminate your line twist) but they will help increase your catch ratio.. dizzy fish just aren't that hungry

see ya on the ice

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Video of the Week: Fall Turn Over Smallie Fishing

Like most of you guys I love to watch fishing videos, and today I was passed a video from a buddy showing some tips for Fall turn over fishing. I don't know about you, but for me the fall turn over is one of the hardest seasons to fish. In the video Paul sheds some light on some techniques to help put fish in the boat.. and he does that well, in this video.

As a Frog fisherman I learned early to make multiple casts to the same spot, but when fishing cranks and other steady retrieve baits this is often an overlooked task.. But as this video shows multiple casts to the same spot is one of the keys to being successful in the fall turn over. This is just one of the many tips Paul shares, and you get to watch him land one jumbo smallie after another.. take a peek

Be sure to check out more of Paul's videos on YouTube

Sportsman's On-line Service with a Smile

I recently placed my first ever order with I was looking for a specific product (Kens Hooks) that I could not find anywhere else and I was pointed in their direction.

When I got to the website for the first time I noticed that they were out of stock on two of the jigs I wanted to order, and not wanting to pay shipping for a small or partial order I emailed them to inquire when they may be back in stock. I got a pretty quick response asking what "out of stock" items I needed and the qty I required.

When I responded with what i was looking for, i got another quick response this telling me that they could take care of me, just place my order on line and choose the current items in stock but in the notes/comment section of my order advise them of what i really wanted (they are all the same price). So I did this and sure enough my order was filled. (and filled correct!)

I got an email letting me know when it shipped and a follow-up email the next week to ensure i got my order. They ship using USPS/Canada Post and cant track packages once they cross over into Canada, so they wanted to make sure I recieved it.. I did.

the last touch was a personal note thanking me for the order (written on my invoice) and a free pack of little atom plastics that had been tossed in with my order.. yes, I know that a pack of plastics is not a huge deal, but the thought behind it was.

I had a great experience ordering from SportsmanDirect, they are a Mom & Pop shop doing what they do best.. taking care of hunters and fisherman, you cant really ask for much more.. Thank you Beth and the SD team

Monday, November 14, 2011

100th Post, 9,000 Views.. Thank You

Wow, another season flew by too fast. In my part of the world there are only days remaining in the 2011 Bass season and then we put the big sticks away and pray for ice. Over the course of this season I have been able to share with you  00 posts.. well 99 if you don't count this one. I have had the opportunity to share my successes, my failures and some personal moments along the way. I thank you all for checking in to see how I'm doing, as this blog thing would get pretty boring quick if I didn't know there were guys out there reading them.

100 posts in, i think most of you can see where I'm coming from and where I'm going. You can expect to see a lot more of the same over the next 100 posts and the 100 after that. I will continue to test out new products as I buy them and share stories of my time on the water. (not to mention the occasional rant).

In the near future I will be posting my top baits list from the 2011 season, then it will be full fledged ice fishing talks. Once the Spring hits, Crappies will be on the brain again, and of course next summer Bass Season will be the hot topic. I hope you keep checking in over the winter months, as although things will slow down a bit on the bass front, there is a lot of fishing to be done.


Friday, November 11, 2011

GoPro or go Home!

This has been my dream purchase for awhile now, and with the release of the GoPro2, what better time to take the plunge then now! 

GoPro has been making cameras for extreme sports for awhile now (the GoPro2 is a third Generation Camera) and  I often  wonder if they realize now how this extreme camera has changed the way fishing videos & TV is shot and viewed. This tiny little camera can turn the average weekend warrior into a HD Fisherman with only 2 buttons.

Although designed for the extreme sport world the Hero2 is actually perfectly build for a fisherman's needs. the casing is waterproof, and shock proof, and the camera is designed to work in extreme heat and cold. so wether you are on the ice or the water this camera will get the job done. The array of mounts available allow you to place the hero anywhere and still get your shot. Hat/head/helmet mounts are very popular and can been seen on a variety of TV shows. The chest strap gives a great few of the battle and there are many mounts that will secure to your boat to ensure all the action is caught. I have even seen some of these cameras strapped to fishing nets, cook idea, and one i will have to try.

My favourite shots taken from a GoPro are those that watch the strike, the battle, and then dip into the water to catch the last few seconds of the fight from the fishes vantage point. no other camera can boast capabilities like this. (on the ice I love to see shots of the augers cutting threw from underwater, looks awesome)

One of the last perks i will mention is how great this camera is for the solo angler. I spent a lot of time on the water alone, and being able to take shots, of me fishing, and of my catch is pretty important to me, and the Hero is up to the task. setting up the stop motion camera allows it to takes pis every few seconds, a pose for a couple, and toss the fish back, no waiting on timers, no worries about being cut out of the shot. this seems to good to be true.. all i can say is now that i have on.. i want a second one

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Stanley Ribbit, a triple threat in size and tactics

Here it is, the last frog review for the 2011 season. In my area the bass fishing has slowed to a crawl and although I try to get out as much as possible weather and work seem to get in the way. But I did manage to get one last test in on a frog that i think is pretty popular in the market place. When i asked around about frogs to try , the Stanley Ribbit came up on a regular basis.. so here goes.

The Stanley Ribbit comes in 3 sizes, the standard size is 3.5" and the bully comes in at 4.5". then the hot foot and floating models fall in between at 4". (For me the bully and the floaters caught my attention so thats what I purchased on my initial order). The Ribbet is priced right, at under $4 a pack for 5 baits you cant go wrong. They are tuff, durable and fish really well.

Bully Ribbit


I mentioned a few of the "pro's" to this bait in the above paragraph. It has a lot of perks I look for in a frog bait. It is durable, the rubber/plastic this frog is made from is very tuff, it holds up well for multiple fish and has a nice weight so it casts really well and gives you a nice splash and sit-down when in the water.

I like baits that can be fished a few different ways. Many frogs on the market rely on fishing them a certain way to be successful. Not the Ribbit.  The deign allows you to slow roll this bait along the edge of cover, to high speed burn/buzz it or to drag across the pads/slop

The size options are nice, and with three sizes it is hard to complain that you cant find the perfect one. I find the 3.5 a bit small for my liking and prefer the 4 and 4.5 inch models.

The color options available are also pretty unique, especially when you get into the floating models. There are a ton of options many of which come with a white belly, something i have a hard time not buying when i see it. 

Floating Ribbit


Not allot to talk about when it comes to cons with the Stanley Ribbit. They are a bit bulky when you get into the larger sizes, but since you have some options there is no need to complain about the larger size ones.

Im not a fan of the material used for the floating model, it is a weird soft almost foamy material. It is much lighter then the standard ribbit and something just feels off about it (love the colors though)

I guess me biggest complaint to these frogs is that they are not readily available in my area.. i have to order on-line. 

Size comparison: Bully (4.5") vs Floating (4")

Weapons of Choice:

As usual the weapon or rod of choice is a Dobyns rod. For me due to the heavier weight of the ribbit i would lean towards using a 735c or the 736c. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gary Dobyns.. A legend on the water, in the rod shop and at home

I have yet to met Gary in person, but we have spoken on the phone and we have corresponded over that wonderful invention "the internet" on more then a few occasions, and one thing that come through loud and clear is his passion for the sport of Bass fishing, for making a quality rod and for his family. So I know he would be very proud of the recent issue of BassWest USA magazine and the cover touting him as a :"Legend of the Sport"

I dont think many can argue with the "Legend" title.. over the years Gary has won 26 Angler of the Year titles (professional) 40 Prize Boats, not to mention over $2 Million is cash earnings. If that does not put him in elite company I dont know what will.

And if you didnt know already.. he makes the best damn rods in the industry. I think Dobyns will have to add another line of rod to the Savy, Champion & Champion Extreme rods.. Dobyns Legend Series!
(oh I think that may already be taken)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Richard Dobyns Weighs in on WIRED2FISH

Earlier this this year Richard Dobyns celebrated an Angler of the Year title on the FLW Everstart series, and now he sits down with Terry Brown from Wired2Fish team and talks about his win, fishing and Dobyns Rods in general

If you've got 12 minutes..listen to this... Wired2Fish: Richard Dobyns

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Novembers here and I can feel a change in the air.. Ice is coming

Well November is here, and although Bass season has not quite come to an end, I can feel the shift in me and my fellow anglers.. ice is on the brain. As mentioned in an earlier post I do have a very Dr Jeckel and Mr Hyde approach to fishing. My love of bass fishing is followed by my intense love of ice fishing. A sport that many still have yet to pick up for one reason or another.

Me, my love of icefishing is nearly 8 years old now, as i came to it much later then my love of soft water fishing. It started with fishing with my wifes uncle in a borrowed permanant hut fishing  for pech and splake. 1 short season later I had a portable hut of my own and a hobby has quickly grown into a passion.

I spend the winter months chatting and posting on the best ice fishing website i have yet to find.. , carrying on my current persona I made some slight changes and this bassjunky has been know as icejunky for over 6 years now.

I was trying to avoid talking about ice until the bass season came to a close, but Consider yourself warned.. this bass heavy blog will not be going into winter hybernation, it will change into an all new beast, IceJunky will appear and I hope im able to keep you interested in the cold months to come.