Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Introducing the Frog Pond.. an all Frog Review Site

In case you have not found it yet, I wanted to make you all aware that I started an all new site that is 100% dedicated to product reviews and more importantly.. 100% dedicated to Frog fishing reviews.

The "Frog Pond" will give more in-depth reviews of products that have been spotlighted on this blog. Rating each one on Quality, Castability, Presentation, Hook-Up Ratio as well price and availability. My goal is to not only review the products but also supply you with info on where you can buy them (at the best prices)

Products will continue to be reviewed on this site, but for those looking for more then just a high level recap, be sure to check out the Pond. Products reviewed on the Pond are all products I have personally used on the water, no guessing or dribble you have heard spouted 1000 times.  I do need your help though.. The Frog Pond is interactive, I need your help finding the new frogs as they become available, I check multiple sites on a regular basis, but can use a hand. If you have or know of a frog you want reviewed, please contact me at

If you are interested and want to learn more about the Frog Pond.. check out the below links.

Welcome to the Frog Pond (explains how the site works)

Product Review: Scum Frog (the sites first review)

The Frog Pond will be updated at a minimum of once a week, be sure to check back and see if your favorite frog has been added.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Jackall's got the Craw market covered

I dont know about you, but I have been highly impressed with the line of hard and soft baits that have been coming out of Jackall over the past couple seasons. With the release of the Aska Square bill, the Iobee Frog, right on down to the FlickShake worm, they truly have my full attention and my wallets as well.

Adding to the above are a pair of craw baits unlike many on the market today, the Cover Craw and the Sasuteki Craw are two newer additions, and two very different baits that both have a definitive place in your arsenal.

Cover Craw

I dont know if you have seen or better yet held one of these baits in your hand, but if you have, you will notice something different about it, and that is the soft and supple body of the bait. It has an almost spongy  feel to it, yet it is firm and feels durable.

Soft, scented and salted the cover craw is designed so that the fish holds on, this is not a bait that will be coughed up easily. The short compact, yet bulky frame makes this craw hard to describe, but i'll try.. similar to a tube jig (just not hollow) the craw was designed to be fished upside down, with the hook point coming out near the base of the craw and the hook eye and line coming out at the top end between the claws.

The cover craw was designed this way based strictly on presentation.. and to allow the bait to fall "away" once it enters the water, so it will slide in under any cover.. Do you remember the "flying Lure" a flat tube designed to spiral away from the angler.. this craw is similar to that. Great for flipping docks the cover craw will glide in under the doc instead of falling straight down. It is meant to be fished weightless, but by adding weight to cover craw you will alter its fall, and remove that "fall away" motion, so if you dont like what you see straight out of the package try adding a little weight.

The compact body is great for punching, but the short firmer arms will not flail around and draw in the hawgs like it's bigger brother, the Sasuteki Craw...

Sasuteki Craw

Kinda like twins, just the fraternal type, the Sasuteki craw has many of the same attributes as its smaller brother the Cover Craw. Both share the same rounded bottom end and the ability to use the reverse rigging technic. The largest diffrence between the two is the large flapping claws and flat head that make the Sasuteki craw a little more unique then its brother.

The Sasuteki is designed to be a flipping and punching craw, but can be rigged a couple separate ways. Standard rigging is obvious, with the weight being added to the bottom of the craw, it's compact body will slip through cover and fall with the claws flapping like crazy, but if you are interested in trying something new, use that nice little flat spot on its head the Sasuteki and try fishing it upside down, by placing a bullet weight between the claws, giving this craw a very different look and swim when in the water.

Another obvious way to fish the Sasuteki craw is on a jig or shakey head. The durable body slides easily into place and holds up well when bounced around or dragged. Available only in one size you may want to rip off a bit of the tail to reduce it to a smaller 3" frame when using it on a standard jig.

Both of these craws are a welcome addition in the craw market, and If Jackall plastics are not on  your radar yet you are truly missing out. They are a quality product and continue to push product innovation each and every season.. are all Jackall baits a success, No, but Ive learned that with Jackall, it is worth weeding through the "misses" to find all the "hits"

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Humminbird Introduces 360 Imaging.. With a little help from Cabela's

In what can only be described as an epic blunder, Cabela's leaked info and images of  Humminbirds new 360 degree Imaging system, a product Hummbird went to great lengths to keep hidden even just hours prior to the live web streamed press conference being held in conjunction with the Bass Master Classic.

Yes, the boards blew up this afternoon as fishing-tech nerds like myself started drooling over images and links leading us to the new technology that now gives anglers the ability to see a full 360 degrees.. no more side imaging or down imaging..  we are now talking about 300 feet of a full 360 degrees of vision. Imagine being able to see a full 150 feet ahead of your boat! no more back tracking, you now see things before they happen!

This new technology comes in the form of a new telescopic transducer that has the look of a PowerPole mounted on the back of your boat. A quick button deploys the transducer beneath the boat that allows it to give you the full 360 imaging. The unit is set up to be deployed from your H-bird unit or if your lazy just yell at your partner at the back of the boat and ask him to do it (buttons are also mounted on the unit)

Along with the new transducer a system upgrade is also needed to make the technology compatable with at least four current H-bird units (798c,898c,998c, & 1198c). This was highly smart on H-birds part, as this allows current customers who recently purchased a sonar unit to still upgrade to the new technology.. and wont create a line-up on the returns desk.

With a hefty price tag of $1,999 this new sonar may not be for all (remeber that is on top of the price of an actual Humminbird Sonar), but I wont be surprised at all when I see it on a few boats this coming tournament season. Congrats to H-bird for yet again pushing the envelope, and thanks to Cabelas for sharing it with us

Cabelas Leaky Link

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bass Magnet Lures.. bringing a little Alambama to Ontario

I read some pretty crazy statistics in a recent issue of Bass Master Magazine, it spouted off some numbers  that blew my mind.. the number of anglers on the pro circut currently using the Alabama rig, and the number of wins already racked up for this "fad" or "gimmick".. Yeah I said those words, or typed them anyways. I have been skeptical to say the least when it comes to the Alabama rig, but recently while at the Toronto Fishing & Boat show I made a couple purchases that made me question my own sanity.. yes I too now own an Alabama rig (or 2)

If you are a Canadian Bass Angler I would be pretty surprised if you have not heard of Bass Magnet lures. Celebrating their 10th anniversary this year, Bass Magnet started making hand poured lures back in 2002, and today they boast a collection of some of the best soft plastics on the market today.

Adding to that soft plastic line, Bass Magnet has also recently joined the growing ranks of companies producing the..Alabama Rig (or Umbrella Rig).  The Canadian market has been slightly behind the the fast growth scene in the US market.. first because we are skeptical, and second because the standard Alabama rig is illegal to use in the biggest market in Canada (Ontario).. The 5 arm bandit that is the Alabama rig is not designed with Canadian anglers in mind, so companies like Bass Magnet needed to go back to the drawing board to product a version of the Alabama rig that will allow it to be fished in our home waters (up to 4 arms)

Released in Feb 2012, the BM Alabama rig comes in one size and one color only, it is built tuff, with 4 stiff but bendable arms capped with 30lb rated ball bearing swivels. The Bass Magnet version of the A-rig provides a substantial cost savings to the Canadian angler, beating out traditional A-rigs which sell for anywhere from $22.99 to $27.99 the Bass Magnet version comes in nicely at $16.99.

I got to see an handle this rig at the Toronto fishing and boat show this past weekend. I liked the look and feel of it, and liked the fact that unlike the US version (I also own a Mann's Alabama Rig) I dont need to find filler for that 5th arm...Yes you can fish a 5 arm A-rig in Ontario it just cant have a hook on it. I have mine rigged up with a willow blade. I feel overall the Bass Magnet version of the Alabama rig holds up well to the OG version ("original Gangsta", for those not in the know) even though it may not offer all the bells and whistles, and it feels slightly stiffer

Also released this year, and I dont think by coincidence is the Shift'r Shad, a great swim-bait that is the perfect match for an A-rig. Personally I was just as excited to see these beauties as I was the A-rig itself. In typical Bass Magnet fashion they have produced a high quality swimbait with a great ribbed body in an awesome selection of colors. The Shift'r shad is available in two sizes a 3.5" and a 5" model. Both give off a great profile would look great in the Alabama rig school.

If your not a fan or intrigued at all by the Alabama Rig, dont discount the Shift'r shad, like other swimbaits it has many uses, and can be fished on a weighted or unweighted EWG hook, or used as a jig trailer. 

If you have been holding off on picking up a Alabama rig, I dont know why.. yes it may just be the current version of the banjo minnow, or the flying lure, but I dont think it is going anywhere soon. So put away your pride and hide one of these in your tackle box. I wont tell if you dont

Note: At time of publishing this blog I have been advised that Bass Magnet has decided to no longer carry the Alabama Rig, citing discussions with anglers and others in the industry.  They sold out of all stock at the Toronto Sportsman show and have since removed it from their website and product list.. I guess mine is now a collectors item

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Great Finds from the Toronto Spring Fishing & Boat Show 2012

(Rob Edwards, Dustin Lemmon, Jim Van Ryn)

Well, thus ends another year for the Toronto Spring fishing and Boat show. Im not privy to how well the event does, but I will tell you that there was some great traffic moving through that building, and some great purchases to be had.. If you know where to look.

If you attended the show I hope you got the chance to drop by the VRX/Dobyns booth, if not you missed the chance to handle some serious rods, and of course pick of some great Rod Glove products to protect your gear. Us Dobyns guys were kept pretty busy, these rods are really building a reputation in the market, and this show really proved that. I got to meet a lot of great people this weekend,  there was a ton of interest in not only the Dobyns series of Rods but of course, Numa Optics,  tuff as nails sunglasses really built for Anglers and Hunters. If you missed your chance to see them up close and personal this past weekend, be sure to drop by a local retailer and check them out. .. In the GTA head over to Pro J's and/or Fishing World, and if you are in the Ottawa Market be sure to check out Paddletales.

When not working in the booth my focus was on finding some killer deals and steals.. new frogs, and some gear to help me on a Lake Erie Trip coming up this May were also on the top of my mind. 

One booth that caught my eye right off the bat was Vok fishing, set up with the Ultra Tungsten team, VOk fishing had a very cool selection of Frogs on display. With super soft bodies and some crazy color options, I had to pick a few up (review to follow). These frogs are priced right at $6.99 and $7.99, they come in 3 sizes including a tiny frog even smaller then the one made by Live Target. These frogs come in two styles, the Croaker and the Samurai. I love the croaker color selection, but for some reason the hooks are set a bit to far in for my liking. So In my opinion the Samurai is the way to go.

(the Croaker Frog & The Samurai Frog)

Next up was a mouse I had been eyeing on a couple of my last orders with Tackle Warehouse, and when I saw in up close and personal at the show, I could not resist. The MLT Rat N Rat, caught my eye due to the tiny blades that have been adding in place of rubber strands for feet. It comes in some great color options and will do battles with my Live Target mice for time on the water. These little blades will improve the baits ability when fishing pads and open water alike. They are small enough to not get in the way when the fish takes it, but big enough to give some flash in the water.

OSP is a company that I know very little about, it is not readily available in my market so it is hard to get a gauge for the product quality and selection. At the show I was able to handle some of their unique soft plastics and fell in love with the "Do Live" stick (or Olive stick as I was calling it. This thick worm/senko style bait has a large profile and a great finesse tail.. when the package is open you get the very familiar scent of what one can only call "power bait". Im hoping this is one of my secret weapons this season (although the color selection was a bit lacking)

These are just some of the cool finds I had while walking the floor at the Toronto Fishing and Boat show, many other companies were releasing some great products and product lines at the show.

 I spent most of my money at the Bass Magnet lure booth, a great bunch of guys and some very cool new products on the shelf. Be sure to check out their new alabama rig, and swim-bait series called "Shift'r Shad. They also launched a great drop shot bait called the "twitch". Like always I fell in love  with their tube selection, some great new colors added again this season.

I had a blast at the show this year, if you missed it, be sure to mark the date on your calendar for next year. There are some great buys to be had, and a ton to learn at the vaious seminars and booths.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Friendly Reminder: Spring Fishing & Boat show - Starts Tomorrow!

For those with a short attention span I thought I would throw out a reminder that the Spring Fishing & Boat show is this weekend.. even better it starts tomorrow! be sure to steal some time this long weekend and take in Canada's largest fishing show.. celebrating it's 15th Anniversary.

If you do make it down, be sure to swing by the Dobyns  booth, we will be packing 50+ models of Dobyns rods and for those attending the show the rods will be priced "tax in" so if you have been wanting to pick-up your first or next Dobyns rod, now is the time.

check out the below link for more details and to print coupons to save $2 at the door.

see ya there

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Jerseys for St Jude - Anglers Support Needed

One thing that has always impressed me about Anglers and those that work in the fishing industry, is the amount they are always willing to give back, in and outside of the industry. Recently I came across a great cause being run with the support of some great anglers that I just had to share with you.

"Jerseys for St. Jude is a fundraising event to benefit the St. Jude's Children's research hospital. This collaborative effort features EBay auctions for autographed tournament jerseys from some of the biggest names in the Industry. Each week in Feb and March a selection of Jersey will be auctioned off with 100% of the proceeds going to the benefit of St. Jude's.

If you are not interested in owing a signed fishing jersey, donations are also welcome. For every $10 donation your name will be entered into a draw for some great prizes. As a member of the Dobyns team I'm proud to say that Gary has donated a Coalition series rod.. see what $10 can getcha!

This event is part of the 14th annual Dick Hiley/St. Judes Bass fishing tournament. To date the tournament alone has raised over $1 Million for the hospital.

If you are interested in donating funds or placing a bid on one of the Jerseys up for auction, please check out the below links.

Remember new jerseys will be available each week, so check back often. This week up for grabs there is also a gift certificate from RayJus Fish jerseys, they make a quality product and with tournament season fast approaching it is a great way to get your jersey made and support a great cause.

As Anglers we always preach "Take a Kid fishing", by supporting St Jude's we can help make sure more kids get healthy and get the chance to go fishing

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Welcome back! - The 32nd Annual Canada/US Walleye Tournament

June 9th & 10th 2012 

I dont know about you, but each year by late spring, my mind, body and soul is ready for bass season to open.. the only problem is, bass season does not open until the end of June.. so what do bass anglers do to scratch the itch.. fish walleye of course! And if you going to fish walleye you might as well get paid for it!

This year marks the return of a very prestigious fishing tournament, the Bobcaygeon Canada/US Walleye tournament is back and entering its 32nd year and with a $5,000 guaranteed 1st place prize, I think it should be on every tournament anglers radar.. I know it's on mine.

For those who don't know much about the Canada/US event, it is a 2 day tournament with an entry fee that is reminiscent of the tournaments age.. only $150 for a two day two man team event, and in case you missed it above...  $5,000 guaranteed first place prize.. even if the field is not full!.. how many other events can promise that?

The $5,000 cash prize is just the tip of the iceberg, this event is scheduled as a 100% entry fee payback event.. and it will pay down to 20th place (if field is full) as well as 2 mystery weight prizes ($250 each) and a smallest catch prize ($200)

The Bobcaygeon Canada/US Walleye Tournament is a well run event and blast to fish. This is one event that is worth the entry fee just to be there and take in a great event, run by some great people.

If you are interested in learning more and maybe joining the field check out the link below.

I have to hand it to the team running this event, I was very impressed when I saw a "Pay Pal" sign up option live on the site, and a live countdown showing anglers exactly how many spots have been filled and how may spots are still open... and if I still have not sold you on this event, the least you can do is drop by and bring the kids to watch the weigh in and meet the event host  Ron James from Fish TV

be sure to check out the events FaceBook page, and take a minute to welcome them back

February Recipe: Spicy Honey Ginger Chicken

Here it is guys the perfect recipe coming in from a cold day on the ice. Other then the prep there is not  much to it, and with Valentines day coming up this is one that will show off your skills in the kitchen to the wife.

here is what you need:

8 x Chicken Thighs (skin on!)
14oz Can of Plum Tomato's
15 pieces  Dried Apricot
1 Sweet Onion
2 Tbsp Honey
2-5 Red Chili's (2 gives it a mild kick, 4 kick back!)
2 Cinnamon Sticks
1 inch piece of Ginger (peeled)
1 bunch of Rosemary
1 Bunch of Basil
2tbsp Olive Oil
2tbsp Butter

Getting Started:

Heat oil and butter in the biggest pot/casserole dish you have in your kitchen. As it heats chop the onion, mince the ginger and 2 sprigs of rosemary and the chili's (the more spine and seeds you leave in the hotter this dish will be). Throw all of these into the pot and sweat them for a few minutes... then add the cinnamon sticks and the remainder of the rosemary (not chopped) and cook for a few more minutes.

Once you can really smell the above ingredients cooking, it is then time to add the chicken. You want to brown the skin.. so start skin side down and don't touch it for at least 5 minutes. After about 5-7 minutes flip the chicken and brown the other side.

Tip: If you notice your pot is really crowded this is the time to stop and change pots, the next step adds the liquid and although the bottom of the pan needs to be covered to chicken should not be fully submerged or crowded

Now that the chicken is browned it is time to add the rest of the ingredients. To ensure I get all the good bits off the bottom of the pan I move the chicken off to one side and then pour the 14oz can of plum tomatoes and their juices on the empty side of the pot.. scrap the bottom to lift up the flavour bits as the liquid loosens them.

I then pour the honey and apricots directly on the chicken. then mix it all together. The last ingredient to add is half of the basil (chopped or shredded). The other half will be added at the end of the cooking process.

With the liquid added, the bottom of the pot should be covered and all apricots submerged.. if not add more tomato juice or water. Then bring to a boil.

Once boiling.. put a lid on it, lower the temp to just below medium heat and let simmer for 45 minutes.

While you are waiting for the chicken to do its thing you have a decision to make.. Rice? or Couscous?
This recipe can be served with either of these sides... personally I prefer to eat it with couscous and here is my fav way to prepare it

Ingredient list:
2 cups couscous
2 Cups Chicken broth
1 Bunch of Cilantro
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

This is pretty straight forward.. pour dry couscous into a large oven safe bowl, bring the chicken broth or water to a boil and pour over the dry couscous. Cover and let stand about 5 minutes.

Once the liquid has been absorbed, add about 1tblsp of Olive Oil and hand mix into the couscous breaking up any chunks. Add some chopped cilantro and mix well. On top of the couscous place 4 pats of butter, cover in foil and place in the over at 300.. this is not to cook, only to keep warm will waiting on the chicken.. that's it, this is ready to serve.

Now back to the chicken..

when the timer has gone off, remove the chicken from the oven. Give is a good mix and add the remaining basil. Turn your oven on broil and cook for another 5-10 minutes to give the chicken a good dark and crispy top (watch closely so it does not burn on you). You should be able to smell the sugar from the apricots and honey as they darken. (see top pic for what this stage looks like)

When ready to serve add about a cup of coucous to the plate and lay 2 chicken thighs down next to it. with a serving spoon top the chicken with some of the remaining juice and a few apricots.. your done!.. enjoy

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Company Review: Elite Tungsten

Well it is getting to that time of year again, I drag out boxes and boxes of tackle and start the re-organization process and the process of placing orders to replenish products I ran out of last season. Tungsten seems to always be on this list. No matter how large an order I place I always seem to use it up, and have to place a larger order for the next season.

The best thing about Tungsten is that it is readily available and can be found almost everywhere. The market is growing and so is the competition, and that is a good thing for anglers, as it brings the price down and the quality up. Over the past few seasons I have tried various brands of Tungsten, looking for that perfect mix of price and quality. This season I think I found a winner when a fishing buddy pointed me in the direction of "Elite Tungsten".

Elite has been in the Tungsten business for just over 4 years now, and they have the reputation of a company that puts out a high quality product and has a high level of service. This month I placed my first order with Elite, and here is a breakdown as to how the experience went.


Elite carries a wide selection of Tungsten products, including standard worm weights, flipping weights and drop shot weights. They carry a decent selection of sizes starting at 1/16oz and going as high as 11/2oz. They currently have 6 color options if you include "un-painted". Im a big fan of the "Red" and "Green pumpkin" colours.

The website is not pretty, but it gets the job done. Placing an order is fairly easy, each weight size and color is listed in the on-line store.. 71 in total (not including drop shot weights) all items on one page, there is not hunting or pecking to find what your looking for. They have a quick and easy check-out system that includes PayPal. The site is built to provide order updates when the order is placed and shipped.
Product prices are very competitive, they beat most if not all Canadian companies Ive purchased from, and match off some of the big players in the US market. You can buy direct from Elites site or from Tackle Warehouse

These weights are extremely high quality, and to steal some info from Elites site.. the weights are 97% tungsten and 3% nickel composition. Like all Tungsten they are Significantly harder and more compact than lead, they slip through small holes in cover more easily and help you feel everything your bait bumps into, for increased bite detection. 

The line holes on Elite Tungsten weights are insert free and "diamond bored" for the smoothest finish, and they will put less wear and tear on your line. All paints are a sealed finishes, and are very durable.


I mentioned this above, but lets face it, the site is not pretty. The logo and the images are clean and sharp, but the story behind the product on the home page is nearly impossible to read with the font and color chosen. In the on-line store many images are missing, and although you can use the sweet picture on the home page (see below) as a weight color reference it would be nice to be able to see the product when shopping the on-line store.

Product all comes blister packs, this is great on a shelf but not the best option for those buying in bulk on-line. I would recommend they look at bulk packs or discounts if you buy in bulk (minus the blister pack or clam shell)

Customer Service:

On top of Product quality, Customer Service is an area where Elite really shines. They have a very high level of communication and respond to email inquiries very quickly.

When I placed my order for some reason I did not get a ship notify (something the site is built to provide). When I contacted Elite they apologized for the issue and  updated me on the status of my order. They also contacted me a second time to ensure the order had arrived. I really felt they would be very supportive if my order did not arrive.. they seem eager to help and honest about the concern in my orders delay.
I assure you my order delay had little to do with Elite, it is just what is to be expected when cross border shopping. My order arrived in perfect condition and this first experience with Elite has ended as a positive one, and Im currently gearing up for a secondary order (drop shot weights)

If you are looking to add to your Tungsten weight assortment I would recommend giving Elite a shot, with price, product and service they seem to be a company that wants and deserves your business

(Image borrowed from Elite Tungsten Website)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dobyns Cast for Cash - Contingency Program - Ontario & Quebec

The above pretty much speaks for itself, this has got to be one if not the largest programs of its kind in Ontario & Quebec.. this is not Tournament specific, just a great program open to tournament anglers fishing in a series with 50 boats or more. 

So go ahead, contact a local Dobyns dealer, and put your hands on some new rods for the 2012 season. I guarantee you will not find a better quality or balanced rod on the market today. 

Canadian Dealer List

PaddleTales                   Winchester On,
Pro J Fishing Tackle     Toronto, On
Fishing World                 Hamilton, On
Jig Masters Outdoors     Matawa, On

Dont forget to check out the Dobyns booth at the Fishing & Boating show coming up on Feb 17-20th. with over 50 rod configurations, you will really be able to get a feel for what Dobyns has to offer

On the Ice: Dead stickin' for Splake

I have always thought of myself as a panfish man when it comes to ice fishing. But over the last 3 seasons my growing love of catching splake (and the occasional Laker) is really starting to change my mind a bit. Let me clarify that..I still love to jig up a mess of gills, crappie and perch, but instead of setting up tip-ups in search of pike while jigging for panfish, Im starting to veer  toward dead-sticking for splake! 

When you think about laker/Splake fishing the first thing that comes to mind is probably  heavy jigging in deep water, but that is not always the case. Both of these species often roam into shallower waters to feed, and Splake can be found quite regularly in as little as 12-15ft of water, and when they are.. they are prone to hammer a still bait just as often as they would an active jig. This is where Dead Stickin' comes in.

Dead sticking is just as it sounds, a still (dead) rod with a jig/spoon tipped with live or dead bait. The rod can be held, leaned, or set up in various slammers (the jaw jacker or automatic fisherman come to mind). The main objective here is to impart little to no movement on the rod and let the minnow do its thing.  Roaming Splake will often come across what looks like an easy meal and feast on it, rather then chase down a constantly moving jig. 

(Top is a Laker, and below it a splake. Both caught in 13ft of water on a deadstick)

Fishing a Deadstick

For those whose who know me, you know I dont pack light.. When chasing Splake on deadsticks I bring the following gear..

1 x Automatic Fisherman
1 x Jaw Jacker
2 x HT Riggers
4 x Medium Rods (min 30 inches in length
4 x Jigging Rods
Various Spoons (silver w/blue, red or glow)

Fishing in a group setting is what I like best. Most lakes in Ontario will only allow 1-2 lines per angler, this makes an effective deadstick set-up hard. Personally I like to drill holes in a horseshoe pattern covering water from 12ft up to 20ft. The deadsticks are placed in the area in which a depth of approximately 12-13ft of water began to drop down towards 20ft. Each rod will be rigged with a spoon (various sizes) and tipped with a live minnow. Flashers are then used to place the baits anywhere from 1-3ft off the bottom. Once set it is time to leave them alone, and start jigging with our secondary rods (this rod can be used for panfish or splake)

On my jigging rod I like to start off with a fairly large and flashy spoon (Williams has a great line-up), I wont tip it right off the bat as this spoon & rod  are used more for attracting attention then it is for hooking a fish. I let the spoon drop fast and hard to the bottom and bounce it a few times stirring up the bottom. I then give it a few hard snaps (this is why I dont tip it) and begin to work it back up the water column. After a few minutes of this, I will grab a rod with a smaller spoon tip it with a minnow and begin my normal jigging process. 

Again this is a secondary rod, and meant to keep me busy, while waiting for the deadstick to go off. I will at times downsize for panfish, or put it away altogether to fish exclusively for splake on deadsticks

Once you get started jigging be sure to take regular breaks to check in on your deadstick. The holes need to be kept clear, so on really cold days a freeze up wont cost you fish. I also check on my minnow every 30-45 minutes, this insures the minnow is still active, and gives you the opportunity to add some more flash as you drop the spoon back down. Often a fish that was staring at your deadstick will react when the bait is suddenly moved or falls back down... that being said, Checking on your line to much can defeat the purpose of dead-sticking, so keep that in mind.

Slammers, Riggers, Jaw Jackers & more

Each angler may have their own preference when it comes to what you use to deadstick. Me, I have a few favorites but the bite and weather conditions may help dictate what I end up using. 

I have been using the automatic fisherman for a few seasons now, and find it to be very reliable. It can be a pain to set, unless you have a dedicated rod for it, since you will have to adjust the arm each time you change rods. The heavy base is never an issue in the wind, and holds up well when you have a fish on. When splake fishing I like to keep my bail closed, this gives a better hook set and since Im never to far off, I let the drag do some work prior to me reaching my rod.

The JawJacker is a new fav from this season. I like the stance, and that it uses a loop instead of a rod eye to set the trap. I have had some freeze up issues, in which the mechanism did not trigger when hit by a nice splake, but luckily still landed the fish when my buddy noticed the Jaw Jacker rocking back and forth. 

for more info on the Automatic Fisherman and Jaw Jacker, check out this earlier blog.. Here

(HT Rigger)

It's does not take much to be successful with a deadstick, the above are just some tips and pointers, there are  many more options available... including just using an actual stick!,  Dont be afraid to test a few out and see what works best for you. I dont think I will ever stop hunting panfish,  but once you get a few of these beauties on your line, you will quickly be converted

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Rise of the Marcum LX7

This is a tuff blog to write, since the beginning of my days as an ice fisherman, i have always been a Vexilar guy. My first flasher was a Vexilar FL18 and to be honest I did not think I would ever need or want anything else.. but then came along the Marcum LX7. Introduced at Icast 2011 this machine created a pretty large buzz, the expanded feature list included capabilities that took many of the best features from other flashers on the currently market and included them in a revamped and amped up machine.
Features like the ability to turn on/off a traditional Chart style graph, along with the standard Flasher dial and a vertical view... can you say Lowrance, Vexilar, H-bird and Showdown all wrapped into one?  Sure these other flashers have the option to utilize some of these, but none of them give you all, and never at the same time!

The key features that Marcum boasts on the LX7 are the various screen options (Circle Flasher, Vertical Flasher, Vertical Zoom, Chart) a dynamic depth feature, infinitely adjustable zoom, multiple color choices for your flasher and screen, as well as a built in USP port to make the unit fully upgradable in your home, without having to ship it back to Marcum (must have been some foresight here as the first update is already available) Last but not least the LX7 has a giant screen suitable for watching movies or the big game. with any new electronics the LX7 is not with out its share of issues.. hell.. if you look on you will find a 40+ page thread of guys discussing the pros and cons of this $700 flasher, issues like... a jumpy screen, poor battery connections, a poorly placed handle, depth reading issues and the worst of all.. no dynamic zoom, a highly advertised feature. To Marcums credit they have been working hard since the release of the LX7 in Oct, nope Nov, nope a final delay saw it released in December, and since then they have been working on an upgrade to solve some of these launch issues.

Just last week update 2.9 was released on the Marcum website and facebook. The update was quick and painless and took less then 5 minutes to complete (video aid and instructions provided) . Marcum states the Update corrected the Dynamic depth feature as well as improved the anglers control over target size (as well as other changes)

Personal Experience:

I have had my LX7 out on the ice for approximately 40hrs, and there are some things that I fell in love with immediately, the first being the Graph/Chart option, this is something that prior to using I thought I would have no use for, but when I dropped my jig down that first hole and watch a crappie streak up off the bottom to hammer it, I was hooked. This is something you dont get on most traditional flashers

 My favorite screen combo (so far) is the chart and Vertical zoom side by side. I fish using the zoom and monitor the chart for historical data (jigging pattern, and fish movement). This is great when fishing with beginners or just your buddies. After landing (or missing) a streaking fish, I can call a buddy over to show off the streak, or easily show off the jigging cadence/pattern in the water.

Images on the screen are nice and clear and I have little to no issues with target separation. The unit has plenty of power to pick-up micro jigs in 20+ feet of water as well as your buddies jig if he decides to pull up close by. (thats what happens when your catching all the fish, and have a new toy)

The only issues that have really effected me, are some slight markings on the screen, as well as poor battery connection. I have a hard time getting the initial connection at the start of each day and it has taken close to 5 minutes to get the LX7 to turn on, once on I have no issues. The battery charger seems a bit slow, and when fishing back to back days you need to make sure you start charging the battery as soon as you get off the ice if you want it ready for the next morning.

The backside handle is a feature I like and dislike, i like it as is makes for easy grabs when hole hoping on the ice, but due to power/ground wire placement you can easily dislodge your power wire if your not careful. To solve this issue I strapped down the wires under the piece of Velcro provided meant to strap down the battery. As mentioned above the wires are a bit loose as is and I have had issues making a solid connection. to improve this I pulled off the charger clamps so I get a cleaner connection.

After 40 hours on the ice, i will admit I believe the LX7 is worth the price of admission. Sure I was pulling my hair out waiting for its arrival, and sure I was a little frustrated that an update was needed right out of the box to get it working properly, but thats the price you pay when you buy a gen 1 piece of electronics... there will always be bugs, there will always be glitches, but so far, the LX7 was worth the wait.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Down with Brown: UPS a Canadian Anglers Worst Enemy

This is written as a plea to both Canadian and US retailers to stop using UPS as your sole service provider. The rates, fees and service is not something you want to subject your customers to.

As a Canadian Angler that spends a lot of money on cross border on-line shopping, I have grown to fear the Brown Truck. Any order that crosses the border with a value over $20 will be hit with a brokerage fee on top of your duty. I have no issues paying Duty, it is the price I pay for ordering from the US, what I do have issue with is the crazy brokerage fees that come with that duty fee. On average between duties and brokerage I can expect to pay an additional 30% on top of my product and shipping fees just for the privilege of picking up a package from UPS.. FedEx does not have these fees! so why does UPS, why is a brokerage fee based on product value? does it not take the same time and manpower to clear my $10 order as it does for my $500 order? why the cash grab? 

My Story:

I placed a few rod orders back in the summer, at about $350 in value. When the product arrived at my door I was greeted with a $160 fee to free my package from the hands of the driver. I called UPS to inquire to why this rate was so high and I was told by a rep that these brokerage fees apply to all ground shipments but not air orders.. I thought, Ok, thats easy from now no I will up my shipping to Air and avoid the fee. So a month later I place another rod order and and pay an extra $30 for air service, yet when the product gets to my door I have yet another huge brokerage fee.. I call UPS, and the rep explains that they have since changed there policy and that really Im just out of luck and need to pay the fee to free my order. 

To add insult to injury, a month later I get a notice in the mail from UPS claiming that I owe them $160 for an order that I picked up. Since they wont give you your package without payment I was baffled as to how I could owe them money? I called in an quoted to my order number and offered to scan my debit receipt as proof of payment. Thinking all was clear I was surprised when two weeks later I got the same past due notice.. this on top of the brokerage fee has sent me on the mission to warn other anglers of the troubles you can expect when ordering cross border with UPS.

 I place regular monthly orders valued at a min $100 each, I was using Tackle Warehouse for 90% of my tackle and equipment orders, but they will only ship UPS and I was paying close to an additional 30% or more on each order.. so I found another retailer.. LandbigFish, they ship USPS, so guess who now gets my $100 a month or $1,200 a year (min)

If you are a Canadian Angler I recommend that when placing an order with your on-line retailer of choice you let them know about the issues we encounter when our orders are shipped via UPS. If they dont know they cant change anything

Retailers.. please look into your options, if you value your Canadian customers, please provide us the option to ship either USPS or FedEx, they treat Canadian customers well and dont smack us with obscene fees to pick-up or orders.

I say Down with Brown.. who's with me

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Video Of the Week: Justin Rackley Jig Fishing with the Dobyns 735c

This is  short little video gives props to my all time favorite bass rod. The Dobyns 735c,   a stellar rod when it comes to frog fishing, and in this video Justin also proves the point the it is also the AK47 of Jig fishing. 

be sure to check out Justins site for even more cool videos.. HERE