Friday, August 24, 2012

Quiet Week Ahead

It is about to get pretty quiet around here for the next week and into the long weekend. As of today I will be embarking on my annual late august fishing trip and cottage getaway that will see me hit 5 or more lakes over the next 10 days. The boat and the canoe are all packed and loaded, this trip will see me break out all my Dobyns rods and a fly rod or two in search of some monster bass on lakes I will and will not name.. I think I have a tournament in there somewhere as well

While it may be quiet now, don't fret i will be back with a ton of photos and more product review for the month of September.

Enjoy these last few weeks of summer, I know I will.

Posts Coming your way in early September:

Fear & Loathing: Limerick Lake

5 Lakes Trip & Pics

Top Water Action: Poppers

Top Water Action Walking Baits

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

7th Annual Boys Trip: Jacks Lake

This past weekend I got to play a little hooky from work to get in a 3-day fishing trip on jacks lake with some buddies. The group I will affectionately call.. 3 men and an old guy.. The 4 of us have been planning and taking bi-annual fishing trips for the past 7 years. We get out once on the ice and once on the water, this year we rented  a place at Jacks Lake Lodge on Jacks lake in Apsley Ontario. I have been fishing the lake for a couple years now but the other 3 had yet to wet a line.

Day 1:

After getting all our gear packed into the cottage we took to the water in teams of two looking for angling supremacy (standard tournament rules apply). It was not 5 minutes in that I received the first message that team Brad/Ken had boated their first fish, right off the end of the dock we launched from.. Damn you Kenny!

Already behind Aaron and hit bay after bay only to be disappointed by how low the water had dropped, making many of my spots almost unfishable. We did spy some Musky sunning themselves  and Aaron added a new species to his life list. Throwing a spinnerbait into the timber Aaron hooked and landed a nice 5-6lb Musky. Unfortunately his tiny net was no match for the fish, and just moments after I netted the fish, and handed the net to Aaron, the fish flipped out, leaving the hook behind and landing right back in the water.. no pic of Aaron's first musky.

(check out the Musky scare.. very common on Jacks)

All in all It was a pretty quiet day, we boated many fish, but very few keepers. Team Brad/Ken were awfully quiet and knowing those two I knew something was up. When time ran out Aaron and I found them waiting for us on the dock with smirks on their face and a 4.6lb fish in the livewell.. good job boys

(Brad showing off his dads fish)

Day 2:

Morning came a early on Sunday, a few drinks, some cards and a few more drinks the night  before so a 6am wake up was not how I wanted to wake see the world on Sunday morning. Day 2 the teams were switched up and I headed out with Ken so that left Brad and Aaron to team up.

Ken and I had a pretty good day, we fought off dozens of small small mouth bass and hooked into some good fish. Kenny landed the first fish of the day with this chunk throwing a spinnerbait around a one of the many Islands

Later in the day it was my turn for spinnerbait success, I upgraded our catch in back to back bays, one on a spinner bait and the other on a zoom ultravibe craw.

Brad needed to kick back a bit and only fished the morning leaving his partner Aaron to fend for himself on Sunday afternoon (in some heavy winds). He did just that landing the days largest fish a 4+ lb smallie.. look at this beast!


The final switch-up saw Brad and I partnered up on day 3 and the pressure squarely on my shoulders. If I wanted to win the weekend, Brad and I would have to win and I would have to land a fish larger then Kennys 4.6lber.. this would not be done... damn you Kenny

We did have some fun though, and battled a few muskies in the process (this lake is infested with them). On Kenny's advice I decided to break out the buzzbait, and right off the bat I had a large musky attempt to kill it, I hooked him, but as we battled a stump he came off.. the splash alone had my heart racing and made my day. In bay #2 another musky showed up, and we could actually sight fish for him and watch as he chased out baits out. In the 3rd stop of the day Brad finally hooked into one, his first, on a drop-shot if you can believe it. This one stayed in the net (a net we broke on day 1) and we got a nice pic.

My best fish on Day 3 came off the buzz bait over a very windblown rock shoal. This little smallie killed it, and fought like a champ. This was my first and only  top water bite of the weekend.

In early afternoon on Day 3 it was time to pack it in, have one last meal and hit the road back to civilization. We had a great time, and made the best of some low water, and very windy conditions. Kenny was the overall winner, as he was a member of the winning team on Day 1 and Day 3, and he landed the largest fish of the weekend. With age comes wisdom I guess, Congrats Kenny

now it is time to plan our 2013 ice fishing trip.. Ottawa here we come

Scenery & Fish Pics:

here are some pics taken around the lake during our stay. Jacks Lake in a beautiful lake with small to medium amounts of pressure. The wilderness around is breathtaking and the fishing is great for Bass, Musky, Crappie and Walleye

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Rant: The Frog Clone Wars

I work in an industry in which "imitation" is not seen as flattery, but instead as a way to cheat and steel from another company. So when I started to notice this trend creeping further and further into the fishing industry, I could not keep my mouth shut.. and thus a Rant was imminent

This is not new, and as mentioned above it is not limited to the Fishing industry. One can look back at the introduction of the Senko worm years ago, and the lengths at which bait companies have gone to copy its success, and still do to this day. That being said the copying of baits was really limited to worms for the most part, but over the years it has started to spread into other areas of the bait market and this year the frog market has seen an influx of "knock-off" baits. Some coming from small companies and hand pourers making their own bait mould and some knock-offs are coming from over-seas from the same factory or plant that the original bait comes from!

Live Target is a great example of this. I dont know about you, but I have seen a remarkable amount of knock-off Live Target frogs on the market. I actual a angler who told me that he could order me "copy" Live Target baits from China for pennies on the dollar, all he had to do was get a 500 piece order together, and the company would ship him these frogs. I was annoyed by this and I tried to explain to him that by buying these baits, not only is he taking money out of the pocket of the company that paid for the development and production of that product, but he is taking money out of the register of local bait shots, and down the road, this will take money from the pocket of every angler that buys Live Target products.. When people rip off their baits before they can recoup the cost of development companies are forced to do one of two things.. raise their prices, or stop developing new products, and in the case of Live Target, this truly would be a shame as they are responsible for some of the coolest bait designs on the market today

Ok, so that covers off the bigger companies getting ripped off by bigger companies.. now lets look at the small guy, who at times, is doing just as much damage

I recently placed an order for various soft plastic frogs from various companies. I will not list them here, but as you can see from the images I was not super happy to see that two of the frogs I ordered were clones, they are the exact same frog, other then colour options and price.  I dont pretend to know how or why this happens, maybe one company created a knock-off of the other companies product or maybe one company sold the moulds to the other company. All I do know is as a consumer I feel a little ripped off. I bought these fogs to test and review them for the Frog Pond, but really I could have saved myself some money and just ordered one, and then switched the names.. thats kinda what bait maker has done? 

Why do companies do this? The baits a company produces directly reflect how that company is seen in the industry, so why let someone else make or break your reputation for you? why create brand confusion? If you have a new idea for a great frog design, then created it, if not, don't add a frog clone to your product line.. and if you are going to use a clone mould, then try to switch up the materials, the plastic, the scent, something that tells me as a consumer that you improved this bait in some way, that you care about your products.. Innovation over Imitation is how to grow this industry

Rant Over!

(P.S: In no way am i suggesting the companies listed or pictured above have "knocked or Ripped off" another company. As stated they may have purchased the moulds or rights legally to these baits)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fish Tales: Early Morning Tailgater

Last Sunday morning while on my way to a tournament being held on Chandos Lake, I had a brief run-in that is eerily similar to some some urban legends we use to tell around the camp fire as kids.. this is a true storey...

It is 4:00am on a stormy Sunday morning, although barley awake Im making the drive from my home town of Peterborough, On to Chandos lake, just north of the sleepy town of Apsley. The roads are dead and for the first 45 minutes of my drive there is not another sole in sight. My coffee, some tunes and the occasional suicidal raccoon  are the only thing keeping me wake.. that is until I reach "The Sandman Motel"

This is where I come across the first vehicle and person I have seen today. Sitting in an old all white beat-up  pick-up truck I can barley make out the shape of a man, his truck is running but his lights are off. As I drive pass the truck, the lights flick on and the truck pulls out the parking lot and proceeds to slowly follow me through town and onto the quiet Hwy headed towards Chandos Lake.

Constantly watching my mirrors, I notice the truck has gaining on my slightly, so being polite I slow down to make it easier for him to pass me.. but, instead he too slows down. At this lime I start to get annoyed and decide to pick-up some speed and see if he will do the same... sure enough the driver of the White pick-up is still with me and continues to follow me for the next 15 minutes, all the way to the boat launch on Chandos Lake.

When I turn off the road and into the launch parking lot the white pick-up follows me. This is about the time when I got a bit nervous. My partner is meeting me at the launch but we are always super early and I like to be first on scene to secure good parking..  lucky for me as I drive across the lot I notice that another boat has beaten me to the launch, it is parked quietly just off the ramp, so i decided to pull up right next to them.

The white Pick-up follows me to the launch and stop right behind me. For what seemed like forever the driver of the white truck sat behind me, not turning off his lights, not getting out, but not leaving either. Then suddenly the driver throws the pick-up in reverse and turns out of the launch back onto the HWY and heads back the exact same way we just came.. I sat confused in my car for a few minutes then proceeded to get out and share my storey with the other anglers.

it was just a little too back county "Deliverance" for my liking.

I dont know if this was a case of mistaken identy or some strange back country guy looking to get into some trouble, all I know if that it was not the way I wanted to start my day.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Outdoor Heritage: West Coast Bass Fishing Tournament Trail

Back on August 7th a quiet little press release announced the launch of an all new West Coast Bass fishing tournament trail. The Outdoor Heritage is a series of Pro/Am events that have set their sites on  the big guns in the industry and plan to go head to head with B.A.S.S and the FLW.

The Outdoor Heritage group consists of some of the Wild Wests top angler including Gary and Richard Dobyns, Tony Franceschi, Roderick Lee, Jim Markham and Craig Gottwals. All these West coast guys can only mean one thing, and that is that these events will be all about the anglers and if thats the case the Outdoor Heritage is here to say and can only get bigger.

for more info, check out Wired2Fish: Outdoor Heritage

Here is the breakdown of events scheduled for 2013.

North Pro-Am ($1200 Pro / $400 Am)

Lake             Date
Shasta          Feb 8-10, 2013
Oroville         March 15-17, 2013
Don Pedro    April 26-28, 2013
Clear Lake    May 31 – June 2, 2013

South Pro-Am ($1200 Pro / $400 Am)

Lake               Date
Roosevelt        Feb 1-3, 2013 (tentative)
Havasu            March 8-10, 2013
Pleasant          April 19-21, 2013
Mead              June 7-9, 2013

Team ($250)

Lake                Date
Oroville           January 26, 2013
Berryessa        March 2, 2013
Folsom            April 6, 2013
Cal Delta         May 11, 2013
Clear Lake      June 29, 2013

Last but not least, be sure to check out the awesome promo video that can be found here: Outdoor Heritage Promo Video If this does not show you how serious these guys are, I dont know what will

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dobyns Tip of the Month: Doug Vahrenberg

Dobyns rods has added a new monthly feature to their FaceBook page: "Dobyns Tip of the Month"
this segment will include tips on techniques, presentations, bait selection and of course rod selection. 

August kicked things off with a great read by Pro Angler Doug Vahrenberg.

If you have a a hard time finding fish when the weather gets hot, but sure to check out Dougs tip on shallow water cranking with squarebills

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fear & Loathing on the BBTS: Chandos Lake

Before I launch into how poorly I fished on Chandos, I will take a minute to congratulate the winners, starting off with Barry Ramsbottom and Jeff Hall, who not only took first place with a 16.08lb bag, but also captured big fish with a 4.60lb largemouth.. Congrats guys!

Second place went to Shawn Beers and Doug Burrows, this was a close one, they weighed in a 16.02lb bag just missing first place by 0.06lbs.. ouch.

In third was the team on Rick Morgan and Brian Robinson, you may recognize them from some of the pics from my trip to Lake Erie this past May.. congrats guys.

Ok, now for my day...

Damn, Im pretty sure Dustin and I have settled pretty deep into what is turning our to be a sophomore jinx. 2011 was our first year on the BBTS and keeping that in my I think we fared pretty well. So headed into 2012 we were excited to think there was nowhere to go but up! So far that has not been the case and we have been struggling at times.. Chandos lake is a good example of this as we fell to 20th place and weighted in only 2 fish. (only the second time we have not weighed in a 5 fish bag)

I will start off by stating my day started out on a strange note (more on that to come)  I was tailed for 25+ minutes  by a guy who followed me right down to the boat launch only to turn around when I pulled up next to a couple other anglers already there. Slightly shaken I laughed it off an proceeded to get my gear ready for the day.. Rain played a major role in my day as high winds, rain and a possible thunderstorm were in the forecast.

With another stellar draw (21ST!!) we were again close to last blasting off. As we watched 20 boats shoot off we quickly realized that 70% of them were headed towards our 1st spot and the other 30% were headed towards our 2nd and or 3rd spot.. so when we finally got to blast off we headed to a near by bay we were saving for later in the day.

7:00 Arriving at spot number one we knew we were in trouble, the little back bay holding 10-12ft of water over a healthy weed bed was almost un-fishable due to the high winds blowing down the lake right into the bay. We still gave it a shot but after nearly burning out the trolling motor we moved on

7:30 Chandos is known as a killer small mouth lake so we decided to check out some rock points and flats to see if the bite was on. After continuing to fight the winds and only landing a hand full of tiny smallmouths (yet hundreds of rock bass) we put away the drop shot rods and ran down the lake to look for shelter in some back bays.

9:00 Working in sheltered bays we found a largemouth bite but were having issues finding any size, I hooked into the first keeper of the day, but lost it while attempting the "Bassmaster flip". This fish was not a monster by any means, but it would have put one in the live well so needless to say I was very disappointed. (and took some heat from my partner)

With this success in mind we continued to follow the shoreline and in and out of any bay we could find. The Pike bite turned on quickly and if we could have weighed some of them in, we would have been laughing

11:30 After losing a second small keeper close to the boat (yes me again) we decided it was time to abandon the shoreline and head to the south end of the lake to try some spots we had success on during our pre-fish. After making the long drive down the lake we quickly noticed we were not the only guys with this idea. It was at this time we just said  "screw-it" and drove to the nearest marker to kill some time while we waited for a boat or two to leave.

12:00(ish)  While dropshotting for smallies Dustin hooked into our first (boated) fish of the day, a sweet 4.10lb largemouth that came as a  great confidence boost and put us back in the game. Over the next 45 minutes we circled the same spot and landed  4-5 more fish one of which was keeper #2, a 1.5lb smallmouth that brought our daily tally up just over the 5.5lb mark, and I'm sad to say that's exactly where we finished.

The Next 3 hours brought us nothing but dinks and the occasional pike. We headed to the weigh-in slightly early and let me tell you we were not the only ones.. 5 other boats also headed to the shoreline around the same time, which took some of the weight off our shoulders.

As the weigh-in progressed It looked like many anglers had a tough day on Chandos and big fish were few and far between. The 5.60lbs we weighed in was quickly knocked off the leader board but the 4.10lb Largemouth was still standing after 90% of the boats had weighed in.. fingers crossed we watched the last few anglers come to the scales only be be knocked out of the money by a 4.60lb fish... oh so close, and what a fitting way to end out day

Well if you are still reading, here are some pics of the event.. more to come (Im still playing with Instagram as you can see)

Next Up: Limerick Lake

Friday, August 3, 2012

Nail'em with the ZOOM Z-Nail

It's Hot, I don't care who you are, this summer is hot, and it's dry and it is making my style of fishing very very complicated. I do what I do, and this season I have had issues finding success, even more so if tournament settings. I believe part of it has to do with the water temps as they are way higher then average and the water levels are lower then average, these combined are driving the fish from the areas Im use to finding them (and fishing them).. but as always when  faced with changing conditions I have to look on the bright side.. and then change with them. The more the conditions change the more Im forced out of my comfort zone and forced to try new baits and techniques.. last night was no exception

After work I headed off to a favourite haunt of mine for a few hours of shoreline relief. This lovely fishing hole is usually great for top water frogs, flipping pads and skipping a wacky worm under the bridge (and into the shade). Last night I threw it all at them, and no one was home. My frogs went ignored, my flipping bait sat dormant and my wacky rig bounced off both walls of the bridge and everywhere in between but no takers came calling.

frustrated I rummaged through my tackle bag looking something different to try and I came across a pack of Zoom Z-Nail plastics that I picked up at a flea market style tackle show. I really loved the way they looked so I grabbed a couple packs at $2 each, but have yet to try them out.

As I mentioned above it was hot yesterday (very hot) and in turn I was lazy (very lazy) so instead of re-rigging some rods I decided to grab my wacky rig rod and use my gammakatsu wacky hook rigged  through the head of the Z-nail. This really offers up a loose presentation and lets it move more freely in the water (see pic below). Once rigged I skipped it up under the bridge and BAAMM, it had barley hit the water and was slammed by a small largemouth bass. After releasing fish one I sent the Z-nail right back under the bridge and, bang, fish #2 was on!.. remember I had just spent the last 20 minutes thoroughly fishing this bridge with a wacky worm, and not two minutes later I was 2 fish in and soon to be a 3rd and 4th fish all caught from an area I had all but given up on.

(wacky but not?)

Eventually the fishing had slowed and it was time for change. I was happy with the action I was getting from the Z-nail worm and thought, why not try flipping it! So I dropped my wacky rod (a Dobyns SF703c) and grabbed the rod I had rigged up for small flipping baits. I slid off the berkley Power-worm and applied the same Z-nail worm I had been using under the bridge, two short flips later and I hooked into my 5th fish of the day, all on a bait I had never fished before in an area I had just spend 45 minutes combing over.. I don't know what to say, but I can tell you that I fell in love with the Zoom Z-nail on this hot August Day.

This little storey is here to server three purposes, first off, don't get discouraged when the weather or water changes in your favourite fishing hole, just take it as an opportunity to try out some new baits and or techniques, who knows you may just learn something ( I know I did).

Secondly, don't be afraid to switch up your bait style or colour choice, just because you work an area over and don't get a sniff does not mean the fish aren't there. bait size, profile, colour and presentation all play a part in the amount of fish you boat on any given day.. today the slender profile and tapered tail of the Z-nail hammered them, but that does not mean this will be the case next week.

And lastly go out and buy yourself a pack of Z-Nail worms by Zoom, this bulky finesse worm works incredibly well and is perfectly suited for any situation in which you would traditional throw a Senko, or even smaller flipping baits. The tail gives off great action in the water and I think you will be very impressed.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Kingston Canadian Open 2012: Things We missed

I did my best to keep up with the events surrounding this years Kingston Canadian open, but when it came to recapping the event and sharing with you all the amazing stuff that went on, I think I missed the boat. Sure, I shared with you the winners on the Pro side including weights and pics, but there is much more to this event then the Pro's, so here is the low down on Canada's Premier Bass fishing event.

To right a grevious wrong Im going to start off by congratulating the winner on the AM side. Congrats to Paul Legacy who tipped the scales with an incredible 66.80lbs!

The next angler I want to give props to is Jennifer Fullard. Jennifer was the only female competitor in this years event and from what Im told she really held her own. I hope this is just the start, as I would love to see more and more ladies hammering away in Bass tournaments. Congrats Jennifer

Next thing on my list of items missed during my coverage of the Kingston Canadian open is how Kid friendly this event truly was. If you have a child you want to introduce to the sport this is a great way to do it.

the Event MC was "Big Jim" and other then Bob Izumi himself I don't think there could have been a better choice to keep the Kids interested and keep the crowd laughing. Obviously the key to keeping kids involved for extended periods of time is to keep them interested and with Big Jim there is never a dull moment and each delay between anglers weighing in was filled with stories and tons of free swag (thanks to the various sponsors). 

Check out the below pic as all the kids leap for flying packs of Berkley Gulp (Big Jim has poor aim)

At times I felt like a kid myself, watching monster fish after monster fish being weighed in, and like a kid my interest also waned during the longer pauses or at times the lengthy sponsor speeches (especially the 10+ minute segment of speeches that took place just prior to the winner being crowned). I really appreciate the fact that the organizers took this into consideration and made sure the gaps were filled. Big Jim spent much of his time talking to the crowd but made sure his attention was focused on the kids and took a "no child left behind" approach to his duties as MC.

Last but not least I want to touch on yet another great crowd experience in down town Kingston. I know the anglers must have trulyfelt the love as it looked like  Kingston's fishing community came out in full force to support this event. It was great to see, and really helped mark the success of the tournament. I personally got calls and text messages all weekend long from friends who came across the event while hanging out down town, all of whom were impressed by the stage presence and the sponsor booths.

Kingston is a great fishing town, and the perfect place to hold the Canadian open (as seen by the bags of fish being brought to the scales. Im really looking forward to the 2013 event and may even have to throw my hat in the ring on the non-boater or AM side.