Friday, November 30, 2012

Bass Season 2012.. Comes to a close (Ontario)

This time of year we are all calendar watching, there is only 21 days left until the world ends, or 31 days till  the year ends (you know, in case the Mayans were wrong) and in-between those dates you have Christmas, and Boxing day.. so November 30th may just seem like yet another day on the calendar, but not to us Bass Fisherman in Ontario, as Nov 30th marks the end of the 2012 fishing season.

2012 was a good year on the water, not only did Dustin and I complete our second full season as tournament anglers, but we also added some new events in the mix (like the Quinte Bass Champs). We expect more of the same in 2013 as we continue to branch out and wet a line in new events, testing the water so to speak. When not in a tournament I spent the season on my home lake (Dog Lake) as well as various lakes I have fallen in love with over the years. Although we call this "fishing for fun" the competitive grind is always there as I constantly try to improve my own skills or beat up on a friend.

2013 is just around the corner and like 2012 I hope to start my season super early by crossing the boarder and doing some May fishing in NY state on lake Erie as well as other lakes. When back in Canada it looks like we all might get some extra time as the Ministry of Natural resources is kicking around the idea of opening Bass season 1 week early.. hey it's only a week, but I'll take.

Yes today is a sad day, and the void left can only be filled by the fact that ice fishing is just around the corner. I hope you keep checking in with us over the off season, as I don't plan to slow down any, there will be bass news, product insight and of course ice fishing

thanks for reading


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Test Drive: Duo Baits Invading a Tackle Shop near you

I was recently contacted by a member of the DUO baits team, and asked if I would be interested in giving some of their baits a test run, and in turn provide my honest thoughts and opinions. Not one to miss a great opportunity, I quickly jumped at the offer, and am I ever glad I did.

I will be honest Im someone that prides themselves on the ability to keep up on "what new" and whats hot" in the lure and bait market, but I kinda missed the boat when it comes to DUO, and if I missed it maybe some of you did as well.. Here is the low down on Duo...

Duo is a Japanese hard bait manufacturer that has been banging out Salt and Fresh water baits since the mid 90's. They focus most of their energy on designing high quality baits that perform when called upon (I should also state here that these are some of the loudest baits I have ever thrown). The "Realis" line of baits as Bass fishing specific and tackle most of the major categories including shallow cranks, jerk-baits, stick-baits, topwater and more. I had the opportunity to test drive 6 Duo Baits, and here is my take...

Realis Crankbait 48SR: I'm the first to admit it, I'm not a huge crankbait guy, but when I do fish 'em, it's all about the shallow running cranks, so the Realis 48SR is right in my wheelhouse. Coming is at just under 2" in length this little guy is built like an SUV, short, flat and yet bulky. It has a wide stance that gives off a pretty sweet wobble on the retrieve no matter if you are burning or slow rolling it home. Duo also did something that I wish more bait companies would look at, they made sure the two trebles cannot get caught up on each other. This may sound pretty simple, but you would be surprised at the amount of baits on the market that foul up due to hook entanglement, 

For a small bait, the 48SR casts like a shot. Whether this is due to the profile or to the internal weigh and magnet system, I don't know, all I can say is that I easily covered good distance on both spinning and casting gear. In case I did not mention it yet, t his bait is loud as hell. On my first three casts the loud knocking made me think I was making contact with the rocks behind me. I kept stopping looking around, and then would try to cast it more gingerly.. yet the knocking still persisted. I finally came to realized that it was the bait (yes that was embarrassing).

I'm not going to spend much time talking about appearance as I believe the old adage " a pictures worth a 1000 words" and since this article is pic heavy, i think Ive said enough.

Test Drive Results: I was very happy with the performance of the Realis Crank48SR and have officially added it to my primary Crankbait box. I'm really looking forward to pounding the shallows with it next spring. 

Realis Pencil 110:  The minute I picked up this bait I was excited to get it on the water. I had done some reading on it, and the reviews seemed to be all around positive. Like most anglers I love to throw walking baits and I'm always in the market for the newest hottest thing, and if I'm being honest I think the Pencil 110 ranks right up there with the best I have ever fished.

This is not a bait for the faint of heart, it is big, bulky and loud as all hell. It's size alone makes it intimidating, unless you have fished with the IMA BigStick there are few top water baits that compete with the Pencil110 for size. And if the size does not get you, the weigh will, this is a hefty bait weighing in a 3/4oz and as I mentioned before and will again.. IT IS LOUD. If you follow this blog on a regular basis you may have seen a recent review of Top Water baits in which I mentioned how loud the Strike King Sexy Dog is, well the Pencil110 makes the sexy dog sound like a whisper.

I haven't even talked about performance yet. The Pencil110 walks the dog with ease, I think my 5 year old nephew would have it mastered in minutes. I really love the baits ability to keep up at high and low speeds, I shook the crap out of the Pencil 110 and it continually performed. It splashes, gurgles and chugs along with the best of them, and any fish in the area your there.

The only part of this bait I think needs some tweaking is the pause. The Pencil110 sits nearly vertical when paused, and because of the size of the bait I think it almost sits too low and would like to see it at more of an 45 degree angle. I get the idea they were trying to achieve and I know the importance of the tail of the bait hanging down to give the fish a target. Personally I think it could sit up a bit higher (this would also improve visibility on the pause)

Test Drive Results: I believe this bait falls into my top 3 when it comes to top water walking baits. It has officially worked it;s way into my primary topwater box and will be tag teamed (depending on conditions and the bite) with my IMA Skimmer (a much thinner bait) as well as Zara Spook Jr. These three baits offer distance profile changes that should suffice in any condition (it has knocked the Live Target walking frog out of the top 3, and the Strike King Sexy Dog off my radar entirely)

Realis Minnow80SP:  The Minnow80SP is one of two jerk-baits that Duo sent me to test Drive. It is what I consider the little brother of the pair. Coming in at just over 3 inches in length and weighing only 0.17 of an oz it is visibly smaller then its big brother (Realis Jerkbait120).

If you check out the DUO website you will notice that they spend some time talking about how quickly the Minnow80SP reacts, and I cant agree more.. the only issue I have, is that is reacts so quick and easily that I had trouble controlling it. It took multiple casts and retrieves before I was able to get the hang of fishing with this bait. Early on, i had issues keeping it down, hard twitches or jerks had the bait nearly breaking the surface of the water turning it into a top water bait.

I don't want to rag on it's performance as I know there are more talented jerk-bait anglers out there that may have had greater success then I did. On the positive side of things this baits looks incredible in the water and moves as advertised. I love the flash this bait produces and think it could draw the bass into a feeding frenzy.

Realis Jerkbait 120: Ok, now onto the big brother, and a bait I had a much easier time fishing with. The Realis Jerkbait 120 is a bruiser, it is big, heavy and makes some serious noise. I had a blast fishing with it, and love the response on the rod and in the water. It's large flat sided profile gives off great flash and the weight system is uniquely loud.  The Jerkbait120 comes equipped with 4 rattle style weights, two of these and tungsten and two are steel. This combinations gives off two different sounds, the tungsten providing a lower pitch (almost thud) and the steel giving it a higher pitch (crack). I cant attest to what this does to the fish, but I can say it is definitely offering them something different and as we all know sometimes that's all it takes. 

Test Drive Results: As you can see there are some mixed results on this one. I personally prefer to fish with the Realis Jerkbait120 and have added it to my primary jerkbait box along side my IMA Flits and various Lucky Crafts. I think it's profile and sound will provide me with that "something different" when the bite gets tough. The Minnow80SP on the other hand will need some getting use to. I have added to a secondary jerkbait box and will be sure to spend some more practise time with it next season

Realis Spinbait 80: I will honestly admit this little guy had me stumped/confused. I saw the image on-line but did not spend any time reading up on it prior to fishing with it. So with that said you may understand my confusion when I threw what I thought was a top water bait (like a skitter-pop) only to watch it sink as I frantically tried to keep it up on top of the water.. Obviously I was unsuccessful as this bait is not a topwater bait.  Once I understood that, I started to have fun with it. I

The Spinbaits80's long slender body is surprisingly heavy and casts like a shot (and sinks even better). While retrieving the bait the twin propellers give off a nice easy vibration, and when paused the Spinbait80 gives off a soft flutter while sinking. This bait is great for fishing for suspending bass or in areas with various depths and drop-offs. Like the Rapala countdown minnow it can be fished at any depth and still perform as advertised. This is a very unique bait in my arsenal and I'm really looking forward to playing with it in various situations (hell it could even be used under the ice)

Test Drive Results: You can learn from my mistakes, by spending some time getting to know a bait prior to fishing with it, my assumption on this bait cost me nothing by humility, but that being said I should have known better. I like the Spinbait80 and think it has a place in my day to day arsenal, I'm not sure where that is yet, but I plan on finding out.

Realis Vibration62: Last but certainly not least the Vibration62 is a great little lip less crank that will be seeing some time on the soft and hard water alike (yes that means ice for your warm weather anglers).
This little bait offers up what appears to be a trend for the DUO line-up.. great casting distance, amazingly loud internal rattles and superior performance.

The Vibration62 is lite and small enough that it can be fished on spinning or casting gear and the body design gives of great vibration and flash while being retrieve at medium, fast and super fast speeds (without effecting performance). I love that this is available in a couple sizes and the colour options are pretty impressive as well.

Test Drive Results: I loved this bait from first cast, it fishes extremely well and is something I consider an "all season" bait. In the spring it will see some  use on Walleye and Pike trips, and during the summer and fall it will be used during some bass outings, and in the winter I will be jigging up walleye, perch and crappie with it.. yes you can say it is versatile.

Test Drive Overview: 

Again I want to thank the team at DUO for giving my the opportunity to test drive a selection of their baits. I was extremely happy with the quality and performance from their entire line-up, so much so that I will be placing an order for a few of the baits I have yet to test (like the Realis Popper64) as well as stocking up on a few that I feel in love with (Pencil110 and Crankbait48ST). These baits where a lot of fun to fish with, and I believe they can and will fill some holes in my current arsenal. During the above reviews I did not really touch on colour, again I think the images speak for themselves, but in closing I will add that DUO has a pretty impressive array of color choices for all their baits. So If you are looking to mix-it-up and add some new baits to your arsenal you cant go wrong with a  DUO Realis. Check them out at Tackle Warehouse or from DUO International

All baits in the above Test Drive where fished using a Dobyns Savvy Micro Guide rod (SS704c) paired with a Daiwa Advantage reel (SunLine SuperSniper FC line)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Choosing the right Portable Shelter: Part 1

I'm coming up on my 10th year of "die hard" ice fishing, and over that span I have learned many a hard lesson, some cost me time on the ice, some cost me fish, and some cost me money.. Choosing the right portable shelter cost me all three. This is part 1 of a 2 part look into choosing the right portable shelter for you

Getting Started: Knowing your wants & needs

I get it, you love to ice fish, but hate sitting out in the cold, so you want to get yourself a portable ice hut. But you have a budget, and want to buy one cheap. So you head out to your local shop not knowing what you want, or really knowing what you need all you know is how much you want to (or can) spend. I know this because I have been there, here is what you need to do:  take a step back and think about the following things prior to opening your wallet

                                (Image Courtesy of Member: "mud_n_fun")

How many anglers or how much gear does this hut need to hold?

One of my first major mistakes when purchasing a hut, was purchasing a single man portable that all in all was too small for the amount of gear I carry. It felt cramped and uncomfortable and I quickly became frustrated fishing from it. I will also say I felt kinda like an ass when fishing with buddies, as I was forced to fish in solitude while they sat in two seaters or larger hub style shelters that could seat as many guys as you are willing to cram in.

If you are like me, you have a lot of gear, at the bare minimum we are talking about a rod case, a tackle bag, an auger, and a 5gallon bucket (for minnows or a seat). Now lets add in a Flasher, an underwater camera, a heater (sissy) and a second rod case. Can the portable hut your looking at transport all this gear? and even more importantly can it transport it safely? Flip-over huts are designed the best for transporting gear, they often have deep hulls that you can pack  full with no worry of anything spilling out. Most cabin style huts on the other hand offer a flat top (with a bucket slot if your lucky) you will have to stack all your gear on top of this flat surface and keep an eye out for any spillage as you travel. Hub style shelters offer no sled or hard bottom at all, and will need to carried or placed into a sled you purchased separately.

Tip: When shopping for your portable hut, bring a buddy with you (preferably your fattest buddy) and get in and sit down side by side in every hut your looking at. like with tents not all 2-man shelters are built equally, and unless you are looking to huddle together for warmth you are going to want to make sure there is plenty or room to move in the hut without rubiing elbows(or worse)

                                  (Image Courtesy of Member: "Coach")

How mush does it weigh and how well will it pull through the snow?

Kinda like your dad looking at his first car, you need to look under the hood. Not all portable shelters are equal when it comes to the bottom or sled portion of the hut. I found out how the hard way how difficult it is to pull a cabin style shelter through deep soft snow.. the flat bottom sits well on ice or hard packed snow, but when trying to pull it through soft/fresh snow you will find that they dig into and begin to bury themselves as you pull. Flip-overs on the other hand have a sleigh like bottom and pull with ease over all kinds of conditions.. the issue here is that a flip-over hut often weighs way more then a standard cabin style and most 2 seaters come in at or over the 100lb mark, and that can be a work out.

Tip: Check the bottom of the hut to see how durable the sled material is, remember you will be standing on these as well as dragging them over ice, sand and salt, you want a sled that can hold up to these conditions (Some companies like Clam sell runners to improve the life of your sled)

   (Image Courtesy of Member: "AdkRoy")

Seats or No seats?

Your first thought here needs to be: am I cool sitting on a bucket for 8hrs a day or do I need seats? Me I  need seats, something with a backrest that can give me some relief during a long day on the ice. There are pro's and con's to purchasing a hut with seats, first off they add additional weight to the sled and of course any portable with seats will also cost you more money. The pro's are obvious, your back and butt will thank you for a quality seat after 8 hrs on the ice.

Tip: If you are purchasing a hut with seats, make sure the are adjustable, they should be able to swivel and slide back and forth. We are all build differently and one seat does not fit all. Removable seats are also a big plus, if you want the room of a two man shelter but usually fish alone, taking out a seat not only provides you with more storage space, but it also drops som of the weight.

(Image Courtesy of Member: "Coach")

Standing Room Only

This was not a big one for me, but many of my buddies like a portable they can stand up in. This allows your to stretch out while still in the comfort (warmth) of your hut. This is obviously available in Hub and Cabin style shelters, and can also be found in some flip-overs. Again, test drive a hut befor you buy it, and make sure you are comfortable sitting and standing

Tip: Don't let your eyes deceive you, just because you can stand in an empty hut, does not mean you can stand easily when it is full. Cabin style shelters can be notoriously narrow, and once you have them loaded with gear you no longer have the ability to stand unless you place one foot firmly in your hole

How fast can I get set-up and start fishing!

Ok, lets all agree that most portable huts are a bitch to set-up right out of the box, but after that initial set-up you will want something that will get you fishing fast with limited to no on-ice hassle. The clear winner in this category is a flip-over. Both a cabin and hub style shelter require on-ice set-up and to me this is a pain in the ass. Even more so when fishing solo. My first shelter was a Shapelle Cabin style portable hut, and when setting it up on the ice I kind of felt like I was playing twister by my self. It was horrible, and if there was any wind at all, it became nearly impossible (see the below pic.. the video is even funnier)

Tip: While in the store you need to attempt to take down and set-up the shelter you are looking to purchase. If you struggle to set it up inside a store, image what it would be like on the ice in the wind or in -20 conditions. Don't listen if the salesman tells you "it will break in and be easier next time" that is not always true!

Price Tag:

Look, I get it, we all have a budget, but I will warn you all about what happened to me. The first ice hut I purchased I fell into many of the above traps I have just warned your about.. all because of price, I bought the cheapest (most affordable) hut and did not take my needs into consideration, so at the end of one season I sold it off (at a loss) and purchased what I considered an upgrade, again based on price. This hut also did not suit my needs and was again sold off at the end of one season (for a loss) finally I understood, and started to really look into what I needed and wanted in a hut, I made my choice and for the past 6 seasons I have been fishing out of the same hut and loving every minute of it.. too bad that it cost me twice as much as it should have (due to two mistakes).

Tip: Dont make rash decisons, if you cant afford the hut you need, dont buy one. Put that money aside and by the next season hopfully you can afford the hut that fits you and your needs. Remember buying the wrong hut is just as bad as fishing with no hut.. it just costs more

                                   (Image Courtesy of Member: "PikeMaster1")

Thats it's for part one, I hope you find some of the above info useful in your search for your perfect portable shelter. In part 2 I will spend some time breaking down all three varieties and even touch on a few brands that offer superior products and perks.

P.S: Special thanks the members of who graciously provided photos of their personal portable huts (and in some cases portable hut collections) It is much appreciated!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Site News: The Frog Pond hits 10,000 Views

This past February I decided I didn't have enough on my plate, between work, tournament fishing, and writing the Bass Junkies blog, so I decided to added another task into the mix.. Bass Junkies Frog pond (review blog).. yes my love for frog fishing got the best of me and over the past 10 months I have reviewed 40 frogs currently available to anglers.  (as well as a few frog fishing specific items like line, hooks and so on)

Yes it is hard work to keep two blogs up and running, but I feel my hard work has paid off, and I'm proud to say that the Frog pond has reached it's first milestone.. 10,000 site views. The timing couldn't be better, as the Frog Pond is set to close for the season in the coming weeks. Unlike BJFA the frog pond will be only be open from March thru November. With ice on the lakes it becomes harder and harder to review new frogs (except on how well they bounce).

Don't fret, during the off season there will continue to be site updates, and you always have this blog to fall back on. I have some good things cooking for 2013, so stay tuned frog lovers

In the meantime be sure to check out the latest frog reviews.. still a few more to come as well as a year in review!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dobyns Tip of the Month: Fall Fishing by Chris Cox

The Dobyns Tip of the Month for  November 2012 comes from FLW Everstart angler Chris Cox out of North Carolina

Fall fishing is in full swing. Water temps are falling, leaves are on the water and the fish are biting. This is the time to pull out your crankbait rods. Bass are gorging themselves on shad, preparing for winter, which makes a crankbait very effective. I generally use crankbaits that closely resemble a shad, in color and profile, with Silver Foil/Black being my favorite color. If the water is stained, use a Chartreuse/Black plug. Starting mid-way in a major creek and working towards the back is usually a good plan of attack. I use a Champion 684CB for small cranks like a Rapala #5 Shad Rap, and a Champion 705CB Glass for squarebills like the Strike King KVD 1.5 and lipless crankbaits like the Red Eye Shad. Cover water fast until you figure out what type of structure and depth the fish are keying on, then slow down and work the structure/depth more thoroughly. Also, keep an eye out for shad flicking and bass busting shad. Both of these are good signs that there is bait and actively feeding fish in the area. Get your Dobyns CB rods out, get cranking, and post photos of your catch! Good luck and good fishing!

To learn more about Chris, you can check out his FLW angler bio HERE  and to keep up to date on everything Dobyns, check out their Facebook page

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Dustin's Corner: Top 5 from 2012

Well another year has almost past, it was excellent year on and off the water with lots of fish caught, and some new baits added to the tackle box.

Here goes my top 5 picks from the 2012 Season.

1. Live Target Hard Body Walking Frog

You may have seen me talk about this bait last year, well when I wear out several of them; it is something that I am going to use again this year with adding several more to the tackle box.  Our first tournament Rob and I did at the Quinte Bass Champs, I tossed this frog and first cast was almost a 4lb Largie, Once again, the frog strikes them.  The only tip I am going to say about the frog is that DON’T change the hooks, the Diachi hooks that come with it make the frog perform the way it should, and those hooks work awesome.  I tried a different hook on the frog and the performance changed and it was not the same.

Rating: 9 out 10

BJ's Comments: I can't argue with a man and his frog, Dustin slayed them all season long with the live target frog, so much so I did not use mine once.. But if you want to get him going ask him about the first tournment of the season and how well his switched out  trokars held up

2. Strike King KVD Sexy Dawg!

This is a new lure that I tried out!  The real first time that I tossed this lure was on a little lake in Madoc, that is notorious for catching big muskie and pike.  Well they didn’t have a hope in hell with how the smallmouth were smashing at this bait! I have never seen smallies literally shark attack a bait like this before in my life.  In one hour I caught over 15 smallmouth, and the biggest around a 3.5lber!  Ya its not huge, but when you catch them like that its just straight fun fishing, and how they came out of the water on it, I only wish I had a video camera to show the craziness!

Rating: 8 out of 10 (still figuring out this lure for other applications)

BJ's Comments: If you or your tournament partner plan on throwing a "sexydawg" be sure to bring your ear plugs, this bait is loud.. crazy loud

3.  Strike King Rodent

A good friend put me onto these rodent lures, and once he showed me a few tips and tricks, it didn’t take long to see some results coming out of them.  Once again another lure that I tried out this year for the first time, and it took a little work to get use to the action of them, and how to work the lure, but once that was down pat, the fish started coming into the boat.  The lure has the design of a creature/rodent bait, and can be worked and just about all applications from flipping docks,slop,pads,grass or just even bouncing the bottom with it.  Still have some learning to do with it, but thanks to my buddy KK, I am sure this lure will pay off for me next year! 

Rating: 8 out of 10 (once again still learning this new lure) 


4.     Power Team Lures Hammer Shad

Well this is the first year that I have ever used a drop shot rig, a little skeptical at first, and had to figure out how to fish this bait and applications for it, I was very nervous.  It took a few times out fishing with it, trying different depths and different lakes, and once I started to figure it out, it started working for me, and did I ever have fun with this bait this summer.  In one evening I got 2 smallies back to back that both weighed between the 3.5-4lb mark.  Also caught many of other fish on different lakes with this bait, and even largies were taking at it as well, and the occasional walleye! 
 Rating: 9 out of 10
BJ's Comments: I gotta give credit where credit is due, Power Team has been churning out some serious baits, nice pick Dustin, they definently have a home in my arsenal

5.  Berkley Pit Boss Havoc

This is a bait that I have used now for almost 2 years, and yet another top choice in my tackle box!  I have used this bait as well for flipping docks,logs,weeds, just about anything out there, and with its action of a craw fish to a creature bait moving through the water it makes the bass turn and attack at it.  The only down fall about this lure is how easy the tails rip off, however that is fishing!  But everything else about this bait works awesome. 
Rating: 9 out of 10
BJ's Comments: Dustin is not one to give up our color selections but you know me, Im all about sharing. If you are looking to give the PitBoss a run, go Vampire all the way

Well that’s it for the moment, as the year is coming to an end, I will be only getting out on the water before it becomes ice.  Look for more reviews on what I have learned this summer, and tips and tricks that go with it.
  - Dustin Lemmon

BJ's Comments: Nice Job Dustin, and again welcome to BJFA.. dont worry we wont give you too hard of a time for not taking your own pics!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Site News: Dustin's Corner

You might have caught this on the BJFA facebook page, but if not, here it is again.

BassJunkies Fishing addiction welcomes Dustin Lemmon (Dobyns & Ardent team member) to our list of contributors. Dustin will be writing a new segment called "Dustin's Corner" and will be giving his own unique insight into products, events and happenings around the industry.

Dustin and I have been tournament partners for the past few seasons, and those who have seen us on the water know that we don't often agree on much.. which should make for a great second perspective when it comes to product reviews.

Dustin's Corner will be introduced in the coming days starting with blog on his Top 5 baits from the 2012 season. As always I will chime in and let you know where and when I agree or disagree.

So Welcome Dustin to the BassJunky family, and let him know what you think of his contributions

P.S: Dustin will not be overly happy with this 2-3 year old pic I chose to introduce him, but thats just the kinda guy I am

P.P.S: If you would like to contribute to the BassJunky blog, please use the contact info on this page to get in touch. We are always interested in adding more options and insights

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Great Finds: Frabill Ice Gear Hits the Shelves

If the product reviews and local tackle shop shelves are any sign then I think we will be seeing a lot  more yellow on this ice this season... Frabill yellow (not yellow snow)

Over the past couple seasons Frabill has quietly made a move to become "thee" major player in the ice fishing equipment scene. Don't get me wrong they have always been a player, just not "thee player" that spot was always held by Clam who was (lets face it) the industry leader in portable Huts, Ice suits and off the shelf rods. Not only has Frabill stepped up to the plate to steal their portable hut crown , but that have also made a significant move in the rod/reel and Ice suit markets.. To this day I proudly wear my bright blue clam Ice Armour suit, but after seeing the recent offerings by Frabill I think I you may find me in a Black and yellow suit in the near future.

As you know Im not the only guy in blue that has made the jump to Frabill, Brian "Bro" Brosdahl also  traded in his Ice Armour and Genz sticks to join the Frabill family. His line of Frabill rods and reels that were introduced last season are top quality and have made this "Thorne bros" rod user a believer in off the shelf rods again.

Not taking anything for granted Frabill jumped into the fast growing rod market with both feet, introducing standard rod/reel combos as well as hitting the straight line market with their Bro series quick tip rod, a very sensitive rod blank that reminded me of the Jason Mitchell quick tip (now owned by Clam). This season they have upped the stakes again by adding an $80 version of their original straight liner called the Bro Series 241. The rod shows signs of improvement from last season and the reel is a giant step up from it's little brother. I dont know if it's price tag will effect it's overall sales, but I do know that it looks great and feels good in your hands. (Funny the former Industry leader.. Clam.. is now following, they released their first straight line combo this year, One full season after Frabill)

If you are looking for something completely different, then check out the 'jigglier" a stand-up length panfish rod designed to slay pannies on your local lake. The Jigglers super sensitive design has your line traveling through the rod blank and into a reel attached the butt of the rod (similar to smaller palm rods). This keeps it ice free and out of wind. The length of the rod makes it perfect for hole hoppers fishing shallow water, you can easily "dink and dunk"from hole to hole without the aggravations we are use to facing.  It might be a tight squeeze for those of you who like to stay holed up in your portable, but if you keep moving in search of panfish, this rod will be a great aid.

It should come to no surprise to anyone that on top of their portables Frabill has also always been know for their quality tip-ups. I personally use the Frabill Classic model  almost exclusively when pike fishing, they are sturdy, strong and need little to no maintenance. For 2013 Frabill aded to thwir tip-up family by introducing the "Calibrator Line Counter Tip-up", and believe me it is like nothing else on the market today. The CLC Tip-up comes with an digital LCD that will provide you with some pretty valuable insight such as.. the depth your bait is set at, the time of the bite, the time between bites, as well as how much line the fish took when it ran. Yes, some of you believe this i overkill, and maybe it is, but for me I love the idea of knowing that my bait is set to the exact same place I got my last bite, and how long it has been between bites.. we all lose track of time, this will help make the decision to move or not  move an easy one (and it will help you keep your fish journal/log if you are into that.)

I have ordered all three of the Frabill Products discussed above, and will be sure to give them all a review once they get some time on the ice. I also picked up the 13 Fishing Black Betty as well as the new Dave Genz Ice Spooler, yes it is going to be a busy season..(I hope)

The pics seen on this post were all taken this past weekend at Gagnons sports in Oshawa, Ontario. They always have an incredible selection of ice gear and as you can see here, they are loaded up and ready for 2013.. are you?

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Bucket(mouth) List

We all have a life bucket list, the places we want to go, the things we want to do, and the people we want to meet befor we pass on. Well if you had to create your bass fishing version of the bucket list or bucketmouth list as it was, what would you add, where would you go?, who would you fish with? Well here is my bucketmouth list (Top10)

1) Take in ICAST

Lets start out with some pretty small goals, ICAST all I need to do is buy a ticket and book a flight.. it is that easy, and as we all know ICAST is the premiere bass fishing equipment event in the industry, it brings in all the major manufactures as well as the worlds best bass anglers and crams them into one building over a 3 day period.. this i gotta see. Being able to shake hands with some of my fishing Idols and  getting an inside look at the product being released for the next season, maybe even getting the opportunity to take some home and bang out some early reviews!

2) BASSMaster Classic

Before you start laughing I want to clarify that my BassMaster classic goal is to attend the event as a spectator and not a angler.. Unless I can some how get my name on the Make a wish foundation's list there is no way I will be fishing this event (sorry bad joke). The Classic is like the Stanley Cup, the World Series and the Superbowl of fishing all rolled into one, the best of the best compete for the title that we all know is going to KVD anyways, and I want to be there when it does.. for the 8,9 or 10th time. Watching this event on-line is not enough for me, I want to be there to see the crowds, here the roar and watch as the winner raises that trophy.

3) The Big "O": Lake Okeechobee

Ok, now on to some actual fishing. There are hundreds of world class Bass lakes in North America, and we can spend days arguing what lake is the best. But no matter what lake you have in your number one spot Okeechobee wont be far behind.

The Big O is the second largest freshwater lake in the US, and ranges in depth from 1-13ft with an average depth of 9ft. It is the home of Bass fishing's first family the Martins who not only make their home there but also guide on the lake from time to time. This lake is a a dream lake and will give any level of angler the chance to land a double digit large mouth

(Photo from: Audubon of florida)

4) Frog Fishing on Lake Guntersville

As a frog fisherman lake Guntersville has always been on my radar. It is mat heavy and offers good frog (or rat) fishing all season long, even more so in the fall moths. Like OKeechobee, Guntersville is synonymous with big bass that love to eat frogs, and that's my kinda lake.

Snag Proof recently introduced the "Guntersville" frog.. need I say more?

( Photo by: Advanced

5) Fish with Kevin Van Dam

Do I even need to put in an explanation here? I think I would learn more in one afternoon on the water with KVD then would in 3 years fishing solo.  Not to mention from the stories Ive heard told about KVD from Bass Master MC Dave Mercer, he sounds like all around good dude, and funny as hell

6) Fish with Bob Izumi

For my American and European readers, this one may need more of an explanation. For the Canadians this is a no brainer.. Bob Izumi is the most recognizable Canadian angler bar none,  an accomplished tournament angler and TV host Bob has helped put Canada on the Bass fishing map. His TV show "Real Fishing" has been on the air since the early 80"s and was one I watched religiously as a child . I can safely say Bob and his show have introduce more children to fishing then any other program and all his work in the industry continues to help advance Bass fishing in Canada. I have met Bob a few times, but have never had the honour of sharing a boat with him, it would be an honour

7) Fish El Salto Lake

There use to be a great little tackle shop that I would wander through a couple times a month looking for new gear, and on the back wall of the shop they had these two gigantic mounted bass, one at just over 10lbs and the other just over 12. I use to stand in awe of these fish and one day asked the owner where he caught them.. 'El Salto" was the answer and to this day I have not been able to get that lake out of my head.

(Photo from:

8) Fish the Kingston Canadian Open

There are a lot of great tournament series in Ontario, but two events stand alone as the premiere events of each season. The Kingston Canadian open and the Bass Pro Shop Lake Simcoe Open. Being that i live and fish in Kingston, I kinda have a slight bias here.

The Kingston Canadian open is a Pro/Am event that pairs some of Canada and the US's top anglers with an amateur still trying to make their name. This 4 day event is always filled with huge bags of smallies and offers the winner between $40,000 to $60,000 depending on the field. As an amateur you can get your hands on some nice cash or the boat package usually reserved for 1st place. I have always wanted to test my luck (and nerve) at this event, and each year I take a long hard look at the sign up sheet and the $750 it costs to enter. One year I will put pen to paper, and get the chance to fish with the big boys and maybe make a name for myself

9)  Own a Ranger

There is always some kind of prestige that comes along with owning a luxury vehicle. I'm not a car guy, so I don't need a Lexus or a Porsche.. but I do need a Ranger, and the $50,000 or so it will take to purchase one. I cant see this happening in the near future, as I have some other plans that all so call for my time and my money but I guess I'm kinda lucky, my tournament partner owns a Ranger so I get the privilege of fishing out of one all season long, and at times it feels like mine ( I shouldn't say that out loud or he may start asking for monthly payments) One day I'm hoping I can park a Ranger in my driveway and call it mine.

10) Retire & start a Fishing Lodge (in the Kawarthas)

One day down the road, (probably a ways down) I think the ultimate dream would be to find a nice scenic piece of land in the kawarthas and set up a fishing lodge. Yes I know that area is infested with such places, but it is my home and it is where I learned to fish so what better place to settle down. This small Lodge would be like an anglers B&B (bed & breakfast) that even included guide services when required and of course fish tales by the fire. Cooking and fishing are two passions in my life (leave the cleaning the to wife, Lol) and feel I have a lot to offer as a host. The goal would be to find a lake that is fishable year round, I love to Bass fish and you would be hard pressed to find a more passionate ice fisherman so being able to teach people both these wonderful sports is a must.. I can dream cant I

There you have it, my Bucketmouth list as it stand in 2012, I hope by getting this down in writing it will help motivate me to get it done in life. My goals are not crazy, and each one of them resonates in my life motto...

"Fish Life to it's Fullest"


Note: The top image "bucket list" was borrowed from and their 1000 things to do before you die (wow and I only have 10)