Monday, December 30, 2013

A Fisherman's Christmas Recap: Photo Journal

We all know that Christmas is all about spending time with family and friends, its about food and the spirit of giving.. that being said.. getting is nice as well.. here is a recap of what this fisherman found under the tree this year

Something useful:

Some anglers look at rod or tackle storage like a kid would look at clothing on Christmas morning, but not me, I love to keep my gear well organized, protected and safe.. what better to aid in that goal then a new rod rack. This thoughtful gift from my parents was put into use real quick, and allowed me to show my wife that yes, I do need more rods.. "look at the empty spots on my rod rack"

My parents also picked me up a new life jacket.. unfortunately they did not know that life jackets were one size fits all, and it was slightly snug.. even more so after all these christmas dinners 

Something to keep me busy:

I have been wanting to learn to tie flies for years now, and this year my wife who is probably grown tired of my off season cabin fever obliged my interest by picking me up a fly tying kit, that not only has all the tools and material needed to get me started, but it also has a step by step how-to on a collection of basic to medium level flies.. what I great gift, I have been hard at it already attempting to tie a few flies way beyond my skill level.

Just like teaching a child to fish, I have already learned the need to start out on the fun and easy fly patterns, I quickly grew frustrated by not being able to complete the more advanced flies, it is then that I learned the basic flies are basic for a reason, they help teach you the basic skills you will need to master before moving on up.. I was my own Mr Miyagi this Christmas (wax on, wax off)

Something to learn:

Obviously if you are going to tie your own flies, there is a good chance you are going to want something to fish them on. I have owned a fly rod for a few years now, but it does not see much time on the water. I enjoy fly fishing (even more so in my float tube) and wanted to continue to grow and learn this side of the sport.. My first fly rod is a beefy 8/9 wt rod designed for chasing down bass and even the odd pike, but in order to fish for trout and pan fish I wanted to get my hands on a 4/5 wt rod that will let me be more finicky.. ask and you shall receive

Somthing for the ice:

If your a fellow Canuck or live in the more northern parts of the US, there is a good chance you will be spending at least a few days on the ice each of every year. Personally, I'm a die hard fisherman and my Father kept that in mind this year by picking my up the all new Abu Garcia Veritas Ice series fishing combo, this rod feels like It will be a great pan fish rod and the reel surprisingly is not a throw away (like many combo reels are).. the only issue I see is loosing it in the snow.. really who makes a White ice fishing rod!

something for the guy who has everything:

Gift cards are never a bad Idea and this year I ended up with a total of five Bass Pro shops gift cards.. these lasted maybe 24 hours before they burnt a hole in my pocket.. you know as well as I that a fisherman always has a wish list and often we are willing to buy pricier baits when gift cards are in play as they don't really feel like real money. With this years cards I picked up a few of the Live Target Bait Ball baits (the popper and the square bill) as well as the Mega Bass Pony frog. I used the remainder of the cards value to refill standard baits I used each and every day on the water

Note: The Bass Pro Shop ran a free shipping program for the days immediately following Christmas, as a Canadian this saved me on average $25 per order ( I made 2), if it was not for this promo I would have held these cards until I made a trip to a local shop.. imagine losing the value of a gift card on shipping cost alone!

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Old man in the Tree - a fisherman's tale

"The Old Man in the Tree" - a fisherman's tale

the ripples from my cast had barley settled, as the jig softly sank pulsing it's way through the water column finally finding a home in the "V" shape created by two fallen entwined trees.. the bait bumping up against the ancient timber awoke the old giant who called this place home.

stirred by the noise and his hunger the giant peaked his head out of the cover and quickly opened that big gaping mouth to inhale my bait. My eyes now wide with anticipation I allowed my training to take over.. "wait for it, wait for it".. my line tightened and the rod softly kicked as the giant turned that big ugly head around looking for a place to enjoy his lunch.. I reared back on the rod, using both legs and arms to set the hook.. thud.. he barley moved, this giant is in charge and he will come only when he is ready.

Keeping the line tight I began to work the angles, doing all I could to turn this beast around and take control of the situation. My patience paid off and the giant who had no doubt been in this situation before  decided that it was in his best interest to play along and he began the slow methodical swim towards the boat, showing no signs of fight, other then the odd head shake almost like he couldn't believe he had fallen for this trick again. An old pro the Giant came up along side my boat and allowed me to pull him from the water. We posed for a few images then I lowered the giant back in the cool water, though his age showed he was highly resilient needing almost no time to recover from his ordeal.. he was an old pro at this by now, and he simply turned that giant head an began his long slow swim back to the tree that was his home.

the end.

P.S: On his back the giant wore a Ministry of Natural Resources tag, the bright yellow tag though  still highly visible was worn down to it's fabric, the numbers that once represented who this fist was, and how long he had been here were long gone. Im glad I had the change to cross paths with this giant of a fish, and hope we meet again some fine summer day

"The Old Man in the Tree is the first in a line of short stories written for fisherman by a fisherman. Like all good fish tales it is up to the reader to decide what is fact and what is fiction - Rob Edwards

Monday, December 16, 2013

5 Things that should be on every anglers Christmas list for 2013

My wife says I'm hard to buy for, its not that she doesn't know what I like, its that I like most anglers am very particular about the gear i use, and often she can't just walk into a store an pick stuff up off the shelf.. so if you are buying for a fisherman this holiday season, or your an angler treating yourself, here is 5 gift ideas that will ensure your ready for the 2014 Bass Season

1) Daiwa Tatula Reel

It has been awhile since I have been this excited about a reel, or should say that its been a while since I have been this excited about a reel that actually lived up to the hype.. The Daiwa Tatula is strong, durable and incredibly easy to cast. It was designed to hold up to the pressures put on a reel by Tournaments anglers, but was priced for weekend warrior who wants and deserved the same quality.. without breaking the bank

2) Dobyns DX746C

Frog fisherman listen up, the DX746c is a beast of a rod  just recenlty added to the already extensive line-up offered by Dobyns Rods. This rod may just  replace my first love (the 736c) as the best available option for hollow body frog fishing.. period.. Merry Christmas to me

The DX746 is not the only new addition to the Dobyns family of rods, so check out their website and see what rod best fits your style..


3)  JL Marine Micro Power Pole

If you have a small boat or kayak angler on your "to buy for" list this Christmas then then  JL Marine Micro Power Pole would be the prefect gift to have them screaming "BEST CHRISTMAS EVER". This electronic anchor took home the overall Best in show award at ICAST2013 and helps makes us weekend warriors fish like the pro's

Small boats and kayaks battle weather  conditions even more so then their big brothers, they can be notoriously hard to keep on target or in place in even moderate winds, thus taking you out of the strike zone more often then youd like. The other issue they have is storage room, why take up valuable storage space by storing an old style throwing anchor or the trip hazard that are long pole style anchors. JL Marine's micro power pole is small, automatic and always ready for battle.. check out the below link to learn more


4) River2Sea "Spittin Wa"

Out of all the Frog baits I got to see up close and personal in 2013 none lived up to the hype as much as the River2Sea Spittin Wa, the team at R2S has really outdone themselves with this bait, and I have a feeling after putting it through its paces next year it may come home with a Top Frog award

If you or the angler in your family like popping frogs, the Spittin Wa will make a great stocking stuffer


5) BlackWater/Toray Line Assortment

After years of buying Christmas gifts for the golfing contingency in my family, I learned you can never have enough golf balls, the same can be said for fishing line when it comes to anglers.. Toray fishing line offers a pretty extensive line up of lines (ok that sounds weird). They cover everything from power fishing to finesse fishing and of course braid. When buying for any angler you cant go wrong with Toray SuperHard Upgrade, it is a great flipping or cranking line. If you prefer braid check out Toray's finesse braid, a smooth casting round braid that is much stronger then then it's namesake

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Need for Speed.. My Reel is faster than yours!

If your like me and you pay attention to the various trends in fishing equipment, you may have noticed that over the years battles for "who can put the most bearings in a reel"  or  who makes lightest weight reel have popped up and are argued about by anglers off and on the water, the current trend that is starting to take over is:  "who can make the fastest reel", but what some companies don't tell you is   lighter and faster does not always translate into better!, so don't get caught up in the hype of "my reel is faster then yours" and simply focus on what speed will best suit you and your style of fishing.. here is a brief breakdown of popular speeds and how they are best used

5.1 - Slow and Powerful 

Depending on your personal brand preference a 5.1 speed reel will often mean that with each rotation  of the handle your reel will pick up approximately  23 to 27 inches of line. When opting for slower reels there are a few things to keep in  mind, first and foremost the slower reel means it will take longer for a crank or diving bait to hit it's optimal depth, this means you bait will be in the strike zone for a shorter period of time. The slower pick up on a 5.1 can also cause trouble for anglers working heavier cover, if you are trying to muscle a big fish out of heavy cover the more line you pick-up on each crank the quicker you will gain control of the situation. Often companies tag a lower speed reel as a "power reel" which I find a little odd as usual when power fishing I may be moving the bait slow but once hooked up I want that extra speed to pull the fish home

What it's good for?: A 5.1 is perfect for baits that require constant slow retrieves, like big swim baits and even jigs that you are dragging and hopping along structure. These baits notoriously force anglers to slow down their retrieve, but by opting for a 5.1 your letting the reel do the work for you

Recommended Reel: The Daiwa Lexa 300PWR is a great example of a 5.1 speed bait casting reel. It may be low speed but this over sized spool, high powered reel pairs very well with swim baits.

6.3 - The Standard is set

Like the 5.1 a 6.3 speed reel varies in the amount of line it picks up per turn, but you can safely bet that on average a 6.3 will fall between 28 and 30 inches depending on the size of the spool.

This is the most commonly used reel speed by anglers, and it is perfect for many techniques including crank bait fishing, top-water, spinner bait fishing, worming and much more. In all honesty there is nothing this speed reel can't do, it allows you to slow down or speed up when required, thus making it the best all around choice for those in the market for your first or 100th bait casting reel

Recommended Reel: The Daiwa Tatula is available in all the sizes covered in this article but for me personally I prefer to throw the 6.3 speed version. Mainly because I use my Tatulas for small to medium flipping baits and jigs. I fish these baits mainly in open water and/or sparse cover, as I move to heavier cover situations I then start to look at the 7.1 (at times)

7.1 - Fast & Furious 

Picking up on average 32-37 inches of line per turn, a 7.1 speed reel is often know as a burner (or it was until the 8.1 came along), these reels stepped up the game of the 6.3 offering anglers some extra line pick-up for those times when big fish and heavy cover make you sweat!

Like a 5.1 the 7.1 reel is not for everyone or every bait, its faster retrieve can and will alter the way your bait was designed to swim, so when using one for the first time, keep an eye on your retrieve and your bait to ensure it is performing as expected. 7.1 Speed reels are perfect for baits that do not required a constant retrieve, but often require some added pick-up once the fish is hooked.. Dock fishing is a good example, a 7.1 speed reel allows you extra pick-up to pull the fish out before he gets you wrapped up and it also allows you to bring the bait back to the boat quicker then ready to make a next cast

Recommended Reel: The Daiwa Zillion is the king of reels, and when I purchased my one and only Zillion (to date) I made it a 7.1 so I could see what all the fuss was about.. although it goes against everything I have typed above, this reel found its way onto my spinner bait rod (Dobyns DX744) and for some reason it just fits.. I mainly (or exclusively) throw 1/2oz war eagle spinner baits, this reel allows me to easily run the bait at various depths and even wake it (not a typo I said "wake it")

8.1 - Whoa Did you see that?

All the rage in 2013 the 8.1 speed reel steps up to the table offering the angler a average 34+ inches of line per rotation, this speed is pretty crazy and makes we wonder where it will all end.. that being said there is a place for this reel in your arsenal especially if your a Frog fisherman.

No other technique is better suited to an 8.1 then frog fishing, the massive amounts of line this style reel eats up on the retrieve allows frog fisherman to cast their baits further with the confidence that their rod and reel will bail them out when battling a fish at long distance.. Frog fisherman are also known to burn baits back to the boat quickly once the frog is out of the targeted strike zone, or when they miss a blow up and want to throw a follow-up bait,  an 8.1 reel will help you eat up valuable seconds in both these situations making sure you keep your bait wet longer.

Recommended Reel: Check out the Daiwa Tatula Hyper Speed reel, paired with a Dobyns 736c and you will have an amazing frog fishing combo

When I started writing this article I was pretty sure I had the bases covered, but a quick look at the cover of the In-Fisherman 2014 gear guide, I noticed that one company is out to break the speed limit and will be releasing a 9.1 in 2014.. Whats next?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

First Ice - Ice Safety Reminder

Ice season is upon us, and if you are like me, you have had the itch to hit the ice long before there was even a skim in sight.. it's times like these that we need to remind ourselves about the importance of ice safety. The above image (high-jacked from the Ontario Ministry of Natural resources) may seem like common sense to most, but many an angler gets caught up in the excitement of first ice, and does not make it home.. remember ice in unpredictable, but by adhering to the above guide you can improve your chances of a successful ice trip and lower your risk of on ice issues

If by chance you fall thru please remember the below survival tips for getting back on dry land. A key here is good ice picks, so be sure to wear yours at all times, they are small and lightweight, and there is absolutely no reason not to wear them 

For your own safety and  your families peace of mind, stay off any ice under 4 inches in thickness, and when you do venture out, wear your ice picks.. they will do you no good in the sled

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Dobyns Rods Official Release: Zayata Series Rod Update

If you are anything like me you have been patiently been awaiting the release of Dobyns "Zayta" series rod.. a set up from the Champion Extreme, these rods were looking and sounding like a dream come true… then came the waiting.. yesterday Gary Dobyns opened up in an interview with Mike Cork (ultimate and gave some insight into "why the delay?"

Here is a short snippet from that interview. For the full conversation with Gary check out this LINK

"After a lot of work and fine tuning the Zayta Series, we hit a major road block. The prototypes are done and the rods are ordered, material bough and, as many of you know, we were using a nano resin material in this rod series. Well, the rights to that material were acquired by another company. So I decided to hold off on the Zatas. With no more material being available to us, I'd have to discontinue them in less then one year"

Gary continues by stating that he is committed to the Zayta series and is currently working on developing his own high end material, but it will take some learning and further testing to get it right and he always gets it right.

Stay tuned for more info on the Dobyns Zayta series

Monday, November 18, 2013

RadioWorld Presents: 5th Annual Ice Fishing Seminar

If you missed out on RadioWorlds ice seminar featuring the one and only Dave Genz.. then shame on you, but even more importably here is a chance to right the ship.. Saturday December 7th Radioworld is putting on their 5th annual ice seminar and sale.. tickets are free to this event, and believe me when I tell you the knowledge they share is priceless.

If you are looking to learn the secrets of the Kawarthas or two of Canada's premier lakes (Simcoe and Quinte) this is your chance.. don't miss out

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Site News: Team Split BassJunkies is now BassJunky

Sorry it has been a bit quiet around here lately, it is the usual calm before the storm that leads up to switch over from bass fishing season to ice fishing season. But there is one change that took place that I though was worth mentioning...

After 3+ years of tournament fishing (and a 7 year friendship), Dustin and I have decided to sever our fishing partnership. Like any marriage it got to the point were our differences on and off the water made it no fun to fish together, and if fishing is no fun, you know something is wrong. I wish Dustin all the best in his future endeavours and also warn any future partner that he man eats nothing but boiled eggs and protein bars while in the boat, so nose plugs are a must.

Please Note: As part of our split Dustin has also decided to part ways with Dobyns Rods, he will be fulling joining Team Ardent for 2014

This change means very little to the BassJunkies website as a whole (other then it being now grammatically incorrect), The only contributions Dustin made to the site were the very sporadic "Dustins Corner" articles 5 in total  which can be found HERE

As for me, I'm currently weighing my options for 2014, I have some great ideas lined-up that will not only  keep me on the water, but also keep me learning and more importantly having fun.. Stay tuned

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Photo Journal - Fall is in the air

One of the best perks to fishing in the fall (other then the bite) is the amazing scenery, so why not take a moment to enjoy the view...  

I always enjoy the mix of "on fire" scenery and the coudy weather moving in. This fall was one of the windiest ones in recent years making it hard to get on the water in small vessels 

the jig bite is on!

there are fish in these here pads.. time to break out the frogs

these colours did not last long.. two days later this scene looked more like March weather then October

I have heard of "matching the hatch" but what about "matching the scenery?

Fall for me also means fly fishing for panfish, here is one of my first white bass

Friday, October 25, 2013

RadioWorld Presents: Dave Genz Ice Fishing Seminar

One way I always kick off ice season is by taking in the now famous RadioWorld ice fishing seminar. This seminar usualy consists of a full day of ice fishing talk from some of Canada's best ice anglers, but this year they really stepped it up a notch and are presenting us with the master Dave Genz

If you are anywhere near the greater Toronto area and love the sport of ice fishing, this seminar is a must.. if you are interested I have provided everything you need to know to get your hands on a ticket.. act fast as there are limited seats available

Sunday, October 20, 2013

National a new way of thinking and learning!

Have you ever heard of ( NPS for short). If not and you are an angler actively trying to improve your skills and knowledge or looking to break into the sponsorship side of the sport, then this is a website you really need to check out.

NPS has been on the scene is late 2011, and has been growing and expanding ever since. The goal or mission of NPS is to help bridge the gap between the general angler and professionally sponsored anglers. Their site allows anglers to build a resume, post photos, reports and follow their favourite anglers as they do the same.

There are many sides to NPS, and for those just starting out it is a great learning tool  that can be used free of charge to follow your favourite anglers or companies as they provide fishing tips and reports. For the more advanced angler looking to get noticed or apply to various teams, there is a paid version of the site that will help you along the way.. check out the below links to learn more about the various options that NPS provides...

Click Here for info on the Free General Membership

Click Here for  info on Amateur Pro bennefits and upgrading your account

Click Here to learn more about getting sponsorships and applyig for teams using NPS

With the backing of companies like: Dobyns, The Rod Glove, Shimano, Abu Garcia, Humminbrid, Berkley, Power Pro, Jackall, Navionics, Numa, SPRO and many more, this is a website worth checking out.. there is no better way to get noticed

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Guest Blog: Austin Kayak - Outfitting your Kayak for the perfect fishing trip

To learn more check out Austin Kayaks or Kayak fishing in general, check out their website @ or their Facebook page

Note: This is officially the first Guest Blog to hit the pages of BassJunkies Fishing Addiction. When I was contacted by Austin Kayaks  I did my home work and the team at Austin were given nothing but rave reviews from friends and fellow anglers that spend their time fishing from a Kayak. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Left Behind: How to lose a rod/reel

Is there a worse feeling  then reaching for a rod only to realize that it's gone? Thats the horror I went through yesterday as I grabbed for my Dobyns 735c/Daiwa Tatula combo... only to find an empty rod glove in it's place.. NOOOOOOO!

Panic ensued as I quickly realized that I must have left the rod behind during a fishing trip the day previous. I frantically scoured the shoreline, grass, bushes and even the trees but to no avail, they where gone.

What this means: Christmas has come early for one local angler, as that is one sweet combo they have lucked upon. All I can hope is that in my own stupidity, I have at least gotten this rod and reel into the hands of a future Dobyns and Daiwa customer.. because like Lays potato chips, once you try 'em you cant stop at just one

On the off chance, this lucky person is reading this article and has a conscious, please get in touch with me, and if not, enjoy the combo and the Snag Proof Ish Phattie as well (great frog)

Damn, I feel dumb

Friday, October 4, 2013

Year of the Jig: Alternative Trailer Options

As anglers we often talk about the right size or colour, but believe me when I say there are times when neither of these matter, and what the fish really wants is simply somthing different!  And there is no other bait that is easier to tweak then a jig.. simply switching up your trailer can and will offer the fish somthing new, so here are 4 alternatives to the standard jig trailer...

Flipping baits like the Gambler Lures Ugly Otter make great jig trailers. With ribbed bodies and wide flat tails these baits add some serious bulk and water movement to your jig. In times in which you want to slow down your presentation but still make your presence felt, these are a great alternative to a standard claw or chunk. Depending on the size of your jig you may need to trim or bite off a bit of the bait, but the smaller otters fit nearly perfect 

Ribbon tails are not exactly a novel idea and have been used for years by some anglers but I do think they are overlooked by the masses who don't realize how productive they can be on the end of a jig.

What I really like about using a ribbon tail as a trailer is that it gives your jig the look of a faster fall, without really adding much speed. Below Im using a Berkley Havoc Juice Worm, I really like the thicker longer ribbon that Berkley uses on this worm, though it can be a bit long for a trailer. 

Ribbon tails work best on swim jigs, but they do improve the "hop" of your flipping or football jig. 

Pictured below is an El Grande Lures Jr. Gila Monster that I rescued from my dead bait pile. We all have a dead bait piles, that are  filled with baits that have been ripped or torn up by fish. This Gila had head damage but the tail was still in perfect condition, so I ripped the body in half (just in front of the back legs) and slid it on my jig. This really gives the jig a larger.. or longer profile and the Gila tail imparts great action. 

I like a combo like this around timber, it still has a nice slow fall, but the heavily salted tail floats upward on the pause giving the fish a nice target. 

My favourite and most productive alt-trialer is the Power Team Lures Hammer Shad The 3.5" version is great for smaller jigs like the Ganns Performance 1/4 dragging jig (the jig used throughout this article). It has the perfect whip tail that gives the jig extra motion but still that slow fall and compact look.

A reader recommended I give the Power Team Lures Swinging Hammer a try, so I have since placed an order for some.. results to follow

If you noticed all of the above alt-trailers were fished on the exact same jig. The reason I did this was to show you how easy it was to switch baits, without really switching baits. As stated above this quick and simple change will often improve your bite. So forget about colour, forget about size, and try somthing new!

FYI: Of the above 4, the Power Team lures Hammer shad was the most success during my last few outings.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Test Drive: Daiwa Tatula Casting Reel

As our industry grows and expands I knew it would only be a matter of time before big name companies started to bang out high quality gear that would not only attract pro level anglers but would have a price tag that could make them affordable to the weekend warrior. Daiwa is at the forefront of this revolution bringing not one but two new series of reels to the table, both under the $200 mark

In need of some new reels earlier this season I picked up a couple of the Daiwa Lexa spinning and bait casting reels, both of which I quickly became a of, but little did I know, Dawia still had another trick up there sleeve, Project T aka Tatula, was introduced to the public back in May with a series of videos (found HERE) over a 10 week period leading up to ICAST 2013. During that time we got a few sneak peaks at a reel that took some of the best features from various other Daiwa models and combined them into a nearly perfect reel that wont break the bank. ($149)

The team at Daiwa was kind enough to give me the chance to test drive this reel prior to it being available to the Canadian market (scheduled for a November 2013 release), and here is what i found... 

Weight & Size:

Weighing in at 7.9 ounces the Tatula may not be the lightest reel on the market today, but I don't think there is a single feature I would tweak/change in order to shed a single ounce. Too many reel companies (and anglers) are putting the much focus on the weight of a reel over it's actual performance. If you don't make a durable high performing reel, does it matter how much it weighs? 

The one knock I have heard on the Tatula is its size. In other reviews I have heard it called "a tad wide" or "harder to palm". This may come down to personal preference, but for me it is the perfect size for my hand (see top image) which means its is comfortable, yet beefy enough to leave me with confidence in its fish handling power


Daiwa is a company that does not rest of their laurels but in turn uses past success and failures to continue to move forward, the T-Wing system is the perfect example of this. Introduced a couple seasons back on the Ballistic series of reels the T-Wing had some positives and some downfalls, Daiwa took this feedback and improved upon the system using the new and improved T-Wing in the Tatula. I for one was a fan of the original T-Wing (and still use my ballistic reels), but Im much more impressed with the systems performance in the Tatula.

The big difference being that the T-Wing is engaged for casting, allowing for long smooth friction free casts with even the lightest of baits (yes even un-weighted soft plastics). Once your start the retrieve the T-wing disengages thus improving its ability to lay the line unilaterally back onto the spool... can you say best of both worlds? 

The below image shows you the T-Wing in both retrieve and casting mode. HERE is a link to an image published by Daiwa to help better explain the importance of the T-Wing system 

The Retrieve:

I think if there is one area that the Tatula impressed me the most (other then its casting ability) it has to be its incredibly smooth retrieve. Daiwa did not have to look far when naming it "Air Rotation" as there truly is no better way to describe the feeling then "air"... it feels weird at first, almost like there is nothing happening.. yes its that smooth

Another big perk to this reel is the oversized handle. coming in at 90mm the handle on the Tatula gives you more torque and leverage when battling big fish in heavy cover. The paddles or knobs are also oversized, they fit very well in your hand and don't put as much pressure on your finger tips as most reels. (I usually use reel grips on all my reels, but the Tatula does not require them, nor would they fit)

Strength & Durability

From the frame on up, every little detail that Daiwa put into the Tatula was done with strength and durability in  mind. Starting with the 2-pc aluminum body that offers rugged longterm durability, but still allows the reel to be light weight.

The Tatula is equipped with Daiwa's UTD or "Ultimate Tournament carbon drag", rated at just over 13lbs UTD offers more power then many other reels in ints price point (or higher).

The brake adjust range on the Tatula may cause many anglers some early confusion. Unlike most reels that offer adjustments from 1-10 the Tatula's brakes range from 1-20.  Once on the water and a few casts in, you should be able to quickly and easily find your personal sweet spot on the dial. I also really like that the brake dial is slightly recessed, on my own reels I find that the way I grip the reel puts my hand in position to accidentally adjust the dial while fighting a fish.. this is not the cause with the Tatula

So there you have it, and early test drive report on Daiwa's Tatula bait-casting reel. I know the minute these bad boys are available for sale in Canada I will be adding at-least two to my reel arsenal. I highly recommend you put your hands on one, but fair warning, you wont truly get a feel for what this reel can do unless you get it on the water

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fall Fishing.. What you should know (Part 1) : Grass, Rock & Wood.. the holy trinity

Fishing in the fall can be both highly rewarding, and highly frustrating, often the difference between these two results can be very small. Here is part one of a two part series on what it takes to be successful in the fall...

In this first section we are going to focus on talking about the various types of structure we as bass anglers target, and in doing so I'm often reminded of the kids  game "rock, paper, scissors", you know, grass beats rock, but rock beats wood and so on and so on.


This is pretty simple, when fishing grass in the fall, your main objective is to search out "green" or living grass. As the temps drop the weeds begin to wither and  die off,  along with all the oxygen they provide. Bass tend to hold to or just outside living "green" grass. This serves two purposes.. oxygen and cover for ambushing prey.

When fishing grass in the fall I like to work the 1-2-3 punch of  a Jig,  a spinner bait, and top water. The Jig I will often fish on the outer edge of the weed and up to 3ft inside the remaining bed. The key here is to downsize from your bulky summer jigs and opt for a slower fall rate. Swim jigs or finesse jigs are great for this presentation.

When fishing a spinnerbait my goal is to cover water, and entice an active bite. I start off by slow-rolling the spinnerbait along/across the weed edge, and then I will fish a larger portion of the bed as long as there is enough water to keep my blades above the weeds, but not so high that it turns into a wake bait. I don't spend a great deal of time searching the whole bed unless I get a couple early fish.. then like most anglers I may be there all

Lastly Top-Water is a great way to fish weed beds in the fall. To be successful its all about the noise.. so put away those quiet walking baits and break out the poppers and/or  buzz baits.

Buzz baits to me are the quintessential  Fall top water bait, they are loud, and can be run at various speeds, but they work best in the early to mid fall while the fish are still fairly active and willing to chase down baits, but as the air and water temps drop your going to want to put them away and break out your favourite popper (may I recommend the Deps Pulsecode)


I'm more of a visible structure fisherman, so timber and weeds are my first and second priorities when bass fishing, but as the seasons change so must we, and rock points and gravel shoals are a good place to look for fish as the water temps dip. 

Many anglers falsely believe that rocks are for smallmouth only, sure rocks are home for many bruiser smallies,  but as the season moves on, you can and will often find largemouth bass cruising rock structure in search of bait fish, because of this I change up my approach slightly by including a medium (to deep) diving crank bait in the mix 

Obviously crank-baits are the ultimate in bait fish imitators, so it is important to match the hatch and to use a bait that will get you down deep enough to make contact with the bottom from time to time. stirring things up is a must and will help ring the dinner bell for these cruising fish

Top Water would be my second way to tackle rock piles, like with grass I find that buzz baits and or poppers are your best bet, and to be honest I usually stick with poppers over rocks, don't ask me why as it just comes down to personal preference.


I left wood till the last because i find it to be the most unpredictable of the three. (Wood for the purposes of this article includes submerged timber, floating timber, partially submerged timber and docks). Why is wood the most unpredictable target in the fall?  because it's success relies on the its proximity to grass (green) and or rock... so maybe its not as unpredictable as I'm leading you to believe?

Wood in the fall is not used by bass for the purposes of shade, but for ambushing prey. So when fishing timber or  docks in the fall, I'm more apt to focus on the edges and trying to draw our aggressive fish. The best way to do this is (in my opinion) is with swim jigs and spinnerbaits.

When flipping docks and timber with a jig, I'm looking for a nice slow fall, to achieve this you can either downsize your jig (1/4oz) or up size your trailer. Fall is also the time of year you are more likely to find me trying out various jig colours. In the summer months I stick with black, black and black, but in the fall I will start to break out the browns and oranges. Try multiple casts to various points, being sure to make contact with the wood whenever you can.

Spinnerbaits I will use in two or three ways. If fishing docks I will run them along both sides of the dock (the entire length of the dock) and I will cast them at a 45 degree angle off the front corners. This gets me a hair under the front lip of the dock to help draw the attention of any fish that may be holding a bit deeper in. When fishing a spinnerbait on submerged timber the key is to cover all sides of the timber and bang into and off of it as much as possible

Remember both timber and docks can bring you success in the fall, but you need to be aware of your surroundings. If there is no live vegetation near by, there will be no bait fish and no reason for the bass to use this timber as an ambush point.

Thanks for reading part one of this 2 part series on Fall fishing.

Monday, September 16, 2013

When Punching with the big boys, always bring your skirt!

I dont know about you, but when Im flipping, pitching or punching baits, Im always trying to walk that fine line between a bulky profile (to be easily seen) and a streamlined body, to slip between the cover with ease.. how do you get the best of both worlds? thats easy, put on a skirt!

Punching Skirts are not a new thing, they have been around for years, but many anglers choose to ignore them and Im not sure why? similar to a jigs skirt a punching skirt really beefs up your baits profile all the while allowing you to downsize or streamlining the bait you are using. I often pair a jig skirt with a worm bait (ribbon tails are a great choice)  or longer thinner flipping baits like the Reaction Innovation "Kinky beaver" seen above. The Skirt gives both of these baits a nice large profile on the fall and rest, yet it still allows them to slip through holes in the slop or pads.

think of a jig skirt like it is an accessory for your baits. It allows you to impart more action, as well as add or change colors. Like a jig trailer I find it is better to use a skirt that matches up with your bait, but offers some subtle color changes.. above Im using a "donkey punch" or light pumpkinseed coloured kinky beaver paired with a pumpkinseed and purple highlighted skirt.. I think they mach up well

Tip: Look for Jig skirts with a nice thick rubber ring (see the red in the above pic). This projects your knot from banging up against your weight and any structure. thus increasing the durability of your rig

Just because they are called "punch skirts" doesn't mean thats there only purpose, really they can be used in any situation in witch you would normally throw a jig, but want the comfort an enclosed hook, or to be able use a larger bait (jig trailers only go so far). Many anglers when learning to throw a jig quickly get frustrated by having to rip it through the grass due to the exposed hook, baits rigged with a punch skirt offer the same profile without this irritation.

Tip: Think outside the box, as stated above punch skirts aren't just for punching anymore, you can pair them up with a variety of baits. It you are feeling adventurous try rigging one up on a texas rigged swim bait, the paddle tail and skirt combo call fish in from miles around.

Dont take my word for it, get out on the water and give a punch skirt a try, you won't be disappointed, and remember, real men fish with skirts!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Toray BAWO Super Power "Finesse" Braid Fishing Line Review

The sheer number of braided lines currently available to anglers is mind numbing, yet each year more and more lines continue to hit the market, each one touted as he next best thing,  but trust a guy who spends way too much time and money testing lines, when I tell you that very few of these lines live up to the hype.  Why, well not all braids are created equal and like with various fluoro and mono lines some brands just perform some techniques better. Toray Bawo Finesse braid is one of those rare lines that performs very well in both finesse and power technique situations

Toray Power Finesse braid is an 8 Stand braided line that ranks right up there with one of (if not the) best braids I have ever cast. No matter if I'm chucking hollow body frogs or flipping 1/4oz jigs this braid provides long smooth casts, flips and pitches

When you first get your hands/fingers on Toray Finesse braid you will be surprised how limp or supple it really is. This comes down to the fact that it is not coated with any of the crap you find on many other braids, sure this coating may hold in the color a bit better, but it gives your line that stiffer feel (a good example of this is Power Pro line) Toray is non-coated, not only does this improve your casting distance but it also removes that dreaded "braid vs. guides" sound that like nails on a chalk board hurts anglers right down to your teeth.

Note: Due to its incredible thinness I actually started using Torays 40lb braid for techniques that in the past I would normally have used the 20lb size of another brand braid. This gives me extra strength, while still taking advantage of a thin supple line that allows me to feel everything, and allows my bait to fall naturally 

Power Finesse is available in 10-66lb strengths. Unlike with other braids I like what I see quality wise in the small sizes (20lb) right on up to the 66lb for flipping and frogging. I find some other brands do one or two sizes well, but start to fall down when they get into either the larger or small diameters. This is not the case with Power Finesse 

Toray Finesse Braid is only available in what is known as "filler spools" of approximately 82 yards, I have heard this talked about as a "con", and I disagree, this smaller size removes any chance that Im going to fill an entire spool with this quality line and end up wasting the line that gets chunked up with use. We have all seen what the lower half of a spool of braid looks like at the end of the season, its not pretty, and although that line has not actually hit the water it has been thoroughly used and abused (why do that to a quality product)

Last but not least is the "white markings" that show up ever meter throughout the spool. These marks help add a bit of visibility to your line above the water and work well as a guide when changing baits. This may not be what they were designed for but I use the white marks as a frame of reference when as That first meter of line  coming up from your bait takes  more abuse on each cast then any other portion of the spool. It often comes in-contact with rocks, timber and various other structure you are banging your bait off during the retrieve. When it is time to re-tie I use check the last meter of line for nicks and frays. If I'm fishing timber and rocks I will often cut off that last meter each time I retie. (like with any braid the color will bleed with use, this will darken the white areas but they are still clearly visible on the spool or above the water.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Looking Back 2: A Photo Journal of my Fishing Past

This is one of those throwaway posts to be honest, Im in Italy tight now taking in the sights and food.. so I thought what better time then to throw out a "FlashBack Friday" post like people don on Facebook and Instagram. So here goes.. more memories from my  "fishing past". 

These pics may not make you laugh as loud as the pervious journal.. my dads 70's hair is no-where to be found. What these pics do show is my growing love for the sport and how I became hooked at a young age.. they also show I had poor choice in baseball teams (a yankee and Texas Rangers fan!)

These shots were taken over a span of a couple years at various locations. The top image is at a friends cottage,  and that Bass was a personal best at the time, and looks much smaller then I remembered. I caught it while in a paddle boat and quickly paddled to shore to show off my catch to my parents and some family friends

Image #2 was taken at yet another family friends cottage. I still remember getting up early everyday, getting dressed and heading down to the dock to meet the day. This photo was taken by my mother who also got up early to photograph me

Last but not least the above photo was taken after a day on the water with my grandfather. Trout was the species of choice in my area.. oh who quickly I grew out of that. Check out that Texas Rangers cap in all three pics (i still have that hat) and im sporting a Nolan Ryan shirt.. still my baseball hero

thanks for reading, and Ill be back next week