Thursday, March 28, 2013

2013 The Year of the Jig

This is sort of a late in the year (although pre-season) New Years Resolution. I figured why make one that I know I will just break (like eating healthier or exercising). So instead, going forward I will give each year its own specific technique and focus that year at getting better and improving that technique.

This year (2013), I have decided to focus my attention on jig fishing, a technique that has been bringing in big bags of fish and fat cheques for years now, but is a technique that has always seemed to allude me. Don't get me wrong, it is not that I'm not set up to jig fish, on the contrary I have what many would consider a pretty solid collection of Jigs and trailers (including Black Angel Jigs, The Perfect Jig, Booyah Jigs and more) , but the technique itself  just did little for me and thus my confidence waned.

So this year, in a bid to boost my confidence I will be spending time on each (non-tournament) outing getting in some jig fishing practise. Not to over do it, I will focus on a few select areas of jig fishing that I feel best suit my skills and focus on them

1) Finesse Jigs

Many guys see finesse jigs as kind of cop-out, but to me it is still a totally new techniques that requires a different kind of patience and

Gear: Dobyns DX743c is thee perfect rod for finesse Jig fishing, I know, I know, not many of us get down into 3" power rods, but believe me, I think you will be very surprised on how well this baby handles a finesse Jig.. I do have to give credit where credit is due, I was turned onto this rod by FLW Pro Angler (Guide and TV host) Tom Reddington,  who put it to good use at the FLW Lewis Smith Lake event recently.

I will be pairing my DX743 with a Daiwa Lexa 100 model reel  Im really digging the compact size of this little powerhouse and I think when spooled with 5lb-8lb fluorocarbon it will be the ultimate finesse combo.

Jigs & Trailers: A few seasons back I fell in love with the finesse Jig made by Black Angel Jigs, it is a nice compact 5/16oz jig that is available in 14 colors. What Black Angel does that I really like is all of their jigs come with what they call a "tail enhancer", really what it is are some extra long skirt strands that act like an antenna in the water and really add some additional action. For Chunks or trailers on these jigs, I have been using the Tiny or Baby version of the Paca Craw by NetBait, and although happy with it, this year I have added  the V&M Mudbug to my arsenal. Both of these are great compact trailers that will allow you to keep that smaller finesse jig profile, but still be seen and heard.

2) Flipping/Swim Jigs

I already spend a good deal of time flipping baits in around docks, seedbeds, timber and various other structure, so this year I will be cutting off those flipping baits and tying on a jig, whether it means swimming jigs over or through grass, or pitching jigs into a submerged Forrest

Gear: For this I will be switching back and forth between 3 rods.. for the most part a Dobyns 734c will get the job done every day of the week, but at times when fishing nasty cover or when  the size of the jig dictates I will jump up to a 735c (not my champ as it always  has a frog tied on, but I do keep a spare 735 in the collation series that is my jig rod). Lastly the DX795 is very sensitive yet stout rod that gives you the best of both worlds, I like to use it when throwing heavier grass jigs, or football jigs.

For a reel, I will be breaking in my Daiwa Lexa300 as well as the old standby Dawia Advantage reels. These are both workhorse reels with great drag and pick-up.

Jigs & Trailers: My swim jig arsenal is really a bit of a hodge podge, I carry the swim and stand-up jig by The Perfect Jig, The Combat Flipping Jig and Grass Bomb by Black Angel, as well as a mix of Booyah and Buckeye jigs that I have picked up over the years.. for the most part I stick to throwing 1/2 jigs and in some pretty basic colours (Black or shades there of) with the odd highlights. When it comes to trailers I'm a pretty simple guy, for my money Zoom Baits chunks can be counted on for the perfect bare bones trailer.. no matter if it is the Super Chunk, the Big Salty, The Swimming Chunk, the Ultra Vibe or even the twin tail.. they are all quality products at a reasonable price.. If I want to step it up a bit, I also carry with me The Strike King Rage Tail chunk and this year I will be adding the Perfect Jigs standard size Chunk, they are big and meaty and really give your jig a profile boost.

3) Bladed Jigs

This is a last minute add to my plan for this summer, based mostly on conversations that I have had with fellow Dobyns Rods team members. The bladed jig has it's popularity cycles and I believe that it has not been used to its full potential in Canadian waters (even more so in my area). I will be grabbing a few bladed jigs shortly to add them to my arsenal and hope to get some use out of them (and hook into some nice fish)

Gear: For this technique I'm told there is not better rod on the market then the Dobyns 734c, and since I have never fished them, who am I to argue? I will be pairing up my 724c with a Dawia Advantage reel, and hopefully I can slay some monsters with this fabled jig.

The Wrap-Up

So there you have it, 2013 will officially be the "year of the Jig" for me, and I will do all in my power to gain confidence in this presentation while hopefully catching a whack of fish in the process. I wont be along, some long time angling buddies will help and coach me along the way.. Bass season can come quick enough!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dustin's Corner: New Boat for a New Season

Please welcome the Newest Addition to our Fishing Team.
, the yet unnamed Ranger Z521 paired with a 250 Yamaha SHO..and a Power Pole Blade

 As everyone knows, I had my boat aka "Big Sexy"(Z518 Ranger) for a couple of years (editors note: Dustin is the only one who called the boat 'Big Sexy").  This boat worked amazing for us, and we have had alot of fun in it, however due to getting busier in the fishing tournaments, and taking on bigger waters (not to mention carrying more tackle and gear on board) it was time to go on the hunt for a bigger boat.  

I wasn't going to veer away from Ranger or the new Yamaha SHO outboards, so that left my options limited to where I would be able to find one or a place that was wanting to make a deal.  Well it took some looking but I found a Z521 Ranger with a 250 Yamaha SHO at Bay-Marine located in Trenton.  So after talking with them at the Belleville Sportsman Show and throwing some numbers around, we came to a deal within 5 minutes (amazing).  

The sales team at Bay-Marine made it easy to work with them, and make me a great offer on my current boat (unlike some other dealers). 

So this past saturday we made the road trip down and dropped off "Big Sexy" and picked up to the new Girl ( and yes I shed a tear letting go of my first baby, however I was excited to adopt the new one).

It won't be to much longer now and the hard water will be off the lakes, and we can get this new beast wet...the only thing left to do is think of a new name (any suggestions!)  and get it decked out in the New Roads Fishing Logo's!

(This year will also be our first year sporting the Power Pole Blade)

Once again a big thanks to Bay-Marine, and if anyone is looking for a boat please go see them, as how they treated me was a awesome experience, friendly and made the deal happen!

See you on the water soon!  


Friday, March 22, 2013

Canadian Angler Hall of Fame Welcomes Rick Morgan

I though it was only prudent to take a minute out of my busy day to congratulate my friend and fellow angler Rick Morgan on his induction into the Canadian Angler Hall of Fame. It is an honour that was a long time coming but well deserved.

For those of you that don't know Rick (or never shared a boat with him) he has been a long time advocate for (us) the Anglers and outdoors men of Ontario. Not only was he the executive vice-president of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) but he was also the host of the TV program "Angler and Hunter TV" (on the air since 1993). Rick lives and breaths fishing, to this day he is still very active in getting the word out on issues important to anglers in Ontario, not a week goes by when I don't get an email from Rick informing me on some impending changes in the industry (good and bad). In his down time he can still be found on the water, fishing in tournaments or just for fun. Just last season he and his tournament partner (Brian) took home a few nice cheques during some events I struggled in. 
 Now I don't claim to know Rick very well, as we are relatively new friends, but we have shared a boat and fished against each other in a few tournaments. Last year I was lucky enough to be invited on a trip with Rick to tackle Lake Erie as well as another northern NY Lake. I learned a lot while in the boat with him (including patience as I watched him pitch to a single stump for well over 30 minutes, only to then be rewarded with a 6lber) and I guess I must have passed the test as I was invited back again this year. I'm honoured that the above image (taken by yours truly) was used are part of his induction ceremony as well as in one of the below articles.

If you would like to learn more about Rick or the other 2013 Inductees, please check out one of the below links to articles covering the ceremony

Outdoorcanada Article

My Kawartha Article

Again, I want to congratulate  Rick and his fellow 2013 inductees on this huge honour.

 (Image borrow from OutDoor Canada)

2012 Inductees (left to right): Phil Morlock, Rick Morgan, Will Wegman (Arora BassMasters)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring is Here!.. Baseball, BBQ's and Crappie Fishing

That's right, Spring is officially here, and although Bass Season (in Ontario) is still months away, I  officially have "spring fishing fever"

Spring for me, means crappie fishing, and plenty of it. As of March 21st, the trunk of my car becomes a storage locker for Crappie rods and gear, and each day on my lunch break or on my way home from work I begin the process of stopping to make a few casts at my favourite crappie hole. A few casts is all it will take, if they are there, you can quickly fill a bucket, and if there not, oh well at least you got to cast and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Spring all so means that my early May Bass trip to Lake Erie (NY) is just around the corner, it means it is time to start re-spooling rods and loading up on gear before most fisherman are even done prepping for the walleye opener

Pike, Walleye and Trout are also on the radar for Spring fisherman, it is amazing the watch the back roads and streams line-up with anglers looking for that spring trout run. In my home town in Peterborough On, 10,000 kids will sign up and fish in the annual GreenWing trout Derby.. yes 10,000

Outside of fishing, Spring means Baseball and BBQ season are also in full swing, there is nothing better then watching you team hit the field while holding a BBQ'd jumbo hotdog (and probably a beer)

So I say "Welcome to spring"  and I will see ya on the water

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Accu-Cull.. These aint your daddy's balls

I have only been tournament fishing for 3 years now, but during that time there has been nothing that has annoyed me more then messing around with an inferior culling system..Personally I have put 3 systems to the test and one system  I actually returned to the store prior to them ever even hitting the boat. A poor culling system can cost you time, money and your fingers.. but after 3 years of searching I can finally say.. the search is over

This past weekend I picked up the tangle free Accu-Cull tag system, and simple put this thing is awesome. The Accu-Cull tag system can be purchased 2 ways, either with lip piercing metal clamps or with the more fish friendly plastic clamps, as you can see from the above pics, I went with the non-piercing plastic clamps . Both versions are equipped with a tangle free surgical tubing that floats in the live-well (or when you drop them overboard). The kit itself contains 7 tags each with a different color tubing, the tubing colors are nice and bright and match up to the Accu-Cull weight system (that I didn't purchase). A nice perk to this kit is that it also comes equipped with a mounting bracket to keep them all together when stored int he live-well. (a sticky base not something you need to actually screw on)

Obviously there is a lot to like about this set, the clips themselves are very durable and hold tight to the fishes lip.. believe  me there is nothing worse then heading to the live-well to make a quick cull only to see tags floating but no longer attached to fish.. The long surgical tubes have some stretch and bounce to them, so when you grab hold and the fish takes off there is less possibility of the clip being ripped off.. it's like a bungee cord. Perk #3 is that although the Accu-cull system is technically a 3-pc set you can buy these separately (like I did)..

but if you are in the market for a new scale and complete culling system you can buy the additional pieces that include a digital scale and a color codes weigh recording system.. these can both be purchased separately and both come with the ability to be mounted inside your boats live-well.. right where you always need 'em, but rarely find them.

Tip: I use the Rapala Tournament touch screen scale, it allows me to store up to 8 weights on the scale for ease of culling.  The saved weights are numbered, and not colour co-ordinated like the Accu-Cull system, so to make these two system work flawlessly I made a slight modification to the tags

First, Find yourself a water resistant black marker. Grab 5 tags of your choice (preferably not the black one) and line them up. On both sides of each clamp write a number 1,2,3,4 or 5. Then on the surgical tubing, make a number of lines or dots representing the same number that is written on the clamp (see above pic). Now no matter whether your are recording the weights by hand or using a digital scale (here is one I use) you now have the ability to use an easy number system instead of trying to remember what color comes first. (obviously if you bought the accu-cull complete kit this tip can be ignored). I leave the last 2 tags un-numbered, this way if I loose or damage a tag I can then replace it with one of the remaining tags

Friday, March 15, 2013

Ice fishing with Berkley NanoFil

If you have been reading this blog with any regularity then you may remember my not so friendly review of Berkley's NanoFil line (found HERE). Since that time it has grown on me a bit more, and I have found the odd use for it (less scathing review found HERE) but this year I think I may have had a breakthrough.. NanoFil on Ice?

It surprises me that it took me as long as it did to spool up one of my ice rods with Berkley Nanofil. The smooth plastic or wax like texture  makes it a no-brainer for ice fishing, not only will it hold way less water then standard braids (which means less freeze up), but it also seems to have a decent drop rate, a must when fishing small jigs in deep water.

So far I have stuck with it for panfish only (crappie, perch and gills), like with all my braids I do use a short 1-2ft leader, so this bright white line is not as much as a concern as it would be if tying on direct.. that being said I often use the neon orange ice braid that suffix produces so how bad can whit really be?

The price is still a concern, and as in the past I recommend working with the smaller diameter versions as the stronger you go the stiffer and more like "fire line crystal" it will get

As for strength it seems to hold up pretty well on the ice, I have had no concerns pulling up decent sized pan-fish from depths of 20ft and more and the wear from the edge of the ice hole is minimal to non-existent. Knot tying can still be a bit of a pain, and with cold finders on the ice it will be even worse, but once you get use to taking your time and checking the knot all will be ok.

Am I saying the Berkley NanoFil is the next great ice-line? No, but if you are like me and have a couple spools lying around that you know wont get used on the soft water, then hey, spool up an ice rod, and see how well it performs.. i think you may be surprised, I know I was

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Great Finds @ The Quinte Sportsman Show

This past weekend I swung by the city of Belleville, picked up my father and headed over to the Quinte Sportsman show. This has sort of become an annual thing since he moved to the city of Belleville a couple years ago and we have since watched as the show has become larger and larger each year.. except in one area.. Fishing

Yes I have to say that I find it very odd that no more then 4 booths in the entire show carried fishing gear, 1 of which only carried discontinued products or job lots (although for some reason they thought they could ask $5 a pack for Berkley Havoc when it sells for under $4 from most retailers. A second booth offered a very small collection of gear that was not really worth routing through to find gems and then the final two booths were both owned by local tackle shops.

Both these booths were loaded with a great selection of gear, but for some reason they were charging full pop.. no deals not even a tax break.  I only mention this because most people walking the show paid an $8 admission to get in (unless you know a guy who knows a guy..wink,wink). So technically customers shopping from these local vendors are actually paying more for product then if they had just swung by the shop on Monday after the show.. confused?, i know I was

Other then that I would have to say the show appeared to be a success, the crowd on Saturday was large, and parking was at a premium (no fee thank god). Each room was laid out well and loaded with Boats, RV's, Bikes and tons of info about local camping spots and lodges.

I did not get time to check out any of the seminars, but having seen both Big Jim and Dave Chong speak on several occasions I will state without concern that the seminars would have been worth the price of admission.

For the Kids, a popular stop was the trout pond, although kinda pricey at $5 for 5 minutes of fishing time,  kids got to toss small baits on bamboo poles at a pool filled with Trout from a local farm. I sat around to watch for a bit, and can report that the kids had a blast, fish were caught (and that the 5 minute rule was not strictly enforced)

Great Finds

What I like about fishing and sportsman shows is walking around, shooting the shit with friends and of course looking for good deals. This year the best finds of the show for me have to go to "Pro Advantage" not only were they rocking the all new larger Live Target Field mouse (I guess I was not the only one who complained about the old size options) but they also gave a nice portion of their booth to "The Perfect Jig" a Canadian Jig company that has been knocking out quality jigs and trailers for a few years now.

I personally made a couple purchases, the first was 3 packs of Trigger X baits that were in the Pro Advantage grab bin. Three packs for $12 is not bad (unless you paid an $8 cover) and since this year I will be spending more and more time focusing on jig fishing and flipping, I though these were a great pick-up...

The second purchase was some Perfect Jig trailers, they had a very cool assortment on display including some fairly new "tipped" versions. I personally stuck with my old standbys like "green pumpkin" and "junebug". If you have not checked out the Perfect Jig line, believe me it is worth your time!

Lastly I picked up something I have long been waiting for.. an Accu-Cull tag system. I personally have struggled through the last 2 tournament seasons with inferior culling tags, and my hands are still store.

I have heard nothing but good things about the Acc-Cull and so far it lives up to the Hype.

Well that wraps up another year of the Quinte Sportsman show, no matter the price of admission, no matter the crowds, it is always good to get out and doing something fishing related in March, and more importantly.. score some great finds!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

How to Keep Busy in the Off Season Part 3: Reel Maintenance and Storage

Well, this off season is moving along pretty fast so I though I better get this last one in prior to the ice melting and spring season kicking off. In part 1 we reviewed keeping your tackle organized and prepped for the new season, part 2 we discussed proper rod storage, so what does that leave? Reel maintenance and storage, and other then your boat your reels need more work then most other items in your arsenal.. here's how to make sure you have them ready for the up coming season

Strip'em Down

I think that this article more then the other two will really have reader butting heads, there are many schools of thought when it comes to the proper storage of reels, and all i can really do is share with you mine.. you don't like, that's cool, Ill try not to be offended.

the first step in the process for me is "strip'em down" and what that means is removing whatever line is left on your reel from the end of the season. Hopefully all you have left on there is the scraps from the end of the season and not an entirely full spool. Either way, as you all know line ages, and not well, so if you have a full or partial spool of mono or flouro there is a good chance that line is going to be a coily mess come the start of the next season, so do your self a favour and get rid of it now, because there is a good chance that if you wait, you are going to get lazy and convince yourself that "it's still good"

The same philosophy goes for braided line, but it is not as urgent as it is with higher memory lines, so if you just re-spooled prior to the end of the season, I say leave it be. Braid ages worse on the water then in storage, but it will still age. The wear on braided line is pretty visible, so if you  got some use out of it prior to the end of the season so take the time to pull it off and start fresh when the time comes.

Inspection and Oiling

Ok, Im going to do my best to keep this simple, with the various types of reels and then the difference between each brand there is no way I can cover the entire spectrum, but what I can do is tell you how to complete a check of your reels condition as well as some low level maintenance to keep it running like new.

Spinning Reels:

The quick and easy process is as follows, remove all the line from your reel and do a "Q-tip" test. This is done by running a Q-tip along the spool lip and bail arm (the areas the line is most likely to run against when casting) and then again along the line roller system (the area your line places the most pressure on a retrieve) If you find any catches or ruff spots.. stop what your doing as this reel may need more loving then a cloth and some oil will ever give it.

If your reel passes the Q-Tip test it is time for some oil. To keep your reel running smooth there are 3 or 4 key areas you will want to oil up. I usually start with the bail itself by placing a drop of oil between the metal frame and the bail arm (both sides). Open the bail place a drop of oil, then open and close the bail a few times to work the oil down inside. I then move on to the line roller, and place a single drop of oil on the roller, at times I will use a Q-Tip to work it in and remove access oil. Next remove the reel handle to get access to the gear bearings, they should be clearly visible once the reel handle was been removed, so again just give it a drop or two. Lastly if your reel has a maintenance port, open it up and give it 2 or 3 drops of oil... quick and painless

Tip: A little goes a long way, I know that small drop of oil does not look like much but it will do the trick, over oiling is not helpful!

Baitcasting Reel:

cleaning or oiling your bait casters can be a more daunting task for many anglers as it requires you to take your baby apart and really get into the inner workings. Again I will keep it simple and focus on the key areas to clean and oil up.

Most reels have a simple turn key system on the opposite side from the handle. Turn the Key and open'er up. Once inside you will want to slide the spool out to get access to all the reels innards.

I like to give my reel a slight cleaning prior to re-oiling, this means simply applying some  warm soapy water to a Q-Tip and wiping down each area prior to re-oiling. The oil itself will be applied to 3 key areas, starting with the area/gear in which the spool slides in and attaches to reels handle all so called a spindle. I then move on and place a drop or two of oil on the level wind bar.. give the handle a few cranks the the level-wind moves and works the oil in. lastly I apply some oil to the spool itself (yes along the shaft, and I know there is a joke in there somewhere). I do this just before sliding the spool back into the reel cavity. Once the side plate is locked back on, give'er a few cranks and see the difference, your TLC has made

Tip: Give Quatum Hot Sauce oil and grease a try, I cant say I'm a huge Quantum reel fan, but they sure as hell make some killer lubricants. For cleaning products soap and water will work, but Ardent makes a cleaning spray and gets into the areas you need it to go and is fairly reasonably priced

What No Grease?

I know your reading this and thinking that i missed a pretty big step in overall reel maintenance, and your right, but just know that I missed it intentionally, and not as an oversight. The greasing of reels can be considered an advanced step in this process and not one that many anglers are comfortable doing.. seeing the parts of your best reel spread out on a table can be frightening. So if you plan to take apart your reel to grease it, be sure you can put it back together.. if you can't.. consult help. Not only are there hundreds of videos on-line walking you though this process but many major areas have shops and or places you can send reels to get this done.. make no mistake cleaning and re-greasing your reel will improve it's life span, old grease gets loaded with dirt and starts to bind up.

Pack'em away

Now that your reels are cleaned and oiled , it's time to store'em. Like with storing rods there are a few things to consider when storing reels. First things first, I take a moment to loosen back the drag and spool tensioner. I'm a firm believer that relieving any undue stress on the reel while in storage will lengthen the life of the reel. It also helps ensure and internal great or parts do not bind up on you.

When it comes to actually storing the reel, I again try to keep it in an area that will not be effected by dramatic weather changes. Keeping the reel out of "freezing" temps is better for the life of the grease, as most ice fisherman can attest not all greases are created equal, and some will bind up in colder temps.

If you treat your reels with respect they will return the favor and live a long and healthy life. But just like your car they do need the occasional tune-up and will benefit from proper winter storage.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Not since the day I took a personal call from Gary Dobyns welcoming me to the Dobyns team have I been as excited to introduce a new partner... that being said I would like to now announce that I will be officially joining "Team Daiwa"Reels for the 2013 season and beyond!

For those of you that know me, you know that just over 2 seasons ago I made the switch from Shimano reels to Daiwa reels, and since that time there has been no looking back, I was immediately blown away by the quality, durability and ease of use of all Daiwa reels I got my hands on. So much so that I can only really compare them to Lays potato chips.. because you can't  have just one... Over the past two years I have been slowly building my Daiwa arsenal and it has grown to included models like the Advantage Series,  T3 Ballistics and of course a Team Daiwa Zillion. This year I will be adding the Lexa, a reel that has quite a bit of hype behind it (review to follow)

I want to take a moment to thank Daiwa for giving me this opportunity to work with them, and I as always I will see you on the water


Monday, March 4, 2013

Dustin's Corner: Ardent Rod Kleen Cleaner

I know its been awhile since I have put a post out there. Its been a hectic winter for me at my day job, as well training, but as that slows down, I will be putting out more posts of my 2012 year, and upcoming events for 2013 
and I have been working hard at a few things-soon to come (insert wink here)

Following up on BassJunky's article on rod storage and maintenance I though I would share a review of a stellar cleaning product sold under the Ardent banner... check it out


So at the end of every year of fishing, putting everything through the abuse,weather,storage, and everything else that gets thrown at them. Our hardest working tool while on the water is probably our fishing rods, next to our fishing reels. Its amazing to see how the rods of today take such stress and elements, but they always hold up with a little TLC.

Ardent Rod Kleen Cleaner is a superior cleaner and corrosion inhibitor for use with all fishing tackle. Use to remove build-up on all parts of rods and reels. Spray on all type of rods and reels, and then lightly wipe down after returning from your trip to help prevent moisture and salt build-up that can be a major cause of corrosion. Rod Kleen will have no adverse effects on line and/ or composite material on your equipment.

I recently gave Rod Kleen a test run, this is a before picture of my rod after a years worth of  abuse on and off the water!

After applying the Ardent Rod Kleener and giving it a quick wipe down, this is what the after shot looks like.. 

So there you have it, we clean our house,vehicles, and everything else, but sometimes we over look our fishing stuff which also needs to be taken care of, so you can still land the big one that always seems to get away!