Friday, May 31, 2013

Test Drive: Daiwa Lexa Baitcaster review

This will be my third season using Daiwa reels, I made the switch from Shimano after becoming increasingly un-happy with the changes they were making to their bait casting line-up. So I dipped my toe in the water with a few Daiwa Advantage reels as well as the now defunct Daiwa Viento.  Once on the water with these reels I was quickly impressed with what they had to offer, and thus fully took the plunge by selling off my Curado collection and replacing it with Daiwa reels including  my first Daiwa Zillion (to this day the most I have ever spend on a reel, and yet worth every penny)

Skip ahead two years, to the hype surrounding an inexpensive new reel that looks, feels and fishes like a high end reel but that is priced under $200, The Daiwa Lexa hit the market to standing ovations from anglers on and off the water, and it's not hard to see why..  I personally love this reel, and I don't care who knows it


Just like I did when reviewing the Lexa spinning  reel, I'm going to start the "pros" off with ascetics, simply put this reel is easy on the eyes without being flashy. If you like to co-ordinate your rods/reels (hey, some of us do) then this reel pairs incredibly well with a Dobyns Champion series rod (seen below)

Looks can be deceiving, the 100 series Lexa is a nice compact reel weighing in around 8.0oz, but it is much more powerful then its small frame would lead you to believe. With Drag strength of 11lbs this little reel will holds it's own as a finesse or a power reel (yes even frogs). I'm also a huge fan of the paddles on this reel, they are big and beefy and give you some serious cranking power.

Obviously it goes without saying that one perk that comes standard on all Daiwa bait casting reels is the external break adjustment. I for one am sick of fiddling with internal breaks, and and for me this is a big selling perk on all Daiwa reels

The last perk I will touch on is one that is very important to most anglers, and our wallets.. the PRICE. The Lexa reel gives you more bang for your buck then most other reels in it's weight class, coming in at $139/$199 respectively the Lexa offers you a light weight, high quality reel that is super smooth, and able to provide you with all around coverage for a variety of techniques 


I'm a big fan of both the 100 and 300 series Lexa reel, but I will warn you that the 100 series reel is fairly small. It fits in my hand perfectly, but I know a few fellow anglers that feel it is a bit on the small size. If your in this boat, feel free to jump up to the 300 series, it will give you some added beef, but it is still a nice compact reel

Ill be honest I'm kinda struggling to find "cons" to this reel. In my review of the Lexa spinning reel I even had to resort to listing the availability as a con, but that is not the case anymore, as Daiwa is becoming more an more available to smaller retailers (a low price point high quality reel like the Lexa makes this easier)

The Wrap Up:

If you are looking for a great introduction into Daiwa reels, the Lexa is a great place to start. It is priced so that even novice anglers looking at their first bait caster wont shy away, and it's built tough so that a seasoned tournament pro's would want one (or two) on their boat. Once yet get your hands on a Lexa you will really start to appreciate what Daiwa has to offer, and remember, if they can do all this for under $200, then just imagine what it's like when you step up into a Zillion (insert heaven sound here)

To check out more info on the Daiwa Lexa 100 and 300 Series reel, click HERE

Don't just take my word for it, check out this review by the team at Tackle Tour, found HERE

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Live Target Field Mouse.. Bigger and Better for 2013

The Live Target field mouse was a "must have bait" back in 2012. When launched it was unlike any current offerings on the market and like with every thing that Live Target touches it quickly turned to gold.

I too was on the band-wagon and quickly snapped up both sizes (see review HERE). Once home and out of the package, buyers remorse started to set in, as I was  immediately unimpressed by the sizes that Live Target choose to introduce this bait in.. sizes I will simply call: small and smaller

Once on the water I started to get a bit more comfortable with the Field mouse, it moves very well, and has an almost walk & roll cadence not offered by many hollow body baits. The long dangly tail (although fragile) offers up a worm like presentation when paused, that hags down in the water driving fish crazy.

Still even with all it's "pros" the size continues to bothered me, so I decided to voice my concern, and I was not the only one, as time after time I saw this comment pop up on various fishing boards as well as in conversations on the water. 

Skipping ahead to 2013, while taking in a local Fishing and Sports show, I noticed an unusually large Live Target package hanging on the wall and low and behold it encased a thing of beauty, the new larger sized Live Target Field Mouse..  the MHB90T is what I feel could be thee perfect sized mouse bait, coming in a 3.5 inches long and 1oz in weight, it dwarfs it's little brothers, but still keeps the it's profile, swimming action and overall quality we have come to expect from the original

I for one am really looking forward to giving this bait a real world test drive, and fingers crossed I may just have a new favourite mouse bait

They are not widely available as of yet, but If you want to get your hands on one you can find them at: Tackle Warehouse 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Bass Geek Part 2: Backyard Casting

noun - slang

1. An expert or enthusiast (a term of pride)
2. A person who is pre-occupied or knowledgeable about Bass Fishing
3.  A person prone to arranging pots, pans and planters in their back yard to practise their "flipping and pitching"

How to become a Bass Geek Part 2:

When the warm weather starts to melt away the cool bleak remnants of winer many an angler gets the itch to hit the water and start casting, but what if your lakes are still frozen solid? what then?

you set up a back yard flipping course, thats what!

Step 1: Start rummaging around your home searching for a collection of items you will be able to use as targets, maybe some pots, or pans, and of course your wife's planters also will make great targets and since they are weather proof there is less chance you will damage when you lazily decide not to clean up after yourself

Tip A: be sure to find items with various sized openings, the smaller the opening  the more accurate you will have to be, so if the goal is to improve on your skill, look for small items. If the goal is to just have fun and cast a bit, look for larger items that will make you feel good about yourself

Tip Bturn some of your items on their side so you can practise skipping up into them. This is the best way to practise your dock flipping 

Tip Cdon't use anthing made of glass, it will break, and you will make a mess 

Step 2: Grab a rod or two and set them up just as you would if you were out on the water. Be sure to use the same rod, reel and line you would normally flip/pitch with. Same goes for your bait selection, if you fish 1/2 jigs, then you need to practise with 1/2 jigs.

Tip: Safety First,  I like to practise with a couple old flipping jigs or baits that I have cut the hook off of. You dont want to spend your practise time removing snags from your deck, dog, cat or toddler.. it takes the fun out of it

Step 3: Practise when ever you can..  I try to get in some time 3+ times a week, and find the best way to make time is to grab a rod and take it with me when Im out BBQ'ing dinner. If gives me something to do while the BBQ works it's magic and the wife thinks Im out back slaving away

There you have it, part 2 on how to become a Bass Geek. You are now well on your way to pocket protectors (for hooks of course) and tape between the lenses of your polarized glasses (Numa's of course). If your wife wont let you use her pots and pans, put your google skills to work and you will find a cool game by Booyah, called the Flipstah its like an obstacle course in a box

Friday, May 17, 2013

Fishing Tip: How to Pack for an Fishing Trip

Packing for a multi-day fishing trip is like packing for any other vacation, if you wait to the last minute and rush it, there is a good chance your going forget something, but unlike that forgotten tube of toothpaste, it is not as easy to swing by the corner store to replace a missing key piece of fishing equipment... Here are some tips on how to pack for those extended Fishing trips

Step 1: Prepare Early 

When packing for an extended trip I try to begin the packing process no later then 2 full days prior to the trip. For example when preparing for my recent trip to Lake Erie, I was scheduled to leave late on Wednesday evening, so I began my packing process on the Sunday prior to leaving.

I find that starting the process early, not only helps you keep a mental inventory of what you actually need on the trip, but it gives you time to make changes, add items you may have forgotten about, and remove items that you realize are overkill or unneeded.

Step 2: Keep all your gear in one place

When starting to pack or compile the items I need for a trip, I try to always keep them together. I start to make a pile of gear and clothing in a spare room, and any food I'm taking will be stored together on the counter or on the same shelf in the fridge. Too often I have heard stories from anglers who forgot something simply because they had their gear spread out all over the house. Only having to check one spot, makes loading the car quick and painless

Step 3: Be Prepared

There is a fine line between under and over preparing for a trip, and you need to find that happy medium. When talking about gear that simply means you need to pack the gear you plan to fish, and you need to pack the gear you will end up fishing when the weather, conditions or the fish don't co-operate.

Please don't misunderstand this, and attempt to pack your entire fishing arsenal for your trip, the idea here is to select one or two fish catching techniques that are polar opposites to the techniques you actually plan to fish. As an example, if the plan to fish shallow cranks, as a backup I will always throw one or two deep diving cranks into my shallow crank box, as "just in case" baits.

Tip: I organize all my baits into technique specific plano boxes (Deep Cranks, Shallow Cranks, Top water and so on) but I always keep a spare empty box that I label "trip box" I fill this box up with odds and end that I don't plan to use, but want to take "just in case".

Step 4: Don't trust the Weather Forecast

This one is kinda self explanatory, but to be blunt, I don't care if you are fishing in the middle of the Sahara desert, you need to pack your rain gear. I dont care if the forecast calls for 3 days of pouring rain or maybe even  a snowstorm, you still need to pack sunscreen. This may sound obvious, but even as I type this I can easily recall multiple time in which I did not take my own advise, and paid for it dearly

Weather is a  huge intangible when  preparing for a multi-day fishing trip, and if you want to enjoy your time on the water, you need to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at you. You can thank me later

Tip: There are a select number of items that I always ensure to pack (2) two of. For example I pack 2 pairs of shoes, 2 Hats and 2 pairs of sunglasses.  All three of these items are key to a safe and comfortable day on the water. I know we have all been there, your hat fly's off during blast-off, or your sunglasses get dropped in the water (or maybe sat on), and lastly depending on the style and brand of shoe you wear, a full day in the rain will leave them still soggy and cold for the next days outing. Think about it!

Step 5: Take Your time

This is important to remember as rushed packing leads to rushed decisions, so pack slowly and think it through. The same goes for when your loading the the gear into your car, and finally when packing back up at the end of the trip, "no rod left behind" is a motto to live by.

Tip: Protecting your gear while traveling is important, there is nothing worse then driving for hours to get to your destination, only to find a rod tip or guide snapped off. I protect my gear with the full line of Rod Glove products, this includes the rod gloves themselves, as well as rod wraps and the reel gloves to keep my reels looking pretty. Any pre-rigged baits are wrapped in a bait glove, to keep the hooks from rubbing on other rods or getting tangled up

Fishing Trips are exciting, I hope this quick 5 Step program makes your next fishing trip a successful one, on and off the water. And remember, no matter where you are, or where your  going, treat every body of water like it was your home lake.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Daiwa Project T begins...


There are some exciting things happening at Daiwa HQ, and although "Project T" is still officially on the down-low, over the next few months Team Daiwa will be teasing and tempting us with 10 web videos leading up to the official launch at ICAST 2013

If you are a stickler for punishment (like me) be sure to check out "Episode 1" and get ready for the next generation of Daiwa reel

Project T is coming! watch the right side panel for weekly "project T" videos as they become available

Episode 2: May 15th 2013.. First Sighting

Episode #3 - May 22nd 2012.. the features

Episode 4: May 29th.. USA Pro's Teaser

Episode 5: June 5th.. More Ish

Episode 6: June 11th.. Lite-weight affordable reel!

Episode 7: it's all about the Air Rotation!

Episode 8: The T-Wing System


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Test Drive: The Daiwa Lexa 2000 Spinning Reel Review

I do a lot of product testing, everything from soft and hard baits, to lines to hooks and more, but there is nothing more satisfying then getting the opportunity to test drive a new rod or reel. I think this is due to the fact that although we may buy many new baits each season, we rarely add more then one new piece of equipment. And when we do add , often the new gear, no matter how expensive, does not live up to the hype, or more importantly our expectations. That being said this season, I had the opportunity to add a few new reels (and one rod) to my ever growing/changing arsenal. "What to choose, what to choose"...The Hype behind Daiwa's Lexa series of fishing reel is quite impressive and made it nearly impossible to not give one a test drive.

Unlike other quieter Daiwa reel releases, I have heard the Lexa talked-up on and off the water, on fishing boards and in chat rooms (do we still have these?) months prior to them hitting the store shelves.  It seems anglers everywhere are very excited about this new relatively inexpensive reel that can compete with reels many would consider  out of it's weight class.. so with that in mind I took the Daiwa Lexa 2000 for a test drive and pit it against one of the industries best.. the Shimano Stradic, and here is what I found...


There is a lot to like in this spinning reel, but lets start off with the obvious.. it's sexy as hell. You cant look at this sleek design and tell me there is a better looking reel on the market today.. and it doesn't hurt that it  pairs really well with my rod of choice, the Dobyns Champion Extreme line of spinning rod (insert whistling sound here)

When it comes to spinning reels I'm always torn, I prefer to fish what most companies calls a  1000 series reel, but you don't get the same line capacity or drag strength as you would from a larger reel. That being said the Lexa comes in a 2000 series, and to me it fishes just as large as a standard 2500 series reel, without the added weight that comes with the large size. The line capacity is listed at 6/110, and I can confirm that it is slightly underrated as I spooled my Lexa 2000 up with 20lb Samurai braid and was able to fit the entire 150 meter spool on and still had room for my 4ft of leader. 

To me there is no better honor to bestow on reel then to compare it to an "old standby" or "personal fav" so I'm going to do just that. In my opinion the  Lexa spinning reel fishes like if not better then a Shimano Stradic, it is solid, yet light weight (8.1oz), it has a strong smooth drag (8lbs) and casts braid and mono line extremely well. All of these features rival if not approve upon what the Stradic has to offer, and yet the Lexa comes in on average $60 cheaper, across the board.. if that's not a pro, I don't know what is. 

I know I touched on it above, but I don't want to understate how impressed I was with the overall smoothness of this reel, from cast, to retrieve, and of course drag, the Lexa spinning reel  performs at a high level and really helps you fight the fish (instead of it fighting you)

Im no scientist, so I wont dive too deep into the full range of claims made about the Zaion carbonate Air rotor system on the Lexa, but to put it in angler speak: " it looks slick and gets the job done." And lets be honest, anytime you are able to reduce weight but improve strength, it is a good thing, and that is exactly what the Air rotor was designed to do.

The last thing I will touch on, is the size options available for the Lexa. As mentioned above I really like fishing with 1000 series spinning reels, but often they are too small, and in turn the most 2500 series is larger/heavier then Im looking for. Daiwa has this issue licked, as the launched the Lexa with a 1500, 2000, and 2500 series. I really like that the 1500, and 2000 come in at the same weight and strength, the only real difference being the line capacity. I can now do everything I want to do with a spinning reel without having to jump  up to a 2500 series


Not really a con, but I will admit it took some getting use to the Daiwa "AirBail". This hollowed out light weight bail is common on Daiwa reels, but from a guy making the switch from Shimano I will admit it looked and felt a little large for the first few casts. That being said it feels very durable and should not bend, dent or deform as easily as the thinner "wire" bails, thus keeping your reel running smooth longer

I have heard anglers talk about this reel as being a bit heavy, and I don't think I understand? The Lexa 2000 weighs in at 8.1oz, and comparing that to a standard stradic that means it is .5oz heavier.. not exactly mind blowing. If they are comparing it to reels like the CI4, then that's not a fair comparison, as we are no longer looking at apples to apples.

The biggest con I can throw at this reel is availability,  In Ontario, it is not yet widely available, unless you are in a major market. I found myself making long treks to the few shops that carried Daiwa only to be told "soon".. but let me reiterate "it was worth the wait".

 The Wrap-Up

After this test drive I have to say, Im  impressed with the Daiwa Lexa spinning reel, so much so that I will be adding a second one to my arsenal very soon. This reel is built very well and is the perfect match for finesse techniques like Dropshotting, finesse jigs or even t-rig or wacky rigged soft plastics (you know, if your into that kind of stuff). 

I was  very happy with the 2000 series its has the slightly smaller frame that I want, but still feels tough and it could easily handle heavier techniques like dragging tubes, and the odd crank bait. These are things you would not usually be able to pull off on a 1000 series reel.

Weapons of Choice:

My Daiwa Lexa 2000, has been paired up with a Dobyns DX742SF rod. It will primarily be used for drop shot fishing.

I have plans to add a Lexa 2000 series reel to be paired up with my Dobyns 703SF, this combo will be used for texas ridges soft plastics, skipping up under docks and the occasional tube. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Bass Fishing in May: 2013 Photo Journal - Lake Erie & More

This past weekend I was invited to take part in  the 8th annual Lake Erie/Lake Chatauqua fishing excursion with a group of anglers simply referred to here as "the old guys" (sorry Brian). This was my second such invite, and after a successful first trip, I was excited to use what I had learned last year to do battle on these big fisheries again.. oh what a difference a year makes!

Day 1 was spent on Lake Erie, the weather forecast called for high winds moving in in the afternoon, so we knew we had to get out early and pound'em before the winds sent us scurrying for shelter.

As usual I shared a boat with "Kenny" we spent some early time shallow looking to see if any big females had moved in to spawn. What we found was a large school of Sheephead making a ruckus in the shallows.. Here is Kenny with the first fish of the day

The only one in our group that really hit'em hard on Erie was "Brian". He found the right presentation and the right colour, and even with 4 of us throwing the same bait, he was the only one boating fish, after fish, after fish (sorry, I'm all for giving away my secrets, but cant openly give away my co-anglers)

At the end of the day, I managed one fish on lake Erie, but I'm happy to say it was a good one. this football smallmouth succumbed to a tube jig

Day 2, was a 5am wake up call on Chatauqua Lake. This is a view from my room, and as always the sunrises never disappoint. (just add coffee)

I had the majority of my success in 2012 on a spinnerbait (war eagle of course) and I was bound to give one a run again this year. It was not long before the fish started to take notice (Dobyns DX744 paired with a Daiwa Zillion)

I dont know about you, but I could fish a spinnerbait all day long, something about that dead stop strike or watching the shine from your blades vanish on mid retrieve 

The pattern we found was that the majority of the fish were hanging off the end of the docks, and that by burning a blade at a 45 degree angle across the corners you could easily pull a fish out.

We were surprised how aggressive these shallow fish were, they ignored flipping baits and and soft plastics, but hammered every blade that buzzed by.

Paired up with Kenny again we took to the shallows, and pounded the shoreline and any dock we could see. Kenny landed the biggest fish of our 35 fish caught on Day 2 (see below)

 I loved the look of these busted up old docks, I wished they held more fish, but oh well, they still make for a great photo.

I did get to break in some of my new Reins baits, not many fish were interested in a slow presentation, but I did manage a couple on the Ring Craw

Boat #2 Consisted of Rick and Brian, they headed to deeper water and focused on "quality over quantity" and I think you will agree it paid off,  this is a 6.1lb smallie that gave Rick a new personal best

(Ignore the image date, for a former TV man, Rick is not known for his prowess with a camera)

This was the only time all weekend that the lake was flat, the winds really picked up and night and day there was a constant chop making it hard to hit deeper water or mid lake humps without getting blown around

Day 3, found Brian and I partnered up, and after a success Day 2, we headed back to the shallows to find some fish that Kenny and I missed. The Spinnerbait bite was still on, and Brian and I picked up where Kenny and I left off

The fish were smaller on Day3, but in 2 hours (or so) Brian and I still managed 16 fish from an area in wich 35+ fish were caught just 12 hours prior

Later in the morning we decded to push out deeper looking for big fish, but after getting blown off a few of our secondary sports, we looked to a popular gravel bar and began to work crank baits, lip less cranks, and of course the odd spinner bait. The smallies were quick to oblige us, and the bit was arm-tiringly fast

the lipless crank proved more popular then the spinnerbait so I made the change and stuck with it the rest of the day. The Lipless Crank of choice was the Rippin Rap by Rapala, I picked one up before leaving for this trip, pretty much right after I watched an episode of In-Fisherman and Doug who was using this bait to great success, I'm happy to report, he was telling the truth

Brian and I pretty much spend most of the afternoon either fighting a fish, or netting one for each other. It was a blast and when all was said and done we topped the 35 fish Kenny and I landed on Day 2

We were even surprised by the odd large mouth that came to join the party. This beast hammered my Rapala rippin rap, and fought harder then any of the smallies

Gotta love that shiny golden colour. These fish were all super healthy, and no matter the size big or small they were all well fed.

In 2012 almost all my smallmouth success came from a drop-shot rig, this year, it barely saw the water and when it did, it was useless. It always amazes me how the fish can change from day to day, or minuted to minute

Meanwhile in Boat 2, Kenny and Rick both landed their best Largemouth's of the weekend...

 Day 4 was not my day. Kenny and I re teamed up and he promptly kicked my ass. The shallow bite switched off between a fast presentation (spinner bait) to a slow one (tubes). I was too stubborn and stuck with the spinner bait way to long. When I finally made the change, I still had little to no luck, while Kenny continued to slam fish after fish, the dude is a maestro with a tube jig

In the last 10 minutes of our shortened day, I went back to my spinner bait and mustered 3 quick fish, all in the same hole, a spot a local angler was kind enough to give up the day prior. (thank you)

 After that we packed up and headed home. It was a long but amazing trip. No matter if we are gone for one day or 10,  this is always a welcome site.. it's good to be home

Weapons of Choice:

Spinnerbait: Dobyns DX744 w/ Daiwa Zillion, War Eagle Screaming Eagle Spinnerbait on Daiwa Samurai Braid

Lipless Cranks: Dobyns Savvy 704 (microguide) w/ Dawia Advantage reel. I used 8lb Sunline super sniper FC and the bait of choice was a Rapala Ripin Rap

DropShot: Dobyns DX742SF w/ Daiwa Lexa 1500 Spinning reel, New Gamakatsu SwivelShot hook and Strike King Bitsy tube

Tubes: Dobyns Savvy 703SF w/ Daiwa Ballistic Spinning Reel, and ElGrande Tubes (bluegill)