Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fear & Loathing on the BBTS: Jacks Lake 2012

This past weekend Dustin and I took part in our final scheduled tournament of the 2013 season on Jacks Lake in Apsley, Ontario. Though we dont often do well on this lake, we enjoy the fishery and the group of guys that participate.. Congrats to Jay Hotzak and Russ Watkins who took home 1st place for the second year in a row.. Dustin and I should have stock to our original game plan.. Following them!

Big fish at this years event was a beast weighing in at 6.37lbs, congrats to Justin Slydock and Sctodd Bubec for taming the beast.

Though an odd weather day, it was by far the best weather we have had for an event this year. The day started out sunny yet cool with temps at around 10 degrees (our 50f for my american readers), and quickly heated up to a day time high of 24c (75f), as the morning wore on the winds picked up (15SW) and really cooled things off again. Our game plan for this lake was to spend a lot of time in the shallows and pound the hell out of shorelines, timber and weedbeds. To our surprise the water level was a good 2 feet lower then it was the last time on the lake. This made a few of our standard sports nearly un- fishable, and left us looking for new water early and often

Before the wind picked up we were able to boat 3 fish all on topwater frogs, the biggest being 2.8lbs that gave us an early bag of 6.5lbs.. happy, happy. The wind quickly ruined the frog bite, and the shallow conditions forces us to fish the mouth of bays, but did not allow us to push back in, where we usually found the majority of out fish.

Flipping is how we spent the majority of our day, we found what large weed-beds there where, and drifted along flipping and pitching every little hole we could find. We culled 4 times in the last 3 hours, all small culls that only raised our weight up to just over 9.5lbs. (yeah not exactly a winning bag). With a 3hr drive ahead of us, we decided to weigh in a bit early (20 minutes) but when we arrived at the weigh-in station it was not manned and not set-up. This was pretty frustrating and was the main reason we decided to just dump our bag and call it a day

and thus ends our 2013 tournament season, we had some highs points, including a 9th place finish on Weslemkoon and the fact that we broke into a new series with two performances that i was happy with. We also saw out share of low points and personal frustrations, that I will be turning into a Top 10 things not to while tournament fishing

again congrats to those who took home hard earned cheques and hardware, and we will see ya in 2014

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Custom Reel Painting - Bag5Baits - Dobyns Coalition style

I don't know about you, but I put my equipment through a pretty vigorous workout each and every season, and the reels in general seem to take more abuse then my other equipment, I don't know maybe it's because they are your hand all the time, or maybe it's because as the non boater I have limited space to store my rods which often means my reels bang up against each other.. no matter the reason my reels don't look "new" very long, so this season I decide to treat my self and have one of my older reels pimped out, to not only look new again but also to match my Dobyns Coalition series rod.. and who better to do the pimping then the boys at Bag5Baits

You may not have heard of'em yet, but Mike and the rest of the Bag5Baits team have amassed a pretty stellar resume of reel and bait custom paint jobs. I knew they could be trusted with matching up my Daiwa Advantage with the colours on my coalition rod, and as you can see they really nailed it.

If like me, you were impressed with the paint job they did on my reel, you really need to check out some of the crazy custom baits they have been working.. like the "Wet mouse" and a personal fav of mine their smallmouth pattern..

and these are just some of the cool options that Bag5Baits has to offer. Take a minute and check out their Facebook page (HERE) and hit "Like" to stay on top of new offerings and designs

If you have some old reels or baits that could use some love head on over to their website and check out the price list (reel pricing will vary). And if all your baits are shinny and new, they have a stock pile of baits you can choose from.. check out Bag5Baits, tell'em  the BassJunky sent ya

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Toray Fishing Line Review: Soloram Super Hard Upgrade

Over the past 8+ years I have become somewhat of a line junkie, meaning that I really enjoy trying out new lines (usually braids). Each season I would spool up with a few new lines and given them a thorough test drive and only repurchasing those I truly loved.. In 2011 I got my first look at Japanese lines (SunLine) and it kind of opened my eyes to what was actually possible and brought me back around to using a mix of fluorocarbon and braided line. Although impressed with Sunline I was not hooked, and continued on my journey to test out newer and better lines, skip ahead to 2013

This year I got my hands on 3 different sub-brands in the Toray family of lines. In this review I will focus on my (now) primary fluorcarbon line Soloram Super Hard Upgrade

 SuperHard Upgrade is a 100% Fluorocarbon line known for its strength, sensitivity and durability. In reviews done by the team at TackleTour it proved to be approximately 13% stronger then its actual on box rating (14lb line broke at 16lbs pressure) and unlike many lines it kept upwards of 93% of its rated strength at the knot (Click here to see the full Tackle Tour Review). Both of these were big pluses for me, as other then memory, line strength and knot strength are the main reasons I moved to using primarily braided lines. 

I know, I know these are just numbers.. you want to know how it fishes!


SuperHard Upgrade although strong,  is very limp with a very low memory. I honestly cant remember the last time I was this impressed with a fluorocarbon line and how well it sat on the reel. It's thin diameter also allows for you great casting distance, I have done the majority of my testing with top-water baits and flipping jigs. SuperHard casts and flips smoothly and does not seem to bunch up on the spool like the SunLine FC Sniper I had been using. It very comfortable to cast with

Above in the numbers portion I covered off the strength side of things, but I would be remiss not to mention it again here. Durability goes along with strength, and believe me this line takes some serious abuse and stands up to the roughest of structure (trees, rocks and more!). On average Toray lines last twice as long as their competitors line, and 4x longer then many off the shelf fluorocarbons.

Fact: Toray owns most of the fluorocarbon technology in the world. They make a good portion of the lines on the market and many of he ones they dont make, they provide the raw material to... when you own the technology  its easy to always use the best, highest quality fluorocarbon for Toray brand lines

 In the below image you will see that looks like a res laser beam coming coming off my spool, what it actually is, is a halfway matter letting you know that you have hit the halfway point on the spool or 75meters. I really love this as it takes the guessing game out of refilling your spool. (see below for a trick on how to best spool your reel with high grade line)


I'll be honest here, I have yet to find a flaw in this line, I have been fishing it for a few weeks now, and it has performed incredibly well. If I had to choose a few areas on pick on it would be the pricing ($30-$39 a spool) and availability. The pricing although expensive is on par with other high quality high grade lines, and since it out performs these lines I guess you get what you pay for.  Remember what I stated above.. this line will last 2x longer then the majority of fluoro lines on the market, when you take this into consideration Toray lines are actually cheaper then the competition. 

Fact: Time is money, many anglers don't like to spend their hard earned money on a quality line, but when you think about it, if your replacing your cheaper line twice as often, how much are you actually saving? between the cost of replacing the line, and the time it takes to strip your reels and re-spool, you would be in a much better position picking up a spool of Toray and getting the job done right the first time.. believe me, you'll be glad you did

As for availability, your best bet is to buy direct from the guys at Blackwater, they are the exclusive Norther American dealer of Toray lines (and a few of their own).

Spooling Up:

If your paying $30+ for a spool of line you best not waste it. Way to many anglers don't use any form of backing on their reel and simply fill their spool up with their line of choice.. this is a mistake. By the time you get to the back end of the spool the line has been abused and/or you don't have enough left to properly fish with it. Here is a trick I was taught and have been using ever since.. I fill up my reels with a cheaper fluorocarbon ($6 spool) that is the same diameter/strength as the line I want to use on my reel. Then I spool the reel to where I like it. Once there I strip off between 50-75meters of line (you can be ruff, use your arm as a measurement). Once I attache my Superhard to the backing I then fill the spool back up, thus only using 50-75 meters of the good line (if you do it right you should be at the red line in the image above). If you strip off 50 meters your spool of Superhard will now be good for 2 more refills. If you use the 75meter mark (like I do) then you have  1 more refill int he tank. I think youll find this will lengthen the life of your line and make that purchase price a bit easier to swallow.. try it out and let me know what your think

tip: After attaching your mainline to the backing, take a piece of hockey/duct tape and wrap it around the spool. If you get a little fast and loose on the water this will ensure your backlash will only go so far back

Friday, August 16, 2013

Fishing from Memories: The Home Lake Disadvantage

Dustin and I are living proof that fishing your home lake in a tournament does not always mean you have the advantage. Way to often old memories will get in the way of a solid game plan. Here are 3 tips on how to avoid "the Home lake Disadvantage"(from experience)

Stick with your game plan:

we have all been there, your a few hours in to a tournament and your game plan is not working, sure you have fish, but nothing with size, so instead of continuing with your days game plan you abandon it and start the process of fishing with memories, your mind races and all the spots you have pulled a big fish out of flash before your eyes and before you even know whats happening you are speeding across the lake to flip a single brush pile that you pulled a 5lber off of way back in 1995

Sound familiar? It should, we all do it (some of us are just not willing to admit it). A Solid game plan is often built from doing your homework, this includes a  recent pre-fish and review of how the lake has been fishing this season (including water level, weed growth and so on) Fishing from memories is like studying from a 1930's textbook, sure they got some of it right, but times have changed

Fish the Conditions: 

Weather conditions play a big part of how and where you will catch fish. Memories of a big fish are often vivid but rarely include the days weather forecast. Sure you may recall that it was sunny or raining, but what was the temperature or wind conditions, not just for that day but the days or weeks prior. These will all play into where the fish are, and if the bite will be as good as you remember.

If you start a fishing logbook this will help you better remember these fine details and you will no longer be fishing from memories but instead have the knowledge to make a decision on if you think that old memory will be worth revisiting today.

tip: Often anglers abandon the idea of doing daily logs, why,  because we are too lazy to type all the info in.. and simply put, "we just want to fish". So instead of completing the log on the water, simply use your smart phones voice recorder and briefly lay out the days details.. weather conditions, fish caught, how and where. At the end of the day you can then start to turn these into notes.

Remember the time:

A few years ago when preparing to fish a tournament on Dustin's home lake (Weslemkoon) we  drew up our game plan focusing on the areas we had had the most success. The day of the event we ran to our first spot and fished the hell out of it for 2 hours.. nothing. We threw everything but the kitchen sink at them, and finally came to terms that something was wrong..

Looking at my watch I asked the question: 'What time do you think we usually hit this spot?" after a short pause Dustin responded with "early afternoon".. DOH, we had just spent two hours of our morning working an area that does not usually heat up until the afternoon, why? because our memories of the fish caught often don't include the time of day we caught them.

Like weather conditions time will play a part in where the fish are, looking back on that day I cant believe we didn't realize it sooner as this spot was clearly an area the fish would move into for cover in the heat of the day. Sure we may have picked off one or two in the morning, but all of our past success came in the afternoon when the sun was high

The Wrap Up:

Don't get me wrong, big fish memories are a great thing, but they need to be left at home, mounted on your wall or in photographs. Don't bring them to the lake with you, each time you hit the lake you have an new opportunity to make new memories. But the only way to do that is to let go of the past, remember the only pattern should be following is today's

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Bass Junkies Fishing Addiction hits..100,000

Between reporting on the Kingston Canadian Open and attending a few tournaments myself, a major website milestone kinda got lost in the shuffle.

Some time last week we received our 100,000 viewer. I know that may not seem like a lot compared to some of the power house fishing sites that are currently out there churring out great videos,  articles and interviews. But BJFA is a one ( and a half) man opperation (yes Dustin we are still waiting on that next "Dustins Corner" article).

I wanted to take a moment to thank those who have helped me along the way and of course those who keep reading

Dobyns Rods

Daiwa Reels

Eikon Device (Tattoo Supply)

New Roads 

Bass Utopia

Optimum Baits

El Grande Lures

The Rod Glove

Numa Optics

Blackwater/Toray Line

Paul Mueller Fishing

Rich's Bassin Blog

Fat Boy Outdoors

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fear & Loathing on the BBTS: Weslemkoon 2013

This past weekend Dustin and I fished our first BBTS event of the 2013 season on Weslemkoon Lake. This year we are splitting our tournament time between BBTS, Top bass and the Quinte Bass Champs. On the BBTS side we choose Weslemkoon and Jacks Lake in Apsley, as they are events we have historically enjoyed even if we have not had the best results... so far 2013 is no different

Weslemkoon lake showed us again just how tuff a lake it can be and how drastically the fishing can change from one day to the next. This years event was won by Justin Patterson and Chris Bayne with a bag of 21.16lbs.. nice job boys!

second place winners Shane Crumb and Derrick Tomkins (pictured below) are enjoying some sucess on the CSFL circuit and really tamed the koon with a 18.68lb bag. Third place was Mark Dunford and Terry Lucas with 18.02lbs after that the weights really started to drop off and teams in 8th thru 19th place were all under 10lbs and teams 20-25th place all weighed in 0.00 so yes it was a tuff bite for many

Dustin and I has some success and finished up in 9th place with a 9.29lb bag.  Any time you make the top 10 no matter your weigh it is a good day. I just wish we could have found that 6.5lber that Dustin hooked during pre-fish a couple weeks back

The Weather was very interesting this year, as the temps took a nasty drop over the last week or so, and some rain and thunderstorms hit the area 48 hours prior to blast off. The below pic is what the day looked like at 7am, but within 20 minutes the sky became heavily cloud covered for the remainder of the day and we stayed suited up in our rain suits to keep warm. Our shallow water spots held plenty of small fish, but no lunkers to be found.

We also looked for smallmouths in some open areas on the lake, but the high winds made it tuff to stay put and we ending up running for cover. Like the rest of our events this year we were left looking for that one big bite to move us up into the money.

Full Results:

Im thinking I may have given us a bit of a jinx, the below pic was taken the day prior to the event when I took the wife to a small back lake for a relaxing day of fishing.  I hooked into these beast.. and I believe I may have used up my big fish mojo for the week. that'll teach me to try to have fun when I should be focused on a tournament !

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Year of the Jig: Ganns Performance Tackle

As an angler Im constantly looking to improve or hone my skills by trying out new techniques and forcing myself to fish water or situations I would not normally fish. In doing so I have kinda started something similar to a new years resolution and that is each season I pick a bait or technique and spend time attempting to learn or even perfect it. 2013 is the Year of the Jig

Being an angler born and raised in the Kawarthas I was taught to fish many shallow water techniques, like worming, punching and of course frog fishing. But those who taught me were not jig fisherman (though jigs are now common place on Kawartha lakes). So I have spent most of my life fearing the jig.. not any more

One of the great things about learning a new technique like Jig fishing is that it allows you to buy new equipment. When I started this mission I owned very few jigs, so I asked around.. "What makes a great jig", "who makes the best jig" and although I received various responses to this, one name came  up over and over again: Gann's Performance Tackle .. so thats where I started

Before I made my first purchase,  I called a few buddies who are known for their success with a jig, and I spent some time reviewing my notes from a Bass Talk seminar I  attended a couple seasons back that just happened to have a segment on jigs and jig fishing (hosted by Doug Brownridge). Here is what I took away from this discussion, and what I used to make my first jig purchase

1) Focus on Basic Colours - Avoid brights or unnatural colours
2) Pick one or two sizes and stick with them
3) The More strands the slower the fall

So armed with the above Info I headed to the Gann's website and started to narrow down my choices. Ganns has three jig head options,and being new to jig fishing I felt I should give each one a shot and see what works best for me. Following the above guidelines I opted to focus mainly on 1/2oz jigs as my everyday size, and then a 1/4oz (if available) for finesse situations. By choosing just one size Im able to quickly get the hang of how that jig feels in the water, and when it starts to feel different I know its time to set the hook.

As for colour choices I started out with a few variations on black, and a few baitfish and craw options. (The above is Jig is Colour 23 - Sunfish) Although Ganns does not carry any crazy colours like neons, I still avoided baits with bright yellows or that were predominantly one colour. This is simply personal preference and of course is falls within the above guidelines.

Tip: If your new to jig fishing (like me) it does not hurt to ask the company you are purchasing from to add a jig or two of their choice. When I called Ganns and gave them my order I asked them to add 2 jigs that they think are must haves (there choice, size, style and colour). It added a nice surprise element to my order and it got me to try something I have have regularly overlooked.

Ok, so you have made your first jig order, and it's time to start using them. This is where it can get awkward as learning a new technique can take time, and this means you have times when you will not be catching fish.. As a beginner I decided to start off my on water testing by focusing on high percentage areas, like large weed beds and sunken timber. Both of these areas often hold fish (big and small) but can also be frustrating to a new jig fisherman who will spend a great deal of time ripping weeds off their bait or loosening them from the fallen timber. Don't give up as the payoff will be well worth your effort.

The above fish was taken during one of my first jig fishing outings. I was working a large weed bed by flipping the jig into any pocket I could see. He hit it on the first fall and nearly swallowed it whole...what a blast

So, earlier on I explained what I was taught to looked for when buying a jig, and  how this lead me to Ganns, but here is why I will be staying with them: First off they are a high quality product,   all jigs  have hand tied skirts paired up with a super strong Gamakatsu hook (4/0 or 5/0). Important to me and often overlooked is a jigs bait keeper. Ganns uses a double wire keeper that holds on tight and no matter how much weed your ripping through your chunk will stay in place.

Tip: Often I have seen and heard anglers talk about trimming skirts and weedgaurds on their jigs, and although I can see some value to this, I want to stress that this should never be done until you have fished with the jig. Both of these components will effect how the jig fishes. Less skirt will speed up the fall, and less weedgaurd may effect how well the jig moves through the weeds and or timber.. so fish befor your alter. Remember the old adage "it;s insulting to salt your food prior to tasting it" the same goes for your baits. To this day I have been happy with the "out of box" performance of my Ganns jigs and I have not altered them in any way

So there you have it, part two of my "Year of the Jig" series. Stay tuned for posts on tailors, rods and of course a season recap. If you have any input or comments  please share, us newbies can use all the help we can get