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