Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Thanks a Zillion - Daiwa Zillion TWS Test Drive

I made the move to Daiwa reels nearly 5 years ago now, and since that time the Daiwa Zillion has been the holy grail in the line up. Not their most expensive reel but priced just high enough that for the longest time I only had one in my arsenal.. well not any more, With the launch of the  Zillion TWS Daiwa is making it easier for every angler to get their hands on their first Zillion reel, or like me, their second and third. 


One of the biggest changes between the Zillion TWS and classic Zillion is the addition of the TWS T-Wing line guide which was originally introduced on the Dawia Tatula and has since made the jump to the Zillion. The TWS offers improved casting distance by allowing your line to move freely through the spool. Once you bait hits the water and you start your retrieve the T-Wing is disengaged giving you a smooth controlled retrieve. 

Speaking of retrieves the Zillion TWS is available is 4 different retrieves including standards like 6:3:1 and 7:3:1, a slower retrieve 5:3:1 and a speedy 9:3:1. In all honestly I don't really mess round with anything outside the 6 or 7:3:1, this allows me to carry fewer reels and use hand speed to alter how I want the bait to fish.

Although my classic Zillion is my spinnerbait reel,  I prefer to use the Zillion TWS for shorter or  slower applications like jig fishing or spot frog fishing (target specific). The 90mm swept handle and large  thumb pads are perfect for these applications giving you the power you want without brushing your thumb up (remember Sega thumb?)  

When reviews of the Zillion TWS first started to publish one area the reel was praised for was its Drag performance. The Zillion TWS offered up an incredibly smooth 18lb's of pressure. I'm not know for my tech skills so if you want to learn more about the Zillion's drag check out this TackleTour review HERE

When it comes to break adjustment Daiwa does it right by offering up external adjustments from 0-20  really allowing you to find that sweet spot not mater the bait size or weather conditions. If your a control freak like I am, this is a knob you won't be able to keep you hands off of.


 "Con" is not a word I have ever associated with a Zillion reel, so I'm going to have to dig deep here to offer you up some cons.

The most obvious one that guys may jump to is price point. The Zillion series has always been priced in the $300+ range which until you fish a reel in that category can seem pricey. The Zillion TWS comes in just under $300 and when I say just under I mean by pennies or a penny. The value is quite evident once you spool up but sticker shock would be the first con I would list.

 The second con is only really evident if you have or are currently fishing a classic Zillion reel. The Zillion TWS sits differently in you hand then its older brother and if you were expected the same fit you may see this as a con.

Overall the Zillion TWS is a great way to introduce your self to what Daiwa has to offer. This reel is loaded with many of the perks that Daiwa built its name on, not to mention a few advances that angels have been raving about. Its funny, the joke around the TWS system is that it was designed  for use on an entry level reel and was so performance enhancing that it was added to reels higher on the food chain.. and that doesn't happen to often.

At the end of each season I always look back on my reels performance and I have to say.. Thanks a Zillion Daiwa!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Learning to Tie - Smallie Snacks Marabou Jigs

Marabou Jigs have long been part of my arsenal.. my Walleye arsenal that is. It wasn't until I noticed that many of Canada's best smallmouth anglers were breaking away from tradition and using small marabou jigs to chase big smallmouth bass that I decided it was worth looking into

the problem is,  small  1/8th to 1/4oz Marabou jigs are not exactly easy to find in most tackle stores. Most bass manufactures focus on the classic silicon flipping jigs and leave the hair and feather jigs to the fly fisherman. So I asked some anglers where they bought their jigs, and the answer surprised me.. they made their own, and if they could, why couldn't I.

Just like when tying feathered trebles the best thing about making your own marabou jigs is that you get to choose the quality of the hook, the desired weight as well as the colour combination. For me this usually results in all black jigs with unpainted heads tied on Owner ball head jigs ranging in weight between 1/8th to 1/4oz.. But from time to time I too can break the mold and tie up more interesting combinations like a fire orange jig with feather appendages and a sickle hook.. see the possibilities are endless.

If your interested in learning to tie Marabou jigs aka Smallie Snacks check out this short how to video i shot showing you some of my tips and tricks..questions are welcomed

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Hands of Kevin VanDam, Major League Fishing gives us a POV look at the Legend

They say you can learn allot about a person by watching their hands. And the team at Major League fishing must agree after recently posting a 21-minute POV video of Kevin VanDam frantically looking for one last fish during day 1 of the 2015 Challenge Cup on Cross Lake. The video shot with a GoPro camera on a chest mount gives you the perfect view of KVD's hands at work.

I watched the video from start to finish and in even with the sound off its amazing how easily you can see KVD go through a gamut of emotions just by watching his hands!  Anywhere from the excitement of getting a strike, to the frustration of patiently waiting for the judge to reset the weigh scale, this video covers it all.

Its well worth the 20+ minutes of your time, as every tournament angler will know exactly what KVD is going through and every non-tournament angler gets a look at what its like in those last few minutes before the final bell. My arms are tired from watching KVD do this thing

Thanks again to Major League fishing for continually producing coverage that the angler craves. No one quite does fishing like MLF