Thursday, December 30, 2010

Skeet Reese Bait Caster Product Review


The Wright & McGill Victory Skeet Reese reel is the newest product in the line of Skeet Reese products.  The reel itself is the same kind that Skeet Reese himself uses when fishing tournaments.  They are affordably priced so the average angler can use the same reels that pros use.
The bait casters come in two gear ratios 6.2:1 and 7.0:1.  All the reels have 9+1 bearings and weigh 7.76 ounces.  They did this by giving the reel an aluminum frame which gives it durability.  Every Victory reel comes with a neoprene reel case. 
The reel itself is incredibly light, when I held it in my hand for the first time it almost felt like there was nothing there.  I matched the reel with a Skeet Reese 7ft crankbait rod.  I immediately noticed how much lighter the rod felt in my hand.  I used the rod all summer with a big name reel on it and it was slightly unbalanced and I felt it more and more as the day went on.  The Victory reel paired with the Skeet Reese rod was perfectly balanced and after using it for six straight hours I felt no arm fatigue. 
The reels are rated for 120 YDS/12 lb.  I spooled 12 pound fluorocarbon on the reel.  Each cast was smooth and I was surprised that I got more distance from each cast with the Victory reel than I had all summer.  The reel made smooth casts.  The oversized handle helped in reeling in the lure, it also came in handy when I landed a five pound bass that tried to hide under the rocks.  The handle gave me more torque for pulling the bass out of its hiding spot.
The only thing I disliked about the reel was the braking system.  It is housed inside the left side panel of the reel (Right handed models).  To adjust the brakes you had to open the panel.  Once you set the breaks on the reel for the lure you are fishing it’s not a big deal.  Also the more I used the reel the more I got used to the breaking system.
The Skeet Reese Victory reel retails for between 99.99 and 119.99.  The reels are priced right and perform well.  You cannot go wrong with these reels. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fishing for Charities Tournament Trail


Bass fishing is more than just a hobby for me, it’s a way of life.  I love to fish bass tournaments.  I think those anglers who enjoy fishing tournaments enjoy the competition like I do.  I like matching my skill against someone else.  The money when you win makes it all the better.  With so many tournament trails it’s hard to know which to fish.    

                I wanted to tell you about a tournament trail that is only a year old.  I recently found out about this trail and I am sold.  Fishing For Charities is a bass fishing tournament trail that is devoted to raising money for various charities.  Dwayne puts it like this “was founded out of our love of fishing and our dedication to help charitable organizations that have personally touched lives.”  The money from entry fees is split.  40% of the money is donated to the charity of each event.  The other 60% goes back into the anglers hands.

The tournament trail was born after Dwayne Linkous’ son, Raiden, was diagnosed with Niemann Pick Disease.  Dwayne who has been a TBF director realized that bass fishing tournaments could be used for something more than just competition. Our tournament directors have over 53 years of tournament experience.”  With that much experience in running good quality tournaments you can count on a quality tournament when you sign up to Fish For Charities.

Fishing For Charities helps raise money for NPD Raidens Hope, Wounded Warrior Project, Make-A-Wish of Greater VA, Autism Society of East TN, Relay For Life of Hamblen CO and Victory Junction Camp.  Fishing For Charities currently has 6 tournaments scheduled for 2011, in North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee.  You can see the full tournament schedule at www.fishingforcharities.net. 
With the tournament trail starting its second year there are many things still to come.  Dwayne told me that they hope to be able to have a classic of sorts for the top anglers each year.  The tournaments are a team format but you can fish alone.  It is the top five fish per boat that is weighed in.  The tournaments themselves are 100 dollars per boat.  You can become a member of Fishing For Charities for 15 dollars which entitles you to some bonus pay outs.  Membership in Fishing For Charities is not required to fish the tournaments.  The pay back scale is based on the number of boats in the field.  

So this year help out some local charities and go fish with Fishing for Charities. If you would like information for a charity close to your heart contact Dwayne Linkous.

Cold Water Jig Fishing


When the water temp gets to 52 degrees what is the first lure you have in mind to throw?  For me it’s a jig and not just any jig, I think, football head jig.  My favorite spot to fish it is a river near my house.  There is a long stretch of river that has a very steep sloping bank, near shore it is a foot deep but by the time you get out 12 feet from shore your boat is in 13 to 14 feet of water.  I want to share with you my trick for getting bass in the boat, in those cold water situations.
            When I am looking for a place to fish with water temps in the low 50’s, I look for big fallen trees and deeper water (deep being 10-15 feet).  I want downed trees with a lot of branches and big trunks. In Michigan, during this time of year, the leaves are falling off the trees along the river, so I also look for places where the leaves have piled up on top of the water.  The fish will hole up in this type of coverage looking for baitfish.
            Knowing the area to fish is important and now we will discuss jig choice.  My jig of choice is an Atomic Tackle Company ½ ounce football head jig in PB&J, especially when I fish the fallen trees.  However, when I am fishing the matted leaves on the surface I change to a 1 ounce Atomic Tackle Company flipping jig in PB&J.  I like to add a Strike King Rage Tail Craw in green pumpkin or watermelon red as a trailer.  I cut off the last little bit of the Rage Tail Craw before putting it on the jig.  Here’s a tip: just a dab of super glue on the end of the plastic near the skirt will help keep your trailer from sliding.  To finish my jig presentation and help get rid of any smell given off by the super glue, I dip the jig in JJ’s Magic Sauce in the clear version unless I want a little chartreuse on the end of my trailer. 
            Then I rig the football head jig on a 7 foot medium heavy Quantum rod and 7:01 Quantum Code reel.  I use 12 pound Vicious® fluorocarbon.  I know what you’re thinking, “Why fluorocarbon?”,you can use braid if you want but I believe I have better sensitivity with the fluorocarbon which allows me to feel more bites.  As for the flipping Jig I use a 7 foot medium heavy Quantum rod and 7:01 Quantum Code reel, spooled with 50 pound Vicious® braid. 
            So, we have the place, the jig, and the rod and line choice, now let’s discuss position of the boat. When using the football jig I position my boat just outside the tree and cast into it as close to shore as I can get.  Once the jig hits the water I let out a bit of extra line and let it sink to the bottom on a slacked line.  Despite what most people may tell you, I do it this way in case a bass hits it on the way down?  I feel the slack line allows the bass to grab the jig but not feel the pressure from my reel.  If a fish has not inhaled the jig by the time it hits bottom, I slowly drag the jig back to the boat.  Bring it back slowly, because with water in the low 50’s nothing is moving fast and you want to mimic the live bait in the area.  A slow moving jig when you are fishing around fallen trees will also reduce the risk of snagging a limb.  As you work the bait  back to the boat you should feel the bait as it climbs over limbs, and it will slow down even more, and then most of the time as the jig falls back down to the bottom from the limb it will get hit by a bass. 
            When I move to fishing the leaves piled on the top of the water, I fish the flipping jig just as I would if I was punching grass mats.  I look for what is keeping the leaves from flowing down river and flip my jig on top of the leaves next to it.  Most of the time the jig will sit on top of the leaves for a moment and then sink beneath the surface, until it reaches the bottom.  Once it hits bottom without a hit, I quickly bring it back to the boat to flip again. While fishing the flipping jig I still have a semi slack line but not much, I want to be able to set the hook as soon as I feel the pressure of the fish. Most often the bass will hit the bait as it sinks downward and I want to hook it quick. 
            I hope this helps you catch those bass in cold water, when everyone else is having problems putting bass in the boat. You can develop this technique and be the envy of your buddies who have had no luck and are considering putting their boats away for winter.

Trokar® Hooks: Does the Hook Live Up to the Hype?


All anglers have faced the challenge of setting the hook on a fish, and coming up empty handed.  At times we don’t set the hook hard enough, which allows the fish to come free from the hook.  Trokar has come out with the sharpest fishing hook on the market to help us catch more fish.  Trokar hooks are surgically sharpened and allow an angler to set the hook with less force.  The three sided cut makes the hook sharpening process different from all other hooks on the market and allows an angler to set the hook with less force and still have a better hook up with that fish you are fighting. 

            I have always been a Gamakatsu hook man, but when I got a call from Lazer Trokar® to test out the new Lazer Trokar hooks, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.  When the hooks arrived, the first thing I did was get in touch with Shaw Grigsby, one of the pros who helped design the hook shape and someone who uses Trokar hooks exclusively.
Grigsby told me that no matter how many fish you catch with it will never dull.  To be honest I wouldn’t believe it if I had not put the Trokar hook to my own test.  I took the Trokar TK 130 flipping hook and drove the point into a block of wood repeatedly.  Then I took the same hook and used it to pitch and flip with.  The hook still set easily into the mouth of the bass.  According to tests, the Trokar hook needs less force to set the hook.  This has shown in my own fishing experience.  It seemed that every bass I caught on the Trokar hooks set themselves, even when pitching and flipping.

            The high carbon steel that is used to make the hooks show its strength and stands up to the toughest logs and still comes back in the same shape as when you started.  The Trokar B.A.R.B. works wonders as well.  It holds the plastic in place, securely like nothing I have ever seen.  With two barbs it keeps the plastic in place better then just one barb like on other hooks.  This allows you to spend less time pushing your soft plastic back into place between casts.  With 11 types of hooks there is a Trokar hook for every application.

            Trokar hooks are also being used by lure makers as well.  Wayne of Atomic Tackle Company (atomictacklecompany.com) even offers hand poured jigs with Trokar hooks you can order casting jigs in 3/8, ½, 3/4 and 1ounce with these awesome Trokar hooks.

            There are drawbacks with the Trokar hooks.  According to Grigsby “You can’t use the Trokar hooks for practice”.  The reason for this is because you will not be able to shake the fish loose before getting it back to the boat.  There is also the price of the hooks.  A package of four hooks runs around $10.  If you consider how sharp the hooks are and the fact that I have not lost a fish using the hooks, it is money well spent in my opinion.  I believe that the hook lives up to what Trokar says, and that ten dollars may be the difference of winning a tournament or losing it. In that case, does the ten dollars really make a difference?   
           
Now that I have tried the Trokar hooks and seen what they can do, I know that I cannot go back.  The point on the hook is too good and there is nothing like it out there.  So if you want a better hook up ratio and want to lose less fish do yourself a favor and go get some Trokar hooks today.  For more information about Lazer Trokar hooks visit www.lazertrokar.com

KVD 1.5/ 2.5 Square bill Crankbait Product Review


When you hear Strike King you might think crankbaits, Kevin Van Dam, Spinnerbaits or Denny Brauer or maybe all of the above.  Strike King is known for making the best crankbaits on the market.  They sponsor the best bass fisherman in B.A.S.S. or even the world, Kevin Van Dam.  So when the two have teamed up to make a new lure, you know it will be phenomenal.

The new KVD 1.5 and 2.5 square bill crankbaits live up to the name they have on them.  The baits come in two sizes the 1.5 is 3/8 OZ where the 2.5 is 5/8 OZ.  They both dive to 3-5 FT.  They are silent baits with no rattles in them for a stealth approach in shallow water.  Bass Pro Shops exclusively carries a rattling line of 1.5 and 2.5 baits when you want to fish dirty water with these baits.

The square bill allows the KVD 1.5 and 2.5 baits to deflect off of cover easily without fear of getting hung up.  Another great feature of the baits is that if floats.  You can real down the bait and pause it allowing the lure to float to the surface.  I used this technique with the KVD 1.5 fishing shallow rip rap, I would bounces the lure off the rocks and then pause it allowing it to float to the surface.  I would then reel it back down to the rocks and repeat the process.  The bass would devour the bait both well moving and during the pause.  The KVD 1.5 and 2.5 also work great around docks and bridge pilings.

The KVD 1.5 and 2.5 are a great in between bait for the Strike King Line up.  They fill the gap between the Series 4S and Series 4.  Yes Strike King has a crankbait for that in the Series1 but the KVD 1.5 and 2.5 are heavier baits and the profile is bigger.  This gives those larger bass something bigger to entice them.  Also the new lures have a truly square bill unlike the Series4s and Series1 that have more of a triangle bill on them.
The KVD 1.5 and 2.5 come with VMC #4 hooks on both the front and back of the baits.  This allows you to get good hook sets on those violent strikes that come from the bass you are catching.  They also both come with oval split shot rings on the nose of the bait which allows you to keep the bait running true without fear of your line causing any problems.

Over all the KVD 1.5 and 2.5 are great products.  They perform great out of the package without any modifications to them.  They come in a variety of colors and live up to the name KVD that daunts the package.  They cost $5.79 at Bass Pro Shop.  If you are looking for a little larger crankbait to fish those fallen trees, docks, rocks or bridge pilings make sure you pick some up before your next shallow water fishing trip.