Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ball and Chain Review

Last year Tommy Biffle won the last B.A.S.S. event the Sooner Run on Fort Gibson Lake in Muskogee, Okla.  He won using a Biffle Bug on a Biffle HardHead (which is a jig with the hook on a swivel).  I have been intrigued with this lure since last June.
I had the opportunity to use a variation of this lure from Atomic Tackle Company called the Ball and Chain in the ½ oz version.  You can order them in ½ oz thru 1.5 oz.  The lure is a football head with a swivel that attaches to a 4/0 VMC wide gap worm hook (You can order them with any size hook you want).  This allows your soft plastic to swing freely from side to side, unlike a traditional jig where the movement of your trailer is only in the claws.
Being that the Ball and chain has a football head it works great when fishing rocks.  You can drag the lure over a rocky bank and it won’t hang up.  I used it on a rocky drop off and flat rocky bank.  I used 20 lbs Vicious Fluorocarbon.  I used a 7 ft medium heavy Berkley lighting rod with a Quantum Bill Dance reel (Upgraded bearings).  I put a Berkley HAVOC Pit Boss in California color on the Ball and Chain.  I found that the Ball and Chain worked better with thinner bodied plastics like the Pit Boss and Strike King Rage Tail Craw.  You want a heavy action rod like you would use with any other jig.  
You rig the Ball and Chain like you do a normal Texas rigged soft plastic.  Because you have a free swinging hook you can also rig it weed less by skin hooking the lure.  You can leave the hook exposed but there is no need to.    
 I would make a long cast to the bank and slowly drag the Ball and Chain along the bottom.  After each sweep of the rod I would let the ball and Chain sit on the bottom well I only reeled in the slack line I had created.  As the lure set the Pit Boss would swing back and forth with the movement of the water.  The claws would also be moving.  So not only are you getting the movement from the claws but the entire plastic was moving side to side well the claws moved up and down or side to side.
I found that the bites feel like a Texas rigged soft plastic, where you feel the bite, when I set the hook immediately I would miss the fish.  If waited and let the bass take the lure better I could set the hook and land the fish.  When setting the hook you need a strong hook set like you would with a normal jig.  The bites came during the pause of the lure well I was reeling up the slack.
Over all the Ball and Chain is a great lure, and are $3.25 each (order here).  The Ball and chain is defiantly best suited around rocks.  I tried it in some lay downs and had a very hard time bring it thru the trees.  Not because of the hook (Which is Texas rigged and skin hooked) but because of the head catching on limbs.  The Ball and Chain get’s 8 out of 10 in my book.  The head holds up well in the rocks and does not ding up bad, which allows you to use the lure for a long time.  It’s easy to use as well; if you can use a jig you can use a Ball and Chain so go out and get some today.      

Thursday, April 28, 2011

FLW Changes Table Rock Event

FLW changes the Table Rock Event that was suppose to happen next weekend has been moved.  Here is the press release from FLW:

MINNEAPOLIS — FLW Outdoors announced Thursday that the Walmart FLW Tour event on Table Rock Lake, originally slated for May 5-8, has been rescheduled to take place July 21-24 on Pickwick Lake in Florence, Ala. The tournament will now wrap up the six-event Major season that determines the coveted Angler of the Year award.

“We’re pleased to be heading to northern Alabama for the final Major of the season,” said Kathy Fennel, president of FLW Outdoors Operations Division. “Pickwick Lake is a fabulous fishery, and the Florence community fully embraces tournament bass fishing. Most importantly, we felt it was imperative to have six events determine Angler of the Year, especially with the $100,000 purse attached. We’re disappointed we won’t be visiting Table Rock and the city of Branson this season, but we plan to return in 2012.”

The Table Rock Lake event was rescheduled due to severe flooding in southwestern Missouri.

Thursday and Friday’s Pickwick Lake weigh-ins will be held at McFarland Park, located at 200 James M. Spain Drive in Florence. Saturday and Sunday’s weigh-ins will be held at the Walmart Supercenter located at 3100 Hough Road in Florence.

The official practice period for Pickwick Lake will be extended by one day to include Wednesday, July 20, and the pretournament meeting will begin that day at 6:30 p.m. These changes have been made to accommodate pros traveling from the EverStart Series Central Division event on the Detroit River. Lastly, the official beginning of the off-limits period for the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita will be moved from July 25 to July 28 to give qualifiers a chance to prepractice.

Lowrance Updates

Lowrance has released a new updated for all HDS units.  The Update was released this week.  You have to download the update, put it on a SD card and then install it on your HDS unit.  It took an hour for me to download the software last night, however I was doing so during peak hours and others I have talked to only had to wait 5 minutes or so.
According to the Lowrance website the new updates will:

  • Performance Enhancements – Optimizations to make the unit faster including boot time and chart functions.
  • Ease of Use – include Quick Access Softkeys for the 8” and 10” units, expanded StructureScan screen options for the 5” and 7”, auto detection of chart cards and a new setup wizard.
The Lowrance website has made it easy to download and update with step by step instructions.  Make sure you go update your unit.  The page you want is here.  

Once you have it downloaded and ready to install the update on to your unit the update is simple as well.  You pop the SD card into the unit and it does the rest.  The update to the unit takes a few minutes and it does it automatically.  It even tells you when to remove the SD card and reboot.
If you want to keep your Lowrance running at its best and with the newest software I say go do the update.  You can also see what the update will do to the unit here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More Events Canceled on Table Rock

After the B.A.S.S. Open on Table rock was canceled for this weekend FLW has canceled there FLW Tour event for the following weekend.

The following is the FLW press release:
MINNEAPOLIS (April 27, 2011) — FLW Outdoors announced Wednesday that the upcoming Walmart FLW Tour event on Table Rock Lake has been canceled due to historic flooding in southwest Missouri. The tournament was originally slated for May 5-8. In regards to rescheduling the event, FLW Outdoors officials are exploring various options. Further details will be announced as they become available.

The water level at the Table Rock Dam is currently sitting at 935.4 feet, having surpassed the previous record high of 933 feet. Within the past four days, the lake has risen nearly 20 feet. Full pool is 915 feet.

“Our foremost concern is the safety of the anglers,” said Kathy Fennel, president of FLW Outdoors Operations Division. “The high water levels and floating debris make boat operation hazardous. The decision to cancel was reached after multiple discussions with state and local officials, and we felt it was imperative to notify anglers before they began traveling to Branson.”

“Given the current flood situation, we recommended FLW Outdoors call off the event,” said Capt. Gary Haupt with the Water Patrol Division of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. “The water level is currently more than 2 feet higher than our highest recorded level, and all lake access areas are closed. In conditions like this, the possibility of both personal and property damage is greatly increased. We’ve already revoked tournament permits through Sunday and are in the process of revoking permits through May 8. We applaud FLW Outdoors’ proactive decision.”

Here are some images of the flooding in the Ozarks

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

George Kramer Goes to far by taking a shot at Brian Kershal!!!!

Ok I am up in arms, George Kramer took a shot at Brian Kershal in his article Bass tournaments still not a legitimate sport. 
This is what he says: “Oh, that’s right. In 1993, Brian Kershal, a fry cook and Federated club amateur was allowed in the back door and won the Bassmasters Classic–the World Championship. It was a warm and fuzzy story. And the image of professional bass fishing has been paying for it ever since.”
Now let’s stop and think about this for a moment.  Kershal made the Classic twice thru the Federation.  How many guys did he have to beat each year to make the Classic?  Now B.A.S.S. Elite pros have to beat 50 other guys to make the Classic.  Kershal beat so many more and deserves some respect.
This Comment about allowed in the “Back Door” is crap.  Kershal deserved to be there as much as every other pro that year.  The fact that he won the Classic makes his hard work and determination all the better.  I understand the point of what George Kramer was getting at in his piece but really a shot at Kershal what was he thinking.
I was only 12 when Kershal won the Classic and to be honest I didn’t even know that B.A.S.S. was there, but once I knew about pro bass fishing Kershal became an icon.  Here is a guy who made it to the Classic and won. 
I can’t believe George Kramer took that shot.  So what if Brandon Palaniuk won this year’s Classic would he have taken a shot at him too?    

HAVOC Fatty Crawl

This weekend I went to Smith Mountain Lake after being skunked for 3 days I landed a 3 lber.  It went after a new Berkley HAVOC Fatty Craw.  I fished the bait for about four hours and went thru a bag.  I Texas rigged it on a size 4 Trokar hook and a ¼ oz. bullet weight.  I made cast to pine tree lay downs in about 4 to 6 feet of water.
I was really impressed with how light the bait felt.  As I crawled it along the bottom there was less resistance then I am use to with a soft plastic.  Watching the bait fall to the bottom the claws had a lot of action.  I played with the lure in shallow water and as you dragged the bait back the claws had a lot of action as well. 
The bait is thin and there is not a lot of plastic to go thru when setting the hook.  When the bass take the bait it works great.  The claws are a little big and I missed two more bass when the only nibbled at the claws.   Over all the baits are pretty good.  I really liked the fact that the body is thin.  It also crawled over rocks well.  The baits come with no sent but a small dip in JJ’s Magic Sauce and you have a fatty crawl with garlic sent.
The baits held up well and did not come apart that much.  After catching the 3 lber I was able to still fish the same bait for a while.  I only had to change baits for the most of the time when I hung them in a tree and breaking it free I would rip a claw off it.
You can’t beat the price as well.  You get 8 Fatty Crawls for around 3 dollars.  That makes them about 38 cents a bait.  Over all they are a good soft plastic.  I would give them a 8 of 10.  If the baits came with scent I think they would be a 9 of 10.    

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

News on Ike

 I was on today when I came across a press release from Rapala/VMC.  Mike Iaconelli has signed with them.  I think this is great news.  I could not think of a better name to be partnered with Rapala then Ike.  I wonder why Ike left Lazer Lure?  But unless I get to ask I may never know!
Here is the press release from

MINNETONKA, Minn. (April 19, 2011) — Rapala®, the world's favorite fishing lure and VMC®, your hook expert, have added professional angler Mike Iaconelli to their pro-staff lineup.
Mike Iaconelli has joined the Rapala/VMC team.
Iaconelli — a powerhouse in the sport of professional angling — won the 2003 Bassmaster Classic, was awarded Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year in 2006, came in second in the 2009 Bassmaster Classic, won three FLW Outdoors tournaments, achieved numerous Top 10 finishes and is host of the national television show City Limits Fishing.

"I am excited to join the Rapala/VMC team," said Iaconelli. "This is really a dream come true for me. I've been a big fan of the products for many, many years! I look forward to a long partnership with Rapala/VMC."
"We couldn't be more excited to be adding Mike to our pro staff," said David James, field promotion and media relations manager for Rapala. "Mike is a first class angler and a great promoter. We know he'll have a strong impact on our brands."
Rapala was unofficially founded in 1936 when Lauri Rapala invented the Rapala fishing lure. Rapala has grown from humble beginnings to a market leader in the fishing tackle industry. The Rapala brand's functionality and high quality are known by fishermen around the world. Rapala maintains its strict standards of craftsmanship while delivering its fishing products to anglers in more than 130 countries.
For more information on Rapala, please visit and for more information on VMC, please visit

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


There seems to be a rivalry among the Bass Fishing bloggers out there when it comes fantasy fishing on Advance Angler.  Dave Mass and Tyler brink seem to be beating me week in and week out.  But on Pickwick.......I finished 5th overall.  Now I don’t want to blow my own horn.....but honk, honk.
Well I figured I would share my line up from Pickwick
Aaron Martens
Kevin VanDam
Kevin Short
Alton Jones
Mike Iaconelli