Sunday, November 22, 2009
First, tournament season for me is over, so I've shifted my focus to bank fishing for trophy channel, blue, and flathead catfish. Over the last two weeks, I have caught several fish over 25 inches from both Sinking Creek and Turkey Creek. The biggest so far was yesterday in Turkey Creek, which was a 32 inch flathead.
I've been using threadfin shad that I net from the area I'm fishing. As for tackle, I'm using a Ugly Stick Catfish series rod, a Shakespeare saltwater reel, Berkley Big Game 17 lb test line, and Team Catfish sinker sliders and 3/0 circle hooks.
Second, I've been trying to find more time to make and modify lures. I'm still dabbling with airbrushing and lead pouring and really want to get into plastic pouring. However, I am running out of room in my garage. So, I'm thinking of getting one of the two story type storage buildings like you see at Home Depot. Then, I'll be able to move all my hobbies out of the garage and also have some extra storage.
Lastly, the time has changed and I haven't been getting out the boat very often. It's just not worth the effort by the time I get off work, come home and load up just to fish for a couple of hours. Then, come home and unload everything.
So, until next spring, there will not be many fishing reports posted on this site. I will shift to product reviews and other fishing talk. There may be some tackle making tricks or results posted, too. I wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving!
Sunday, October 4, 2009
First, it is important to make sure the lure is smooth. If it's not, sand it until it is. Many wooden lures get chunks out of them through frequent use and these chunks can be filled in with wood putty. The most common flaw I find in plastic lures is grooves where the front hooks rub into the body during use. This can be fixed with any epoxy, but I prefer Devcon 2-ton. Also, be sure to tape off the lip and any other parts you don't want to get paint on. It's fine to paint over the hook hangers.
Second, you want to lay down a base coat to work from. For all practical purposes, this should be done with white. It allows you to see what you're spraying better and it also makes the colors brighter. The airbrush I use is a Badger Professional 150. Before you spray be sure to read the directions of both the paint and the airbrush. Different paint requires different reducers to spray properly. If this isn't done correctly, you will get splatters or an uneven design. Some paint can be reduced with distilled water, while others require paint thinner. I even have one that reduces best with Windex! I learned that from a seasoned painter at Hobby Town.
Once the basecoat is painted and had plenty of time to dry, you can start with your pattern. This is when you can use templates to make scale patterns, gills, or anything else you can think of. I normally use a scale pattern and if gills are required, I will freehand them. I made this simple tool out of some scrap wood and drywall mesh tape. It works great for scales.
Just hold it up to the lure and spray evenly as far down as you want the scales to show. Be sure not to move the template or the paint will smear. If that happens, it is best to start over with a new base coat. I always go back over a portion of the back (or top) of the lure with the same color I used for the scales, but without the template. This blends the colors and scales and it looks much better.
After you have all the colors you want on the bait, you can start painting the eyes and any other details. I use a nail to paint the black dots on the side of the lure and two different size nails for the eyes. I use the bigger nail for the main color of the eye such as red or yellow and I use a smaller nail to put a black dot in the middle.
The final step is to seal the lure and make it durable. I use Devcon 2-ton epoxy for this. It's very simple to use, dries quickly, and offers great protection. Mix it up and use a cheap brush to paint it on. I've also used a popsicle stick to put it on, but the brush is much easier. Glitter can be added to the epoxy while you mix it if desired. Once the epoxy is covering the entire lure body, hang it to dry. This is where the Devcon pays off, because it dries quickly enough that it doesn't run or leave globs on the lure. Slower drying epoxies require a drying machine to ensure it doesn't run. Some people use old rottisseries for drying the lures. As it spins, the epoxy doesn't have time to run.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
We caught several fish on topwater poppers, but none were keepers. Three of our keepers came on a 10" Berkley Power Worm and one came on a white Strike King Caffeine Shad. We fished from 6" - 17 ft deep on 5 spots I have had some success with the past few weeks. I've had problems hooking the fish on these spots but I knew they were there. Monday, we didn't have such a problem although we did miss a few. I guess that leaves a few there for next time!
Baitfish are everywhere and you can see them schooled on top. Occasionally, a feeding frenzy will occur and you can catch several fish in a very short time, but they seem to be small ones. The water temperature was around 78 F. The water was calm, with very little wind. The skies were partly to mostly cloudy.
This is a fun tournament to fish. I really enjoy competing against these guys and we have a great time before and after the tournament shooting the bull. The director is Bill Freeman and he has done a great job!
The results were as follows:
Jon Dice/Brandon Dinsmore - 4 fish - 8.74 lb and first lunker - 3.66 lb
Bill Freeman/John Smith - 4 fish - 6.76 lb and second lunker - 2.31 lb (I think)
Jerry and Robby Beck - 4 fish - 6.37 lb (great to see father and son fishing together)
Lynn and Bob King - 4 fish - 5.99 lb
others did not weigh in fish.
Anyone interested should come out and fish! It's not an expensive tournament, $35 (but I think is being lowered to $25 to draw more competitors). We are fishing through the end of October and now is getting to be the best time to catch good numbers of fish on Fort Loudon. It would be a great place for some beginning tournament anglers to have a good time.
Until next time, be safe and catch them big uns!
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
It was a tough day. The topwater bite was slow in the area we fished in the morning and we only managed a few small fish on Pop Rs and Zara Spooks. Our keepers came off of shady steep rock banks on finesse shaky worms. We caught around 10 fish, but only had the 2 keepers. From 11:00 am to 1:00 pm we didn't get a bite.
If I had it to do over, I would go much farther up the river and find dirtier water. It was just too clear where we were. The water temperature at 7:30 am was 74 F and we found 80 F later in the day in one area. The skies were clear and a strong eastern wind was blowing in.
The tournament director, Joe Cummings, did a great job! It was very organized and efficient. Congratulations to the winners and everyone who qualified for the Classic!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
The shallowest fish are coming off Carolina rigged craws and Texas rigged worms. Many of the deeper fish have been taken with the same techniques, but also on deep diving lures such as Lucky Craft CBD20s, Norman DD22s, and Luhr Jensen Hot Lips. It is worthwhile to have some type of fluke or popper rigged up for when the schools pop up at these depths.
The suspended fish have been taken on topwaters such as the Rebel Pop-R, and Excalibur Pop'N Image. They are actively trapping schools of shad against any type of deep bank and can be easily caught with a fluke type plastic.
The quality fish I have caught have been underneath these schools and have been taken on big worms and jigs. They are biting these on the fall. The only problem is keeping the smaller fish away from the lure long enough for the big ones to respond.
The lake has risen the last couple days from the rain. There is decent current in some areas, so fish any current breaks made by points, docks, or bluff walls. Always fish windblown points and humps. If you catch one fish, chances are extremely good there are more in the same area.
Good luck and be safe!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
I have developed a few strategies for my next few tournaments based on my thoughts about what the fish are doing. First, I will try the run and gun approach. Based on my experiences with the keepers being scattered with one here and one there, I believe if I hit enough points, bluffs, and humps I can get my limit. In doing this, I will probably fan cast each spot with a deep diving crankbait, Carolina rig, and football jig, in that order. I will also have a fluke tied on and ready to grab for the schoolers that tend to frenzy in these areas.
Second, I may stay in very deep water for my lake (50 feet) and chase the schooling fish that seem to keep appearing in these deep areas. I would be using a fluke, popper, walker, and crankbait to target these fish. The only problem with this is the catch to keeper ratio. One can catch many fish doing this, but most of them are small. However, when the schools of big fish appear, the livewell can fill up in just minutes. To me, this seems like a boom or bust approach.
The last approach I am considering is to target just 4 or 5 areas where I have caught some bigger fish recently and probe every inch of them. For some reason, these areas have not produced lately even though the weather has been consistent. In fact, the only difference is the lake has been dropped between one and two feet. Maybe, I will move out a little deeper and fish really slow. If I decide on this strategy I will be using Carolina rigs, Texas rigs, and heavy jigs. The plastics used will vary from lizards to straight worms. I've not had one particular lure stand out on the Carolina rig or Texas rig this year. It seems like as long as it is some hue of green or pumpkin, they will bite it.
I'm very determined to find these larger fish during these hot months. I fish well in the Spring, Fall, and early Summer. Mid to Late Summer baffles me. I will find the fish! I will succeed! No matter if you love or hate Michael Iaconnelli, his "Never give up!" slogan is a great one. If I do fail, I will continue my Summer pursuit next year. After all, I'm still young.....just impatient!
Any suggestions you may have are encouraged and greatly appreciated!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
There were huge schools of fish feeding on top early in the morning until about 9:00am. It was really easy to catch them, but getting keepers was a different story. They were smokin' any color fluke we threw at them! White Bass, largemouth, and smallmouth. I was looking the other way on one cast and my partner said the biggest smallmouth he'd ever seen rolled on my fluke right behind the boat. He said judging by the size of it's head, it would have been around 7 pounds. I'm glad I didn't see it or I would have been sick! These fish were anywhere between 10 and 40 feet deep.
Poppers were working well in the morning. Any brand and just about any color have been working. Brandon caught some nice smallmouth around 16 1/2 inches, but just short of keeping. Many fish were smacking at it, but just wouldn't take it well enough for a hookset. These fish were close to the bank and the boat was in 25 feet.
Perhaps the most action we saw was on a Zoom worm. At one spot, I caught 8 fish in 8 casts. I probably ended up with about 15 fish on the worm in about a half hour of fishing. The best colors for me were watermelon seed, junebug, and green pumpkin. I had them rigged on a 3/16 oz Spot Remover jighead. These fish were suspended around 15 feet deep over 30 feet of water. You wouldn't feel the bite, but you could tell one had it when the line went limp.
The day started out partly cloudy and ended up being bright, sunny, and hot.
Good luck! Catch the big ones and watch out for other boats!
By now, I guess you're wondering where the heck I'm going with this! As I stated in the first sentence, there have been some unfortunate things happen on my home lake in the last week. The worst thing that happened was at a Thursday night tournament, July 9, out of the Concord boat ramp. A friend and fellow fisherman and his brother were idling to the no wake zone to weigh in around 9:45 pm. A drunk in a wake boat came barreling through and ran over top of their Nitro. One of the brothers is in ICU with broken ribs, an injured liver, and cracked vertebrae. The other wasn't hurt. The drunk was arrested and taken to jail. Please keep these guys in your prayers.
On a not so serious note, my brand new lower unit went out last Monday night during the Monday Night Madness tournament. We won the tournament with 5 fish that weighed 10 lbs and some change, but now my boat is back in the shop for warranty replacement, which leads to the last event.
We have been using my fishing partner's Ranger fish and ski as a backup boat. We installed a brand new starter on July 10 in preparation of the USA Bassin' tournament on July 11. We were tied for first place and the division championship with one other boat. Whoever finished higher would win the plaque. All was going great and we were getting ready to head back to some spots closer to the weigh in which was about 15 miles away. I went to start the motor and the starter just spun! It wouldn't jump up to hit the flywheel! Here we were drifting in the middle of the busiest bay on the lake with no motor and a trolling motor that was almost dead. I was so aggravated that I just said to Brandon, "Forget it! Just hand me a damn sandwich! We might as well eat!" So after eating my sandwich, we flagged someone down and got a tow to the nearest ramp, where Brandon's wife picked me up and took me to get the truck and trailer. Needless to say, it was impossible to fish anymore and we lost the championship by 1 point.
Now, some folks might think I'm crazy, cuckoo, or losing my mind. Heck, they might be right! But, until a string of good things begin to happen on this lake in my presence, I have to believe in the paranormal, just a little bit, and say that this lake is cursed!
Y'all have a great week and please remember to keep the Durham family in your prayers!
Friday, July 3, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Primarily, we fished the Concord area. We didn't want to make a long run due to all the logs and trash in the lake. Driving back to the ramp in the dark right now is absolutely horrible! My lower unit is brand new and I don't want to break it again. We used Carolina rigged worms, lizards, and craws, deep diving crankbaits, shakey heads, Texas rigged worms, poppers, and spoons. We caught fish on all except the spoon. I think we landed 20 or so fish.
The winners, Doug Yonce and Troy Dyer, had 18.18 lbs. Great job guys!
Sunday, June 21, 2009
I finally got to go on vacation last week and just got back last night. My wife, son, and I had a great time! It was great to be able to spend everyday on the beach and in the pool with them. It was also great to be able to enjoy some real seafood!
I only got to fish for one afternoon on the beach. I was using frozen mullet, frozen shrimp, and Berkley Gulp! shrimp. I caught a 13" sand shark on shrimp and another on mullet. I got bit on the Gulp! shrimp but couldn't hook up. I also caught an 18" bluefish on mullet. The most exciting thing that happened was when I hooked up using mullet and my line started running and my reel started screaming! We fought for about 5 minutes when, suddenly, my line went limp. I reeled in and found my 2/0 hook broken in half! So, I lost the big one and will never know what it was, although I suspect it was a shark. That just made me even more determined to try again, so when they quit biting I kept trying. Finally, I called it a night around 11:00 pm.
Another highlight of the trip was meeting a man named Jack. Jack was in his 70's and was a marine before he started working for a chemical company right here in Knoxville, where he retired after 37 years. He was over the marine boxing team at one point in his military career and was a very feisty man. Some of the stories he told reminded me of why this country is so great and what we could lose if the lazy, no good, bums don't stop depending on the government! To all of you young people like myself out there, when an older person wants to chat with you, take the time to listen. They are a living history lesson and you can learn so much from them. Talking with him was a much needed break from Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who I have to suffer through everyday at work in the tabloids! This was real unlike what I call the "fake reality tv."
My son was so much fun on the beach and in the pool. He loves the pool, ocean, and sand in that order. He learned how to count to three and how to say beach, ocean and shell. Also, he became quite good at waving and yelling "Airplane!" We had a hard time getting him to go to the room for lunch and his nap.
My wife is precious and so good with our son! When he throws a fit, I have a hard time figuring out what he wants, but she knows right away. I try to help her out the best I can but sometimes I just have to step aside and let her take over! I guess that's a mommy thing.
In closing, remember this: Love and spend time with your family, listen to and respect your elders, and fish when you can!
Sunday, May 17, 2009
The forecasters were calling for some bad weather on 5/9/09, the same day our 3rd USA Bassin' was to be held. We loaded up Brandon's boat since mine was still in the shop and headed to the lake. Only us and the tournament director showed up! Since we made the effort to chance the weather, get up at 4:00 am, and head to the lake we decided to go ahead and fish the tournament. If nothing else, it would separate us in points from the rest of the group. So, we fished and I caught 7 keepers on one of my homemade jigs and we won with 5 largemouth that weighed 8.41 lbs and lunker of 2.12 lbs. This qualified us for the Regional tournament on Douglas Lake in September.
On May 5, we fished Tuesday Night Thunder and our plan for the evening backfired, completely! We ended up with 1 largemouth that weighed 1.4 lb. I think that put us around 15th or 20th place.
The next Tuesday, May 12, we tried again. On a hunch, we decided to try a different area that we hadn't fished all year. A short stretch of that area yielded 3 largemouth that weighed 6.12 lbs and we caught about 16 or 17 fish. We wasted alot of time on unproductive stretches of that area, but at least we learned something. If I had it to do over, I would double back over the productive stretches and fill our limit, but it didn't occur to me at the time. We were using my jigs and several different types of big plastic worms, with the worms being the better "keeper" lure for the afternoon. We ended up in 9th place out of 36 boats.
Yesterday, I got my boat back out of the shop. It now has a new lower unit, gears, impeller, propeller hub, and gaskets with a one year warranty. I can't wait to get it back out on the water. Brandon's boat has been running great and we've had no problems, but I just don't like tournament fishing in a fish and ski because the windshield is always in the way! But, at least we had a backup!
To sum it all up, we've not had our best days in recent tournaments, but we always learn something new each time we fish. Even if you don't catch anything, you learn something....the lure you were using don't work under the conditions you were fishing. I strongly believe the big females are no longer in the shallows. All our quality fish have been close to the main channel and the mouths of coves. The fish are moving into their summer patterns. Thanks to all the rain we've had and the TVA leaving the lake levels up, I think the results of this year's spawn will be a huge success. The smallmouth are getting much harder to find. We only saw one weighed in last week. Have a great time on the water and introduce someone to the sport!
Sunday, May 3, 2009
So, we dropped the trolling motor and headed toward another ramp that we launched from that night. About ten minutes into our 5-6 mile troll, Brandon lands a 5.18 lb largemouth on a deep diving crankbait. Well, now we had to weigh in thinking we might win lunker. We kept going and I managed to pick up 3 more keepers in the 2-3 lb range. One on my homemade jig, 2 on plastic worms.
We still had 2 hours left at this point, but no way to get back to the ramp the tournament launched from. So, we called one of the tournament directors on his cell phone and he and his partner came to our rescue. We put our fish in their livewell and Brandon rode to the weigh-in in their boat and I trolled to our ramp and loaded up to go meet him.
We ended up with 4 keepers that weighed 11.6 lb, which is our best weight of the year. It earned us 3rd place out of 35 boats and we also won lunker largemouth.
Our year to date placings in the money are 2 wins, 2 3rd places, and 3 lunkers. So far, so good. We've won more than we've paid and for once I don't feel like a donater every week. I believe all the studying, reading and learning new techniques has made the difference.
As for the boat......I wish it knew how close it came to being at the bottom of the lake! It's now in the shop waiting on a verdict and I hope it isn't too bad. If it is, it will have to stay parked for awhile until I can find a new motor. I refuse to pay thousands of dollars to fix a motor that lists for $1200.00 in NADA.
I wish you all the best and hope your boats run well and you catch a bunch of big 'uns!
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Also, I want to make it clear that I am not sponsored by nor endorse any of the products mentioned in this article.
The Lucky Craft Pointer Sp, Strike King S, and Smithwick Rogue Limited all casted about the same distance. The difference was negligible.
The Lucky Craft SK JGK100 casted the farthest. In fact, I could launch it a good 50 -75% farther than the first three.
The Rapala X-Rap casted the shortest.
None of these lures were completely suspended, staying in one spot as long as I wanted it to. The closest to doing this was the Rapala X-Rap. It did eventually rise, but very slowly.
The worst suspender was the Lucky Craft SK JGK100. It rose fairly quickly to the surface.
The Smithwick Rogue Limited and Lucky Craft Pointer Sp were the second best suspenders behind the X-Rap. They did rise, but very slowly.
Surprisingly, the Strike King S suspended for a couple seconds, then sunk very slowly.
The Rapala X-Rap had a very predictable action. Each time I twitched it produced almost identical movement.
The Lucky Craft Pointer Sp and the Smithwick Rogue Limited also had a very predictable action, but not quite as predictable as the X-Rap.
The Strike King S had a more erratic action. The most intriguing movement of this lure is when it was paused it turned to the side, making the next twitch almost like a "walking the dog" action.
The most unpredictable and erratic action was the Lucky Craft SK JGK100. I couldn't tell what it would do next. One twitch it would go right and one it would rise and go left. A very unpredictable lure.
Smithwick Rogue Limited and Strike King S both had 3 treble hooks.
Lucky Craft Pointer Sp, Lucky Craft SK JGK100, and Rapala X-Rap all had 2 hooks.
Most expensive - Lucky Craft
Least expensive - Strike King
In-between - Smithwick and Rapala
I liked different aspects of each of the lures I tested, but overall, I believe the Smithwick Rogue Limited was the best for me. The reason is although I couldn't cast it as far, it had a very predictable action when retrieved on any type of cadence, and it suspended fairly well. I think one suspend dot added to the underside would make it suspend almost perfectly.
My least favorite was the Lucky Craft SK JGK100, because I couldn't tell what it was going to do next. I guess sometimes bass like this unpredictability, but I like to know how my lure is going to react.
The others were all usable, but I tend to pick the one I like and stick to it.
Also, if one wanted to factor in price, you can buy 3 Smithwicks for the price of one Lucky Craft.
Once again, these are my opinions based on my testing. You do not have to agree with my results. I strongly encourage you to test the products for yourselves and use the ones that you prefer. After all, if we are to become better anglers, we need to know what to expect when we tie on a lure.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
I have a broken steering cable on my boat right now, so I took it to Kingsport where my wonderful Dad, Frank is fixing it for me. Thanks, Dad! Hope you enjoy the picture of Caleb!
I believe the area we are fishing is full of male buck bass and I believe if we keep hitting it, the big females will be there very shortly. When they arrive, watch out!
Good luck to all!
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
'Nuff said!....just kidding.
We did win with 2 fish that weighed 5.52. We also won lunker with a smallmouth that weighed 3.72. Two other boats weighed in 1 fish each.
The weather was horrible. It was cold and rained constantly. I mean it didn't let up all day! In fact, it was so bad that we only had 5 boats show up today. I'll probably end up with pneumonia, but hey, at least I wasn't at home inside, nice and warm, sippin' on hot chocolate....like a pansy!
I'm just joking!
Honestly, I can say that the guys that did tough out the weather and fish today were some of the friendliest and nicest people I have had the pleasure to fish against. At weigh-in, we all talked as if we'd known each other for years. I had a great time!
As for the fish, we caught 18 all on crankbaits and only had the 2 keepers. Seventeen were largemouth and 1 was the lunker smallmouth, caught by my partner Brandon Dinsmore. (Pics may come later if I can get them emailed to me)
The warmest water we fished was 49 degrees. I know some other guys found warmer water, but with our catch rate it was very hard to change locations. Our success was on the lower end of Fort Loudon. We tried Tellico near the dam for about an hour with no bites. The big fish are still out deeper and everyone is catching the small buck bass in very shallow water. Our keepers were a little deeper than I anticipated.
All in all, it was a good day. Sure, the weather was bad, but we finally got a win that has eluded us for some time now, our wives were happy for us, and we all went out to dinner at Texas Roadhouse. Now its time for me to crawl in a warm, dry bed, read a book to my little boy, watch some television and catch some zzzzs!
Best of luck to you guys and always be safe!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I fished on 3/7 to try to find some fish in areas close to the ramp for a quick limit with no luck. I have a good idea on what they will bite and where they will bite, but I tried everything I had and only had one bite in 6 hours. Hopefully, this isn't a sign of things to come.
I've decided to make a long run at blast off to areas that I'm more familiar with. I will thoroughly fish 5 to 6 areas and if my gut feeling is right we will be at or near the top of the field at weigh-in. Wish us luck and good luck to you this weekend!
Friday, March 6, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Kenny's Great Outdoors is a blog based out of Missouri. I found this blog very appealing due to the wonderful images and informative articles. The author, Kenny, seems to be a great story teller as his posts flow smoothly and are very enjoyable to read. Please check it out as it's pictures are outstanding and it's very relaxing to browse through.
Bassin' the Net is a blog by Capt. Dick Loupe out of Florida, who used to air on an outdoor TV show out of Knoxville, TN. (GO BIG ORANGE!!) This blog is being rebuilt and if the articles posted so far are any indication of what's to come, then it'll be a good one!
Once again, please check out these blogs and subscribe to them. The more of us Sportsmen that are connected together through any means, the stronger we are to oppose legislation against the activities that we love.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
We started out at the Concord ramp on Fort Loudon here in Knoxville. After a short 1.5 mile ride we stopped on a bluff and tried hair jigs, tubes, and worms about 20-35 feet deep. No takers. Then we moved to a good clay cranking area and tried crawdad and shad colored crankbaits. No bites. Finally, we moved into the back of Sinking Creek between the Concord Marina and Fox Rd. Marina along the deep side. We saw shad dying everywhere, but could not get a fish to bite.
At least we got to be on the lake and the weather was beautiful. Temperature was in the 60's, very little wind, water temperature was 45-47.5.
Good luck and be safe!
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
Everyone has different knots that they prefer to use when fishing in different situations. In the past I have only used a few knots for attaching the line to the lure, but after reading a previous post written by a friend of mine titled "Tying the Right Knot With the Right Line", I was inspired to learn more.More...
Normally, I use a Palomar Knot for about 90% of the time. I find it is the strongest when flipping jigs, using any kind of plastic worm, and on spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. I also use it on crankbaits, but I am considering making a change to either the Homer Rhode Loop Knot or the Brubaker Loop. These two loop knots would allow the lure to swing more freely, resulting in better action. It will be really hard for me to make this change, at least until I gain confidence in the new knot's strength. Some variation of the loop knot should also be used on jerkbaits and topwater lures.
As for fluorocarbon line, I have tried the Palomar Knot and the Uni-knot with limited success. I have had many line breaks. In an article I found on the Washington Council of Trout Unlimited website, a Berkley Trilene representative was said to have recommended the Crawford Knot for fluorocarbon line. Instructions for tying the Crawford Knot and the Brubaker Knot can be found at fishingknots.com. Several others have recommended a Berkley Braid Knot for fluorocarbon. Instructions for the Berkley Braid Knot can be found at probass.net.
Another great site to learn all kinds of knots is marinews.com.
My trial setup for this season is going to be:
1. Palomar Knot for worms, jigs, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, and most other plastics when using monofilament or braid.
2. Homer Rhode Loop Knot or Brubaker Loop Knot for crankbaits, topwaters, and jerkbaits when using either monofilament, braid, or fluorocarbon.
3. Crawford Knot or Berkley Braid Knot when using worms,jigs, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, or other plastics when using fluorocarbon.
I look forward to reporting my experiences over the course of this Spring. Happy fishing!
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Most of the pros talk about studying lake maps, calling local tackle shops and doing internet research to prepare for their upcoming season. That's fine because they fish many different lakes all over the country. However, to me this information is kind of useless because I only fish 3 or 4 lakes a year. As a matter of fact, most of the anglers I know only fish a few lakes a year. More... We have become familiar enough with these lakes to eliminate map study and such. If you are fishing a lake for the first time, by all means, get a map and use it for as long as you feel you need it. I used maps of the lakes I fish for a couple years until I felt comfortable without them. Having said that, I would like to talk about some things to prepare you for the tournament season that would apply to both amateur and professional anglers.
The most important thing in preparing for tournaments is making sure your gear is in good shape, especially your boat, rods and reels. Following is a list of things I do to make sure they are in good working condition. I continue to do this several times a year due to the frequency of use.
- Check for any hairline fractures. A broken rod is a useless one.
- Make sure your cork is in good shape.
- Check all guides and tip. Run a cotton ball through them and if it snags, you need to sand down or replace the guide. Snags lead to broken line.
- Clean rod and eyes to remove any dirt.
- Remove all old line.
- Clean exterior with a good product designed for reels. I like Ardent products.
- Take apart and completely clean insides.
- Grease the gears lightly, don't gum them up.
- Lightly oil any moving parts such as handles, spools, roller balls.
- On baitcasters, make sure the line guide is smooth and clean any dirt out of it.
- Put new line on all reels. Write down what line you have on each reel so if you don't like the setup, you'll know not to use it again.
The other equipment you need to prepare is your lures. Here are some of the things I do.
- Touch up any paint you feel is necessary. I do this on some baits, but mostly I like them beat up and rough looking.
- On heavily used baits, change the hooks. I prefer Owners on lipped crankbaits, and Mustad Triple Grip on lipless. I change factory hooks on everything except Lucky Craft.
- Make sure the split rings aren't bent.
- Sand the diving lip if it's beat up. This will help it dive.
Spinnerbaits, Buzzbaits and Jigs:
- Sort by size
- Sort by color
- Sharpen hooks
- This may sound silly, but make sure they haven't melted in storage before you throw them in your bag.
- Arrange them so they are easy for you to find. A previous article recommends using a cake pan that you can get at WalMart or Target and it works great. I carry about 50 plastic bait bags in one of these.
- If you have several bags of particular bait, consolidate them into one to save space.
I used to be a lure fanatic. I would buy everything just to try it. Those days are gone! I try new lures occassionaly, but I mostly know what works well where I fish and what I am comfortable with. Here is what I carry for lure storage in my boat to tournaments.
- A Shimano bag that holds four boxes in it and has a front pocket, 2 side pockets, and a zipper pocket in back. In the boxes I have one for spinnerbaits and buzzbaits, one for flipping jigs, one for football jigs, and one for smaller buzzbaits, inline spinners, hair jigs and bucktails. The side pockets hold extra blades, trailer hooks, sharpie markers and scent. The front pocket holds plastic trailers and pork trailers. Tha back zipper holds my caplight, scissors and pliers.
- Two Falcon hook utility boxes. One holds shakey heads, drop shots, and other finesse type hooks and sinkers. The other holds heavy hooks and sinkers for Carolina and Texas rigging.
- 2 Plano utility boxes. I like to make these season specific as far as colors and types of lures, but generally it is this. One for deep diving crankbaits. One for other crankbaits, topwaters, lipless crankbaits, jerkbaits.
- 1 cake pan for all my plastics.
So, to sum it up, I carry one bag, 4 utility boxes, and 1 cake pan. This really helps me decide what to use on the water by limiting my choices to only the lures I am comfortable with and I know work.
Last but not least, you need to make sure your boat, trolling motor, and electronics are in goodworking condition. I change my lower unit oil, start the boat in the driveway and let it idle for a few minutes. I also put it in and out of forward and reverse gear. Be sure to keep up with regular maintenance on your boat. I just turn my electronics and trolling motor on to make sure they're working after being stored for a couple months.
Everyone has their own preseason rituals which may or may not include things in this post. These are some of my practices, but I am a firm believer in doing whatever works best for you. Have a happy and safe tournament season!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Here is my beef. Alcohol is completely legal in the U.S. What is the difference in going to the liquor store and buying a gallon of Jack Daniels Whiskey or going to see ol' Popcorn and gettin' a jug of shine? The government doesn't care if he makes moonshine or not, but they can't stand him making a profit and cutting them out of the tax revenue.
So it goes in this day and age. The government can't stay out of anyone's business. Just look at these ridiculous bailout plans. As long as the government controls our money, they control us.
When you get your next paycheck stub, look at the money taken out for income tax and imagine if you could keep that money over the next 12 months. You would have enough to buy some new fishing tackle, pay tournament fees, make an extra mortgage payment, or spend on anything you want. If you're like me, you may even buy the new truck or boat you've been wanting. As an example, I would have about $150 dollars a month or $1800 a year. $150 a month would buy roughly 9 Lucky Craft lures, 37 packs of Zoom plastic worms, 3.75 entry fees to $40 tournaments, 1 Shimano Crucial Rod, or 1 quality reel.
It seems to me that would be a better way to stimulate the economy, rather than taking our money and spending millions on abortion providers, birth control, $600 million on new government cars, etc., etc.
My plea to you is whether you are a democrat or republican, hold your elected officials accountable on how they spend your money (they tend to forget that it is not their money to spend, it is ours). If you don't like it, complain. If you do nothing, then expect this trend to continue.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
The second thing that really got under my skin was during a tournament. Just as we were launching, I happened to look over and see an older man in a small, aluminum fishing boat dump out a small garbage can into the lake. There were soda cans and snack wrappers floating away in the current and he didn't even think twice about it! Give me a break!
All that I ask is for fellow fishermen to be responsible, dispose of your trash properly, and if you see something on the ground you can pick up and put in the trash, then do it. Also, it's not a bad idea to cut your old fishing line with scissors so it cannot create tangles before you discard it. Or you can take it to one of the tackle shops with a recycling bin for old fishing line.
Remember, it is up to us to protect our lakes, rivers, streams, and ponds for future generations. If we don't, there are always special interests groups that will have more leverage to stop us from doing what we love.