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.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
The question is, do we really need to do this? To answer, lets look at 2 of the most successful professional fishermen to hit the water, Kevin VanDam and Rick Clunn.
Kevin VanDam uses specialty rods in every tournament he fishes. He even designs specialty rods now. For picking a new rod, he recommends that you start with 3 different ones:
1. A 6'10" Medium Heavy baitcasting for spinnerbaits, crankbaits, lipless crankbaits, jerkbaits, and topwaters.
2. A 7' Medium spinning for drop shots, shakey heads, and weightless worms.
3. A 7'2" Heavy baitcasting for flipping, pitching, and frogs.
Of course VanDam has more than 3 specialty rods, but even he admits that most people can't afford to buy too many rods.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Rick Clunn prefers to use the same rod model and same reel model in as many situations as possible. Mostly, he uses a 6.3:1 reel and a 7' heavy action rod. This was evident in his 5th place finish at Old Hickory on July 2, 2008. He used the same rod, reel, and line to throw crankbaits and jigs. http://www.bassfan.com/news_article.asp?id=2952. He believes that by using the same gear he doesn't have to get used to the feel of a new setup each time he switches lures.
I prefer to use as many specialty rods as I can afford because they have proven to help me catch more fish. However, I would never count that guy out of a tournament that only has 2 identical setups. Bottom line, do what you feel comfortable with and don't worry about the guy that has 20 rods in his boat with 20 different lures tied on. All that matters is YOUR ability to catch fish with what YOU have.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
The 3 types of plastic baits I received were a 10" Monster Worm in Black Grape with green glitter, 6" Trick Worms in Watermelon Seed with red glitter, and 4" Finesse Worms in Watermelon Seed with red glitter. These were all made by Hometown Baits(http://www.softbaitmaker.com/).
I have used all 3 now, with my favorite being the trick worm. I usually rig this worm on a 1/8 or 3/16 oz. shakey head jig and use spinning gear to present it. Anywhere there are rocks or docks, this worm seems to work great. The monster worm is primarily used in deeper water, texas rigged with a 3/16 or 1/4 oz bullet weight and 4/0 or 5/0 worm hook and baitcasting gear. The finesse worm is fished the same way as the trick worm, but on days when the bite is tougher.
What I really like about these products are the softness of the plastic. It gives them plenty of action in the water, and the fish hold on longer than conventional plastics. However, there is a downside to the softness of the plastic, which is the number of fish you can catch on a single bait before having to replace it. For me, the increased number of bites is well worth a few extra torn baits throughout the day. One thing you may want to do to increase your success is to add a small amount of your favorite scent into the bag of baits.
At Hometown Baits, they offer all kinds of plastics from jig trailers to giant worms. They even have a swimbait available now. You are allowed to pick from any of the colors they have and add any of the glitters they have, letting you create preferred custom colors. They are wonderful people to work with and will pour your order as soon as it is received.
On a scale of 1-5, I give these plastics a 5 on fish catching, and 3 on durability. If you are willing to go through a few more baits in a day, your hookup success will definitely increase.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
I intend to keep this site informative by using several categories of interest:
1. Local Fishing Reports - These will include a journal of my own fishing experiences as well as
the reports of others I know and trust. I will try to include water levels, temperatures, and clarity in these reports.
2. Product Reviews - This will be about tackle that I currently use or new things I and other authors may try. I will use a scale of 1-5, with 1 being bad and 5 being excellent.
3. General Fishing Articles - The articles may be written by myself or others and will be about anything from regulations to new techniques.
4. Tips and Tricks - Things to save you time, money, aggravation, and make your fishing more productive.
5. Tournament Schedules and Results - I will try to include some of the local tournament schedules and results, but cannot guarantee 100% accuracy because some of these will be obtained through word of mouth.
6. Links to other Sites - These will be sites of products that I use and recommend.
7. Fun Trips - Fishing trips and vacations that my friends and I might take throughout the year.
So, with that being said, I hope you visit my blog frequently and enjoy the articles!