Last Updated on Thursday, 26 March 2015 09:12
March 26, 2015
I don't think I've ever been a "look at me" kind of guy, although I'm hesitant to write that since the most egregious look at me types tend to be the ones least likely to consider themselves as such. Nevertheless, I've never had a yellow boat, or a jacked up truck with puppy-stomper tires, or a car horn that played La Cucaracha. To that extent, I've typically flown under the radar.
That may be changing. While some guys get a Cigarette boat or a Porsche to combat a midlife crisis, I already had the boat of my dreams (Bass Cat Eyra) and my desired whip (Chevy Suburban), so I couldn't go that route, and with a rapidly decreasing amount of hair (except in my ears and nose) a ponytail was out of the question. Instead, I celebrated birthday number 45 with a set of sweet red and white Rigid deck lights for my bass boat. They're the type of thing I might've shunned as too flashy a while ago, and even now I'm inclined to try to justify them by listing their many practical benefits, but as I near the "get off my lawn" phase of my life, I'll make no excuses or justifications. The bottom line is that they're pretty damn sweet and I wanted 'em, so here they are.
Of course, the only thing that terrifies me more than clowns and dropshotting in 80 feet of water is drilling into fiberglass, so I had the good people at MARE Marine install them for me. They did a great job. Blinged out and proud.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 March 2015 07:55
March 25, 2015
When I fished with Kevin Short in Michigan in the summer of 2013, I wasn't impressed by his pink boat (although it was impressive) so much as I was with something attached to the deck of that boat – his new Power Pole foot switches. On my 2010 boat I’d had small up and down switches mounted on the deck side by side, but the way they were set up if you weren’t careful, you could easily step on the wrong one or both at the same time. Meanwhile, Kevin’s switches were much larger, and were mounted on opposite sides of the trolling motor pedal. Once you got used to them, it would be easy to hit the right one without looking, every time. No more drifting past that bedding fish or into a stretch of riprap because you got caught flat footed, so to speak.
Of course, there was a complication. Kevin, owing to his status as an Elite Series angler and a recognized promoter, gets stuff before it goes on the market. Pete Robbins, who is neither of those things, does not, so I ordered my boat in early 2014 without them. Owing to the regulatory processes, things like making sure that the signals running through the air don’t mess with our satellite TV or drop planes out of the sky, it took a while for them to get approved. When they did, I was a little slow to get them installed. Now that I’ve fished a few days with them on the deck, I don’t know how I ever lived without them.
Last Updated on Friday, 20 March 2015 07:17
March 20, 2015
When I wrote about Gulp crankbaits prior to this year's Bassmaster Classic, I didn't truly believe that any of the contestants were likely to use them in the big rodeo, nor did I hold out hope that I'd ever own one myself. The former suspicion proved to be true, but on the latter fear I was dead wrong.
In a classic case of sorta-ask-and-ye-shall-receive, blog reader Christopher Allard of North Carolina sent me a Gulp of my own. I should've known he'd have one. We've corresponded over the years and he's every bit as much of a tackle freak as I am.
I haven't yet decided whether to fish it or display it.
I have decided to start blogging about Ferraris, in the hope that some other reader will get me one of those.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 March 2015 06:32
March 18, 2015
I’ve never been an early adopter of technology. On top of that, I’m pretty much a skeptic, especially when it comes to fishing products. Over the years, there have been too many scams and “next great things” (“Banned in tournaments!”) and I’m hesitant to fall prey to PT Barnum’s rule. Therefore, when it came to the Hydrowave, I was dubious of its merits.
While my overall level of skepticism has increased over the years, so too has my network of professional and informed anglers. There are some who I’ll always regard as nothing better than hucksters, another group that falls into the category of opportunistic snake oil salesmen, and a much smaller third set that tends to give me the real skinny, even if it has to be off the record. In separate conversations, two members of that last group informed me that they too had been skeptical of the Hydrowave, but after using it for a year or so they’d had experiences that they believed provided incontrovertible evidence that the unit had some effect on the fish they were chasing, and most likely a very beneficial one. Neither of them is sponsored by the company, and while I tried to poke holes in their theories, both remained convinced that they’d benefitted from having one on their boat.
That convinced me that I needed to get one, so I made an order last spring. Of course, it sat in the box for six months (late adopter again) until I finally installed it this offseason. Like them, I’m willing to be convinced.
Some skeptics may say that I’m wasting my money. That may be so. I’ve got a lot invested in this sport in terms of not only my boat, my gear and my travel expenses, as well as a ridiculous amount of time – but I also have a schedule that allows me to fish relatively little. You could say that each incremental cost is unnecessary, and you’d probably be right in the strictest sense of the word. I see it differently, though. With limited time on the water, I need to give myself every possible advantage, and if this helps at some point in the next year, it’ll be worth the investment. It’s a lot cheaper than a Tesla or the Apple Watch, too.
March 16, 2015
While reviewing an article about new tackle in the November 1995 issue of Bassmaster for a piece for Bass Fishing Archives, I came across a line company that probably wished they'd chosen a different name. Less than 6 years later I'm sure it killed whatever U.S. sales momentum they'd accumulated. Nevertheless, it appears that they still remain in business in Australia and Asia. I have no idea if their line is any good, but even if it is there's no chance it'll ever get a foothold in this part of the world.
Last Updated on Thursday, 12 March 2015 09:13
March 12, 2015
Check out this jointed Mr. No-Shoulders from Megabass Japan called, not surprisingly, the "Eeler." Pretty hideous, right? I suppose it could represent a variety of awful creatures that bass eat, from snakes to eels to lampreys, and judging from the YouTubage of it, it's slithers quite seductively. I just hate snakes (and to a lesser extent eels) so much that I don't think I want any part of it.
On the other hand, they do make it in a snakehead pattern. Maybe that would give me a leg up on the Potomac, even if I tend to favor the names "Clear Loach," "Ito Medusa" and the trippy "Galaxy Candy."
Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 March 2015 07:09
March 10, 2015
This is a serious question for Sunshine Staters and tournament anglers everywhere. It seems that most major tournaments on the Kissimmee Chain are won on either Lake Toho or Lake Kissimmee. There are two lakes between them – Cypress and Hatchineha. My memory may be failing me, but I don’t remember many big derbies where either of those lakes played a major role in the outcome. I remember Rick Morris making a run at the 2006 Bassmaster Classic title by fishing the Kissimmee River, but no such exposure for Cypress and Hatchineha.
Why is that?
Last Updated on Thursday, 05 March 2015 08:53
March 5, 2015
We previously had pairs of Hibdons and Brauers on the B.A.S.S. Tour, as well as pairings like the late Tom Mann and his brother Don, but it appears that in the coming years you may have to bring a link if you want to get a seat at the table.
There’s already a pair of Lanes (Chris and Bobby) on the Elite Series, plus the non-related Russ, as well as third brother Arnie waiting in the wings. This year we’ll add the baby-faced Lee Brothers to the mix.
Alton Jones Jr., son of (you guessed it) 2008 Classic winner Alton Jones, is fishing all nine Opens in an attempt to make the Elites. He’s already demonstrated serious chops in some Texas events. So too is Trait Crist, the inamorata of 2014 Bassmaster Classic qualifier Chris Zaldain. If she makes it, that’ll make them the first mixed-gender pair on our list.
If all of this comes to fruition, it’ll be a veritable bass fishing Noah’s Ark….two by two by two by two.
No, Davy Hite and Brett Hite are not related and as far as we know Kevin Langill does not have a pro angling brother.
Who’s your plus one?
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 March 2015 06:41
March 3, 2015
With each successive cold-weather Classic, I learn a few new tips about how to stay warm in miserable conditions. This one comes via JM’s Steve Bowman – put a heat wrap across your lower back and one across your neck. They last eight hours and keep your core comfortable. I suppose you could add even more if you wanted, although there’s probably a limit to their incremental benefits. If necessary, stock up on biscuits and gravy in the months before you’ll be outside to create extra surface area.
Just remember to take them off before you go through airport security. Otherwise they might suspect that you’re a suicide bomber or an FBI informant. I’d rather think of myself as a human Hot Pocket.
Last Updated on Friday, 27 February 2015 06:10
February 27, 2015
One of the highlights of my Bassmaster Classic week occurred a few hundred miles before I arrived in Greenville. I spent a day at the home of fellow Inside Line writer and Bass Fishing Archives creator Terry “Tater” Battisti. I use the term “home” loosely because thanks to an understanding wife, Tater has managed to turn it into a small museum/library of bass fishing history. If you need a Honey Hole magazine from the 80s or a book on spoonplugging by Buck Perry, his crib should be the target of your burglary.
Part of the motivation in stopping over was the chance to visit Aberdeen Bait & Tackle in the nearby town of (you guessed it) Aberdeen. I’d received their emailed list of rare and discontinued lures for a few years, but until Terry moved to North Carolina I had no idea it was an actual brick and mortar store. It is, and if you find yourself within a few hundred miles of the place it’s worth a detour, assuming you like oddball stuff from your childhood. If you’re looking for Norman Super Scoopers, spinnerbaits from the 1983 Bass Pro Shops catalog, or Slug-gos older than Tyler Swift, this is your place. Every mom and pop tackle store should try to be more like them, rather than being a mini megamart. Even if the supply of old stuff is already claimed, it pays to focus on being a little bit different.