Last Updated on Thursday, 24 April 2014 07:55
April 24, 2014
When tungsten weights first hit the bass world, I might’ve snickered dismissively over the idea of spending seven bucks for one or two weights that I’d probably lose in the first brushpile or rock crevice I encountered. Just a few years later, I’m sold on the suckers, convinced that they’re the best invention since crunchy peanut butter (and far better than the waffle taco).
Most of you reading this probably feel the same way. Our tungsten runneth over. Admit it, you’re addicted. You’ve probably had conversations on when to use the bulbous flipping style weights as opposed to the narrower worm weights. You’ve probably spent hours mulling over your thoughts on insert versus insert-free. If you’re like Gary Klein and Cliff Pace, you may even weigh the individual weights to make sure that they’re as heavy as advertised.
This obsessiveness is not limited to our sport, though. While combing through a dog products catalog, I came across tungsten ear weight powder for show dogs. If your dog’s ears don’t lie in place or fold over just-so, you dab a bit of the tungsten powder (lead is poisonous) in place and suddenly all is right with the world.
We have no intention of showing our new puppy, but it’s good to know that if his ears are somehow cockeyed or “wrong,” I already have the tools in the boat to make ‘em right. Accordingly, if you see him with a Denny Brauer Flipping Weight upside the noggin, it’s totally intentional.
My only complaint is that the dog people are getting it for less than five bucks an ounce. We’re getting shafted.
Last Updated on Monday, 21 April 2014 07:20
April 21, 2014
Our 18-week old ball of canine fur and energy made his first trip on the boat this past Friday. I am pleased to report that he did not (a) drown; (b) pee on the carpet; or (c) get too up-close-and-personal with a Shad Rap. In fact, he seemed to like the experience.
Of course, the Redheaded Wife and I took all possible precautions to ensure that his first trip out would be as low key and injury-free (to all of us) as possible. There were no lures or excess plastics on the floor of the boat, only one rod out at a time, and we took turns fishing to ensure that he had constant supervision. While we drove a few miles down the lake before we fished, I never gave the big Mercury a chance to really eat – topped out at about 45 miles per hour.
All in all, it was a success, and we even caught a few Senko fish, although the size left something to be desired. Not bad for a first-timer, but if his guide services don’t improve soon we’ll have to replace him with Spuds McKenzie or the Taco Bell Chihuahua.
Last Updated on Monday, 21 April 2014 05:43
April 18, 2014
My fishing year has gotten off to an unusually late start in 2014. Between the various polar vortices, the wait for my old boat to be sold and the new one to be built, and miscellaneous other work-related impediments, I didn’t fish in Virginia waters until the first week of April. I’d been to Alabama in January and Texas in March, but for some reason that doesn’t count in my mind.
The lack of early season time on the water did not translate into a higher-than-usual level of organization. In fact, much of my tackle is far less organized than it typically is in the springtime. Despite the late start, I’m trying to make amends. Accordingly, I have these sparkly new Plano boxes empty and ready to get into the boat. First, though, I’ll need to fill them, and it seems a shame to load up such nice new trays with old toothmarked lures. It’s only right that I make a cyber visit to Tackle Warehouse to try to fix that fast. I think I can find the time.
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 April 2014 07:40
April 17, 2014
Does the corner of your garage look like the corner of my garage? With the recent addition of a few new rods that I absolutely had to have, I now have seven rod tubes of various lengths and materials leaning up against a corner.
Earlier this year I threw at least four similar tubes away, so it’s not like I’m hoarding them or anything, but I’m not sure why these particular seven made the cut over the others that were sacrificed to the trash truck. Even if these are the right ones, I’m not sure why seven was the magic number. After all, I can’t remember a time in the last decade when I’ve mailed more than two rods anywhere in a given year. There are occasional warranty issues, and once in a while I’ll sell one, but the chances that I’ll need to burden the UPS man or the FedEx dude with more than three or four of these packages in the coming year are far lower than the chances that I’ll acquire three or four more tubes.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 12:42
April 15, 2014
Sounds like a winning lottery ticket, right?
In some ways it is. Those are my go-to colors for five-inch Senkos. Once in a while I might substitute 913 for 543, or 318/330 for 297 (if you haven’t memorized the color chart, get cracking, slacker), and it’s hard to leave out 213 (junebug) but for most purposes I limit it to five or six in the boat.
If you’ll look at the recently-released bulk bag colors, you’ll see that my taste is pretty vanilla – I overlap with conventional wisdom on four of the all-time best sellers. The folks at GYCB-central (whose job it is to sell Senkos) may not be too happy with this assessment, but to be totally honest, you could give me 021 (black with blue flake) and 297 (green pumpkin with black flake) and I’m confident they could get the job done ninety-plus percent of the time. Accordingly, I wasn’t looking to add another color to the lineup, but while aimlessly perusing the Yamamoto website’s list of color choices I found two more that piqued my interest by their names alone: “Gooseberry Laminate” (963) and “Watermelon Slice Laminate” (964). If anyone had previously made a big deal
about those, I must’ve been home sick that day. While they may sound like components to an odd fruit salad, upon further review they might have to enter the rotation.
The former was described to me as follows: “Top indigo black with small red flake. Bottom purple black with small emerald flake.”
The latter has a top coat of watermelon black and a matching bottom, except with small red flake and a transparent yellow highlight.
They’re not too far away from my standards, but distinct enough that I can see times when that slight difference might add a boost of confidence to my presentation. I’m not saying that you have to add them to your floating tackle box to win next Wednesday’s fruit jar open at the Swamp Gas Corners Boat Dock. All I’m saying is that my eyes are wide open and I’m pretty sure that I’ll have three or four packs of each in the near future. It’s ok to be confident in your standards, and don’t jump on every Banjo Minnow trend you see, but there’s no harm in branching out just a bit.
Last Updated on Monday, 14 April 2014 08:00
April 14, 2014
If you want to buy a Honda Civic or a Ford F150 close to home, you’re in luck. No matter where you live in the United States, there’s probably a dealer or three nearby. When I purchased my last few Chevrolets, I’ve been able to comparison shop among quite a few of them within 20 miles of my home, all without leaving my desk. If I move across the country, I have no fear that there will be no one to service them, either.
The bass boat world doesn’t lay out like that. If the boat of your dreams is a Gambler or a Bumble Bee or a Cajun Ricky Green Fishin’ Machine and you live in Butte or Bangor or Bakersfield, you might have to drive a long way to get one. It’s something to consider when you make your purchase – all else being equal, or even tilting a little bit in favor of Brand A, do you go for Brand B simply because they have better and more convenient infrastructure in place to serve you?
Fortunately, I haven’t had to make that choice. I’ve taken delivery of all three new bass boats I’ve owned through MARE Marine’s Richard Addy. If there are more than two or three people on earth who’ve sold more Cats than Richard, it would shock me. He probably speaks to company owner Rick Pierce more regularly than even anyone in the Pierce family. Brian Lancaster, the owner of MARE, has been in the business forever, too. They’re not going anywhere, nor are they changing boat lines any time soon.
Compare that to my experiences in 1996, when I bought my first bass boat. A friend had me convinced that I should look at Skeeter’s new 18-footer and a new dealership near home had one in stock. They gave me the hard sell, showing off their sparkly facility, but in the end it wasn’t the right purchase for me for a number of reasons. Looking back I don’t know if that new Skeeter would have served me better (in the wallet and on the water) than the used 18-foot Ranger that I ended up buying, but I do know that the dealership was gone within a year and I don’t believe the owner is in the industry any more. Continuity and longevity are not in and of themselves a reason to buy a particular brand of boat from a particular shop, but to me they’re big difference-makers. I’m fortunate that MARE’s shop is just about 40 miles from my house and just a few miles from the river. It makes all of my transactions more fluid and less cumbersome. I’m also glad that the faces remain the same. The smell of new fiberglass is an intoxicant, but you have to have the right group of people to get the blend right.
Last Updated on Thursday, 10 April 2014 09:11
April 10, 2014
I have owned five bass boats. Four of them have been Bass Cats. I purchased three of them new. All three of the new ones had “Raspberry” as their primary color.
Bass Cat currently offers a choice of 40 different hull colors. You’d think that with variety being the spice of life, and all of that other David Copperfield crap, I might want to try something different. Maybe something exotic like Sapphire, Mocha or Coral. Or maybe something more typical like White, Blueberry or Charcoal. Nope. I’m happy with Raspberry.
To quote my friend Bill Roberts, who has had about 3,241 navy blue Rangers, half that many navy blue Suburbans and a handful of navy blue Blazers in case the Suburban develops a serious case of the blues a day or two before a tournament: “Is there any other color?”
I seriously considered trying something else this time around. After all, it’s not like I won’t be getting another boat at some point down the road, so if the new choice proved problematic I could always go back to Raspberry. But I just think it looks sharp. Couldn’t find a color combination that I liked better. Furthermore, it matches the last two tow vehicles I’ve had, which were a color that Chevy currently calls “Crystal Red Metallic” (there’s an upcharge for this particular color, natch). I flirted with buying a silver boat with Raspberry highlights, to keep it all in the family, but ultimately I couldn’t even stray that far. Maybe in three or four years I’ll go all Skeet Reese on you and bring home a school bus yellow floater, but for now I’m gonna dance with the one that brung me.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 April 2014 07:34
April 8, 2014
I’m about the most glitzophobic angler on the planet. To paraphrase Chris Rock, there are some people who would put rims on a toaster oven (“Yo man, I’ve got some raisin toast sittin’ on twenty-twos.”), but historically I haven’t been one of them.
Most weekend anglers want their rides to follow in the footsteps of Jason Quinn’s. Mine typically more closely resembles one favored by Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.
The tide may be turning, though. With this year’s new boat and trailer I decided to go a little flashier. Check out the BCB wheels pictured above. I’m pretty pleased with them. In fact, this turning point has been so satisfying that it inspired me to go a little further down Bling Boulevard. I can’t say exactly what I’ll be doing to the ride, but in about a month or so I should have some additional “look at me” function-slash-fashion options to blog about.
April 7, 2014
Heading into this year’s boat purchase, I was inclined to get another Bass Cat Puma FTD. My 2010 model had treated me well – a perfect fishing platform, more storage than I could ever use, great rough water ride, no problems to speak of. Why kick a winning horse? At the same time, I felt an urge to get something different, if nothing else just for the sake of not going down the same road twice. Bass Cat presented that option to me in the Eyra, which wasn’t available back when I bought my last one.
Unlike Bass Cat’s Cougar, which is a very similar platform to the Puma, the Eyra is a completely different animal – with sleeker lines and a totally different layout. They’re both 20 footers, but that’s where much of the similarity ends.
I was leaning heavily toward another Puma until last summer. One of the things that led me in that direction was the fact that the Eyra has less floor space than the Puma. I figured that if I had a partner with a magnum tackle bag – the kind that holds a hundred Plano 3700 boxes, two lunches, a rainsuit and 3,000 bags of soft plastics – we’d have to practice our long-jumping and ballet ahead of time in order to get around in the boat. On the other hand, since I fish very few tournaments these days, and have the wife in the boat much of the time (she doesn’t carry a tackle bag – just bogarts my stuff), that wasn’t such a huge concern.
The tide turned last summer in Michigan when we rode in Kevin Short’s Eyra. After a few hours in the pink Cat, the redheaded wife definitively stated, “This is the boat we should get.”
I was intrigued, confused, curious. “Why?” I asked.
“Because I can rest my legs against the front deck to brace myself in rough water.” Apparently, what I had thought of a disadvantage was a huge advantage in her eyes. After four years of bouncing around untethered in the Puma, she was looking forward to being able to lock down when the water got choppy. You see, she’s about five-foot-nothing, and while Randy Newman may have sang otherwise, in our house short people rule the roost.
So far, I’m thrilled with the boat. It looks great, handles well and provides more speed than I can utilize (had it up to 79.1 after break-in, before I chickened out and pulled back on the hot foot). Despite some minor pre-decisional misgivings, I’m sold on it now, and completely satisfied with the choice. At the same time, I’m holding my breath on the final judgment until next week, when Red gets her first ride, feet planted and a smile on her face.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 April 2014 10:31
April 2, 2014
Elvis has left the building.
Depending on who’s chewing your ear off at the current time, various reports indicate that he may be in a donut shop in Tempe or balancing tires in Bangor. More likely, though, he’s at the bottom of some tour level pro’s tackle box.
A decade or so ago, when I first started writing about the sport, Elvis was all the rage. In this case the name referred not to the bloated crooner and lover of peanut butter, bacon and banana sammiches. We’re talking about a spinnerbait.
A friend of mine once asked Kenyon Hill why the bait was called Elvis. “Because it’s the king,” the Oklahoman barked back.
As far as I can tell, this particular spinnerbait gained steam not in Tupelo or Memphis, but rather around Lake Fork, where guides tried to keep it quiet until they couldn’t anymore. In a 2008 Bassmaster.com article by Jeff Samsel about Edwin Evers, the author referred to a “3/4 ounce black lure with a single size 6 or 7 Colorado blade…shown to him by fellow Tour pro and Fork guide Kelly Jordon.” There aren’t many other online references to it. An article on TheFishingWire.com from 2009, from which the attached grainy pic was taken, is the most in-depth piece I could find. In it, KJ’s words are much like those Kenyon used: “I named the lure Elvis because I think it’s the king of big bass spinnerbaits.”
The lure in the picture looks like what you’d normally use at night in the heat of summer, and that’s why it was developed, but the article was about pre-spawn fishing. It featured “a single size 6 hybrid Colorado/Indiana blade which creates an unusual amount of noise and water movement.” Kelly told the writer that he had been fishing it since 1991 and had caught bass over 12 pounds on The King.
That article came out over five years ago, and since then Elvis seems to have done another disappearing act. I haven’t heard rumblings of it on chat boards, on the water or in the media room. Part of it is that it seems like we haven’t had a tournament dominated by spinnerbaits in years, which in turn is a reflection of the changing lure economy. In 1994, it was possible to fish a set of conditions and have 80 of the top 100 finishers slinging blades. Confronted with those same conditions today, 20 of them would be throwing a spinnerbait, 20 would be throwing a chatterbait, 20 would be heaving a swimbait, 19 would rely on a squarebill, and Tommy Biffle would be grinding a Biffle Bug.
I don’t think Elvis is gone for good. In fact, I hope it makes an unexpected comeback. Would love to see some grizzled old school veteran bring it back for a swan song victory. Even better would be seeing some young twenty-something punk winning a tournament on it and then claiming he was the one who invented it.
Thank you….Thank you very much.