Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Berkley Havoc Review

Consider this a preview as I haven't actually fished Havoc baits yet. However, I picked up a sample pack at the Classic so I just have to have and opinion about them!

First off, I’m sure these baits will work. I like the feel of the plastic – soft but not too soft – and they have some nice shapes. The only qualm I have about them is the precision, there are some fine edges on the plastic where the molds fit together. Not my idea of high quality. Then again, these bait are dirt cheep and have some nice shapes so that's a win in my book!

The Craw Fatty reminds me of the Yum Big Show Craw, it looks like a pretty solid craw type bait. I’m not particularly excited about it because it just isn’t that unique. When I throw a craw, I tend to gravitate toward the Yum Craw Papi and I’m not really looking for another one to throw.

The Devil Spear is pretty unique in that it is an extremely bulked up reaper. It isn’t totally unique as far as the shape goes- the factor that sets it apart is the segmented tail. Personally, the Devil Spear is the Havoc bait I’m most excited to fish, I can think of quite a few pad fields back home that wouldn’t mind seeing something besides a beaver. I know Iaconelli (guess it’s a sign I fish too much that I could spell his name right first try) used it at the Classic and he certainly did well on it.  

The Deuce is pretty interesting for a twin tailed grub. It has some slight ridges on the inside of the tails to move water differently. I’ll definitely be putting it into action as a swim jig trailer

The Pit Boss is even more innovative than the Devil Spear but, I’m not nearly as excited to try it. Reason being, I just haven’t had success when I split the tails of my beavers and that is essentially what it is. I’ll try it out and see but I’m not as pumped as Skeet seemed to be about it on the Classic stage. 
3 inch The Deuce

4 inch Craw Fatty

4 inch Devil Spear

Sunday, February 20, 2011

BassMaster Classic Photos

Below is a slide show of the photos I took at the Classic. More coverage from me to come later. Also, I will be on the New for muskie this week and on Smith Mountain all weekend for a Club Tournament.

You can click on the slide show for a larger version

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Get The Hook Out!

The String Trick works. My roommate helped me out with it. In other news, the carp at the Duck Pond are still really sluggish. A friend caught them yesterday but they wouldn't take my usual fly (pictured with marabou trimmed away) today.


Before

After

Way After

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sustainable Fishing

In response to OBN’s writing prompt about sustainable fishing I feel that there are two big areas we can all improve in.
The first is fish care. Many tournament fishermen don’t do enough; they seem to think that keeping a fish in the livewell for the whole day is sufficient. It really isn’t, keep them in water as long as you can, then weigh them quickly and get them back in the water. Don’t carry them 50 yards back to the lake after taking 20 pictures. Don’t stand around waiting to weigh them. Don’t leave them in your livewell with the recirculation off.
Second is a more general “leave no trace” attitude. Break off as little line as you can when you need to. Pick up after yourself. Don’t throw plastics into the water. And for crying out loud, pick up after other people. I often get off the water with a pocket full of my own line and someone’s catfish line.
Below are some pictures of fishing. Keep it intact.

Long Schooner Lake, Ontario
Lake Jordan, NC
Everglades Canal
Spot on Claytor

Snow on Claytor
Round Schooner Lake, Ontario
This blog entry is my submission for the GreenFish and Outdoor Blogger Network Writing Prompt Giveaway

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Musky Fishing Primer

My experience at musky fishing is minimal at best. First off, what in the world are the rules for using muskie or musky or muskies? I have only ever caught one. But, I have put a fair amount of research time into them and I think I am beginning to understand them a bit more. Oddly enough, I think they behave a bit like steelhead (at least in the winter), they definitely move around with the food but they really don’t seem to have much regard for “cover” in the traditional sense. At least in rivers, it appears to be all about food, depth, and current. I expect in the summer and spring they change up and I’m looking forward to following then through that transition.

I have been primarily fishing for them with a Red October Baits tube, I don’t own any of the massive jerkbaits but I do have a big inline spinner and I am planning on expanding my tube collection because they look so darn good in the water. Currently, I don’t know what I am using for a wire leader. Monday, I will be putting together some 100 pound test fluoro leaders, I will certainly report on that experience. I’m throwing the tubes on my flipping stick, a 7-9 extra heavy, extra fast Carrot Stix. It is rated for up to 3 ounces and doesn’t feel too over-taxed throwing the big tubes. As far as fighting fish goes, I have only hooked one and it was only about 30 inches. However, from my experiences with pike and that one fish, I think it will be plenty adequate until the fish get into the 40 inch plus class- then the fun will begin. My reel is a Shimano Curado 201 E7, it is beyond solid. The 300 size would probably be better for throwing these big baits but thus far, it has performed like a champ. I have been fishing with 40 pound PowerPro, I know a lot of people like to throw 80 pound to reduce line digging into the spool when the fish run and on hooksets but, as of now, the 40 has never failed me. 

One final word: Virginia Muskie is an excellent resource for would be river anglers, you can see that I have spent some time on their forum and certainly reading their articles. 

Greg Callas with his first musky
My first musky
She bit a BIG tube

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Jerkbait Fishing

First of all, Claytor is not worth talking about, 35 degree water and ice covering the whole upper portion of the lake has pretty much shut the fish down. I fished it Thursday and Saturday for a grand total of zero fish.

On to the jerkbait fishing (read this for some background). We had two rods rigged with jerkbaits. Both were Shimanos, a 7-0 Crucial medium power/fast action casting rod and a 7-2 Cumara medium power/fast action spinning rod. I had a Curado 201E7 on the Crucial and a Stradic FI 3000 on the Cumara. The Crucial/Curado set-up was spooled with 12lb Vicious Ultimate. I had 8lb Trilene 100% fluoro on the Spinning set-up.

I am a huge Shimano fan- they make great stuff that is super dependable. But, both lines are relatively new to me. I have been really impressed with the Vicious, it is wicked strong and some of the limpest non-braid I have ever used. Additionally, I am pretty sure it is neutrally buoyant because it floated my jerkbaits perfectly still all weekend. Also, the Trilene 100% did great too- it is usually my shaky head rod but it performed admirably with a jerkbait. As proof, we didn’t lose a fish all weekend on either set-up- if I had to pick one set-up for jerkbaiting, I would go with the Vicious/Crucial/Curado.

Now the baits. We fished 4 different baits and honestly, it didn’t really make a difference when the bite was on. However, I am not one to pass up a chance to talk tackle. We put the LC Pointer DD 100 and XD 78 into use along with a River2Sea Fetch Minnow 88 and an XCalibur Xt3 Twitch Bait. Of the four we fished, I loved the River2Sea: it dove deep, had an outrageous rattle and had 3 hooks! The only downside to Lucky Craft is you have to pay more for the Slender Pointer to get 3 hooks.  All of my jerkbaits have to catch smallmouth too, 3 hooks is a really nice bonus because smallmouth almost never actually put the bait in their mouths- mostly they put it on their face. To sum it up, I think I have found a new favorite deep jerkbait in the River2Sea Fetch.

River2Sea Fetch Minnow in Table Rock Shad
Color-wise, we used 2 shades of Table Rock Shad and one very similar Sour Grape. That color pattern of purple and some subtle chartreuse seemed to be key.  We fished the baits very gently; cranking them to depth and then just pulling them forward about 5 feet and the pausing for about 5 seconds. Almost every fish was just there when we moved the bait. The fish were holding in about 7 to 13 feet of water on a nice sharp edge that dropped from about 7 to 20ish. Oddly enough, the bite shut off at about 9am. Whether we had simply beaten the school to death or the sunlight had moved them I don’t know. We came back a number of times during the day and couldn’t catch them on anything. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lake Norman Tournament

Sunday I had a Bass Fishing Team Club Tournament on Norman so, I spent the weekend down there to pre-fish with my partner Greg.  Thanks to the generosity of a family friend we had free lodging!
Saturday we had a laundry list of spot to try but first we had to wait for another friend of mine to meet us at the boat launch. Unfortunately, Billy went to the wrong launch. Then he couldn’t get his truck started and told us to go fish a bit while he fiddled with the starter. This caused a change of plans, originally, we were going to run down to the southern hot-hole under the assumption that the warm water would have the fish active in the morning and that it would be better to fish our non-hot spots when the sun had gotten on them a bit. Now that we didn’t have a big chunk of time to run, we decided to hit our closest spot. So, we jumped up from the launch to a nearby island. I made about two casts with a jerkbait and caught about a 2.5 lb spot. We looked around a bit and then left, learning that the area had a lovely drop and some nice brush. We hit two more spots and then learned from Billy that his car was being towed to a shop because the starter was dead. 

Saturday Morning Spot
 Hearing that Billy was out of the game we decided to make the run down. We got there and saw 60 degree water and shad jumping all over the place.  But, we threw cranks and drop-shots and just got one follow (a decent looking fish but nothing outrageous). The rest of the day was a wash, Greg caught one that was about 8 inches and we got nothing else. Oddly enough, we got back and went to bed feeling wildly optimistic.
Sunday morning we really only had one place to go- right back where we started Saturday morning. So we did and 2nd cast I caught a keeper spot. I told Greg to put on a jerkbait and he caught a keeper. We culled twice in the next two hours before the bite totally died. As the bite slowed, we switched thing up a bit and I started throwing a DS to try and squeak a few more bites out of the spot. Then, I lost the kind of fish that breaks tournaments.  I got a nice take on the DS and set the hook, the fish came up and I saw a 3 pounder mouth, then, she went down and came off almost simultaneously.  It has been a while since I lost a good fish on a drop-shot and I was sure that that would be a tournament breaker.
Turned out it wasn’t- we fished all over the rest of the lake and got one hit the rest of the day. Luckily it was a culler size largemouth of a dock. Greg and I ended up winning with 8lbs, 11ounces and went home happy. Thanks to Billy for going to the wrong place, if he had come to the right place, the lack of afternoon bite would probably have shut us out from finding the winning spot.
I am fishing Claytor Thursday and I will definitely give a breakdown of that. I am also going to talk some about our jerkbaiting technique on Norman and the gear we used. 
Winning Bag