Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bass Pro Shops Pro Lite Baitcast Reel Product Review

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This is a product review for the Bass Pro Shops Prolite bait cast reel.

Most of my friends and fishing buddies (oh yea, I have to separate them...J/K guys)know that I have been a HUGE Shimano man. Not just Shimano, but the Citica series. I currently use 6 of them. You cannot beat the price and performance. I have had one fail on me and it took 4 years of throwing frogs in the nastiest conditions...hundreds (no exaggeration here) of fish....with no maintenance. In fact, it is still salvageable...but that's not what this post is about.

My buddy gave me the opportunity to buy one of these for a decent deal. I looked them up and read the stats on them. 9+1 bearings. 6.3:1 ratio. Weighs 7.6 oz aluminum. Very low profile. But, would I live it more than my Shimanos? So, I stuck it on my new Boyd Duckett X-Heavy Bama Rig Rod. The price was about 40 dollars cheaper than a shimano...so I thought I would try it.

I set it up about like I would set up a shimano. Right out of the box it performed excellent. Smooth retrieve. I haven't had a backlash yet. I am throwing a 2 ounce bama rig on 65 pound braid with the aforementioned X-Heavy. I LOVE the low profile design. It fits me better than the shimano. It has extra soft and grippy grips which you would normally have to pay extra for.

So far, I am in love with it. But only time will tell how long it will last.

RANT! If yor aren't going to eat them, don't throw them away!

Before I forget....
I am never one to judge anyone for keeping fish or throwing them back. Do what you want. Personally, I love to eat fish.

But, while leaving the lake yesterday, I see this:

I mean, you are 100 yards from the water! You just pulled your boat out! If you can't or won't keep them, why even put them in the live well?

Furthermore, they are ALWAYS people fishing causeways that would LOVE to have your fish!

White bass fishing on Wheeler 2/17/12

Last Friday was so pretty that I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get out. Word was that the white bass were biting on the upper end of Wheeler. I figured it would be an awesome opportunity to throw the Bama rig and see what would happen.

I left work and put in on the Army Rec area and ran upriver. You can find these guys at the mouth of almost any creek entrance.

The first thing that I noticed was the amount of boats out. I probably counted 4-5 boats around the Rec area...which is VERY strange. As I passed Ditto Landing, the number kept increasing. I noticed that most of the boats sported matching jerseys. Turns out, the college guys were fishing Ditto. Oh boy. That's ok. I was fishing for white bass and I didn't figure it would be hard to get on one of the traditional white spot holes. I was wrong.

As I arrived at the Flint river entrance, there were boats about every 50 yards. Being the courteous fisherman, I idled up to one of the boats and asked which way they were fishing. When they told me, I pointed the boat in the opposite direction and started fishing. However, the lower point with all the rip rap wasn't producing. I bet it had been pounded. So, I scooted up to the up river boat. I essentially put the boat into the clay bottom and cast out to 19 feet.

I began throwing a red Xcalibur square bill. For about 4 casts, a white bass would follow it to the boat but wouldn't hit it. I thought that maybe I needed to rile up the school, so I started throwing the Bama rig.

However, it was only the little guys hitting it and they were having trouble getting the hooks of even the little Storm swimbaits in their mouths. So, I swapped the square bill to a Lucky Craft MR in Aurora.

That did the trick!
I proceeded to wear them out for the next hour. I had 3 streaks of catching them on 5 consecutive casts. I even managed to coax the bigger ones to start biting!

I only caught 5 of the larger ones, but I bet by best 5 went 10-11 pounds!

So, if you want to take your kids and get them hooked on fishing, you have to have a high success rate. Go find these guys and see how many you can catch! I caught about 50 in 2 hours. These guys are VERY depth dependent, so if you KNOW they are there and they aren't hitting, vary the depth. Color doesn't seem to matter as much as the depth. I usually catch them on a 7ft running crank. White works best. Keep this in mind.....they are feisty and have a lot of stickers on them. They will flat fin you, so watch out!

Also, while the kids are catching them, know that the spots normally are hanging out under them. Just to experiment, I threw a 6XD out there. First cast...2 pound spot.

Because my kids LOVE fishing, I brought some of the smaller ones home for them to play with.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Yum "Yumbrella" Alabama Rig

As EVERYONE that knows anything about bass fishing is well aware, the Alabama Rig has taken the world by storm. Paul Ellias put up incredible nnumbers on an otherwise tough week on Guntersville some months back. I know this, because I fished it those few days and it was tough. He didn't even have the fish the last day.

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A week later, every boat you saw on the water was throwing this guy:

Suddenly a lure which had been around for years and most assumed was a gimic was in short supply. I didn't rush out and get one. Quite the contrary. I laughed it off and openly wished it would be banned.

I fished with partners who used it a lot. I guess I was bad luck because I only saw one fish caught on it, despite what all the fishing reports had been saying. Yet, they sang it's praises and part of me thought it was like "The Truman Show". There was just NO WAY this thing was catching the fish everyone said it would.

So, I was at Dick's one day, and guess what...Mann's was marketing their own as was Yum. For the low low price of $29.99 you too could have one. Add on to that $5 in hooks and $10 in swim baits and you were in business! Well, it was pay day...so I bought one, opting for the Yum.

I never really threw it the first few trips. Friday before the NATA, nothing seemed to be working so I thought I would try it out. I located some suspending fish, positioned the boat, let it sink to the depth and reeled it in. BAM! They would nail it!

The next day that the NATA Open, late in the day, my partner Josh started throwing it. We culled up 3 times in less than an hour to 18.6 pounds. both of us caught multiple fish on it.

Of course, my main concern with this lure is the over all weight. If you put weighted hooks on it, it can easily get up to 3 ounces. That will wear on you.

Almost every 3rd cast you will foul it up someway. Whether the baits get tangled or even the whole lure get's wrapped up.

I cannot see how 3 ounces hitting the water doesn't drive every fish within 100 yards away. But Josh and I got to thinking about it. We think the sudden splash, plus a wad of bait swimming quickly away my simulate a feeding frenzy.

I will say this. It is a versatile bait. I have caught fish deep. I have caught fish shallow. I have bumped it off the bottom in 20 feet and I have BURNED it in 3 feet. You just have to know how they want it.

you better have at least a 7 foot med heavy. In fact, do yourself a favor and get a 7 to 7''3' X-heavy.

Throw it on NOT LESS than 50lb BRAID.

Despite my reservations, it catches fish. My only hang up is just how high the dollar per fish is with it. But you can't look at that. All fishing is, is a money put anyway.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

NATA Open on Guntersville 2/4/12

Many of you may remember my gloomy story about this from last year. Long story short, I prefished the day before the tournament last year catching a 7.2 among other nice fish only to have the boat refuse to start the next day.

I can't quite remember what it took to win last year, but I BELIEVE it was 18 pounds or so. A nice sack, don't get me wrong, but not unobtainable.

Josh and I started prefishing once a week for about 3 weeks before the tournament, and each day the fishing got harder. Our friend Bertus would also prefish with us. We concentrated mostly on deep structure, 45 degree banks and the like. But about the only thing we could catch were small scrapers and crappie.one thing in abundance were tall waves, whipping wind and cold weather!

On the second of 4 prefishing days, Bertus did land this solid fish on a XR75 in royal purple off of a 4 foot flat.

The 3rd of 4 days, Josh and I had a little fish off against Bertus and his friend Jim. After almost an entire days worth of fishing, the only thing we could come up with was one solid scrapper caught on a square bill.

While Bertus called and swore they didn't have anything, we knew that wasn't the case. When we weighed in, they produced a solid 6 pound fish with another 5 and 4 pounder to boot.

My friend TJ and I fished the day before the NATA Open, but it was the same result. I did manage to catch a fish on the Alabama Rig.

So, that wasn't a total 30 dollar waste. I was starting to wonder as Josh had thrown if for 2 weeks straight without a bump!

I did manage to hop around that day and mark some fish on drop offs.

So, Josh and I met the night before and put together a game plan. Included in this was essentially fishing only mid lake. If things got dicey, we labeled the BB Comer bridge as our "Alamo."

Boats poured in to Goosepond. But, NATA did a FABULOUS job of setting it up and we easily signed in and launched the boat.

Our first stop was a bust, so we headed to Preston Island and fished a 45 degree bank. Josh threw the Bama rig and I threw a Silent Strike King 6XD. The white bass were running bait, but we knew if there was white bass, there were large mouth to be had. Josh did catch a white bass on the Bama rig, which, to that point...made his day. We pushed on to some submerged boulders in 14 feet of water. josh had a hit but the fish let go and one SMACKED my Strike King. I assume it was the same fish. It was a solid 2.5 fish but it barely measured. But MAN was it fat. Next cast, struck the underwater boulder, caught another clone. We caught a few more short fish but couldn't get any more.

We ran into Bertus and Jim, who said they had a small limit. So we assumed it was a tough day. From the very beginning, we thought if we could just catch a limit we could do well. From the looks of it, that might actually be the case. Now we only had to CATCH those 3 more fish.

After a few more hours without luck, we headed to the Alamo, which is to say, fish shallow. We had about 1 hour until weigh in and 3 fish weighing MAYBE 7 pounds.

We pulled into a little creek channel among old lilly pad stickups and Josh smoked one on the Bama lure. It was a nice chunk. Almost on the next cast, he snagged a 4-5 pounder. I immediately picked up the Bama rig and started throwing it. we caught several more and even culled up 2-3 times! We figured we had between 18-20 pounds..which made us feel REALLY good about our chances. We just needed to find that lunker. Unfortunately, we never found him and had to run full speed back to the ramp.

Upon reaching the dock, we found that MANY people said the day had been rough.
As I got out onto the dock, a dude FELL IN THE WATER trying to get off the boat and get his truck. I mean, he ATE it. I hate to laugh at his expense, but it was one of those times when he had NO change of making it, but tried it anyway. I helped him up while we all got a good laugh. Him included.

After walking to the weigh in, we QUICKLY found out that even if HALF the boats had a tough day, there were still 30+ boats that either did ok, or owned it. In fact, the first weigh in I saw was 21 pounds and I knew we were in trouble.

We weighed in at 18.6. Bertus and Jim had around 21 with a 7 pounder. It took 29 to win it. Yes. 29 pounds. 28 pounds for second! And the boat with 28 pounds also had a 8 pound fish! Could you imagine loosing with 28 pounds and an 8 pounder! I sure can't!

So, we ended up in 15th or so. we didn't really look to see how bad it was. Bertus and Jim came in 6th.

However, I am super proud of us for adapting and overcoming. Josh carried us, really...so props to him. Sucks to loose, but we learned a little something something. When you fish tournaments with guranteed money...the local pros will beat you almost every time. I guess I didn't realize that when I fished with Uncle Tony....since he IS the local pro.