Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Bassmaster Classic on Guntersville Lake Review

Make sure to check out the Fish of 2014 Page to see how many fish I have caught, where, and on what lure!

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Well, I am in gorgeous Ogden, Utah for work. I just finished up for the day and had some spare time on my hands. Sure, I am going to hit the gym in a little while, but I figured I would tell you about my experience watching the Bassmaster Classic live and in person. It didn't really sink in until later, but Josh and I had a moment where we realized that this was the Super Bowl of fishing and we had front row seats. Literally. How fortunate were we to have the event on our home lake and have the ability to go watch it?
Now, first off, I was very skeptical of everything I had heard about records being set. I am not a good fisherman and I probably will never claim to be, but the pressure that Guntersville has been under has made it difficult on me and many others, from what I had read. I expected the weights to be very moderate and certainly not better than the local sticks who continue to bring in 30 pound sacks. But, I understand that wasn't the popular opinion, after all....everyone recalls what the last few events on this lake have produced. But, I have fished here a lot. I have read a lot. And I knew just how hard this lake has been fished leading up to the event. Fish don't usually get dumber.
I had hoped to go both Friday and Saturday but with the upcoming trip to Utah, I decided to attend on Saturday only. The weather took a turn for the worse and Friday was not terribly kind to the fisherman. I figured I dodged a bullet. The fish couldn't hold out forever and I knew these guys who figure it out eventually. My fantasy team, however, with JVD, Carden, Ashley, Monroe and Chris Lane did well, though Chris Lane, who was the man to beat I thought, absolutely struggled on a lake where he owns a home.

 I expected Saturday to be a madhouse. I had gone on record to many of my friends and said I expected there to be 1,000 boats on the water. At least. I expected the ramps to be swamped. We put in at Seibold as it seemed that most of the leaders were fishing there. The ramp wasn't very easy and we were able to quickly get in the water by 6. It was the first time I could ever remember not being able to see a boat on the water. We were able to go graph some spots for future use as well. It was tough for me to leave my rods on the deck, but I knew it was the right thing to do, etiquette and all. We were able to graph about 10 places that we plan to fish in the upcoming tournaments.

Right on time, we heard the boats come storming up from Guntersville. There were so many boats it was hard to identify who the pros were. Luckily, Bobby Lane and Iaconelli stopped just inside of Seibold within a few hundred yards of us. With Iaconelli's high entertainment value, we figured that was as good a place to start as any. Ironically, they stopped in a place that has been a good prespawn spot for me. Funny how that works, I thought. What was even funnier was that the two were within a cast distance of each other. I assume they had talked beforehand and established that they would both fish that area. But, I am not so sure. After all, Guntersville is a huge lake and I would think they would both have other places. I guess they each thought there was something worth catching and they were either willing to share or willing to compete for it. Ironically, neither caught a thing in the spot, so we moved across the creek channel to where Roumbanis was fishing. He was one of the leaders in day one and you could tell by the 50 boats following him around. While I thought most people did a fair job of being respectful, I don't think the meager 50 yards was enough. But, it was hard on the spectators as he would frequently flip 180 degrees to make a cast. And his casts were LLLOOONNNGGG. So, when in doubt, scoot back. Of course, I found ironic that the live bloggers complained about the amount and distance of the spectators, yet the boats that came the closest were media boats who would unload photographers and other media personnel directly onto the pros boat. But, hey, I guess it's ok when it's about the money. (sarcasm)

Roumbanis failed to catch a fish on the big swimbait that he was chunking, though we saw him miss several and get hung up a couple of times. Though I didn't wish getting hung up on him, it did give me a lot of insight into how he was fishing. But I think I will keep some nuggets to myself. :-)

We left him and ran upriver just a piece where we found Chris Lane fishing a shallow ledge. Josh and I chuckled when we realized that he was fishing the exact spot we had graphed just a few short hours ago. It was a spot that we caught a lot of fish during the SNUFISH Tournament a year ago. We watched him bag a short fish. After a few minutes, he picked up and left. We lost him in the crowd. Don't ask me how!

We moved down lake to the allreds area and Brownscreek, as we had read that there were a lot of fish being caught. We watched Shimizu work the ledge just off of the 431 bridge, another spot I have fished with success, notably a terrific day with Basswhacker. Shimzu bagged a short fish and he headed back to the main river towards Honeycomb.

We headed further back into Brownscreek where we found current leader Tharpe fishing a rip rap stretch. This was really the first NEW thing I had seen so far. All the other techniques and areas were things I have tried and had success with. Tharpe worked the area hard catching and culling a fish. He looked to be throwing a jerkbait and a swimbait, alternating. Then he headed out.

Just on the other side of the rip rap roadway we found John Crews, who I respect and thoroughly enjoy his products. Amazingly, he was all by himself. Not a single follow boat aside from what looked like to be some personal friends of his. He was really struggling and had resulted to throwing a shakey head on rip rap. But he found no takers. While we watched, I Tweeted. Look who responded!

Before we knew it, it was time for the pros to take out so we headed to the ramp. While they each waited for their trucks, each pro was readily available to fans. Many of them didn't wish to talk as they had had rough days on the water. I exchanged pleasantries with Iaconelli, who was obviously bothered by his turnout with under 20 pounds for his time on the water in both days. We found KVD, who also seemed to be bothered. We snapped some pictures of him but didn't bother him.

What is unique about Bassmasters is the availability of the pros (whether they like it or not) to the general public. After all, I was literally able to troll over to any of the pros as they waited to load up and talk to them. It also means that follow boats have the ability to be extremely rude, whether they realize it or not. Tharpe, for example, had boats within 10 yards of him as he fished. Some even in front of him, though not on his line. Still, too close.

I was also amazed that guys like Chris Lane, who won the Classic last year, had ZERO follow boats at time, as did Iaconelli. I never thought that would be the case, but I enjoyed it. But, they usually had no boats because they weren't catching fish. And, on the topic of Lane and other local guys like Swindle to finish in the bottom of the pack? Sure, someone HAS to finish last, but I didn't expect to find Skeet Reese, Swindle, and Lane in that pack.

That brings me to the last bit. Man, was the lake tough! We saw a grand total of 4 fish caught all day and only one keeper in the mix! There were exactly 9 boats who averaged at or above 20 pounds a day for the 3 day event. Only 5 bags over 25 pounds. Period. And, what happened to the 30 pound bags EVERYONE expected to be the norm? Exactly 1, though Howell brought in 29 and change the last day to win it. Granted, the weather was tough. I wouldn't have fished it if I had the choice. Ok, that's a lie. Weather has never stopped me, but I would have expected it. I'm sure the pros knew it was coming, too. But, it just shows that you can't hype of things too much or you will never meet or exceed the expectations. Certainly it was hard to beat the last Bassmaster event on Guntersville where you had to average 25 pounds a day for 4 days just to get a check.
I don't want anyone to struggle at fishing. That's why I started out writing this blog. I admit, however, that seeing these guys struggle did make me feel better about my own struggles. Now, I struggle because I am not any good at fishing. They struggled because the weather turned on them. Still, even the best bass fishermen in the world, with all the resources they have, and the time they spend, still can't make the fish bite all the time. And, that's important when making expectations, whether it's about the biggest event in fishing, or your next trip on the water.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tax Return Time: Best5Zach Style

Every year I have grand plans of what I am going to use my tax return to pay off. Well, this year was special because there wasn't much that needed to be paid off (except student loans, the new car....ok....anyway). So, though the plan is always to save a large portion of the return, we did divvy up some money to spend on our hobbies. My wife decided to get her hair done, a pedicure, and buy groceries....because she isn't a selfish person. I on the other hand......

Anyway, so I love Amazon, as I am sure all of you do as well. I love it so much that I have even opened my own Amazon Store to sell used text books and PowerTeam Lures. So, hint hint, if you are looking for used engineering text books or discount baits, go check it out!

One of the things I love about Amazon is that I can shop such a diverse field of items and pay shipping (wait, I don't have to pay shipping because I have Prime!). Well, at least it all shows up together. So, I just have to share what I ended up buying from Amazon. It's quite the list!

If you read my last blog post last week, you will recall that I discussed being a thrifty fisherman and buying line in bulk. Well, I got on Amazon and bought 2 different 1,000 yard spools. I do a lot of cranking. I probably have 4 rods at any one time to crank. And, I love DEEP cranking, which means light line. On a related note, I use my Jewel Bait Hound a LOT.     :-)

Additionally, I use my cranks around brush and rocks, so I opted up to the Seaguar AbrazX 10 pound. I can also use this on my shakey head rods, which I also use around heavy cover. I also bought a spool of red label 17 pound, which I will use for C-rig, T-rig, and rattle baits, but mostly for swimbaits. I spent last night using my winter down time wisely by respooling 5 different reels. Man, was it nice not to have to worry about running out in the middle of a reel!
So, that Amazon order covered fishing. What else did it cover? Well, prepping of course! While we carry a good amount of seeds for planting our garden every year, they are mostly sealed in zip-lock bags, which isn't very good for them. I wanted something that was hermetically sealed and easily transported. I had been eyeing the Survival Seed Vault from My Patriot Supply. It's $29.95 on Amazon. 100% pure heirloom, non-GMO and non-hybrid. It can plan plant a full acre with the following:

  • Blue Lake Bean Over 150 seeds
  • California Wonder Pepper Over 70 seeds
  • Scarlet Nantes Carrot Over 800 seeds
  • Marketmore Cucumber Over 150 seeds
  • Parris Island Cos Romaine Lettuce Over 900 seeds
  • Golden Acre Cabbage Over 530 seeds
  • Detroit Dark Red Beet Over 260 seeds
  • Lincoln Shell Pea Over 100 seeds
  • Lucullus Swiss Chard Over 160 seeds
  • Beefsteak Tomato Over 180 seeds
  • Champion Radish Over 320 seeds
  • Green Sprouting Broccoli Over 500 seeds
  • Waltham Butternut Winter Squash Over 100 seeds
  • Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach Over 260 seeds
  • Yellow Sweet Spanish Onion Over 145 seeds
  • Golden Bantam Sweet Corn Over 250 seeds
  • Hales Best Cantaloupe Over 70 seeds
  • Snowball Self-blanching Cauliflower Over 285 seeds
  • Black Beauty Zucchini Over 50 seeds
  • Crimson Sweet Watermelon Over 60 seeds
My plan is to save it until time to plant my garden. I will use it, judge how well the seeds do, make a product review, of course, then replace it with another each year. 

In terms of survival, I purchased a few add-in for my Bug-Out bags. I bought the eGear Survival Essentials Floating Whistle and Mirror Combo. The ability to signal was something that I had completely ignored, so I remedied that by purchasing two. One for my big Bug Out bag and one for my 24 Hour Bug Out bag. I really should have purchased one for my Automotive Survival Bag, but I'm not perfect....
My big bag already has plenty of paracord, which is an extremely useful item. But, my 24 hour bag did not, so I purchased a small roll of 550lb paracord by Rothco. There isn't much you can't do with some paracord. This is an item that is worth having around, and in good amounts. 

Now, on to what I am REALLY looking forward to! Many of you recall that I finished my first AR-15 build a few months ago. I built it from mostly Palmetto State Armory parts. These parts are their "less expensive" line of parts, though I wouldn't go so far as to call them cheap. But, I didn't want to shoot the wad and find out that I don't have the ability to build a quality gun. Fortunately, even I can assemble a decent gun!  With that in mind, I decided to step up and build a nicer firearm. I have already assembled the lower using an Anderson stripped lower and a PSA classic lower parts kit. Now it was time to finish it out with a good upper assembly and bolt and carrier group. 
For the former, I selected one of their Weekend Deals. I purchassed that 16" Premium Strikefire upper. Here are the specs:

  • 16" Barrel length
  • Chrome moly vanadium barrel
  • 5.56 Nato Chamber
  • 1 in 7" twist rate
  • Chrome-lined bore
  • HPT/MPI Barrel
  • M4 Feed ramps
  • F-Marked Front sight post
  • A2 Flash Hider
  • Sling Loop
  • Standard Hand Guards w/ heat shields
  • Forged upper receiver
  • Vortex Strikefire Red-dot optic
  • T-Marks

I finished it off with a PSA 5.56 Premium full auto bolt and carrier group. Here are the specs on it:

  • Milspec Carpenter No. 158® steel bolt
  • Shot Peened Bolt
  • High pressure tested
  • Mag particle inspected
  • Chrome Lined Carrier (AUTO)
  • Chrome Lined Gas Key
  • Gas Key Hardened to USGI Specifications
  • Gas Key Grade 8 Hardened Fasteners
  • Gas Key Staked Per Mil-Spec
  • Tool Steel Extractor
  • Extractor Spring
  • Extractor O-ring Insert

I am very excited about this new gun! I will be making a write up on it very soon!

The next items were for the blog in general. I have all but lost all of the accessories for my GoPro. Additionally, I wanted to add a second GoPro with the ability to use it for in-situ shots. So, I bought the XShot 2.0 Extender.
Additionally, I purchased a used GoPro Hero 1 with another suction cup mount kit and a pistol case to house it and all my other video stuff within. 

And, my daughter is love sick with One Direction. I don't get it....but, I am a dude. She wanted me to buy One Direction duct tape. When she first told me, I was skepticle. Why would they sell 1D duct tape? But, I looked it up on Amazon and there it was. So, if all I have to do is buy a roll of duct tape for a few bucks for her Valentine's Day...so be it! 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Thrifty Fisherman: Buying Fishing Line in Bulk

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Make sure to check out the Fish of 2014 Page to see how many fish I have caught, where, and on what lure!

Think to yourself: How much fishing line do you use in a year? That's a nebulous question, I know. Different strokes and all. People use different amounts and at different times. Some people break off a lot more than others. Some people have differing respool habits. But everyone likes to be thrifty and save money. At least everyone I know. The fact is, fishing line is the largest consumable item that you use (aside from gas). Sure, you may loose a lot of lures a year, but it isn't assured. Line breaks. Line goes bad. Line wears out. It's a fact. And, line isn't cheap. So, if it's expensive and you use a lot of it, how can you save your hard earned money?

Let's take me, for example, since I can't speak for all of you. I like to use flourocarbon on about half my stuff. I use mono on topwater. I use braid on the remaining I use 50 pound braid.  I typically don't respool my braid but maybe twice during the year. I respool most of my other reels before every major (for me) tournament. On my crankbait rods, which I use a lot, I will have to respool about 5 times a year. It isn't from breakage nearly as much as it is from abrasion due to cranking around rocks, throwing crankbaits into the wind and the associated kinks, and general use. Like I said, I throw crankbaits a lot. Additionally, I respool my spinning reels around 2-3 times a year, since I break off a good bit throwing the PTL tick-shakes. Seat of the pants guess is I use about 4,000 yards a year, give or take.

Now, to some, this is probably way too much. On the other side are the people who fish a tournament every weekend that scoff at the little use I put my rods through. But again, it's just for an example, even though I think it's fairly close to the average. I don't break off a lot. I don't have a lot of kinks. I do employ some tricks, which most of you already know. I back all my reels with old line, thus only respooling the top 100 yards at a time.

So, with that said, how else can we save money on fishing line when all the tricks run out? Let's say you are looking for a spool of Seguar Red label 10 pound line. You have several options on how to buy. You can buy at the box stores or you can buy online. Then you have the choices on how much to buy. One of these will offer you a lot of savings and the other won't.

Box stores are great for several reasons. They offer point systems and discounts. You can go get what you need Right. Now. They are nearby and usually have a pretty good selection, but their prices are often high. And, you won't know if they will have what you want in stock until you get there. On the other hand, you can buy online. Online is generally slightly cheaper and you know what is available. But, you have to pay shipping and you can't have immediate gratification. So, it's essentially off setting penalties. In both cases, you end up with a significant wastage. Never have I used a spool up and exactly filled my reel. But I digress....

A 200 yard spool of Seaguar Red Label 10 pound, as I use on my cranking rods, is $18.99 in the store. That's a price of a little less than a cent per yard. At one of the major online retailers, the cost for the same thing is $11.39, and in this case, shipping is $6.75. So, a savings of $.85 and you can't have it for several days. Now, you CAN order a bunch of stuff and manage to get free shipping on orders of $50 or more. So, there is that. In the end, it's $.08/yard. So, if I used 4,000 yards a year, I am spending $320 a year.

Obviously there isn't much savings in a 1:1 comparison of online dealers vs box stores.

How about buying in bulk? Crazy as it sounds, a lot of people still associate bulk buying with inferior products. In the case of box stores, nearly ALL of their bulk fishing line isn't good fishing line, so their reasoning may be slightly valid.  But, guess what, you CAN buy good fishing line in bulk. Even then, some people balk at the thought at dropping $100 on some fishing line in one trip to the store (online or otherwise). But, if you can get over that initial hit, you can save yourself a TON of money.

The other day, I was shopping for the aforementioned 10 pound Seagaur Red Label as well as a 17 pound version to throw my PowerTeam Lures 4.8 Swinging Hammer swimbait (it's that time of year!). I couldn't find ANY 17 pound line and the store was selling only 100 yard packs of 10 pound line at $18.99!!!! While I was smarting over it, my wife told me to just buy it on Amazon. Just scan the barcode and see what comes up. So I did. The items popped right up with all the sizes I was looking for AND the option to buy them in 200, 250, 300, or 1,000 yard spools. I rolled my eyes at the thought of buying 1,000 yards at the time. In today's shopping, there seems to be only one relationship between quantity and price, and it isn't the way you think it would be. Frequently, stores are fleecing you because you don't check the cost per unit. But, the price popped up and I didn't think it was right. For a 1,000 yards of Red Label 10 pound, you will pay $31.49 shipped (through your prime account). That's a unit price of  basically $.03/yard. So, if I use 4,000 yards a year, I am spending $120 a year on line.

So, there you have it. $200 a year in savings, just from the cost of the line. Sure, the sticker price can be shocking when you check out. But, not only is it cheaper by nearly a factor of 3, you can get exactly what you want without driving around to the box stores to find it. For the best prices on great fishing line in bulk, check out the links I have setup below! I have found both InvizX and Red Label in 1,000 spools for a great price. 

Snowmagedon 2014

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Every time a winter storm is on the horizon, I am always SOOOO excited. And then it gets here. And stays for 3 days.

Well, if you are from 'round these parts, you know that 2 of the 3 days weren't worth taking off of work. And those 2 days were painful. Every time the winter weather was poised to shut down the south, we waited. And waited. Man, did that make for some looonnngggg days.

I think I am now caught up on movies, thanks to Redbox. Alyse made the comment that we saved money on gas, but spent it all on movies! Here is Griffin and I watching "All is Lost"

But the snow finally arrived late Wednessday night! Even though it was cold and dark, Alyse and Aubree couldn't help themselves and made a snowman. She later tweeted the pic out, which cbrought a large following. I wonder why...

We braved the roads and drove the few miles to my family land, set on a small mountain side, to get some sledding in!

Growing up, my grandfather relished the snow, more importantly, sledding. It's probably because he never got to enjoy it as a kid, growing up in very rural Tennessee. I am sure those days were spent working extra hard to ensure livestock stayed fed and the human tenders stayed warm!

He was so excited that he called us early Thursday morning to see if we would come. He called 30 minutes later to see where we were!

We took turns sledding and riding on the back of a 50s era Buick hood pulled behind the 4-wheeler!

Check out the vid! And the pic of me making the vid!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Not-So-Pro-Tip: Never Give Up After a Hit&Miss

Make sure to check out the Fish of 2014 Page to see how many fish I have caught, where, and on what lure!

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  I've said it many times already: I didn't catch nearly as many fish last year as I had in previous years. Nor did I catch as big of fish as I had in previous years, but last year was still a year of massive growth for me as an amateur angler. I had said in my 2013 New Year's Resolutions that a few of my goals included learning how to not get skunked and getting better with finesse fishing. I did well with both of those, but along the way I learned a few valuable lessons. Now, this won't be earth shattering info to most anyone, but maybe someone out there can be helped with what I am about to say.

Growing up, I fished with my granddad a lot. One of his sayings was "Never give up on a cast:" What he meant was, even if you don't place the lure or present it just how YOU thought it should be, doesn't mean the fish isn't there and doesn't like what it sees. As a child, I was always trying to make impossible casts under limbs and in other tight places. And why not? That's where the fish was! Right? Well, it didn't always go where I wanted it and many times I would haul water and cast again. And granddad would say "never give up on a cast. Play every cast."

Now, the tip that I am giving you today isn't about cast placement. That line has multiple meanings and I am going to tell you about one that has served me well this year.

As I have mentioned before, I dedicated a lot of time this year to throwing a shakey head. Normally after a miss, I would haul water and cast it back to either the original splash point or to where I thought the hit came from. Almost never would I get a follow on bite. But one day on Lake Tuscaloosa I was becoming very frustrated with hits that I was not connecting on. I was throwing the PowerTeam Lures Sick Stick, which has been a confidence bait, mostly because the fish love it (or hate it). They never seem to let go of it, but not this day. After one particular hit that I didn't hook up on, I dropped my hands to my side and took a sigh of desperation. When I lifted the rod tip up, I felt it quiver with a bite. I sank the hook and hauled aboard the fish.

That got me thinking. Was that luck or had I just learned something? We forget that when we get bites, chances are it wasn't because we placed it on the fishes head, but because it attracted the fishes attention who either bite it immediately, or more than likely followed it a few seconds before biting. So, when we make follow on casts, why would we cast back to where the fish HAD been? After all, we had caused the fish to either follow the bait away from where it had been and/or move the fish by trying to set the hook.

And after I thought about that, I thought about it a little deeper. When we miss a hook up, we just drag it away as fast as we can from the fish? What if the fish is committed to eating it? Obviously it was interested to bite once, and if it was willing to commit the time the first go round, it would probably be likely to be invested enough to stick with it and bite again. So, maybe after a miss, instead of hauling water and making a low probability cast to where we think the fish is, maybe we should just let the bait settle back.

So, from then on, when I missed a hit on the shakey head, I would just drop the rod tip, let the bait settle back down, and see who would come calling. Believe it or not, I would pick up a second bite about half the time. And, it makes sense. Just like we speculated a few minutes ago, these fish have time and effort devoted to eating your bait. Just because it got away once doesn't mean the fish will just give up. Quite the opposite, they are now devoted to eating that bait. It would serve us wisely to give them the opportunity rather than hauling water and speeding the bait away from them.

After I was able to train myself to do this, I started applying it to other techniques. I have found it absolutely deadly on topwater on anything from walk the dog baits to hollow frogs. Rather than jerking the bait back at you as hard as you can, reeling it all the way in and casting to the same blow up hole....just wait.

You have already learned to wait until the fish pulls back before you set the hook on topwater. So, if it doesn't pull back, just let it sit. Twitch it a few times. See what happens. I bet you will find that you have a lot more success at follow up hits this way than to send that frog skittering across the grass before you try and make a second cast. In the video, you will see me use the same rationale on the PTL Hammer Shad. I was twitching it, had a hit, but didn't set the hook. I reeled the line back in, but at the last second I noticed the fish swimming right along with it. I hit the breaks and the fish gobbled it!

In conclusion, your chances of getting a second hit on the first cast are much greater than a second hit on a second cast. On the first cast, you still have a lot of things going for you. You already have the fishes attention. You are already around the fish. And you probably have it ticked off. By reeling in the miss for another cast, you are eliminating nearly all of your advantages. So, after a miss, let the bait settle and see if the fish comes right back. I bet it will.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Best5Fish of 2013

Make sure to check out the Fish of 2014 Page to see how many fish I have caught, where, and on what lure!

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2013 was a.....different....year for fishing. I didn't catch any massive pigs, but I did learn a lot. I didn't get stumped much and I was able to drastically improve my repertoire. Along the way, I managed to get some good fish on video.

So go watch the vid.

Ok, so did you watch it? No, these aren't the biggest fish I caught all year, but they were the biggest I caught on video, along with help from some friends. Let me tell you trying to fish AND video isn't easy, as I learned this year. I videoed my very first catch way back in January, though it wasn't I that actually did the catching. It's right below.

And every since then, I have tried to get as much as I could on video, which you can find on my YouTube Channel

So, next time you criticize someone's fishing video for lack of fish or lack of size...whatever...realize that there is a TON of luck and a LOT of work to catching it live.  Anyway, I managed to get some great shots (I think) of some quality fish.

They aren't my favorites, which I will be posting later. I have some great bloopers and what not.

Anyway, here they are! Let me know what you think!

Fish 1: Josh's Flippin Fish
Josh has been semi successful with flipping where as I have yet to catch a decent fish flipping. We took this afternoon fishing trip the day before we left for Family Vacation 2013. We had only been fishing a few minutes, both of us dedicated to flipping grass, when he had a backlash. When he picked it out, this monster was waiting for him.

Fish 2: The 32 Pound Kicker
On what was easily the best day of the year, some friends and I were fishing Bama rigs around causeways. I was in the back videoing two other people and the bites were far and few in between for me. We had 4 solid fish including a couple of 7s. But, we needed one more 5+ fish to bust the 30 pound barrier. I was throwing the PowerTeam Lures 4.8" Swinging Hammer on a lead head against rip rap in 20 feet. I dredged up this nice fish, which was actually the smallest of the best 5 fish we caught that day.

Fish 3: Gator Bite
The day before the SNUFISH Tournament, John and I put together a SOLID 20 pound bag, but we were missing a kicker. We had given up and were actually on our way to troll into the ramp when I made a few casts with the PowerTeam Lures Gator. This bad boy CHOKED the gator and put us over 25 pounds for the day. It was my last cast of the day after catching a lot of quality fish.

The very next day in the very same spot I caught Gator Bite, I was again throwing the PTL Gator. On one of the first casts of the day, I stuck this 6.25 pound beast which gave me a heck of a fight. It is, to date, the biggest fish I have caught during a tournament.

Fish 5: Sammy
On perhaps my best over all day, I caught this toad on a Luck Craft top water bait. I bet I caught 50 fish that day between this trip with John and meeting up with BassWhacker later on. This guy ate the entire bait after smashing it. After this fish, I fished with Basswhacker where I learned how to ledge fish.