About a year and a half ago I was in the local Dick’s Sporting Goods store, looking at baitcasting combos. I knew I needed a new one, but wanted to keep it fairly reasonable in price. And I wanted something very specific.
I like to fish a specific type of soft plastic bait from early spring through late fall. It’s a craw bait that I’ve caught a ton of big bass on during the last 5+ years. It resembles the Sweet Beaver, but it’s actually made by another company.
The rod I was looking for would need to be a medium heavy, between 6′ 10″ and 7′, with a fast tip (but not too fast) to use with this particular bait.
I didn’t want it to be too stiff. I fish the Beaver knockoff on 17 lb. fluorocarbon, usually with a 3/16 oz. bullet weight, unpegged. Because of the light weight of the bait and bullet weight, a rod with too stiff a tip would give me grief with casting accuracy and lack of sensitivity. So it had to be just right.
I Tried an Abu Garcia Combo First
I had previously tried ordering an Abu Garcia Pro Max combo from Amazon, in the 7 ft. MH version. And while it was a decent setup for the money, the rod was too stiff for my liking (for that specific bait) and made it a real pain (more…)
A couple years ago I sold all of my Shimano Curado reels and replaced them all with Abu Garcia Pro max 3 reels. I had very specific reasons for doing this, which I won’t get into in this review. But suffice it to say that my Curados had one little nagging problem that drove me nuts from time to time.
So I sold them all. Every last one of them. And replaced those metallic green reels with all of these shiny black ones.
I originally learned of the Abu Garcia Pro Max reels a few years ago when a member of my Northeastbass.com forums mentioned that he had bought one and found it to be a good reel for the money.
I remembered his comments and ended up buying a couple of the Pro Max 2 reels. I ended up liking them quite a bit. And I actually wrote a Pro Max 2 review. Feel free to check it out if you’d like to 🙂
Fast forward a couple years and you’ll find me in the situation I mentioned above, selling off all of my Curados to buy these new reels.
So here it is almost 2 years later, and I’ve had a chance to fish with the Pro Max 3 reels a lot. I’ve used them for (more…)
Why? Because I finally found a bag that’s worth the time and effort required to write this!
You know the drill when it comes to weigh-in bags. Buy one for way too much money and then hold your breath every time you use it, hoping it won’t spring a leak.
It happens over and over again. I know from experience! I can’t even count the number of different weigh-in bags I’ve gone through over the last 30 years. Trust me. The number is high!
Some of them were inexpensive. Some were not. But they all had one thing in common. They all leaked after a while. And when you add up how much you’ve spent over the years on weigh-in bags, it gets pretty expensive after a while.
Some of the previous weigh-in bags I’ve bought and used looked like (more…)
I spent some time reading through the specs and the reviews. And I have to say that I was impressed.
Before I was impressed, though, I was skeptical. There was no way this reel could be legit, especially with those features at that price point.
But I kept reading and digging. And before long I started to see that maybe this wasn’t a fluke. And maybe, just maybe it wasn’t too good to be true.
Could a sub-$40 reel really be this good?
Check out these specs for yourself and you’ll see why I was impressed.
See what I mean? Those specs are impressive in any price range. But here’s the kicker. Even with all of those incredible features, this real is priced at an incredible $36.98 on Amazon.com!
I know what you’re thinking right about now; Great… another piece of Chinese junk (more…)
I didn’t stick to those two brands because I thought Shimano and Abu Garcia reels were the only good reels on the market. It was more that I liked the products that I bought and didn’t feel the need to step outside that little box. You know… my comfort zone.
But, during all of those years I heard some very good things about a small number of other reels. Lew’s was one of those names that I kept hearing, over and over.
I heard it so much that I kept getting this nagging feeling that I was missing something, and that I needed to buy one of their products and try it. But I kept putting it off for a couple reasons.
One reason was that I was just used to the reels that I had. The other reason was/is that I am a budget-minded angler. I didn’t want to buy something that wasn’t a necessity. And so it went, for many years.
Spinnerbaits have been around for a long time. Not much about them has changed over the last few decades. But I found some spinnerbaits recently that caught my eye due to their unique design. And I bought some of them so I could try them out and write a review on them. Sit back and read what I had to say about these new baits from Bait School Baits.
Let’s start out with how and where I found these new baits.
With the explosion of social media the last few years, a lot of great new independent tackle makers have sprung up, literally across the globe. They can be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to name a few places.
I happened to find this tackle maker on Facebook. I don’t recall exactly how I found him, but I guess that really doesn’t matter now, does it?
Travis Cheeseman is the man behind these new baits. Travis is from Indiana, where he builds baits, chases bass, hunts turkeys and also tinkers with hot rods. He’s a busy guy!
I contacted Travis immediately when I first saw these spinnerbaits and (more…)
We thought it was about time someone did a Balaclava SA Face Shield Review. After all, the balaclava has become a pretty standard piece of fishing apparel for thousands upon thousands of anglers worldwide.
Maybe you’re asking “what the heck is a balaclava?”. Good question!
A balaclava is one of those stretchy things that you can wear to cover your face and neck during cold weather or hot weather. In colder climates, it provides protection from the cold and wind. In warmer climates, it provides protection from the sun, preventing sunburn.
They’ve become wildly popular during the last year or two. Pro anglers and amateurs alike are wearing them for protection from the elements. Some people even use them to keep pollen out of their face during the spring season. And even mosquitos can be kept at bay if they’re biting your exposed skin.
And, yes, they can even be stylish if you want them to be. These stretchy face shields can be used in dozens of ways besides covering your face. I actually wear mine to cover my neck when the weather starts to turn cool. And if it gets too cold, I just slip it up over my mouth and nose and have instant relief from the cold.
One of the things I noticed is that (more…)
Unless you live in the extreme south, where cold weather never really stays around for very long, you should own a set of good rain and foul weather gear. Today, We’re going to be doing a Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier Rain Gear review.
Good foul weather gear can mean the difference between going fishing, or staying home. Or it can mean the difference between spending a miserable day on the water, shivering your butt off, or fishing comfortably and ignoring the weather.
There’s more to rain gear than meets the eye. Too many times, people buy bargain-priced foul weather gear and hate every minute of wearing it when rain and cold weather come along. I know this from experience because I made the same mistake many years ago.
I like fluorocarbon fishing line. I really like it for specific applications. It’s strong, tough and sensitive. To me, it’s the best line for fishing with soft plastics, jigs and other baits that require more sensitivity to detect subtle bites. I fish it confidently in brush piles, weed mats and rock cover, with no fear of it failing when I set the hook and fight a big fish out of heavy cover.
Well, let me clarify that. I have confidence in some fluorocarbon lines. But Vicious Fishing’s 100% fluorocarbon line isn’t one of them. Stick with me for the next few minutes and I’ll tell you why I would make a statement like that.
Now, before I go further, I know some of you are probably wondering why I use fluorocarbon line for fishing heavy cover, instead of braid. That’s a good question!
Way back in the 1990s, when braid first hit the market, I tried several of them. They were OK, but (more…)
I like a bargain just as much as the next person. I’m not a tightwad, but I don’t like spending money unnecessarily. That’s especially true with expendable things, like soft plastic fishing lures.
So this Tackle Test will be done on a generic soft plastic bait that I found a few years ago. I’ve been using them steadily and increasingly since then. And let me tell you that they flat out catch fish!
The Salty B-Bug is basically a knockoff of the popular Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver. But they’re available at a fraction of the price of the Beaver or other similar craw style soft plastic baits. And the best part is that paying less doesn’t mean getting less for your money. Not at all.
Quite the opposite, actually. Because you get more baits per dollar, and they work just as well as the brand name baits of the same design.
So let’s get down to the nitty gritty and (more…)