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Smallmouth Bass Fishing » Fishing Rods http://www.smallmouths.com A Guide to Smallmouth Bass Fishing
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Fri, 19 Sep 2014 19:22:49 +0000
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Gear Review 2013
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Mon, 15 Jul 2013 16:17:02 +0000
Matt http://www.smallmouths.com/?p=632 By Bill Schultz

I’m picky and try to always use the best products for whatever type of fishing I’m doing. “Best” doesn’t always mean most expensive. I have a few products I’m going to give you my “quick” thoughts about in this article. As always, I hope the article is helpful and you find a product or two, or three. Hopefully it will help you whether in your boat, kayak, wading or just sitting on the shore. Let’s get off on the “right” foot with this article and start with a couple quite different, but great water shoes.

SperryTop-Sider SON-R Sounder Shandal

I spotted the Sperry SON-R Shandal at Canoecopia 2012 and it looked like the perfect kayak shoe. I wore it during most of my outings last year and it truly is a great kayak shoe. The outsole features metatarsal pods for improved sensory “feel” no matter the surface I was on. The hydro-grip rubber provides excellent traction and stability pulling a kayak over slippery rocks or transporting it from car to water. Also, the outsole is thick to protect when stepping on sharp rocks, flexible and has a great toecap for even more protection. Once out of the water, the internal drainage takes care of excess water. The breathable hydrophobic mess dries quickly, is cool on hot days, and has an anti-microbial lining to minimize odor. You should take a look at this outstanding, state-of-the-art, water shoe for your kayak activities. Even though designed for water, the SON-R is very versatile and is great for a variety of casual outdoor activities. www.sperrytopsider.com - $90

Keen Newport H2

keens

My wife has been a huge fan of the Keen hiking shoes for quite a few years and encouraged me to give them a try. I did, and also find the hiking shoes tremendously comfortable and supportive. With that in mind, I wanted to give their Newport H2 a try for my kayak fishing and boat fishing. I have the Newport H2 in black, as does my wife, and we both love the look. The cushion and comfort of the sole is truly remarkable. The H2 goes from water to trail with ease, which I’ve done a number of times. I like the open design, which facilitates flushing sand from between my foot and the shoe easily once in my kayak. As comfortable as this shoe is, I’ve worn for a variety of other activities and even where with socks at times. The Keen H2 is an excellent all-around sandal that you won’t be disappointed in. www.keen.com - $100

Coyote Eyewear Polarized Bifocal Readers

bifocalsunglasses

I wear bifocals or use readers. I also fish clear or mostly clear waters, so polarized sunglasses are essential in spotting structure and fish. The Coyote USA Polarized Readers are one of the best items I’ve used in recent years. Since first putting a pair on, I can count close to 250 days on the water with them. The Coyote readers feature impact resistant, class one, polycarbonate polarized lenses that are non-glare, come in gray or brown and bi-focal power of +1.5, +2.0 or +2.5. I no longer waste time taking sunglasses off and finding my readers when unhooking a fish or changing a lure. If you need readers, the Coyote Polarized Readers are a must have tool for your fishing, and all your sunglass needs. If you don’t need readers, check out all the Coyote polarized styles. www.coyoteusa.com - $80

Frabill Power Stow Nets

frabillnetI don’t always use a net, but when I do it’s always been a Frabill. I’m now using the impressive Power Stow Nets for both my kayak and boat fishing. For kayak fishing I use the Power Stow 3704. This net is a perfect kayak net with a hoop size of 14’ by 18” and 14” depth. The handle is 22”, so the entire net is 40” and fits perfectly in a flush rod mount behind the seat, in a rod tube on your crate or on the floor of your kayak. The Power Stow is lightweight, and important for kayak fishing, folds to 8” by 26” when not in use. If you’re chasing bigger critters, the 3706 has a 20” by 24” hoop and 21” depth. This version has a 36” handle and folds to 10” by 39”. After years of using Frabill nets, I trust the quality of their nets. www.frabill.com $44.99-$54.99

“Original” BogaGrip 15 Pound Gripper-Style Scale

boga

OK, we all know fishermen are known for adding a little length and weight the big one. Me, I have a pension for accuracy. Back in the late 90’s I caught a smallmouth bass that measured 19 7/8 inches and I never said I caught a 20 incher, until I actually did. That being said, over the years I’ve always tested my digital scales for accuracy. There are some very nice gripper style digital scales out there, but I’d heard about the accuracy and toughness of the “Original” BogaGrip and needed to get one, which I did a couple years ago. I have the BogaGrip 15 Pound gripper style scale and feel totally comfortable with the weight I’m seeing for those big smallies I like to catch. In fact, if you catch a monster, you can send you BogaGrip to the IGFA to have it certified as a world-record. BogaGrips have over 2,400 IGFA world records to their credit. This great, and very accurate, scale is made of stainless steel and high-performance black acetal thermoplastic. These tough and resilient materials makes the BogaGrip very strong and resistant to conditions encountered while fishing in fresh or saltwater. I like the fact that the 15 pounder is very compact and like the fact, that unlike other gripper scales, the weight of the fish causes the prongs to shut even tighter. The swivel motion eliminates torque from a spinning fish and the importantly the shock absorber dampens a fish’s attempt to get free. Check out a dealer from the web site at www.eastabogatackle.com $124.95

Lines I Love!

superlines2013

In recent years, all I can say about some of the new lines is, Wow! I’m picky and demand a great deal from the lines I use. I’m typically fishing with reels that are rated for 100 to 135 yards of 6# mono line. For my smallie fishing, to get extra- long casts, I’m using braid/superline that has an equivalent to mono diameter of 2 or 3 pounds. When I spool the lines I use a mono backing, which allows me to put less of the more expensive braid/superline on the reel. I am using an 8 to 10 pound fluorocarbon leader because I mostly fish waters that are reasonably to super clear. All the lines I’m discussing handle the fluorocarbon leader perfectly using a uni to uni knot. As we get older, our eyesight isn’t quite as good, so I also want a line that I can see. I also want lines that are very easy to work with. I’d like to recommend four lines that I’ve put many hours on and have had great luck with.

Power Pro Super 8 Slick

This is a super smooth and extremely quiet line that casts forever. Unlike regular Power Pro, that has a slightly rough reel that makes noise coming through the guides, this line is made from 8 yarn Spectra, rather than 4. It is dental floss smooth, which enhances casting distance and just as strong as regular Power Pro, coming in 10 to 80 pound test. I’ve been using the 10 pound test, two pound equivalent diameter and especially love it in the Hi-Vis Yellow, but have also used it in Aqua Green, which, for me, is a little less visible. You’ll love this line!

www.powerpro.com - $19.99 for 150 yd. spool

Daiwa Samurai

This too is made from more strands of Spectra fiber and also is phenomenally smooth with an extra small diameter to pound test. I’ve been using Samurai for three years and love this line. The 15 pound test I’ve been using in Hi-Vis Yellow has an equivalent to mono diameter of 2.5 pounds. Samurai is a little more expensive than the other lines due to the fact that it is manufactured in Japan. I have nothing but positive things to say about Daiwa Samurai! www.daiwa.com - $27.95-$44.95 (higher pound test, less cost)

Berkley Nanofil

Here’s a line that has created a good deal of buzz over the past two years, and for good reason. I’ve been using the 8 and 10 pound test since early in 2011. In talking to the Berkley PR firm, I wondered if I was the first guy to catch a 6 pound smallie with the 8 pound. Who knows, but maybe? The Nanofil I use is Clear Mist, which makes it easy to see. It also comes in hi-vis chartreuse and low-vis green. It is made of gel-spun polyethylenel. Much like superline, this ultimate spinning reel fishing line consists of hundreds of Dyneema nano filaments. I am told that Dyneema is the world’s strongest fiber. I can’t argue with the casting distance and the sensitivity is really something. It has an extra slick feel and using the Polymer note, as I do, was told to make one more loop before tightening, which has work great for me. Give Nanofil a try and you’ll be just as please as I am. www.berkley-fishing.com - $19.95 150 yd. spool

Berkley Tracer Braid

This is a traditional braid that is possibly a little smoother than others. But, what I really like about Tracer Braid is the alternating high-vis and low-vis colors. These are each 2.5’ and make this line extremely easy to see. I have been using both the 8/2 and 10/3 with nothing but great things to say. For those of you who like traditional braids, that you can “see”, you’ll love Berkley Tracer Braid! www.berkley-fishing.com - $17.99 for 110 yd. spool

RAM Mounting Systems and in particular the camera mount

When rigging a boat or kayak, is there anything better for electronics, trolling motor support or even cameras than the products in the RAM line-up? The answer is “no”. On my Crestliner 1750 Fish Hawk my dashboard and bow locators are both on RAM Mounts and when I’m running on the water, my 60” shaft Minkotta iPilot is secured with a RAM Mount. I fish alone most of the time, which makes it tough to get video and pictures. Well, a couple of years ago I got the RAM Camera Mount with suction base and was off to the races. First, the camera base screws into any camera just like a tripod base would. And, the remarkable thing is I can affix this to my windshield with the suction mount. I’m ready for video and still photos. I know that your question is does the suction give out and come off? The answer is a resounding “no”. In May and June I’m on the big waters of Lake Michigan in Door County, Wisconsin and have made runs over very rough water with the mount affixed to my windshield. No problem. Great product line top to bottom! www.ram-mounts.com - $39.00

YakAttack PanFish and PanFish Portrait Camera Poles

panfishpole

I told you how I handle those photos and videos when I’m alone in my boat. But, what about all that kayak fishing I do, and again, alone. Picture and video problem solved with the YakAttack PanFish and PanFish Potrait Camera Poles. The Portrait is 6” tall and takes the RAM Camera Mount. It is designed for mounting with the YakAttack GearTrac or kayak mounting systems, like the Wilderness Systems Side Trax System. It’s designed for mounting in front of the paddler and is low-profile to be out of the way during the fight, but handy for the trophy photo or reverse angle videos. The PanFish Camera Pole is 28” is also designed to fit the GearTrac or other kayak track systems. This longer pole is designed for over-the-shoulder video with lightweight cameras. The picture of my kayak has the Kodak Play Sport attached. The PanFish features a split mast design with adjustable friction disks that allow quick and easy horizontal planning and works great with the RAM Camera Mount. Both these products are outstanding and take care of those of us who want photos and video, but are out alone most of the time. Hey, wouldn’t it be nice if we all had our own photographer? The PanFish and PanFish Portrait are much more reasonable. www.yakattack.us – PanFish, $44-$65, PanFish Portrait, $35-$55 (more with RAM Camera Mount and Mounting Hardware)

Harken Hoister

kayaklift

I have a good sized garage, but, like most garages, it gets crowed very easily. So, any space savings is a huge bonus. Last fall I installed the Harken Hoister, putting one of my Wilderness Systems Tarpon 160 kayaks out of the way with a system that lifts it to the rafters. And, the bonus is, how easily I can lower it to my Malone MicroSport Trailer or Malone Car Racks on my Subaru Outback. Harken’s World Headquarters are on the way to one of my favorite kayak fishing lakes west of Milwaukee. Known for world-class sailing hardware, the Hoister is a great product for any kayaker. It’s designed for one-person operation, and raises and lowers with a single control rope. A patented design lifts and lowers evenly, regardless of weight distribution. The self-locking safety cleat grips instantly if the rope accidentally released. And, as you’d expect from Harken, the hardware is stainless steel, with double core rope for strength, durability and long life. I followed the directions to the letter and it was really quite easy to install, and once installed, it was obvious I needed this great product. I will be installing a second very soon. www.harken.com - $109.95 - $159.95, depending on length and weight of kayak

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“Re-engineered” St. Croix Legend Tournament Rod Series
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http://www.smallmouths.com/2012/09/%e2%80%9cre-engineered%e2%80%9d-st-croix-legend-tournament-rod-series/
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Tue, 11 Sep 2012 11:55:51 +0000
Matt http://www.smallmouths.com/?p=621 I’m not on any Pro Staffs for the reels that I review, but I need to give the disclaimer that I have been on the St. Croix Pro Staff for 14 years. I know many of you probably love using St. Croix rods and I can tell you those of us from Wisconsin love that St. Croix calls “up north” Wisconsin home.

I consider myself fortunate to have been fishing with St. Croix rods for years and in more recent years have spent a great deal of time with the Legend Xtremes and Elites. But, after learning about some of the upgrades on the re-engineered Legend Tournament, I thought I’d give them a try this year. I’ve been so pleased I thought I’d give you my thoughts. The first incarnation of the Legend Tournaments were very nice rods, but for me they were a little heavier than I liked, so when I learned that this re-engineering series was going to be lighter, I took note and decided to give them another try. Also, as some of you know I fish Kalin’s Lunker Grubs on 3/32 and 1/16 ounce jigs and for 2010 and 2011 had been using the 8’ medium-light with telescoping handle to get extra distance on the Kalin’s presentation. It threw the Kalin’s a mile, but at 4.6 ounces just felt too heavy. I actually liked it better sitting in my Wilderness Systems kayaks than standing in the Crestliner Fish Hawk. Last winter when reviewing the rods and the “new” weights, I saw that the 8’ medium-light was changed to a 2-piece with a much reduce weight of 3.8 ounces. I ordered two and have fished this model ton since May 6th. And, as noted in the reel review portion of this article, this rod is now my favorite Kalin’s rod, casting this lure a mile with plenty of backbone for big smallies. For you kayak guys, it’s a “great” kayak rod with the length for long casts and leverage needed while sitting and fishing.

stcroixrods

In the review on the WaveSpin reel I talk about wind knots, something we have all dealt with when using small diameter braid/superline. Well, with over all or part of 40 days on the water with the Legend Tournament rods that I have, no wind knots. Is this due to the “new” Fuji K Series tangle-free guides? I think it is. Also, along with St. Croix’s ART and IPC technology, this series now comes with NSi, which stands for Nano Silica resin. This 3M product makes the rods stronger and more durable. You’ll also note a very innovative new reel seat from Fuji for the re-engineered Legend Tournaments. I really like it because it puts your thumb and forefinger right at the point of the blank entering the handle for increase touch and sensitivity, along with being comfortable during hours of fishing. I’ve also been fishing the 7’6” medium-light, 7’6” medium and 7’ light action, along with a couple of the baitcast models. The Legend Tournament Series comes in both Bass and Walleye versions with great pricing from $230 to $270 for a high-end rod with tons of great features.

So, even though I’m still enjoying my Legend Xtreme and Elite rods, I’m now spending more time with the Legend Tournament series, which I highly recommend. Definitely a wish list item. www.stcroixrods.com

By Bill Schultz

]]>

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Six Great Rods Under $100
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http://www.smallmouths.com/2010/03/six-great-rods-under-100/
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http://www.smallmouths.com/2010/03/six-great-rods-under-100/#comments

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Fri, 05 Mar 2010 20:02:48 +0000
Matt http://www.smallmouths.com/?p=371 2010 is the year of the “under $100″  rods.  Rod manufacturers knew they needed to provide as much value as possible in a rod and they decided to step up to the plate and make some great performing rods for relatively low cost. Almost every rod manufacturer now offers a “performance” rod under or close to $100. Many of these are built on IM-6 type blanks. They try to keep weight low by using less cork, EVA foam and lighter weight components than they normally use. A split grip rod not only looks great but is also more sensitive and needs less material which keeps the cost lower.

Here are our six picks for best new rods under $100

Abu Garcia Vendetta

vendetta

The Vendetta is “factory balanced” to balance with the Revo and Soron reels. It features at Fuji Soft Touch reel seat, Pac Bay zirconium guides and EVA foam grip. Priced at $79.95 and $89.95.

St Croix Mojo Bass

mojobass

The Mojo is built on a SC-II graphite blank and features Fuji ECS reel seat, split grip & Batson Forecast guides. It is available  in technique specific models and comes with a 5 year warranty.

Lamiglas Excel

lamiglass-_excel

The Lamiglas Excel is entirely made and built in the USA.  These are rumored to use the same blank as the higher priced Certified Pro models. They feature Fuji exposed blank reel seats and split grips. Many of the models are in the $150 MSRP range, but pricing for the series starts at $99.95.

Wright & McGill Skeet Reese Signature Series Tessera

skeetreese

These rods, design by Skeet Reese, feature “S-Curve” blank construction for superior strength, lifting power, sensitivity and weight reduction. They have a split grip, large fighting butt, molded rubber handles and zirconium guides. Priced at $89.99.

Falcon BuCoo

bucoo

The Falcon BuCoo uses blanks made in the USA , feature exposed blank reel seats, Fuji Hardloy guides, split grips and use EVA lightweight foam. These rods weigh in at under 4 oz. which is pretty amazing for a sub $100 rod. Pricing starts at $99.99.

Temple Fork Outfitters Gary Loomis Signature Series

tfo_loomis

TFO’s Gary Loomis Signature rods are color coded by power for easy identification. All of the rods in the series are fast action.  They feature split grips and SIC guides.  Priced at $99.95.

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