With Santa hours away from climbing down chimneys and dropping off everyone’s wish list, I thought of a list of things that I would like to see under my tree come tomorrow morning. Of course there’s always the essentials like boxers, socks and long underwear, but I’m talking the real stuff, tackle, rods and reels!
A lot of tackle companies are gearing up for 2011 and are already starting to advertise and release some of their new product lines. I made a list of some notables that I’d like to get my hands on as well as things that are essential come the start of the 2011 tournament season.
First things first, I’d really like to open a box, a very large box I might add, chuck full of Trokar Hooks and Tru Tungsten Weights. This is one of those gifts that no one really loves to buy but every serious fisherman wants a garage full of them. They’re not the most glamorous side of tackle but in my opinion they’re the most important. Sure fancy crankbaits and high speed reels or ultra sensitive rods are more fun but the nuts and bolts of my fishing is what puts weight in my livewells and these two products are the cats booty when it comes to putting together tournament winning sacks. Out of all my tackle in my boat, Tru Tungsten Weights and Trokar Hooks are by far my most relied on, with only a slight exception….
That brings me to my most favorite lure, the one bait that is most responsible for the vast majority of my BIG fish and my even BIGGER paychecks, the jig. There is no better bait available to suit my fishing style. I LOVE FISHING WITH JIGS! Big or small, deep football jigs, finesse style, skipping boat docks, stroking the milfoil or swimming through the tullies, it really doesn’t matter. As long as I have a jig in my hand, I’m confident and we all know that confidence equals success. Like I’ve said before, if I can start any given tournament with 3 or 4 jig rods scattered across my deck and that’s the bite that day, I will be a tough one to beat. The jig gives me my swag.
With that being said, I’ve found myself at a not so appreciated cross road when it comes to which jigs I throw. Anyone who has been seriously fishing long enough knows the feeling of becoming dependent on a bait and then the company changes it or goes out of business and you can no longer get what you’ve come to covet. It sucks, plain and simple. With this said though, I’ve spent endless hours trying to find what I consider to be the cream of the crop in this department, so if Santa has got a in with Tackle Warehouse or Capra Outdoors, hopefully there will be a large and very heavy box of these come tomorrow morning.
Football Jigs – I love me some Picasso Football Jigs (1/2 oz. to 1 oz.). The only modification I make is adding a double tail grub, hand tying a skirt and adding a rattle. The nuts and bolts of this jig is unmatched.
Work Jigs – This is my favorite style of jigs. Whether I’m skipping boat docks or pitching laydowns, this style jig is my work horse and because of this I am ridiculously picky on what jig I use. For this style jig I really only use 3/8 oz. to 1/2 oz. and I want a hand tied skirt basically because I don’t want to foul a cast when I skip the jig. The more efficient I can be on the water, the more successful I will be and fouling casts is just not going to be acceptable. I also need a jig that comes in the colors that I like and that comes equipped with a stout hook. I’m always looking for better but I think I’ve found the best, Shooter Elite Series Jigs. These awesome hand fashioned jigs come with all the qualities I listed above but are also handmade.
Flippin’ Jigs – Again I’ve tried them all but am extremely happy with what I’ve found out of the Strike King Hack Attack Jig. For this I usually lean towards 3/4 oz. and 1 oz. and the fact that they come equipped with a 6/0 tuna hook. Enough said.
Finesse Jigs – Always have been, always will be Jewel Finesse Jigs. I also like their football jigs too.
Swim Jigs – This category I’m a bit spoiled in because the best two companies are somewhat local. Up here on the Mighty Mississippi, we swim jigs a lot and who better to buy from then the experts. I use two kinds, Super K and Brovarney. Super K offers a 5/0 wide gap hook where as Brovarney is a standard 4/0, not better just different and I depend on both given certain situations. Both companies make awesome colors.
Last year was a good year for me, being that I was known as a jig fisherman I secretly started relying on crankbaits as a go to. With that said, I really hope Santa has connections in Japan because if I don’t get a giant box fully loaded with Biovex Deep Runner Crankbaits, I’m screwed next year. This bait simply catches fish and big ones at that. Newly designed and added to an already deadly lineup, Biovex upped the ante when it comes to deep running cranks. In fact, I am so addicted to throwing these baits that I had to add a whole new set up to my repertoire.
This leads me to my next must have and hopefully I’ve been good because my list is getting long and expensive. I really like the new Deep Flex Crankbait line that G Loomis introduced last year. I plan to match my Biovex Deep Runner with a G Loomis Deep Flex Crankin’ rod (CBR 896), a 7′ 5″ heavy action rod, fully equipped with a Shimano Chronarch 100D5 cranking reel. This deadly combination without a doubt will pull dandy’s off of rock piles and ledges all over the country.
Lets see, what else? I am a fisherman and a competitive one at that so being glutenous shouldn’t be much of a surprise. I mean as soon as I catch a 5 pounder I want to catch a bigger one or at very least another one. I win a tournament and I’m not satisfied, I just want to do it again so lets go ahead and pile it on.
I’ve also been in the process of making a significant transition. My mentality from the start is small is better when it comes to reels. I’ve been very accustomed to 2500 series spinning reels. I see a lot of other bass anglers using larger 4000 sizes. In fact, after going to the Bass University I couldn’t help but notice that on all their spinning rods they had large spool reels. I started looking into this further and my findings all made sense on why to make that change though I still couldn’t get the size thing out of my head. The benefits of a larger spinning reel are huge though, first off casting distance will exceed greatly, it manages the line better on the reel and therefor greatly reduces line twist and most important it speeds up the ratio of the reel and helps pick up line quicker, making fighting the fish more efficient. So my plan goes like this, I instead switched to 3000 size reels and in a year or two will again up size to a 4000. Let me tell you so far I love the change, my new 3000 size reels cast further and are just better off when fighting fish. Kind of just wish that I sucked it up and went straight to the 4000 but hey, a plan’s a plan.
With that being said it’s time for me to head out and plow more snow. I’ve never in my 30 years seen so much of it already and it’s not even January. Bri and I made a promise that for fact we will be moving to Tennessee within the next two years, winter is for losers. Though on that note, the fishing has been stunning and probably because of all the low pressure storms we’ve been getting. The smallmouth have been popping and yesterday I couldn’t keep them off my baby Huddleston swimbait. In fact I would have smashed them on the bait had I been able to hook up with them all. My hook up ratio was very much an issue and though I did catch a bunch I had to lean on my tube to catch the bulk of them. Sadly my hook up ratio was only about 10% so last night I developed a new stinger hook setup for these that will surely do the trick. Maybe one day I’ll share? We’ll see.
To everyone please have a terrific and safe holiday. Merry Christmas and I hope Santa will be generous to all his favorite fisherman and women.