Monday, November 14, 2011

Product Review: Dropshot Hooks

The Drop Shot is a specialized technique that requires all the right components to make the rig work correctly. You need the right rod, line, weight, and hook. If even one of these requirements is off, you will not have the best fish catching potential.

This past season while bass fishing, I spent a lot of time experimenting with different drop shot hooks and have come to the conclusion that I definitely like one more then others. I tested the following hooks in sizes 1 and 2/0: VMC Octopus, VMC Sureset Drop Shot, Owner Wacky, Gamakatsu Finesse Wide Gap, Gamakatsu Split Shot/Drop Shot, Gamakatsu Octopus.

The VMC Octopus is similar to a "circle hook" and it features a short shank that is somewhat rounded and the shank extends into it's bend, though to a much lesser degree than a circle hook. Very lightweight, strong and sharp. Seemed to lose more fish when using the VMC hooks.

I found the Owner Wacky Hooks to become dull very quickly and they required hook sharpening quite often. Numerous fish were lost on these hooks due to dull hooks not holding in the mouth or jaw.

The Gamakatsu Hooks were all extremely sharp and seemed to hold all fish hooked. Can't recall losing a bass when rigged with Gammy hooks.

The Gamakatsu hooks all feature ultra sharp points that were able to stick to everything they touched. The bend behind the point holds nose hooked plastics in the perfect position ninety degrees from the line. Plastics used in this test were XZone Slammers and Fat Slammers. The point was able to penetrate the hard upper lip of bass caught and the sharp barb did not let the fish throw the hook when they were being reeled in.

The Gamakatsu Finesse Wide Gap Hook was designed for situations where you need a big hook but a long shank worm hook would be too much. This hook has plenty of bite for hooking big bass but the short shank design is not to obvious and does not take away from your presentation which is key when finesse fishing a drop shot rig. These small hooks definitely pack a big punch and give you the legendary Gamakatsu sharpness in a short shank package. The eye of the hook is turned slightly upward to align the needle point with the direction of the hook set. The design of this hook makes it perfect for drop shot fishing with thicker baits that require additional gap, but don’t need the added weight of a larger worm hook. The Gamakatsu Finesse Wide Gap Hook was the winner hands down as it had a 100% hookup to landing ratio. I highly recommend these hooks for dropshotting.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Role Model AND Mentoring

Recently I was told by a friend that their son had to do an essay for school and in this essay they mentioned me. After reading his essay, I must say that it made quite happy and emotional to learn how I have affected them in a positive manner. I would like to share his thoughts with you. Here is the portion that mentions me.

"In my life, someone who best exemplifies a good friend and role model is my friend Dirk, actually Dirk is a family friend who has always treated me more like a peer than a child. We share a love of cottaging and fishing. He is a trustworthy adult. Over the years he has never let me down and I have always felt that I can ask questions that only adults can answer and he will never judge me and answer me honestly. I know he has my best interests at heart. He invites me and my family to his home and his cottage he takes me for fishing trips and we relate to each other really well. We both have the same sense of humour and we have the same personality, which is why we probably get along so well. I know I am lucky that his family and mine are good friends.

Dirk is also respectful. Considering that he is actually my parent’s friend, he never makes me feel like I am bothering him. He takes the time to explain things to me and doesn’t speak down to me when it takes more than a few times to make me understand things. He’s not condescending, and is an adult that treats me like my age. Also he is caring. Just like in the movie, I know we have differences but our common interests in the outdoors , our sense of humour and our families have created a bond for me with someone I know has my back. Next to my dad (who is my very best friend) I know I can count on Dirk for anything."

I never realized what an impact I have made on this youngsters life and I must say I am very prod of myself and the author of this amazing essay. Cheers.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Post Labour Day

Fall is one of the best times of the year to go bass fishing for several reasons.

Firstly, the water temps are dropping which means more oxygen and more active fish which in turn will increase the digestive system making the bass feed more frequently.

Secondly, bass more often than not, school together so if you catch one there are usually others there as well.

Finally, at this time of year, bass will strike just about anything that you throw at them although there are certain patterns that work better than others. Bass will eat natural forage in any given body of water so color patterns and size of baits should mimic the natural forage. I hit the water at 4:30 pm on Saturday afternoon and wasn't sure what to expect as all my fishing has been early in the morning over the summer. I have never been out this late once this year. I fished until around 7pm and the action wasn't furious but had fun nonetheless.

I got to my first spot and came up empty. Moved to spot number two and quickly hooked into a PB largie but beside the boat the line snapped, man was it a tank. For the most part most fish were small, 2-3 lbs.

I managed a couple of walleye on the low end of the slot, then manged a decent one drop shoting a Fat Slammer.
All fish were caught a bit deeper then normal, 11-14 FOW. Heres hoping for a productive fall fishing season.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Labour Day 2011

I looked back at pics from last years Labour Day long weekend and the first thing I noticed was that the weather was very similar, overcast, rain and wind. The second thing I noticed was that I only have a pic of one small bass from that entire weekend. Either I didn't fish, or in a year I have become a better angler, whatever the case when I compare it to this weekend, it was much better then last years.

As the colder weather approaches and as we get deeper into fall, the action should start to heat up. Heres hoping for a furious fall fishing season on Rice Lake.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

More Rice Lake Bassin'

Another summer weekend has come and gone and once again I made the most of my limited time on the water.

As fall approaches, I value every hour on the water. This weekend there were a few large bass to be had and numerous smaller sized ones. Oddly enough, the smaller bass came on Saturday in warm, sunny conditions and the larger ones were bagged on Sunday in difficult, overcast and blustery 30 km/hr winds.

My bait of choice should come as no shock to those of you that read my blog, yes it was a Slammer. The Slammer continues to produce both quantity and quality in all types of weather conditions and certainly does not disappoint.

With the Labour Day Weekend almost here, I am keeping my fingers crossed for both weather and big bass. Hope everyone stays safe on the water this coming long weekend.

Releasing 3 Bass - 10+ lbs

After a great day on the water there is not better feeling then releasing large fish back into the lake in hopes they will be caught another day. Please practice Catch & Release.

Monday, August 15, 2011

X Factors

When you combine the hottest drop shot bait on the market with a favourable moon phase, you get great results. The two X Factors I am speaking of are the XZone Lures Slammer and a full moon. With the full moon occurring on Saturday night I thought today might present some better odds as the moon was going to be at 100% that evening. As all avid anglers know, the window surrounding the full moon can present a great time to be on the water fishing. Now add in the XZone Slammer and you have the recipe for lots of fish catching power. Saturday the weather was absolutely amazing. It was sunny, hot and humid. I hit the water at around 6 am and fished one spot for a little over 3 hours as the action was so intense. Caught close to 20 fish in one spot. Managed to bring many fish to the boat and lost a few other big ones as they spit the hook boat side.

The Slammer was once again bringing quantity and quality to the boat. The key was color though. Certain colours definitely produced better then others and I found myself switching back and forth several times. Fish were caught in less then 10 FOW. It was also critical to keep moving around. Worked the area hard with the trolling motor and the hard work payed off.

What made this weekend more rewarding was the fact a large tournament was taking place on Rice Lake and they say it is over fished and pressured. Just goes to show that a little local knowledge and patience can yield some quality fish.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Water Level Causes Slow Bite

With recent flooding in the area, the water level in Rice Lake went up quite drastically a couple of weeks back as the locks were opened and water poured in. Needless to say, this old dog got taught a few new tricks as the bite was extremely slow. The rising water levels moved the bass shallower into cover and onto structure. Spots that held bass in previous weeks were not producing. I now know to move shallower as the water level rises and deeper as the water level falls. Shallow water bass become less spooky and more aggressive as the water level rises and deep water bass become much more scattered and less aggressive as the water level rises. The opposite holds true as the water level drops. The only thing that remained the same was the fact that the only bait working were Slammers. As the bite slowed, I had to try other baits like Senkos, Cranks, Topwater and Tubes, yet none of these were producing fish. Understanding water levels is an important factor in helping an angler catch bass as conditions change.I am now going to put a marker at the waters edge that way I can quickly notice how the water level changed in relation to the marker. You learn something new every day.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hot Weather Bass

With the current hot spell we are under, water temps are starting to get into the 80's and the smallmouth bass are moving to deeper structure. They can become difficult to catch at this point in the season but it may be worth the effort to fish for them and limits of large smallies can reward the persistent and patient angler.

Yesterday I hit the water for a couple of hours and a large number of smallies were found in deeper water. The water temperature at 6 am was already over the 80 degree mark. After 2 hours I easily reached my limit and was culling smaller sized fish. My bait of choice was an XZone Slammer. These baits continue to amaze me. I tried a new color for the first time yesterday and this color worked great. In addition to about 20 bass I managed 3 walleye and a handful of panfish.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Smashing The Bass With XZone Lures

I first got some of these baits at the end of 2009 and I fished them in the fall with limited success as dropshoting was a new technique to me. As I have fished these baits more and more over the last couple of years, I have become very comfortably with finesse fishing the drop shot rig. All I can say about XZone Lures is that they are simple amazing. I used to have favourite go to baits but they quickly become extinct. The Slammer has an incredible fish catching power that no other bait can even come close to. When I pick up a rod rigged with a Slammer, I have 100% confidence that with a bit of patience I will be able to put a good number of decent sized fish in the boat. Since the opener the above statement has proven to be 100% accurate. The action has been quite hot and the bite has not slowed down at all even with a few cold fronts going through. The bass seem to be up shallow and water temperatures are optimum for metabolism. As the water temperature rises into the 80's in the dog days of summer, the bass will move to deeper water and suspend and then I predict the drop shot Slammer rig will absolutely kill them. Looking forward to a prosperous 2011 season thanks to XZone Lures and the Slammer.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bass Opener

The long awaited Bass Opener occured this past weekend and I was able to get out for a few hours early on Sunday morning. I wanted to make the most of my limited time on the water and all I can say is that the action was fast and furious. I managed to catch a dozen bass in just over 2 hours and lost a couple of absolute monsters. All fish came between 9-14 FOW just outside weedlines. All fish were caught on XZone Slammers.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lowrance Elite-5 Gold

Since I bought my boat at the end of 2008, I have found my stock fishfinder located at the console to be a little sub-standard and lacking in quality. It is a monochrome Lowrance X67c model. I recently purchased a new Lowrance Elite-5 Gold color fishfinder/chartplotter form Radioworld at the Fishing Show and I can't wait to install it and try it out this summer.

The new color Elite-5 Gold fishfinder/chartplotter brings high performance and high color to on-the-water enjoyment in every way, and without a high price. You enjoy incredible precision and functionality, in addition to a spectacular new view.

This bundle includes a custom 2GB Navionics Gold micro SD card with Gold coastal/offshore coverage of US and Canadian waters along with coverage of the Great Lakes, Alaska, Hawaii, the Bahamas and over 125 major Canadian lakes.

The brilliant 5 in./12.7 cm, 480x480 pixel SolarMAX™ 256-color TFT display has unmatched screen brightness, contrast, resolution and viewing detail at wider angles and in bright sunlight. Adjustable screen and keypad backlight improves usability and visibility day or night.

The 500W RMS sounder reaches depth of 1,000'/305 m with its dual-frequency 83/200 kHz Skimmer® transom-mount transducer with internal temp sensor and up to 120˚ of wider sonar coverage. Unique TrackBack™ feature offers immediate scroll-back to review multiple pages of fishfinder history.

The internal 16-channel GPS antenna provides great WAAS+EGNOS+MSAS precision for navigation. And an external antenna option is also available for customized applications. A waterproof microSD memory card slot is fully compatible with Fishing Hot Spots® Pro USA, LakeMaster®, and Navionics® mapcards in the micro SD format for U.S. anglers. Built-in memory allows for up to 3,000 waypoints, 100 routes/100 waypoints per route and 100 retraceable plot trails/up to 10,000 points per trail.

All of this, packaged with easy-to-use menus with Advanced Mode to expand features selection. An all-new case/mounting design provides for easy one-hand tilt/swivel view adjustment, removal and re-install - even fits same cut-out for previous 5 in./7 cm models for in-dash installations. And a new uniplug 1/4-turn connectors are compatible with earlier Lowrance uniplug installations to simplify upgrades to any new Elite model.


When you are looking for a soft plastic that produces Smallies, not only in numbers but also in size, I recommend using Slammers made by Mark Kulik of Strikezone Tournament Baits. These baits are hand poured and salt impregnated. They come in a variety of colours and mimmick everthing from minnows to gobies and leeches.

One thing I can say with confidence is that SLAMMERS work like no other bait. With some patience, these baits put quality fish in your livewell . If you have never tried theses baits, I highly recommend them. They have produced Smallies like no other bait I have ever tried. Colour seems to be key. Here are a few caught summer of 2010.

New for 2011 this year, Mark has added to his product line and added Mini Slammers, Leeches, Shiver Shads and Swammers, a swimbait version of the Slammer. He now also has baits out in bubblegum colour which works great when using Senkos for Largies. Can't wait to try the bubblegum colour Slammers out on the Smallies as soft water season is approaching fast.

Strikezone Tours

I ended the 2010 fishing season on a high. A few days prior to the 2010 bass season closing, I got the chance of a lifetime to get out with Mark Kulik, owner of Strikezone Tournament Baits, to hunt some Lake Simcoe Smallies. Every once in a while in life, people ask you to desrcibe an event with one word, but I truly can't as there would be way to many to sum up this once in a lifetime experience, it really was priceless.

I was excited leading up to our outing as Mark told me he has never been skunked before and he said he didn't plan on starting on our outing. This excited me as there have been numerous times I have gone out on Rice and been skunked so knowing that we were going to catch fish made me more excited. He also said we would probably catch between 20 and 30 Smallies so I was like a kid waiting for Santa the night before Christmas.

I met Mark at the launch and right away we started chatting about what we were in for. We screamed across the lake at an incredible rate of speed and it was exciting, as I have never been in a bass boat before. It wasn't until later on that I realized it wasn't all fun and games as I was getting a dermabrasion in the face as it snowed a few times during our outing and the snowy ice pellets felt like getting needles in the face but boy was it worth it.

As for Mark, all I can say is that he is an incredible angler and a great person. He is down to earth and he obviously is someone that gives back to a sport that has made him grow. He was a great teacher and told me many things that I hope will improve my fishing ability next season and for many years to come. Learning little tricks, subtleties and general fishing practices from him was priceless.

Soon after we got to our first spot we put our lines in and it was only a few minutes after that, that I hooked into the first fish of the day. A solid way to start. As soon as the fight was on, I knew it was a good one and when I finally got it to the boat and Mark put the net on it, I was all smiles as I saw it.

The rest of the day was simply amazing. We hads spells were we caught 2 or 3 or 4 fish then it was quiet for a short time and then it picked up and we caught a few again and so on and so on. During the day I was dropshotting Slammers and also some of Marks new baits that are due to be out for next year. All I can say about these new baits is that they work. They put big fish and numbers in the boat, enough said.

I was also lucky enough to use Marks gear for the day. I am a Shimano guy and I know some of you are probably rolling your eyes, so to try out his St. Croix rods was a real treat. I was also lucky enough to use some of his brand new SIMAX rods that he is now sponsored by and they are really great. I found them to be very sensitive and extremely lightweight.

It was a great day and I lost track of how many fish we caught but I would say easily between 25 and 30. They averaged around 4.5 lbs and the biggest ones came in just over 6 lbs, a new PB for me. It truly was a day I will never forget. Most of them came between 15-40 FOW.

In conclusion I would once again like to thank Mark for an unforgetable day and I would also like to thank Tai and Kawartha Anglers for everything they have given me.