Category Archives: Tips and Techniques

Kompak Craw Review & Evolve Contest Winner!

Those that have been following along on the blog for the last few months, you are aware of some contests and product reviews in the works with Evolve Baits
Evolve

Of the samples sent, I was immediately attracted to the Kompak craw.  While I consider myself a pretty versatile angler, when permitted I will always look to power fish with jigs and soft plastics.  At first glance, the Kompak craw can seem pretty simple and unassuming as a craw bait.  Upon further inspection, there definitely was plenty of thought that went into this craw design.


Kompak craw pictured in Pumpkin Oil color


My first inclination was to put it behind a hefty tungsten weight and flip it around heavy vegetation.  The bait has a long body for it’s small stature, allowing you to put a large 4/0 flipping hook into the bait and it puts the point right in the back of the bait, where it should hook a large percentage of fish.  Also, there is a slight bias to the bait front to back where the hook point goes, allowing a little extra meat for you to hide a big hook point.  The subtle appendages also move enough water to get noticed in the thick cover.

A comparable bait that I like to use for similar presentation would be the old Yum Big Show Craw.  Although the soft yet durable plastic of the Kompak craw holds up much better then the Big Show craw.  So the introduction of the Kompak craw is welcomed in my boat, as it appears to be a better bait and Yum appears to have stopped producing the Big Show for the time being.  If you love to punch milfoil or other vegetation with a craw, this is a must try bait!


The setup I used to fish the Kompak craw was Punch rigged with a 4/0 Trokar flipping hook, 20-25lbs fluorocarbon, 1/2-1oz Tungsten flipping weights, and predominantly rigged on my Dobyns Champion 805 Flip/Punch rod, when I would fish it on the 1/2oz weight, I would drop down to my Champion 734C.


In practice for the Madison Chain event, the Kompak craw produced several bites and fish worked in milfoil and docks.  Our flipping bite fell apart during tournament, but I am excited to try them this weekend down on the Mississippi River!  I also hope to give the DarkStar swimmer as a go as well this weekend, check back in the future to learn more about the Swimmer and VibraGrub.

As for our contest winner……

Merideth Gifford is our big winner, so here is the selection of Vibra Grubs, DarkStar Swimmers & Kompak craws she will get a chance to tempt Oklahoma Bass with!

Hopefully Merideth will be posting some pics to my Facebook wall with here results soon!

Thanks again to Evolve Baits for their support of this blog, you can find most of their baits online for purchase here.



Bull Shoals Fantasy Picks and much more…

Recorded the Fantasy Fishing Insider podcast earlier this morning, hopefully it edits and drops in time for all of you to listen in, but if not, here are my picks.

Last Saturday was so beautiful, had to get out on Pool 2 if only for a few hours.  Tried some new water, for the most part unproductive, caught a few fish though.

I am also excited for the Minnesota Bass Expo this weekend, looks like it is going to be a really cool show, check out the list of vendors.  I will be there from 4-8pm on Friday, probably find me walking around or hanging near the TBF or Kruger Farms booth.  FYI – Kruger Farms had some killer deals at the Northwest Sportshow, do yourself a favor and stop by their Bass Expo booth, they might surprise you, plus they should have some Dobyns Rods on display if you have not checked them out yet.

Don’t forget about the Aquateko contest, you still got 12 days to enter that contest for free tackle!

Last but not least, I did another quick video showing my system for organizing and storing my soft plastics for bass fishing.  Check out the video.



On the move

Been traveling and busy doing many fishing related activities, but have not been on the water in a few weeks.  First off all, thanks for all that visited me at the Kruger Farms booth during the early part of Northwest Sportshow.  If you are not familiar with Kruger Farms, they are making a big push into fishing, they are one of the newest Dobyns dealers, plus they have tons of other great hunting & fishing gear.

Been lots of activity in the background on the blog, look from some contests and chance to win free fishing stuff reel soon (probably next week), so if you are not a subscriber, you might want enter your email on left side of page next to orange button that says Subscribe.

I have also been doing tips videos in my boat out of the garage, check out the following video tip for managing Alabama Rigs.  I think you will find it to be quite the time saver if you are gonna throw these multi-armed contraptions. Basically how to make any Alabama Rig Better!

As you probably know, I have been phasing in more Dobyns Rod, but after Loomis rejecting a completely valid rod warranty, I have decided to ramp things up and sell off all my remaining Loomis rods.  If you are interested, hit up my Bass
Fishing

eBay
Store
.  I will likely be adding some more tackle and possibly some reels as well.  I got some crazy good deals at the Sportshow, need to make room.

 


What’s up with the Jika Rig?

Not too much before being knocked off my pedestal seat by the Alabama Rig this week, I started seeing rumblings on Twitter and forums about the Jika Rig.  It seems every couple years, there are new rigs, techniques, gear and technologies to keep up with in bass fishing.


As pictured above (Fork Craw, 3/0 EWG Hook, Voss 1/4oz Weight) – can be done w/ single or double split rings

The Jika Rig (also called The Jig Rig) is very interesting, it is actually very simple.  While Owner company is marketing this, it began is Japan, much like the drop shot and the Neko Rig.  You can buy this rig pre-rigged, but I really don’t see the point.  You almost certainly have the stuff in your tackle box already to make them and if not, just about any local retailer would have what you need.  If they don’t, order them online.

All you need is a good selection of offset wide gap worm hooks, some split rings and a weight with wire loop or attachment on top and put the three together.  I have also seen, where people have used short pieces of braid to make a loop and tie the weight to the split rig, making it almost like an ultra low profile drop shot.  I think you can use different shape weights to tailor your presentation and to the cover.  You can also use one or two split rings to adjust the action as well.

To me, the Jika Rig is a cross between a Texas Rig, Football jig and a drop shot, also kind of like the Biffle Hard Head.  I also think this rig will prove to be very versatile, can be flipped pitched, dragged like a football head and probably serves as a decent bed fishing rig among other things.

Here is a video of a JikaRig (JigRig) that I made and demonstrating underwater at a boat ramp.

I think its most attractive quality as it offers freedom to the plastic and offers it in a very horizontal and natural way.  I think Byron Velvick does a great job explaining the features and benefits of the rig in this video.

So leave a comment if you have used the Jika Rig or think you have a good application where you think it would excel!



Alabama Rig – Next Big Thing or Pushing the Limits?

As I write this blog, Paul Elias is on the verge of blowing away the field on something called the Alabama Rig and after day 2, the angler in 2nd place, Robert Behrle, is also throwing the same rig.  I had never seen anything like it in bass fishing before watching a live on the water video today from FLW.  I expect much more on the Reel Time Reports from FLW soon.  It was hard to see at a distance the type of swimbaits Elias had on his A-Rig.

So I did a little research to find out more about this rig.  Turns out, there is a website for it, http://thealabamarig.com

From what I gather, its almost like the donkey rig (double fluke rig) on steroids.  Similar to an umbrella rig used in saltwater, its painted minnow head with 5 wires protruding out the back with snaps to attach lures, allowing you to fish 5 baits at a time.  It seems the most popular scenario is to fish 5 grubs or swimbaits at a time to mimic a small school of baitfish moving through the water.

The big kicker is that it seems to get quality fish and the potential to catch 2-3 fish at time more frequently then one would with any other lure setup.

There already have been a few mumblings and grumbling about whether this rig should be legal in tournaments.  In some states, like Minnesota, this would not be allowed due to state regulations.  Not sure on all states, but it appears to be legal in Alabama.  Seems as though, if its legal for that state, and everyone has access, then fair is fair!

Not sure if this will be hotter then the chatterbait and the Basstrix hollowbelly put together, but I am sure it will make quite the splash and these will be a little hard to find in a short time!  Either way, there will always be a supply of Alabama Rigs on ebay.  What if Kevin VanDam starts throwing 5 Red Eye Shads at a time?  How long before BassPro & Cabela’s have these on the shelf?  Sworming Hornet Lures makes a version called the Sworm.

Here is a good video breaking down some rigging techniques for the Alabama Rig.



Recipe for Saving a Wet Cell Phone

How do you dry out a cell phone?

If you have never soaked a cell phone in the outdoors, you probably don’t fish enough to read this blog or its going to happen this weekend and just jinxed yourself!  All kidding aside, I actually have a recipe for recovering a soaked cell phone.

Whether it was left in a boat compartment that wasn’t so water tight, your rain coat pockets took on a little water or you just fell in the water with your phone in your pocket.  Unfortunately, I think I have had all these happen to me.

So below you will find a 10 step recipe to saving your expensive cell phone:

Step 1 – Get yourself out of the water. (Feel free to skip step 1 if you did not fall in)
Step 2 – Get phone out of water and open it up & take battery and memory cards out.
Step 3 – Wrap everything in something dry; keep it away from any more moisture
Step 4 – Wait until your wife is out of the kitchen
Step 5 – Place battery in a bag of white rice & seal it up
Step 6 – Get two cookie sheets
Step 7 – Place empty cookie sheet on bottom rack closest to burners (see setup photo above)
Step 8 – Spread out all components of your phone except for battery on cookie sheet & place on top rack
Step 9 – Set oven to 150°F & bake for 8-12 hours
Step 10 – Let it cool and put back together, fire it up and smile, you just saved $300!

This is no joke, it really works.  If your oven won’t go down that low with its settings like mine, get an oven thermometer with an external display and then you can cycle it on and off to keep the temperature low enough.  Cell phones are designed to operate at temperatures around 160°F so that is why baking the moisture out of it works so well.

Try it, it should save you some money and some headaches!  Comment below if you have some better tips, but I don’t really think the bag of rice thing works that well.  I think this is the Best Way to dry out a mobile phone that gets soaked whether in a lake, your pocket or the washing machine.


IMA Emailer – May 2011

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Welcome to the IMA Emailer – May 2011 Issue

The IMA EMAILER brings you news from IMA pro staff members across the USA & worldwide.

Throughout the country, our best fisheries are all over the map when
it comes to what the bass are doing. For those of you lucky enough to
live in the warmest parts of the country, you may already have seen the
spawn come and go, but many of you are still recovering from or even
digging out from an unusually harsh winter. The fish may be spawning,
looking to spawn or they might not even be close, but we know you’re
ready to get out on the water and put them to the test. While you’ve
been organizing tackle and getting the boat water-ready, the IMA pros
have been hard at work – testing lures, strategizing and fishing
tournaments all over the country. This is the time of year when fishing
is often red hot EVERYWHERE at the same time.

IMA pro Bill Lowen started his year off by fishing the Bassmaster
Classic on the Louisiana Delta, his third Classic overall in the young
pro’s juggernaut career. While he didn’t win the Classic title – YET –
in some respects he was still the talk of New Orleans because the
Classic Expo was the site of the release of his signature IMA “Square Bill” crankbait. With the tournament winners relying primarily on square
bills, fishing fans were amazed by the IMA product’s attention to
detail and top-notch components. They’re on shelves now so be sure to
ask your local retailer about them.

Lowen started off the year with three straight Elite Series checks.
He was two for two in Florida — 34th at the Harris Chain and 35th at the
St. Johns River – and then 31st at Pickwick. “It wasn’t as good as I’d
have liked it to be,” he said, but after four events overall he finds
himself in 36th place in the Angler of the Year standings, right on the
cusp for another Classic slot.

In Florida, Lowen didn’t rely on the dominant sight bite for his
strong performances – instead he flipped a little and cranked a lot. “I
had the Square Bill tied on at both events,” he said. “My two biggest
fish on the St. Johns came on one in chartreuse with a black back.”

Fred Roumbanis, an Oklahoman by way of California, got his year
started before Lowen’s Classic appearance – and he started it off right
for the IMA crew with a 7th place finish in the FLW Open on Lake
Okeechobee. The Elite Series pro wanted to get the year rocking as soon
as possible and Florida was the perfect venue for his skills and
enthusiasm. Along the way, he set two FLW Outdoors records – the largest
Day 2 weight (34 lbs. 5 ounces) and the largest cumulative weight over
the first two days (61 lbs. 14 ounces).


Photo: FLWOUTDOORS

Fortunately for Fred, the Elite Series started off with two more
events in the Sunshine State, which has lately become his own personal
Magic Kingdom. He got this year’s campaign started on the right foot,
with a 29th place finish on the Harris Chain followed up by a 27th on
the St. Johns River.

While much of the field sight fished at the two Elite Series events
in Florida, Fred went against the grain, flipping at the first event and
using a variety of frogs, including an Optimum Furbit, at the latter
event.

“I prefer to sight fish but everybody knows the same areas,” he said.
“This year I decided I was just going to put my head down and fish. I
think it worked out for the first two events.”

But Fred’s strong run didn’t stop in Florida. At Pickwick he finished
34th. Then, at Toledo Bend he put together a magical four-day stretch
and earned his fourth straight check, as well as his first Sunday
appearance of the year. When the scales closed on Sunday, he’d finished
fifth overall with a total weight of 67-01. Fred is 7th overall right
now in the Angler of the Year standings, on pace not only for his 3rd
Bassmaster Classic berth, but also in position to make a serious run at
the BASS postseason and the accompanying accolades. He’s a proven closer
and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he claimed his 3rd BASS win before
this campaign closes out.

While the few anglers who finished in front of Fred at Toledo Bend
are certainly to be congratulated, Fred’s achievement was particularly
special because he caught his weight using a technique that it’s pretty
certain no one else in the field was utilizing. In fact, most if not all
of them have probably never even tried it. He was swimming a 1-ounce
Pepper football head jig, paired mostly with an Optimum Double Diamond swimbait as a trailer on offshore ledges and ridges. The big jig was
necessary to make long casts, achieve the appropriate depths and mimic
the baitfish. The swimbait tail provided the proper “kick” and the
appearance of a bluegill. One other critical element of his presentation
was the use of 15-pound P-Line fluorocarbon, which also helped him get
the bait down and earn precious bites. Watch what Fred was doing HERE.

Fred is a master of figuring out how to incorporate different line
sizes to give a particular lure it’s optimum effectiveness. As you’ll
see below, it’s something he’s very conscious of when fishing the IMA Rock N Vibe.

From early pre-spawn on through the fall, savvy bass anglers always
have a lipless crankbait tied on – it’s a lure that enables them to fish
a wide swath of the water column, resembles baitfish closely, and works
around a variety of cover types – and the one that’s making major waves
these days is the IMA Rock N Vibe. Any lipless crank can catch bass on
occasion, when conditions are just right, but this lure is a like a
multi-tool, applying the right implement to all sorts of predicaments.

“It has a small profile, but it still weighs a ton,” Lowen said.
“It’s easier to fish in high pressure situations when you have to make
long casts.” Roumbanis uses it for everything from yo-yoing to burning,
and noted that the small size makes it a numbers bait, but he’s
continually surprised at how many big fish fall for this baitfish
replica.

“Since it came out, I haven’t really thrown any other lipless baits,”
Fred said. “A lot of them are too light or you don’t feel the
vibrations, but this one you can feel it shaking like a chatterbait.”

FLW Tour pro Michael Murphy says it’s the wide range of depths that
you can fish it at that make the Rock N Vibe such a key tool in his
tournament arsenal. “Most vibrating baits are for 4 feet of water or
less, but this one has a lot more range. It provides the maximum benefit
of what a lipless crankbait does. For example, at Guntersville, when
the grass is topping out at 6 feet down instead of 4 feet, you can still
tick the bottom. I use it a lot on Lake Murray for schooling bass.”

Roumbanis agreed with Murphy’s assessment. In ultra-clear water he’ll
sometimes go down to 8 lb. fluorocarbon, which allows him to easily get
the Rock N Vibe down into 8 to 12 feet of water. Going that light isn’t
something most anglers do with a classic power fishing tactic like a
lipless crank, but Fred said if it’s necessary, that’s what he’ll do to
garner the bites he needs. Too often we all pay attention to retrieve
speed without the appropriate concern for where a particular retrieve
puts the bait in the water column.

Last year at the California Delta, Lowen used one of his favorite
Rock N Vibe techniques, fishing it like a jig. “You let it go all the
way to the bottom on grass line edges and points,” he said. “They you
hop it pretty hard off the bottom. The rod will just load up.”

Another trick is to fish it on heavy line in ultra-shallow water.
Roumbanis will use 20 lb. test P-Line CXX, which “keeps it more buoyant”
and allows him to fish in less than two feet of water with ease. “When
they hit it there, they absolutely engulf it,” he reported. In fact,
changing line sizes is Fred’s number one way of changing the performance
of a lure that he said is perfect right out of the package. When he
wants the lure shallow, big mono is key. When he wants to get deeper,
fluorocarbon gets the call. When ripping it through grass is important,
braid is his meal ticket. Fortunately, the bait has a thumping wobble
that can overcome the dulling effects of “rope-like” mono, but it isn’t
so powerful that it becomes unmanageable on thinner and lighter fluoro.
Be careful, though – on braid it’ll rattle your fillings loose.

The best retrieve may involve no trickery at all: Just cast it out
and wind it in – a little bit slower when fish are lethargic and a
little bit faster when they’re active. The vibrations, sounds and
finishes allow the bass to track the Rock N Vibe carefully and react
savagely. Again, you can adjust running depth through the use of a
particular line size or type. In fact, there may be times when you’ll
need three Rock N Vibes on the deck tied to three different lines to
maximize your effectiveness. Fortunately, if you’re that dialed in, you
probably won’t need a fourth rod with anything on it.


Chromes, Hot Craw, Natural -By covering the basic color groups, Chromes, Reds or Chartrueses, & Natural Shad patterns; the ima Rock N Vibe will produce in all bodies of water.

With all lipless cranks, it’s unfortunate but largely unavoidable
that you’re going to lose some fish. Those big sows come up, shake their
heads, and use the bait as leverage to come unbuttoned. Fortunately,
the Rock N Vibe comes with sticky-sharp Owner hooks that minimize this
problem. The pros offer other means of reducing your heartbreak. Murphy
said that even when he uses braided line, he always prefers to use some
sort of non-braid as a shock absorber, “even if it’s just a short
leader.” His other key to minimizing loss is that you don’t want to play
the fish. Get them in the boat as soon as possible. “I use a worm rod,
not a cranking rod,” he said. “You can’t give them a chance to jump or
shake their heads.”

Roumbanis uses an Irod IRC704c, a 7′ fast action rod which he says
“doesn’t rip the hook out when they engulf it, but still has the
backbone to snap the bait through grass.” Lowen uses a 7′ medium-heavy
All Pro casting rod for the same reasons.

When it comes to colors, all three use various types of chrome
patterns often. “Chrome and Chartreuse Shad are really the only two you
absolutely need,” Murphy said. “One for sunny conditions and the other
when it’s cloudy.” Given a third option, he’d choose a craw color, an
absolute staple in places like California and Texas. Roumbanis also
dotes on the Hot Craw pattern. He said Fire Tiger can be “dangerous”
when the water is a little bit stained. Under super-clear conditions, he
said the Ghost Minnow is his number one draft pick. Lowen, too, said
“chrome and reds and yellows are my top choices.”

We’ve established that the Rock N Vibe catches bass from coast to
coast in North America, but this picture should leave no doubt that it
works anywhere bass swim. This is Jun Shoji, one of Japan’s top pros and
a full-time guide on famed Lake Biwa, where a world record largemouth
was caught last year. We’ll have more information about Jun in an future
emailer.

In addition to using IMA products at the end of your line, you can
now wear the company logo proudly. After numerous requests from educated
anglers, we’re bringing IMA apparel to a tackle dealer near you.

We have short and long sleeve shirts available in both white and navy
blue, boat towels and beanies, along with baseball hats. As with IMA
hard baits, they’re only the finest quality and will make a splash at
your next bass tournament or out on the town.

As always, we’d love to hear about the bass that IMA lures produce
for you, whether on your home body of water or on the trip of a
lifetime. Please send pictures of your fish, preferably with an IMA bait
in its mouth, and a short description of what made the catch memorable.

Each month we’ll pick one winner who will get to choose the apparel
item of his or her choice as a thank you for supporting and using IMA products.

Last months’ winner was Loren Spaulding who caught a nice Spotted
Bass from Lake Lanier in Georgia that fell victim to the ima Flit 120 in
Ghost Minnow!

Each month we’ll pick one winner who will get to choose the apparel
item of his or her choice as a thank you for supporting and using IMA
products. Send to info@imalures.com

 

Don’t sleep on the Shaker

Been doing a bit of fishing lately.  One thing has become apparent in this low to mid 50 degree water; the IMA Shaker with it’s flat sides and more subtle action is out producing the new highly touted IMA Square Bill designed by Bill Lowen.

Pictured above is the nicest bass I caught the other day, but put a bunch in the boat on an IMA Shaker thrown on 12lb Fluoro on my brand new Dobyns 684 CB Crankbait Rod, pretty sweet rod for jerkbaits and light wooden baits like the Shaker, Shad Raps and several other baits.

Both great baits, but this time of year, its hard to beat the profile and action of the Shaker, so my advice, while the traditional Square Bills are getting all the headlines right now, if you live up north, stick with the Shaker for a few more weeks.  Then when water hits 60 degrees and up, pick that Square Bill up and do work!

As you can see, they were eating the SHAKER! 


Winter Fishing Rod Maintenance

This post may be a little late for you anglers down south, but there are many of us that have plenty of time to clean up our rods and get them ready for spring fishing.  I was cleaning up a few rods to sell on my Bass
Fishing

eBay
Store
and the rest to clean them up for spring.  Once cork handles get super dirty, then tend to get slippery and lose their grip, which is not a formula for success when fighting big fish in the rain.

So while cleaning my rods, I made a quick video.  Click here if you don’t see it on page.

Hope some of you find it useful and make sure you follow my tip on not using your spouse’s good towels

As long as we are watching videos, here is an extended clip of Kevin VanDam’s post Bassmaster Classic press conference in case you missed streaming live on the internet.  KVD shares some really good nuggets about how he adapted and outfished some of the best anglers in the world. 


Click here for video

Also, congrats to Bryan Thrift for his FLW win on Beaver Lake today.  He is quickly becoming the biggest name on the FLW tour.  Thrift and Ehrler are pretty equivalent of what KvD & Skeet are on the Elite Series.

Stay tuned for Elite Series BASS Fantasy Fishing picks for the Harris Chain early this week!

Went fishing this morning

And because of the nice weather, so did everyone else and their brother apparently, LOL!  Got up early to beat the rush, and we did, but their wasn’t much of a morning bite at our first stop.  By the time we got to 2nd area at 8:30am, there wasn’t much room to move around, so we staked out our little stretch.

Today my buddy and I each caught 8, mine were 2 on IMA Square Bill, 2 on a tube & 6 on a shakey beaver.  I ended up getting one over 3lbs and another right at 4lbs, so at least there was some quality today.  This could very well be the last trip on this fishing license, as the bass season ends at the end of this month.

This fish is bigger then it looks, between 19″ & 20″ when referenced against my Dobyns 702 SF .

That being sad, listed a few things on my Bass
Fishing

eBay
Store
this weekend and here is a nice article on how not to ruin your fishing equipment over the winter.  Some things are simple, but I think many anglers still make these mistakes.

Still time to sign up for my BASS Fantasy Fishing leauge – http://www.bassmasterfantasy.com/GroupHome.aspx?groupId=539