Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Liquid Mayhem Fish Attractants


I've been bass fishing now for over 50 years and I've seen a lot of products over the years claim to be fish attractants.  Heck I'll admit I've tried almost all of them from time to time with mixed results.   What I have found is that bass as well as most fish in general must be Italian.  What......yes Italian and why I say that is most of them love Garlic.  A lot of old crusty bass fishermen will tell you the same thing.   However I've been thinking, do they really love garlic or does the garlic masks the other smells and tastes we put on our baits that fish don't like.   I know for a fact if you put Sun Block on and don't clean your hands really well then you are going to be in for a tough day fishing.  There are other things like gas, oil and foods that we get on our hands on our way to the water that just plain turn bass off like a big switch.  Hunters have been trying to mask their smell for thousands of years and it is about time fishermen learn to do the same thing.  Once you agree that masking our smells is necessary now comes the hard part, picking the right fish attractant.

Now I have to admit that most of the Garlic based attractants I've tried have had some level of success.  They range from dips to sprays of all kinds and yes they do cover up the bad smells we put on our baits and some even cover the bad tastes.  The problem with most of these though is you have to reapply way too often. This really makes their use not time effective and that especially goes when you are tournament fishing.  Every time you stop to put more attractant on your bait is time your bait is out of the water.  This can add up to a lot of missed casts during the course of the day and we all know you can't catch fish with your bait in the boat!  So not only do you want a product that removes your smell and tastes from your baits you want one that will stay on your bait for a long time.  Having to reapply every 5-10 casts is way too often and will cost you 40-50 lost casts in the course of a day.  You need a product that stays on your bait long enough to be measured in minutes and not casts.   I want my attractant to stay there and be effective for at least 30 minutes for each application.  If it stays there and is working for at least 30 minutes then I’m not wasting as much valuable time fishing.

The other thing about these so called "Fish Attractants" is most don't really attract fish.  Like I said I believe some of them do a super job covering up smells and tastes that might come off your hands onto your baits, but I don't believe they really attract fish to hit.  To attract a fish to your bait they would have to leave some type of scent trail in the water.  Sure there might be some sort of trail, but how much of a trail could they leave if you have to reapply them every few casts?   Well the way I see it they can't be leaving much of a trail if they wash off your bait that quickly.  Of course some may be better than others but in conditions where a fish needs to use their sense of smell to find your bait I have never seen any real difference.  So even though they boast about attracting fish in their advertisements, they really are only good for covering up bad smells but mostly bad tastes on your bait.

That was my thinking about all of these type of products for many years.  I had some limited success with them but never any success that would make me go out and tell other folks about them.  Well that is up until about a two years ago anyway.   It was around September of 2014 that I heard about a new attractant on the market called Liquid Mayhem.  Some of the guys on Twitter that I converse with mentioned this product and I said what the heck I'll give it a try.  Well let me tell you I am extremely happy that I did.  In this past two years I have come to realize that Liquid Mayhem does everything that all the other so called fish attractants never did! First of all it is produced using all natural scents that are made from real baits, enhanced with powerful amino acids with no gimmicks and no artificial chemicals or scents.  The Crawfish has real Crawfish in the scent and the Shad has real Shad in the scent.  It is made from what fish like to eat, and not from stuff made in a test tube in some lab.   In other words folks this stuff is the “Real McCoy” of the Fish Attractant world.  When a fish hits your bait they don't taste what some guy in a lab thinks a Crawfish tastes like, no the fish actually taste real Crawfish and that makes an unbelievably huge difference.  It will 110% cover up any bad tastes or smells you may get on your bait.  Your bait also doesn’t taste metallic or rubbery to the fish.  The fish taste something they want to eat and will really hold onto your bait.  In fact I've see where it will take you from a fish hitting and spitting your bait to hits so hard the fish tries to rip your rod out of your hand after it has been applied.

The other thing about Liquid Mayhem that sets it apart from all the others is how long it will stay on your bait.  It is a very concentrated jell that is packed with flavor but that jell holds onto your bait and lasts up to a full 30 minutes.  Remember I said an attractant wasn't worth using if you had to measure its use in casts and not in minutes, well with Liquid Mayhem the measurement is in minutes and a lot of minutes.  That saves you a lot of time during the course of the day that you are not reapplying attractant.  Saved time equals more casts and more casts equal more chances of catching fish!!  In a tournament if I can get 10, 20 or even 30 more casts in, plus I'm confident that when a Bass hits it will hold onto my bait, I am one very happy fisherman.  I have been very happy over the course of the past two years using Liquid Mayhem.  I know for a fact it has helped me in both my tournament and pleasure fishing.  I won't leave home without some Liquid Mayhem in my tackle box.  In fact I have started carrying extra tubes because when the folks I'm fishing with see me tearing up the fish and they aren't catching as many, I'm a nice guy and share some with them.

There is one other thing about Liquid Mayhem that I need to point out; Liquid Mayhem is a fish attractant. Because of the way it is made and how long it stays on your bait, it does leave a trail in the water.  Fishing in clear water I've actually watched bass cross this scent trail and change directions to find my bait.  I've also been having a lot more success when fishing muddy water than a lot of folks but seeing this happen in clear water made me realize that finally there was a product that could truly call itself a "Fish Attractant.  Speaking of muddy water success in a tournament this past January on a very muddy bayou, I was the only person using Liquid Mayhem and the only person to weigh in bass.  Everyone else were using the same types of baits and techniques I was using during the tournament, but the big difference in that muddy water was the Liquid Mayhem.  It has helped put more trophies on my shelf and more cash in my pockets.  Liquid Mayhem has become a very important tool in my tournament fishing arsenal, just as important as my favorite rod, reel and lures.  It is the only fish attractant product that I've ever had complete faith in helping me catch more and bigger fish.

As for the type of scents/flavors offered up they have Shad, Crawfish, Leach, Garlic Minnow and Garlic Crawfish (aka Crawlic).  I have personally used all except the Leach, but I have a tube of it to try really soon.  Currently the Crawlic is my go to for Jigs, Worms and Creatures with the Shad being my go to for Swim Jigs, Swim Baits and Spinnerbaits.  There are times when the plain Crawfish and Garlic Minnow seem to work better so I keep tubes of them in the boat as well.  Just like I'm well stock with my favorite baits I want to be well stocked with Liquid Mayhem.  I'm sure by now you all know this, but I do have to say that Liquid Mayhem is Derek Herring Fishing Approved before ending this article.  I truly believe in this product and recommend that each of you give it a try!

Until next time Tight Lines and Take a Kid Fishing!!!

You can follow me on
Twitter - @BHOAdventures

Also check out the great folks that help make my fishing adventures possible and the tackle I use and trust.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Sixgill Fishing Hyperion Reel Review

When Sixgill Fishing offered a 30% discount on their casting reels I thought I'd buy one and give it a good testing.  I ordered the Hyperion 6.3:1 which is their top of the line reel and the price seemed right at $149.00 even without the discount.  Well the price would be right if the reel performed.  I've bought cheaper reels before with mixed results.  I've tried $20 reels from China, waste of money and I've also tried the Academy Sports and Outdoors H2O Xpress Mettle reels which run about $60 and found they are excellent.  I normally fish with Quantum PT Smokes that run about $200 and I judge all other reels against the Smokes.

I received my Hyperion the first week in October and in time to fish it in a tournament that coming weekend.  As you can see from the picture the Hyperion is a good looking reel and it was well packaged.   The cork handles are very nice, but I did have issues with one of the end screw cover coming loose.  Little things like that are very annoying while fishing and specially when you are fishing a tournament.   I actually fished two tournaments with this reel.  I paired it with my Dunamis Rods Ascension Swim Jig Rod.  I didn't fish a lot of Swim Jigs during the first tournament, but the second tournament that was the main bait I used all day.  Needless to say the reel got a really good workout during that second tournament and I caught all my fishing using the reel.   The Hyperion is one of the best casting reels I've ever fished and beats the Smokes in casting distance.  However the casting ability and cork handles are the only positives that I found with this reel.  I knew going in that Sixgill Fishing was pretty new in the baitcasting reel market and that this was their first model year basically.  Knowing this I didn't expect the reel to be perfect.  The main problem with this reel is everything feels loose.  The crank shaft and bearings are not well fitted into the frame and cover which give you an annoying clunking sound and feel.   The drag also tends to loosen up by itself which cost me a couple fish as the drag would slip on the hooksets.

I contacted Sixgill to discuss some of the issues with the reel thinking I might be able to give them my views of the problems to assist.  At first they were receptive of my contact and I was even called to discuss some of the issues personally.  Then it all changed.  I was told that I had to work these things out with their customer service.  That would have been fine, I mean I know I'm no Kevin Van Dam.  Still they could have informed me in a more professional manner than they did.  It is little things like that which set some folks apart from other in the fishing industry.  I really wanted to help them out as I thought they might have a good reel that just needed some tweaking.  The fact that the reel casts so well really had me interested, but their manners and the cold means they brushed me off really turned me off.

So the bottom line is the Hyperion from Sixgill Fishing is Not Bounty Hunter approved!!!  The Hyperion is  not worth the $149 list price in my opinion.  It is not even worth the cost even with the 30% discount.  The H20 reels for less than half the cost will preform better overall then the Hyperion.   In fact, the issues the Hyperion has is very similar to those I found in that $20 reel from China and that does make me wonder where Sixgill Fishing is having their reels produced.

Until next time Tight Lines and Take a Kid Fishing!!!

 You can also Follow me on
Twitter - @BHOAdventures
FaceBook - Bounty Hunter Outdoor Adventures
YouTube - Bounty Hunter Outdoor Adventures

Also Checkout the great folks that help make my fishing adventure possible and the tackle I use and trust.
Santone Lures
Creme Lures
Dunamis Rods
Liquid Mayhem Fish Attractants
Stealth Rod Holders
New Pro Products
Squiddies Flip Reel

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Extra Tournament Weapons!!!

As I get ready for the upcoming Bayou Bassin League Fall/Spring tournament series I have some new weapons.   I've been testing them out as I pre-fish and let me tell you the other folks fishing these tournaments are in trouble.  These new weapons are 2 new favors of Liquid Mayhem Fish Attractant and my new Dunamis Rods Ascension Swim Jig rod.  They have proven themselves in a short time as go-to products in both my tournament and fun fishing.

 Dunamis Rods 

A couple years back I stumbled upon what I consider the best rods I've ever fished.  Dunamis Rods is not your run of the mill fishing rods as they are Custom or in the case of the Ascension Series Semi-custom.  Yes these are not your $39.99 rods you get a Walmart but they also aren't those expensive name brand rods made in another country that cost you an arm and a leg because some BASS Pro has endorsed them.  What you get with a Dunamis Rod is a made in the U.S.A rod that is a work of art with a Lifetime Guarantee.  That's right a Lifetime Guarantee and something you won't get from those name brands endorsed by a Pro that were made in some country with a name you can't pronounce.  If you want a rod that is totally special to you then give Josh at Dunamis Rods a call and he will work with you and get you the exact rod you need to do the type of fishing you want to do.  Josh is the most down to earth man I've ever talked with and not only does he know fishing rods, he is a fisherman himself so he understands your needs.  When you talk with him and tell him the type of rod, actions and fishing you want to do, he understands and will help you pick the right rod and actions you need to do that fishing.  You don't find that when you go to those big name brands of one size fits all rod companies.  With Dunamis you get so much more for your hard earned money and that money stays right here in the U.S.A.  Also if you need help or have questions you can call and you actually get to speak with the man that builds the rods.  You won't be talking to someone that doesn't have a clue about fishing rods and fishing that speaks in some ascent you can't understand.

My newest Ascension Swim Jig rod is not just what I wanted in the looks department as it is beautiful, but it is the exact action with the handling I needed to fish Swim Jigs the way I fish Swim Jigs.  If you have read a lot of my article here or kept up with me on Twitter or Facebook you will know I love fishing Swim Jigs and catch a lot of fish on them.  This new rod has enhanced my Swim Jig fishing 150% and maybe more.   It is the right length which is 7 feet 6 inches and the right action of Medium Heavy with a Fast tip that I wanted and let me tell you man is it sensitive.  Not only does it give me the feel I need to detect the cover I'm fishing and the strikes when a fish hits, it gives me the power I need to set the hook and the backbone to get the fish out of the cover.  In fact the first bass I caught on this rod was deep in the branches of a lay down.  I bumped my swim jig on a branch and this big girl hammered it.  I got a great hookset and then was able to get her out of all those branches and into the boat.  This was special because this was the fish that won me a friendly Beer Tournament, meaning this is the fish that let me drink a couple beers free when we got back to the ramp.

I know what a lot of you are thinking; of course I'm going to recommend these rods as I'm on the Dunamis Pro Staff.  That is true I am on their Pro Staff but it is by my choice.  I don't recommend any product that I don't personally use and believe helps me catch more and bigger bass.  I wanted to be on their Pro Staff as I felt I found a gem in the rough with these rods.  It was I that asked them and not them seeking me out to promote their product.   That is a big difference and to tell you the truth I have turned down other companies that have offered me Pro Staff positions because I don't believe in their products.

Liquid Mayhem 

 I realized at an early stage in my fishing that what I have on my hands can affect my fishing.  You get all kinds of things on your hands as you are going to the water fishing and some of those things will stop a bass from taking your bait.  So over the years I looked for products that would remove those bad tastes and smells from my baits so the fish would eat them.   Yes I've tried just about everything out there on the market and I just kept looking as none of the products did exactly what I felt I needed.  Well that is until I found Liquid Mayhem and their products as they are different from all the rest and exactly what I feel I needed.   The key to Liquid Mayhem is they use all natural ingredients so if you use their Crawfish it has real crawfish in the attractant.   Now I use the word attractant, and I don't use it lightly, because I really believe not only does Liquid Mayhem cover up all those bad scents and tastes from my hands, it really attracts the fish to strike.  Once applied to your bait it will leave an oily trail that the fish will smell and follow to your bait.  Once they see your bait they eat it because it looks, smells and tastes like something they want to eat.  This was a bonus as I was just looking for something to cover the scents on my hands, but I have a real fish attractant and fish catching weapon.   Liquid Mayhem is a jell that is applied to your bait and it stays on your bait a long time with each application.  You no longer have to reapply after every couple of casts.  It goes on easy and stays on up to 30 minutes with each application.  That means you spend less time applying your scent and more time fishing.  In a tournament that means more casts and more chances to catch that winning stringer.

I've been using their Crawfish and Garlic Minnow favors for sometime now and they work awesome.  Hey I was in high cotton with them as they really did everything I wanted.  I did mention that I'd like some Garlic Crawfish and guess what one of their new scents is Garlic Crawfish or as we like to call it Crawlic.   Oh boy this stuff is on another level let me tell you.  For a long time fishermen like you and I  have known that bass as well as other fish love garlic for some reason.  Now you combine this know proven scent with a scent of one of the bass' favorite foods and what you get is a fish attractant that is almost unfair to use.  No matter how unfair it might seem I will have some Crawlic in my boat and I will be using it when fishing any baits that mimic a crawfish.   In fact I have tested out Crawlic on the bayou and the bass love this stuff.  I've actually seen them go out of their way to eat my baits with Crawlic applied, it is an amazing thing to watch.

The other new flavor of Liquid Mayhem that has found a place in my boat is the new Shad.  I had been using the Garlic Minnow on my Swim Jigs with tremendous success and will continue to use it but the new Shad will also see time on my Swim Jigs.   I will especially be using the Shad when the bass are actively feeding on Shad as they were my last trip to the bayou.  I started the day with my tried and trued Garlic Minnow but wasn't getting the number of hits I thought I should be getting.  I could see the bass chasing shad so I switched to the new Shad favor and Wow what a difference it made.  They were feeding on shad so I gave them the smell and taste of shad on my Swim Jig and they just went nuts.   I went from getting a hit on one in ten casts to getting a hit on one in three casts.  So yes the new Shad favor has a permanent place in my boat as does all 5 favors of Liquid Mayhem.  I am completely convinced that the Liquid Mayhem products give me a huge advantage when fishing.  You will never see me fishing without some of this product on my baits!!

Until next time Tight Lines and Take a Kid Fishing!!!

 You can also Follow me on
Twitter - @BHOAdventures
FaceBook - Bounty Hunter Outdoor Adventures
YouTube - Bounty Hunter Outdoor Adventures

Also Checkout the great folks that help make my fishing adventure possible and the tackle I use and trust.
Santone Lures
Throw-n-Thunder
Creme Lures
Dunamis Rods
Liquid Mayhem Fish Attractants
Stealth Rod Holders
New Pro Products
Squiddies Flip Reel

Friday, October 2, 2015

New Bayou Tournament Season

That is right the new Bayou Bassin League season is finally here.  I know I'm looking forward to testing my skills once more against some awesome bass fishermen.   You see fishing bass in the bayous isn't easy as you have a lot of factors that come into play, a lot more than you would have on other bodies of water.  The folks that fish these bayou tournaments are as good if not better than most fishermen you will meet in tournaments.  So it is those reasons that I can't wait to get back at it with these guys.

Now our first tournament is coming up on October 10th on Halls Bayou which is right around the corner.  Anyone in the Houston Texas area that want to pit yourself against these folks and myself are more than welcome to come on out.   These are team tournaments so grab a buddy and come on down.  The entry fee is just $60.00 for your boat and there is great cash pay out and trophies for the winners.


The launch and weigh-in will be at the Hall Bayou Fish Camp, located at 11721 Landrum Rd, Santa Fe, TX 77510.  The Start time will be at 7:00 AM or when it is light enough to safely leave the ramp.  Weigh-in will be at 3:00 PM and you need to be in the weigh-in line to at 3:00 PM to qualify.

 This is a great time of year to be Bayou Bassin' and Halls Bayou is a great place to go catch some nice bass. The water is improving and the bass should really be feeding and staging up for the spawn so look for some good bags to be weighed in.

For more and up-to-date information on this tournament you can visit the BBL Website at Bayou Bassin' League or their Facebook page at Bayou Bassin League Facebook

Until next time Tight Lines and Take a Kid Fishing!!!

 You can also Follow me on
Twitter - @BHOAdventures
FaceBook - Bounty Hunter Outdoor Adventures
YouTube - Bounty Hunter Outdoor Adventures

Also Checkout the great folks that help make my fishing adventure possible and the tackle I use and trust.
Santone Lures
Throw-n-Thunder
Creme Lures
Dunamis Rods
Liquid Mayhem Fish Attractants
Stealth Rod Holders
New Pro Products
Squiddies Flip Reel

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Pieces of the Puzzle


Tim Zdrazil
(Note this was May 2015)
I knew when I switched to running my own ride in the FLW/BFL ranks 1 1/2 years ago, that I was going to be challenged most by finding fish and more importantly defining the pattern(s) that would give me a shot at winning. This has been part of my challenge in 2015. In 2014 (my 1st year up front), I did really well overall. This year I have.... well.... not done well... at all... literally worse than I could imagine including my first zero's in FLW competition as a boater.  Don't get me wrong, I have also done some really good things. I have had some shining moments that make me proud of my progress. But man it stings. Really really stings. I put a lot of what I am into these events, and when the pieces don't all fall into place the damage inflicted on my spirit and drive is heavy. However the drive that... well... drives me, is a deep reservoir and is not daunted easily and will never ever quit. Here is just how close I came to having all the pieces fall just right, and how one piece of equipment may have been the only thing I could have done differently.

In the fall of 2014 as I was scanning the schedules for all of the FLW events in the area, I saw a chance to do two things. I could fish my first BFL on Lake Seminole (a home lake of sorts for me). This was also two weeks out from a FLW Rayovac event on Lake Seminole.  Both of these events were perfect for my schedule which is very complicated because of my oldest son's disability. I try to fish events that have the lowest impact on my rather large and crazy household. This was a great chance for me to step up to the Rayovac level for the first time as a boater, on water very close to home, and hopefully have a strong showing. I fished the entire southeast division in 2010 as a co-angler. This would be my first shot at an $85,000 prize package. Just typing that freaks me out a little bit, but I was ready to do it.

My plan was pretty simple. I already knew the Flint River, Spring Creek, and the main lake pretty well. I had a bunch of history to help me figure it out, so I gave myself 3 days to practice and fish the BFL 1 day event prior to the much bigger Rayovac. This should get me dialed in pretty well.

The conditions were miserable. I took off on Day 1 of my practice from Jack Wingates which is close to mid lake. Day 1 was going to be all about checking my favorite spots and finding new ones in the mid lake area all the way to the dam, but with special attention paid to the Spring Creek area.  I found out quickly that reports I had heard were very much correct. They were dropping the bottom out of Lake Seminole. Add to that zero wind and even as the sun was barely up the temperatures were sky rocketing. The main lake was chocolate milk and it was obviously lower than I had last been on the lake. Over a foot and a half by my guess and dropping fast. The main lake buoys confirmed it further. The deep 'V' lines behind the buoys that were straining to go to the dam said that it was wide open. Ridiculous optimist that I am, I told myself that the current would help, but I was going to have to find clean water. That meant creeks and hydrilla. I poked around some of my favorite spots catching decent keepers within minutes of pulling up on each spot, but I couldn't catch a second fish at any of them. This was not a good start.
 
On the way out of one of my favorite pockets I was graphing and hoping for a big school. Bingo!

This is just a small slice picture of the school. It went on for about 100 yards just like this. In the picture you can just see the way points I was dropping like bombs all down that 100 yards. I quickly turned around and started firing a rattle trap back towards the school. On the very first cast I hooked up. Unfortunately it was a hybrid, but I knew that bass and hybrids swim together all the time and if the hybrids were here the bait was most definitely here.  Again like most of my practice, I caught a large mouth a few casts later, but in an odd way. I had caught several hybrids and was about to give up, but the larger arcs kept telling me there were large mouth down there. I had already cycled through all of my standards. So I picked the rattle trap up again, and started jigging it. I would cast it out let it sink all the way to the bottom (dicey with so many stumps) then pump it up and let it fall while retrieving a bit of line each time. I call this yo-yo'ing, but not sure if there is a more technical term for it. Finally got a large mouth to hit it on the fall after one of my hops.


Unfortunately that guy was the only taker. This bothered me quite a bit. I knew the summer conditions were in full affect and the bite was probably going to be tough, but a school this size not firing up even a little bothered me. The yo-yo bite told me reaction only. The largemouth were suspended in that school but not really eating. However, I was more optimistic at least. This was a large concentration of fish in exactly the kind of spot they are supposed to be in during summer patterns. I had a lot of hope as I sped off to find some main lake hydrilla.

I ended up at the dam itself fishing hydrilla in 5-6 feet of water. Yet again within a very few casts I caught a nice keeper on a Lockjaw Jigs 3D eye jig with a Mister Twister trailer slathered in Liquid Mayhem garlic minnow (my favorite).

Again this was the only taker. However I felt a little better after this guy because he flew out of the grass to nail the jig, so I felt like at least that was a feeding bite. I was swimming and bumping it through the scattered hydrilla at a slow but steady rate.  It was still trouble though because I couldn't depend on jumping all over this big body of water all day hoping for five one off fish. Because the opportunity was literally right in front of me down by the damn. I fished a retaining wall, scattered laydowns, and a few little 'bowls' I graphed down in that area. No luck on any of them.

I had already burned half the day, but was still desperate to find something more promising. I ran way up the Chatahooche river searching some back waters that would hold cleaner water and some fish. I found miltiple spots in backwaters that were very promising, but couldn't even get a nibble. I still had 1 more full day of practice and the 1 day BFL, so I was optimistic. I packed it up for the day, and headed for home.

Day 2 of practice I put in at the Boat Basin in Bainbridge, GA where the launch would be. I wanted to spend a lot of time on the river, and I needed to remind myself things like how much gas and time did it take to make the long run down the Flint river to the main lake. I also wanted to check one more big grassy area I noticed the day before but hadn't fished yet. I ran all the way down the river which takes about 25 minutes on average took the cut through to Spring Creek across from Wingates, and dropped the trolling motor as soon as I left the cut thru. This costs about 9 mins of idle time, but it saves about 20 minutes of time if you go down and around thru the timber cuts to get to this area at the mouth of Spring Creek. I was happy almost immediately. There were bait fish everywhere, lots of fish chasing movement, and a perfect area chock full of hydrilla. The depths ranged from 3 to 15 feet with scattered to thick and matted hydrilla. There was also a decent mix of other vegetation in the area. Only problem is that after casting 10 different baits for a full hour, I didn't have a fish to show for it. However, I liked this area a lot! It was perfect for the Timmy Z grass fishing methods. There was definitely going to be some traffic though. There were a bunch of local boats and what looked like several other tournament guys practicing in this area, but like all of my favorite areas, it was huge.

Here is a shot from the cut leading into the area. You can just see the beginnings of the matted hydrilla on the left hand side of this shot.



I spent the rest of the day searching for flipping spots in the river working my way back up towards the launch site in Bainbridge. This was not easy because the water level was dropping so fast. I did find some really good flipping stuff, but got two bites all day doing it. Both times they took the claws right off of my Mister Twister Pocit Craws. This was again very disheartening. I thought for sure I could get bit flipping junk up and down the river and small backwaters that are all over the system.

So I had now spent the better part of two whole days trying to dial in what I needed for the BFL. I had found a giant school in deep timber, a huge grass flat with tons of bait and activity, and a few promising flipping and casting spots, but nothing like what I needed. I still had the BFL the next day which in my mind was really my last practice day prior to the Rayovac event. I would focus and do my best and see what the fish had to say once I buckled down in an area and went to work.

Despite the spotty practice, I was pumped. It was tournament morning and I had finalized my decision to fish the big hydrilla flat first thing if not all day. I knew it was the single best chance at catching some decent fish and had enough varieties of depth and grass combinations that I could dial this thing in. I like big areas. I don't like individual spots. This area was huge and I had all day to work it. The 25 minute burn down the river and the 9 minute idle thru the cut to Spring Creek flew by and we (me and my co-angler) were casting. And casting... And casting... Three hours later still casting with nothing to show for it. The conditions were horrible. Slick calm and a billion degrees. I was obviously frustrated, but I had one of those co-anglers who just screams happy and peaceful. He had zero doubt and loved the area. We made a quick run (mostly for moving air frankly) to my big school spot close by just to do something different. Couldn't get a bit there either. I only used an hour there and with a late check in time I wanted to use the last 3 hours back on the flat, but this time I was going old school.



The grass on the flat was thick almost everywhere, so I pulled out a medium heavy worm rod with a heavier weight 5/8 put on a Mister Twister Comida(stick bait-Junebug color), rubbed it generously with Liquid Mayhem and went to work. Very Very Very slow work. Dead sticking is not for the faint of heart. In fact it will kill most anglers, but in Florida especially on slow bite days, you have to have this trick in your arsenal. Once I figured out what I was targeting, I caught 2 very quality fish over the next 2 hours. Those two fish beat half the field. I came in 45th place with two fish. My co-angler also caught two fish and jumped over 20 spots in the overall standings, almost guaranteeing him a spot at the Regional Championship.



So the lesson of the BFL and practice was simple enough. Slow down and fish the typical summer patterns. I salvaged a decent finish for me and my co-angler, and now had a very good plan for the Rayovac event coming up.

The Rayovac event dawned with a complete change in conditions which has fast become the story of this 2015 season. The lake was no longer being drained and was coming back up. The water was clearing up, and the wind decided to take a turn at ruining all of my well laid plans.  I had a late boat number on Day 1 and was boat 9 on Day 2.

The plan worked perfectly. It worked perfectly for my co-anglers to be clear. The quality fish were still in the area, but the wind made fishing this way extremely difficult for me. This flat had deep sections with very scattered hydrilla and very shallow sections with hydrilla so thick you can't move in it. The fish were in the deeper sections around the scattered grass. While I fought to keep the boat in the deeper water in very strong winds, my co-anglers went to work. My Day 1 co-angler caught over 13lbs. My Day 2 co-angler caught over 14lbs.  My Day 1 co went on to win 3rd place overall and a check for $4,000. My day 2 co went on to finish 15th overall and won a check for $1,000. Once again I had found the perfect pattern for a co-angler who could concentrate on fishing while I was having a hard time even getting a line in the water.

The primary problem was there was no way to peg myself down in the shallow water with my 6ft Talon and still fish the deeper pockets with the wind and boat traffic. The only thing that would have worked is having 10 or 12 foot Talons. I know I did everything I could do in those conditions to fish. I caught two small keepers on Day 1 and zeroed day 2.

I have to feel good about how well I put together a plan. I had found quality fish as proven by my co-anglers. The wind is a variable on most of my tournament lakes, but usually I am in much shallower water. I would love to add two 12 foot Talons, but that is an expense I just can't afford right now. I will continue to learn and grow and adjust as I live this dream. Peace.





Saturday, September 12, 2015

Swim Jig Fishing 201 Part 2 - Lily Pads and Water Hyacinth

By now I'm sure a lot of you have read my Swim Jig Fishing 101 and also Swim Jig Fishing 201 Part 1 - Lay Down Timber articles.  For those of you haven't here are the links - Swim Jig Fishing 101 and Swim Jig Fishing 201 Part 1. In this part of the series I'll be covering fishing your swim jig in Lily Pads and Water Hyacinth.  To find out more about these two types of  Aquatic Vegetation there is a great article by Reece Lindgren here on this blog.  It gives you all sorts of information you need to know about the different types of vegetation you can encounter while fishing and how bass relate to them.  Here is a link to that article Aquatic Vegetation in Relation to Bass Fishing.

I decided to do Lily Pads and Water Hyacinth together as I tend to fish them basically in the same manner.  Pads and Hyacinth both are surface cover type vegetation that give bass dark shady places to hide and a cool place to escape the sun in the hotter months of the year.  The shade will also attract the bait fish that bass feed on so that is a second big reason to target these plants.  Some may argue with me but I think a Swim Jig is the perfect way to catch bass and I mean big bass around Pads and Hyacinth.   I'm not saying it is the only way, but it is my preferred method. Because bass are hanging under the vegetation waiting for bait fish to swim by, there isn't any better bait than a swim jig.  Swim jigs are weedless and can be fished close and even in these plants and if you matched the hatch, like explained in Swim Jig Fishing 101, swim jigs look like the food the bass are eating.

Like I said above, my basic approach to fishing Pads and Hyacinth is pretty much the same as they have a lot in common. There are a few differences that I'll explain but they don't really affect the manner in which I approach fishing these plants, but they are good to know. Lily Pads have a stem or root that goes from the plant's pad on the surface down to the bottom.  Lily Pads are basically a stationary plant that you can come back to and fish trip after trip. Their stems really limit the type of baits you can throw as you need something that is weedless.  The biggest difference Lily Pads and Water Hyacinth is the Hyacinths are floating plants that don't have a root or stem that goes down to the bottom.  They tend to move about, floating with water currents and winds.  So the Water Hyacinth you fish on one day might not be in the same location on your next trip.  For Hyacinth I like to fish the formations that are also associated with other structure like points, coves, lay down or standing and even formations that are against or over rocks like dams.  You can fish less weedless baits around Hyacinth, but I still find it easier to fish something that is weedless.  Even after all these years on longer casts I still get one or two off target.  If you miscue on a cast with something that isn't weedless and your bait lands on the plants you will be dragging them to the boat.  This can mess up your fishing as those plants you are pulling out of the formation might just have been where that bass of a lifetime was hiding and now you have spooked her.

My approach to fishing both of these is simple as I'm looking for irregularities in their formations.  If the plants themselves form a point or have a deep gap in them or even a cut or break in the formation that is what I'm going to target.  I will point my boat so that I can make multiple casts at any of these irregularities.  If it is Lily Pads then I want my jig to be hitting their stems under water.  When my jig hits a stem then I pause for a second before continuing my retrieve.  Just like when you are fishing any type of structure with a Swim Jig you have to continually change your retrieve until you find just what the bass are liking that day.  Once you find out what the want then it is game on, however remember if they stop biting then it is time to play with your retrieve again.  Now I also position my boat so that I can make long casts parallel to the outer edges of the plants.  I want my jig to run as close to the covering shade as possible.  Bass will be hanging just on the outer edge of the plants waiting for something to swim by for them to eat.  Your job is to give them something that appeals to their hunger.  Another key element in deciding what type of retrieve is to watch the bait fishing in the area if you see any.  This works wonderful from time to time when you can see them and how they are swimming.  This will get your swim jigs action close to what looks natural and what the bass are expecting from something they are looking to eat.  Watching for bait fish in the area also lets you better "Match the Hatch" and select the color and size of your jig and trailer.

Now as you are fishing these plants you want to cast to everything in their formation that you feel a bass might be using as a ambush point.   Also if there is a smaller group of plants off from the main body then be sure to make multiple cast around the small group.  I've found over the years that these smaller formations away from the main group of plants will hold the bigger bass.  I'm not quite sure why this is other than maybe the big girls want a place of their own to hunt.  It seems to be like that on a lot of structure come to think.  When catching schoolie size bass you can catch multiple fish off of one piece of structure but if they are 5 pound plus bass you might only catch one or maybe two.  After they get in the 8 pound range you will rarely catch more than one fish off of that piece of structure, however you will know what type of structure and technique to use for the big girls.

Now lets get back to the subject at hand.  The one tactic I will use that is really effective on these plants is to make casts so I can actually get under the Pads or Hyacinth.  Here is a picture that might help to see as I try and explain how I go about getting my swim jig under the plants.
Basically what I do is make a long cast into a gap or opening and let my swim jig settle to the bottom.  Then I put rod tip near the water and swing it around so it pulls my line under the plants.  After making this swing with my rod I start my retrieve and my swim jig will come under the plants and at an angle that bass likely will never see a lure.  This works even better on those small groups that are off the main body and if there is a big bass under there I can bet she is going to hammer my jig as I pull it by her.  Now as you retrieve your swim jig under the pads you will feel it hitting the stems so remember to pause when it does.  If fishing Hyacinth they don't have stems for your jig to hit, but if they happen to be floating over brush, lay down or standing timber all the better.  Use the same pause technique when your jig hits this other structure under the Hyacinth.  This is why I like to look for Hyacinth that have formed up over other types of structure.  Just remember the one thing you must always be ready for when fishing like this is a crushing strike that tries to take your rod out of your hands.  Be sure to give them a crushing hookset right back so your hook gets buried good an deep.

I hope that this information will help you the next time you are out and see some Lily Pads or Water Hyacinth.  Remember your swim jigs are very versatile baits that can catch bass off of any type of structure.  I'll continue you this series in the near future with Part 3 - Cattails, Bulrushes and Grass.

Until next time, Tight Lines and Take a Kid Fishing!!!

You can also Follow me on
Twitter - @BHOAdventures
FaceBook - Bounty Hunter Outdoor Adventures
YouTube - Bounty Hunter Outdoor Adventures

Also Checkout the great folks that help make my fishing adventure possible and the tackle I use and trust.
Santone Lures
Throw-n-Thunder
Creme Lures
Dunamis Rods
Liquid Mayhem Fish Attractants
Stealth Rod Holders
New Pro Products
Squiddies Flip Reel


Monday, September 7, 2015

Swim Jig Fishing 201 Part 1 - Lay Down Timber

If you read my Swim Jigs 101 article you will know that the first thing necessary in becoming a swim jig fisherman is to learn to "Match the Hatch".  Here is a link to the first article as I recommend you give it a read also if you haven't - Swim Jig Fishing 101  There are so many different tactics and  different types of structure you can fish with a Swim Jig that I can't effective cover them all in one article. So I'm going to break Swim Jig Fishing 201 into multiple parts so I can cover each in some detail to better help you catch bass.  In this part I'm going to cover some of the basic tactics for fishing Lay Down Timber.   What exactly is Lay Down Timber some might ask, well it is trees or branches that have falling from the bank into the water.  These give the bass great ambush points and also give you a good place to catch these bass. There are a lot of effective methods to fish these but the trick is to get the bigger bass staging on these Lay Downs to hit.  I've found nothing better than the good ole swim jig to draw a strike from these bigger bass.

Now the trick to Lay Down Timber is to not just make one or two casts and then move on.  No you need to make many casts and use different speeds and types of retrieves on a single Lay Down.  Now like I said in the first article the bass are a moody bunch so what they want might change during the course of the day or even from one Lay Down to the next, so you have to be flexible and change with them.  No matter how you start working your jig you need to hit the Lay Down at many different angles.  Here are a couple pictures to show you how I start working a Lay Down.

As you can see from the picture I start casting at the Lay Down by really casting past it as far as possible and getting my jig as close to the bank as possible.  I make at least 3-4 cast in the first position at different speeds and at slightly different angles.  The first cast I like a steady slow retrieve and make sure my jigs hits as many of the branches on the Lay Down as possible.  If I don't get a strike on the first cast I speed up my retrieve some on the next cast, but I still want to hit those branches with my jig.  When you hit a branch with your jig it causes it to dart up somewhat and gives it an action bass just can't refuse.  This is especially true when fishing the Santone Lures Rayburn Swim Jigs as the flat edge in their head design really gives this jig a special action when it hits one of those branches.  The faster you retrieve the more the jig will dart when it makes contact with the branch.

If I don't get a strike after 3-4 casts at this angle I move my boat forward and change the angle some.  I then repeat the process of 3-4 casts.  Don't give up on a Lay Down too fast thinking there aren't any fish on it.  Most will hold bass but in some cases those bass might not be actively feeding.  This is when you have to get a reaction strike and there isn't a better bait than a good swim jig to draw that reaction strike.  Now even if I catch a bass I don't just move on to the next Lay Down.   A lot of these Lay Downs will hold more than one bass on them, so keep at it until you are sure you have fully covered all parts of the Lay Down and hit most of the branches with your jig.
Continue to move your boat to change your angle on the Lay Down.  If you have caught a bass you know what speed and type of retrieve they want.  Changing the angle of your casts on the Lay Down will allow your jig to past by more bass and hit more branches.  I've made as many as 20-25 casts on a single Lay Down and have caught as many as 5-6 bass off of one.   Now it is more likely you will only catch 1 or 2 bass, but don't give up too quickly.  That one big fish you need to anchor your stringer just might be on this Lay Down but you just haven't brought your jig past her at the right angle.  Sometimes it is the second cast in the same spot at the same angle that will draw the strike.   The first cast got the fish's attention or woke her up so to speak and the second cast she attacks your jig viciously. 

Now one of the most effective retrieves I've found for working Lay Downs is to let your swim jig fall to the bottom once it hits the water on the initial cast.  Then using a medium fast retrieve bring it to where it hits that first branch and jumps over, then stop and let it fall.  You don't have to let it fall all the way to the bottom, but the deeper the water the longer you let it fall.  Then give it a twitch or two before starting your medium fast retrieve to the next branch.  However remember this isn't full proof method.  You may have to change it some until you find what the bass want on any given day, or any given hour in some cases.   I've even had to change from Lay Down to Lay Down as the bass on one Lay Down liked the medium fast retrieve I just described but on the next Lay Down they wanted my jig at a very slow steady retrieve.   The key here is to be flexible and not get locked into the one size fits all scenario.

I'll start work on Part 2 of this series in the next few days or so that will cover working a swim jig in vegetation.  As there are many types of vegetation you might encounter I have to recommend that you read the article on my blog by Reece Lindgren.  Reece did an excellent job as this article is packed with great information on all types of Aquatic Vegetation and will give you a head start.  Here is a link to this article - A Guide to Aquatic Vegetation

Until next time, Tight Lines and Take a Kid Fishing!!!

You can also Follow me on
Twitter - @BHOAdventures
FaceBook - Bounty Hunter Outdoor Adventures
YouTube - Bounty Hunter Outdoor Adventures

Also Checkout the great folks that help make my fishing adventure possible and the tackle I use and trust.
Santone Lures
Throw-n-Thunder
Creme Lures
Dunamis Rods
Liquid Mayhem Fish Attractants
Stealth Rod Holders
New Pro Products
Squiddies Flip Reel