Saturday, January 31, 2015

Should Have Stayed In Bed!!!

There are just some days that we should stay in bed and not go fishing.  Yesterday was one of them for me, but I'll tell the full story as it does have some good points.

I was excited to be heading back to Lake Fayette Country yesterday morning.  The last time I was there I had a awesome day throwing the BHOA ThunderSlaw from Throw-n-Thunder Lure Company and was hoping for a repeat.  The last time I'd missed having a wonderful video due to playing with the setting on my GoPro and I hoped for another chance to get it on video.  The weather was suppose to be about the same as that previous trip so all was looking good, well that was until I crawled out of bed.  The temperature at the house was a little cooler than the forecast said but that was no biggie.  The wind was also blowing a harder but that didn't mean I'd fine the same at the lake.  I arrived at the ramp about 6:45 after a 2.5 hour drive to find the weather forecast was totally wrong. Not only was it colder the wind was much stronger, but worse the wind direct was not out the northeast, but coming out of the northwest.  Over the years I've learned that when the wind is out of a westward direction the bite is generally pretty tough.  Oh sure there have been a few time when this is not the case but those are far and few between, but I hoped this would be one of those days.  After driving that far I wasn't just going to turn around and go home. 

After I got the boat launched and the truck parked it was time to go see if I could get some bass to bite.  What I found was all of my favorite holes were pretty rough due to the wind direction and speed.  Sure I tried, but even the powerful ThunderSlaw couldn't draw a strike.  After an hour of nothing on the ThunderSlaw it was time to try something else.  My next choice was a Santone Lures Rayburn Swim Jig with a Creme Lure Company Reel Scremer trailer but again it was met with no takers.  It seemed the weather conditions really had given the bass lockjaw as they weren't interested in what I was throwing.  The fish were there too, I was marking good number in the deep timber but just couldn't get them to bite.  I was able to catch one good bass on a Santone Rattlin' Jig in Watermelon Red/Chartreuse with a Creme Same Thing Beaver in Watermelon Red as the trailer with some Crawfish Rage Fish Attractants Liquid Mayhem.  The bass was a good 4.5lbs and put up a pretty good fight in the heavy timber but it wasn't nothing my Dunamis Rods jig rod couldn't handle.  In fact the fish hit so lightly if it hadn't been for my highly sensitive Dunamis Jig Rod I might not have even felt the hit.  I thought I was on to something but after another hour of nothing it was time to look for greener pastures.

The second spot I tried wasn't any better so I moved off to another spot that had standing timber in deep water that was a little more protected from the wind.  I tried the ThunderSlaw, Rayburn Swim Jig and Rattlin' jigs with the same results of nothing.  However because this area was a little better protected from the wind I decided to break out my finesse gear.  I selected a Santone Football Piglet shaky head and a Creme Same Thing Straight Tail worm in Watermelon red and I put some Crawfish Liquid Mayhem on the worm.  These days I don't throw any jigs or worms that don't have Liquid Mayhem on them, it works that good!!  This was the ticket as on the second cast I felt that very wonderful tap, tap and the fight was on.  It was a really good fish in timber with light tackle but luck with with me and a very fat 5+ pound bass was soon on board.  I was starting to feel better about the day but in my rush I didn't check my light line for frays after fight that bass which was a big mistake.  About three cast later I got another tap, tap but as I set the hook my line snapped.  Dang it, I know better than that!!!  After checking for any more frays I tied on another piglet, added the worm and some Liquid Mayhem. Just a couple of cast after the re-rigging a nice 2.5 pounder was on board.  This went on for a few more bass in the pound class.  All these fish were on one tree that was beneath the surface and I missed seeing one of the extended branches and hit it with the trolling motor.  Not sure if that shut down the bite or I'd just caught all the ones willing to bite, but either way the spot was finished.

I did try one other spot before calling it a day and picked up one about 2lbs.  It was on some rocks near the power plant intake canal.  I did break off another fish on this spot due to forgetting to retie again.  So all in all, I was having a mentally challenging day and decided to call it quits.  I stowed all my gear for the ride back across the lake as I decided to test out some tweaks I'd made to the boat setup and was going to open her up.  My 20 year old Cajun bass boat is 16.5ft and it has a 20 year old Johnson 88 Special on her that I rebuilt myself last year.  With just me, no gear and half a tank of fuel I've gotten up to 42 mph but normally she will run 38 mph at wide open throttle.  I installed a 6 inch manual jackplate after the engine rebuild thinking I might get a little more speed out of her.  I have been tweaking on the jackplate off and on ever since to get it right.  I normally don't run at wide open throttle to save on the gas bill, but would like to know what she can do in the speed department.  So with pretty much a full tournament load of gear and three quarters a tank of fuel I opened her up mid lake and trimmed her out.  The GPS quickly shot up to 45.5 mph so I must have done something right with these latest tweaks

Now I told the part about testing out the boat tweaks because it plays into the worst part of the day.  After getting the boat on the trailer and pulled out of the way, I started getting everything ready for the trip home.  I had been video taping during the day and even though it wasn't a great day fishing, it would be a pretty good video.  I had stowed my GoPro and accessories in their bag and tucked them under the console for the boat test.  When I getting the GoPro bag out form under the console to put it in the truck I hit my thumb on the edge of the console.  At first I didn't think anything about it until I was almost at the truck and saw it was bleeding pretty good.  I laid the GoPro bag on my truck bed side rail as I got a paper towel out of the truck to stop the bleeding.  I then thought it would be a good idea to go in the restroom and wash my hands to get the fish slim as well as the liquid mayhem off them.  After washing my hands and getting the bleeding to stop, I jumped in the truck and headed home.  About 50 miles from the lake I glanced in the passenger seat where my GoPro normally is kept and realized it wasn't there.  I also realized where I'd left it and pulled off at the next exit hoping it had fell in the bed of my truck.  I wasn't that lucky and found myself heading back to the lake to see if I could find my GoPro.  Long story, short I didn't find it.  This also explains why I don't have any pictures with this article as there was supposed to be an accompanying video.

As I said in the beginning of this story there were some good points from an overall bad day.  I did catch some bass they were hard to come by but as we all know that is fishing.  Also it was Friday and I was fishing and not working and I don't care how bad the fishing is, it still beats the very best days at work.  Also my old boat ran like a new girl, so now I need to finish restoring her.  Restoring the old Cajun wouldn't take so long if I didn't go fishing so much.  Heck I've never been about looks anyway.  The bass really don't care how pretty your bass boat is, they don't bite any better if you are fishing out of a 20 year old Cajun or a brand new Ranger!!  So for the time being I'll be out of the video production business, hopefully it won't be too long.  I'll just have to remember to take still pictures of my bass for upcoming articles.

Yes there are days that it would be best to stay in bed.  The problem is we never know which are those days until we live them.  So if we don't take the chance and just stay in bed we might just miss out on one of those once in a lifetime days.  I mean who would want to miss one of those days when it doesn't matter what bait you are fishing you are catching fish!!  

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

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Rant Over a Growing Trend

(By Tim Zdrazil - Updated 6/3/2016)
Let me begin by saying that this blog post entry may ruffle some feathers; Good! I have had about all I can take on this particular issue and if I don't vent it off now, I will probably explode.

For the record, here is exactly what I believe. I, Tim Zdrazil am NOT a professional bass fisherman. I have a full time job that is NOT bass fishing. I have never and will never consider myself a professional bass fisherman until such time that my sole source of income comes directly or indirectly from bass fishing period. I also believe that the ONLY people who can rightfully call themselves professional bass fisherman are those that EARN money solely from bass fishing directly (winnings) or indirectly (sponsor paychecks, seminars, guiding etc). I further believe that if you are independently wealthy and are not paid directly (winnings) or indirectly (sponsor paychecks, seminars, guiding etc) for bass fishing you ALSO should NOT call yourself a professional bass fisherman. You are just a guy with a ludicrous amount of disposable income and you have an expensive hobby. There is one at least. I know this for a fact. Simply put, a professional bass fisherman feeds his/her family and pays his/her bills with bass fishing money.

Now that I have clearly stated what I believe, I am going to rant. The last straw for me was in a recent article concerning this distinction and the acid tinged comments that came with the article. I am not going to mention names or link articles here. This may be controversial enough without starting a war with anyone in particular. The article was written by a true professional bass fisherman. There seems to be a class war going on between the true professional bass fisherman and the rest of us. I have read three separate accounts to date that specifically call out so called 'wannabe' professionals. They say things like "just because you slap some patches or logos on a jersey doesn't make you one of us". One pro in particular said he was offended when a local guy said to him that he was proud to be on the same 'team' as him. Offended? Are you kidding me? First of all, you mister pro guy have no idea what the local guys status is with the company in question. How arrogant and presumptuous of you to even think that you might. That local guy may be a huge asset to the company in question and spend hours upon hours doing good promotional work for the same company that you as a professional also represent. He may have been very proud to think that he is working for the same company as you the professional that he looks (looked more likely) up to.  All of the articles and mentions that have put me in this state pretty much boil down to that sentiment. How dare you little peon put yourself in the same league as me. Oh mister pro guy, what makes you think that we do? I know that I personally dream of doing what you do. However, I do NOT put myself anywhere near your league with one glaring exception. I work my tail off for the companies that I represent. In fact, I take it to a fairly serious extent because I am blown away by the fact that they wanted me in the first place. I am so grateful and so very proud to be on these teams, that I feel like I have to work every day to make sure I am contributing to their success. I want them to want me on the team every year til I die.

I have nine true sponsors. I am on nine true teams. I am on nine different pro staffs. I PROMOTE and represent for nine different companies. Get it? Doesn't really matter how you state it. Each one of my companies has there own setup for this stuff and call it what they want to call it. But the bottom line is that they have agreed (actual contracts with most of them) to do such and such and I agree to reciprocate with such and such. When done properly, it is mutually beneficial. Guys like me who fish the lower and middle tiers of FLW or B.A.S.S. can do a ton of good work for companies in this business. Am I doing commercials or magazine appearances? NO. But I am a world class street worker for them. I am constantly looking for ways to help them move more product or advertise a new offering. Garage bands learned a long time ago. You need a dedicated street team busting for you every day if you want to pack the local joint. Most days its the band themselves, but you have to be on the street doing the work. I would argue that a guy like me that can only practice the day before most one day events and maybe a few days for a multi-day event is on the street way more than the guy that is on the water 5 of every 7 days.  Guys like me spend 5 or 6 days a week obsessing and talking about bass fishing. We Tweet, we Facebook, we Insta-whatever. We are always working towards that 1 or maybe 2 days a week we can be on the water. We are the fans, the co-anglers, the weekend warriors that fill those bottom rungs and create an opportunity for all of us to move higher in this sport. Yes it is a sport. Bug off if you don't realize that. You shouldn't be reading this probably.

The point is you NEED us. You wouldn't have an Elite series or and FLW tour without us. We are the building blocks for what you do at the top. Do you honestly think for a minute your Elite status would exist without the thousands of us at the lower and middle levels. Imagine for a second an NFL with NO college ranks. Imagine MLB with no college and farm league system. Why would these companies need you the professional angler at all if the entire market was 300 to 400 so called professional bass fisherman. We the wannabes buy the products, we beat the bushes, we talk to our local tackle shops about the new bait that they should stock. We are the absolute essential ingredient to your professional career. And for pete's sake, we are your fans. We are the most devoted followers you will ever have. The Smith family in middle America probably have no idea who you are or frankly care to know, but we dream about doing what you do for a living. Why would you turn on us? Why would you look down your nose at us? Why would you be offended because we happen to work with the same company that you do? Without us you are nothing. Without us you have no career. There is no market. There is no Elite anything. We get it. We really do. We are NOT you. We WANT to be you. Some of us WILL be you. So why, why, why would you treat us like dirt on your shoe?

 What you do is amazing. The travel alone would kill off most of us. The constant pressure to perform is mind numbing. The attempted balance between family, logistics, travel, business commitment is truly perilous. We get it. Are there some true morons in our ranks? Of course. Are there true idiot wannabes? Yepper, but the vast majority of us are just as tight a community as you are. We work hard and care just as much as you do. When I see guys at the BFL events here in Florida that I've known for 8 years its awesome. We catch up and talk about the conditions and are we "on anything". And heaven help us all we talk about sponsorships we've landed for the coming year. We celebrate for each other even when we land competitor companies. We do what you do at a much smaller level. We may only have a day to practice, but we are on the water just like you from sunup to "not miss the meeting" time. Grinding and praying we find the pattern that might get us a win. We take our commitments seriously too. There is not a single day that I am not doing something for one of my sponsor teams. It is a constant deal for me, because I am NOT a professional, I have to do this. I feel compelled to overachieve in every facet of this sport, so that one day maybe just maybe the stars will align and I will have a chance to feed my family doing it. Most likely not going to happen. But why this new trend in knocking us down every chance you get? Another pro recently pointed out that sponsor dollars are hard to come by and with the masses of us small fry getting into the game that its even harder on them. Really? So in essence you are working for a company that is stupid? Bet you wouldn't say that to them directly. They obviously understand that 10 guys like me, street warriors, working in the lower ranks is also helpful. Why else would they do it? Grass roots in many cases far outweighs concentration at the top. Also consider that you once were probably me. Finding the time, saving the money, working every angle you could to live this dream even if it is never fully realized. Its my dream dude. So stop laying your stuff on my dream. I could spend most of this rant just on how unprofessional things have gotten up there at the top, but that is not why I am ranting here.

Now its time to take issue with the rest of us. I truly believe that for the most part all tournament fisherman, fun fisherman, bank busters, kayak crazies, lawn chair on the dock cooler by your side guys/gals understand most of what I have vented so far, but some of us are also the problem. I am on Twitter off and on all day. I have been very fortunate using social media to help my teams out. I interact with other fisher folk every day. We talk about everything from products to interesting tweaks to presentations. We talk about where we are fishing, whats working, whats not working or why they aren't biting right now. Unfortunately I have also noticed a trend with the 'rest of us'. Please guys take this message to heart. Begging for product or hinting that you would love to try some of the product if it magically appears in your mailbox is not the way to join teams. The single best way to be noticed by teams in the first place is to BUY and USE the products first. Talk about the products first. I recently had a coaching session with a young man who truly could be great one day. He stands every chance of making it to the true professional levels someday. But a tweet to the company in open space saying you would love to talk sponsorships is just not the way to go. Really really not the way to go. Especially if your timeline is filled with profanity and teenage drama from your school day. Use your head. If you want these companies to notice you, notice yourself first. I do not expect any of my teams to give me anything. They do not owe me something. We work together for one purpose and one purpose only; Sell more product. If I am successful in this joint venture they will continue to support me the way that they do. At my level, every little bit counts. But the key for me and what I tell every team rep that I work with is simple. I will never ask or demand anything from you. I will only ask you to tell me what else can I do?  How else can I help? If you come running in with your hands out, you will be disappointed. I am humbled and thankful beyond reason that I have the level of support that I do from all of my teams. They are amazing and I am proud to be a part of them. I will do everything in my power to keep them moving forward just as I hope to continue forward.

One last pet peeve and the rant will finish up.  Please guys be respectful of your fellow fisherman who have sponsor deals. If guy or gal X is having a conversation with guy or gal Y about a particular product, you are NOT helping your team by jumping into that conversation with your teams product. It is disrespectful plain and simple. If you are invited into the conversation or asked for your view then sure. But I have seen multiple instances recently of conversation jumping when someone was teaching someone else about a product only to have super interrupty team guy/gal leap in to challenge with a different product. I get the enthusiasm. However I am not doing any of my companies any good if I become that guy. At some point someone is going to smack you around for it.

OK, I feel better now. If you truly want to help us out, buy some of the stuff we have given to you or shared with you. It's part of our deals. We get product into hands to test to learn to hopefully love and ultimately increase sales. I promise you this is truth. If you buy, use, celebrate and share the products that you love. You will be noticed by the teams. Make relationships. Get to know the staff guys/gals for those products. Share your ideas and ways to use those products.  Write reviews, participate in forums, show the companies what kind of street warrior you can be for them. They will notice. Opportunities will arise.  No matter what level or type of fisherman you consider yourself remember this. We ALL, every single one of us, has the same goal. That little tap or bump, that quick pick up of slack line, the feel of that weight on the other end, and a bone jarring hook set with a battle to the boat. We are all the same. We love fishing. We love the outdoors. We are a huge and yet very unique family of people. There is room for all of us. The simplest rule is still the best rule. Treat everyone the way YOU want to be treated.

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Creme Lure Company - Since 1949!

That is right folks in 1949 the Creme Lure Company introduced the first plastic worm to the bassin' world.  Creme wasn't a flash in the pan they were there to stay and continue to produce quality baits for fishermen all over the world.  I'm not new to Creme Lures either as I've been fishing with them since my earliest fishing memories.  Back in 1965 with I was just 5 years old I talked my dad into buying me a Creme Rigged Worm and that evening at my grandfather's farm pond my love for Creme Lures started.  You see not only did I catch a bass on that Rigged Worm I caught a big bass for a 5 year old just starting out.
I can tell you right now that if you have a kid or grandkid just starting out fishing there is no better way to get them hooked on bass fishing than letting them throw a Creme Rigged Worm.  Lets just say you don't fix what isn't broken and after 65 years the Creme Rigged Worms and Lizards are still around and still catching fish.  Heck you don't have to be a kid to throw these and catch fish either as I'll admit I still have some Rigged Worms in my box for those tough days.  They seem to be dipped in some kind of magic fish catching sauce as when nothing else will catch fish they will.  Creme still carries a great assortment of of Rigged Worms and Lizards too.
I mentioned that back in 1949 Creme introduced the plastic worm to the bass fishing world and that worm was the Scoundrel.  Back in the early days of Bass Tournament fishing you saw legends like Bill Dance and others fishing Scoundrels as there just wasn't anything that caught bass like these worms.  Well folks after 65 years the only thing that has changed is Creme has added more colors to their awesome Scoundrel worm.  They still catch bass today just like they did when they were first introduced.  I personally have a box full of Scoundrels and I know they will catch bass for me day in and day out.
Now let me ask you if you like to throw Lipless Crank baits?  Sure you do, I don't know a bass fisherman that doesn't throw them as there are times you can fill your limit quickly on a lipless crank bait, right.  When I find bass schooling and chasing shad a lipless crank is my go to bait and I'm sure I'm not alone.  Well folks there isn't a better lipless crank than the Creme Mad Dad Minnow.  They are the only Soft, yes Soft lipless crank bait.  They have an action and feel that make the bass think they are a real shad so they get hammered time and time again!! There is one other thing that I love about the Mad Dad Minnows and that is the color selection.  I mean to tell you folks they come in more colors than all the other lipless baits on the market put together.  I'm sure there will be colors that you will find to get those bass hitting and hitting fast.
Now if you folks are like me you have noticed the price of plastic baits going up and up.  These days it isn't nothing for a pack of plastic worms to cost $6-$8 dollars and even more in some cases.  Well I'm here to tell you that you don't have to spend that kind of money for great plastic baits because Creme has you covered.  Creme's Same Thing line of plastic baits are not only fish catching wonders they don't hurt your wallet.  At only $1.99 a pack these baits really pack a punch for your hard earned money.  I'm not just say these baits are cheap, I'm saying they are cheap and they catch fish and lots of fish.  I used them just last weekend to win my first tournament of 2015, so I trust them day in and day out even under tournament conditions to get the job done for me!!  Here take a look at what they have that is available in the Same Thing line, you will love them as much as I do!
Creme hasn't stopped their innovative ways either, no they are still working on new baits that will help bass fishermen of the 21st Century catch more and bigger bass.  One of these new concepts is their Scremer Series of baits.  You have the 7 inch long Scremer that is the next generation plastic worm and the 5 inch Reel Scremer which is the Swim Bait of tomorrow that you can fish today.  Both of the Scremers are awesome in my opinion and will catch bass and big bass.  The Reel Scremer has quickly become my favorite Swim Jig trailer and if you know anything about me, you know I love fishing Swim Jigs.  I demand a great trailer for my Swim Jigs and the Reel Scremer has more than filled that role for me.

Well there you have it folks, some of my favorite Creme Lure Company baits.  These however are not the only fish catching baits available from Creme.  No Creme has more bass catching baits, not to speak of baits that catch crappie, trout and other panfish.  They even have a saltwater line of baits that also get the job done for you.  Creme might be over 65 years old but they are here to stay and still on a mission of helping folks like you and I catch fish.  The next time you decide to get some baits you really need to look at Creme Lure Company.  They have the baits that will put fish in the live well of the weekend and tournament fisherman alike.

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

Thursday, January 22, 2015

BBL Team Tournament Schedule Update!!!

The next Bayou Bassin' League Team Tournament is being relocated to Halls Bayou.  This is due to all the rain we received today is going to make it difficult to pre-fish Austin Bayou before the tournament.  Also weighing in on this decision is the fact that Halls Bayou tends to clear somewhat faster than the other bayous.

 February 21, 2015 - Halls Bayou with the Launch being at the Halls Bayou Fish Camp. I'll keep you posted on any other BBL related tournament updates as we get closer.

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

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

New Lake, New Bait

On January 11th, 2015 my good friend Steven Kiser and I went to one of our local lakes; Lake Jackson. Though it is a local lake, I had never fished it, but since I have a tournament there in February I jumped at Steve's offer. It just so happened that the night before the trip, my order of Throw N Thunder lures arrived. In the order was a bait that Derek strongly believes in; the Throw N Thunder "Thunder Slaw". So I decided to test it out as I have seen its abilities on a few of Derek's videos so I was stoked to throw it. Steve had told me that the fish in Lake Jackson were mainly feeding on shiners and crappie, so I knew with its white blades and its white and orange skirt it would be perfect. It was set to be a cold morning with the high temperature only being 60 degrees. 

In the morning not only was it cold when we arrived, there was a good 5-10 mph wind across the water as well. After a cold run to our first spot we started out by throwing white and silver jerk baits. At about 7:00, Steve broke the ice with a little 1 lb bass on a custom jerk bait of his. Then soon after, he caught a better fish in the 3 lbs class. After not really getting any bites on my jerk bait, I picked up my Thunder Slaw and began to fish it like the jerk bait. Steve had told me that both of the previous fish had hit the bait when he had paused it. So, on my first cast, I slow rolled it and paused it. After about three cranks, I felt a good bite but the fish didn't keep a hold of it. Then about 5 feet from the boat, on a pause... Boom!!  I reeled up my slack and set the hook hard. She had come back and hit it again. I knew this was a bigger fish as soon as it began to go where it wanted to and I really had no choice. We had forgotten the net so when I saw my chance I swung her into the boat. We didn't weigh her but Steve estimated that she probably at least 5 1/2 lbs. It was my first Lake Jackson bass, first Thunder Slaw fish and not one to be ashamed about either.

 About 2 casts later, boom, the Thunder Slaw claimed another nice Lake Jackson bass. This one weighing probably around 3 lbs.  By 7:30 I had caught another 3 bass on the Thunder Slaw. By then the sun had risen and the wind  began to die off and with the spinner bait bite began to slow as well.  

Steve was still catching fish on a jerk bait so I set my spinner bait down and threw my jerk bait for a while. Because the jerk bait bite was so good, Steve said, "Watch this, I'm gonna blow their minds." He put down his white jerk bait and picked up a red one. As soon as it hit the water, Boom, instant hook up. When we got it to the boat, the fish had the jerk bait almost down his throat. It was a nice one too, probably weighing 3-4 lbs with a nice gut on it. We learned from this that the fish were still eating and eating very well too. What we noticed too was that most of our better fish had come from the deeper water, away from the lily pad edge. So, we circled the boat around so that we could throw to the deeper water. 

The wind began to pick up once again so i set down my jerk bait rod and picked up my spinner bait rod. There was an isolated patch of lily pads away from the main lily pad line that over the deeper water. I finally got a good angle where I was able to make a long cast parallel with the lily pad patch I let the Thunder Slaw fly. Again, I slow rolled it and paused it every few yards. As soon as it passed the final lily pad, I felt one solid "Thump" on my line. I reeled up my slack and set the hook hard. Now, most of the fish we had caught so far had come straight to the boat and this one did the same until it got about 10 feet from the boat. When the fish saw the boat it dove almost taking my rod with it. My rod was doubled over to the point that the tip was in the water. Meanwhile I was yelling, " Steve this is a bigger fish, get the net, get the net." Knowing we didn't have the net and seeing the size of my fish, Steve stuck his hand in the water, got her by the mouth and swung her into the boat. Now we could see how big she really was. Her weight came out to be 7 lbs, 3 oz. and she ATE and I mean ATE the Thunder Slaw. Had to use my pliers to get the hook out.

We had caught all of these fish by 8:30 in the morning and all in one spot. We estimated that our best 5 fish would have easily gone 24 lbs or more that morning. Steve had hooked one that would've dwarfed my 7 pound fish. Sadly, she spit the hooks before we could get her out of the water. If we had landed her, our bag would have been close to 35 pounds.  We released all of our fish back into the same spot for our upcoming tournaments. 

Huge Thanks to my friend Steve "Big fish" Kiser, if it weren't for him I wouldn't have been able to take the trip. He lived up to his nickname by putting me on some nice Jackson bass and it was a trip i won't forget. 

Take my advice, If you are ever in Florida and have a chance to fish Lake Jackson, do it. Be sure to bring your Throw N Thunder Thunder Slaw, and a jerk bait, and you're gonna have a great time!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

BBL Dickinson Bayou Tournament Results

Well folks the Bayou Bassin' League Tournament on Dickinson Bayou was pretty much what most of us thought it would be at the registration meeting the night before. Even though the weather today was beautiful after all the rain soaked weekends we have had the last month; it was all that rain that made the fishing difficult. The Dickinson Bayou can be tough when the water is nice, but when the water is muddy she can be completely unforgiving.  Knowing this going into the tournament most of us felt like 1 or 2 bass could win the whole thing.

We quickly found out that the water had not improved any over night as we were launching our boats and knew we had a tough day ahead of us.  As if the muddy water wasn't enough ole Mother Nature  added insult to injury with a water temperature below 50 degrees all day long.  In the morning when we started I was reading 48 degrees and it did climb to 49 by the afternoon. It was going to be a tough day, but we just didn't realize just how tough the day would be until the weigh-in at 3:00 PM.  Not only was the water still really muddy but the start of the tournament found us at the tail end of the out going tide and the water very low.  After the early part of the morning there wasn't a lot of water movement the rest of the day.  This compounded the muddy cold water situation.  On a normal day even when it is hard to catch keeper bass on Dickinson you can generally catch a hand full of bass that are under the 14 inch minimum length.  Just getting some hits and catching undersized bass keeps your hopes up and helps you keep going during the course of the day.  This was not the case on this day though as boat after boat came to the launch without having a hit.  There were a couple of boats that had gotten a hit or two and a couple that had lost fish.  However after it was all said and done there was only one boat that had a keeper for the weigh-in scales.  So I'm not going to post a results board in this article, the bass that took both stringer and big bass honors was 2.31 pounds.

Now for the good news;  it was my boat that had the 2.31lb bass in the live well.   I had two hits all day and both of them came a few casts apart around 7:30 in the morning while there was still a little water movement.  These two hits came from the same spot only different angles so I think it was the same fish.  The first time he kind of slapped at the bait but the second time he took it and I got a good hookset.  I really felt good when I put the fish onboard and realized it was a better than average bayou bass. After getting this bass in the live well my day was like everyone else fishing the tournament; No hits.

I'll have to say that as with most days fishing there is a level of luck involved which was true today as I was lucky enough to find one fish willing to hit, and that one fish happened to be a good fish.  However I also think that even through I found that fish it was the great baits I use that made that fish want to eat.  The combination that got the winning bass to hit was a Santone Lures Rattlin' Jig in Rayburn Red with a Creme Lures Beaver in Watermelon Red as a trailer.  The rattles on the Santone Lures Rattlin' Jig were very important in the muddy water and let me tell you they are some great sounding rattles!!  I also can't say enough good about the Creme Lures Beavers either.  The Beaver has the right bulk to slow the fall of you bait in the cold muddy conditions and the action that will entice a bass into a strike.

Of course this combo wasn't complete without some Rage Fish Attractants Liquid Mayhem in Garlic Minnow.  I can tell you that a good attractant is very important on days where you only get a few hits.  Good fish attractants will ensure the bass holds onto your bait long enough after the strike for you to set the hook.  In the case of Liquid Mayhem the fish don't only hold on, they try to eat the bait as it tastes like something they want to eat.   Liquid Mayhem is beyond a doubt the best fish attractant on the market today.

Now this story might not have turned out as it did if I didn't have a really good rod that not only let me detect the strike, but also had the power to set the hook on a bass while fishing a jig.  The rod I'm speaking of is my Dunamis Rods Jig Rod.  It is everything I could ever expect in a rod for fishing jigs.  It is very light, well balanced and highly sensitive, but most importantly it has what it takes to stick a fish good when they hit!!

For those of you interested in fishing some of our Bayou Tournaments you can click on this link for the Bayou Bassin' League website for more information.   You can also go to their Facebook page by clicking here BBL Facebook  to see more pictures and stay up to date on things happening real time.   There are still three tournaments this fall/winter and we would enjoy having more teams come and try their hand on these bayou bass.

February 21, 2015 - Austin Bayou - 2004 Bridge Ramp near Danbury (Due to access issues at the boat ramp the launch point might change)
March 21, 2015 - Buffalo Camp Bayou - Lake Jackson (Launch TBD)
May 16, 2015 - Sabine River - Beaumont Area (Launch TBD)

Before I end this article I have to once more extend thanks to our BBL Sponsors Hook Spit Tackle, Choice Pipeline & Bear's Flooring for Sponsoring the BBL!  Without their help and sponsorship we wouldn't be where we are today.  Hook Spit is allowing the BBL pre-tournament meetings to be held at their store and has also provided store gift card for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishes as well as providing gift cards for raffle! Choice Pipeline & Bear's Flooring has stepped up and is provided the trophies for the tournaments this year!

If you are interested in sponsoring the BBL you can contact Jake or Ken on the BBL website or just send me an email at and I'll put you in touch with them.

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

Monday, January 12, 2015

Okeechobee Continued

Derek invited me to contribute to this awesome blog, and we agreed that continuing the Okeechobee story was a good way to go. In order to put my entry into context, I strongly suggest you read The Holy Grail and Lake Okeechobee Report which set the stage for two twitter friends who have never met getting together on the Big O plus Derek's summary of our day. You can also watch Lake Okeechobee Christmas Special which visually puts into context the rest of this piece.

Now that you have the context, I will break down what I found in Friday practice and the Saturday BFL Gator Division opener on Lake Okeechobee. What you see in the video is a large school of pre-spawn fish fresh off the lake staging and feeding on  a large concentration of shad. The area is one long flat that is 3 to 6 foot deep with deep channels on both sides. On the flat there is a mix of grasses, cane and lily pads.

We caught many quality fish and figured our best 5 probably went 16 to 18 pounds. Even though we were over 3 weeks out, I had a good sense that they would still be doing this come tournament time. This is a perfect staging area for pre-spawners fresh off the main lake. When Friday practice arrived, my son and I made a fast run directly to this spot and graphed the area. I saw exactly what I needed to see.

The school was still there, the bait was still there, and the bass were actively feeding. Bingo! Exactly what I had spent three weeks dreaming about. My son and I fished around the flats to see if any of them had pulled up shallow into the cover, but I left the schooling fish alone. We went on to flip and cast in multiple areas in and around South Bay and Pelican Bay on the southern end of the lake. We saw everything in my back up areas that we needed to see and found more quality fish including this solid 4lb gal.

We rounded out the day throwing spinner baits on rip rap banks in the rim canal which has always been a good way to pick up a few keepers and fill a limit if necessary.  Overall I was elated. My big school was still home and very active. My back up areas were solid and the fish were eating all over the south end of the lake. I knew I was going to have a 20 pound bag by the end of the day.

Like all good practices, everything changed over night. Friday the conditions were stable with light winds and overcast with a few showers. Saturday the winds jumped up in the 15 to 20 mph range with blue bird skies. When I ran to the first spot, I had a feeling things were not going to work out. The wind was creating a current that was blowing through my area. I was still graphing the fish, but the shad was gone and the fish were in tight groups on the breaks. I assume the shad got blown out into the main lake and the fish were staying out of the worst of the current. But they were still there, and I had to try.

My co-angler and I spent close to 3 hours fighting the wind and trying to get the school to eat or at least fire up long enough to catch a few good ones. I did catch two small keepers on the outside edge of the lily pads up on the flat. My co-angler who was now ready to strangle me caught one small keeper on the shallow bank edge across the channel. I had promised myself that I would invest the time, it didn't pan out, so we moved on. Sadly my primary backup area in Pelican Bay was no better. It was setup in the same wind as the first spot, but the water was still clean, and we had much better cover. I idled way back into the 'junk' so that we could fish it and then let the wind do the majority of the work fishing our way back out again. About every 25 yards or so, I would Talon us down while we made casts to all of the visible grassy targets in that area. Then I let the wind move us another 25 yards and repeated the process. It allowed us to cover a lot of ground without standing on the trolling motor the entire time. I caught one more small keeper during this process. But the big bites from this area the day before were simply gone. I kept us moving with the wind but would push us on different angles to try as many different types of grass in the area as possible. Given the bright sun overhead I had confidence that they would be up tight to the different pockets of grass, cane, and lily pads. At this point we had about 2 1/2 hours left of fishing time before our 3:30 check in time. Still without a limit, but hoping to salvage something from my first primary area where I knew the big ones were still around, we moved back to the first spot, but this time I used the Talon to lock us down on the shallow edge of the deeper channel and fired at the schools a few last times. Neither concentration of fish (still proudly gripping tightly to the channel break edge) would give us a bite. I only used a half hour for the final attempts. With 2 hours remaining, we blasted around the rim ditch to find one or two of my rip rap spots that was out of the wind.

Luckily Plan C at least got us on fish. Within minutes my co-angler caught a nice keeper close to three pounds. The best fish of the day for the boat I am sad to say, but I was glad my co had a nice one in the box. Over the next hour or so we both filled our limits. As small as they were, I had some pride that I didn't give in and still scrambled out a limit while putting my co on enough fish for him to limit as well. I spent six years on the backs of boats, and I know it can be tough. I always make a point of hitting areas like this for my co-anglers to fill out limits. I had a few boaters do that for me over the years and it always meant a lot.

I finished with 7lbs 10oz in 181st place out of 229 boats. Just typing that makes my skin crawl. But that is the reality of a small limit on Okeechobee. It took 27lbs to win it, 19 pounds to make the top 10, and 12.5 lbs to cut a check.  FLW Results  Needless to say this is not how I thought I was going to finish given how great my practice days were. However, I always try to find the win in the loss so to speak. So, here are the silver linings. My brand new Big Bear Fishing rods were exceptional. I joined the Big Bear team this year, and these rods are already making a huge difference in my game. My sponsor's baits worked like they always do. Part of why I trust and market them the way that I do. Three of my keepers came on a Lock Jaw Jigs 1/4 oz 3D Eye jig

with a Mister Twister Sassy Shad Trailer (also the 4lber practice fish above).

One fish came on a Mister Twister Magnum SinSation.

My final keeper fish came on a secret schooling fish bait that in my family we call the "Uncle Chucker".  Only a handful of co-anglers know about this bait outside of our immediate family. I also slathered Rage Liquid Mayhem on every bait I threw, pitched, or flipped all day. I know that gave me an edge late in the day scrambling for a very few bites. I truly believe it gets fish to hold on to and commit to a bait that they may otherwise just slap at. I am always extremely proud of my performance when my head stays clear, I don't get frantic, and I catch a limit on a tough day. I really wouldn't change much about how I approached the day if you take hindsight out of the equation. Knowing what I know now, I should have bailed on those schooling fish, as soon as the graph showed them bunched like they were and not actively feeding. However, because they were still there, I felt like I had to keep trying to fire them up. One or two quick flurries and my co and I would have had much bigger bags. I would probably do it again. That is how certain I am about the fish that were there. Or stupid. You be the judge.

In summary, I am proud of my performance running the front of the boat in an FLW Gator division that is stacked with big time bass talent. I am thankful to my sponsors that help me live this dream, part time as it may be. It is truly a dream come true for me. Many thanks to Derek and Bounty Hunter Outdoor Adventures, Mister Twister, Lock Jaw Jigs, Toho Marine, and Big Bear Fishing Rods. I am also a recent convert and devout believer in Rage Liquid Mayhem fish attractants. I am mostly thankful for an amazing wife who takes the brunt of our complicated life, so that I can pursue this passion.

Watch the video link above. You will be a believer too.

Tight Lines and Thanks for reading.

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Throw-n-Thunder Adds to 2015 Lineup

Let me tell you just when I think the Throw-n-Thunder Lure Company has one of the best new lineups for 2015 they up their game!!!  They have gone off and improved the new QuakeBait to include adding my favorite color "Cole Slaw" to make the QuakeSlaw.  Now I've already proven the new ThunderSlaw spinnerbait is a bass catching Monster.  I should have had video to put and exclamation point on that fact from last week, but I was playing with the setting on my GoPro.  I wanted to shoot Wide Screen for High Definition videos and didn't calculate the memory card would fill up as fast as it did.  So I was only able to get the first and smallest of 8 awesome bass I caught at Lake Fayette on New Years Eve.  I will say that the ThunderSlaw produced a 25+ pound 5 fish stringer for me and I'm more than a little miffed that I missed having it on video. I'm miffed not just because I don't have video to show you folks, I'm really miffed that I don't have it for my personal record as that stringer is one of my best if not my absolute best stringer of all time. Here is the video of that first bass and yes the quality is great, but I'll have to get a bigger SD card so I can get more run time in the future.

I digress so lets get back to the TNT 2015 lineup additions.  Like I said they have out did themselves in redesigning and greatly improving the QuakeBait.  The one I tested a few weeks ago was a prototype and with my suggestions along with the suggestions of other awesome fishermen the QuakeBait is now what I would consider to be a top Big Bass Catching bait!!  You can see the new QuakeBait in this picture along with the ThunderSlaw and TNT's new Chatterbait.

All I can say is I'm excited to get the chance to fish these baits before they are released to the public.  I will be adding a Field Test Review here in the near future!!  Along with my ThunderSlaws the new QuakeBait and Chatterbait might just come in really handy in the tournament I'll be fishing next weekend.

The TNT Team didn't just stop with the improved Quakebait and new Chatterbait.  No they have taken it a step further and actually a step back in time to revive a bait that once caught fishermen a lot of bass along with other fish.  Back in the days before rubber skirts we used Hair Jigs very effectively.   Well I just received some pictures of the new TNT Hair Jigs that I want to share with you because these things are totally awesome!!!

As you can see from these pictures the new TNT Hair Jigs are the same great quality that I've come to trust from these folks.  To tell the truth I'm chomping at the bit to get some of these beauties in my hands and in the water!!!  I'm sure I'll get some pretty soon so watch for an upcoming Field Test and Review on them as well.  Folks the Throw-n-Thunder Lure Company has really stepped up their game to bring out some of the most initiative baits I've seen in a long time.  On top of that they have revived some tried and trued baits from yesteryear with all new state of the art molding and hooks that I'm sure will be a big hit with older guys like me.  However once us older guys start catching big bass on them I can bet you younger folks will have some in your tackle boxes as well. So watch for more updates on these baits in the coming months!!!

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

BBL Team Tourney - Dickinson Bayou January 17th

That's right folks the next Bayou Bassin League Team Tournament will be held on Dickinson Bayou on January 17th.  A registration meeting will be held on the 24th at Hook Spit Tackle Store in League City at 6:00.

This is a team (2 Man) tournament with an entry fee of $60 per team.  The launch and weigh-in will be at the boat ramp on Hwy 3 in Dickinson Texas.  Start time will be 6:30-7:00 AM or when it is light enough to safely leave the ramp.  Weigh-in will at 3:00 PM and you need to be in line at 3:00 PM to qualify to weigh-in.

 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Big Bass will receive cash prices and 1st, 2nd and Big Bass will get trophies.  The weather over the next week is supposed to improve greatly and if there isn't much rain the water condition should also improve.  So get your bass boat ready and come on out to pit your bassin skills against the rest of us guy Saturday Morning.

Until next time, Tight Lines and Take a kid fishing.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Loss of A Legend!

Folks I’m writing this with a heavy heart after hearing the news of Carl Richey Cordell Jr passing.  I know your first thought is who is this guy and why do you consider him to be a legend.  Carl Richey Cordell Jr. was better known as "Cotton" of the Cotton Cordell Tackle Company.  Cotton was an imaginative man and the Bass Fishing World was blessed with his forethought and initiative abilities.

In 1952, he established Cotton Cordell, Inc. The company was an immediate success, manufacturing lures for major fishing tackle companies such as Pflueger, Creek Chub, and Heddon. By 1954, Cotton was branding his own lures, many of which would become internationally famous. Cotton invented most of these spinners, spoons, and plugs himself, including the famous Gay Blade, Red Fin, and Hot Spot lures.

In 1973, Cordell produced the famous “Big O” lure designed by Fred Young of Tennessee, a popular hand-carved plug cherished by the leading tournament bass fishermen. It sold millions in the first year and quickly became the go to bait of bass anglers all over the world.  As a teenager in the 70's I worked mowing lawns and I remember saving my money so I could buy some Big O lures. 

Cotton touched the lives of many in the bassin world through his sponsorship of tournament fishing. He was also very instrumental in the launching of many bass fishing careers including the careers of other legends in the sport. Among them were were television personality Bill Dance, whose first TV show Cotton produced. Back in the 80s Cotton provide start-up capital and equipment to none other than Gary Loomis.  As we all know Loomis rods are now world renowned.

Yes the Bassin’ World has lost a legend and he and his initiative abilities, friendship and kindness will be sorely missed.  Rest In Pease Cotton, may you spend eternity casting Big O's at 10 pounders in the sky!!

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

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Winter Bayou Bassin

So Ole Man Winter has finally made and appearance in Texas and cooled the bayou waters down from their steamy summer temperatures, what to do now?  Actually this is great news if you are in search of bigger bayou bass.  As the water cools off the bigger bass of the bayous start to roam and feed more readily.  So how do you catch these bayou bass during the winter months?  Well a lot of that depends on just how cold the water has gotten.

60-70 Degrees
When the water temps dip down into the 60s it can be the best time of the year to have an awesome day on the bayou.  You can throw pretty much your favorite baits with good results but you will have to find what the bass prefer on any given day.  Spinnerbaits in white or chartreuse will generally get you hits from both bass and redfish so hold on you never know when a 30 inch or better redfish will hammer your spinnerbait.  Worms and jigs can also be affective and especially swim jigs when the bass are chasing shad.  If the bass are chasing shad then crankbaits will also get you hits.  Throw lipless cranks or smaller shallow diving cranks that look like shad.

50-60 Degrees
I've found in past years the magic temperature for the really big girls is 51 degrees.  This doesn't mean that you won't catch a big girl at 58 degrees it just means I catch more at 51.  Once the water temps dip below 60 I will focus on fishing jigs in the cover or near rocks on the sunny side of the bayou.  Rocks, reeds and even laydown timber in the sun will absorb the warmth and make the water in that area a little warmer than other places.  You still have to fish your jig slow and be patient for that strike.  The color jigs I use on any given day will depend on clarity of the water.  In the clear green water I prefer a purple jig with some yellow or chartreuse in the skirt.  The muddier the water is the lighter the color I will use.  Watermelon with chartreuse as been very effective for me in muddy water.  As for my trailers, well once the water cools down I go with a less active trailer like a Strike King KVD Chunk or similar trailer. In fact if you have some the old Uncle Josh pork chunks use them as they are very effective in cold water.  They help your bait fall slower giving the bass more chance to decide to hit it as it passes by.  I generally like ether a watermelon or similar color for my trailer most of the time but in the muddier waters I will even use a white trailer.  The colder the water the slower you have to fish.

Now jigs aren't the only thing that will catch bass when the water is colder.  Worms and other baits that you fish slow will also catch fish, but jigs draw more hits from the bigger fish.  If you want to have a really fun day break out your light tackle and roadrunner crappie jigs and fish them slow.  You will have a blast catching bass of all sizes.

Below 50 Degrees
Once the temps dip below 50 the number of bites you will get will also take a dip.  You really have to work your bait very slow as the bass are not going to chase it at all.  So you will have to keep that bait in front of the bass as long as possible to get him to eat it.  However no matter how cold the water gets if you put your bait right in front of a hungry bass he will eat it as they don't stop eating in cold water they just don't chase their food.  They lay in wait for something to pass by them as close as possible so they don't have to move much.  That is one reason for working your bait super slow; give the bass time to eat it without having to move very far.  The other reason of working your bait slow is because it will look more natural.  Bass aren't the only thing affected by the colder water.  All the bait fish, crawfish and other things a bass might eat are also affected and are moving much slower.  So the rule of thumb is just when you think you are working your bait slow enough, slow down some more!!

I hope this helps each of you catch a few more bass this winter as we wait for the warm weather of spring to get here.  Remember this time of year slow is good, but even slower is better!!!

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