For the past 2 years, my most under-utilized storage compartment on my boat had been my rod locker. There are two reasons for this: my rods always became tangled together and in the process of trying to pull them out, I had damaged a few eyelets on my poles. Using my rod locker was costing me time on the water and hurting my wallet having to repair broken poles. It was a hassle every time I used the locker, so I just decided to risk the road rash and store them on the bow during transportation.
Recently, I have had the privilege of testing some of Clam Outdoors products called Rod Slicks. Rod Slicks provide an excellent solution for a tangle and damage free use of your rod locker. The Rod Slick slides easily on a fishing rod, covering each eyelet and covering the entirety of the pole until it reaches your reel. Once your pole is covered, it slides effortlessly into your rod locker among other poles that have been outfitted with the Rod Slick.
Besides protecting and providing a tangle-free environment in your rod locker, you can purchase the Rod Slicks in a variety of colors. This is an excellent way to add organization to your rod locker. As a tournament fisherman, I am constantly organizing my crankbaits, terminal tackle and plastic lures. Now I can organize my rods to be even more efficient on tournament day. When I open my rod locker, I can easily identify my spinning rods from my crankbait rods and my crankbait rods from my flipping sticks. By opening up my rod locker, grabbing the tangle-free rod with the color coded Rod Slick, I am able to be one step ahead of my competitors by getting my line in the water first.
Rod Slicks are an extremely affordable way to protect your rods. I no longer worry about having to bring a broken rod into the shop to have it repaired because of damage caused during untangling or placing my rod in the locker. For $9.99 each, you get a quality product and peace-of-mind knowing that you will no longer have a tangled mess, broken eyelets or rod tips, and a great organization tool to make you more efficient angler on the water. Visit Clam Outdoors today and place an order, you won’t regret it!
My passion for fishing isn’t all about catching fish…it’s a passion for the tackle, rods, reels, boats, and gear. As a bass tournament angler, I need to trust that the equipment I am using is reliable, tough, and versatile. As a father of two young children, I need to be responsible and buy affordable products that meet my criteria. Sometimes, my search for quality products leads me in an unexpected direction, an unexpected pleasant surprise that will enhance the quality of my fishing. Let’s just say it pays to stumble through the “walleye” section of your local sporting goods store in search of an elite bass fishing finesse rod.
After my 2011 tournament season, I did an inventory assessment and realized that I needed another deep water spinning rod that would favor my finesse tactics I employ in highly pressured lakes. My search started with the popular names in bass fishing and I came to the conclusion that I would need to spend at least $100 to buy a new rod. Being the budget shopper that I am, I started to re-think my criteria for this particular rod. It needed to be light, durable, and have the ability to handle large fish on light line. In my opinion, this seems to be the exact criteria that walleye fisherman have for their rods, so I started to research local manufacturers that catered to our state fish. Fortunately, I came acrossJason Mitchell’s Elite Series spinning rods and for $79 I couldn’t be happier. Under the Clam Outdoors umbrella, I knew that this product was for a serious Minnesota sportsman.
So why does Jason Mitchell’s Elite Series spinning rod, traditionally a walleye rod, adorn the front deck of my Ranger bass boat? Performance. I had the opportunity this past weekend to give it a thorough workout on the Mississippi River Pool 4 and I pleased to report that it exceeded my expectations. It is light enough to fish with for hours, yet strong enough to battle smallmouth bass in tough current. The Hyper Modulus Graphite Technology in the rod blank proved to be extremely sensitive and responsive to the 8 pound fluorocarbon line I was using. The cork grip was very comfortable and the locking graphite reel seat keeps my reel extremely secure and straight.
One thing I have learned through competitive fishing is that it pays to be different. Thinking outside of the box is what separates tournament winners from the rest of the field. If I can spend less money for an equal, if not greater quality rod, then I will have additional dollars in my budget to buy extra bags of those darn plastic baits the bass love. All I am concerned about is performance; not titles, brands, or fancy colors. Don’t make the mistake of falling victim to species specific tools of the trade. If you want a rod that will handle big bass and earn you big checks, put a Jason Mitchell Elite Series rod in your hand today.
By: Carl Spande
Topwater baits offer some of the most exciting strikes known to bass fishing. I have found that when I introduce someone to bass fishing, I almost always have a spot on the lake where a topwater presentation will draw strikes and blowups, whether it be a floating frog across lilypads or casting a popper in a shallow bay. Kids and beginners will never forget that bass they caught when it jumped out of the water to attack the bait.
One of my favorite topwater lures is a Heddon Spook or Spook Jr. These types of surface baits will exhibit a "walking" motion, moving side to side, if presented correctly. The technique for manipulating this type of bait is called "walking the dog". Here are a few tips to help you "walk the dog" during the "dog days" of summer...
1. Tackle is just as important as the actual technique. I prefer to use a 7' rod, medium to medium heavy, with a fast action tip. A baitcaster or spinning reel will work, it's personal preference. I like a longer rod to make long casts with, and also I like some give in the tip and rod so I don't pull out the hooks when the bass strikes the lure.
2. Use Monofilament line. Mono line floats, and this is critical in the presentation of the bait. You want the nose of the lure to be slightly higher than the back of the lure. This will allow the bait to look more natural, like a struggling baitfish, and it will also allow the bait to move from side-to-side more efficiently, without nose diving below the surface.
3. Knot Selection: There are many knots available to the common fisherman. My suggestion for a "walk the dog" type lure is to utilize a Loop Knot. A Loop Knot allows one to maximize the action of these baits by allowing the bait to move freely along the loop created, thus resulting in a more natural presentation. There are many different loop knots to tie, so I would find a source for knots and find one that has strength and is fairly easy to tie. I would be more than happy to share the knot I tie if interested.
4. "Walking" your bait: To get the most out of these lures, one needs to practice "walking". Most of these lures are weighted so that they will exhibit the "walking" motion fairly easily, but it is up to the angler to perfect this technique. Just to be clear, when one "walks the dog", they are manipulating the bait so it moves side to side in a forward motion. Horizontally, it would look like this:
Start /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/ Finish
After the cast is made, I let the ripples caused by the lure landing to subside. I then proceed with my rod tip down, to jerk the bait with a regular cadence. A helpful hint is to have a little bit of slack in your line. When you jerk your rod tip away from the bait, try to bring your rod tip back to its starting position very quickly. This will allow the bait to dart from side to side because there will be slack line. A taut line will only move the bait forward, similar to a popper.
5. Once you are able to "walk the dog", try different speeds and cadences. Often I will walk the bait for three pulls quickly, let the bait rest for 3 seconds, then do another series of 3. Try out different patterns and see how you do! This is a fun technique, plus, if you are fishing with a beginner or your buddy who only fishes on occasion, you will look like a bass fishing pro! I hope this will help someone add another technique to their arsenal...