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- JIKA's King Reveals Secrets by Steve Chaconas
- Creating Your Own Soft Plastic Lure by Steve Chaconas
- Top 10 Tips For Storing Your Fishing Equipment and Boat
- Organized Storage by Steve Chaconas
- Getting Connected by Steve Chaconas
- Make Your Own Plug Knockers by Steve Chaconas
- ICAST: Three Winners for Anglers by Steve Chaconas
- Painting by Powder by Steve Chaconas
- Gadegts & Gizmos, June 2012 - Steve Chaconas
- What's in Your Box? Steve Chaconas
- Skirting Lures - Steve Chaconas
- Install Your Own Power Poles! - Steve Chaconas
- Gadgets or Gizmos? March 2012 - Steve Chaconas
- Speed Spooling: Cleaning Reel Bearings
- Shotgun Snags
- Make Soft Plastic Lures That Look Like the Factory Baits- Steve Chaconas
- Stanley I Presume? A Little DIY History - Steve Chaconas
- Gadgets or Gizmos? 2011 - Steve Chaconas
- Getting Ready for Open Water Fishing - Bob Jensen
- Simple Ways to Bring Old Lures Back to Life - Steve Chaconas
- Building a Livewell - Rob Brewer
- Selecting an Ice Fishing Shelter - Bob Jensen
- RX: Long Life - Bruce Smith
- Spring Cleaning - Steve Chaconas
- Putting On Your Own Spin - Steve Chaconas
- Rolling Your Own Rod Sleeves - Steve Chaconas
- Replacing Your Rod Tips - Steve Chaconas
- Anchoring for Anglers - Keith Walters
- Batteries and Trolling Motors - John C. Payne
- Jig Magic - Rob Brewer
- Making Suspending Lures - Rob Brewer
- Rough Water Boat Rigging - Mark Hicks
- Five Cleaning DONT's
- Chatter Wacky - Steve Chaconas
- Create Your Own Soft Plastics - Steve Chaconas
Fishing reels are really good these days and you can literally keep them going for a long time and still have a well performing reel. Good ones are worth the maintenance and even the investment in parts replacement to keep them on the boat and out of the trash.
I have dozens of fishing reels and all of them are in perfect operating condition. I keep them that way...and as soon as they start to experience any issues, they get taken off my boat and onto my coffee table for repairs.
You have to be organized. One of the best ways to learn how to repair your own reels or maybe even set up your own reel repair business is to contact Lake Fork Tackle Repair. Connie and Tommy Kilpatrick have got it down! Everything from tools to organization plus tricks of the trade to get your reels back in shape.
Check them out at http://lakeforktacklerepair.com/ for maintenance and repair videos.
For now, I’ll show you a simple thing you can do that will make your reels a bit smoother and better casting.
Bearings get dirty and dry. The best way I have found to clean them is with lighter fluid. I soak them for about 10 minutes and then put them on tweezers to spin them to see and hear if they will spin freely. If not, try cleaning again. If they still don’t roll smoothly, time to replace.
Contact the manufacturer and replace the bad bearing. But first you have to remove the bearing. Most reels have at least 2 bearings, one on each end of the spool. The bearing under the spool adjustment cap usually will come out by tapping the reel and allowing it to drop out. Otherwise, I use tweezers or a bent hatpin “tool” I made.
For the other side of the reel, the bearing is in the side plate, held in place with a clip. This is where you might run into trouble!
I use a very small screwdriver and locate the part of the clip close to the open end. Keeping my thumb over the side panel to prevent the clip from launching across the room, I gently pull one of the arms out of the retaining groove and then pull it out.
The bearing should drop out. If not, then you can use either the tweezers or my special tool. Soak and spin and replace if needed.
Before you replace the bearings, you need to lubricate. I like Quantum’s Hot Sauce. It has a great applicator. Only put a very small drop on the bearing…one very small drop on each side and spin the bearing to work the oil into the bearing.
Do not over lube! This will bog the bearing down and make it tough to use. Put the bearing back in, putting the retaining clip in after the bearing is in place. For the one under the spool cap, simply push it into place and replace the cap.
Clean the spool shaft and put a drop of oil on each end and reassemble. Done! The reel should cast better and be a lot quieter!
If you feel comfortable with this, you are ready
for more…. stay tuned!
If you fish, your baits will get hung up! The options are: pull until something happens, (usually the line breaks and you lose your lure), OR use some type of contraption to dislodge it.
There are a few things you can do to retrieve stuck lures, like dipping your pole down to it, (which sometimes can damage your rod in the process), or by snapping your line to try to allow the lure to pop free. If these fail, there are pole-type retrievers that work down the line and actually push the lure off whatever is holding it.
There are also heavier weights that slide down the line to the bait. These are attached to a heavy cord and allow you to make repeated drops to jar the lure free. These are the best, but do require two hands and the cord needs to be stowed.
In the early days of lure retrieving, many old timers used an old spark plug. They would attach a snap to the plug and drop it down to the hung lure and shake until it came free. This worked well and if lost, it was only a spark plug. Advancements started appearing with a regular lead fishing weight taking the place of the spark plug.
I’ve created what I call the SHOTGUN KNOCKER! Find your buddies who hunt with shotgun shells, preferably the tall brass. Gather their expired shells. Cut the plastic casing off to about ¼ inch above the brass with either scissors or a razor blade.
Next, use large paper clips (about 2 inches) and bend a lip on the center portion of the paper clip. I use the vinyl-coated clips to insure I don’t have a sharp edge on a bare metal clip to cut my line.
Get some lead. I usually go to my local gas station and ask them for used, and hopefully free, tire weights. You can melt on a stove or a commercially available lead pot. http://www.jannsnetcraft.com/Content/pouring_lead_fishing_lures.htm.
IMPORTANT NOTE: When melting lead ALWAYS do so in a well-ventilated area.
Holding the paper clip with some pliers, lower into the brass shell to allow the clip to be submerged in melted lead just below the bend you put into the clip. Fill slowly and allow the excess plastic shell to melt over. Done!
Position the clip after partially filling the shell to allow the maximum amount of lead in each shell
To use these is very simple. Position your boat directly over where the bait is stuck. Attach one of the Shotgun Knockers to the line by slipping line under the lip on the clip you created.
Allow the knocker to drop to the lure…then shake and allow some slack. This will knock most lures off. Some of the bigger crankbaits require more weight and adding a few more knockers will usually do the job.
This is a great off season project and works really well on jigs, worms and Silver Buddy lures.
If you could affordably and easily make your own Senko and Brush Hog soft plastic baits, would you? What about creating baits in hard-to-find or your own custom color patterns, then would you? What if you could make soft plastic baits and you, your friends and the fish couldn’t tell the difference between them and ones you bought…would you…be interested? Sure you would.
Soft plastic lures come in just about every imaginable size and shape, keeping patent attorneys very busy. In the olden days of bass fishing, soft plastics were flat, at least on one side. They were poured into molds that were laying down and while the bottom of the poured lure was rounded, curved or had a “natural” shape, the top was flat. Fish didn’t seem to mind then, and they don’t seem to mind now.
Flash forward from the 1960s to the 1980s when the soft plastic injection possess opened the mind and imagination of lure makers as legs, antenna, and other appendages were easily accomplished as soft molten plastic was forced into metal tubes where perfection was bagged up and shopped out all over the world.
But the industry took an interesting turn about 15 years ago and it was back to the future with handpours once again retaining their dominance for finesse plastics fishing as shakyhead and drop shot baits demanded laminated colors and were not inhibited by their flat sides. More daring hand pourers took on other shapes as well, meticulously pouring curl tails, antennas and legs. An entire industry was created by hand pours. Lure Craft (lurecraft.com) became the do-it-yourselfers Mecca. This on-line and catalog company provided everything needed to be creative and economical. Their supplies are still available in various quantities, thus making it possible for garage bait companies to be born and even bigger hand pouring ventures to become capitalized. Lure Craft surged when one of their bigger customers made a market breakthrough with their hand-poured Poor Boy’s Baits, which was rapidly becoming the top hand-pour packager in the country. When opportunity knocked the Straley’s, Shawn and Kim, answered by purchasing Lure Craft. Now they have taken do-it-yourself soft plastics to the highest level yet, round, tailed, and imaginative custom baits are now a piece of cake for hand pourers.
For some anglers, if it wasn’t round, it wouldn’t work. The Straleys had dabbled in the rounded baits, but realized they were in the wrong medium. Hand poured soft plastics utilized silicon molds. Fine for flat, not so fine for round. It was aluminum they needed. They found a metal artist who could precisely and affordably cut a mold that would employ a metal syringe to push plastic into hard to reach areas of the mold for perfect “pours” every time. The signature flat side of the do-it-your-selfer has now been replaced with store-bought look and feel, but with color and plastic mix consistency all their own!
Making rounded baits doesn’t require cutting corners. Top-notch and affordable supplies are listed on-line and in catalogs. The recipe is simple. Cook Lure Craft’s liquid plastic, add dyes and glitter…and even a pinch of hardeners and floating ingredients, stir, and then suction the “liquefied” plastic mix into the metal plunger and push into a bivalve mold. A minute or so to cool, and an open mold reveals perfect soft plastic lures. Kim says full sided baits via injection have been become popular in the last 3 years. “The guys can get more detail on all sides of the bait…for those who have the mindset that they need a perfectly round bait, you can fill in appendages and smaller antennas without having to trim them, and make them thinner for more movement.”
They have even created a dual injector to push plastic in with two colors. It won’t produce segregation like a hand pour, but does create color swirls, making each bait different. Kim says soft plastic paint and dyes can be used after molding to enhance color schemes.
The two sided aluminum molds are hinged or they have male female halves with a nut to hold them together. Some have up to 10 cavities. Lure Craft carries a senko mold with 7 to 10 cavities with one shoot. While the molds aren’t cheap, they are indestructible and will produce perfect baits pour after pour. A hand pour mold is $10, and $55 to $60 for 4-cavity aluminum mold.
For those wanting to customize their own baits, they better be serious about what they are doing, the price tag for creating an aluminum mold $800…for the reliable silicon customized hand pour $85. Kim reiterates that the aluminum molds never wear out as do their silicon molds counterparts. With aluminum, the finish and detail of injection can never wear out.
Stuff you’ll need: Aluminum mold, Injector, Pour pots, Wooden stir sticks, Liquid Plastic, Color dyes, Glitter
To get started, all you need is a cook top…if you cook indoors, make sure your wife isn’t going to be home for a while and line the stove with foil to keep it clean. Work in a well-ventilated area! Small aluminum pots and stir sticks will keep the mix in a pourable state. Add color dyes and glitter. Using the injector plunger (wear gloves and protective eyewear!) suck up the plastic and inject into the ports above the mold. Remove when cool, (about 2 minutes). With several molds and a bit of free time, bass clubs, buddies and hobbyists are saving money and creating their own baits. For everything you need, check out LureCraft.com.
Plastic, dyes and glitter
Cook the plastic mixture
Precision aluminum molds
Suction liquified plastic
Finished creature baits
So, which came first, bass fishermen or bass? In the mid 1960s, deep in the heart of Texas, a group of guys began filling their tackle boxes just as the groundwork of a grassroots sport was evolving with the filling of Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas. Until then, most bass fishing wasn't for sport as much as for supper!
Encouraged by a few hurricanes Sam Rayburn began an early rise giving a group of anglers a chance to rise to the top during the birth of bass fishing. Clunn, Nixon, Rowland, Martin, and Allen became known as the Hemphill Gang. Named after their nearby home town close to Toledo Bend, they emerged as founding fishing fathers of today's pro bass fishing sport. Together with Sam Rayburn, only 52 miles apart, Toledo Bend provided the best "big pond" bass fishing in the country. Rayburn's 114 thousand acres along with Toledo Bend's 188k acres became the birthplace of bass angling with over a quarter million acres of angling waters. Hemphill's gang rode the crest of the bass fishing learning curve, unlocking fishing secrets of large reservoirs, much different than pond fishing. Their trailblazing took them down the bassology path with steps putting them leaps and bounds ahead of anglers of their day. Their "discoveries" anchor many fishing techniques and they remain some of the world's top anglers. Longevity has become the trademark of pro bass angling as age does not take a measurable toll, nor are youth and physical condition competitive advantages.
During pro bassing's conception, another angler was emerging as one of the best around. Lonnie Stanley started reeling in trucks, cars, boats and prize money in competitive events from the late 80s into the 90s. According to Stanley, in the 70s the only problem with bass fishing, there weren't enough bass. Until large bass reservoirs were constructed, most anglers fished for the fryer…rivers for catfish and small private ponds for panfish and bass. Bass fishing was beginning to pique the interest of local anglers in the late 50s. But closing of the gates in the mid 60s to fill Texas reservoirs opened bass angling opportunities for local experts. Bigger waters soon became home to booming bass populations…the fisheries came first, then the anglers. Bass populations exploded and people came from across Texas and the country to sample these fertile bass waters. Bass fishing success spawned other hot fisheries like Lake Conroe following in the 70s. Bass fishing was a cast away from becoming a professional sport as the early super pros competed and guided on these awesome bass fisheries that enabled them to learn as they fished.
Stanley began sharing what he had learned on the water competing with and against the best in the group's bass club dating back to 1972. They learned how to fish from each other. While better fisheries were being created, Stanley sought to make a better fish trap. His garage became a laboratory for creations, many of which remain tackle box mainstays. But it was after he won the 4th consecutive tournament that everyone wanted to buy his "Stanley’s jig"”. When able to crank out a hundred a day, Stanley was pulling in 50-100 dollars a day. Not much or enough as a part-time business, but he saw the full-time potential. Realizing it wasn’t practical to run a business, raise daughters and grandkids, and still be tournament competitive, he focused on staying home and in business! Given the go-ahead from his wife, Stanley Jigs was ready to outgrow his garage.
In 1979 he started making jigs at a time when "living rubber" skirt material was not in widespread use. Until Stanley came around, jigs were not really specialized, nor customizable. He created a technique for wrapping the rubber strands with another rubber strand, allowing the user to change skirt colors. This became a big advantage over other lure makers using wire to hold skirt strands in place. Skirt colors were not randomly chosen. Realizing this crawfish imitation would work better if similar to color patterns of local forage, Stanley placed his skirts side-by-side with the real thing to exact a match for different fisheries across the country, becoming a fish and angler favorite! Head designs were poured with his molds employing a special hook to make his baits even more effective as they would come through heavy cover with ease.
Banking on his jig success, Stanley branched out to include spinerbaits and soft plastics, even hooks for soft plastic frogs. Colors expanded to include hundreds of patterns to mimic not only crawfish, but also baitfish and lizards. Stanley noted that bass forage in a particular lake changed during certain times of the year or subsequent to other situations like water clarity and season. Taking a scientific look, Stanley recruited the knowledge and tools invented by fish biologist, the late Dr. Loren Hill to ascertain what colors fish could see best. Using Hill's Color-C-Lector, Stanley enhanced and verified color patterns.
Aside from colors, Stanley's products always appeared to have an edge. Once in the hot lead business Stanley was set up for spinnerbaits leading to his Vibra Shaft spinnerbait with patents protecting two very unique features. First, the spinnerbait wire frame is tapered, hand ground to be continually thinner toward the blades to create more vibration while providing a stout lure to pound and crash through very heavy cover. In addition, Stanley's willow-leaf shaped blades are thicker and heavier toward the end, creating more "pul"” and vibration. Combined with Stanley's color combos, these lures stand alone on the shelf of wire-to-wire spinnerbait styles.
It's more than creating tackle tools for advanced anglers; Stanley's designs also make fishing easier for beginners. His Double Take Stanley Frog Hook increases hook ups on soft plastic frogs like his Stanley Ribbit. His new soft plastic lure line-up features Stanley"s Y-Not, combining a ring worm's vibration with an air chamber to enable legs to stand up, great for shaky head, a jig trailer or as a stand-alone flipping bait. Innovation without imitation, the 65 year old proclaims in his 30 years of lure making he has never copied a color or style. "We have so much new stuff in shoe boxes we can work on things for a while."
Stanley's brand has appeared on the shirts of top pros; but today larger tackle companies have supplanted that space. The modest "Made in Huntington, Texas" company supports local anglers and sends products to a few pros. Stanley's products are on the shelf at major stores like Bass Pro Shops, Academy, Dick's and Cabela's. Staying ahead of the curve, Stanley is a bit tight-lipped about his upcoming new technology designs for a jig and worm weight. Lonnie Stanley shares credit for product developments describing them as a "team" effort with input coming from his staff. "We never agree. If we all agree, somebody is wrong". www.fishstanley.com
Build a shelf and fishing manufacturers will fill them with every color shape and size imaginable. Trouble is…do they catch fish or fishermen?
When Laser Lures “better idea” light went on, it landed in the nose of some pretty well designed lures! Classic pitchman, Bass Cat/Yamaha pro Michael Iaconelli has seen the light! Ike proclaims his cat-catching laser works on bass too! The same curiosity that killed the cat is hooking bass! Laser pointers beat strings as cat toys and Ike says bass are just as curious when approaching the water-activated, computer-controlled intense beam of laser light that does not diffuse, infused into five pretty good lures. Ike says all of the features wiggle, wobble, colors, rattles, and deflection trigger reaction strikes. Sometimes it's something else, something different and the Laser Lure light sets them off. He also says there are some conditions where crankbaits really might not be effective. The laser light extends the window of opportunity for crankbaits allowing him to use them in water that might be too stained for dim lures. Batteries are included and last about 80 hours. After that it’s lights out, but the crankbaits, poppers and jerkbaits with red hooks and 3-D eyes can still catch fish after losing their super powers. About the same cost as high-end Japanese hard lures. laserlure.com.
Thinking outside the tackle box isn’t easy in this copy-bass lure market. Knockoffs are the name of the game. But, Minda Lures “The Injured Minda” stays in the strike zone aggravating bass into biting. After all, vulnerable, injured prey won’t swim away. The bright lights of YouTube showcase this Lazy Ike-ish lure. It’s larger and a few small taps on a taught line causes the head to dip down. The injured Minda rocks into a bass-biting lullaby! It will even “walk the dog!” If you really feel the need to go “mainstream”, you can wind this lure and it behaves like a crankbait. mindalures.com
In the late 1990’s, a small Japanese lure maker, Lucky Craft came to the US with $15 versions of existing $3-$6 baits. As Lucky Craft lures raised angler expectations, they also raised the bar on how deep anglers will reach into their pockets to tie on one of their baits. With unique designs, fish-like finishes, weight transfer systems, ballast, and noise, Lucky Craft lures have set Olympic standards for hard baits in every class. And now, Lucky Craft is once again scratching the surface, just barely with a unique wake bait. Size does matter! Not only does this bait weigh in at 2 ounces and is 4 inches long…but it’s also louder and flashier than others on the market. Bulky Bullfish loudly announce their presence with rattles and a substantial wake. Surfing bass can catch a wave! But wait, there’s more! Backed up with your choice, an oversized ball bearing propeller or a thumping spinner blade creates irregular actions! The number 2 hooks are stout enough to hook up with the bigger fish this lure attracts. Using heavier line and a stouter rod, the Bullfish is perfect to pull fish out of heavy grass or along the edges of cover like docks or laydowns. luckycraft.com
Feeling creative? Jann’s Net Craft has more than just all of the little stuff, hooks, weights, rod building and repair…the on-line catalog has lures in various phases of construction, components to modify original lures, or supplies to create your own! Some crankbaits only require hooks; others allow air brushers to fancy their own designs. Or, carve up something new from blocks of wood! Jann’s has the lips, hardware, hooks and coloring for nearly every crankbait design on the market, including some of the Japanese designs! Build “custom” spinnerbaits or just attach blades. Paint the heads or buy the pre-painted. Customize with a huge variety of skirts and blade configurations or just repair your old ones! Poppers, walkers, and just about every lure in the tacklebox at super low prices. Jigs of all kinds too! Perfect for the hobbyist or for the angler looking for the edge “uniqueness” provides. jannsnetcraft.com
Checking out new boats and especially USED boats? Elite Series Triton/Mercury pro Brent Chapman turned me on to something new from the trailer winch and jack experts, Fulton! While most jacks and winches do their jobs, they are slow and sometimes hard to engage! Forget about moving your trailer after it’s off the tow vehicle! Now, Fulton has introduced the F2 trailer jack with 1600 lb lift capacity and precision machining designed with the strongest mount and swivel on the market. It’s fast and you don’t get a “winch workout!” The release “pull pin” is easy to use! No more getting the release pin stuck in your fingers! The wider wheel base and the option to have two wheels makes this jack the one if you want to maneuver your trailer into a garage or parking space! And finally a winch that’s strong enough and can be cranked on either side! The new F2 has a user-friendly pull and turn knob that engages the pawl easily. No more exposed springs to pop out or catch on your clothing! If you buy a used boat, replace the winch and jack! If you are ordering a new boat, you’ll be glad you upgraded to a jack that you won’t have to worry about!
Just about every lure company is tackling hollow frogs. Snag Proof has probably sold more frogs than all the other companies put together! They’ve been around since the 1950’s! Snag Proof is the biggest frog in the frog pond because they never stop tinkering. This time it's Ranger/Yamaha pro Ish Monroe solving one of the biggest problems with hollow frogs. A molded chamber encases the hook…result? Ish’s Phat Frog is tighter than any other! No more water entering through the hook area, period! Apologies to Harry Ehlers, the inventor of the hollow frog, but this is absolutely the most innovative design in froggy history! I’m sure Harry is smiling down on Ish for turning a frog into a prince of a leak proof bass catcher! Ish’s Phat Frog has a very soft body that compresses to reveal the business end of two very strong hooks! Oh, the colors are awesome…leave it to Ish to colorfully moniker his line up! Da Man is white, Papa Midnight is black. The rest of the colors have colorful names, including the Sexy Ish…snagproof.com
And here’s a small item that could make big changes in tackle systems. Until now, swivels have been made of metal. Metal sinks and will affect the fall of lures. A new concept putting fishing techniques on a new swivel is Aquateko’s new Invisi Swivels. The fluorocarbon swivels are invisible under water and neutrally buoyant. These features allow baits to be attached to a leader to braided line without interfering with the natural action of the bait. It’s also easier to tie a knot from a leader to the braid using the Invisi Swivel. Many applications in Carolina rigs and weightless soft plastics to eliminate line twist! aquateko.com
But, as you pull out the plastic to pay for your new stuff, remember, three axioms that come to mind…fishing lures don’t catch fish…fishermen catch fish…fishing lures catch fishermen. With every new season, come a new gadget or gizmo and an angler eager to own one. As my wife says, “fish until you drop!”
couple of decades ago, I was pre-fishing for a regional tournament. I
wanted to save the soft plastic baits I was using, as they were working
very well. I grabbed a rather plain bait made by the Zoom Bait Company
called a centipede. No legs, arms or tail and this lure started fooling
fish, bigger fish. I was excited and ran to the store to get more. No
luck. The bait hadn't hit the shelves of my local stores yet! My artsy-crafty
wife told me to make a mold and melt some plastics to make my own.
She returned from her craft store, the one that smells like lavender, with some plaster casting materials. She made a mold from one of the centipedes and microwaved some of my old soft plastics to pour into "her" mold. It worked! These baits were just like the factory baits, with a twist since I wasn't able to control the colors of the re-melted plastic, colors were inconsistent that was the bad news. The good news was that each one was a bit different and they caught fish! I kept those molds for a long time until I found Lure Craft (lurecraft.com). This company took the guesswork out of my worn out plaster molds and I found they supplied everything to make exactly what I wanted. This was at a time when hand poured baits were losing ground to the injected soft plastics. However, in the past 5 years or so, the hand poured industry has seen a revival!
In the early 1970's bass fishing was becoming a sport: tournaments, magazines and B.A.S.S. decals everywhere. Soft plastics weren't all that soft and didn't have appendages. Hand poured soft plastics - literally hand pouring melted plastic into flat molds - were effective and dominated as expectations were low. Creative coloring was developed for Western clear-water techniques like Don Lovino's doodling. The early finesse fishing era was short-lived and hand pours were cast aside as power fishing and injection molding surfaced. Ignoring soft plastics altogether, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and jigs dominated on the water and in tackle stores. Anglers using soft plastics were impressed by injection ingenuity...arms, legs, and tails that hand pourers could only dream about, but never having the steady hand to pour. The king is dead long live the king! Injected plastics were crowned.
Hand pours took a back seat until the mid 90's when western anglers, taking cues from the east - the FAR EAST - perfected clear-water techniques like drop shot, spawning the finesse fiesta. Split shot and seldom-glorified shaky head (AKA: decades-old "jig and worm"), techniques that didn't demand dangly parts, meant straight tail worms were back; opening doors for hand pour resurgence. Demand was in dormancy, but hobbyists and astute anglers had never put away pouring pots. Serious anglers were making secret baits, out-fishing anything shot through injection cylinders.
Today's finesse techniques don't require legs, arms, or tails. They do require finessy colors. Being able to pour one layer, then another color on top for a laminated appearance, created a two-tone appearance found in nature - everything has a dark and a light top/bottom. These baits were more natural and for techniques requiring baits sitting in one spot for a while, like drop shot and shakyhead, hand pours were back!
Here's how to do it. If you don't want to go to the store that smells like lavender and make your own plaster molds, there are commercially made molds, in fact there are hundreds of them. You name it; it's out there with very few exceptions. If it isn't exactly what you wanted, there's one that's very close, or you can buy the molding materials and make your own copy but beware of legal patent restrictions! The molds are made of a soft material that won't melt at the temperature of the melted soft plastic. You can buy a milky color liquid plastic that turns clear when heated, or re-melt used plastics or a combination of both. Get some small metal pouring pots and find someplace to cook. I suggest you do this outside or your significant other will have some issues, not to mention breathing fumes. Find a well-ventilated area and make sure you take fire precautions as well! The melted plastic is very hot! If you get it on you it keeps on burning until you get it off.
There are tons of colors, which you can combine to make a new color - loads of colored flakes in a few sizes - and even additives to make the plastic hard, soft or float. The owners of Lure Craft used to be customers of the supply company and have achieved success with their own soft plastic line, Poor Boy's Baits. Lure Craft/Poor Boy's "how-to" DVD shares success secrets.
Now that you have your molds and are ready to pour, it's pretty simple. Heat the plastic according to the instructions on the bottle. Do not over-cook the plastic. Stir constantly to keep the glitter suspended and to keep the plastic from burning. Start with the thinnest part of the mold first and let it run into the body of the mold to make tails or flippers thinner for more action. If pouring 2 or more colors, pour as soon as possible after the first pour to get the different layers to bond. Let them cool, and pull them out of the mold. The plastic baits need to be laid out straight until they are finished cooling or they will have a permanent bend in them. I usually lay mine out on foil. Put in a plastic bag. I soak my baits in an attractant, called Jack's Juice. This soaks into the plastic and also keeps the baits from sticking to each other, which also keeps them relaxed and wrinkle free.
Let the hand pouring begin, and not just for the frugal! Hand pouring can be a lot of fun, tinkering until you find something that works and it will be something no one else will be using! Today, several injection companies now include hand pours in their line-ups! Whether for personal use, starting a business or just fishing to win, hand pours are back and here to stay!
Capt. Steve Chaconas is a Potomac bass fishing guide, radio personality and member of BoatUS "Ask the Experts" (www.my.boatus.com/askexperts/). Visit his website at www.NationalBass.com
by Bob Jensen, courtesy of The Fishing Wire
are still some anglers on the ice in my area of North Iowa, but they won't
be out there much longer. The ice is turning dark on the lakes and the
rivers are breaking up. It's time to start seriously thinking about the
open water fishing season of 2010. Following are some things we should
be doing to get ready to go fishing.
If you have a boat, you need to make sure the batteries are ready to go. Check the charge in your electric motor batteries, and also check the start battery.
Make sure the trailer tires are inflated properly. Tires with the correct air pressure last longer and provide better gas mileage.
Check the trailer lights. Get them fixed now if need-be so they're ready to work when you're ready to go fishing.
Put sonar units in place and make sure they turn on when you turn them on. Same with your electric motor. Every year it's a good idea to re-familiarize yourself with your sonar. The Humminbird units that I run have a simulator mode that enables me to remind myself of all the things they'll do. Humminbirds are exceptionally easy units to run, but a quick run-through of all the functions is helpful for when you get on the water.
At the end of every fishing season, I like to take the line off my reels. This forces me to re-spool with fresh line when it's time to go fishing again. Don't start a fishing season with old line! If you haven't replaced old line, now is the time to do so.
However, I don't take all the line off my reels. I just take forty or fifty yards off, leaving plenty of backing on the reel. I then just tie on forty or fifty yards of new line and am ready to go. Six pound test Trilene XT or Sensation for jigging or live bait rigging, 14/6 FireLine for trolling crankbaits takes care of my walleye rods.
This is the time of year when I remember to check the pockets of my Guidewear. I'm wearing outstanding rain gear from Cabela's more and more every year, which means the pockets of my Guidewear gets more filled with litter every year. Line, lure packages, candy bar wrappers, and pretty much any other form of "stuff" accumulates in the oversized pockets of my parka and bibs during the year. I know I should clean the pockets out at the end of the day, and certainly at the end of the year, but I never remember until now.
Check the pockets of your favorite fishing jacket or rainwear for litter. Sometimes I even find good stuff in there.
Do an inventory of lures and other pieces of fishing gear you will be needing this year and replenish those supplies. Then get out there. The first trip of the year is always fun, but it's more fun if you're ready. Taking care of the above tasks will help you be ready.
To see the Bob Jensen's new 2010 episodes of Fishing the Midwest television on-line, go to www.fishingthemidwest.com or visit www.MyOutdoorTv.com
by Steve Chaconas, Dec/Jan Issue of BoatUS ANGLER Tacklebox Newsletter
Is your tackle box a tangled mess of rusty hooks, scarred lures, and melted
rubber skirts? Don’t toss them out! Lures today cost anywhere from
$5 - $15 and more. It pays to take a little time to bring your baits back
to life. They might not look like the originals when you are finished,
but they’ll be close enough to be effective, and different enough
to catch more fish. For just about everything you need to revive your
favorite lures, check out jannsnetcraft.com and lurcraft.com.
Start with cleaning your tackle box Get rid of all the accumulated “stuff” that has found its way into your storage boxes. Rusty hooks can leave a stain in your tackle box and eventually transfer to your lures! There are many clear plastic storage boxes and most come in standard sizes. Put labels on your boxes to keep them even more organized. I label mine by size, depth, color and season. Once you have your lures out, it’s time to go to work.
Spinnerbaits show their age the most. Skirts become discolored. Rubber bands holding skirts in place disintegrate and blades become tarnished. A little TarnX will put the shine back on, but be careful not to rub “gold” finishes too much, because they might rub off. If they aren’t salvageable, paint the blades. I like white and chartreuse. Or you can give your spinnerbait a makeover, replacing worn blades and skirts. Upgrade spinnerbaits you don’t use with a skirt or blade best suited for your fishing needs. If you have a lot of a particular spinnerbait, change blade shape and size to give your more of a variety to cover other conditions. To keep new skirts in place, a few wraps of nylon thread will secure them. They’ll make it through the season and won’t slide down coming through heavy cover. A bit of touch-up paint on the head will make these lures as good as new. Sharpen the hook to complete the job.
After getting slammed by fish, tossed into rocks and put away wet, topwater lures and crankbaits need love too Start with the hooks. If they can be sharpened, do it. I prefer to replace mine I’ve been replacing the belly hooks with a RED treble. For topwaters, withered and worn feathered trebles need to be replaced! Companies like Mustad make some very good hand tied feathered trebles with quality hooks. For lures with split rings in the line tie, try switching to oval split rings to eliminate any confusion on where to tie your knots.
Vinyl lure touch up paint, fingernail polish and even marking pens restore baits and let you stylize your own. I even add black dots on the sides for contrast or orange to the bellies for more visibility. Buy some small brushes. If you’re on a budget and aren’t artistic anyway, try using a good old-fashioned pipe cleaner for your brush (Q-Tips work too). The fine hairs on the Q-Tip can drag color across a bait, leaving contrasting lines. A spray of “clear coat” will keep your lures from chipping as easily.
After removing paint from jigs, heat them and dip into powder coat or hand paint for a new finish. Attach a new skirt and secure with the same nylon thread used on the spinnerbaits and that jig is back in business! Use markers on the white nylon thread to dye, matching skirts. Don’t forget to sharpen these hooks too!
While you’re going through all of your lures, checking for paint, hooks, skirts and all of the above, it might be a good time to sort them and do an inventory of what you need. Clear plastic boxes allow you to see what you are missing and a short list on paper will allow you to replenish or supplement your gear for next year. This is also a good time to determine whether you really need all of those lures or, if changing a color might put an ignored lure into service. Whatever the case, if you find you just have too many lures, give some to a kid. Your old lures will be appreciated (and you’ll have a good excuse to go out and buy more).
by Rob Brewer, Oct/Nov 2007 Issue of BoatUS ANGLER Tacklebox Newsletter
I’ve been asked a lot of live well questions lately. Seems to me maybe more of you are considering building one, or perhaps it’s the only thing keeping you from tournament fishing. I built my own from scratch for next to nothing. I’ll talk you through the process step by step, hitting on some highlights I think are worth mentioning. There’s no need to build one that’s going to kill your fish.
• Hack Saw
• Drill with 1/8” and 3/8” bits
Before you run out and buy all the supplies listed, let me talk about
them a little. First is the cooler. Don’t skimp on size. If you
are planning on keeping a five fish limit alive all day get at least a
90 quart cooler and don’t hesitate to buy a 130 quart job (we used
a 50 quart cooler for illustration purposes only, it will be used for
Figure your going to fill the live well only half full, if you want it to aerate properly after all the water is displaced from that 30 pound limit inside it. 90/2 = 45 quarts = 11.25 gallons. That’s only 2.25 gallons per fish. More is better.
Next is the pump. This is the “heart” of your system. Set out to buy a 750 GPH pump. Settle for no less than a 500 gph. You want a considerable volume of water moving through the spray bar in order to achieve sufficient aeration. More is better.
Now comes the spray bar. You can make a better one than you can buy. For almost $2 you can get a piece of 1/2” PVC schedule 40 pipe 10’ long. Cut an 18” section from the pipe. Scribe or mark a straight line along its length. Rotate the pipe 45º and scribe another line.
Along one of the lines, drill two 1/8” holes. These will be “pilot” holes for the screws when you mount the bar inside the cooler. Along the other line, you’ll drill “aeration holes”. Drill 8 to 12 1/8” holes along this other line. The small 1/8 holes will ensure there is sufficient pressure in the streams flowing to “inject” tons of tiny bubbles into your live well. More is better.
Once you drilled and deburred these holes. You’re ready to install the end cap and the 90º elbow. Do not PVC cement these in place! Friction alone should be sufficient to hold them without leaking. The reason for not cementing is you may have some scales or other regurgitated debris clog the spray bar. Simply remove the end cap and water pressure will wash it out. You can prevent 99% of this debris from ever entering the spray bar by placing a piece of your wife’s discarded nylons over the pump. Just cut a 6” section of the leg out. Tie a knot in one end, slip over the pump and tie another knot.
You ready to start putting this thing together? Choose a location inside the cooler, close to the very top and on the side opposite the hinges, to mount your spraybar. Mount it in the center, so you can easily remove the end cap or the 90º elbow if needed. Now before you start screwing it in place, make sure the aeration holes are pointing towards the bottom of the cooler and not the lid. Also make sure the elbow and the end cap are already on when you crew on the spray bar. Screw the spray bar in place with the two stainless screws. Don’t screw it down super tight. You want it tight, but too much. Again the tightness of the screws affects the ease at which the fittings may be removed.
Now that your spray bar is in place and you are happy with it, attach the hose to the elbow. Mine is threaded. I just twisted it into the hose. You may need an additional hose clamp. Now attach the pump to the hose, using the hose clamp. Leave the pump “freestanding”. Don’t fasten it in the cooler. This so you can hang it overboard to fill your live well.
Now everything is done except for the wiring of the pump. I really can’t go into details on this, because it is done differently depending if you use a timer or toggle switch. Just follow the directions ( it’s really not hard to do). Once you have completed your wiring, you have made a live well that will keep your fish alive on the longest, hottest day.
Another great feature about this design is it’s removable. You can leave the cooler at home if not fishing in a tourney. The only thing that’s “stuck” in the boat is the pump.
Tips & Tricks
by Bob Jensen, courtesy of The Fishing Wire
Ice fishing is different things to different people. Some folks are out
there with very serious intentions of catching fish, as many as possible.
Other folks like the social aspect of ice-fishing. They enjoy sitting in a warm shelter, eating deer sticks, sharing stories, and generally just enjoying time outdoors with friends and family.
Your choice of an ice fishing shelter is often determined by the kind of angler you are. If you like hanging out with friends and playing cards while waiting for a fish to bite, a permanent shelter might be more to your liking. You walk in, light the heater, and before long you're in shirt sleeves. That's fun stuff.
If you're really set on catching fish, a portable shelter is probably the route you should take. With the permanent shelter, you're kind of like anchored in a boat. If a fish comes by, you might catch it. But you've got to wait for them to come by.
A portable shelter allows an ice angler to go looking for fish, kind of like trolling in open water. Modern portable ice shelters are easy to pull from hole to hole, they are set up so an angler can conveniently keep sonar units, augers, rods, minnow buckets, and tackle boxes close by, and they're very comfortable to fish from.
When it comes to innovation in portable ice shelters, Frabill is the leader. Their new Glide Trax units can be compared to a pontoon on ice. They pull much easier and straighter than traditional portables, and the pontoons double as storage.
New this year from Frabill is the R2-Tec. The R2-Tec is the warmest portable shelter ever created. The additional warmth is created by an innovative shell that keeps warmth in the shelter, yet adds very little to the weight of the unit.
And then there are those truly hardy anglers who sit on a pail out in the open. These folks like to travel light. They'll pop a bunch of holes, then travel from hole to hole with their bucket, a depth finder, and a rod. These folks sit at a hole for a few minutes watching their depth finder closely. If they see a fish, they'll sit on the hole until it bites or moves on. If no fish are seen in a few minutes, it's off to the next hole. In the course of a day, these anglers catch a lot of fish.
That's the fun part of ice fishing - tt can be whatever you want it to be. You can sit in comfort in a permanent house all day waiting for a fish to come by. Or you can sit in comfort in a portable shelter - the only time you need to go outside is when you want to move to a new area. Or you can sit on a pail, moving whenever your instincts tell you it's time to move.
I enjoy all three types of ice-fishing, but if I was limited to one technique, it would be the portable shelter. The comfort and mobility of portable shelters enable an angler to be warm yet productive, and that's a winning combination.
Bob Jensen is a noted Midwest outdoor writer and host of television's "Fishing The Midwest."
by Bruce W. Smith, from August-September ANGLER Newsletter
Technological advances have made life so much easier than it was just
a decade ago when it comes to maintaining our tow vehicles. Batteries
are maintenance-free, fan belts and sparkplug's are good for 100,000 miles,
sealed bearings never need greasing, special radiator coolants never need
replacing, and even oil changes can exceed 10,000 miles. You basically
drive and forget. Unfortunately, there are a lot of boaters who view four
stroke outboards the same way and they snooze right through anything related
to preventive-maintenance. That type of attitude is a fast track to shortening
the life of a very expensive outboard.
BREAK OUT THE DRAIN PAN
A four-stroke outboard should get a thorough cowl-to-prop service once a year-more if you log a lot of hours on the water. That basic four-stroke maintenance begins with a critical oil change around 20 hours-or whatever time period your owner’s manual recommends. This is the break-in period when the oil basically flushes the engine of any normal wear particulates that may have been left during the building process. Changing the oil and filter every 100 hours, or once a year, whichever comes first, is usually sufficient from that point on. Changing the oil is simple: Read the owner’s manual and follow the steps. The brand of oil is not a major concern as long as it meets Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) viscosity grade, as well as the American Petroleum Institute (API) and International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC) performance levels as specified in your outboard’s owner’s manual.
THE GREASY TOUCH
A good grease job, using a small grease gun kit, is next. Use high-quality marine grease designated as “water-proof” or “water-resistant.” There are a lot of pivot points on an outboard. Check and lube each one until a little of the old grease oozes out. Use a towel to wipe up the excess grease. It’s also good to put a dab of grease on all the shift and throttle linkages to extend the life of the moving parts. It also makes shifting and throttle control smoother.
Pull the propeller off, grease the splines and remove any fishing line that might be wrapped around the shaft at the seal. (Monofilament has a nasty habit of cutting into the seal, which, in turn, will allow water into the gear case.)
FULL LUBE JOB
While you’re at the lower unit, change the gear lube. This is another preventive maintenance issue critical in that first 20 hours the engine is ran.
because “high spots” on the gears get worn down during that
time, leaving a little bit of metal floating around in the gear oil. Remove
the drain plug, drain the oil,
refill according to your service manual, and clean off the drain plug
magnet before reinserting. Changing the gear case oil is not a big chore
on smaller outboards. But the V-6/V- 8 four-strokes are a much bigger
mess that’s best left to the dealer.
Dealers usually charge around a $100- $125 to perform an oil change and to fill the gear case with fresh lube. The dealer is also the one to replace the water pump if the engine is more than two years old, and to handle any valve adjustments that may be required. The rubber vanes will take a set and loose their effectiveness after a couple years, and running an outboard in muddy water or where sand is kicked up accelerates the wear on the impeller.
FUEL SYSTEM SERVICE
Don’t forget the fuel system. Replace the fuel filter and the water/fuel separator filter if your outboard has one. The latter looks a lot like a little oil filter-type cartridge with a paper element inside the canister. This filter’s job is to catch water, so, if you see water in it don’t be alarmed-it means the system is doing its job protecting the fuel system. When you replace the filters, write the date on them with a permanent felt marker so a year from now you know it’s time to change them again.
Even though today’s fuel-injected four-stroke fuel systems are very state-of-the-art, it’s a good idea to always add some fuel stabilizer and conditioner to the fuel tank. A good routine is to add fuel stabilizer to every tank of gas-mixed, of course, according to the directions on the container. Fuel conditioners prevent moisture build up, a problem that many see during the summer in regions where the humidity is high. Water in the fuel isn’t a good mix. Another benefit of a fuel stabilizer/conditioner is it helps gasoline retain its octane rating even after it sits in the tank for two or three months. When the octane starts going south, especially in the heat and humidity of summer, it begins to form a varnish that gums up the fuel filter.
CLEAN & PROTECT
Once the lubrication/fuel aspects are addressed, use a garden hose to mist the powerhead to clean it off. After the engine is dry, coat the powerhead with a light coating of a protectant/lubricant such as LPS HardCoat Corrosion Protectant or Boeshield T-9. Your local boat dealer probably has LPS and or Boeshield sitting on the shelf. That’s it. An hour spent taking care of your outboard goes a long way when it comes to keeping your time on the water trouble-free and those operating costs minimized.—Bruce W. Smith.
It’s time to fish…unless you are a diehard and have been out during the winter. A lot of anglers are hunting during the off-season. Or they have been reconditioning their tackle. If you didn’t it’s not too late.
Start with the lures you will be using first. Lipless cranks jerkbaits and medium diving crankbaits. The Plano 370 boxes or BPS or other brand are the perfect size for most well thought out boat storage systems. My Skeeter has dividers for them.
Changing hooks is the best way to insure you will hook and land more fish. While you are taking the hooks off, it’s also a good time to use some jig and vinyl paint to touch up some of the battle scars on your lures. Jann’s Netcraft has the paint and brushes for this. I also use pipe cleaners and Q-Tips.
Go through every lipless crank and replace hooks! I replace mine with the new KVD short shank Mustad Ultra Point Triple grips. The shorter shank allows me to go with a bigger hook…essential for this style of lure. Then sort them by size, weight and color. If you are really into it, you can sort by sound too! That should fill that box.
For jerkbaits, Start with suspending lures. Sort them by length and color. I replace hooks here too, but use the round bend Mustad trebles. I put a red hook on the belly.
From there it’s the medium diving crankbaits. Replace the hooks and touch up too. You might sort by sound in this category…silent and loud. Thin body and fat body...all around the 4-8 foot depth range.
Give a good examination to rod guides, looking for chipped or cracked guides. Pay particular attention to the tip then work your way back to the butt of the rod. Chances are if your tip is OK, then the rest are too, but check them all out and replace if you can or take to a rod shop. I have learned how to do my own with a bit of help from Jann’s Netcraft. They are the one-stop shop for rod repair and the techs can even help you pick out the right guides with a template in their catalog.
Line is next! Before you head onto the water with last year’s line, strip and re-spool. I like to tie fresh line onto backing. You don’t use as much line and it is always fresher. For the most part, bass anglers don’t need to fill their spools all of the time. Here’s what I do. Make a long cast…cut. Make another long cast, cut. One more long cast and cut again…pull off a bit more line and that’s where the knot goes. Fill the spool after tying a Uni knot. And you are all set. I also like to oil my reels while changing line to work the oil into the reel.
For spinning reels, it’s the line roller and the bearings in the reel where the handle goes that get a droop. For casting reels, a drop on the bearings on the side plate and under the spool adjustment cap. I also put a drop on the worm gear. Use oil sparingly, especially on bearings.
So, you tie on your last spinnerbait that has been catching fish for years. You snag a log and you lose it. But, you can’t find that blade and size combination anywhere. Either the company is out of business or they have discontinued that particular lure. Why not make your own?
Building a spinnerbait is as simple as assembly or can be as detailed as bending the wire and molding the lead head all the way through detailed air brushed paint jobs.
For now, take a look at simple assembly. The first step is an inventory activity. You will need only one tool, round bend pliers. While you can use needle nose piers, the round bends will make a better curve to prevent the rear blade swivel from hanging up. Also, you might want to have split ring pliers to make it easier to attach blades to the split ring on the swivel.
Start your parts list by first getting the right shapes colors and sizes. Take one of your favorite spinnerbaits and print out the free chart from Jann’s Netcraft. http://www.jannsnetcraft.com/Content/Parts_Sizing.htm. Lay the blades, swivel, beads, spacers and clevis on the chart and take note of the sizes. Match the size and the color of the blades.
For the spinnerbait heads, you have a choice of sizes and finished or unfinished heads. Unfinished heads can either be powder coated, a very durable chip proof finish, or they can be airbrushed or even hand painted with vinyl jig paint. In either case, it’s pretty easy to get very close to the original.
After choosing heads, it’s time to accessorize. Stick-on eyes and skirts in a variety of materials and colors can be added to match or modify the original.
Assembly is very easy. For our bait, start with a bead, then slide the clevis into the first nickel blade and then onto the wire. Add another bead, then the spacer. Put the back gold blade on the swivel. At this point take the round bend pliers and roll the end of the wire downward toward the hook. Just before you close it, put the swivel into the loop, then close it. Add the skirt and you have your copy, as good as new and about half the price of buying one.
At this point, if you wanted to make large quantities, you can bring the cost down even more! A lot of bass clubs buy in bulk and assemble their own. Some even sell them to raise money for their charitable events. In any case, these cost savings will allow anglers to be more aggressive with their casts into very heavy cover.
Now it’s time to experiment with different colors blade sizes and shapes. To get started Jann’s Netcraft has a kit to “play around with” to build 10 spinnerbaits. It comes with instructions and materials for experimentation. (Catalog # 325900)
For this spinnerbait, get these supplies from JannsNetcraft.com: Colorado Blades #1 Smooth Nickel, Mag Willow #4 Gold, Ball Bearing Swivel w/ring Size 2, Wire Clevis Nickel Size 3, Turboflare Skirts, Premium Spinnerbait head ¼ oz, Molded Eyes 5/32”, Powder Paint, Round Bend Pliers
Not any more. Several companies are making rod tubes out of a variety of materials. Some of them are hard tubes…a bit more difficult for storing and transporting rods. Others are made from a nylon that is sewn and have a strap on the end to attach to reels. Yet others make use of an existing material used in electronics for bundling wires.
This material not only makes sense, but also is available for the do-it -yourselfer. FLEXO PET (PT) from Cablemarkers.com is used in electronic, automotive, marine, and industrial for wire harnessing applications. Its braided construction expands gently and securely over rod guides, kind of like the childhood Chinese Handcuffs…but also releases easily. This material is available in various sizes and colors, so it can be used for casting and spinning reels and can be color-coded as to type of rod if desired. It is also fairly "hook friendly" that is, hooks are easily removed if snagged.
The material comes in rolls and is flat, yielding to insertion of a fishing rod. The size for most spinning rods would be 1 ½ inch and casting rods with smaller guides could be 1 ¼ or 1 inch. The only other material required is a bit of heat shrink tubing.
Measure the rod length from the tip to just above the reel, or where lures are secured. Add an inch for the opening to fold back and use your hot knife to cut the material. Cutting this material is easy if you have a hot knife. If not, take an old style Weller Soldering gun and file the tip to an edge and it will work well…cutting as it seals the frayed ends. As soon as you cut the sleeve, quickly open the ends to prevent it from sealing the ends of the cut.
If there isn't a hook keeper near the reel, you might consider installing one available under several style and brands from JannsNetcraft.com. This will allow you to hook the bait close to the reel and not on the lowest guide enabling you to make a sleeve that goes to about 6 inches above the reel.
After cutting the PET braid, it's time to make the opening for the rod. I found double folding the opening end is best. Fold about an ¼ inch and use a curling iron on HIGH to mold a crease into place. This might take a while depending on the heat of your unit. (Don’t let your wife catch you with hers). No damage to the curling iron. Once the ¼ inch fold is complete, Fold again about ½ inch and use the curling iron to mold a crease into the sleeving again.
Moving on to closing the tip, take the end and roll it to fit 3/8-inch shrink tubing over the tip. Using a lighter, heat the shrink tubing until it shrinks and holds tight, also heating the tip of the sleeving itself.
That's it! You are finished. Depending on how many you make, the cost is about 1/3 or less doing it yourself and you can choose from 19 colors.
Your Rod Tips
by Steve Chaconas
Use these easy steps to replace your old or damaged fishing rod tips:
Get the correct replacement rod tips
Remove the old tip
Heat the glue
Apply the new rod tip
Remove excess glue
Apply rod varnish
You make a cast and snap, your favorite lure goes flying into the next county as the line breaks; you set the hook on your biggest fish ever and the line snaps; or you just about have Bubba in the net and snap…another big one gets away. You don’t have to tell fish stories if you would just check your rod tips!
One of the simplest do-it-yourself repairs is replacing the tip on a rod. This top guide takes more abuse than any other! It is the first contact with fishing line during retrieves. If you do a lot of cranking or spinnerbaiting, just plain old winding, then you need to inspect this tip frequently! In addition, this tip takes a lot of abuse when anglers dip their rods into cover to free stuck lures. Not to mention the abuse in rod boxes. I check my tips whenever I’m in doubt!
Trouble is, that unless you check the tip, you could be creating a weak spot on your line. If you start to see “fuzz” collecting on the tip of your rod, there is probably a scratch or cut in the ceramic or metal guide. If your line is starting to shred or even break, there’s a problem. In any case, the guide will cut your line and you will either lose fish or lures, or both.
Here’s what’s happening. Lines, especially braids or fluorocarbon lines, will wear a groove in guides. In addition other abuses, this can lead to chips or scratches in the guide ring. Both will cut line.
To check the guide, take a Q-Tip and wind it around the tip guide. If there are any stray fibers left behind, you have a chip or crack in the guide. I use a magnifying glass and take a very close look at the guides. If I have been having trouble, I replace even if the trouble spot seems minute.
To replace you first have to remove the existing tip. First, scrape the epoxy rod coating off the guide. Also remove any windings on the tip. Heat the tip with a lighter and gently pull straight off with a slight twisting motion, careful not to force the tip. The glue will heat up enough to allow you to remove it. While the rod is still hot, take a rag and wipe off excess glue.
It is important to match the style, color and size of the tip. I have found that the folks at Jann’s Netcraft are very helpful and can actually help you find the right tip over the phone! They also sell top and ring gauges. You just measure your top and order the right one.
A handy top chart will measure the size of the rod top and another will measure the size of the guide ring. From these measurements, you can choose the right style and size. Or, you can use the free ring and rod tip guide in the Jann’s Netcraft catalog! (Jannsnetcraft.com)
Once you receive the tip, compare it with the original. Check to see how it fits on the rod after you clean the tip of the blank. If it fits snugly, then you are ready to put it on. Heat the glue stick and apply to the rod blank.
Heat the guide a bit to allow it to expand and to heat the glue a bit more, then insert the rod into the tip and line it up by looking down the rod to ensure the tip is in line with the rest of the guides. Adjust while the glue is still pliable. Let it sit, remove the excess, and re-apply some rod varnish!
Done. Your rod is as good as new, ready to reel in memories! I carry a few rod tips with me all the time! Jann’s Netcraft has a handy assortment pack.
The main use for an anchor - besides safety - is to place the boat over,
or near, structure or bottom that holds fish.
“Not necessarily so,” says Joe Bassboat, “I can do the same thing with my bow-mounted electric motor.” And, so he can, and he can have some mobility around the structure, but ‘ol Joe is constantly working. Sadly, many folks who use the electric motors don’t carry an anchor; if they have a breakdown, they could drift all the way across the creek, river, or lake to a place where they’d be hard to find.
It’s my belief that all anglers should carry an anchor suitable to their craft and to the type of fishing they do. I have a mushroom anchor tied to a 50-foot 1/4-inch rode on my 14-foot aluminum jon boat. The anchor swings over the bow and its rode is tied to a cleat aft where I can reach it. It drops by gravity. It’s good enough for the shallow waters I fish, small creeks and ponds, for bass and crappie.
For 18 years, I had a 20-foot center console outboard-powered boat equipped with a 13- pound Danforth anchor on a 150-foot 1/2-inchnylon rode. The rode was tied directly to the anchor, which meant it would pull out of the bottom in a strong wind. I made a quick fix by tying a large galvanized snap in the rode about 6 feet above the anchor; I could easily snap on a sash weight when I needed more holding power. The sash weight allowed a horizontal, instead of a vertical, pull on the Danforth which helped it dig into the bottom.
Now I have the same anchor and rode on my 22-foot walkaround hull, but I’ve substituted a 6-foot piece of chain to make the anchor dig in. In rough waters, many saltwater anglers pick up their anchors with a float-buoy combination (available from West Marine or at BoatUS-store. com). Snap the ring around the rode at anchor, start up the engine, and power ahead at an angle; the rode slips through the ring and “floats” the anchor on top where it is easily picked up.
If I know it will be rough out on the water, I get the rode out and spread it on the rear deck. Then I clip a snap attached to a separate line, twice as long as the boat, around the rode and secure it to an aft fitting. To pick up the anchor, one angler runs the boat ahead at an angle so the prop won’t tangle in the rode. Meanwhile his partner pulls in the clipped line until he can get hold of the rode and bring the anchor aboard. The captain is safe behind the wheel and the mate is safe in the cockpit.
Retrieving a hung anchor can be simplified by using one with a ring welded at the bottom of the tines, to which is attached a buoyed trip line. Get the anchor loose by pulling on the trip line, and backing it out of the snag. That’s the way we anchor at a local structure called “The Airplane Wreck” for obvious reasons. You could also use a wreck anchor made of welded rebar, or aluminum bar, tines. When hung in structure like rocks or wrecks, simply power the boat away and bend the tines out; rebend them back later to resemble an anchor.
Notice we are talking about even-larger boats? When you get over 25 feet or so, experts advise installing an electric anchor winch on the bow. It’s safer and less taxing on folks in marginal physical condition to use a winch to haul a deep-down anchor, particularly in rough water.
There are many types of anchors, from a concrete- filled coffee can fitted with an eye bolt, to a huge navy-style or Danforth matched to your hull and the type of bottom in your area. Check with the experts at your local West Marine store for recommendations.
Spring is coming and getting your boat ready to go fishing is a must.
A trolling motor is now becoming one of those hard-to-live-without equipment
items but getting the most out of it is a challenge. The key to trolling
motor performance is the battery, and this includes initial selection,
maintenance and charging.
A trolling motor requires a deep cycle battery to sustain the continuous high power demand. Ideally you need to match the discharge characteristics of the battery to the trolling motor power consumption.
To use an example, a 55 lb thrust motor unit has a peak power draw of 40 amps. If you use the trolling motor for 6 hours at average 50% load of 20 amps, the trolling motor will then require a battery load of 120 Ah. (6 hours X 20amps=120 amp hours). A battery bank of a 240 Ah capacity rating selected as deep cycling should be kept to 50% to ensure maximum battery life. The deeper the cycling of the battery the less overall life you will get. In this case the nominal battery bank rating should be around 20 amps at the 10 hour rate.
Battery performance is also directly linked to skill at using the trolling motor. If you use the trolling-motor at above average power levels, say 30 to 40 amps, the actual available battery capacity is subsequently reduced 10-15% or even more. Conversely if you use the motor at lesser loads, say 10-15 amps, then you will get greater life.
Always try and match the trolling-motor current requirement as close as you are able to the actual battery characteristics. Sharp heavy speed changes also affect the battery performance. Gradual speed variations will cost you less power and the newer electronic speed controllers give you greater control.
Trolling Motor Battery Care
Battery problems are almost always caused by a failure to charge the battery properly. If your batteries were left on board the boat or in the garage all winter without charging, or had occasional but possibly not 100% charging, then the battery plates will have started to sulfate and you will have lost battery capacity. In fact, a battery just sitting around will slowly self discharge, even if not connected. In many cases after a day out fishing, batteries are often left discharged for a period and every day or even hour you delay starting full and complete battery charging the plates will sulfate and it will cost you both capacity and service life (sulfur molecules attach themselves to the battery plates when the battery is used and not charged. The result is “sulfate” which can kill the battery). It is worth looking at one of those on-trailer vehicle based charging systems, that way they will be charged by the time you get home. Of course don’t forget to check the water levels and top up with distilled water. In a hot summer, the electrolyte levels drop through evaporation and charging.
Charging with a cheap auto charger will never keep your trolling motor battery bank in optimum condition so invest in one of many quality chargers now on the market. A general rule is to select a battery charger that is rated at around 15-20% of rated amp hour capacity so a 100 Ah battery will need a 15-20 amp charger (rarely are you going to need a charger rated at above 30 amps).
John C Payne is author of the Marine Electrical and Electronics Bible, the Fisherman’s Electrical manual and several other books. Log onto his website at www.fishingandboats.com.
While there are flashier, more appealing lures to fisherman, few, if any
lures have greater appeal to big bass. The venerable jig n pig has been
duping bass consistently for more than half a century.
Yes, plastic worms may account for more numbers of fish, but a jig will net more pounds per bite. Why? I honestly don’t know. But I do know from experience that it is fact. There’s something magical about jigs and big bass.
Of course you can use a jig right out of its package and still catch fish. But there are also numerous little enhancements that will increase its success ratio. Here’s how I “doctor” a jig: Leadhead- Don’t use those commercially manufactured “eye-busters” to remove the paint in the line tie. These put burrs inside the line tie. Use an ice pick or old hook. Now tie on a foot or so of 30 or 40 pound test. Draw it down tight and work it back and forth to clean all the paint from the eye.
Weedguard- Trace every bristle from the leadhead to the end of the fiber. Often these get fused together in the manufacturing process. Make certain each fiber stands alone. Don’t hesitate to remove a few using nail clippers or side cutters. Keep in mind if you shorten the weedguards, they become stiffer.
Hook- Using pliers, bend the hook open about 2 degrees more than it was manufactured. Now bend it to the right or left 2 degrees as well. Just be certain not to exceed the protection of the weedguard. Some jigs (such as Arkie brand) have an insufficient barb on the hook. Take a triangular file and “deepen” the barb some. Now hone the hook to a razor’s edge if it isn’t already. Save all your old Berkley Power Worms and other powerbaits. Take 11/4” to 11/2” pieces and slip these on the shank of your hooks. These will give the jig some body when the skirt strands are flared out in the water. Furthermore, the scent will permeate the skirt and the worm itself will make the bass hold the jig longer. Add a trailer and the jig is ready to fish. I prefer pork to plastic. But each to his own.
It’s time for a fish story. When I was around
seventeen years old, a friend and I were fishing a stump field in a clear
Pennsylvania reservoir. I remember it as though it were yesterday. It
was one of those times when a light came on. And on it has stayed. I was
targeting bass using a Heddon River Runt. I was catching a few bass, and
every so often, a pickerel. Eventually, my lure got enough holes from
the pickerel’s teeth, that it absorbed enough water to become neutrally
buoyant. Instantly, my catch rate skyrocketed. Now every time I reeled
up to a stump and paused, the bait just hovered in place. The fish would
appear out of nowhere and slam it during the pause. I realized the bait
now better mimicked the movements of actual forage.
Ever since, I’ve had this affection for suspending baits and it continues to this day. Let me tell you, they’re not only for cold water bass! About the only time I won’t use one is when I’m cranking cover and I want a bait that will float out after impact. Over the years, I’ve tinkered with lots of lures trying to make them suspend. I’ve also destroyed several in the process. Here’s the voice of experience talking about what works (and what doesn’t).
For the purpose of this article, there are three types of baits; floating, sinking and factory made suspending models. I don’t really like too many factory made suspending lures. I don’t know if it’s the manufacturing process or what, but rarely do they suspend to my standards. I find they either sink or float. Granted, it will be very slow, but I want it to hover in place. Because it’s easier to sink a floater than float a sinker, we’re only going to work with floating baits.
There are several lures that maintain original action and lend themselves to suspension modifications. To name a few, there’s Poe’s Cedar series, Bagley’s DB series, Original Rapalas and several plastic baits like Bomber A’s, Rebel Shad R’s and Excalibur’s Fat Free series. Odds are good one of these methods will work on your favorite bait too. Different baits require different methods, but some can be used on more than one type of lure. These methods vary from super simple to time consuming. You will need to make some sort of a test tank. Try an aquarium, bucket, bathtub or swimming pool. Read on, one of these methods should appeal to you.
Heavier Hooks - Often, just changing to heavier hooks alone will make a bait suspend. If this works, great, because you can always restore the bait to it’s original condition. Be aware that you may have to experiment with several hook sizes to accomplish the buoyancy desired.
Solder Wire - The addition of fine solder wire (.032 diameter) wrapped around the shank of the front treble’s shank is another removable modification. I use this diameter because it does not clog the bite of the hook, as thicker solders will do. When heavier hooks alone won’t work, start adding solder wire to the hook shank. You can also crimp a small split shot on to the shank instead.
Suspend Dots/Strips - These are commercially manufactured by Storm Lure Company. These adhesive backed weights and strips are yet another removable modification. You can fine-tune these with a few strokes of a file. The draw back with these is the possibility of them falling off with heavy use and their lack of adhesion to some baits.
Drilling & Weighting - Here’s where things get tricky. Also there is no going back from this one. These baits are permanently modified. Don’t let that scare you. This method is for wood lures like Poe’s and Bagley’s. I suppose you could use this on a plastic bait, but I wouldn’t. Choose a worm weight and set it on the hook of the bait you want to suspend. Pick a weight that will sink the bait. Now remove the hooks and bore a small 3/32” pilot hole on the underside of the bait between the diving bill and front hook attachment. Poe’s baits are easiest to do this modification to because they use screw eyes instead of internal wiring to attach the hooks. You must be very careful not to foul the wire when drilling a Bagley. Now bore a hole in the pilot hole that is big enough to accept the weight, but tight enough to hold it in place with friction alone. Reattach the hooks and push the weight into the hole. Now test float the bait. It should still sink. Now remove some lead one file stroke at a time and test float between strokes. Once you attain the desired buoyancy, remove the weight and allow the bait to thoroughly dry. Once dry, reinsert the lead and seal with two-part epoxy or RTV.
Drilling & Syringe - This is the method for the plastic baits like Excalibur, Bomber etc. The good thing is this is another reversible method. Remove the hooks and bore a small 1/16” hole in the top center of the lure’s air cavity. Using a hypodermic needle, inject some water into the cavity. Plug the hole with a round toothpick and cutoff almost flush. You will probably have to remove this a few times. Reattach the hooks and test float. Add or remove water until the desired buoyancy is attained. Now either cut off the toothpick flush or plug with a small dab of RTV sealant. To undo this procedure, simply pierce the RTV plug with the syringe and vacuum out the water or remove the toothpick and do the same.
If you take your time and don’t rush things, you can be pretty certain of a successful modification. Accept the fact that you may ruin a few lures if you attempt the drill & weight process. Otherwise, the rest are pretty simple and foolproof. If you do mess something up, try to learn from it so you don’t repeat it.
Ohio angler Joe Balog excels when he fishes bass tournaments on Lake Erie,
which he regards as his home water. He’s weighed in many five-fish
limits of smallmouth bass in excess of 20 pounds by fishing deep, offshore
smallmouth structures, some of which were 40 miles or more from the takeoff
As you may suspect, Balog has endured countless white-knuckle boat rides on treacherous water to reach smallmouth hangouts on this inland sea. Pounding through 3- to 4-foot waves is the norm on Lake Erie, and sudden, unexpected storms have assaulted Balog with 8- to 10-foot waves. He has learned the hard way how to rig a boat that holds up to the abuse. He is able to continue fishing when other anglers break down. More importantly, his boat withstands the elements and carries him safely to dry ground.
Though no one purposely ventures forth in dangerous water, every bass angler invariably takes a beating due to windy weather or heavy boat traffic. These bone-jarring rides also take their toll on your boat and tackle. Big waves can break trolling motors, rip depthfinders from their mounts, and swamp your boat, just to name a few perils. Even a single rogue wave from a big cruiser can be damaging if you inadvertently hit it at speed. Every bass angler would be wise to implement Balog’s tips for rough water boat rigging. These precautions will prevent breakdowns and save money. They could also save your hide.
The Electric Motor - The electric motor, perched on the very nose of the boat, takes more pummeling than any other piece of equipment. If it isn’t rock-solid secure, the mount may loosen or break, and internal brushes and control boards can fail.
“Most electric motors come secured with only four bolts and some have plastic nuts,” Balog says. “That’s asking for trouble. I fix my electric motor to the bow with six big stainless steel bolts, oversized washers and lock nuts.”
When Balog lifts the motor out of the water, he turns the motor’s head toward the middle of the boat to give it more support. In addition to the nylon hold down strap that comes with his electric motor, Balog installs a second strap just behind the motor’s lower unit, and a third up near the motor’s head. He positions the straps so the Velcro lies on the inside portion of the shaft where it won’t be loosened should he spear a wave. A RAM mount secures the head of the electric motor and also serves as a shock absorber. Balog replaces the stock bolts that come with the mount with longer bolts that make it easier to tighten the mount in tight quarters.The foot control pedal must also be permanently secured to the floor with large screws or bolts.
Electronics - RAM mounts secured to the deck with bolts and lock nuts support all sonar and GPS units not mounted in the dash or bow panel. If the unit’s mount has a horizontal slot, Balog faces the slot’s opening toward the bow to prevent a wave from ripping it out.
“I remove my bow electronics and store them in a rear compartment before making long runs,” Balog says.
Rods For long runs, Balog stores his rods in the rod locker. For short runs, Balog fastens the rod strap around the reels, especially spinning reels, to prevent them from beating on the deck.
Batteries - Given the compact weight of batteries, battery boxes must be held in place with screws and the batteries strapped in place. The batteries should also be situated so they balance the boat for a level, stable posture on plane. Since Balog is lighter than many of his partners, he stores three batteries on the driver’s side and one on the passenger side to even the load.
Balanced Load - “The boat’s balance influences how it runs on big water,” Balog says. “An unbalanced boat beats you to death and will destroy itself and your equipment.”
Balog stores everything heavy in the rear of the boat such as batteries, a spare prop and anchors. He once made the mistake of putting a spare battery in a forward compartment. When the boat started slamming into waves, the battery crashed through the bottom of the compartment and into the hull.
Outboard propellers sporting four or five blades generally grip the water better that three-bladed props. This is a huge advantage when running at slow speeds on rough water because the boat is less inclined to full off plane. Balog favors Mercury’s High Five prop. A spare prop is locked in place with a holder in the bilge area.
Anchor and Rope - A 20-pound Richter anchor and 150 feet of anchor rope are needed to hold Balog’s Rangerin place on rough water. He sometimes fishes from an anchored boat, but the anchor would also prevent his boat from drifting for miles should his engine fail.
Spare Bilge Pump Cartridge - These days some bass boats come with bilge and livewell pumps that feature quick change, replaceable cartridges. Balog always carries spares. For boats not equipped with this feature, he recommends that you carry a spare bilge pump and extra hose clamps so you can replace the entire pump, if need be.
Emergency Bilge Pump - Just in case his boat’s electrical system goes on the fritz and kills his regular bilge pumps, Balog carries a spare 1,000 gph pump rigged with a 6 foot hose and 6 feet of wire with alligator clips.He can clip the pump to any of the boat’s batteries and pump the water out.
Waterproof Boxes Balog stores flares, tools, spare parts, a first aid kit and other items not directly related to fishing in waterproof marine boxes made by Plano. He stores his lures and tackle in Plano 3740 waterproof Stowaway utility boxes.
Double-Nut Outboard Bolts Whenever his boat has been subjected to a rough ride, Balog checks the outboard’s transom nuts to insure they are tight. On one occasion, the nuts were finger loose. Now he locks the nuts down by putting a second lock nut on top of them.
courtesy of DIY Boat Owner Magazine
A boat is like a home away from home but that doesn't
mean it should be cleaned the same way. Household cleaning products can
be damaging to a boat's surfaces and harmful to the environment. Here's
a list of the most common mistakes owners make with boat care.
#1 Dish Soap: Not as gentle as it seems, it can strip a boat's wax or degrade the waterproofing on marine fabrics. Also, some of the chemicals are harmful to the environment if dumped in the water.
#2 Windex : Marine windows and mirrors are usually made of plastic, not glass. Windex and other glass cleaners contain ammonia, which is great for glass but can cause plastic to yellow and craze or crack.
#3 Paper Towels : Not very soft, they will leave scratches on a boat's fragile plastic surfaces and Isinglass windows. Using paper towels is wasteful and costly over time compared to a micro fiber towel or Absorber (the best glass window cleaner without chemicals) that can be washed and reused and are gentle enough for all surfaces.
#4 Soft Scrub : A harsh cleanser may seem like a great idea for tough scuffs and stains but it's too abrasive on fiberglass and gelcoat surfaces.
#5 Bleach : Products containing bleach have a tendency to discolor fabrics and break down their integrity. As well, they cause irreversible streaking if allowed to dry on gelcoat.
by Capt. Steve Chaconas, NationalBass.com
It wasn't enough that there are bunch of chatterbait knock offs on the market. The original is pretty good, the rest are pretty good. Most are very similar. Some have holes in the blade, others have a different shaped blade. The Rock N Runner is a horsy headed bait with a fixed willow blade beneath the head.
My problem? I wanted a heavier one! I wanted a 1/2 ounce bait to run deeper and contact grass and other deeper cover! After experimenting with some old spinnerbaits, I found I could cut the wire of the spinnerbait and use a chatterbait blade and I got what I wanted. But, I liked the small willow blade from the Rock N Runner. So I attached one and found that it made the bait kick off to one side at random! This triggered strikes! This bait is awesome. I am not going to sell it to you, but I will give you the list of materials and instructions to make your own!
First, get a Jann's Netcraft catalog...1-800-NETCRAFT...or go on line www.jannsnetcraft.com.
STUFF YOU NEED:
|Put the gold die cut sticker on the shaker blade and attach a snap.|
|Cut the spinnerbait wire and bend the wire.|
|Before you close the wire, slide the shaker blade on and then finish twisting the wire to secure it.|
At this point take the head and dip into Jann's Netcraft powdercoat...I like 381100 Brown. Let cool, paint eyes. Then attach the willow to the swivel and then to the lure, below the shaker blade.
Attach a skirt and a Mann's HardNose 6 inch Jerkbait in Ark. Shiner...cast and retrieve just over the grass, taking care to contact the grass...on a 6'6" med/heavy rod and fast reel! I use mono, but you might try fluorocarbon. When the bait contacts cover, snap it free. When it kicks off to the side, a bit of slack and another snap will get it back on track.
Good luck! This is a killer bait!
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