Category Archives: Fishing Product Reviews

Why I Will Never Buy Walmart Batteries Again

For many years i have run Walmart Batteries in my bass boat, using from one to four depending on the boat. They were relatively inexpensive, you could trade them almost anywhere if you had problems, and I could get from two to two and one half years service from them.

My current boat, a Skeeter ZX 225, has a cranking battery, a batter for accessories like deptfinders and aerators, and two trolling motor batteries for the 24 volt Motor Guide trolling motor. I started using a different battery for accessories a few years ago when my boqt would not crank, the aerators had been running all day and I had stayed in one creek all day. I vowed that would never happen again.

In November my two Walmart Batteries were drained the first day of a Top Six tournament on a very windy day. That night a windstorm blew a tree down on the power lines going to my campsite so my batteries didn’t get fully charged. I was dead in the water by 9:00 the next morning. Since the batteries were about 30 months old, and I usually got from 24 to 30 months from Walmart batteries, I replaced them and the third battery too.

By the first tournament this year, only 13 months later, those two batteries would not hold a charge for more than half an eight hour tournament day. I took them in but they tested ok. They would hold a charge but were useless for a trolling motor used all day.

Even worse, last fall, less than a year after putting a new Walmart battery in for accessories, it started falling after about six hours. It was running an HDS 8 unit up front and an HDS 10 on the console and most of the day the console unit was on standby. Both aerators were also running. Again I took it in and it tested ok – and it will hold enough of a charge to use as a cranking battery in my Ford 1510 tractor.

I knew better but got another Walmart Battery for the accessories in November. In February it would not hold a charge for an eight hour tournament day running just two depthfinders and two areators. i had to use jumper cables to keep aerators running until the end of the day. Early in March I would fish all day in the wind at Eufaula. When I came in the two Exide Batteries I put in this January would be down to 90 percent charge. After a couple of hours they would be at 100 percent and still be at 100 percent the next morning.

The five month old Walmart battery would be down around 50 percent when I came in, the point where the depthfinders started failing. It would charge back to 100 percent overnight with my three bank on board charger and a stand alone charger hooked to it. But an hour later, after taking the stand alone charger off, it would drop to only 80 percent.

I put another Excide battery in today for accories! I will never buy another Walmart Battery.

Costa Galveston Sunglasses Review

I like my Costa Galveston sunglasses and they work well for fishing. They are very comfortable, even after an eight hour tournament.

Costa Del Mar Galveston sunglasses are good fishing sunglasses. The Galveston model sunglasses are polarized with very clear lenses. Their light weight helps when wearing them a long time. They are fairly expensive sunglasses, but worth it.

An old saying states: “You get what you pay for,” meaning if you buy cheap products you get poor results. That is often true in fishing and some expensive equipment does not give good results. But there are lures, rods, reels and even boats that are not expensive but give good results. For years I felt that way about sunglasses. Cheap ones were just as good as more expensive sunglasses.

I received a pair of Costa Sunglasses to try out several years ago. Costa released three new styles of sunglasses that year and I was offered a chance to test the Galveston style, the one that seemed most suited for the kind of fishing I do most often. They have large square shaped lenses that let you see better on the water while covering your eyes. The lenses are set “frameless,” which means they have no bottom or side rims.

This makes them lighter, and the pair I tried are very light, something extremely important when wearing them nine hours straight as I did in the tournament the second Saturday in January.

The ear pieces are straight and don’t hook over your ears. I worried a little about that, fearing they would slip off in the boat, but the soft, non slip ear pieces stayed on and were comfortable. The nosepiece was soft and comfortable, too, and it is adjustable to fit your nose.

My pair are polarized with copper colored lenses that work well in the bright sun. The glasses are amazingly clear and everything looks very sharp through them. I could see underwater cover like stumps and rocks better than with other glasses I have tried. In the spring I have been able to see bass on the bed better than in the past, a combination of the lenses and color of these glasses

The glasses cost around $175 so they definitely are not cheap, but if you take care of them and put them in the case that comes with them when you take them off, they should last a very long time. I am definitely happy with mine. You can check them out at www.costadelmar.com and also at authorized Costa retail outlets.

Have You Watched Costa’s Geobass Shows?

I have been enjoying watching Costa’s Geobass series of videos posted online.

In this series, four guys travel to exotic destinations to try to catch bass. But they consider any fish named bass a bass, including saltwater species, so it is not just black bass, although they do go after trophy largemouth.

The videos are fast paced and fun to watch, and they do catch fish. They use fly rods only and tie their own flies to suit the situation. They are like any group of fishermen, picking at each other and having fun.

They go to such places as Christmas Island, Papua New Guinea, Brazil, and many others

Check out these videos – I think you will enjoy them.

Boat, Motor and Trolling Motor Equipment I Use

I like and use the following boat, motor, trolling motor and other related equipment

Steel Cable Trolling Motor Pull Cord

T-H Marine G-Force Trolling Motor Replacement Handle and Cable

T-H Marine G-Force Trolling Motor Replacement Handle and Cable

Endorsed by B.A.S.S. Elite Pro Gerald "G-Man" SwindleRugged nylon jacketed stainless steel cableLarge comfortable cushioned grip handleThe G-Force Trolling Motor Replacement Handle and Cable from T-H Marine is a giant step forward in trolling motor replacement release and lift systems. Endorsed by B.A.S.S. Elite Pro Gerald "G-Man" Swindle, the G-Force Handle is a rugged, nylon jacketed stainless steel cable with a large comfortable cushioned grip handle. The last thing a tournament angler or any angler needs is a broken rope and handle. And as trolling motors become more powerful, complex and heavy, this is a real concern. The G-Force handle eliminates this potential problem. Fits most trolling motor models and makes. Comes with a hook-n-loop strap to secure to the motor shaft while underway.







yamaha Water/Gas filter separator

High Water Creations Tackle Tags Review

If you are like me and most bass fishermen with a bass boat you have many plastic boxes of plugs and worms in your boat. They fit in racks and stand on end. Most of us write on the end what is in them. That works, but the writing is often hard to see. And I never seem to remember what pound test line I put on a reel or when I put it on, too.

A local fisherman has come up with a good solution. His company, High Waters Creations, makes Tackle Tags. The Line Label Series is a set of stick on labels in high contrast colors that come in a wide variety of pound test. And it also includes month labels. Stick one of each on your reel and you will instantly know the information you need.

Their Hard Bait and Soft Bait Series are the same high contrast stick on labels for those kinds of baits. Stick the Crankbait label on the end of the box and you instantly know what it contains. The label even has a picture of the bait to help. Soft Bait Series include worms, craws, swimbaits and other common baits we use.

If these labels sound like something you can use, check them out on their web site at http://www.highwaterscreatons.com or email them at info@highwaterscreations.com.

Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifer Baitcasting Reel Review

Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier Baitcasting Reel – List price $99.99 – often on sale for significantly less.
Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier Baitcast Reel
buy now

A few weeks ago during a club tournament the level wind on one of my favorite baitcasting reels started sticking on the side when it started to reverse. I have had this problem on several reels over the years. With heavy use the paul that moves back and forth in the screw and moves the line guide wears and sticks. Everytime in the past it was a simple matter to get it replaced but my repair shop could not get one for this reel. So I needed a new reel.

I had heard some good things about the Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifer reel so I checked online and they were on sale for $79.99. The reviews there were very good. I have a media discount card – disclaimer, I get 25 percent off on Bass Pro Shops branded items – so I drove to the Macon Bass Pro Shop. Unfortunately for me, the sale ended the day before I went, so with my discount I got two of the reels for about the sale price that I missed.

I put the reels on two of my rods, replacing the broken reel and changing out an old round reel on another rod. That Saturday my bass club had a youth tournament at Jackson Lake and a club tournament on Sunday at Lake Oconee, so I got to test them out under tournament conditions.

Both reels were great! I cast a chatterbait on one and a crankbait on the other. I had spooled both reels with 14 pound Bass Pro Shops Excel Monofilament Line. Bass Pro Shops Excel Monofilament Line - 1 lb. Spool
buy now

I have used this line in the past and it is a very good line for the price. I got a 120 yard spool for $10.99, a little less with my discount.

Goth reels, with just a little adjustment, were easy to make long casts without backlash. They were very smooth during the cast and retrieve. And the drag with smooth and easy to adjust to the tension I wanted for the rod and bait I was using.

Bottom line is, I will definitely buy more of these reels to replace some of my older reels.

Stanford Lures Cedar Shad Crankbait

In an earlier article I mentioned a plug bass pro Bobby Padgett uses to catch fish on the ledges at Eufaula. A company in Columbus, Stanford Lures, is making the Cedar Shad. They also make the Hog Caller spinnerbait you see in local stores sold by another company.

The Cedar Shad is carved out of Western Cedar, runs about 10 to 12 feet deep and has excellent colors. It is guaranteed to run true right out of the box. Most crankbaits need tuning before they will run right but the Cedar Shad doesn’t. I expect this company to sell a lot of quality lures that are made in our state.

Crankbaits are excellent lures year round. Bobby Padgett’s favorite time to use them is May through the fall when the bass are stacked up on ledges and deep structure. He says his type fishing is feast or famine, catching either dozens of good bass or nothing.

I really like crankbaits this time of year. I am usually looking to catch one or two fish, just to place in a club tournament. Crankbaits fished slowly around rock or wood cover in shallow water will usually pay off in a few strikes even on the worst days.

Its tough deciding whether to go fishing or hunting this weekend. Doe days are open in Spalding County and other counties toward Atlanta. Other counties do not have doe days until Thanksgiving, but bucks should still be moving. I need a couple of deer for the freezer, but catching bass sounds good, too. This is a great time of year!

Fishing Apps for Smart Phones That I Like and Use

There are many fishing apps for smart phones on the market. I don’t play games so I am not really interested in the games available – I use apps that actually help while fishing.

Weather plays an important past in fishing, and I always check the hour by hour forecast, even if it is often wrong. But while on the water rain or a thunderstorm can change things fast, and lightening can endanger you. I like to know if a storm is headed my way, and how intense it is. So I have a weather radar app, MyRadar, shows real time radar. You can see the intensity of a storm and the direction it is moving. I can either put on a rain suit or head for cover, depending on what is coming.

I like the Solunar Tables, which predict feeding times based on moon and sun position. They don’t always work, but do give me an idea of what to expect. I have seen them most accurate when fishing riprap, one of my favorite places to fish, so I like to know predicted times the fish should bite best. One on my phone, ISolunar, not only shows major and minor feeding periods, but sunrise, sun set, moon rise, moon set and other information. You can set it for the area you are fishing and look ahead to the day you will be fishing.

Two eBooks that I wrote are also on my phone. Key to “Catching Clarks Hill Bass” and “Keys to Catching Lake Lanier Bass” are lake specific, with lake maps, GPS Coordinates and descriptions of ten spots to catch bass each month of the year. But the books also tell the baits the local expert uses on each hole, how they rig and fish them, and other information that gives you general tips on bait rigging and use.

Do you have fishing apps on your phone? If so, share them in the comments section below.

What Is A Hydro Glow Fishing Light and Why Do I Need One?

Hydro Glow Light

Hydro Glow Light

If you ever fish at night under a light you should have a Hydro Glow Light. They are fantastic for hanging over the side of your boat or mounting on your dock to attract baitfish that attract the fish you want to catch.

I first saw the lights in action a few years ago during a night tournament at Lake Sinclair. I had fish until almost dark without catching a bass then just as it got dark went into a cove to fish a brush pile I knew was there.
As it got darker I noticed a weird green glow in the water on a dock across the cove from me. I eased over to it and saw it was an underwater light so I started fishing around it. The cabin door opened and a guy came toward the dock. I just knew he was going to tell me not to fish around his dock and start casting so I would have to leave.

Instead, he started asking me about the fishing and told me the light was the Hydro Glow Light system he produced. He said the bass would move in a little later to eat the shad that were already swimming under the light and I could catch them.

As we talked Darrell Keith explained he owned the company and this cabin, and tested his lights here. The green one was new and it was working better than other colors they had tested. Then he said there was a bass at the dock. I could not see it from the boat but he told me to cast a crankbait to the light. I did, and caught my first keeper of the night.

I got a card from him and he told me to stay there, that more bass would move in, and he went back to his cabin.

I did not leave until the tournament ended and caught a limit of bass, winning the tournament. Every time I have gone back to Sinclair at night I have not been able to fish the dock. Too many other fishermen have found it and there is always a boat there.

Hydro Glow makes several lights and have just come out with a high intensity light that is compact. You can choose 12 volt lights for use from a boat or 120 volt for permanent mounting on a dock. Green works best in freshwater but there are different colors for use in salt water that work better there.

Check out their website and watch some of the videos. The lights are fairly expensive but you never have to buy fuel for a lantern like we used to, and they will last you a long time.

Poletap Smartrod Review

What is the Poletap Smartrod?

Smartrod Bullhead

Smartrod Bullhead

For many years I would fish at night for catfish. We put out trot lines, limb hooks and jugs and let them do the work. But we also loved to sit on the bank by a fire with a line or two cast out waiting on a catfish to bite. But it was hard to know when you got a bite.

There are products like little bells to attach to your rod tip to let you know when a fish is on your line, but if you put several rods out you don’t know which one to go to. And in the dark it is hard to grab the right rod quickly.

A few weeks ago I was sent a new product to try out. The SmartRod from Poletap is a modern way to know when a fish hits. On the handle of the spinning rod is an electronic device that detects a tap indicating a bite. When a bite is sensed red lights start flashing and an audible alarm sounds.

The heavy rod comes with a big spinning reel loaded with red line. The outfit is heavy and strong enough to handle big catfish.

I set out the SmartRod on my pond leaning against a post on the dock.

I set out the SmartRod on my pond leaning against a post on the dock.

I took the rod to my pond and baited up with night crawlers from Berrys. I tried it a couple of ways, putting the rod in a rod holder attached to a board on the dock and also leaning the rod against a post. Since I tried it out during the day, after casting out I sat and watched to see how the rod worked.

There was some wind that day and I was happy to see wind blowing the line didn’t set off the alarm even when set on high. There are three settings, high, medium and low, so you can compensated for conditions. You can also turn off the audible alarm and just use the lights so you don’t disturb the peace and quiet of fishing at night.

I have bream and bullheads in my pond and it was not long before I saw the line twitch a little. I was surprised the alarm didn’t go off. Then the line started moving. A bullhead had taken the bait and swam toward the dock. It then swam out toward deeper water and the line moved without really jumping any.

When the fish pulled the line tight the alarm and lights went off. I would not have seen the slight twitch and line movement in the dark but the reel on the outfit comes with red line, so it was easy to see in the daylight.

That might be a good thing that the alarm didn’t go off from the slight bite and line movement. Catfish and bullheads are notorious for nibbling baits and not taking it and you can try to set the hook too early if you are watching. The alarm didn’t sound until the fish pulled, which is when you set the hook. Since the rod was in a holder or leaning against a post the fish hooked itself.

The bullheads I caught were small, about ten inches long, so the rod reacted to a very small fish. A bigger fish would probably take the bait more quickly and sound the alarm faster.

The outfit did its job. At night you would know which rod to grab immediately, but would not let you know to grab it until the fish was hooked, so you would not pull the bait away from the fish. It would be a great outfit to have if you like to fish at night.

You can see more information on the Smart Rod at http://tackobox.com. There is also a video on YouTube. A video shows how to use it but instructions on the rod make it very easy to use. The combo sells for about $50.