Category Archives: Fishing Tackle

Rods and reels to live bait

What Are Wind Knots and How Can I Stop Them?

A Cure for Wind Knots
By Frank Sargeant, Editor
from The Fishing Wire

Microwave guides have been around for a few years but somehow I never got around to buying a rod built with them, even though I was a friend of Doug Hannon, the inventor. Doug, gone much too soon, is remembered as “The Bass Professor”, a name I saddled him with in a story in Outdoor Life Magazine nearly four decades ago. He came up with the weedless trolling motor prop, the Wave Spin reel and many other patented angling inventions.

The Microwave system includes a unique “guide within a guide” that funnels the broad loops from the spinning reel spool down to a small passage which Hannon said was key not only to casting distance, but also to reducing the “wind knots” that are a frequent problem in some open-faced spinning setups.

Don Morse, head rod builder for American Tackle, which sells the Microwave guides, is one of their chief advocates. It should be noted that American Tackle sells a wide variety of premium guides, so Morse has no particular ax to grind in pushing Microwaves.

“Line comes off a spinning reel in these huge loops on a cast, and those loops, we can see in high speed video, remain in the line and drag across the lower guides well up the rod on a conventional spinning rod,” says Morse. “The high-speed video shows that with the Microwave system, all that looping comes out on the first guide, and the line runs straight through the other guides and out the tip-top from there. It cuts drag, it cuts vibration, and it really makes for a much smoother, more accurate cast.”

Another consideration is the reduction of wind-knots, which under some conditions can drive anglers nuts. Particularly when throwing jerkbaits and topwaters, the constant slacking and then jerking of rod and line create an ideal situation for loops to form around the guides. Wind knots form when an extra loop of line comes off the lip of the spool ahead of the running line.

If the Microwave guide system can eliminate these knots, that alone would make them worth using on specialty rods dedicated to jerkbait and topwater fishing, for those anglers who prefer spinning gear to baitcasting.

I had an opportunity to test one of these rods recently, with 9 of the Microwave guides mounted on a 7’2″ Bushido Warrior graphite blank in medium power, medium-fast tip. I put in a couple of four-hour mornings working over the bass at Lake Guntersville, in northeast Alabama, with this rod mounted with a Shimano Symetre in the 2500 size loaded with 10-pound-test Power Pro, throwing an assortment of topwaters and jerkbaits between a half ounce and 3/4 ounce.

I got a wind knot on maybe the third cast of the first morning, realized I had too much line on the spool, cut off about 50 feet, and then went on to never see another wind knot in the two mornings of casting and jerking. I don’t normally get many wind knots because of habits I’ve had beaten into me by a lot of good anglers, including closing the bail manually, but I do get some–the Microwave guide setup appeared to be an improvement over the conventional rod I had been using for this duty. The casts were smooth and accurate, and the guides do a good job of bringing out the power of the blank in fighting fish. They’re also light enough to make a nice balance with the 2500-size reel on a Fuji handle.

The guide set is fairly pricey, $49.95 for 8 microguides, the Microwave main “funnel” guide and the tip top. This is in line with top-quality Fuji and other premium guides, but it definitely adds to the price of the finished rod. You generally won’t see Microwave guides on value-priced tackle–they’re usually coupled with top-shelf blank and handle. To learn more about these guides, visit www.americantackle.us.

Waterproof Spinning Reels

Waterproof Spinning Reels Promise Long Life
By Frank Sargeant
from The Fishing Wire

For anglers who wade or fish from kayaks, in particular, the affordable new Tsunami Shield spinning reel is likely to become a favorite primarily because it’s engineered with a series of 10 seals that the manufacturer says will make the interior parts permanently waterproof so long as the seals are intact.

As all who wade-fish or cast the surf regularly are aware, there’s no way a reel is not going to get dunked occasionally. Fresh water does minimal harm if it’s not loaded with mud and if allowed to dry out, but a saltwater soaking, even once, assures big trouble if the reel is not completely disassembled and re-lubed. Simply rinsing won’t do it. If internal corrosion gets started, the reel’s days are numbered.

Tackle used in kayaks, which sits just inches above the water, is also subject to a whole lot of water exposure.

Those who fish spinning tackle offshore also run into this problem. Reels used in open water boats are unlikely to get fully submerged, but they may get hit with heavy salt spray all the way out and all the way back–few center console boats really keep the spray out of the cockpit on a hard run upwind on a bumpy day. The sealing system should give the Shield reels a huge advantage in all these situations if it works as advertised.

The screws are all secured with LocTite, which assures that they stay put through a lot of hard use and vibration in the boat. (To remove the side plates for annual cleaning, a special tool is required–it’s provided in the box.)

There are some other reels that also are designated waterproof but they are very expensive, including the Shimano Stella, which goes for almost $800(!) and several from Van Staal, starting at $450. Daiwa’s Saltiga line, similarly pricey, advertises sealed bearings, rather than sealing the entire reel. The Tsunami Shield, a made-in-China reel, obviously lacks some of the features of these high-end reels, but it’s a whole lot more affordable, with the 3000 and 4000 sizes $99.99, the 5000 and 6000 $109.99. Whether you could take the Tsunami with you to swim a bait out through the surf, as some have done with the Van Staal models, remains to be seen, but for the difference in price they are definitely worth a try.

They’re built to handle some serious drag, as well, with up to 20 pounds of pressure in the 3000 and 4000 sizes, which makes the reels good for bass fishing in heavy weeds and for handling reef species around cover. For those who take on big-running fish like bonefish and permit on the flats or kings offshore, the drag is butter smooth and starts without any tendency to stick, even at heavier settings.

They have five bearings, compared to nine in a $389.95 Shimano Sustain 3000, but they’re very smooth in operation and the all-aluminum frame should keep everything well aligned and functioning right for years. They are somewhat heavier than some more expensive models, at 9.5 ounces for the 3000 model, compared to 8.3 ounces for the Sustain 3000, a minimal difference but perhaps a point to consider for all-day anglers. For details on the Shield, see www.biminibayoutfitters.com.

Building Tree Houses – Growing Up Wild In Georgia

Do kids still build tree houses? That was always a favorite summer activity of mine. From the one in the pecan tree in my front yard to the ones we built down in the woods, they ranged from simple platforms ten feet high to complex ones so far up we put side boards on it to keep from falling out.

The house I grew up in had five pecan trees. There was a huge one in from of the house, another big one to one side and a third in the edge of the field past mama’s flower bed. There were two more smaller trees right beside the ditch on Iron Hill Road to the same side as the flower bed.

One of those smaller trees had a big limb about ten feet from the ground that was perfect for the base of a tree house. Boards nailed to the tree trunk provided a ladder for access. Then two by fours nailed to the limb made the base, with braces going back to the trunk below them.

I rebuilt that one several times over my youth as the boards rotted and became unsafe. I spent many summer days sitting in it, cooled by any breeze that filtered through the limbs and shaded by the leaves above me. I felt completely hidden from the world watching the occasional car or truck that passed just a few feet away. And although mama knew where I was, I could not see the house from my platform.

Taking sandwiches and a drink up in the tree to eat made many summer lunches pass quickly. In the fall there were always pecans on the platform for a snack. One special place was a limb knot hole right beside the platform where I often found pecan hulls where a blue jay or wood pecker had stuck a nut in the small hole and used it as a vice to hold its lunch as it pecked away the shell and ate the meat.

The highest tree house we ever built was in a huge pine tree behind Harold’s house. My memory tells me it was way too high but it was probably no more than 30 feet from the ground, still scary enough for a 12-year-old. It was hard work hauling the boards up that high, either pulling them up with a rope or passing them hand over hand between Harold, Hal and me while we perched with one leg hooked over a limb.

The platform on this one was probably 10 feet square, sitting on a big limb parallel to the ground. Another limb below that one that ran up at more of an angle provided a great place for supports so we could build it bigger. It was cross braced and around the edges we had nailed one by eights to provide a small lip.

We actually slept up there in our sleeping bags one time but near the base of it was our camp. We made prefab walls and a roof and struggled to get them the couple of hundred yards to the site. The three sided shed was a great place to store wood for a dry fire starter and some tools we used every time we camped there.

A rock fire pit with a homemade spit, made from two forked limbs and a cross piece with the bark stripped, was used for roasting squirrels and birds. We cooked breakfast in our mess kits on that fire and also put our “camp dinners” on it. Those were the big patty of ground beef topped by potatoes, onions, carrots and butter wrapped in tinfoil.

Other tree houses ranged from not much bigger than what I now put up for a deer stand to platforms we could lay one and stretch out. We never had anything like the fancy prefab “tree” houses on posts you see in yards nowadays. They are often nowhere near a tree, usually put up by the parents, and very complex.

I can’t help but believe kids are missing something by building their own houses down in the woods, all by themselves, with no adult supervision or help, like we did.

Spring Trout Strategies

Surefire Spring Trout Strategies
Tips from trout expert Bernie Keefe that will improve your action anywhere trout are found.
from The Fishing Wire

Late winter is a time of transition for trout and the anglers who pursue them. Admittedly, figuring out productive patterns while shifting from ice fishing to open-water mode can be intimidating, but those who know where and how to tackle spring trout can enjoy some of the year’s best fishing.

“Rainbow trout are a great example,” says veteran trout guide Bernie Keefe. “They’re active, hungry and willing to bite.”

Keefe targets tributaries and lakes in the Colorado high country a short cast west of Denver, but his spring rainbow strategies produce results in systems across the continent.

One part of his game plan hinges on the spring spawning run. “Lake-run rainbows migrate into tributary streams, and resident river fish may also move upstream and even into smaller tributaries,” he explains. “They run up rivers and streams until they find suitable spawning sites, which usually offer the right mix of gravel and riffles.”

Clam Caviar Drop Jig
Keefe doesn’t disturb spawning fish, preferring to let them focus on their efforts to continue the species. Instead, he keys on areas just below spawning sites. “With a good pair of polarized glasses, you can often see the spots where trout have cleaned mud or silt off the gravel for their spawning beds,” he says. “When you spot a bedding area, watch for dark shadows moving around just downstream. These trout are feeding on eggs and ripe for the catching.”

Small, egg-imitating jigs like the Clam Caviar Drop Jig are a top pick for such situations. “Because you’re sight-fishing trout in shallow water, often only 10 feet away from the bank, swinging the bait gently out to the fish with a lob-style cast is key,” he adds.

To execute such maneuvers, he gears up with a medium-light power, 7-foot, moderately fast action Fenwick HMX spinning rod spooled with 6-pound-test Berkley 100% Fluorocarbon line. “A long rod allows you to swing the jig out for a quiet splashdown just upstream of the fish,” he says. “Let the jig fall to bottom, then, holding the rodtip high, bounce the jig downstream. When the jig stops or you feel a bite, set the hook.”

While the rainbow’s wariness is legendary, Keefe says the smorgasbord of eggs drifting down from the beds often overrides such caution. “There’s so much food coming down to the fish, they get so caught up in feeding you can often catch five or six fish from one spot,” he says.

Keefe also bounces egg-imitating jigs in deeper holes, where trout hold en route to feeding and spawning areas. “Doll flies, tubes and marabou jigs also work in the holes,” he adds. “These resting fish aren’t moving much, so methodically work each hole before pulling the plug on it. The good news is, if you get bit, chances are there’s more than one fish down there.”

To cap off a perfect day on the tributaries, Keefe often heads for the lake in late afternoon. “Whether the ice is off or just starting to pull away from the bank, shorecasting open water off points, along dark shorelines and near incoming streams is a great way to pick up a few more fish before calling it a day,” he says. “Low-light conditions toward evening are great, but the fish may bite all day long if it’s overcast. Small jerkbaits like Berkley Flicker Shads and Flicker Minnows work great.”

Keefe also throws 3- to 4-inch softbaits such as a Berkley Gulp! Jerk Shad or PowerBait Minnow on a 1/8- to 3/8-ounce jig head, directing long casts toward deep water offshore. “Let the jig fall to bottom and swim it back by raising your rodtip, then reeling in slack
as you lower the rod back toward the water,” he says.

Together with the tributary tactics, Keefe’s lakeshore tricks offer the means to enjoy great rainbow trout fishing during the dreaded seasonal transition as winter fades away. Use them to make this your best spring yet.

For more information or to book a trip with Keefe, visit: www.fishingwithbernie.com or call (970) 531-2318.

What Is Kayaking for Fitness?

Kayaking for Fitness
By the West Advisor Staff
from The Fishing Wire

If you have resolved to get into shape in the coming New Year, consider paddling your way to fitness on a kayak. The physical benefits of kayaking include core conditioning, increased aerobic capacity and weight loss. The psychological and social benefits include stress reduction and the enjoyment of making new friends among the world’s growing armada of paddling fanatics. And if you’re an angler, these lightweight, launch-anywhere vessels can open up a whole new world of fishing opportunities.

Core Conditioning

Paddling a kayak helps to strengthen your “core” muscle groups, which are the major muscles of your trunk that move, support and stabilize your spine. The small, but constant muscle movements required to balance in a kayak, along with the rotational movement of paddling work together to build core strength.

With repeated paddling excursions, your core muscle groups will progressively strengthen—along with your abilities as a kayaker. Core conditioning also offers off-the-water benefits. For example, lifting a heavy object, reaching down or reaching up to a shelf all become easier when your core muscle groups are strong.

Aerobic fitness

Paddling against wind and waves is a sure-fire way to “increase the burn”.

The constant exertion required to paddle a kayak increases a paddler’s respiration rate, which over time can help improve the ability of his or her lungs, heart and vascular system to deliver oxygen to muscles via the blood. The benefits of being aerobically fit include improved endurance, decision-making capability, concentration and mental alertness.

Lose weight

Will paddling a kayak help you to lose weight? The answer is yes. According to Men’s Fitness, paddling a kayak burns about 205 calories per hour, depending on conditions. And according to the Mayo Clinic, one pound of body weight equals about 3,500 calories—so provided you adhere to a regular program of paddling exercise and watch your caloric intake, you will slowly but surely burn away those pounds! To increase the burn, paddle against the wind and current.

Stress less

Legions of paddlers have discovered that shoving off in a kayak onto their favorite lake or river is a great way to break with the stress of daily life and enjoy our natural world. Evidence of this can be seen in a random sampling of quotes posted by kayakers at pinterest.com: “If in doubt, paddle out”, “A day on the lake restores the soul” and “I don’t need therapy, I just need to go kayaking”.

Friends and family

Due to the tremendous popularity of kayaking, most areas near the water have some sort of paddling club—so you can get healthy and fit while making new friends. And of course, kayaking is a sport that the whole family can enjoy.

Gear requirements

If you don’t have a kayak already, there are plenty from which to choose. Choices include sit-on-top kayaks, sit-inside kayaks, and inflatable kayaks, each with its own unique set of features. For help in selecting a kayak, see our Kayak Finder. Along with a kayak, you will also need a paddle. For help in selecting a paddle, see Selecting the Right Kayak Paddle.

Besides your kayak, you will also need to gear up for a safe time on the water. First and foremost, you will need a paddlesports life jacket, one that’s designed for paddling and that won’t hinder your paddling range of motion. And if you think you might be paddling out of shouting distance from shore, we suggest you equip yourself with a handheld VHF radio.

For some kayakers, the most difficult part of the sport is raising their kayak on to a vehicle’s kayak rack or carrying the kayak from their car to the beach. The kayak accessories that we offer include special carts and hoisting systems to make loading or manually transporting your kayak easier.

Other items to consider are a small set of pyrotechnic signals (flares) and a basic first aid kit, which should include lip balm and a topically applied sun shield. The first aid kit and other odds and ends should be kept in a dry bag.

For more information on the gear you will need, and/or if you are new to the sport, see our Beginner’s Guide to Kayaking.

Know your limits

If you are new to kayaking, we suggest that you gently ease into the sport, being careful not to exceed your physical limits. If you have a medical condition that might limit your ability to participate in kayaking, check with your doctor. Beyond the exercise and physical conditioning that paddling a kayak affords, the basics can be learned in a day or two. After that, you can continue to improve as you paddle on into the years.

Read more like this at www.westmarine.com.

Advances in Sonar

Advances in Sonar: ‘Instant Fishing Feedback’ with New Garmin Tech
Lake Commandos host Steve Pennaz discusses real-world applications for Garmin Panoptix LiveVü Down


By Steve Pennaz
from The Fishing Wire

When Garmin introduced Panoptix a few years back, I viewed the potential of this new technology through the eyes of both an angler and a television producer.

Garmin calls Panoptix “all-seeing sonar” as it allows you to view what’s below and to the side of the boat in three dimensions and in real time.

What fascinated me about Panoptix was the opportunity to not only locate fish, but actually watch—and digitally capture—their reaction to a presentation like a swimming crankbait, jig or live bait beneath the boat.

For decades, anglers have been using traditional 2D sonar to vertically present baits to fish visible on their sonar screen. The difference is, and it’s huge, Panoptix allows you to do this not only in the vertical water column directly below the boat, but also to the front, side and rear!

I have used both Panoptic Forward and Panoptix Down for the past two years on a variety of waters while targeting largemouth, crappie, walleye, smallmouth and other species.

I’ll focus on Panoptix Down here and save the discussion on Panoptix Forward for a future date.


The Technology

Panoptix starts with Garmin’s Panoptix Down transducer, which delivers three views: LiveVü Down, RealVü 3D Historical and RealVü 3D Down, even when the boat is stationary.

LiveVü Down—Although I’ve been using all three Panoptix down-looking technologies, LiveVü Down is the game-changer I’m using on nearly every single fishing trip.

With a push of a button I can adjust the angle of sonar to look forward or back. This allows me to tweak view for boat movement and desired presentation.

With LiveVü Down I can not only tell when fish are beneath the boat, but how far they are off the bottom and even what side of the boat they are on! The practical value of this is incredible as it allows me to drop or pull baits directly in front of the fish… and then watch their reaction to it in real time.

The video clips provided show actual fish response to presentations as viewed on Panoptix.
https://youtu.be/M3t2NlkceBs
https://youtu.be/DocPm5Py4u0
https://youtu.be/OikFEmx-r6s
https://youtu.be/wzvvOY3FCgw

RealVü 3D Historical scrolls through data as the boat moves to show a history of the entire water column, from the bottom to the surface and all of the fish in between. Bottom contours and fish pop in vivid color and three dimensions.

3D Historical views are incredibly detailed and I use to gain a true understanding of the structure I am fishing.

RealVü 3D Down digitally scans the area below the boat from front to back and side to side. A full 3D view of the area under the boat is constructed, showing bottom contour changes, fish and structure, even while stationary.

Value of Real-Time Viewing

I am not new to real-time viewing… it’s been part of the ice fishing scene for a couple decades now. But to have a system that works so well in open-water situations is a major improvement.

One of the biggest revelations with LiveVü Down has been learning about how active fish really are, and how far they will chase a bait.

After decades of watching static, half-moons scroll across a sonar screen, I had the impression fish basically stayed pretty motionless until moving to strike a bait. I was stunned to learn just how active fish often are. Schools seem to be in constant motion, especially if not tied to cover, and I witnessed a variety of species chase my bait 10 feet or even more.

Those that reject my presentation often rise quickly to the bait, then slam to a halt just below it. Some then slowly drift back to the bottom, while others scurry away as if spooked by the lure.

This feedback is valuable as it helps me quickly tweak jig strokes, and other things like speed and color more efficiently than ever before.

By species, here are some of the things I’ve learned.

Walleye Fishing

When it comes to walleye fishing, these machines have really changed the bottom-bouncing and live bait rigging game. When fish are located on the screen it tells you three things: 1) which side of the boat the fish are on; 2) distance of the fish from the boat; and, 3) location of fish relative to bottom.

When I or a fishing partner sees fish on screen while working structure, we say simply “left” or “right,” so we’re presenting two different baits to the fish.

It doesn’t matter if you are a weekend angler or a pro, this information is deadly effective. On numerous occasions I’ve had my fishing partners move their ‘bouncers or live bait rigs from one side of the boat to the other—then quickly hook up on fish.

Panfish

Another great application for LiveVü Down is targeting suspended crappies or bluegills. Once located, what makes machines like this so powerful is the “instant fishing feedback.”

There is a noticeable difference between this technology and standard 2D sonar, which you quickly realize is slow by comparison and leaves out a lot of vital information.

In LiveVü Down, you actually see a real-time “trail” as the fish moves and reacts to your bait. Schools of crappies do not appear as Christmas tree-like forms; instead, you see each and every fish and can watch their individual movements in real-time.

A lot of times, several fish in the school will come up to your bait at the same time. I’ve always viewed fish as static, because when you go over them with traditional 2D Sonar, they’re always drawn with a half-moon arch. With this unit, I’m seeing fish do things I never imagined them doing. They’re chasing the bait, they’re coming way up… if you do something wrong they spook and slide back down.

By watching the fish react to presentations in real-time, you can tweak jigging cadence, bait style, size, color, depth, etc., as necessary. Sometimes simply changing colors makes a big difference. 


Bass

This summer, on a lake I fish often, I located several deep rock piles that often hold large schools of bass, as well as crappie, perch and walleye. On other lakes, I’ve located a bunch of big smallmouth by looking for larger boulders or fish cribs, and then fishing vertically on them.

Panoptix is so sensitive that I can see both my sinker and my bait when dropshotting. I can also tell you that very few things are more exciting than seeing a five-plus-pound smallmouth slide up to your bait, and then watch at least of a portion of the fight on screen as the fish bulldogs against a heavy drag!

I’ve noticed on several occasions that individual members of schools are often very active, while others are less likely to move any distance to take a bait. I’ve also found the “chasers” are typically smaller fish and by getting them to rise to the bait and then dropping it back to the school I catch larger fish on average.

One of the attached video clips shows this.

Parting Thoughts

No matter the species, the ‘instant fishing feedback’ that Garmin Panoptix LiveVü Down provides is a true gamechanger. It allows you to monitor fish response in real-time and quickly respond with changes in presentation. That’s translated to maximizing my time on the water… and a whole lot more fish.

Panoptix Forward and Down are currently compatible with Garmin’s GPSMAP 8000 Series, GPSMAP 7600 Series, GPSMAP 1040xs/840xs, GPSMAP 741xs, and echoMAP CHIRP Series. Each requires you to purchase specific transducer.

About Steve Pennaz

Steve Pennaz is a Hall of Fame angler who excels at finding and catching fish on new waters, a skill developed over 30 years of extensive travel in search of giant fish. His television series, Lake Commandos, Man vs. Lake vs. Man, helps anglers understand the steps to building successful patterns on the water.

Cabellas and BPS

Cabela’s Says BPS Deal Not In Danger
from The Fishing Wire

When Cabela’s made some mandatory regulator filings last Friday, they kicked off another round of conversations as to the likelihood of the proposed $4.5 Billion buyout of the retailer by Bass Pro Shops.

As expected, Cabela’s (NYSE:CAB) stock took an immediate hit, but closed trading yesterday at $58.83/share, gaining back another 28 cents of that drop. That’s still well below the $65.50/share deal price offered by Bass Pro Shops’ Johnny Morris.

So what’s up?

Regulators are covering their own flanks by looking more closely at the deal that would create a mega-outdoor chain with more than 180 stores and 40,000-plus workers. The combination Cabela’s/BPS could control as much as twenty percent of the $50 billion U.S. camping, fishing, hunting and shooting market. That merits some closer examination.

As I reported before the end of the year, it’s not unusual for regulators to look at the impact to the competitive marketplace when big mergers and acquisitions happen. When individual retail markets are impacted- and there are many locations where BPS and Cabela’s both have stores, there are repercussions from this kind of deal. It’s not unusual for regulators to ask that the combined entities consider modifications in their store configurations to account for reduced competition.

The concern at this point, however, might lie in the financial arm of the deal.

Capital One Financial Corporation, the buyer of Cabela’s credit card business, says that while the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (which regulates the financial transaction) has indicated it will likely approve the deal -but that approval “probably” won’t come before mid-October.

That could pose a problem as the walk-away date for the primary deal falls on October 3, 2017. And the Capital One portion is contingent on the acquisition completing first.

We hear through Wall Street that all parties and their representatives are working to get the deal completed, but Cabela’s has said it was exploring “alternative structures” for the deal to allow for a closing before the October deadline.

What’s the alternative? No one’s talking to us from either side of the deal, but analysts say the alternatives could range from a voluntary extension of the deadlines to price concessions should the approval not come as expected.

With the spread between the current stock’s trading range and the $65.50/share offered by BPS ranging from $6-$7/share, the other side of the deal might also be considering an “adjustment” as a possible bargaining chip should regulators elongate the process.

Is Pure Fishing Going Away?

Is Newell Getting Ready to Dispose of Pure Fishing?
from The Fishing Wire

When conglomerate Newell purchased Pure Fishing from fellow conglomerate Jarden earlier this year, Newell officials were quick to say that the acquisition wouldn’t have any impact on Pure Fishing and their myriad of consumer fishing brands.

It didn’t take long for that story to get revised, although with considerably less fanfare than the original deal.

Newell has dismissed Pure Fishing’s entire 30-person marketing staff headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina. With the cuts also including experts in everything from baits to fishing lines, it looks like the company’s R&D efforts are being slashed as well.

Other cost-slashing measures apparently include deep cuts in the company’s professional angler roster (that’s underway ) and it’s no secret Newell doesn’t plan to renew many – if any- sponsorship deals when they expire. That includes, we’re told, the B.A.S.S. agreement set to expire next year.

As one fishing industry executive told me, “Be glad you’re not a professional angler looking for sponsors, because that water is getting skinnier by the minute.”

Sources tell us Newell’s plans include slashing as much as $500 million- from Jarden’s overall operating costs. If that’s not doable as the company roster stands now, Newell will likely start disposing of chunks of Jarden properties.

The prospect of seeing brands like Berkley, Stren, Trilene, Abu Garcia, Mitchell and Gulp! Baits coming available has Pure Fishing’s largest competitors salivating at the prospects. Additionally, we’re hearing other companies looking to either break into the outdoor recreation space or diversify their existing portfolios might be looking into the opportunity as well. And don’t count out a knowledgeable group of investors who see a business opportunity (ala the B.A.S.S. acquisition from ESPN) making a play should a breakup be in the cards.

It’s quite a change from 2007 when Pure Fishing was acquired from the Bedell-family by Jarden Corporation. Then, Jarden Chairman and CEO Martin E. Franklin described the acquisition as “an excellent fit for Jarden and our Outdoor Solutions segment.” He went on to describe a vision for cross-selling, channel expansion and geographical expansion opportunities with Pure Fishing and the company’s Coleman and Campingaz brands.

Long story short, none of that happened. And in December of 2015, it was announced that Jarden’s products, including Pure Fishing, would become part of Newell Rubbermaid Inc. in a $15.4 billion dollar deal that brought together a conglomeration of brands ranging from Mr. Coffee and Sharpie markers to Rawlings baseball gloves, Coleman camping gear and Pure Fishing.

We’re still months away from ICAST- the world’s largest trade show for the recreational fishing industry, but it’s apparent there may be some big changes in store for attendees accustomed to Pure Fishing’s usual massive presence on the tradeshow floor.

While we’re on the subject of business changes, the Associated Press is reporting that regulators are putting the brakes on the pace of Bass Pro Shops acquisition of Cabela’s (NYSE: CAB).

It seems the regulators want time to more examine at the $5.5 billion deal. Since it’s well over the $78 million dollar benchmark the FTC uses for scrutiny, it will likely include a store-by-store, city-by-city look at markets where BPS/Cabela’s both operate.

In some cities, there are stores in very close proximity of each other. In both Bristol, Virginia and Chattanooga, Tennessee, for example, new or nearly-new stores of both brands are located in sight of each other. Even if the deal closes, it’s not likely both stores would remain open any longer than absolutely necessary.

And it is a big deal. When combined (if combined as-is), the result would be a 182-store chain with 40,000 employees. Great if you’re looking for economies of scale, pricing leverage over vendors as an owner (despite the fact BPS is paying premium for the Cabela’s stock that’s a number the company hasn’t approached in the past 30 months).

But the Federal Trade Commission is concerned about such a deal unfairly impacting other retailers. In May of this year, the FTC took a “closer look” at the Family Dollar/Dollar Tree deal. As a result, 330 stores had to be sold before the FTC approved.

I’m hearing that should the deal be delayed because of overlap concerns, there’s a a closure strategy ready, but no one’s talking in either Sidney, Nebraska or Springfield, Missouri – at least not for attribution.

10-Foot Bass Rods?

The Rise of the 10-Foot Bass Rod
By Frank Sargeant, Editor
from The Fishing Wire

Bassmaster revealed recently that they will allow 10-foot rods in tournament boats next year, up from the 8-foot maximum that has been the standard forever.

A lot of anglers might ask what the heck any bass fisherman would want with a rod that long, when most of us never use anything bigger than about 7’6″, but there apparently is a demand for the monster sticks among some of the top Elite pros.

The advantages are in two areas–for flippin’, the short game of bass fishing, the longer rod gives a better angle to reach distant teacup-sized potholes, and also the potential power of these bigger rods will give anglers a better chance of derricking a big fish wrapped in 20 pounds of weeds to the boat.

The rods will also add some real potential distance, for those who master them, to crankbait fishing. The longer the rod, the longer the potential cast, and as most who enjoy crankbait fishing know, the farther you throw them, the deeper they go on retrieve. Since success with a crankbait often depends on grinding it along a gravel or shell bottom, being able to get a lure down there and keep it there throughout a long retrieve is going to have a big impact on the catches.

Of course, being able to handle the increase in tip speed of the rod and spool speed of the reel will be key, and it’s going to take a period of adjustment for most to get used to the big difference in the weight and balance of the longer rods. The backlashes likely will be monumental early on.

There will also be issues with storing the rods on nearly all bass boats, unless they’re made to be collapsible, as some flippin-sticks are already. The tubes on most boats max out at 8 feet, even on the largest rigs, and many boats under 20 feet long can’t handle anything over 7’6″.

There’s also the issue of keeping the hooks out of the angler on the other end of the boat, in team tournaments and during fun fishing with family. A 10-foot rod has the potential to reach all the way across the back deck of most boats if the bow angler does not watch his backcast. And when a burly angler up front powers up to cast a 10XD a mile, those big treble hooks are coming at speeds that just about break the sound barrier. It won’t be pretty when somebody gets stuck.

That said, increasing the legal rod length will be a shot in the arm for the tackle business in the coming year. Not only will all the pro’s have to have several of the new sticks, all of us wanna-be’s will also need a couple if we want to be at all similar to KVD or G-Man, and they’re probably not going to be cheap. Look for reel makers to jump on the train and make special reels for these rods, as well.

In short, there’s not much new under the sun when it comes to bass angling these days, but the addition of these new mega-rods will probably spark plenty of interest over the next few months among those who live and breathe tournament bass angling.

September Sinclair Tournaments

In our September tournament, 14 members of the Spalding County Sportsman Club fished eight hours at Lake Sinclair to land 43 keeper bass weighing about 60 pounds. There were three five-fish limits and no one zeroed.

I managed to win with five weighing 8.95 pounds and had big fish with a 4.58 pounds largemouth. Sam Smith was second with four weighing 6.19 pounds and Robert Proctor and George Roberts tied for third with five at 6.06.

I landed five keepers, including the big one, the first hour we fished. I also missed six or seven fish during that hour, all on a top water popper near grass beds and docks. After the sun got up I caught one more fish in seven hours!

I did have some excitement at about 11:00. I had cast a topwater plug to a seawall and as I worked it across the flat leading to deeper water something blew up on it, missing it by about two feet. I reeled in and threw a floating worm to where the fish had hit, and as it sank my line started moving toward deeper water. I set the hook and something big pulled for about four seconds before coming off.

I knew there was some brush there so I reeled in and cast a jig head worm to it. I felt the bait hit a limb then something took off, running about five feet before pulling off. Although exciting it was disappointing. All I can figure is there were gar around that brush and would hit, but I could not get my hook into their bony snout.

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On Saturday the Sportsman Club held a youth tournament at Sinclair. There were five youth competing and three of them caught keepers. Blaze Brooks, fishing with JR Proctor and Zane Flake, won with 5.80 pounds and his 1.78 pounder was big fish. Austin Lynch fishing with Raymond English and two other youth was second with one 1.95 pounds and Treston Cheeves, also fishing with Raymond, was third with 1.59 pounds. The other two youth, Kamron Cheeves and Caleb Dague, fishing with Sam Smith, fished hard but did not land a keeper.