Category Archives: Fishing Product Reviews

JJs Magic Fishing Worm Dip and Dye

JJ's Magic Dip and Dye

JJ’s Magic Dip and Dye

Another product I have been using for several years and really like is JJ’s Magic, a dip and dye for plastic worms. J. J. Polak is president of the Flint River Bass club and had been producing this dye for years. Last year he was a sponsor of the Bass Chapter Federation and many people at the tournament used his dip and dye.

Worm dyes have been around for a long time and I have been using them since they came out. You dip the tail of a lizard or worm into the dye and it magically changes colors. The dye is a strong solvent that reacts to the plastic and changes it. JJ’s takes it one step further. There is a strong garlic scent that permeates the worm, making it more attractive to bass.

JJ’s Magic comes in chartreuse, red, blue and clear for just adding scent. They work for me. You can check out his products at or click on the ad to the right.

Products To Help Hook Up Your Boat Trailer

My first six bass boats were all on single axle trailers and I could move them around to hook up to my tow vehicle easily. All I had to do was back up close to the trailer then move it by hand. When I bought my current boat it had a dual axle trailer and I quickly found it was almost impossible to move the tongue of the trailer if I did not back up perfectly.

At the Georgia Bass Chapter Federation Top Six several years ago one of the sponsors, Marineovations, LLC, had a demonstration video tape of their trailer hitch system. I bought one and have found it extremely helpful when hooking up my boat, especially when I am alone.

The system consists of a special ball mount that goes into a hitch receiver on tow vehicles. It has a small square mount on top that holds two other parts of the kit. One is a “V” shaped flat iron guide that has the “V” right above the trailer ball. When you back up, your trailer coupler will be guided right to the top of the ball. It is a simple matter to lower your trailer onto the ball.

Once you have the trailer hooked up, you remove the “V” guide and replace it with a “L” shaped device called the
Trailer Trapper that fits right over the ball and coupler. A pin holds it in place and there is no way the trailer can come off the ball.

According to the Marineovations site, there were 24 people killed in traffic accidents in Georgia in 2004 when their trailer came unhooked while driving. The main purpose of the Trailer Trapper is to keep the trailer hooked to the tow vehicle no matter what happens.

In all my miles of towing boats, I have never had one come unhooked, although I did lose a flatbed trailer once when backing up. The Trailer Trapper would have prevented that.

I love the ease of hooking up now. It is never a problem. And I like the safety of the Trailer Trapper, knowing it is an added level of safety.

One other part of the system that I like is a 12 volt light on a pole. Wires lead through the pole and can be plugged into your vehicle system where the trailer lights hook up. The pole the light is one will expand to about six feet tall, and the light is bright enough to give you good light for backing up, cleaning fish at night and even running the weigh in for a night club tournament.

The light was given to me to try out, I did not buy it, but I do like it.

Unfortunatly the company went out of business. You can get a trailer guide but not the other parts from Bass Pro Shops below:

Couple-Mate Trailer Hitch Guide

Does BassMaster Still Send Out Unsolicited Books?

A few years ago on a Wednesday I received a book “Advanced Bass Fishing Skills” in the mail from BASS. There was also a cute little medal of some kind with it. The letter with the book starts out “You must be wondering why we sent you this book.”

NO, I know exactly why BASS sent it – they hope I will send the requested $9.95 for this book, which also signs me up for a book club. They will keep sending me books every month or so and charging me an unspecified price. It is amazing how fast those book club books build up and how much you will end up paying for them.

I will not pay for it, nor will I return the book. The letter does state that I do not have to pay for the book or return it, which is nice for them to admit since that is the law. You do not have to pay for or return anything sent to you that you did not request.

I have received something like this from BASS for the past five or six years and I refused to pay for any of it or send it back. Looks like they would learn, eventually.

Do you ever received unsolicited material like this from BASS or other fishing groups? If so share your experiences in the comments section

Why Am I A Loyal Yamaha Outboard Motor Owner?

My Yamaha Outboard

My Yamaha Outboard

Yamaha Outboard Motors Got A Customer For Life!

In 2004 I bought a Skeeter 225 bass boat with a Yamaha 225 HPDI outboard motor. The boat was a “demo” boat owned by a salesman at a dealer in Atlanta and I got an excellent deal on it. The outfit was six months old when I got it, looked brand new and came with a full warranty on the boat and motor.

I really liked the Yamaha outboard. I had seven OMC motors and all gave me good service, but the HPDI got much better gas and oil usage, and it cranked very easily, even in cold weather. The motor ran good and I had no problems with it other than changing water filters often. I really liked the Skeeter boat, too, but had some serious problems with it, but that is another tale for later.

In 2010 I was at Sinclair working on a GON article and the motor made a strange noise and died just as we stopped on the last spot for the day, right at dark. It would not crank so we fished for a while, then the motor cranked right up. We ran in and I started and stopped and ran around some while waiting on the trailer. The motor never missed a beat and ran good.

I took the boat to Oconee Marine, a Yamaha dealer not too far from me, and they checked it out. They put it on the computer and could find nothing wrong with it.

A few days later in a club tournament at West Point the motor made a terrible sound and stopped. When I tried to crank it the sound was like shaking a sack of metal pieces. I fished back to the ramp and go the boat loaded and took it back to Oconee Marine the next day.

Two days later I got a call with bad news. The motor had come apart and I needed a new $8000 power head. The motor was over six years old at this point and a new one was very expensive so I told them to put one on. After all, I had a new lower unit from hitting a rock pile in Wisconsin, another tale for later, so I basically would have a new motor from top to bottom.

The next day I got a call from Oconee Marine with incredible news. They had contacted Yamaha and told them about checking the motor and finding no reason it should have blown. Yamaha comped me a new power head and the labor to install it! That was on a six year old motor, out of warranty and well used.

Yamaha really stands behind their motors. I have heard they have done the same for other Yamaha motor owners. I think the problem was the change to E10 gas with Ethanol in it, something the motor was not designed for. Now I am really worried with the coming planned change to E15 with even more alcohol. If I understand it right, no outboards and few cars are under warranty using that mix.

I have run the motor with the new power head for three more years not and it has not had a single problem.

If I buy another outboard motor it will definitely be a Yamaha!

Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning Outfit Review

Shakespeare makes good products

Shakespeare makes good products

I recently received a Ugly Stick GX2 rod paired with a Shakespeare 5.2 to 1 ratio spinning reel to test. I spooled the reel with ten pound test Trilene line and tied on a Norman’s DD22N to see if it would work for deep cranking.

Ugly Sticks are tough rods and mostly used for fishing for catfish and stripers in freshwater. They are also great in saltwater. These rods are made to take the abuse big fish, and fishermen, can give them. Since I mostly fish for bass and am trying to get better at deep cranking, I wanted an alternative to a casting outfit. As I have gotten older it is harder for me to deep crank for hours and I thought being able to switch between a spinning out fit and a casting outfit would ease the pain I get in my hands and arms when fishing this way.

With this outfit I could cast the big crankbait a long way. Chris Jackson even commented on how far I could cast the lure while I tested it at Lay Lake fishing with him. I also used it in a club tournament at Lake Sinclair. The rod is a six foot six inch medium action two piece rod. I could cast even further with a longer rod.

The outfit worked well for this application. It allowed me to switch hands holding the rod since I hold a casting rod in my left hand and reel with my right, and hold the spinning rod in my right hand and reel with my left. It took a few casts to get used to the outfit and learn the right angle to hold it to get good depth on the lure and keep it at an angle to absorb the shock of a strike.

The ratio of the reel was fine for deep cranking and the rod action was just right for that type fishing. I will keep it rigged and ready when I want to deep crank for bass.

The outfit would be excellent for many kinds of fishing. It is fairly heavy so it tires you more than a very expensive rod and reel that is lighter, but at $49.99 for the outfit, the cost helps ease the pain. When fishing for hybrids, cats, stripers and other similar fish in freshwater the weight of the outfit would not be a problem since you often put the rod and reel in some kind of holder rather than holding it in your hands while fishing for them. the same is true in many saltwater applications.

The reel did make noise while reeling it and the drag system is not as smooth as I would like it to be.

Disclaimer – I was sent this outfit free to test.

Review of Bass Pro Shops World Wide Sportsman Fishing Shirt

Jack caught fishing in Baja Mexico

Jack caught fishing in Baja Mexico

I like my Bass Pro Shops World Wide Sportsman fishing shirts like the one I wore in Baja while catching this jack.

I have about 20 fishing shirts and jerseys from a lot of different brands and manufacturers. Some of my favorites are the World Wide Sportsman short sleeve shirts from Bass Pro Shops. The are comfortable, come in a variety of colors and sizes. And they are reasonably priced. (disclaimer – I do get a discount on these shirts)

These button up shirts have big pockets, one on each side. The pockets have Velcro tabs to hold the flap closed. Sometimes the pockets are almost too big. A ball point pen can get lost in them, sideways down on the bottom. To solve this one pocket has a small opening in the flap for a pen – an important fact for an outdoor writer or tournament director!

The collars are button down, too. That is extremely important when running 70 mph in a bass boat. Collars that don’t button down can beat your cheeks and jaw uncomfortably.

The back of the shirts is ventilated with a mesh net the top half, covered by a flap to allow air in and heat to escape. The flap also has a Velcro patch to keep it down over the mesh, or you can loosen it to allow more air flow.

The shirts are 100 percent cotton except for the mesh, which is much more comfortable to me. It seems to wick the sweat away better than most materials. The only problem is they wrinkle, so they do need to be ironed to look their best, but for most fishing I just wash and tumble damp dry and hang them up to finish drying. That reduces the wrinkles.

At a price just under $25, even less on sale, they are a good value.

(buy now from Bass Pro Shops)

World Wide Sportsman Nylon Angler Shirts for Men - Short Sleeve

World Wide Sportsman Nylon Angler Shirts for Men – Short Sleeve

100% quick-dry nylon Built-in UPF sun protectionVented-cape back with mesh liningTwo large multi-function chest pocketsHandy rod loopRoll-up collar for sun protectionHidden button-down collarUtility loop on the right pocketMade of 100% quick-dry nylon enhanced for on-the-water action with built-in UPF sun protection. Features an improved vented-cape back with mesh lining for superior fit and performance. Includes two large multi-function chest pockets, handy rod loop, roll-up collar for sun protection, hidden button-down collar, and utility loop on the right pocket. Machine wash. Imported.Nylon Angler UPF Ratings by Color:UPF 25: GlacierUPF 30: Yellowfin, Coral ReefUPF 45: Fossil UPF 50: Seagrass, Ocean

World Wide Sportsman Nylon Angler Shirts for Men – Short Sleeve

Abu-Garcia Orra SXHS Reel Review

At an outdoor writers meeting over a year ago I bought a Abu-Garcia Orra SXHS reel and teemed it with a Abu-Garcia Veritas medium action rod I got at the same time. The reel lists for about $100 but I got it way below list price. This is a great reel and it still works well even though I have not cleaned it. I spooled it with 12 pound P-Line monofilament since that is strong enough for fishing topwater in open water and the lighter line gives me more casting distance.

I can cast a Lucky Craft Sammy a very long way with this outfit, and the high speed reel helps a lot when taking up slack when a fish hits. Bass often run toward you when they hit and it is hard to set the hook effectively if you can’t catch up with them, especially with a lot of line out after a long cast.

The reel is very smooth but my only complaint with it is very minor. The antiblacklash system is hard to access, you have to loosen the thumb screw located on the top right of the reel then turn the cover on the left side to get to the adjustment. You may have to use a screwdriver to get the screw loose enough to turn with your thumb. And the antibacklash is not magnetic, it is centrifugal. There are tabs you move to increase amount of spin on the reel. They are labled to help you adjust to how you are using the reel. The Pflueger Purist reel is much easier to access and adjust.

In all honesty, I had to figure this out when I started this review since I have never adjusted the reel. With nothing set, all tabs off, I have never had a problem with blacklash on this reel or the Revos I use. They have the same kind of antibacklash. So this is a very minor problem.

Even at list price this reel is a great one, about as good as the Revo. And you could buy three Orras for the price of two Revos!

Abu-Garcia Veritas Medium Action Rod Review

Veritas Rods Picture

Veritas Rods Picture

I purchased a Abu-Garcia Veritos medium action rod at an outdoor writers auction and teamed it with an Abu-Garcia Orra SXHS reel that I got at the same auction. Both were bought for well below the list price. I have had this rod for over a year and I like it so much and it has held up so well I bought another one this year. The reel was spooled with 12 pound P-Line monofilament line. The outfit is my favorite for casting big topwater plugs like a Lucky Craft Sammy. The Orra is a good match for this rod.

The rod lists for about $100 and has micro guides. I had not tried these guides until I got this reel fearing they would not hold up and might be bad when using older line that had curled. But I have had no problems and those guides may help with casting distance. I can cast a Sammy a very long way, a big help when trying to reach schooling fish or fishing clear water when you want to stay well back from the area you are fishing.

At a recent tournament a school of fish came up about 150 yards from the boat. I put the trolling motor on high and headed toward them as I picked up this outfit. I could reach them long before my partner could. I caught a two pound striper from the school before they went down, and it hit before my partner could reach them.

The medium action on this rod is just right for casting a topwater plug and fighting a fish. It has good backbone but a light tip. The six foot, six inch length works well but you could get more distance with a longer rod.

After over a year of heavy use and many fish caught I have not had any problems with the rod or guides. I did put a piece of pipe insulation in front of the reel and taped it since I hold a rod there when fishing, and it is much more comfortable with a cushioned grip. The open rod blank where the reel seats helps with feel and by gripping the rod in front of the reel, rather than palming it, I can easily pinch the line between my thumb and finger to have even better feel.

This rod is a great addition to any fisherman’s arsenal and the price is low enough that it won’t break the bank, even if you buy several.

Abu-Garcia Revo SX Reel Review

Revo SX Reel

Revo SX Reel

The Abu-Garcia Revo series of reels is one of the best on the market right now. The SX lists for $160 but I got mine for much less than that at an outdoor writers auction. I teamed the reel with an Abu-Garcia Veritas rod I love the outfit.

I have six Revo reels and all have held up well to heavy use. The SX is extremely smooth and the drag system handles big fish. You can set the reel anti-backlash with an easy dial adjustment. With mine set at about half way, I can cast a 3/8ths ounce jig and pig on 15 pound Sun Line a very long way without any backlash problems. I can also pitch a jig easily at this setting. If I want to skip the jig I turn the magnetic anti backlash setting up a couple of notches to avoid the backlash.

The reel is very light weight and low profile. Although I don’t palm my reels, I hold the rod in front of the reel for better control and hook set power, I like the low profile reel. And the black reel with red highlights is pretty on my white Veritas rod!

Although the reel is fairly expensive, it is well worth the price. Abu-Garcia has a reputation for producing quality, durable reels and the Revo SX follows that tradition.

Abu-Garcia Veritas Medium Heavy Action Rod Review

Veritas Rods Picture

Veritas Rods Picture

I bought a Abu-Garcia seven foot medium heavy action Veritas rod at an outdoor writers auction at a greatly reduced price. The rods list for about $100. I have been using the rod to cast a jig and pig and it does a great job with a 3/8ths ounce jig with a twin tail trailer. I can cast the jig and pig about as far as I want to with the Revo SX reel I put on the rod and spooled with 15 pound Sun Line

The rod is sensitive and has good feel for the jig bumping rocks and wood. I can also detect strikes easily. The medium heavy rod has great hook setting power and the seven foot length helps get a good hook set.

The one op piece rod is light enough that I can fish with it for hours without fatigue. The one drawback for me is that there is no comfort cushion in front of the reel. I hold my casting rods and reels by gripping the rod in front of the reel. I do not palm the reel since I think I get more control holding the rod, and I can let the line run between my fingers while fishing. Without a cushion of some kind it is very uncomfortable so I sipped a six inch piece of pipe insulation on the rod, got it in place and taped it with electrical tape. That works well for me.

Since the rod has the rod blank exposed just below the reel, my palm rests against it and that increases the feel.

This is a good mid-range price rod and the two I have are some of my favorites.