December 9, 2016

Team Lew's Custom Pro Speed Spool SLP Review

So I finally tried a Lew's reel. After all the hoopla and attention I gave in and have a Lew's reel sitting a few feet from me as I type this. Full disclaimer, I was given this reel at a recent media event and have no ties to them. I got it for free so I can praise it or blast it without trying to justify spending hard-earned money.

The reel is called the Team Lew's Custom Pro Speed Spool SLP (try saying that two times quickly) and it is a solid reel. It is very lightweight at just 5.8-ounces and overall is a very nice reel.

I posted a video recently with my ranking of four new baitcast reels from four top brands. My results showed Lew's near the bottom due to the fact that I was getting a squealing noise when casting. Turns out you need to oil you Lew's first. Now that I know that, my rankings may have changed a little. I will do a follow up video next season with info on how they held up.

Fishing this reel was an eye-opener really. I was surprised at how easily it cast lures of all sizes. The casting distance was great and it felt smooth throughout all of my trips with it. I enjoyed fishing with it and it matches up almost perfectly with my Phenix M1 rod.

I also liked some of the features/gadgets on this reel. It comes with Winn Grips for handles (love these), a hook keeper that slides out from beneath the reel and a line indicator so you can remember what pound test line is on it.  The Winn Grips were comfortable and one of my favorite things about the reel. The hook keeper is a great idea although I am doubting the long-term durability of it. The line indicator thing is easy to use and a plus.

It's $259.99 so a fairly high-end reel. I think the price is right based on the performance of this reel.

December 8, 2016

Rapid Fishing Solutions Line Guide and Line Clips

Sometimes the simplest things are the best solution. That is the case of two new products from Rapid Fishing Solutions.  I first heard about them at a media event in Buffalo, NY earlier this year and now it seems like they are really catching on.

I had the pleasure of fishing with the guys from this company two years in a row and they showed me the line clips while on the water. We were fishing Lake Erie in a rocking boat and it was never easier to put line through my guides. I even did it backwards by mistake and it still worked. 

Again, so simple, yet so effective.  They also have a line clip that helps keep your line in place after you break off a lure or are done for the day.

 Line Clips
Line Guide
They are inexpensive and make life so much easier. Tackle Warehouse has them both: Line Clips and Line Guide.

Bassmaster Elite Series pro Mark Menendez is a big fan of both of these products. Watch below as he explains them.

December 6, 2016

Inexpensive Bass Fishing Gift Ideas

'Tis the season and I've been getting asked what I want for Christmas. When you are as serious as fishing as we all are, it needs to be something good that we will actually use.  Here are four of my choices for bass fishing gift ideas and all are under $30.

This small package has everything you need to clean, maintain and repair your reels. The best thing is it is all in a neat box and can stay in one place for when you need to use it.

These boxes are sweet. They are tough and come in tons of sizes. The best part in my opinion is that the dividers have Zerust built into them to protect your baits from rust.

A very simple idea that just makes sense. This is a kit for dyeing you soft plastic baits without having to worry about spilling it all over you boat and hands.

More than just a pair of pliers, the Shimano Power Pliers are awesome. They have a split ring tool, great braid cutters and are made with a fluorine coating to prevent corrosion.

December 2, 2016

Seaguar Finesse Fluorocarbon Review

I have been fishing the new Seaguar Finesse Fluorocarbon on some of my reels for a few months now. For my spinning gear I almost always use braided line with a fluoro leader, but I decided to spool this new line up as a mainline to really put it to the test. It has really impressed me both with how manageable and strong it is.

The line is a double structure fluorocarbon (similar technology to Tatsu) that combines two different resins; a stronger outer core and softer inside. This gives it the strength and manageability. The line is soft and limp but also has excellent knot strength.

Here's Cody Meyer talking about it:

What's With the Sizes?
If you look at the sizes of the new line you will see something a little different. Instead of the standard 4,6,8, etc. for pound test you get something much more precise. The line comes in 5.2, 6.2, 7.3 and 8.4 pound test. This was designed to dial it in even further for finesse techniques. I don't know about you but there are times when I debate between 6 and 8-pound leaders and wish I had something in between. 

One word of caution about this new line is how thin it is. I spooled up a reel with minimal backing and went through the whole spool of 5.2 and still had room left on my spool. I like to have it filled up nearly all the way for better casting and had to put more backing than normal to get it to my liking. Being thin is a good thing. Make sure to check the diameters compared to other brands. It is a huge difference.

The line comes in a 150-yard spool and retails for $26.99 at It is a premium fluorocarbon and priced higher than some of Seaguar's other lines. I do believe it is worth it for how well it performed on spinning gear.

Overall the line performed flawlessly. I caught two smallmouth over five pounds with the 5.2-pound and that was a blast! I still prefer braid as my main line on spinning, but this also makes an excellent leader material.

December 1, 2016

Which Navionics Card is the Best?

I wrote a pretty detailed blog post earlier this year about the different Navionics cards and what each can do. Since then I have switched my preference since a new card has been released.

This is a question I get asked "which Navionics card is the best?" all the time and my answer is now the Navionics+ Regions card.  It is also the least expensive of them all at just $149.99.

The Navionics+ Regions has all of the same data as the the more expensive Navionics HotMaps Platinum and the Navionics+ card. Those two are both $199.99.

Here is a video showing what the card can do:

Here are the differences between these three:
  • Navionics HotMaps Platinum: Has excellent mapping with 1 foot contour intervals. It also has 3D view and satellite overlay which the other cards do not. You buy the card for the region you plan to use it in.
  • Navionics+: The great thing about this card is it is how much coverage it has. Meaning it is not restricted to a region. You can buy it and use it wherever you go in the U.S. and Canada, fresh or saltwater. All you have to do is download the area you plan to go. Same great 1ft contours as the other cards.
  • Navionics+ Regions: All of the same great features as the Navionics+, but restricted to regions. If all you do is fish one state or a few states, this is a great choice.
My post from earlier this year has more details on Navionics and what you can do with them. Hope that helps! If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below.