Category Archives: Reviews

Reins Slip Sinker – Review

It’s no secret that fishing soft plastics is a great way to catch bass, and many of my soft plastic tackle setups include a Reins slip sinker. Whether I’m throwing a Texas rig, Carolina Rig or flipping, the Reins slip sinker in tungsten is on the line.

Black Reins slip sinker in 3/8 oz on a ribbontail worm with 4/0 Owner worm hook caught this 20" largemouth bass.
Black Reins slip sinker in 3/8 oz on a ribbontail worm with 4/0 Owner worm hook caught this 20″ largemouth bass.

Why do I prefer to use a Reins slip sinker?

The way their slip sinkers are constructed makes them the smallest profile available for their given weight, which helps them navigate through cover more easily. With a 95% tungsten and 5% nickel alloy, they are the among the most dense weights available.

As someone who fishes an exceptional amount of Texas rig, having a Reins slip sinker means the weight won’t fray or weaken my line. Many lower priced weights don’t have a protective insert like Reins does, which can cause a deterioration of your line as you fish.

It sounds a bit silly, but I really like the coating on the exterior of the Reins slip sinker. The colors (black and green pumpkin) are in a matte finish and is hard as nails. Some companies have coatings that will chip or are shiny – I prefer the more consistent natural look of Reins.

Reins slip sinkers are available from 1/16 to 2.5 oz sinkers, so they have the right size no matter what you are looking for.

For more info on Reins, visit the Reins website, Facebook page, or watch this video below from JT Kenny about why he chooses Reins slip sinkers.

 

Bending Branches Angler Pro Paddle Review – The Ultimate Kayak Fishing Paddle

As a competitive kayak fishing tournament angler I am a big believer in the importance of having a quality paddle while fishing. Other than your kayak and your PFD, it is the next most important piece of equipment you can have on the water. In this Bending Branches Angler Pro Paddle Review I’ll share some thoughts on why this is the ultimate paddle for kayak fishing.

Angler Pro Paddle Review
Pro Angler blade in Camo color.

My fleet consists of three kayaks (Wilderness Tarpon100, Wilderness Ride115, and Hobie Pro Angler 12) and four Bending Branches paddles (Sunrise, Angler Ace and two Angler Pros). Bending Branches is my preferred brand because of their superior

engineering, durability, flawless construction and they are assembled in the USA. Within their paddle lineup, the Angler Ace is a great option, but this is an Angler Pro paddle review, so we’ll focus on that model.

More Power, Faster Speed

Whether using a full paddle with my Ride115 or a half paddle on my Hobie PA12, the 104″ surface area of the blade on the Angler Pro provides maximum water displacement to help move you along  quickly or to make a turn easier and with less effort. The T-700 Carbon shaft makes a long day on the water easier on your shoulders and joints by providing just the right amount of flex to maximize your paddle stroke and minimizing strain. At only 30 oz. this paddling power comes in an amazingly light package.

Tough as Nails

When I got my first Angler Pro it was a thing of beauty, I was sooo paranoid about scuffing it or messing it up because it looked awesome. Soon though I was using it to fend off everything from rocks to docks and have really put a lot of stress on the blades. This thing is practically indestructible and still looks great. For off the water toughness, just read this previous article about how I used my paddle to help rescue someone on the side of the interstate. The blade on this paddle stands up to anything I’ve been able to throw at it thanks to multi-layer fiberglass blades.

Pro-Level Features

In addition to paddling power and toughness, the Angler Pro comes with several other elite features that make it the ultimate paddle for kayak fishing:

  • Comes either with a three hole snap-button ferrule feature allowing you to feather the blade angles, and also available with a telescoping ferrule for an adjustable length.
  • Tape measure imprinted on handle…I use mine sometimes to
    Angler Pro Paddle Review
    Chasing bass with a Pro Angler in Sea Green.

    determine water visibility by putting one end of the paddle down and measuring with the handle.

  • Stylish color options include Sea Green, Camo and RealTree Max5. I have one in Sea Grean which is a high visibility color for safety on the water and one in Camo which is a sharp, understated look.
  • The Angler Pro with a snap-button ferrule comes in sizes ranging from 220cm to 260cm, in 10cm increments. With the Plus ferrule, the Angler Pro is available in adjustable lengths of 230-245cm and 240-255cm. For larger sit on top kayaks, or taller anglers, lean toward the longer length.

Although the price of $329.95 isn’t cheap, you truly get what you pay for. And, what you get with this paddle is unparalleled performance and toughness to give you a competitive edge on the water.  I hope you enjoyed this Pro Angler paddle review and will consider it for your kayak fishing needs.

Tear Em Up Fishing – Making the Outdoors Great Again

Mark Collier is on a mission to get anyone and everyone out fishing and his new brand Tear Em Up Fishing is designed to do just that. I’ve fished with Mark before and he’s a good guy who’s also a great ambassador for the sport of kayak fishing. I was intrigued by what he was doing with Tear Em Up Fishing and asked if he’d answer some of my questions about his new movement.

Tear Em Up Fishing Logo

What is Tear Em Up Fishing?

Tear Em Up Fishing is something I have wanted to do for a very long time. As long as I can remember, if anyone asked if we were catching anything, my stock answer was always, we are tearing em up! It didn’t matter if we were catching a boat load or nothing at all. We were…TEARING EM UP!

I started fishing at a very young age with my parents and have been fortunate to have fished on both coasts, the Midwest and in the South. It doesn’t matter what part of the country you are in, everyone says tearing em up when describing their fishing success (or lack thereof). The average Joe can relate to Tearing Em Up and that is our target audience.

What made you start Tear Em Up fishing?

The inspiration was a desire to have fishing apparel at an affordable price and available to the average Joe. And, I wanted to encourage folks to get out and go fishing. Young or old, short or tall – go fishing and experience the thrill of tearing em up!

What are your goals with Tear Em Up Fishing?

As I’ve mentioned, we want to spread the word about Tear Em Up Fishing. We want to build a brand the average outdoorsman can relate to. We want to offer products that ANYONE can afford, offer products that people will like, find comfortable and be a little different. Tear Em Up Fishing is definitely not ever going to be a cookie cutter business!

I know you’ve created and marketed Tear Em Up apparel. If someone wears your branded apparel, what does that say about them?
Tear Em Up Fishing Kayak Mark Collier
River fishing in the Ozarks.

Yes. We are in the process of launching our website to get the word out about the Tear Em Up Fishing brand. We are also working on getting our name trademarked along with some other marketing activities. Our brand says, “We love to fish, are passionate about the outdoors and like supporting the little guy.” The brand will not be the big name apparel that you can get at a box store.

Tear Em Up fishing has been sponsoring or donating prizes to some kayak or fishing groups, which ones and why are you supporting them?

Some of the groups we have sponsored or donated to include: Hooked On Heroes; Malvern Boys & Girls Club; River Bassin Tournament Trail; Kayak Bass Series Tournament Trail; and Kayak Bass Anglers of Central Arkansas. Supporting Hooked On Heroes is easy – look at what they do for our Veterans!

We support the Malvern Boys & Girls Club because of what they do for kids – they are our future! Take a kid fishing, introduce them to what we all love. There is nothing better and more rewarding personally than introducing a young person to fishing.

We also sponsor some great tournament anglers around the country who are really helping us advance the brand. Tear Em Up Fishing has Pro-Staff  in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Missouri and Ohio.

You have been working some fishing shows recently, what are you working to accomplish and how has the reception been?

We had a booth at the Wichita Sports Show and we also had one at the Big Bass Bash at Lake of the Ozarks in the fall. Tear Em Up was received very well at the shows. Wichita was our first big show, with our Tear Em Up towels, hats and T-shirts selling very well very well there. We are planning on setting up at FLW events in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. We want Tear Em Up Fishing in the public for folks to see. The more exposure we get the better for our brand. Along with Tear Em Up apparel, we are dealers for Carrot Stix rods, Cal Coast Fishing, and Glo-Pro lures. We will also be carrying, hunting, fishing and other outdoor merchandise.

What is the best way for people to keep up with Tear Em Up Fishing and what all you have now and into the future?

Right now, the best way to check out our merchandise is on our Facebook page, and our website www.tearemupfishing.net should be launched this month . People can also follow us on Instagram, YouTube channel and Twitter.

I noticed a phone number on your Facebook page cover photo which is unusual for a company to do. Why publish a direct phone number?

Phone number is for anyone to call with questions, wanting information or wanting to make an order. We want people to be able to talk to someone personally if they need to reach our customer service. Folks fish for a reason – usually a personal reason and we want to be responsive and available to Tear Em Up Fishing’s customers.

Mark and the Tear Em Up Fishing team are headed in the right direction and from what I’ve seen their brand is catching on among anglers who are looking for their own voice in the average Joe fishing space. Great things seem to be headed their way due to their clear vision of message and no-nonsense approach. We have little doubt that a year from now when we ask Mark how it’s going, we’ll know what he’ll say – “We are TEARING EM UP!”

MTI Kayak Fishing PFDs Review

The most important item for a kayak angler other than the kayak itself is a quality PFD (Personal Flotation Device) which is there to protect you in the event of an accident on the water. When I first began kayak fishing, I bought a very cheap life vest from a big box store and almost immediately began not to where it while on the water…it was too bulky, too hot, and overall just didn’t fit well.

I quickly realized I needed a new vest and based on seeing some fellow kayak anglers here in Arkansas with MTI, I made the choice to purchase the MTI Solaris F-Spec. I’ve recently also been trying out MTI’s auto-inflate options, the Helios 2.0 and the Neptune. In this article I’ll do a brief review of each inflatable PFD, including strengths and weaknesses.

The Solaris F-Spec has been a great PFD for me over the last couple of years, taking me safely through a couple of hundred fishing

MTI Solaris F-Spec PFD is loaded with extra features.
MTI Solaris F-Spec PFD is loaded with extra features.

outings and in more than 40 tournament events. MTI makes PFDs specifically for paddlers, so it is has a really nice design to make it comfortable while in the yak. First of all, as a more traditional non-inflatable PFD, it isn’t bulky and has high back design, keeping it from getting in the way between you and the back of your kayak seat. It also has many handy features that really make it convenient to keep everything you need in reach on the water. There is a pin-on retractor holder, multiple lash points, D-ring attachments, zippered pockets on the chest and an innovative drop-down fishing bridge that is great to use as a mini platform while tying baits or for a quick storage of small items. When in this vest, I have my phone, survival knife, keys, whistle, line snips and other tackle stowed in the PFD – making it extremely versatile. It’s comfortable, can easily fit a larger angler and extremely durable.

Mine is still in great shape after many, many hours on the water. Overall, the Solaris F-Spec is lightweight at 1.7 lbs, is USGC III rated, and is worth every penny of the $89.95 price point. The only negative at all with this PFD is simply that although it breathes well for a foam PFD, it still covers your back shoulders and chest, which can be hot in an Arkansas summer.

Inflatable PFDs
The Helios 2.0 PFD from MTI is lightweight and extremely comfortable.
The Helios 2.0 PFD from MTI is lightweight and extremely comfortable.

I’ve recently been trying out a couple of MTI’s inflatable PFDs, the Helios 2.0 and the brand new Neptune. The obvious advantage of the inflatable PFD is that it covers much less of your torso and is cooler when the weather is hot. They also can provide a greater range of movement to the angler than some traditional PFDs. In using both versions, I don’t have a clear favorite between the two versions, and choosing which to wear really comes down to whether or not I wish to have auto-inflate or manual inflate on the given trip. Read more about auto-inflate vs manual inflate PFDs here.

Both the Helios 2.0 and Neptune use a quality Halkey Roberts inflator with a bayonet-style CO2 cylinder with a handy arming status indicator window and are USGC III rated. Both also have a very comfortable neoprene neck collar, easily adjustable harness straps and a zippered pocket with safety whistle included. They each are lightweight, with the Helios at 1.6 lbs and the Neptune coming in
at 2.1 lbs. So far, in my experience I have really been surprised h

MTI has a new PFD, Neptune on the market with an auto-inflate feature for added peace of mind.
MTI has a new PFD, Neptune on the market with an auto-inflate feature for added peace of mind.

ow much I enjoy these inflatable PFDs, they really are quite a bit more comfortable than a traditional vest. They also are very well constructed, although they are lightweight and flexible, you can tell how durable the materials and stitching are. The Neptune is a little longer than the Helios on the chest, which doesn’t bother me but could be an issue for a shorter angler. The only negative with these inflatables is that although comfort is at a maximum, there are very
limited storage options due to only one pocket, no D-rings or lash points. While giving both of inflatable PFDs an “A” overall, I probably will most commonly use the auto-inflate Neptune for maximum safety just in case something happens and I can’t pull the jerk cord on my own.

Although I haven’t tried them personally, the Calcutta and Fisher PFDs also look like solid options. In some conversations with them you can really tell they are passionate about safety, quality and the outdoors. Finally, a word about MTI (Marine Technologies International), they are a 25 year old company based in Massachusetts where paddlers make PFDs for paddlers and kayakers. The care they put into each vest really comes through in the products they make. If you are considering a new kayak fishing PFD, please take a moment to look at what I believe to be the best quality vests available.

Power Plant Lake Winter Fishing

I want to share a technique I used this past December on a power plant lake in Arkansas to catch a large number of big bass, probably my most fun month of fishing this year. Almost all of them were caught using a Norman Lures DD22 or Deep Little N crankbait.

This fatty had been feeding on shad when it bit my Norman Deep Little N in white green fleck.
This fatty had been feeding on shad when it bit my Norman Deep Little N in white green fleck.
Bass about to move up on some shad.
Bass about to move up on some shad.

At Swepco Lake in Gentry, Arkansas, bass boat and kayak anglers fill the parking lots and storm the water when winter arrives. This year is no different, with a chill in the air and ice on the banks, the “hot tub” was a nice 74-76 degrees near the plant discharge. There are a lot of ways to catch good fish at a lake like this, particularly when the bite is on.

For me, the most effective and consistent method for bigger bass this time was to do some deep cranking, going after bass which were herding shad and then feeding. A second key was identifying the depth of the bass and then choosing the correct crankbait to use so that it would run just a few feet above the bass. A Norman DD22 runs as deep as 17 feet and a Deep Little N runs as deep as 12 feet.

When a school was identified and depth determined, I’d simply deploy the crankbait and repeatedly retrieve it in the vecinity of the bass. To keep things moving slowly, my setup was a 5:4:1 Lews reel on a Dobyns FR 705CB crankbait rod.  To get the bait as deep as possible, I used a light 8 lb mono and thumbed the reel instead of setting my drag. Finally, for some extra persuasion, I used a Fish Allure scented tab (shad) on the baits, on the body, just behind the front treble.

Norman DD22 in Firetiger gel coat and Deep Little N in white green fleck.
Norman DD22 in Firetiger gel coat and Deep Little N in white green fleck.

This technique netted dozens of bass and was a fun combination of electronics, crankbaits and gear that all came together at this power plant lake. Hopefully this gives you some insight or ideas on something to try on your next trip.

Auto vs Manual Inflate PFD: Which is Best?

When it comes to kayaking, paddling or kayak fishing, safety on the water is a critical concern for all anglers and their families. The number one tool for on the water safety is a U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD (Personal Flotation Device). When I first started kayak fishing I didn’t like wearing my PFD and sometimes would take it off while fishing. Over time I realized how dangerous this could be after hearing tragic stories about anglers who were not protected and seeing others dump in the water and need their PFD for assistance. I also realized that I wasn’t wearing my PFD because it was bulky, uncomfortable and was too hot to wear in the summer.

This is where making a change to an inflatable PFD solves many of those problems. As these continue to gain popularity in the kayak angling world, they eternal question (and argument in some cases) is whether to choose an automatic inflate model or a manual inflate. Both have real advantages and reasons for a kayak angler to choose one vs the other.

Automatic Inflatable PFD
Neptune automatic inflatable PFD from MTI
MTI’s Neptune Automatic Inflatable PFD will deploy when immersed in water for added peace of mind.

An automatic inflate PFD is designed to deploy when submerged in water, firing the CO2 cylinder and automatically inflating the air bladder. Simply getting wet from splash or rain will not trigger the C02 cylinder, immersion in the water is required for it to trigger inflation. This option is a better fit for paddling lakes or very slow moving water in a stable kayak where you have very little risk of entering the water or being hit with a big wave.

As a backup system, each inflatable PFD also comes with a manual pull cord which will trigger the CO2 cylinder to inflate. For a great automatic inflate option, check out the MTI Neptune Automatic Inflatable PFD, which weighs only 2.1 pounds and comes in high visibility orange or camo color schemes. Shane Oakes, an avid kayak angler and 2016 Angler of the Year for Western Arkansas Kayak Anglers has used an auto-inflate PFD for a few years. “I chose an inflatable PFD because of comfort, specifically less restricted in movement as well as not being as hot as a conventional life vest,” Shane explained. Why does he use an auto-inflate PFD? He has simple and straightforward reasoning. “I selected an auto-inflate in the event I was hurt in such a way that prevented me from manually activating it.”

Manual Inflatable PFD

A manual inflatable PFD has a straightforward design, you pull the manual cord and it triggers the CO2 cylinder and inflates the vest. This seems to be the most common version of inflatable PFDs used by kayak anglers because of the concern of flipping over and winding up in the water, accidentally triggering inflation. For manual inflatable PFD users, it is key for them to remember when going into the water to reach and pull the manual cord. This could be difficult to do depending on mobility, injury or if you are simply disoriented.  Other than this key difference in how it is deployed, there is little difference in manual vs automatic inflatable PFDs. The MTI Helios 2.0 manual inflatable PFD weighs only 1.6 lbs and provides flotation on demand with its

Helios inflatable PFD from MTI
The Helios 2.0 from MTI inflates with a pull on the “Jerk tag” so you have flexibility when to deploy.

easy access Jerk tag.

Wes Jones, a member of Natural State Kayak Anglers, has used a manual inflatable PFD for three years and chooses an inflatable for comfort. “As a bass fisherman, the majority of our fishing here in Arkansas is in warmer temperatures and an inflatable is so much cooler than a regular PFD,“ Wes explained. “They are also way less bulky and so much easier to move around in. I bought a regular PFD when I got my first yak, wore it one time and haven’t gone back to it since then.”  Wes chose manual because he feels like he is a very confident swimmer and has concerns about the PFD accidentally deploying when he doesn’t need it if he gets too wet.

Both manual and auto inflate versions will also have an oral air tube which allows the wearer to supply additional air to the bladder in the event it fails to fully inflate. This is a higher probability in extremely cold temperatures which may reduce the effectiveness of the initial CO2 inflation. It is important to remember that inflatable PFDs are not recommended for those who cannot swim and not for active watersports such as whitewater paddling, skiing, wakeboarding, or other uses where you may frequently take a spill into the water.

Be Prepared with C02 Backup

If you are using an inflatable PFD, it is a best practice to keep an extra CO2 tube handy just in case you have to re-arm the vest on the go. In a past Razoryak Tournament Trail event at Lake Fort Smith, Arkansas, an angler had a mishap right at take-off and his auto-inflate fired. This could cause a problem for a kayak tournament angler. All reputable kayak fishing tournaments require a functional PFD be worn by anglers at all times while fishing. Veteran tournament director Jeff Malott confirms that an inflatable PFD not properly armed with a working CO2 cylinder would be a problem. He recommends carrying a spare CO2 cylinder or a backup PFD in your kayak storage so you can stay in the game in case of a mishap.

I haven’t decided as of yet whether I’ll be using a manual or automatic inflatable version in tournaments, but I’m leaning toward the automatic for the additional peace of mind and safety. It is easy to rearm if deployed and I just cannot predict the situation when I will need it and know if I can successfully pull the jerk cord. Whether you choose an automatic inflatable PFD or a manual inflate PFD or a more traditional PFD, the important thing is to ensure you are protected on the water while kayak fishing. Always wear a personal flotation device equipped with a whistle when kayaking. If you currently aren’t wearing one because of comfort, take some time to look into an inflatable version from MTI or other manufacturers.

Lindy Elite Rod Bag Review

Packing my gear for the upcoming trip to Lake Fork for the Yak4It Tournament of Champions is giving me a chance to once again use a great Lindy rod bag that a friend recommended to me a few months ago.

Lindy rod bag holds 4 to 6 rods with reels.
Lindy Elite Rod Bag Packaging

I had been looking for a way to efficiently carry multiple rods in my truck while on kayak bass fishing road trips and the Lindy Elite Rod Bag has been a great and inexpensive solution. I love my Dobyns fishing rods and want to keep them protected and make them easy to carry. Lindy says on the package it is for 4-6 fishing rods, but I’ve been able to put as many as eight in the bag at once, although six seems to be the best fit with baitcasters.

Lindy rod bag protects your reels.
Lindy Elite rod bag is a safe way to transport multiple rods.

When placing rods in the bag I prefer to have them in rod sleeves, which just makes them easy to handle and gives some extra protection. Once inserted into place, there are two velcro straps that help secure the reels/handles so they don’t slide around. Having them all in the bag makes it easy to carry to and from the truck and it fits great in the cab. I also like the security of having my nice rods and reels covered up in the bag instead of exposed to someone walking by the vehicle.

Dobyns rods secured in the Lindy rod bag.
My Dobyns Fury Series rods are nestled nicely in the Lindy Elite rod bag and ready to go.
Reel Protection

The area around the rod handle end has a bit of extra padding to help protect your reels and thankfully the zipper performs flawlessly when opening or closing. Many times zippers are cheap and get hung up and difficult to use…very annoying and not a problem with the Lindy rod bag.  The handles on the bag are placed at a perfect spot for balance and the rod bag stays parallel to the floor while being carried.

Lindy rod bag zips up cleanly.
All zipped up, the Lindy Elite rod bag has handles for easy transport.

This bag is made of a very thin but tough material that makes it very lightweight and easy to fold up into a small profile for easy storage. The nylon for the bag is also quick drying, so no worry about moisture issues. I also have a couple of longer fishing rods and was worried they wouldn’t fit – but Lindy added a small velcro opening at the end of the bag to let a rod tip through if needed.  Each end of the bag also has a cord loop you can use to hang up the bag if necessary.

The Lindy rod bag is good quality and was a good price, at just over $30. You can order one from Lurenet.com directly.

Fish Allure Scented Bait Tabs

Bass fishing is an obsession for many of us and we’re always looking for an edge when it comes to creating a bite. Scented products for bass fishing have been around for decades and are usually associated with soft plastic baits. But what about hard baits? Fish Allure is something I will be experimenting with this year and is a scented fish attracting product made for use on hard surfaces as an alternative to oils, sprays and gels.

The simplicity and cleanliness in using it is an immediate improvement over liquid or gel options – peel the small sticky tab and apply it to your hard bait lure body. No mess. Once the lure is in use, the water serves as the activator that disperses the amino acids embedded into the Fish Allure tab. The tabs come in multiple scent options.

How It Works

The peel and stick tabs are easy to apply (although I will say you want a clean, dry surface to start) to the lure and then stay on theFishAllure lure well while in use. They say each tab lasts for 60 minutes in the water; once the tab is used up, you can peel it off and replace. The origin of the concept originated from the same technology involved with transdermal drug delivery patches. To read more about the science behind Fish Allure, check out the case study (PDF) that outlines how it was created. The theory of a hard bait scented product as explained to me is the added scent can help entice a trailing fish to strike. I’m very interested in learning more about how this works with lures that stay in a given area for a longer period of time – walk the dog topwaters, poppers and jerk baits for example.

I recently had an opportunity to talk to a well-known professional angler and asked him specifically about the viability of scents on hard baits. His view was that yes it does work sometimes and at the very least helps ensure you are doing everything possible to elicit a strike.

I’m looking forward to spending more time on the water this spring and really giving Fish Allure a workout. Watch for future updates as I am able to field test it this season. Anything a fisherman can do to feel more confident in their presentation will help you catch more fish – and a scented tab certainly cannot hurt! If you want to give it a try, you can order Fish Allure from Tackle Warehouse and Amazon.

Angler Combat Drops Big News & Future Plans

Angler Combat is generating a lot of buzz in the kayak fishing community and is making big moves to continue their invasion of the digital fishing tournament world. If you are an angler who fishes from the bank, a kayak, or from a bass boat, I encourage you to take a look at Angler Combat. Get in now while it’s early because I predict it will explode in popularity in 2016 and beyond. They are now announcing some big changes which will help with this growth…keep reading for their big news!

OK, so what is Angler Combat?
Angler Combat is a catch, photo and release (CPR) oriented digital tournament where participants compete within a broad geography against other anglers. What makes Angler Combat unique is it includes three competitive divisions – Land, Kayak and Boat. No anglercombatother tournament series provides anglers from almost anywhere an ability to compete, no matter how they choose to fish. Competitors are ranked by their top five fish submitted via the iAngler Tournament app, using a unique identifier code for each 28 day tournament period. For a $10 monthly entry fee, division winners can walk away with a significant cash prize or some other high end prizes. To get an idea about the experience, read this round-table discussion about Angler Combat from some Arkansas Kayak Angler members who have been actively competing.

For a tournament series which only began in November of 2015, Angler Combat has already gained a lot of awareness and notoriety thanks to word of mouth and social media. Their officials report that they have averaged more than 100 competitors in each of the first three months, which is already ahead of their initial expectations (especially in these winter months). There has been some interesting data coming in from the first three monthly tournaments. One of the most surprising stats is that on average, anglers fishing from the bank are out-catching those in kayaks and boats. It’s reported that competitors in the “Land” category are submitting better five fish totals on average. At first this is very surprising, but they say this is likely because bank fishermen can fish more, often daily while on a lunch break or before or after work. The more you fish, the more you catch to turn in. So far the prize packages have been impressive, thanks to some of their key sponsors: Jackson Kayak, Orion Coolers, WASPcam, Boonedox USA, Manley Rods and YakGear, among others.

Big News #1 – NEW Division Structure Begins in February
The crew at Angler Combat has been listening to their participants and analyzing the data. With a bit of number crunching they have determined there is a competitive imbalance between the fishing new map ACqualities in some of the states currently in the South division. Beginning this February, Florida, Texas and California will be broken out into their own division call the Big “3” division. This may lower the participation total in the short term in each division but will be a great improvement overall and I believe will help them grow more quickly with a level playing field. This should address the top concern about Angler Combat in our AKA roundtable discussion and review of Angler Combat.

Big News #2 – Marketing Blitz and Tournament Expansion Plans
This is only the beginning of the growth as they plan to begin to seriously market the tournament series, including a new television commercial recently filmed in Florida. Anyone who competes in Angler Combat should be pleased as they increase their TV and online marketing, which will improve the participation numbers and in turn will drive up prize values. In addition to a ramped up marketing push, there are also plans in the works for expanded contests and prizes, and eventually the launch of Striper and Redfish online tournaments.

Big News #3 – Television Series
The most intriguing and exciting news to me about the future of Angler Combat is their plan to launch a competition-style television show which would air on a well-known fishing network. This show is said to feature fishing pros competing against amateurs who are winners in Angler Combat monthly tournaments – showing their battles for supremacy. Pros against talented locals in Land, Kayak and Boat showdowns should be very entertaining. We should hear a lot more about this television project in the coming months. Stay tuned.

These are lots of positive moves which will improve or enhance an already fun online tournament which could be the next big thing. My advice? Get started now, sign up and compete. Get in early and you will be an Angler Combat veteran by the time it goes main stream.

Dobyns Rods Fury Series Review

As mentioned in a previous post, I have been wanting to try out a new Dobyns Rod I’d picked up recently while on the road at a tournament event. Then I wanted to do a Dobyns Rods review.

A friend had told my about Dobyns Rods and suggested I try one out, so I did – and he was right, I’m impressed. My Dobyns is a Fury Series 734C, one of their more affordable rods with a suggested retail price of Dobyns Rods review$109.99, but it is balanced and has the feel to me of a higher end casting rod. The 734C is 7’3″ long and is geared toward techniques including buzzbaits, horny toads, jigs, senkos, swimbaits and spinnerbaits. The Fury Series hasn’t been around long, just been since May of 2015.

For the Dobyns rods review I was able to get out and use the rod extensively on a fishing trip to the Elk River and it performed very well. The first thing you notice is how comfortable the grip is with a nice cork main handle and then a butt covered in a “Hypalon” material, giving you more grip for long casts. Starting out with a Booyah spinnerbait I had a nice bass hooked within the first 30 minutes and the rod performed beautifully. Whether launching long, accurate casts, setting the hook, or reeling in an upset largemouth, it felt silky smooth. Again, feeling in the hand like a higher end rod than the actual price. Later on when switching to a jig, it was no problem for shorter and more accurate casts.

Dobyns Fury Series Rod

Dobyns does offer four other levels of rods: Champion Extreme, Champion, Savvy, and Savvy Micro Guide. Overall I am very pleased with this Dobyns Fury series rod, a great value for the price and plan to look into more Dobyns rods in the future. Find them at an local dealer or online at sources such as Tackle Warehouse.