Black Friday is for Fishing #BlackBassFriday

The last few years many of my friends have been fishing on Black Friday. There is a hashtag too #BlackBassFriday so how cool is that.

What a great way to spend the day off.

But we can't ignore Black Friday sales; however, many of us buy tackle online so we can still go fishing on Friday.

I would like to see the movement for #BlackBassFriday get more attention—much like the publicity REI got for #OptOutside.

Help me spread the word guys.


I'd rather be lucky...than good. Rookie mistakes.

I've used that saying so much in fishing. See, if your lucky, you can explain away a good day even when it was comedy of errors. For those of you who are good, well, you have to be good all (most) of the time.

You know how it is when you have a bad day. You break off a fish. You have multiple backlashes in a row. You miss a good fish cuz you were daydreaming, etc. You finish just out of the money.

In my last tournament, right off the bat, I hooked a big fish on a spinnerbait. It was still pretty dark so I couldn't see the fish. I felt it go down in to the grass and hang up. I thought it was off because I couldn't feel anything.

I gave it some slack and it swam out. We netted it and then I realized how big it was (23 inches). Nice start! With a limit I could have a high place finish. That was lucky.

Finally, I got it untangled from the net. I checked my line and somehow the line had slipped up the R-bend of the spinnerbait up into the swivel and blade. Rookie mistake. And, the line didn't break. But the line was very shredded for about a foot. Why didn't it break? Lucky.

I cut the line and tried to retie while the fishing could still be good. But I couldn't see in the low light to retie. It was still too dark for my eyes. It took like 10 minutes to retie. I made few more casts, but by then it was pretty light.

I changed to a frog because it had been working for the last few months. I get a big fish to suck in the frog — hardly any noise. He just slurped it under. I set the hook but nothing happened. My line peeled off. Nothing. I don't feel the fish. Oh. Oh.

It was a brand new rod and reel I spooled up with 65-pound braid the day before. I forgot to set the drag. Rookie mistake, again.

All I ended up with was a frog stuck in lots of grass.

I continue throwing a frog but no more hits. My partner (my son) started using a weightless 5-inch Senko. He smoked three good keepers in a short time. I'm still on that one fish. Of course, my one weighs more than his three.

I switched to the Senko, but the wind was blowing a little hard. I couldn't feel the Senko down in the grass like it needs to be. I change to a 6-inch Senko. Boom. Get one. Then another. This is turning into a good day.

Bouncing from the Senko to the frog and back isn't working. Hey dummy, stay with the Senko, I convince myself.

What was that? Set the hook. Fish number four is in the boat. Lucky.

As we're drifting around some matted grass, my son spots a fish on a mat with it's back out of the water. Must be a gar I'm thinking. But no, it's too compact for a gar. It swims off toward deep water (we're in three feet of water so it isn't going far).

I toss the Senko out in front of where it might drop to. I wait and wait. Nothing. But I set the hook any way. Fish on. Fish number five. Done. Limit. Lucky. And I have a little more than 20 pounds. Six hits and five keepers. Wow. Lucky.

And there are several hours left. We go all over. Nothing.

Run into a couple of guys fishing the tournament. One has 19 pounds and the other around 20 pounds. They tell us one guy has about 24 pounds. So, my day isn't all that great after all.

I need one more good keeper to cull a 15.5 - inch fish.

I want to try something different but we only have 10 minutes to fish.

When loading the rods at 3:00 a.m. I grabbed the wrong rod. I saw a blue fleck worm rigged and thought I had the 7-inch worm rod, but no I had grabbed the 10-inch worm rod. I realized that soon after first light. I was ticked at myself. Rookie mistake.

Well, 10-minutes left. Not much I can do. I run back toward the ramp and hit a deep point that drops to 30 to 50-feet. I've run by this point hundreds of times, but never stopped. I pull up and grab the 10-inch worm rigged on 20-pound line with a half-ounce sliding sinker. (It was rigged from my last trip to Lake Falcon.) But it was the rod I had grabbed by mistake that morning. Oh well, I've got nothing to lose at this point.

First cast, I bounce it back toward the boat, fast. Tick. Fish on. I cull up 1.5 pounds.

Final tally. Second place with nearly 22 pounds. I'd rather be Lucky than Good.

Hey guys, help me out by clicking these links when you need to make purchases on Amazon or eBay. Thanks in advance.

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The Perfect Rod and Reel Set Up for Fishing Senkos

Using a Kistler Z-Bone Rod to catch big bass with weightless Senkos 

I remember the first time I saw someone fish a Senko. I had heard of them and thought how could a piece of plastic that looks like a Bic pen catch fish. Big mistake.

I got out fished like nobody's business that day. Even then I wasn't totally convinced that they were that good.

A few years ago, I was fishing Amistad in Texas. I was really struggling; then I saw a bag of Senkos in my boat. 'What the heck,' I thought. I put one on. We went back through the same area again and the Senko just clicked.

Now Senkos are my go-to bait. By far, the best fish-catching bait I use.

I have so many Senkos. From 5-inch to 7-inch. My favorite is the 6-inch Senko.

It casts very far and it is heavy enough that I can also pitch it to cover.

(Unfortunately, my favorite color is no longer available in the 6-inch size.)
You can never have too many Senkos.
When I'm struggling to catch fish, I have to fall back to the Senko.

I store my extra Senkos in plastic bins, but the ones that go in the boat are in small laundry bags. The laundry bags can be stuffed into corners so you can really pack plenty of baits onboard. I have bags for each size baits.

Once I settle on the colors that are working, I can pull the packages out of the laundry bags and keep them easily accessible. It is a system that works for me. The laundry bags are very inexpensive at Walmart.

This bass weighed 7.5 pounds.
It was caught on a 6-inch Senko.
This is my biggest bass of 2015. I caught it on a Senko in a bass tournament. I won big bass of that tournament.

I haven't caught any bass weighing more than 10 pounds on a Senko but I sure have caught a lot of 6- to almost 10-pound bass.

I have fine-tuned my gear to make fishing a Senko a breeze. Sometimes I need to make long casts in clearer water and other times I want to pitch near heavy cover.

I don't pitch right into the cover with a Senko. I like to throw it next to some cover and let the Senko fall in its seductive way.

If I was pitching heavy cover. I'd go to heavier set up. But I like to use a lighter medium heavy combination rod and reel.

I use a 7'6" Kistler Z-Bone 3-Power rod. This rod is a dream to cast weightless Senkos ... and even Flukes.

Three Z-Bones LEXF–3MH Rods.

I like the high speed retrieve models better such as the 7.5:1 Lew's Team LITE.

Spooling up my new reel. Kistler, Lew's, and Seaguar combo.
This is the perfect combination for casting Senkos long distances and accurately. Kistler Rods 7'6" 3-power rod, Lew's Team LITE and 15-pound Seaguar InviszX Flourocarbon line.

I know many people are happy using 10- or 12-pound line. I'm not. I know when I'm fishing, always I am prepared to land a big fish. Don't take chances.

I think I'm going to switch the Lew's Tournament LITE to a 2-Power Z-Bone I have, and get more Lew's Team LITEs for the other new Z-Bones.

Search for the Lew's Tournament LITE on eBay

For a good source of tackle, try Monster Tackle's online store.

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Tackle Monkey aka Bait Monkey

Tackle Monkey Addiction

I have an addiction problem. Many others do too.

I really have two "addictions" — dark chocolate and buying tackle (and rods and reels), but I'm focusing on one here. When I see a good deal on anything tackle related, I have to buy it. I can't help it.

In the fishing world, we call it the tackle monkey. Some call it the bait monkey.

(Be sure to go to the bottom of this page to find a historical history of the term tackle monkey.

So the other day, a friend came to me with some old baits he has had in his closet for a number of years. I could tell by the packaging that these were old. But they are still in the original packaging so they are unused.

Here is a sampling of what I picked out.

Norman DD 22 crankbaits pictured
Recent purchase:
DD22s won't fit in my storage box.

These are Norman DD22s, which I already have. But, these are Suspending DDs. I had only a couple of these — I was immediately interested. Plus, there were some very good colors in there. You can't pass that up.

Crank bait tackle boxes
Boxes of crank baits I carry in the boat.
But here is the problem. I have hundreds of other crank baits. (See some of my boat boxes pictured.)

When I got them home I was going to add them to my back up box of cranks that I pull from when I need to replace ones I lose.

Back up storage of crank baits.
Simple storage box of back up crank baits.

Extra baits that I needed to add
to my storage box too.
(My favorite lipless crank bait.)

With these additional cranks and others on my work bench, I realized the box was too full to add any more.

I then moved all of these cranks to a bigger box. And that box is almost full too.

Just get a bigger box.

Transfer of cranks from
one box to a bigger one.
Size difference in the boxes I changed to.

And the refilling begins.

Now that the smaller box is empty, I might as well begin to refill it.

As I said, I have a problem. I may need to attend an addiction program. (I have heard of some programs that specialize in all addictions not just smoking or alcohol.) I don't smoke or drink, by the way.

Who is or what is the Tackle Monkey?

All this made me wonder where the term Tackle Monkey came from.

I researched the term monkey on your back and similar searches. I recall seeing a business video many years ago (probably shot in the '60s?) where the a monkey was literally carried by the manager who would give an assignment to his secretary and then hand her the live monkey. Now the monkey is on her back to complete. Literally and figuratively.

In another scene someone carried the monkey into the boss's office. The subordinate tried to give the monkey to the boss but the boss refused to take the monkey. The subordinate walks back out of the office, still carrying the monkey.

And, there was a book written by a researcher/professor from I believe Harvard (I don't recall exactly) where some of the same business concepts are explained.

Then I found that monkeys were both revered and despised in ancient cultures. In some societies, monkeys were heroes and in others evil. And some talk about some elicit practices with monkeys.

Around the 1920s-30s, monkey on his back became a popular narcotic reference. But it's even deeper than that. A person with a monkey on his back was also obsessive, addicted and maybe even paranoid. It is definitely a modern metaphor for a bad habit.

There you have it.

We're addicted to bass fishing and acquiring bass tackle. (And, I just ordered a new Lew's reel to try out. If I like it, I need two more to match the new Kistler Rods I just got.)

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Top water frog secrets; and what do you do when one of your favorite lures is being discontinued?

It's hot, right? This time of year we fish frogs—a lot. The hotter the weather, the better. When there is no wind, the water is dead calm and it's above 100 degrees, fish frogs. Most of the time we hit the water from about 10:00 a.m till dark.

Hot weather and frogs. YES. 

Yes, it's hot. Very hot. Did I mention the middle of the day is some of the best time to throw frogs?

Now you know.

Tackle box full of frogs
What's in your frog box?
But don't fish any frog, however. My favorite is the Paycheck Baits Transporter.

PayCheck Transporter frog-style top water bait
Paycheck Transporter frog-style top water bait.
It is a popping frog, but it flat out catches bass. This bait can look like a frog, bird or even a dragon fly, which were very active on the lake the last few weeks. The purple skirt is a great match to dragon-fly colors.

I lost one of these baits the other day when a giant bass inhaled it. The bass went down in the grass and I could feel its head shaking and it was fighting like crazy. Suddenly my 65 lb.-test braid line gave way. I had line draped all over me and the boat. My best guest is the big bass' teeth rubbed on the line enough that it cut the line.

Alas, the big one got away, again.

And, it was the only bait I had left in that color. Fittingly it's called Bruised Ribs. (The Rod Breaker color is shown in the top photo.)

The plan was to throw frogs all day in that tournament. We did that. (Between two of us, we had 11 frogs rigged.) I had seven blow ups, lost the big one and landed four others—good for fourth place in the tournament.

Also, it was 104 degrees that day.

Author with four pound bass
One of the smaller bass of the day.
Now for the purpose of the post.

When I got home I went online to order a few more of the Bruised Ribs color frogs. I had a hard time finding them at my normal outlets, so I went to the Paycheck website where I learned the Transporter is being discontinued.

I began to tremble. Now what? I ordered what I could from the Paycheck website in the colors I wanted (I bought them all). Then the frantic search for other online options began.

Recent shipments of tackle orders pictured
A lifetime supply of Transporters? I hope so.

In all, I ordered from five sources. I pretty much wiped them out. Good luck finding some. I paid full retail for all these, which I hardly do. I usually wait for sales.

The bottom line? I now have a lifetime supply of Transporters. (Maybe I'll sell them on EBay next summer for $25 each. Ha. (Actually, they are worth more to me to keep them.)

Oh, one more thing:
We don't fish the frogs as they come out of the box. Shown below is a little modification that will get you more strikes. (Not ideal for heavy slime, but still is recommended.)

PayCheck Transporter with modification
Add a spinner blade to the back of your frogs.
Finally, you can't fish this bait too slow. Most of the best strikes come when the bait is not being moved by you. There is enough wave action and movement for the legs to quiver and the small blade to flash. Cast it to your target, twitch it once or twice, and then wait.

Follow this tip and you'll get some "biguns." Send me your success pictures.

Summer Night Fishing

How to Catch Bass at Night — 20 great tips

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