Big Jon Multi-Set Triple Rod Holder Tree Review

Posted by admin | Rods | Posted on October 13th, 2014

If your looking for rod holders to accommodate extra lines such as leadcore, copper, or even additional flat-lines, then you should really considering getting a rod holder tree. I went many years without using the trees, but once I saw the light I wish I would’ve made that purchase earlier. While they aren’t completely necessary if you have extra rod holders to use, they make running multiple in-line boards per side so much easier. Not only does this rod holder tree move the rods forward past the rest of your spread, they keep the rods at the same angle making tangles much less likely. Rod holder trees are a great way to make running your salmon trolling spread both easier and more effective.

Anyways, onto this Big Jon model. I have used Big Jon Multi-Set rod holders on my boat for running lead-core and I love the functionality and the looks. These are plenty strong for running most surface lines and will also handle heavier long lines with no problem. The only thing I do not recommend is running heavy dipsy setups off these. It will work well for a couple of seasons but the abuse of a dipsy is like no other rod on the boat. Fortunately, these rod holder trees aren’t designed for dipsies, they’re designed to get additional surface lines and they do that extremely well. Giving great rod separation, which is necessary when running multiple planer boards on each side of the boat.

These rod holders have been on the market for years and have evolved over the years to one of the most dependable holders for the money. Just looking around at the various charter boats you will find many of these hanging off the boat for a good reason, they work. The mast for the holders are 3′ high, but the biggest advantage of these trees is the adjust-ability. You can move the holders up and down to your desired spacing and then have any of 9 locking positions that you can choose from that can be done using one hand. It matches the tough finish that most other Big Jon products have and looks pretty sharp with the rubber caps that come in black or red. If you’re looking to run additional lines on your boat, give this rod holder tree a try…..you’ll probably catch more fish and that’s always a good thing!

St. Croix Wild River Review

Posted by admin | Rods | Posted on September 27th, 2014

The Wild River Salmon & Steelhead rods by St. Croix offer a great value for a premier fishing rod. Lengths vary from 8’6″ up to 13’6″, all with exception to the 13 footer which is three pieces are two piece rods. The nice thing about the Wild River rod line is the diverse selection of rods. The 8’6″ models are built with medium, medium heavy and heavy rod power. The medium model # WRS86MF2 works well for bass and trout, the medium heavy Model # WRS86MHF2 does well on steelhead and pike. If pursuing large game fish like musky or salmon the heavy action would be recommended, since you need a lot of backbone to stop those type of fish.

The next size up are the 9′ rods, which are light WRS90LM2, medium light WRS90MLF2, medium WRS90MF2, medium heavy WRS90MHF2, and heavy WRS90HF2. These rods will handle everything with the lightest which is perfect for panfishing with occasional run ins with bass. When targeting fish like redfish or steelhead the medium is a nice choice, however the medium heavy rod would be able to handle both steelhead and salmon. Next up are the 9’6″ medium light WRS96MLF2 and Medium WRS96MF2, bass and pike would work well on the medium light and steelhead on the medium. The 10′ 6″ rods ultra light WRS106ULS2, medium light WRS106MLF2, Medium WRS106MF2, range from ultra light for panfish medium light for bass and medium for steelhead and redfish. The 11’6″ WRST116LM2 and 13’6″ WRST136LM3 are both light rods and use 4-8 lb test line.

There are three handles to choose from when picking out a rod. The first option is a cork model with the reel seat sitting three quarters of the way up the handle. I would prefer this handle if going after larger fish. The second handle is made out of foam and has the reel seat about halfway up the rod. St. Croix offers a movable rod seat on the two longest rods, the handle is made of cork.

Overall the selection of different rods is what sets apart the Wild River spinning rods. By matching the rod to your exact needs you can have enough touch so you can feel the light bites in addition to with the larger rods having enough power to stop the biggest game fish. In addition to a great selection the Wild River rods are sold at a very affordable price, you can always find a great deal on these rods here.

Okuma Cold Water Linecounter Review

Posted by admin | Reels | Posted on September 27th, 2014

One of the newer reels in the Okuma trolling reel lineup is the Cold Water Linecounter reels. The reels bridge the gap between the Convector and Catalina lines. The Cold Water uses two ball bearings and one rotating bearing, which provides a smooth drag, free spool and retrieve. Another good feature is the wide mouth levelwind, which helps get knots such as blood knots used for lead core to be wound onto the reel. The reel is made out of high quality materials, there are no plastic bits to break off on the Cold Water model. There are multiple models of the reel available, they are all meant for big game fishing.

The largest model CW-453D is large enough for applications like full copper rigs for salmon fishing, or can handle enough backing to take down any fish. Okuma’s CW-153D is the smallest reel of the lineup, with 330 yds of 10 lb makes an ideal downrigger or a short core rod. An ideal choice for Wire or PowerPro dypsys are either CW-203D or the CW-303. When running full core rigs the CW-303D is a good choice since with 510 yds of 15 lb monofilament hundreds of yards can be let out and still have enough backing to take down big fish.

The drag on these reels are ultra smooth allowing for precise settings needed for running wire dipsys, the maximum drag pressure is 18-lbs on the CW-153D and CW-203D. Max drag pressure on the CW-303D and CW-453D is 20-lbs, which is important since many times with these larger rods used for dypsy and lead core presentations you are fighting the dypsy or in-line planner board in addition to the fish. Line retrieve starts out at 23 for the CW-153D and CW-203D and is 24 for the CW-303D and CW-453D. The overall size of the reels require a very beefy rod on the larger sizes, since the two largest sizes weigh in at 20 and 21.8 ounces. The reel is not meant to only be used in “cold water” the corrosion resistant frame and sideplates hold up well in salt water conditions.

When getting a reel like the Cold Water edition, you want to make sure the drag will stand up to repeated abuse dished out by big game like salmon, musky, steelhead and other Saltwater gamefish. The reel uses over sized gears, which helps absorb hits that come while being used for salmon fishing. Another nice feature is the self-lubricating gear system. When combined with the ball bearings, they make one of the best drag systems on the market.

Available Models- Models with DLX behind the model number indicate left handed cranks.

  • CW-153D
  • CW-153DX
  • CW-203D
  • CW-203DX
  • CW-303D
  • CW-303DLX
  • CW-453D

We checked around for the best price, and we found it here.

Scotty Depthmaster Electric Review

Posted by admin | Downriggers | Posted on September 27th, 2014

Today, I have chosen to review the Scotty Depthmaster Electric Downrigger. I have a lot of experience with all types of Scotty products and their close competitors over the last 10 years. I run Scotty riggers on my boat and I’ve also been on many charters around the State of Michigan where this is the model of choice. I’ve also used many other brands that work, but not nearly as well as my Scotty’s. I think most people are turned off by Scotty Electrics due to their bulky size and a horizontal spool. But let’s be honest they might not be as shiny and as pretty as the other downriggers on the market but they do one thing extremely well, which is lower and raise downriggers balls easier and faster than anything else on the market.

Scotty Depthmasters have been around for a long time and I’ve heard nothing but positive comments about them, and great experiences myself. Like most downriggers in this class, they are pretty much hands free and include auto-stop. I’ve owned other brands such as Big Jon’s where the auto-stop sometimes misfires and it’s a great way to break the rigger itself and possibly the side or gunnels of your boat…..it’s not fun trust me. The electrics also include a fully adjustable rod holder. A few years back these stock rod holders were made of poor quality plastic and I broke 2 before giving up using them. They addressed this problem and now these rod holders are high quality. You can adjust the angle easily which can help reduce blowback when trolling and give you a better hookset when releasing. If you really want to increase your hook-up ratio on the riggers use the larger scotty pinch pad releases or even better the new chamberlain magnetic releases.

Another great feature is the collapsible 5′ boom that comes standard and adjusts all the way down to 36″. You may not think you need that extra 2′ these provide, but it sure is nice widening your spread which can really increase your catch on days when the fish are a bit picky. I also recommend running a chute rigger and this is much easier with such a long boom, you don’t have to worry about wrapping steel downrigger cable all around your lower unit and propeller.

I’ve said alot of good things about this product, but I really do believe it is the best on the market despite it’s bulky look. Fortunately, what’s given up in cosmetics is gained in motor power. Not only is this rigger faster at pulling up rigger weights, it uses just a fraction of the battery power. With the larger motor, this model is capable of pulling weights of 20lbs.+ to depths of over 300 feet. You might think that this is overkill, but I’ve been on many trips where getting down deep is key and using an 8 lb. weight isn’t going to cut it with currents and blowback. I’ve included a couple of videos to give you an idea just how powerful this is. If you decide to buy this product, you will not be disappointed!

While you might get lucky and find this locally, you’ll save money by buying it here.

Shimano Stradic FJ Review

Posted by admin | Reels, Reviews | Posted on September 27th, 2014

The Shimano Stradic has been one of the most popular high end spinning reels on the market for years. There’s a good reason for that. It delivers rock solid all around performance for under $200. While this may seem expensive, you will save money by not burning through 2 or 3 reels instead. By using 5 S A-RB ball bearings and 1 Roller Bearing on all of the Stradic line reels, Shimano has created one of the best reels ever made. There are 7 different sizes to choose from to accommodate just about every type of fishing and fisherman. Shimano makes models light enough for an afternoon battle with pan-fish, and also up to sizes that will take down the biggest of big game when used correctly. I have to admit that I own a Stradic myself, which I use while steelheading Michigan’s rivers. When I first started fishing in the winter I didn’t realize how important having a high quality spinning reel was. I went through 2 reels before I decided that I needed to make a major jump in classes. The main problem was the cold conditions caused ice and the bearings in the models I purchased ($50-$80 range) must not have been sealed very well. Let’s just say the reel grinded when retrieving a spawn bag….not good. When you spin the handle freely on a stradic, the reel continues spinning due to the 5 bearings Shimano has used. The overall construction of the reel is impressive, and is made to last.

The bearings are actually sealed very well in my experience which keeps out water and dirt, in addition the materials used to build the reel are a high grade metal. When choosing a reel, picking the correct size is probably the most important issue. Depending on the type of fishing and how much line capacity you need will be the largest determining factor of which size you should buy. The 3000 is built well enough to handle just about anything you can dish out including Salmon upwards of 20 lbs! The 1000 is perfect for smaller inland lakes when fishing smaller game fish and the occasional run-in with a larger bass or pike. The Mac-Daddy 8,000 is meant for true big game, and can handle about any fish that you can get to bite. When picking a reel be sure to also think ahead about if you will be using braided or mono-filament line. The line capacity for each unit varies, and there is a big difference between the line capacity of the two different line types. I think most anglers have realized the versatility of braided lines and it really helps you pack a lot of line onto smaller reels.

Another really nice feature is the grease “port”. Which makes adding oil or grease quick and easy and makes sure everything stays in good working condition. I’m always reassuring to know that the bearings are completely sealed, which is a major advantage in tough conditions. With all the features on the Stradic its easy to see why so many fishermen have chosen the Stradic as a go to spinning reel.

You can find any one of the many sizes here.

Okuma Catalina Levelwind Review

Posted by admin | Reels | Posted on September 27th, 2014

The Okuma Catalina Levelwind Trolling Reels are without a doubt one of the most premier trolling reels available on the market. Okuma is a well known reel manufacturer with a great reputation. I’ve used the convector models alot in the past and this is a step up from that. The Catalina reel provides superior performance at an affordable cost, especially through amazon.com. The reel was made with the serious angler in mind. The Catalina is not entry level reel and will take the abuse a charter captain or a serious angling enthusiast will give it. Okuma’s Catalina is for anyone looking for a line counter reel with an upgraded drag and proven performance.

The most prominent feature on the Catalina model is the carbonite drag system. Carbonite material displaces both heat and friction allowing a wider and smoother drag range. Okuma made the Catalina with a couple more bearing and also a nifty spool drag system. The drag system is completely self lubricating to ensure a long life and consistent performance regardless of any tough or extreme fishing conditions. Okuma’s system is only found in higher end reels, it releases oil to protect the main gear and drive shaft.

All Catalina models have a wide mouth levelwind which anglers will find convenient. The guide itself is oversized so you will have no problem running heavy leadcore or copper lines with a bulkier knot such as the willis or albright knot. The ergonomic handle or grip is oversized and allows the angler to retrieve line faster and is very comfortable. Okuma uses the handle design on many of their reels due to stellar reviews by fishermen. When cranking in line, I got a really smooth and solid feel….I was very impressed. Obviously, the reel also comes with a linecounter. The Catalina utlizes a counter that is mechanical in nature and measures the footage out by spool revolutions. Each counter has been calibrated at the factory to be accurate with a full spool.

Even though the price is higher than entry level reels, it is a giant step up in terms of drag performance and overall quality. Everything seemed really well constructed and it looks like it will last a lifetime if taken care of. That is the reason why the Catalina is the choice of both charter captains and serious sport-fishermen alike.

We shopped the market and you can get the best deal by clicking here.

Raymarine Dragonfly – The Best Fishfinder For The Money

Posted by admin | Reviews | Posted on July 1st, 2014

Boaters looking for a new fishfinder often ask what is the best fishfinder for the money. It’s obvious that a $2000 fishfinder will be better than a simple $100 unit. However, the question on everybody’s mind when buying a fishfinder is where is the sweet spot, how do I pick the fishfinder that offers biggest bang for the buck. After testing and experimenting with several new fishfinder models, our opinion is that Raymarine Dragonfly is the best fishfinder for the money.

The Dragonfly has a 5.7 inch, crystal-clear display. The display is not as big as the high-end units, but the it’s horizontally stretched which makes a good use of the screen real-estate. It’s also very bright and provides high definition image, much better than similarly priced competition. The other feature that stands out with the Dragonfly is the transducer. It’s very big and sturdy and can take a lot of abuse.

What is most exciting about the Dragonfly is the CHIRP technology. Unlike traditional fishfinders which use 2 frequencies to produce the output, the new Raymarine utilizes a whole spectrum of frequencies which results in super-accurate sonar image and great target separation. Raymarine was able to equip the moderately priced Dragonfly with CHIRP technology that until now was only available on ultra-expensive, high-end units.

The new Raymarine comes with Navionics Gold mapping so you’re getting great GPS along with the sonar. The mapping display is basic but accurate. What’s great about the Dragonfly is the simplicity of operation. There are no hundreds of menu and submenus, everything is accessible with a single click of a button. Raymarine has completely revolutionized the fishfinder world. When it comes to value, the Dragonfly beats any unit on the market today.

What to look for when buying a fishfinder?

Posted by admin | Reviews | Posted on April 26th, 2014

Buying your first fishfinder may seem like a difficult decision but it becomes much easier when you know what to look for. You need to read fish finder reviews before making your decision. Here are the main factors that determine which unit is right for you.

• Display – The most important attribute of a fishfinder is the screen size. The screen size is specified as the diagonal dimension, similar to TV specs. Another important, and very often overlooked, attribute is the screen resolution. For example Lowrance Elite 7 Chirp and Raymarine Dragonfly 7 both have 7 seven inch displays. However, Dragonfly has 640 X 800 resolution and Elite 7 only 480 x 800. The difference between 640 and 480 vertical resolution doesn’t seem like a lot but when you convert it to pixels (difference of 160 * 800 = 128000 pixels) it becomes obvious which display will give you a clearer picture.

• Imaging Modes – Modern fishfinders provide traditional 2d sonar image as well as down imaging, side imaging and can even display down image overlayed on top of 2d sonar display. Down image displays photo-like representation of the area directly below the boat, while side image can cover area of upto 240 feet on both sides of the boat. Side image is useful when scanning large areas but it’s requires a learning curve when it comes to interpreting the output. Down image is simple to decipher and helps when locating structure. Every angler knows that you have to find structure before you can find fish.

• Transmit Power & Frequency – The more powerful the transducer, the better picture you will get. More powerful transducer will also be able to reach greater depth but that is also dependent on the frequency of the signal. Lower frequency signal will be able to reach greater depth. That is why most modern fishfinders support multiple transducers utilizing different frequencies. 200/83 kHz transducers are using for shallow water, while 200/50 kHz transducer are meant to be used in deep water situations. Most modern transducers support two frequencies but we have to note the difference between dual frequency and dual beam transducers. Dual frequency transducer can reach different depth depending on the frequency used while dual beam reaches the same depth at both frequencies – the 2 beams have different angles. Wide angle beam covers more area while the small beam provides more detail and smaller coverage.

• GPS – Those navigating difficult environment will want to a fishfinder that supports GPS. But the GPS is useful also when it comes to pinpointing your favorite fishing spots. Note that GPS-equipped units come with preloaded maps. In many cases the maps may not be sufficient and carthography upgrade may be required.

Lowrance Elite 4 HDI – Best Budget Fishfinder

Posted by admin | Lowrance | Posted on April 24th, 2014

Lowrance introduced the new Elite 4 HDI earlier this year and the unit immediately became a big hit.  There are several reasons why this model is very popular.  First of all, it’s a smaller version of a Elite 7 and Elite 5 models and it offers pretty much all the features of its bigger predecessors.  The main feature is the Hybrid Dual Imaging which supports both traditional broadband sonar as well as the down imaging.  HDI allows anglers to easily identify structure and fish.  Another interesting tool is the Downscan Overlay that displays 2d sonar output on top the downscan image and could reveal additional detail not visible in either view.   Elite 4 HDI also provides Insight Genesis that is used to generate underwater maps from sonar recordings.  Elite 4 supports Navionics maps.  If you are planning on using the GPS on this unit, make sure you buy maps for your area, the preloaded maps don’t offer much detail.

The second reason for Elite 4 HDI’s popularity is the screen size.   Lowrance took the page out of Raymarine’s playbook.  Instead of conforming to the unwritten rules that every small and mid-size fishfinder should have screen size of either 3.5, 5 or 7 inch diagonal, the Elite 4 HDI comes with the 4.3 inch diagonal size screen which is 30% larger than the comparable 3.5 inch units.  The screen size will become a tie-breaker for many buyers.

The last but not least factor that contributes to Elite 4 HDI’s popularity is the price.  The GPS-equipped unit is priced at $299 which is much lower than Humminbird 386ci HD DI price of $399.  The 4x version without GPS has an MSRP of $199, that is well below the $269 pricetag for Garmin echo 301dv.  All of this makes the Elite 4 HDI a favorite among anglers, especially those fishing in kayaks and small boats.  The unit comes in several different versions with diferent types of transducers.  There is also Mark 4 HDI which is the greyscale cousin of Elite 4 HDI.  The new Elite 4 HDI series is a big milestone in the evolution of sonar technology – it’s a budget unit that provides a set of features that until now were only available on bigger, much more expensive units.