In The Beginning

In The Beginning

In the beginning there was a kid who wanted to fish. That beginning turned out a determined, knowledgeable and formidable competitor at the highest level of the FLW, the Forest Wood Cup. Before we tell you about the greatness achieved and the single largest contributing bait to his success; let’s take a minute and follow the trail that leads to the top of the world in bass fishing. The professional angler I speak of is James Biggs and we had a chance to catch up during one of his many appearances. During this session he expressed to me exactly where he had come from and where he wants to go in fishing.

James was introduced into fishing by his dad. They loved hitting small ponds and lakes around their home. James told me that from a very early age he wanted to become a pro. I looked at him and said that I had the same feelings and what had propelled him and stopped me? The answer is passion and a thirst for knowledge and the commitment to take it to the next level. When James turned sixteen he began fishing TBF tournaments as a co-angler. According to James it’s amazing what you can learn from the back seat, if you just listen? The drive for knowledge made him understand that you have to be confident in what you are throwing and how you are fishing it. This quote from James summed it up for me “It doesn’t matter if you fish super slow or have the trolling motor up to a hundred miles per hour; fish to your strengths!”
We have all heard the term, Jack of all trades and master of none. To be a pro angler you have to be a master of all. James Biggs is versatile, but it didn’t happen overnight. He told me that growing up he would pick out one technique a year whether it’s cranking, jigging or Carolina rigging you keep fishing it and learning the conditions that are great or not so great for the presentation. James goes on to say that by practicing and learning the modifications on leader size or jig weight you get the confidence that you can force feed a bass the Carolina Rig in two feet of water in forty degree weather. If there was one thing I grabbed from James during our visit it was confidence, confidence and confidence. To be the best you have to believe that you have the knowledge, the knowhow, and the equipment to get the job done. You add extreme confidence to that recipe and you have a champion.
We had a great time rolling back and forth and talking fishing. The things I took away from our visit were have I been studying techniques enough to know they will work? Have I ever been throwing something I had no clue how to fish when cash is on the line? I have many more questions, but times running short. Standby for the next installment where James Biggs tells us about the ups and downs of fishing at the highest levels!

KEEP LIVING THE DREAM!IMG_1144.JPG

Hobie Pro Angler 17 – Game Changer!

The largest sport fishing show of the year just concluded yesterday. ICAST is the place where all products fishing make there way into the market. Hobie has always made a splash at the ICAST show and this year was no exception. Check out this video and see the world of kayak fishing change before your eyes with the Hobie Pro Angler 17 – tandem.

Look for it in your local Hobie dealers shop by the end of 2014. If you are in the DFW area we hope to have one available for show in October. This is going to take kayak fishing to the next level.

First Time Kayak Trip

The stars aligned and it all came together for myself and a good friend to hit the water. I have fished with Eugene before, but he had never used a kayak due to his concerns about stability along with not being a great swimmer. I figured the best way to get him on the water was to let him have an opportunity to use the Hobie Pro Angler 14.

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My goal was to get Eugene as comfortable and confident as possible so he could focus on fishing. After a brief demo of the Mirage Drive, Vantage Seat and Rudder controls we were off.

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All I can say is that Eugene is a natural! He was able to put the kayak where he wanted to go and hold his position allowing him to catch his first kayak bass, in short order.

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All his concerns about getting wet, being unstable and having to do a lot of work left the building and he just kept on catching fish.
People ask me about how we can grow the sport and increase participation on the North Texas tournament scene. My answer is to always be talking, posting and inviting others out to experience what we already know. This was an excellent case of a guy loving to fish and having no way to get of the bank. The Hobie Pro Angler 14 changed that for him. For more information about Hobie Products check out http://www.mariner-kayaks.com

KEEP LIVING THE DREAM!

Great Times On Lady Bird Lake

I spent eighteen years in the Austin area. All of those years were spent doing everything but fishing “The Bird”. As I always say, it’s better late than never. This day trip to mecca of urban fishing started early and had the glow of anticipation.
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I want to say thanks for those that gave me some direction as to tactics and places to start fishing. Without a community of good people giving great advice the trip would have not turned out as well as it did. Thanks to the Keep Austin Fishing Group, Guillermo Gonzalez and Ken, who I met at the AHS launch.
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What I enjoyed most about my time on Lady Bird Lake was the people jogging, bike riding and hanging out on and around the bridges that span over the river. At one point I was fishing under the bridge with a group of no less than 75 people looking over me. I thought to myself what a great time for a giant hook set and on cue it was delivered. The crowd went wild and for a split second I felt like Randy Howell fishing the classic. That experience was cool!
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All in all it was an awesome time and I would encourage those that are thinking of making this trip to do it. There are some giant bass in that lake and the scenery is unreal. I have had a ton of great fishing experiences and this one rates with the best of them. Looking forward to heading back down sooner rather than later.
KEEP LIVING THE DREAM!

Hopkins Outdoors Update 3/8 – 3/9 Gilbert Complex

Cold LakeSpring Lake IVSpring Lake VSpring Lake IIISpring Lake IISpring LakeStump Patch IIStump Patch

The Spring is heating up with pre-spwn bass being caught all over the area lakes. The prespawn is also heating up on the Gilbert Complex for Hopkins Outdoors. Over this weekend I had the oporuntiy to spend a lot of time on Stump Patch, Spring Lake and Cold Water Lake, here are the results.

Saturday:

Lake: Stump Patch

Weather: 45 Degrees, Winds From The North 15 – 18 mph

Water Temp: 51 – 52 Degrees

Technique: Chartrusse Square Bill Crank Bait

Area Fished: Timber Near The Dam bouncing the bait ff the timber in 6-7′ of water. Fence Line Near the duck blinds produced fishing the weed line. Made our way back shallow and found a fish on isolated timber in 3′ of water. Overall 3 fish with the largest being around 3 pounds.  

Lake: Spring

Weather: 45 Degrees, Winds from the North at 18 – 20 mph

Water Temp: 49 – 50 Degrees Saturday , 50 – 52 Sunday

Technique: 3/4 oz Carolina RIgged With 17# Main line and 6# leader using a #3 straight shank hook on ZZ Custom Bait Threadfin Shad. Also used Chartrusse square bill crank. Due to current water clarity I didn’t use aything over 12 test line. Water Visibility at 5′.

Area Fished: Fished the reed lines on the North side with the square bill running it on the outside of the reed line. This technique produced 4 fish from 2 – 4 pounds. Fished the South Side of the lake focused on throwing up to 3′ and bouncing it down the drop offs from 8′ – 10′ the fish came on the first drop. Sunday, 3/9, fished the square bill again with similar results. Sunday, as the sun came out I fished the rock piles to the right of the ramp. These rocks are in 3-5′ of water and it drops to 12′ shortly in front. Had great sucess with Carolina Rig in the rocks positioning the boat on the pump house side and throwing toward the ramp.

Lake: Cold Lake / Sunday Only

Weather: Blue Bird Sky & 63 Degrees

Water Temp: 55 – 57 degrees / Cloudy

Technique: Deep Diving Rapala DT 16 / Red, Carolina Rig ZZ Custom Threadfin Shad, Texas Rigged V&M Bait Swamp Hog & 1/8 Shakey Head w/ Trick Worm.

Areas Fished: USed the deep crank as a search bait on the Northwest side of the lake. The bottom is up and down with depths from 7-15′, lot of good drops, Fished the area where they are releasing water into the lake with the craw and missed 2 bites. Moved to the rock piles on the South end and fished the deep side from 4 – 9′. This area looked the best but had zero result with shakey head or c-RIg. Moved to the pump station and pitched the walk way, barge and behind the barge with the reslut being 1 15″ bass. The bite was real light, due to conditions. I know this lake will heat up once the water level rises and pumpimg activities cease. it’s difficult to catch bass when the water level is in a constant state of flux.

General Thoughts: These are excellent lakes that will produce quality largemouth bass. Larry and Mike are deadset on managing these lakes correctly. It is up to all of us to measure the fish and record yyour catch. By dong this we will have accurate reports that will lead to big bass. Every fish I caught was in excellent condition and were pre-spawn. I look forward to meeting each one of you out on the water and if i can be of assistance to you don’t hesitate to ask.

KEEP LIVING THE DREAM! 

Classic Thoughts!

Bassmaster

 

Getting up on Sunday morning I felt that someone had rolled back the calendar into January. I had great anticipation of having some warm, predictable, weather to work with in trying to locate some of those big female pre-spawn bass. However, with ice on the ground and wind chills in the single digits I logged onto the computer and landed on Bassmaster. to review footage from the classic.  This year I decided to follow the classic live thru their online presentation via blog and GoPro live camera’s on the pro’s boat. It’s amazing what we can learn these days from online videos.

People often ask who your favorite angler is.  My response is that I really don’t have one. I enjoy following the top pros through social media and enjoy seeing how they are catching their fish, plugging the sponsors and just what it takes to be a full time touring pro at the elite level. With the technology of the day the arena of social media puts you up close with the pro in the boat on the water. I pay close attention to what they are saying and even closer attention to how they are modifying their baits to coax that big fish to bite. These guys are tough and stay out on the water long past dark, sometimes not in the most hospitalable conditions. I know the guys preparing to fish the Southern Open this week found themselves in some of the harshest temperatures of the season. The remarkable thing about these anglers is that they demonstrate the ability to catch fish in any condition. Every time I have grand thoughts of myself as a pro I just look back to lakes like Grapevine and Lewisville to remind me that I am nowhere close.

The most important take away, for me, was mental toughness. I will admit that mental toughness and confidence in what I am doing play a large role in my tournament fishing. If most of you are like me you can get mired down in second guessing, sticking with a failed strategy to long and throwing dead. What I mean about throwing dead is not having the confidence in each cast and just chunking and winding. My goal for 2014 is to surround myself with “Classic Quality People” that I can observe and learn from so that I can begin growing more confident and understanding why things are the way they are. I also have to remember that I can put myself around the fish, but if the fish chooses to be locked down due to weather conditions I must change the presentation. Should changing the presentation not work, I just need to realize that today’s not my day and hold my head high as I enjoy nature and hanging out in the Hobie Pro Angler 14. It’s also important to be a “classic” type person. There are thousands of people who bass fish and they are at every level. When you are active in the social networks be mindful of the folks watching you. Take time to answer their questions, share your tips and take the time necessary to include those that are new to our sport. I would be nowhere today without the guys who took an interest in me and answered the dumbest of my questions.

I think the following dialogue between Harry Hogge and Cole Trickle, from Days of Thunder, sum it the best.

Harry Hogge:      What do you know about stock car racing?

Cole Trickle:        Well…watched it on television, of course.

Harry Hogge:      You’ve seen it on television?

Cole Trickle:        ESPN. The coverage is excellent; you’d be surprised at how much you can pick up.

Harry Hogge:      I’m sure I would.

Take advantage of all the avenues that are afforded to us in this age of information enlightenment.  Watch those videos, make friends with a pro, take someone under your wing and bring them along. Bassmaster showed us how you can take a fishing tournament and bring it to life with real time updates and access into the minds of the top pros. To be better we must pay attention and be willing to learn; you never know the tip you see today could boost you in the AOY standing in your local scene.

KEEP LIVING THE DREAM!