My recent purchase from 412 Bait Co.

Try “Boutique” Hand Poured Plastic Baits

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My recent purchase from 412 Bait Co.

My recent purchase from 412 Bait Co.


Do yourself a favor. Find a small-operation hand poured plastic bait company and spend some of your money on their products. Though I have spent my fair share on big name brand baits and lures over the years, this year has really taught me the value of vastly superior hand poured plastic baits. I caught more, and bigger bass this year using hand poured baits than I did using my usual mass produced big box baits. In particular, my use of local C4 soft plastics and those from 412 Bait Co. from Pittsburg, PA, have helped to make this season the best quality bass season for me ever.

I have found small-operation hand poured plastic baits to be vastly superior for the following reasons:

1. Superior materials and quality. Hand poured plastics are typicallly much more supple, yet more durable than mass produced baits.

2. Colors and patterns that work on your local waters. Chances are, your local hand poured plastic bait craftsmanfishes the same, or very similar waters as you. As such, the colors and patternshavebeencarefullymatchedand

Shimano Banar Boat Deck Bag Review

Review of the Shimano Banar Boat Deck Bag Series

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If you’re a serious kayak angler, you carry a lot of gear with you if you’re going to spend the day on the water. One of my recent purchases is the Shimano Banar Boat Deck Bag. I haven’t regretted it for a moment. Carrying all my smallmouth bass tackle in one easy to use bag has been great.


Where to Buy the Shimano Banar Boat Deck Bag

Sears | Wal-Mart | K-Mart | Amazon



Shimano Banar Boat Deck Bag Review


This bag features a shoulder strap for carrying, as well as two padded handles that are very comfortable and easy to grab if the bag is sitting behind you in the kayak.

The main compartment has two zipper handles with tassels, making it easy to open when you’re on the water.

A flap covers the zipper, making the whole gear bag fairly waterproof. It’s important to note however that the bag is marketed as WATER RESISTANT, not WATERPROOF, so it’s not completely impervious.

Inside, the main compartment is fairly nondescript, but it’s a bag. It doesn’t need a ton of features in that area.  There is a netted zipper bag on the inside of the cover, which is a great place to store smaller items for easy access.

I keep my smallmouth bass tackle and lures in small sized Plano boxes, and in the medium version of the gear bag, I can carry 2 or 3 easily.

Uses for the Shimano Banar Bag Series

Aside from carrying my tackle, I’m thinking about getting a second bag to carry my photography equipment.  I usually bring my Canon Rebel EOS XS on fishing trips with me, and that can be nerve wracking.  Having a water resistant bag to carry my photography gear in would be a big plus. It’s easy enough to get in and out of the bag, so I feel as though it’s good enough to meet my needs in that area.  You don’t want to miss a good hero shot because you can’t get to your camera.

While I haven’t done this myself, it’s likely also a good bag to carry non-perishable food items for day trips. It’s not a cooler bag by any stretch, but granolas, cookies, pretzels etc would be fine in it.


For around $30, I don’t think you can really beat this bag as far as value goes. It’s well constructed, well thought out, and attractive.

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Knot Right Kayak Fishing Show on NBC Sports

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Over the last few years, we here at Fishgator have often pointed to Chad Hoover (aka Knot Right) and his website, Kayak Bass Fishing as outstanding resources within the kayak fishing community.  Chad has long been recognized for his down-to-Earth expertise delivered by  off-the-wall humor.  His talent is now gaining attention in the broader outdoor sports world, and this combined with Chad’s preparation and hard work has resulted in the development of Knot Right Kayak fishing Show on NBC Sports Outdoors.  Chad’s new television show will premier this Spring on Friday, 30 March at 1pm.  Hang onto your fishing rods boys and girls.  Kayak fishing is about to get a whole lot more popular! This trailer gives us a brief teaser.  We CAN’T WAIT!

While you’re waiting for the premier of the Knot Right Kayak Fishing show, you should check out some of the online episodes of Kayak Bass Fishing TV.

Capsurz® cap retainer is a valuable part of my kayak fishing equipment.  I wear it on the bill of my cap as an unobtrusive adornment that I can quickly pull down to comforably secure my cap during high wind conditions.

Fishing Product Review| Capsurz Cap Retainer

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Last Friday evening held the threat of local thunderstorms. However, the calm, warm, and rain-free afternoon leading up to it offered tempting relief to the exceptionally cold, windy, and record wet Spring we’ve had this year in Western New York. I quickly made my way to my favorite Finger Lake and the water was still in the only slightly perceptible gentle westerly breeze.

Everything about the way the water looked and the feel to the air told me I would catch a good fish as I paddled a half mile across the 90 ft deep lake where the previous weekend I had caught some very nice smallmouth bass. As soon as my had touched the cork handle of my jigging rod, it was as if someone had turned on an enormous fan as I was hit in the face with a sustained straight-line +20 mph wind coming from the south east.

Kayak fishing and paddling in these conditions is challenging enough while keeping in a good position to cast as you are drifting in the wind, but trying to keep my cap – a vital piece of warm gear in the much cooler conditions – would make the task near impossible.

Capsurz® cap retainer is a valuable part of my kayak fishing equipment. I wear it on the bill of my cap as an unobtrusive adornment that I can quickly pull down to comforably secure my cap during high winds.

I instinctively reached to the bill of my cap and within seconds – thanks to Capsurz, I had one less thing to worry about in my increasingly concerning predicament as ominous clouds moved over and the sound of distant thunder became not-so-distant. I have worn a Capsurz cap retainer every day on the water, and off, since last December. You might have read recent articles where I’ve mentioned this product before, but it’s time to give it a proper review.

It is rare that you find a product that does exactly what it says it will do. Capsurz cap retainer is just that. Capsurz cap retainer is advertised as a conveniently handy and comfortable accessory cord that will keep your cap on your head in winds up to 75 mph. It also comes in several styles – mine has a dry fly for an accent.

I have worn Capsurz in extremely windy conditions while ice fishing, kayak fishing, and hiking. I have tested it out in winds up to 60 mph. When needed, it took only seconds to pull down around my chin, is very comfortable, and it has never once failed. It has adorned the brim of several of my caps over the past few months as a stylish accent or largely unnoticed while not in use. At $5 including shipping, the Capsurz cap retainer is a bargain and now a permanent part of my must-have assortment of kayak fishing gear.

CAPSURZ® helped to make recent fishing trips in poor weather conditions successful ones.

As for my fishing trip last Friday the 13th, the rain came and I had to take cover under the protection of some trees overhanging the water and became thoroughly drenched, but my cap, secured by Capsurz, kept my head warm and my eyeglasses dry under its brim. The wind soon subsided and the torrent turned to gentle rain. My effort and discomfort was rewarded while trolling back to the boat launch when I caught my personal best Lake Trout…

Kodak ZX3 PlaySport

Kodak PlaySport ZX3 – ideal for catch, photo, & release fishing

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Kodak ZX3 PlaySport

Compact, rugged, simple to use Kodak ZX3 PlaySport is ideal for catch, photograph, and release kayak fishing. Team Fishgator is using this 1080 HD Pocket Video Camera to quickly and reliably record our catches for the Kayak Wars online fishing tournament.

Kevin and I ordered two ZX3 PlaySport 1080 HD video cameras (~$120) in order to bring you the very best of our exploits in fishing here on Fishgator. The basic facts: It is waterproof, durable, takes 1080 HD video and 5mp still images. They arrived last Friday. I’ll let Kevin speak for himself, but after taking it out kayak fishing in sub-freezing temperatures and getting it covered in fish slime, I am VERY happy with its performance. In fact, I believe it to be an ideal camera for kayak fishing, and especially for catch, photograph, and release purposes. Here’s what I like about it the most:

-It’s easy to turn on and fast powering up. Push the power button, two seconds later the lcd is fully on, click, and you’re recording video or taking stills of your most recent catch. One of my pet peeves about handheld electronic gadgets including many digital cameras is having to press and hold a button, then wait for what seems like an eternity before I am able to use the device. Not so with the Kodak PlaySport.

-Ergonomics and simplicity of use are way better than a traditionally configured cameras in my opinion. The Kodak PlaySport is constructed very well and is small, but with big buttons. There aren’t a lot of exposure options, but what options there are are intuitive and very quick to change and the camera handles both bright and low light conditions very well. The button to start or stop recording is prominent and easy to find even in the dark and with wet hands. It is also very easy to switch between taking videos at different resolutions, and still images. Kayak anglers often take photos or videos while holding a fish or paddle in one hand and the camera in the other. The Kodak ZX3 PlaySport is VERY easy to use at most any hand held angle.

Steelhead trout photo taken by Kodak ZX3 PlaySport

My first still image taken on the water with the Kodak ZX3 PlaySport. Despite sub-freezing temperatures (mid to upper 20 degrees Fahrenheit), glaring sunlight, and a difficult overhead one handed shot, I was able to quickly photograph and release this steelhead trout.

-Remote (accessory costs ~$13). We don’t have our remotes yet, but I can’t wait to get one so I can have my camera fixed in place and shoot videos or pics without having to clamber all over my kayak to set the timer on my camera.

-Low cost. If I were to lose the PlaySport overboard, I won’t cry too much (like I did when I lost my Canon D10 last year…).

Kodak PlaySport (Zx3) HD Waterproof Pocket Video Camera (Black)

I used the $330 Canon D10 for over a year, and to be honest, It took so-so images and not very good video. It was also very awkward to use and change settings. I’ve also used the Fujifilm Finepix Z33WP (~$180) and I think it takes just as good of images and video as the Canon D10 for nearly half the price. Unfortunately, the buttons are small on the Z33WP and not terribly conducive to being fiddled with by fish-slime covered wet hands.

I’m not bothered by the difference in rated waterproof depth – 10ft for the Kodak PlaySport vs. up to 30ft in the Canon D10. I’m not going deep diving with my fishing camera. I guess it’s become apparent to me that I need a camera to take fast pics of fish and good video at times to share online and I will probably never print out any photos I take with my kayak fishing camera.

After only having the Kodak PlaySport for a few days, my enthusiastic review here must be taken as initial impressions. However, barring any unforeseen problems, I believe it is ideally suited for kayak anglers who practice catch, photo, and release fishing and need a rugged waterproof camera that is fast and simple to use. The Kodak ZX3 PlaySport will definitely help to minimize the time fish are out of the water while being photographed.