Podcast Ep. 23: Banjo Minnows & Fly Fishing

Podcast Ep. 23: Banjo Minnows & Fly Fishing thumbnail

On its face, fly fishing elitism is silly.

It is okay to prefer the fly rod. And it has it advantages. But there is no reason to look down upon conventional tackle. In fact, there are plenty of reasons why a spinning rod should be part of your overall angling arsenal.

In this episode, I talk about a few circumstances that might necessitate using conventional gear. Also, I look at how using bobbers, blades, and Banjo Minnows might actually help your fly fishing.

Listen to the episode below, or in your favorite podcast app.

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DAMS OUT – Searsville Dam

DAMS OUT – Searsville Dam thumbnail

Searsville Dam located on San Francisquito Creek in Palo Alto is listed as one of the Top 5 California dams to remove in our latest report. Built in 1892, it has lost 90% of its water storage capacity to sedimentation. Besides not providing any potable water or hydropower, it creates a complete barrier to steelhead migration. Removing Searsville Dam will reconnect access to critical spawning and rearing habitat for the federally threatened Central California Coast steelhead. Learn more at caltrout.org/damsout


The Salmon that Were Born to Survive

The Salmon that Were Born to Survive thumbnail

For the vast majority of salmon, the trip upriver to spawn is a suicide mission. The fish expend nearly every ounce of energy they have fighting currents, leaping up waterfalls, and dodging predators. Their bodies change—they absorb parts of their skeleton and parts of their skull, using the calcium to fuel the trip. Males grow a hook on their lower lip. In most cases, after they’ve laid and fertilized their eggs, the salmon die.

Occasionally, salmon will survive and go on to spawn again—and again, and again.

LINK (via: Hakai Magazine)


FISH OR DIE Premiering Sunday!

FISH OR DIE is back this weekend! And we could be more stoked to tune in and watch our favorite 4 personalities chase fish all over the globe. Set your DVR’s and tune in live at 10 PM ET/PT on Animal Planet!

From Animal Planet:

“For some, fishing is a relaxing solitary experience, but for extreme fishermen and best buddies Chris Owens, Brian Jill, Thad Robison, and Jay Johnson, it’s a passion that drives them to explore some of the most remote and dangerous destinations on the planet in the hopes of finding fish where no one has ever fished before. From glacial streams in Greenland to raging rapids in Borneo, this team of adventurers travel the globe to chase rumors of giant fish in untouched waters. They are not survival experts, but these close friends are determined to work together and boldly follow their dreams to be the very first to fish some of the most uncharted waters left on Earth! FISH OR DIE premieres Sunday, April 21 at 10 PM ET/ PT on Animal Planet. 

In this largely self-shot series, Animal Planet audiences will trek beside this fearless and dynamic foursome as they journey through remote regions, meeting and befriending locals, and trailing some of the most remarkable, elusive fish in the world. Chris is the king of chaos on all expeditions; he fearlessly rallies the group during their expedition while Brian, a boat captain with nerves of steel, keeps the group on track towards their goal. Thad, the cautious family man of the group aims to make safety their #1 priority, while Jay, the wild-child of the group keeps everyone’s spirits high no matter what comes their way. In the end, these four men are bonded by one idea – the only difference between an obstacle and an adventure is your attitude.

Chris Owens, Brian Jay, Thad Robison and Jay Johnson as seen on Fish or Die.

In the premiere episode of FISH OR DIE, rumors of giant golden dorado in an uncharted river in the Bolivian jungle lead the team on a grueling expedition to discover if this fisherman’s dream is a reality. With help from a native tribe, the guys push dugout canoes 60-miles upriver towards the foothills of the Andes, where they battle rain and poisonous insects all in their quest for these golden fish. Throughout the season, the team will travel deep into the heart of Zambia, chasing reports of large tigerfish; across Mongolia in search of Hucho taimen, the largest, most ferocious member of the salmon family; and to Greenland in pursuit of massive Arctic char, among other destinations and fish.

FISH OR DIE is produced for Animal Planet by Warm Springs Productions and Watson Pond Productions. Marc Pierce, Chris Richardson, Nathan Charlan and Vince Cusomato are the executive producers for Warm Springs Productions. Brad Johnson is the executive producer for Watson Pond Productions. For Animal Planet, Patrick Keegan is supervising producer and Meredith Russell serves as coordinating producer.”

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Three Safety Tools for Kayak Fishing

When thinking about kayaking, fishing and kayak fishing accessories, some of the things that many people overlook are safety accessories. Over the last decade I’ve come to rely on three safety tools that have proven worthwhile in emergent and less than desirable conditions.

Safety Knife for Kayak Fishing

A knife is one of the most vital tools a kayaker would need on the water or on land to survive some situations. It can help you free yourself from tangled ropes and preparing animals and plants for food or constructing a shelter and campfire. Safety knives come in varying shapes, sizes and prices. Choosing one can be confusing. Which one should I get? Which one’s going to work best? Which one is not too heavy?

First off they’re called a safety knife for a reason. They’re for use in safety situations like this one I experienced a few years back.

I was testing a new kayak in pretty deep water and it was summer. I wanted to see how easy it was to get back into this kayak if it were to capsize by using a technique often called deep water re-entry. You start by completely flipping the kayak over and while swimming you turn the kayak back upright. This technique should be one of the first safety steps you learn as a kayaker. It gives you the ability to rescue yourself or others in a capsized situation. 

I had my normal life jacket on with my safety knife attached and I was glad. It was pretty windy that day and as I flipped the kayak on purpose, I went overboard. In doing so a paddle leash wrapped around my leg. Since I had my life jacket on I was able to float near the top of the water but the kayak was separating from me quickly because of the windy weather. As the wind blew the kayak, the paddle leash tightened around my leg cutting off circulation. I was quickly losing the feeling in my leg and knew I had to act fast as I was unable to swim fast enough to catch up to the kayak. I took my knife off of my life jacket cut the paddle leash that had wrapped around my leg and quickly swam for the kayak catching up to it only because I was untethered. This is a key example of a safety or rescue situation where a knife saved me from a pretty serious problem.

A safety knife I really like is the NRS CoPilot. I’ve been using this knife for several years and it’s a good one. The one hand assist, textured grip, blunt tip for puncture free use, and multi-edged blade design all make it a great choice, especially for under $50.

Safety at Night with Lights

It sounds like a rather odd question but anytime you are on a small watercraft like a kayak, not only should you be able to see but you should be seen. Power boats, moving quickly across the water need ample warning that you are near. A couple of things to help with that are lights and flags. I have two favorites both make sure you are seen in low light conditions.

1.  You can light up your kayak with a kayak lighting like the Yak-Power Complete LED Kayak Light Kit. LED lights provide the right amount of light for both safety and functionality allowing for easy visibility at dusk and dawn.

2.  A 360 degree light is needed for night time fishing, so why not combine a light and a flag? A few companies make exactly that. The Railblaza Visibility Kit II offers everything you’ll need. With a rigid, meter long pole, fluorescent flag, bright 360 degree light and mounting port, this battery powered pole will make sure you are seen day or night.


First Aid Kits

You’ve probably heard the old phrase, “It’s not if but when,” and fishing proves this true time and again. It isn’t if you ever get cut or if you ever hang a hook in your leg, it’s correctly thought of as when. Knowing that you’ll eventually shed some blood, are you properly prepared? Most outdoors enthusiasts are not. Having a first aid kit robust enough to handle most situations has more than once saved a day on the water for me. 

I look for several different things in a first aid kit.

Medications are always a good thing to have on hand. Having an antihistamine for allergic reactions, some ibuprofen for swelling, and some aspirin for blood thinning during heart attack events are an excellent spread to cover most situations where medicine can help. 

Antiseptic wipes, sterile gauze, a variety of adhesive bandages, and some butterfly closures will help deal with most situations that aren’t life threatening involving cuts and blood. 

Bandages and wraps for aches and sprains are a nice addition. Pair that with some tweezers, split ring pliers for removing hooks from embedded baits, and a good set of snips and you’ll round out a pretty decent kit. 

If you need a recommendation, check out the Sportsman Series Bighorn Medical Kit. It’s got nearly everything you’ll need. Another first aid kit that can work is the Bass Pro Shops Weekender First Aid Kit.

When you’re looking at kayak accessories, don’t skip on a safety accessory that so many people are missing out on. Check out some dive knives is to attach to your life jacket before your next trip.

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Did You Know You Can Do This With Your Lake Map?

Want to catch more fish? Understanding the map of your lake makes it a lot easier! If you’re using modern electronics there are some amazing tricks that make it even better. Today Tim shows how to highlight depth zones, adjust lake levels, and select prime fishing locations. If you’re using a traditional paper lake map this information still applies. Spend less time searching and more time catching with these quick adjustments!

Tim begins by showing the difference between base map software and aftermarket mapping chips. He goes on to assume you’re using some version of a map card in order to get accurate contour lines. Tim uses his Humminbird Solix to show a variety of structures and how they appear on the map then goes on to teach the subtle differences that will save you a ton of searching and fishing time!

If you want to become a more efficient angler you need to get comfortable reading a map of your lake. You don’t need an expensive unit and software to be a great angler, you can get by with a simple paper map, but good electronics make it much, much easier. Below is a breakdown of the unit and cards Tim was using in the video as well as a few other options he recommends at various price points.

Main Unit- Humminbird Solix 15: http://bit.ly/2Hazsej

Map Card- Humminbird Lakemaster Plus: http://bit.ly/2Dk5Erc

Other Map Cards…

-Humminbird Lakemaster: http://bit.ly/2wAZ8ZJ

-Navionics HotMaps Platinum: http://bit.ly/2ZitTiR

Other Units…

-Humminbird Helix 7: http://bit.ly/2SoFl8a

-Lowrance HDS 7 Live: http://bit.ly/2VYomMA

-Garmin Striker Plus: http://bit.ly/2skseug

Keeping your electronics screen clean is really important. The best product we’ve found to do that is Wave Away. It cleans finger prints and water spots with very little effort instead of scrubbing at the screen until your hands hurt.

Wave Away Screen Cleaner: http://bit.ly/2PhHmmC


Need Apparel? Tacticalbassin Gear is in stock! Get your hats, hoodies, and sunshirts by emailing Tacticalbassinapparel@gmail.com

Back in Black: Abel Reels Releases New AC/DC Collaboration

Back in Black: Abel Reels Releases New AC/DC Collaboration thumbnail

From Abel Reels:

The custom Abel x AC/DC reel features the iconic AC/DC logo in a hand-painted and hand-anodized finish. A proprietary process also adds background smoke, completing a one-of-a-kind design that fans will aspire to add to their collection. These limited editions are available in the Super Series model in two sizes; 5/6 and 7/8. Each reel is individually serialized 1 through 300 in an AC/DC style font that aficionados are sure to recognize.


  • Limited Edition run, individually serialized 1 to 300
  • Hand-polished and hand-anodized finish featuring a proprietary satin smoke effect, and the iconic AC/DC logo
  • Spool is finished in Abel’s Satin Black with a machined aluminum handle, custom anodized in a unique finish that mirrors the AC/DC logo
  • Reel frame, spool, drag knob and foot made of 6061-T651 cold-finished aerospace grade aluminum
  • Constructed with the patented “smooth as silk” cork drag system
  • Double pawl system on all sizes
  • Quick change spool
  • 100% Made in USA

Each reel MSRP’s for $1355 and is available for sale now on Abel’s website!

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