Gear Review: LiveTarget Commotion Shad

WHAT IS IT?
LiveTarget Commotion Shad

WHAT SETS IT APART?
If a topwater plug and a spinnerbait — two sure-enough big bass baits — had a baby, it might look like the LiveTarget Commotion Shad. Indeed, this innovative design combines the best of both categories with surface dancing and lots of flashy, attention-grabbing racket. Notably, this bait maintains the familiar profile of a shad and adds in the illusion of an injured baitfish thrashing and splashing at the surface.

HOW DO I USE IT?
The Commotion Shad boasts three-dimensional, anatomically accurate features including scales, pectoral fins, gill plates and eyes. The tail end sports a Colorado spinner blade connected to the body with a durable swivel. When the attraction triggers a bite, the soft hollow body effortlessly collapses to expose the twin hooks that are angled slightly outward for maximum efficiency. The Commotion Shad comes in two sizes: 2 1/2-inch model that weighs 1/2 ounce and the 3 1/2-inch, 5/8-ounce bait.

HOW MUCH?
$14.49

MORE INFORMATION:
LiveTargetLures.com

ANGLER’S INSIGHT:
The Commotion Shad’s design affords anglers the ability to work it with a twitches and jerks that yield an erratic plunking sound from the tail blade, or reel it in a straight retrieve that produces a trackable bubble trail. Seems like a good option for spicing up your topwater game in any scenario, but I’m seeing a real winner for shad spawns and the fall feeding frenzy when schooling activity is off the charts. And come spawning season, dancing this intrusive bait around the perimeter of the bedding areas will likely draw the ire of a big territorial fish with bad intentions.

COOLER ICE RETENTION TEST: YETI, Otter Box, and Igloo

COOLER ICE RETENTION TEST: YETI, Otter Box, and Igloo thumbnail

Cooler companies love to make ice retention claims, stays cold claims, and many other claims. I’ve seen claims of up to 96 hours and at the same time have never seen a cooler hold ice that long. It was time to do a controlled test and figure out, in a side by side comparison what some of these coolers like YETI, Otter Box, and Igloo.  The four coolers tested in this test were a YETI Tundra 45 ($299), the Otter Box Venture 45 ($299), the Igloo Amadeo Bachar Limited Edition BMX 52 ($249), and the Igloo Leeward 50 ($199).

It is financially restrictive to test all the coolers that the readers would like tested. It would cost potentially several thousand dollars to test them all. If you have a cooler you’d like to be tested, contact that company, show them this test, and recommend they send one to me to test. If I didn’t test your favorite brand of cooler, know I am definitely not opposed to it, I’m just not going to be able or willing to buy tons of coolers so every contingent is happy.

Additionally, there are thousands of ways to test ice retention. People will mention precooling, level of ice, draining off water etc in the comments. Trust me I know it’s coming and that is okay. I will only be reporting the results of this test, the way it was performed, and the measurements in between the start and final measurement.

How the Cooler Ice Retention Test was Performed

Cooler Ice Retention Test YETI Otter Box Igloo Payne Outdoors
The testing location but the garage door was closed.

I chose to use an ice weight measurement at all of the checked intervals after draining the water. I weighed all of the coolers on a scale with nothing in them (no accessories, baskets et al). After measuring the coolers’ dry weights I added 20 pounds of ice to each cooler and reweighed them to verify that indeed 20 pounds of ice was added. Each of the four coolers were kept in my garage in Texas (average temperature in the garage was 90 degrees) for the duration of the test. They all sat on the ground, not stacked, side by side at the same proximity to the garage door. No precooling was done.

 

 

Cooler Ice Retention Test YETI Otter Box Igloo Payne Outdoors
Igloo Leeward at 53.5 hours. (zero ice)

At each measurement throughout the test the water was drained off through the drain plugs and then the cooler was weighed. Once a cooler reached its dry weight and I confirmed no ice was left, that cooler was then eliminated and marked zero ice. I can’t speak to the actual moment when the coolers reached zero ice. I can only speak to the cooler going to zero ice sometime between the last two measurements.

Cooler Ice Retention Test YETI Otter Box Igloo Payne Outdoors
Igloo BMX at 53.5 hours (zero ice)

One cooler still had ice at the last measurement and was declared the winner. All other coolers were at zero ice.

Cooler Ice Retention Test YETI Otter Box Igloo Payne Outdoors
YETI Tundra at 53.5 hours

Again I will remind the readers that all possible scenarios were not exhausted here. This is a controlled test with equal variables for all four coolers. Draw from this test what you will. The data is the data for how this was measured. I chose to not remove and weigh the ice because I was afraid of loss due to external heat. I also did not open the coolers except to take a picture of the ice.

Cooler Ice Retention Test YETI Otter Box Igloo Payne Outdoors
Otter Box Venture at 53.5 hours.

Results of the Test

I’ve included a chart and two tables in graphics to show the ice degradation at the measurement points. What is hopefully clear from the data is that both the Igloo Leeward and Igloo BMX went to zero ice at some point between 28 and 53.5 hours. The YETI went to zero ice between 53.5 and 77 hours. At 77 hours the Otter Box Venture 45 still had one pound of ice in it.

Cooler Ice Retention Test YETI Otter Box Igloo Payne Outdoors
Showing both the combined weight and ice weight over the tested time intervals.

 

Cooler Ice Retention Test YETI Otter Box Igloo Payne Outdoors
Ice weight over time by each cooler. Notice the plateau of the Otter Box which represents good cold retention while others on a steady decline.

Cooler Ice Retention Test Final Conclusions

The winner in this particular test was the Otter Box Venture 45. After 77 hours it still had ice. Pretty impressive for temps in the high 90s through the duration. I’d also like to point out how well it held ice through the 53.5 hour mark. If you look at the weight of ice left at that juncture, 9 of the 20 pounds of ice were still in the Otter Box at 53.5 hours. The only other cooler still with ice, the YETI, only had 4 of the original 20 pounds still present.

Cooler Ice Retention Test YETI Otter Box Igloo Payne Outdoors
Otter Box Venture 45 is the ice retention winner!

 

Please follow and like us:

4 Best Walleye Rods Tested by Our Readers

Land more walleye with these rods and proven presentations for ornery ‘eyes.

By Field & Stream Online Editors and Steve Hill

The walleye is better known for its flesh than for its fighting abilities. But we still respect it as a sportfish because its oh-so-light bite makes it oh-so-hard to catch. A good spinning rod for jigging ‘eyes must be strong enough to set the hook firmly and handle big fish, yet sensitive enough for you to detect that subtle take. We gave four walleye fishermen four rods to find out which helped them put the most fillets in the fryer.

These rods helped Field & Stream readers catch more walleye.
Find out which walleye rods and tactics helped Field & Stream readers catch more fish.Field & Stream Online Editors
Four Reader-Tested Walleye Jigging Rods
Our readers tested four popular jigging rods for toughness, power, balance, weight and, most important, sensitivity.

Fenwick Elite Tech Walleye

“Well balanced, lightweight, but very strong.”Field & Stream Online Editors

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Specs – Length: 6’6” • Power: ­medium-light • Lure weight: 1⁄8 to 5⁄8 oz.

The Lowdown: The Fenwick Elite Tech Walleye earned high praise all around. The test team felt the rod was well made and sensitive enough to detect subtle takes. One tester singled out its hooksetting ability. Hill called it “well balanced, lightweight, but very strong. It’s extremely sensitive from tip to butt.” Reiser said, “To fish eight or 10 hours with a heavy rod” is a chore, but this rod was “a joy to use.” Cicinelli’s one complaint was that the rod proved “a bit underpowered for vertical jigging. It’s better suited to drift jigging with live bait.”

Hits: “You can feel the lightest tap.” –Hill

Misses: “The highest price of all four rods.” –Cicinelli

MSRP: $150

St. Croix Eyecon Walleye Series

“The ultimate rod handle for all-day fishing.”Field & Stream Online Editors
★ ★ ★ ★

Specs – Length: 6’3” • Power: medium • Lure weight: 1⁄8 to 1⁄2 oz.

The Lowdown: Testers gave this split-grip, fast-tip rod extremely high marks for sensitivity and fish-fighting abilities, but its innovative grip cost it the top slot. St. Croix left the graphite shaft bare from the reel seat down to improve sensitivity and reduce weight. Two testers really liked it; two didn’t. It “feels kind of fragile,” said Hill, and didn’t feel comfortable in his hand. Schill disagreed, calling it “the ultimate rod handle for all-day fishing.” Cicinelli felt the St. Croix Eyecon Walleye Series was the best vertical jigger of the group and said he loved the reel-seat design.

Hits: “Extra-fast action.” –Cicinelli

Misses: “Still on the pricey side.” –Reiser

MSRP: $100

Bass Pro Shops Walleye Angler Signature Series

Schill liked the rod’s hooksetting ability with enough sensitivity “to feel that twitch.”Field & Stream Online Editors

★ ★ ★ ★

Specs – Length: 6’ • Power: ­medium-light • Lure weight: 1⁄16 to 1⁄2 oz.

The Lowdown: Although not the top performer, the price of the Bass Pro Shops Walleye Angler Signature Series made it a solid value. “It’s not as rugged as the others,” Cicinelli said, “but it’s plenty tough.” He didn’t love the ratcheting reel-seat mechanism, feeling that “it might not hold the reel tight over time.” Reiser thought it was “innovative.” Hill said the rod had plenty “of backbone for handling fish” but felt the tip could have been more sensitive. Schill liked the rod’s hooksetting ability with enough sensitivity “to feel that twitch.”

Hits: “Good sensitivity.” –Reiser

Misses: “A little heavy.” –Hill

MSRP: $90

Shimano Clarus CSS66M2B

“Well built and durable.”Field & Stream Online Editors

★ ★ ★

Specs – Length: 6’6” • Power: medium • Lure weight: 3⁄16 to 5⁄8 oz.

The Lowdown: The only two-piece rod, the ­Shimano Clarus CSS66M2B was cited by two testers for its portability. But it drew divided opinions about its suitability for jigging walleyes. Two thought the rod performed admirably; two thought it was “too heavy” to handle light-​­biting walleyes. “The action was a little too slow and sluggish,” said Cicinelli. He did say the rod was “well built and durable,” an appraisal echoed by Schill. Despite feeling that the rod was a bit stiff, Schill said it helped him land fish quickly, and the rod’s construction made it versatile, improving its overall value.

Hits: “Rugged.” –Schill

Misses: “Poor balance.” –Hill

MSRP: $80

New Expert Ways to Land More Walleye

Learn their secrets or be left behind this season with an empty cooler and plenty of frustration.

1. Go Bold in the Cold
After a cold front shuts down the bite, most anglers go to lighter tackle and slower presentations. Not Perry Good. He goes bold, using bigger lures and erratic retrieves to provoke reaction strikes.

“I like to rip a jigging spoon,” Good says, noting that this classic ice-fishing lure can also fire up lethargic open-water walleyes. Choose a ¼- to ½-ounce model and cast to the edges of weedbeds, timber, or rocky structure. Wait for it to flutter to the bottom, then jerk the rod tip to rip the spoon toward the boat. Let it sink and repeat. If this action doesn’t trip a fish’s fuse, Good tries the same presentation with a 1/8- to ¼-ounce jig and a 3-inch shiner.

2. Use a Planer Board
For eliciting bites from walleyes, the use of planer boards has been, according to Tommy Skarlis, “the biggest advancement in the last 10 years of tournament fishing.” But, he admits, it’s all for nothing if you miss those strikes. When he trolls a crawler harness beneath a board, Skarlis boats more of the subtle biters by adding an Offshore Tattle Tale Flag strike indicator ($22; 800-237-4444; cabelas.com). The flag signals any slight change of the planer’s action. Also, because short-striking walleyes often nip the bait below the terminal hook on a standard harness, Skarlis puts a No. 10 light-wire treble at the very end of the crawler to nab sneaky bait stealers.

3. Add a Slider Rig
To increase hookups as he searches for scattered fish suspended in open water, Ted Takasaki adds slider rigs to his trolling setup. These are basically droppers attached to the main trolling line via a sliding snap about halfway between the planer board and the boat. Where legal, sliders let you cover a wider swath of water and try a variety of baits to pinpoint what walleyes want on a given day.

Takasaki uses a heavier dropper line (usually 20-pound) than his main line to help prevent tangling. The key to the tactic, he says, is to vary the depth (by adding more weight or longer line) and spinners and crank-baits until you start getting hit.

4. Try a Roach Rig
A roach rig is a classic setup for slowly trolling or drifting live bait along promising bottom structure. It typically features an 8-pound-test main line and leader and a ¾-ounce sinker. But when the bite turns tough, Mike Gofron tweaks this old standby for a more natural presentation. First, he lightens things up with a 6-pound mono main line, a 3/8-ounce sinker, and a 4- to 8-foot-long 4-pound leader. Second, he anchors directly above marked fish and presents the rig vertically.

“With your finger on the line, you’ll feel the minnow start to get livelier,” Gofron says. “It’s acting that way because a walleye is right on its tail.” That’s when you want to open the bail to let the bait swim free–the panicked flight will attract a strike from the walleye.

5. Crank a Crawler
The crawler harness isn’t just for bottom fishing anymore. When walleyes suspend high in the water column (and where multiple lines are legal), Paul Meleen pairs this traditional favorite with a deep-diving crankbait. This enables him to better control the depth of his presentation. Meanwhile, the crankbait’s diving action keeps the lures separated and contributes movement to the spinner.

Here’s how to rig it: A three-way swivel goes on the end of your main line. To the top ring, tie a 5-foot leader and connect a crawler harness with a quick-change clevis. On the remaining ring, tie a 10-foot leader and attach a snap and a crankbait. With the snap and the clevis, you can change baits easily. Switch often until you start nailing fish.

6. Throw a Jerkbait
When bass pros complained about catching too many walleyes on his home waters in west-central Wisconsin, Nick Johnson copied their tactics. He started retrieving a suspending jerkbait over shallow structure and discovered that aggressive postspawn walleyes are just as quick as bass to clobber what appears to be a wounded baitfish.

Copy Johnson by casting a Berkley Frenzy, Rapala Husky Jerk, or Lucky Craft Pointer SP to shorelines, rock piles, or submerged weeds in 2 to 6 feet of water. Point the rod tip toward the water. Snap it sharply back three or four times while reeling in slowly to create an erratic, rolling action. Pause several seconds and resume snapping. Be ready for walleyes to strike on the pause.

Piscifun Carbon X Spinning Reel Review

By Walker Smith

I’m willing to bet that I’m like most of you. When I see a good-looking spinning reel for under $70, I’m pretty skeptical. Looks can only get you so far. Performance is what makes or breaks a reel. So I want you to hear me loud and clear with this review.

I don’t know if I’ve been more pleasantly surprised by a fishing reel than I have been with the Piscifun Carbon X Spinning Reel. I don’t say that lightly. Priced at $65.99, I expected a lot less than what I got with this particular reel. I have been fishing with it in ponds, on big lakes and even in saltwater in the bays of St. George Island. It has exceeded my expectations and to be totally honest with you, I’d be totally fine having a front deck full of these reels. For this price point, I don’t think you’ll find a better deal.

Hang with me and I’ll explain what I’m talking about.

(1 of 5) SHOCKINGLY SMOOTH

I sincerely try to avoid using words like “shockingly”, but I’m telling you – this reel is smooth as butter. If I blindfolded you and let you make a few casts with it, I’m willing to bet you’d guess its price at $150 or more.

The Piscifun Carbon X Spinning Reel may not be a household name yet, but it offers almost identical performance as many reels twice its price point. With 10+1 shielded stainless steel ball bearings, everything on this reel moves and functions with impressive smoothness. There is no grit or resistance to speak of anywhere in this reel.

As I mentioned earlier, I have also used this reel in the salt. I don’t know if it’s rated for it or anything like that, but I figured that would be the ultimate test for this review. It’s been three weeks since it has been in the saltwater and I haven’t experienced any performance issues. I’ve fished with it several times since in fresh water and it still performs the same it did when I first unboxed it.

(2 of 5) HIGH GEAR RATIO FOR FAST RETRIEVES

I really like that this reel comes with a 6.2:1 gear ratio. It’s pretty darn quick for a spinning reel and this has been helpful in several different situations. Whether I’ve been trying to wrench a nice bass from underneath a dock on a shaky head or manipulate a speckled trout from backwater reeds, I’ve found the fast retrieve to be quite useful.

A lot of anglers think of spinning reels as wimpy, but this reel is anything but. It has some serious power for getting fish out and away from cover.

(3 of 5) IT’S A LOT LIGHTER THAN I EXPECTED

Let’s be real – most of the reels at this price point feel like bricks in your hands. They’re clunky, uncomfortable and just don’t feel right. The content guys at Wired2fish all started calling each other when we unboxed these reels – none of us could believe how lightweight they were.

The Carbon X features an all carbon fiber body, rotor and side plate which allows it to weigh in at just 7.8 ounces. Although it’s so light, it also feels really sturdy while fishing.

(4 of 5) THE DRAG IS PRETTY DARN GOOD

The Carbon X has three premium oversized carbons washers that offer up to 33 pounds of drag power with a sealed rubber ring protecting the drag system from dust and water. That all sounds good, but how does it perform?

The drag performs excellently when you find the sweet spot. I’ve noticed that if you’re a click or two away from this sweet spot that the drag can be a little prone to surging at times. But it took me a minute or two to find the happy medium and once I found it, the drag was impressive. There were no delays in line dispensing and it remained smooth even during hard, boat- or shore-side runs.

(5 of 5) FINAL IMPRESSIONS

If you let the price tag of this reel scare you away, you’re doing yourself a disservice. This is one of the more impressive spinning reels I’ve tested this year and I really believe the Carbon X could be a major player once it catches on. I’m seriously considering buying a few more because they’re that good. At $65.99, they’re awfully tough to pass up.

The Piscifun Carbon X Spinning Reel is available at Piscifun.com.

Patagonia used 10,000,000 plastic bottles to make its new Black Hole bags

The iconic brand is on a mission to go 100% recycled

by Chad Shmukler

Did you know that the clothing industry pumps more carbon into the air—roughly 1.2 billion tons—than all international airplane flights combined? The creation of materials used throughout the clothing and apparel industry, whether natural or synthetic, is a carbon-intensive process, and one most often powered by coal-fired power plants. Using recycled materials can prevent an enormous amount of carbon from ending up in the atmosphere. And that’s why Patagonia is on a mission to completely eliminate virgin materials from its manufacturing.

If reaching their goal of using 100% recycled materials sounds like pie-in-the-sky snowflake stuff, consider that, as of this year, Patagonia has already made it to 69%—leading the charge on the use of recycled synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon, as well as natural fibers like cotton, wool and down.

Sadly, the industry average is a paltry 13%. But Patagonia wants that to change. According to the brand, if the clothing industry as a whole recycled at the same rate as Patagonia, the atmosphere could be spared the same amount of carbon emissions that would be generated powering every household in the state of California for an entire year.

The latest in Patagonia’s recycling mission is its new line of its revered Black Hole bags. The new Black Hole line of bags have body fabric and webbing that are now made with 100% recycled materials—mostly plastic bottles.

According to Patagonia, 10 million plastic bottles went into this year’s lineup of bags—which includes everything from the latest version of the venerable Black Hole duffels, backpacks and rolling luggage to ultralights, waist packs, cubes, totes and even mini-hip packs (read: fanny packs).

On top of using 100% recycled body fabric, Patagonia’s Black Hole bags are also made in Vietnam at a factory that produces zero wastewater. The facility treats all of the wastewater from their manufacturing onsite and uses it to water trees around the factory—eliminating wastewater pollution in nearby rivers and stream while recycling that water into the natural environment around the factory.

To see the entire lineup of new Black Hole bags, visit Patagonia.

Catch Outdoors’ Catawba Worm

Ned Kehde

A Catawba worm is one of the hornworm species. It is also known as the catalpa. It is the larval stage of a hawk moth, which has the scientific and binomial name of Ceratomia catalpa.

In the United States, it can be found in the Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest. They reside around catalpa trees.

For years on end in the angling world, these two- to three-inch caterpillars have been a much treasured live-bait.

Kelly Barefoot of Raleigh, North Carolina, who is the proprietor of Catch Outdoors BITE! and a much heralded lure designer, created his soft-plastic rendition of a Catawba worm in 2018. We asked him to send us one to work with and help us compose a Midwest Finesse gear guide about it. And straightaway he sent us several of them.

In the eyes of most Midwest finesse anglers, Barefoot’s king-sized version of the Catawba worm resembles an ornate stick-style bait. Others might say it is an odd combination of a creature-style bait and a stick-style bait.

Here is what we discovered about them.

Some of the first words anglers uttered upon seeing it are: “It is a wowie-zowie critter.”

According to our measurements, it is 4 7/16 inches long.

Barefoot’s Catawba Worm’s torso possesses a thorax and an abdomen, which consists of eleven segments. The sides of each segment are adorned with several minor ribs. The dorsal area is convex, and its epidermis is smooth. Its ventral is flat, and it is embellished with seven pairs of tiny pyramid-shaped appendages.

Its head possesses a bulbous shape. It is about a quarter of an inch long and five-sixteenths of an inch wide with a circumference of about one inch. Its epidermis is smooth. The tip of its head is somewhat flat, and it is where a Midwest finesse angler will insert the hook and collar of a mushroom-style jig.

Its thorax consists of three segments.

The first segment, which is adjacent to the head, is five-sixteenths of an inch long and three-eighths of an inch wide with a circumference of about 1 1/8 of an inch. Its ventral area is emblazoned with the two pyramid-shaped appendages, which anatomists call forelegs.

The second segment is about five-sixteenths of an inch long and about five-sixteenths of an inch wide with a circumference of about 1 1/16 of an inch. Its ventral area possesses two pyramid-shaped appendages, which anatomists call midlegs.

The third segment is about seven-sixteenths of an inch long and about three eighths of an inch wide with a circumference of about 1 1/16 inches. Its ventral area has two pyramid-shaped appendages, which anatomists call hindlegs.

Its abdomen contains eight segments. (It should be noted that the abdomen of a real Catawba worm has ten segments.)

The first abdominal segment is about three-eighths of an inch long and three-eighths of an inch wide with a circumference of about 1 1/4 inches. Its ventral area is devoid of appendages, and its epidermis is smooth.

The second segment is about nine-sixteenths of an inch long and about three-eighths of an inch wide with a circumference of about 1 1/4 inches. Its ventral area is endowed with two pyramid-shaped appendages, which anatomists call abdominal prolegs.

The third segment is about nine-sixteenths of an inch long and about three-eighths of an inch wide with a circumference of about 1 1/4 inches. Its ventral area is graced with two pyramid-shaped appendages, which anatomists call abdominal prolegs.

The fourth segment is about nine-sixteenths of an inch long and about seven-sixteenths of an inch wide with a circumference of about 1 3/8 inches. Its ventral area has two pyramid-shaped appendages, which anatomists call abdominal prolegs.

The fifth segment is about seven-sixteenths of an inch long and about seven-sixteenths of an inch wide with a circumference of about 1 1/4 inches. Its ventral area is adorned two pyramid-shaped appendages, which anatomists call abdominal prolegs.

The sixth segment is about seven-sixteenths of an inch long and about seven-sixteenths of an inch wide with a circumference of about 1 5/16 inches. The epidermis of its ventral area is smooth and devoid of appendances or prolegs.

The seventh segment is about five-sixteenths of an inch long and about seven-sixteenths of an inch wide with a circumference of about 1 1/4 inches. The epidermis of its ventral area is smooth and devoid of appendances. Its dorsal area is embellished with a horn or tail spine that is about four-sixteenths of an inch long.

The eighth segment contains an abstract version of its anus, suranal plate, and anal proleg.

This hand-injected creation is manufactured in the following hues: Black, Bubblegum, Catawba Swirl, Green Pumpkin, Real Catawba, Texas Tea aka Black Gold, Watermelon Red, and White.

It is not impregnated with salt and scent.

A package of eight costs $5.49.

When Midwest finesse anglers affix the head of Barefoot’s Catawba Worm to a mushroom-style jig, they will employ it as if it is a traditional stick-style bait. Thus, all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves will be part of their presentation repertoire with this unique soft-plastic bait. Because some Midwest finesse anglers are inveterate customizers of soft-plastic baits, it is likely that they will customize this Catawba Worm a touch. For instance, when its head and thorax becomes too tattered and torn to stay firmly affixed to a mushroom-style jig, they will amputate this area and create a 3 1/2-inch or shorter Catawba Worm. In fact, some Midwest finesse anglers might eventually reduce it down to a 2 1/2- or three-inch version of Barefoot’s handiwork.

A Catch Outdoors’ The Real Catawba Catawba Worm affixed to a black 1/16-ounce Lunker City Fishing’s Ned Head jig.

REVIEW: Stealth QR2 Rod Holder for Kayaks

REVIEW: Stealth QR2 Rod Holder for Kayaks thumbnail

While at ICAST I stumbled across the Stealth rod holder booth walking from one place to another. I had heard of Stealth but hadn’t really looked at them recently. The original version I had seen previously had some bulk to it, wasn’t easily mountable for a kayak without lots of screw holes and wasn’t really what I was after. This new version I saw, the Stealth QR2, however, piqued my interest. It now had available track mounting hardware, extension arms, basically what looked to be a great setup for trolling planer boards or deep cranks. I met the owners Jason and Cari who were happy to let me give one a try to offer some feedback.

Feedback is pretty important for the Stealth as is evidenced by their About Us page. It reads:

We are a family-owned and operated business, not a massive corporation. That means that we get to do things the right way without compromises. 

We treat people the way we want to be treated. We appreciate that you put your trust in us when you purchase our products. 

That’s why we have a Lifetime Guarantee.  We stand behind our gear and we want your day on the water to be amazing. At our best, our products do what they do and allow you to focus on catching fish. But, if we ever let you down we want to know. First, so we can make it right, second, so we can fix it for the future.

About the Stealth QR2 Rod Holder

Stealth QR2 Rod Holder for Kayaks and Boats Payne Outdoors ReviewI know the title says Stealth is a rod holder for kayaks but actually, you could mount it on any boat using all of the different attachments that are offered. Two ways, block, rail mounts, track mounts, pretty much any way you need a rod holder they have a solution. You may also have some questions about make, usage, parts etc. Here are a few of the FAQs from Stealth.

What other systems is Stealth compatible with?

Our system is designed to fit into Scotty and Cabelas bases. The reason is that these are popular bases that may already exist on your boat. Therefore, it eliminates the need to drill new holes if you can leverage an existing compatible base.

Does Stealth have a ball mount adapter? 

Not at this time. The reason is simply that we don’t believe in the ball system. Although we agree that they are easily adjusted, we hear a lot of complaints that they don’t hold up against big strikes.

Stealth QR2 Rod Holder for Kayaks and Boats Payne Outdoors ReviewWhat are Stealth Rod Holders made of? 

All of our composite parts are Glass-reinforced Nylon. This is an Engineering Grade Composite that we specify because of it’s strength to weight ratio, durability, and UV weather-ability.

Will the flexible parts dry rot? 

No. Our flexible parts are made of the same materials that automotive engine gaskets are made of. This material has an operating range from -58 degrees F to over 300F.

Are the metal parts Stainless?

Yes, all of our metal components are 318 Stainless.

What is the Stealth Warranty?

Lifetime. We build our rod holders to last. If you eve have a problem just reach out and we’ll resolve it.  Don’t believe it?  Check out social media. We ALWAYS take care of our customers.

Check out this quick video on different Stealth Rod Holder applications:

 

The Good

Stealth QR2 Rod Holder for Kayaks and Boats Payne Outdoors Review

 

The Stealth QR2 with its unique closure allows you to troll or drift with confidence without having to unlock rod keepers on the rod holder to set the hook. Time is of the essence when a fish hits and the cam system is a really cool and secure way of getting to your hookset faster. Here’s a video of that cam system with owner Jason Begin.

 

#TBT to Captain Mack of @mack.farr – @stealthproducts with the QR2 Rod Holder!…#stealthproducts #rodholder #fishing #bassfishing #newproduct #icast2019 #Instagood #gear #tackle #fishing Mack You ROCK! S T E A L T H R O D H O L D E R S

Posted by Stealth on Thursday, July 25, 2019

I wasn’t really sure how well the cam would work in my trials but I was pleasantly surprised. I tested it trolling Strike King 5XD, 6XD, and 8XD crankbaits. I wanted to see if the QR2 could handle the torque on the rod and stay seated without trying to pop the cam loose. It absolutely stayed put. The only time it came out is when I was setting the hook on a fish and pulled it out of the holder. I like the fact that it doesn’t need to be locked to stay secure and allows a fluid motion for hooksets.

I used the kayak track mount and an extension arm for my trolling set up and they both worked great. The rig was secure from base to cam and even dragging big baits it never wavered. Compared to previous experiences with ball mounted rod holders where a good strike on a bait could cause the whole rod holder to turn. I like the stay put attachment points.

If you have an aluminum boat, a big fiberglass center console or a kayak, the attachment points for you and your boat are available from Stealth. They seem to have identified almost every single configuration a consumer would want and offer it.

Another thing that is great about the Stealth QR2 is that the design allows you to use long-handled or short-handled rods and can easily accommodate spinning or baitcasting reels.

Points of Improvement

 

Stealth QR2 Rod Holder for Kayaks and Boats Payne Outdoors ReviewThe track mount mechanism for the QR2 is a bit bulky. That’s needed for extra security for deep trolling however if an angler just wanted to use the rod holder to hold or stage rods and not necessarily actively fish with them, a smaller profile would be helpful. I know Scotty makes a Gear Head Track Adapter and I think Stealth could easily develop their own style of light application adapter.

Occasionally I had to reset the cam. If you are using a skinnier rod the cam doesn’t always fully disengage on a hook set. It’s still secure in the down position and one of the sides comes up instead of both because the rod girth isn’t quite enough. An ultralight cam version that had a smaller opening could be good. Alternatively, you can reset it into the open position with your hand.

Final Thoughts

While not the ideal rod holder for every situation, if you plan to drift, plane, or troll bait, this is a far better option for fast hooksets and secure rods than so many others on the market. Quick while secure is the staple of what the Stealth QR2 is about.

Stealth QR2 Rod Holder for Kayaks and Boats Payne Outdoors Review

 

Please follow and like us: