Bamaspot’s Shoal Bass Adventure

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Jackson Cruise Fishing Setup

I was asked to show the setup on my Jackson Cruise. I bought this boat back in the summer before they began making the Cruise in the “Angler” Version so my boat will differ than some of the Cruise boat now being made. I chose the cruise as my boat of choice because it gave me the open space of a Coosa but better tracking and lower profile of the cuda. I think of it as a cross between the Cuda and the Coosa. It has the best of both boats in my opinion.

To begin with, I use the center hatch to store my waterproof camera, nothing else goes in there but the camera. It’s quick access but keeps it protected.


Next is my painter, or tow rope. It is a necessity when river fishing. It’s a rare time when you never have to leave your boat and whenever you leave the boat the painter is the first thing you grab. Mine in the picture is kind of a small diameter to what I usually use.


If you want to learn more about a painter check out Kreekn from Big Willis Outfitters youtube video.

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One bungee cords that run across the front of the Cruise I added some wiffle golf balls. I did this for two purposes, it raises the bungee off the deck of the boat so you can slide your paddle underneath very easily. Additionally ii is a holder for my fishing rods, it keeps them between the two and pointed straight ahead where I want them to be.


I added paddle holders to both sides of my kayak. The newer Cruise has paddle holders now but mine did not come with any. These are simple bungee cords ran under the handle to a j- hook that I added. I did this because I only had to drill one hole for each paddle holder. It works very well and holds the paddle and a stake out pole in place and easily accessible.


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I added a fish grip to keep fish in the boat. An old microphone cord works pretty well.


Carrying tackle on-board for me consist of 4 waterproof plano boxes that go underneath the seat and a bag of plastics that I tie off and place at my right foot. I really like them being there as they are so convenient.



I store my essentials such as wallet and keys in a dry box in the bag behind the seat. This makes them readily available in case the game warden happens to show up. Of course that has never happened while kayak fishing.


Soft sided cooler to put my drinks, snacks and lunch in. Tied down with the bungees, so it doesn’t get away.


I added the ram balls and the Zooka Tubes to hold two fishing rods. They work pretty well and without the need for a bungee to tie them off like on the rocket launchers.

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On the right side of my seat is a pair of high quality pliers. I use these to remove hooks, cut line and etc…


My trust Foxworx paddle. Hand made in the U.S.A.


My anchor system was added to give addition control. It consist of a clothesline reel mounted inside the kayak, and the line runs around the left side and out a hole, through the mini clam cleat and through eye pads and out the back of the boat. It works quite well and I have been well pleased with it. In the picture below is a grapple anchor, I use this in the saltwater only. In the rivers I use a drag chain.

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All components were added with pop rivets and marine goop.


Inside the kayak I always carry a dry bag and a spare paddle. In the dry bag is a change of clothes, first aid kit, multi-tool, duct tape, fire-starter and toilet paper.

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Fox Worx Kayak Paddles

From time to time there comes along a product that is a notch above the rest. I get asked from time to time about my kayak paddle. The reason being I think is my paddle is so different from what guys are use to seeing.

A couple of years ago Jacky and myself went to Shoaliepalooza in GA. While on the flint river fishing for shoal bass I pushed off a rock with my paddle and heard a pop. I knew that wasn’t good but kept on fishing. Well upon further inspection the shaft of the paddle had crack all the way around. I tried to fix it with super glue but figured it wouldn’t last. I was right. eventually the whole blade broke off.

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Now I was pretty disappointed to say the least, this was a big name brand fiberglass shaft paddle, and it wasn’t to cheap. I sure wasn’t going to by one of those again. So I began to search for something better.What did I find? I found a company that builds you a paddle, just the way you want it and for the same money as those factory made paddles made by the big companies.

Fox Worx canoe and kayak paddles based out of Bainbridge NY. Their kayak paddles use basswood shafts that are sealed with epoxy and polyurethane and are available in regular and small diameter. The paddles are 2 piece with an aluminum ferrule that is feathered neutral. I bought their “Splash” model that comes with a colorful paddle; they come in lengths from 210 to 250cm or over 250cm for a small charge.

Here is pictures of mine when it was new:


So your thinking a wood shaft on my kayak paddle, won’t that be heavy? I will tell you NO! At 38oz it’s almost the same as a fiberglass shafted paddle. Durability? You better believe it, I have put my through the wringer, I have not babied this thing at all and it hasn’t missed a beat. Done everything I have asked of it.

Take a look at the pictures of the paddle now, you can see the scratches from floating all the rocky rivers. But the scratches are just superficial, the blades are as stout and true as the day I got it.

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 I love this paddle, the feel of a wood is so much better than aluminum or fiberglass. It’s never hot or cold. Go check them out.





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Kayak Bass Fisherman switches to Salt

When people talk about saltwater fishing most people immediately have visions of Louisiana.. I’m not a saltwater guy, pretty much a bass fisherman and that’s it. I dream of 5lb smallmouth.

I recently had a chance to return to the saltwater to fish, but it’s in a location that probably not on many peoples radar scope, South Mississippi. Woke a 3am, 15 minutes later I was headed south. Stopped on the way in Hueytown to pick up my buddy Mike (The one that talked me into this salt stuff) By 5am we were headed south again.

We rolled into Shepard State Park at 10am on fire to setup camp and get on the water. Shepard is a nice place although it could use some work and could use some pest control for the mighty brave raccoons.

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Not long after we got there the rest of the crew showed up from the morning fishing adventure, sadly the news wasn’t good. Fishing had been tough that morning and the temperatures had been close to freezing that morning. Not what we wanted to hear but still we were ready to persevere.


So by 1230 we were on the water ready to wear the fish out. Somebody forgot to tell the fish! This was a new place to me although we had passed it before. The bite was tough and very few came to hand, although what did make it in the cooler were nice ones. No one had the skunk; even I managed a dink flounder. Mike caught his best red to date and Matthew caught a nice red also.








The evening was spent around the campfire with hamburgers and hot dogs  Steve was nice enough to bring us enough firewood for two nights! Mike cooked up a peach dump cobbler in the Dutch oven that was spot on for some hungry fisherman. That’s one nice thing about camping when you go on these fishing trips is sitting around the fire talking fishing and learning new things.











Day two we were met up with Steve at the boat launch. Mike had been here before but for the other three of us it was all new. The setup was perfect, it was an area that had not been affected by the recent influx of freshwater, the winds were nonexistent and the current was moving. That’s pretty much where it ended, it wasn’t meant to be. I did more paddling than I did fishing, recent dredging in the area may have affected the fish. Maybe it is just too early? I caught one legal flounder.

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So we all pulled out and loaded up to fill our bellies. I had an idea for the perfect place to go for that all though I had never been there. So we pull in to Bozo’s Seafood Market and Deli. You give your order to a lady at a back-corner table. She writes it on a white paper sack, which she plops on an adjacent counter. You help yourself to a soft drink from a cooler or the soda fountain and browse the seafood market in back or the shelves of spice mixes. Then you pick up that same sack, now filled with fresh seafood, or perhaps a po’boy, and eat at a paper-towels-equipped table against the opposite wall. It doesn’t get any more down-home.

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After lunch we had a new plan; and we headed to the new launch point. It was not meant to happen, we arrived to discover the wind had picked up and was now blowing a steady 15 mph. The place we had in mind was in the wide open and there was no protection from the wind.

After a 5 minute discussion on what to do we decided our only option was to back up and punt. A new location with wind protection in mind was decided and off we went again. At the new location it was confirmed that we made the right choice, wind was being block, somewhat and the water was looking good. Fishing the rest of the afternoon everyone scored. Not too bad for a place that none of us had been to before. By the time I decided to head back toward the truck I soon discovered that I was the only one still on the water. I think everyone else was done for! Arms like jelly if you know what I mean.

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We said goodbye to Steve and headed on back to camp. Cleaned up and headed to town for some good food cooked by someone else! We ate at the Country Gentleman restaurant. Good food if you are ever in the area!

While we didn’t kill them we all still had a good time, I think we are just a wee bit early for the fish to move up into the bayous. I think the recent influx of freshwater and cold temperatures has set back the movement of fish into the shallows by a few weeks.

To fish the saltwater there is not that much to invest; your bass rod and reels will work fine in the bayous. Tackle to fish with is a minimal investment too.

You might say why MS when I can go to LA? A MS out of state saltwater license is only $34.29 for a year compared with Louisiana at $90.

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Susquehanna Fishing Magazine.

So your looking for something to read, new fishing tips, a new fishing technique or kayak/river fishing in general. Go by and check out Susquehanna Fishing Magazine. They have lots and lots of useful and informative articles.

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Black Friday shakedown

Made plans to fish Friday, had something new that I was a hankering to test out. Some people didn’t make it but us that did made the best of it. It was a nice day to be on the river, and we were on water that we hadn’t wetted a line in for quite a long time.

It turned out to be a good choice and we were doing well for quite awhile this morning. But it was like a switch was flipped and then we couldn’t buy a bite to save our life. The cold front passed through and boy could you tell it!

Anyway here is a little fish porn for those that couldn’t make it:

First slime in the new boat!!!

Mike got in on the action too:

Brown bass are the best!!!

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October BIG BASS Tournament

Here are the rules for this month’s tournament!

October Tournament Rules

1)Must be a member beforehand.

2)Each participant will have a ONE fish Stringer, in which all black bass are eligible.

3)To become eligible, fish must be photographed on an approved measure board and released quickly as possible.(Mouth closed and facing left please)

4)Pictures posted on this thread will count, All fish must be photographed and weighed.

5)Tournament fish must be caught from any free flowing river, stream or creek in the U.S. NO lakes or ponds!

6)All tournament fish must be caught using artificial lures. NO live bait!

7)Participants are on the honor system.(There will be a “PRIZE” for the winner!)

8)Watercraft used must be human propelled, no Engines or Trolling motors.

9)Contest runs from October 1st to October 31st.

10)Smallmouth Bass get a 1″ addition.

10)Approved measuring board: Hawg Trough any branded, Rapala Folding Ruler, The golden rule, BPS folding ruler, any other that is pre approved.


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Hay’s Canadian Adventure!

I am going to do my best to recount the events of the last week.  I’m surprised I was able to sleep the night before our departure.  The plan was to get to International Falls, MN (the coldest city in the mainland US) by plane, catch a shuttle across the border to Nestor Falls, Ontario, then hop a seaplane to Delaney Lake Lodge.  There are no roads to access the lodge, so literally all supplies are flown in via seaplane, including guests.  The first night in Canada, we stayed at the Nestor Falls Motel, which was pretty close to roughing it.

At least they had a restaurant bar next door, complete with cold Labatt Blue and a pool table to pass the time.

The next morning, we boarded the seaplane to Delaney Lake.  Here is my dad

The views from the seaplane were really incredible.  Canada appears to be almost all water.

We arrived at the lodge and took a minute to get the lay of the land.

After dumping our stuff, it was about 10:00, and we were eager to hit the water.  We enlisted the help of a guide, and oue first stop was for lake trout.  Catching lake trout is a lot like bottom fishing for snapper; drop to the bottom and wait for the bite.  Within the first 5 minutes, I was rewarded with the first fish of the trip.  We were fishing in about 60′ of water here.  Also, it was warm enough to wear shorts and sunscreem the first day

My next fish hit within the next few minutes.  The lake trout bite was good.

My dad quickly got the feel for it as well

Doubled up

Aftr catching a few lake trout, we decided to try our hand at casting on the banks for smallies and Northerns.  The first Northern of the trip was a 34″ that my dad caught on a Mepps 5.

Here is a nice smallie my dad caught in 35′ while jigging for trout.  The bigger smallies were out deep.  This lake was crystal clear.  You could see the bottom at 20′.

I got in on the Northern pike action

Actually, I think this is dad’s 34″

5 minutes before we headed in for dinner, my dad caught the ever elusive muskie! Our guide said that this was the first one he’s seen boated this year on his trips.

The Canadian sunsets were really stunning.  The sky seems so big up there

The leaves were already turning for fall.  This waterfall came from Muksie Lake, which was a lake that only holds muskies and lakers.  We’d hit that later in the week.

Day 2- Lodge

My guide told me that if I wanted a shot at a big smallie that I needed to be at the dock at 5 am when he clled the dead minnows.  I popped out of bed at 4:50 am with bronzebacks on the mind.  My early morning was rewarded with some decent ones.

Late on the second day, my dad and i took the boat ou ourselves before dinner to try to find one of the elusive big smallmouth.  Throwing a pumpkinseed tube, I got a good bite on my second cast.  After a thrilling fight, I brought this 35″ Northern Pike to the net.

On the English River, we were primarily fishing for walleyes and Northerns, with some smallmouth mixed in.  The English River is amazing.  Bald eagles everywhere.  It is like a huge chain of lakes and bays, with heavy current in the main channels.  Walleye and Northerns stack up on the rocky points and deep humps.

My first sauger.

Day 3 (I think)

My brother in law and my father in law.


Shore lunch

Back to the fishing

Day 4 Muskie Lake- after a steep hike up the ridge

We left Muskie Lake after a few hours with no fish.  I had a 3′ muskie grab my gigiantic spinnerbiat as I was lifting it out of the water.  He was on for maybe 2 or 3 seconds, then back to the deep.  My guide still called that a good day.  Back to the lodge lake.


Lake trout on!

Did I mention that it was cold, rain, and windy most of the trip?

Dinnertime was always fun

My personal best 22 1/2″ walleye the last day

Not to be outdone, my brother in law’s 22 1/2″ walleye

More scenery.  Rock bluffs everywhere on the English River

More shore lunch.  Everything fried in LARD

Nevermind, here are the 22 1/2″ walleyes

Decent smallie.  They were fat up there

Here is our guide Robert.  He was great and put us on fish the whole trip.

Time to leave already?

This is a trip I hope that I never forget.  The best time that my father and I have ever had together.  I hope to be able to go back someday.

P.S.- Please forgive the sideways pictures.  Not sure why they rotated when I posted.

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Lures from ICAST part two

Continuation of the Lures from ICAST.

Up first is the Crappie magic crankbaits from Strike King, anybody tried these? I think in certain situations these would be great!

If your tired of throwing the frog for your topwater you might want to try Flip in the Bird. Looks pretty cool but I don’t know if it’s going to be better than a frog??

Speaking of frogs lets not forget an old standby that’s been around for years and is still a great bait. The scumfrog, they are still made in Mississippi. The particular one on the picture is the walker, made to be able to walk the dog.

I ran across a neat product from Castiac, actually two different baits but very similar. There were tons of Alabama Rigs style at the show but this one looked like the ones I would buy.


And the topwater umbrella rig the Frog Brigade.

And the last one is called the spintube, it’s a really neat fly that is made to be used with a spinning rod. I really liked this product, all the way from Finland.

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Lures from ICAST

I thought I would post of some of the lures that I ran across at ICAST that I thought was unique or might be of interest to someone. But I got to say, there was so much that I missed a bunch of cool stuff I’m sure.

First up is the Poppin Phattie from Snagproof, it was design by Ish Monroe. This frog has a flat concave front for that popping action but on the inside it has a rattle that slides back and forth as you pop it. I thought it was very different and worth a try for you frog fans.

I ran across the new Rapala Balsa Extreme Swimmer. This is a balsa bait that is encased in plastic, suppose to give it a really nice action. I thought it was a nice really looking bait, it also comes in the non jointed minnow version too.

ABT Lures had a new topwater/ swimbait called the King Dawg that was really nice looking, if you don’t know ABT they are famous for a swimbait called the Banshee. They also had a very cool umbrella rig but then again those things were everywhere. But check the King dawg out, there’s a nice Youtube video showing the action of this bait.

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Ran across a spinnerbait that looked really different, it’s Megastrike’s strike back spinnerbait. It looks like a regualr spinnerbait but the hook will swivel a 180 degrees. It keeps the fish from getting leverage to be able to throw the bait, it’s also suppose vibrate more than a standard spinnerbait.            

Live target had a new hardbait frog that looked pretty nice, it won best new hardbait for ICAST.

I’m a big fan of Culprit worms and they had a pretty nice looking big ole fat worm called the Fat Maxx, big worms for big fish right?

I have more to come so look for part two on Lures of ICAST.

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