Thursday, March 15, 2018

Huk Gear All Weather Bibs and Jacket Review

I have always had inadequate outerwear and with as much as I fish and hunt, I needed an upgrade this year. I did some internet research and to my surprise, there was not much in the way of reviews of the various options out there with outerwear. I looked at many different options including, Simms, Frabill, Stormyr, and Huk. To be honest they all seemed overpriced for what they were but also seemed necessary to protect one from the elements. After looking into all of the brands I could, I made the decision on The Huk Gear All Weather Bibs and Jacket. They had good looks and seemed to be quite functional. The best of all is that I found them on The Huk Gear Website on sale.

When I got them in the mail I noticed that they were light weight. This is what I wanted because all of the bibs and jackets with insulation were a lot more of an investment and with my base layers and other gear, I did not need insulated items. I immediately noticed the stitching both on the bibs and the jacket. The stitching was sturdy and seemed like it was done with thin but strong thread. The look of them is awesome and I know that it really does not matter how these garments will look, but you know how it goes! When you look good, you feel good!!!. I looked at the jacket and noticed that is was nice and the fit was perfect. I had enough room to fit a few layers underneath for cold weather applications and they were thin and breathable for warm weather. The hood was nice and attached to the jacket both with heavy duty snaps and a zipper for easy removal if needed. All of the zippers had a rubberized coating on them so that when zipped, they were waterproof. This seemed to be a very nice feature of both the jacket and the bibs. Also, the sleeves had velcro on the cuffs so that in case of inclement weather, one could secure the cuffs to keep water to a minimum.

The bibs had the same nice stitching with the same rubber encased zippers. The bibs had nice strong suspenders and it seemed like they would take a beating before they would wear out. The knees had extra material so that it would not wear out and there was no padding under the knees. If you are looking for that you would need to go to The Huk Next Level Bib. The bibs also had the same construction as far as velcro on the bottoms of the legs to close off the bottom to the weather.

Over all, these will fit the mission I need for them. I think they are constructed well and fit nicely. The sizing guide is worth mentioning before I end too. The sizing guide on The Huk Gear Website in my opinion is spot on. I begrudgingly ordered a large despite feeling that I should have ordered an extra large however; the large fit perfectly. I am 5'10" and weigh 180 and they fit with a little extra room for layers. So if you go to the website, just follow the sizing chart unless you want more room. In that case I suggest only going one extra size or they will be too big.

Great looking
Solid Stitching
Extremely waterproof
Heavy duty suspenders
Detachable hood

Still expensive even on sale
No padding in knee area
No insulation if you need that
could use another pocket on bib chest

Here is the video I did on the youtube channel. It will give a visual reference to everything in the review. Good luck and don't forget to visit the youtube channel and subscribe!!!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Bass Pro Shops Carbonlite 2.0 Combo Review

So I went to the Spring Fishing Classic at Bass Pro Shops a few weeks ago and purchased a combo. I normally don't buy combos at all because I like to taylor the reel to the rod for specific techniques. However, this seemed to good to pass up and to be honest, if it was not good, the whole combo was 119.00. Now, as you all probably know, I am a bit of a gear junky and buy normally high priced rods and reels so I was not expecting much from this but it was going to fit a specific technique that I needed to fill. I purchased a Carbonlite 2.0 rod and reel combo. The rod is a medium heavy fast action with a 7.5 to 1 Carbonlite 2.0 Reel.

Aesthetically, the rod and reel looked amazing however; looks do not catch fish. I picked it up and it seemed to be not the lightest combo but definitely adequate. The reel at 5.8oz felt balanced on the rod and the Winn Grips fit my hand very comfortably. It felt every bit as good as my Shimano Chronarch CI4 and that is a significantly higher priced reel. Some notable features of the reel are a standard recurve carbon fiber handle with eva grips, 1-piece machined aircraft grade aluminum frame, 10-bearing system, Dual Braking System, Carbon fiber drag washers, and Titanium nitride-coated line guide. I forgot to mention the price and this is what got me to make the purchase. The price of the rod and reel was 119.00 and this was an unbelievable price.

The rod was also had a nice feel to it. They're built with Carbon Coil Technology, an advanced construction process that creates a double-helix configuration of materials for structural reinforcement. Made with RT4 Graphite, rod blanks are light and also very sensitive, so they can be used even in the demanding tournament arena. Other features of this combo include a line ID system that allows you to keep track of and to easily identify the line weight used on each rod and reel setup. This could be important if you have more than one of these setups. Fuji FaZlite guides further reduce the weight of the combo. The CarbonLite 2.0 Casting Rod uses Winn grips that feel simply put, amazing, reducing stress in your hands and body leading to longer more accurate casts as the day goes on. A skeletonized Air reel seat improves sensitivity by maximizing blank exposure.

Now, all that said I can get to the good part. I used the combo this past week and it performed flawlessly. The rod and reel was very comfortable as I suspected. The dual cast control was smooth and the rig can cast a mile. I was using a straight shanked flippin hook with creature baits to work the rocks on some rip rap with a 3/8 tungsten bullet weight. The rod was extremely sensitive more so than I expected. I was picking up every little contour and rock. Then came the first actual test! I had a strike. Now I felt that this was a small fish because it was just an ever so slight tap on the line. I set the hook and it turned out to be a little silver catfish. I could not believe the sensitivity of this combo. I can compare it to my Kistler Jig Rod and that is paired with a Quantum Exo and that combo is probably 3.5 times the price. A few minutes later I got another hit and this was an aggressive hit. I figured it was a bass and it was. The bass was only about 2.0lbs but I got to see the drag and how that felt. The drag was smooth and the fast action of the tip allowed me to control the fish well because I was fishing off shore and wanted to keep the fish out of the rip rap.

Over all this is a great combo that I would recommend even at full price which is 209.98 on the website. If you can make it to The Bass Pro Shops fishing classic this weekend the price for the whole combo is 119.00 and well worth it. I really think I will be fishing this combo a lot this year and whether you are a seasoned veteran or just want a great entry level rig, this will handle it. The other great part is they are made in casting combos and spinning combos in just about every action and gear ratio. I hope this helps if you are in the market for a new rod and reel.

Nice looking
Smooth Drag
Great cast control
Sensitive rod

Not the lightest
Hook Keeper a bit small and hook will fall out if not enough tension is on the line

Here is the video to accompany the review!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

91 Stratos and missing a friend

This entry finds me in one of the most difficult and one of the best times in my fishing career. A few weeks back I made the decision to sell my 1991 Stratos All Pro Spitfire Edition. It was a decision made partly because I have been bitten by the bass boat bug and know that I want to upgrade into a newer, and a bit nicer version. This boat has an interesting story behind it though and is why I say it is a difficult time as well. I came into this boat when my friend Tony, who was as crazy as I am, told me that I should buy it for my first bass boat. This was in the beginning of the year right after ice out 4 years ago. Tony told me to save up the money for the boat and I agreed because this seemed like a great first bass boat.

Well cut to about two weeks later and we were talking and he was like "You got the money for the boat?" I was like "No, you said you were going to sell it next year." Well Tony being Tony, could not stand going from the boat he just sold, a Ranger 521 into this boat. So my parents helped me out with some money, while I was selling my duck boat so that I could purchase the rig. In May, we finalized the sale and I had my first bass boat.

Unfortunately, later that year my buddy took his own life and to this day I feel like maybe I could have done more to help him so he would still be around. I am a counselor and had a difficult time reconciling that I could not make a difference so he would see the value of his own life. I guess when it comes down to it, he had made the choice and once that happens, not much can be done to stop this kind of thing from happening no matter how hard one tries. He taught me a lot about bass fishing and I am grateful to this day that he turned me onto bass fishing because I had always been a walleye and musky guy.

Cut to the present and about a month ago I made the decision to sell the boat. Now I know that the price I was asking was going to make the rig move quick but I had no Idea how quick. I had a club meeting with my local bass club, The Cast Nation and started to spread the word. I really had no takers but a call from my friend Chris came later that night asking about the boat. He said that his other friend Mike might be interested. I had no idea how interested. The next day Mike gave me a call and we wound up meeting that night, and just like that the boat was sold. Now I know Mike and he's a good dude so I'm glad that he got the boat because I know he will fish the crap out of it and take good care of it. I was not ready for the myriad of feelings that would come up as a result of the sale though.

I was immediately feeling a bit depressed that this boat was no longer going to reside in my garage. I didn't even recognize why. You would figure being in the helping profession I would have been able to spot feelings coming up but even though I'm a counselor, it's difficult to see the process when you are in the process. Anyway, it really hit me this week when The Braidwood Nuclear Power Plant opened. Now I have fished this opening every year for the past three seasons and now not only was my boat sold, I would miss the opening. I did go and that was less than a good trip due to not catching very many fish but reflecting on my feelings toward my friend not being around for the past few years. It's weird how feelings like this just creep in and one does not see them affecting their mood or life.

I know that I will be able to find another rig because my dad has expressed interest in going in with me on a new boat, but until that happens, I can't help but wonder why my buddy did what he did those couple years ago and what our relationship would be now. I guess we all move on in our own ways and I have fought the moving on process because I feel like I am forgetting him in a way. Selling the boat that I bought from him I guess confirmed that thought but when I look at it, I had some great times on the water with him and will never forget that. Just never take your fishing partners for granted because the next time you hit the water, they might not be there with you. I have the knowledge that he gave me and I can still hear him when I'm trying to skip a dock and I throw way too hard, cast it easier and use your wrist. I hope to eventually remember these times only and not the way he tragically took his own life. He was a good dude and I still miss him to this day. Funny how long these things can linger on in our mind.

Thanks for reading and this is just one more way that I can process my feelings in a healthy way. I know that whether I'm on the water or writing about issues that confront my life, or spending way too much on fishing gear, these are all very healthy alternatives compared to my coping skills in the past. My wife might put up a little protest about this notion but she has been a great support and I think recognized the positivity that fishing in general has brought into our lives.

225 Sub Giveaway!

Well this is going to be a short little entry. I am trying to grow my youtube channel and having another giveaway. I am at 192 subs right now and trying to get 225. I am hoping that the people that get into the giveaway don't just do so to get the stuff in the giveaway but rather, keep supporting my channel and maybe learn a thing or two. I have tried to make good quality videos for the people that support the channel and am learning how to make better vids all the time.

I appreciate everyone who has supported my channel so far and looking forward to making better and better videos with more content. So come on over and like, subscribe, and comment so you can get a chance to win the stuff in the giveaway!!!!