New Product TrendsNew Product Trends Let's look at some basic products for tournament fishing. All of them have changed significantly in recent years.
By Bill Wilcox
I remember when the new so-called super lines first came out. Practically everybody, including myself, thought they were the best new products for bass fishing since the trolling motor. I'll have to admit I was as high on the bandwagon as anyone else was. However, like everything we use, there is a time and place for each item.
The place for the new super lines is usually on only one or two rods in the rod box. The only situation that I now use these lines is when flipping heavy cover such as thick grass or brush.
I fish nearly every day and have many opportunities to experiment with different lines and lures. The one thing that really stands out when one of my clients or I have used a super line is that when a bass jumps, at least one third of the time, they'll throw the bait.
I've used a variety of rod actions and types with these lines. I feel that the no-stretch characteristics of these lines allow slack, which in turn allows the bass to throw the lure easier.
Missed strikes are another of the problems with these lines. The one example I see most often is when using a Carolina rig. I use this bait about 50 percent of the time because it is one of the easiest methods to fish. This is especially true if you want to catch big fish.
I've seen missed strikes occur on hundreds of occasions. Every strike one of my clients has on mono, they will catch their fish. Too often the ones using the super lines will miss them. I've even had them switch rods with me and seen the situation change immediately.
The super lines do give you better sensitivity and better feel. Keep in mind, the bass will receive the same on the other end of the line. Which is why they so often can shake the bait. That same sensitivity allows them to let go of the hook very quickly.
There are, of course, exceptions to this, but think about your choice of line for certain applications. Newer is not always better.
I think newer is definitely better when it comes to hooks, trolling motors, graphs, and batteries. I used to spend many hours sharpening hooks in the old days. Now, I just change them if they get dull or old. There are many super sharp hooks on the market today and most crankbaits are sharp right out of the package.
Trolling motors have come a long way in the last few years, too. I use a 36-volt, 80-pound thrust Pinpoint.
Who would have thought with just the touch of a button, you could make your boat follow a creek channel edge or a 10-foot contour line along the shore? In fact, I don't call my Pinpoint a trolling motor I call it a positioning system.
In the old days, I had to carry an extra set of batteries in my boat on windy days. I did this because I knew I'd have to have them during a tournament. Now, you can't run them down because they are much more efficient. There are even solar powered devices for recharging while you're operating the boat.
I've been using Advantage batteries and the name says it all. In the past I would, without fail, go through two sets of batteries in a season. Spending nearly 300 days a year on the water will definitely take a toll.
There have been a lot of things over the past few years that have changed for the tournament angler. There are still many standard, reliable products that have been around for years that are worthwhile. That's what's good about fishing. When it comes to new versus old, we get to use the best of both.
Besides, all you have to do is wait a little while and something new will be just around the corner. If it is a good product, after a while it will become a reliable standard.
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