Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Going light with Majorcraft Skyroad AJI Rod

The Majorcraft Skyroad AJI rod from Japan has arrived! I paired it with a Certate Ize Custom Red 2506 with PE0.6 Sunline braid. Getting ready for Christmas and New year break.
I will use it for casting micro pencils and jigs for saltwater and for drop shot and finesse fishing for bass.
Last Sunday, I was able to test it on a juvenile threadfin salmon. It can cast very small lures (4grams or less) with ease and handled the fish without effort.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Half Day Fishing Lesson at Irving's School of Fish

I begged my wife for a quick fishing trip today to ease the stress that I experienced this week. Damn that Shellshock GNU BASH vulnerability. What a pain.

Anyway, I had a blast last week at Irving Sih's School of Fish Pond so I decided to give it another shot. My plan was to be at the pond at around 7am so I left the house at 6am. Sadly, the Mindanao exit of NLEX was clogged so it took me an almost half an hour just to enter the expressway.

When I reached McArthur highway, I realized that I have not eaten breakfast. I went to McDo's drive through hoping to get a packed breakfast. Somehow, there were a lot of drivers with the same idea and the line was up to the parking lot. I backed out and went to another fast food restaurant for a quick breakfast. Long story short, the breakfast wasn't quick as it took me a good half hour to get my food.

I arrived at the pond at past 8:30am. An absolute bummer. I thought to myself that I have completely missed the morning bite. Tried all my favorite baits and had no luck. I switched to an old soft plastic and was able to land a couple.

After two fishes, the lure was mangled beyond repair. I checked my box and I only had one left and that one lure already had it share of battles. The lip is slipping out of the hook every time I cast. I quickly tied the lip using a strand of a spro frog's rubber legs. It held well and got three more barramundis. The last fish was over a kilo and it splits the lure's body wide open.

I casted the lure and checked the swimming action. It was still ok. I casted in between the holding nets and I had a solid take. It made a couple of jumps and the hook held. I tried to lift fish but the leader broke. I did not change my 17lb flouro leader even after it already landed 5 barras so it was probably nicked really bad. Oh well, 5 was more than ok for half a day's fishing.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Quick fish in the School of Fish

I went to Irving Sih's School of Fish today. It has been months since I last fished there. And as always, the pond did not disappoint.

I got there at around 11am and fished until 4pm. I lost a few barras and a really big bidbid, my guestimate around 3kg. It was almost an arm's length. It was really close when it broke surface after it was hooked. Unfortunately, the fish threw my lure after another jump. Anyway, I got a couple of barras on a rapala husky jerk.

I heard that a few pond visitors were frustrated because of not catching any barras using lures. I think the most common mistake is not using the right lures, not practicing how to use them, and using too heavy line/leader. My personal recommendation is to use natural colors when the water is clear and using bright colors when it is stained. If the fish ate shy, downsize the lures.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Field Testing: G. Loomis NRX 893c JWR Green and Daiwa TDZ-103HL I'ZE Custom Color

I have been dreaming of owning a Daiwa TDZ-103L. It has a cult following among anglers in the US and in Japan. That urge to get one became more intense when I starting fishing for bass. I was only reluctant to buy one because most online stores are selling them at a high cost plus an expensive customs tax if you will ask them to ship the reels in PH.

A few months back, I saw a TDZ posted in a local online buy-and-sell store. It was not an ordinary TDZ but it was a rare IZE Custom Color TDZ-103HL. This is a JDM reel which is based on the TDZ Type R+. Back in 2004, you have to order these reels in advanced, specify your color and receive them after 4 months. It was said that there were only 1000 of these reels made. It weighs as light as a feather at only 165grams and has a 6.3:1 gear ratio. It has 11+1 bearings, a ceramic Gigas spool, and MagForce V. And, the most important part was the price. It was way affordable than most online stores abroad.

When I went to pick up the reel, another treat was also available for sale. It was a G. Loomis NRX 893c JWR Green baitcasting rod. It was a 7'5" stick. Very light and very fast (from my experience). I felt that it was made to pair with the TDZ reel. So without having second thoughts, I bought them both at a very good price.

A week later, I went to a local bass lake and tested the combo. The first time I tried them was not really a a good experience. I was having problems with the NRX. I can't seem to feel the bottom or the bites. I was using a Texas-rigged 7in Zoom Finesse Worm with 1/2oz  to 3/4oz tungsten and lead sinkers. The reel was loaded with 30lb braid. At that time, I could say that I was really disappointed with the rod. It's a good thing I had my K's Labo rod as a backup. A few days later, I attempted to sell the rod. After almost a couple of weeks of no potential takers, I took the ad down and decided to give the rod another go. I asked around and did some research on how I can fix the "lack of sensitivity" of the NRX. Almost all owners of the NRX never had this issue. A lot of them are also using a TDZ paired with the rod. Their advise, reduce the total weight of the sinker, hook, and worm and use a lighter line.

Photo by JB Sotto

Photo by JB Sotto

Last weekend, I had the chance to test the combo again on the same lake. So, I got the reel spooled with 20lb 8-weave braid, got a new lighter sinker (around 4-5 grams). Total weight of the worm, hook, and the sinker was just 10 grams. On my first few cast, it was a big change. I can feel every bump and every tap. I can also feel the line vibrating when it cuts through the water. It was amazing. I managed to haul a lot of bass big and small. There is something about the rod and the reel that makes them fit perfectly for worm fishing. The rod was also amazing in hook sets. One quick stroke and the hooks are connected perfectly every time. I never lost a fish after a hook set. Also notable is the backbone of the rod. You can literally lift the fish out of the water. It was so powerful. I managed to catch a 2kg+ largemouth bass and the rod handled it without issues.

Photo by JB Sotto
Photo by JB Sotto
As for the reel, there is not much to be said other than it's a wow! All it needs is a new set of RCS cork knobs and carbontex drag and it's going to be perfect.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Storing a 13ft Ocean Kayak Prowler

Before I bought the kayak, my wife had been nagging me about the issue on storage -- where will I store the kayak given our limited space. The kayak is 13.4 feet. My old kayak was only 11.
Initially, I was thinking of hanging it on the wall by it's sides -- using a couple of pulleys. I had to abandon the idea because of the the effort it takes to rig a pulley system and the effort in hanging and bringing it down.
Another idea was hanging it using a wall hanger/rack. I also abandoned the idea when I got a quote from a steel fabricator -- I was quoted P1000 each for bare unpainted racks -- I would need at least two -- then I have to buy the rigging, primer and paint, etc.
After a few days of research, I found out that the best way to store a kayak is standing up. And here's the result. Total cost -- P150 for 2 pairs of buckles and 4 pcs of stoppers. I have an old belt from a broken ratchet -- I think this came from a nearby Ukay.
I think my wife was pleased with the result.

Parked the kayak standing up near the stairs. The vertical clearance to the ceiling was perfect.

I strapped it in the middle using an old ratchet belt. I bought a pair of plastic snap buckles to secure it.

Bolted the straps into the wall using tox and washer+screws.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Long Overdue Kayak Upgrade

I love my Ocean Kayak Scrambler 11. It served me well and I really enjoyed fishing with it. But the time has come to venture out to open water. Although I can fish the Scrambler in the ocean, it takes a bit of effort  when the water is not calm.

So I sold it with all the accessories and got my self a new kayak-- An Ocean Kayak Prowler 13.

To make it a more able fishing machine for open water, I also bought a Garmin Echo 500c Fishfinder. I have not tried fishing with it. I still don't have a decent paddle. I am eyeing a 220cm paddle with a slim Carbon shaft. Aside from that, I still need to make a few paddle and rod leashes and an anchor trolley.

My goal is to use this kayak for madai, inchiku, and light jigs.I hope the fishfinder can help me with this.
It already has a couple flush mount rod holder.
The fish finder is ready but I have not installed it yet. I got me a 12v 7.2Ah SLA battery. Still need to glue the transducer into the scupper for transducers - a nice feature of this kayak model.
The bow storage is huge. I can fit camping gear inside.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Summer Time is Eging Time (Squid Fishing)

Summer in the Philippines has a somewhat negative effect in fishing from my experience. Predators that regularly patrol coastal areas seem to avoid the coast and stay in deeper waters. Perhaps to get out of the heat or probably they are extra wary because in most areas the water is clearer than usual during summer.
Because fishing seems to slow down during summer, the alternative is to chase after other readily available targets such as squids.
Squids are abundant in the country and has no special season. They are mostly caught by coastal fishermen using line and home made lures. They usually drag the lure from their boat while paddling slowly. In almost every area where squid fishing is practiced, fishermen go after them at night -- particularly when the moon is bright. They are not aware that they can just as easily be caught during day time --- but with a bit special gear and technique.
In a recent trip to the north, fishing for coastal predators was extremely slow. It's a good thing I also brought my eging outfit with a bunch of squid lures. I an hour or so, I managed to catch four good sized squids. One of them is more than half a kilo. I only managed to take pics of 2.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Testing K'S Labo and Daiwa Sol on Barramundi

This afternoon, I went to the School of Fish  fishing pond North of Manila to test a bass rodthat I recently acquired. The rod is KS Labo Lakeforce Stage 604MH. My intention was to know how sensitive the rod was -- in preparation for a future Bass  trip. The rod was perfect for my Daiwa Sol.

I arrived at the pond at around 2:30pm. I actually wished that I could fish for the whole day but that was my only available free time.

Anyway, my luck picked up on that day. 
The pond residents were very eager to play that day. After a few hours, I was able to land 3 barras.

Barra 1. Around 2kgs



Barra 2. Around 3.5 my guestimate

Barra 3. Should reach around 3kg 

All Barramundis were released with no more than minor scars and bruised egos. 

The rod and reel were perfect and I was more than happy with their performance. The rod was very sensitive. I was able to feel every bump  and taps from the pesky tilapias on my jerkbait. To be honest, I never had a more sensitive rod than this. I believe the rod will be a winner in bottom contact fishing (t-rigs) for Bass. I can't wait for my next bass trip -- on a kayak.