ALL PRODUCT TESTING RESULTS FOR ARTIFICIAL LURES

fishordie

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Aug 31, 2005
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As many of you know my obvious love and passion for using spinners and artificial lures when fishing larger species of Ocean going finned critters has allowed me many opportunities to test both new and old products related to the tasks at hand. Poppers, stickballs, surface iron, mid water lures and Wahoo bombs all are used extensively and almost exclusively on both long and shorter range trips. Though I have been in love with the artificial thing for decades, the recent Blue Fin extravaganza brought 100's or 1000's of folks to the table looking to fish artificial lures to bigger fish. This resulted in one heck of a lot of Spinner setups along with so many folks using their conventional gear for throwing those same artificial lures. The following is a listing of my opinions on several items I feel are fantastic for the angler looking to get a bit more heads up information, on some must have items, should he or she decide this is a direction they would like to go. Though both I and others have written up some of these items it is good to have them in one spot for quick reference. Again, this is just a few items in a long list of available options of items I tested or continue testing for 2016.

It is important to note that though I have fished all the lineup of rods from most every manufacturer, these are some of my latest favorites. This is not to demean any other manufacturers rods as we sell them all, rather these are the rods I love for different reasons. I can fish Blackhole for one application and united Composites for another application and do not feel there is really any overlap. These are Two sets of tools for two separate uses.

Blackhole Cape Cod Popping rod Nano 8'6" Spinner: My newest very favorite stick for poppers and stickbaits fishing to anything under about 120 pounds. A two piece rod with no worries about breakage at the joint. Though I love 8 foot popping rods I am finding the added 6 inches of length gives this angler just a bit more zip resulting in more distance when the wind becomes a factor. This version is wonderfully light weight yet retains that famous Blackhole Backbone that brings smiles to the folks who are awed by the technology. I have matched this stick to everything from the Saragossa 10K for Yellowtail and smaller fish work to the Saragossa 25K for bigger work and finished with the Stella 18K to really give the beef.. In all cases the rod performs masterfully. I will be fishing a 10 foot version of this rod on my next trip and run it head to head with the United Composites version.. I do not think I can go wrong with either.

Phenix Black Diamond Hybrid 8'6" Spinner and conventional: Another amazing rod from Phenix. I really am enjoying going to the longer rods for most all of my applications. Those who have watched me know I tend to use a more flat rod approach, combined with using my core rather than bending a rod, to apply pressure on a fish. This enables me to use longer rods, which tend to cover more territory when casting for the average angler as well as the more advanced anglers. Though I love and have sold many, many of the 8 foot version of this product as all around rods matched with a Shimano Tranx, this 8 foot 6 version really has my attention. Mine are custom wrapped by Robby and Bob Sands tackle, the only thing I need to change would be to turn down the hypalon grips to a smaller diameter for a better feel for the rod. Though I tend to fish my Blackhole 8 foot 6 rods first, as they are lighter weight with a bit better feel for use with artificial lures, these Phenix rods are a great option for Phenix lovers everywhere as a high end bait or artificial slinger.

Blackhole Challenger 7'3" H Spiral wrap Conventional. Wow!!! This is an entirely new universe for those I have introduced it to. Incredible light weight to strength ratio. However, the angler needs to make sure the angle in relation to his body is correct as having a higher than normal angler is where this thing lives and breathes. I have never really taken to the Acid or Spiral wrap concept until now. This is a rod that can be matched with almost any sized reel that feels good in the hands of the angler as it does not even get started until about 20 Pounds of drag and just gets better as we get to 30 pounds. The light weight just makes using this item a dream when getting into those long days and nights of dropper loop or drop jig type fishing.

Blackhole Challenger and Cape code Popping rods. I think I have said enough about these amazing light weight rods with fantastic backbone in past reports. Amazing, simply amazing. Again, matching them to a proper reel, line test and drag setting is the key to getting maximum performance out of these wonderful tools.

United Composites conventional reel use: US Predator (Just under 8 feet), US Wahoo 8 foot and Viper 7'6": Lots of folks, including myself, have written wonderful accolades about Randy and United Composites. The addition of this company to the long term standards of both Calstar and Seeker, as a fantastic option, has been an absolute positive enhancement to the world of West Coast Long and Short range fishing. Though I do love the entire line up of U.C. rods, I am asked to set up so many folks for those wonderful 10 day and under trips as well as the ultra long trips that I thought I would narrow my discussion to my favorite U.C. rods in no particular order. Though the 8 foot Tile fish is a fantastic bait rod and light surface work rod I find myself recommending the Predator and Wahoo versions as more useful overall tools than the Tilefish as a more specific use tool when the fish get into the over 60 pound range. Of course this is only my opinion as others may differ.
Currently, the noted Viper is my very favorite stick for anything having to do with Very Big Tuna under most every condition. It is a rod that can handle most every chore from Bait fishing, chunking, Big Bait work, Glow Drop jigs and can easily be used as a kite rod. In my opinion the most versatile rod ever made and should be the first and possibly second rod any West Coast ultra long ranger should purchase. Though not as well known, I just love the Predator for anyone looking for just one stick to fish that normal 40 - 60 pound test lines as well as those, like me, who are using 100+ pound test leaders on artificial lures (Wahoo and most everything else). The loads that these rods can take are fantastic and as the bend increases the backbone really kicks in dramatically. Though I do not recommend these rods for the lighter lures, as most folks really do not spend their lives throwing poppers and light Stickbaits, which very, very few anglers can do on conventional gear, these are fantastic for Bomb and Raider work as well as bait fishing for larger species. These rods will pair beautifully with most any appropriate reel the angler chooses.
As of now, I am also wrapping a two piece, 10.5/11 foot, U.C. spinner for my next 9 day for the Bob Sands/Shogun trip. I do not remember what the designation is (I know it is a XXH) but it appears to be an amazing blank for artificial purposes but probably not a rod for everyone. For you long rod guys, I have high hopes this could be the new hot ticket for use on bigger tuna but we will see.

Quantum Cabo PTSE 100 Spinning reel: So this one makes me feel really foolish.... for not stepping up to the plate earlier. This is by no means a new reel and may even get replaced in a few years by some upgrades version or be eliminated due to high cost of production (I have zero idea about this rather I am just guessing) but it was new to me. I feel foolish because quite some time ago Alan Hawk, whose opinions on reels I highly respect, wrote up this and the 120 size versions as being ultimate reels at a very modest price. He also noted, correctly, these 2 versions of the lineup were very different from the rest of the line up. Oscar, my buddy who works on all of my reels had no idea I gave him this reel after heavy usage to do the R And R. As soon as he took it apart, with no heads up from me, he called and asked what the heck this reel was about. He was shocked when I told him it was a 300 dollar reel and said it was one of, if not the best spinner he had ever worked on... including my 1300 dollar Stellas. Though I have had wonderful success with the Shimano Saragossa line up as they feel more sophisticated in the hands, these Cabos are exactly what is needed for bigger fish, higher drags and slightly lower gear ratios. I know that the retrieve speed on certain sites notes 50 inches per crank it does not seem that high a speed to me. Admittedly I have not taken the time to verify the speed but I do not find it a problem at all. the Cabo 100 PTSE is now the reel I am going to be recommending for those entering into this arena and those that have been looking for a bigger fish reel. This is a tank of a reel that is priced ridiculously low for the quality built into it. At roughly 300 dollars, this is a steal of a reel. The weight is not a problem as with all spinners, the weight is located low and will not cause twisting of the wrists. Making sure the rod is balanced for this particular reel is all the is needed to insure a wonderful rig. Not the lightest reel but man what a performer.

Captain Jimmy Wahoo bombs: When Steve first introduced me to Captain Jimmy bombs, years ago, I was totally smitten. The ability of the bomb head to contain both the hook and direct tie eye was just the ticket for the use of high drag pressures and big heavy line diameters I was using for fishing Wahoo. On most every trip I go on and now most every trip I am hearing return from Wahoo fishing, these Captain Jimmy's are the lures people are begging for as they seem to get bit beyond belief. This is the first artificial lure I use when targeting Wahoo and the Last I use. Colors matter..

Raider jigs: I have always loved Raiders but with the Captain Jimmy bomb phenomenon I have not used them as much. In the past I loved the Gold Backgrounds but this year seemed to see a lot more action on the Chrome versions. As always, any of us who almost only fish artificial lures to Wahoo will have a good selection of iron to switch too when the Hot stick is not using what we are throwing at that time.. Competitive juices for artificial slingers will overcome the ego of not choosing the perfect jig the first time so that we may up our count of Wahoo carrying our own tags. Live, learn adjust but in all things... Be prepared.

JRI surface, heavier drop jigs and the soon to be released JRI/Hooker trolling jig. Pick one and use it for most any application. For drop jigs this season the JRI knockout, 6 and 66 series have been amazing. The choice of use will depend on current conditions and size of bait so having some of each size becomes important. Though the Scrambled egg versions of drop baits have been awesome this year for yellowtail, each year and each trip brings something different regarding color choices. The Surface iron of Mint/white and Gold have been amazing but the same applies. Having a good cross section of colors is uber important when the angler's mind sees the hot hand angler with a different color than themselves. I know that some folks do not believe color makes a difference but I have always disagreed with that concept. Given two sets of equal swimming jigs, color is going to play a big part in those getting bit and those with fewer attacks. The PRI 8 glow drop jig is always my go to jig for those in the dark, morning and evening, adventures when targeting larger Tuna. As a note: These drop jigs worked until 10 AM while fishing for those Big Bluefin located at San Clemente Island. These jigs working this late into the daylight hours blew many of us away as we are used to using them up to and during more grey light bites. It may have something to do with the depths the Squid are found throughout the day but the truth of that is beyond my pay grade. I just know they work. Stay tuned for the release of the JRI/Hooker or is it Hooker/JRI trolling jig. Jerry is spending a huge amount of time to get this thing right before releasing it working with his testers and especially the original creator of the Greatest Wahoo trolling jig ever made (My opinion).... Hopefully sooner than later. This will be a Lure you will want two of instead of one. It will be worth the cost.

Shimano Flatfall: Again, so much has been written about these easy to use drop jigs. I happen to love the glow version for most everything, making sure I have appropriate weight versions for each current condition in order to get the maximum flutter down patterns depending on the strength of the current. 100 to 250.. Have a great selection. These will work on fish of all sizes and shapes all the way up to the jumbos. I know folks have had success with other colors as well so this is one that is going to be angler specific as we all base our decisions of favorite anything as a result of what worked the best on our last trip or worse yet, what the hot hand is using currently while on the boat.

Poppers and Stickballs: Size and shape matter. Color matters to me and possibly the fish. I am sticking with my tried and true poppers and stick baits but will be trying a newer version of the Strategic Angler, Micros sinking version which I had a custom color made with a chartreuse belly. This looks like it should be a very hot ticket for fishing most anything one can find on a long range trip. I have not fished it yet but I wanted to make mention of it as it is the first smaller sized bait which I believe could be perfect for the application. I still highly recommend the Heru Skip Jack in 60, 90 and 120 sizes along with the Heru Tuna version in 80 and 100. The Yozuri Bull Sashimi and the entire size range of the Halco Roostah popper from 135 to 195. As a noted, the larger versions of this bait were hot as hell on the Bluefin bite but I always have to ask myself if they got bit so well not because of the size but rather because most all anglers with conventional gear could not get enough distance with the 135 size, especially when on the bow as the boat is creating wind in your face while charging at a foamer. I did not get enough time in the Bluefin grounds to make that determination but I am convinced the smaller sizes work amazing for the Yellowfin, yellowtail and Wahoo. Getting back to stick baits, I am liking the sinking versions for most applications be they the Baby Runboh, Dorado slider, Shimano Orca or one of my favorite lure the Tacklehouse Shabiki. No doubt top water versions work well but when that time comes I want a popper for top water work.

When it comes to artificial lures, I will try anything most anytime I think it is appropriate and even when it might not be appropriate. I have no need to have the biggest pile of fish at the end of the trip rather I prefer to catch fish my way. No doubt much of the time these are reaction bites but I feel, right or wrong, there are color, size and shape issues, that might come into play... At least in my mind. More importantly, I am willing to risk entire trips attempting to determine what is best of the artificial use technique and applications.... At least until my brain says I need to fish a bit of bait when no fish are boiling, are not willing to bite the artificial for extended periods of time (Like days on end), or I just feel like fishing bait for no apparent reason (Rare as that might be).

Texas Split Ring pliers for larger split rings. Split rings are part of Artificial lure fishing. I prefer the Owner hyper wire split rings mostly in size 7 and 8's. For really thick wire gauges I may have to go to a 9. Having the right tool for the job helps in avoiding those pesky treble hook punctures that come with working too hard to get the split ring over the hook and or eye of the lure especially when those heavier duty treble hooks are being attached. The bigger and wider V of the Texas plier just works for me however this tool will not work for really small split rings.

Anyway, hopefully this helps a few folks. This is not meant to be an end all be all rather it is the written version of what I am asked for on a constant basis. Please feel free to P.M. me or continue to P.M. me as I love discussing this stuff, giving my input when asked, so you the angler will have just a bit more information to deal with when spending large or small sums of money on your next tackle purchase...


Jamie
 
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gved823

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  • Sep 12, 2009
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    Thank you for taking your time and putting this down. I'm working around the corner from Bob Sands. I'd like to check out the UC's.
     
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    fishordie

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    Aug 31, 2005
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    Hi Gary,

    I will be there on Saturday between 10 AM and 3 PM. I can go over all the comparable rods with you. I may be there tomorrow or Thursday as well. I think you will be tickled with the U.C. Line up
     
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    Montaukmaniac

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    Feb 8, 2011
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    miss ion/fish on, "Wish on"
    Jamie,

    There was a thread a couple of years ago on SDLR about the "long-range brotherhood". Their are number of people on this thread who are always helpful; generously providing insightful, hard-won, knowledge, for the sheer joy of long-range fishing. I have to thank you for your numerous, in-depth contributions. I am grateful (and I am certain, I am not alone) for your frequent participation!

    (Got to love those JRI's!)

    MANY, Many, thanks.


    :appl::appl::appl::appl::appl:
     
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    ksong

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    Nice write up, Jamie.
    I am on a plane to Korea for the meetings with NS Black Hole to discuss next year's project. Nothing comes easy. You got to dedicate yourself to develop rods.
    We tested 10' prototype Black Hole popping/surf rods extensively
    and I am pretty happy with the testing results. The 10' rods will be tested on the 9 days trip on the Shogun sponsored by Bob Sands Tackle. You will love the action of the rod as well as the casting distance.

    10'bh.jpg 10'bh2.jpg 10'bh3.jpg
     
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    Paul Dennis

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    Jamie,

    There was a thread a couple of years ago on SDLR about the "long-range brotherhood". Their are number of people on this thread who are always helpful; generously providing insightful, hard-won, knowledge, for the sheer joy of long-range fishing. I have to thank you for your numerous, in-depth contributions. I am grateful (and I am certain, I am not alone) for your frequent participation!

    (Got to love those JRI's!)


    MANY, Many, thanks.


    :appl::appl::appl::appl::appl:
    x's 2; good job Jamie. see you on the boat!
     
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    Anglewood

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    Great post Jamie, I am always impressed with the in depth analysis you provide on the products we all use, or are curious about. I am also a huge fan of United Composites Rods and JRI jigs and was able to use them (JRI-6 and 4, both in mint/white) quite effectively on my two trips this past summer. I also got to test out a new hook configuration on the Hooker Intruder XL on my last trip. Jerry is making some great stuff, and though we have been waiting for it for a while, the new Intruder is gonna be a home run. I hope to run into you sometime when I make the trip over the hill to hit up Bob Sands Tackle. Thanks for putting in the time.

    -Connor
     
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    fishordie

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    Aug 31, 2005
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    Jamie, what do you think about the Halco 190s for Wahoo? They look pretty similar to the Intruder.

    I am sure there are times they will work but I have never seen them remotely compete with the Hooker Intruder or the Marauders on the Long Range boats when trolled together. Admittedly, the 190's are not used that often in these applications as they have a hard time staying on track and in the water on the very short distance trolling lengths away from the transom we use for Long Range. However, those Halco's have been used successfully on Tuna when trailed further back.

    Jamie
     
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    Marc S

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    Mar 2, 2012
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    Jaime:

    I always love reading your posts. They are detailed, informative, interesting and helpful. Particularly for someone like me who loves the sport, but hasn't been at it as long, it eases the learning curve, encourages me to try new new things, and broadens the longe range experience. Thank you and keep the posts coming.
     
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    Tymeflyme

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    I'm going to try some Halco 190s out on an 8 day trip next week. I've been waiting for the release of the JRI Intruder, but till then:cool:
     
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    floydlpackard

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    Jamie,
    Thanks for the write up. It really helps when someone takes that kind of time to get info out. A couple of questions.
    -What color of handle on the texas tackle pliers, green or blue?
    -How are you fishing your sinking stick baits? straight retrieve, jerk bait style etc.
    Do you let them sit still and sink out before starting the retrieve?
    -Are you using the spinning reel for the bombs and raiders? If you are, do you fish from the bow and when the troll gets bit cast it out and walk back?
    -Are you using the spinning reel for surface iron?
    -How do you fight a fish (not a large tuna) on the spinning outfit? are you under arming it or using a belt?

    Thanks again
    Floyd
     
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    gved823

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    Jaime,
    It was a pleasure meeting you today. Thank you very much for taking the time to teach me the finer points on choosing a fishing rod, fishing techniques & Wahoo 101. Hopefully an opportunity to share the rail is in the cards someday.
    Take care.
    Gary.
     
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    fishordie

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    Aug 31, 2005
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    Jamie,
    Thanks for the write up. It really helps when someone takes that kind of time to get info out. A couple of questions. MY PLEASURE

    -What color of handle on the texas tackle pliers, green or blue? BLUE

    -How are you fishing your sinking stick baits? straight retrieve, jerk bait style etc. ALL THE ABOVE PLUS DEFERENT METHODS AND SPEEDS OF RETRIEVE. GENERALLY MORE POP AND SIT FOR BLUE FIN VS. FASTER POPS AND SWEEPS FOR YELLOWFIN AND WAHOO. KEEP TRYING UNTIL IT WORKS. I TRY MY BEST TO REPLICATE WHAT IS OUT THERE AS FAR AS LIVE BAIT AND OTHER TIMES I RELY ON MY EXPERIENCE AND OTHER TIMES ITS JUST A CRAP SHOOT.

    Do you let them sit still and sink out before starting the retrieve? YES ON SINKING NO ON POPPING. I DO VARY HOW LONG BETWEEN POPS THE LURE SITS ON THE WATER AFTER SPLASH. OFTEN TIMES YOU CAN WATCH HOW THE FISH ARE ATTACKING THE BAIT. ARE THEY CHASING OR A FAST REACTION BITE. SIGHT FISHING TO BOILS IS ALWAYS GREAT BUT OFTEN IT IS BLIND CASTING INTO HOPEFULLY FRUITFUL WATERS. KNOWING WHERE THE CHUM IS ENDING UP HELPS A BUNCH.

    -Are you using the spinning reel for the bombs and raiders? If you are, do you fish from the bow and when the troll gets bit cast it out and walk back? YES, I AM FISHING ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY SPINNERS FOR MY ARTIFICIAL WORK THAT DOES NOT INCLUDE BIG DROP JIGS FOR GIANT TUNA. NO I DO NOT CAST OUT AND WALK BACK. I WANT TO BE IN LINE WITH MY RETRIEVE PREFERABLY 90 DEGREES TO THE BOAT. IF I AM FISHING WITH ANGLE AND WALKING BACK I AM NOT REALLY CASTING RATHER I WOULD BE LETTING THE SLIDE OF THE BOAT CARRY THE LURE AWAY.. ALSO, I AM PROBABLY SCREWING UP A BUNCH OF BAIT GUYS SHOULD I DO THAT. THOSE OF US THROWING ARTIFICIAL LURES NEED TO BE AWARE AND RESPECTFUL OF THE BAIT GUYS. LETTING THE DRIFT OR CURRENT TAKE OUT THE LURE IS NOT MY STYLE. I AM NOT CONDEMNING IT JUST SAYING I DO NOT DO IT.
    THE EXCEL DOES NOT EVEN ALLOW THE ANGLERS TO FISH ANY SORT OF SLIDE. OTHER BOATS DO ALLOW IT BUT I CAST AWAY FROM THE TROLL FISH OUT AWAY FROM THE BOAT. AND YES, WHEN ALLOWED I DO FISH THE SLIDE FROM AS FAR BACK AS THE BOAT SKIPPER/RULES ALLOWS. USUALLY IN FRONT OF THE BAIT TANK AND THEN WORK WITH AND AROUND OTHER ANGLERS.
    I DO LOVE THE BOW BUT STAY UP THERE WHEN CASTING ARTIFICIAL STUFF FROM THAT AREA.

    -Are you using the spinning reel for surface iron? EXCLUSIVELY

    -How do you fight a fish (not a large tuna) on the spinning outfit? are you under arming it or using a belt? NO BELT. FLAT RODDING USING MY CORE. EASY UNTIL THE FIGHT IS STRAIGHT UP AND DOWN. THEN I HAVE TO GO TO WORK.... I HATE WORK. I HAVE SHOWN THIS TECHNIQUE TO COUNTLESS ANGLERS OVER THE YEARS.. A GREAT TECHNIQUE TO ADD TO YOUR QUIVER.

    Thanks again
    Floyd
    BEST OF LUCK. YOU CAN ALWAYS PM ME WITH YOUR PHONE NUMBER IS YOU HAVE A BUNCH OF QUESTIONS. I AM ON THE PHONE OR IN THE SHOP WITH FOLKS ALMOST EVERY DAY AND I ENJOY IT.

    JAMIE
     
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    fishordie

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    Aug 31, 2005
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    Jaime,
    It was a pleasure meeting you today. Thank you very much for taking the time to teach me the finer points on choosing a fishing rod, fishing techniques & Wahoo 101. Hopefully an opportunity to share the rail is in the cards someday.
    Take care.
    Gary.

    GARY, IT WAS MY PLEASURE. I AM STILL REGRETTING SELLING YOU MY SHOW ROD FOR FACTORY WRAPPED UNITED COMPOSITE US WAHOO 8 FOOT.... AS WE LITERALLY JUST GOT IT IN AND IT WAS THE FIRST ONELOL... I INTENDED IT AS A DEMO TO USE, AS I DID WITH YOU, TO SHOW A COMPARISON BETWEEN ALL THE U.C. LINE UP AND OTHER RODS AND MANUFACTURES OF SIMILAR ILK. YOU GOT THE FIRST ONE WE EVER RECEIVED... CONGRATULATIONS.. WHAT A GREAT STICK AND PERFECT FOR YOUR APPLICATIONS. IN TRUTH, IT WAS MY PLEASURE THAT YOU ENDED UP WITH IT BUT GETTING REPLACEMENTS COULD BE TOUGH IN THE SHORT TERM. IT WOULD BE MY PLEASURE TO SHARE THE RAIL WITH YOU AND YOUR GANG IN THE FUTURE.

    AS A NOTE: HOW DID YOU LIKE THE FLAT ROD TECHNIQUE?

    JAMIE
     
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    fishordie

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    Aug 31, 2005
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    "The flat rod technique" was an eye opener. I'm hopefully going to get to try it out next weekend.

    Gary, Please let me know how that works out for you.

    Jamie
     
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