One of the benefits of traveling and competing with other pros on the Bassmaster Elite Series is the amount of knowledge you can tap into. This not only includes new ways to catch fish, but other information, like which products are performing the best.
Our tour is a proving ground for marine equipment.
Rather than listening to sales hype, I trust word of mouth — especially when it comes from guys who rely on their equipment to make a living.
With that in mind, I’d like to share some of the tips I got from my comrades on the Bassmaster Elite Series — products I’m confident will improve your experience, on and off the water.
One of the most innovative products I learned about is Panoptix LiveScope. Introduced by Garmin last year, LiveScope’s technology makes it possible to see fish with unmatched clarity and detail — live — as they swim within range of your boat.
It was fellow Florida pro Cliff Prince who showed me how incredible this technology truly is. Like a tiny meteor, I could see his lure descend through the water column — up to 40 feet from the boat — and watch as any interested fish approached it.
Anxious to apply the technology myself, I did so on Lake Lanier, during the second Bassmaster Elite Series event of this past season. I was targeting spotted bass suspended under large marina docks. By aiming LiveScope’s forward- and down-looking transducers with the trolling motor, I could see every detail from the surface to the bottom — including the hulls and lower units of moored boats, lengthy anchor cables, submerged brushpiles and how the fish were relating to them.
It took visualization to a whole new level — watching fish as they swam through the cover, reacting to my presentations. LiveScope showed me right where to cast and how to work my lures effectively, so that I could fool more fish.
To see how this technology works, visit the Garmin website or search any number of informational videos available on YouTube. It will open your eyes to what’s really going on beneath the surface.
If your boat is equipped with a large-block outboard and you trailer it any distance, then you need some type of transom-saving device. Rough roads and constant pounding can wear out motor mounts and potentially destroy a transom, so preventing the engine from bouncing and jolting as you travel is essential.
Longtime friend and national service tech for Mercury Marine, Scotty Beattie told me about a new transom bracket that was perfect for their new big-block, Pro XS V-8 4-stroke. It is made by DD26 Fishing. It’s called the “Mean Mount Motor Toter,” and though it’s not cheap, it is, by far, the most durable bracket-style stabilizer on the market.
Made with aircraft-grade aluminum and stainless steel, it will not bend or warp, and its powder-coated finish resists corrosion. Even better, each toter bracket is equipped with automotive-grade bump stops to absorb impact from potholes and other road hazards.
They come in a variety of colors to match your rig, and when combined with DD26 Fishing’s “Mean Stop” steering locks, you’re guaranteed total protection for your boat’s transom and its power source.
You can find Mean Mount Motor Toters and Mean Stop steering locks online at DD26fishing.com or through Tackle Warehouse.
Total battery control
JL Marine offered a sneak peek of its new CHARGE Marine Power Management Station during ICAST back in July, and it turned a lot of heads. While attending their recent Power-Pole Pro Staff Summit at company headquarters in Brandon, Fla., they announced it’s now available for shipment. That’s great news for those wishing to upgrade their current three- or four-bank charging systems.
CHARGE is the world’s first AC/DC, bi-directional, all-in-one battery charger, and what that means is this: It will charge your batteries when connected to a standard 120-volt power source or while the boat’s engine is running. And it’s compatible with any type of marine battery — AGM, gel or lithium. It also has the ability to move juice from one source to another, which extends the life of your batteries through the course of a day’s fishing.
CHARGE enables you to manage up to three auxiliary (trolling) batteries, balancing the power to each while automatically charging the main cranking battery. It works on 24-volt and 36-volt systems. Best of all, CHARGE allows you to monitor real-time charging status and power movement on your cellphone by using the company’s proprietary C-Monster app.
To safeguard against battery failure on the water, CHARGE will preset to minimum battery levels and alert you to any potential problems before they occur. If you fall below those minimums, CHARGE will allow you to transfer power from the trolling batteries to your cranking battery, so you can make it safely back to the dock — knowing, as you make that run, CHARGE will be restoring power to your entire bank of batteries.
Last winter, while rigging my tournament boat, fellow Elite Series pro Cory Johnston recommended a tough, new bracket for mounting my electronics. It proved to be a great tip.
Developed by Canadian-based machining company GeigerTec Marine, these new brackets not only look good, they’re designed to withstand the most brutal conditions — like those encountered on the Great Lakes.
CNC machined, their highly detailed brackets are fully adjustable and feature a proprietary locking system that prevents them from jarring loose. To avoid theft, their quick-release function allows for easy removal.
Made of high-grade, billet aluminum and stainless steel hardware, GeigerTec mounts are anodized and virtually indestructible. They come in bow and console variations for single or tandem-mount setups, capable of supporting 5- to 17-inch size graphs. The console kit even comes in accent colors to match your boat’s upholstery, carpet or fiberglass finish.
GeigerTec brackets are easy to install and will fit all of today’s bass boats and some noncurrent models. Find out more by visiting their website.