Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Anthracite Outfitters Blast and Cast 2010 Vol.1

Tactical Anglers Sniper Jacket & Seal Skin Shirt Review

Recently we have become members of the Tactical Anglers family and Pro-Staff and a few weeks ago we received a nice box of goodies from them.

In this review I am going to be talking about their fleece jacket and seal skin shirt.

Lets start with the shirt. The seal skin shirt is considered a base layer or can be used as a rash guard under a wetsuit for an additional layer. The shirt is fitted and has stretch to it which makes a perfect skin tight base layer with a stretchy collar that fits nicely to your neck.

I have been ice climbing and mountaineering for the better part of my life and have used some of the finest outdoor gear from companies like The North Face, Marmot, Mountain Hardwear and I will put this shirt right up there with some of the biggest names in the outdoor industry, it works that well. It actually has a better fit then most traditional base layers that I have and that is due to the tight fit of the shirt in order to be used under a wetsuit without creating a pressure point from getting bunched up.

A lot of thought was put into this shirt and it use in the angling community, that is what separates from other base layers, it was designed with the angler in mind.

We spent Saturday on the river with a client with temps going from the low 40's up into the 60's, sun, rain and wind for the afternoon and I basically wore the Seal Skin shirt with a fleece vest for the better part of the day and not once was I cold or hot, it regulated my core temp all day and only when the rain started to come down heavy did I put on a jacket.

Bottom line this shirt works.
The fleece jacket is right up there with the shirt in quality and fit, with a bit of stretch to it, it has a more technical fit then most fleece jackets on the market and is "smooth fleece" on the outside with tight pile on the inside cutting down on bulk and adding some wind and water resistance to the jacket which is a nice feature. It has a pocket on each sleeve for small items, warmer pockets and inside pockets as well. Its not short on storage space for you items, either.

Again the design was with the angler in mind, it has great freedom of movement and is a little longer so it will not ride up while casting or kneeling down to deal with a fish.

We have used the jacket in cooler night temps during some rain while chasing trout and it performs as well as it fits, perfectly.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Anthracite Outfitters, Product Review: Tactical Anglers Fishing Clips for Sweet Water Application

Confidence (from "New Oxford American Dictionary" on my computer): the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.

Recently I have started using the Tactical Anglers "Tactical Fishing Clips". {as seen attached to the lure in the above image} My findings based on the performance of the clips and moreover, the performance of my lures attached to the clips, bring one word to mind... Confidence.

Before I ever fish a new lure or piece of terminal tackle I always watch its behavior in close. When I first received the Tactical Angler Fishing Clips I took them and my go to lures and for about 3 hours scrutinized the plug and clip combination's behavior in the water. The clip I focused on was the 50lbs. clip. This is the most practical size for my walleye and smallmouth lures. The first lure I attached to the clip was a 3/4oz bucktail jig. I was shocked to see that there was no restriction of the jigs movement akin to using a non-slip loop knot. The jig bounced through the column as if there was no clip there. The walleye also don't appear to notice the clip either fishing the jig as usual...

After I gained full confidence in the behavior of the jig attached to the clip, I switched to my swimming plugs. Those plugs being the standard balsa 4-3/8" rapala, a Shallow Shad X-rap XRSH-08, and a Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow in the 5 1/4" floating. I spent a good amount of time with short casts and varied retrieves so I could watch the plugs behavior. Again I was thrilled with what I saw. The XRSH-08 and the Crystal Minnow behaved as if I tied direct via a non-slip loop knot. The light balsa rapala was actually enhanced by the slight bit of weight the clip added to the lure. One of my favorite and often surprisingly effective techniques is to cast the rapala short, in the dark, no more than 20' off the river bank. Then as the mellow current grabs the lure, I just subtly twitch the rod tip so the rapala displaces as much surface water as possible in order to create rings in the surface. Walleye pound the snot out of it in inches of water. Well when I employed this technique with the TA 50lbs. clip attached I found the lure's behavior in this technique to be enhanced as well a slight audible click created between the clip and the lure eye. The head of the lure rides a bit lower in the surface so the same rod tip motion causes more water to be displaced. All of my standard techniques and lures produced as well as they have before I started using the TA 50lbs. clip...

One of the many functional aspects of the TA 50lbs. clip is the efficiency of changing lures. It took me 3 minutes with my eyes closed to get the feel for changing lures. In situations where the walleye are at your feet at night, the use of any light is ill advised. I would never in a million years trust that a duo-lock snap was fully closed unless turning my back to the water and using my red light on my head lamp to verify the plugs security. Anytime a lure isn't in the water it can't catch fish. Yeah, I know that's like saying the team that scores the most wins, but if you took and added up the seconds one looses changing plugs it would add up to hours a year. Once the TA clip is attached to the plug with an audible metal on metal "click" it's attached securely. Trust me, the lure aint going anywhere unless you break it off!!!

This leads me to the strength of the clip. Many a time smallmouth and larger walleye have mutilated duo-lock snaps on me. Many a time when locked up on sticky bottom I stretched out duo-lock snaps. Well that's the least of my concerns with the TA 50lbs. clip. Since using the TA clips I have brought back snagged jigs with the hook broken or straightened and the TA clip unscathed.

I began this piece with a definition of the word "confidence". When it comes to the security, and functionality of the Tactical Anglers Fishing Clips the definition I started with is what comes to mind for me. In my angling world every cast could produce a trophy. In my angling world trophies are just a cast away. In my angling world confidence is a must. The last thing that concerns me in my sweet water angling world is where my lure attaches to the Tactical Anglers Tactical Fishing Clip.

Speaking of fishing...I'm going fishing...

Hope this helps.