It’s been a busy couple weeks of owning a new used boat. I am a huge fan of the Minn Kota Fortex trollling motor. I used to be a Motorguide guy….not anymore. You get into serious grass fishing, like Okeechobee, nobody runs a Motorguide. It’s literally night and day difference in weedlessness. Also, Motorguide hasn’t exactly been killing it with innovation and R&D. Minn Kota on the other hand is blowing the doors off innovation and blazing new paths. Kudos to Johnson Outdoors. I just put a 112#Thrust, 36v, Minn Kota Fortrex 45″ Shaft on the bow of the Champion 196. Wow, looks good.
Once you’ve had a countersunk foot pedal on the bow of your bass boat, there is no going back. Ergonomics are key for spending hours and hours out hunting big ones (or small ones). Thank goodness for products like Comfortroll. Killer bullet proof aluminum powder coated paint job. This thing was easy to install and the foot pedal of the Minn Kota Fortrex fits perfectly. The new trolling motor and countersunk foot pedal were my #1 and #2 projects with the boat. Check and Check. Get yourself a Comfortroll and get comfortable on the deck of your bass boat.
I’m still a few weeks away. I got it registered, insured, etc but still need to put some TLC into the boat before I get her wet. Boats are high maintenance, but, I am super stoked to have a boat in my life and enjoy working on her. She is gonna be badass.
When I say reconnect with the Triple Trout, I mean, reconnect with Scott Whitmer. I had a chance to catch up with Scott recently. He walked me thru his latest baits. More importantly, we had a chance to sit and talk and get caught up. It’s funny how tide and time work. Scott and I are both getting our fishing game faces back on. Scott has a killer Fisher aluminum rig. Optimax, 36V Minn Kota….boom. He’s ready to rock. I’m getting ready to break my new used Champion in this summer. Scott has been making his baits bigger and more saltwater grade. He’s also been making 5″ baits and making the Nezumaa rat in production numbers. His business is good and he’s got focus and direction. He wants to make his business more profitable.
Here is the deal, he now has his own website. www.tripletrout.com You can buy stuff there you normally cannot buy. I was shocked to see his 5″ bait for sale there!?!?!?! The couple of 5″ Triple Trout that Scott made me, continue to be some of my most coveted baits. I had no idea the general public can go buy them for $60! The same price as a 6″ Triple Trout. Herring eaters? I held a 5″ Southern Blue Herring bait, and took a picture. It looks good. The size and profile. I’m cough cough cough asking Scott cough cough cough….if he will make me some sardine colored ones and allow me to pillage the Pacific Ocean too. Easy swimbait for your kids, your wife or girlfriend, or some one new to bigbaits…..you could fish it on a spinning rod even. It weights an ounce, but shoot, it’s a baby and totally manageable.
Scott continues to sell and provide baits thru Tackle Warehouse. Scott and I both enjoy and believe in our partnerships with Tackle Warehouse. Tackle Warehouse has a set of special colors that Scott’s been fulfilling for years. Scott (and all bigbait makers) have unique market opportunities. They can create very special baits, very special colors, special floating editions, fast sink/heavy editions…..the list is endless. I watch the surfboard shaping industry in awe….swimbait makers are even more hard core and specialized. Who doesn’t want a specialized bait that very few if any other people will be fishing???
Hence, it makes a lot of business sense for Scott to sell direct. He was an anomaly to not have a direct sales website, save eBay which pre-cluded the current tripletrout.com website, by only a couple months. Scott is such a nice, genuine guy. When you talk to Scott Whitmer, you are literally getting a history lesson in mid-late 70s, early 80s….crazy ass times of bass fishing. Then you mix in, this was the West where it is even more rare and crazy. We talked about guys like Larry Hopper, Dee Thomas, and Don Iovino. Scott’s Dad sounds like he must have been one heck of a guy. WWII Veteran, drinking and cussing type….Scott clearly has a desire to help perpetuate getting kids into fish. He loves supporting good causes, good people, youths, etc. Scott has been one of my finest business partners that I work with. I am super stoked to reconnect with him and see his latest baits, colors and business. I really believe in his baits, and I’m glad I can openly talk and share baits that are now generally available. The Nezumaa Rat was so hard to find for so long….and now you can get fur painted super sick XL 3 piece ones, that make conga drum style noise when clacked…off his website. He has a 3 pack of 5″ baits for $140 (vs $180…3 X $60). I would suggest you mosey on over there an invest some 5″ TTs.
Southern Trout Eaters is still is selling consistently, quarter over quarter, I’m pleased to share. I would estimate I’ve sold in the neighborhood of 3500 copies. June 2016 marks….drumroll please, 5 years since Southern Trout Eaters was released. Wow. That is hard to believe from where I sit. It is about time to do another DVD project. So me getting together with Whitmer, getting this Champion Boat thing going, getting back on the water…..it’s all full circle and really cool. I need to get some fishing in to finish up the second DVD, basically. I plan on fishing the 11 and 12 Inch Triple Trouts a lot. Not too many guys have these things yet, and they fish really well on the same gear as the SS250. The tail is bigger, it’s thicker, and they are gonna fish differently than the 10″.
I have always liked the 10″. The bigger the Triple Trout, the easier it can be to wake/stall/burn at the surface. There’s a really cool S turn torpedo wake the 10″ TT can do….I cannot wait to try the 11 and 12″ flavors. I want to get a 14″ and fish that too. I need to invest in some more XXXL heavy gear. >10 oz rods. You should too. I have braided line, 7 and 8:1 Gear ratios on my mind, and summer time bigbait fishing. What are good baits in the summer? Rats and Triple Trouts! Boom Shaka boyeeeeeeee.
I had no intention of buying a boat. I have been looking, but I’ve been stumped on a crossover boat. The ideal boat would be a deep-v, walleye boat. The big great lakes boats, that can handle big rough water. That is the boat I had in my mind. I want to fish the mighty Pacific Ocean. It stares me in the face all day long, and I know there are lots of good bass, halibut, and tuna to be had out there. The ocean fishing has been, and continues to be off the hook. However, crossover boats that fish in freshwater and aren’t gigantic are not exactly easy to find. I’ve been spinning my wheels honestly.
My longtime friend, Cameron Smith won a new Triton Boat last October, on Lake Hartwell. That being said, his 2001 Champion 196 Elite came up for sale, recently. So, figure I’ve already fished 20-30 days out of this boat, I’ve written an article on this exact model before, and yeah, it’s like “the boat” ‘the model’ and rigged out by my boy Cammie and given to me at a killer homie deal. I had no choice but to write him a check. Paid in full already. And boy, just like the best things in life, things fall in place, the universe knows what you need, and when patient and mindful, things have a way of happening.
I’ve received the boat, had a weekend to look her over. I’m super stoked. A little TLC she is gonna be sick. The trailer needs love. I need to try and saltwater proof the trailer, the electrical connections, hardware, etc….I have no intention of hitting the big water, but shoot, I’ll put her in for the inshore stuff on calm days. She for sure is a 110% kickass freshwater bass boat. Hull is in gorgeous shape. Fast, fuel efficient and a great fishing platform.
Why the Champion 196 Elite
You won’t know by looking. There are very few 19 foot boats out there. Bass boats. They are either 18 or 20 foot. The 19 foot zone is way underserved. The Champion 196 fishes big, and is pretty much a 20 footer, but the beauty is…..she runs on a 200 HP Engine. Most 20 foot boats require a 250 HP engine. There are huge deltas in fuel and oil consumption at the 250 vs 200 HP range. The Champion 196 is about as big as you can get out of a 200 HP Outboard. She is beautifully balanced. And as far as bass boat, has a hull that can handle rough water.
Imagine MP as Jr. High or High School kid drooling over sparkly bass boats. I would literally feel sick or nauseous around super tricked out boats at the time. I wanted one bad. I wanted to be able to charge, get out there, get on the fish, try stuff out. Champion Boats (and Ranger) have HUGE footprints in the Western Market. In the 80s,90s, and 2000s lots and lots of Champion Boats went thru Anglers Marine. All the guys I can remember ran Champions: Cary Serklew, Bob Coulter, Bob Simmons, the Yamamoto crew, John Murray, etc.
I’m aboard yet another SouthWest flight, this time, leaving Little Rock, heading to New Orleans. I scrambled to get my stuff packed up. All the sudden, my 2 week fishing adventure/holidays 2015/ New Year 2016 trip is over. The first week I was here, the fish and the fishing was feeling right. Then, we got hit with Winter Storm Goliath. That sorta wrecked the second half of my trip.
Final tally – 1 bite (Huddleston), 3 BIG followers (1 Huddleton and 2 on the Slide Swimmer). No catches. Yay. At least I got to feel the burn of sore wrists and forearms from lobbing the bigbaits around.
Pole Cat –
I’ve been messing with better ways to shoot video. GoPro cameras are awesome, but I find them a little challenging to get good footage with, when it comes to filming your day of fishing. I use the heck out of my GoPros for underwater footage. They rock for that. I’m trying to get away from a camcorder style camera in the back of the boat on a tripod. The GoPro tends to excel at up close, in your face type action. I don’t particularly care for footage that is shot from a head or chest mounted camera. You miss a lot of what is going on.
I ended up with a 10′ piece of 1/2″ conduit, purchased for $2.50 at Lowes. It miraculously fit perfectly in the seat mount/pedestal mounts in my little Tracker Grizzly aluminum river rig. I have some refining to do, but the POV (point of view) and accessibility of the camera while fishing was great.