Shane_O

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Everything posted by Shane_O

  1. So, every once in a while I take a look through Ebay to see if there are any good deals on custom plugs. I recently found a bunch of hand made/painted plugs from “WjS Custom Plugs” made by a guy in Arkansas. They all look like high quality work but I’m hesitant to drop beachmaster/rm Smith money on something from a plug builder that I can find virtually no information or reviews on, especially when it looks like they’re only sold on eBay. I’ve got one in mind that I really want to try but again... that’s 35$ that could be spent on a tried and proven plug. Has anybody tried these out before or know any info on the builder? I sent him a message on eBay for details and will update when I receive a response.
  2. The thought of hanging them up on the wall continues to corrupt my mind haha. But im not going down that collector’s path until I’m too old and arthritic to cast, which is hopefully decades to come from now. With that said, they’ll end up on the wall fished or unfished, if they swim well I’m fishing them and giving one or two away to a couple well seasoned friends so that we can get some photos of them hanging from the lips of some cows. I don’t catch many (any arguably) big fish, but I can put these in some wiser and more skilled hands. Battle scars are welcome. Besides, I’ve never seen a plug more beautiful than a good fish.
  3. So, the 8.5” mullet pattern metal lip and 2 freebies came in today and Dave T’s words of wisdom are ringing in my ears. But I said I’d give an honest review so: These are some of the nicest looking plugs I’ve ever seen. They are extremely well built as far as fit & finish goes and the custom paintwork is top notch. Even the dressed hook is made like a quality fly with epoxy 3D eyes and pheasant feather accents. The freebies are are equally as impressive, a 5” slow sinking peanut glider with internal rattle (green lava/marble) and a 5” bunker/mullet pattern with realistic scaling and foil+painted accents. The latter is a metal lip which looks like it should dive a few feet on retrieve. All have holo flakes throughout the entire paint job. This guy’s a skilled artist but I need to see how they swim. I’m hoping to make a quick review video showing each plug’s action within the next few days but for now, check these out.
  4. For anybody going tomorrow that’s interested in the SaltX, please ask about the warranty service center that’s supposed to get set up, it’d be much appreciated and I forgot to ask about it. That’s a big hanging point for me and a lot of other people (will there be replacement parts or factory return services available)?
  5. Also a good idea, makes me want to go on the hunt for holdovers tomorrow
  6. Are you fishing in current or in a breachway? It’s water speed that matters (a lot like a plane and airspeed), also the push and pull of waves will effect it in the same way. With any plug, you need to adjust your retrieve based on water speed relative to the plug to maintain whatever action you’re trying to achieve. If that’s not it ^^^ the advice above is solid. The only other thing I can think of would be the rod length/position effecting the angle it’s pulling the plug from. But I haven’t heard many people say that had a major effect.
  7. Also, I didn’t specifically ask but based on the knob on the right side of the reel, I’d have to conclude that you can switch to a lefty configuration.
  8. I forgot to mention that tester reels on the east coast haven’t had the chance to deal with big fish yet due to the timing when they were confident with sending testers out mostly coincided with winter. But they have been dunked, fished underwater, etc. To what extent is unclear. And they sent some down south for testing against tuna to get a read on the drag’s true performance. I don’t think they’re messing around with the SaltX. It seems like someone really pushed for this lovechild of a reel to be born and they want it to succeed. But like all things only time will tell. The one thing that I regret forgetting to ask about is the warranty crevice center that’s supposed to be set up. That’s huge for anybody thinking about buying a first gen. I’ll try to get some clarification
  9. So I went to the CT Outdoors Expo with little expectations but the hope that Tsunami would have some SaltX’s to check out along with a knowledgeable rep to talk to. It was worth the 12$ ticket to me to be able to get the chance to play around with the Tsunami Salt X prototypes and talk to the rep there. It really seems like a lot of thought is going into the R&D and they said that they won’t be releasing them until they’re perfect. Sure, sounds like something that any good sales rep might say, but he was actually pretty passionate about the subject and went into some detail. They have been tested while reeling under water to determine what tolerances/level of tightness will keep water out while trying to minimize the cranking resistance from the seals. Whether or not this test was done under load is unknown (didn’t get the chance to ask). The 4000 felt really tight (a lot of resistance) but the 6000 was much less so which was surprising since there wasn’t much of a difference in the length of the handle. It probably has to do with the gearing difference. Then again, one must also keep in mind that they were prototypes. The main take away for me was that these reels have been carefully designed in house by one of Penn’s old reel designers/maintenance engineers. Obviously it’s been done with some “inspiration” taken from other proven sealed designs, but they certainly are not basing their design off of chinese knockoffs, and they really are putting a lot of attention to detail into the R&D process, which is why they haven’t been released yet (that was a touchy subject when I brought it up, but I’m sure it’s because they’ve been asked it a million times already and are defending their stance). That was very long winded but I think they’re doing all of the right things and I’m anticipating their official release.
  10. Went there today and it was pretty much as expected. Tackle direct and some other larger retailers were there peddling their goods, nomad was there and had their stuff marked down 10% but still expensive stuff. It was still cool to have the option to look at and purchase their full range of lures in person (I picked myself up a deadly little 105 mm 1.3 oz riptide for when small bait is around). RB Plugworks had some cool looking stuff. There were some booths varying really high end nano rods, oti is there, S&S bucktails was there and had some good deals, tackle deals had an interesting mush mash of custom painted stuff. All in all it was ok but obviously nowhere near the Providence show coming up in March. I wouldn’t drive too far for it but if you want a way to spend an hour or two why not?. The highlight for me was getting the chance to play around with the Tsunami Salt X prototypes and talk to the rep there. It really seems like a lot of thought is going into the R&D and they said they won’t be releasing them until they’re perfect (hence the delay). They have been tested while reeling under water to determine what tolerances/level of tightness will keep water out while trying to minimize the cranking resistance from the seals. The 4000 felt really tight but the 6000 was much less so (and I’m curious as to why... the handle arms are almost the same length). I’m anticipating their official release.
  11. Went there today and it was pretty much as expected. Tackle direct and some other larger online retailers were there peddling their goods, nomad was there and had their stuff marked down 10% but still expensive stuff. It was still cool to have the option to look at and purchase their full range of lures in person (I picked myself up a deadly little 105 mm 1.3 oz riptide for when small bait is around). RB Plugworks had some cool looking stuff. There were some booths carying high end nano rods if that interests you and you can’t normally try one out in person at your local shop, oti is there, S&S bucktails was there and had some great deals, tackle deals (eBay and show dealer that actually puts some cool stuff together) had an interesting mish mash of custom painted stuff. All in all it was ok but obviously nowhere near the Providence show coming up in March. The highlight for me was getting the chance to play around with the Tsunami Salt X prototypes and talk to the rep there. It really seems like a lot of thought is going into the R&D and they said they won’t be releasing them until they’re perfect, which is the right move. They have been tested while reeling under water to determine what tolerances/level of tightness will keep water out while trying to minimize the cranking resistance from the seals. Whether or not this test was done under load is unknown. The 4000 felt really tight (a lot of resistance) but the 6000 was much less so which was surprising since there wasn’t much of a difference in the length of the handle. It probably has to do with the gearing difference. Then again, one must also keep in mind that they were prototypes. The main take away for me was that these reels have been carefully designed in house. Obviously it’s been done with some “inspiration” taken from other proven sealed designs, but they certainly are not based off of chinese knockoffs, and they really are putting a lot of attention to detail into the R&D process, which is why they haven’t been released yet (that was a touchy subject when I brought it up, but I’m sure it’s because they’ve been asked it a million times already and are defending their stance). That was very long winded but I think they’re doing all of the right things and I’m anticipating their official release.
  12. Sure new plastic plugs and soft plastics are great, but there are specific conditions that are ideal for every type of bait. With that said, nothing new has come along that provides the big profile, wake, vibration from the wobble, and adjustability as a well-made Danny, Donny, etc. all in one package. Don’t get me wrong, I love sp minnows as search baits but there are times where larger bait is scattered amongst smaller stuff and something with great action and a larger profile means the difference between catching 20-30” fish all night and the potential 20-30+# fish. Wood plugs will always have their place and application where they are the best option.
  13. So, I was bottom fishing with some guys on Sunday and noticed one guy squirting something on his sinker every drop. He said it was some sort of bunker based gel. Has anybody used similar products before on soft baits, buck tails, etc? Even as a gel, I’d imagine that it would only leave a scent trail for a few seconds of a retrieve. I’ve seen plenty of similar products but it seems pretty gimmicky, especially if you’re already fishing bait. The guy didn’t seem to be catching any better then anyone else. However that might not be a fair assessment since using fresh bait more frequently between drops seems to be the key to getting hits every time.
  14. I was originally looking for information but there was none available. I was curious so put in the effort that you’re talking about to get the details on the construction and build because eBay is flooded with total garbage that looks good in photos. After finding those details^^^ I know very well that this plug is well worth the price even if its action turns out to be garbage. Now I’m just curious. Even if these plugs don’t perform well, some well thought out feedback might help the plug builder make these into absolute killers. So I’m going to throw them through the rings and report back this season.
  15. Couldn’t agree more, which is why I’m going to give these a good try and provide honest feedback. I’ll do my best getting footage of the action for each plug when they come in. A perfect pattern doesn’t mean **** if it doesn’t swim.
  16. Gotchya, subtlety isn't my specialty haha. But I hope that his work performs well too. We'll see how it pans out.
  17. I'm going to see how it swims in a safe location as soon as I get it and then go from there. But I agree, that would be its time to shine.
  18. That's a good point Dave, If his work turns out to swim and catch as well as it looks I might be kicking myself in the arse a year or two from now. But if someone's putting in the work to make great new plugs that work well, it'd be a disservice to the plug builder and the angling community not to share it. This is also jumping the gun since I haven't seen the plugs close up in person yet... much less fished them. Like I said, most of this isn't worth squat until we've looked at the plugs in person and thoroughly fished them. I don't care how pretty a plug is, if it doesn't have an action or presentation that is applicable to the species we fish for or the conditions that we fish in, it's not worth buying for anglers doing the type of fishing that we do. I just took a chance and am seeing where it goes. Definitely worth the 35$. To be honest, the hard part will be putting an old faithful back in the plug bag and snapping one of these on when I know that there are fish to catch. I'll call it a research project haha, someone's got to do it if we're going to find new quality plug builders. If they don't work, at worst it'll be a nice decoration and I'll give the most thorough possible feedback to the builder so that he might be able to improve or adjust the design for the type of fishing we do here if he's interested in selling plugs to the East Coast market.
  19. I asked about the through wiring and everything he makes is through wired with hardened stainless steel wire. The 8.5" plug above is through wired with 0.062" wire and uses a 2/0 Rosco belly swivel with a stainless grommet. I can see how some of the plugs seem like they may not be through wired since they don't have belly swivels and the tail loop isn't shown in some photos so you can't tell if there's winding. But I've seen a similar style with the through wire used to make a belly eye and tail eye like that in some of the nice handmade stuff coming out of Japan that's heavily used in Japan and Australia for GTs and other aggressive sport fish. Actually, the overall style reminds me of a lot of the work done by companies like FCL Labo. Although I haven't seen that style used on Pikie style plugs before, it's still a sturdy design. Yes, without a belly swivel a large fish could gain more leverage on a plug if hooked on just the belly hook but I've seen well regarded GT and Tuna plugs built like this so it must be effective if done correctly. Overall the plug builder (Wj Stine) has been incredibly responsive and helpful. He seems to be doing everything right when it comes to the quality of his builds, but I won't be able to speak honestly about the plugs' action and performance until I receive them, fish them, and abuse them a bit. I'll be passing one or two on to some guys who I know go out to block island frequently for cows and make a few tuna trips a year to see what they think as well. I'm excited to try these out but like I said, can't really promote them until I've used them. I'll be providing updates with more info/input as I receive and fish them. Overall the plug builder seems like a great guy and customer service has been top notch (he even said he'd throw in a couple extra plugs to try out when I told him the type of fishing we do). Sometimes Ebay is just the easiest and most effective venue to sell your work when you're just one guy making plugs, which is why I keep surfing the site for things like this. Needless to say we'll be putting them through their paces and reporting back to the builder and to the forum with feedback. More to come. -Shane O
  20. Unfortunately I only saw one custom plug maker advertised on their FB page (RB Plugworks I think). Nomad will be there which I’m excited about but other than that it seems a little mediocre in comparison to the big one in providence every year. Check out the Connecticut Outdoors Expo website and FB page for more info on who will be there showing and selling their stuff. I think tsunami and daiwa will be there. I’m hoping tsunami has a salt x to check out.
  21. So, the maker Wj Stine got back to me pretty quickly with detailed answers and seems like a stand up guy. When I asked about the build quality and finish on the 4 oz 8” Mullet pattern swimmer he responded: “Hi Shane thanks for the questions its sealed twice with wood hardener then a thinned epoxy then its gets a coat of colored epoxy then primed then some 3D scales then painted then i finish off with 4 coats of flex seal epoxy. As for the style it's more like a googoo style lure but about the same as a danny and the swimming action is surface to a few inches and as far as the testing i used these's down on the Texas gulf coast and here below the dam has a good wobble in the current and it also comes with a 7/0 dressed hook to match the lure i think i answered everything hey if there anything else just let me know Thanks Wj Stine” Seems like he took the time to really seal the wood and protect that nice handywork well. At this time I had assumed it was through wired (belly grommet and swivel, twist in the tail loop). I decided to take a chance on his product and drop the 35$ on this bad boy. Like Heavy Hooksetter said, you never know till you try”! I’ll provide a review once it arrives and I can further inspect it and test the action. Unfortunately it’ll be a while before it’s truly tested here in RI.
  22. I tried kastking to cheaply spool up one of my backup reels with and hated it. The diameter was thicker than expected and I started getting wind knots which I never get with pp on the same setup. Maybe that was caused by the extra thickness and stiffness (not as bad as fireline but pretty bad). J braid is good on a budget but I use Piscifun which makes a really good budget braid, check out amazon. I think I got almost 600 yards of 40# for like 20$. Diameter is about the same as pp, maybe a little thicker.
  23. Now that I think of it, maybe try Berkeley original fire line 25 or 30# test. It’s much stronger than the test rating would suggest and is probably way more abrasion resistant than any equivalent diameter braid. It’s basically made from tons of heat treated “mono-like” fibers/threads that get fused together. It has no stretch like braid but the material feels like it should be much more abrasion resistant. The 30# diameter is similar to 65-80# braid depending on the manufacturer so keep that in mind when it comes to your casting distance. I only use it on my 706z which I don’t fish that often. I haven’t had a big fish get into the rocks yet so can’t say for sure.
  24. Hmm, the one I’m looking at is definitely through wired (belly swivel, twisted tail loop). However I do see other metal lips with no belly swivel and look like they could be screwed in. I’ll ask the seller about that too.