G. Loomis & Shimano Field Tests, Saltwater Handicap, Much More….
I am trying to figure out saltwater fishing – again. We’re on St. George Island, Florida fishing both surf side and bay side. Not our first time here, but this trip brought back some memories of the “old Florida” of my youth.
In the early 1950’s Dad and Mom moved us from southern Indiana to Clearwater Beach, Florida. Dad’s business was doing well and he thought he could be an “absentee owner” (which would later proved to be an erroneous assumption). Florida had wonderfully warmer winters than I had never experienced in my brief life. The beach was just a few blocks away and presented opportunities for fishing, shelling, and exploring. This was at a time when Florida was just beginning its post-war boom. A time when World War II and Korea were memories and the good life was starting to get some legs.
In short order Dad bought a used boat. I have never been very clear on just what type of boat this was other than it wasn’t that big. I do remember it was wooden construction, single engine, and had a very small “cabin” that contained a couple of bench seats. It also had a head and a sink. It had a white bottom and shellacked dark natural wood above the water line. It seemed pretty small, especially when moored next to behemoth party boats. Dad said it was only good for “sight of land” fishing – if you couldn’t see the shore this boat was too small to be out that far.
It was about this time I also discovered what would end up being a lifetime handicap. Dad, me, and one Dad’s fishing buddies had cast off from the slip at the marina, all geared up for a Saturday of fishing. We traveled west toward a hole where the plan was to fish for some grouper, red snapper, or whatever would take the bait. The wind was cool as we motored out and I, in my naïve mind, felt every bit the old salt getting back out to sea. Then Dad stopped the boat.
“Rig up”, he ordered.
My job was to get a rod and try not to allow the fish to pull me and the rod overboard, but in short order my fishing intensity was interrupted by a queasy feeling. The rocking boat seemed to disorientate my legs and soon I found myself leaning on the rail for balance. My stomach was equally disorientated and I could imagine the contents rocking rhythmically with the boat. The more the boat rocked, the more intense the discomfort became. What was going on?
Another point I have never been very clear on is just how long it was before I “lost it”. Maybe 30 minutes, maybe less. And for a while I was better. A very short while. Soon the queasiness returned as did the inevitable results. At first dad thought it was funny. “Boy’s getting his sea legs”, he told his pal.
Thanks, but if this is the price I must pay for “sea legs” take my name off that list. I’ll stick to my “land legs” which already work well. Then an idea: if my legs are what is causing this then if I sit down perhaps this stuff will go away? Made sense to my adolescent mind. No, that isn’t a solution. Still sick as a dog. Maybe I need to lie down. In the hold below deck. No air. Stuffy. Smells moldy. Definitely not the solution!
If this trip had just been Dad and me I have no doubt we would have returned to port as soon as I demonstrated I was severely sick and perhaps dying. Land, very, very solid land, was the only cure for my malady. But Dad’s fishing buddy was onboard and the two of them had planned this Saturday’s fishing trip for several weeks. They had also planned on the feast they would prepare upon return using the day’s catch of the most fresh fish ever. Great food and drinks and camaraderie. This was the picture of living life in Florida I am sure my folks had when they moved here.
So, basically, I was screwed. I came back on deck and hugged the railing, every so often depositing less and less protein over the rail. Dad offered a soda, which I would normally eagerly consume.
Fact is even a 5 year old kid knows you don’t stoke a raging fire with more fuel. A sandwich? Perhaps Dad had some sort of devious plan for chumming the fish that included his son as the intermediary. Thanks but no thanks. I think I’ll just hug the rail as I slowly die the death of a failed sailor, one who never got his sea legs. Soon I will disappear, having thrown up everything save my skin. Maybe Dad will be more sympathetic when he sees I am now but a wisp of my former self.
After what seemed like several eternities Dad and his fishing pal pulled anchor and headed for the dock. My guess is I finally was green enough that both felt my condition could be terminal. As soon as we got underway I began to feel a bit better. Still dizzy and weak, but the welcome rush of air seemed to dampen my need to feed the fish. Dad and his pal were tolerantly stern in face, no smiles nor anger visible. Probably had to do with no fish in the boat and a very shortened fishing trip. I’d like to say I felt bad about this, but I really didn’t. I was just happy to be heading toward solid ground and relief from this maddening illness.
Soon the marina was in sight and a short time later we were in the slip. Dad was apologizing to his pal for the shortened trip. Me? I was already on dry land. But I was still rocking. The land wasn’t the instant cure I had anticipated. Dad soon found me and we were in the car headed home. Strange, but even now I felt sick and Dad had me hang my head out the window. This seasickness was one tough malady!
As we pulled in the driveway surprising Mom with our early return, Dad offered a simple explanation. “Boy got seasick. Thought we were gonna’ lose him for a while there. Never seen anyone get that sick that fast.”
I didn’t take that as being necessarily noteworthy.
Mom, as with all Moms, was her usual sympathetic self and did a full inspection to make sure I still had all my parts. Usually this was an embarrassment, but this time I was grateful. Frankly, I was convinced I had left some of those parts back in the gulf, only to be consumed by unseen creatures from the depths. Mom soon assured be everything was there. All my parts were intact. That was a relief, even for a five year old.
I have tried saltwater fishing several times over that last 50+ years. In boats that go far out and in boats that stay within sight of shore. Unfortunately the results are the same as my first time. I have tried pills, patches, wrist bands, you name it. I still feed the fish and am just as miserable as I was on my very first saltwater trip. They say wisdom is a by-product of age. I believe that. Now I stay on land and fish saltwater from shore. Maybe not as effective as fishing from a boat, but I can tell you from my perspective it’s a heck of a lot more comfortable and pleasant!
As I mentioned above, Dixie and I are here on St. George Island, Florida testing out as much gear as we can. It’s always funny how you perceive a new rod or reel or other item only to have that perception change after you use it in a real life situation. This issue we have included some “field test” impressions we have after using some of the newer gear we sell. We think you’ll like this.
We also have some other items, news, specials, etc. that we hope you will enjoy. As always, our goal is to provide you with the very best products and service available. We thank all of you for being our customers and trusting us to supply your fishing needs. We truly appreciate it!
Shimano Saragosa 4000F – We have always thought the Saragosa was a decent reel, but only after using this coupled to a new Shimano Terez rod can we say just how impressive this reel is. First, it’s light. Second, it is so damn smooth and balanced. in fact if you were blindfolded and asked to use this reel and then estimate how much it cost you would swear it was a $300-$400 reel. It’s that well made. We strung this reel up with 65 lb test Power Pro and a 36″ X 30 lb test mono shock leader. We were fishing Shimano Black/Gold “boy” waxwing jigs for reds. Our first hook-up was a nice 8 lb red with an attitude. The reel’s drag was so smooth and solid. The poor fish never had a chance!
The reel casts magnificently even with the shock leader knot. OK, I know the rod is as important as the reel for casting lengths, but there are some reels that just don’t get the job done no matter how well matched the rod is. This certainly isn’t the case with the Saragosa. We also note that the lines goes on the spool wonderfully concentric with no lapses in wrap area.
The saltwater grip handle and sealed, waterproof drag make this reel a heck of a bargain. At $189.99 this could quickly become the reel of choice for any saltwater (or freshwater) angler. We congratulate Shimano on developing such a great reel at such a reasonable price!
Shimano Terez Waxwing Jig Rod – We chose the Terez model TZSW72MH in “sunset red” (SR). There are 4 other colors if that’s important to you. I still have trouble with the goofy color names, so we’ll just leave it at that for now.
This rod has the tangle-free Fuji “K” guides and is actually designed for the Shimano Waxwing jig. Let me tell you, it works great! We had this rod paired to the Shimano Saragosa 4000F and every time we started fishing it was a race between Dixie and me to see who got to use this outfit! The tangle-free guides you’ll certainly take for granted, as they simply do what they are supposed to. Keep your line (especially braid) tangle-free. All of these guides are designed for saltwater, so the inside diameter is bigger to accommodate even the largest knots which I seem to have a propensity of tying. The workmanship on this rod is fantastic and it’s really hard to see how a rod of this quality can sell for such a reasonable price ($199.99) The handle is cork as opposed to many of the Terez rod‘s EVA handle material. Frankly, as more of a traditionalist I really like the cork handle.
With an amazing 8 + 1 guides this rod handles fish so well. The backbone is there if you hook into something really big. The tip is flexible and certainly allows the Waxwing jig to do its job. Casting and retrieving is effortless. It’s so nice to have a rod that actually compliments the lure’s action. This rod does just that and it would be hard to consider a different rod, at any price, when using Waxwing jigs. It’s that good. We’re even starting to like to color. Maybe I need a red truck!
G. Loomis IMX Surf Rods – We took 2 different models with us this trip: the IMX 1264-2 SUR and the IMX 1324-2 SUR. With these rods we spooled up three reels: The Shimano Thunnus CI4 8000 and 6000 and a Daiwa Saltist 6500H. we were anxious to try these new IMX surf rods since they all have adjustable reel seats that can traverse about 5″ along the handle. This is a great idea and surely helped us balance each rod with whatever reel we decided to use. To our knowledge, the G. Loomis IMX surf rods are the only surf rods incorporating this unique feature.
Even better yet, all of the G. Loomis IMX Surf Rods come with the new Fuji “K” Tangle-Free guides. This is a great feature, especially for s surf fishing rod as most of my tangles seem to happen surf fishing vs. other type of fishing. And, guess what? ONLY G. Loomis surf rods have these Fuji Tangle-free guides!
Throwing either rod was sheer delight! My goodness, did we cast that far? Oh my gosh, we’re in the middle of the gulf! Each reel was lined with 65 lb test Power Pro braid and appropriate leader. We did try to match our lure/bait weight to the rod’s rating, but on more than one occasion we stuck some super heavy stuff on the end. Although somewhat strained, both rods preformed magnificently. On one occasion we put on a shark rig and tossed what had to be at least a 1 lb mullet out. Add a 4 ounce barrel sinker and safe to say we exceeded the rods lure rating by a bunch. Not a big deal – the rod put this set-up w-a-y out there. I may have strained my shoulder, but the rod never wavered!
What fish we caught with these rods were small, or at least the way the rod handled them made them seem small! These rods are so light weight but have some serious guts. I can’t imagine a fish that would win against these rods, at least not something you would catch in the surf! Yes, these rods are expensive at between $450 to $550. But, if you are serious about surf fishing these rods would be on my “must have” list for sure. They are simply that good! I don’t think these rods will ever make it back to the store.
Oh Crap, Is It Christmas Already…………………..
I went into a CVS Pharmacy the other day. I was actually after a camera battery, but I tend to stroll around to make sure there’s nothing else I might need. I passed the Halloween costumes, Halloween candy, Christmas decorations, ….. Huh? Christmas decorations? I mean, it was the early part of October! About 30 days away from Halloween! Lemme see, that would be about 85 days away from Christmas, right? Almost 3 months.
Hey, I like Christmas as well as anyone, but gimme a break! Selling Christmas stuff the beginning of October? Does this mean that by November we’ll be seeing Valentine stuff out on CVS’ shelves? Look, I’m old school. I remember that Christmas “season” really didn’t start until After Thanksgiving.
Back to CVS. Have things changed this much? I know all about shopping early for Christmas. I used to do that EARLY Christmas eve. But I have never even consider buying Christmas decorations in early October. Never.
My point? Guess I just had to blow off about this. Obviously I was surprised! We will try and come up with some Christmas suggestions for all of you, but not this month!
U.S. Dollar Continues to weaken……………
The U. S. Dollar continues to lose ground against the Euro, Pound, and especially the Australian Dollar. Be sure to take a good look at G. Loomis , Shimano, Daiwa, Boga Grip, etc. sold locally and compare those prices to our with shipping included. Many customers tell us they can save 30% – 40% or more over local prices buying from us, even with shipping included. All product warranties are honored either locally or can be handled by us if there is any sort of problem. We are well versed at shipping any product we sell worldwide, so if you see there is a savings, give us a try.