😂 Of course that's Ranger Boats legend and now Vexus Boats boat designer and then some Randy Hopper. He was out on the floor gettin' his hands dirty when we ran into him. Gotta love that!
Jewel Bait Co
You probly know that AR is one of the THE bassin' states. Great bass fishing of course, but also bass stuff – manufacturing (boats and baits), media (Jerry McKinnis and his folks), history (Forrest Wood, Jerry, lots more). Don't know how many bass-related business are in AR but it's a bunch! Just driving around we went past Ranger, Bass Cat and Triton.
Anyhow, Gayle Julian and his staff gave us a detailed tour of a seriously impressive bait-making operation – wow. If it was possible to know who Gayle makes jigs 'n stuff for besides just Jewel, after seeing his operation you'd want to buy that stuff, no doubt.
There's way more to even making jigs or jigheads than I ever thought – did you know there's many different types of lead? One big-time pro you've heard of even has his OWN type of lead!
Anyhow, amazing operation and I got new insight into Gayle's big-time OCD! 😁
Fishing DEEP on Bull Shoals
In the late afternoon we ran out on Bull Shoals for maybe 90 minutes – because talking fishing makes you wanna fish! Air temp was in the 30s, water temp was 53 and it was windy (whitecaps)...a little chilly but our group dropped in 3 boats and got busy fishing deep.
"Deep" out there is like 60-80+ feet! Meaning that's how deep they actually fish! We did some of that with the Jewel Scuba Spoon and some small swimbaits. My son and I didn't catch any but our guide Del Colvin did. It was the hardest bite I'd ever seen. What I mean:
We're Spot-Locked in around 60' watching the bass fishing version of an African safari – pods of fish slashing through giant shad schools on LiveScope. They were about 50' down. We're dropping swimbaits on 3/16-oz heads to the bottom – in 15+ wind. Bow in the line much?? 😬
The kicker was Del said we wouldn't feel the bite – they would just grab it and when you dropped your rod tip there'd be slack in the line...but there already was slack in it! I was half trying to figure it out and half laughing to myself – literally never felt a thing BUT Del caught a spot and largemouth so it was doable!
Amazing. A few LiveScope learnin's from the trip are below.
AZ and fishing with Josh Bertrand
I love AZ. Amazing landscape, everything is definitely not at all like the East Coast, and pretty good bass fishing too. Pretty wild to see Cliff Pirch kick open the doors to a saloon and start shootin' up the ceiling! 🤣 Okay just messin' about Cliff, but fishing for bass with cactuses and wild donkeys on the shore is pretty cool!
Did a bunch of driving and hiking, soaking up the country, and then went out for most of a day with Josh Bertrand.
I'd called Josh about getting a guide why we were out there, and he graciously offered to take us out. Couldn't say no to that! We fished Lake Pleasant which was a little stingy, but we caught some – and we got a lesson on LiveScopin' and dropshottin' from Josh who's a black belt at that stuff and just won the US Open doin' it, making him an official western legend. 💪
My son caught a decent one – on Josh's signature Abu Pro Series Dropshot Rod with Josh walkin' him through it – pretty cool!