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Bill Babler

OA Contributing Reporter
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Everything posted by Bill Babler

  1. At the current rate their dash panels are going out you better hope they won't be available in one year let alone 5. Mike carries a complete spare dash electronic system as do most of the Ranger Pro's as when they go out you are dead in the water. This has been an ongoing problem since BP bought the company
  2. All 19' boats are very rough compared to a 21 footer, that is not apples to apples. Skeeter has made a fantastic fishing platform for years. They have had a couple of goof ups along the way but they are still in business, and I believe will be since they are owned by Yamaha as that is the number 1 outboard motor company in the world. It allows Yamaha to put performance packages together to highlight their high end motors. Legend was a fantastic boat, better performance by far than any Skeeter better ride, better ergonomics and fish-ability. The reason they are no more is there was a bit of a strife in ownership as the partners split the sheets right before Johnny bought the line. Johnny saw a window to eliminate a competitor that produced about 350 units a year and took it. At that time with the purchase of Ranger, Triton and Stratos he now pretty much had a strong choke hold on high performance hulls. All of these lines had some redundancy and logistically were hard to manage, so some had to go, and that was Stratos and Legend. Next to go will be Triton and they are on the chopping block right now. Now that Earl Bentz is back in business with the Caymas, that is kind of a cross between a Triton and a Skeeter it is pretty much time for the end or Triton as the old line Bentz clients will want to try his new boat. I have known Earl since the early 90's and cannot believe he has put his name on that boat. It is poorly fit and finished and a complete tub, I don't give it one chance in a July snow storm of staying alive unless it improves 100 percent. But that being said, Earl will for sure have a following that will take business away from Bass Pro Shops Triton Boat. In your search if possible and the budget allows purchase a solid 20/21 ft. boat that is still being built and that can be repowered if need be at a later date. That seems to be what all the engine companies are using for advertisement now is to repower your old boat and give it a face lift with a new engine. Good Luck
  3. As I pointed out in the post, it is humbling as the amount of fish that turn down live bait is staggering Even with all the technology the fish still have to bite and after you have these advances you will see how many just will not bite. What I really like is being on fish and moving the Livescope and seeing more schools of fish or watching the fish you are on move. You can track and follow them or find others that you would have never known were there. Don't know if you all watched the BPT on Sturgeon Bay but one of the major comments was how much the fish moved. It's the same on the Rock, the fish are in constant movement and you can follow the school with the Livescope. In speaking with the guides on Truman Lake they say the open water crappie that they are spider rigging for are in constant movement and they can follow the schools with their Garmin gear. One guide told me the number of crappie that don't relate to structure is about 10 times as many as the ones that do. Watch Mike Baker videos on Lake O. of trolling for open water crappie and it will open your mind. Watch Mike Baker catch open water crappie using Panoptix Livescope and you will be simply amazed. It's a fantastic tool but it just that. You still have to catch them and they still have to bite.
  4. They can't for the most part read very well and won't bite just cause your boat is plastered with Garmin gear, but If you count the Force trolling motor this is new wave we have yet to even remotely have anything to compare it to. That trolling motor is completely sick. Lifts and lets down with a single finger. Whisper quiet. Fast as an alley cat with the dog catcher on its tail and positive locking within inches.maintaining it thru any wave or wind. Game Changer. But they still got to bite your junk.
  5. My share, these were big fish that had to be chunked. The 3 I cleaned were all males Phil and I sneaked back up to the Knob this morning, launching at 0600. Water temp at 85 and partly cloudy. Walleye and a Cruise Ship full of bass were where I left them. Phil has a few pic's to post, but for the record we caught 11 and lost 3 or 4 more heavy weights that spat it back at us. 5 keepers that need not be measured, 15 gills and just a load of bass that we cursed for biting and released. I say cursed but Phil was teasing them into biting on the Livescope and there was quite a bit of giggling watching them courtesy of Garmin. Fish today were in the 17' to 23' depth range on gravel and we were around them all day. We never had a spree like I did Saturday, but it was more of a grind it out fishery today. Loads of fish and bait but we worked harder than my clients did the other day. I kept 3 walleye and 1 small channel and Phil kept 2 walleye and a mess of 15 gills. Just a note on the Livescope. It is totally the BOMB. If your not on them watching them you are looking 360 degree and finding them. It's like a bluetick hound after a raccoon, you can see them anywhere around the boat by simply turning the head. It can be a bit humiliating as even though you find them they sure as heck don't have to eat it. We are talking about live bait this morning and we had bushel baskets of refusals. They would swarm up, over, around and turn and turn and turn it down. But--- Sometimes they would eat it. And the fun part is you could see them do it and watch the fight right there on the screen, both 2D and Livescope. Fun morning on the big pond with my good buddy and his buddy Jack.
  6. Marcus is an excellent fisherman and got started with people that knew what was going on. Bill Davenport and Marcus win and place by working hard prior to any tournament on either Lake O. or Truman. Marcus wins prior to the tournaments by planting seeds and harvesting the fruits of his labor on tournament day. I would only shudder to know the number of piles those guys have put in over the years. Bill Beck helped Marcus to no end on Table Rock. He has not done as well since Bill passed. Marcus has connections everywhere and networks as good as any fisherman. On raw fish catching and fish finding ability especially at this young age, Dave is ahead of Marcus. Getting started you cannot be distracted. Marcus had a business and family by the time he really got good. Hard to mix that.in the travel plan, especially with him on his fantastic business, which would be to good to give up. But, there is so much more in that line of work. You have to be a salesman and a products promoter. You have to be articulate and have the ability to say and do the right things at the right time. Everyone is looking for an All American spokes person and not only do you have to catch fish but you have to be tireless in your off the water work habits. Here we are, we have his future planned out. Just need a couple of hundred grand to get the ball rolling.
  7. TD, The trout are just something you run into from time to time. I think the guides have reported catching more this year than ever, mostly in the Baxter and Roaring River area. High water has backed up into these trout areas and let them free to swim. Baxter fish mostly coming from Dog Wood Canyon and the Roaring River fish pretty self explanatory, with the exception of coming down the White out of Ark. Good Luck
  8. Dave you are the type of guy that all the major fishing leagues are looking for. Great college career and a wealth of experience at a very young age. You always seem to be around them. There are three major circuits right now with two of them being easy to access not to mention BFL Draw back is start up money, and I don't know your situation. I do know with what you have in the tank its probably not something I would dismiss without careful consideration. If you could get some start up help and this was something you wanted to do, life is to short for you not to take a serious look at. Don't mean to stir the pot but you have something that very few people are blessed with at that young of age, or for that matter, any age. Good luck in any path you chose and thanks for your contributions to this site. Bill
  9. Nice report. Gills are just thick and really in all stages of the water column over the entire lake. Chris Tetrick said they are simply just thick up the James too. All those guys wanting them ought to be out and about right now filleting and scaling. We had a couple yesterday I could not get my hand around. Tremendous size.
  10. Simply blind luck on the shallow deal. I just cut the corner to close and ended up in that shallow water. I have said it a thousand times on here, always better to be lucky than good. The first two hours of the trip I stunk it up until I got lucky. I'd bet 50 bucks the fish are totally gone from that location this morning. I just lit on them by accident. Largest concentration of walleye I have seen in Missouri not counting the pothole
  11. Happy birthday bud. Sorry about your Pop's
  12. Started out of the Knob at 5:30 and I was not the first boat on the water. It is a total disaster up there at the ramp that is pretty much caved in from the wake boats. Shoreline damage at Shell Knob is without a doubt the worst on the lake. It is totally full of wake boats and now I am seeing lots of 35' plus type boats, cruser style. Headed up steam to the mouth of the Kings and fished 3 pts. that are very good to me usually. Mostly with a 2.8 inch Keitech and a drop shot either crawler or Yamamoto cut tail. Three small K's about 14 inch the first hour and all three had multiple hook holes, so they are being investigated. I brought 60 cleaned and washed crawlers and used about 1/2 of them on really nice blue gills. 18' to 26' on gravel. Clients wanted to keep them so we had a dozen big gills in the tank at that point and I knew I was in trouble as far as the bait supple. Next hour and a 1/2 we used up the rest of the worms and kept another bunch of gills and caught a dozen small bass and 4 small 12" walleye. We had an hour and a half to go and I told them we had to make a bait run so I pulled into Big M. and bought 3 more boxes of crawlers. With that 3 boxes of crawlers we caught 19 more walleye and at least 20 bass and a really nice flat head. Here is the rest of the story. Pulled out of Big M. and headed back toward the Knob. One particular runnout not be named was calling my name so I pulled in on it. Quill has fished in probably more than me, I see him there most times I'm up the river. It was still cloudy and there was a slight wake boat chop blowing in on the point. I hit it to shallow, I thought. I came onto the point at 12ft. and my graph just blacked me out. The water color in the White is really about as dingy as you will see it in August. Looks more James River green. By the time I got shut down and the Garmin dropped I was in 18' and the Livescope looked like a shotgun had hit the screen. The 2D was totally full on the other graph. I rigged all three clients before I let anyone drop cause i knew I would never get them all in the water any other way and all three dropped. First drop 2 keeper walleye and a nice 12 lb. flat head. Talk about a zoo and fire drill, I had one on my hands. I had 3 fish on the floor of the PHX and rewormed them and they dropped all at once again. The guy the back had kept the worm on as the Walter had not got it off the hook. All dropped. I scrambled to throw the fish in the well and all three were hooked up again. All thee had nice keeper K's on. I chunked them back and rewormed 2 clients as the guy in the back had again not lost his worm and as far as worms go it looked pretty good. Back they went and again in a manner of speaking all hooked up. Mind you we are in about 17' of water. 3 keeper walleye and none even remotely needed measuring. The guy in the back again did not lose his crawler and at this point i'm telling you that is a record. Back down they all went and again the guy in the back caught another keeper walleye and the two in the front caught keeper K's He did lose his crawler this time, but what a run. This went on till the 36 crawlers were gone and their trip was over. On this location we had 19 walleye with 15 keepers and none of the keeps need to be measured. I let them keep 9 walleye for the 3 of them and looking back I probably should have just let them keep a couple each. None the less they were thrilled. 28 gills, 9 walleye and the kitty went to the dinner table. Yesterday they loaded the boat with quality rainbows on our trip to Taney so i'm sure my luck is at least ran out for the next week or so. 23 total walleye on a 4hr. trip is by far the most I have ever seen or even heard of on the Rock. 15 keepers is by far them most I have heard of. RPS may know someone that has done better, but it was unreal. Bill Beck and 2 clients caught 12 keepers off Viney about 10 yrs. ago spooning in the Fall, and that was the best I knew about until today. My best day ever was with Buster Loving on Bull Shoals, we had Brent Frazee of the KC Star and we kept 12 that weighed 57 pounds at the pothole. All on Buster's custom painted and custom billed jerkbaits. That was for sure a day 20 years ago. On to the wake boats. They were all over us all day except for the walleye runnout at the end. It is totally terrible. It was close to impossible to load my boat at Shell Knob ramp with the rollers coming in. There is a trick however. I only had 1 ft. of the trailer in the water. That's right, 1 ft. Back in wet your bunks and nose the boat on the trailer. Next big breaker that comes in ride it to the winch and you got her done. Most likely a day on the Rock I will never forget. Good Luck
  13. RPS, TMI That's hard earned info.😄
  14. You frankly will never be sorry you bought a Lund. From quality craftsmanship to resale value there is only one equal in the transportation world and that is Mercedes Benz, as far as resale. The Lund is a riveted boat and at one time a few years ago, there were more man hands on hours in the building of a Lund than any other boat. I believe at least 40 more man hours than any other metal boat. Double hulls on most models secure a great ride for an Alum and also protection against boo boos. There is a reason that Commercial Jet airliners are not welded but riveted as are most all Alum planes. The Lund price tag will throw you off but when you get ready to sell it or trade, you will be one happy boater. The current livewell system in most modern bass boats was created by Lund.
  15. They have been finding them all over in Missouri lakes this week, looks like someone is dumping them. Several found in KC Area lakes also.
  16. Something that is popular on Lake O. is all the flashing multi color lights, including stop lights that go thru a red, green, yellow sequence. I'm seeing them all over TR now and I know the Corps. does not like that one bit. Our neighbor at Shell Knob decorated his dock like this and also played loud country music all nite. He said to keep the coons away, but the subdivision managers made him take it all down. It was really obnoxious to begin with.
  17. Something else that is driving this is both short and long term financing on just about anything you buy. New home financing fixed at 2.21 to 2.51 percent for 15 yrs. with no points. Long term business loans and operating fixed loans at 3.5 percent fixed for years and years have allowed people to budget and plan for the future. 60/65 years old is the new 50. These folks have figured out that they might be financially set. They are still full of energy and ready to sell that home in the city on a very strong real estate market move to the lake down sizing in a new lake home and buying the toys to play. Here at the lodge and in the guide business we have had dozens of folks that are in that early 60 plus that said i don't have to do this anymore, and the pandemic has shown me that. If your home is paid off and you have no bills other than living expenses, it is a pretty good time right now. Not going to make anything much on investments but SS. and retirement for the most part is by far enough to live really comfortably if your home is paid for. Especially if your on medicare, and a supplement to help take care of the health insurance. There are lots of factors driving the toy market up right now and I don't think it is going to change for a bit.
  18. Application is by far the most important part in selecting a new/pre-owned boat. For any of our major impoundments, in today's atmosphere you have to consider traffic and what type of water the boat can comfortable handle. Flat bottom boats are not for Table Rock or any the other big ponds unless you are a very seasonal fisherman or you wish to only fish the upper river sections. Even low traffic times like early in the morning still have large volume seasonal traffic that is extremely unpleasant in a flat bottom, regardless of size. I have a custom built AlWeld that is 23' and for the most part I don't use it on either Table Rock or Lake O. in the Summer month. It does however work fine on Bull Shoals as there is very little traffic. A deep V alum. is not a problem and can do well, not as well as a glass boat, but it will keep you fishing 12 months a year. As far as the glass boats either new or used, there is a pure shortage right now of good used boats, lets say 8 yrs. old and under. Boats are not RV's and the top brands are not losing value as quickly as they have in years past. Good used glass boats are commanding a premium. any 20'plus glass boat with a hint of warranty is selling for top price as the demand is really high right now. There are some newer 19' glass boats out there right now that can be bought right as most people just don't want them for the major impoundments like the Rock. Couple the demand, with lots of free time and extremely low long and short term financing and the boat market for the major brands is Hot as Fire. It is not going down in the near future as the demand for new ones is strong. What it is creating is more and more quality used boats on the market that are only a couple of years old. One of the main driving factors is the explosion of electronics and trolling motors. Instead of buying additional warranty and re working their electronics people are just buying new with all the hit list goodies already installed. This is putting some great used glass boats on the market but the demand is also high and there is a shortage, especially on the 20 plus footers. Guys are trading in their small boats for extra comfort and as I said you can find a nice new glass boat out there. Even the under 20' boats are not gong to be cheap but there is some availability. My 2017 Phoenix is worth more today than it was new in 17. With only 150 hrs. on the Super Charged Verado, Mercury platinum warranty to January or 2026 it is a top shelf pre- owned boat. The boat has also been upgraded with all the Garmin accessories. In the last 60 days, clients have made offers like crazy for it. The boat market is hot. Figure out your budget and application and buy the boat either glass or metal that best fits it. Good Luck
  19. If were having an Oxygen problem no one has informed the fish. Most rocket to the surface or pull hard deep. They are almost totally impossible to photograph as they just will not hold still. Even after a lengthy battle they swim quickly off when released. I have only fished the restricted zone and from Fall Creek to Trout Hollow, but those fish are mean, bright and simply fantastic to both see and catch. Seems like every other day is great. If you have a huge day one day the next is slower, still decent but not as fast, next day is then again fantastic. Come on the right day of the week and its just about as good as it can possibly be, even with as much traffic as there is right now. Good Luck
  20. Cannot thank you boys enough. That ought to fire everyone up.
  21. Chequamegon Bay on lake Superior is one of the top destinations in the country for Huge Jaws. Been catch and release for many years. There are simply schools of 5 lb. plus fish swimming in the entire bay. Went last year and weather hit so bad we had to cancel our fishing trip. Still enjoyed the region.
  22. Fozz, where was that and tell us about your rental and the fishing a bit more if you would. Nice fish I'm guessing your daughter is holding
  23. Today it was almost like bed fishing for some of these guys, looking right at the fish and dropping to it. 6 to 8 pound test line and small 3.5 inch drop shot baits baby tubes, 1/8th. oz hair jigs and neds. Worldwide did OK today, but I don't think Mike will be able to recover from a 9 lb. day. Sitting right at the Redcrest line I think he is out now. He did catch a 5 pounder so that should make him solid for next year heavy hitters.
  24. Sturgeon Bay is part of Lake Michigan and that is one huge body of water. There are a multitude of factors besides supreme forage and thousands of acres of offshore structure. There are brown fish up there that will never see a bait of any kind. The fishing season is short and they are second string and probably close to 3rd string on the hit list. Probably 90% of 5 yr. old bass on the rock have seen a jig or a whopper pooper and probably 90% of 5 yr. old bass on Lake Michigan have never seen any type of artificial bait. While Lake Michigan fish are still in relax mode, ours are constantly dodging an A-Rig.
  25. Talk about a lifetime 5 place bucket lister. Man those guys are laying the steel to some incredible monster Jaw's. One of the leaders caught 16 brown fish over 4lbs. today. Simply unreal. Table Rock single day weight record is no more, as Justin Lucas just blows it up. Simply unbelievable fishing in Green Bay Wisconsin.
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