You have to understand, I haven’t been on Lake Mead since 2002 (ish).  The very last time I fished it as a Non Boater for a BassMaster in the early 2000s!  Crazy.  I used to hit Mead hard with my traveling partner, Dan Frazier, when I was in college from 1996-1999.   Back then, Lake Mead was a largemouth bass only fishery.  Now, smallmouth are the dominant fish, and there is grass.  Great grass, in Lake Mead.  I was super pumped when I heard there was grass.   I love grass fishing and honestly, the US Open was a really good excuse to take a vacation from my software gig, and get my fishing hat back on.



I worked out a deal with Kevin Mattson from San Diego to join me for practice and the tournament.  Kevin is a really really good fisherman, and the guy you want onboard whether you are fishing for largemouths or tuna fishes.  I spent a lot of time leading up to the tournament getting the boat ready for action.   I needed to get my fishing gear in order too.  That was a really lengthy process I’m still trying to sort out.  I don’t have a garage, so my apartment becomes a tackle shop in a hurry.   Bottom line, I just invested in a bunch of new equipment.  I bought a bunch of Daiwa, Quantum and Lew’s reels….the kind that can handle saltwater.  I feel like it’s wise for me to be buying stuff that will serve salt and fresh purposes for the future.   Reels are now 8:1 or >7:1 anyway.  I realize you trade torque and ability to move big fish with faster gear ratios…..however, there are many more GOOD reasons why faster gear ratios are better.  Especially if you are a power fisherman.  Especially if you like to fish Triple Trouts, buzz baits, spinnerbaits, walkin’ baits….heck, even worm and jig fishing requires fast gear ratios for better line pickup and catching up with fish who run at you.  mattson-mead-grass-lake


mattson-triple-trout-meadI’m stuck in an old school world of rods and reels.  I literally have 20+ Shimano Curado 200s.   They are cool, but sorta all 6.3:1 and just sorta blah.  I will use some for cranking, but other than that, my fishing is all around >7:1 gear ratios.  It just works and fishes better.  Lake Mead is a great place to test things like gear ratio, rod length, braided line, casting distance, ability to cover water, ability to hook fish way away from the boat, and ability to power fish.   Besides investing in a bunch of new reels, I’ve been investing in rods too.  Daiwa makes some really inexpensive swimbait rods, so does Okuma.  I like having a quiver of light action 8 footers.  I want to have light action 8 footers and fast reels for the majority of my fishing, I’ve decided.    And on the spinning rod front, more like 7 and a half foot spinning rods, with new, faster pickup gear ratios, saltwater grade spinning reels.



I spent a ton of time trying to get my tackle organized.  I have lots of stuff, and it sorta is either big or small.  And soon, will be salt vs. fresh too.   So, trying to get my fishing gear better organized and ready for action was another derivative of the US Open exercise.   I have to say, I’m impressed thus far with the Flambeau boxes.  I’m a big fan of the zerust idea.  Rusty hooks and terminal tackle are the worst.   I bought a bunch of boxes to get organized and containerized.   You have to be able to grab your ‘drop shot box’ or your wacky box or your treble hooks, etc.   The good news continues to be how much space I’m saving by putting stuff into real tackle boxes and getting it out of the OEM packaging and having it in large boxes in closets.   Consolidation and organization.



The Tournament

Kevin and I won the practice, hands down.  We had a wonderful 5 day practice, a decent hotel (thank you Boulder Station Casino) with excellent security and plug-ins, and great weather.   We fished, we took pictures, we hiked, we swam, we made food, enjoyed icy cold beverages and generally put things together.    The fish were in pockets, grassy pockets.  The kind you can find by driving down the lake and looking for green bushes and trees.  You could literally cover water and get a good feel for the grass and the pockets via the shoreline ‘green’.    We were not the only folks who found these fish, and they got pounded.    Kevin is not a drop shot/slow down sorta fisherman.   So, power fishing it was to be.  Topwater, jerkbaits, and the Triple Trout was our practice.   Over the grass, along the grass, on the deep edges of grass, or all the way in the back of pockets.




Sunday, 9/11, was our day off and pre-tournament meeting.  That was when the wind first started blowing.  It blew a good 15-20 MPH on Sunday before the event.  Monday, Day 1 of the event, we had 15-20 MPH winds too.  The upwelling cooled the surface temps.  Things changed badly for me.  My areas were getting directly hit by wind, and the water temps were dropping …..two things that usually re-position fish.  Not good.  Day 2, we had literally 30-40 MPH winds.  I actually had my best day, but it was the worst conditions ever.  No clue why they bit for me on Day 2, but my practice was sorta de-railed by the wind.  I did my best to adjust, but boy, Mead kicked my butt.  Day 3, things calmed down much more, but man, I couldn’t make a good decision or get a bite or anything going.  It was awful.




Lake Mead and the US Open were a proving ground for me.   I have this strange itch to take my fishing into the saltwater.  The freshwater fishing around Southern California, is a bit fickle.  Not lots of water and options. I have bay and calico bass on my mind, honestly.  I feel like all my setups need to be ‘saltwater grade’ so to speak.  All my gear needs to be ‘saltwater’ grade.  If things are saltwater grade, you can take them to the ocean without fear.  There is a an explosion of inshore fishing around me, and its effecting how I approach gear I’ll use in freshwater.   Here were some new setups:

  • Quantum Smoke 100 Inshore PT Casting Reels – Fast 8:1.  I’m all about fast reels lately.  I know some big fishes gonna kick my butt, but yeah, I like fast reels.  Add a small spool, saltwater ready, braid ready reels that performed and fished really well.  Hello Bay Bass.  Hello Calicos. Hello Largies and Smallies.  Burning 5 & 6″ Triple Trouts.  Buzz Baits, Spinner crickets, swim jigs, swim worms,  and a whole bunch of swimbaits.   The Quantum 100s kicked butt.  They aren’t the super casters I found the Lews to be, but man, I really like how smooth and consistent they were.  I fished in the a lot of wind and the did great with braid.  I can see myself fishing lots of Quantum and Lews reels in my fresh and salt approaches.
  • Lew’s Speed Spool Inshore LFS MCS Casting Reels – Not quite 8:1, but a great value reel at $129 and again, saltwater ready.  These Lews are really impressive.  I’m like whoa this things cast a mile.  Very smooth.  Flat out get it done.  Amazing value and functionality for my quiver.
  • Daiwa Tatula Type-HD Casting Reels:  TWS T-Wing System is killer.  Way long casting reels.  Lots of room on the spool.  7.3:1 and definitely geared for inshore fishing.
  • Daiwa Lexa 300 HD Casting Reel – Big ole knob, sweet saltwater grade reel, made for power fishing.  8:1
  • 30-40-50# PowerPro – whatever your braid of choice, just trust me, throw braid, smaller diameters rock for small Triple Trouts
  • KVD Mustad Short Shank Triple Grip Treble Hooks– You can quite simply fish a bigger hook and don’t have to worry about the hook getting fouled around the tail section of the Triple Trout.  Very simple yet effective solution to a pain point we have all experienced with Triple Trouts and fouling.  Braid ready too. Strong little hooks with sharp points and small barbs.  I mean, KVD style.
  • 5″ Triple Trout – I love me some 5″ Triple Trouts.  These things are beautiful.  They match the hatch of smaller baitfish, and when you see it swim on a good grind, you will be impressed.   Scott is selling these things off his website, and I have to say, the Morning Dawn, the Chartreuse Bass, and Bubble Gum Bass look really good on this size bait.  Candy bars.
  • 6″ Heavy Triple Trouts –  Heavy Triple Trouts, that have and “H” or perhaps a 1/8 or some other form of weighting system stamped on the head, are good for burning.  The smaller Triple Trouts will blow out if they aren’t weighted, at super high speeds.  Blowing out or slip/skipping across the face of windy or wakey surfaces, is not usually bueno. You cannot get the bait to swim. The Heavies fix that problem.  You can burn your 8:1 reel and keep the bait in the water, down an inch or two.  You can fish windier, more blown out stuff, you can fish wavey/wakey water that otherwise would be hard to burn a Triple Trout in.  Spinnerbait roughness.   Really impressed with the Heavy 6″ Triple Trouts and the swim.  It’s going to tear up Desert Lake fish for me, and salty bass too.   I am secretly planning a trip to Lake Havasu sometime this Fall/Winter.  Get out to and get some 6″ Heavies for your game.  The heavies don’t stall and have the radical kicks, but they are good enough, definitely meant to keep moving and make our pauses be really brief and understated.
  • The Deps Balisong  130 – Kevin will be annoyed I even am mentioning this.  There is this company called Deps.  They make the Slide Swimmer and some really killer & innovative baits.  The Balisong is a jerkbait you need to ‘explore’.  This thing is a 130, so it’s big.  It casts like a bullet at 7/8 oz and brother, let me tell you….this is a deep running, walky walky walk stall bait, if there ever was one.  Definitely a suspending jerkbait.  Very deep runner and very good suspender.  Owner ST36 trebles, and a knocker that well, they haven’t heard.  Clank clank clankity clank as this thing is walking and stalling and dying down 8-12 feeet.  Loud knocker.  Very vocal jerkbait. 12# mono. The only non braid setup we fished.  The Bali Bali Bali—–Song as it became known in the boat, straight wacked fishes of all shapes, colors and sizes.   Mono is good to stretch and give great action to the Balisong.  7 foot Heavy rod.  Jerkbaits, are one of those baits that catches fish in really tough conditions, and triggers strikes in really good conditions, easily.  Great lure for bass.
  • Walking baits – Bone White Super Spooks, duh.  Vixens, duh.   But whatever secret tricky walking baits you have, they eat them good on Mead.  The problem is you catch 10-15 stripers in an area looking for a largie or smallie.  The stripers eat all your lures, but the walking baits are particular favorites.  There are usually bass mixed in or nearby.  But man, we caught the beegeezus out of stripers on Mead.  In practice and tournament days.


Super Bummed I couldn’t the bite I wanted going, and my fallback positions sucked.  I thought I could fish the narrows and catch easy limits. I caught fish, but man, I struggled to catch 13″ fish.  Sad.   Not much else to reflect on.   Boat ran great.  That is a whole other story. I’m ready to upgrade into a saltwater rig already!  I have a super sick box of Micro Triple Trouts I’m looking forward to getting around some active fishes that will chase a swimbait down.  Bay, Calico or Havasu Smallmouth….one of these days.  San Vicente opened and apparently they are all 50+ feet!?!?!?!  Whatever.  Go West Young Man!





Look at the size of the head on the Minn Kota Fortrex 112# thrust motor.  Dang torpedo coming thru the water!
Look at the size of the head on the Minn Kota Fortrex 112# thrust motor. Dang torpedo coming thru the water!

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.

Comfortroll recessed trolling motor pedal are a must have
Comfortroll recessed trolling motor pedal are a must have


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.

Jig saw cuts out your floor without problem.   Remove some foam, and you're good to go
Jig saw cuts out your floor without problem. Remove some foam, and you’re good to go.  No,  I am no carpenter, but good enough! 


New GoodYear Marathons, move the best to spare, etc.  Getting some new shoes on the 196.
New GoodYear Marathons, move the best to spare, etc. Getting some new shoes on the 196.


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.

Cameron backed his boat up one last time onto a goose neck trailer/hauler. 3200 mile haul from MA to SoCal. $2500 service. Super stoked. They did a great job.
Cameron backed his boat up one last time onto a goose neck trailer/hauler. 3200 mile haul from MA to SoCal. $2500 service. Super stoked. They did a great job.  Notice, Cameron won a new truck, and a new boat.  Which put this whole thing in motion.

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.

Xmas Eve 2008. Lake Perris. I'm 'working'. I'm literally a week away from giving my boss my resignation.
Xmas Eve 2008. Lake Perris. I’m ‘working’. I’m literally a week away from giving my boss my resignation.  That is the boat I just bought.

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.

Cameron's parents house, notice his dad has a Champion hooked up to his Suburban. Good to see Mark and Patty.
Cameron’s parents house, notice his dad has a Champion hooked up to his Suburban. Good to see Mark and Patty.

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.

Gonna need some fender refurbing
Gonna need some fender refurbing

Western Connection

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.


Promar Nets have an underground following out West. The LN 501 B is a halibut landing net and has become the ‘go-to’ net for trophy hunters who are hunting big fish alone or with a partner. Promar has a line of more tournament centric nets that are smaller and more manageable, which makes their nets a perfect fit for my kind of fishing.

One of the most important pieces of equipment in my boat at times is my Promar Net.  When are you are out hunting trophy bass with swimbaits, you need to be ready just in case you hook that one fish you’ve been after. My good friend Rob Belloni, once again provided me the insights to go ahead and get right with a Promar net, and it’s been a great asset to my fishing.   You need to have a net onboard that is ready, in position, and well integrated into your fishing systems, because whether you fish alone or fish with a partner, a good net can mean the difference between being a hero a zero.   I travel with 2 nets.  One is for tournament fishing and one is for trophy hunting.  They are both made by Promar, and each have been excellent tools in my fishing and I gladly recommend them.

The LN-501 B: The Bigbait Net

When it comes to bigbait fishing, you are fishing for big fish, with big heads and bodies, so the super wide basket of the Promar L-501 B is a great choice.  Big fish just fit into the net easier.  You’d be suprised how many bass fishing nets are not made to handle fish over 7 pounds really well.  I mean, it is physically hard to get the fish into the net. You want a big basket where you can swim fish into the net and have a big sweet spot where you want the fish to go.   The Promar LN-501B is a halibut landing net, so its got this huge basket (30″ Wide)  and a 54″ handle that match up nicely with all things big fish and big bait.  You need can handle the net alone or your partner can reach way out with it and scoop up a biggun’ for you.  If you watch our DVD, Southern Trout Eaters, about 85% of the fish that I catch in that film are self netted with the Promar L501 B and you can get a good feel for how I go about playing fish and then swimming them into the net as quickly as possible when I get them near the boat.

I could put the cowling of that Mercury Optimax inside the basket of that net. You want a big basket to swim your fish into when you get them close to the boat. If you are hunting big fish, there is no sportsmanship in landing the fish, it’s all about getting the bite. That’s the way I see it. I don’t want to lose that big girl at the boat messing around trying to get a hand in her mouth, especially when dealing with the size of baits and hooks we do, that stuff gets dangerous.


This was one of my maiden voyages in my Ranger Z520. You can imagine how pleased I was that the Promar fit in the hole built for the net, and the basket rests nicely between the consoles. It just worked, hooray.
Locked and Loaded. This is how you keep your net when you are fishing. Handle facing toward the bow of the boat. That way, you reach back and grab the handle with one hand and swim the fish into the basket with the rod tucked under your other arm. You will see this maneuver about 50 times in “Southern Trout Eaters” …Notice the grip tape, its actually that rod wrap material I put on the shaft of the Promar Net.  I once had the net slip from my hand on a cold wet day.  Not anymore with the rod wrap stuff on the shaft.
Promar Nets can be a livewell on jon boats, drift boats, river boats etc where you might not have the luxury of a full blown aerated livewell system onboard. Put the fish back in the net and hang it over the rail, and then take your pictures and videos and don’t worry about killing your catch.


My Promar Net has been with me thru thick and thin, including netting my personal best largemouth, at 14.60 pounds in South Carolina, March 2006.


The Promar ProMesh Series Tournament Net

The Promar PreMesh Series Landing Nets are excellent bass tournament style nets.  They have a retractable handle on them, which makes them easy to store while onboard, and a modular design means you can separate the handle from the basket (you can do this with the 501B too).   I have been using the LN-652 for the last 2 seasons, and really like the net.   Great compromise on a net, which means it’s still a big net, much bigger than most, but not as big as the 501B, and it just stores and fishes great on tournament day.  It has a 48″ retractable handle and 24″ basket.

Here is the ProMar Promesh LN-652 in the same Ranger Z520. Notice how much smaller the basket is, but still a big basket when compared to most nets. The ProMesh Material is awesome and doesn’t tend to collect hooks and stuff during your day of fishing. Very manageable and solid net.


The Promar ProMesh series is easy on the fish. You can see how the net material is rubber, and you just don’t have any issues with the fish getting hung up, your baits getting hung up, but the net is still more saltwater in nature, so its bigger and stronger than most freshwater alternatives, and a big basket and handle is a good thing.


If you’d like to see a great clip of the Promar ProMesh LN-652 in action, check out this clip from a trophy brown trout hunting expedition, by clicking here.   You will notice how well even the LN-652 does at handling big fish (that is a 27″ brown trout) and how well the net serves as a makeshift livewell and releasing tool.   Here are some pictures from the catch too:

Notice the fly rod&reel in the rod holder, I’m fishing out of a drift boat on the White River in Cotter, Arkansas. The Promar ProMesh LN-652, with the telescoping handle is a manageable trophy hunting net even in a small driftboat, where space is limited and you don’t have luxuries you do in a full blown fiberglass bass boat.
Brownie Von Huddchoker up close and personal. You can get a feel for the ProMesh material and how well that net does to take care of the fish and not hang up in hooks, gills, or fins.



The guy has a Stiffy!!! Great day on Okeechobee, sight fishing, poling around some good areas, taking it slow and stealth, and it paid off.

I have a 14 foot fiberglass Stiffy Push Pole.  It works great.  You need a push pole for many reasons, especially for hunting big bed fish up shallow in places like Okeechobee and Seminole.  The Stiffy Push Pole I have is two pieces, it screws together and can be stored in two 7 Foot sections.   The size of 14″ is a good size for me, the size of the boat and how deep of water I’m sitting.    I seriously like having either 7 foot sections or one long 14 foot section of strong fiberglass pole in my boat when I run around Okeechobee.  Between snakes, gators, birds and who knows what else, you never know when you need something to keep the critters away.   Also, getting stuck, high centered, overheated, lost or otherwise in a bad situation, a push pole is quite a useful tool that I find myself using often.   I imagine guys on the California Delta or Potomac, with the tidal nature of those waters, and for sure the river rats that duck into backwaters and ponds and need to push up and over shallow bars and structures, could use a good push pole.   Click HERE to see us fishing on Lake Okeechobee, where we show the 14 foot fiberglass Stiffy Push Pole in action.

Something about a push pole is just cool. You get back to slowing things down, and taking the stealth approach. Don't kid yourself, it's way physically exhausting to push yourself and a 20 foot fiberglass boat around. It takes time to get skills and even get your boat pointed the direction you want to go.

Stiffy makes other push poles and accessories too.  You can get the high end (and much lighter weight) graphite Stiffy Push Pole.  There are multiple piece/modular push poles and also single piece.  Just talk to the them if you have any special requests, they are good and can work with you to get the right length, material, and modular setup for your boat, and have the accessories for storage and mounting the push pole to your boat.

Stiffy storage on my Ranger Z520. I wrap the cord around it and secure it to my step, works great. Run that thing right down the center of your boat seems to be a good way to store it,when you plan on using it a lot and want to keep it as one big long piece.


Kaenon is based in Newport Beach, CA and has a ‘waterman’ DNA, where they strive for excellence in eyewear that meet the demands of the surfing, sailing, boating, paddle boarding, swimming, and fishing lifestyle.  They make a family of stylish and functional frames, that can be fitted with excellent grey, copper or yellow polarized lenses.   The lenses are a high end SR-91 composite material, which is their own high tech composite material–not glass, which means they are light weight and durable, yet they are quality, extremely high quality  lenses, so they are awesome to look thru.   They are light weight and sporty, and are a great compromise of function and fashion.  They are fun to wear, especially on calm days, warming trend, somewhere between the North Shore and Indian Prairie!  There is no reason to not experiment and try new things with your sunglasses and lenses and see what works and what fits you best and see if you don’t find something you like or something that works better.   Kaenon’s are available in 3 vibrant and distinct color variations, that are polarized of course:  Yellow, Copper, and Grey. I show you how I use the yellow (Y35) lens in the above video.      I’m going to introduce you to my world viewed thru various Kaenon sunglasses with the various lenses in separate projects, starting with the yellow lens.  The Y35 Kaenon Hard Kores are my choice for fishing in the black water of Okeechobee.

To understand why the Yellow lens helps ‘add light’ and brighten up the dark water of Florida, and brighten up cloudy and grey days for sight fishing, you have to understand the basics of ‘light transmission control’. The simple is, Yellow lens technology allows more light thru the lens. It blocks less sunlight, so you are gaining light vs. grey or copper lens (with the exception of the C50 which has my curiousity!). Go ahead and get yourself some yellow lenses and try them out. I bet you don’t take them off all day (in Florida anyway).

The Y35 Lens is amazing what it does to brighten up and ‘electrify’ an otherwise grey and gloomy day.   When you mix in the black tannin water of Florida, the Y35 has a whole new meaning.  These things pierce thru that clear black water we all strain our eyes to just see a little further, a little deeper, and detect a fish or a bed that much further away.    Here are the advantages to a Yellow lens:

  • Added light:  Great for seeing in black water, grey days, and cloudy conditions, especially when you are sight fishing.  Yellow lenses allow more light thru, and are a tool of serious sight fishermen.   Serious anglers have multiple sunglasses and lenses to approach certain situations, and these yellow lenses from Kaenon will be something you will appreciate and use regularly in your fishing.
  • Added contrast and detail:  You can detect beds further away (light spot in dark water) or dark fish tail against light spot better.  Or when it comes to detail, you can make out the shape and/or color of a fish better (vs. confusing it with grass or moss).   Think about competition skeet and trap shooting.  Those guys where yellow lenses, and I’m guessing it’s just for many of the same reasons.  I find even on the bright bluebird days of Okeechobee, yellow lenses work just fine middle of the day, not just the low light and grey days.   With the dark water of places like Okeechobee, the yellow lenses of my Y35 Kaenon Hardcores just work all day long, rain or shine, to give me added edge to see better.
  • Electrify your eyes:  I find the Kaenon Y35 lens a lot like being in a room with a black light.  Your eyes take a minute to adjust, but once you get the feel for them, the darks and lights really stand out and contrast each other. It’s like playing with the color levels of a digital photo editing tool.  Adding light or otherwise taking away/filtering out darkness, can make a photo come out great, whereas natively, it might have been really too dark to make out whatever you took the picture of.   Editing software makes it possible to make digital photos come out best.  Use this same mentality to choose colors of lenses to match the water and lighting of your fishing spot.  Yellow lenses electrify your vision and add contrast and detail you wouldn’t otherwise get.   Again, think sight fishing where you are looking for the black tails on the fish, lateral lines,  the white belly of a fish nosing down on your bait, looking for light spots out at the edge of your horizontal range, where you can best anchor down/setup on the bed to assess if a fish is there, and all the things you strive for perfection when sight fishing.   Yellow lenses are just an aid to help your vision to see more fish, beds and better see your bait and “the bed fishing theater” while sight fishing.
  • Seeing your bait:  It is no accident the colors of 5″ Big Hammer swimbaits (bright white, chartreuse/yellows really stick out with Y35 lenses on) I tend to throw at big bed fish ala the 5″ Big Hammer Sight Fish Rig, tend to contrast nicely and be highly visible with the Y35 lenses.
  • Boat Driving:  There are plenty of occassion to wear your Y35 Kaenon Hard Kores when operating your boat.  Morning take-off, and just any grey/cloudy dark conditions are ideal for using the Y35 lenses to add some light and just give you better visibility driving in the exposed outdoors at 65-70 MPH.
  • Hipster Alert:  You can wear your Y35 Kaenon’s out to nightclubs and trendy bars!!
Yellow? You hear me? Kaenon Hard Kores with the Y35 lens are a key tool to my bed fishing, especially in Florida. The fish, your bait, and the beds all tend to contrast in the dark water better with a yellow lens.

I definitely recommend getting yourself into a yellow lens for fishing the dark water of Florida and just to have as a tool in grey/cloudy conditions and perhaps for driving your boat.  I wear the Kaenon Hard Kore frame, because I find it incredibly light weight, sporty, and comfortable. I can wear them all day and don’t feel the fatigue of the nose or ear pieces on my head.   You have a few frames to choose from from Kaenon that offer the Y35 lens.  Here are the others frames that have the Y35 lens:  The Arlo, The Kanvas, and The Rhino.

FishStrong published a review of the Kaenon Kores with the C12 (Copper) lens.  Yellow lenses are a specialty thing, and definitely a tool to have, especially if you like “lookin’ at ’em” .  But copper lenses, as Hale White from FishStrong explains, are the most universally useful.  Take a look at  FishStrong’s write up HERE.    You can expect us to be back with our own take on the copper and grey lenses, and expect more collaboration with us and FishStrong too.

Sight fishing is like anything else, you need a system. Yellow lenses are part of my system and I encourage you to give it a try in the black water especially.