Dumpster weigh in at marina

Tournament weigh-in, in front of a dumpster. How sad!

We made our way to Logan Martin Lake Saturday. We stopped for a quick biscuit where I ran into a man driving a marina truck. “No, we do not have any bait. No, we do not have a ramp either. He was helpful though and sent us down to another marina.

“No” was the word of the day around the area.

I’ll be the first to admit that I see retailing and customer service under a critical eye.

We rolled into the marina and it looked nice. However, they  had no, ethanol free fuels at their store. The tackle section was poor. The people were nice. One counted the bait as the other ran the register. Their service was fast and friendly.

This lake was new to us so it was a special adventure. The Yamaha outboard purred as it warmed up. Kathy pulled the trailer back to the parking lot. It sure is nice to have such a good-looking fishing partner. 🙂

She boarded the boat and we were on our way. We took in the new sights and watched the chart in split screen. One side was GPS and the other, side imaging. We mapped and charted for nearly two hours. There were points, brush piles, old bridges, and roadbeds. The lee side of the roadbeds held the most fish.

Kathy managed a nice catfish. No crappie though. The thought of a hot shower seemed nice as the wind began to howl. I phoned ahead as we approached the fuel dock. “Sorry, we will not have fuel until next month” was the reply at the other end. There was that “No” word again.

The America’s Best Value Inn was the bright spot of the day. The manager was very helpful and told me where to park and charge the boat. The room was clean. It featured a coffee pot, microwave, and refrigerator. All of that for $60.00 too!

I walked over to the marina next door while my girl got ready for dinner. I figured I would get a cup of coffee. No, they did not have any drinks. There was that “No” again.

I watched a local bass club recover their boats. Only one of the three ramps was open. Recovery wait time was nearly twenty minutes. They completed their weigh-in on a folding table in front of the dumpster. Why would they come back?

Later, we headed out to dinner. The Ark Restaurant was wonderful. We enjoyed huge catfish fillets with all the trimmings. All the food is prepared to order and is a little slow. However, it is well worth the wait!

We headed home after a good night’s sleep. Reflecting on the trip, we thought about the marinas in particular. The people were nice. However, they are leaving a lot of money on the table and disappointing their visitors.

We will be sure to fuel up and bring extra coffee next time.

Blessings, -tj


Posted on by TJ Stallings | 1 Comment

A big shout out to my friends…

Writer’s block has had a grip on me.
So has cancer. So has love.

The cancer deserves little text here. The prognosis is good and this old angler will be around a while.

The phone rang constantly with an outpouring of love and support of friends.

Family and my extended family at TTI-Blakemore supported me in prayers and patience.

My girlfriend cooked such wonderful meals. Heck, I even gained five pounds during radiation! Her love is a true gift from God. I could go on and on about her, but angels embarrass easily.

So many prayers were lifted; God may have grown weary at the mention of my name.
There was a lot of drama between the lines here, but God’s power and grace pulled me through.

I thank you all, for your love.

Now let’s go catch some fish!

BlessiTJ a lucky manngs,

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Adapt, change or fail with fish.

Ziptailz and Pro Series Road Runner Heads did the trick.

ZipTailz and Pro Series Road Runner Heads did the trick.

The water temperature was down five-degrees. The water was muddy too. Those are tough conditions, especially when seeking “picture” quality fish.

Fortunately I was with Crappiemasters Pro, Jonathon Phillips. He and his family stay on top of the fish.

Today was a challenge. We tried everything. We sped up, slowed down and changed colors. We just enjoyed the scattered bites we had. However, one combination caught the biggest fish. Phillips is on the ZipTailz pro-staff and added one to a Road Runner Pro Series head.

At the end of the day, that combination won “big fish” for our boat, a dozen times. We adapted, changed and experimented. We bagged dinner and some good photos.

Nice work dude!



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Look back and forward to be a better angler.

Tru-Turn Hooks are awesome for crappie.

Tru-Turn Hooks are awesome for crappie.

Reflect. Look back at last year. What did you learn? What did the fish teach you? What did you learn from the conditions?

Did you master a new technique? What new structure did you find in your waters? Did you share the sport with a child?

Look forward. Have you identified your goals for next year?

Challenge yourself and have a Happy New Year!

Fishing for different species, teaches us more.

Fishing for different species, teaches us more.



"One poling" for crappie is a blast.

“One poling” for crappie is a blast.

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Colder temps mean active crappie pattern returns

I love to see a B n 'M pole bend like this!

I love to see a B n ‘M pole bend like this!

This photo says so much.

Brush piles and timber will hold crappie all winter. Just find the right depth and the fish will eat.

Merry Christmas to all.

Blessings, tj

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The trolling motor of the future is here.

What impressed this angler most at the ICAST show?

This old angler got about an hour to wander about on the last day. What impressed me the most? A stop at the Minn Kota booth revealed Minn Kota’s new Ulterra™ Trolling Motor.

The new Minn Kota Ulterra

The new Minn Kota

Imagine the Terrova trolling motor. Now add a feature we thought we would never see. That is right, automatic stow and deploy!

There is more. Push a button on the handy remote and you can trim the motor depth. The Ulterra is truly impressive!

Ulterra will be available Fall 2014 with manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing between $1,989.99 and $2,549.99, and will come in 80- and 112-pound thrust models with 45- and 60-inch shafts. Ulterra will also come standard with Universal Sonar 2.

Oh, yes. There were some great products in our booth. 🙂 We will get to them later.

The Ulterra deploys and trims with touch of a button.

The Ulterra deploys and trims with touch of a button.



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Of Fish and Men: A Little Surf and Turf

Well how about that. My friends at the Patrons of the Pit tested some Road Runners. 🙂

Patrons of the Pit

There are some days in the human condition when a man proper needs to catch his own protein. A time required when he simply, and to an end,  needs to fish. To stalk environs still wild, andIMG_46911 pluck from them that which lurks and swims in the murky underwaters. To hoist thy plunder proudly into the air, dripping there, sunbeams glinting of scaly flanks of slime, and declare that dinner is henceforth secured from this barren and trying land. And somewhere deep down, just past that soulish area where it ought to, it feels good. Indeed, it feels right. Such was the case recently, whilst afloat a lovely Wisconsin fishery that shall go nameless here, naturally, to throw off any would-be angling gumshoes, that my elder brother and I came into the good fortune of tight lines and nicely hooping rods. Pulling in assorted pan fish and frisky crappies…

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Been fishin’?

Stuart bagged a seven-pounder.

Stuart bagged a seven-pounder.

Sorry I’ve been gone so long. The traveling, working,  and a little fishing has kept me away. Here are some photos for now. Hope the fish are treating you well!

Mike bagged some Crappie too.

Mike bagged some
Crappie too.

Stacy  with her first Pymatuning Lake crappie.

Stacy with her first
Pymatuning Lake crappie.

Blessings, tj

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Transom mounted transducers live dangerously until now.

The latest improvement on the G3 is the Spring Back Bracket™ by Transducer Shield and Saver®. This product solves three problems.

Side imaging transducers are big targets for stumps

Side imaging transducers are big targets for stumps. Notice the springs in the Spring Back Bracket.

Transducers are targets for stumps and flotsam. While they are designed to flip up, they may not survive. A new one can cost upwards to $400.00. This bracket is spring loaded to pivot and prevent damage.

If you are lucky, the old transducer flips up. Now you get to reach down to your shoulder to push it back down. The Spring Back Bracket pivots back on its own.

The last problem is positioning the transducer so it stays wet while running. (Without a huge rooster tail.) The Spring Back Bracket features a splash plate. This allows the transducer to run “down” and reduces the rooster tail.

Thanks to this great product, I can run nearly twice the speed without losing signal. This means finding more structure while running from spot to spot.


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Get your boat out of the dark ages.

Quality boats last for years. (Think G3, Skeeter, Ranger, etc.) Nothing feels as good as fishing out of a boat that is paid for. However, your electronics are likely four to five years old. Depth sounders are like PCs, they age quickly. Think about what you use the most. Your trolling motor and electronics see more hours of use, than anything on the boat.

The quiet yet powerful Minn Kota is the best choice.

The quiet yet powerful Minn Kota is the best choice.

The first upgrade should be your trolling-motor. Minn Kota is the industry leader in quiet, efficient operation. Consider the Terrova and the Fortrex. A friend just purchased one
Driftmaster rod holders are a solid investment too.

Driftmaster rod holders are a solid investment too.

for his 1998 bass boat. He is thoroughly impressed by the power and the lift assist.

Update your electronics. One veteran guide stated, “I’ve learned more about this lake in three months than I have in the past thirty years.” as he pointed at his Humminbird. Enough said.

Awesome for finding brush piles and structure.

Awesome for finding brush piles and structure.

Protect your investment with a new boat cover. Try the industry leader, Dowco Marine. Visit their website for their “boat finder”. Choose your boat brand and select the model to find the correct cover. Off the shelf, covers are okay. You may be disappointed with the fit. A poor fit will result in ponding of water and leaves. Loose fitting covers will flap when towed.

Dowco offers custom covers for many boat brands

Dowco offers custom covers for many boat brands

The often forgotten trailer needs a little TLC. Check tires, rollers and the bearings. New radial tires will improve your gas mileage.

These improvements do not cost, they pay.

I found this ledge with my side-finder. Here is the result.

I found this ledge with my side-finder. Here is the result.


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