Reviews

Product Review Potpourri II

Posted on July 8, 2007

Guest Review by Bill Schultz

As a long-time River Smallie enthusiast, I know that there are few internet fishing sites with a more discerning clientele. You guys are picky, know your gear and always seem to be interested in learning about new items. Through my various product review articles I’ve tried to bring you information on equipment and gear that I use and have been impressed with. I hope you find the information on this group of products interesting and helpful.

Minnkota Terrova Trolling Motor

Let me get right to the point. I love this trolling motor. As some of you know, I have a new Crestliner Fish Hawk 1750 and I decided to put a top-of-the-line trolling motor on it. I wanted one with plenty of bells and whistles, with power to spare.

On my 2004 Lowe 1652 VPT Tunnel Hull, which I sold earlier in the summer, I had a 12 volt 55 pound thrust Minnkota Power Drive with AutoPilot. I liked everything about the motor except I never got used to the foot pedal. When I saw that the new Minnkota Terrova had a great looking foot pedal with heel/toe steering, I decided to put this on the Crestliner. I also upgraded to the unit with the Universal Sonar and Copilot.

I’ve been on the water about 20 times with the new boat and am totally impressed with everything about the Crestliner. If you asked me what the best thing on the boat is, I’d have to say the Terrova. First, the 80 pounds of thrust offers incredible power. At the top speed you better hang on or you might be on your butt or in the water. It’s nice to have all the power you need. The Terrova also has the new Digital Maximizer technology which provides up to 5 times longer run time on a single charge. By controlling the draw of power at variable speeds, Digital Maximizer eliminates wasted energy, extends battery life and gives you more time on the water.

As I mentioned, the foot pedal is tremendous. Along with the toe/heel steering there are large, easy to use on/off controls for the AutoPilot and Momentary/Continuous control. The infinite speed control is large and very easy to use with your foot, with speeds from 1-10. At the base of the foot pedal there is another right/left and momentary on/off control. This electric steer foot pedal comes with an 18’ cord for easy use anywhere in the boat.

All the features on the Terrova are great, but I have to say my favorite is the wireless CoPilot that I wear on my wrist like a watch. This accessory lets you control speed and steering from anywhere on the boat. It also activates AutoPilot and high speed bypass on the Terrova. The bypass allows you to switch between maximum speed and your original speed with a simple touch of the high speed bypass button. On most of my outings I’ve used the CoPilot and Terrova to bring me safely into the dock. I use the digitally controlled AutoPilot all the time and can’t imagine not having it. It’s so easy to use. All you do is point the motor in your desired heading and turn the AutoPilot on and experience this boat-control advantage. In the big waters of Door County, where the wind is usually a factor, the AutoPilot made it quite comfortable holding a course so that I could work a variety of lures that would have been very difficult to fish without the AutoPilot feature.

If you’ve looking to upgrade your trolling motor or rigging a new boat, definitely give the Terrova a hard look. You won’t be disappointed. www.minnkotamotors.com

Bass Pro Shops XPS iSeries On-Board Marine Battery Charger

This is my first on-board battery charger and all I have to say is, “why did I wait so long?” I have it hooked up to my two Optima 31 batteries and couldn’t be happier. I have the XPS i5/5 12/24 dual-bank. There are quite a few on-board battery chargers out there. I went with the Bass Pro XPS because the $119.99 price seemed good and I know Bass Pro stands behind their products. I also think these units go on sale each year for $20 or $30 below list.

Features:

• 100% waterproof and shockproof
• Automatic charge, conditioning and safe storage models
• Friendly on your batteries while extending battery life
• Compact, lightweight and rugged design
• Selectable performance charge profiles
• Pre-wired quick installation
• Transfer-On-Demand Technology maintains engine crank battery while maximizing available charging amps to meet the demand of on-board trolling motor’s batteries
• 2-year warranty
• Go Fish indicator lets you know when the batteries are fully charged
• LED Status Center indication for power, charge, maintenance mode and battery type
• Machined aluminum housing
• Programmable Battery-Type Selector – unit has an innovative programming slot and magnetic key which allows users to set charging profiles for lead acid/AGM or GEL batteries
• Dual In-Line Fuses for maximum safety protection from accidental short circuit of trolling motor battery charging cables.

So far this has been a great unit, so easy to use. Just plug it in and wait for the Go Fish indicator to tell you it’s ready to go. www.basspro.com

Bass Pro Shops Reel Tote

I tend to be one of those people who, by nature, are careful with my equipment. For years, when I’d take a fishing trip, I would wrap my spare reels in a portion of a towel and carry them in a small duffle bag. This year I got the Bass Pro Reel Tote and love it. I can load 8-10 reels in the bag that features a rugged, water-resistant Cordura shell with a soft inner lining with adjustable hook n’ loop dividers for different reel sizes. This is a great piece of equipment for only $19.99. The compact 14” by 10” bag is only 4.5” deep and doesn’t take up much space in the boat or tow vehicle. www.basspro.com

Bass Pro Shops Reel Covers

My new Crestliner has a nice rod locker under the front deck and another along the passenger side of the boat. Being the careful guy that I am, I didn’t want the reels to bang against each other, causing scratches and dings while in the rod lockers. The Bass Pro Reel covers are very reasonably priced and fit spinning reels, round and low-profile baitcasters. The spinning cover is $4.99 and the baitcaster is $3.99 and they work great. I’ve been using them all season and no scratches or dings. www.basspro.com

Power Pro Hi-Vis Yellow

Like many of you, I’m big fan of Power Pro line. The last few years I’ve been using the Moss Green and like it. This year for the first time I’ve tried the Hi-Vis Yellow and love how easy it is to see. If you have trouble seeing your line, give it a try. Recently I used it with Texas-rigged YUM Dingers on a crystal clear river and had a great day catching quite a few smallies. www.powerpro.com

New White River Fly Shop Breathable Waders

If you’ve read any of my past reviews you know how happy I’ve been with my White River Fly Shop Breathable Waders. I use both the chest-high and waste-high waders. This year I thought I’d try the new breathable waders. These are priced at $139.95, compared to $99.95 for the regular breathable waders, but there are some nice upgrades.

The waders have a high grade 5 layer nylon upper, which is laminated with 100% waterproof/breathable membrane. One of the primary differences is the reinforced knees and seat. I’m sure some of you guys who are tough on your waders will appreciate this extra toughness.

Here are the new features, which I really like:

• Deluxe front hand warmer pocket with two zippered organizer pockets, an inside utility pocket and three small outside mesh pockets.
• Top draw string to give a snug fit around your chest and side cinch straps for a better fit at your waist. The side cinch straps are a nice feature, but because I wear my Gerber Fisherman’s tool and am used to tucking my spare rod in the belt that comes on the originals, I got the $4.95 Redhead Wader Belt to go with the new waders.
• Self fabric gravel cuffs with lace keeper and, as with the original breathable waders, the suspenders are adjustable with quick release buckles.

I’ve certainly been very happy with the original White River Fly Shop Breathable Waders, but for a few dollars these should be looked at. www.basspro.com

Hi-Tec Hiking Shoes

About 15 years ago I got my first pair of light hiking shoes/boots and have been a big fan ever since. For over ten years I have worn Hi-Tec hiking shoes/boots exclusively and have had great luck. They are comfortable and very durable. My wife and I hike on a regular basis. Her personalized license plate is WE HIKE. I’ve given the various Hi-Tec hiking shoes I’ve worn over the years a real test on our trails in Wisconsin, as well as many trips to Rocky Mountain National Park. Also, because of the comfort and excellent support, I wear Hi-Tecs when fishing in my boat and during my fish/hiking outings.

If you’re a hiker along with your fishing activities, you should give the Hi-Tec hiking shoe/boots a try. I think you’ll be just as impressed as I’ve been and your feet will thank you. The three pair in the picture are my most recent Hi-Tecs. From left to right they are the V-Lite Radar Event Low, V-Lite Fasthike Mid and Altitude IV Low. I’ve started wearing all three already love them. Hi-Tecs can be found at many of the better outdoor stores like Sportsman’s Warehouse, Gander Mountain, Bass Pro Shops and many more. Most of the ones I’ve seen range in price from $40 to $80. www.hi-tec.com


Taylor Made Boat Fenders

When I was at Bass Pro Outdoor World this spring giving a seminar at their Fishing Classic I had time to do some exploring. This is when I came across the Taylor Made Boat Fenders. With my new Crestliner I needed better bumpers than I had. I didn’t want to damage those great decals on the side of the boat.

Taylor Made makes a wide variety of bumpers and other boat accessories. I’ve been using both the SuperGard Vinyl Fenders and the HullGard Inflatable Vinyl Fenders. Both are outstanding. The SuperGard are constructed from the highest quality marine-grade vinyl and feature a high-gloss finish and double molded black ends for extra strength where you need it most. The seamless 1-piece construction with ribbed sides minimizes roll and a molded-in valve ensures easy inflation and long life. The HullGard oval-shaped design minimizes rolling and reduces hull rub. Molded-in eyelets withstand the pull and tug of everyday use and like the SuperGard the air valve allows customized inflation.

The SuperGards I use, which are the 5 ½” by 20”, cost $19.99 and the HullGards are $11.99. They come in a variety of sizes and the price varies depending on the size. If you want to protect your boat, check out the Taylor Made Boat Fenders. www.taylormadeproducts.com

Taylor Made SuperGard Boat Fenders on the author’s Crestliner.

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Copyright © 2007 Bill Schultz
Published on RiverSmallies.com with permission.

Bill Schultz lives in Wisconsin and is a member of the St. Croix Pro Staff and sponsored by a variety of other companies. He is a popular sports show speaker and contributing writer for this site, various outdoor magazines.

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