Kenneth Sheets

GIVES THE “B&R OUTLAW RODS” THE FULL TEST ON September 24, 2005, during the BASS Southern Open at Lake Guntersville in Alabama

After a dismal showing at the first BASS Southern Open I knew that I was going to have to hitch my pants up and get after it at Guntersville if I was going to have any kind of chance of making the Open Championship. I arrived at the lake on Friday evening and got checked into the Super 8 motel in Guntersville, which by the way I would not recommend due to limited parking. I picked up my license at a small tackle store across the street and drove around to get familiar with the nearest ramps. At a recent dealer meeting that I had attended I met a young man, Chris Jackson, who does some part time guiding at the lake and he had told me to give him a call when I got in town and he would let me know what was going on with the fish. Since the official practice didn't start until Monday I was able to get some info from him. He told me that the lake was about a month behind where it should be. He said that there were some fish in the mats but the frog and rat bite was still about 3 weeks away from being in full swing. He was very helpful and very knowledgeable of the lake. If anyone is considering going down to Guntersville on a trip I highly recommend Chris as a guide as this lake is very large and has a tremendous amount of grass in it and can be very confusing to fish.

I got up early Saturday morning and launched at the nearest ramp. I was really excited to get out there and play with my new Triton TR 21X and some of my new toys. This would be the first tournament for my 06 rig. After studying my maps and my navonics chip in my new Humminbird Matrix 97 I decided to try a large creek down the lake that had a lot of grass in it. My new Honda 225 had me there in nothing flat and I dropped the new Minn Kota Max Pro 80 into the water and I was ready to make my first cast into famed Lake Guntersville. I picked up a few of the new B&R Outlaw rods that the owner, Robert Nosbisch, had given me to try out on this trip and began casting a Zoom Horney Toad over a large grass mat in the mouth of the creek. After about an hour without so much as a swirl I decided to move in and begin flipping the mats. I grabbed the 7'6" Outlaw heavy action flipping stick with a new Ardent xs reel spooled with 65# Power Pro Braided line and pitched a Sweet Beaver with a 1oz. tungsten weight into the mat. I am amazed at these new rods. I will go into more detail on the rods a little later on in the story. I fished about 30 or 40 feet down the mat with no luck. I decided to move a little further back in the creek and hit some of the isolated mats along the creek channel.

I stayed with the Sweet Beaver and it didn't take long. I pitched the beaver up on the mat and shook it till it fell through. It fell about a foot and stopped. I set back and sunk the hook into a solid largemouth. I buried his head in the grass and he calmed down. I eased over and stuck my hand down in the grass, hoping all along that is was not a gar or something, and pulled out a dandy that I guessed in the 6 lb range. My first Guntersville bass and it was good one. I fished that area for about another hour or so and caught a couple more good fish and was able to shake off several more bites. The one thing that surprised me was that there were a number of other boats in the area and I did not see any of them having much luck. I know that most of them were fishing a tournament because I spoke with several of them. There was a Championship of some kind going on and also a BFL two day event.

I went back to the room feeling pretty good. I did not get a lot of bites but the ones that I got were good ones. That night I called my buddy Pete Ponds to see how he had done. Pete said that he was catching a lot of fish but not many keepers. He was fishing up the lake in the Goose Pond area. Chris had told me that the bite up in that area had been strong for a while but that it was getting beat up with all the pressure on it. The next morning I decided to stay near where I had fished the first day and try to expand on what I had found. I spent the entire day in the same creek and had a number of bites but tried not to set the hook. I had one fish that grabbed the bait just as I pulled it up out of a mat and he exploded right through the mat and ended up laying on top of the grass. I did not hook him and he was just laying there. I swear that fish had to go 8 or 9 lbs. He was huge. He flopped around until he got back through the mat and he was gone. I knew where he lived.

My roommate for the week, Nelson Scherrer , had gotten down latter Sunday morning and had hooked up with a local guy who is very good on the lake. He spent the day with him checking out a bunch of different areas and told me that they had a pretty good day with their best fishing going around 5lbs. Their best bite was on a crank bait fishing ridges out on the main channel. I spent the next three days up the lake fishing everything from mats to ridges. I caught fish on just about everything that I threw, from frogs to crankbaits but none of them were anywhere near the quality of the fish that I had in the creek in the lower end of the lake. I knew that I had to do good so I decided to go with fewer bites but bigger fish. I told Nelson that if I could get just 4 bites a day I would have a shot.

Thursday morning I met my partner for the day, Todd Lee, at the motel and we drove up to the take off site and launched the boat. We were boat 33 in the second flight. They called our number and we took off. It only took us about 10 minutes to get to the mouth of the creek and I was glad to see that we were the first ones in there. I went straight to the mat that I had that big fish blow up on that second day. I began throwing a frog along the scattered grass beside the mat and Todd was throwing a 10" worm along the edge. It did not take long before Todd hooked up with a solid keeper and he was on the board. I made a long cast up the side of the mat and a good fish in the 5 to 6 lb range blew out of the water and ate the frog. I set up on her and thought that I had her hooked good. I led her around the outside of the boat into open water and had her within 8 feet of the boat and she just pulled off. I almost threw up. Not the way to start the day.

I moved around the side of the mat and hooked up again, this time on the sweet beaver. A short battle and bingo she came off. Two in a row. Now I am throwing up. I moved a little farther down the mat and hooked up with a good one about 6 feet back in the mat. I buried her head in the grass and Todd reached down and grabbed her. Finally, one in the well and a good one it was. 6.8lbs to be exact. We worked around the mats along the creek channel for the next couple of hours and Todd was able to put three more keepers in the boat but all I was able to catch was shorts. We got a lot more bites than I had been getting in practice but not the quality. It was getting close to noon and that is when things really got crazy. We were fishing about half way back in the creek around a big mat when I heard something out behind me. I turned and seen a plane coming down to land on the water. It was a sea plane and I told Todd, check this out this plane is going to land. That is when I noticed that he had his landing gear down. I told Todd, I hope he is not having trouble. That is when he crashed. His wheels touched the water and the plane flipped upside down with a huge crash. I said, wholly *&%# and jerked up the trolling motor, fired up the Honda and took off. Just as we got up to the plane I saw a man pop up out of he water and climb up on the bottom side of the wing. I as him if there was anyone else in the plane and he told me that he was all alone. His face was cut up but other than that he seemed to be okay. I grabbed my phone and dialed 911. I gave them all the info and the operator assured me that help was on the way. By this time a couple more boats in the area had showed up and we got the gentleman into another competitors boat. The man asked me to call his wife and the airport, which was just about a mile or so away. We tied a marker buoy to the plane and I marked the location on my gps just in case the plane sank. It didn't take long before the Sheriffs boat and the EMTs showed up so we all went back to fishing.

I have to say that I have had some pretty wild things happen to me while I have been out fishing but this one takes the cake. We stayed in the creek the rest of the day and I did manage to pick up one more small keeper. We headed back in for the 2:45 weigh in and I hit the scales with a little over 8 lbs and found myself in 70th place. Things were not looking good but I knew the potential that the area had and I decided to go back hit it again on the second day. My partner, Todd was in 4th place with 11lbs.

The next day we were in the 9th flight and did not have to be back in until 4:30 which would give us about 2 more hours of fishing time. I made the short run down to the creek and found a few other boats in there with us that were not there the first day. I went right to the mat where I lost the good fish on day one and began flipping the Sweet Beaver. It didn't take long and I put my first keeper in the boat. At least I was off to a better start. A few minutes later and I had number two. I put my limit fish in the boat at 10am. My partner, Floyd, had not caught a fish. I think that he was not detecting the bite as the fish were really hitting light. They would not hit the bait until it hit bottom and you picked it up. I would pick it up off the bottom and just hold it there. The bite was very light and I think that I would not have felt half of them if it were not for the sensitivity of the new Outlaw rods. I stayed in the area and was able to cull a couple of times. I knew that I would need a good sack to make it into the top fifty and make the cut. I went to the scales with 16lbs 2ozs and found myself in 34 place. It is a good feeling to know that you will get a check no matter what happens tomorrow.

I was paired with Mike Whalen from St Louis. Mike travels with a friend of mine, Curtis Caddenhead, and they usually stay at the same motel that Nelson and I do. Speaking of Nelson, he had a little over 9lbs the first day but blanked on day two. The next morning they called our number and we headed down the lake to the creek that I had spent the first two days in only to find it loaded with boats. There was a local tournament going on and there were about 8 or 9 boats working the mats in my area. I pulled in and began flipping the mats along the creek channel. I hadn't went very far when I had a good fish grab the bait just as I was lifting it out of the mat and just did not get a good hook in her and she pulled off. I then put two in the well pretty quick and I was feeling a lot better. I think the pressure in the creek may have gotten to the fish because the bite really got tough and all I could catch were shorts. I missed several fish that hit the bait really hard but were not taking it. Mike managed only one short fish for the day but was a great partner. I went to the scales with 2 fish for a little over 4lbs and fell to 39th place. Not what I hoping for but better than a poke in the eye. It moved me up to 51st overall.

With just one event left I have my work cut out for me. The next Tournament is on lake Toho in central Florida the end of October and I will probably need a top 10 finish to make the Championship.

I want to take just a moment to talk about a couple new products that I had the chance to use on this trip. First off I have switched to Humminbird Electronics. I have the new Matrix 97 GPS Color Chartpolotter at the dash and the Matrix 27 in the bow. The new 97 has the clearest screen that I have ever seen and this is one of the easiest units I have ever used. It has 4000 Watts peak to peak, 500 Watts {RMS}, Dual Beam Plus and 60 degree coverage. The Matrix 27 has the same features in black and white and you can add GPS to it for a very reasonable price. If you are in the market for some new Electronics you really need to take a serious look at all the new Humminbird models out there. As I mentioned before I had the chance to try some of the new rods from B&R Outlaw and all I can say is WOW! I have had the opportunity to use some of the best rods on the market today. Rods that sell for 2 to 4 hundred dollars apiece and I can honestly say that nothing that I have tried comes close to the strength, sensitivity, and weight of these rods. When I first picked up one the rods my main concern was if they would hold up or not. They are the lightest rods I have ever used. All my fears were laid to rest last week. I was pulling some really good fish out of some of the heaviest grass mats that I have ever fished in with 65lb test braided line and the rods never missed a beat. I don't know how they got a rod that light and that sensitive to be that strong but I am sold. Now here is the great part. You can buy these rods at a fraction of the cost of anything that I would consider comparable. I tell you I am so impressed that I am going to try to get Twin City Marine to start handling them. If you want to check one out just stop by Twin City Marine in Wentzville and I will be more than happy to show you the ones that I have. You can take one out back and play with it. If you pick one up and cast it a few times you will be sold. Once again I would like to thank all my sponsors that make it possible for me to do what I do and also all you readers out there for you support.

Twin City Marine - http://www.twincitymarineinc.com

Till next time.

Thanks, Ken Sheets


"I had the chance to try some of the new rods from B&R Outlaw and all I can say is WOW! I have had the opportunity to use some of the best rods on the market today."

Ken Sheets