Dave Miller is a tournament angler in Connecticut. Dave fills us in on his fishing including some of his favorite Connecticut waters. But what I really like about this interview is that Dave is a bit of a tackle junky. Dave took some time to give us some reviews of his favorite fishing tackle. Dave also has some really cool sponsors that I was not familiar with and it was great to get know more about their products.
How was your 2016 tournament season overall?
Overall not as well as I anticipated but definitely learned a lot because of it. Several tournaments that were important I had solid game plans from practice but due to cold fronts the plans failed. I tried to adapt the best I could and just came up short.
What were the top 5 moments of your 2016 tournament season?
I’m just going to go with one moment that blew my mind. I was fishing the Thayers Marine team open on Candlewood Lake with my good friend Ken Bell. The bass were not cooperating at all for us. We pull up on this point where a flat extends out from the side. I had a KVD 2.5 Squarebill tied on and figured to hammer this flat for a few casts before we circle around to the outside weedline. We dropped the trolling motor out pretty far as the fish have been skittish, we were out in about 30 feet. I make a bomb cast off the mark into about 17 feet. I just start reeling back in fast to follow up cast and halfway to the boat a 6 pound small jaw smashes it. He must have been suspended. Really out in the middle of nowhere. My partner nets him I go to unhook him and the line was wrapped around the hooks and actually went through both O rings. I have no idea how I didn’t lose that fish. We didn’t place in this tourney but bites like that you’ll never forget.
What are your favorite Connecticut waters to fish? And what do you like about each of them?
Candlewood for smallmouth without a doubt. I’m a huge jerkbait fan and have had some of my best days on the water throwing a ITO 110 in the spring here.
Next up I would have to say Lillinonoah. This body of water is tricky. The bass really fire up if the state is drawing water but if not your in for a long day on the water. This is home to my personal best of a 8 pound 10 ounces Largemouth which I got on a 7 inch curly tail power worm in green pumpkin.
3rd favorite I would have to say Lake Congamond on the Mass border. I’ve fished only a few tourneys here but each one I’ve caught some memorable bass especially at night.
Who are your sponsors and the companies that you promote?
Dobyns Rods, which I truly appreciate what Gary and Rich have done to help me further my career. What really intrigued me with Dobyns is the Crankbait models in the Champion Series. Graphite rods with the parabolic bend of glass is a dream come true for guys like myself who want the lightest possible tackle. The 684CB is my favorite rod in the line it’s my go to jerkbait rod and in a pinch I use it for small poppers and inline spinners.
Siebert Outdoors, me and Mike have been friends for a several years now and he has been making my custom jigs by hand ever since. Outside of my love for jerkbaits the almighty Jig is my weapon of choice. My favorite product he has is the Zenith Shaky Head in 3/16oz. It’s a flat sided football with a narrow gap hook. It allows the lightest floating baits to have the most natural action without additional hook weight.
Delaware Valley Tackle in New York, owner Mike Lawson has been a good friend of mine as well, the only 2 Rods I use that are not Dobyns, Mike built for me for finesse presentations. Mike is a reel guru. I can be anywhere at anytime and if I’m having a issue with a reel, he’s there to help me troubleshoot and resolve the issue. He’s also a distributor of Carbontex drags which I use on all of my reels.
As a tackle junky, what were the hottest baits in your tackle box over the course of the 2016 season?
Berkeley Havoc Bottom Hopper, in both 4 and 6 inch sizes. They really shine well on days were the bass just simply don’t want to eat. It’s a go to Shaky Head presentation but also does well on a slider head or Carolina rig.
Strike King’s 8XD sent me with some good bags to the scales several times throughout the year. They get down to the depth I need them but they won’t over dig like some of the other cranks I’ve used.
Missle Baits D Bomb, when the flipping bite was on and the bass were jam packed in the weeds this is the only bait I used and it worked wonders. I keep it simple and use the green pumpkin colors. The bass can’t resist them.
What is one bait that you are determined to throw more often in 2017?
Crankbaits! Every year I progressively do better with them building more and more confidence. I feel as a angler I’ve learned how to attack structure with cranks better and how to adjust to trigger strikes.
What is your review of the Diawa Zillion line of reels? Is it worth the price?
I’m in love with these reels! I’d say about 70% of my reels are JDM as I fish lefty and certain gear ratios aren’t available is USDM in lefty. The Zillion HLC reel is by far my favorite reel in my arsenal and it was worth every penny. Out of the box it is smooth but not too smooth that you feel disconnected from the bait. As a guy who loves throwing a Carolina rig as well as a Football Jig this reel bombs 1/2-3/4oz baits a country mile. It is designed specifically for heavier lures with a combination of adjusted braking, compared to the regular Zillions, and the HLC spool.
Now, the SVs have become a staple in my arsenal. I own several of them in all 4 gear ratios. They are my go to day in day out work horses. Very light weight, smooth, excellent for casting light baits and accurately pitching.
Thank you Dave for the interview. Great information! I am hoping you have a better 2017 fishing success. I will be following Dave on Twitter and Instagram.