St. Croix develops the first elite musky “Situation Sticks” Legend Tournament Musky rods perform the impossible When mega Cowgirl® bucktails arrived on the scene, St. Croix had already envisioned and crafted the perfect rod to manhandle the big blades. And when mega Bull Dawgs® became household amongst muskie madmen, St. Croix’s rod-builders—themselves hardcore musky-ites—were already perfecting these muscular models. What’s next? From deep inside Muskyville, St. Croix Rods has just released the supreme toothy-tools to tame the next world record. 02/12
Frabil Crawler Can Time was, procuring a ponderous string of trout, catfish or sunfish involved little more than a willow stick with hook, line, sinker, and a coffee tin filled with lively critters—angleworms, nightcrawlers or even crickets. Fish gobbled ‘em up like candy. Life was easy, until the bait fried and died. Along came Styrofoam, which offered a hint of insulation, but when you accidently stepped on the container – Vegas odds of 2 to 1 of it happening – the flimsy walls collapsed and lid cracked like a peanut shell. And even before, water had likely seeped in and created an icky stew of unusable bait. Guess fishing from the bank wasn’t so peaceful and romantic after all… 01/12
In the Market for a Fishfinder? With so many options and technical lingo, choosing the perfect fishfinder can become a bit bewildering. The game of fishing has embraced technology full-steam, turning the art of finding and catching fish into a modern-day science. Bells and whistles have replaced the “that spot looks good over there” mentality, with the fish finder leading the way in terms of functionality and definite angler advantage. 12/11
Spoons – An Absolute Must For All Anglers!
If there is one all around lure that an angler could get away with using throughout the entire year and it would give them an excellent shot at landing a fish, it would be a spoon. Pike, walleye, salmon, bass and all trout take spoons either by casting, trolling or jigging them. The vibrations and flash given off from a spoon entices some of my biggest fish throughout the year. 11/11
A Flicker of a Difference
One of the most satisfying parts of our careers has been being able to work closely with companies to research and develop new baits and equipment to help us and other anglers catch more walleyes. Nowhere has that been more satisfying than the work we’ve done with Berkley on the Flicker Shad line of crankbaits. 11/11
Out of the Ice Age – Into the New Age: Flashers are Dead!
Late last winter a group of us headed north to Lake Winnipeg to get in on a hot bite for that lake’s famed “Mean Green” walleyes. If you have ever seen the walleyes that come out of Lake Winnipeg, the first thing that jumps out at you is their color. These fish have a beautiful green tinge to their coloration and besides being fun to look at; they can grow fat and sassy on this body of water too. 01/12
Hobie Kayak Fishing – Opening Doors For Anglers
Anglers spend huge amounts of money each year on fishing. They are not only shelling out cash for bait, tackle, electronics and the newest cutting edge equipment. Add in running, maintaining and upgrading their boats and motors can have quite the price tag. What’s an easy alternative? A kayak! 08/11
Fishing Faux Pas – Strategies for Upping Your Odds
Overcome these common obstacles and challenge yourself to catch more fish. Putting fish in the boat on a consistent basis is easier said than done. On the one hand we have unavoidable external factors – such as the mood of our quarry – that is ultimately out of our control. But what about the bad habits and mistakes we routinely bring to the lake? Subconscious or not, these ‘negative’ traits often become a detriment to our angling success, costing us a bend in the rod on many of our outings. Plain and simple – mistakes are a deal breaker in the game of fishing. 06/11
Min Kota’s I-Pilot Magic Revealed The convergence of technologies such as digital compasses, GPS, Sonar and chart plotters has been attempted by many marine companies over the years with mixed results. However, I don’t think any have hit the ball out of the park quite so far as Johnson Outdoors has with their new I-Pilot feature available on certain Minn Kota trolling motors. As someone who has been experimenting with blending different technologies to create accessible marine navigation solutions, I’m a big fan. 05/11
Gearing Up for the Season We know some of you have already been wetting a line and catching some walleyes this year; we’ve seen the Facebook posts and the Tweets – Don’t rub it in. Fact is, some of us are still in the preparation stages for the upcoming season (and a few are even still shoveling snow!). Hours have been spent checking rods and reels, changing crankbait hooks, and taking inventory on everything from spinner blades to jigs.
Sock it to the Fish Weather conditions are a fact of life for those that choose to wet a line. From pounding rain to sauna-like heat – and everything in between – we stoically stare down Mother Nature when there are fish waiting to be caught. But give us wind and we curse its existence – all while blowing mercilessly amongst the waves with each gust it rains down on us.
Equipment 101 – Gear Ratios, Thrust, and Drift Socks The more we know and understand about our fishing equipment, the better prepared we are when it comes time to rely on it. This insight also allows us to make informed decisions on what will make the best fit for purchasing products. Here is some advice for getting your head around reels, motors, and socks.
Score a Touchdown with Football Jigs Jigs are renowned for their fish catching abilities. And if I was to hazard a guess, no other lure garners more water time than these weighted bait systems throughout the course of a season. For those that target brown and green bass, football jigs may be a new wrinkle in this ever-growing genre, but are a lure that can consistently put fish in the boat, and one worthy of placement in every bass anglers box.
Who would win the wrestling match? When selecting tackle for a day fishing weed lines for Largemouth Bass my boat takes on a very different appearance, almost empty like. There are 5 rods in the boat, 4 flipping sticks and 1 heavy action 7’ baitcaster for the senko unlike the other days when there are more than 20 rods in the boat.
Belly Boating: Eco-friendly Fishing The morning sun was still hidden behind the hillside as I moved slowly, 20 feet or so from shore. My belly boat made no wake and was so silent that I could hear a squirrel rummaging on the forest floor nearby. I glanced over my shoulder every now and then to see where I was going as my means of propulsion was the slow relaxing kick of my flipper clad feet.
Polarized Glasses Talk about a no – no; it’s like going muskie fishing without long-nose pliers and quality hook cutters—if you don’t have ‘em—don’t go! Quality polarized glasses are an absolute must for any good muskie or pike fisher. And, it goes well beyond fishing-efficiency – to eye protection.
Essential Boating Tools Boating demands a certain amount of gear for both safety reasons, but also to be ready for emergency repairs. To ensure you’re well prepared for the season, here are some essential boating tools and gear you should own.
Flourocarbon Fishing Line Although not a newcomer to the fishing scene, the buzz about fluorocarbon line has exploded over the last couple of years. In terms of manufacturing, fluorocarbon is a polymer consisting of fluorine that has been chemically bonded with carbon. This chemical makeup has almost the same light refraction rate that water holds, or in laymen terms, it appears virtually invisible when in the drink.
Adjusting Boat Control
Efficiency is a very key element in muskie fishing. The lower the density of a fish species, the more you need to optimize your time on the water. Adjusting boat position on structures as patterns emerge can really save time, increasing water coverage of the effective zone and ultimately resulting in more strikes.
Boat Cleaning 101 A fishing boat covets a great deal of pride and joy for its owner. Not only does it hold the greatest investment in this sport we enjoy, but it also becomes our “floating office” each time we step in and push away from the dock.
Putting The Boat to Bed
As the days grow shorter and the chills begin to take hold, the sad task of preparing the boat for its yearly hibernation has once again arrived. Winterizing your pride and joy is a necessary step to protect your investment while in deep freeze, and will also see it running in tip-top shape once the season resumes.
De-winterizing Your Boat Waking up your boat after a long hibernation is an anticipated chore we all eagerly await. There’s no better feeling come spring than hearing the engine smoothly purr for the first time – ready to breathe life into another full season on the water.
Bucktail Spinnerbait Restoration, Repair and Modification
Musky tackle takes a beating and I have yet to meet one angler who pampers their equipment. The fact is, baits wear down and eventually need maintenance to get them back into trophy-catching shape. This article will focus on repairing bucktail spinnerbaits, looking at: tying bucktail, replacing blades, hooks and wire bodies, and painting components. Let’s start with the most complex, how-to tie bucktail.
Spinnerbaits: The Swiss Army Knife Of Lures
There aren’t many pieces of water in Ontario that don’t have either smallmouth or pike in them. In a lot of cases, largemouth, walleyes and muskies are also available. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a single family of lures to cast and troll for all of the above? What if it solidly hooked the biters, came through all kinds of cover cleanly and was safe and easy for releasing fish?
Local Lure Manufacturers
I was one of many anglers wandering the isles at The Valley Fishing and Outdoors Show in Carp, Ontario in early April. I enjoy going to shows to check out the latest tackle in anticipation for the upcoming season. What really caught my eye this year were some of the Ontario-made, hand-poured plastic baits available. There was an array of baits in many of the booths. Tubes, worms, shads, craws and many others were available in various colour combinations and sizes.
Local Lure Manufacturers – Part Two
Last year I wrote an article for this newsletter on local lure makers. Since penning that piece, I’ve continued to look for even more great bait makers residing close to my home town. Here’s the scoop on three Ottawa-area lure makers you might want to consider contacting to fill a void in your tackle box for the upcoming season.
Fishing Rod Totes and Carrying Systems
A common trait among anglers is the enthusiasm we share when it comes to buying rods. Rods for spinning, baitcasting and trolling applications. Rods for jigs, topwaters, cranks and worms. If truth were known, we really have more rods than we can shake a stick at!
A Case for Quality Nets
To me there’s nothing wrong with keeping the occasional fish for the table; however, most of my fish I release. Catch and release has been a mainstream practice for the past few decades. Most anglers are familiar with the basics of how to play, handle, and release a fish to ensure the best chances of post-release recovery. One tool that will keep catch-and-release procedures safe for you and the fish is a quality net.
Tricks of the Trade for Trailers
Whether it is to pull a boat or transport an ATV, the majority of outdoor folk rely heavily on trailers to get their equipment from point A to B. Most of us know the reasoning behind ramp etiquette, as well as the importance of hitch strength and ball size. But what about the real nitty-gritty, the tricks of the trade that can only be gained through years of pulling on the road? This guide showcases some of the tips I’ve learnt over the seasons, which have helped make my trailering more enjoyable and worry-free.
Live-Bait and Hook-Selection Primer
Since the inception of angling, live bait has been a hands-down winner. No matter what lure or fly you tie on your line, duplicating nature is a formidable task. Although an artificial lure might resemble and even act like the true prey of fish, the texture, taste, and movement of real food can seldom be beat.
From The Truck to The Fishing Hole and Back
Cold-Weather Safety and Comfort Gear For Late Fall Fishing. Some fishing gets better and better the later and later fall goes on. I’m not talking about the trips where you might pack an extra sweater or rain suit in the weeks after Labour Day. To me, late fall means trailering your boat on roads that may be snow-covered or icy, really cold weather and sometimes, really rough water. The leaves are long gone. Launch ramps are often frozen. The docks are up on shore. Fishing aside, there are going to be days where simply launching or loading your boat presents the biggest challenge. And once you get out there, minor equipment details and extras really take on extra importance.
I Tried Fluorocarbon Leaders.
About this time last year, I decided to really start experimenting with fluorocarbon leaders. I wanted to see how well the stuff held up, and if there really were any noticeable advantages. I picked up a few spools from different manufacturers, and started tying them and fishing them right away. Once muskie season opens, that’s all I fish for. But from ice-in until the end of June, I used my new leaders for everything from lakers to crappie, from four to eighty pound test.
Eager to move, the angler quickly packed his gear, grabbed the rope to his portable hut, and walked over to another hole several feet away. Upon arrival, he turned, looking back to see that his flasher and a rod had fallen out of the sled. “The walk was only a few yards, what were the odds?” he thought. Is this angler you?
Trusting Tip Ups
In ice fishing a lot of the spotlight has recently focused on run-and-gun tactics with jigging rods. Yet in the shadow of this approach lurks a tried-and-true technique that fools hundreds of fish each season – tip-ups. Tip-ups are sometimes perceived as a secondary, or lesser, method for ice fishing. However, when properly used these presentations can be extremely successful, sometimes out-fishing jigging rods.
Fillet Knife Facts!
There’s nothing more satisfying to an angler than enjoying a home-cooked meal of fresh caught fish. The aromas, the taste, and that prerequisite feeling of fullness should be icing on the cake to an otherwise productive day spent on the water. Now, actually catching those fish is always a hit and miss possibility. Using the right tools to prepare your catch, however, should essentially be a no-brainer.
A Case for Quality Hooks
As the saying goes, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The same logic can be applied to fishing tackle. Many of us won’t hesitate to buy quality reels, rods, line or lures, but for some reason hooks often seem to get the short-end of our spending stick. Perhaps it’s their simplicity or small-size that results in anglers avoiding investing the cash for quality hooks, but they’re one of the most important pieces of fishing gear you’ll own.
Does Size Really Matter?
No matter what kind of fish an angler targets, deciding on the appropriate size of bait or lure to toss can often be a difficult decision. Whether it is fishing for largemouth bass, walleye, musky, or even perch, the question always comes up: “What size lure should I use?”
From the basic “cement-in-a-bucket” to the tried-and-true fluke or grapnel, anchors come in a wide variety of shapes and styles. No matter what size boat you skim across your favourite lake in, having an anchor on board assures safe boating, while also permitting the angler to have a controlled and drift-free fishing excursion.
Breaking the Boat Out for Spring
I honestly think there’s a direct correlation between melting snow and the increasing need for anglers to get on the water. Just consider how many countless hours you, or your friends, have spent sharpening hooks, organizing and reorganizing your tackle box, and the cash you spend on pre-season shopping for supplies. But here’s a question: how many of you take the time to properly prepare your boat for the upcoming season? There’s no better place to invest your anxious energy than boat and trailer tune-ups and tinkering. Here’s a list of some things you should do before you hit the water this season.
Gear and Gadgets
Having the right tools, and knowing how to use them, are the greatest assets a person can have in order to become a more proficient angler. Fishing has become more specialized over the years, and following the trends and learning to adapt are key to putting more fish in the boat.
Making Your Own Wire Leaders
The transition between open- and hard-water fishing can be a painful wait for anglers. We sharpen hooks, tie flies, and organize our tackle boxes. Why not add making wire leaders to your list of things to do. In this article I discuss how to make single-strand wire leaders. Although leaders are nothing more than a section of wire with loops holding snaps and swivels, it is the forming of the loops that is crucial.
Trolling Motor Maintenance
The electric trolling motor is one of the greatest pieces of technology in sport fishing today. Although relatively low-maintenance in design, these motors do require attention now-and-then to ensure they’re working properly. Neglect to perform regular checks and you’ll find yourself temporarily without a motor and coughing up cash for repairs or a new model.
Staying Warm when Cold Weather Fishing
In autumn and winter anglers should ensure they are properly dressed for cold weather conditions. I’m astounded, and slightly envious, of the anglers I see wearing jeans who are able to fish the entire day in cold temperatures. Although they tough it out, I’m confident they would be more comfortable if outfitted with proper clothing and were dressed in layers. Choosing the right clothing, along with accessories that will help keep you warm, is an important consideration when heading out fishing because if you’re not comfortable, you’re not mentally focused and you’ll miss fish – it’s that simple.
De-Mystifying Fly Fishing
I remember the first time I saw someone fly fishing. I think I was five years old. My father, my sister and I had back packed to a remote alpine lake. My trusty Zebco with the closed face push button casting reel, cork bobber and jar of Puatzke’s, among my gear I couldn’t live without. Positioned on a log vigilently eyeing my bobber for movement, a one-man raft paddled past, and in no time the occupant was making wild movements with the longest fishing pole ever. Mesmerized, I watched his graceful movements like he was a black belt martial arts expert. When my father came to check on me, I asked about him, my dad said he was fly fishing, a couple of other fishermen gathered to discuss this exotic art. All agreed it was a superior art form requiring more time than any one of us had to learn, let alone master. I tried to study my bobber with earnest after that, but it never seemed to hold the same pull it once had.
Buying a Baitcaster
One of the most revolutionary products to hit the fishing scene has to be the baitcasting reel. Different in so many aspects from the spinning reel, anglers were now able to use heavier line and cast bigger lures, all without the associated problems that earlier reels contained. But where do you start in your search for a baitcast reel? The options and components can be bewildering to a novice at heart, but learning the simple characteristics that make a quality reel, will enable you to choose and perfect your baitcasting skills this coming season.
Choosing the Right Trolling Motor
Trolling motors have long revolutionized the sport of fishing. Anglers in-the-know can now have total control over their craft at all times, allowing them to fish precise areas and spots that seemed only a dream in the past. With this added control comes one definite plus – more fish in the boat. Jump on the trolling motor bandwagon, and figure out which one is the right pick for you and your boat.
Spinning Reel Maintenance
Reel maintenance is often overlooked by anglers and negligence leads to damaged gear that can fail under pressure. This article is an overview of spinning reel maintenance. To get the details on reel upkeep, I contacted Steve Gribbon, owner of Reel to Reel Plus, a fishing reel and rod repair company in Stittsville, Ontario.
Spring Cleaning Your Fishing Equipment
As we bid farewell to winter and look to beckon in spring, anglers everywhere begin to ready their equipment for the upcoming season. When it comes to importance, the tools you use to catch fish can make or break your day when out on the water. With this thought in mind, I’ve devised this simple checklist for getting your gear ready and in top condition for the most optimum performance and security. (Kind of like spring cleaning the house, but much more enjoyable and rewarding!)
Five Tips for Buying Boat Insurance
Buying boat insurance can be challenging for any boater. That’s because unlike auto insurance, boat insurance policies are not standardized-coverage can vary widely for the same boat depending on who sold the policy and how informed a buyer you are. But the smart boater can make the right insurance choices with these “Top Five Tips for Buying Boat Insurance”.
Choosing The Right Fishing Line
The strongest, and most fragile link you have between yourself and a fish is undoubtedly your fishing line. Choosing an inferior product in order to save a few bucks, or picking the wrong style for the type of fishing you do, can lead to heartbreak when out on the water. So what are the best lines to choose and when should you use them? The following will hopefully explain the subtleties of the common “fishing line.”
Prepare Your Fishing Gear for the Winter
As an angler, one of the things I least look forward to is preparing my fishing rods and tackle for storage over the long winter to come. Last year I put my gear in the basement and basically forgot about it. I guess I was hoping there would be one more fishing trip, unfortunately I had no such luck.
End Weighting Means Control
Control wins in NASCAR. The ability to draft and “trade paint” while jockeying for position. The dominance of one team over another. Control is an underlying force that breeds success in everything we do, fishing included. We see it in skilled fly anglers as they strip line and precariously place poppers in the pads. In seasoned jiggers, as they deftly tick lead across rocks and timber without snagging, yet remain able to decipher the slight nip of a walleye. Surprising to some, though, might be the fact that control is equally as meaningful to a bobber fisherman.
Boat Winterization Saves Headaches Next Spring
I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s that time again. The leaves are starting to change colour, there is frost in the air, and snow in the weather forecast. It’s time to start thinking about winterizing you boat. With a little time and effort you can keep your boat from becoming a maintenance nightmare next spring.