FishUSA Tackle Blog

FishUSA News, Articles and Events!

What is ICAST?

Every year, thousands of fishing industry leaders assemble for the largest sportfishing trade show in the world. The International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST) is a showcase of the newest products from various manufacturers worldwide. ICAST is produced by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). ASA’s main objective is to represent tackle manufacturers’ business interests.

Hundreds of manufacturers will be gathering in the Orange County Convention Center July 15th through 17th in Orlando, Florida, to show off their latest and greatest products. Vendors like Rapala, Shimano, Simms, Okuma and Strike King will all be in attendance. This event also receives a tremendous amount of attention from the media. Outdoor writers will be mingling and gathering as much information as they can for future articles. Hundreds of fishing pros will be working with their respective sponsors to shoot videos on new products. Many retailers, like FishUSA, will be attending the show to view new product as well as build relationships with vendors.

The International Fly Tackle Dealers Show (IFTD) will also be taking place simultaneously with the ICAST show. For years, the two shows were held separately. The change has been well received, and allows retailers to kill two birds with one stone.

The ICAST and IFTD shows are not open to the public, though I do encourage anglers to follow the ICAST website, as well as FishUSA’s website and Facebook page, to see the new releases. FishUSA will be posting plenty of pictures and videos from the show! 

Tight Lines,

Captain Doug

Find the “Do It All” Rod and Reel Combo That Works for You

Let’s face the facts – some of us can’t justify buying a rod and reel for every species and situation. Combos for stream trout, crappie, bass, salmon and steelhead, walleye, pike and muskie just don’t fit into the budget of many anglers. Saltwater fishing presents the same with surf, inshore and offshore species. So what do we do if we can only have one or two combos for all our fishing adventures?

Combo Fish

Working for FishUSA for the past 9+ years has given me the opportunity to acquire more fishing tackle than I probably need, but I do still have that one “do it all” combo that I love. My setup consists of my trusty 6’ 6” St. Croix Eyecon in medium-light and my Shimano Symetre 2500 spinning reel, spooled with 6 lb. monofilament. This combo has proven itself many times over for our smaller Pennsylvania largemouth/black bass, big Lake Erie smallmouth and perch, along with inland crappie and small- to medium-sized pike and walleye. Small trout and large steelhead are the only exceptions.

The key to figuring out what setup is right for you is simple. Ask yourself “What species do I fish for?” and “What techniques do I use the most?” A 6’ 6” medium-light combo probably isn’t the right rod and reel for the angler who only fishes for channel cats, just as a 7’ 0” medium-heavy baitcast combo isn’t ideal for a person fishing a local creek for stocked rainbows.

I often see people fishing with undersized or over-sized gear. They usually don’t understand what tackle they need. Having the right-sized rod and reel makes a day on the water all the more enjoyable. Whenever the staff at FishUSA helps a customer looking for that one “do it all” combo, we always ask what target species they are after, what techniques they use and what waters they plan to fish. This way we can help the customer get the best tackle possible so they have the best fishing experiences possible.

Tight Line,

Jay Prazer, FishUSA Staff

Perch Fishing Ruined by Twists and Tangles?

Perch fishing on the Great Lakes is beginning to heat up. As a charter captain on Lake Erie, I will perch fish about 30 days each summer. Over the years I have tried every perch rig on the market, but was never satisfied with the results. Most rigs would not last long, or constantly tangled the snelled hooks. There is nothing worse than being over a school of hungry perch and wasting time re-rigging your rod because to twists and tangles!

Last year I began using the Eagle Claw Lazer Sharp Bait Rigs in the Multi-Colored Shrimp and the White Fish Skin. Both rigs worked flawlessly. The heavy monofilament construction is very durable, and twists and tangles were eliminated. The Eagle Claw Lazer Sharp Bait Rig hooks are extremely sharp and strong. The White Fish Skin and the Multi-Colored Shrimp both seem to be excellent at attracting fish, though I do suggest shortening the length between the bottom hook and the sinker. To do so, simply cut the swivel off and about 6-inches of the main line on the rig, then re-tie the swivel to the rig. This will make sure your bait will be near the bottom.

The Multi-Colored Shrimp rig comes with four hooks and the White Fish Skin comes with five hooks. I normally bait the bottom two hooks with minnows. However, it is not uncommon to catch fish on the un-baited hooks. If you fish in a state that has a restriction on the number of hooks allowed per rod, just cut the rigs to make them legal. I highly recommend these rigs for perch fishing on the Great Lakes, or your favorite inland waters.

 Captain Matt

What is Copolymer Fishing Line?

When most of us think about fishing line, tried and true monofilament comes to mind. Tough braided lines and stealthy fluorocarbon are also very popular. But another type of line is also in the mix and is definitely a line for anglers to consider:

Copolymer is a type of fishing line that blends a core material, such as standard nylon monofilament, with an outer coating of another material, such as fluorocarbon. In copolymer line, like Yo-Zuri’s Hybrid, the supple nylon core aids in manageability and flexibility, just like a monofilament line. In the case of Yo-Zuri’s Hybrid line, its fluorocarbon outside is stiff and durable, which aids in abrasion resistance. As you can imagine, copolymer line gives us anglers another option, and ups the chances of landing more fish in certain situations.

Due to the slightly stiffer qualities of copolymer, this line really shines when spooled on casting reels and medium- to large-sized spinning reels. The added abrasion resistance is great for fishing in and around cover, and is very popular with anglers targeting bass, pike and a wide variety of saltwater species. As a copolymer, Yo-Zuri Hydrid line is 100% waterproof and offers UV resistance, giving this line a much longer lifetime than standard monofilament alone.

FishUSA Staff,

Jay Prazer

Trolling Those Early-Season Walleye

Springtime means blowing the dust off our gear and getting out to relieve that cabin fever from what, as of late, have become hard winters. This early-season fishing can be some of the best, but cool water also possesses some challenges.

As a full-time professional angler, I have learned that you better have these four things dialed in or you might just be in for a long day when trolling early-season walleyes on larger lakes:

Dialed In - Crankbaits dominate cool spring waters for many species other than the walleyes that I personally target. Having a crankbait out of tune will catch you as many fish as it will in the box. Additionally, they can “wander” and end up tangling the lures that are in working order. A Reef Runner tuning tool can make this task much easier and faster. 

Efficiency - Cold water means we are generally trolling very slowly and covering water to locate active fish. Going slow means fish don’t pull out from the spread and makes clearing rods an almost necessity to avoid frustrating tangles. Having extra rod holders means you can keep more lines in the water and actively fishing. Many anglers don’t realize that the type of rod holders you have can affect the way your lures run. This video explains why I prefer to run Bert’s Swivel Trees.  

Boat Control - This is the thing that separates the men from the boys. Being able to keep your boat in the place you want it and at the speed you want sounds easy until you throw in wind, current and non-courteous boaters. If you have a boat that can fit an electric trolling motor you might want to think about the advantage it offers year-round. Nearly the entire field in professional walleye tournaments have a Minn Kota Terrova on their bow for just that reason.  

Spread them Out - In the last decade, planerboards have gone from an unknown to a household name. Their ability to spread out lines allows us to run more presentations with less chance of tangles, and, at the same time, keep lures away from the boat to prevent them from spooking high-riding walleyes. A few tweaks to my Church TX-22 planerboards help me land even more spring walleyes. 

In all forms of fishing we tend to get preoccupied with fancy new lures and color patterns. When it comes down to it, we need to pay attention to the little things that really are the big things.

Capt. Ross Robertson

Early Season Live Bait Trout Rigging

Early spring trout fishing usually means bad weather, high water and sluggish fish. For that reason, when fishing live bait, I prefer to use a set-up that includes a ‘Lil Corky Float from Worden’s. These small, round floats are constructed of foam, with a durable, hard outer shell. They are available in a wide range of finishes. When placed just above the baited hook, the ‘Lil Corky helps to keep the bait in a natural drift just above the stream bed. This is important when the water is high and cold, and when trout are hugging the bottom - only moving inches within their feeding lanes.

The streams I fish in Pennsylvania are generally on the smaller side and can be difficult to navigate with a long rod. For this reason, I use an ultralight spinning rod in the 4’6” to 5’6” range. I recommend trying the St. Croix Trout Series or the Daiwa Spinmatic. I combo this with a small, 500-size ultralight reel, such as the Shimano Symetre FL or the 20-size Pflueger Trion. I spool up with 6.6 lb. test DAM Tectan Superior Monofilament Line. This line is the same diameter as 4 lb. test Berkley Trilene XL, which also works great.

To rig, I slide a 'Lil Corky Float in size 10 on the line in a bright color. I then tie on a Matzuo Model 140 Sickle Baitholder Hook in size 8 and slide the float to the hook eye. Then I place a Water Gremlin Removable Split Shot in size 3/0 about eight inches above the hook. With a half crawler, this is the set-up I start out with on opening day of trout season. The ‘Lil Corky keeps the bait just above the bottom and allows you to feel the “tic-tic” of the split shot bouncing along.

As weather and water conditions change, I will change the size of the split shot, ‘Lil Corky, hook and bait. If the water begins to clear and flow rates lower, I often change to a smaller size BB split shot and size 12 float. Try the ‘Lil Corky in more subtle colors as the water clears.

This rig works and will catch you more trout. As an added bonus, this set-up tends to hook trout in the corner of the mouth, allowing you to practice catch and release if desired.

It’s important to note that this rig might not be legal in your area or the stream you fish. Some states restrict the use of lead shot, some restrict the use of floats or beads in between the hook and weight or sinker. Be sure to check your local regulations.

FishUSA Staff,
Jay Prazer

Get Hooked on Thomas

For over 60 years, Thomas Lures has been producing quality lures for Trout, Pike, Walleye, Salmon, and Bass. I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with Thomas Lures owner, Peter Ridd, for the past three years. Once you have a conversation with Peter, you’ll quickly understand why Thomas Lures is so successful.

It’s well known that Pennsylvania has some of the best Trout fishing in the country. Thomas Lures is a staple product for all trout anglers, and thousands of Thomas lures will be cast into your local stream or lake on opening day. Not only is Thomas a recognized brand locally, but they are highly recognized outside of the Northeast region as well. It’s well known that California and Colorado are huge Trout states. FishUSA sells a significant amount of Thomas Buoyant Spoons in California, while the Thomas Colorado Spoons are a key product in Colorado (I think the name is very fitting for the region).

Whether you’re a novice or expert Trout angler, you should have Thomas Lures in your box. This product is made in Hawley, Pennsylvania, and all products are available for purchase at FishUSA.


Tight Lines,

Capt. Doug Straub

Achieving Different Actions with Your Lures

So many times I hear anglers say, “I need to buy lures that have a tighter wobble.” Or, “I need a lure that has a more erratic action.”

Since I was a child, I’ve always tinkered with lures to make them run exactly how I want. Sometimes I destroy the lure, but I gain valuable information that’s helped me in my professional fishing career. We all know why we need different lure actions for certain situations, but it’s not commonly known that we can achieve this by simply making minor changes to our baits.

The easiest way to change the action of your lure is to either remove a hook or add a larger hook. If you have a lure that has three hooks, like the Renosky Crystalina Shallow Diver, you can remove the front hook closest to the head of the bait to achieve a wider, more erratic action. If you are looking to achieve a tighter wobble, simply try adding larger hooks.

These little tricks don’t work with all baits as some are very sensitive to the number and size of hooks. But, give it a shot. You may find that you can have a number of lures built into one.

Tight Lines,

Capt. Doug Straub

FishUSA Staff

Sonar vs. Underwater Cameras

So you've found yourself “hooked” on ice fishing. Good for you. If you are well prepared and vigilant to conditions, ice fishing is a great family activity and fun way to put fresh fish on the table. Whether sitting on a bucket exposed to the elements, inside a homemade hut, manufactured flip-over, or ultra-portable pop-up hub, your tackle and gear options are great and varied. Like open water trolling, ice fishing demands the use of specialized equipment due to the harshness of the environment and behavior of the target fish. Safe ice and safety gear aside, nothing is more important to the modern ice angler than knowing if there are fish below your setup.

Unless you fish crystal clear, typically shallow waters, you just don't know what is under the ice without the use of electronics, specifically sonar and underwater cameras. When the itch to get serious about ice fishing add-ons takes over your financial thoughts, the argument turns to what technology is better? $300 - $600 is not a typical impulse purchase, so it's important to make the smartest purchase possible. You can always save for the option you don't choose, as long as you fill your most important needs first. Typically the big names in the game offer the best equipment in both performance and durability. The question remains the same. Camera or sonar? is here to help More...

New Rapala Salmon & Steelhead Gear!

When fishermen hear the name Rapala, they think of original floaters, husky jerks, and jigging raps. Most anglers are unaware that Rapala also manufacturers an extensive line of fishing rods and reels. has always been a well known retailer in the salmon and steelhead market. This fall FishUSA will be offering a variety of spinning rods, casting rods, float roads, and center pin reels from Rapala. is committed to offering anglers with the best gear at a low price, and it was a no brainer for us to offer these products for the salmon and steelhead community.

The staff had the opportunity to “play” with the new Rapala rods and reels. We’re blown away with the quality and the features that are present on this gear, and we highly recommend these rods and reels to the novice angler or seasoned pro.

For more information regarding these products, please visit or call us at 800.922.1219.

Tight Lines,
Capt. Doug Straub Staff