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?
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
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.
Jay Prazer, FishUSA Staff
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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 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.
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
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.
Capt. Doug Straub
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.
Capt. Doug Straub
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.
FishUSA.com 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. FishUSA.com 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 FishUSA.com 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 www.FishUSA.com or call us at 800.922.1219.
Capt. Doug Straub
With an oversized deep diving lip and wide-range of fish attracting colors, Rapala’s Down Deep Husky Jerk has become a favorite lure of the Great Lakes angler. The Deep Husky Jerk is hand-tuned and tank-tested to swim perfectly right out of the package and performs well when running fast and deep. The lures neutral buoyancy allows lure to suspend in the strike zone while the tuned internal rattle chamber creates a loud, rhythmic attraction. The premium black nickel VMC treble hooks are sticky sharp and durable, and will take the abuse of anything that swims.
Try the Down Deep Husky Jerk next time you are targeting big water walleye, salmon, trout, bass, and pike. FishUSA.com offers these lures in 8 natural colors, 7 glass finishes, and 5 FishUSA.com custom colors. These custom color schemes have been meticulously chosen by our own Great Lakes tournament anglers and charter captains. More...