FishUSA Tackle Blog

FishUSA News, Articles and Events!

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

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

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...

Rapala Down Deep Husky Jerk Lures - Now Also Available in Custom Colors!!!

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. offers these lures in 8 natural colors, 7 glass finishes, and 5 custom colors. These custom color schemes have been meticulously chosen by our own Great Lakes tournament anglers and charter captains. More...

Berkley Spooling Station

Congratulations to Robby Liming for winning the Berkley Spooling Station giveaway!

We have contacted you via email and will ship the prize as soon as you confirm your shipping address.

Stay subscribed for future giveaways! staff-

Kayak Fishing

It is kayak fishing season! Well, it seems that way as summer starts and more anglers are starting to explore kayak fishing. Kayak fishing is great for adventurous anglers or for those who want to get out on the water, but cannot afford a larger boat. Kayaks give anglers the ability to access smaller and shallower fishing areas and to reach places that bigger boats or even shore anglers cannot reach. Plus, there's the added More...

Five Crappie Soft Plastics You Need To Try!

Summer is finally here! As the water heats up, crappie schools move to deeper water. Vertical presentations are ideal for pulling suspended slabs from their cool-water feeding zones, and when the schools of baitfish become impossible to net the savvy angler breaks out their squishy arsenal. Soft plastics can be tipped with meat (grubs, minnow heads, worms, etc.) or More...

Berkley Flicker Minnow

Berkley has done it again.

They have designed another future classic lure similar to the flicker shad but this time it is called the flicker minnow.

The Flicker Minnow is not only designed by pros, but is also tournament proven to catch fish. This new bait dives deeper and has maximum flash and tail action. The new flicker minnow comes in 2 sizes and 16 different colors. More...