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
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.
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...
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...
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...