Soft Hackle Flies – Why Fish Them?

Tail water fly fishing to rising tout can be frustrating, at times.  Often, the trout are taking small flies, not on the surface, but just under the surface.  These flies can be emerging caddis pupae,  may fly nymphs, still born flies, midges, etc.  There are times, when it is difficult to match, or even identify, the exact insect the fish are taking.  If you carry a few sizes and colors of soft hackle flies, they will often save the day.

Now, what is it about the soft hackle that often makes it irresistible to trout?  The answer is the soft barbules that are tied as a collar just behind the eye of the hook.  These barbules (normally partridge, grouse, starling, or a chicken hen feather), undulate as the fly is fished, and successfully imitate a living insect.  They appear to be legs, a stillborn insect wing case, a pupal shuck, etc., and the smallest amount of movement of the fly can cause an immediate reaction-strike from a feeding trout. 

The early morning bite can be especially good on the soft hackle.  In the low light of early morning, 5X or even 6X tippet can be used, and that is a great advantage when stripping flies on a flat.  The rod should be down, and facing the fly.  That way, the fish helps you set the hook, when you set it from an already tight line.

There are many sizes, and many color combinations, that can work, and many ways to fish a soft hackle.  Be observant, and match the size and color of emerging insects, when possible.  A soft hackle fly can be moved to imitate different insects, and changing the way the fly is fished can change your success!  Ask an associate in the fly shop what soft hackles are working, and how they should be fished.

When you learn different ways to fish, it can improve your success rate, when on the stream.  Learning when and how to fish a soft hackle pattern, will be another tool to use when you need it.  An angler’s versatility, can result in a greater chance for success, on each fishing trip.  The soft hackle fly - Add this very valuable fly to your box, and catch more fish!


Saltwater Drop Shot Rig Fishing

The drop shot rig has roots in the eastern U.S., dating back to the mid-70's and was first seen in "Fishing Facts" magazine.  In the 1990's, Japanese anglers resurrected the method for use on their highly pressured waters.  The Japanese refined the technique and it soon returned to the States.  In 1997, the drop shot rig was relatively unknown except to a few Southern California fishermen who had ties to Japanese manufacturers and pros.  The system worked extremely well, and those that knew about it did their best to keep it a secret.  Then, in winter 1999, two major tournaments were won using the drop shot rig - the B.A.S.S. Invitational at Lake Oroville, and the WON Bass Classic on Lake Cachuma.  The proverbial cat was out of the bag - way out!

While largely viewed as a fresh water tactic for finessing finicky bass or fishing in highly pressured waters, the drop shot rig is readily adaptable for presenting soft baits such as Berkeley Gulp or DOA's in our bays for redfish and speckled trout.  The presentation is different from using a jig or a popping cork in that the bait can be rigged to be held just above the weeds.  This will put the bait in full view of the fish we want to catch.  In addition, the weight being below the bait allows for anglers to feel the soft bites more easily.  But this is more of a rig to use when we have a good idea of where the fish are, rather than when we are searching water using a lure.

The basic rig resembles a standard dropper used in the ocean and for freshwater catfish, with one difference - there is no line (dropper) between the hook and the main line.  Tie a standard Polomar knot - start by going through the "hook-point" side of the eye, and leaving at least two extra feet of line on the tag end.  The extra line will be used to attach the sinker.  Once the Polomar is tied, take the tag end and thread it back through the "hook-point" side of the eye, again.  This last step forces the hook shaft to lie against the line, which aids hook setting.  Another option is the VMC Spinshot wide gap hook, which has a swivel through the eye of the hook, allowing the bait to move without twisting the line. 

Once the hook is in place, attach the weight.  Drop shot leads have an eyelet on the top that pinches the line, allowing the lead to pull off if snagged.  Choose one that is heavy enough to stay in contact with the bottom, but not too heavy.  In most situations, use a 1/8 to 5/16 ounce, but a 3/8 to 1/2 ounce can be used in extremely deep water or during windy situations.  I use 1/4 ounce normally or 3/8 ounce when the wind is up a little.  Experiment with the weight, as this rig will cast well, and increasing the weight slightly will let you cast further.  The "drop" (distance from hook to weight) can range from six inches to four feet, or more, depending upon how high the grass is relative to the bottom.  Remember, we want our bait just over the top of the grass we are fishing.  Another thing to consider is bottom composition.  Use a cylinder weight over grass, and save the round sinker for a rocky bottom as the round is more likely to snag.

I am just starting to experiment with this rig.  My first trip using the drop shot rig resulted in five specks in about half an hour.  After casting, take the slack out of the line and hold the rod at a 10 o'clock position.  After raising the rod tip slowly 2 or 3 times, reel up the slack to get a tight line again.  Fish this rig slowly.  This rig has a lot of versatility and I cannot wait to try variations of the drop shot rig.  I can see a lot of different ways to use this and to target different species.

Jim Martino


Salmon Fishing in the River

Well as you know the salmon are running and many people are landing some monsters. Well if your wondering how they are doing it I'm here to help. Now when fishing for salmon in the river there are multiple methods but, I am going to explain three simple ways to land a nice fish. The three ways I am going to explain are trolling, jigging and casting from shore.

Trolling is great for you guys who have a boat because it covers a lot of water. Now your typical setup that many anglers use for trolling is a dropper rig. A dropper rig can be set up using either a three way swivel or a spreader. When using a three way swivel you will want to tie your main line to one end of your swivel, a lure leader to another and a weight leader to the last one. Keep in mind when wondering how long your leaders should be always remember that you will need a two to one ratio. In other words your leader with your lure must be twice the length of your leader with your weight. A great lure to use while trolling is a Warden's Flash Glo trolling lure. An even better lure to use is the new Shasta Tackle Scorpion Salmon Spinner. These spinners do not bend due to its nickel titanium shaft. Many colors are working but the blue and silver are the way to go at the moment. Depending on the current the weight you want to use is a 2 to 3 ounce cannonball. Also depending on the current the speed that you will be trolling will be between 2 to 3 miles per hour.


Another method that is working well at the moment is jigging. Jigging is also done off a boat and is quite simple. All that needs to be done is tie your main line to a lure, such as a Gibbs Minnow and jig it off the bottom. Depending on the current, you can use a 1 to 3 ounce minnow.

Last but not least for you anglers who do not own a boat, you can cast a larger inline spinner. A great spinner to use is a Vibrax Blue Fox #5. This is also quite simple, just cast these bad boys out as far as possible and reel in.


If you are wondering what rods and reels to use, here are a few things to note. For a rod i recommend an 8'6" MH Browning Six Rivers Salmon/Steelhead rod. If you are a baitcaster kind of guy or are looking for a good trolling reel I recommend an Abu Garcia C4 6500 model. For our spinning reel anglers an Okuma Trio 55S is a great reels to use. A great line for both of these reels would be some 20lb PLine CXX. Good luck

Travis Gonsalves


Manteca Store 49








Risk Mitigation for Wade Fishing at Night- A Lesson Learned the Hard Way

Risk Mitigation for Wade Fishing at Night- A Lesson Learned the Hard Way

by Captain Jim Barr of Skinny Water Charters


Personally I would rather saltwater fish in very shallow water (preferably with a fly rod), thus the name for my charter business, Skinny Water Charters. (  Most seasoned striped bass anglers know these fish prefer to feed heavily at night and in the low light of early morning and evening. It’s true that in the spring and fall months stripers can be found in the middle of the full light of day, typically when they are making their spring and fall migrations or when they have pushed bait to the surface creating those dreamy sustained top water blitzes. This top water action is found in both shallow water as well as deep water environments. In Rhode Island, during July and August, stripers will often retreat to deeper and colder water that can significantly degrade our shallow/top water fishing opportunities.

In Rhode Island we are blessed with many shallow water /tidal estuaries, flats and salt ponds, absolutely wonderful places to fish for stripers and hickory shad. During those warm summer months one of my favorite places to fish are the salt ponds along our southern coast, each of which is connected to the ocean via narrow breachways that supply cold and highly oxygenated water, and striper forage that includes crabs, shrimp and a variety of small baitfish. Ideally I like to target fishing in darkness, during an incoming tide, and in skinny water. During periods at and surrounding the new and full moons that bring big tidal exchanges and fast moving currents, the incoming night tides can produce spectacular fishing in a beautifully serene environment… few if any competing anglers, no waves or engine noise from passing boats, only the composite sound of the ocean breaking on the distant barrier beach, the occasional screech of a seagull or tern… and the nearby slurping of stripers feeding in shallow water.

Tragedy Narrowly Averted

Several years ago on an early July evening, the stage was set for such an outing. In two canoes, three of us crossed the narrow breachway as the tide began to turn. The new moon would guarantee no light except the faint glow of a starry sky. We each wore a life vest for the crossing, and brought our chest waders, chest packs, and headlamps that would provide the light we’d need to change fly patterns and hopefully unhook fish. We anchored the canoes in a foot of water on the southernmost end of an expansive sand flat that was beginning to come alive with gulls and terns wheeling over clouds of sand eels that were beginning to school on the flat. We removed our life vests and stashed them in the boats for the return trip, wet waded the short distance to dry land to put on our waders and packs, string our fly rods and tie on our starting fly patterns.  In short order we were positioned on the flat and casting to nervous water as the sun set and the salt pond began to fill with cold ocean water.  Our timing was near-perfect, as the light fell from the sky and the “sun setters” on the far shore packed up their beach chairs and wine glasses, the parking lot emptied, and the stripers began feeding… heavily.

As expected the top water fishing became spectacular. We had the entire flat to ourselves on a warm summer evening with all the striped bass we could ask for feeding on the surface as close as a rod length away. We continued to wade the flat casting to pods of breaking fish as they recklessly fed further north on the flat into the belly of the salt pond. During those several first hours of the incoming tide the fishing was so fast and furious that we paid little attention to the gradually deepening water and the distance we were opening from our anchored canoes. The sky was black, the only light being our headlamps that we turned on occasionally to change a fly and unhook a bass. I glanced at my watch and realized there were two more hours of incoming tide before the water went slack. Panic set in when I realized we were roughly 200 yards from where we anchored the boats, that the current was still flowing heavily against us and that I recalled having crossed through several  low areas on the flat where the water would be deeper than the waist high depth I was now standing in.

We soon realized our peril. I was the strongest wader of the three of us, so the plan was that Paul would stay with his girlfriend, turn on their headlamps and make whatever progress they could as I pushed hard against the current and deeper water to get to the boats before we were all swept off the flat into the deep water where with all our gear weighing us down there would be little chance of avoiding being drowned.

As I crossed several deeper areas on my way to the boats, as feared, the current pushed water over my waders so that by the time I reached the relative safety of the canoes I was exhausted and my waders were nearly full despite wearing a tight wading belt.  I stripped off my beach shoes (I never wear wading boots when fishing in saltwater estuaries) and waders and piled into the canoe and floated them down-current to my friends. Together we found shallower water further west on the flat, and eventually paddled back to the launch.

Lessons Learned

I have since wade-fished that same flat during similar conditions but I do a few things different than the night we came so close to tragedy. What’s different?

and the case is inserted into the Lifeproof Lifejacket  Float

  • I tether my canoe or kayak to my wading belt as I wade across the flat. Gone are the days of having to fight against a strong current to get back to my boat.

As anglers we generally are in “overkill” mode when it comes to gear that we take fishing. At the end of every wade fishing venture I take, I can easily identify half the inventory I brought that I didn’t use, but the problem is I don’t carry forward that lesson to the next outing. If you can build into your behavior a discipline that steers you away from toting stuff you never use and backfill some of that space and weight with the safety gear noted above, you’ll be more inclined to fish some of those quasi-risky locations and conditions where the big ones prowl.


Patterning Late Summer Bass


Late summer bass fishing can be some of the most frustrating days you will spend on the water all year. Generally the fish are transitioning and can seem to be neither here nor there. While small fish can be caught randomly roaming shallow water eating shad the big ones often seem to be nonexistent. Covering water casting fast moving reaction baits will catch you fish but if you are going for the big ones, searching for a trophy, your approach needs to be different.

On lakes such as Guntersville or any lake that has an abundance of weed growth or matted vegetation; giant bass can be found hiding in the shade of these thick mats. They are generally there to feed on large bluegill that wonder through the grass, as well as any other creature that comes in range. Targeting this thick matted cover is a great way to catch a big late summer to early fall largemouth bass. Hollow body frog lures such as the SPRO Bronzeye Frogs work great for covering water and locating big fish buried deep in the grass mats. Just fire the frog as far across the mat as possible and slowly twitch it along the surface of the vegetation. Fishing this way is extremely exciting, knowing that at any moment a 6 plus pound bass could crash through the mat and eat your frog. Your work doesn't end at simply getting the fish to attack the true test is first being able to hook the fish and second is being able to drag it out once it is hooked. This technique takes nerves of steel to not immediately set the hook when the blow up happens. The key to consistent hook ups is letting the fish take the frog and making sure the fish actually have it in their mouth before you set the hook. The simple truth is you will always have some of the fish miss the frog or come unhooked while hauling them in. While it can be heart breaking it is worth it for the excitement as well as the potential of a giant. One thing I like to do is always have a back up flippin bait ready to go. Often if the fish shows itself but doesn't get the bait you can quickly flip in a heavy weighted bait and punch it down into the fish's territory triggering the fish to strike. I love flipping a green pumpkin Bass Pro Shops River Bug rigged with a 4/0 Gamakatsu Heavy Cover Worm Hook and a 1 and 1/4 oz BPS Tungsten flippin weight pegged so it will not slide up the line. Just pitch it up high and let it crash through the thick cover. The equipment you use is very important when fishing heavy cover. I use braded line from 40 to 65 lb test and a heavy or extra heavy 7' 6" rod accompanied by a high gear ratio reel with allot of power to winch the fish out of the cover. Often you will drag the fish out as well as twenty or more pounds of grass with it. Give it a try and you will most likely get hooked on the challenge and potential of fishing super heavy cover.

If you are not comfortable or do not have the equipment to handle heavy cover fishing then there is another way to still have potential for giant bass, and that is fishing deep offshore structure. This is where you will have the opportunity of getting into a school of fish where you can catch numerous fish in a short period of time. For tournament anglers this is one of the very best ways to win a tournament in late summer. Finding these deep schools in the late summer can be difficult at times, and seem like your searching for a needle in a hay stack, but it can be done. Having good quality Lowrance electronics makes this hunt a whole lot easier. I will generally check places near the main river channel or a creek channel that still have shallow water or a flat nearby where they can pull up to feed. The fish could be anywhere from 10 feet to 25 feet and once found can be caught on a wide variety of lures. Reaction baits such as deep diving Spro or Strike King crankbaits are always a good option for triggering a fish and firing up the school. What I mean by firing up the school is that often once you have made one of the fish bite then it will ignite the rest of them into a feeding frenzy for a short period of time. You really need to be ready and know exactly what cast to make, in order to take advantage of the opportunity before it's too late. Schools of bass can shut down as quickly as they turned on so be prepared and pay attention to your boat positioning. Once the fish have slowed down I like to switch my presentation to a slow presentation, using Carolina Rigs, Texas Rigs, or Football Head Jigs. Working these through the school will usually get you a couple extra bites once the main frenzy is over. On my rigs I like to throw big worms or brush hogs, while small fish will still bite these, they are also a great bait to trigger a big one into biting.

So decide what sounds the most enjoyable for you and go give it a try. Whether  that means a fist fight in shallow water or a more relaxing slower technique on deep structure, give it a shot. You will be amazed at the size of fish you can catch even when the fishing is tough if you try these two things. If you have any questions or need to get geared up for a fishing trip there is no better place to go then Bass Pro Shops. I'll see you on the water!!!

Joey Nania
















Fly Fishing Lake Michigan Streams for Steelhead in September

On Northwest Indiana’s Lake Michigan tributaries, the steelhead bite is on and the hot ticket for fly anglers has been casting and working Woolly Buggers.

Three favorable times and situations to fish a Woolly Bugger for steelhead are in high and dirty water, when fish are holding tightly along the banks, and in low-light conditions (such as cloudy days, and near sunrise and sunset).  A quiet approach and a good presentation are critical on these narrow waterways to entice these fish to strike, along with twitching the fly to supply movement.

I like to position myself upstream of the fish and out of sight, and cast downstream at a 45-degree angle.  As the Woolly Bugger swings toward my side of the creek, I will incorporate several twitches with the rod tip while applying tension to the line. This make the fly come to life within view of the fish, triggering a strike.


Woolly Bugger Pattern - Egg-Sucking Leech (size 8 shown)



Hook – Streamer, 3XL, 2XH

Sizes – 4 to 10
Beadhead – Fluorescent fire orange
Thread – Black
Tail – Black marabou fibers
Rib – Red wire, extra-fine (counter-wrapped to hold and protect hackle)
Body – Black chenille
Hackle – Black saddle (tie-in at the head and wrapped back)


Targeting Trophy Trout or Bass, Tie-on a Streamer
Big fish eat little fish.  Whether fly fishing a stream, river, pond or lake there will always be minnows and fish fry present (with the predominant season for fish fry being the spring).  In other words, the “hatch” is always on when you’re fishing streamers.

Besides availability, fish are indiscriminate feeders and will eat what is presented to them.  Also, they are masters of energy conservation and expenditure.  They will not pursue food if it costs them more energy to catch than they will receive from its consumption.  A minnow that they only have to lunge for, is an opportunity they won’t often resist. A lot of energy consumed without a lot of energy exerted.

A little action imparted by your rod tip, can help convince your targeted trophy that the minnow is injured, increasing the strike potential.  Vary the tempo of the retrieve, using short bursts followed by a count of two or three of idleness can draw their interest to strike your streamer.


Black Nose Dace (size 6 shown)


Hook – Streamer, 3XL, 2XH
Sizes – 6 to 10
Thread – Black
Tail – Red hen hackle fibers
Rib – Silver oval tinsel
Body – Silver flat tinsel
Wing – Brown bucktail over black bucktail over white bucktail
Head – Tying thread


Mickey Finn (size 8 shown)


Hook – Streamer, 3XL, 2XH
Sizes – 4 to 12
Thread – Black
Tail – Yellow bucktail
Body – Silver Holo Tinsel
Lower wing – Red bucktail
Upper wing – Yellow bucktail
Head – Tying thread



Good Luck and Tight Lines,



Pier Fishing for Salmon and NanoFil Fishing Line

Frankfort Pier


Recently, I went on my annual salmon fishing trip with a group of friends off the pier in Frankfort, Michigan. This has been an annual tradition for the last 20 years and we always look forward to this trip. Frankfort, a small town on the coast of Lake Michigan is by far one of the best places in Michigan to visit. The immaculate dunes, beautiful beaches, and awe inspiring sunsets amaze visitors and locals alike. Shoppers can find one of a kind items crafted by local artisans and plenty of specialty shops, galleries, and restaurants. With the two piers that jet out into Lake Michigan, it is also one of the best places in the state to pier fish. In the fall the salmon come in around the pier to feed before they make their way up the Betsie River for their annual migration to the spawning grounds.

Typical equipment that you need in order to fish for these amazing creatures is an 8 ½ ft medium action Browning Six Rivers Spinning Rod with a 4000 size reel. I personally prefer a Shimano Sedona. In the past I was using 10lb P-Line Flouroclear line but that was the past. This year all the reports coming in were saying that a lot of the fish were running in the mid twenties to low thirties. I needed to do some research. I came across a blog on bass pro shops web page called Fishing Line Revolution . It discussed all the different lines and what was new on the market.  From there I talked with the associates in the fishing department and they told me more about the new fishing line made by Berkley called NanoFil. This line is a not a mono, not a flouro, not a braid, it is a unifilament line. This line has virtually no memory and an extremely small diameter. It was especially designed for spinning reels and you can cast it much further than other line of the same line weight. With this information I decided to give it a try. I bought a 150yd spool of 14lb test which has a .009 diameter, equivalent to 8lb monofilament line.

Shimano SedonaBerkley NanoFilBrowning Six Rivers Rod

Well, we are now out on the pier casting glow spoons and I can definitely see the difference in casting distance. My average cast was consistently 30 to 40 percent further than with traditional line. The sensitivity of the line was unbelievable. You could feel every tick of the bottom, every nick of a weed, and even the lightest of strikes made by the salmon. I was quickly becoming a believer in this line. I wasn’t completely sold yet though, I needed to be sure that this line could hold up to a large salmon.

It didn’t take long before a salmon slammed the spoon. I wrenched back on the rod setting the hook and the salmon exploded out of the water and ripping off 100yds of line before I even knew what happened. This was the big fish I was waiting for. It would definitely let me know if this line was worth the cost. After a few moments I finally got the fish turned around, but now it was making a b-line straight towards me. Reeling as fast as I could, I was able to catch back up to the fish. It was at this point it decided to make one last burst. Unfortunately, it went under the pier, under some iron pipes and then back out over the top of the pipes. Now I have a fish 20 yards out in front of me with my line is wrapped up on these pieces of iron pipe. There was only one thing I could do. I stuck the rod tip in the water and started to pull the fish back towards the pier. The line is scrapping across the pipes, grass is piling up at the rod tip and I figured there is no way I’m going to land this fish. To my surprise though, I was able to pull the fish back, get it around the iron pipes freeing it up, and land it. It was a beautiful 24lb King salmon. After a few seconds of celebrating with my friends, I knew I would have to check the line for damage. Prepared to lose 20 to 30 yards of line, I did a visual check and found no apparent damage. Continuing to fish with the line, I landed three more fish that night. All of them weighed between 18 and 20lbs. I am now a true believer in NanoFil and highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a great line. You can find Berkley's New NanoFilament Line Now At Bass Pro Shops. 


Good Fishing

Patrick M. Stringfield


Bass Pro Shops

Auburn Hills, MI




Check It Out List: Gun Cleaning Kit

Welcome to the third installment of Check It Out List. This time we will be going over what many may consider a small set of items, a gun cleaning kit. And while this may be considered something small, they play a big part in operation and longevity of a firearm.

For those who just “want to go buy a gun” they probably do not realize all the things that go with such responsibility. Besides the firearm itself one will need several other items. Ammunition is important, having the correct ammunition is also key. Never be afraid to ask for help when it comes to this as it could be life-ending otherwise. For instance, there is a difference between .270 Winchester and .270 Winchester Short Magnum.

Also touching upon the correct ammunition, just because the box says the round you are looking for that does not mean it is in there. I have found numerous boxes that had wrong ammunition put back in them by some careless person earlier. This sounds ridiculous, but is true. People who are comparing cartridges may not notice which round they put back in which box.

Hmmm... Somebody does not belong...

You’ll also want to have storage for the firearm. Typically this will mean both a soft and hard case for storing and transportation. I’m not saying go out and invest in a 10 gun safe if you are a first time gun buyer, but it may be worth it later in life.

Oh and here is something simple that many people overlook, eye and ear protection. It is astonishing how many people do not or forget to pack this with them. My fiancé was going to go to a cabin with a group of friends from work. One mentioned that they were going to be shooting and I asked “Who is bringing the eyes and ears?” After the long pause I felt a little nervous about letting her go with people who might not have these simple and cheap items. (By the way, these electronic muffs work great!)

Last but not least is the gun cleaning kit itself. A firearm is an investment, just like a vehicle or home. If you don’t take proper preventative maintenance it might not last too long. While some might see this as a chore, I find it relaxing. After a day at the range I love busting everything down and giving it a good scrubbing. But what all do you need to clean a firearm? Below is a suggested list of everything needed.

A Cleaning Kit Should Include:

  • Assorted rod tips—brushes, mop tips, slotted tips, jag tips
  • Bore light
  • Clean cloths
  • Cleaning rods
  • Cotton swabs
  • Dental mirror
  • Gun grease
  • Gun oil
  • Gunsmith screwdrivers
  • Patches appropriate for the caliber or gauge of the firearm
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Solvent
  • Stand to hold the firearm securely in a horizontal position
  • Toothbrush


Now while some of this might seem a little much, keep in mind the suggestion word. My kit is not nearly this extensive, and I have not had a single issue due to lack of cleaning. I can tell you though that you will want for sure a cleaning rod with the appropriate tips for the firearm you are cleaning. Cotton swabs work great for getting that grease and gunk out, especially after the oils and cleaners have worked their magic.

One thing this list does not mention is a pull-through. This is a device that you slide through the barrel and then give a quick tug to. This pulling through motion does a great job for quick cleanings. This however does not replace a full cleaning which may not be needed every time after firing but is important. There are many working parts of firearms that need special attention. I would suggest having a pull-through for all firearms as they are easy to toss into a pack.

Oh and here’s another secret. Most brake-cleaning products for vehicles contains the same stuff as “gun cleaning liquids” do, and they are usually a little cheaper. Just check to be sure before spraying your firearm down.

You can piece together your own cleaning kit or buy a whole set. Either way, just make sure you have one. Take care of your firearm and it can easily be a hand me down. I personally am hoping to one day acquire a firearm from both of my grandfathers. (Especially since I learned about the existence of a Ruger M77 .30-06Sprg that belonged to my mother’s dad.) I think it would be so cool to hand down my grandfather’s deer rifles to my grandkids one day.

Go ahead and let us know what items you would add or subtract from the list and why! Scrub-a-dub Rubbin’ that rust away!! Get ya some!

If you haven’t already check out our other Check It Out Lists on First Aid Kits and Day Packs.


Salmon Fishing in September

The Salmon River is waiting for you.  You can fish from shore, by wading or by drift boat.  Anyway you look at it, what a exciting time to be fishing.  At Bass Pro Shops we have exactly what you need to enjoy that fighting fish experience.  The right equipment, and knowledge is important so your encounter with that large salmon is safe as well as fun. Salmon fishing will keep you coming back year to year.

New York Salmon are some of the largest gamefish found in the northeast.  The salmon have small scales, soft-rayed fins, and a lobeshaped fin on its back.  They are slender and streamlined.  This body shape makes it possible for them to hold their position in tumbling rivers as well as make swift movements when seizing their prey.  Salmon range from a delicate shading of spots and irregular markings to silver metallic.  They can also be bright and bold during the spawning season.  Salmon thrive in freshwater as well as sea water.

Never been Salmon Fishing?  Well stop by our Fly Shop to talk with our associates, and they will set you up with what you need.  To start off with check out the Temple Fork Outfitters Signature Series II.  This two piece rod includes a rod, reel, line, backing and leader.  Just great for beginners.








We recommend a breathable wader.  Try the White River Eco Clear Waders 100% waterproof waders with ECO clear technology.  ECO clear are a crushed walnut and dynamic rubber compound.  This compound helps keep organisms from attaching on to your gear.  Add a wading belt and you are covered.

















Don't forget your floatation vest.  The Simms G3 Guide Fishing Vest is great with 22 pockets, and a breathable mesh liner to keep you cool.  This fishing vest will keep everything from your flies and tools to your license and cell phonevest

Our associates in the Fly Shop always recommend a wading staff.  The White River Wading Staff, is lightweight, collapsible, and provides just the right amount of stability for those slippery rocks.







On to bait - Roe Flies or Glow Bugs as some call them are fantastic for spring and fall salmon fishing.  You want something to immitate egg patterns.  If it is estaz  flies you are looking for, stop on down and talk with Mike DeTomaso our associate in the Fly Shop.  He will be happy to tie the flies you need.















Finally, Don't forget sunglasses.  Bass Pro Shops has a large variety of sunglasses to pick from.  One that you might find interesting are the polarized Fish Eyes Bifocal sunglasses .  They add just a little bit of bifocal so you can tie what you need on quickly.







Enjoy the month of September salmon fishing, and remember we are always here to answer any questions you may have.


Robin Piedmonte - Events Coordinator


Top 3 Summer Bass Jig Tactics


By: William Redmond

BOO Jig for big bassDeep and slow always seems to be a solid summer bass strategy. The fish are generally lethargic and rarely given to the chasing mood we find during spring and fall. Enticing presentations are important during these sluggish times, so for tips on the topic, we turn to a pair of Bassmaster Elite Series pros, Terry Scroggins and Cliff Prince.


Scroggins is first up with his look at dense summer weed mats. When bass take refuge in the cool shadowy world beneath tangled masses of hydrilla and countless other aquatic weeds, punching through with heavily weighted worms, craws or tubes usually does the trick. However, Scroggins said he finds plenty of fish hiding near the outskirts of such mats where a ¾-ounce Boo Jig with a 3 ¾-inch Yum Craw Chunk easily pushes through the looser vegetation while presenting a large profile that typically generates big bites. 
Scroggins releases bass caught on a boo jig
"Those are great ambush points and it's cover that often gets overlooked because they're small isolated patches, usually on the outside edge of a weed line," he said. "It's not like you're going to catch a whole school of fish off of one clump. Most of the time, you'll get two or three bites. It's also easy to cover because it's a very small target. It's a high-percentage point that takes hardly any time to fish effectively."

While bait color is less important in the darker realm beneath dense mats, Scroggins pays more attention to his jig's appearance around the scattered stuff. Natural colors like green pumpkin, brown and watermelon work best in clear water, while black/blue or dark neons provide the necessary contrast if the water is stained. Scroggins flips and pitches his jig on a 7-foot, 8-inch extra-heavy Duckett flipping stick with a 6.3:1 Lews baitcaster holding 65-pound braid, which helps him manage big fish by slicing through the salad.

"When I'm flipping the isolated grass, I'll flip the jig in there and dead stick it," he said. "I'll let it go to the bottom for 15-20 seconds before I do anything. With a Craw Chunk, that jig will actually stand up like a crawfish would be in fighting mode. I'll let it sit there, hop it twice and go on to the next drop."

Scroggins is apt to fish the edges and isolated sparse vegetation any time, but notes that the best times normally are the low-light periods of dawn, dusk, at night and under cloudy skies. Bright, direct sunlight often pushes bass farther under the grass mat.


In deep water, Prince likes the big profile of a ¾-ounce Booyah Pigskin Jig with a full skirt guaranteed to move a lot of water. This bait, however, is no one-trick pony and Prince knows that a standard football head jig can also stir up plenty of trouble on the bank.

"A lot of people don't throw it in shallow water because they think all the fish are out deep during the summer," Prince said. "The fish will get shallower than a lot of people think – especially if we get a lot of rain. If the water gets dirty, the fish will move up shallow to feed."

Prince likes Molting Craw and Nest Robber color patterns matched with a green pumpkin craw chunk. In much of the water he fishes during the summer months, these color patterns match the stage of crawfish development, and in clear, shallow water, he wants the jig to look as natural as possible.

(Above: Bass-fishing legend and two-time Bassmaster Classic Champion Bobby Murray with more information on dragging the Pigskin.)

Cover is key, as the Pigskin’s rumbling ways generate lots of fish-attracting commotion when it traverses wood or rock. As with the traditional offshore theater, Prince sticks with a meticulous drag that gives fish plenty of time to spot that noisy, hefty profile representing an easy meal.

"You don't want to move it a lot in the summer," he said. "The fish don't want to chase anything."


Back out deep, Scroggins will often taunt lackadaisical summer bass with an old-school stroking technique. He's more likely to go with a 3/8- to ½-ounce flipping jig, but a football head of similar size works just as well. In fact, the latter proves advantageous if you're short on rods, as the one jig enables you to instantly shift gears from dragging to stroking.
bigmouth bass on a jig
At first glance, stroking a jig doesn't seem to fit into the "deep and slow" summertime attack, but it prompts bass to react to the jig before it gets away. 

Armed with a 7-foot heavy-action rod, a 6.3:1 Lews reel and 15-pound fluorocarbon, Scroggins fits his jig with a plain chunk trailer that allows for a quick return to the bottom after each stroke. Noting that this technique works best when fish suspend 4-5 feet off the bottom, he said the proper stroking motion requires controlled force with sharp direction.

"It's almost like a ¾-of-the-way hook set," he explained. "You're just popping it on slack line. The key is that it creates a bottom disturbance and the fish just see something fly off the bottom and then fly back down. That triggers a reaction strike."

If the fish play hard to get and his day heads south, Scroggins said he can always count on bluff walls to keep him out of trouble. Bluffs may be more popular for big fish during the winter, when they retain heat and pull bass close to their mostly vertical surface, but bluffs also benefit the summer game with shade, bait positioning and plenty of depth ranges so fish can rise to feed and then quickly access deeper, cooler water.

Here, Scroggins will commonly throw a 3/16-ounce Booyah Finesse Head with a 6-inch YumMighty Worm. Benefits when used as a primary lure include a quick sink-rate to reach deeper fish and a smaller profile when fish are accustomed to seeing bigger, skirted jigs. He also uses it as a follow-up bait when he misses a fish on a jig for the same reasons. Jigs - A starter Course


Practice Casting Indoors?

Temple Forlk Buug Launcher Office RodCasting a fly rod reasonably well is one of the most satisfying skills I think I’ve developed over the past 40 some odd years but I’ll tell you that it didn’t come easily or without a lot of practice time on the grass and on water.  I went through a whole bunch of leaders and a few trashed fly lines before I casted half as well as I thought necessary and I sure wish there had been a better way.

Now there is.  A few of the rod manufacturers have developed a practice rod meant to duplicate the feel of a properly loaded rod so budding anglers can shorten the learning curve a bit, thus enjoying their time on the water more.  We’ve started carrying the Temple Fork Outfitters Bug Launcher Practice Rod and I can tell you from first-hand experience that casting this little gem is a heck of a lot of fun and it sure helps clean up any casting faults after just a few minutes.  Because of its size and bright color the loop formation can telegraph little changes in your casting stroke much quicker than working with a full rod and line.  You’ll immediately learn to recognize what stroke works and which one doesn’t.

Spending just a few minutes each day would greatly help someone that’s just getting started or someone like myself who’s just looking to improve on his skills.  The nice thing about the package is the ability to cast indoors without needing to have a gymnasium sized casting area.  All you need is a hallway, garage, office, or reasonable clear living room to practice in.  You can vary the amount of line beyond the rod tip to change the amount of rod loading you’ll experience, although I found working with most of the line outside the rod tip gives the best representation of what the real thing feels like.  There’s a memory stick with videos of the casting basics and some practice sessions included with the rod and its line, so you don’t have to figure out the fundamentals for yourself.

The entire package is worth its weight in gold if you’re trying to develop your sense of feel or timing as it relates to casting a fly rod.  But if playing a game while honing skills is your ultimate goal, this is the rod for you.

Beastman w/Ohio SteelBrian "Beastman" Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando


A 94-year-old angler has another great fish story to tell

By Lee Williams

Moses Lopez spent his early days hunting with a slingshot.

He mostly bagged rabbits and squirrels and was handy with a rod and reel as well.

“I’d tag along with my brother,” Lopez said. “That’s where I learned to hunt and fish.”

It was during the Depression in the 1930s, and Lopez lived in Winnie just east of Galveston Bay with his mother, four brothers and two sisters. Besides hunting and fishing, he found odd jobs and worked in the fields, planting and harvesting crops, doing whatever he could to help out.

“My father had passed away when I was 12,” Lopez said, “and we had a family to feed.”

Now a spry 94 years old, Lopez doesn’t hunt anymore — “that’s too much work” — but he still loves to fish.

“I’ll fish whenever I can find someone to go with me,” Lopez said.

He’s put away a few stories over 80-plus years of dropping lines, but few rival the one that he told a couple of weeks ago.

Fishing Aug. 22 with grandson Nicholas Griffin near Harbor One Marina at Eagle Mountain Lake Lopez said it had been an uneventful day as he cast his line toward the docks.

He felt a little tug, but then the line held.

“I thought it was stuck on a stump,” Lopez said, “but then it took off. It was fast.”

The black bass was a fighter and shot out of the water, giving them a glimpse of its size.

“He was big,” Lopez said. “Both me and my grandson knew that. He said, ‘That’s a big fish!’”

As he maneuvered the fish near the boat, it spit out the Bandit lure — but Nicholas had a net in position and grabbed the largemouth.

“He was so big you could put your fist in his mouth,” Lopez later told his son, Ray Lopez.

Lopez had an electronic scale, but the batteries were low, so after measuring it — 231/2 inches long — and taking a few photos, he turned to Nicholas.

“That was a thrill, but it’s time to turn him loose,” Lopez said.

“I figure it was about 91/2 or 10 pounds,” Lopez said. “That’s the biggest fish I’ve caught that wasn’t a striper or catfish.”

‘I’ve always loved fishing’

After Ray Lopez told his father that the record for a black bass at Eagle Mountain Lake was 11.65 pounds, Lopez suggested that he might have turned loose a trophy.

“I guess I’ll have to go back out there and catch him again,” Lopez told his son. “After all, I know where he lives.”


Musky Bite Is On!



Every time I leave the launch on Lake St Clair, I can’t stop to wonder why more people don’t take advantage of Great Lakes largest predator.  St Clair’s enormous ecosystem produces trophies that would put the most experienced anglers in awe. Yet, the fishing pressure is unbelievably lite. I’ve been fortunate to be able to spend the past twenty years decoding the annual patterns these fish follow.


Trolling for Musky is a high demand sport that requires a run and gun approach. To be proficient you must be able to adapt with the changing conditions. The fish are ambush predators which feed where there next meal hangs out. Finding their forage will certainly put you one step closer to your quarry.


The flowing waters of the St Clair River have carved a very unique under water landscape. The swirling currents have created large flats with sporadic points and slight drops which ultimately descend to the channel that divides the US and Canada.


A GPS incorporated with Navionics is by far the most important piece of equipment for a musky hunter. I’ve found that if I’m marking forage fish in the top half of the water column, their on the feed. This situation will have the predators on the move as well. Marking these areas and trolling thru in different directions will produce fish which are on the hunt. Thru-out time you will create a database for future use.



Early in the season the immense weed beds are beat down from the long winter and have just begun to regrow. The Musky are in the post spawn and hungry. The majority of their diet consists of sheep head, smallmouth, walleye, perch and any other creature that swims. These weary fish congregate on the breaks where the weeds and cover are thickest.


As the summer progresses the underwater weeds can literally reach the surface in thirteen to sixteen feet of water, limiting the area that can be trolled effectively. Luckily, musky have a bad habit of hunting the edges of the lush green under water forests and the channels that dissect the 275,000 acre body of water


Understanding wind direction in correlation with lake currents will keep your lines free from floating weeds which have been torn from their roots from wind, weather, and props. This important factor will determine where you may fish on any given day.


A variety of lures are needed to cover a muskies vast environment. Running multiple lines with large offerings requires lures that track well at fast speeds and others that can handle the turbulent prop wash. I’ve found that on my boat ten rods work well, but at times, I’ll only run six when floating weeds create issues.



Every rod on the boat suits a purpose. In good conditions,  each side of my rig consists of  three lines running off big plainer boards, one down rod out the side, and one in the prop wash, covering no less than 40 yards of water at any time and up to a hundred when conditions allow. The goal is to cover as much ground as possible, literally raking large expanses of water.    


Recently I had the opportunity to field test a few new lure designs produced by Bass Pro Shops. The XPS Deal Sealer Buck Tail has a two blade design which helps slice and clear unwanted weeds. The bait has an ounce of lead incorporated in the design that helps keep them down at high speeds.


Running the buck tails off the plainer boards with a four ounce inline weight and a five foot leader proved to be a lethal tactic for pulling fish out of the foliage that nearly reaches the surface. These musky magnets will draw fish right in the wash as well. The only modification is using a heavier weight to help get the attractive offering into the strike zone.


The second lure was the Off Shore saltwater Down Under. These deep diving crank baits track extremely well at any speed and can be used to reach any depth needed. They can be run off the boards letting the amount of line out dictate how deep they run.



The Down Under is a solid lure that adapts to any position on the boat, Weather it’s in the prop wash, on the planers, or on the outside rods. They dredge with powerful Accuracy pulling any hungry or inquisitive fish right to their capture in the net.


When the crank bait bite is on, the Rapala Super Shad Rap series is a go to lure as well.  Muskellunge have a hard time resisting this well-built lure. They track well in any rod holder, and really put fish on deck. Every trip I have several ripping through the water behind the boards.



Years of caught fish and marked way-points have created my map to success but running the right lures, with the right presentation, in the right location, can put anyone on the fish. Lake St Clair at this point in time, has the healthiest population of Musky that I have seen in the last twenty years. If musky intrigue you, now is the time to enter the sport!


Dave Lee

Bass Pro Hunting Staff


Take It Slow - Old Town Canoes

Sometimes you just have to take it slow.  Life is hectic - people can always find you anywhere.  TV has the same old re-runs on.  Constant stimulation is all around us.  Well try to tune it out, by getting out on the lake with a Old Town Canoe.  Watch the leaves turn or the loons on the lake.  Why in just a few hours you will feel rested and relaxed.  


The Old Town Saranac 146 XT has 2 contoured padded seats and seatbacks.  The center bench seat has storage inside.  There are molded rod-holders, paddle rests, and in cup holders.  The length is 14'6" and it weighs 79 pounds.  This canoe is stable with a flat bottom and straight sides. 










You need room for your best friend?  The Old Town Saranac 160 XT gives you more room at 16' and 89 pounds.













It always pays to be safe so don't forget your life jacket.  The Ascend OSFM Paddling Life Jacket is lightweight.  Don't forget you best friend with the Bass Pro Shops Life Jacket For Dogs in sizes xsmall to xlarge.

paddling jacket



























At Bass Pro Shops we also have a variety of paddles to pick from, but the Caviness Boat/Canoe paddle is durable and a great value.













After a few hours, it is time to take a drink and quick lunch.  Reach into your Ascend Round Bottom Lightweight Dry Bag which will keep everything dry and safe.  The  Ascend 1L water bottle  is perfect for holding just enough water.  Hunger has set in so grab the package of  Uncle Buck's Premium Beef Jerky and the sandwich you packed.  Don't forget your best friend,  Bass Pro Shops Jerky Bites Dog Treats are great.


























Stop on by and take a look at what we can offer you in line of relaxation and enjoyment.


Robin Piedmonte - Events Coordinator














A Day on the Water: Special Blessing

I believe that every day on the water is a blessing, but some days are even more special….the following is one of those days.

The day begins as a thin layer of fog is lifting from water and sun is about to peek out over the edge of the lake. It is a cool morning in the North Carolina mountains when my fishing partners arrive at the ramp.



Every year I donate a trip for the YMCA to auction off to raise money and this year’s winners wanted to bring their young ones out for a day of fun. John and his 2 young boys John Peter, aka JP, age 8 and Jacob age 6 were chomping at the bit to get on the water. Wes and his daughter Jeannie age 7 were also ready to put some fish in the boat. Since there were 2 families I brought a great friend and fellow Bass Pro employee Stokes McCellan to help me hopefully give these folks a trip of a life time.

pre blastoff

Stokes and the boys headed out for a few hours of trolling, while the rest of us set out for some top water and early morning bass action. It didn’t take long for Jeannie to start pulling in the fish. She had us down 3 to zero in just 5 minutes. We had a blast over the next 3 hours and caught more fish than we could keep up with. Wes even took a break from bass fishing for Wes to work on his fly rod fishing techniques.

2 boys with bluegill


While we were catching fish like crazy the other boat was getting loaded as well. That team caught some monster bluegill, crappie and a ton of bass while trolling the banks and the middle of the lake. There wasn’t a minute or two went by that we didn’t hear ‘fish on’ coming from that boat.


When we met back at the ramp to swap around partners Jacob and John were ready for big time bass action. Once again it doesn’t take long before boats are calling out ‘ fish on’ .  Jacob was only 6 but that little man was fired up and was catching fish on nearly every cast. He was throwing a shakey head and catching fish like crazy. John and Wes got serious and started throwing jigs and creature baits and the big fish started chewing. We started landing 3 ,4 and 5 pounders all afternoon.


Wes with his Bass!

John with bass

It wasn’t too long before Jacob was ready for a snack and to get back to trolling, so we met on the water and we picked up JP, dropped off Wes and Jacob with Stokes , and got back at it.  JP wasted no time and was sacking fish left and right. Although he was only 8 he was making great casts and figured out quickly where the bass should be. He also relieved me of some of my guiding duties and wanted to take all the fish off and release back into the lake. My thumb was extremely grateful as it was torn up from all the fish we had caught that morning. I am not sure who had more fun …JP catching fish or his Dad taking pictures and capturing the moment on film.

Eric with Fish

I have a great passion for fishing and truly love to share that passion with others, especially when it is young ones. I believe that these kids would have a good time even if we didn’t catch a fish, but the fact that we whacked them all day made it easy for the young ones to enjoy the day. Every day you won’t catch like fish like we did on this trip, but you have to go and spend time with youngsters and give them the opportunity to fall in love with the outdoors. In today’s world there are so many other things for kids to do, that if we as outdoorsmen don’t take the time to introduce kids to the outdoors our way of life could be lost in just a few generations. I am blessed that I get to work with people that have my same passions.. I am blessed that every day I get to share with customers a little bit of knowledge…I am blessed that I live in a country that affords me these luxuries.

Jacob and eric

Jacob and I with our Catch!

girl with fish

So at the end of the day we stayed and fished a couple hours past our time, but the fish were biting so what are you gonna do…stay and fish of course. When all was said and done we had caught well over 100 fish on our expedition. Not too shabby for a ½ day trip in August. I am not sure when I will see these kids again but I believe when they close their eyes( at least for few days) they will remember the fish they caught today and hopefully when they wake up be ready to go again.…


tuckered out


Eric Winter

General Manager

Bass Pro Shop

Concord NC




The Big One

The Big One


LonnieHey guys, any of you ever heard of a place called Okhissa Lake?  Me Either.  Well I looked it up on the internet and it is about 40 miles east of Natchez in Mississippi.  My friend Lonnie Boudreaux and his grandson go fishing there all the time.  He recently sent me this picture.  When I asked him how he caught such a big fish, this is what he said.

“This past Saturday, I was fishing on Okhissa Lake, which is just west of Bude, MS with my 13 year old grandson, Galen Bergeron.  Earlier that morning, Galen hooked a really nice bass that wrapped his line up in a submerged tree standing in about 15 feet of water. So when we returned to the lake to fish late that afternoon, I decided to concentrate on certain trees standing in about 15-20 feet deep water, throwing a Zoom 10-1/2” Magnum worm. I was fishing with a Johnny Morris Signature rod & reel combo, spooled with Seaguar 17 # InvizX fluorocarbon line. I like this line for the transparency and low memory characteristics.

At around 7:30 P.M., I made a cast to a standing submerged tree that I have previously caught large bass from occasionally. My worm had just went over a limb that is about 3 feet off the bottom. As the worm began to fall back down, I saw my line twitch, & immediately set the hook. I could tell that the bass was headed for the tree, so I put a lot of pressure on the bass & turned it away from the tree. The bass then headed straight for the surface, & when it headed back down, I had my trolling motor on high, heading  away from the tree. The bass made 2 good runs, pulling a little drag at times, but when it surface the last time, it was pretty worn out, and Galen netted the big lunker.”

Vickie C.

Administrative Assistant

Denham Springs


Tying The Knot

Tying The Knot

tiesHey ya’ll, it’s Jettie again.  I took my mom fishing last weekend and we had a really good time.  I never tire of watching her fish.  She is not like me, I just used a regular old rod and reel.  She fly fishes.  To watch her cast is amazing.  I have tried a thousand times and my mom keeps showing me different techniques she thinks will help me, but every time I just end up all tangled in the line or the hook in my hair.  She, on the other hand, looks like a line out of that old song “Poetry In Motion”.  And let me tell you something else.  Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are too old to do something cause my mom is living proof that you are never too old.  I won’t be so crass as to tell you her age, but suffice it to say that I am considered a “senior citizen” and am the 5th child in a tribe of 8.  So that should give you some idea.  But enough about my mom, this was supposed to be about fly fishing so let me go back to our fishing trip last week.

There we were, me using my casting rod and here using her fly rod.    She went to change her bait, sorry, in fly fishing you call it a fly (go figure) and I noticed it was a gorgeous purple speck.  I looked at the fly closer at it really did look like a little purple fly (you know, the annoying bug that flies around your house in the summers).  When I asked her where she got it, she told me that a friend of hers made it for her. fly

The next day I checked with our fishing guys and they tell me we have a group that meets here in the store.  They get together down in the fly shop and teach beginners how to tie flies or the old times just enjoy learning what’s new.

Here’s the e-mail they sent me to post:


 Good morning,

     We will hold our monthly fly tying class this Saturday 09/28/13 beginning at 9:30 a.m. We will again meet in the fly shop downstairs. We had several beginners last month so we will continue on some basic patterns to tie. Please bring your tying tools if available.


Ron Brooks

Come on over to the Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs and see what you’ve been missing.

Jettie W


Denham Springs


Gear Stories: Awesome Day of Fishing with Bass Pro Rod Holders!

Lake of the woods in northern Minnesota!!! Biggest walleye was 29 1/4 inch rest were a bit smaller all in all awesome day of fishing thanks to the bass pro rod holders we got!!!!

Name: Casey Ferkul
ProductDescription: bass pro rod holders


Tracker Time: Mako 17 Skiff

So this is weird, I have touched upon something from pretty much every part of our store except Tracker-Marine. After several angry texts and a cold shoulder at the water cooler I knew it was time to pay some respect to our awesome boat department.

(I know I had talked about our pond prowlers, but Tracker-Marine is a separate area.)

Now if you have ever been through our selection of boats, you know we have something for everyone and anyone. From family pontoons to blazing bass boats, we have it all! That’s why when I spotted a certain white boat, my curiosity was engaged. It was a Mako, so I knew I had to go to the Mako Master-Patrick.

Patrick gave me the lowdown on this fine vessel, and then some! (That is probably why he is the Mako Master.) I had been checking out the Mako 17 Skiff. This is a great boat with many nice features. The 17 in the name stands for the fact that it is 17 feet long.

This craft can accommodate roughly 6 people and handles extremely well. It is very stable and handles turn quite nicely.

It comes with a 60 Horsepower Mercury motor on the back. Patrick has the opportunity to take one of these out and got up to about 32 miles per hour. What is also nice is that the motor is quite lenient on its 6.6 gallon tank. Patrick was out all day going pretty much nonstop and did not need to fill up.

Now it also comes with an aluminum trailer (perfect for those Arizona salt flats) and weighs roughly 2000 pounds. Which means it is quite manageable and one was even taken away by a Chrysler 300!

There are a few other nice features. There are 5 built in rod holders and lots of storage space at the front and back. The wide platforms on the front and back provide excellent casting and lounging opportunities.

Now for seats, this is where Mako got extremely clutch. (Yeah, we’re trying to bring it back.) The captain’s seat is actually a spacious cooler that is well insulated. Perfect for keeping everything cool on a day out on the lake. And get this, the front seat lifts up to reveal a live-well! Well played Mako… well played.

So next time you come by, spend some time in our Tracker-Marine Department. And if you’re interested in that bad boy, be sure to talk to Patrick the Mako Master. He won’t leave you floating! Doggy Paddling Donkeys! Giddy Up!


Fishing With Fresh & Treated Spawn (Roe) For Trout & Salmon

By: Jerry Costabile

This time of the year when fishing the shoreline of Lake Michigan you will hear that the fish are hitting on spawn. If you have never fished with it, I hope to give you the information that will add a technique that will increase your chances for success this fall.

The term spawn comes from the ritual that occurs every fall around the begging of September thru October on the Great Lakes. In the northwest and in Alaska, this happens anywhere from mid May thru late August. This is the spawning run of the Chinook or king salmon. The Coho or silver salmon also make this run and are usually right with the kings. Female’s are carrying eggs or roe, and will migrate up rivers to where they were released or born, with the male’s right in tow! This is the time to be fishing the spawn techniques.

 The eggs can be present in the spring, but are at a very immature stage. As the season progresses, the eggs, or roe, will mature right up to the day that the female releases them into the nests that they and the males have been making in the rocky bottom of the rivers.

What we have to do is to catch a female that is full of eggs and use it for our bait. There are times that is easier to buy a few spawn sacs at the bait shop to get started with. If you catch a female early in the fall the eggs will be inside of a membrane sac called a skein. This is a favorite of mine to use because it is fresh and natural. I just cut a small piece of the skein with the eggs and put the hook thru the middle (we will talk hooks later). As long as the eggs are still solid in the skein, use it this way. 

As the eggs mature and the skein start’s to break apart, you will have to start tying the eggs into a netting to create a spawn sac. With the eggs loose in the skein, you will lose your eggs on the cast and be left with just the membrane on your hook.

At a certain point you will know that the females are really close to spawning or are spawning, the eggs will be running out of the fish. Try to have a bucket or bag to save the loose eggs when this happens. I will explain why in a little bit.

The techniques used to fish with spawn, are fairly simple. If you are fishing in current, use just enough weight to naturally roll the spawn or spawn sac along the river bottom.  I have had some success in weighting the spawn to stay on the bottom, but I use foam floaters in the sacs that I tie to keep it slightly off of the bottom. When I am not in the river and I am fishing at the mouth of the river in the lake, I will simply cast the spawn, skein or sac, out into the outgoing current and let it naturally roll to the bottom. If you are fishing in this location and can’t get into the current, fish the downwind side of the river current. The wind will push the river water in the direction it is blowing to and the fish will use this water to guide itself into the river. If you are not sure what this direction is, look for the stained water and you will see this current pattern.

Let’s say that we are fishing in the harbor areas and want to fish with spawn. We can still put it on the bottom or float it under a slip bobber. I prefer to fish it under a slip bobber. I have caught a lot of fish this way and I always have one out. Set up a rod this way and while you’re casting spoons, you have another technique working for you! I like to add just a little weight to help the spawn sac sink under a bobber. You don’t have to add a lot, just enough to get the line easily thru the bobber.  In the deeper holes of the rivers, this works great there also.

Now, I like to use a #6 octopus circle hook early and then switch to a #2 later in the season. As the spawning run progresses, I increase the size of the spawn sac that I fish with. More to see and more to smell! Treble hooks work too but there is more exposed hook to get snagged up. Keep it simple and you will increase your hook ups.

There are a lot of options and tricks to keeping your spawn fresh and keeping it good for the entire fall season. You can buy a box of good old borax at most grocery stores. Some of the other products out there are Atlas Shake “n” Cure, Pautzke Bait Co. makes a great cure, the BorxOFire. This comes in several colors. Also Pautzke makes a couple of liquid cures, Nectar and Fire Brine.

Watch for an upcoming event at Bass Pro Shops, Gurnee, IL.  I will be holding a demonstration on curing and tying spawn sacs. I will show you some of the ways to keep your eggs working for you for the entire fall salmon run and discuss this topic more!