Fall Schooling Activity


Fall Schooling Activity-By: Curt Samo

       Autumn can be an awesome time to find large concentrations of bass.  The key is to locate the schools of baitfish and shad.  Just recently I visited the Mississippi River at Savannah, IL and had the best day that I have had anywhere all year long.  I literally caught over 100 bass in one day - probably 50 were in the 2 -4 pound range and the rest were 13" and under.  It was a great day!  I had six doubles during the day.  Most of the fish were caught on two primary baits:  Luckycraft Gunfish 115 and Luckycraft LV RTO 50.  These are two great shad imitating baits.  The water was rapidly dropping on the Mississippi for the past 3-4 days and had pulled the majority of the fish at the mouths of the lakes, sloughs, and creeks.  It also had the shad bunched up in those same areas.  The fish were schooling on all of the available shad.  I also had numerous sand bars near some of these backwater areas that the current was hitting, creating an eddy where the shad were piling up, therefore the bass were following and were stacked up in large quantities.  One of the key things to do when trying to find schooling fish is to continually scan the surface of the water, as well as listening, for any breaking fish.  Another good indicator of shad or baitfish is to watch the birds:  seagulls, heron, cormorants are all good indicators that bait is present.

     I can't stress enough the importance of the proper equipment when catching schooling fish on reaction baits.  One of my favorite rods over the past 10 years has been the Crankin' Stick by Bass Pro Shops.  It's one of their least expensive rods, but I think it is one of their most effective rods, especially for fighting and landing fish.  It has two main rod ingredients that make it an exceptional rod:  it has the fiberglass component to give the rod the forgiveness that it needs, and it also has graphite that gives it more sensitivity so that I can feel what that LBR rattling bait is doing.  These rods also seem indestructible.  Til next time, good fishin! 


Fall isn't Just For Hunting

                              Fall Isn’t Just For Hunting

If you are an outdoorsman like me, this time of the year you are torn between hunting and fishing. With the start of the fall season, the long awaited hunting seasons are opening up every weekend. Getting the early season jump on hunting can be very rewarding.  But, the fall fishing is also getting stronger with the cooler water temperatures, and the fishing can be awesome!

The walleye fishing in the Midwest’s many river’s can be the best of the year in the fall months. There are river walleye fishermen that will be targeting ol’marble eyes up till mid December! The pressure is much less and the fish are hungry, it just takes some preparation.

The weather can be anywhere between twenty and seventy degrees, so dressing in layers is the way to go. If you are cold, it’s not going to be enjoyable at all. Start out dressed for the coldest conditions; you can always take clothes off. If you don’t have enough clothes with you, you won’t have them to put on if you need them. A good base layer is a must. No matter what the temp is, it will keep you comfortable on the cold water. Get creative to keep your hands warm. From a portable heater, to disposable hand warmers, keeping your hands warm is a must. I pack extra gloves so I always have a dry pair. Between bait buckets and handling fish, you will get your hands wet! When it comes to footwear, I wear the warmest boots I own. A good insulated pair of boots go a long way it cold river conditions.   

Tie up rigs before the trip in you warm house. It’s much easier to change presentations this way when it’s cold. If you can set up extra rods with different rigs, this will be easier to keep fishing if you get a break off.

Different areas will produce fish this time of the year. Flats, wing dams, mid river holes, current breaks, every one of them will hold fish. Keep moving around until you find areas that produce the most bites.

Jigs tipped with Gulp! Minnows, live minnow rigs, and plastics all will produce fish. Be prepared to have all of the above with you, it’s the fish that determine what to use!

When fishing the deeper water, stay vertical. This will increase your bites. Sometimes it takes having the bait right in the walleye’s face will get you the bite.

Fishing early and late can get you plenty of action, but the warmer mid day temps can bring the best fishing of the day.

Some of the biggest fish of the year are caught in the fall, but a nice fresh bunch of walleye fillets just can’t be beat!

 It’s a hard decision to make, but getting out on the river on a nice fall day with the leaves in color and catching fish makes it tough to decide what is better, hunting or fishing?

Maybe a combo fishing/hunting trip is what I need!





The Return of "Seeker" Rods, Trout Season Approaches & Must See Seminars




Seeker Rods Are Back

 Currently the, "Blue Lighting" and "MGC" Rods                                  

 are in stock with more models in the future.

 The "Blue Lighting" an inshore rod designed for the angler

  targeting inshore species that tend to hide in structure.

 The "MGC" Rod features a mixture of military grade composite

  and resin blank giving the angler a lightweight, fast tapered rod

  ideal for the angler fishing a twilight trip to a 5 day trip.



jIrvine Lake Trout Season Opener

 As our weather cools are local trout season will feature the

 season opener for Irvine Lake.

 Their Season is set to open on November 1, 2013 and will feature a,

"VIP Day" October 31, 2013 featuring over 20,000 pounds of stocked,

"Trophy Trout."

 For more information contact Irvine Lakes or visit Bass Pro Shops and let our

 associates assist you in getting the right tackle to catch that, "Trophy Trout."




The Excitement of Fall Fishing in Rhode Island

Gibbs Lures Danny Plug

Fall is now becoming a thing of reality, crisp air, with the leaves starting to turn and the fall bait/game fish migration is kicking in. Hundreds of thousands of bait fish are making their way to open water from salt ponds and marshes where they were spawned to the delight of our salty game fish species. Striped Bass, Bluefish, False Albacore and Bonito are ramping up for the arrival of these morsels.

    I am a native Rhode Islander and this time of year really gets the blood flowing. Most anglers venture to the hallowed fishing areas of Narragansett, Point Judith, and Charleston and all the way down the coast to Westerly. Chasing and throwing eels, plugs and spoons to hook and hopefully land one of the many denizens that are strapping on the feed bag. However you really don't have to make the long trip to the south coast to catch and I mean catch quality fish. The other day, right in downtown Providence at India Point Park I managed to raise and catch several decent sized stripers and many bluefish as well. I was fishing a 9' Loomis plug rod loaded up with 65lb Power Pro braid on an Ambassador 7000 reel with a 20lb Seaguar fluorocarbon leader. I threw an assortment of baits but my personal favorites were and are a Gibbs pencil popper fished with a "walk the dog" action...color was yellow as well as blue. My all time go to plug though is the Danny Plug, fished slowly so the plug would wake and the strikes were explosive. Gibbs plugs are made of wood. I am still casting some that I have for over 25 years and they are working like they were brand new. My suggestion for tackle for any part of the bay would be an 8 to 10 foot surf rod either conventional or spinning spooled with between 20-30lb monofilament or 40-65lb Power Pro braid. My leader consisted of about 3 feet of 25lb fluorocarbon with a cross lock snap on the end to attach the lure. Above the leader I used a #2, 310lb stainless barrel swivel and was ready to go. Tides at this time of year are still something to be aware of as also the time of day, however these fish are becoming more active during daylight hours unlike the summer time when night time was the only time when fishing from shore.

I hope that this information will be helpful and look forward to seeing a bend in your rod.

Tight Lines,

Lundin Coward





The Jerkbait, A Year Around Fish Catcher?

When trying to imitate a wounded shad their are very few presentations better than jerkbait fishing. Typically the jerkbait is thought of as a winter and early spring time bait, and while it does shine in that specific time period the jerkbait can cover a far wider range of seasons. Growing up in the Northwest jerkbait fishing was very limited and not as effective based on the fact that there are no shad. In much of the country however shad are the primary forage for bass throughout the year. While certain seasons are more effective that others this abundance of shad in many of our lakes and reservoirs makes the jerkbait a very effective technique no matter what the water temperature. While the technique doesn't change the style of jerkbait I prefer, and the way I work my bait does from season to season.

The peak season for jerkbait fishing in most anglers minds is late winter on through to early spring. With cold water temperatures a large amount of the shad population will die off. When this happens you will visibly notice shad slowly twitching around just below the surface. This is a dead giveaway that you need to have a jerkbait in your hand. There are two jerkbaits I will have tied on in this cold water situation, a Spro McStick, as well as a Smithwick Rogue. While the McStick suspends the original Smithwick will actually float slowly, rising when you pause it. The suspending quality of the McStick is what makes me choose it about 90% of the time. In cold water I will fish this bait extremely slow, giving the bait quick sharp twitches and then letting the bait sit for a long pause. During this pause is when a suspending bait works it's magic. Remember bass are cold blooded so when the water is cold their metabolism is slow making them weary about expending to much energy. The suspended bait offers an opportunity that is difficult for a cold hungry bass to resist, they can slowly move up towards the bait using very little energy and lightly attack the bait. In extreme cold conditions a pause of 30 seconds or longer is sometimes necessary. Keep an open mind and very your retrieve to figure out what they are keying in on from day to day. Also don't be afraid to alternate to the slow floating rogue, this slow float will sometimes trigger more aggressive fish into biting.

As the water warms and the annual spawn begins to happen the jerkbait bite, while you can still catch some fish on it, tends to slow down. It's the post spawn feeding period when I pick my jerkbait back up and start to hammer down on them again. What I look for is schools of bass that are aggressively feeding up on shad, in order to replenish their weakened bodies after a long spawn. While topwater baits such as Super Spooks and Bass Pro Shops XPS Professional Series Walkers work great for this situation, a jerkbait can also be very effective. I normally find my schools of bass near a spawning pocket or flat on some sort of secondary point or break line. The bass will stop at these points throughout the lake to feed up before heading out to the main channel. Often you will find these late spring fish suspended as well. I have had some great success working a deeper diving Spro McRip through fish suspended at around the ten foot depth range. For this style of jerkbait fishing I like to work my bait with a fast aggressive retrieve with short pauses throughout the cast. To get the bait to reach deeper suspended fish I will work it on a spinning rod with 8lb test Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon. This technique will continue to catch fish all throughout the summer so always keep ready to go if you see suspended fish on your depth finder.

As the summer ends and the water starts to cool my jerkbait is always on the front deck of my Nitro Z-8 boat. During the fall months is when the shad make their annual movement into shallow pockets and flats in the back of creeks. These feeding fish will hammer a suspending jerkbait worked around the cover they are holding on. Seawalls, points, flats, and docks, are all great key shallow water structures to focus on. A good thing about fall fishing is when you find one fish, it's normally not the only one in the area, so it is possible to hit a stretch where you catch multiple all very close to each other. As well as the fact that generally these fall fish are easy to pattern and find success doing the same thing in similar areas all up and down the lake or reservoir. Just look for the key ingredients, shallow water pockets and flats, an abundance of cover, an abundance of shad and then hold on tight, because when you put those factors together the predatory bass are almost guaranteed to be close by. I will generally rely on my McStick 110 just like in the late winter to early spring time period.

In my opinion for those of you blessed enough to live on a body of water that has a large shad population, some sort of jerkbait should always be readily available. The jerkbait can be a winning pattern in certain times of the year, especially in the late winter to early spring, but no matter what the season it's a bait that should be in your arsenal and will put more fish in your boat. For more blogs about how to add more tricks to your repertoire, check out my blog, Expand Your Fishing Arsenal. And if you ever have any questions you can go to my website, www.joeyfishing.com, and write me an email, I'd love to help in any way possible. I'll see you on the water!!!

Joey Nania










Shad, Rat-L and Buzz Your Way To Big Bass This Fall

Fall is slowing creeping in….

For many of us fisherman,  Fall waves the warning flag that soon it’s time to winterize the boat, break out that old boat cover, and wait till the daffodils pop up next spring.

Some among us have even traded in their flipping rod for a bow – and won’t lip a fish till next spring.  For the rest of us – TIME TO HEAD OUT AND PUT A HURTIN’ ON EM’!

Yes – FALL BASS FISHING is arguably THE best time of year to crush the little green-back zombies!!!  Bass sit and wait as the Shad make their last run up the creeks – and I’m talking shad schools that make Ohio State’s student-roster look squeamish.  THOUSANDS of these wonderful baitfish head from the main lake up the creeks for one last binge.  Speaking of binge – the largemouth pick their ambush spots and wait for the buffet-feeding-line to pass by.  Meal ticket time.  It’s their last chance to fatten up and prepare for the long winter abyss…

And your bait can easily get on the menu…..



Let’s take a closer look at these crank baits and the best way to utilize them this fall to put fish in your net. Often times when the water temperature approaches 50 degrees the Rat-L-Traps and Red Eye Shads, to name a couple, should be part of your arsenal.  When choosing these baits, size and color must be considered to help ensure your success. I see many of our customers choosing the ¼ ounce size, which is my humble opinion, a mistake for this time of year. In our local waters many of the shad that are alive are typically larger than the ¼ ounce profile and these are the shad that the fish are feeding on. Going with a ½ ounce or bigger would be a better first choice to “match the hatch”, as these shad have grown larger over the course of the year. You will also find that using the larger profile crank baits will typically yield better quality fish than their smaller counterparts. However, if you are simply in for the “numbers” game and not necessarily that “kicker” fish then I would leave a ¼ ounce size or two in the tackle box.

Chrome Rat-L Trap

If I had to pick one color no matter where I am at in this country, I would have to go with a chrome blue. This color is almost “idiot-proof” and is a must have in every tackle box. Variations on the chrome blue that will work include the chrome black. These are best utilized when the sun is peeking through the clouds and that extra flash draws the fish in. The best time to use these colors is when the sun is out and the water is stained to clear. When the clouds move in, switch to a white or sexy shad variation, moving to something with less flash. When the fall rains make the water dirty you should change to gold, or change to a jig and pig altogether. You will be happy with your results with the chrome blue in clear water, but experiment and come up with your own colors for your particular situation.

Retrieves for the shad pattern are typically not complicated; throw it out and reel it in. It really is that simple. The noise and action of the lure does the work for you and takes the thinking out of it most times. There are those days, however, when a stop and go retrieve can add a fish or two in your net. The most unique retrieve I have had success in the past is what I call “Yo-Yo-ing” which is similar to the standard lift and drop rubber worm technique. Point the rod at noon, keep tension on the line as it falls, drop the rod tip down, and repeat. Small “tic” or “tap” on your rod tip usually means that the fish has inhaled the bait and it is time to set the hook – start smiling and get the net ready.

These are a couple variations on size, color and retrieval of these baits. Please experiment with these and try your own variations, and if you come up with something that works for you let us know. We would love to hear about your successes on our local waters.


You WILL have opportunities often for top water fishing in the fall – DEFINITELY!  What feels strange, is you may end up working a popper, or a buzz bait, etc in the middle of the lake, no cover in sight, AND doing better than any warm-weather day you can recall.  The schooling bass – “wolf packs” cruise the shad schools to the surface like tuna on sardines.  And just like tuna fishing– watch for the birds.  If you see them diving to the surface – there likely is a school of bait in their sights, and where there’s bait, there’s bass…

Work the popper with cadence,  “pop-pop-pop-pop-pause-pop-pop-pop-pop” – you’ll know when the fish hits…

When working the buzz bait – DO NOT LET IT SINK WHEN IT HITS THE WATER – start reeling immediately.  Reel just fast enough to keep the bait on the surface…

BPS Buzzmaster




Many of the lipless cranks are manufactured with round -bend treble hooks. I would strongly advise to switching to EWG treble hooks. A common complaint with the lipless crank baits is that the fish throw the bait out of their mouths too easily with the manufactured round-bend hooks, so switching to the EWG hooks will improve your catch ratio and not let those big ones get away. 

Adding a stinger hook to your buzz bait will definitely add to the catch.  Bass that gorge so much on shad, often don’t seem to eat the bait, but smack the bait with the side of their head – or nipping just behind the bait.  The trailer hook can help pick up these fish.

I prefer to use the Bass Pro Crankin’ Stick 7’ MH. These Crankin’ Sticks are a slower graphite than our Extreme Bionic blades and the slower rod tips help increase the action of the crank bait and help prevent you from ripping the bait from the fish’s mouth but still affords the sensitivity to feel those “tics and taps” discussed earlier.  Match that rod with a Bass Pro Qualifier 6.4:1 reel and you have the ingredients for fish-catching success.

BPS Pro Qualifier

Add 10 – 14 pound monofilament line and you are good to go.

Use these tips as guidelines this fall.  You can experiment to come up your best pattern.


Nobody really enjoys using the trolling motor constantly – but if you’re not in the wind – you’re on the wrong side of the lake.  Wind pushes the little plankton etc that shad eat.  Shad look for the plankton, bass look for the shad… circle of life stuff here…

If there is no wind at all – the bite get’s tough.  Sometimes the wakes from boat traffic can help edge a bite out.  But no wind can be tough for schooling bass…  Pick up the bow and head to the tree stand!

Best of luck on the water!


The Mullet Are Running! The Mullet Are Running!


Mullet in Waves

The stars are going to align one of these years and I’m going to get the chance to fish the fall mullet run during a peak in the activity.  Then I’ll be able to experience those things I keep talking about with people wanting to find Florida fishing at its best.  So far this year I've enjoyed beautiful days on the beach with little success other than a bit of a sun tan and a bit of quality time with my loving wife.

Fingerling mullet congregate at the inlets then exit the intercoastal waterway as they begin their migration south along the Florida coast, headed to locations that provide a warmer climate than our waters once winter settles in.  Their numbers are mind boggling in immensity and every predator along the coast will rush into the near-shore waters in search of an easy meal.  Sharks, tarpon, snook, redfish, ladyfish, mackerel, bluefish, jacks, and just about anything else you can imagine will form a gauntlet of destruction and mayhem in the shallow coastal water, so swimming through mullet schools in the fall might not be the best idea given what lurks below.  But dragging a mullet shaped bait or fly is a ticket to fun when your timing is right.

The mullet concentrations are highest close to the inlets where the ocean schools meet up with those coming out of the Indian River Lagoon System.  So Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Matanzas, Ponce, Sebastian, Ft. Pierce, St. Lucie, and all points south will have ever increasing numbers of fish running along the coast.  Your task is to find them and their predators.  Hopscotch along the coast by checking out the sea conditions at each beach access point and county or city park.  Don’t spend too much time in any one location if you don’t see any activity either below or above the surface.  Bird activity is a surefire indicator of good things to come.

Theresa CastingLive bait, artificial lures, and flies can all be productive as long as they imitate a…..Wait for it…..MULLET.  Not much else will work this time of year so don’t bother carrying a whole bunch of shrimp and crab imitations.  The big boys are looking for a bite-size meal not some little appetizer.  Rapala, MirrOlure, Yo Zuri, Bomber, and others have created very lifelike imitations but even a simple bucktail jig can produce.  Flies would be my choice but the conditions have to be right for a fly rod to be an effective tool.  Medium to heavy action spinning tackle, and eight through 12 weight fly rods all have their place depending on the intended quarry.  Be prepared for anything.

Regardless of your tackle choice, the month of October can be some of the best angling of the year if you have the time to hit the east coast.  Keep heading south till you find favorable conditions and signs of activity.  Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have success the first day.  Keep at it and try again next year about the same time.  Things will come together for you someday just like they will for me and my wife……  Hopefully!

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando


Discover Your "Secret" Fishing Hole

Fishing the Ditch“Where can you fly fish in Florida?  There aren’t any rivers like out west.”   While I have to agree that there aren’t any rivers like people envision when they think of fly fishing, we’re lucky enough to have more than our fair share of waterways that can be productive for anglers of any type.  I normally answer “Every body of water you see whether it’s the ocean, a pond, lake, creek, canal, or roadside ditch is likely to have fish in it and therefore you should stop and take a look at the very least.”  If it’s water, I’ll fish it.

Ditches and canals throughout the region can be some of the most productive bodies of water and for some of us they become highly protected “secret spots” that are divulged only to our closest fishing partners.  Even then we might be a bit vague when giving directions.  “You might want to try fishing the canals around Stuart,” is about as precise as fishing directions are likely to be.  Surely we won’t give specifics to anyone that might spill the beans on a hot spot to all their friends on the social media networks…..  These fish are sensitive to fishing pressure because they’re somewhat locked into a small location and they can make for easy pickings if the conditions permit.

Discovering these honey holes on your own is part of the journey and most people feel you should have to put in some hard time before being able to reap the rewards, so don’t expect things to come easy.  Mosquito bites, chigger bites, fire ant bites, horse fly bites, and no-see-um bites are part of the pain that makes the end result worthwhile.  “No pain…No Gain” as the saying goes.  All you really need though is an adventurous spirit, a small amount of tackle, a mode of transport, and some liquid refreshment to replenish lost fluids.  Oh yeah, you might want to invest in a good insect repellant like Ultrathon.

Scott w/Baby TarponFish species can be quite varied depending on your location within the state.  Tarpon, snook, ladyfish, largemouth, peacocks, bluegill, mayan cichlids, tilapia, oscars, snakeheads, carp, and gar could all be found in one place if you’re lucky enough to find the right ditch or canal down south, Further north and away from the coast your species list will shrink but the angling possibilities remain exceptional.  Keep in mind that any tarpon you encounter are going to be smaller juveniles up to 30 or 40 pounds and should be handled with care since they’re just babies who will ultimately grow into giants if given a fighting chance.

So, load up the car with a couple of your favorite rods and a bit of tackle if you’re tired of fishing the same old locations and are looking for a change of pace.  Hit the road in search of adventure and aggressive fish.  You might just discover your next “Secret Spot.”

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando


Fishing and Fitness

I feel the level of fitness required for the sport of fishing depends on the type of fishing you will be doing. It is obvious that if you plan to sit on a bucket and cast out a bobber with a worm on the end of your line, the level of fitness needed will be very minimal. The challenging part of the trip will be lugging your equipment from the car to the bank of the lake or stream. Even if you break a sweat on the way to your secret spot on the lake, a cold one can be pulled out of the bucket to bring your comfort level back to normal. By all means, there is nothing wrong with this style of fishing. If nothing else it will get you out of the house for the day. I don't know of a more effective way to catch a catfish than to sink a bait to the bottom of your favorite fishing hole, and wait for a bite (Catfish Basics). This is one of my favorite ways to unwind after a tough day working at Bass Pro Shops. I wade out and cast a treble hook full of Sudden Impact into the river. It's never long until a nice sized channel catfish finds the end of my line, and all the frustrations from the day have vanished.

On the other hand, it can be a lot of work to catch a fish. Let me start with trout fishing. It is common for me to travel one or two miles of water during my quest to land a trout. Include walking while wearing a pair of White River waders (Buying Fly-Fishing Waders), and you will have earned yourself quite a workout. Don't forget, as you work your way upstream, it will be the same distance back to where you have parked your vehicle. Often I will hike a the beginning of my trip when I am feeling fresh. Since most of my trout angling is done in the evening hours, a difficult stroll in the dark is avoided by fishing my way back to the truck. If this is your method of fishing I recommend that you at least maintain an active lifestyle. There is no need to train to the point of finishing the Boston Marathon, but you should be able to hoof it a few miles at a comfortable pace. There is however one thing you should keep in mind. At an increased level of fitness, more enjoyment will be received from this type of fishing.

Donegal Creek

Donegal Creek always provides me with a beautiful, but challenging hike.

In my observations, wading for bass requires a bit more fitness for several reasons. You expend more energy during the fishing process. Burn a spinnerbait for a couple hours and you add a new element to your angling experience. When targeting trout, unless I am out with my sons, you will find me fly fishing. Although it looks tiring, it's really very easy if you allow the rod to do most of the work for you. Conventional trout fishing gear is small and light weight requiring little effort in casting and retrieving a lure. Throw some musky lures and you will earn a new respect for large tackle. Second, as you navigate a large river, the water is deeper and the current is much faster than your typical trout stream. More strength is needed to keep your footing. Our Susquehanna River is a mile at its widest point. It is easy to lose track of how far you have traveled and the time it took you to get there. Your trek back to shore can be a workout in itself. If night has arrived, it could also be very dangerous. One advantage is that there is no need for wearing those awkward waders. It is a great way to cool off during the hot summer months. Lastly, there is a need to cover more water when trying to locate fish resulting in the use of more energy. It is a huge factor while fly fishing for bass. Long casts with heavy streamers equals lots of work. Consider the stripping motion needed to retrieve your fly and you can count on a good nights sleep and sore muscles in the morning.

Conestoga River smallmouth from a kayak.Fishing a lake or river from a boat does not require the effort that it takes to wade. In this case endurance is the key to being successfull. Consecutive casts have to be maintained over a long period of time. While participating in a tournament you also have to keep up a high level of intensity and concentration that can become mentally exhausting. It is common to fish eight hours during an event so you may want to consider some light workouts to strengthen your abilities. The amount of your training should match the goals set for your fishing. In other words, you get out of it what you put into it. One thing that is often underestimated is getting the boat in and out of the water. Again, you don't have to be a world class athlete, but the more agile you are the easier this task will be. My favorite bass fishing comes from one of my three Ascend kayaks. They can be difficult to load and unload onto the vehicle, especially if you are alone. Most of your exercise will come from navigating a lake. I prefer to fish rivers but they consist of mostly floating and very little paddling. One negative to kayaking moving water is you need a drop off and a pick up automobile. If I get the urge to float a river by myself I head for the larger water. I'll look for a long stretch without rapids enabling me to get up river and drift my way back to my put-in spot. Rowing at the beginning is always my chosen method. There is nothing worse than having to load a kayak onto my truck after a long paddle

The fitness app I use tells me if you fish four hours while wearing waders, 2,368 calories will be burned. Standing on a boat four hours will take off 1,381. Even sitting on a bucket casting a worm and a bobber a total of four hours will get rid of 987. Running a mile at a ten minute pace will burn 164. I'm sure there is no need to mention my preferred method of burning calories. Know your body's limits. No one knows them better than you. If there is any doubt how much you can handle, see your physician for his or her approval. Ask yourself what level of fishing you want to achieve, then make strides to get there. If exercise is your method of choice, pick a program that you enjoy. If you like what you are doing there will be a greater chance of sticking with it. I am no tournament angler but I love to fish. Whether I am here working at Bass Pro Shops or playing catch in the backyard with my two sons, I try and live an active lifestyle. That is enough activity to meet my fishing needs. The most important advice I can give you is to go fishing. The best way to get into fishing shape is to fish.

Go Fish!

Troy Caslow

Troy Caslow



Keys To Locating Productive Brush Piles

Across the country fish use many different types of structure or cover to live and feed in. Weather it's rocks, docks, lay down logs, or brush piles, as the year goes on and the seasons change you will notice certain ones being more productive then others. And trust no matter how random it can sometimes seem, there is a rhyme and a reason to why they are using cover in a specific area or more importantly depth range. It is based on factors such as time of year, weather conditions, water color, water temperature, and last but not least the amount of baitfish in the area. Most species of fish are predators and if there is no food there then obviously the fish will go elsewhere if they have the option. In this article I really want to focus on brush piles. Whether they are man made or natural from trees and debris falling in the water the simple fact is that most times of the year there are fish holding on some sort of brush.

Brush piles are a perfect place for baitfish such as bluegill, and shad to live around and hide in. With the presence of the bait fish the predators such as bass are going to be close by. Now throughout the year like I said some brush piles will be more productive then others. As the water temperature changes the fish move, and this is related to the thermocline level. This is the level where the water temperature is the most comfortable to the fish and where the water is the most oxygen rich. The hotter the water temperature the deeper the thermocline will be. In lakes that have clear water the thermocline will also be deeper so don't be surprised to find fish in extremely deep water in the summer on a clear lake or reservoir. To find the this productive healthy water depth having good quality electronics such as the Lowrance HDS Gen2 Fishfinder is important. Just idle around your local lake or reservoir and pay attention to what depth you see the majority of the baitfish. Next check suspecting areas where brush piles might be placed that are close to that same depth range and there is a good chance that baitfish and bass will be near by.

So now that you have the proper depth figured out the next step is actually physically locating the brush. People will sink man made brush piles in a variety of different places such as points, creek channels, river channels, or probably the most common, docks. In my opinion the easiest to find brush piles are near docks. They are easy to find because of a few keys that are normally a dead giveaway that a fisherman lives there and has possibly sunk brush around his dock. Two things I really like to look for are lights, and rod holders. These are definitely things that should be paid attention too when looking for brush. The next step to this simple method of finding brush is physically stopping and casting a weighted soft plastic and feeling around the bottom with the bait. This is a no electronics fool proof way to find brush. Now if you have side imaging technology then this process is much easier. All you have to do is idle by the front of a row of docks and your graph will show you which docks have brush around them within 200 ft of either side of your boat. In order to find brush on the points and dropoffs having electronics is critical and will really make your search easier and more effective.

Once I have brush located no matter where it is there are a couple really important things I like to do. The first is marking the piles physically before I start to fish them which is very important for brush that is way out on points or sometimes in the middle of the river on a ledge. To do this I use a Bass Pro Shops Marker Buoy. There are a couple ways to do it, you can drop the buoy right next to the brush or one of my favorite methods dropping it where you want the boat to be positioned, and then using a reference point on the shore to line up and cast at. Normally when I'm fishing brush for bass I will use slow moving baits such as Jigs, Carolina Rigs, Texas Rigs, and Shakey Heads. Fishing these slow on the bottom I will crawl and work my bait through the cover letting it lift and then fall in the limbs. I always try and do this on a semi tight line, if you have to much slack in your line the fish will often pull you deep into the brush which makes them almost impossible to get out. So be ready to set the hook quick and get the fish moving up and out towards the boat. I like to use pretty heavy tackle when fishing my jigs, texas rigs, and carolina rigs for that reason exactly. I like to use Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon line from 17lb to 25lb test, on a heavy action rod and a high speed reel. The only exception is when I'm using a shakey head set up and in that case I will use either 8lb flouro, or a 20lb braid mainline with a fluorocarbon leader. At certain times of the year baits such as Spro Little John DD crankbaits and heavy 1oz spinnerbaits can be very effective when bumped into the brush. I would suggest going to Bass Pro Shops and picking up a weighted lure retriever or retrieving pole for getting your baits free from deep brush.

So go out on your local body of water and look for the key ingredients. First find the depth the baitfish are using whether it is 2 feet or 30 feet, next locate and mark the brush, and finally present your lure properly to the waiting fish. Always be patient and if you are getting frustrated and having limited success just keep searching because you never know when you might run into the right brush pile that is holding the mother load of big fish. I'll see you on the water!!!

Joey Nania







Rod Building.... Easier Than You Think

Rod BuildingBeing a somewhat creative person (but with limited mechanical abilities) I like to build things but have always worried that I wouldn’t be capable of completing the project with a level of quality up to my standards.  I just have a hard time convincing my hands to create what my mind comes up with.  And it’s a wonder I’ve been able to at all considering that I’m highly critical of the final product and am quite likely to cut everything apart if it isn’t “just right.”

I’ve always wanted to try a hand at rod building but always thought it was akin to rocket science and way beyond my abilities, but guess what….  It isn’t.  Spend a few minutes on-line, read a book or two, or take a class and you can build rods to your specifications rather than being at the mercy of the rod companies themselves.  You’ll also be expressing your creative side by producing something unique that will be used on the water during each of your adventures.

I happen to live within walking distance of a company that supplies rod building equipment worldwide and I’m sure at this point my wife is wishing that wasn’t the case.  Mud Hole stocks a mind-bending assortment of kits, blanks, guides, thread, and any other piece of a fishing rod you can think of whether it’s a spinning, casting, trolling, fly, or even ice fishing rod.  Their on-line catalog is massive and their print literature is just a lot of fun to browse through while dreaming.  There are more options than I could imagine.

Mud Hole even has their own line of blanks and associated rod-building kits for those of us that are just getting started in the hobby.  Their MHX line has a great feel and value without breaking the bank. But you can also get your hands on many of the more popular manufacturer’s blanks if you want to use one of them to create your own custom masterpieces.  I’m not quite to the point of mixing and matching components so the kits work out quite well, but eventually I’ll be there.

Rod building isn’t that difficult if you just follow some pretty simple directions and start with the right equipment, just like tying flies.  The basic steps are the same. You just customize the components and the decorations to make something distinctive with your own flair.  Some guys go all out on their cork grips while others like to dress up the wrapping, and even others like to do marbling with paint to give their rods some bling.  Regardless of what you choose to do, it’s your creation and that’s what makes rod building special and personal. 

Rod building is a unique hobby that many folks get into as a way to save money, make money, or just make productive use of their idle time.  No matter what the reason for taking it up, you’ll be sure to move on to a second rod soon after completing the first.  I just finshed my second and am already scrounging through the catalog for my next kit.  I have a few more holes to fill in my rod rack before someone says "enough is enough."

Brian "Beastman" Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando


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. (www.SkinnyWaterChartersRI.com).  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 http://www.basspro.com/LifeProof-LifeJacket-Float-for-iPhone-4-and-4S-Case/product/12091205013851/

  • 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