Tie One On: Crawshrimp

Just like this month’s Fishy Fact, we are gonna get a little salty with this month’s Tie One On! Not only are we getting salty but we’re going slightly 1950’s B-Grade Horror Film with it. It is almost straight out of one of those cheesy monster movies, ladies and gentlemen I give you: The Crawshrimp!

No please note, every time you say Crawfish it needs to sound like how Lord Business from The Lego Movie would say “The Kragle!” Please note, if you have not seen The Lego Movie that you have permission to stay inside and watch it instead of being outside fishing or what-have-you.

Just like you use certain patterns for certain fish in freshwater, the same goes for saltwater fishing. Fly patterns are an attempt to create/mimic natural prey to initiate a strike from a fish. You wouldn’t toss a big ol’ bass plug at a dainty brown trout, and you’re not gonna use a salmon egg for snook or redfish!

So now we have to think about the kind of prey saltwater species go after and start making flies to match! The Crawshrimp combines two very common prey items for saltwater fish, especially inshore ones, a crustacean and shrimp.     

This is a sinking bait, as it is not common to find these kinds of prey floating on top of the water. Commonly, sinking saltwater flies are designed to bury themselves into the sand. This one does not. Because of this, it is easy to work off the bottom in a number of ways. This allows the fisherman to create a number of scenarios with the pattern including the bait being injured or fleeing in order to tempt a strike. If a fisherman were to retrieve in short successive strips it gives the illusion of being a shrimp scurrying away.

Commonly this pattern is used on sea trout, snook and redfish. All of these fish are a lot of fun to catch and put up a good fight. One thing to consider with getting any kind of saltwater gear for fly-fishing is how corrosive saltwater can be. Just like with regular fishing, you will want a good saltwater reel specially built for that purpose. Stop by the White River Fly Shop and get all the goodies you could possibly need. Our very own Ed just took a saltwater fly-fishing trip with his family. You can bet he took stock before heading out.

-Giddy-Up!!

Previous Patterns

Woolly Bugger

Royal Coachman

Pheasant Tail Nymph

 

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Catch Me If You Can

We can taste salt on our lips and smell it in the breeze blowing past us. We can see for miles as the sun rises to the left of us. How did we get here? Where are we? What are we doing? We’re saltwater fishing.

It all started at Bass Pro Shops. We saw a Redfish/Frigate rod and reel combo that was on sale. There were so many rods, reels, combos, and great deals that as we looked around we were almost overwhelmed with the wealth of options, but we always came back to that first combo – so we put it in our basket – it was then that we decided to go fishing. 

In order to go fishing, we needed gear to take care of our new equipment; we needed things to clean up and maintain everything and things to take care of the fish when we catch them. We added a Bass Pro Shops XTS Rod Sock, a reel case and Salt Away to our cart before heading to the shelves to look at bait and lures.  There were so many choices and options when it came to bait. There were hard, soft, jigs, spoons, and trolling baits. After that we had to get hooks and then we realized we needed something to help us carry everything, Luckily Bass Pro Shops sells this awesome Backpack called the Bass Pro Shops Extreme Qualifier 360 Backpack Tackle Box. It not only separates into two separate bags, but it also fits 10 tackle boxes, the top is insulated to carry fish or yummies, and it has straps for a rod tube AND it’s water resistant!

We now have a rod, reel, bait, hooks, and other things that we knew we’d need to go saltwater fishing. Next we needed things for after we catch the fish. We needed knives and scalers and cutting boards and a processing table, gloves and a bucket or four, and deodorizer and knife sharpeners. We were lucky again that we were at Bass Pro Shops: they sell everything we would need for a fantastic trip! We were able to find folding and floating knives. We found skinners and scalers. We found a Bass Pro Shops hardwood Fillet Board and a Bass Pro Shops Folding Processing Table. We found all sorts of gear and aftercare items; next it was time to make sure we had the clothes and foot ware necessary to have a fun trip. Luckily, Bass Pro Shops sells all of that too so we didn't have to travel around searching for everything we need.

On our way out, we couldn't help but be distracted by the boats: they’re beautiful. There were big pontoon boats for fishing like the 2014 SUN TRACKER® FISHIN' BARGE® 22 DXL, and there were pontoon boats for fun like the Regency 254 LE3, and there were boats that were for fishing and fun! There were little boats too like the 2015 MAKO 284 CC w/ Twin 200 XL Verado (L4) which is specifically for offshore saltwater fishing and just what we were looking for. There was so much to see and learn about!

This is how we got to where we can taste the salt on our lips and smell it on the breeze blowing past. This is why we can see for miles as we watch the sun rising in the east. We’re saltwater fishing, and we’re having a grand time.

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"The Dance" -- Fly Fishing the Gulf

Fly Fishing --- a well orchestrated dance between the fish and the fisherman.   Using the rod as the conductor’s baton, the fisherman rhythmically entices the fish.  Fly Fishing is more an art than sport.  You are hunting and luring the fish.  You are enticing the fish to eat.  Presentation is everything.  It takes patience and study, waiting for the perfect moment.   Yes, all this is true in sport fishing yet; the presentation in fly fishing takes harmony of balance, rhythm, and motion.

When we think of fly fishing, the first thing that comes to mind is Brad Pitt’s character in “A River Runs Through It.”  Standing in swift running freshwater streams, we watched the line dance through the air as he gracefully lured in the trout.

So… when we think about fly fishing, we see a cool mountain stream, surrounded by towering trees with trout jumping after bugs…Or maybe… let’s see…. How about South Padre Island.   REALLY?  You fly fish in saltwater?  Is that even possible?  Answer:  Yes.  It is not only possible it takes fishing for the Gulf’s inshore fish to another level.

South Padre Island has several professional fishing shops that carry fly fishing rigs and plenty of expertise.  Roy Lopez at Bass Pro Shops is one of these avid fly fishermen.  He has found a way to marry his love of fly fishing with his love of saltwater fishing.   I came into the White River Fly Shop specifically looking to get my husband started in a sport that he has wanted to do for years.  Here’s what I learned.

What are you fishing for off the shores of South Padre?

Tarpon have a natural migrating pattern from Florida and the Yucatan Peninsula.  Their arrival at South Padre is still a mystery.  They seem to follow the Gulf Coast.   The tide dictates feeding patterns and their location.   According to the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, the migrations take the tarpon up the eastern coast of the U.S. to at least the Chesapeake Bay, throughout the Gulf of Mexico, and southward to the Caribbean Sea.

 

Tarpon are fished for sport.  Roy says, “I wait all year for the tarpon to come back around in the annual migration.  I put the time in to find out their patterns and eating habits.  I have respect for the fish.  They travel from Florida and the Yucatan to get to Padre. “

 

But there is more than Tarpon off of South Padre’s shores.  Fishing Kingfish, Red Fish, Speckled Trout, Jack Crevalle, Spanish Mackerel and Bonita can all be found on the surf or jetties during ideal summer weather conditions. They can be found off the Gulf Coast year round.  Typically flashy, obnoxious flies in loud colors with a wire tippit can be used to entice these toothy fish to bite

.  

South Padre offers wading from the East Side sand flats to the West Side silt and estuaries.   Fishing from the rocks or in the water, we use different tools for different fish.  Consider the rig.

Roy generally ties his own flies, but has a few that he might use if needed.  The picture shows four of the possibilities.  A) Tarpon Toad –  Premier Tarpon Fly.   B)  Red Fish Toad – great fly for south Texas red fish and trout.  C)  Merkin Crab – another red fish fly typically used when red fish aren’t feeding, generally the fall months.  D)  Sea Ducer – fly that you would use in shallow water from 5 to 15 inches of water.  It has a real soft lay down. 

Rods:

9’ 8-weight rod typically with a stiff backbone to punch heavy flies through the wind (we have horrible prevailing south winds that don’t let up) for red fish, trout, flounder and any other species you’d find inshore. http://www.basspro.com/World-Wide-Sportsman-Gold-Cup-Fly-Rods/product/13082906212339/

9’ 10-weight rod with heavy backbone to punch flies for bigger fish from the beach or jetties – kings, Jacks, Spanish mackerel.

Inshore reel doesn’t necessarily have to be top dollar.  It needs a sealed drag system and is tolerable to the salt.  Roy suggests:  Lamson Konic/Guru and any of the Sage line-ups from the 1800 series to the 2200 series.  They retail anywhere from $150 to $185. http://www.basspro.com/Lamson-Konic-II-Fly-Reels/product/1209270507043/

http://www.basspro.com/Sage-2200-Series-Fly-Reel/product/1309110626206/

 

10-weight series – you are dealing with bigger fish.  You need a reel with stouter drag.  The Lamson offers the Konic/Guru 4 and Sage 2210 ranging anywhere from $150 to $250 for catching these bigger fish.

Your line in the inshore scene will typically consist of a weight forward floating line that can be matched to a rod.  The line is dictated by the rod or the casting preference of the fisherman.   Bass Pro Shops can typically fit the fisherman with an ideal rig to fit his/her preferences.  This is true for the 8-weight or the 10-weight.

Recently, Roy hooked a tarpon of about 5 feet/100+ pounds and watched it swim away after breaking the line.  With a smile, he remembered the “dance” and walked away satisfied.   Ok… maybe a little disappointed.

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Tips to Make You a Better Fly Angler Part 2

Tips to Make You a Better Fly Angler Part 2

by Captain Jim Barr

of www.skinnywaterchartersri.com

Go Barefoot in the Boat- If the weather/water is warm, going barefoot in the boat helps the angler to avoid stepping on their fly line. Footwear of any kind provides enough insulation to prevent you from being able to feel that you are stepping on your line. Many a cast has been ruined and a fish lost by a pinched line on deck.  Bare feet can also present a slipping hazard on a wet deck, so you be the judge. Alternatively use a stripping basket to hold your fly line. Also, remember to stretch your fly line, preferably before you board the boat, and if that's not possible or you forget, strip the fly line off the reel into the wake of the boat as you relocate. Water pressure applied to the fly line will stretch the line and remove any twists and coils. If you do not cast in a relatively straight plane, but have a circular or "oval" rod rotation, this will add twists to your line causing it to kink.

Fluorocarbon or Monofilament Leaders- I have a couple of simple rules on this subject.

1. First, I don't spend stupid money on monofilament and fluorocarbon tippet material. For fluorocarbon I buy "Vanish" manufactured by Berkley. For monofilament I buy "Berkley Trilene Big Game" in Clear.I buy spools of this quality line in different tests. For Fluorocarbon, typically 17 and 20 lb and for Big Game, typically spools in 10, 12, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 40 lb. test. I tie my own tapered leaders thus the reason for buying multiple spools of different test. Ultraviolet rays combined with the effects of saltwater degrade these lines, so annually I throw out the leftover spools and buy fresh material.

2. When it comes to what lines to use. My simple rule is if I am using a floating fly line with a floating fly pattern because I want the fly to be on the surface or just below the surface, my leader and tippet system is made entirely of monofilament (nylon) line. On the other hand, if I am fishing deeper waters, particularly around cover such as heavy seaweed, ledge and boulders, the first four feet of my leader is 40lb monofilament, but the balance of the leader system is Fluorocarbon material. Fluorocarbon is nearly invisible under water and it is made of a heavier density copolymer... so it sinks. It's valued for its refractive index which is similar to that of water, making it less visible to fish. Mono floats/Fluro sinks- easy to remember.

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Tips to Make You a Better Fly Angler Part 1

Tips to Make You a Better Fly Angler Part 1

by Captain Jim Barr

of www.skinnywaterchartersri.com

Hook Set- Many fly anglers new to the salt environment utilize the same fish striking (hook set) they do when striking a trout taking a dry fly. This is an overhead, high rod tip motion with the butt of the rod somewhere between the angler's waist and shoulder. If you use this technique when striking a saltwater fish (Stripers, Bluefish, Bonito and False Albacore to name a few), you're going to miss a lot of fish. The proper technique in saltwater is to keep your rod tip low to the water during your retrieve, and even putting the tip under the water's surface is perfectly acceptable. The retrieve has the fly line loosely pinched between the forefinger or middle finger (or both) of the rod-hand and the fly rod grip as the angler strips in line with the line-hand in a fashion that best imitates the swimming motion of the bait you are imitating. As the line is stripped over the fore-fingers of the rod hand the angler applies more pressure to the pinch point so that if the fish strikes the fly as the angler drops the line to pick it up again for the next strip- the line will stay tight helping to hook the fish. As the angler repeatedly strips line imitating the swimming motion of the bait, when the fish strikes the fly, the angler is in a position to "strip-strike" the fish keeping the rod tip low. The strip-strike has the angler pulling the line with force with the line-hand as he releases pressure at what was the pinch point on the rod-hand. The fly line will go tight immediately, and the rod will begin bouncing under the pressure and head-shaking action of the fish. Typically the hook is set in the fish's jaw, however it's perfectly acceptable to strip-strike the fish again with a good degree of force to "seat" the hook. The angler then raises the rod to play the fish.

 

Rod Positioning While Playing a Fish- After the angler has set the hook and is now playing the fish, care must be taken to land the fish. I see many anglers who engage in hand-to-hand combat, "fighting" the fish as if it's a 200 lb beast. It's unnecessary, and I typically coach new anglers engaged in this life and death struggle, to Relax. Yes, keep pressure on the fish, don't allow a slack line and when the fish wants to run, let it. If the fly reel drag is set properly, it will do the work of applying pressure and slowing the fish's run. Typically there is no need (except for the macho photo shot) to rear-back and bend the fly rod in half as you play the fish. The drag and the spring action of the fly rod will do the lion's share of the work. When the fish slows and you can turn it, do so, but keep a tight line and if the fish makes a run back to the boat as Bonito and Albies typically do, reel like a mad person to maintain a tight line/contact with the fish. If the fish pulls to the right, apply pressure to the left, and vice-versa- this will tire the fish more quickly. It's also OK to the turn the fish from side to side to tire it. Remember, for toothy fish, each time you reverse direction the leader is being pulled across the fish's teeth. In the case of Bluefish particularly, a steel leader should prevent being cut off.

Never put your line hand on the rod blank above the fly rod grip to apply additional leverage. A fly rod is meant to flex deep into the handle and putting pressure on the fish with your hand positioned on the blank above the grip may very well cause the rod to break. Additionally, try not to bring the butt of the rod above your waist while fighting a heavy fish. A high rod position exerts significant pressure (bend) on the tip section of the fly rod which may result in breakage.

http://www.basspro.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CFPageC?storeId=10151&catalogId=10051&langId=-1&appID=94&storeID=58&tab=3

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Not So Fast! Preparing your fishing equipment for the off season: Part 2

Umpqua-Glide-Fly-Line-Dressing-KitBaitcast Line WinderNot So Fast! Part 2

Suggestions for preparing your fishing equipment for the off season.

by Captain Jim Barr- www.SkinnyWaterChartersRI.com- Bass Pro Shops, Foxboro, MA- Pro Staff- 10/23/13

 

Fly Lines and Backing:

Inspect your fly line backing closely. Dacron and Gel Spun backing is very durable however it can become damaged from exposure to the elements or if a fish takes you deep into structure during the fight and rubs the line against abrasive surfaces. If it is frayed in spots or simply has not been replaced for some time, replace it with fresh backing… it’s cheap insurance to prevent losing the fish of your life. In most cases 30 lb Dacron backing is perfectly adequate for saltwater fishing. (Use 20lb for freshwater). If you desire a thinner backing that will allow more line to be added to your large arbor spools, Gel Spun is a good choice, albeit a bit more pricey. In most cases, 200 yards of backing is plenty for stripers, bluefish, false albacore and bonito. For other faster and longer running fish, best to consult with an expert shop or guide who can advise what’s necessary. 

 

Inspect your fly line closely, particularly the first 30-40 feet, for cracks in the plastic coating. Repeated casting and exposure to salt, sand, and the sun’s UV rays will take a heavy toll on fly lines. If your line has cracks, it will likely be to the “head” section of the line and the line should be replaced.

(You may want to cut off the head section of the fly line and retain the running line portion for fashioning shooting head systems.)  If the fly line is undamaged clean it with warm soapy water and apply a dressing.  Regular cleaning and dressing of your fly lines is absolutely critical in preserving your investment.

 

Rather than rewinding your fly lines back onto the spools, coil the lines in large coils and secure the coils using pipe cleaner ties. Label large plastic re-sealable food bags with the specifics of each line (line type- floating, intermediate, fast sinking etc, and weight) and store the lines in a cool, dry location. Keep these lines stored until spring when you will wind them back onto the reel and spools using your line winder or by hand. Storing lines in large coils will mitigate line memory so that come spring you are not dealing with "slinky toy" coiled lines resulting from being tightly wound on your spools during the off season. I would also suggest that you discard all leaders/tippets tied to your fly lines and await the arrival of spring to replace them with fresh material.

 

Spinning and Baitcasting Lines:

As a fishing guide the lines on my spinning and baitcasting reels take a beating. I go back and forth between using monofilament and braid. Both have good and bad qualities. Monofilament is inexpensive and tangles less frequently than braided line. Mono’s primary downfall from my perspective is that it does not cast as far as braid and has too much stretch. Braided line permits very long distance casts, it’s strength to diameter ratio is a real plus, it does not stretch under load and it creates a super sensitive connection between the angler and the fish, however it is prone to easily developing wind knots and it is prohibitively expensive to replace each season. As for monofilament line maintenance, I simply replace it with fresh line on all reels after each season. As for braid, I replace it when I need to.

In both cases for removing old line from reels, I use empty line spools and attach them to a variable speed drill using a “MacGyver”-type bit or the line winder mentioned earlier in this article. On the spinning reels I secure the open bail with a hair tie to prevent it from accidentally tripping while the line is being rewound onto the waste spool or line winder. In both cases the use of a line winder for adding new line makes the job infinitely easier. Remember to recycle your lines to prevent injury to animals and the environment.

Baitcast Line Winder: http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shops-XPS-Aluminum-Line-Winder-for-Baitcast-Reels/product/104172/

Spin casting line winder: http://www.basspro.com/Bass-Pro-Shops-XPS-Aluminum-Line-Winder-for-Spinning-Reels/product/20677/

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Not So Fast! Preparing your fishing equipment for the off season: Part 1

Not So Fast!

Suggestions for preparing your fishing equipment for the off season.

by Captain Jim Barr- www.SkinnyWaterChartersRI.com- Bass Pro Shops, Foxboro, MA- Pro Staff- 10/23/13

Ardent Reel Clean KitBass Pro Shops Reel Tote

Now that the 2013 northeast saltwater fishing season is at an end for most anglers, excepting the “die hards”,  don't be so quick to put away your equipment for the winter months in "as is" condition. End of the season maintenance of fishing equipment used in saltwater requires careful cleaning to avoid ugly surprises when spring arrives and you’re ready to get back on the water. The following suggestions will help you “wind down” from what I hope was a great fishing season by helping you prepare your equipment for its winter slumber. Another reason to clean and prepare your equipment now is for that unplanned opportunity that may arise to fish in the southern climates this winter. If your stuff is ready to go, it’s one last set of chores you need to deal with when you’re getting ready to wet a line. The process of cleaning and organizing your equipment now can also be helpful in identifying those items you’d like to add to inventory or replace that can go onto your personal holiday wish list (to avoid the socks you don’t want and the stale fruit cake!)


The following is a review of what’s critical:

 

Fly Reel & Spare Spools:

Use a line winder and remove all the fly line from your reels and spare spools (or carefully coil the fly line by hand). Anglers Image makes a simple, low cost line winder. Preferably use a high speed line winder with an electric drill to remove the fly line and the backing.

Once the lines (and backing) are removed, thoroughly clean the reel and spools using hot water, mild soap, a spare tooth brush (mark it so you don’t end up using it later to brush your chops) and a clean rag. The following YouTube video by Captain Bruce Chard may assist in the steps for both a short and longer term cleaning regimen.

I keep my fly reels and spools organized in compartmentalized reel cases. As a fly fishing guide I have several of these and they are great for keeping equipment organized and protected. I have separate cases for fresh and saltwater reels and spare spools. You can easily overspend in this category and it’s totally unnecessary:  A very good choice is Bass Pro’s Reel Tote.

For fly, spin and baitcasting reels, purchase a reel cleaning kit that contains the simple tools, solvents, oil and grease your reel needs to say healthy.  Always save your reel’s maintenance instructions that become very helpful in knowing the specific lubrication points for your equipment. If you’re not the type of angler who likes to personally maintain your equipment, find a local shop that is professional and get your equipment to them sooner than later while they are not busy.

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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

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Coming Up: 2013 Salt Water Expo

Saltwater Expo

Join us for the 2013 Saltwater Expo. This year's event will be bigger than ever. Come join us on Saturday Sept. 7th from 10:00am to 5:00pm. The event will host a day of hands on educational seminars, great door prizes and a silent auction table benefiting Wounded Warriors.

 

Keynote speaker George Poveromo, host of the NBC Sports TV show George Poveromo's World of Saltwater Fishing will be on hand for seminars and autographs.

George Poveromo is a world-renowned angling authority, National Seminar host, television host, and Editor-At-Large for Salt Water Sportsman Magazine.

Poveromo, a native of South Florida in the United States, has fished most of the U.S. coast as well as many countries. He demonstrates his expertise through his column "Tactics and Tackle" in Salt Water Sportsman. Poveromo is a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America, Southeast Outdoor Press Association, and Boating Writers International. He is an advocate of catch and release fishing, and is a member of the Coastal Conservation Association.

Poveromo is Editor-At-Large for Salt Water Sportsman magazine, the oldest and most widely distributed sport fishing magazine in the United States. Salt Water Sportsman has a paid monthly circulation of over 150,000 readers. Poveromo has been part of the Salt Water staff since 1983.

In addition to Salt Water Sportsman, George has been the host of their National Seminar Series for all twenty five years of the tour. The National Seminar Series, which has eight country-wide stops per year, instructs people on how to catch popular coastal and offshore game. The Salt Water Sportsman National Seminar Series is the largest and most successful fishing seminar in the nation.

George Poveromo is also producer to a line of how-to videos and DVDs regarding sport fishing. These educational videos are published under High Hook Incorporated and are hosted by Poveromo himself. The High Hook videos range from bottom-fishing to sailfish tactics and everything in between. These videos are the top-selling salt water fishing DVDs on the market.

Most popularly noted would be George's television program, George Poveromo's World Of Saltwater Fishing, which runs on the NBC Sports Network. The show, which aired on ESPN2 for 10 seasons was picked up by the NBC Sports Network, formerly Versus (TV channel) when ESPN cancelled its coverage of fishing television lineup. Each week, Poveromo presents a cool and informative fishing episod from a U.S. coastal, or Bahamas fishing destination. Poveromo's show entered into its 12th season on national television in 2012.

Plan on a great day with some of the top fishing guides/captains of the carolinas; along with some of the top manufacturers and the latest in saltwater gear. See some of the pictures from last years vendor / captain area!

lowrance

Lowrance will be on hand to talk electronics again this year!

vendor

Come see the latest in saltwater gear and technology!

Penn Battle

Penn let the battle begin!

This years Seminar Schedule will promise to be exciting, educational and experiential.

  • 10:30 – Mark Patterson – Kayak Fishing NC/SC intra coastal water
  • 11:30 – Sonar Class - Navionics
  • 12:15 – 12:45 Lunch Break
  • 12:45 – Capt. Ricky Kellum – Fishing for Speckled Trout
  • 1:30 - Capt. Fred Rourke - Fishing for Redfish
  • 2:15 – How to Throw a Cast Net
  • 3:00 – George Poveromo – Rigging Ballyhoo
  • 4:15 – Navionics Side Imaging

The Ballyhoo Rigging class will be hands on, you will acutally get to rig your own bait while George Poveromo instructs you on the how to. This class will fill up fast!

There will be a silent auciton table benefiting Wounded Warriors in NC.

Wounded Warrior

Items on the auction include but are not limited to, fishing technical gear, rods, reels, combos, fishing electronics, other useful satlwater items and Artwork by Guy Harvey.

overview

 

Check out the vendor tables from the 2012 Saltwater Fishing Expo! Most of the vendors will be back this year!

vendors

Last years event had an amazing turnout, this year looks to be even bigger still. Make sure to come out and experience the 2013 Saltwater Expo at your Charlotte, Bass Pro Shops!

Happy Fishing! & Tight Lines!

~Dave Miller, Fishing Manager

 

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Wade Routes

By Ty Butler

 

Wade fishing on the Georgia Coast and the South Carolina Low Country is one of the best ways to access the marsh flats which redfish invade on a bimonthly basis.  Most tidal swings in the area average 6 to 7 feet, which is a large swing anywhere else on the Southeast coast.  However, for a few days around the new and full moons each month the tidal change can approach 10 feet or more.  Fishing for species such as seatrout, sheepshead, or flounder can be very problematic during big tidal changes.  These periods, called “spring” tides, flood the higher areas of the tidal flats where bottom predators can’t normally reach.  Redfish (locally known as spottail bass), invade these virgin areas in order to gorge themselves on fiddler crabs and shrimp.  This gives anglers a unique opportunity to sight fish for the premier inshore saltwater gamefish of the South.


Redfish on the flood tide

A beautiful Georgia redfish caught sight fishing.

 

There are some issues with accessing these areas.  Georgia and South Carolina marshes are mostly bottomed with soft, deep “pluff” mud, which is not only annoying to wade in, but can also be life threatening and has taken lives.  There are areas that are much safer, though, and luckily redfish flock to them.  Hard, sandy bottom can be found at the back of most saltwater creek systems, and this is exactly where reds go when the tide floods high.  I recommend that you scout for such areas at low tide before you start targeting fish when the grass floods.  There are several indicators you should look for in a redfish flat, but you need to know what to look for.

 

Coastal Georgia holds a winding maze of inland wetlands within its 100 straight miles that holds one third of all salt marsh on the entire Atlantic East Coast.  The Low Country of South Carolina and the First Coast of North Florida have similar ecosystems.  Most of this salt marsh is composed of smooth spartina cordgrass, which is very tall, thick, and re-grows each year.  It grows in the soft “pluff” mud which should be avoided if one wants to wade fish.  The best areas to look for are those with a compacted sand bottom with a species of short, scattered spartina grass known as “salt marsh hay”.  You can tell from afar that these areas look like “potholes” in the taller grass.  These are the types of areas that fiddler and ghost crabs burrow in large colonies and redfish love to target them.  Old timers will tell you that another plant to look for in a good redfish spot is a short, bright green edible plant known as “saltwort.”

 


A kayak is a perfect choice to attack the marsh flats.

 

Once you find a good spot with firm, safe wading bottom, you need to choose your approach.  There are a select few areas that are accessible by foot from dry land.  However, most areas will require a flats boat or kayak to access.  A flats boat can get you to far, remote areas- but a kayak can get you right up on the fish with a stealthy approach.    Some ambitious anglers combine both by using their boat as a mothership and launching their kayak within striking distance.  Either way, I like to get out of my vehicle and foot it into the enemy territory.  I find this is the most “ninja-like” approach and least likely to spook the fish.  For protection I do prefer to wear a full coverage, draining shoe, such as Sperry SON-R.  You never know when you might encounter a stingray or razor-sharp oyster shells.  For gear, I prefer a fairly long rod, 7 to 8 feet, with a 3000 or 4000 size spinning reel.  This will give you the longer cast you will want.  Braided line is a must as it will allow you to use 17 to 50 pound test line though it is a much smaller diameter.  This will give you much-needed line capacity and abrasion resistance in grass and shells.  I like to end it with a 15 to 25 pound Seaguar fluorocarbon leader.  Fluorocarbon is even more abrasion resistant and is almost invisible underwater.  


So much marsh, so little time...

 

When you arrive on the marsh flat, you will only have a short window to go after the red battlers.  Most flats are only flooded an hour or two before and after high tide.  When the current starts to pull off the flat, redfish know they need to leave quickly.  I like to arrive about 3 hours before high tide and move back through the grass as it floods.  Even though time is short, you need to slow down and be observant.  Use polarized sunglasses, such as Costa del Mar and search for tails breaking the surface and slowly waving.  If the wind is blowing, this can be tricky- but look for anything that doesn’t move with the wind.  These are usually redfish grubbing around on the bottom in search of fiddler crabs and other crustaceans.

 

 

Z-Man Jerk Shad

 

When you spot a redfish, or a school, it is time to make a presentation.  With all the possibilities out there, I have a few select go-to lures.  When fly fishing I prefer Clouser Minnows or shrimp/crab patterns, like the redfish toad.  With conventional gear I almost exclusively use the scented Z-Man Jerk Shad or a weedless-rigged DOA Shrimp.  I buy DOA  baits in the money-saving body kits offered by BPS and hook them using a ⅛ ounce weighted-shank Gamakatsu swimbait hook.  I heavily scent all my baits using shrimp Pro-Cure Super Gel, which we offer at Bass Pro Shops in Savannah.  This scent is a gel-based concentrate that lasts all day and has proven results.

 

The most critical juncture when chasing redfish on the flat is when you make your cast.  If you are off my just couple of inches, you may spook the fish.  Take note of the direction the fish is moving, take account for the wind, and aim just beyond and ahead of the redfish.  When your bait lands, make just a couple of cranks to reel in the slack and pull the bait into the path of the fish.  Then just let the bait sit and hold your rod tip high.  If the fish attacks, you will see a swirl and feel weight through your rod tip.  Set the hook hard, because redfish have rubberlike lips and hard jaws.  If you are successful in your hookset, you will know quickly.

Attwood Folding Net

 

With a fish on, keep your rodtip high, but let your drag do the work.  Redfish, especially large ones, will take a very hard first run.  It will strip yards off the drag, but just let it run and use your rodtip to maintain its direction.  If the fish starts to near a thicker, taller patch of grass (which they all seem smart enough to do), then you should try directing it away or  slightly  tightening the drag.  If you are successful in stopping that first run, you are in good shape.  Reel the fish in, slowing down if the fish shakes its head or takes a secondary run.  I like to use a folding net to land the fish once it gets close.  Attwood makes an excellent net which folds up into a very compact package.

 

 

SpyPoint X-Cel Camera

 

Redfish can only be kept in this area within a slot limit.  In Georgia, they can only be kept in a slot between 14 to 23 inches with a 5 fish per day limit.  Similarly, in South Carolina they can only be kept 15 to 23 inches with a 3 fish per day limit.  A lot of fish caught on the flats, though, are above the slot limit.  Breeding-age fish 24 to 36 inches are often caught on the marsh flats before they move off the beaches.  I would hope that all these fish are released to secure the future of this amazing fishery.  Take a picture with your smart phone or use a video camera like the Spypoint X-Cel Sport or the GoPro Hero to capture the moment for the future.

 

The Southeast coast from the Low Country through the Coastal Empire, the Golden Isles, and into North Florida offers some unique opportunities to target redfish in an environment where they are particularly vulnerable.  Take some time to look ahead to the next new or full moon tide, and plan on visiting Bass Pro Shops to gear up for the next “red dawn” when the spottails invade the territory of the walking angler.

 

Some info provided by our friend Captain “Wild Bill” Jarrell- http://captainwildbill.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Inside Scoop on Salt Water fishing

I have a rather lengthy fly fishing bucket list, but recently I was able to check one trip off of it. My husband Chris and I went to Boca Grand, Florida to do some saltwater fly fishing. I planned out my gear weeks before we went to make sure that I didn’t forget anything.

We loaded up 8, 10, and 12 weight fly rods with saltwater line and bass taper fly lines. Why so many rods? Most of the saltwater fish are pretty large and we had a chance at catching a tarpon. Tarpons are huge so a 12 weight is perfect for them. The 8 and 10 weights are great for snook, redfish, and other saltwater species. Bass Pro carries TFO rods which are my personal favorite when it comes to fly rods. However, the models BVK and Axiom are my favorites. Pair these up with BVK reels or Lamson reels and  you have an excellent combo to fish with. The lines that we used were Rio Saltwater lines and Scientific Angler Bass Taper lines. Both are fantastic when it comes to turning over big streamers.

Another important factor was our clothing because no one wants to get a second or third degree sunburn while fly fishing out in the mangroves. We chose to wear Columbia and World Wide Sportsman products which are light weight pants and shirts. The Columbia and WWS clothing can be purchased at Bass Pro Shops.  We also used Buffs over our necks and ears which helped protect us from the sun and the wind (see photo).

My husband and I had a wonderful time and caught snook, redfish, jacks, and snapper. All of these saltwater fish hit hard and pulled like a freight train. It was so much fun! Stop by the fly shop at Bass Pro and let us outfit you for your next saltwater fly trip!

Make sure to stop by the White River Fly Shop at Bass Pro in Memphis to visit me!

Until my next fishing adventure, see you soon!

Mrs. Lesley

 

 

 

 

 

              

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Does Choosing the Correct Fishing Line have You in Knots?

Fishing line is arguably the single most important piece of equipment used by all fishermen. It plays a key role:

• in lure presentation
• in hooking fish
• in landing the fish
 


Nevertheless, most anglers remain confused and uneducated on the distinctive types of line that are available, and the special properties each type of fishing line exhibits. My hope is over the next few paragraphs; I can help you understand the pros and cons of the different products, so in the future you will choose the precise line for the right situations. More than anything I want to help you catch more fish!

Monofilament - “High Stretch” line

In 1938, DuPont announced the discovery of nylon, a "group of new synthetic super polymers" that could be made into textile fibers stronger and more elastic than cotton, silk, wool, or rayon. The following year, DuPont began commercial production of nylon monofilament fishing line. This new line, primitive by today's standards, didn't catch on immediately; older fishing lines, particularly braided Dacron, remained popular for the next two decades.  In 1958, however, DuPont introduced Stren, a thinner line of more uniform quality that could be used for different types of reels, including newly introduced spinning and spincasting tackle. This line was quickly embraced by fishermen, and led to a boom in sportfishing popularity because it helped make fishing much easier.

Monofilament products to this day still remain popular, accounting for more than two-thirds of all fishing lines sold throughout the country. As the name suggests, this is a single-component product. It is formed through an extrusion process in which molten plastic is formed into a strand through a die. This process is relatively inexpensive, producing a less costly product. Cost is the number-one factor that monofilament line is so widely popular. Even so, it's important to remember that cheaper brands of monofilament usually don't receive the quality-control attention, additives and attention in the finishing process that premium-grade lines receive. As a result, they may not offer the tensile strength, limpness, abrasion resistance, and knot strength characteristic of more expensive monofilament fishing lines.  In other words, you get what you pay for! Cheap off-brand mono usually doesn't perform as well as  more expensive name brands, so "buyer beware." If you decide to use monofilament, test several name brands and stick with those you come to know and trust.

• What baits do you fish on monofilament

1. Deep Crankbaiting
2. Top water popping baits
3. Shakeyheads
4. Shallow-water crankbaits

• Branch’s purchasing suggestion:

Inexpensive: Bass Pro Shops Tourney Tough™ Monofilament Fishing Line
Moderate: Berkley® Trilene XL Smooth Casting™ Line
The Best: Seaguar SENSHI – World-Class Monofilament
 

   
Braided - “No Stretch” line

Before the discovery of nylon, braided Dacron was the most popular fishing  line. Dacron possessed poor knot strength, low abrasion resistance and little stretch. So it was used much less after the superior nylon monofilaments were introduced. Today braided line maintains only a very small-market interest, but it does have its usages.

 In the early 1990s, gel-spun and aramid fibers such as Spectra, Kevlar and Dyneema entered the fishing line market, creating a new category of braided lines often called "superlines" or "microfilaments." These synthetic fibers are thin and incredibly tough (more than 10 times stronger than steel). Individual fiber strands are joined through an intricate, time-consuming braiding process to produce ultrathin, super strong, sensitive, yet expensive lines. Anglers who experimented with early superlines were frustrated by low knot strength, backlashes, poor coloration and damaged equipment. To many of these disadvantages outweighed the benefits of strength, microdiameter, and ultra sensitivity considering the high cost of these products. Makers of superlines have made continual advances and improvements to the raw material fibers and the process that converts them into fishing line. Coloration, castability, and strength have all been improved, overcoming some early disadvantages.

Lures do dive to deeper depths and at a faster rate when connected to superlines. And because it's smaller in diameter, superline is less visible to fish than monofilament, and anglers can spool more line on their reels; this is a great advantage for the salt water fishing man. Superlines have little stretch, transmitting strikes instantly to the rod tip, thus providing more positive hook sets. Superlines also allow longer casts, making them ideal for shore-bound anglers. High break strength and low stretch permit better handling of big fish.

Saltwater anglers do use more of the braided superlines than fresh water fishermen. Sometimes, the line is used as a backing for mono, allowing anglers to utilize small reels while increasing line capacity. Many anglers prefer the softness of braid for vertical jigging and trolling. Superlines do require a Palomar knot for best results with a small drop of superglue on the actual knot.  Put mono backing on your reel before spooling these lines to prevent it from slipping on the spool. Using a Uni knot to connect the braid to the monofilament is recommended.
Do not overfill reels with braided line. Overfilling creates loose strands after a cast and which will cause more backlashes. Fill them up to one-eighth inch from the spool rim.
 

    
• What type of baits do you fish with braid on?
1. Flipping heavy cover
2. Top water baits
3. Drop shotting
4. Carolina Rigs
5. Spoons

• Branch’s purchasing suggestion:

Inexpensive: Spiderwire EZ Braid™ Line
Moderate: PowerPro Braided Spectra® Fiber Micro Filament Line
The Best: Seaguar Kanzen™ Braided Fishing Line


Fluorocarbon - “Low Stretch” line

Fluorocarbon is a polymer that's nearly invisible in water because it is a refractor to light. It is inert, so it resists deterioration by sunlight, gasoline, battery acid, or insect repellents. Fluor also doesn't absorb water.

Fluorocarbon fishing leaders originated in Japan, where anglers are very particular about their bait presentations. Japanese fisheries are heavy pressured; so lifelike bait presentations are extremely important. Most fluorocarbon lines are invisible under the water.

Lately, the popularity of the fluorocarbon line has landed in the U.S. with many anglers. Many of us started using fluorocarbon leaders, primarily in saltwater and fly fishing applications because of its low visibility. Sales currently have increased drastically because fishermen are catching more fish with it. The original fluorocarbon leaders were stiff and very expensive, but new technologies have produced more flexible fluorocarbon at more affordable prices.

Fluorocarbon certainly offers advantages in clear-water situations where fish are heavily pressured or slow to bite. Because  fluorocarbon does not absorb water, it won't weaken or increase in stretch like a monofilament fishing line. Added density makes fluorocarbon very abrasion-resistant, so it's ideal for rough conditions, and makes it sink quicker than other styles of fishing lines. Lures do dive deeper and faster. Fluorocarbon line stretches slower and less than nylon, particularly when compared to wet nylon, and it's more sensitive.

Fluorocarbon lines, like superlines, require special attention. The Trilene knot is the best to use for this type of line. Make all 5 wraps when tying the knot, and excessively wet the line before cinching the knot to prevent line weakening. Always test the knot before fishing, because the knot is the weakest place in your line.

Fluorocarbons are still stiffer than nylon, even when they are wet. This requires more attentiveness to the line when casting. Heavier fluorocarbon line is made to be used on heavy rods, strong reels and big lures. Baitcasting reels may require additional adjustment for the extra momentum created by the larger weight of fluorocarbon. Adjust the brakes on the reel to the weight of the line to maximize casting distance and minimize professional overruns.

• What baits work best with Fluorocarbon?
1. Deep water jig
2. Shallow running crankbaits
3. Worm fishing
4. Spinnerbait fishing

• Branch’s purchasing suggestion:

Inexpensive: Seaguar Red Label Fluorocarbon
Moderate: Bass Pro Shops XPS Signature Series Fluorocarbon
The Best: Seaguar Tatsu Fluorocarbon


Fishing line doesn’t last forever that is why you need to store it properly. Heat can have effects on fishing line, but studies have shown that light seems to do even more to break down fishing line. If at all possible, try to store all your fishing lines in a cool dark space. To me, the best place would be an interior closet in your house.  That will prolong the fishing line life and keep it fishing like new line every time you go fishing.

No single type of line is perfect for all fishing conditions. To choose the best line, anglers should consider the size and species of fish being targeted, water type and conditions, the type of tackle being used, and other factors. Nevertheless, today more than ever, with the many types of lines available, it's important to devote time to studying each line and its characteristics so you will have the best for each fishing situation. By doing so, you'll improve your catch rate. And catching more fish, after all, is what we all hope to do.
 
 
 
 
THANKS FOR READING..... BRANCH
 
About the author: Tom is a freelance outdoor writer and full time Firefighter, Paramedic/Lieutenant in Georgia for the past 28 years.  He has been working and consulting in the Outdoor Industry for over 18 years and is currently creating and managing a pro fishing team, developing new products, promoting products through demonstrations, designing packaging, and he participates in different forums, radio & television shows.  Tom and his wife, Kim are volunteers with Operation One Voice. They live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their lab “Jake”.
 
  
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Have Fly Rod, Will Travel

Rod WotenBy: Rod Woten, Bass Pro Shops Altoona Pro Staff

Iowa isn’t exactly the first place that comes to mind when someone mentions fly fishing. Granted, we don’t have any epic saltwater flats that hold line-stripping bonefish and we don’t have any glacier-fed rivers that hold stunningly beautiful cutthroat trout. There are, however, plenty of fly rod opportunities in Iowa if you know where to look. The opportunities below are just a few of my favorites from around the state.

 

Farm Pond Panfish

I learned to fly fish on southeast Iowa farm ponds growing up as a kid.  Minnesota may be the land of 10,000 lakes, but Iowa is the land of 10,000 farm ponds and many of them rarely, if ever, get any fishing pressure. That can equate to trophy panfish and the opportunity to be THE ONLY ONE with permission to fish a farm pond or two. Often, all it takes is a knock on a landowner’s door and sharing a bag of fillets with them every once in a while. 

The great thing about panfish on the fly rod is that every fish seems like a monster. One of my favorites tactics for catching farm pond bluegills on the fly rod are foam poppers.  Trust me - if you love the adrenaline of catching bass on top water lures, then catching bluegills on fly rod poppers is definitely right up your alley. Don’t limit yourself to poppers only, though. Almost any dry fly, grasshopper, cricket, or beetle pattern will make an excellent top water presentation for bluegills. If you’re lucky enough to be fishing a pond that also contains crappies, you also stand a very good chance of landing a few of those silver-sided panfish.

For those days when the bluegills just won’t feed on the surface, I’ll tie on a small beadhead nymph of some sort, add a strike indicator above that, and experiment with the depth between the two until I find the exact depth that the bluegills are feeding at.  Another variation on this theme is to tie a foam hopper on and then add a nymph to a short length of line tied to the hook of the hopper. This is often referred to as a “hopper-dropper” rig, and will not only catch those deeper feeding bluegills, but can pick up surface strikes as well.

All of these tactics also work well on any Iowa lake with a good panfish population, so don’t be afraid to give those a whirl either.

Down a Lazy River

Iowa is blessed with a few rivers that have pretty good smallmouth bass fishing. One of my favorites is the stretch of the Raccoon River between Panora and Redfield. On a hot summer day, it feels pretty good to wade a stretch of this river while tossing wooly buggers to likely looking smallmouth haunts and waiting for the strike. Other than an occasional passing flotilla of kayakers, we often have the river to ourselves when we do this. For those that are willing to wade far enough from the access points, you can often forget you’re only minutes away from the nearest highway.

My favorite fly for this is a black wooly bugger with a gold cone head.  Fishing this fly is as simple as casting to a likely looking spot, and stripping line to retrieve the Bugger.  The stripping action causes the Bugger to gently rise and fall through the water with each stroke and looks a lot like a minnow swimming through the current. Smallmouth can’t resist it, but it’s also not uncommon for us to catch walleye, largemouth bass, channel catfish, white bass, yellow bass, crappies, green sunfish, flathead catfish and carp on any given cast. I think that’s one of the things I love the most about wading the Raccoon River; even though we’re specifically targeting smallmouth, you just never know what you’re next fish will be.

The Queen Mother of All Iowa Fly Fishing

WCreek Fly Fishingithout a doubt, the pinnacle for fly fishing in Iowa is chasing brook, brown and rainbow trout in the cold water spring-fed streams of northeast Iowa. Most folks don’t even realize that we have trout in Iowa, but they are there and the fly fishing for them can be EPIC at most times of the year. Iowa’s trout streams are often small, and the close proximity of overgrowth can be a true test of anyone’s fly casting ability. It is often said that if you can successfully fly fish the trout streams of Iowa, you can fly fish anywhere with success.

Whether your goal is to fool a truly wild trout, take home a limit of stockers for the grill, chase a true trophy fish, or simply get away from it all and spend the day casting in the solitude of nature, you can find all of these on a northeast Iowa trout stream. Because of the unique geology of the area, (which, in large part is why these streams are there in the first place) you'll be blessed with rock outcroppings, scenic overlooks and flora and fauna that will take your breath away. In this area of the state it is truthfully hard to tell most of the time that you are still even in Iowa! It’s something you truly have to experience for yourself to fully understand, and what better way to do so than with fly rod in hand.

Give it a Try!

It is said that almost any fish that can be caught with rod and reel can also be caught on the fly rod. Contrary to popular belief, Iowa has some humdinger fly fishing opportunities available to anyone willing to pick up a rod, learn to cast and give it a try.  From farm pond bluegills and largemouth to river smallmouths, and from carp (often referred to as the “poor man’s bonefish”) to spring stream trout, Iowa can offer it all.  Bass Pro Shops can provide you everything you need to get started; not only on the equipment side of things, but also with expert guidance on selecting things like line, rod, reel and flies for whatever fish you decide to chase as well as offering casting workshops and fly tying seminars all done in-store. Be sure to stop in and pick their brains if this whole fly rod thing is something that peaks your interest. I also own and operate Coldwater Guide Service, which specializes in guiding beginner fly anglers. While our forte is Northeast Iowa trout, we also offer trips for all of the scenarios I’ve described above, as well as many others, including ice fishing adventures during the winter. If you’d like to have us take you out and show you what this fly fishing thing is all about, be sure to check us out at www.coldwaterguideservice.com.

Whatever avenues you might take to learn fly-fishing, I highly encourage you to at least give it a try….even if it only remotely interests you. As a fishing professional, I spend many hours fishing with an array of techniques ranging from pulling planer boards for walleyes and spinnerbait fishing for bass to drifting for crappies and fishing through a 6” hole in the ice with a 20-inch rod in the winter…and everything in between, but some of my most satisfying moments in my life have come with a fly rod in my hand.

_____________________________________________

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Itching to Try New Gear: Fishing & Family

Have you ever bought new fishing gear only to have "things" come up that prevent you from trying out new gear? Well, that happened to me this year. I bought some brand new Saltwater gear and was forced to wait to try it out!

My family and I finally headed down to Ocean Isle for a Spring Break trip to the beach for some  much needed R and R.

Ocean Isle Arial

Ocean Isle is a wonderful family beach along the southern NC coastline, it has great fishing opportunities both surf and dock fishing as well as the wonderful waterway on the back side of the island.

 I have been dying to use my new fishing gear I bought with a Bass Pro gift card given to me for Christmas. It was a chilly morning with temperatures in the mid 60s for the high. It was early in the morning around 5:30am and man was it cold before the sun came up, but we decided it was better to be fishing and cold than to be warm and not fishing. We were fishing in the canals pictured above just north of the mainland bridge. It was Low tide and we used shrimp bait. I decided to use that type of bait because the bottom of the canal is full of seaweed and oyster shells, and using artificial crankbaits could and probably would have gotten snagged on the bottom. I made another long cast out into the canal after putting on fresh bait, it didn't take long then all of a sudden the rod tip bent down and a fish was on. It gave a great fight but ultimately ended up landing a nice black drum.

blackdrum

Not bad for my first trip out with my new Mako Rod and Reel Combo.  At Bass Pro Shops we feel anglers should have a reliable performing ''grab-and-go'' salt combo that’s versatile enough for surf casting or pier fishing; and with price that would make frugal fisherman proud. We have done just that with the Mako Spinning Rod and Reel Combo. The medium-action, two-piece Mako rod is complete with quality guides, EVA grip handle and graphite reel seat with saltwater-tough, stainless steel cushioned hoods. The smooth Mako reel is built around lightweight graphite frame and side cover and is complete with an anodized aluminum spool, front drag system, die-cast handle and stainless steel main shaft. Its a great rod and reel at an even better price!

The drum seemed to weigh somewhere between 4 and 5 lbs, I didn't have my scales with me but i did have a tape measure!

measuringtape

A 20 inch black drum, man was I stoked!  Can't wait to get back to that fishing spot again soon!

Happy Fishing!

Michael Steele

Team Leader - Apparel Department

Bass Pro Shops

Concord, NC

 

 

 

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Kayak Fishing with Alex, Daddy/Daughter Day

What is it about going fishing that causes lost sleep? Wednesday night, I mean Thursday morning, was the perfect example. It is Spring Break for most of Texas and what better way to usher in a new season than by going fishing with your eldest child? It was Daddy/Daughter Day, going fishing as we have done since she was three years old. Rather than hitching up the boat or heading for the pier, this trip, was to be a little different. Our newest Pro Staff member at Bass Pro Shops, Pearland, George Young of Texas Coastal Kayaks, invited Alexandra and me to spend a morning paddling a kayak.

I’ll have to admit a sense of elation when she thought the trip was a great idea. After all, children have different interests as they mature and we have gone from the days of the Snoopy fishing rod to cheerleading, to driving and to ‘gulp’ college visiting - as if there weren’t enough reasons in that sentence to lose sleep, so her immediate “that would be really cool” meant a lot. After spending a fitful few hours tossing and turning while endless questions ran through my head “packed both reels, rods are by the door, new pliers ARE in the dry bag, right? Waders are in the truck, it is March, we only have one pair, she can wear them, how cold can the water be, toilet paper… toilet paper… oops, don’t forget that” we were headed for coffee and breakfast.

We met George before sunrise and headed off to Christmas Bay. I personally have not used a kayak in a few years and have never fished from one, but my daughter’s summer camp has several. George was careful to cover safety and how to maneuver, especially with the added encumbrance of fishing gear. Perhaps the most important lesson was how to board. I paid careful attention. You know that five minutes after an unplanned exit, there would be a video on YouTube entitled “Look at Dad Upside Down in the Bay, or What We Did on Spring Break.” Within 15 uneventful minutes though, we were paddling, rather than motoring towards one of our favorite fishing locations.

Remember the earlier comment about dry bags and the sleepless nighttime question of ‘how cold can the water be’? No matter how careful you are, kayaking is a wet sport. It’s Spring, it’s March, it’s a little chilly. Warm, dry towels and clothing at the end of the day are wonderful things to find. To ensure their availability, we used the Ascend Light-weight 10 Liter Dry Bags. They weigh almost nothing and are perfect for backpacking too. I trusted them enough to include a small pair of Zeiss binoculars for bird watching, which if you understand my phobia about nice things being immersed in saltwater, you would recognize as a high degree of confidence in the dry bag.

For fishing equipment, we took the Johnny Morris Carbonlite series rods, a matched set of 7’2” medium-action spinning rods, with Bass Pro Shops Offshore Angler, Inshore Extreme spinning reels. Mine has served faithfully for the past two years. I liked it so much that last summer, I purchased a second one. Being ever so gallant, I handed Alexandra the brand new, never been near the water combo, certain that she would find it comfortable and easy to use.

Over the past few summers, the advantages to using braided fishing lines has become apparent so both reels are loaded with 50 pound test Bass Pro Shops branded XPS 8 Advance Braided line. While it is true that the reel would hold more if a lower test line was used – the 50 lb braid has the size equivalency of 12 pound test monofilament, it’s just easier for some of us in our advancing decrepitude to tie knots using slightly larger line with wet fingers and no reading glasses. The water of Christmas Bay is usually a little murky, but to be safe, we added some fairly stout leaders using Bass Pro Shops XPS Fluorocarbon.

We also brought a new product that I have wanted to test since they were first introduced, the Bass Pro Shops XPS 7” Aluminum Pliers. They have an excellent balance and feel. Lightweight, made of machined aluminum, they have a set of replaceable tungsten carbide clippers which were perfect for trimming braided line and will not corrode, always a positive feature for tools that will be used in saltwater. In addition to the 7” pliers, there is a ‘Mini’ set which has a split ring tip, and a larger pistol-grip pair for releasing fish from a distance. Given my proclivity for catching hardhead catfish, the latter is on the Father’s Day Present List. The 7” pliers were easy to use, gripped small items securely and made it possible to open and close swivels with ease. I cannot recommend them more highly, but I’d also invest a few dollars in a retractable lanyard rather than the extra piece of braided line I used to attach them to the lifejacket.

All in all, we had a fantastic time. George Young could not have been any more patient and instructive. Every piece of fishing equipment functioned exactly as expected. The only real equipment problem occurred at the end when I suddenly found that I no longer owned a matched set of Carbonlite rods and Offshore Angler reels. Apparently I own one and my daughter who caught not only her first speckled trout, but also her first flounder and first redfish (her first Texas Slam!), owns the other. How did I do you ask? It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words so I’ll just let the last photo of the day do my bragging.

To reach George Young of Texas Coastal Kayak, call 713 501 0636, and check out their website at TexasCoastalKayak.com

For more information about the products listed in this article, view them online at BassPro.Com.

 

 

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Warmer weather means more Fishing!

Last month, I featured a blog about camping http://blogs.basspro.com/blog/bass-pro-shops-leeds-al/look-whats-in-camping posted on February 15th. This month, I will move into our fishing department. Now, for those of you who have not been to visit our store, fishing is the department to see! It covers the whole back half of the downstairs area of the store. It is one of the largest departments with a lot of product to see. I will try to highlight a few.

fishing poleBass Pro Shop's fishing department carries a vast variety of rods, reels, and combos to choose from. Your reel selection includes types such as baitcasting, spinning, spincasting, and saltwater fishing reels. We also offer center pin & mooching reels, as well as, line counter reels. You will find great name brands in our department such as Shimano, Abu Garcia, Quantum, Zebco, Browning, and Shakespeare. You can partner these reels with rods such as casting rods, spinning rods, and saltwater fishing rods. If you are looking for combos, Bass Pro Shops fishing department carries baitcasting, ice fishing, saltwater, spin casting, and spinning combos. You'll find a great selection including Johnny Morris' signature series and the Johnny Morris' CarbonLite series.

 

lures

Our fishing department has one of the largest selections of lures available to the public. Our lure selection includes soft baits, hard bits, buzzbait, and spinner baits. We also have saltwater lures, for those offshore fishers. If you are looking for a specific bass jig, catfish, and carp bait, we have what you are looking for. The fishing department offers lure kits, panfish baits, and spoons. These lures are available in a variety of name brands from practically A to Z. A few of the more known brands that we carry include: Strike King, Zoom, Rapala, Yum, Berkley (including Berkely Gulp!, and Gulp Alive!) and Booyah. If there is a specific lure you are looking for, look no further because our Bass Pro Shops fishing department is sure to have it.

 

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Bass Pro Shops fishing department also carries an array of fishing accessories. We have a variety of rod and reel accessories that include rod racks (available in vertical, horizontal, wall mounting, or floor styles), rod socks, reel oil, even an emergency rod tip repair kit, just to name a few. We also carry a wide variety of fillet knives and accessories. These accessories include folding processing tables, knife sharpeners, fish scalers, fish skinners, and fillet boards. Don't forget to check out the selection of tools, pliers, and gaffs. We have everything that you need to have a successful fishing trip. Make sure you pick up your maps, charts, nets, and lights, while you are here. 

 

fishing hooks

Once you have decided on your rod/reel set up, you must stock up on the terminal tackle for your tackle box. Our fishing department has more tackle than one person can imagine. We offer a nice selection of fishing lines, leaders, fishing hooks, floats, and sinkers. Our terminal tackle also includes jig heads, fish attractants, tackle rigs and components. Our terminal tackle is available in a variety of sizes and colors, depending on your fishing needs. Make sure you fill your tackle box up with a little bit of all of it. You never know if your fishing excursions will be daytime or night., or if they will be short-lived or all-nighters. It never hurts to have extra supplies for those fishing trips.  

 

fly fishing

For those who are fans of fly fishing, we didn't forget about you! Bass Pro Shops has their very own White River Fly Shop located just inside the fishing department within the store. We carry name brands from A to Z when it comes to the types of fly rods we have available. Some of those brands include White River Fly Shop, World Wide Sportsman, and Orvis. There truly are too many to mention. We have a multitude of fly lines, leaders, and tippets to choose from in our fly shop. Our accessories include maps, DVDs, tackle boxes, and flies. We have an endless selection of flies to choose from. Whether you are fishing for bass, panfish, pike/muskie, salmon/steelhead, saltwater/inshore, saltwater/offshore, or trout, our Whiter River Fly Shop is sure to have exactly what you need.

 

While you are in Bass Pro Shops visiting the fishing department, don't forget to browse through the saltwater fishing area or check out the tackle boxes and bags. Maybe even stop by the reel counter and get some great fishing tips/advice from our knowledgeable associates. Once your fishing destination and equipment has been decided upon, don't leave without checking out the waders, sunglasses, and rain gear. These last few items will ensure a great fishing trip no matter what time of the year or what the weather may hold for you. Most of all... get out and get fishing!

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To check out these products and more, go to www.basspro.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Friday, March 8 – One Day Only Specials at our 2013 Spring Fishing Classic!

To get you ready for the season, we’ve added some daily specials to our already fabulous sale!

The following specials are available in-store, on Friday March 8 only!Sage 1650 Series Fly Reel

Save $20Sage 1650 or 1680  Series Fly Reels    $79. (Reg. $99)     Limit 2
Unbeatable Quality and Price!

~1650 for 4-6 wt. lines
~1680 for 7-9 wt. lines

 

Offering incredible performance the Sage 1600 Fly Reel series features light, all-aluminum construction, and are equipped with a large-arbor quick-release spool change and premium sealed graphite drag system. Innovative floating tripod drag gives you smooth startup, consistency and the power you'd expect from a reel costing three times as much.

Averaging 5 out of 5 consumer review stars!

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 Lowrance® Mark-5X Pro  $119.97 (Reg. $159.99 each) Limit 2Lowrance Mark 5x Pro Fishfinder

~ 5" 480x480 16-level gray-scale display
~ Dual-frequency 83/200 kHz Skimmer® transom-mount transducer Up to 120° of wider sonar coverage
~ 300 Watts RMS; 2400 Watts Peak-to-Peak
~ Depth to 1,000' special purchase only and not available online
~ Optimized automatic mode for high-performance out-of-the-box fish finding
~ Sealed and waterproof—suitable for saltwater use
~ Simpler menu text and icons
~ BackTrack™ tool
~ New keypad design for smooth one-hand control
~Save $40 Easy on and off

The Lowrance® Mark-5x Pro Fishfinder is perfect for any angler who doesn't want to spend a bundle to make the leap from an entry-level finder to a pro-caliber finder. Optimized with automatic mode for high-performance finding with turn-on-and-fish ease, the Mark-5x Pro Fishfinder is designed with a high-resolution 5'', 480 x 480 pixel Film SuperTwist LCD that maximizes visibility, target detail and separation even in direct sunlight. The adjustable, bright-white LED screen and keypad backlight make for simple viewing, day or night. The dual-frequency 83/200 kHz Skimmer® transom-mount transducer with internal temp sensor provides wider sonar coverage, while the powerful 300W RMS sounder finds fish to 1,000'. In addition to the easy-to-view monochrome display and wide sonar coverage, the Mark-5x Pro Fishfinder also features simpler menu text and icons including Advanced User Mode, a new keypad fLowest Price Ever on bestselling 5" Unit!or smooth one-hand control and a unique BackTrack™ tool that allows you to immediately scroll-back to review multiple pages of sonar history. Plus, the Mark-5x Pro offers a new case/mounting design for simpler installation and easy one-hand tilt/swivel view adjustment, removal and re-install. Size: 5.4'' H x 6.9'' W x 2.5'' D. One-year warranty.

New uniplug 1/4-turn connectors are compatible with earlier Lowrance® and Eagle® uniplug installations to simplify upgrades.

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XPS Micro SpinXPS Micro Spin  $1 ! (Reg. $2.69 each) Limit 12

 
XPS Micros~ Intricate, textured scale pattern
~ Holographic lazer tape
~ Hand-tied hair skirt
~ Glass eyes
~ Willow blade
~ Mustad® hook


Bass Pro Shops Lazer Eye Micro Spin is one incredible lure! Our 10-step manufacturing process creates an intricate, textured scale pattern, enhanced with unique holographic lazer tape plus a hand-tied hair skirt for increased attraction. Glass eyes add realism; a Mustad treble hook provides a solid hookset.

 

Bass Pro Shops, East Peoria, IL

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Products you must have in 2013

A new year means more new fishing gear to buy. This past weekend I enjoyed some down time and got a chance to sit in front of the fireplace and review the latest Bass Pro Shops Master Catalog and locate some of the other hot items for fishing online. Now is the perfect time to get your shopping list prepared for new gear coming out later in 2013. More than anything, I want my readers to be ready to catch more fish using quality products. So over the next few paragraphs I will mention some of the excited gear coming to a tackle store near you very soon.

 

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Bass Pro Shops Bionic Blade XPS Micro Guide Trigger Rods are engineered for sensitivity and feature Pacific Bay Micro Guides for smooth casting and virtually friction-free line flow. This is the latest entry in the fishing rod class with micro guides. The revolutionary IM8 blank is created with our innovative ArmorCore Technology, which is a stronger than steel aramid fiber core that is wrapped with ultra-light IM8 graphite to make this one of the most powerful, lightweight rods you'll ever fish. EVA split grips add to your control and fishing comfort. The casting rod comes in two distinct lengths and three different actions. This is a quality product with a good price. Suggest Retail $79.99

 

 

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Professional Angler and Bassmaster Classic champion Kevin VanDam has spent close to two years designing and testing the new Strike King KVD Slash Jerkbait. It’s unlike any jerkbait on the market with a crazy, wilder action than any other jerkbait Kevin has ever fished, and I believe fish will choke on this bait! This bait has a really wide side-to-side travel on the jerk from the angler, and it also has a lot of erratic wiggling and darting action. A weight transfer system means an angler can cast it a mile. The  3D eyes and an incredible detailing. The smaller 200-size features two super sharp treble hooks, while the larger 300-size features three treble hooks for maximum hook-ups. Available in a wide range of colors handpicked by KVD. The suggested retail is $9.29

 

 

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Costa Sunglasses rings in the New Year and its 30th anniversary – early with the introduction of three styles from its 2013 collection: Tuna Alley, Saltbreak and Cat Cay. Each of the brand new is part of Costa’s core performance sunglass category, with signature features such as a nearly indestructible co-molded injected nylon frame construction, sturdy integral hinges and a lifetime warranty against manufacturer’s defects. I really like the look of the newest Saltbreak style for the fisherman or woman. These sunglasses provide a large frame fit with performance features such as a no-slip interior lining and temple tips for a “forget-they are-on” fit. It’s available in tortoise, matte black, silver, white and the new blackout frame colors, and retails starting at $179.

 

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This new Shag Proof Poppin’ Phattie was designed by Bassmaster Elite Series Pro Angler, Ish Monroe. The Poppin' Phattie is the ultimate popping frog! Its unique double concave face allows it to pop and spray water everywhere, generating explosive strikes. Featuring ITT - Snag Proof’s Inner Tube Technology, a separate tube for the hook and line-tie keeps water out and makes the Poppin’ Phattie virtually unsinkable. The bait weighs 5/8oz, and it casts very well - even on windy days. Its legs are arranged farther back to facilitate better hook-sets from its super sharp Gamakatsu 4/0 EWG frog hook. This bait is available in six different colors. Snag Proof's baits are proudly made in the USA! The suggested retail price is $9.95.

 

 

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 Vicious fishing line is taking a leap into the saltwater business in 2013 with the new Vicious Offshore. This line is built with the same A.C.T.™ characteristics as their Ultimate fishing line, but with big fish and saltwater conditions in mind. The Vicious Offshore is manufactured for the die-hard saltwater enthusiast. Advanced Copolymer Technology (A.C.T.)™ will stand the test of time. Utilizing more than 30 years experience in the line business, ACT formulation means dependability. Built with high-tensile strength, very low stretch, superior knot strength, excellent castibility and ultimate impact characteristics make this line top-notch by any standard. A must have if you are looking for a heavy and super-strong line. The line comes in ¼ lb spools in sizes 20lb. to 50lb. test. The suggested retail price is $8.99

 

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 Stanford Lure's new cedar topwater Turbo Shad lure has almost complete neutral buoyancy. This brand new topwater lure has the edge over most other floating top waters. This spectacular topwater lure resembles a wounded bait fish. When you go to twitch this top water bait through the water, the Turbo Shad displaces water to either side with both props, and it provides a proven fish catching sound. Once the bait returns to a stationary position, the Turbo Shad will sit slightly back on the tail end to ensure better hook ups and reveal the enticing profile of a wounded shad or bream, when pulled, the heavy-duty props on both ends of the Turbo Shad will be sure to call up all bass from any depth and produce some of the most violent topwater strikes you have ever seen! The bait weights: 0.63 Ounces and come in 4 different colors. The suggested retail price is $17.99.

 

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Bass Pro Shops has totally re-conceived the Bionic Plus Baitcast Reel; which feature a rock-solid all-aluminum frame and a white finish. They have also added their proven, externally adjustable Smart Cast anti-backlash system, which allows you to modify settings at the beginning and the end of the cast which virtually eliminate backlashes! Another features include a smooth six-bearing system; Powerlock instant anti-reverse; forged, double-anodized aluminum V-grooved spool; smooth - powerful drag system; comfortable ribbed grips; a recurve handle, and drag star. I am excited to test this reel very soon. The suggested retail price is $79.99

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Lake Lanier's fishing guide and Pro Angler Ryan Coleman now owns SpotSticker Baits and is introducing a new Football Head jighead in 2013. The Pro Series now includes Football Stand-Up Heads with screw-type soft plastic keepers. These heads feature the same ultra-tough powder coating and premium Mustad 4/0 hook as our Ball Head SpotSticker jig heads. The Pro Series Football Heads are currently available in Green Pumpkin and Black. Choose from 1/8, 3/16, or 1/4 oz in packs of 5. You can locate this product at: http://www.spottedbass.org. The suggested retail price is $4.99 for a 5 pack

 

 

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This is my favorite hook when flipping baits into the heavy cover.  Bassmaster Elite Angler Greg Hackney has helped The Strike King design the Hack Attack Heavy Cover Flipping Hook. This bad boy is super sharp, super tough, black nickel Gamakatsu Siwash hook made exclusively for Strike King. Its line eye is sealed closed, so your tough braided line won’t slip out, and its injection molded rebarb keeper holds your bait in the proper position even when pulled by the heavy cover. A big wide gap throat of the hook offers plenty of bite for good strong hook set, yet is compact enough to accommodate smaller creature baits. Use it with heavy rods and strong line, the Strike King Hack Attack Heavy Cover Flipping Hook has what it takes to consistently get giants out of heavy cover. The hook comes in 3 large sizes 4/0, 5/0 & 6/0 with 5 per pack.  The suggested retail price is $7.49.

 

 

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Our friends at Chaser Fishing Products have the latest/greatest item for the crappie fishing folks; a fully rigged (Umbrella Style Bait) aka the CC-Rig that comes with your choice of jig size and color, as well as a painted head of the rig. The CC Rig has now struck stardom in the Crappie world. Customers have reported catching multiple fish at a time on these umbrella rig style baits. You can use them trolling, casting and jigging. They come with your choice of 10 different jig colors to choose from. I would recommend first trying the "Rainbow" rig. This rig comes with 7 different colored jigs. After trolling this Rainbow rig, you will determine what color jig is the color they want to eat that day. You can locate this product at: http://shop.chaserfishingproducts.com/main.sc The suggested retail price is  $19.99.

 

 

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Finally, a company has come out with a quality box to hold the Alabama Rigs. Designed to securely hold the Rigs, the Alabama Rig Box from Plano was created using Plano's Stowaway 3700 footprint. The box will hold four rigs in individual compartments and can be used with any Plano Guide Series or FTO Elite tackle system that holds 3700 series Stowaways. Constructed from sturdy, clear polypropylene with ProLatch fasteners, the Alabama Rig Box features two unique and adjustable dividers protect and organizing your Alabama Rigs. The first is the V-channel leader slot that clips firmly to the top of the rig. The second is a patented star channel that collects and secures the rig's wire arms for multi-arm rigs, without bending or crimping them. The suggested retail price is $7.99.

 

 

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Everyone has been asking, “When is Lowrance coming out with a more affordable down scan unit with a big screen?” Well, they did it with the new Elite 7 x HDI Fishfinder. This is a highly reliable navigation unit that is very easy to use. The Lowrance Elite-7x HDI Fishfinder features a Broadband Sounder™ (83/200 kHz) plus DownScan Imaging for depths to 1,000 feet. DownScan Imaging signal features a maximum depth capability of 300 feet. The Elite-7 Combo boasts a 70% larger Elite Color 7" display for brilliant, wide screen visibility and viewing detail in all conditions. A multi-window display capability lets you choose split-screen mode or single wide-screen view. Broadband Sonar is ideal for marking fish arches. DownScan Imaging reveals easy-to-understand, picture like detail about the structure and the bottom. Now you can even overlay DownScan Imaging onto Broadband Sounder display for one stunning view that will separate and clearly expose your fish targets from the surrounding structure. Save time and fuel by using the Elite-7's TrackBack into Sonar History to review covered areas and pinpoint spots. The suggested retail price is $549.99

 

 

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 There is a new look for a great product for cleaning your GPS and sonar units in 2013. The safest and effective way to clean and protect your expensive marine electronics, sunglasses, digital notebooks, smart phones and televisions is by using Wave Away. The Wave Away solution easily removes dust, fingerprints and water spots without harming screens. The spray bottle contains enough of the cleaner for approximately 500 applications. Each kit includes the cleaning solution and a 12"L x 12"W microfiber cloth. Using general-purpose cleaners or window cleaners isn't recommended for LCD screens because alcohol or ammonia-based formula cleaners, and harsh detergents strip off the protective surface and scratch your display over time. The Wave Away Sonar and GPS Screen Cleaner is specially formulated to clean and protect LCD screens. Not only is it alcohol and ammonia free, but it is designed to stick where it's sprayed - resisting dripping into sensitive electronics, which can cause permanent damage or failures. The suggested retail price is  $14.95.

 

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The latest tackle system is now available from Bass Pro Shops in the all new “Freestyle Satchels”. The Freestyle Satchel features an interlocking handle for secure storage, a padded shoulder strap, plus two side tool holders and additional front storage for personal items. The Freestyle gear bags also feature two side pockets for more storage, and will hold up to three utility boxes. This soft tackle bag is crafted of rugged, 600-denier polyester backed with a PVC coating. The Freestyle Satchels has two models to choose from, and they will hold up to three Plano 3600 or 3700 utility boxes. The suggested retail price is $19.99.

 

 
I hope my list of new products excites you for the future. In 2013, one of my resolutions was to take my wife fishing more. Don’t use the excuse your wife does not fish; she will if she has fun doing it. Make it a weekend outing of more than fishing. If you don’t have a wife, take a kid fishing. Trust me that will make you a better person! So let’s get excited and get outdoors, it's only 60 days until spring.

 

 

THANKS FOR READING..... BRANCH

 

 

About the author: Tom is a freelance outdoor writer and full time Firefighter, Paramedic/Lieutenant in Georgia for the past 28 years.  He has been working and consulting in the Outdoor Industry for over 18 years and is currently creating and managing a pro fishing team, developing new products, promoting products through demonstrations, designing packaging, and he participates in different forums, radio & television shows.  Tom and his wife, Kim are volunteers with Operation One Voice. They live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their lab “Jake”.

 

Follow him on www.facebook.com/tombranchjr   and http://twitter.com/tombranchjr   

 

Blog: http://outonalimbwithtombranchjr.blogspot.com/

 

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The wait is worth it! Red Drum Citation!

Working here in the store, I talk to a lot of customers on a day to day basis, and I hear a lot of stories of frustration.  The ones about fishing all day and catching nothing, the one that broke off, terrible conditions at fault, the “should have been there the day before” syndrome,  the list goes on and on and I’ve heard them all.  Now through my fishing “career”, I’ve caught many different types fish, fresh and saltwater, and I can promise you, it has been absolutely FULL of these moments.  There have been so many that I can’t possibly recall all of them.  But,  I would like to share with you my most recent fishing trip, where lots of time and effort finally paid off, and I reached one of the highlights in my angling career.  Enjoy!

I woke up bright and early on Monday morning, the 8th of October…. Okay, I’m not going to lie, it was more like 10:30; I was on vacation after all!  It was the last full day of my dad and I’s annual fishing trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. 

I am a dedicated pier fisherman, and I enjoy fishing from several of the pier’s on our coast for different species at different times of the year, but early October on the northern Outer Banks means only one thing to me.  Red Drum.  Big ones.  Now let me go ahead and say that, while over the past 5 years, for 4 days each October, I dedicate myself to the confines of the end of a pier, throwing a heavy weight and a piece of bait on a long surf rod, trying to catch one of these large fish (between 40 and 50 inches is the norm).  Over those 5 years, I would not be exaggerating if I told you that I have logged well over 100 hours trying to accomplish this, and up until Monday the 8th, I had yet to even hook one, much less put one on the deck.  I’ve caught plenty of redfish, from under-slot-limit fish on up to 36 or 37 inches, but none over 40, and none from the end of a pier.  It hasn’t been for lack of trying though. 

Now here comes the aggravating part…..  One particular situation from early in this journey comes to mind when I couldn’t quite cast far enough; longer casters were catching fish, short casters weren’t.  There have been a couple times when as soon as I showed up, the bite quit, and when I got home 4 days later, I checked that day’s report and the bite started back up.  Other times, it’s been the weather and water temperatures not being right, or good conditions and the bait fish not being there, so on and so forth.   I’ve got the right tackle, I’m fishing the right places, put up with and fished through some less-than-desirable conditions (from too nice of weather to weather conditions where I think the pier was only staying open cause I was dumb enough to stay out there); I’m doing everything right, but as the phrase of frustration goes, “There’s always something”.  None the less, my quest has brought me back to the same piers over and over, and I’ve kept coming back for more, despite my lack of success. Well as fortune would have it, the fish-god’s, Poseidon, the Kraken, or what-ever forces control the luck of pier and surf fishermen everywhere, were on my side this day. 

As I said, it was 10:30, and I woke up, and the first thing I did was check the early morning fishing reports.  A pier north of us, just the day before had caught and released 30 drum the previous day, and not surprisingly, a continuous north east wind and put the fish on fire, and they were chewing the end of the pier off with 50 of the beasts caught before 10.  Now a hot drum bite means a crowded end of the pier, and from first-hand accounts, there were close to 50 rods resting on the end of that pier, and that is just something that I don’t want to deal with.  With the conditions being as good as I’d ever seen (Wind direction was right, water temperature was right, bait and some current moving. It was perfect), I was confident, and pepped my step up and got on over to the pier I was fishing.  When I got to the end, a fellow drum fisherman, who I have fished with over the past several years, promptly said “You’re late buddy.  I caught a 48” fish at around 8:30, and another guy lost one at the net”.  This was very promising, because for the past 3 days, we hadn’t seen any drum, just big butterfly rays.  So, I rigged up my first rod, baited up with a fresh spot head (been in the cooler only 20 minutes, thanks to dad), and heaved it out against the 15 mph northeast winds.  I got my second rod rigged up, baited up, made my cast, and immediately back-lashed my reel into one of those all too familar birds nest looking things you usually see on a dune.  A backlash in this type of fishing means getting out a sharp knife, and start cutting (there’s no picking these out!).  After a brief pause to man my rod while 2 drum were caught, I got my second rod under control, I re-rigged, re-baited, and successfully re-cast. 

I leaned myself on the rail next to the rod I cast first, and stood there to wait.  I didn’t wait long, and the bait-clicker on my reel started to slowly creep out, then accelerated to a blistering scream!  Adrenaline kicked in and I picked up my rod, thumbed the spool, pumped the rod, turned the clicker off, and tightened the drag, all in same instant.  Fish on!!  He immediately ran probably 30 yards of line out, and I felt that distinct head shake that lets you know what ever you’ve hook has a head and a tail and is not a big ray.  But I’m not entirely convinced yet.  My past luck has consisted of sharks, and I wasn’t going to jump to conclusions before I saw it.  The fish headed south, so I made my way to the south side of the pier, going over and under other lines and rods as needed, and fought the fish, unobstructed, on the south corner.  All the while, I kept my eye on where the line entered the water a 100 yards or so out, looking for confirmation.  A minute or so later, I saw that copper-bronze color I was looking for (queue angelic music), and my first red drum was coming to the pier.  As I got the fish to the pier, a fellow angler lowered the large drop-net, I guided the fish in head-first, and a few seconds later, my first citation-sized red drum hit the pier deck.  A beautiful 45.5” fish!  After getting the measurements and a few quick photos, the fish was lowered to back to water in the net, and swam away, no worse for the wear.

Red Drum

  As customary, I shook the hand of the guy who netted my fish and got re-baited.  I threw another long cast, and as I tightened up on my line in preparation to prop it on the rail again, there was a very distinct tug on the rod and the drag started peeling out.  I’m hooked up again!!  Well, to fit the rest of an afternoon into a blog it won’t take you hours to read,  I went to catch 3 more for a total of 5 for the day, and the pier total for a dozen or so guys was 42 fish.  At the end of the day, I filled out my citation forms at the pier house, and I am now waiting for the certificates from the NCDMF.

 

So, if there is one thing that I have learned from this, one piece of advice that I can give to any fisherman who maybe struggling or striking out in their attempts to catch their fish of a lifetime, it is to not give up and never get discouraged.   Try to learn something every time you go out.  Pay your dues, put in the time and effort, and you absolutely will be rewarded.

Thats why they call it fishing!

~ Keith Scott

 

 

 

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Braided Fishing Line Tips

There are many different types of fishing line that you can use for fishing. The most commonly used types are Monofilament, Fluorocarbon, Braid, Lead core, and Dacron. Each is used for a different situation. For example, one that is fishing for Trout can use a 2 to 8 pound test in monofilament line to bring in the catch of the day, but an angler trolling in search of a fighting Striped Bass or King Salmon would want a 50-65 pound braided line to ensure maximum strength and line capacity for their reel in case the fish decides to take a run. If braid is a line that fits your fishing adventures take a look at some new products available for you at your nearest Bass Pro Shops®

Bass Pro Shops® Xps® 8 Advanced Braid- Provides optimum knot strength, abrasion resistance and casting distance.  It is constructed of 8 Dyneema® fibers, making the line exceptionally round and smooth.  This also gives it a small diameter, while still remaining strong, quiet, and offering enhanced color protection.

Uses- Saltwater, Freshwater, Trolling, Casting, Floating Line, or Heavy Duty Fishing.

PowerPro Braid- High performance Spectra® braid handles just like regular monofilament, but with one of the highest strength to diameter ratios available!  Enhanced body technology™ delivers a compact, abrasion resistant line with a smooth surface texture and virtually no spool memory. Near zero stretch for an awesome feel!

Uses- Saltwater, Freshwater, Trolling, Casting, Floating Line, or Heavy Duty Fishing

PowerPro Super 8 Slick Braid- The most exceptional braid yet from Power Pro! Built for the advanced angler, but also ideal for the first time braid users due to its user friendly design. 8 Spectra® fibers are braided under high tension to deliver extreme strength and castability, reduced friction, improved roundness, and better over all line management. Passes almost silently through rod guides. The bottom photo shows The original PowerPro Braid(Top Spool) and the new and improved formula PowerPro Super 8 Slick Braid (Bottom Spool).

 Uses- Saltwater, Freshwater, Trolling, Casting, Floating Line, Heavy Duty Fishing, or for a smaller diameter braid.

pp Comparison

Juan Ramirez

Bass Pro Shops®

Fishing Associate

Store 49 

 

 

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