This is a catch all category on the ANGLR fishing intelligence blog. You’ll find articles on species and topics that don’t fit into our other main categories here.

Spring Fishing Got You in a Slump? Here’s How to Bust Out

I should have known my Spring fishing was doomed the moment I answered this question at the end of a recent fishing presentation.

“You pretty much always catch something, right? Do you ever get skunked?”

My answer was honest. It does happen on occasion, I said, though I couldn’t recall the most recent skunking off the top of my head.

On my very next trip, the fishing gods served up a helping of humble pie as I returned home empty handed. It was a somber reminder that even diehard anglers get whooped from time to time.

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What Causes the Spring Fishing Slump?

Now that I think about it, most of my skunkings have happened in the Spring. Here in Idaho, like many places, sSpring is marked by unpredictable weather. Rain, wind, fluctuating water temperatures and river levels can make it hard to plan and execute your tried-and-true fishing strategies.

I followed up my goose egg trip with one that got canceled by storms and another that only produced tiny panfish. It was official… this was a slump. But slumps are made to be broken, and I was determined not to let this one last. With a free Saturday on the horizon, I dialed up my go-to fishing partner, Caleb.

Summer Fishing

It was time to go Spring fishing slump-busting on Brownlee, a Snake River reservoir on the Idaho-Oregon border.

I loaded my boat with bass, crappie, and catfish gear. No matter what was biting, I was going to be ready. That’s one of the keys to summer fishing, bring a variety of gear so you can adapt to changing conditions and give yourself the best chance of putting some fish in the boat.

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Breaking the Spring Fishing Slump

It was a crisp, clear morning as we arrived at Brownlee. In a welcome sign, Caleb landed two monster crappies right off the boat launch while I was parking the truck.

“We’re not getting skunked today, boys!” he announced.

I took a few casts and reeled up a hilariously small crappie. The skunk was off, but my slump was still intact. We motored off in search of Brownlee’s famous flathead catfish. My hard luck continued as Caleb reeled in one 19-pound monster, and then another.

“Next one’s yours,” he said. “I can feel it.”

Like a baseball player mired in a hitting slump, the key to turning things around is patience and a positive outlook. I stayed loose by taking in the sights and sounds and enjoying Caleb’s run of success.

And then, like a hanging curveball in the heart of the plate, my opportunity arrived. A fish bumped my lure once, twice and then BOOM! My rod doubled over as it ran for deeper water.

Big flatheads play the slow game, hugging the bottom while you gradually work to regain your line. Caleb seemed even more giddy than I was, nervously scanning the water for a glimpse of this big cat.

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Photo Credit: Missouri Department of Conservation

Finally, the flathead surfaced. A huge, mottled green head and gaping, whiskered mouth never looked so pretty! At 13 pounds, he wasn’t our biggest catch of the day. But Caleb and I agreed, the slump was history.

We closed the day with some more big crappie for the frying pan, and I also wrangled a big channel catfish on my ultralight rod. The bite was never red-hot, but we worked hard enough to make it a successful day. Which, ultimately, was the important lesson this whole experience refreshed in my mind. 

Sooner or later, every angler hits a slow patch. When your slump comes, use persistence and a positive attitude to send your slump packing.

3 Tips to Bust Your Spring Fishing Slump

  1. Bring a variety of gear so you can adapt to changing conditions!
  2. Keep working hard and try new techniques if the bite is slow!
  3. Stay positive and be ready for anything, a big fish might come when you least expect it

5 Awesome Fishing Tips to Help You Land a Big Fish

Whether you are going to fish in a river, lake, or pond, there are a few tricks and techniques that you need to apply in order for you to have an awesome fishing experience. Among the things you are required to know includes the type of fish you are looking to catch and the different baits and lures that you might need to use.

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Awesome Fishing Tips: Identify the Right Areas

One of the most important tips towards making your first big catch is identifying the right areas to target your efforts. If you are fishing in a river the look for those sheltered areas, probably along the river banks or behind boulders in the water.

This is simply because the fish will try and hide under these covers so as to avoid the scorching sun rays or whenever they want to rest, or they will use the slack water to not exert energy and wait for bait to come down the current to them. You can also be lucky in the backwaters as long as they have no strong currents and the water clarity isn’t too dingy.  

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If you’re fishing in a lake, you will have to consider how deep you’ll need to go. This is all depending on the season and the depth of the body of water you are fishing.

You also need to take fishing pressure into consideration. Almost every time, the fishing spot that is most accessible is the spot that has been overfished. If you want to land more fish, you probably need to do a bit of a hike to get into “uncharted waters”. The less pressure an area gets, the more likely you will be to find a few bites.

It can also be where you are located in general. The more people you have living around a body of water, the more likely it is to be pressured. An example of unpressured bodies of water can be found in Canada which offers a tremendous amount of rivers and lakes that can really make your fishing day an awesome experience (not to mention they have huge fish!). If you’re looking for a great spot to book a trophy Canadian fishing trip, you might want to consider Andy Myers Lodge on Eagle Lake in Ontario. 

Awesome Fishing Tips: Talk to the Local Fishermen

When going on a fishing trip, many anglers will have to look for a guide. If you’re a do it yourself angler, there is another option.

Local anglers!

Is there anyone that can give you better advice than the locals? No, I don’t think so. The locals are always there and usually very ready to help. Especially if you have traveled from home and you don’t have a clue about the river or lake you want to fish.

You can rely on the vast knowledge of the locals to find out what are some of the suitable baits to use, what kind of weather conditions to expect or the best time to start fishing. The locals, obviously, know the lake very well and can definitely point you in the right direction to where you will be able to find some big fish.

You can even talk to your fellow anglers you run across on the water to find out some information from them. Getting a few tips from an experienced angler can really take you a long way when you are fishing in unfamiliar waters.

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Awesome Fishing Tips: Use Live Bait

Just like the lions always hunt other animals for food, fish also feed on other fish as this is nature’s way of maintaining the ecological balance. It usually boils down to bigger fish eating smaller fish. Upon realizing this, it became one of the methods that many anglers use to catch fish today. Baiting with a live fish is quite effective, mostly if you know how to go about it.

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It’s not just a matter of hooking up the bait and throwing it into the water, hoping to catch some fish.

There are a few other things that come with it, like identifying the direction of the current and positioning your bait accordingly. When a predatory fish comes to eat your live bait, you can add even more action by bouncing your bait. This matters because it makes the bait to seem so natural thus enticing the fish to bite.

Awesome Fishing Tips: Understanding Bait Colors

Well, you will not be using a live bait all the time, right? Remember why you were asking the locals about the different types of baits to use? Well, they must have said something about the bait colors too, right?

Anyway, colors do play a huge role in your success rate. Having baits with the right colors for your water clarity and depth can make a world of difference. We recommend lighter, more natural colors in clear water, and darker colors for stained water. However, you can never go wrong with a green pumpkin or black and blue scheme if you’re unsure what to throw.

Awesome Fishing Tips: Using Polarized Sunglasses

For you to work effectively, you will obviously need to see what you are doing. While fishing, it sometimes becomes a bit difficult to see clearly as you will be battling the reflection of the sun from the water surface. This is why you need to have a pair of polarized glasses as it enables you to have clear visibility of the water column while fishing. Obviously the water clarity also has an effect on how much of the water column you will be able to see.

Well, it doesn’t necessary help in attracting any fish, it assists you by saving your time and enabling you to act fast instead of straining and struggling to see, especially while looking for big fish in the clear water areas.

When you are going out on a fishing trip, you should make sure that you are fully prepared to embark on your mission to land a big fish. Your first time on the water can be a bit rough, but by applying these few tips, you’ll be that much closer to the fish of a lifetime.

A Step By Step Guide to Changing Your Boat Propeller With Mercury Marine

Anglers and boaters alike all know the struggle of changing out a boat propeller. Whether you’re removing the boat propeller for maintenance, or replacing the boat propeller for better performance and durability, this process can leave you frustrated and scratching your head.

We’ve been there!

So, we decided to help everyone out by giving you step by step instructions for removing and installing a boat propeller on your outboard engine.

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Removing Your Boat Propeller Step By Step

Removing Your Boat Propeller: Step #1

Before getting to the nuts and bolts of this operation, you must first equip yourself with the tools to get the job done. Now, you’ll need a socket, usually 1 1/16” will do the trick, but if you have a socket set, we recommend having that handy as not all sizes are the same and can vary by manufacturer. Once you figure out your socket size, equip yourself with a 2X4 or 2X6 piece of lumber, this will act as a stopping mechanism to hold the propeller in place and prevent the propeller from spinning when removing the nut. A final piece of equipment you can have at your disposal would be a torque wrench for installing your propeller which we will get to later.

Removing Your Boat Propeller: Step #2

Once you have the necessary tools listed above, you’re ready to dive into removing the propeller. Take your socket and fit it onto the nut, use your other hand to hold the 2X4 in place until the propeller makes contact, creating a wedge. Once the block is in place, you can then begin using the socket to remove the propeller, moving counterclockwise.

Removing Your Boat Propeller: Step #3

Once the nut has been removed, you’re ready to remove the propeller and other pieces. Simply slide the propeller up and off of the drive shaft. Be cautious in this process as to not lose or misplace any of the smaller pieces like the aft adaptor or delrin sleeve. Make sure to note the order in which these pieces were placed prior to removal in the case that they fall out of the propeller during removal. Once all these components are removed, you have successfully removed the propeller!

Now that you’ve successfully removed the boat propeller, you’re ready to perform maintenance like removing grass or fishing line wrapped around the drive shaft, greasing the drive shaft, or simply grab your new propeller and get ready to install!

Installing Your Boat Propeller Step By Step

Installing Your Boat Propeller: Step #1

In the case that you’ve removed components like the aft adaptor and delrin sleeve, the first step of this process would be adding the delrin sleeve to the bottom of your propeller. From there, you can take your aft adaptor and slide it into the top of your propeller. Once your assembly is ready and set inside the boat propeller, you’re ready to slide the entire assembly onto the drive shaft!

Note: It may take some time aligning the assembly onto the drive shaft, simply rotate the assembly until the assembly aligns with the ridges on your drive shaft.

Installing Your Boat Propeller: Step #2

Once your propeller and assembly are back onto the drive shaft, you’re ready to lock your nut back into place. Hand tighten the nut, spinning it clockwise, to save yourself some time before taking your socket or torque wrench to tighten it further. Be sure to keep your 2X4 nearby for this process to act as a stopping mechanism to hold the boat propeller in place and prevent the boat propeller from spinning when tightening the nut.

Installing Your Boat Propeller: Step #3

Once the nut is hand tightened, you may now use a torque wrench to reach the specification of 55 foot pounds of torque. If you don’t have a torque wrench, no need to worry, simply tighten down the nut with your socket. It will need to be pretty snug to avoid coming off when running your outboard. Once the nut is snugly in place, you’ve successfully installed your propeller.

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Congratulations! You’re now ready to hit the open water!

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For more information on this process, tune in as Jared Reichenberger walks you through removing and installing a boat propeller, step by step in this video from Mercury Marine!

Must Have Fishing Gear That Isn’t Fishing Gear

We’re always talking with ANGLR Experts and finding out their favorite rigs and favorite baits. But, we also hear about other things that they just can’t live without that have nothing to do with fishing, but are absolute staples. So, we decided show you their must have fishing gear that isn’t fishing gear!

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Mark Franks

I take it old-school country all the way and have Gatorade and my lucky hat. I also have to have black licorice bears (anise) for the ride. They’re good for scent control! HA!

Scott Scheldberg

If I’m in my typical routine, I grab a tumbler of coffee and the rest of the pot goes into my thermos. Then it’s McDonald’s on the way to the launch for a Sausage McMuffin with egg. I have to have my beanbag cup holder so that I can break into my breakfast beer. It’s got to be either Surly Coffee Bender or Big Wood Morning Wood coffee stout. Then I’m ready to go! On the boat, I always have a neck gaiter, water, and sunglasses at the ready.

Stephen Jesso

Cheese balls. Cheese balls have to go with me on every trip.

Eric Faucett

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The worst weather I’ve ever fished was eight degree weather, but I caught something like 120 fish; it was the best trip ever. I had my Crocs on that day, because I love them. I just wore some thick socks and they kept my feet pretty warm. They’re so comfortable and are the best thing in the world. For fishing in the summertime, I can’t stand getting shoes wet when I’m loading or unloading the boat, so I can just step up out of the water and into the boat, and in an hour or two my feet will be dry because of the Crocs. That doesn’t work with tennis shoes. My “Croc Tan” is pretty strong. I’ve got little suntan holes all over my feet. Croc haters can keep hating, and I’ll just keep being awesome.

Eric doesn’t own the awesome thrown alone. Ryan Fox also never leaves home without his ole’ faithful Crocs! Along with Eric and Ryan, even Flukemaster never leaves home without his Crocs!

Jef Nelson

I have to have my Teva Mush flip flops or Chacos, sunscreen, and Blistex, not to mention a ton of hydration! I used to tell my Boy Scouts on Backpacking trips: “Hydrate or die!”

Will Selby

I have to have comfortable shoes on the boat always unless it’s summer. Then it’s no shoes.

Rick Sineath

I have to have my NOCO Genius portable jump box. With as many electronics as I run on a boat, the last thing I need is to be stuck on the water!

Taurus Lopez

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I’m embarrassed to say, but I have a favorite pair of socks. I can’t answer why, but they’re my favorites. I have to wear these socks when I’m fishing. It has nothing to do with fishing, but in my head, I’m a better fisherman when I’m wearing these socks. If I go fishing two days in a row, I’m washing those socks or I’m wearing them dirty, that’s just the way it’s going to go.  I use them more for tournaments, not so much for fun fishing.

They’re blue and neon yellow Mossy Oak socks. They’re just comfortable. When you’re fishing you’re constantly standing on your feet. It’s in my head, but I feel more comfortable in them. Even if I’m going in sandals, I’m gonna have those socks on. I had purchased them for hunting. I don’t wear them in the hot summertime, but for right now in the fall and the early seasons like March and April.

Cameron Wilt

Pringles. I have to have Pringles. Gotta’ Pringle powerup!

Matt Huggler

I have to always pack a pop tart, sunflower seeds, Gatorade, and my brick speaker.

Jacob Jesionek

I carry a lucky coin. It’s a lucky life coin and I always have it on me tucked in my wallet. I found it one day. It’s an interesting dollar coin, so I decided it was my lucky coin because I found a dollar on the road.

Gus Glasgow

I can’t survive the ice without my Mr. Heater Buddy Heater.

Colin McCain

Much to the chagrin of everyone else around me, I always take a banana with me on a trip. I genuinely do it all of the time. I love my bananas before I head out! Superstitions, be damned!

Nolan Minor

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My buddies and I always make a Sheetz run at four or five in the morning whenever we’re headed somewhere. That’s probably our biggest ritual when we get together to go kayak fish somewhere. I don’t usually get the same thing all the time, I just choose something off of their Made-to-Order menu. Here in West Virginia, one of us also always has a big bag of pepperoni rolls somewhere. It’s apparently a West Virginia thing. I didn’t even know what they were ‘till I came to school here.

Kevin Cole

I have to have a Nos drink in the morning and Slim Jims to channel my inner “Macho Man” Randy Savage throughout the day!

Joseph Caprarola

I always take along a jar of pickles and some boiled peanuts.

Josh Baker

Footwear is a big thing for me. I’m a little different than anyone else. I had blown my hand up a few years ago with a firework, no less. They had to cut my left big toe off to put it on my hand to replace my thumb. I can’t really wear flip flops like everyone else. I need to keep my feet covered. I don’t really do the barefoot thing on the boat because I really don’t want to freak out my clients. I don’t want them to look down and wonder what’s happening with Captain Nine-Toes on board! I’m not a big brand guy, but I use what I need to make things work and get the job done. I definitely need something with good footing because I can’t risk losing my footing on the boat and end up in the water.

Abby Olson

The fish inspector is a must! My dog comes with me on every trip and has to inspect each catch for me.

Tyler Barnes

I don’t fish without my reggae music.

Brett Davis

I don’t have any off the wall items but the iPad comes with me on every trip.  It’s a life line for many different aspects of the trip. I have to have it for my maps, live videos, weather, drone piloting, etc.

Carrie Cates

I need beef jerky, Gatorade, some type of sun protection.

Nathan Harmon

Sunflower seeds are definitely a must for me.

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One thing that nearly all ANGLR Experts mentioned was their cell phones so that they could access their ANGLR App! If the experts won’t leave home without it, why should you?!

Comment below and tell us what you always take with you on your fishing trips!

Top 10 Musky Lures for 2019 with Guide Steven Paul

Musky Lures That You’re Not Throwing…

The sport of musky fishing is truly in its golden age.

Through many years of conservation and angler education, not only the size but the number of muskies encountered has drastically increased. This renaissance of sorts has brought many new anglers to the sport; affording musky lure makers the opportunity to expand the quantity and quality of their selections.

With so many lures flooding the market, it can be difficult to distinguish between which lures are worth the cash and which ones are better left on the shelves. Every year we are faced with the “Next Big Thing“, some hyped up musky lure that is GUARANTEED to catch you the MUSKIE OF A LIFETIME, but as we all know, the hype usually doesn’t pan out.

So instead of crawling down the musky lure rabbit hole in search of fact versus fiction regarding the new musky lures out for 2019, let’s look at some sleepers; musky lures that have been forgotten by time, dismissed by critics or overshadowed in the public eye.

These lures aren’t current hits but they are proven producers that you should add to your musky lure list this year.

Musky Lure#10: The Reef Hawg

The Reef Hawg by Tom Fudally is one of those lures that’s been lost in time.

Long before Phantoms, Hell Hounds and Shum Shums, the Reef Hawg was a go to in the glide bait department. Worked over shallow rocks, weeds and other cover, it is absolutely deadly in the hands of the right angler. No, it won’t sway as wide or smoothly as some of the custom-made glide baits out there, but that’s not the point.

After you give it a real beating, smash it into some rocks and maybe use it to chock a trailer tire, only then you will begin to unlock its magic. The Reef Hawg’s unique cadence and subsurface walk the dog action should be a part of every musky hunter’s arsenal.

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Musky Lure #9: PDEEZ Bucktails

With so many bucktails on the market, it’s easy to think that they are all the same.

Bucktails are just blades, wire, hooks and flash about right? Well, that’s not necessarily true because sometimes the devil’s in the details.

Paul Didaskalou of PDeez has designed some of the highest quality bucktails out there and they haven’t really made a splash in the U.S. market. PDeez inlines have a unique dialed in feel that serious musky anglers will instantly recognize as the “IT FACTOR“.

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Musky Lure #8: Bill Norman DR2

The Bill Norman DR2 is what I would consider being a classic southern musky lure.

This lure has been a family favorite long before Melton Hill and Cave Run Lake were known to the musky world.

Winter, I’m throwing it…

Spring, I’m throwing it…

Fall, I’m….well you get the point.

Rip it, twitch it, or straight retrieve, it doesn’t matter just get it wet.

These smaller musky lures are getting a little harder to find on the used market, but keep a keen eye out for a flea market or yard sale tackle steal; you can land some killer musky lures for pennies on the dollar. They have definitely been forgotten by most, but a select few know just how deadly these are around cover and break lines. When fishing lakes like Melton Hill that have a shad forage base, some of the best musky lures aren’t musky lures at all.

Pro tip…. ditch the stock hooks and rings and replace the front and rear hooks with Mustad KVD 3/0’s.

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Musky Lure #7: Heddon Hellbender

The Hellbender is another musky lure that excels at targeting those southern muskies along with their northern counterparts.

This undersized offering has been putting muskies in the net from Tennessee to Canada and other Northern waters for years. It is similar in action to the above mentioned Bill Norman lure, but it’s smaller size is often the key to triggering strikes in the spring and strikes for muskies who are less cooperative.

The Heddon Hellbender is still being made but its diminutive profile doesn’t catch many eyes in the tackle aisle. Rest assured, this little lure can get it done.

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Musky Lure #6: Storm Thunder Beast

The Storm Thunder Beast isn’t sexy, it isn’t flashy, but it gets the job done.

With so many big rubber baits available, the Thunder Beast has definitely been overshadowed by sleeker and simply cooler looking musky lures.

But the Thunder Beast does have a few unique qualities that should earn it a place in your tackle box. It’s large and flat profiled tail gives the Thunder Beast a different pulse in the water, but the real stand out feature is its ability to descend at odd angles.

Its body shape paired with an abnormal water displacement makes this lure stand out from other rubber baits.

The price tag on these is often lower than other big rubber baits and superb deals can be found on Amazon and eBay.

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Musky Lure #5: Joe Bucher Glide Raider

The Joe Bucher Glide Raider is one of those lures that got panned by critics from the start and subsequently never really took off with the masses. When compared to other glide baits on the market, the Glide Raider is considered “hard to use“, but that only applies if you try to fish it like other gliders.

The key to effectively using this musky lure is utilizing slack line during your retrieve which puts many anglers squarely out of their comfort zone. If you are the kind of musky angler that is willing to spend time developing retrieves, this lure is for you. If you’re looking for a throw and go glider look elsewhere. But like all things musky fishing, you get back what you put in.

The learning curve of the Glide Raider is a little steeper than other glide baits but it is a worthwhile endeavor. The Glide Raider is deadly on big musky.

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Musky Lure #4: Musky Mania Burt

The Burt is one of those lures I have an absolute love/hate relationship with.

But mostly hate, yeah I hate this lure… but man, has it gotten me out of some jams.

The Burt seems to excel when nothing else will, it’s definitely one of those lures that I tie on when nothing else seems to be working. When comparing dive and rise musky baits, the Burt rarely tops any lists, but it’s a truly worthwhile addition to your gear.

It might not be the first lure you pull out of the box, but it’s in there, just waiting to save the day.

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Special thanks to Spencer Jepsen for forcing me to add this awful lure to my arsenal, Yes I got a 50″ on it, but what did it cost? Just my pride…

Musky Lure #3: Suspending Depth Raider

The Suspending version of this iconic lure has been largely ignored, seemingly out-hyped by lures like the ERC Triple D and other suspending lures.

I can’t say enough good things about this lure, for a full rundown on this sleeper lure click here.

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Musky Lure #2: Shumway Fuzzy Duzzit

The Fuzzy Duzzit seems to have been forgotten by most musky fishermen in recent years.

It has taken a back seat to Bondy baits and the new wave vertical jigs to hit the market. But don’t count Fuzzy out just yet. This all-metal jig still has some tricks up its metal sleeves. First off, this bait is indestructible; it’s metal and hooks… simply a tank!

But the real advantage this musky lure has over the new school vertical jigs is its hook-up ratio and durability. An easy and recommended mod for this musky lure is adding a spinner blade to the tail which really steps up the action…think indestructible Bondy Bait.

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Musky Lure #1: Suick Thriller

I can hardly believe I’m saying this, but a lot of young musky anglers are not throwing Suicks. For me, leaving the dock without a Suick is like leaving without a fishing rod. IT’S A MUST HAVE!

Yes, they are a pain in the butt; yes, some Suicks are better than others, but this is just what comes with the territory. Musky fishing and Suicks are simply synonymous.

I understand that for some new anglers, these old school lures present a challenge, but they are well worth the effort. Each individual Suick has its own unique characteristics due to their cedar wood construction, so inconsistencies in buoyancy are always present from one lure to the next.

The key to using and this lure is making the proper tail adjustments to achieve your desired action and depth. Many videos and articles can be found online giving instructions to help tune your Suick. New models of this lure are available in hard plastic which minimizes the differences from one lure to the next, but honestly, their uniqueness is what makes the original Suick so great.

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With so many trending lures on the market these days, stepping outside of the box will present you with your best opportunity to land a true giant. The 10 musky lures presented here include some oldies but goodies, some musky lures that have just been forgotten, and some musky lures that have always been considered sleepers. If you’re looking to change it up this year, do yourself a favor and give some of these lures a shot!
Learn more about musky fishing at:

Is That A Quality Fishing Rod? Tips for a Visual Inspection

Many anglers head over to their local tackle shop to buy fishing gear, including rods. The selection can be overwhelming, and at larger stores like Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s you could be left wondering which are a quality fishing rod and which are junk.

To be fair, most rods are not junk, however, some are made with a little more TLC than others. And it could be hard to determine between the better-made rods and their lesser counterparts.

In a recent podcast episode, Chief Rod Geek, Bob Penicka, with the brand RodGeeks, gave me three questions to ask yourself to determine if the rod you have in hand is worth your hard-earned dollars.

Once you learn the answers you can easily tell if the rod is worth a longer look.

Quality Fishing Rod: Is The Rod Blank Straight?

This question may be a no brainer, but I want to ask you when was the last time you looked to see if your rods were straight?

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“It’s pretty easy to tell,” says Bob. “You hold it up. Look right down the rod. Make sure the rod is straight as you go from the handle section or the ‘butt’ to the tip.”

It seems like such a simple test that is essential to a quality rod. Once you conclude that the rod is indeed straight you should move to the second question.

Quality Fishing Rod: Are The Guides Aligned?

There are new products on the market like Erupt Fishing’s RTD that helps you thread your line onto your rod. But what good is it if your guides are not aligned?

I remember a few years back I received a rod from (brands name redacted) to review and the first thing I noticed were the guides. It was so noticeable that I thought it was a spiral wrapped rod. To my surprise, the rod was simply made wrong.

I decided to review the rod anyway and it unsurprisingly broke in half when I hooked into a fish.

Was it an error on my part? Maybe, but I believe it was not a good rod, to begin with.

Unaligned guides could lead to shorter casts and an overall lack of performance. Another simple test to do, hold up the rod and look down the guides from the butt of the rod and see if they’re straight! This test is well known, but when was the last time you actually did it?

Quality Fishing Rod: Is The Reel Seat Aligned With The Guides?

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“I’ve seen rods in retail where the blank is straight. The guides are nice and straight. And the reel seat is off by about 10%,” Bob tells me. “That rod is going to be pretty disappointing the first time someone puts their reel on and thread their line through it and realizes that the two are not aligned with each other.”

Over all, Bob looks for workmanship. He mentions a few more eye tests such as looking for glue smeared on the rod and any cosmetic flaws. If someone took the time to get all of these right, Bob is more confident the rod blank is right.

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“If I see workmanship flaws that are visual it makes me doubt the quality of the rod in general, and the blank is harder to tell what’s going on because the key parts of that are invisible to the eye.”

Don’t worry. Bob also lists some easy tests you can do to evaluate the blank. You can follow this link to listen to the podcast episode in full and learn what Bob knows about fishing rods. Trust me it’s a lot.

I hope this helps narrow down your search for your next fishing rod. Be sure to subscribe to my site, for more articles and to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or Anchor.

6 SUP Fishing Essentials for the Serious Angler

Written by Editor Jason Paul of

No matter how you fish, having the right gear can make the difference between bringing home a nice haul of fish and walking back to shore after a frustrating, unsuccessful day.

When it comes to SUP fishing, having the right fishing rig is even more important. Unlike people who fish from shore or a boat, you’re limited in what you can bring with you for a day of fishing. Let’s take a look at six of the most important things you should bring along when you head out for a day of stand up paddle board fishing.

SUP Fishing Essentials: #1. The Right Board

Obviously, a fishing SUP is the most important piece of gear you’ll need and the paddle board you use can make a huge difference in your overall experience.

You want the right shape, the right size, and the most stable board for you.

Different boards have different features and capacities; some boards can support hundreds of pounds, giving you plenty of room to bring your other gear without a problem.

Choose your board carefully, because the paddle board you pick will affect your other gear choices.

SUP Fishing Essentials: #2. The ANGLR Fishing App

Available for both Android and Apple devices, the ANGLR Fishing App gives every SUP angler an unfair advantage when it comes to on-the-water intelligence.

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Easy to set up and free to download, this highly-rated app gives you a brilliant way to journal all of your fishing trips.

Record GPS route, waypoints, lures, catches, bait, rods, and more — the privacy of your fishing data is always safeguarded and you even have the ability to share your intel with select friends if you so chose.

Lastly, the optional ANGLR Bullseye fishing tracker gives you a convenient way to record data on the water without ever pulling out your phone.

SUP Fishing Essentials: #3. Fishing Gear

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Without gear to catch the fish, you’re not fishing, which makes this another important piece of your SUP fishing setup.

One of the limitations of paddle board fishing is that you can’t bring every single piece of fishing gear you own along with you; you must be selective. This doesn’t mean you’re limited to a single rod and reel, though; anywhere from one to several rods can go with you, along with fishing nets and tackle.

Decide what you’re going to be fishing for before you head out, and take only what you need for the day, leaving behind any extra, “just in case” gear.

SUP Fishing Essentials: #4. A Five-Gallon Bucket

This is by far the item on this list of paddle board fishing accessories that’ll take most people by surprise. Some experienced SUP anglers even go so far as to say that the five-gallon bucket is more important than anything except your board.

Whether it’s used as storage, a live well, or even to help reel in a larger fish, a good bucket is an essential piece of equipment. So, how exactly can you use a bucket to help land a bigger fish?

Just tie it to your casting net and once you have a big one on the line, toss the bucket overboard. It’ll help take the fight out of your catch.

The incredibly well-designed LoadOut 5-Gallon Bucket from YETI is a great choice — it’s constructed of food-safe plastic and offers bombproof durability.

SUP Fishing Essentials: #5. Waterproof Containers

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Sooner or later, most paddle board anglers will wind up in the water. If not, some of their gear undoubtedly will. For this reason, you’ll want to have waterproof containers for delicate equipment like reels, while waterproof bags will help keep other things safe and dry.

SUP Fishing Essentials: #6. Sunglasses

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Specifically, polarized sunglasses. Popularized by professional bass fishermen, polarized sunglasses will block most of the glare from the water’s surface and allow you to see deeper into the water. Since fishing while standing on a paddle board gives you an unparalleled view of the water (and fish) around you, why not maximize your advantage?

SUP Fishing Essentials: Final Thoughts

While this obviously isn’t an exhaustive list of SUP fishing gear, it serves as an excellent starting point for both beginning SUP anglers and experienced pros alike. Having the right gear for the job will help you to catch more fish and allow you to better enjoy your time on the water, so it’s important to be properly prepared!

Columbia River Fishing With Addicted Fishing’s Nick Perry

If you’re looking for non-stop action, heading out on the Columbia River fishing should definitely be in your plans for 2019.

From the plethora of big fish, to the great scenery, you’ve got to give it a try.

About Columbia River Fishing

The Columbia River is the largest river that flows into the Pacific Ocean from North America. It covers seven states and one Canadian province. It courses through four mountain ranges.

Sadly, though, the river isn’t what it once used to be. Dam and reservoir operations have fundamentally changed the river’s natural flows. Spring run-off is captured behind dams, thereby reducing flows and hampering the migration of young salmon headed out to sea, exposing them to predators in a series of slow-moving reservoirs. Reduced flows have also harmed the health of the Columbia River estuary by shrinking the size of the river’s freshwater plume – an area that hosts a variety of fish and bird species and accommodates the salmon’s gradual adjustment to living in saltwater. Dams have also blocked salmon from thousands of miles in the upper Columbia River system, including tributaries such as the Spokane and Kettle rivers in Washington and numerous rivers in British Columbia.

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This year, the seasons have been closed since September, but have reopened again, January first.

Though that’s true, this river still boasts large numbers of beautiful trophy fish and plenty of on-your-feet angling adventures.

There are all sorts of different species to be had, and fish aplenty for both beginners and pros, alike.

Columbia River Fishing for Salmon

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This river is well-known for the salmon runs. Yes, that “s” is correct. We meant multiple. You have your choice: spring salmon, summer salmon, and the big run of fall salmon. Without question, the salmon are the biggest angling attraction on the river, as there are – count ‘em – five runs of salmon: three runs of Chinook, one of Sockeye, and one of Coho/Silver Salmon.

The Spring Chinook season typically starts in March, ending in April on the lower river, and in May on the upper.

If you’re lucky enough to make it there, you’re in for some of the best tasting and hardest fighting salmon in the world.

Summer Chinook is usually a smaller run than its spring cousin, but the size of the fish makes up for it. They’ll give you two good weeks of excellent fishing at the end of June.  

Fall season starts early, in August when hundreds of thousands of Fall Chinook enter the river from the Pacific at Astoria and Ilwaco to migrate inland. The popular Buoy 10 fishery can actually get quite crowded this time of year. The season runs the month of August in conjunction with the Coho Salmon.

Columbia River Fishing for Steelhead

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This season starts in early June and you can follow the fish all the way to Idaho in August. Almost every tributary on the river gets some action with summer steelhead. A few highlights to try are the Cowlitz River, Deschutes River, Willamette River Drainage, John Day, Snake, and Upper Columbia Rivers.

Early in the season you’ll catch a lot of other species alongside the steelhead, but if you wait until July, you’ll be reeling in mostly steelhead with some Chinook and Sockeye mixed in, but who’s complaining?

If you travel to the Columbia River Gorge, you’ll have the option of fishing from either a boat or off the bank.

Known as “plunking,” the approach requires a heavy casting rod and reel, a rod holder, small assortment of bait and lures, some 6 to 12-ounce pyramid sinkers, and a signal bell for strikes. If you really want to get serious about it, you can employ the use of a plunking rig to maximize your chances of success. Steelhead here run shallow, making them much easier to catch than Chinook.

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Let’s Not Forget About the Sturgeon When Columbia River Fishing . . . .

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You can find some of the best sturgeon fishing here compared to anywhere on the West Coast. In recent years, take-home numbers have been regulated and relegated to an annual season sometime in January, but catch-and-release is always an option. And who would decline when White Sturgeon are known to be spotted at longer than Shaquille O’Neal, up to 12 feet in length! The average weight of these guys is between 50 to 100 pounds, though they’ve been caught weighing in at over 450 pounds.

Last year, Washington opened up a season down in Astoria for sturgeon for the first time since the closure. Anglers were incredibly excited for the season, and it’s expected to happen again in 2019. The 2018 season ran Monday, Wednesday, and Saturdays: May 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, 26, 28, 30 and June 2nd and 4th. On those dates, any White Sturgeon from 44-50 inches could be kept, one fish per day, two annually. This season was due to the increased legal-size population that has increased dramatically in the past years.

To say the Columbia is the best place to find sizable Sturgeon is an understatement!

Tidal Draw

With such close proximity to the ocean, the lower Columbia is tidally influenced, and so are the fish, so you’ll want to check your reports before heading out. Typically, the best salmon and steelhead fishing is on the outgoing tide, and during tidal changes. That’s not to say you won’t catch fish on the incoming tide, too.  

For sturgeon, look for deeper water when the tide is out.

When it’s in, look in small beds of four to six feet deep. Starting along ledges, small channels, sand flats, and other rocky points can get the action going.

Almost any time of the year, there’s great fishing to be had along the Columbia River. If you’re looking for a confrontation with some fiercely large fish, it’s time for a vacation.

Building Your Own Custom Fishing Rod With RODgeeks

Featured Image Credit: Billy Vivona

What may seem like a lost art to some anglers, is merely a way of life for others. Whether it’s custom lures, handmade jigs, or custom fishing rod building, anglers have always found a way to put their own personal touch on fishing gear.

When it comes to building a custom fishing rod, there’s plenty of avenues you can pursue. To help you figure out your path, the guys over at RODgeeks decided to lay it all out for you. Here are some of the most asked questions they have received and the answers they will always provide!

What is Custom Fishing Rod Building?

Rod building is the process of assembling a fishing rod from its main components: a blank (the “stick” part of the rod), grips/handles, a reel seat, and guides. More elaborate rods usually include some type of special decal or a decorative thread wrap right above the foregrip.  

Here’s an example of an elaborate saltwater build by Billy Vivona in Staten Island. The pattern you see on the blank is created by literally wrapping threads around the blank and epoxying over them. The grips are made by cutting and gluing EVA blocks and then turning them on a lathe.

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What Are the Basic Steps to Build a Rod?

First you need to select the proper blank, which is the most important part of the rod because it will determine how long it will be, how much power it will have, how light and sensitive it will be, and what type of action it will have (i.e. how it will bend). Next you select a reel seat and handles/grips, and fit them snuggly on the blank.

Two-part epoxy is used to glue the grips and the reel seat to the blank. After that comes the hard part: wrapping each guide to the blank using thread (just like the kind you use to sew). A special setup is used to make sure the thread is wrapped with tension so that it lays down neat and strong, but it takes a lot of practice to do this step properly. Once the guides are wrapped and in-line on the blank, a couple coats of flexible epoxy are applied over the thread to seal it down.

Once the epoxy cures overnight, you should have a fishable rod ready to go! Here’s a picture of the basic components you need to build a rod including a 2-piece blank, custom cork handles, casting reel seat, guides, black thread, and 2-part epoxy. The wooden setup is used to hold the blank as you wrap guides to it with the thread.

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Why do People Build Rods?

Most people build rods because they enjoy the activity and take pride in catching fish with a rod they made with their own hands. Some people build because they cannot find factory-built rods that meet their needs.

Building your own rod means you can customize a rod to be exactly how you want it.

You can select from thousands of different rod blanks (perhaps even modifying a blank’s action or length), choose your favorite grips and guides, and place those guides precisely where they need to go to optimize the rod for whatever application you need it for.

What Are Decorative Wraps?

Many people consider decorative wraps to be the most exciting part of rod building. They are made by wrapping colored thread around the blank (usually right above the foregrip) to create amazingly intricate patterns, and then applying epoxy over the threads to permanently seal them.

Some even weave thread on the blank to make images. Here are some examples from expert rod builder, Mark Berry. If you look closely you can see the individual threads. Mark is a master at keeping his designs perfectly symmetrical and straight.

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What Other Parts of a Rod Can be Customized?

The creativity of rod builders is endless. They make grips out of EVA with intricate patterns and images in them, custom cork and wood handles (birch bark is a favorite building material for these), custom butt caps, special decals, and even special guide wraps. Some rods end up looking so good you don’t even want to fish with them…

What Are the Biggest Differences Between a Factory-built And Custom-built Rod?

Overall, a custom fishing rod by an experienced builder will have more aesthetic features such as decorative thread wraps. Additionally, anglers have a lot more emotional attachment to custom rods. They take a lot of pride in the rods as they pour a lot of work into each piece, which makes sense: if you spend 20 hours creating a decorative thread wrap worthy of placement in an art museum, you’re going to have a special connection with it.

Much like a car or clothing, custom rods are an expression of the angler’s self, with elements that carry meaning.

For example, veterans will often use decals and colors associated with their branch of service. One of our customers built his grandkids surf rods with their names on them. Another built a rod with his father’s wedding band imbedded in the handle right above the reel seat. You can’t get that at Bass Pro Shops!

How Long Does it Take to Build a Custom Fishing Rod?

An experienced builder can knock out a basic rod in a couple days, but it only takes that long because the epoxy has to cure overnight, and it usually take a couple coats to get good coverage. The actual work time is around a few hours. Decorative wraps can easily take 10+ hours to complete, and custom grips made out of EVA can take an equal amount of time.

Where Can I Learn to Build Rods?

Some organizations put on rod building classes around the country, but the offerings are limited. YouTube is a great source for learning, as are forums like Rod builders love what they do and love teaching newbies their tricks.

Can I Buy Everything I Need to Build my First Rod from RODgeeks?

While we have a great selection of blanks, we don’t sell all the equipment and components you need to build a rod. There are a couple full service online retailers where you can do your one-stop shopping. For your first rod it may be a good idea to buy a turn-key kit so that you know you have everything you need.