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.

Early Season Musky Fishing | Finding Success on the Surface

Early season musky fishing success might just be surface deep.

Time and time again you’ve heard musky experts like Joe Bucher, Chas Martin, and others talk about the importance of shallow water and the sun’s thermal effect on muskies during the early part of the season. 

It’s undeniable that post-spawn muskies will seek refuge in “hot spots” like bays and coves that are at times only slightly warmer than the main lake basins. These “hot spotmuskies rarely venture far from the comfort of the shallow bays until a bit later in the season. But catching these shallow water fish can be frustrating as they are often more finicky than fired up.

Most anglers will focus their efforts in these bays with small bucktails, rattle traps, and downsized jerk baits. The downfall of all these small-sized lures is gaining the speed necessary to achieve a decent action while keeping them off the bottom of the shallow flats.

When I am confronted with shallow water situations that call for slow presentations, my mind quickly turns to topwater. Don’t get excited just yet, we’re not talking about July in Canada, aggressive-style, presentations, and vicious strikes. Fishing topwater during the early season is more of a finesse game. So, with this in mind let’s look at a few surface lures and how you can use them for early season topwater success.

Early Season Musky Fishing: Top Raiders and Other Prop Baits

My personal favorite tail prop topwater lure is the Top Raider, but these tactics work with Pacemakers, Tally Whackers, and the rest of the tail prop lures that The Musky Shop offers.  Traditionally, tail prop lures are worked in a straight fashion, but during the early season, you need to reinvent your presentations. I have had tremendous success by reeling Top Raiders in painfully slow, just barely enough speed to get the tail to rotate. This slow crawl with its enticing plops can get even sluggish muskies to come and take a look. My primary retrieve with these tail ploppers is a slow surge technique. 

I simply pull the Top Raider across the surface roughly twelve to eighteen inches so I get a few plops out of it. After the slow pull, I then twitch the bait causing it to bounce in place. The goal is to get the lure to turn side to side in its own wake like a walk the dog style topwater without the lure advancing forward. I have also had success by popping my line which forces the lure to bob up and down. This augmented retrieve is intended to call the muskies in with the lure’s plops and pops while keeping a subtle action while not advancing forward. 

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Big, loud action without speed can be tricky to achieve, but with a little practice, it will put a season opener giant in your net.

Early Season Musky Fishing: Creepy Crawlers

Creepers are easily the goofiest musky lures out there, but they catch fish. My personal choice is the Bitten Tackle Creeper as they are pre-tuned and the metal wings can take crushing strikes. But as with all things topwater, I really think what they look like is of little importance. Tackle companies offer creepers that look like bats, ducks, frogs, and a menagerie of other creatures that belong in zoos, not tackle boxes. 

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Regardless of looks if a creeper walks the walk, muskies will bite.  

My trick with creepers during the early season is an extremely slow but steady retrieve. This slow retrieve often results with the lightest of takes that feel more like resistance than a strike. I make sure to add a large grub like a Kalins Mogambo to the rear hook. Nearly all my early season creeper muskies simply put their mouth around this grub before I ever knew they were there. This tactic seems to work well even in the shallowest bays and at times during early season cold fronts. One could even argue that the grub is the main attraction and that the creeper is simply an attractant.

Early Season Musky Fishing: Spooks for Spooky Muskies

Zara Spooks are a classic walk the dog bass lure that can be deadly in the shallows and work well around cover. Zara Spooks come in a variety of sizes, but I tend to use the 4 ½” version during the early season. When using a lure of this size it is often best to break out a bass rod and a reel that has some 55-pound Beast Braid spooled up. Also, a smaller leader is advised as a standard-sized musky leader will impede the spooks’ action. Again, I go for a slow retrieve, but I work it in the typical walk the dog fashion.

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This presentation is a top consideration if you are seeing minnows and other small fish in the shallows. 

Muskies that are recovering from the spawn in these shallow water “hot spots” will at times binge on small minnows and baitfish.

Early Season Musky Fishing: Crankbaits

Crankbaits… Yep Crankbaits….

Floating crankbaits like Shallow Raiders, Crane Baits, Slammers, etc… can be deadly topwater-ish lures. I have caught a couple of my biggest muskies in the early season by keeping my rod tip high and reeling just fast enough to get the lure to wobble. Just like my creeper tactic, I will add a grub to the rear of the bait. I usually use a 3” twister tail on the rear hook of my Shallow Raiders and Cranes when I am using them in this fashion. The benefit of using a crankbait as a topwater lure quickly becomes clear boat side in the figure eight. I have triggered numerous strikes from muskies that were following a crankbait on the surface by quickly ripping the lure forcing it to hastily dive and rise. 

Early season success usually isn’t as simple as throwing a bucktail and doing a decent figure eight. If the muskies are finicky or less than corporative, don’t be afraid to break out your topwater, see what’s just below the surface on early-season thermal “Hot Spots”. 

Steven Paul

Tennessee Musky Fishing

www.TennesseeMuskyFishing.com

Tips For Musky Fishing | 20 Ways To Catch More Musky in 2020

When you think of the year 2020, it certainly sounds like we’re finally entering what previous decades thought of as “the future”.  Sadly, those who envisioned that 2020 would be filled with casual space travel, flying cars, and robot butlers might feel horribly disappointed by my error-ridden Roomba and lack of a daily use rocket pack.

Despite our inability to vacation on the moon, there are many mind-boggling advances being made on the water that will not disappoint.  From otherworldly advancements in fishing electronics to lures that seem to defy the very laws of physics, the world of musky fishing has advanced so quickly in such a short time that anglers past might think that centuries had gone by not merely decades.  With so many exciting advancements and refinements in the modern-day muskyverse, lets narrow down the best modern lures, technology, and techniques that will help you catch more muskies in 2020.

Tips For Musky Fishing: #1 Advanced Imaging

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Undoubtedly having a more in-depth image of the muskies’ world is a huge advantage. The ability to identify structure and cover types, bait schools, and identify species is an extremely powerful tool, but being able to see suspended muskies on side scan is when things start to get exciting. Suspended muskies can easily be identified as large black silhouettes adjacent to your boat. Things escalate even further under the cover of darkness when an approaching muskie can be seen leveling the field between hunter and prey prior to those after dusk figure eights.

Tips For Musky Fishing: #2 Replicating Nature

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Designing and painting lures is an art-form in which nature is typically emulated but the interpretation can often fall short of the real thing.  Trying to “match the hatch” at times can be tricky as most “natural patterns” still have touches of artistic flair that take them ever so slightly bump them out of the realm of believable.  Modern advances in 3D imaging and scanning have finally given anglers the edge in matching a muskies natural prey in amazing detail. When muskies get finicky and are less than murderous, try going natural with some these new scanned and printed finishes.

Tips For Musky Fishing: #3 Hand Made for the Masses

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Joe Bucher and JBO products are bringing a handmade favorite back to life with modern technology and a bit of a twist. In previous incarnations, the blades for the Willow Tin Buck were far too difficult to mass-produce, forcing each blade to be hand-hammered and formed to get that pronounced muskie catching thwump. That thwump came with a price tag because of its handmade hitch.  With precise advancement in the configuration of die and stamping tools JBO has been able to replicate the signature sound and feel of that boutique blade but without the boutique price tag. The addition of flash tinsel to the hand-tied bucktail skirt only helps to elevate the appeal of this now modern classic back for 2020.

Tips For Musky Fishing: #4 Get a Grip

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Unlike our bass fishing brethren, musky anglers are somewhat slow to adapt, but with the launch of a new series of Musky Mojo rods, we’re finally turning the corner in technology.

Advancements in rod blanks, reel seats, and eyes abound but are quickly overshadowed by the addition of Winn grip to the handle. This grip has been common in quality bass rods for quite some time, but this is a new addition to the musky game. Those willing to embrace the change can expect to have better response and control of their rod and experience less hand fatigue and have a better grip when conditions get wet.

Tips For Musky Fishing: #5 Hold it. Hold it. Hold it.

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I am rarely an early adopter of new technology as I find that those that live on the cutting edge often end up bleeding money.  With this in mind, I was hesitant to switch to remote steering trolling motor until somewhat recently; opting to wait out all the early bugs and missteps of introductory models.  As expected, the time has allowed this groundbreaking tech to work out most of its gremlins and it is now an undeniably convenient tool. The GPS spot lock feature of remote steering motors is untouchable for allowing musky anglers the ability to cast windblown reefs and rocks.  If you have not made the switch to a modern trolling motor, 2020 is your year. What was once the new tech is now the trusted standard.

Tips For Musky Fishing: #6 X Marks the Spot: ANGLR Bullseye

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As a professional musky fishing guide, I can tell you that my hands are never idle on a musky trip.  Usually within an hour of leaving the dock, my boat is a mess, two of three clients have had a bird’s nest, and the rear deck is littered with coffee cups, clothing, and lures.  The inconvenience of the tightrope walk it takes to mark a fish or something of interest on my main sonar unit has finally been remedied by The ANGLR Bullseye. This unit allows me to accurately mark interesting features without having to brave the client casting gauntlet of forced facial piercings.  With the Bullseye clipped to my hat, I can mark cover, structure and muskies without breaking my fishing mojo. A singular click of the Bullseye eliminates the previous hassle of marking spots on my sonar unit.

Tips For Musky Fishing: #7 Get to the Point

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The importance of hook sharpening can never be overstated when it comes to musky fishing.

Nothing stings quite like missing a musky because you’re dull, pun intended.  There are many hook sharpeners are on the market, but none are dialed in for musky hooks like the Joe Bucher Outdoors premium hook file. With a sharpening surface that is intended to be used on larger hooks, this file can take the frustration and guesswork out of getting your hooks on point.

Tips For Musky Fishing: #8 Dance a Jig

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Vertical jigging for muskies has only recently become a mainstream tactic but early adopters can attest to the effectiveness of this presentation style. Getting vertical for muskies is in theory as simple as jigging for walleyes or perch though it definitely requires some beefed-up tackle.

Vertical jigs like the Hell Hound are made of hard plastic and can take the abuse of repeated strikes. When the bite starts to slow during midday or cold fronts, get yourself positioned over some break-lines and start dancing a jig.

Tips For Musky Fishing: #9 Suspended Animation

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Designing suspending musky lures is tricky business and getting the weight balanced perfectly on such a large lure can be a struggle. The Suspending Depth Raider is the bar at which all other suspending lures are measured. Meticulously designed and weighted, this lure can suspend indefinitely, enticing strikes from even the most negative or neutral muskies. The recipe for these lures is dialed in and consistent due to an advanced weighting design process. A deadly addition to your musky fishing arsenal.

Tips For Musky Fishing: #10 Tick Tick Tick Knocking on the Door

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With the price of your average musky lure being around thirty dollars, the thought of intentionally jamming them into rocks is an uncomfortable proposition.  So, when the bite is slow and muskies are holding tight to structure, ticking and clicking can be just what the doctor ordered. Ticking and clicking is easily accomplished by casting deep running crankbaits over the shallow structure and forcing the lure to make continuous contact with rocks and wood. Paying attention to the way the lure feels against the cover can help prevent snags. With a little practice, dialing in on ticking and clicking is the best way to take the bait to the fish and forcing reactionary strikes.

Tips For Musky Fishing: #11 Eagle Eye

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Sonar, maps, and imaging are absolutely amazing, but they just don’t give you the entire picture of vegetation and reef structures.  While filming for a television show recently the advantage of an aerial view became abundantly clear. With the aid of an aerial drone, the layout, edges, and pockets of weed beds were easily seen allowing for the construction of a concise plan of attack, aimed at the most likely muskie haunts. Reefs, were easily seen in a clear top-down manner and exploiting the high points, were made much easier. Finding this birds-eye view doesn’t take a big TV budget as drones have flooded the market and come in every price range. The information they can provide in real-time about the current layout of vegetation can’t be found from any other source.

Tips For Musky Fishing: #12 Not Your Grandpas Suick

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Suick Thrillers are one of the earliest muskie fishing baits and little about their design or natural cedar wood construction has changed. This traditional construction has an endearing quality that gives each wooden bait its own personality. This personality has made the learning curve for using Suicks somewhat steeper than other musky lures, putting it out of reach for the uninitiated. Suick, however, has finally leveled the playing field by releasing the Suick HI Impact.  This plastic version of this fabled musky catcher eliminates the need to fine-tune each lure and finally makes a Suick Thriller a bait that is ready to go straight out of the package.

Tips For Musky Fishing: #13 Something Sounds Fishy

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Livingston Lures with EBS Sound Technology is pioneering new ways of generating strikes.

Each lure emits baitfish sounds that have been expertly recorded via hydrophones.  Not only does the lure look and act the part it now sounds it. On the water, testing has proven its effectiveness and can be just the push that a less than ravenous musky may need to seal the deal.

Tips For Musky Fishing: #14 Deeper with Dipsy

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Downsizing for muskies during cold fronts is nothing new but getting downsized baits to the deeper water can be quite challenging.  This age-old conundrum of getting small baits deep is easily solved with the aid of a Dipsy Diver. Small musky lures like the JB Rattler can easily be trolled down to 10, 15 and even 20 feet without the need for extreme amounts of line out. The use of a Dipsy allows for maximum boat control while getting these mini musky catchers down where they need to be.

Tips For Musky Fishing: #15 Beaver Anyone?

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Musky fishing is steeped in tradition and the nuts and bolts of the sport have changed very little over the years. So, it is rare that a truly new style of lure is introduced but the folks at Beavers Baits are looking to shake things up. These funky and obliviously hairy baits have been around for a couple of years now and it looks like they are here to stay as their muskie catching abilities can’t be denied. The Beaver Bait is a great addition to your musky lure and lore collection as it is a great presentation on pressured fish that are looking for something a little different.

Tips For Musky Fishing: #16 Tweaker

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I am 100% guilty of fiddling with baits nonstop, always looking to get that perfect action or running depth. Modifications can be made to musky lures in many ways, but the easiest mod can be re-weighting your baits with self-adhesive lead dots and strips. At times the difference between a multi-muskie day is the rate at which a bait rises to the surface or wobbles down to vegetation, so playing with ways to augment this performance is worth the extra effort. Grab some lead stick-on and start dialing in your presentations for the 2020 muskie season.

Tips For Musky Fishing: #17 Go North this Summer

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Musky fishing in Canada is a rite of passage for anyone that considers themselves a serious musky angler, and the Canadian Shield Lakes, Lake of the Woods, Eagle and Lac Seul are the places to go. If you have been dreaming of going to Canada to pursue muskies 2020 is the year.

With the help of decades of conservation and catch and release, Canadian muskie populations are thriving.  Modern mapping technology now has taken some of the danger out of navigating these glacial rock ridden bodies of water. Lodges like Crow Rock Lodge on Lake of the Woods offer not only a wonderful muskie fishing location, but also provide Chef-prepared breakfast, lunch, and dinners for hungry anglers. Legendary anglers like Joe Bucher have taken the mystery out pursuing these Canada giants with numerous TV episodes featuring the skills and techniques that you need to succeed.

Tips For Musky Fishing: #18 Go South this Winter

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Many musky anglers believe that when the season closes in Wisconsin and Minnesota, the fat lady has sung. While many fight the winter blues, a few soldier on and get geared up for Southern encore. Tennessee offers a fantastic musky fishery and opportunities during the winter months to snag your dream lunker.  As a guide on these Southern waters, I can assure trepidatious anglers that January and February have been some of my most absolutely explosive months. During these times of the year, female muskies are putting on egg weight ahead of the impending spawn. While we may not have the numbers here in the South, we definitely have the size as we rarely encounter muskies that are below trophy class.  Musky fishing in Tennessee is one of the final frontiers in our sport as it is the most southern edge of the muskies’ habitat range.

Tips For Musky Fishing: #19 Crank It Up

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With the popularity of big blades and rubber baits in musky fishing, crankbaits have seemingly become an afterthought for the majority of musky anglers. But there should be zero doubt in their continued effectiveness. Crankbaits have always been a staple for mega muskies and with the fanatical usage of big rubber and other high-end baits, savvy anglers are once again turning to crankbaits to put muskies in the net on heavily pressured waterways. As with all things fishing, anglers are susceptible to fads and trends making 2020 the year to get cranking for trophy muskies.

Tips For Musky Fishing: #20 Keep it Real

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Here we are in the year 2020 and for the first time in human history, we have the entirety of the world’s knowledge in the palm of our hands. It’s undeniable the effect that technology, social media, YouTube and other forms of online interactivity have had on all facets of life. While the advantages of modern technology greatly outweigh the negative, it should be noted that the immediacy of our modern world can have side effects. While flipping through photos and watching an endless stream of videos can be entertaining, I encourage you to ask yourself what have you learned about fishing from looking at these forms of media in the past year?

What tactics and techniques did you learn or was it just mere entertainment with little to know on the water value?

With this question in mind, I encourage each and every one of you to spend more time in 2020 on resources like Anglr and Musky 360 that are focused on helping you acquire new and useful skills; the skills that will actually help you catch more muskies.  The skills a musky angler can learn from reading and doing detail-oriented research are the most valuable tools they will ever obtain. So make 2020 the year you focus on resources that are truly data-focused, so the next time you hit the water you know you are bringing with you those newly acquired concepts and methods to help you become a more successful angler.

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: http://www.tennesseemuskyfishing.com

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, www.TheFishermansJournal.com 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 InflatableBoarder.com

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!