How to Remove a Hook | Two Ways You Need to Know

Hooking yourself or someone else is a miserable affair. What has to happen next is at times even more miserable, especially if you’re ill-prepared to do so. Driving a hook into someone is usually instantaneous and unexpected, so there’s no anticipation. Removing a hook from someone has palpable anticipation on the other hand. 

So here are two tips for removing a hook if you find yourself in the middle of a full-blown crap storm and need a little guidance. Full disclaimer, I am not a doctor and there will, unfortunately, be times when you’ll need one for this. And I am not liable for the advice I’m about to give, but I can attest to its reliability as I have used both methods before.

How to Remove a Hook: #1 – Cut the Hook Off Past the Barb

If you have a hook that’s in flesh past the barb but the point has made its way back close to the skin, this is sometimes a good option. You have to twist the hook until the point pops back through the skin and past the barb and then cut the hook off below the barb and the barbless hook shaft will smoothly slide back out. 

This is rarely the best option, however. I had to do this once for my dad. It was not fun. It takes a considerable amount of pressure to push a hook point through. There’s typically a “popped-tent” shape to the skin before the hook finally breaks through and it sounds like a 22 firing off when it does. Pretty nauseating if you’re keen to be squeamish in the slightest way. 

The only situation where I would recommend this is when the next method won’t work. 

If there are multiple hooks in and the line trick won’t work or if the hook stayed up next to the skin the whole time and there’s not much meat involved. Otherwise, plan B which we’ll now discuss should be plan A.

How to Remove a Hook: #2 – The Line Trick

There are lots of videos out there about this one, and it’s an extremely effective solution for a nasty problem. I’m not sure who originated the method, but hats off to them for trying this the first time because I surely wouldn’t have had the b… ravery.

I had to do this recently for my buddy Ben. Because he had a hook in him… that I placed there. It happened on a cast where I was attempting to throw a topwater a particularly long way. I had my rod loaded up and slung the bait as hard as I could. Or attempted too. Instead, I lodged a hook deep in the back of my buddy’s arm and we both about threw up. 

But it was almost dark and we had limited time before we’d be trying to remove the hook by flashlight so I snapped into action. The hook was way past the barb, all the way to the bend. I had never used the line trick before. That was running through my head. I hoped that Ben wouldn’t ask if I had ever used the line trick before. Ben asked… I should have lied looking back. But I didn’t. 

We were both even more concerned at that point. 

It was time to try it now. I was able to remove the bait from the hook with split ring pliers, something I definitely suggest if possible to take the weight off the hook and to prevent another hook from entering the patient accidentally later in the process.

I cut off a few feet of 65-pound test braid, wrapped both ends around my hands so that there was no way that either end would slip. I put the line in the bend of the hook and then Ben pressed down on the eye of the hook so that it was against his skin. This in turn angles the hook to where the barb will come out as smoothly as possible. Then I started counting to 3 and snatched like H-E-double-hockey-sticks on 2. 

The hook popped out and went flying with no pain according to Ben and we were both ecstatic for the nightmare to be over. Yeah, he gave me grief about it for a while, and it still comes up on occasion. 

But the line trick saved the day and is definitely something I suggest you become familiar with, in the event you may need it down the road.

How to Remove a Hook | A Helpful Video

13 Fishing Fate V3 | Review and Breakdown

The 13 Fishing Fate V3 is here to stay. A fantastic offering for anyone in the market for a high quality, more affordable rod. With 11 models priced around $100, the Fate V3 lineup gives you a rod with the guts and the trimmings of one sold at twice its price point. Let’s dive into a few of those particulars.

13 Fishing Fate V3 | What It’s Made Of

The first time you pick one up, right away you’ll notice how light the rod is. Using Japanese 36 Ton PVG36T Blank Construction, 13 Fishing has created a super sensitive and strong but still light rod.

The Zirconia guide inserts paired with 13 Fishing’s Soft Touch Air Foil Carbon Grip amplifies the sensitivity of the rod blank itself and makes even the subtlest contact detectable. Add to that the High-Density Japanese EVA Grips and a fish will have a hard time breathing on your bait without you knowing about it. 

13 Fishing Fate V3 | Evolve Snaggle Tooth Hook Keeper

Refusing to cut corners, 13 Fishing added their Evolve Snaggle Tooth Hook Keeper to the new Fate V3 to help with bait and rod storage but not compromise on the fishability of the rod by adding a basic hook keeper instead. 

Most hook keepers stick up off the rod and have a tendency to catch your line when casting or trying to pop a bait free from the bottom. Not going to be a problem with the low profile Evolve Snaggle Tooth Hook Keeper. And that willingness to go the extra mile is what makes the Fate V3 such an instantly identifiable member of the 13 Fishing family. 

The guys at 13 fishing took their desire to build a quality product along with their desire to do so at an affordable price point and made sure not to leave out their signature attention to detail, and the Fate V3 was born. With 11 models available ranging from an MSRP of $99.99 to $109.99, the Fate V3 series from 13 Fishing has a rod capable of doing almost anything you want to do on the water at a price almost anyone can afford.

Log your 13 Fishing Fate V3 to Get Rewarded

Are you a 13 Fishing owner looking to unlock exclusive badges and rewards? Well, now you can! 

Download the ANGLR app and log your 13 Fishing gear for a customized experience built specifically for you. Privately track your fishing trips, log your catches and waypoints, and record specific stats to your 13 Fishing gear so you know which gear works best for you.

13 Fishing Jabber Jaw | A Breakdown of the NEW Jabber Jaw

It’s rare to see true innovation these days in the fishing industry. Most new products are slight tweaks of other products and that’s just the name of the game with so many companies involved in fishing now. But 13 Fishing likes to break that mold, time and time again. And they’ve done it once more with their new Jabber Jaw 60

What is the 13 Fishing Jabber Jaw?

A hybrid between a squarebill and a vibrating jig, the Jabber Jaw takes two proven baits and repackages them into something unique. The bill of the Jabber Jaw is metal instead of plastic like you’ll see on most other squarebills. It’s also made to pivot as the bait comes through the water column, creating a similar sound to a vibrating jig

To emphasize that vibrating jig like sound, 13 Fishing chose to remove all rattles from the design of this bait and add metal cheeks for the bill to hammer against as it pendulums side to side. This creates a really nasty knock and something entirely different from what we’ve seen from crankbaits in the past. 

What Makes the 13 Fishing Jabber Jaw so Effective?

Vibrating jigs are notoriously hazardous when fished through shallow woody cover like lay downs and brush piles. Worming a squarebill through this type of shallow cover has been the main go-to for a lot of anglers in the past who didn’t want to risk hanging up a vibrating jig. But now, you get the action and fishability of a crankbait and the drawing power of a vibrating jig, and that’s why this bait excites us so much. 

Rock, wood, grass, clear water and muddy, cold water in particular: we’re excited to try the new Jabber Jaw in all sorts of different scenarios and that alone is what makes it a great bait right away. The excitement it instills. 

After all, that’s what fishing is all about, isn’t it?

Log your 13 Fishing Jabber Jaw to Get Rewarded

Are you a 13 Fishing owner looking to unlock exclusive badges and rewards? Well, now you can! 

Download the ANGLR app and log your 13 Fishing gear for a customized experience built specifically for you. Privately track your fishing trips, log your catches and waypoints, and record specific stats to your 13 Fishing gear so you know which gear works best for you.

13 Fishing Concept C Review(1)

August MONSTERBASS Box | Tips and Tricks for Using the Baits in My August Box

This month, I received my August Northeast MONSTERBASS box and instead of doing a stereotypical unboxing, I’m going to run through my favorite way to use the baits I received.

Whether you’re new to fishing or have been chasing big bass for years, there’s always room for improvement. If you would rig anything differently, let me know in the comments section at the bottom of the article. 

This month’s box was a 100% topwater box, so every single bait in my box was for topwater bass fishing! Now, without further ado, let’s dive into the baits I received and some tips and tricks for rigging them.

August MONSTERBASS Box | Bait #1: Xcite Baits Pro Series Buzzfire


The first bait in my August box was the Xcite Baits pro series buzzfire. This 3/8th ounce buzzbait has some good weight to it so you’ll be able to make those long casts over grass flats or around laydowns without getting too close with your boat or yak and spooking the fish. 

I really like this buzzfire because of its massive blade. This will allow you to slow-roll the bait across the surface of the water, keeping the bait in the strike zone longer and really creating some commotion on the surface. 

I’d recommend throwing this buzzbait on a heavy braided line, around 50-pounds. You can get away with a fairly heavy monofilament line as well, but whichever you choose, be sure it’s floating line. You can throw this buzzbait on a 7” Medium-Heavy rod like the 13 Fishing Fate with a fast tip and a reel in a 7.1:1 gear ratio like the 13 Fishing Concept A2

August MONSTERBASS Box | Bait #2: MONSTERBASS Patriot 2.0


My next bait was the MONSTERBASS Patriot 2.0. This spook style topwater bait is the newest version from MONSTERBASS. Many of you who have had a subscription for a while had probably received the first version about a year ago. 

The 2.0 is new and improved. With a sleeker design and weight transfer system, this bait can be bombed out for long casts and retrieved incredibly slow with a ‘walk the dog’ style retrieve. For the best action, ensure that you have some slackline while twitching, this will allow the bait to stay in the strike zone longer and drive the bass crazy with some epic back and forth action.

I’d recommend throwing a rod with a moderate tip to help with the ‘walk the dog’ retrieve. A 7’ rod is standard for spook style baits as you want to keep the tip of your rod just above the surface of the water.  

August MONSTERBASS Box | Bait #3: Booyah Toadrunner


The Booyah Toadrunner is an extremely unique frog I received in my August box. With a super small hollow body frog profile, you’d think this bait already has a lot going for it to help it stand out in a crowd, but then the folks at Booyah decided to step it up and add a kicker tail! 

This tail reminds me of a paddle tail swimbait, but since they’ve rigged it on a swivel, it will have a crazy churning action while you retrieve this frog. 

Throw it in pads, overtop of lightly matted vegetation, or even along the banks in open water and get ready for some epic topwater strikes!

August MONSTERBASS Box | Bait #4: Hendricks Custom Frog

The next bait is a custom frog from a small company here in Pennsylvania. The first thing I noticed about these frogs was the incredibly soft material used. This will allow the fish to grab the frog and hold on while you sit back and set the hook! 

It’s got a sleek design on the front to help it glide across the surface using whatever retrieve you prefer! Whether you ‘walk the dog’, straight retrieve, or pop the frog using a 2-3 second cadence, this Hendricks custom frog is going to have great action and elicit some sweet strikes!

August MONSTERBASS Box | Bait #5: Basshik Big Anthony 2.5


The Basshik Big Anthony 2.5 was the popper style lure featured in this month’s box! As someone who’s fished in the Northeast for years, poppers are a great way to fish topwater with more of a finesse presentation! 

The Big Anthony 2.5 is no exception. One thing that I noticed with this popper was the cupped lip. It’s different than most I’ve seen as it’s not as deep, which means you’ll be able to push a TON of water while popping this bait. It can also be fished using the same ‘walk the dog’ technique as a spook but with some different action on the surface. 

Personally, I prefer to throw my poppers on a spinning setup. I’d recommend a 6’8” rod with a 2500 sized reel spooled up with a 30-pound braid. If the water is clear, put on a 10-12 pound monofilament leader and you’re set! 

August MONSTERBASS Box | Bait #6: Z-Man Pop Frogz


The last topwater bait I received in this month’s box was some Z-Man Pop Frogz! These soft plastic style baits made of the famous Elaztech material will last you all day! When the bite gets tough, slowing down with a smaller pop frog like this can be the ticket! 

I chose to rig these baits weightless and weedless so you can fish them literally anywhere! Whether it’s in pads, in thick matted vegetation, or around laydowns, you’ll come through cover effectively while giving the bass plenty of time to unload on your Pop Frog!

August MONSTERBASS Box | Terminal Tackle: Kitana Hooks

The hooks I chose to rig my Pop Frogz with also came in this months box! These Kitana OWG 6/0 hooks will be perfect for this application. They were sharp right out of the package and have an awesome gap which will allow you to peg the bass and not let it fight off! 

August MONSTERBASS Box | Fishing Line: K9 Flourocarbon


The final item in my August MONSTERBASS box was some K9 Flourocarbon in 12-pound test. Like I said in the video, I probably won’t be using this in my topwater applications, however, it’s some great line to use for shaky heads, dropshots, and a variety of other applications!

If you’re looking for a great way to improve your bass fishing arsenal this season, check out the regional subscription boxes from MONSTERBASS. Get baits that will work in your area delivered directly to your door. 

MONSTERBASS June Unboxing(9)

Log your baits in the ANGLR app to track which baits work best for you in certain water and weather conditions!

Vibe Kayaks Comparisons | Maverick, Sea Ghost, and Shearwater

Vibe Kayaks are known not only for their quality but also for their affordability. In an ever-expanding market where prices are going through the roof, Vibe has made a real effort to continue to deliver great platforms without breaking the bank. The base price of their new Shearwater 125 does come in a little higher than their previous models, but if bells, whistles, and options are your thing, you’ll quickly see the value. 

Vibe offers up a boat for just about anything anyone would want to do on the water. From their kayak/paddleboard hybrid, the Maverick 120, to the well rounded and water ready Sea Ghost 110 and 130 and then again all the way up to the new Shearwater 125 that presents an elite tournament angler with everything he or she could possibly want in a boat. There’s something here for everyone. And while Vibe makes other models as well, we’re going to quickly compare these three.

Vibe Kayaks Comparisons | Maverick 120

The Maverick 120 is certainly the most unique of these three. 

Vibe Kayaks Comparisons(1)

A hybrid between a stand-up and paddle (SUP) board and a kayak, Vibe has done a great job of marrying the two worlds. 

A flat fishing platform with foam padding on the deck gives you ample space for one or even two people to move around. The blank slate surface allows you to put whatever you want onboard and the hatch in the deck allows you to store anything you don’t want getting wet down below. And with 5 top-loading gear tracks and bungee tie-downs, the boat is very customizable.

Vibe Kayaks Comparisons | Shearwater 125 & Sea Ghost 110 and 130

The Shearwater and Sea Ghost have more in common, though still some very key differences. Both the Shearwater and Sea Ghost share several features like their Hero Seat, Phantom Grip handles and pre-installed rudders. The Shearwater takes a subtle step or two out in front of the Sea Ghost in that it has 4 flush mount rod holders where both Sea Ghost models only have two. But the real difference-maker comes in the propulsion department. 

Vibe Kayaks Comparisons(3)

With the Sea Ghost, you can add a motor or just use a paddle. 

But with the Shearwater, you have those two options and the ability to add the Vibe X-Drive Peddle Pod. Some anglers even do all three by adding a Bixpy to the motor-ready Vibe Gravity Rudder System. Having all those options certainly puts the Shearwater way out front if you’re wanting to be able to move around a lot out on the water. 

Vibe Kayaks Comparisons(2)

The Shearwater 125 has 3 pod options where the Sea Ghost has a really nice but fixed pod. 

With the Shearwater, you can go with the Vibe Base Pod to add more room to the deck, the Vibe Versa Pod with a magnetic tray, bungees, and a nice sized storage cavity or move all the way up to the pedal drive in their X-Drive Pod. 

Although you don’t have all the various pod options with the Sea Ghost, you still have one of the best-fixed pod systems in the industry in the Vibe Versa Console. With multiple bungees, dual mini hatches with cargo bags, hinged access, a magnetic tray, a cup holder and two gear tracks, Vibe really packed a lot in. 

These three boats are definitely different but all three are also high-quality rides with specific anglers and outdoor enthusiasts in mind. No matter what you want to do on the water, you’ll find the boat you need to do it in here.

Log Your Vibe Kayak to Unlock Exclusive Badges and Rewards in the ANGLR App

Are you a Vibe Kayaks owner looking to unlock exclusive badges and rewards? Well, now you can! 

Download the ANGLR app and log your Vibe Kayaks for a customized experience built specifically for you. Privately track your fishing trips, log your catches and waypoints, and record specific stats to your Vibe kayak.

Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130 Review(1)

Jig Trailers | Picking the Right Jig Trailer with Brandon Palaniuk

A lot more goes into picking the right jig trailer than most might think. A trailer not only changes the profile of a jig but also the way it swims and falls through the water column. Depending on the size and action of the trailer, the same jig can be used in vastly different scenarios and be way more or less effective. 

We sat down with Elite Series Pro Brandon Palaniuk to discuss some of the things he takes into consideration when choosing a trailer for his jigs.

Jig Trailers | Size Matters

A lot of it will have to do with size. I use the X-Zone Lures Muscle Back Craw and the junior version of it, the Muscle Back Finesse Craw in different situations. But one thing that gets overlooked by some people when choosing between two sizes like that is the Rate of Fall (ROF).

Sometimes I want the Rate of Fall of a 1/2-ounce jig but I’m fishing deeper and need the weight of a 3/4-ounce jig to keep it on the bottom. So I can trim the skirt a little and put that bigger Muscle Back Craw on with the added buoyancy of those bigger claws and it will have a slower fall.

Jig Trailers(2)

Even though Palaniuk is using a bigger trailer, trimming the skirt back offsets his trailer selection to keep the profile of the overall bait package pretty tight. As he points out, a full skirt will always create a bigger presence as it flares out than a bigger plastic trailer will. 

I’ll use the same process flipping, especially early in the year. It used to be a big deal to flip a 1/4-ounce Strike King Bitsy Bug Jig with an oversize trailer.

Palaniuk explained how the big trailer would slow the ROF and that using a small profile jig wasn’t about the profile at all. Instead, that lighter jig paired with the big trailer would create a large profile bait with a slow fall that would trigger more strikes from big fish in the colder water.

Jig Trailers | Rate of Fall vs Rate of Stall

ROF is something that Palaniuk is hyperaware of due to his love affair with swimbait fishing. So it’s something he pays a lot of attention to with several different bait categories. But ROF isn’t the whole story. 

Rate of Fall is a term used a lot in the swimbait world for how fast a bait sinks. What’s really important is that it also changes the depth that you can fish that bait while maintaining a certain speed. I think I first saw the guys from Tactical Bassin’ talk about that and called it the Rate of Stall (ROS), which is the speed the bait moves through the water column.

Say you want the bait to be coming towards you at a foot per second but you only want the bait to be 5-feet below the surface. You can’t do that with a heavier bait because it will naturally pendulum if you try to fish it that slow. And that’s why ROF becomes such a big deal with swimbaits. A lot of times guys want to fish that bait super slow. So an 8” Huddleston with ROF of 5 you’ll usually fish shallower up around docks or reed lines and you’ll fish an 8” Hudd with an ROF 12 deeper.

Jig Trailers(1)

All of this comes into play when selecting trailers for your jigs. 

Especially with something like a swim jig where you will fish it up off the bottom much like a swimbait. Using a swimbait style trailer instead of a craw style trailer is one way to greatly affect the ROS of a bait. 

With a slender, boot-tail swimbait as a trailer, the jig will fall fast and swim faster through the water on the retrieve. Swapping to a twin-tail, craw style trailer adds resistance and lift to the jig. This will make the bait fall slower and swim slower while also riding higher in the water column. 

These same basic principles will help you when selecting trailers for spinnerbaits, vibrating jigs, and even buzzbaits. Using a twin tail craw as a trailer as opposed to a swimbait or no trailer at all on a buzzbait creates a greater ROS and thus slows the speed you have to reel the bait to keep it on the surface. And with a buzzbait, there are certainly times where you’ll want to reel the bait as slow as possible to trigger more strikes. 

Take Rate of Fall and Rate of Stall into consideration when selecting your next trailer and you’ll quickly find that minor adjustments can make a major difference in your production levels.

Vibe Kayaks Shearwater 125 | Jake Suvak’s 4 Favorite Features

We sat down with Vibe Kayak’s team member Jake Suvak to discuss his 4 favorite features of the Vibe Kayaks Shearwater 125. Here are his opinions in his own words.

Vibe Kayaks Shearwater 125: Hull Design 

The Shearwater has a few things that other boats don’t have, or it does some things just a little bit differently. 

I didn’t really appreciate the hull design until I was in a tournament recently with pretty strong winds. I had to make a 2-mile run into the wind and a little bit of chop. I was able to keep a steady 3- and 1/2- mile per hour pace all while rigging up my rod while going to that next spot.

Basically, the hull is designed for stability and speed. 

The Shearwater has unbelievable stability while still not compromising speed. The bow of the boat is shaped to just cut straight through the waves. So even in that chop, the boat stayed pretty much level. 

Vibe Kayaks Shearwater 125: Pod System 

I really like the options I have with the pod system in the Shearwater. I am able to put a pod in for the X-Drive pedal system and when I get my Bixpy motor in I’ll be able to put in the flat deck pod system for that and just have more standing space. 

Having the versatility to change it up from paddling to pedaling or even to a motor is really cool. 

Some tournaments don’t let you use a motor, so I’ll still be using my X-Drive for those. But when my Bixpy comes in, having the ability to swap back and forth will be huge. 

And one more thing that’s cool about that pod system, if you don’t have the X-Drive or a motor, the hull design makes it really easy to paddle still. With some of the higher-end kayaks that are made for pedal or motor drives, they’re a little bit bulkier and harder to paddle. The Shearwater is still really easy to paddle. So you can start with the base model and then add the X-Drive later on and a motor later on if you want to do it that way.

Vibe Kayaks Shearwater 125: Side Rod Holders 

The side rod holders let you lay your rods flat up on the front deck of the kayak and keep them strapped in. I like that so I can have a second rod ready to go if I need it. 

For example, if I’m fishing with a frog and I miss a blowup, I can have something tied up on another rod ready to flip that I can just grab and go with. 

Vibe Kayaks Shearwater 125: Under-Seat Storage

One more thing that I really like is probably the simplest thing on the boat, but the Shearwater has a little drawer right under the seat where you can store your soft plastics or anything else that you want to keep in reaching distance. It just slides out and right back under the seat and is a great use of that space. 

I’ve been loving my Vibe Kayaks Shearwater 125 since it arrived and can’t wait to keep making awesome memories on the water with it! 

Log Your Vibe Kayak to Unlock Exclusive Badges and Rewards in the ANGLR App

Are you a Vibe Kayaks owner looking to unlock exclusive badges and rewards? Well, now you can! 

Download the ANGLR app and log your Vibe Kayaks for a customized experience built specifically for you. Privately track your fishing trips, log your catches and waypoints, and record specific stats to your Vibe kayak.

Vibe Kayaks Sea Ghost 130 Review(1)

July MONSTERBASS Box | Tips and Tricks for Using the Baits in My July Box

This month, I received my July Northeast MONSTERBASS box and instead of doing a stereotypical unboxing, I’m going to run through my favorite way to use the baits I received.

Whether you’re new to fishing or have been chasing big bass for years, there’s always room for improvement. If you would rig anything differently, let me know in the comments section at the bottom of the article. 

This month’s box was sponsored by Lunkerhunt, so every single bait in my box was a Lunkerhunt product! Now, without further ado, let’s dive into the baits I received and some tips and tricks for rigging them.

July MONSTERBASS Box | Bait #1: Lunkerhunt Finesse Worm

Up first is the 3-inch Lunkerhunt Finesse worm. These finesse worms are perfect for a Ned rig presentation. You can throw them on any weight head depending on the depth your fishing and the presentation you’re trying to give the bass!

Whether it’s a ¼ ounce or a ⅜ ounce head, these Lunkerhunt Finesse worms represent a great little snack for bass feeding along the bottom. 

Ned rigs perform so well because they represent two of the bass’s favorite meals. It can be seen as a crawfish without any claws scurrying along the bottom, or on a lighter head, it will glide through the water towards the bottom like a wounded or dying baitfish. You can match your color pattern for the finesse worm to represent the forage you think the bass are keying in on that day!

I like to throw my Ned rigs on a G Loomis E6X with a Shimano Stradic Ci4+ and an 8 or 10-pound fluorocarbon. You’ll want a medium-light action rod so you can provide a finesse presentation and give the bass the ability to run and not pop the hook once the fight kicks off! 

July MONSTERBASS Box | Bait #2: Lunkerhunt Salamander Worm

The next bait I received was the Lunkerhunt Descend Series Salamander Worm. The first thing that stood out to me about this bait was the arms were molded into the side of the bait. This makes it more of a finesse ribbon tailed worm with a thicker body than most you’d find. 

I would recommend Texas rigging this bait with a 4/0 hook. What I liked about this packaging is that Lunkerhunt actually provides hooks with the baits! Depending on the cover your targeting, you’ll be able to throw this Texas rig with a ¼ ounce up to a ½ ounce bullet weight. 

Due to the white color of the Salamander, I feel it will do a great job representing a baitfish. I’ll target lay downs, offshore rock piles, and grass lines with it, but the key for me will be to not peg the bullet weight. By not pegging it, you’ll be allowing the bait to glide through the water column and have a ton of action as it chases the weight to the bottom. 

My favorite setup for Texas rigs is a 7’ Medium-Heavy casting rod with a 13 Fishing Concept A2 in 6.8:1 gear ratio spooled with 12-pound fluorocarbon. 

July MONSTERBASS Box | Bait #3: Lunkerhunt Impact Double Colorado Blade Spinnerbait

The third bait I received was the Lunkerhunt Impact Double Colorado Blade Spinnerbait. Mine came in a bluegill or perch color pattern which is perfect for the Northeast!

The double Colorado blades will provide a ton of water movement triggering the bass to strike. I would throw this in a little bit dingier water or stained water where the bass might not get the best look at it, but they’ll be able to track it down using their lateral line. 

Since this is a reaction style bait, I’d recommend throwing it on a 7’ Medium-Heavy rod with a moderate action. The moderate action is key for reaction style baits as it will allow the rod to load when the fish bites instead of pulling it out of their mouth before they’re able to engulf the spinnerbait!

July MONSTERBASS Box | Bait #4: Lunkerhunt Poppin Frog

The Lunkerhunt Poppin Frog is a hollow body bait with a finesse feel to it. It’s incredibly small compared to most hollow body-popping frogs you’d find which is awesome because it will show the bass something different than they are used to seeing.

I would recommend throwing the Poppin Frog when you have some cloud coverage and are fishing near pads or shade lines where those bass are lying in wait, waiting to ambush prey. 

Due to the smaller size of this bait, I plan to tie it to a 30-pound braided line on a Medium or Medium-Heavy rod. You’ll want the rod to have some action to it due to the size of the hooks, this bait isn’t a set the hook and horse em in, you’ll need to slow down and play the fish. 

July MONSTERBASS Box | Bait #5: Lunkerhunt Swim Bentos

The Lunkerhunt Swim Bentos are small profile swimbait. There are tons of ways to rig a swimbait, but this time of year, I’m going to go with a weightless presentation and swim the Swim Bentos right at the water’s surface. 

The tail on the Swim Bentos is going to have a ton of action, so you’ll be able to slow-roll this through the top of the water column above grass or shallow cover. 

I would recommend throwing this on a 10 or 12-pound test with a moderate action rod. The same idea applies from above for reaction baits, you’ll want the rod to load so you can lean into the hookset and make sure the bass has the bait!

July MONSTERBASS Box | Bait #6: Lunkerhunt Yappa Bug

The Lunkerhunt Yappa Bug reminds me of an old school bait I’ve found in my Dad’s tackle box… the Jitterbug. This cupped lip will provide a nice wobble action as you retrieve the bait. 

What sets the Yappa Bug apart is that the cupped lip is made of a flexible material that will allow it to have a different action than the old metal cupped lips on a Jitterbug. It also has a hollow body frog hook instead of treble hooks which will help it glide through the water more efficiently. 

I’d recommend throwing this on a 50-pound braid and a medium-heavy rod like the 13 Fishing Fate V3! I’d throw that heavy line because of the size of the hook shanks on the Yappa Bug. It’s going to take a solid hookset to lock that bait into the roof of a bass’s mouth, but once it’s hooked, it’s probably not coming off!

July MONSTERBASS Box | Bait #7: Lunkerhunt Phantom Spider

The last bait in my July box was the Lunkerhunt Phantom Spider… if you couldn’t tell by the video, I don’t do spiders. With that being said, I’ve seen this bait perform time and time again on social media. 

With incredibly lifelike action in the legs, this bait can be slowly retrieved through the nastiest cover and provide some incredible topwater blowups.

July MONSTERBASS Box | Terminal Tackle: Daiichi Hooks

Last but certainly not least, something an angler will always need, terminal tackle. This month, I received a pack of Daiichi hooks. These offset worm hooks are great for weightless soft plastic presentations or for a Texas rig. 

I prefer to slow down this time of year on those high-pressure days and toss around a weightless senko. I’m going to assume most of you have tried a weightless senko and found success, but if you haven’t, it’s a great way to catch highly pressured bass that might not be reacting to your moving baits.

If you’re looking for a great way to improve your bass fishing arsenal this season, check out the regional subscription boxes from MONSTERBASS. Get baits that will work in your area delivered directly to your door. 

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Log your baits in the ANGLR app to track which baits work best for you in certain water and weather conditions!

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

How to Practice for a Kayak Bass Fishing Tournament

Everyone has their own strategy when it comes to practicing for bass fishing tournaments. But that strategy can change drastically when fishing a kayak bass fishing tournament.

You do not need a full article explanation detailing the differences of a boat versus a kayak. You know that with a kayak, you are restricted in the amount of area you can cover in a certain amount of time. Therefore, there is a stronger emphasis on the importance of your “pre-practice”: your map study, forage research, and what everyone utilizes now… YouTube videos.

Locating Prospective Areas

Let’s say on average you have two full days to practice for a tournament. There is only so much ground that you can cover in a kayak. Plus you still have to take the time to not only discover the quantity and quality of fish in that area but also to understand how they are behaving and what is going to make them bite. Here is a recommendation on how to organize your strategy when practicing for a kayak tournament; keep in mind, this can vary on the person and body of water.

The first order of business is going to be opening the Navionics App or ANGLR app, to begin researching viable ramps and sites that you can launch a kayak at. This is important because if there are 15-miles between 2 different launches, a spot in the middle of the two may be out of reach and which could be a huge waste of time if it turns out to be a ghost town. 

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In your map study, be looking for areas that could have the potential for the time of year that you are fishing. 

Typically, you should try to come up with at least 5 different prospective areas that are within 3 to 4 miles of a launch (This distance can vary on the angler and the mobility of their kayak). Once you have that, you should make a layout of how you are going to run your prospective areas, almost like a tentative schedule.

Determine Your Baits Based on Forage

The next order of business will be researching the forage that lives in that body of water, determining what could play during that time of year, and therefore, rigging up baits that will mimic that forage. Now, that being said, this can change once you arrive at the lake and have seen and discovered a different pattern. 

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However, researching forage is a great starting point to find what the fish might commit to when you hit the water.

Hitting the Water for Practice

Once you have completed your pre-practice and have rigged up your baits, you will head to the lake and begin to run your prospective areas. Now when you are exploring a certain area, stretch, etc., you should be doing a multitude of things. 

Pay close attention to your electronics, paying attention to visual and audible cues, and unless you are strictly graphing, have a moving bait in your hands and cover as much water as you can. Now, this can alter depending on if you are running shallow water versus deeper water. 

In deeper water, you are typically graphing until you find fish and/or structure, then with that you can decide to take a few casts versus with shallow water you will likely be constantly casting and using your eyes to try and find clues.

Nearing the end of your practice day, you should evaluate the clues that you have gathered to try to formulate if you have found a pattern or even just high-quality areas, and if not, what should you be looking for or doing differently. These are important questions because they can help you narrow down what you are looking for, making you more efficient. 

If you have not found anything, it can help you re-focus. Should you have the information you need, you will determine your plan of action, the location site you will launch your kayak, and with that you will hopefully have a successful tournament day!

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If you are following these steps and asking yourself the right questions, it can help you become a better tournament angler and make your practice more efficient!