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!
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Building Your Own Custom Fishing Rod With RODgeeks

Featured Image Credit: Billy Vivona

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

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

What is Custom Fishing Rod Building?

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

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

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What Are the Basic Steps to Build a Rod?

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

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

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

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Why do People Build Rods?

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

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

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

What Are Decorative Wraps?

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

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

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What Other Parts of a Rod Can be Customized?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where Can I Learn to Build Rods?

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

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

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

The Story of Tommy Adams – Battling Syringomyelia Using The Power Of The Outdoors

I was an all-State athlete, fresh out of college with the world at my fingertips. I got married to my beautiful wife, Mary, at age 23 and together brought 4 amazing children into this world. I started a new job, we bought a house, and I started adding all of my “toys”.

My time to break free from the noise to my “getaway” was always with my 1997 Basscat Pantera II. Man could she fly! I loved that boat! It didn’t matter if I was fishing tournaments, out with the friends, or enjoying some of my favorite times, just being alone, fishing, and talking with the Lord.

You see, my life was pretty dang good! Then in the blink of an eye, things in my life went from great to awful overnight…

At age 25, I was injured at work one afternoon on a forklift. The load I picked up off of a semi was too heavy for the lift. The forklift tipped over and slammed me down from about 10 feet in the air. After all was said and done, I sustained a 4mm neck compression, my L1 and L2 vertebrae are herniated and I have arthritis. My L1 and L2 vertebrae are also compressed 3mm, and my tailbone is rotated up and back 16mm.

Pretty crazy right?

But the worst injury I sustained is a tear to my spinal cord at my T5 vertebrae. It turns out, the “tear” is called Syringomyelia. It’s is a pretty rare condition that very few people are struggling with.

To simplify, I basically have a tumor in my spinal cord that is eventually going to paralyze me.

Battling Syringomyelia

It has truly taken its toll on my family and I. The tear was very hard to diagnose. It took three years of doctors appointments, MRI’s, scans, blood tests, multiple trips to the ER, and dozens of scars on my face from falling all the time… it was pretty bad there for a while.

Finally an MRI to the right spot found the issue. During that time, I was forced off my job due to the medications the doctors had me on. We ended up losing our house, my truck, and I was forced to sell the boat, all my fishing and hunting gear, guns, everything I had, just to try to pay some of the medical bills. Every toy and extra thing I had ever worked for and saved up for was gone… I was left with nothing but my family and bad health.

But where most people would sit at home and lick their wounds for the remainder of their life, I decided to make the most of what I have.

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I want to enjoy whatever time I have left! Nobody’s going to tell me how to live my life. If I could be paralyzed at any moment, why try to live in caution and worry? I want to have as much fun as I possibly can! So, I fish and hunt when I am having good days, and I enjoy the memories of those trips on my bad days. Those memories and the good times spent in the outdoors are what keep my passion alive!

You see, a lot of guys are too focused on chasing that 10+ pound bass, or that Boon and Crocket buck, but I think they are missing out on the point of it all! That hook set keeps me coming back, it doesn’t matter if it’s a giant, or a baby, I love that feeling!

It’s the same feeling I get when a flock of ducks are locked and coming in, or a 10 point comes crashing out in front of the blind, it’s an amazing feeling to get to experience the outdoors for what it is!

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That’s why I thank God for this gift everyday. You may think I’m crazy… How can I have this condition, lose everything I have, live my life barely making ends meet, and call this a gift?

With that accident, even though it has taken the expensive toys and cool objects away from me, it has allowed me to truly know the love of my family. That’s the important piece. It has allowed me to truly see what is important in life.

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The love of an amazing woman, and spending quality time with my kids… those things are so much more precious than the objects in life anyway.  

I know that I won’t lose this passion for hunting and fishing, no matter my health. I know I will continue to go out into the outdoors because that’s my getaway, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

With true love for the great outdoors, 
Tommy Adams~