Lake Guntersville Weekly Fishing Report from Captain Mike Gerry

Guntersville Winter Bass


Fishing Report, Lake Guntersville 4/17/2021


Extremely weird year for Guntersville as we are back below normal temperatures pushing the
fish back out some from their normal patterns. Not all bad as fishing is good the activity has
been great, but the fish have relocated once again as the temperature change always put
them out off the drops as we try to gain stability again in where they are located.


We have stuck to typical plastic baits in most cases fishing Missile Bait 48 stick baits, DBombs, and some traditional lizards off the edges. In most cases the bite requires you to fish
slow bite as always there are fish in many stages and we did catch some fish on Picasso
spinner baits, Picasso chatter baits, and Tight-Line jigs and swim jigs every day.


Come fish with me I have days and guides available to fish with you no one will treat you
better or work harder to see you have a great day on the water. We fish with great sponsor
products Ranger Boats, Dawson Boat Center, Mercury Motors, Boat Logix mounts, Vicious
Fishing, Duckett Fishing, SPRO, Lews Fishing, Power Pole and more.


Fish Lake Guntersville Guide Service
www.fishlakeguntersvilleguideservice.com
www.facebook.com/FishGuntersville
Email: bassguide@comcast.net
Call: 256 759 2270
Capt. Mike Gerry

St Croix Victory Rods and the Koza Family

St. Croix Voices of Victory: Lee Rose and Carter Koza

PARK FALLS, Wisc. – Carter Koza is senior at Mount Paran Christian School in Kennesaw, Georgia. His sister, Lee Rose Koza, is a sophomore at Carson-Newman University in Knoxville, Tennessee. Both siblings have fished competitively for the past several years, and credit their father, Jamie, for their love of fishing and drive to compete.

“My dad fished tournaments ever since he was a little kid, so he got us involved early,” says Carter, adding that their dad also runs a tackle shop. “We were surrounded by fishing all the time. We’d go to school, then to the shop, and the rest of the time we were fishing,” adds Lee Rose, who admits that her decision to fish competitively did not come without challenges.

SEE THE VIDEO HERE

“I really had to get over my fears of jumping into the sport. Carter was already fishing and having success on our high school team, but I didn’t join until my junior year,” Lee Rose says. “It took a lot for me to make that leap of being one of the only girls in high school bass angling in the State of Georgia. But I’m proud and grateful that I did. Putting myself in that boat and fishing in a male-dominated sport turned out to be a great decision and I consider that my first personal fishing victory. My second was when Carter and I fished together and won Angler of the Year in 2019 – our last year fishing together as a team. When we got handed that Angler of the Year trophy for the whole entire State of Georgia, that moment was victorious; it was indescribable.”

Carter agrees, and dives deeper into what it takes to earn consistent success as a tournament angler. “We fish all over the place. Showing up to a new lake at a certain time of year, you’ve got to figure it out. It’s like a puzzle,” he says. “Being able to not only catch fish, but also have a good finish and cash a check in any tournament… that’s victory.”

Carter and Lee Rose have been partners with St. Croix for almost five years now. “Being able to work with a company that stands behind me, not only providing support but treating me like I’m a member of the family is another great victory,” says Carter. “My tournament career is still relatively young, but I know and appreciate how special St. Croix is as a company and am truly grateful to be a part of their team.”

Both Lee Rose and Carter were among the St, Croix pros who had early access to the new Victory Series rods for beta testing and input. “I’m really excited to see where this series goes,” Lee Rose says. “Being college and high school anglers, we are definitely on a budget. We can’t go spend $500 for a single rod, and a lot of other anglers can’t either. Seeing these American-made technique-specific high-performance rods being offered at such an affordable price with a 15-year warranty is a really big deal. For the weekend angler or someone striving to fish the Bassmaster Classic, these rods are attainable for almost anyone and will definitely help give anglers the upper hand on the water.”

St. Croix’s all-new made-in-the-USA Victory Series rods were conceived and designed to deliver bass anglers more victories on the water – no matter how they’re defined. Featuring technique-specific lengths, powers and actions that yield lightweight performance with extreme sensitivity, durability and balance via an all-new SCIII+ material, eight new Victory rods are available right now at select St. Croix dealers and online retailer. Angler-friendly retail prices for these new, American-crafted Victory rods range from $180 to $200.
#stcroixrods #stcroixvoiceofvictoryLike the rods? You’ll love our lifestyle apparel.

Leave Young Wildlife Alone


SEEING YOUNG WILDLIFE ALONE? IF YOU CARE…LEAVE THEM THERE

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (April 5, 2021) – In the spring, it is not unusual to see young wildlife that appear to be alone. Before you attempt to help – remember that it is best to leave wildlife where you find them, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).

“When you take wildlife out of their environment and bring them into your home, it often takes away that animal’s ability to then survive in the wild, where they belong,” explains Kaitlin Goode, program manager of the Georgia WRD Urban Wildlife Program.  “In most instances, there is an adult animal a short distance away – even though you may not be able to see it.  Adult animals, such as deer, spend most of the day away from their young to reduce the risk of a predator finding the young animal.”

The best thing people can do when they see a young animal is to leave it exactly as they found it for at least 24 hours. If the animal is still there after this time period, reach out to the local WRD office for guidance (https://georgiawildlife.com/about/contact).

Young wildlife demand a great deal of care and have specific nutritional requirements. If they are not cared for properly, they will not be releasable or retain the ability to survive on their own. Persons not licensed and trained in wildlife rehabilitation should not attempt to care for wildlife.  In fact, Georgia law prohibits the possession of most wildlife without a permit.

For more information, visit www.georgiawildlife.com and click on “Living With Wildlife” or contact the local Wildlife Resources Division office (https://georgiawildlife.com/about/contact).

Fishing the Potato Creek Bassmasters Club Classic at Lake Wedowee

Last Saturday 16 members of the Potato Creek Bassmasters fished our club classic at Lake Wedowee.  To qualify for the classic, a member must either finish in the top 8 in point standings for the previous year or fish at least eight tournaments of the 12 the club holds.

After nine hours and 15 minutes of casting, we brought 64 keeper fish weighing about 98 pounds to the scales.  Catching keepers at Wedowee is complicated.  All largemouth from 13 to 16 inches long must be released immediately so can not be weighed in.  Spots over 12 inches long are legal.  We had two illegal largemouth brough to the scales.  They were thrown out and a three-pound penalty assessed for each illegal fish.  That hurts!

 There were ten five-fish limits weighed in and two people did not have a limit.  Most folks had a mixture of spots and largemouth in their catch. All fish weighed in were released alive, as required in club rules. Fish not released alive draw a penalty, too, so it pays to take care of your fish.

Mitch Cardell had a great catch of five bass weighing 13.22 pounds for first and a 5.66 pound largemouth for big fish.  Drew Naramore came in second with five weighing 9.67 pounds, Raymond English was third with five at 9.46 pounds, Donnie Willis placed fourth with five weighing 9.33 pounds and Evan Skipper was fifth with five at 8.96 pounds.

I went over on Wednesday and camped at Gold Mine Camp about 15 minutes from the lake.  Gold Mine Camp is an interesting place, you can actually pan for gold and gems there.  The campsites are rustic but there is a bathroom and shower available, a requirement for me.  The lake was off limits for us until Thursday.

I had probably the most frustrating three days fishing in my life.  Thursday I thought I had found a pattern and caught some nice largemouth and spots, but Friday I got only one bite all day.

In the tournament I did not get a bite until 11:00, then caught five small spotted bass weighing just over 5 pounds in the next two hours.  After that I did not get another bite.

I guess I should be thankful. The tornado that did so much damage in Newnan started just a few miles from where I was camped in my slide in pick up camper!

Learning Drop Shot Secrets with James “LJ” Harmon

Nine years ago I met James “LJ” Harmon at Lake Lanier to do a “Map of the Month” article.  Since then I have kept up with him and his fishing at Lanier.  The “LJ” in his name is for “Lanier Jim,” his nickname around the lake.  He lives on the lake in a house back in a cove not far from Browns Bridge.

When I got in his boat for that trip, I was surprised to see he had only two rods out, and both had drop shot rigs on them.  I found out that day how good he is with that rig and his Humminbird electronics.  We caught many big spotted bass that day out of a few of the 1100 brush piles he had marked in his GPS.

LJ not only shares his tips and techniques online, he and his son Cory own Lanier Baits https://lanierbaits.com/ where sells his drop shot “Fruity Worms,“ worms he designed and has special colors just for drop shotting at Lanier. They work!  I use them at Lanier and other lakes. He also sells other tackle there.

One big problem with drop shotting is line twist.  The way the worm hangs on the line almost guarantees line twist each time you reel in.  This past week he showed me a new rig he and his buddy and co-worker “Big Earl” developed.

Rather than tying his hook to the main line as usual, LJ puts a bobber stopper on his line, then the hook followed by a second bobber stopper.  The tiny, clear bobber stoppers he uses does not bother the fish but hold the hook in place. They will slide on the line so you can adjust the length of leader quickly without retying everything. When you set the hook they will slide down to the swivel but LJ says this does not interfere with hooking the fish.

At the end of his main line he ties a tiny, strong swivel, then a short light leader to the other end of it.  The leader is tied to a drop shot sinker with another swivel at the top. The light leader above the lead allows him to break off the sinker when it gets hung without breaking off hook and bait, and the two swivels also help prevent line twist.

He sells the kits with six bobber stoppers, sinker, hook and swivel on his web site.  It seems complicated, but tying a drop shot rig the usual way is just as complicated and this one allows a lot more options without a lot of effort.

LJ showed me this rig before installing a new Humminbird Helix 15 on my boat. As well as selling tackle, he guides on Lanier and installs electronics.  He got me a good deal on this huge new depthfinder and did a very neat install, with all wires covered.

This unit with a 15-inch screen may help show bottom details better to my old eyes. And it may show me fish. LJ tried to show me how to read it, but using the demonstration mode is not like getting on the lake.  He does trips on the water where he will tune up your electronics and teach you how to use them, too. I plan on going with him and doing that soon.

A trip with LJ will keep you entertained, too, if you have a thick skin. The better he knows you the harder he is on you, but he takes as good as he gives so it is in fun!

How To Catch April Crappie on Lake Weiss

Crappie fishermen know they are headed to the right lake when they get near Lake Weiss and start seeing signs proclaiming it is the “Crappie Fishing Capital of the World.” Those signs on the roads leading to Centre, Alabama give you an idea of the importance of crappie fishing in the area.

Lake Weiss on the Georgia/Alabama state line is an Alabama Power lake on the Coosa River. Its vast stump filled flats on the river and in major creeks offer crappie perfect habitat. And the state, local businesses and fishing groups work to make it even better.  Weiss and Logan Martin, the next lake downstream, are the only two lakes in Alabama with a ten inch size limit protecting smaller fish.

The upper Coosa River extends into Georgia but to fish the main lake you will need an Alabama fishing license.  If you are coming in from out of state you can get an annual license online starting at $50.25 with a couple of states a little higher.  A seven day trip license is $28.35 unless you are from Florida.  And you can bring the family and get a family seven day fishing license for $28.35 that is good for you and four immediate family members.

Groups like the Lake Weiss Improvement Association, made up of fishermen, businesses, Alabama Power and the state of Alabama work to improve crappie habitat on the lake by putting out brush piles and insuring size and number limits, 30 per fisherman per day, are observed. They also promote crappie fishing on the lake.

Mark Collins grew up near Weiss and got started fishing the lake for crappie when his parents bought a house on the Weiss when he was young.  He has been guiding full time for crappie, stripers and bass on Weiss for 23 years. He has learned the lake well and knows how to catch crappie year round.

Mark also is a member of the Lake Weiss Improvement Association and helps pick the right locations for the group to put out cane brush piles. The Association also puts on a Crappie Rodeo with tagged fish worth a variety of prizes.  The Rodeo is going on right now until the end of April and you can enter and get a badge from most local fishing businesses.

He is the only guide just about anywhere that guarantees “No fish, no pay.” He will even call clients and postpone trips when the crappie are not biting good. As he says, he wants their money, but wants it more than one time. And it works, most of his clients are repeat business, showing his skill and care for the folks he takes fishing.

When he is not on a guide trip Mark is usually on the water checking conditions and trying to find good schools of fish. He is on the water almost every day of the year. That is what it takes to really keep up with the fish and provide good trips for guide clients.

Right now is a good time to troll for crappie, one of the most efficient ways to catch large numbers of quality fish.  Crappie are suspended over the channels of the river and major feeder arms from October through April and you can find schools of them around baitfish in deeper water.  In the winter there are more fish out on the river but now most of them are headed to the spawning areas.

In late March through April the channels in Little River and Cowan and Spring Creeks are some of the best places to troll.  Near the end of April they will be shallow in those areas and others and Mark catches them “shooting docks,” using his rod like a sling shot to propel the jigs under the docks for fish spawning around them and feeding under them.

He will continue to troll, too, but focus on stump beds in more shallow water. Then as the fish move back toward deeper water trolling works until they get on brush piles and stump beds on the river channel, where it is better to sit over them with tight lines almost straight down under the boat.  That works through the summer until they start suspending again in October and trolling picks up again.

On Weiss you are limited to three poles per angler at one time.  Mark does not troll more than ten lines at one time since that many are plenty to catch a lot of crappie and are much less trouble getting tangled and it is easier to manage them. He will take one to four clients at a time in his center console NauticStar boat equipped with a Minkota IPilot trolling motor.

Using B & M rods of six to 14 feet long allows Mark to cover a wide swath of water while trolling. The longer rods are put in rod holders at the front of the boat with shorter rods toward the back. The shortest rods are used to troll straight behind the boat.

A reel with a smooth drag is important when using light line and Mark likes the Dawai spinning reels for his fishing.  They handle the light line well.

Mark keeps it simple when trolling.  He uses one size Jiffy Jig and varies the color based on water color. In clear water he goes with translucent colors but the more stained water he goes to either darker colors or bright colors like yellows and chartreuse.

Jiffy Jigs are made in Valida, Georgia and you can order them for $6 a dozen from their web site: http://www.jiffyjigs.com/. They make a wide variety of colors and sizes to meet any kind of fishing you prefer.

And he uses six pound Ande monofilament line on all his reels. If he wants his jigs to go deeper he adds a split shot to the jig rather than going to lighter line or heavier jigs. Mark says it is much easier to crimp on a split shot or remove it than to retie all his lines with different size jigs.

Monofilament line has some stretch to it, which is important to keep from tearing the hook out of the fish’s mouth. Crappie are called “papermouths” for a reason. And a long limber rods helps with this, too.

Boat speed is critical and with a good depthfinder and GPS you can control it, or do as Mark does and set his IPilot to maintain the right speed.  Mark likes the user friendly Garmin electronics to find fish and bait and to watch his speed. In late March he is trolling about 10 to 14 feet deep in the feeder streams for fish suspended at that depth over deeper water.

When the water hits a consistent 58 to 60 degrees the fish will move to the shallow stump flats, usually in fairly early April.  Then he puts a cork on is line and slowly trolls water four to eight feet deep where they are holding around stumps.  The cork keeps the jig above the stumps.

Keeping your bait above the stumps keeps you from getting hung, but you have to keep your jigs above the fish no matter how deep they are holding.  Crappie will come up to eat a bait, sometimes several feet when they are real aggressive, but won’t go down to hit. That is why it is important to see the fish and what depth they are holding on  your electronics and keep your bait just above them, as close to just above them as possible.

Mark starts trolling at .8 miles per hour then varies it depending on what the fish tell him.  He will vary the speed from that starting point until he starts catching fish, then stays at that speed.  It is hard to keep a constant speed in the wind without a trolling motor that will hold it or constantly watching your GPS.

Often while trolling for crappie you will hook a big striper, catfish or bass. Unlike many guides that instantly break off those fish to keep them from tangling all the other lines, Mark quickly reels in his other lines so his clients can have the fun of fighting a big fish on light line and rods.  And they usually land them. The only exception is when a big gar eats the jig. They will almost always cut the line with their teeth.

Mark says many people plan a multi-day trip to Weiss and go out with him the first day of the trip to find out where and how deep the fish are holding.  That is a good way to get current conditions and information on the lake. 

Be warned you will have a lot of company trolling for crappie.  It is not unusual for over a dozen boats to be trolling a small section of the river or creek. Many folks don’t go looking for fish, they just look for groups of boats and join them. Be considerate of others when trolling.

On his website below Mark has the GPS coordinate for the brush piles put out by the Weiss Lake Improvement Association.  He makes sure they are put in places the fish already use to enhance those places. There are about 17 in Little River and 20 in Spring and Cowan Creeks. Five local high school fishing teams help put out the brush piles and the state of Alabama and Alabama Power help with expenses. They hold fish from late May through the summer.

Mark will show you exactly how he catches crappie year round or stripers and hybrids mostly in June and July by trolling live shad for them.  You can book a trip with him by visiting his website at http://www.markcollinsguideservice.com or call him at 256-779-3387. He charges $300 per day for an eight hour trip for one or two people and $100 each for an additional one or two people, up to four total. A half day trip is @225 for one or two with each additional angler $100 more.

Mark does not clean fish for his clients but there is a cleaning service at Little River Marina and Resort. Mark goes out from there and they are the only full service marina on the lake. They have rooms for out of town fishermen as well as anything you need for fishing.

Bass fishermen will be excited to know the state of Alabama is stocking Florida strain largemouth in the lake.  If you prefer bass fishing Mark can fill you in on current details on them, too.

If you are a crappie fisherman plan a trip to Weiss in the next few weeks.   Hire Mark to show you exactly how to catch crappie.  You can’t go wrong with a trip to Weiss, after all it is the “Crappie Fishing Capital of the World!”

Protect Your Boat’s Fuel System During Winter Storage


Check out these tips for keeping your boat’s engines gunk-free and ready to go when the weather warms again next spring.
from The Fishing Wire

Serious boaters know that proper care and maintenance of their rigs are the cornerstones of trouble-free boating. Whether you are an avid angler, watersports enthusiast or family cruiser, you want your boat to start up easily, run great and get great fuel efficiency every time you venture out on the water.

Taking care of your boat is even more important when you’re storing it for an extended period of time. This holds true whether you’re storing your rig for the offseason or just not going to be using it for a while.

The first and most important step is to use a high-performance fuel additive to stabilize your fuel and protect the entire fuel system from the build up of gum, varnish and corrosion over time. Techron Marine Fuel System Treatment was scientifically formulated by the fuel experts at Chevron to provide the highest level of protection during extended storage, while also fighting the corrosive effects of the harsh marine environment.

Ethanol Issues
More than 98% of gasoline sold in the United States contains ethanol, which attracts water into your boat’s fuel system. During offseason storage — or any period of infrequent operation — this water accelerates fuel oxidation, the formation of gum and varnish and can lead to corrosion in the fuel system. It left too long, this corrosion, varnish and gum can cause permanent damage to your boat’s fuel system.

Some boaters attempt to prevent this by draining their fuel system in preparation for storage. This is often impractical, and it also wastes money and gasoline. Most importantly, it can actually create problems. Draining the tank exposes the metal components inside to condensation, which may accelerate fuel system corrosion. It can also cause internal components in your fuel system to dry and crack over time, leading to potential hazards and leaks.

In addition, there will usually be some fuel left in the tank after draining, and it will be subject to oxidation. This can create gum and varnish that can restrict fuel injectors, gum up carburetors, and even clog the system badly enough to cause a fuel pump failure.Stabilize A Full Tank
Instead of draining the tank, add Techron Marine to a nearly empty fuel tank and then fill it up nearly to the top with quality gasoline. Leave just a little room for expansion. Then, run the engine for a few minutes to allow the treatment to circulate throughout the system. It only takes one ounce of Techron Marine to treat 10 gallons of fuel, so follow instructions and make sure you are dosing the fuel properly.

Techron Marine has been scientifically engineered to keep fuel fresh for up to 24 months. Head-to-head laboratory tests have shown that Techron is also a top performer when it comes to engine and fuel system cleaning and corrosion protection in the harshest environments — especially in salt water. Because of this, Techron Marine is an ideal additive for use with every fill up, not just during storage. Used regularly, Techron Marine can help keep a boat’s fuel system and engine running clean, strong and at peak efficiency. It works in all types of gasoline-powered boats including two-stroke, four-stroke, carbureted, port- or electronic fuel-injected and direct injected engines.

This versatility to stabilize fuel for extended storage and also protect boat fuel systems all season long contributed to Techron Marine winning a 2019 Top Product Award from leading trade journal 

Boating Industry magazine.
Visit www.TechronClean.com to learn more.

Captain Mack’ Lake Lanier Fishing Report

From Captain Mack Farr

Nice Lanier striper

January in February continued last week,
lots of rain and wind to contend with,
making fishing tough. The long term
forecast calls for moderating weather in the
coming week, and hopefully the fish will
respond accordingly. Add in a full moon on
the 27th and it could make for a very good
bite.

The lake level came up, and many
parts of the lake muddied up as well, but
that will be to your advantage as the new
muddy water moderates. The lake level as
of Friday afternoon was 1069.96, 1.04 feet
below full pool, up .22 feet from last week.
The surface temps went the opposite
direction of the lake level and dropped
slightly to 47 degrees.


Striper Fishing

After a brief glimpse of spring, last week’s
cool down squelched some of the activity in
the backs of the creeks. I think those
patterns will reemerge soon with the
pending weather forecast. The stained water in the rivers and creek backs should warm quickly,
attracting the bait and the gamefish right behind them. Until then, many of the Stripers are still in
the creeks around the bait schools, over a 30 to 70 foot bottom, basically the same patterns/
places we have utilized for several weeks now. Use the mud lines where applicable, the activity
will often be best around the color change is most pronounced. Of course the smaller creeks,
and the coves that did not experience an influx of new water will remain stable and fish in those
areas are probably still hanging around.


A mix of free lines, down lines, and planer boards will still be applicable, and a little weight on
the planers and free lines has been a plus. Keeping a Mini Mack in the spread is also beneficial,
either as a flat line or behind the Perfect Planer. Herring, Trout, Shad and Shiners have all been
productive, and give the Stripers a mix until you see a preference. Don’t rule out using spoons
and dead sticking jigs to catch these deeper fish, both of these techniques should remain viable
methods for a last a couple more weeks.


You will have plenty of stained water areas to fish, and you may be able to use this to your
advantage. This stained water will often warm quickly and the Stripers are not hesitant to
venture into the of colored water. Basically if the bait is there the Stripers will likely be there as
well. I think that the fish in the stained water are often easier to catch, especially with artificials.
Casting a bait to the banks while you are pulling the live baits will often be very productive.
Small jigs, 3/8 1/4 and 1/2 oz, Flukes on a lead head, flukes on a weighted keel hook are also
excellent choices.


Bass Fishing


The Bass bite is still pretty good, the difficulty is dealing with the changing water conditions and
fish movement. There are many patterns producing, and also many baits that are effective. The
deeper patterns I think offer more consistency, particularly after last weeks inconsistent weather.


Look for the pre-spawn bite to ramp up with the improving weather, and the shallow patterns
that really were starting to develop should become reenergized. Fish moving into the creek
backs, up on clay banks and points should respond quickly to the Rock Crawlers and Rapala
DT’s, along with spinnerbaits and jerk baits. Until then, deep brush, rock bluffs, rocky points,
ditches and drains are all likely areas to target. The depth range is also wide, 20 to 40 feet, so
try and narrow that down as your day progresses.

One of last week’s patterns, fishing the creek backs, drains and ditches is still a productive
pattern. The ditches and drains may be the best choice, because they do not get the influx of
new water like the creek channels. The fish on these structures may also be using a big depth
range, but generally moving into the shallow end of that range early, getting deeper as the day
progresses.

Cast green and brown pattern jigs with Hula grubs or twin tails, the smaller Keitechs
on a lead heads, or the worms on a Shakey Head. Super Spoons also remain productive on the
deeper fish, especially in areas where the bait is layered up on the bottom.
Our best bite may arguably be fishing after dark. Lights, both submerged and above water
lights, are holding some good numbers of fish with some big fish, both Largemouths and Spots.
The night bite is not limited to fishing lights, with some fish roaming around points and reef
poles. With improving weather, night fishing may be more appealing, and the full moon may also
benefit this pattern as well. Flukes, small buck tails, and Keitechs on the lead heads are
effective on the lights, as are pitching live Herring. Jerk baits and crank baits are effective on the
points and reef poles. As a bonus, you’ll probably get some Stripers off the lights to help keep
you awake.


Good Fishing!
Capt. Mack

Angling Legends: St. Croix Rods

St. Croix’s flagship family of Legend rods provide pinnacle-performance, unmatched sensitivity, and are handcrafted in the U.S.A.
PARK FALLS, Wisc. (February 19, 2021) – Joe Bucher knows the stuff of which fishing legends are made. The renown multi-species fishing expert from Eagle River, Wisconsin is a National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame Legendary Angler who targets everything from panfish, bass, walleye and muskies in freshwater to redfish, snook and sea trout on the salty side. Host of the Fishing with Joe Bucher shownow in its 31st year, he’s been a St. Croix pro-staffer for over two decades.

It takes years on the water and a willingness to build on experience to excel at this game,” says Bucher, “but you also need to constantly incorporate new information and suggestions from other experts in the field. It takes a lot of problem solving, too, and I’m not just talking about fishing personalities achieving legend status,” he says. “Tackle can be legendary, too.

”Case in point is St. Croix’s evolving Legend family of freshwater and saltwater rods. Any rod containing the Legend moniker is a pinnacle performer in the St. Croix lineup, handcrafted in the USA and incorporating the finest materials, components and technologies available in a St. Croix fishing rod.“These are rods that really live up to their namesake,” says Bucher, referring to St. Croix’s Legend Tournament, Legend Elite, Legend X, Legend Xtreme, Legend Xtreme Inshore, Legend Surf, and Legend Glass series rods – the very Best of the Best Rods on Earth®. “From the second you first lay that grip in your palm and feel the weight spread evenly across your fingertips you just know they’ve been designed to help anglers catch more fish.”
Depending on which Legend you choose, these rods are handcrafted with St. Croix’s proprietary SCIV, SCV and SCVI carbon or St. Croix’s 100% Linear S-Glass to ensure you receive elite-level sensitivity, strength and lightweight performance. Integrated Poly Curve® (IPC®) tooling eliminates all transitional points in the rod blanks for smoother action and even more strength while further improving sensitivity. Advanced Reinforcing Technology™ (ART™) uses an exotic carbon fiber material that adds a further magnitude (10X) of strength with virtually no increase in blank diameter or weight. Use of a Fortified Resin System (FRS) combines a fortified super resin with computer operated curing ovens that provide improved temperature and time management through all stages of the curing cycle, while Taper Enhancement Technology (TET), a process perfected by St. Croix that begins with precision-cut curved-blank patterns made possible by a state-of-the-art computerized pattern cutting machine, also aids in pushing the limits of Legend blanks into the hyper-performance category.

“All that is well and fine,” says Bucher, “but I think the overriding point is that St. Croix uses all this cutting-edge technology while also incorporating suggestions and insights from a top-shelf pro staff that’s on the water daily when it comes to putting their rods together. From using the most sensitive composites and glass in their blanks, to superior guide trains, designing handles that increase the transmission of the bite through the rod blank, to the parabolic curve of each stick, the research, development and willingness to incorporate feedback from the trenches really sharpened the capabilities of each and every Legend series rod.

”The result, believes Bucher, is the most sensitive, powerful, responsive and durable set of top-end fishing rods on the market with seven distinct Legend families to cover a wide range of species and techniques.“If you’re looking to budget your money for a rod or two that will let you feel the slightest strike, fish across the widest set of variables, and cover the greatest range of species and techniques, St. Croix’s Legend rods are where you begin and end your search,” says Bucher.

Although Bucher uses rods from every Legend series, he does have a few favorites. Due to the incredible sensitivity derived from its SCV/SCVI blank, carbon fiber guides and Gen-2 Xtreme-Skin handle, The Legend Xtreme 7’ medium/fast (#XFS70MF) spinning rod is his first choice for any type of finesse fishing, especially lightweight jigging. 
“I’ve caught everything from panfish and bass to seatrout, snook and 30-pound redfish on this Legend Xtreme and companion saltwater Legend Xtreme Inshore model – and it’s never been overmatched,” he states. “The real wow factor with this rod is that you can actually feel fish pick up a jig on a slack line. That alone sets it apart from all others. Just today, I was fishing on a wide-open Florida bay. I was battling the wind and current, and trying to hit my spot lock, when I popped my jig off the bottom. Somehow, I sensed a slight bump in my slack line. A huge, speckled trout had inhaled my jig.

”Of course, Bucher also has a reputation for decking monster muskies, and for that application he says the Legend Tournament Musky Downsizer 7’10” medium/fast (#LMD710MF) entry, which he helped design, can’t be beat. This rod doubles as a lunker bass stick and musky downsizer in his arsenal, allowing him to fish large lures for bigmouths and smaller musky-class lures to absolutely dominate both species.“Pick it up and it feels light like a bass rod,” says Bucher, “but put it to the test with an angry musky and it has surprising power and backbone. This rod offers the perfect combination of length, strength, and that all-important sensitivity. I’ve caught more big muskies on this one rod than most anglers catch in a lifetime.

”The Legend Xtreme series features six freshwater casting and five freshwater spinning models. Legend Xtreme Inshore includes three spinning and one casting model. These apex rods feature SCV & SCVI carbon, IPC, ART, FRS, TET, Daiwa AGS Carbon Fiber Guides, and 2nd Generation Xtreme-Skin Handles.

The broad Legend Tournament Series is an angler favorite. There are Legend Tournament models optimized for almost any basswalleyemusky, and inshore-fishing application. These blanks are crafted from SCIV high-modulus high-strain carbon, feature IPC, ART and FRS technologies and feature both split-grips and full-cork handles, depending on the model and application.

Like Bucher, Stephen Browning of Hot Springs, Arkansas, has a reputation for battling big fish and cashing checks come tourney time. “I don’t know about being a legend,” says the 21-year St. Croix pro staffer, “but I do know if you put me on a river with a St. Croix Legend rod, I’m probably going to take somebody’s money.”The fisheries biologist-turned pro angler isn’t boasting; he has 42 Top 10s in his career, which has netted not only tons of bass, but winnings over $1.4 million.
“St. Croix has really worked hard to incorporate the input of its pro staff in designing each Legend Series rod to give every angler the upper hand. Pick up any model and you can instantly feel it’s designed to catch more fish,” he says.Browning, too, cycles through the entire array of Legend rods each season, but has two clear favorites. One, he says, is the 7’11’ heavy power, moderate-fast Legend X casting rod (XLC711HMF), which he loves for flipping bass in grass. The other is the 6’10” medium power, moderate action Legend Glass (LGS610MM) casting rod, which he often uses for shallow cranking and running square bill plugs just above the grass.
“That Legend X 7’11” is so well balanced, it allows you to flip heavy baits with absolutely no splash,” he explains. “It’s also super-sensitive. With flippin’ and pitchin’, especially on pressured water, you don’t always feel the bite. You just lift your lure slightly and sense a little extra weight. With the Legend X, you can tell instantly if it’s a bass, weed or even a leaf hanging onto your jig. With the length of the rod, you can also move a lot of line, which I find to be a big help when fishing over hydrilla or other weeds in 15- to 20-foot depths – that’s my sweet spot. This rod also has plenty of power, so it’s the real deal when you need to wrestle a big one out of the slop.

”Browning is also proud of the input he had in designing the Legend Glass series. “We worked a year-and-a-half on making that rod,” he reveals. “With most square-bill and crankbait strikes, it’s the rod more than the angler that drives the hook home. You must let the rod load up on the strike before reacting, but you still need enough backbone to finish the job. Like all the Legend rods, it’s also extremely sensitive – amazingly so, considering it’s a glass blank. This 6’10” rod perfectly matches crankbaits with #4 treble hooks.”
It’s easy to miss some of the smaller aspects that go into making a rod so sensitive, notes Browning. On the Legend Glass 6’10”, for example, St. Croix’s 100% linear S-glass laid up with IPC mandrels has a lot to do with transmitting the bite, but so does the selection, number and placement of the Fuji® K-Series tangle-free guides. Most rods in the 6’ to 7’ class, he notes, have maybe seven guides. The Legend Glass has ten plus the rod-tip, spaced closer together.

“Thanks to IPC, Its forgiving taper is perfect, too,” adds Browning. “I was absolutely sold on this rod when a 4.5-pound bigmouth smashed my lure boat-side as I was about to lift it out of the water. A lot of fish are going to rip free of the hook with a strike like that, but with my Legend Glass, I can probably land nine out of ten on those surprise strikes. That’s impressive.”

St. Croix’s Legend X series features freshwater spinning and casting models incorporating hybrid SCV/SCVI carbon blanks, IPC, ART, FRS, and TET. All of these rods feature split-grip handles.Legend Glass models are designed for spinning and casting with reaction baits and feature super premium 100% Linear S-glass, IPC construction and split-grip super-grade cork handles.Bass and walleye expert, Tony Roach, from, Moose Lake, Minnesota, fishes Legend X, Legend Xtreme and Legend Glass rods on a regular basis, targeting anything that bites, from panfish and bass to walleye and pike. His favorite, however, is walleye, a passion the legendary fishing guide inherited from another legendary stick, his uncle Gary – Hall-of-Famer, Gary Roach – “Mr. Walleye” himself.
“I like pitching paddle tails and swimbaits for the ‘eyes,” he says, “and the Legend X 6’8” medium power, extra-fast action casting model (XLC68MXF) is ideal for that application. It’s lightweight and has great transfer from the line to the guides, down the blank and through the handle. It’s absolutely seamless in terms of transmitting the bite. With this rod, I sometimes feel shy walleye inhale my lures on a completely slack line. That rod’s sensitivity is second to none. With the exception of the new Legend Xtreme, nothing else I’ve ever fished can compare.

”Roach points to Legend X’s hybrid SCV/SCVI blanks and Fuji® Torzite® tangle-free guides as two primary reasons for the exceptional sensitivity, but notes these rods also possess amazing power. “When targeting bronzebacks and walleye, we occasionally hook big pike or even a musky from time to time. With the Legend X Series, you are never under-gunned. I make my living guiding anglers on big water. That means dealing with high winds, strong currents and big fish almost every day. When you choose a Legend series rod under those conditions, you’re giving yourself a big advantage. There’s nothing else out there that matches up.”

Rick Miller from Eastman, Wisconsin, is yet another well-known tournament angler on the St. Croix pro squad. With multiple wins on the Mississippi River, he’s a force to be reckoned with wherever he decides to launch.“I’m so impressed with the sensitivity, light weight and strength of Legend rods that I use them exclusively,” says Miller. “I can use them to match any situation, target any species, and present with any technique.”Miller’s favorite Legend rod is a 7’4” heavy power, fast action casting model, which he owns in Legend Xtreme (XFC74HF), Legend X (XLC74HF) and Legend Tournament Bass (LBC74HF) series. He uses them for everything from flipping and pitching to casting frogs and even punching the weeds with weights ranging from ¼- to 1-1/4 ounces.
“I absolutely love these rods,” explains Miller. “I like to keep the size, action and power the same between the different series so I don’t have to make too many adjustments every time I switch lures or methods. I know what this rod does and what it should feel like, and I think that gives me consistency that leads to a significant advantage.“Quite simply, these are the most sensitive rods I’ve ever had in my hands, which makes a big difference when I ‘m bassin’ in heavy cover or tempting walleye in heavy current. In these situations, you’re looking for the slightest tick to indicate a bite. With these Legend rods, I’m confident I’ll feel every little tick –and fishing with confidence is what you need more than anything else to climb to the top of the mountain in the fishing game.”
When it comes to true angling legends, it takes one to know one. Whether they prefer the split-grip handle design of Legend X, full-cork handle of Legend Elite, the unique 2nd-Generation Xtreme-Skin handle and carbon fiber guide train offered by Legend Xtreme, or the vast selection of bass, walleye, musky and inshore models available in the Legend Tournament family, legendary anglers around the world choose and rely on St. Croix Legend series rods.All St. Croix Legend rods are handcrafted in the USA and carry a 15-year transferable warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service for legendary protection of your prized investment. See them all at your local St. Croix dealer.
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Sea Grass Restoration Promises Fishery Improvements


By Mike Naylor, Maryland DNR
from The Fishing Wire

Anglers and boaters have experienced firsthand how the resurgence of SAV beds on the Susquehanna Flats has led to water so clear that the bottom of the bay is often visible 10 feet deep in midsummer.Submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) is increasingly recognized as vital to aquatic ecosystems. Its importance is extolled during retellings of extreme weather events, e.g. how the widespread destruction of SAV following Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972 affected the Chesapeake Bay.

The benefits of healthy underwater grass populations are easily observed: lately, anglers and boaters have experienced firsthand how the resurgence of SAV beds on the Susquehanna Flats has led to water so clear that the bottom of the bay is often visible 10 feet deep in midsummer.

Since the late 1990s, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources has been working with federal, state, and local partners to increase the acreage and diversity of SAV in Maryland’s part of the Chesapeake Bay. The department’s Tidewater Ecosystem Assessment Division has been doing this through direct restoration–planting plants or seeds of native SAV species in areas where they are not currently found.

In the early years, this team’s efforts focused on growing plants in laboratories and schools. Plants were started either by seeds or through cloning, grown for a few months indoors until mature, and eventually planted into the bay. Growing adult plants was expensive, time-consuming, and laborious. Moving adult plants to the water from wherever they had been grown was back-breaking work.

The effort needed help, so starting in 1999 the department partnered with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to grow wild celery in Maryland schools. Students would plant and raise wild celery while doing in-class experiments, then bring their grasses to us and plant them. The “Bay Grasses in Classes” project expanded rapidly. By 2003 the partnership had 330 schools growing grasses and taking thousands of plants to many places through-out the state so the students could wade into the bay to plant them.Biologists and ShoreRivers volunteers collect widgeon grass seeds near the mouth of Eastern Bay.

These efforts resulted in redhead grass beds in the Severn River, sago pondweed beds in the Magothy River, and wild celery beds in Long Creek and in several reservoirs including Piney Run Park and Clopper Lake. Some of those grass beds persist to this day, 20 years after planting. The program was successful, but expensive and time-consuming, and grant funds dwindled.

Bushels of widgeon grass flowering shoots awaiting transport for processing.

To keep restoration going, the department and partners had to find simpler and less expensive techniques. These were found in scientific journals of others doing SAV restoration using seeds. Some groups were collecting the flowering shoots of eelgrass and placing them in floating mesh bags, out of which the seeds would fall when fully developed. Instead of growing plants from seeds across several months, during which they require constant care, the researchers could spend a few days collecting seed-bearing parts of plants, spread them in suitable areas, and walk away to let the seeds fend for themselves. The team adopted these techniques immediately and have been using them ever since.

During this process, the team realized that planting adult plants yielded small restored beds due to the large amount of labor involved in growing and transplanting plants. After planting, managers relied on these restored plants to produce seeds. Gathering and planting seeds directly cut out the middleman. Instead of relying on a small number of plants to make seeds that could be eaten by waterfowl or blown onto shore, the team collected millions of seeds and placed them in appropriate growing areas.

It worked!

Every year, funded by a small grant, a two-person crew from DNR spends a few days with Mike Norman of Anne Arundel Community College planting SAV seeds in late spring, then scouting for and collecting SAV seeds from all over the bay in late summer and fall. In 2020, DNR worked with the Mid-Shore Riverkeepers and the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance to plant seeds in the Sassafras, Miles, Chester, Tred Avon, and Nanticoke rivers.

DNR crews and volunteers collected millions of seeds of redhead grass, widgeon grass, sago pondweed, and wild celery. Working over the summer during the COVID-19 pandemic has been very challenging, with workers driving separately and carefully maintaining social distancing while working within the short window of time during which seeds are viable.

Team of biologists distributing redhead grass seeds in the Wye River, with Wye Island in the background (photo courtesy of ShoreRivers)Recent successful projects have been documented in Kirwan Creek south of Kent Narrows, in the upper Chester River, on Pleasure Island, and on Gibson Island. A roughly equal number of plantings have failed, which is a pretty good track record for in-water restoration work. As with so many things, this restoration work is further evidence that a small group of motivated people can make a big difference for the bay!
dnr.maryland.gov/waters