Category Archives: Fishing Tackle

Rods and reels to live bait

Time To Throw Sticks at Bambi in Georgia

It’s time to throw sticks at Bambi! Archery season for deer opens Saturday, September 11 at thirty minutes before sunrise. Be sure to wear tick repellant – it is still hot and lots of ticks are very active.

Like everything else, archery equipment has come a long way in my lifetime. I got my first bow, a 40-pound straight limb bow, in 1963. At 40 pounds, it was barely legal for hunting. I practiced with it a lot and got where I thought I could hit a deer – at a maximum of about 20 yards!

Hours were spent honing two or three blade broadheads with a file. I found the two blade heads did not fly like my practice points, they seemed to
“plane” in the air, but three blade ones were better, and easier to sharpen to me. And they were on heavy fiberglass shafts, lowering my range with the weak bow.

I broke stings often. They tended to wear out at then nocks after a short time. No matter how much I waxed them and took care of them, it seemed they did not last long.

I carried that bow hunting two or three times and shot at one doe as it ran by my stand, but never hit one.

In 1965 I stepped up to a 50-pound recurve bow and aluminum arrows. I practiced a lot and got decent with it out to about 30 yards. Then I bought pin sights, a bar with five adjustable pins for different ranges. With them I got to be a more consistent shot and felt comfortable out to about 45 yards.

I hunted a good bit with that bow but was not very good at picking stands or staying still. I shot one deer with that bow, a doe that walked directly under my stand in 1970 and I hit her between the shoulders. She ran off and I waited as long as I could to track her before dark.

There was a good blood trail for about 50 yards through thick brush, then a big pool of blood with the top half my arrow lying in it. But no deer. And no matter how many times I circled, even on my hands and knees, I never found a drop of blood leading away from the pool where she laid down.

I guess I probably followed too quickly, but I cannot believe a deer bled that much and was able to run off. I looked till dark then went back the next morning at daylight but never found a sign of her. I was hunting on a public hunting area near Athens and there were a lot of others in the woods, so I have always wondered.

When I moved to Griffin in 1972 I continued to practice but didn’t hunt much, especially after I got started fishing in the Sportsman Club. I got too fanatical about fishing and hunted just enough to keep two or three deer in the freezer to eat.

Also, I started to have shoulder problems. Every time I shot my recurve my right shoulder would pinch and ache. Compound bows were common by then but I never got one since it hurt to pull the sting back.

I found out I could get a letter from my doctor and get a permit to hunt with a crossbow. They were not legal back then for the general population but if you had a handicap that kept you from shooting a regular bow you could get a special permit.

I applied and got one, then bought an 80-pound crossbow from Berry’s Sporting Goods. After putting a 4X power BB gun scope on it, I could put every bolt in a six-inch circle out to 60 yards, almost as accurate as my .30-.30! But I never hunted with it.

Compound bows look nothing like my old straight limb bow with their cam wheels and steel cables. And they are much more powerful Before compounds, a 50 to 60-pound bow was about all anyone could hold back and be accurate. Now pull weights of 70 pounds are not uncommon, since you hold back about one tenth of the draw weight, only seven to ten pounds.

Bow sights are amazing now, too. You can get all kinds of lighted sights and look through a peephole on the string almost like lining up rear and front sights on a rifle. And some sights even automatically adjust to distance, a critical component of hitting a deer with an arrow!

And crossbows are even compound now. Broadheads come in a bewildering assortment, from the old two blade ones to ones that open on impact, and some have removable razor blades so you don’t have to sharpen them.

I have not been able to shoot my rifle the last three years since I have a port in my right shoulder from chemotherapy treatments. I got out my crossbow last year and practiced with it and can still hit a target consistently.

Since baiting it now legal, I could easily get within 20 yards of a deer and shoot it with my crossbow. But I have horrible memories of that blood pool and no deer from 1970 and just can not make myself go with a crossbow.

Fortunately, several friends have shot deer for me the past three years, keeping my freezer full of good meat to eat. I better contact them for this season soon!

Joel Nelson’s Favorite Summer Jigs and Rigs

JOEL NELSON’S FAVORITE SUMMER JIGS AND RIGS will help you catch fish
from The Fishing Wire

JUNE 22, 20211

CAtch big bluegill on jigs


Part of being an effective angler is putting together a pattern. Knowing a bit about a specific species, its seasonal movements, and biology throughout the year. It also helps to have some locational information on where they like to spend their time. Rocks, weeds, mid-depths to shallow shoals, all can be fishy during certain months. That said, presentation, as-in the types of baits we put in those places and how, can really make a difference throughout all seasons. That classic Fish + Location + Presentation = Success formula that the Lindner’s devised those decades ago is still the basis for putting together a great day on the way.

Here are some jigs and rigs that have proven themselves to me again and again, year over year forgetting me bit during the summer calendar period.

Panfish Jigs

Thumper Crappie King Jig – It’s really a crappie go-to during the summer for trolling. I can pull tube jigs and they work well. So do your average curly-tail or boot-tail plastics. The Crappie Thumper King adds some vibration and shine to the presentation that really draws crappies
when jig-trolling. It’s like a finesse crankbait of sorts that fish just love.
Impulse Bloodworm – If you fish gills, call this a standard in your tackle box. In shallow, pitch it on a tight line as it swings down and gets popped by hungry fish. Out deeper, use it with a slip bobber to put it right on big bluegills’ doorstep. That could be an inside turn on a weedline or just off a shelf where they suspend.

Walleye/Bass Jigs

Fireball Jig – Probably the #1 selling jig of all time, this is just a staple again. For fishing vertically with livebait, I’ll pair a 1/16 oz. or 1/8 oz. fireball with a leech below a bobber. Or I’ll use heavy ones to bomb the depths on big water like Lake of the Woods or Winnie. Find fish on electronics and drop these on them, it can really be that simple for most of the summer.
Deep Vee Jig – This jig design could be one of the more revolutionary adaptations I’ve seen in some time. For a river guy, these baits track true when you’re dragging, and are setup for livebait and plastics both with the wire keeper. On lakes and reservoirs, they’re an incredible jig for pitching plastics. The keel keeps them running well, and great hooks paired with big eyes and hard paint make them a quality jig that will last.
Mimic Minnow Limber Leech – My boys came back from the river a few weeks ago with some trout they caught exclusively on limber leeches, adding to the already growing list of species we’ve caught on these baits. Everything eats a leech and especially on river systems, this is a very life-like and effective mimic.
Mimic Minnow Critter Craw – For bass, both smallies and largemouth alike, I’m always happy to throw this bait. Especially in rocky environments, I like how it works across the bottom without getting hung up and have had fish in river systems and lakes alike really select for these things. Like leeches, crayfish are just such a large food source for so many fish species, and this is a great imitation.
Mimic Minnow Shad – Few baits are as throw and go as these. For my kids, it’s been nice to have them tie something on that’ll attract a variety of fish and do so well in so many conditions. That versatility makes them extremely popular and at times, hard to find on store shelves so I like to stock up when I find the colors and sizes I like.

Rigs

Butterfly Blades – It’s hard to beat a butterfly blade in all of its configurations to trick moderate to neutral fish into eating. The Wingnut and standard varieties, with a smattering of crawlers on Super Death hooks, or simple leeches on a single hook are all good multiple looks to offer fish on finicky days. I love how I can really drop the boat speed and just hover over fish with these, as
the blades spin at speeds even slower than 0.5mph. What’s surprising to most people is that I pull these for panfish too. I use the smallest sizes with a chunk of crawler to catch mega gills and cover water near weed beds. That also tends to yield walleyes in the right lakes, and definitely plenty of bass. If you simply want to put a bend in the rod, these are great rigs to do it with.

Baitfish Series Spinner Rigs – There are times often in clear water where fish are more selective on color, yet still want the thump of a traditional metal blade. It’s on waters like Mille Lacs, Winnie, and Lake of the Woods that I’ll pull larger blades in the Baitfish series to put out some vibration, while allowing finesse color presentation both. These are very lifelike blades, and when imitating perch (firetiger, gold perch) or during a bug hatch (gold shiner, clown), I feel like I can dial in their preferences really well. Even in extremely clear water and on a down bite, these spinners coax fish.

Camping and Fishing West Point and Bartletts Ferry

I arrived on Tuesday and set up camp, then got up Wednesday morning and drove 30 minutes to West Point Lake to practice for the Potato Creek Saturday tournament. I found some bushes with a Mayfly hatch and caught a four pounder on a buzzbait in the shade of them, so I thought I had found something.

I marked some more Mayfly bushes and some deep-water places that looked good the rest of that day. I went back on Thursday and found some more, so I felt pretty good about catching fish in the tournament.

On Friday I put in at Bartletts Ferry to check things out there for the Sportsman Club Sunday tournament. It was a week early due to Father’s Day this weekend. The limb I shook the Sunday before and released a cloud of Mayflies was still full of them. When I shook the same limb they flew around me so thick I had to breathe thought my nose to keep from eating one!

That gave me hope since I had caught a four pounder there in the Flint River tournament. I spent a few hours looking for more bushes full of Mayflies and found many, and marked some good looking cover on points before a thunderstorm ran me off the lake at 2:00.

Last Saturday 24 members of the Potato Creek Bassmasters fished our June tournament at West Point. After nine hours of casting, we brought 68 keeper bass weighing about 118 pounds to the scales. There were ten five-bass limits and three people did not weigh in a fish.

Caleb Delay won big with five weighing 14.15 pounds and his 4.82 pound largemouth was big fish. Edward Folker was second with five at 9.92 pounds, Kwong Yu was third with five weighing 9.90 pounds and Mitchell Cardell came in fourth with five at 8.77 pounds.

My practice didn’t really help me. I landed one on a buzzbait near a Mayfly hatch, one on a Carolina Rig on an old roadbed I found and one on a whacky rigged Senko that hit near some Mayflies. I did lose two nice two-pound fish that I got right to the boat and they just pulled off, one on a shaky head worm and one on a jig and pig.

At Bartletts Ferry Sunday ten members of the Spalding County Sportsman Club fished our June tournament. After nine hot hours in our boats, we brough 30 keepers weighing about 39 pounds to the scales. There were two five fish limits and one person didn’t weigh in a fish.

Jay Gerson had a limit weighing 10.51 pounds for first and his 4.14 pound largemouth was big fish. Raymond English had five weighing 7.02 pounds for second, my three weighing 6.02 pounds was third and Glenn Anderson had four weighing 6.09 pounds for fourth. He actually beat me but he had a dead fish that cost him a .2 pound penalty.

Practice didn’t really help here, either. I did catch one keeper on a buzzbait on the same seawall where I caught one the week before, and caught my biggest fish, a 3.48 pounder that hit a weightless Trick worm on another seawall. My third fish came out of some deep brush where I had caught one the weekend before, and my partner Chris Davies got two keepers there and another one off a dock.

Z-MAN® TURBO FATTYZ™: BEAST MODE FOR BIG BASS

Z-Man® Turbo FattyZ™: Beast Mode for Big Bass
from The Fishing Wire

New fropm ZMan


Ladson, SC – Pro Z-Man angler Miles “Sonar” Burghoff is stoked to break out his hottest bass trick. For months, the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit angler has been tinkering with a hot bait under the radar, conceiving cool ways to catch bass. The bait’s good, no doubt. Different in all the ways that matter, too. The ‘trick’ dangling from Burghoff’s rod tip, however, seems to have put some crazy ideas in his head. As in, saying he’s actually excited to hit up those places where parades of other lures have already chopped the shallow water salad into mixed greens.

You’d assume even an ace like Burghoff would dread rehashing used water. Instead, the friendly professional angler relishes these scenarios— and it’s all because he’s seen what can happen when he shows his new soft swimming worm to the local largemouth population.

“You can go in right after other anglers’ have tossed bladed jigs and traditional surface baits and really clean house,” exclaims Burghoff, with a nod to Z-Man’s new Turbo FattyZ. “This is a softbait that can go places where wire baits and other lures can’t, such as the thickest matted grass. Or, I can pitch and skip the Turbo FattyZ way up beneath overhangs and docks and pull big bites. On the surface, the bait’s buoyant paddletail spits and sputters water. And when you kill it, the worm has this killer waggling action as it slowly flutters.”

As Burghoff will tell you, though, working shallow grass merely skims the surface of the versatile new bait’s talents. But first, a few details . . .

Weighing in with its robust, yet extra soft swim-worm physique, the 6-inch Turbo FattyZ hangs like a substantial bass chunk at the end of your line. The softbait’s stout, segmented torso transitions to a razor-thin, high-action posterior. Propelled by an intelligently-conceived convex paddle tail, the bait hums along with a pulsing, gliding action on a slow to moderate retrieve. The entire tail section is speckled with micro-protrusions for an appetizing appearance and texture. Providing near-neutral buoyancy, a dosage of 15-percent impregnated salt also increases density for easy casts, even when fished unweighted.

“For several years, I searched for a high-performance swimming worm, but just couldn’t find one that clicked,” recalls Burghoff. “I wanted something with extra bulk and weight; a bait with some natural, neutral buoyancy that could be fished a bunch of different ways. So I was really stoked when my friends at Z-Man listened to my wishes, and helped me design the Turbo FattyZ.”

Burghoff’s essential presentation with the bait— a surface and near-surface swimming worm— employs a lightly weighted 3/16-ounce EWG or 1/6-ounce, 4/0 ChinlockZ SWS™ hook, Texas rigged. “Love the way this worm spits and sputters on the surface. Slides right over and through the thickest pads and matted grass. Pause it in pockets and let its tail slowly waggle as the whole worm glides and entices bites. Throw this bait in any of Florida’s big bass lakes or a ton of other shallow cover, big fish situations. You’ll be a happy angler. The Turbo FattyZ is just a really sweet bait for working shallow cover, especially areas that’ve been worked hard by other lures.”

Moving from surface swimmer to other bass apps, Burghoff now calls the Turbo FattyZ his “go-to swim jig trailer.”

“I’ll trim an inch or two off the bait’s head and thread it onto a CrossEyeZ™ Snakehead Swim Jig. The subtle profile and refined tail-kicking action of the Turbo FattyZ especially shine in slower-retrieve swim jig situations. When a faster swim jig retrieve and more thump and action is needed, such as in dirtier water, I’ll switch to the double tailed GOAT™, which displaces even more water.”

Highlighting a trifecta of presentations, Burghoff says the Turbo FattyZ on a Carolina rig remains one of his aces in the hole. “Put the Turbo FattyZ on a 4/0 or 5/0 EWG hook and you’ve got perhaps the ultimate Carolina rig bait for covering water and getting bit,” he explains. “Go with a ¾-ounce tungsten bullet weight and work right over those hard bottom structures—shell beds, patches of smaller rock and gravel. You’ll find those zones all over the Great Lakes, as well as southern lakes like Eufaula and TVA impoundments. So many good places with amazing Carolina rig potential—and almost no one throws it these days.”

Burghoff continues: “The Turbo FattyZ is the perfect complement to a heavy Carolina sinker. You get a great read on bottom composition. And you’re putting a confidence bait down there in front of the bass—an almost neutrally buoyant soft worm that swims and thumps as you drag it behind the sinker. On the pause the bait flutters seductively and then almost hovers in place.

“Every time I cast the Turbo FattyZ on a Carolina or any other rig, it makes me want to keep this little trick to myself,” Burghoff laughs.

To grab your own packs of Turbo FattyZ, check your local fishing tackle stores or online retailers beginning in August. Crafted at Z-Man’s South Carolina headquarters, the Z-Man 6-inch Turbo FattyZ features 10X Tough ElaZtech® for extreme softness and durability. The new swimming worm comes in eight pro-selected colors. MSRP $5.99 per 5-pack. For more information, visit www.zmanfishing.com.

GEORGIA DNR EXPLAINS LAKE “TURNOVER”

from The Fishing Wire

“Lake turnover” is a term that is often used incorrectly to describe one period of the annual cycle of lake stratification (layering), which affects the water quality of Southeastern reservoirs. Throughout the year at Georgia’s latitudes and elevations, reservoirs go through a fairly predictable annual cycle. I will address the annual cycle of Lake Lanier and its impact on water quality downstream in the Chattahoochee River. In general this pattern is similar through the Carolinas, Tennessee and most other reservoirs that do not freeze, or are not in tropical climates. Sunlight, air and water temperatures and the density of water at different temperatures drive this annual cycle.

During the cold winter months Lake Lanier’s water is generally the same temperature from the top to the bottom. The lake’s water is cold (around 45–50 degrees F) and clear. Water on the top and bottom of the reservoir has similar densities. Wind action on the surface water rolls the lake and surface water mixes with the bottom water. The exposure that all of the lake water has to the surface allows the lake to have plenty of oxygen from top to bottom. In winter, water temperature and oxygen concentration do not limit fish movement in the lake. Lake water, which is released from the bottom of the lake into the Chattahoochee River below the dam, is cold, oxygenated and clear.

State Record Brown Trout
State Record Brown Trout (20 lb, 14 oz),
caught on Chattahoochee River (7/27/14)

During spring and early summer the lake begins to gain heat and stratify into three somewhat distinct layers: the surface layer called the epilimnion, a bottom layer called the hypolimnion, and a layer between the two called the metalimnion or, as anglers know it, the thermocline, which is how I will refer to it as well.

During the warm months, high air temperatures and more sunlight heat the lake surface faster than the lake can mix. The warm water, which is less dense, floats to the surface and becomes the epilimnion. This warm layer is fairly uniform in temperature and varies from 15 to 30 feet thick throughout the summer. It is full of oxygen from wind action and from oxygen production by microscopic algae, called phytoplankton, via photosynthesis.

The hypolimnion, the cold (45–55 degrees F) bottom layer, becomes isolated and no longer mixes with the warm, oxygenated epilimnion. Oxygen is not produced in the hypolimnion, because this cold, deep layer does not receive sunlight and is devoid of phytoplankton production. Early in the lake stratification process the hypolimnion still contains some oxygen and fish movement is not restricted, but dissolved oxygen levels decline through summer as biological and chemical processes consume oxygen. That is, oxygen is used up in the decomposition of organic matter (nutrients). The amount of nutrients entering the lake from its watershed is called nutrient loading. Water released into the Chattahoochee River from the dam comes from this deep-water zone. Native river species could not adjust to the changed conditions created by Buford Dam, but the cold river water, once re-oxygenated by running over shoals, was a great new habitat for trout.

Between the epilimnion and hypolimnion layers is a layer of rapid temperature change (at least 2 degrees F per yard), called the thermocline. The thermocline, usually 20 to 30 feet thick, does not mix with the surface layer and has little sunlight reaching it. Therefore, oxygen production in the thermocline begins to decline after the lake stratifies.

By summer’s end, the lake is strongly stratified. The epilimnion is warm; it receives sunlight and has plenty of oxygen. Water temperature and oxygen concentrations within the thermocline are both lower, but still often provide acceptable habitat for cool water fish species like stripers and walleye.

In the hypolimnion (deeper than 60 feet), the water is stagnant, cold, and low in oxygen (less than 3 parts per million or ppm). Fish cannot survive in this deepest layer when dissolved oxygen drops much below 3 ppm. As the oxygen concentrations get low, some metals and sulfides in the lake sediments become soluble. These dissolve in the water and are passed downstream as water leaves Lake Lanier and enters the river. This is first noticeable in late September or early October, when these metals and sulfides give the river water its distinctive fall colors and a rotten egg smell. Although these are stressors for the river fish, low oxygen concentrations and high metal and sulfide concentrations are very rarely associated with fish mortality in the river. The river water becomes re-aerated quickly as it flows downstream, and fish in the river avoid water with low dissolved oxygen by finding seeps, springs or feeder streams that have higher dissolved oxygen and lower metal and sulfide concentrations. However, trout fishing in the river near the dam suffers in the fall, because of these water quality conditions.

Prior to the 1980s, oxygen concentrations (greater than 5 ppm) and temperatures in the thermocline of Lake Lanier, a young reservoir at that time, were adequate to allow trout to survive. Since then, organic matter entering the lake has increased, and the oxygen needs of trout can no longer be met. There just isn’t enough oxygen to keep trout alive through this critical summer period. Today striped bass still find enough oxygen and adequate cool water habitat in the lake’s thermocline to survive the summer; however, they can be stressed by low oxygen conditions (2–4 ppm).

In the fall, as air temperatures drop, the lake begins to lose heat, and the process of de-stratification begins. The warm water of the epilimnion cools and becomes deeper and denser. It still has lots of oxygen. As the epilimnions density approaches the density of the hypolimnion, mixing of the layers can take place. When this happens the stratification is broken and the bottom water mixes with the surface water, and the lake is no longer stratified. This event is called “Lake Turnover, and generally occurs around Christmas each year. After the mixing there are no layers, and the entire lake will have high oxygen concentrations. Within a few days after lake turnover, the dissolved metals become insoluble and settle to the bottom. This leaves the lake water clear from the top to bottom, and the river water clears as well. Metals that have settled on the river bottom are eventually washed downstream by the daily generations.

With the warming of spring, the stratification process will repeat itself, and the plankton, fish, and other aquatic wildlife will react to these changes in their habitat.

Berkley Pros Will Give Free Seminars at the Bassmasters Classic – and You Can Get Free Line!!

Berkley Pros to Compete and Give Seminars at the Academy Sports + Outdoors 2021 Bassmaster Classic and Bassmaster Outdoors Expo

COLUMBIA, S.C. (June 7, 2021) –– As the bass fishing world turns its attention to the Academy Sports + Outdoors 2021 Bassmaster Classic, professional bass fishing fans attending the events can expect to see Berkley pros on and off the water. Nine Berkley pros will compete for the Classic title with additional Berkley pros conducting seminars throughout the three-day run of the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo. 

Berkley fans who attend the event can cheer on fan-favorite competitors including defending Bassmaster Classic champion Hank Cherry as well as childhood friends John Cox and Keith Carson as they compete for the $300,000 purse on Lake Ray Roberts. Additional Berkley pros competing in the event include Brandon Cobb, Shane LeHew, Bryan New, Luke Palmer, Matt Robertson and Hunter Shryock.

Prior to each day’s Classic weigh in, fans will be able to attend seminars inside the Berkley booth inside the Outdoors Expo conducted by Hank Parker, Jordan Lee and many others, as well as get insights from Berkley scientists who will break down the fish-catching science behind Berkley baits. 

Attendees who purchase reels or rod-and-reel combos at the Classic Outdoors Expo can visit the Berkley booth to have those reels spooled for free with leading Berkley monofilament, fluorocarbon or braided line (limit three reels and 1,000 yards max). 

To learn more about Berkley products and the company’s legacy for research and innovation, go to https://www.berkley-fishing.com/

About Pure Fishing

Pure Fishing, Inc. is a leading global provider of fishing tackle, lures, rods and reels with a portfolio ofbrands that includes Abu Garcia®, All Star®, Berkley®, Fenwick®, Fin-Nor®, Frabill®, Greys®, Hardy®, Hodgman®, Johnson®, JRC®, Mitchell®, Penn®, Pflueger®, Plano®, Sebile®, Shakespeare®, SpiderWire®, Stren®, Ugly Stik®, and Van Staal®.

Top 5 Saltwater Shrimp and Jerkbaits


Own these and you are outfitted for every region, condition, and inshore species that swims
from The Fishing Wire

Open the lid of any saltwater tackle box and you are certain to see a menagerie of shapes, sizes, and colors that is more dynamic than a confectionary (for all you kids, that means a candy shop). You might have to rub off some rust to appreciate the brilliant rainbow of colors, but trust it’s there.To more fully grasp the eye-popping selection of available colors and schemes, sans rust, meander down the aisles of any well-stocked tackle shop. The Willy Wonka sights can easily overwhelm the senses; making actual selections can turn into an exercise in extended head-scratching. So, to simplify shopping, we’ve amassed a Top-5 list of inshore saltwater shrimp lures and jerkbaits with input from some of saltwater fishing’s brightest minds.

SHRIMP BAITS

Every legitimate saltwater fishery in the world is home to one or more species of shrimp. And the better news? Every gamefish worth its salt preys on this ubiquitous forage. Moreover, shrimp imitations are simple to fish.The only thing better than the perfectly shaped shrimp softbait is one that’s internally weighted and adjustable. Z-Man’s anatomically accurate 3-1/2” Rigged EZ ShrimpZ bears an internal, notched ¼-ounce weight that can be pinched off all the way down to 1/8 ounce. The weight is ideally keeled, too, yielding a level drop and upright posture when it rests on the bottom. Genius.

More about its physique… The durable ElaZtech® Rigged EZ ShrimpZ features a segmented body, giving it lifelike looks and a natural action. Its thin, short appendages proffer a realistic quivering movement and improved wind resistance for increased castability.Made in the USA, the Rigged EZ ShrimpZ contains a 2/0 Mustad® hook and come in ready-to-fish two packs. Replacement bodies are also available.Operation is simple: cast it out and work the bait back with short snaps, letting it freefall to the bottom, or near bottom, between pops. Certainly, alter retrieval speed and aggressiveness of the snaps based on fish responses. Sometimes, all you need to do is slowly drag it across the bottom. If you’re dogged about realism, squeeze Pro-Cure Super Gel in the pack and let the baits baste in the savory concoction.

Z-Man’s Rigged EZ ShrimpZ is the perfect companion to a popping cork, too, often outfishing real shrimp – and without the worry of bait tearing away on the cast or pops. Pesky pinfish and other small marauders can’t dismember it, either. And being available in a multitude of colors, you can broker change, matching indigenous shrimp or tendering eye-catching colors in stained water.

VETARGET Fleeing Shrimp
Along with the aforementioned, LIVETARGET’s Fleeing Shrimp is the only other shrimp imitation you’ll ever need. It’s the most anatomically and visually precise shrimp bait ever designed. In fact, the Fleeing Shrimp won the prestigious Best New Saltwater Lure at ICAST in 2018, as voted on by the industry.The LIVETARGET Fleeing Shrimp seamlessly combines a biologically precise shrimp profile and anatomy, a dynamic color palette, biomimetic action and robust saltwater components to synthesize a soft lure that uniquely replicates the appearance, action, sound, and even the scent of a living shrimp. 

The action-packed LIVETARGET Fleeing Shrimp is, at its heart, a soft lure, but one that uniquely replicates a natural shrimp’s appearance. A portion of this biomimetic perfection stems from having a body size and shape that accurately recalls a living shrimp, bristling with three-dimensional anatomical features including tail and thorax segmentation, eyes, antennae, and more. A custom-designed jighead sporting an extra-strong corrosion-resistant hook blends seamlessly with the Fleeing Shrimp’s soft body, accentuating the lure’s ultra-natural profile. A broad spectrum of eight color patterns completes the visual deception.

The LIVETARGET Fleeing Shrimp truly comes to life when the angler imparts action, either popping it along the bottom or swimming it beneath the surface. The Fleeing Shrimp’s proprietary skirt masterfully emulates a living shrimp’s front legs, both in motion and at rest. When the shrimp is “fleeing” in a natural, backwards direction, the skirt folds together like the front legs of a living shrimp. When the shrimp comes to rest on the bottom, it stands perfectly upright with the head tipped slightly upward, while the skirt material fans outward and gently flows up and down, creating a subtle, lifelike action that will entice a bite and not spook wary fish.

Artistry meets engineering in the LIVETARGET Fleeing Shrimp. This standard in shrimp lures comes in two lengths and weights (2-3/4” and ¼ oz, or 3-1/2” and 3/8 oz) and eight ultra-realistic color patterns. And if you need to downsize weight, take the included extra body and rig it with a lighter Z-Man Trout Eye™ or longer shanked Redfish Eye™ jighead.

HARDBODY JERKBAITS

Yo-Zuri Crystal 3D Minnow
There’s no shortage of retailer peg-hooks draped with Yo-Zuri hardbody jerkbaits, and for good reason – they are deadly. The Yo-Zuri Crystal 3D Minnow, specifically, is a perennial saltwater fish catcher.

The lure’s patented and proprietary Internal 3D Prism Finish reflects all subsurface light, even in the murkiest water. The results of the dynamic flash will be evidenced by the fish chilling in your ice box. Accentuating the visual bursts, the Crystal 3D Minnow’s erratic side-to-side swimming action drives fish off the deep end.

The Crystal 3D Minnow attracts sonically as well with its internal rattle ball sound system. Saltwater-grade tin hooks, durable ABS resin body and stainless-steel split-rings complete the masterfully designed baitfish imitator.

Fishing one is simple as well. Cast and twitch, experimenting with pause times and forcefulness. Oftentimes, twitches mutate into hooksets, as inshore species regularly smash the bait while it’s stationary or just pulling away.Available in 14 unique patterns, there is a Yo-Zuri Crystal 3D Minnow to match your fishing situation, water clarity and targeted species.

Daiwa Salt Pro Minnow
Shallow does not necessarily mean fishing small. Inshore predators like redfish, snook, and seatrout eat big stuff, especially during the summer months when juvenile bait like mullet are developing into young adults.

In said situations, nothing begs to be bitten like Daiwa’s Salt Pro Minnow. Another effective hardbody jerkbait, the popular Salt Pro Minnow was engineered for versatility and casting great distances, which is a must in clear water. An internal weight-transfer system propels the lure amazing distances and cuts inshore winds to the quick. This, while heavy-duty saltwater hooks promote longevity and fight rust.Cosmetically, its realistic scale pattern and 3D eyes dare fish to prove it is not real. To that, the Salt Pro Minnow is available in a whopping 32 color patterns, catering to anything the ocean desires.The suggested 5-1/8” size dives to just three feet, making it fully functionable in most inshore situations. Twitch and pause, like any run-of-the-mill jerkbait, but expect improved results. Fish love to hate this thing.

Rapala X-Rap Salter
Rapala’s greater X-Rap® series is synonymous with success… the Suspending X-Rap® Saltwater, specifically, when saltwater species are involved. Categorized as a Slashbait® for its vigorous, darting action, the lure’s locomotion is unique to hardbody jerkbaits. And the fish notice.Visually speaking, the iconoclastic lure features prominent scales, a legit lateral line, internal holographic foil for optimum flash, textured translucent body and 3D holographic eyes. Aggregated, these traits present a realism that fish want to get to know better.Promoting tape-measure casts, the Suspending X-Rap Saltwater jerkbait houses a long-cast mechanism that flat-out works. VMC® Perma Steel® Hooks finalize the package.

And like all Rapala premium baits, every X-Rap Saltwater jerkbait is hand tuned and tank tested, so don’t be thrown off by any water droplet residue on the packaging. It means Rapala cares.Rapala’s X-Rap Saltwater is available in four sizes and a dozen surefire colors.If you’re looking for top-producing saltwater shrimp and hardbody jerkbaits, don’t be the kid in the candy store.

Take our advice and stock up the top 5… and be ready for a fight.

Fishing License Sales On the Rise as Manufacturers Adjust to New Climate


(Editor’s Note: Today’s feature comes from Joe Sills at our companion publication, Fishing Tackle Retailer.)
By Joe SillsFishing Tackle Retailer
from The Fishing Wire

In Minnesota, fishing license sales are up 45% on the year. In Vermont, fishing license sales rise have climbed 62%. In South Carolina, sales of resident freshwater licenses have risen by about 20%. And in Kansas, license sales are up about 15%—all since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. And though some tackle stores remain closed across the country, one message seems to be ringing loud and clear from coast to coast: people are fishing.

Washington State was an early epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in America, shouldering 841 deaths to date. Much of the state was closed to outdoor recreation in March, and April fishing license sales were down an estimated 70 to 80%; however, after Gov. Jay Inslee announced a partial reopening of activities including fishing on April 27, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife reported $300,000 of license sales in a single day, according to the Chinook Observer.

“Outdoor activity is up across the board,” says Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Chief of Outreach and Communications Jennifer Wisniewski. “Before COVID-19, people would go out to eat, go to the mall, to kids ballgames and pro ballgames, you name it. All of those things aren’t happening, and what else is there to do? Those who own a boat and are off work or working from home have more time to get to the lake. Of course, we are really encouraging people to get out and discover or rediscover hunting and fishing.”Wisniewski adds that fishing license sales in the Volunteer State are also up over last year’s figures, though nonresident sales have decreased. In total, Tennessee has sold 697,418 hunting and fishing licenses this year—an increase of more than 100,000 from 2019. According to Wisniewski, the state agency does not know if sales figures are due to increased participation or the result of people getting back into outdoor sports after Tennessee’s shelter-in-place orders expired on May 1.

Impact on Tackle Sales
Gary Harsel runs Live Bait Vending, a Pennsylvania-based business that builds vending machines for tackle stores meant to be filled with live bait. While many tackle stores around the country remain closed, Harsel says they are looking to his machines to provide new anglers with bait while their doors are locked.“It’s almost embarrassing to say this with what is going on,” says Harsel. “Right now, we are the busiest that we have been in 22 years. Why? Because in a lot of places you’re allowed to go to Lowe’s or Walmart, but not a bait shop. In order to sell their product, people are buying our vending machines. It is sad to be busy because of this. I really hope it is over soon, but we will take it.”Harsel says that his machines—which generate an average of $300 to $400 per weekend for retailers—have been one of the few sources of income for some stores, and his numbers back that up. Live Bait Vending sold more machines in April than it did in all of 2019. Three times, Harsel has had to order new machines from his Des Moines, Iowa manufacturing facility. “My biggest customer has 76 machines, and he told me that he’s never had a better opener,” he adds.

American Made and Stimulus Supplied
In Park Falls, Wisconsin, St. Croix Rods Director of Marketing Jesse Simpkins says his company has seen an uptick in sales in recent weeks. “We are not sure that is due to stimulus checks or more people being focused on U.S.-built products, but we have indeed seen a nice increase,” Simpkins tells. “We have seen more questions about which series are produced here in Park Falls in the past two or three weeks than almost any other question.”

Bullet Weights CEO Joe Crumrine says terminal tackle sales to distributors are up. “I believe there are more people going fishing right now than in years past, based on the orders we are receiving,” adds Crumrine. “We are seeing most of our customers ordering more than forecasted.

”On March 26, Z-Man became one of the first manufacturers to halt operations for employee safety as COVID-19 began to sweep the nation. President Daniel Nussbaum says Z-Man began reopening with a five-person skeleton crew in late April and has now brought all of its employees back online in staggered shifts. “We’re requiring face masks, cleaning work surfaces and common areas at two hour intervals, and enforcing social distancing.” he says.

“It’s a lot of work, but probably the new normal for a while.”According to Nussbaum, sales tapered off quickly six weeks ago; however, he says the situation has improved weekly. “We’re pretty much swamped right now. A big part of that is that we got behind while running a skeleton crew, but for the most part, people seem to be using this downtime to get on the water and fish. The weather has been great this spring in most parts of the country, and many of our distributors, dealers and sales reps report that business has been great.”Like many manufacturers, Z-Man is facing supply chain disruptions domestically and abroad. However, Nussbaum now has reason to remain optimistic about the season.

The apparel category was hit particularly hard by COVID-19. AFTCO CEO Casey Shedd says the story of one of the nation’s most popular apparel brands is a tale of two worlds. “The wholesale business has not rebounded yet on our end,” explains Shedd. “It experienced very dramatic declines in March and April as retailers understandably pulled back. So far, in May we have seen a slowing of the wholesale decline, but we aren’t yet to what I’d call recovery. We do a lot of business with apparel-only stores in more densely populated areas, and many of those stores are starting to open up just this week. Some are still not open.”Shedd contrasts his wholesale business with a success story from the online side.

“Our own web business and the web business of many of our customers has remained strong throughout the period. Unlike many other clothing companies, we didn’t rely on AFTCO.com in-season discounts to accomplish that. This helped our accounts sell product through their own websites, as they didn’t need to compete with us.”Shedd says his customers have specifically cited stimulus checks as a reason for purchases, recounting one California resident—a hospitality worker that hadn’t had time to fish in years—that used his check to purchase soft plastics, a new rod-and-reel combo and an AFTCO performance shirt.

For retailers, increased demand at a time when their brick and mortar space largely sits empty presents a unique challenge. Those who can are adapting to curbside pickup and delivery service. Others are relying on machines like Harsel’s to stem the bleeding. And soon, many will be among the first guinea pigs for relaxed social distancing restrictions that will allow customers back into their aisles.

Boat Trailer Steps

Boat trailer steps from James Hewitt

James installed these on my boat last Sunday after our West Point tournment for $250! You can get some from him at 706-668-3459 cell or 770-854-8713 home.

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.