Category Archives: Fishing Tackle

Rods and reels to live bait

Green Bay Whitefish with the Right Baits

Stirring Up Green Bay Whitefish

Heading out on Green Bay soon? Anchor a Slider Rig with a No. 3 Rapala Jigging Rap, dress your “cheater hook” with half a Mustache Worm and hang on, says in-demand Door County guide and ICE FORCE Pro JJ Malvitz.

“The whitefish bite has been amazing,” he says. “And the cool thing about whitefish is that they’re really easy to catch and you can catch a lot of them.”

There’s more to whitefish angling than just quantity though, Malvitz notes – the fish provide a quality fight as well, especially in the deep water in which they’re often found in Green Bay this time of year.

“You’re catching them in super-deep water – 50 to 100 feet – so you get a lot of time on the rod to really play them out,” Malvitz says. “Any time you can prolong a fish on the end of your line, it maximizes the fun factor. It provides a lot of action, so it’s really good for kids and people who have not ice-fished much before.”

Also, whitefish are delicious.

“They are great table fare,” Malvitz says. He likes them deep-fried, pan-fried and says “you can’t beat smoked whitefish.”

A good keeper whitefish is anything 16 inches long or better, Malvitz says – “you can really get a really good filet off of them.” A whitefish big enough to brag about a bit will be 21-plus inches, about 4 to 5 pounds. “That’s a really good one,” he says. Most you’ll catch on Green Bay will weigh around 1 ½ to 2 pounds. The bigger ones taste better smoked, he says. Wisconsin’s daily limit is 10 whitefish.

“We just started in the first weekend in January to be able to get on this bite safely – to get to that offshore structure where we catch whitefish,” Malvitz says. “We’ve been catching limits from the get-go.”

Slider Rig
Finding whitefish can often be the hardest part of catching them. Once you find a group of fish, though, getting them to bite a Slider Rig is usually pretty easy.

“It’s really kind of a neat little rig,” Malvitz says. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Malvitz’ Slider Rigs comprise a main line of 6-pound-test Sufix 832 Advanced Superline, a six-foot tip line of 6-pound-test Sufix Invisiline 100% Fluorocarbon, a 12- to 16-inch leader of the same Sufix fluoro and four pieces of tackle:

• A heavy, bottom-pounding anchor bait like a No. 3 Jigging Rap or 1/8th oz. VMC Rattle Spoon. Black-gold, silver-black and Firetiger color patterns have all been “producing pretty good,” Malvitz says.

• A small VMC swivel

• A No. 6 VMC Octopus hook

• A brown Trigger X Mustache Worm with one of the arms pulled off. (The brown color is named “Natural”

Here’s how the rig all comes together:

• Use a double-uni knot to connect the main line and the six-foot section of fluoro

• Thread the Octopus hook onto the fluoro, point up, then tie the swivel to the end of the fluoro. Some people call this section of the rig the “cheater hook or slider hook” Malvitz says. (Note: Don’t tie on the hook – after threading it on the line, just let it slide around, free)

• To the other end of the swivel, tie the leader.

• Tie the Jigging Rap or Rattle Spoon at the end of the leader

• Nose-hook the center bulb of the half Mustache Worm on the cheater hook

Fish the rig by dropping it to the bottom, banging the anchor bait around a bit and then lifting it all up. Repeat until you get bit. “Sometimes they’ll pin the Jigging Rap on the bottom and we’ll catch ’em on that, but 75 to 90 percent of our fish come on that top, slider hook,” Malvitz says.

More times than not, you won’t feel your bites. “It’s not a detection bite like when you’re walleye or bluegill fishing, where you’ll feel the fish smoke your lure,” Malvitz explains. “You’ll be lifting upward and all of a sudden, the weight of the fish is just there.”

Steep and Deep
As safe ice allows, Malvitz targets steep drops from 15 to 25 feet of water to 40 to 90 feet. “You want steep breaks with an edge that has some structure. The fish will hold on those breaks. They’ll be running all over those edges.”

Because whitefish are in the salmon and trout family, productive areas will have current as well. “They really relate to current,” Malvitz says. You’ll know you found adequate current when your line very obviously drifts to the edge of your hole.

Unlike some other freshwater fish, whitefish can survive trips to the surface from very deep water, Malvitz says. “They have the ability to ‘burp’ themselves,” he explains. “Sometimes, when you’re reeling up, you’ll have this surge of bubbles come up through your hole. That’s the fish purging its air bladder. They don’t puke up their air bladder like perch out of deep water.”

See Rapala® Jigging Rap

See Trigger X® Mustache Worm

Frog Tog Rainsuits Have Failed Me Three Times

  If rainy days and Mondays always get you down like they do “The Carpenters,” last weekend and the first of this week was definitely a low time.  Some folks let rain stop their outdoor activities, which means fewer people on the lakes while I am fishing!

    I am not crazy about camping in the rain, even though I have a nice slide-in pickup camper now.  But it is small and not really comfortable for sitting around inside. I carry a screen room with me to sit in outside and it is good until it really pours.

    Grilling is a challenge in the rain but it’s possible, especially if you are fast and have a covered grill. The key is keeping your charcoal dry in the bag and keep the rain off it until you light it.

    There are lots of little tricks to make camping in the rain better. From something as simple as keeping some rice in your saltshaker so it won’t clog to having a good rainsuit make a big difference.

    Rainsuits come in a wide variety of costs and quality, from those that keep you nice and dry to those that are about as effective as a screen door. 

Years ago, when they first came out, I got a set of “Frog Togs,” a new brand of rainsuit.   I loved it – for about a year. 

It was lightweight and kept me completely dry. Then on a trip to Clarks Hill I put it on, got in the boat in the rain and every bit of my clothing was soaked within minutes.

I figured the set was old so I got a new set, and got soaked the first time I wore it.  That’s when I went and bought an expensive set of Columbia light-weight rain gear. I have a set of heavy Cabellas Guide Wear that is great in the winter but too hot to wear unless it’s cold.

A couple months ago I was at Eufaula to do an article and realized I left my rainsuit at home. Since rain was predicted, I went to Walmart to get something. The only thing they had that seemed reasonable was a set of Frog Togs, so I bought them.

I didn’t need them until last Saturday at Wedowee. I put the pants on before we took off since the boat was wet. When it started raining an hour or so later, I put the jacket on.

Almost as soon as I sat down I felt rain leaking around the crotch seams on the Frog Togs. Within an hour or so of light rain, there was not a dry thread anywhere on my body.

I will get a used laundry bag for a rainsuit before I ever buy Frog Togs again.

St Croix Rods Official Sponsors of Bassmasters Opens

St. Croix Announced as Title Sponsor of 2022 Bassmaster Opens Series
PARK FALLS, WISC. – B.A.S.S. officials announced in October the slate for the 2022 Bassmaster Opens Series, with nine tournaments in three divisions covering nine states as the pathway to some of the most-coveted invitations in all of professional bass fishing. Today, B.A.S.S. and St. Croix Rods, handcrafters of the Best Rods on Earth® for nearly 75 years, are pleased to announce St. Croix’s title sponsorship of the 2022 Bassmaster Opens Series. In addition to St. Croix’s title sponsorship, the St. Croix Rods Rewards Program will award an extra $1,000 to an angler who wins a St. Croix Bassmaster Opens tournament fishing St. Croix rods, or $500 to the highest-finishing top-10 angler fishing St. Croix rods.

Review of St Croix Rods.

The 2022 St. Croix Bassmaster Opens Series will return to a regular schedule this season with the first tournament, a Southern Division event, set for February 3-5 on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in Kissimmee, Florida. From there, the Opens will wind through Tennessee, South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, New York, and Maryland.“The Opens have always been a critical proving ground for tournament anglers,” says Hank Weldon, tournament director for the Bassmaster Opens. “Current Bassmaster Elite anglers and St. Croix pro-staffers like Caleb Kuphall, Bob Downey, and Pat Schlapper have all leveraged their success in the Opens to ascend to bass-fishing’s biggest stages, the Bassmaster Elite Series and the Bassmaster Classic. This year, the St. Croix Bassmaster Opens combine Elite invitations, Classic spots and a ton of coverage for new anglers on FOX Sports and the B.A.S.S. platforms. All of that has led to record-breaking registration numbers as anglers try to get one of the 225 boater spots for each 2022 event. We’re thrilled to welcome St. Croix – America’s premier, family-owned rod company – onboard this year as our title sponsor to help us spotlight the future stars of our sport. The competition is going to be fierce.”
Bob Downey of Hudson, Wisconsin began fishing Junior B.A.S.S. Nation tournaments as a teenager. “I remember watching KVD win the 2001 Bassmaster Classic on the Louisiana Delta when I was 14,” he recalls. “That sparked my interest in wanting to try and do the same thing someday.” After experiencing success at the junior level, Bob attended the University of Iowa, where he continued his tournament angling. Downey signed on to fish the Bassmaster Central Opens in 2019, claiming a check in all four events and qualifying for the 2020 Bassmaster Classic by winning the final event of the season at Grand Lake, Oklahoma. He also qualified for the Elite Series by finishing fifth in the 2019 AOY standings. Downey has fished the Bassmaster Elite Series for the past two seasons. “Bassmaster – and specifically the Bassmaster Opens – provided the platform for me to get to where I’m at today,” he says.
The same is true for St. Croix pro, Pat Schlapper of Eleva, Wisconsin. Schlapper left a stable career to fish full time in 2019, signing up to fish the 2020 Bassmaster Eastern Opens, and also qualified for the 2021 Classic by virtue of his 2020 TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation National Championship win. Schlapper’s performances on both tournament trails double qualified him for the 2021 Bassmaster Elites.
Caleb Kuphall, a recent addition to the St. Croix pro staff, is another angler who’s made a lot of waves in Bassmaster events the past three years. Of the 23 Bassmaster events the Mukwonago, Wisconsin angler has entered, he’s had four top 10s and finished in the money 22 times. He spent just one season fishing the Opens in 2019, when he won the 2019 Central Open at Lewis Smith Lake to qualify for the 2020 Bassmaster Classic and finished second in the Central division points race, earning a spot on the Elite Series. Earlier this year, in just his second year fishing the Elites, he won the Bassmaster Elite tournament at Lake Guntersville.

St. Croix exists to give every angler the upper hand, and that philosophy extends well beyond simply providing them with the Best Rods on Earth®,” says St. Croix Vice President of Marketing, Jesse Simpkins. “We couldn’t be more pleased to extend our support to the St. Croix Bassmaster Opens Series, which provides hope and opportunity for so many talented and aspiring tournament anglers. It’s a chance to prove to themselves that they can compete with the very best and a realistic pathway they can follow – applying their skills along the way – that can quickly ascend them to the ultimate levels of bass-fishing competition. Caleb, Bob, Pat and others on our own staff here at St. Croix have proven that, as have dozens of other talented and driven anglers.”The winners of all nine 2022 Opens will earn a berth into the 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk, provided they have fished all three events in the division where their win occurred.

Follow all of the action of the 2022 St. Croix Bassmaster Opens Series at https://www.bassmaster.com/bass-pro-shops-bassmaster-opens.

The History of Sawfish In the US

By Tonya Wiley
from The Fishing Wire

Their odd appearance and awesome size made them a prized catch for recreational fishermen. Their unique elongated, blade-like snouts, studded with teeth on both sides, were often kept as trophies. Net fishermen on the other hand considered them a nuisance because of the damage they would cause to their gear.Two species of sawfish were once found in the U.S.: the largetooth sawfish, Pristis pristis, and the smalltooth sawfish, Pristis pectinata. The largetooth sawfish was found throughout the Gulf of Mexico but was more common in western Gulf waters of Texas and Mexico. The smalltooth sawfish ranged from Texas to North Carolina and was most plentiful in the eastern Gulf waters of Florida. Both sawfish species were considered “abundant” and “common” in the early 1900’s.

Numerous postcards, photographs, and newspaper articles from that era bear the scene of fishermen hauling in countless sawfish to boats, docks, and beaches across the country.

Unfortunately, the largetooth sawfish has not been seen in the United States since the last confirmed record in 1961 in Texas. The smalltooth sawfish has fared better and still remains in U.S. waters, though at greatly reduced numbers and geographic range. Today the smalltooth sawfish is found predominately in southwest Florida, notably including Everglades National Park (ENP). The vast expanse of natural habitat within ENP, and limited fishing pressure, likely served as a refuge for sawfish as the population was under constant pressure.

What happened to these grand fish? What caused them to vanish from much of our coastal waters? The decline was due to a combination of three primary factors: (1) overfishing, (2) low reproductive potential, and (3) habitat loss.

Fishing mortality contributed significantly to the decline of sawfish in the U.S. Many sawfish caught recreationally were landed and displayed for photographs. Others were killed as anglers removed their saws for trophies. Commercial fishermen killed sawfish to save their gear, not wanting to cut their valuable nets to remove captured sawfish. And sawfish were over-exploited for a variety of other reasons. Their meat was used for food, their skin for leather, and their liver oil used in lamps and as a source of vitamin A. Their fins are valued for shark fin soup, their rostral teeth used as artificial spurs in cock-fighting, their cartilage ground-up for traditional medicines, and their saws sold as curios and ceremonial weapons.

The reproductive strategy of sawfish doesn’t help them withstand these threats. Sawfish bear live young, take many years to reach sexual maturity, and produce very few offspring per reproductive cycle. This doesn’t allow sawfish to replenish the population very quickly. This was especially problematic historically as they were being removed far more quickly than they were able to reproduce. And it’s why now it is crucial to keep fishing mortality low in order to recover this endangered species.

Born at about 2 feet in length, juvenile sawfish rely on very shallow, coastal and estuarine waters close to shore for ample food and safety from predators, such as sharks, during the first years of their life. However, these shallow coastal waters are the same areas that have been converted to waterfront development. Now much of the natural shoreline vegetation has been developed into seawalls, beaches, marinas, roads, canals, and docks. Therefore, the natural vegetation and shallow habitats previously used by sawfish as important protective nursery areas have been greatly reduced in quantity and all but eliminated in some areas.

Due to the dramatic decline of the sawfish populations the smalltooth sawfish was classified as Endangered in 2003, making it the first fully marine fish and first elasmobranch (sharks, skates, and rays) protected by the Endangered Species Act. The largetooth sawfish was listed as Endangered in 2011. Will sawfish in the United States recover?

Unfortunately, the largetooth sawfish is probably locally extinct and gone for good from U.S. waters. The smalltooth sawfish just might make a comeback; the population is already showing promising signs following protective measures.

One of the best methods of monitoring the population as it recovers is the use of public sawfish encounters. If you catch or see a sawfish take a quick photograph of it, estimate its size, note your location, and share the information with scientists. The details of your sightings or catches help to track recovery progress. You can share your information by calling 1-844-4-SAWFISH (1-844-472-9347) or emailing sawfish@myfwc.com. Information about historic catches or the location of any old sawfish saws is also appreciated.

Remember, due to their protected status it is illegal to target, harm, harass, or handle sawfish in any way. While it is technically illegal to catch a sawfish (except with a research permit or in a fishery where incidental take has been authorized) captures do occur while fishing for other species. Any sawfish caught while fishing must be released as quickly as possible. The number one rule to remember when handling and releasing a sawfish is to leave it in the water at all times. Do not lift it out of the water on to your boat or a pier, and do not drag it on shore.

Information on smalltooth sawfish recovery planning can be found at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/smalltooth-sawfishTonya Wiley, President
Tonya@havenworth.org
941-201-2685
www.havenworth.org

Tax-deductible donations to help us continue our mission to promote the sustainable use and conservation of marine resources through research, outreach, and education can be made at https://www.oceanfdn.org/donate/havenworth-coastal-conservation

Georgia Fishing Opportunities

There are many Georgia fishing opportunities

While working on an article for Georgia Sportsman Magazine I found what I consider interesting information about our state. If you live in Georgia you have incredible fishing opportunities, more than I ever expected to find.

    Game fish are those the state places size and creel limits on to make sure they are not overfished.  Bass, bream, trout, some species of catfish, crappie and others are freshwater game fish in Georgia. Rough fish are those considered less than desirable so no limits are needed to protect them. Some rough fish in Georgia include carp, some catfish, gar, suckers, and many others. All those are just in freshwater, there are many more in salt water.

    In our state you can fish for ten freshwater game fish, 21 saltwater game fish and dozens of rough fish without creel limits. The Georgia DNR says there are about 325 species of freshwater fish and even more saltwater fish.  Your choices are huge. You could target a different species of fish every day of the year and never repeat yourself during the year.

Where can you fish in Georgia? There are ten Public Fishing Areas, 21 rivers, 32 reservoirs, 147 Wildlife Management Areas, many with ponds and creeks open to you, and countless streams, creeks and branches for freshwater fishing.  There are so many bays, rivers and creeks on the coast you can get lost forever.  You could fish a different body of water every day of the year and never fish the same place twice.

You can do like me and concentrate on bass. That way I don’t get too confused. But if you wanted to you could try to catch every freshwater game fish or every saltwater game fish. And you can stick with big lakes or find many hidden gems to fish all by yourself.

Tips for Finding Fall Crappie


Tips for locating and catching crappies in the waning weeks of autumn

By David A. Brown
from The Fishing Wire

Fall is feeding time for predators of every flavor, and crappies are in full-on gorging mode; keenly aware of winter’s lurking. Knowing this, Seaguar and Raymarine pro Troy Peterson knows that finding the food means finding crappies. The fish are mostly suspended this time of year, but dialing in the likely bait-holding areas helps him narrow the search.

“We have a pretty big river system with the Wolf River (Wisconsin) and all the minnows, shiners and other baitfish are up in the rivers, scattered amid the timber, in some of the deep holes and behind dock posts,” Peterson said. “So we’re basically driving up and down the river, looking for giant schools of baitfish. They’re typically in the wood, whether it be brush or dock posts and the crappie are typically right behind them.”

Beyond the river scenario, Peterson says he employs a similar strategy for crappie on lakes where crappie will be pursuing pods of baitfish that are making a seasonal movement out of the weed beds. Expanding in size, these baitfish will be holding over deeper flats. Raymarine and Seaguar pro Troy Peterson “It’s more of an afternoon bite,” Peterson says. “We’re just using the Raymarine DownVision to look for weed edges, brushpiles and cribs (artificial habitat features comprising a rectangular log frame dressed with brush and other accents). Crappies like to sit over wooded structure, making it easier to drive across lakes and reservoirs and make a grid to find out which cribs the fish are sitting on.”

As Peterson explains, local fishing clubs build these cribs to provide habitat in otherwise barren areas of the lakes. Typically weighted with cinder blocks, these fish attractors are dropped beyond the zone of natural cover. On many northern waters, a permit is required to introduce habitat, like cribs and brushpiles. Opposingly, on southern lakes and reservoirs, ardent anglers sink their own structure, refreshing productive brushpiles, as they erode over time. (There’s an Arkansas guide who has over 2,000 brushpiles marked on a single reservoir!)   Oftentimes, all you need is a bucket of minnows to clean up on fall crappies.

TECH TACTICS

With Raymarine Axiom Pro 12 and 9 units on his dash and an Axiom Pro 9 on the bow, Peterson lauds the crisp clarity of traditional 2D sonar and DownVision images. From a simple time-management perspective, this amazingly sharp detail allows him to immediately recognize what he’s seeing and respond accordingly. “Raymarine’s signals are so clear that when you get fish suspending over deep water, you can almost count the minnows in the bait school versus a giant blob or who knows what.” Peterson says. Also, Raymarine’s interaction with Navionics SonarLogging and SonarChart Live takes scouting to a new level. Particularly critical on previously unmapped waters, the ability to record and store what he graphs proves invaluable for open water pursuits, as well as ice fishing. “This allows me to grid out a lake and create my own maps,” Peterson says.

“I can find the deepest holes or the basin, I can find the sharp breaks, I can use SideVision to find and mark the cribs.” Peterson runs a Raymarine Axiom Pro 12 on the dash and Axiom Pro 9 on the bow. Marking weed edges, wood piles and rock structures before first ice provides key perspective that guides his decisions while he’s standing on the lake. Again, it’s time management, born of understanding.

“When we’re ice fishing, we don’t have the ability to scan, we have to just go and drill holes and you have to be right on top of spots,” Peterson said. “That’s the beauty of using the SonarChart Live feature.” For optimal imaging, Peterson offers these tips: “I’ve found that on certain types of water, you need to play with the settings a little more,” he says. “If you have murky water or really clear water, settings are a big deal. I’ll play with the contrast a lot to try and identify the types of species that are mixed in with the bait. “We have walleye, pike and bass mixed in with these bait pods. Once you get good at it, you can determine the actual species of fish by the soundings you’re getting. Darkening up the contrast and increasing the gain a little bit will give you better definition.”

TARGET ACQUIRED

Once Peterson locates the crappie-friendly structure, he takes a simple, yet undeniably effective approach to tempting the fish. Inspired by old-school cane poling, Peterson equips uses a telescoping 14- to 16-foot pole rigged with 8- to 10-pound Seaguar AbrazX fluorocarbon to deploy a minnow on a No. 2 long shank Tru-Turn hook with a 1/4-ounce weight, all under a slip bobber. “On the river system, crappies tuck behind brushpiles and vertical structure like dock posts and stumps, staying out of the current and just sucking in anything that gets eddied back into where they’re hiding.

“There’s nothing more effective than cane poling and dropping your bait directly on top of them without worrying about casting to them or feeding the line back. You want to get your bait as close to that vertical structure because eddies suck whatever they’re eating to the back side of that structure.” As Peterson explains, the 1/4-ounce weight serves as an escort for his bait. Precision placement is the key ingredient, so he wants to know exactly where each bait goes. “I want it to drop perfectly straight down; I don’t want any whip or resistance in that line,” Peterson says. “I want to be able to suck that bait as tight to the structure as I can, especially when I’m fishing really thick brushpiles. When I see a pocket on the screen, it’s really important to drop down in there quickly and get the fish out.”

Now, if Peterson’s fishing more around docks in the river system, he switches to a tube or a craw tube presentation. Skipping or flipping works and he’ll match his jig head size to water flow. “When the current is strong, you want to get your bait down there, so we may use a 1/16- or a 1/8-ounce head,” Peterson said. “But in average current, a 1/32- to 1/16 is what I use.”

Successful southern reservoir crappie masters will mark a brushpile, throw a marker, quickly back off, and make long casts with light jigs. 1/16th ounce is a standard, shifting up with winds and down with a still surface. One particularly effective combination is a Z-Man Finesse ShroomZ jighead with a Z-Man ElaZtech Finesse ShadZ or Trick ShotZ. The inherent buoyancy of ElaZtech slows the fall, while the material’s durability stands up to fish after fish. If you prefer hardbaits, LIVETARGET’s lipless Golden Shiner Rattlebait is a proven crappie slayer. Cast over the brushpile, let the bait sink a couple seconds, and retrieve straight back to the boat. (A new, smaller Golden Shiner Rattlebait will be available soon, too.)

Crappies don’t leave the lakes, rivers and reservoirs in late fall. In fact, if you locate fish, there’ll likely be throngs of them. Look for wood structures on the edges of current and brushpiles positioned on points and breaks, and feed them live minnows, finesse jigs and miniature rattlebaits. You’ll be glad you did…

Alternative Ned Rigs

____________________________

By Ted Pilgrim
from The Fishing Wire

Alternative Ned Rigs elevate your finesse game


The legendary Ned Kehde isn’t likely to utter the phrase that’s made him famous; the term for the rig that’s forever transformed the bass fishing landscape. Actually, the chances of Kehde going third-person like some Prima donna wide receiver are roughly the same as his odds of playing in the NFL. That’s just Ned being Ned: the fact the humble Hall of Fame angler would rather credit those other fathers of finesse—Chuck Woods, Guido Hibdon, Harold Ensley, etc.—than acknowledge his own momentous role in bass fishing’s backstory.


Such modesty can be misinterpreted, but in Kehde’s case simply underscores the exceptional skill with which he practices the method known more broadly as ‘Midwest Finesse.’ Friend and former NASCAR driver Terry Bevins says, “Ned’s one of the best finesse anglers in the country. Put him in the back of the boat with one of his finesse jigs, and he’s likely to whoop your butt.”

To hear Kehde tell it, the bass-catching power of his “little jig” is so great there’s simply no reason to change it. “In years past, we’ve experimented with just about every new rigging refinement you can think of.” notes Kehde. “In the shallow impoundments we fish, none have been so fruitful as an exposed-hook, mushroom-style jig dressed with half a ZinkerZ or other finesse worm. Day after day, season after season, it inveigles dozens and dozens and dozens of bass.”

The Ned-Miki

The ‘Ned-Miki Rig’ has scored big bags of largemouth, spotted and striped bass for pro angler and guide, Joey Nania

Interestingly, the same simple motivation to catch more bass has inspired anglers across America to create unique and individualized versions of the Ned Rig framework—both in retrieve and the way they fasten a finesse bait to a hook.Longtime Ned Rig fan Joey Nania, professional angler and Alabama based fishing guide, has devised a couple key mods to the presentation. Recently, he’s guided clients to loads of spotted, largemouth and striped bass, wielding a concoction he calls the Ned-Miki Rig.

“As bass fans know, the Damiki Rig has been a money presentation for enticing shad-focused bass suspended in 15 to 30 feet,” says Nania. “But you need a really well-balanced, 90-degree jighead and a compact shad-shaped bait to pull it off. Having fished the Z-Man NedlockZ HD jighead for a lot of my regular Ned Rig fishing, I realized this head would really shine for ‘video-game’ fishing—working individual bass on sonar, vertically, playing cat-and-mouse. It’s versatile enough that you can cast the bait to suspended fish, too, just letting it glide and pendulum as you work it back to the boat.

“The Ned-Miki Rig: NedlockZ HD jighead and StreakZ 3.75A 1/10- or 1/6-ounce NedlockZ HD, says Nania, melds perfectly with a Z-Man StreakZ 3.75, a bait he calls “one of the best small shad imitations ever. And because it’s made from ElaZtech, the bait’s super buoyant. When you pause and let the Ned-Miki soak, the bait maintains a natural horizontal posture. Similar fluke-style baits aren’t buoyant, making them ride tail-down, rather than hovering horizontal like a live shad.

“Northern anglers fish a similar method, keying on suspended or rock-hugging smallmouth bass. The Ned-Miki has even evolved into a superlative substitute for a dropshot rig, which isn’t quite so precise for big sluggish smallmouths hunkered down between boulders.”Watch the bait drop on the sonar screen until it’s about 1 foot above the fish’s head,” Nania explains. “Hold the bait still. When a bass begins to rise and chase, lift the bait to take it away. Sometimes, a bass will chase the Ned-Miki up 15 or 20 feet, absolutely crushing it on an intercept course. Other times, you have to entice them a little, using the bait’s super-soft, high-action tail to close the deal. Almost like a dropshot, but even more dead-on.

“All-Terrain NedGoing where no Ned Rig has gone before, Nania is ecstatic when he mentions another new finesse device. “What can I say about the Finesse BulletZ, man? This jighead is off-the-charts cool. Rig one with a Finesse TRDMinnowZ or TRD CrawZ and fish simply can’t tear it off. I’ve had the same bait on the same jighead for the past week, and dozens of bass later, it’s still going strong.

“Made to snake Ned Rig style ElaZtech baits through the thickest cover, the Finesse BulletZ sports a subtle bullet-shaped head and a slender keel weight molded precisely onto a custom, heavy-duty size 1 VMC EWG hook. “People look at this jig and wonder how the heck you rig a bait without tearing it. It’s funny because it’s actually a non-issue with ElaZtech, which is pretty much tear-proof. And once the bait’s in place, it’s there until you take it off.

“Goes without saying that the bait’s weedless,” says Nania. “But I’m also just discovering how well the little jig skips under docks,” he adds. “Regardless of the cover— rocks, brush, grass, manmade structures, etc.—this is one incredible jig-bait combo for finessing big bass in places you couldn’t previously throw a Ned Rig.”I like to rig a 1/10-ouncer with a TRD MinnowZ—Smelt and Hot Snakes are two of my favorite patterns—and skip it under docks. Rigging the same bait on a 1/6-ounce Finesse BulletZjig also shines for casting into deeper schools of bass.

“Nania notes how the jig’s keel weight makes the bait glide and slide horizontally, rather than nose-down. “It’s like some radical, improved version of the slider head, except this jig perfectly matches 2- to 4-inch finesse-style baits. And you can pull it right through the thickest brush piles with no problem at all.”From southern impoundments to northern lakes and rivers, the Finesse BulletZ jig may be at its best when rigged with Z-Man’s authentic mini-crayfish bait, the 2.5-inch TRD CrawZ.

“The TRD CrawZ is a subtle, unassuming little critter,” says professional angler Luke Clausen. “But rigged with the Finesse BulletZ jig, the bait rides in this freakishly lifelike, claws-up posture. Put it in the water and its buoyant little claws flap and wave, virtually taunting bass to bite—and they do,” Clausen laughs.

Ned-Neko Rig

Blurring boundaries between Ned-style and other finesse presentations, creative anglers have concocted what we’ll call the Ned-Neko Rig.

Coupling a Finesse TRDHula StickZ or other buoyant finesse bait with a Neko hook and Neko weight yields astonishing action, and an intriguing underwater posture.Hooking configurations depend on cover and bass activity level. The simplest is to Texas-rig your chosen finesse bait onto a #1 to 2/0 Neko style hook. Finish the Neko-Ned Rig by inserting a 1/32- to 1/8-ounce Neko weight into the bait’s tail-end, resulting in a compelling pogo-stick-action along bottom.

Also effective is a drag-and-deadstick retrieve, particularly in small, high-percentage zones.Or, you can get extra wacky (pun intended), and hook the worm right through the middle, leaving the Neko weight in the tail. The toughness of ElaZtech even eliminates the need for an O-ring; just a 1/0 Gamakatsu Finesse Wide Gap hook, your favorite TRD and another alluring look bass can’t say no to. Ned inspired. Ned approved.

St Croix Rods for 2022

Best Rods on Earth® Better than Ever
Available now, new-for-2022 St. Croix series and models combine new materials, technologies and ergonomics to deliver anglers more performance and more satisfaction on the water
PARK FALLS, WISC. (November 3, 2021) – St. Croix Rod of Park Falls, Wisconsin – America’s premier, family-owned fishing rod manufacturer for nearly 75 years – makes it its mission to provide every angler with the tools they need to maintain the upper hand in any fishing situation. The most-recent results of this mission were showcased to the fishing industry at last July’s ICAST show, where St. Croix introduced three all-new rod series – Victory, Seage Surf, and Tundra Ice – along with four completely reimagined and expanded rod series – BassX, Eyecon, Panfish, and Trout – and two all-new Legend Xtreme freshwater models.

Today, all of these new, handcrafted, high-performance fishing rods are available to anglers, online at stcroixrods.com, and at St. Croix dealers worldwide.

Most of these new rods are crafted from all-new materials, feature new technologies or new combinations of technologies, and incorporate improved ergonomics. All of them exemplify Best Rods on Earth, and anglers can trust and expect them to deliver new levels of performance and satisfaction on the water, wherever and however they fish.

NEW St. Croix Victory Series Models Available NowConceived for tournament anglers competing at the highest level, passionate recreational bassers, or anyone in between, St. Croix’s all-new Victory Series of high-performance American-made technique-specific bass rods are poised to deliver more wins on the water – however they’re defined. The NEW Victory 17 expands St. Croix’s landmark Victory series to 25 total models, giving bass anglers of all levels unprecedented choice in selecting the proper tools for a complete range of bass presentations. From finesse techniques; bombing hair jigs and spy baits; to crankbaits; chatterbaits; flippin’, pitching and punching; to heaving and retrieving 8-ounce swimbaits, it’s all there in this complete and balanced assortment of high-performance, technology-laden, American-crafted rods – backed by a 15-year transferrable warranty – that cost a fraction of other “elite-level” rods in the marketplace. 
Handcrafted from scratch in Park Falls, Wisconsin, USA from an all-new, sensitive and durable SCIII+ material and incorporating St. Croix’s top technologies (FRS, ARTTM, IPC®, and TET), each distinct Victory spinning and casting model is purpose-engineered and built to excel in its intended applications. Combining lightweight and balanced performance with top-tier ergonomics and uncompromising durability, Victory rods are accessible to all at a sweet mid-range retail price. Victory rods retail between $180 and $260, and 19 of the 25 models cost $200 or less.
St. Croix Victory Series Models*
Tactical / VTS68MXF – 6’8” M power, XF action spinning – Retail $180 Lite-Weight / VTS610MLXF – 6’10” ML power, XF action spinning – Retail $180Finesse / VTS71MF – 7’1” M power, F action spinning – Retail $190*
Max Finesse / VTS71MHF – 7’1” MH power, F action spinning – Retail $190*Max Lite Weight / VTS73MLXF – 7’3” ML power, XF action spinning / Retail $200 Max-Tactical / VTS73MXF – 7’3” M power, XF action spinning / Retail $200*
Crosshair / VTS710MLXF – 7’10” ML power, XF action spinning / Retail $200*Open Water / VTS73MLXF – 7’3” M power, MF action spinning / Retail $200*The Jerk / VTC68MXF – 6’8” M power, XF action casting / Retail $180
The Grunt / VTC71MHF – 7’1” MH power, F action casting / Retail $190*
Cranker / VTC72MHMF – 7’2”” MH power, MF action casting / Retail $190Power Target Cranker / VTC72MHM – 7’2” MH power, M action casting / Retail $190*
Rip’N Chatter / VTC72HM – 7’2” H power, M action casting / Retail $190Full Contact Finesse / VTC73HXF – 7’3” H power, XF action casting / Retail $200The Marshal / VTC73MHF – 7’3” MH power, F action casting / Retail $200*
Flip’N / VTC7HMF – 7’3” H power, MF action casting / Retail $200Full Contact / VTC74HF – 7’4” H power, F action casting / Retail $200*
Max Marshal / VTC75MHF – 7’5” MH power, F action casting / Retail $200*Power Flip’N / VTC76HMF – 7’6” H power, MF action casting / Retail $200*Mid-Cranker / VTC710HM – 7’10”, H power, M action casting / Retail $220*Max-Cranker / VTC710XHM – 7’10”, XH power, M action casting / Retail $230*S.B. Ranger / VTC710HF – 7’10”, H power, F action casting / Retail $250*S.B. Avenger / VTC710XHF – 7’10”, XH power, F action casting / Retail $260*S.B. Brutus / VTC710XXHF – 7’10”, XXH power, F action casting / Retail $260*Knockout / VTC711HMF – 7’11”, H power, MF action casting / Retail $230*All-new model
Reimagined and Expanded St. Croix BassX Series Available NowDriven to continually improve and heighten the angling experience, St. Croix resolved to take what it has learned from recent product introductions – Legend Xtreme, Victory, and others – and put that intel to work in improving its angler-favorite BassX Series. The result is a new lineup of BassX rods for 2022 that are stronger, lighter, and more comfortable, with sizzling new aesthetics and more choices for new presentations than ever before, while retaining and compounding their exceptional value in the $120 to $150 retail-price range. Headlined by a trio of powerful, all-new swimbait models, St. Croix’s redesigned and comprehensive BassX Series expands from 14 to 16 models for 2022, setting a new standard in affordable, high-performance bass rods. Retail prices range from $120-$150 with a five-year warranty.
The BassX transformation begins in the blank itself. Crafted from a brand-new formulation of premium SCII carbon that increases flexural strength while reducing weight, new BassX is then made even stronger with the addition of St. Croix’s Fortified Resin System (FRS) technology. “Our use of FRS in the new BassX Series in combination with our new, lighter and stronger SCII material represents a quantum leap forward with respect to performance,” says St. Croix Product Manager, Ryan Teach.

“For the BassX angler, it ultimately means they’re buying a rod that is lighter than ever with all-new levels of strength and durability. Our engineering team has proven and validated these performance enhancements in testing.”Those critical attributes are further enhanced in new BassX models by an all-new hybrid guide train combining SeaGuide® Aluminum Oxide guides with SeaGuide® Atlas Performance stainless steel guides for reduced weight, improved balance and greater performance with braided line. New SeaGuide reel seats integrate with all-new handle designs, optimized by model, for improved ergonomics and better balance.
St. Croix BassX ModelsBAS68MXF – 6’8”, M power, XF action spinning / Retail $120BAS610MLXF – 6’10”, ML power, XF action spinning / Retail $120BAS71MF – 7’1”, M power, F action spinning / Retail $120BAS71MHF – 7’1”, MH power, F action, spinning / Retail $120BAC66MF – 6’6”, M power, F action, casting / Retail $120BAC66MHF – 6’6”, MH power, F action, casting / Retail $120BAC68MXF – 6’8”, M power, XF action, casting / Retail $120BAC71MF – 7’1”, M power, F action casting / Retail $120BAC71MHF – 7’1”, MH power, F action casting / Retail $120BAC72MHM – 7’2”, MH power, M action casting / Retail $120BAC74MHMF – 7’4”, MH power, MF action casting / Retail $130BAC74HF – 7’4”, H power, F action casting / Retail $130BAC710HF – 7’10”, H power, F action casting / Retail $150BAC710XHF* – 7’10”, XH power, F action casting / Retail $150BAC710XXHF* – 7’10”, XXH power, F action casting / Retail $150BAC711HMF – 7’11”, H power, MF action casting / Retail $130*All-new model
NEW St. Croix Seage Surf Series Available NowSt. Croix’s all-new tech-forward Seage Surf Series includes 12 two-piece spinning rods, handcrafted for unparalleled strength and durability in a slim and lightweight design. Seage models range from 7’ to 12’ with medium-light to heavy powers and retail between $210 and $380 with a 15-year warranty.
New Seage rods begin with a brand-new formulation of premium, light, and sensitive SCII carbon material, which increases flexural strength while reducing weight. From there, St. Croix adds ARTTM and all-new Veil technology. ART is an exotic carbon fiber material that adds a significant magnitude of hoop strength to keep the rod section from ovaling under load with virtually no increases in blank diameter or weight. Veil is a tri-blend of carbon fiber, fiberglass and explicit resin, combined to exponentially reduce the effects of impact on blank integrity. Veil protects rods from bumps, lure knocks and other impacts that could otherwise cause damage and lead to rod failure. For the surf angler, all of this means they can enjoy fishing a slim, lightweight, and sensitive Seage rod, which also maintains extreme, next-level strength and durability.In addition to slim, lightweight performance, extreme strength and rock-solid durability, surf anglers will notice an all-new handle design on new Seage surf rods comprised of X-Flock-covered slim-diameter handles and Winn® comfort-focused foregrips which are minimalistic, sleek, and tech-forward. X-Flock is essentially a textured shrink tube that St. Croix forms directly over the blank. This gives the handle a slim profile with a very grippy and tacky feel, combined with slight compression for added comfort. Meanwhile, comfort-focused Winn polymer foregrips reduce hand fatigue for longer, more-comfortable fishing.The 12 distinct models in the all-new Seage Series lineup cover the most popular lengths, powers, and actions, as well as some new configurations surf anglers were specifically requesting. Some of the 7’ to 9’ models were engineered and delivered to meet the unique needs of the Western coastal markets, where surf anglers have been asking for new rods better suited for smaller species, lighter lures, and fish closer to the beach. These smaller two-piece models give anglers the 50/50 splits they requested. At the other end of the spectrum, the new Seage Series also includes a 12’ heavy power model that’s capable of bombing a full one-pound payload beyond the bar. Longer Seage two-piece models feature angler-preferred 60/40 or 70/30 offsets.
All-New St. Croix Seage Series ModelsSES70MLMF – 7’0”, ML power, MF action spinning / Retail $210SES70MMF – 7’0”, M power, MF action spinning / Retail $220SES80MMF – 8’0”, M power, MF action spinning / Retail $230SES90MLMF2 – 9’0”, ML power, MF action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $290SES90MM2 – 9’0”, M power, M action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $290SES90MMF2 – 9’0”, M power, MF action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $290SES100MMF2 – 10’0”, M power, MF action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $300SES106MLMF2 – 10’6”, ML power, MF action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $300SES106MM2 – 10’6”, M power, M action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $300SES106MHMF2 – 10’6”, MH power, MF action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $300SES110MHMF2 – 11’0”, MH power, MF action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $320SES120HMF2 – 12’0”, H power, MF action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $380
NEW St. Croix Tundra Ice Series Available NowThe exciting new, semi-custom Tundra Ice Series is a culmination of ice-centric features and technologies wrapped in an extremely durable package at a retail-price range of $100 to $130 with a five-year warranty. Featuring nine distinct spinning models ranging from 26” to 36” in light to medium-heavy power, new fast and extra-fast action Tundra Series rods offer anglers different blanks and thoughtfully designed handle configurations for optimized comfort and performance in multiple ice presentations.
Extra-fast action, light-power Tundra models get strong, Xtreme-Flex solid glass blanks with supple, hi-vis strike-indicating tips. Fast action, medium-light through medium-heavy models are built on crisp and powerful Precision-Taper solid carbon blanks for trophy-landing performance. All Tundra blanks are matte finished in a new and covert Glacial Gray color.Handle designs are customized per model. Light and medium-light power Tundras are equipped with angler-preferred premium cork split-grip handles for optimal control and maximum versatility in panfish presentations.Medium and medium-heavy power models are equipped with premium full-cork handles by angler demand. With the exception of the medium-heavy model which includes a SeaGuide NPS reel seat for peace-of-mind and extra security while doing battle with heavy predators, all other Tundra ice rods are designed without reel seats to allow precise and balanced, custom reel placement in accordance with individual angler preference.The guide trains on new Tundra Series rods have been engineered and executed to be durable, lightweight and trouble-free in the most-demanding conditions. A strong REC Recoil® stripper guide meets SeaGuide® light-wire running guides that reduce surface area to minimize ice buildup. Tip-tops are SeaGuide® stainless steel with a slick PVD coating.
All-New St. Croix Tundra Ice ModelsSCT26LXF – 26”, L power, XF action spinning / Retail $100SCT30LXF – 30”, L power, XF action spinning / Retail $100SCT34LXF – 34”, L power, XF action spinning / Retail $100SCT27MLF – 27”, ML power, F action spinning / Retail $115SCT27MF – 27”, M power, F action spinning / Retail $115SCT30MLF – 30”, ML power, F action spinning / Retail $120SCT30MF – 30”, M power, F action spinning / Retail $120SCT36MF – 36”, M power, F action spinning / Retail $130SCT36MHF – 36”, MH power, F action spinning / Retail $130
Reimagined and Expanded St. Croix Eyecon Series Available NowDurability and angler comfort define this improved, comprehensive walleye series. The totally reimagined Eyecon Series features heightened performance, improved technique-specific comfort and ergonomics, and all-new aesthetics. The angler-favorite walleye series also grows by two with the addition of industry-first Jig-N-Rap and Rip-N-Rap models for a total of 18 distinct choices. Retail prices range from $140-$160 with a five-year warranty.
Eyecon’s premium SCII carbon blanks get even stronger and more durable for 2022. The SCII material itself is a new formulation, featuring both increased flexural strength and reduced weight over St. Croix’s previous-generation SCII carbon. From there, new Eyecon rods are made even stronger with the addition of St. Croix’s Fortified Resin System (FRS) technology. “We know that walleye anglers often employ aggressive jigging tactics that not all rods can stand up to,” says St. Croix Product Manager, Ryan Teach. “Our all-new SCII carbon material combined with FRS takes the performance of these new-generation Eyecon rods to the next level. In addition to being stronger and more durable, they also fish noticeably lighter than previous Eyecons.”Aggressive techniques demand more than superior strength. They also require carefully considered ergonomics that minimize angler fatigue. New Eyecon rods bring versatility and comfort to any walleye angler’s arsenal without compromise; all-new hybrid split-grip handle designs and lengths are designed to optimize comfort with the intended technique, helping anglers fish longer without getting sloppy in their presentations. “The new modified split grips on these new Eyecon spinning rods take the best features of split grips and full-cork handles and marry them in a hybrid design that optimizes comfort and performance on each specific model,” says Teach. “No matter which model you choose, you’ll notice great balance and comfort, as well as an overall handle length and foregrip that are right-sized so walleye anglers can fish longer without the fatigue that can cause presentations to turn sloppy.”New Eyecon Series (non-trolling) rods also get a new hybrid guide train that decreases weight, increases overall durability, and reduces the noise and disruption that often comes from fishing braided line. They employ durable Sea Guide Atlas Performance stainless steel guides in the upper portions of the rods to eliminate the troubling possibility of loose or dislodged inserts and SeaGuide Aluminum Oxide models with black frames at the lower ends to minimize noise and knot disruption. Guide spacing is optimized on each model per technique.For the first time ever, all-new, dedicated 7’1” medium power, moderate-fast action Jig-N-Rap and 7’1” medium power, fast action Rip-N-Rap Eyecon models allow walleye anglers to fish these two popular techniques without compromise to handle design, length, power, or action.
New St. Croix Eyecon ModelsHEAVY METAL / EYS58HF – 5’8”, H power, F action spinning / Retail $150VERTICAL JIG / EYS63MLXF – 6’3”, ML power, XF action spinning / Retail $150VERTICAL JIG / EYS63MXF – 6’3”, M power, XF action spinning / Retail $150JIG-N-RIG / EYS66MLF – 6’6”, ML power, F action spinning / Retail $140JIG-N-RIG / EYS66MLF2 – 6’6”, ML power, F action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $150BIG WATER / EYS66MF – 6’6”, M power, F action spinning / Retail $140BIG WATER / EYS66MF2 – 6’6”, M power, F action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $150SNAP JIG / EYS68MXF – 6’8”, M power, XF action spinning / Retail $150FINESSE / EYS70LF – 7’0”, L power, F action spinning / Retail $150RIGGIN’ / EYS70MLF – 7’0”, ML power, F action spinning / Retail $150RIGGIN’ / EYS70MLF2 – 7’0”, ML power, F action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $160CRANKIN’ / EYS70MM – 7’0”, M power, M action spinning / Retail $150JIG-N-RAP* / EYS71MMF – 7’1”, M power, MF action spinning / Retail $150RIP-N-RAP* / EYS71MF – 7’1”, M power, F action spinning / Retail $150SLIP-N-RIG / EYS76MLXF – 7’6”, ML power, XF action spinning / Retail $150SLIP-N-RIG / EYS76MLXF2 – 7’6”, ML power, XF action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $160DRIFT-N-FLOAT / EYS80MLF2 – 8’0”, ML power, F action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $160BOUNCE-N-TROLL / EYC70MHM – 7’0”, MH power, M action casting / Retail $140*All-new model
Reimagined and Expanded St. Croix Panfish Series Available NowAnswering anglers’ calls for more high-performance options for panfish presentations, St. Croix’s lighter and stronger, reimagined Panfish Series expands to 10 models for 2022 with two all-new medium-light models for power presentations. Retail prices range from $115 to $175 and include a five-year warranty.
St. Croix Panfish Series rod blanks are now crafted from a new formulation of premium SCII carbon that increases flexural strength while reducing weight, combined with strategically placed super-high-modulus SCVI carbon fiber reinforcements, providing the basis for crisp actions, improved strength and durability, and lightweight sensitivity. These new rods are made even stronger with the addition St. Croix’s Fortified Resin System (FRS) technology, which combines a fortified super resin with computer-operated curing ovens that provide improved temperature and time management through all stages of the critical curing cycle. This prevents micro-buckling of individual carbon fibers by keeping them in proper alignment.Ultimately, the all-new SCII material with FRS results in Panfish Series rods that are lighter and more durable, performance attributes that have been proven and quantified by St. Croix’s engineering team in testing.Anglers will also notice that new Panfish Series rods feel better balanced and more sensitive, thanks to carefully considered new handle designs, reel seats and guide trains.New Panfish Series rods receive all-new Sea Guide® Atlas Performance guides with stainless steel rings and frames and a PVD coated tip top. These are lightweight, durable, and trouble-free guide trains designed to maximize performance in light-line applications, while minimizing noise and disruption from knotted-line rigs used in many panfish presentations. They also wear durable and slim, Sea Guide NPS reel seats with an integrated rear nut – a design component proven to excel in supporting micro techniques on St. Croix Legend Black Ice and Premier Ice rods.New Panfish Series rods now employ angler-preferred premium-grade split grip handles on all models except the 8’ and 9’ models, which retain premium-grade full cork handles and foregrips. “With the increase in popularity and transposition of bass anglers to crappie anglers, may panfish anglers indicate preference for the bass-centric styling of skeleton-type reel seats and split grip handles,” says St. Croix Product Manager, Ryan Teach. “Our new Panfish Series rods reflect this trend and look more than ever like miniaturized bass rods. Style preferences aside, the performance benefits are real, as we’ve designed them to shed weight, improve balance, and aid in increasing sensitivity. They’re a pure joy to fish with.”In keeping with current trends, cosmetically, new Panfish Series rods also receive new label designs and an attractive, new Copper Slab color to differentiate the series.
St. Croix Panfish Series ModelsPNS50ULM – 5’0”, UL power, M action spinning / Retail $115PNS54ULF – 5’4”, UL power, F action spinning / Retail $125PNS60ULF – 6’0”, UL power, F action spinning / Retail $125PNS64LF – 6’4”, L power, F action spinning / Retail $135PNS69ULF – 6’9”, UL power, F action spinning / Retail $135PNS70LXF – 7’0”, L power, XF action spinning / Retail $135PNS70MLXF* – 7’0”, ML power, XF action spinning / Retail $135PNS73MLXF* – 7’3”, ML power, XF action spinning / Retail $135PNS80LMF2 – 8’0”, L power, MF action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $165PNS90LMF2 – 9’0”, L power, MF action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $175*All-new model
Reimagined and Expanded St. Croix Trout Series and Trout Pack Models Available NowFor 2022, St. Croix has improved and expanded its popular Trout Series. The light-line centric collection is now stronger, lighter, and more comfortable, supplemented with new lengths, powers and actions that support an even wider range of trout techniques, including several all-new two- and three-piece Trout Pack models. Retail prices range from $115 to $180 with a five-year warranty.
Thanks to a new formulation of premium SCII carbon material with strategically placed super-high-modulus SCVI carbon fiber reinforcements and FRS, Trout Series rods are now lighter and more durable than before. Anglers will also notice that new Trout Series rods feel better balanced and more sensitive, with carefully crafted new handle designs, reel seats and guide trains.New Trout Series rods receive all-new Sea Guide® Atlas Performance guides with stainless steel rings and frames and a PVD coated tip top. These are lightweight, durable, and trouble-free guide trains designed to maximize performance in light-line applications, while minimizing noise and disruption from the knotted-line rigs used in many trout presentations. They also wear durable and slim, Sea Guide NPS reel seats with an integrated rear nut – a design component proven to excel in supporting micro techniques on St. Croix Legend Black Ice and Premier Ice rods.New Trout Series rods now feature split-grip handle configurations crafted from comfortable, lightweight, and durable EVA. “The premium EVA material we selected for the new Trout Series perfectly complements their new split-grip handle designs,” says St. Croix Product Manager, Ryan Teach. “Balance and control are the keys to making accurate finesse presentations to selective trout, and both are enhanced by the design and materials of these new handles.”A stealthy new Ebony Twilight color completes the Trout Series’ aesthetic transformation and will resonate with trout anglers who need to fly under the radar in clear-water intimate-stream settings.St. Croix’s refined Trout Series grows by eight to include a total of 14 spinning models, including two, all-new three-piece Trout Pack models (TFS66MLXF3 and TFS73MLXF3), two all-new light-power models (TFS510LF and TFS66LF2), three all-new medium-light power choices (TFS66MLXF2, TFS66MLF2, and TFS69MLXF2), and an all-new medium power model (TFS70MXF2).“Our expanded Trout Series brings an array of lengths, powers, and specific actions to anglers looking for sensitivity, controlled performance and casting accuracy with a range of light lures, from inline spinners to crankbaits to single egg imitations,” says Teach. “Casting accuracy is supreme with all of these highly controllable rods, and we’re offering an unprecedented range of choices for anglers to match to the specific conditions and presentations they encounter.”All Trout Series rods feature fast or extra-fast actions for accurate casting with light baits and are stronger and more durable than ever with no increase in weight. Powers range from ultra-light to medium, giving trout anglers crisp performance with ample backbone to control big trout on light line. New models for 2022 focus primarily on an expanded offering of versatile two- and three-piece selections.“Our new three-piece Trout Pack spinning models are handcrafted for one-piece performance and allow adventurous trout anglers to get in and out of remote locations and streams,” continues Teach. “They feature slender profile split grip configurations and – like our two-piece models – use slim ferrule connections to marry multi-piece convenience with one-piece performance.”
St. Croix Trout Series ModelsTFS410ULF – 4’10”, UL power, F action spinning / Retail $115TFS54ULF – 5’4”, UL power, F action spinning / Retail $125TFS56ULF2 – 5’6”, UL power, F action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $135TFS510LF* – 5’10”, L power, F action spinning / Retail $135TFS60ULF2 – 6’0”, UL power, F action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $145TFS64LF2 – 6’4”, L power, F action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $145TFS66LF2* – 6’6”, L power, F action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $145TFS66MLXF2* – 6’6”, ML power, XF action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $145TFS66MLXF3* – 6’6”, ML power, XF action, 3-piece spinning / Retail $170TFS66MLF2* – 6’6”, ML power, F action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $145TFS69MLXF2* – 6’9”, ML power, XF action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $145TFS70LXF2 – 7’0”, L power, XF action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $155TFS73MLXF3* – 7’3”, ML power, XF action, 3-piece spinning / Retail $180TFS70MXF2* – 7’0”, M power, XF action, 2-piece spinning / Retail $155*All-new model
Two NEW St. Croix Legend Xtreme Series Models Available NowHandcrafted in the USA for extreme sensitivity using St. Croix’s most exotic materials and technologies, the Legend Xtreme Freshwater Series grows for 2022 with a new 7’3” MLXF spinning model and a new 7’6” MHMF casting model. Retail prices are $660 and $670 respectively and include a 15-year warranty.
The reengineered SCV carbon found in Legend Xtreme rods is an example of St. Croix’s constant drive to obtain the unimaginable – proven Xtreme durability with proven, unprecedented sensitivity – so anglers can fish without compromise. Engineered as a result of a new proprietary manufacturing processes, Legend Xtreme employs a resin that significantly increases strength in compression during the hookset, as well as flexural strength when the rod is under load. The new SCV carbon construction also incorporates an improved, overlaid ART (Advanced Reinforcing Technology) to yield the highest levels of carbon fiber density found on any fishing rod on earth. Simply put, Legend Xtreme offers an unquestionably pure and dense carbon, to transmit the slightest vibration through a Daiwa AGS carbon fiber guide train and proprietary Gen2 Xtreme-SkinTM handle.The expanded Legend Xtreme freshwater series now includes 13 rods – six spinning models and seven casting models – supporting anglers in an even wider range of freshwater presentations and techniques with pinnacle St. Croix performance.Rated for use with 12-25-pound line and lures from 3/8 to 1-1/4 oz., the new Legend Xtreme XFC76MHMFis designed and handcrafted for versatility and is ideal for presenting football jigs, Carolina rigs and more. The new Legend Xtreme XFS73MLXF is rated for 6-10-pound line and 1/8 to ½-oz. lures and is ideal for Ned rigs, wacky rigs, and other finesse presentations.
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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.