Category Archives: Fishing Tackle

Rods and reels to live bait

St Croix Rods Win At ICast

ICast winner St Croix Rods


New St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass GRASP Swimbait rod recognized by the industry as Best New Freshwater Rod at ICAST 2022

PARK FALLS, Wisc. (July 29, 2022) – Advancing and showcasing its mission to handcraft the Best Rods on Earth® that give anglers the upper hand in any angling situation, St. Croix Rod of Park Falls, Wisconsin unveiled an unprecedented 12 new or completely reengineered rod series at ICAST 2022 in Orlando last week.

The 74-year-old family-owned American company was awarded Best of Category honors in the Freshwater Rod category of the ICAST 2022 New Product Showcase Awards for its three all-new Legend Tournament Bass GRASP swimbait models.

The International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades’ (ICAST) New Product Showcase Awards recognize the best new fishing products in multiple categories each year. Voted on by attending product buyers and members of the sportfishing media, these “Best of Category” awards represent the pinnacle of achievement in the fishing tackle industry and are fiercely competitive. Winning one of these prestigious awards isn’t easy; it takes good ideas and even better execution to develop a tangible product that helps anglers find more success on the water.

“We’re humbled and honored that those industry professionals who report on or sell fishing tackle for a living selected Legend Tournament Bass GRASP as the best new freshwater rod amidst a packed category, which included 34 other significant new rods from other manufacturers,” says St. Croix CEO, Scott Forristall. “St. Croix is built – top to bottom – to seek out, understand, and serve the needs of anglers; it’s what drives each one of our St. Croix team members every day, so everyone in the St. Croix family feels great pride and a real sense of gratitude for this recognition. Ultimately though, this award is for every angler around the globe who takes as much pride in using a St. Croix fishing rod as we feel in making them. It’s also for our retail partners who are on the front lines of helping anglers choose the Best Rods on Earth® to meet their specific angling needs and objectives.”

The trio of all-new Legend Tournament Bass swimbait models featuring St. Croix’s proprietary GRASP reel seat firmly establishes a new standard in heavy-bass-lure rod design and performance. Designed to excel in the presentation of swimbaits and Alabama rigs from ¾ to 8 ounces, these three all-new swimbait rods bring the newly reimagined Legend Tournament Bass Series to an expansive total of 27 distinct technique-specific high-performance models for the benefit of bass anglers worldwide.

New Legend Tournament Bass swimbait models (LBTC710HF LIGHT SWIMBAIT, LBTC710XHF MID SWIMBAIT and LBTC86XXHFT HEAVY SWIMBAIT) have the distinction of being the first-ever contemporary St. Croix rods released with proprietary St. Croix-designed componentry – in this case, the all-new St. Croix GRASP real seat.

“The angler-requested St. Croix GRASP reel seat helps give anglers the upper hand by delivering superior ergonomic control of Legend Tournament Bass swimbait rods during the cast, retrieve, and throughout fight,” says St. Croix Brand Manager, Ryan Teach. GRASP effectively combats the hand and wrist fatigue that commonly sets in when casting and retrieving heavy lures and doing battle with large, powerful fish. GRASP accomplishes this by always keeping the wrist properly aligned while affording the most comfortable and efficient grip on the rod and casting reel – straight and in line with the rod in the ultimate palming position, not canted back or forward which commonly happens with traditional casting-rod grips. The result is total control over rod and fish, with less fatigue so anglers can fish longer, harder, and earn more success.

In addition to GRASP’s ergonomic design, its angler interface is sweetened with an extremely durable and tactile SoftTouch coating. “The selection of the proper coating took years of discovery and trial and error, and it’s a big part of what makes GRASP distinct in the marketplace,” Teach says. “The SoftTouch coating we landed on is just as important as the refined geometries that make GRASP a complete and unique design. It is incredibly resilient yet remains slightly tacky when wet.”

New Legend Tournament GRASP swimbait models will be available to anglers at St. Croix dealers worldwide and at stcroixrodfactorystore.com in October. All 24 other new Legend Tournament Bass models which were announced earlier this year at the 2022 Bassmaster Classic are available right now.

New Legend Tournament Bass rods feature markedly lighter and stronger next-generation hybrid SCIV+ carbon fiber blanks. Select reaction bait models feature all-new iACT Glass hybrid blanks. In addition to their unique combinations of proprietary materials, all-new Legend Tournament Bass rods also incorporate all of St. Croix’s top technologies and premium components.

While every new Legend Tournament Bass rod is special and distinct, St. Croix Engineering Supervisor, Gavin Falk, says the three iACT Glass models – specifically engineered for hardbait applications like crankbaits and chatterbaits – represent an even greater technological achievement for anglers. “These rods introduce a third material – our linear S-Glass – to the hybrid SCIV+ blank to produce rods with the softer actions reaction presentations demand. We call the combination iACT Glass. It stands for Internally Active, and it allows us to deliver those slower, parabolic actions while maintaining peak sensitivity in a blank that’s significantly smaller in diameter and lighter than a pure glass cranking rod,” Falk says. “Our anglers have asked for this and we’re always listening, not being reactive but addressing ideas and opportunities as they come forward.”

Falk wants to remind anglers that these are not “composite” rods. “All three materials in Legend Tournament Bass iACT Glass models – SCIV carbon, SCVI carbon, and Linear S-Glass – are individually patterned and laid up to spec, then all rolled together,” he says, emphasizing that each of the materials are distinct, and adding that Legend Tournament Bass iACT Glass models are the first carbon/glass hybrid rods ever to be rolled on St. Croix IPC mandrels.

Teach says these three iACT Glass models deliver everything anglers have asked for in a reaction-bait rod and more. “You can even walk a topwater with complete control using one of these Legend Tournament Bass iACT rods,” he says. “That’s not something typically thought to be possible with a rod that has any type of glass in it. You can walk these baits with precision and never even think you have a glass rod in yours hands until you’ve hooked up on a fish and the benefits of that moderate, parabolic action kick in. St. Croix is the only company I’m aware of that’s been able to do this.”

The ‘deepest’ cranking rod in the series with iACT Glass is the POWER GLASS CRANKER LBTC74MHM. “This is a 4/5/6XD cranking rod,” Teach says. “We’ve got an 8XD/10XD/DD22 rod in the lineup, too – the LBTC710XHM – but it’s all carbon. This is a rod Dennis Berhorst and Stephen Browning have become quite fond of. The other iACT Glass models are the LBTC72MM FINESSE GLASS CRANKER designed for smaller squarebills and the LTBC72HM RIP-N-CHATTER, which is optimized for fishing bladed jigs and lipless crankbaits.”

Bassmaster Elite angler, Bob Downey says, “I was very impressed with the lighter weights and significantly reduced blank diameters of these new Legend Tournament Bass iACT rods when compared to a pure glass cranking rod. I’m not aware of anything else remotely like these rods on the market and I found their overall performance with chatterbaits and crankbaits to be in a class all their own.”

MLF angler and crankster, Jesse Wiggins agrees. “I’ve always been a huge fan of St. Croix’s Legend Glass rods – and I still am – but these new blue iACT rods have really impressed me, especially in any cranking situation where you need that extra bit of sensitivity.”

Despite the improvements, some things will stay the same: new Legend Tournament Bass rods remain handcrafted in Park Falls, Wisconsin, USA with a 15-year transferrable warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service. They also retain their iconic Tournament Blue Pearl color.

New St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass Features

Next-generation hybrid CARBON FIBER SCIV+ blanks
Technique-specific iACT SCIV+ and linear S-Glass hybrid blanks on specific models
Fortified Resin System (FRS) technology
Advanced Reinforcing TechnologyTM (ARTTM)
Integrated Poly Curve® (IPC®) mandrel technology
Taper Enhancement Technology (TET) blank design
Fuji® K-Series tangle-free guides with Alconite® rings
Fuji® SK2 reel seat on casting models with ergonomic complimenting componentry
Fuji® VSS real seat on spinning models with extended foregrip
Precision machined aluminum reel seat nuts and wind checks on spinning and casting models
Split-grip, super-grade cork handles customized per model
Swimbait models (3) feature GRASP reel seat technology
Full-grip super grade cork handles on select models
Model specific hook keepers selectively placed per technique
Single coat sealer on blank with slow cure finish
Two coats of Flex-Coat slow cure finish on guides
15-year transferable warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service
Designed and handcrafted in Park Falls, U.S.A. for bass anglers worldwide
Retail price $290 to $395

New St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass Casting Models

JERKBAITS / LBTC68MXF – 6’8”, medium power, extra-fast action / Retail $295
ALL-IN / LBTC71MHF – 7’1”, medium-heavy power, fast action / Retail $300
FINESSE CARBON CRANKER / LBTC72MHMF – 7’2”, medium-heavy power, moderate-fast action / Retail $315
CARBON CRANKER / LBTC72MHM – 7’2”, medium-heavy power, moderate action / Retail $315
FINESSE GLASS CRANKER (iACT) / LBTC72MM – 7’2”, medium power, moderate action / Retail $315
RIP-N-CHATTER / LBTC72HM (iACT) – 7’2”, heavy power, moderate action / Retail $315
POWER FINESSE / LBTC73HXF – 7’3”, heavy power, extra-fast action / Retail $320
WORKHORSE / LBTC73MHF – 7’3”, medium-heavy power, fast action / Retail $320
FLIP-CHAT-CRANK / LBTC73HMF – 7’3”, heavy power, moderate-fast action / Retail $320
SLOP-N-FROG / LBTC74HF – 7’4”, heavy power, fast action / Retail $325
POWER GLASS CRANKER / LBTC74MHM (iACT) – 7’4”, medium-heavy power, moderate action / Retail $325
WARHORSE / LBTC75MHF – 7’5”, medium-heavy power, fast action / Retail $330
FLIP’N / LBTC76HMF – 7’6”, heavy power, moderate-fast action / Retail $335
BIG CRANKER / LBTC710HM – 7’10”, heavy power, moderate action / Retail $345
*LIGHT SWIMBAIT / LBTC710HF – 7’10”, heavy power, fast action / Retail $350
MAG CRANKER / LBTC710XHM – 7’10”, extra-heavy power, moderate action / Retail $345
*MID SWIMBAIT / LBTC710XHF – 7’10”, extra-heavy power, fast action / Retail $360
POWER FLIP’N / LBTC711HMF – 7’11”, heavy power, moderate-fast action / Retail $340
*HEAVY SWIMBAIT / LBTC86XXHFT – 8’6”, extra-extra-heavy power, fast action / Retail $395
*New at ICAST 2022, available October, 2022

New St. Croix Legend Tournament Bass Spinning Models

PINPOINT / LBTS68MXF – 6’8”, medium power, extra-fast action / Retail $290
DROPSHOT FINESSE / LBTS610MLXF – 6’10”, medium-light power, extra-fast action / Retail $290
VERSATILE / LBTS71MF – 7’1”, medium power, fast action / Retail $300
POWER VERSATILE / LBTS73MHF – 7’3”, medium-heavy power, fast action / Retail $300
DROPSHOT FINESSE XL / LBTS73MLXF- 7’3”, medium-light power, extra-fast action / Retail $300
POWER FINESSE / LBTS73MXF – 7’3”, medium power, extra-fast action / Retail $300
HAIR JIG / LBTS710MLXF – 7’10”, medium-light power, extra-fast action / Retail $335
SWIMMING BAITS / LBTS710MMF – 7’10”, medium power, moderate-fast action / Retail $335
#CROIXGEAR

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DO BACKLASHES CAUSE BREAKOFFS WITH FLUOROCARBON?

from The Fishing Wire and Sunline

Backlashes damage your line


The dreaded backlash in a baitcast spool can end the use of that reel very quickly. Whether it is an errant cast into the wind, or a skip cast that didn’t go as planned, a bad backlash can require a scissors to get you up and operational again. This video quickly shows you how to dial in a baitcast reel, to help you prevent this from happening. No matter how good you are, that errant cast still happens to even top-level tour pros. Protecting your line while removing a backlash will help your fluorocarbon last longer and prevent critical break offs.

Anglers choosing to use fluorocarbon line with a baitcaster reel may experience backlashes or loops in their lines during use. Those errant casts cause the spool to overrun and that creates loops, kinks, and tangles in your line. Those overruns can cause a kink in the line when they occur or when an angler is working to remove them. You pull on the line when it is stuck, and a kink is created in the line in that spot. Those kinks can damage your fluorocarbon line and lead to failure later during your usage of that reel and line. The more kinks you cause in your line the more damage you are doing to it and the more likely it is that your line will break when casting or during hooksets.

Kinks in backlashes can cause line breaks

You take the kink like the one above out of your line and it may seem ok, but the damage is often done by then. Sunline has 15+ employees that work in their R&D Department and they spend their days studying line and factors that impact the performance of line. The Sunline R&D team studied the impact that kinks can have on the performance of fluorocarbon line on a bait cast reel.

Below you can see a cross section image of two lines when viewed under an electron microscope. Line A is a normal fluorocarbon line that you can see has no defects. Line B shows an image of the same line where it had been kinked. You will see in image B that micro cracks are now visible inside the line at the spot where it was kinked. Those micro cracks weaken the line and lower the overall performance of the line.

Microscopic picture of damage from backlash

These lines were also tested for straight breaking strength before and after the kink. The line that had been kinked showed a measurable decrease in breaking strength. The micro cracks from the kink had caused the line to break at a 5% lower strength on average after repeated testing. More kinks are only going to continue to weaken the line causing it to fail below the rated level. This can often be seen when fluorocarbon line unexpectedly breaks in the spool on a cast. The kinks from backlashes in your spool have weakened it, so that it breaks inside the spool on a random cast.

The line damage from kinks is also magnified on powerful hooksets where higher stress is placed on the line, and it breaks at the weakest point.

Having your reel dialed in with optimum settings for that lure and technique is the best way to avoid backlashes. No matter what, backlashes and tangles happen when using baitcast reels, just make sure to remove the tangles as carefully as possible to avoid any kinks in the line which will decrease the breaking strength.

What Is Power Rigging for Walleyes and Why Should I Try It?


Tips from Tony Roach
from The Fishing Wire

Nearly fifty years after the inception of the modern live-bait rig—what’s today known simply as the ‘Roach Rig’—its sheer effectiveness still raises eyebrows and turns heads. Take a vigorously squirming minnow, nightcrawler or leech, and couple it with a hook, leader and sliding sinker and you’re fishing the deadliest walleye presentation of all time. Get a natural, lively bait to the bottom, and just start creeping your way along fruitful structure. Sooner or later, a walleye is going to eat. It’s just that simple.

Well, sort of. During the same fifty years, a number of nice little developments have transformed a serviceable bait delivery vehicle into a precision live-bait system. The walking sinker evolved into the Quick-Change Roach Sinker. The bottom bouncer transmogrified into the Northland Slip Bouncer. Live bait care tools, like those by Frabill, now ensure a healthy supply of critters. All the while, hooks, lines, and electronics have advanced almost beyond comprehension.

Which is where “power rigging” enters the equation. It’s old school rigging (light and easy) meets heavy metal bottom bouncing (head-banging fast), plus a dash of new wave tackle and tactics. Developed by ace guide Tony Roach, this hybrid live bait system is indeed, as he calls it, “Roach rigging on steroids.”

“Power rigging lets me maintain a natural live bait presentation, while triggering fish with a bit more speed,” states Roach. “Sort of like rip jigging, the presentation induces a reactionary response, while the live bait closes the deal. Early in the season, you’re moving slow with rigs and jigs, presenting bait to fish on a definite ‘feeding bite’; show ‘em a tempting morsel, keep it in front of their snouts, and they’re going to eat. Later on, as water warms, and the food supply expands, walleyes can turn a little tricky—a slight boost in speed is often all it takes to get fish to go.

“What I really like about the power program is that I can work quickly along a lengthy edge or over a vast flat, moving .9- to 1.2-mph,” he continues. “I can still put natural bait in front of them, but I can show my wares to a lot more active fish. What I also like is that the more boats there are working a spot slowly with rigs, the better. I can cruise right along and mow down the active biters.”From a lake-wide perspective, Roach’s power spots aren’t secrets. “This approach works on nearly any classic late summer and fall walleye location. Rock points, weed edges, transition areas, mudflats—anywhere you can drag a standard walking sinker and live bait, you can power rig,” he asserts.

“It’s really sort of a hybrid between slow-down rigging and dragging spinners on three-ways. I’ll start doing this pretty early in the summer—right after those initial insect hatches— and stick with it on and off through late summer into early fall. Once surface temps hit 60-degrees or so, it’s time to break out the power rigs. Then again in August and September, it really shines as water begins to cool a bit.“Those days when everyone is either creeping along with a standard rig or bottom bouncing at a good clip–especially on flat calm days–that’s when I’ll break out the power rigs.

”Roach’s power program employs a straight wire bottom bouncer, such as the Northland Slip Bouncer, coupled with a super long leader—up to 15-feet for coverless flats— tied with 8-pound test Berkley XT. At slower speeds he typically rigs a live ribbon leech, small shiner or chub on a single #6 or #4 hook. If Roach is pulling crawlers, it usually means he’s moving a bit faster, employing a dual hook harness. For added attraction, he occasionally adds a single fluorescent bead, or a single 00 flicker spinner. Often, too, especially with longer snells or near vegetation, he likes to add a Rainbow Float, 1 to 8-inches above the hook. “You can pin the float in place using a rubber Snubber Stop,” he asserts. Keeping the float well above the hook holds the entire leader off bottom, rather than just the bait itself.

While the hook, float and live bait power the presentation, the Slip-Bouncer drives. Unlike the standard R-bend bottom bouncers, Slip-Bouncers are composed of a single straight wire shaft with an open eyelet on top, which lets you feed line freely to biting fish—no resistance. The 5-inch wire “feeler” transmits bottom types like a stethoscope, while a slide-on weight system yields rapid adjustments to varying depths, speeds and currents. Another advantage: tickled over soft silt, mud or sand, these needle-like weights disturb very little bottom substrate, an occurrence that often spooks walleyes.

“Slip Bouncers are a gem—something every angler should add to their bag of rigging tricks,” Roach says.“Power rigging is ideal for inexperienced anglers and old pros alike. If I’ve got beginners in my boat, I can just set soft-tipped 8-1/2- foot trolling rods, like my Mr. Walleye SuperPros, in rod holders, and let them load up and set themselves. If we start missing fish, we simply hold rods and delay our hooksets. Drop the rod tip back toward a biting fish, feel for solid weight, and give a nice long sweep. Once you get things dialed in, you’ll hook every biter. It’s a pretty forgiving system.

“Really, power rigging can be the answer on any given summer day. Right in the middle of a classic ‘slow-down’ rigging bite, you can really put on a clinic. But the power program shines later on, too, when everyone else is moving faster, pulling standard spinner rigs. In both cases, the system can really make you a hero on those tougher flat calm day bites. Tell you what, any method that saves my hide on tough guide days is okay in my book.”

Mike Frenette, Legend of the Louisiana Saltmarshes, On the Segar Fishing Line Pro Staff

from The Fishing Wire

The biggest, baddest fish swim in salty water, and the limitless saltmarshes and bayous of the Mississippi River Delta are home to more than their share. The allure of hard-charging bull reds, aggressive speckled trout, wary black drum and slashing jack crevalles draws anglers from around the world to quietly glide along roseau cane-bordered channels and pursue these tackle-testing adversaries. Few anglers know these waters as intimately as Capt. Mike Frenette, who has been fishing, guiding, and competing in and near the Mississippi River Delta for more than 40 years. Seaguar, the inventor of fluorocarbon fishing line, is proud to partner with Capt. Frenette to deliver his hard-earned wisdom to an eager inshore audience, and to enhance our braided line and fluorocarbon leader offerings for saltwater fishing. 

Capt. Frenette first ventured into the saltmarshes near Venice, LA while enrolled in high school, and began building his saltwater fishing business in the early 1980s. His primary targets during his early years as a guide were found offshore. “We chased marlin, tuna, wahoo – you name it,” notes Capt. Frenette, “and during those early years, we didn’t have any competition at all. Nobody was offshore, just us and the fish – big ones, and lots of ‘em.” Indeed, Frenette was the first full-time guide in the now bustling Venice Marina, hanging his shingle for offshore and inshore trips in 1985. Recognized by Sport Fishing magazine as one of the Top 50 Charter Captains in the World, Frenette and his clients are responsible for 28 top 10 Louisiana State Records and four World Records, including a 117 lb wahoo caught on 30 lb test line.

 Fast forward into the 21st century, and most of the trips that Capt. Frenette runs from the Redfish Lodge of Louisiana – his family-owned, full-service lodge in Venice – take him inshore rather than to the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico. “First, fishing inshore gets my clients into the boat for more days than the volatile offshore environment permits,” asserts Frenette. “Moreover, fishing inshore gives me the chance to do what I do best: teach my clients the technical aspects of chasing trophy-caliber reds. I don’t pick up a rod when I’m guiding; all of my time and attention is devoted to helping my guests find and catch the redfish of a lifetime – and then, to catch another.”

While the Mississippi River Delta offers a broad spectrum of fish to pursue, Capt. Frenette does have his favorite. “There’s nothing more exciting than sight-casting to redfish in skinny water,” confesses Frenette, “which is really hunting and fishing combined into one all-encompassing experience!”Capt. Frenette remains an active competitor in saltwater fishing circuits and has tallied 25 top 10 finishes in professional redfish events, as well as wins or top-three placements in a variety of billfish, tarpon, and other big game tournaments.

“Tournaments are my ‘selfish’ fishing time. I’m a very competitive person, and tournament fishing is what drives me,” states Frenette. “I embrace the challenge of going to places that I’ve never fished before, because dissecting that bite teaches me new ways to succeed – not only in that event, but also back home with my clients. I still learn something new every single day, and that desire to keep learning – and to keep teaching – makes me a better guide.”Seaguar lines and leaders are integral components of Frenette’s arsenal. “Whether I’m guiding clients, fishing a tournament, or just looking to pop a couple slot reds for dinner, I’m spooled up with Seaguar.

For example, my favorite set-up for sight fishing reds is a seven-foot, medium power baitcasting rod, with the reel spooled up with 30 lb test Seaguar Smackdown. Depending on water clarity, I’ll add an 18-36″ leader of Seaguar 100% fluorocarbon. My favorite leader material by far is a new Seaguar product that will be all the rage at ICAST this year; it’s really terrific and precision engineered for the inshore environment. I’ll finish the rig with either a spinnerbait or a weedless jig tipped with a soft plastic. That combo – from rod to line to lure –  has brought more redfish to the boat than anything else I can think of.

”Reflecting on what the future may hold, Frenette notes that, “in 10 years, I’m planning to be just as excited and motivated to fish, learn, and teach as I am today. I’m truly blessed to have the opportunity to work with Seaguar, where I enjoy an unparalleled level of engagement, particularly when it comes to product development and refinement. Watching a prototype that I have worked on come to the market, so that other anglers can use it to catch more fish, is both gratifying and humbling.

”Seaguar is proud to welcome Capt. Mike Frenette into its family of angling professionals. Follow Capt. Frenette on his social media channels and make plans to visit the Redfish Lodge of Louisiana, and you’ll quickly learn why Frenette – and the Seaguar lines and leaders that he relies on – are Always the Best!

Livebait Spinner Rigs for Summer Walleyes


By Northland Pro Eric Brandriet
from The Fishing Wire

There are countless presentations that anglers use to catch walleyes throughout the open-water walleye season.  Angler strengths and confidence often steer their preference, and in South Dakota a livebait rig pulled behind a traditional bottom bouncer probably tops them all.  Very simple, yet effective livebait spinner rigs can entice the weariest of eyes!

After spawn concludes and water temps increase, walleyes transition off shorelines and shallow areas to weedlines and mid-lake structures.  While other presentations can be effective, spinner rigs become the summer norm allowing anglers to cover large areas of water with varying baits, at various speeds, often producing some of the best walleye angling of the year.

Even though spinner rigs are often seen as simple, they have not avoided evolution through the years.  As a young angler, I saw 2-3 hook harnesses with solid colored #3 Colorado Blades topping the options.  Today’s multi-colored blades on snells, with a variety of hook types, was the farthest from my dreams.

It has been no secret that many walleyes have succumbed to the Northland Tackle Butterfly Blades after their introduction last year.  Butterfly Blades brought spinner blades to an all new level due to their weight or lack of, color variations and sonic-like vibrations.   Endless versatility with the ability to troll at speeds as low as 0.25 mph, use hook variations of choice and catch everything from panfish to pike have made them my favorite. Northland Tackle has now introduced the NEW Butterfly Blade Float’n Harness and the Butterfly Wing-Nut Blade Rig.  I quickly realized after a couple of trolling passes that these just uncovered even more trolling options.

The Butterfly Blade Float’n Harness quickly proved very effective trolled over emerging weeds and rocky areas.  Its ability to avoid snags (weeds/rocks) but remain in the strike zone made this a favorite.   The 12 NEW colors in two different blade sizes will give us options complimenting forage and water/weather conditions.The Butterfly Wing-Nut Blade Rig without a doubt became my favorite enticing almost every species of fish.  The small blade produces a slightly more erratic action unmatched by any other blade.  This unmatched action coupled with three hook configurations (2-Hook, 1-Hook and Super Death) only add to versatility allowing this harness to be tipped with your choice of minnows, crawlers or leeches.

There are characteristics that allow these blades to stand alone and simply will put more fish in your boat.  Their composition (polycarbonate) allows less line sagging when trolled at slow speeds, on turns or while drifting.   The action and vibration is atypical of standard metal blades and this action and vibration attracts fish of all species.  The unique color blade options and two sizes of Float’n Harnesses allow matching the size profile preferred by fish on any given day.

I was born and raised in Northeastern South Dakota. Currently living on Big Stone Lake, also with a property on Lake Oahe, I’ve quickly realized I’m surrounded by “walleye” country! Spinner harnesses are a fishing backbone on many bodies of water as they can be fished easily by anglers of all ages with success, great for a guide like me.  The NEW Northland Tackle Butterfly Blade Float’n Harnesses and Butterfly Wing-Nut Blades have definitely earned space in my stowaways.

Using pop-up satellite tags, scientists can get a much better understanding of billfish movement and migration.

Billfish Movement

from The Fishing Wire

Research Need

Typically, researchers measure the movement of large, offshore pelagic fish using traditional streamer tags, but to get information, the fish must be caught again. This method only provides information on the tagging and recapture locations, but no information about what the fish did in between, including movements up and down the water column.

Ideally, to get the best understanding of how, where, and why a species interacts with its environment — and ultimately where to fish for it — a 3D map would incorporate depth with high-resolution horizontal movement.

What did we study?

We used pop-up satellite tags to track the movement of billfish caught in South Carolina Governor’s Cup tournaments. These tags capture the 3D location while attached, using sunlight and pressure sensors. The tags pop off at pre-programmed times and, once at the surface, transmit information to satellites and ultimately to the researcher.

We then used this information to provide a 3D model of movement.

What did we find?

One species of billfish (sailfish) off the coast of South Carolina moves seasonally and tends to stay closer to shore. But sailfish will venture offshore, too, including as far north as New Jersey and as far south as the northern coast of South America.

The depths through which fish travel change throughout the day and potentially during different types of movements, such as whether the fish are migrating or staying in an area to feed.

Overall, by tracking depth, we can capture a more complete picture of what these fish are doing and how they interact with their environment and with other species, which we might miss otherwise.

Anything else?

The advantage of satellite tags over streamer tags was apparent in one sailfish especially. This fish, tagged off the South Carolina coast, traveled to Turks and Caicos before returning to within 150 miles of where it originally was tagged, before its tag finally surfaced.

If this study had used a typical streamer tag on this fish, the only information we would have gathered is that this fish covered the same amount of area that a garden snail could cover over the same time period. Obviously, we would have assumed that likely something more happened with our fish, but without data to know what. Using the satellite tag, however, revealed the fish was much more active.

So what?

Depth plays an important role in limiting competition for food between sailfish and other species. Knowing these differences is especially important in some commercial fisheries, which can be a major source of mortality.

Understanding sailfish and other billfish movement patterns can allow for management and fishing practices that target only the species of interest, while minimizing interactions with billfish species, in turn making them more available to recreational fishermen.

Reading

Walter J. Bubley, Benjamin Galuardi, Amy W. Dukes, and Wallace E. Jenkins’s “Incorporating depth into habitat use descriptions for sailfish Istiophorus platypterus and habitat overlap with other billfishes in the western North Atlantic,” in Marine Ecology Progress Series, Vol. 638: 137–148 2020, https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13239.

Summary compiled by Walter Bubley
Lead photo by SCDNR

NOAA Fisheries, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, and the SC Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series provided support for this research.

The text from Hook, Line & Science is available to reprint and republish, but only in its entirety and with this attribution: Hook, Line & Science, courtesy of Scott Baker and Sara Mirabilio, North Carolina Sea Grant. HookLineScience.com

FREE RELEASE TOOLS OFFERED FOR GULF OF MEXICO FISHERMEN

Free Release Tools Offered for Gulf of Mexico Fishermen

Return ‘Em Right is launching its program to offshore anglers throughout the Gulf of Mexico today. By participating in a short online review of best practices anglers can receive free release gear valued at $100 to help reef fish survive release.

Each year, more than 10 million federally-managed reef fish are released, and at least one million of those will die after being released. A main reason is due to barotrauma, a pressure-related injury fish experience when reeled up from depth. Anglers may observe barotrauma when they release a fish, only to see it float away on the surface. For every one percent of landed and released fish anglers save through learning and using best release practices, over 100,000 reef fish could survive to grow, possibly spawn, and be caught again.

“I have enjoyed teaching my daughter to fish and know one way to keep the fisheries healthy for her generation is to release them properly. I hope Gulf anglers take advantage of Return ‘Em Right – free gear and training to benefit the fishery is a win-win,” said JD Dugas, recreational angler from Louisiana.

Return ‘Em Right promotes best release practices, with an emphasis on proper use of descending devices, which research shows can improve long-term survival of reef fish by up to three times. Descending devices are weighted devices that help fish overcome buoyancy and injury by releasing them at depth. These devices come in a variety of forms including weighted inverted hooks, lip clamp devices, and weighted crates and boxes.

“I used descending devices for the first time recently, and I’ve seen them work firsthand. Not a single fish floated back up the entire day offshore fishing,” said Alexandra Spring, three-time IGFA World Record Holder.

Gulf of Mexico reef fish anglers 18 years and older are now eligible to visit the Return ‘Em Right website, review best release practices, and receive a package of release gear to use out on the water. The educational review is available to all individuals who are interested in learning best practices when encountering barotrauma, regardless of your age, location, or role in the fishery.

“Return ‘Em Right welcomes all anglers to participate in the program and we are excited to be a resource to a community committed to preserving the future of the sport,” said Nick Haddad, Fisheries Communications Manager, Return ‘Em Right.

About Return ‘Em Right

Return ‘Em Right is a program that aims to reduce catch and release mortality from fish suffering from barotrauma in the Gulf of Mexico. The program is led by Florida Sea Grant, University of Florida, Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, NOAA and a coalition of anglers, industry groups, state agencies, universities, government and non-government organizations committed to maintaining healthy fish stocks and fishing access in the Gulf of Mexico. The project was selected by the Deepwater Horizon Open Ocean Trustee’s as part of a 2019 Restoration Plan.

St. Croix Rod Grows Product Team hires Robert Woods as Product Manager




St. Croix Rod Grows Product Team

Robert Woods joins St. Croix family as Product Manager

PARK FALLS, Wisc. (June 1, 2022) – St. Croix Rod, handcrafters of the Best Rods on Earth® for 75 years, announces the hiring of Robert Woods as Product Manager. A passionate angler hailing from Southeast Wisconsin, Woods graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and has spent the past eight years at Wells Vehicle Electronics in Fond du Lac.“

St. Croix’s continued growth is driven solely by our mission of making anglers better on the water,” says St. Croix VP of Marketing, Jesse Simpkins. “And we’re more committed than ever to building the best team on Earth to make sure we’re developing and delivering the tools anglers need to enjoy those kinds of heightened successes and experiences. Robert is the latest example of that commitment. As Product Manager, Robert will leverage his unique experience as a part of a growing Product Team to help improve product development and distribution processes for all our product categories.”

Woods’ angling journey began at age four at his family’s cabin in Northern Wisconsin, where his father taught him how to fish and he developed a penchant for walleye and musky, as well as for St. Croix Rods. “I remember my dad buying a St. Croix rod when I was about eight years old and visiting the St. Croix Factory Store,” says Woods, who continued to hone his angling skills back home in Fond du Lac on Lake Winnebago. “I’ve always enjoyed traveling to fish up north or making trips to Green Bay and Lake Erie, but Bago has always been my home water,” continues Woods, who remained active with a local fishing club throughout his career at Wells, serving six years as its VP, organizing and hosting numerous fishing events for veterans and kids, while promoting catch-and-release and other conservation initiatives.“

I’ve always made time to give back to the sport I love so much,” Woods says. “And that’s something I really appreciate about coming to work at St. Croix. I’ve seen and read about the organizations and causes St. Croix helps to support – whether it’s Take a Vet Fishing, the  NPAAASA and RBFF initiatives, or one of hundreds of local events and organizations across the country – but I’ve met so many individual team members here at St. Croix over the past few weeks who also get involved personally in events and causes that are good for angling and anglers. The culture is very unique in that respect. You hear and read about that culture, but until you visit and spend time in Park Falls, you don’t fully understand the passion and commitment that shines through at all levels.”

Woods, who has been on the job for about two weeks now and plans to relocate with his family to the Park Falls area, says it’s an exciting time to be an angler fishing St. Croix rods. “It’s been really incredible learning about and diving into everything St. Croix has in different stages of development for anglers,” Woods reports. “I’ve quickly learned there’s no such thing as business as usual here, unless ‘business as usual’ refers to the core mission of putting anglers at the center of everything that St. Croix does every day.”

Eliminate the Confusion Associated with Fishing Fluoro Leaders

Seaguar Pro Staff Help Eliminate the Confusion Associated with Fishing Fluoro Leaders

Louisville, KY – One subject many anglers wrestle with has to do with optimal use of fluorocarbon leaders. There’s when to use leaders, length choices, the best knots to use to attach them to main line, as well as which presentations benefit most from their use. In an attempt to reduce the frequent head scratching we’ve talked with some of Seaguar’s staff of bass pros who share the nuances of their fluorocarbon leader use. Their shared knowledge will no doubt help you in your use of fluorocarbon leaders this season, alleviating much of the confusion that can accompany the topic.

Seaguar pro Brandon Palaniuk

When asked what’s the typical fluorocarbon length he uses, bass pro Brandon Palaniuk responded, “My fluorocarbon leader is typically between 10 and 12 feet long. I don’t have an exact measurement for it, but rather make sure that my knot is in my reel and then I make two more revelations with the reel and cut the leader next to the reel after it travels through the guides and back down the rod.”

With regard to technique, Palaniuk keeps the fluorocarbon length the same for each technique. He says the length of the rod may vary slightly or he will potentially go longer for extremely clear water like lakes or reservoirs with greater than 20 feet of visibility. In terms of the type and test of his preferred fluorocarbon, Palaniuk prefers 6-10 lb. Seaguar Tatsu for his leader material. He says the deciding factor for which pound test will be the type or amount of cover he’s fishing around.

Greg Vinson

Greg Vinson prefers six to 20 feet leaders depending on “water clarity, depth and technique.” He continues: “For weightless rigs like twitching Netbait T-Macs, flukes or wacky rigs I like to use a 6 to 10 foot Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon leader. That helps to get the most sensitivity but more importantly helps to get a solid hookset, which can be a challenge with weightless rigs, especially when the hook is Texposed, like a fluke. But I will also use a shorter leader with heavier fluorocarbon like 10 to 15 pound test. And in deeper, clear water I prefer a longer 20 foot leader for drop shotting, vertical rigs (Damiki), and especially when casting a finesse swimbait to suspended fish. Sometimes I feel that the leader-main line connection passing through a group of suspended fish can be a turn off if it’s too close to the bait, especially in clear water and heavily pressured waters. That’s when a 20 foot leader really excels. Although the leader is long, the braid on the spool lessens the amount of overall stretch and absorbs the line twist after hours of dropping or casting.”

John Garret

John Garret says his preferred go-to leader length when fishing the stained waters in the southern states is usually about six feet of Seaguar Tatsu 8 lb. fluorocarbon. What he likes about that length is the leader knot is not in your guides when you cast and in most water conditions it’s enough that fish do not see your braid. “This length also allows for the maximum hook driving power which is a big key when throwing a spinning rod and fishing shakey heads, weightless worms, small lures with treble hooks, and casting drop shot rigs.”

However, if he’s fishing clear northern waters or dropping directly down on fish Garret will up his fluorocarbon leader length to 15 feet depending on how deep and clear he’s fishing. “That still gives you plenty of fluorocarbon leader that the fish don’t see your braided line. And the majority of the time you’re fishing deep clear water you’re using a smaller size wire hook, so you do don’t need as much hook driving power. You have a little more give from the leader length.”

Matt Lee

Bass pro Matt Lee’s typical fluorocarbon leader length is about 10 feet or 8 lb. Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon. He says that length typically keeps the Albright Knot out of the spool to prevent the knot from catching a rod guide when casting. However, he sometimes ups the length of the Seaguar Tatsu fluorocarbon he uses in southern stained waters on lakes with greater visibility, going as long as 20 feet with 8 lb. and switching to an FG knot to connect to his main line braid. “There are some situations when I might go up to 10 lb. Tatsu, but I don’t ever need to go heavier than that.”

About Seaguar Fishing Lines

As the inventor of fluorocarbon fishing lines in 1971, Seaguar has played a prominent role in the advancement of technologies to improve the performance of lines and leader material for both fresh and salt water anglers. Seaguar is the only manufacturer of fluorocarbon fishing lines that produces its own resins and controls the manufacturing process from start to finished product. Today, Seaguar is the #1 brand of fluorocarbon lines and offers a full spectrum of premium products including fluorocarbon mainlines and leader material, fly tippet and leaders, 8-strand and 16-strand braid and monofilament fishing lines.

April Flint River Bass Club Lake Oconee Tournament

At Oconee last Sunday six members and guests fished the Flint River April tournament. After casting from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM, we brought 13 largemouth meeting the 14-inch length requirement to the scales. The total weight was about 26 pounds.  One person had a limit and there were two zeros.

     Niles Murray won with the limit weighing 9.61 pounds and my four weighing 6.32 pounds was second. Brent Drake placed third with two at 5.52 pounds and his 3.55 pounder was big fish. Don Gober had two weighing 3.75 pounds for fourth.

    Niles had fished a bigger tournament at Oconee on Saturday, the region 72 American Bass Anglers trail, with more than 40 boats in it. It took 18 pounds to win it and about 13 to get a check. Niles had 11 pounds.

    That trail is extremely tough, fishing Oconee and Sinclair for their tournaments. And several of the fishermen are really good on both lakes and some of them are able to fish them almost every day.  Its hard to compete against folks like that.

    A young man named Grant Kelly won that tournament. I did a magazine article with Grant when he was a college student in Milledgeville and followed up a few years later as he started his professional career. He is an excellent young fisherman, winning many local tournaments. I expect to see his name in the tournament results for many years as he works up the professional ladder of bass tournaments.

    In our tournament I started out good, catching a decent keeper on a spinnerbait the first place I stopped. Then I landed two more casting a shaky head worm to docks before 11:00.

I thought with three in the livewell half-way through the tournament I could land a five-bass limit, but at 2:00 I landed my fourth one. It was a two-pound bass that was feeding in the shade from a tree that was on the water between docks. It was in only about a foot of water. I never got the fifth one. I did catch six or seven fish under the 14-inch limit.

    Fishing should get better and better for the next few weeks.