Category Archives: How To

How Rod Handles Are Made from St Croix



How It’s Made: Handles

St. Croix delivers the Best Rods on Earth by combining angler-driven research and development, industry-leading design an innovation gained from 75 years of experience, the highest-quality materials, passionate and precise craftsmanship from people who care, and the most advanced rod-manufacturing facilities in the world. All of these things contribute to the pride and satisfaction you feel when you fish one of our rods, but we never assume that’s enough. 

Handle design is a key factor is fishing-rod design. While a rod’s blank – its materials, length, power, and action – forms the foundation for how it will perform, its handle dictates how the angler will interface with the rod and, ultimately, experience that performance. 

Being an angler-driven company, St. Croix is constantly leveraging angler feedback. Our deep and diverse angling staff – from professional guides and tournament anglers to hardcore fishing-lifestyle enthusiasts – is one of our most valuable resources. We rely heavily on these and other anglers to help increase our understanding of the nuances of how each of our rods are used in various techniques and presentations. This helps or Product and Engineering Teams design handles that maximize both comfort and performance.

Handle Materials

St. Croix Rod Handle Assembly

St. Croix uses a variety of handle materials from traditional premium cork and premium EVA, to ultra-durable agglomerated cork, cork composite, carbon fiber, and other proprietary materials like Xtreme-Skin. Many of our handle designs combine these materials. These proven materials are specified on different rod models depending on how and where the subject rods will be used. Comfort, durability, energy transmission, and a rod’s target price point are a few of the primary factors that guide these decisions.

Handle Design 

Handle design – its form, dimensions, proportions, and how it blends with the reel seat and blank – is largely dictated by angler trends, meaning how a specific rod will be used. 

“Handle design on a new rod starts with a product brief for that particular rod series,” says St. Croix Engineering Supervisor, Gavin Falk. “We’re looking at what the rod is and how it will be used, then investigating things like how anglers position their hands when using those techniques. The product brief also considers the price point we want the new rod series to sell at. These factors help us decide the basic handle-design parameters, as well as our options for materials. We come up with preliminary designs and then start testing those designs through production.”

St. Croix Rod Hybrid Cork and Premium EVA Grip

Falk says in-house 3-D printing technology has significantly evolved St. Croix’s handle-design capabilities. “Once we have a preliminary design, we can print a grip the same day it is modeled,” he says. “We build test rods with those 3-D-printed grips and let our team of beta testers fish them. We take their feedback concerning functionality and aesthetics and can quickly make adjustments. We check specs, refine designs, confirm fit with reel seats, then 3-D print the next versions. Once the design has been confirmed, we design accent pieces and build versions with the actual materials. Those designs are then re-tested and confirmed in the field. We repeat the process until everything is finalized.”

The handle-design process results in detailed engineering drawings for each specific rod model. Those documents also specify the materials, and procedures – order of operations, gluing, the use of any arboring materials, etc. – for assembling the handles onto the rods on the manufacturing floor. “We source our various handle materials from a handful of trusted suppliers from around the world,” Falk says. “These are relationships we’ve worked very hard to build and maintain. Whether it’s cork, carbon fiber, or another material, everything is provided to our demanding specifications, so we know exactly what we’re getting.”

From the proprietary Xtreme Skin handles found on Legend Xtreme and Legend Xtreme Inshore and the carbon handles on our various Onchor models, to our GRASP-equipped handles on Legend Tournament Musky and select bass-fishing swimbait models, St. Croix is continually innovating handle design for the benefit of anglers. Combining materials – like premium cork, premium EVA, and soft rubber gimble butt caps on select inshore spinning models – is another way that we’re pushing the limits of rod-handle design to better support the ways anglers fish. Additionally, new materials like St. Croix’s agglomerated cork used on Skandic Ice and new Avid Inshore rods deliver all the benefits of traditional cork but with greatly increased durability.

St. Croix Rod Xtreme Skin

“Xtreme Skin is designed not only for angler comfort, but also for maximum energy transmission,” Falk says. “Similarly, the carbon handles on select Onchor Salmon and Steelhead models are very lightweight and durable but are also easy to keep clean and come in and out of rod holders easily by design,” he adds. “GRASP helps anglers fish longer by minimizing wrist fatigue during physically demanding presentations like musky fishing or while casting heavy swimbaits. And we’re seeing how our new ultra-durable agglomerated cork material keeps handles looking and fishing like new in demanding environments like those experienced during inshore saltwater and ice fishing.”

Introducing TRIGON

St. Croix Rod TRIGON Grip

St. Croix also carefully considers ergonomics. Ergonomics is a science focused on the study of “human fit” through what’s known as anthropometric data – the various measurements of the human body. In the case of St. Croix’s handle program, the latest example of ergonomic design comes in the form of an all-new TRIGON handle and accompanying Dynamix reel seat, carefully conceived to improve angler control while decreasing fatigue and discomfort.

“Our unique TRIGON handle recognizes that the human hand does not form a circle when closed, so we’re no longer limiting our handle designs to cylindrical forms,” says St. Croix Brand Manager, Ryan Teach. “TRIGON features a curved, triangular profile with a rounded inner apex and a flattened top curve to better fit the human hand. The results are a more comfortable grip so anglers can fish longer while exercising increased control to maximize power and accuracy.”

Teach adds that St. Croix’s use of the word ergonomic in its description the TRIGON handle is both valid and earned. “TRIGON’s design is based on actual anthropometric data of the human hand,” he says. “We went to one of the foremost experts in the field to make sure we got it right.”

St. Croix Rod TRIGON GRASP Grip

St. Croix engineers partnered with renown industrial designer, Paul Richardson of Rise Creative, over the past two years to perfect the TRIGON handle design and accompanying Dynamix reel seat. “TRIGON’s inner apex – the triangular point on the lower part of the grip promotes greater hand-to-blank alignment for dramatically improved control,” Richardson says. “Meanwhile, the flattened top curve of TRIGON creates greater hand comfort, which ultimately reduces fatigue and supports longer, more comfortable fishing. And the design’s benefits are further increased in the way of control when the angler moves his or her thumb to the flattened top curve. The accompanying Dynamix reel seat has been specifically designed to fully support TRIGON’s benefits by meshing perfectly with its unique profiles.”

“In order to accomplish the aggressive design dimensional points in the TRIGON design, traditional cork forming could not be used,” Teach says. “In addition to being ultra durable, agglomerated cork is completely customizable and represented the ideal material to support TRIGON’s complex dimensional specifications.”

Think of TRIGON as a bionic extension of yourself – the ultimate interface between an angler and their most important tool. The new TRIGON handle and Dynamix reel seat will be introduced this month at ICAST 2023 on St. Croix’s popular Mojo Bass Series, which has been updated, refreshed, and expanded for 2024. New Mojo Bass TRIGON rods will be available to anglers at St. Croix dealers worldwide beginning August 1.



from The Fishing Wire

Why You Need Multiple Pitching Rigs

It’s one of bass fishing’s most broadly used techniques and for good reason. Pitching baits offers a highly efficient way to cover a shoreline with quick, accurate presentations, allowing you to slow down and pick apart promising cover.

Targets will vary, so keep a selection of rigs handy.

Light Cover: Sparse hydrilla and milfoil, patchy lily pads, or thin eel grass; bass may relate to this thin cover during early mornings or during their spawn. Here, you don’t need much weight — just enough to allow for accurate casts and the ability to navigate through the cover.


A classic Texas rig with a 3/16- to 1/4-ounce Mustad Tungsten TitanX Worm Weight and a craw or creature bait on a 3/0-4/0 Mustad KVD Grip-Pin Soft Plastics Hook fits this role. Other options: A 4- to 6-inch lizard or a soft stick worm on a 3/0 or 4/0 Mustad Offset Shank Worm Hook. Pitch your bait into gaps and breaks in the cover and stay alert for distinct holes amid grass beds, where hard sand or shell bottom offers ideal holding spots.


Heavy Vegetation: When matted grass or thick rafts of floating vegetation (hyacinth, pennywort, etc.) blanket the surface, the shadowy caverns below offer prime bass habitat, particularly during the heat of summer. Standard pitching rigs often hang on the dense cover, so you’ll want to switch to the “punching” technique, which uses heavier terminal tackle to drive a bait through the cover.


You can use similar baits used when flipping light cover, but you’ll want to beef up the hook to a Mustad Grip-Pin Max Punching Hook and add a 1- to 2-ounce Mustad Tungsten TitanX Weight secured with a Mustad Weight Stop.


Nothing complicated here; you’re simply forcing a bait through the cover for what typically turns out to be a reaction bite. Even when fish are not in an active feeding mode, the sudden appearance of a forage profile usually triggers a reaction bite.


Multi-Purpose: Boaters have the advantage of carrying an arsenal of rods, each rigged for specific tasks; even modern-day fishing kayakers can transport a good selection. For the bank fisherman or the casual kayak angler, a minimalist approach necessitates making the most of two or three rods.

In such scenarios, the ability to immediately switch from pitching to a swimming or twitching presentation broadens your versatility. One of the best options for this is a 5-inch soft plastic stick worm rigged on a 3/0 or 4/0 Mustad Offset Shank Worm Hook .

With a tapered tail, the stick worm easily slips into sparse grass, holes in lily pad fields, and gaps in cattails or reeds. Pitch the bait into a promising area, give it a couple of twitches, then repeat. Optionally, add a nail weight to the tail for better control and a unique presentation. When the worm hits the water, that weight pulls it down and away for a darting look.

For thorough coverage, shifting to a cast-and-retrieve pattern allows you to work the vegetation’s perimeter edges or target fish that you see chasing baitfish. Add a screw-in spinner blade to the stick worm’s tail end for extra appeal during the swimming presentations.

About Mustad

Mustad has led the global hook market since 1877. Mustad’s mission is to create a comprehensive multi-brand company that leads the fishing tackle industry, while focusing on innovation, employee and customer satisfaction, and sustainability. With the addition of TUF-LINE and LIVETARGET, Mustad continues to solidify its position as a complete sports fishing brand family.

Minn Kota Ultrex Trolling Motor Review

I bought a Minn Kota Ulterra self stow trolling motor a few years ago and hated it and all the problems I had with it. So I bought a Minn Kota Ultrex trolling motor that is manual stow and deploy. It is bad on my back but it has been reliable and I have had no problems with it until recently.

At an Oconee tournament, the steel pull cable broke when trying to deploy the motor. A grove had been worn in the cast aluminum block the cable passes through and had cut the cable

groove in my Minn Kota Ultrex that cut my pull cable

I replaced the cable but it stuck some in the groove and would get cut again so i contacted |Minn Kota. here is part of their response: Hello Ronnie,

this is normal wear from the stow/deploy cable. There is not a way to make this stronger and if it is getting bothersome to the operation of the feature, it can be changed out with part number 2992333 which can be ordered online.

So they know this is a problem, say it can’t be fixed and offered to sell me a replacement block that is the same as the one damaged.

I checked online and found this aftermarket part that seems to solve the problem for about $25. They were very prompt, i received the sleeve in two days!

It was fairly easy to install and i posted on the Minn Kota Owners web page to try to be helpful, several folk there said they had the same problem, but the keyboard warriors told me I did it wrong, even after I posted a link to the installation video on the designer manufacturer’s website showing I did it like they instructed.

Bottom line, I am disgusted with Minn Kota. They know about a problem with their $2500 plus motors that looks like it can be solved with a $25 aftermarket part, but they will not add this to their design. They probably could buy a stainless steel sleeve and put it on when the motor is built for much less than $20.

Choosing the Right Net Can Make the Difference Between Landing and Losing

Get Your Net’s Worth

By Jay Anglin

from The Fishing Wire

Spinning gear or Casting gear? Live bait or artificial? Walk a stream bank or launch a boat in a lake? These are common considerations before venturing out fishing for the day.

With so many landing net options it’s important to choose the ideal combination of hoop size, net depth and handle length for a given fishing scenario. Frabill offers a variety of styles to fit any situation including the immensely popular Conservation Series Nets which have become standard equipment for many professional guides.

One decision many fishermen tend to take for granted is net selection. This lack of forethought often leads to frustration as cheapo landing nets regularly fail when hoops break, net bags tear and handles bend. Murphy’s Law states the big letdown will more than likely occur when that once-in-a-lifetime fish is hooked. The best way to avoid such misfortune is to get serious about what net you bring along.

Yes, selecting the perfect net requires some research, but the study is stress-free.

The chosen one

It’s easy to talk yourself out of a high-quality net when the price tag shows triple digits before the dot. While not breaking the bank is important for most of us, it’s the long run you need to be looking at. Generally, you’ll likely be spending more money by replacing lesser models regularly that have failed miserably.

Take a look at the best nets that fit your needs and then budget for them. Hoop size, net material, handle length and the quality of the components that hold it all together are of the utmost importance.

Generally speaking, hoop size and net depth are dictated by what species are targeted. While many anglers prefer smaller nets because they are less cumbersome, a good rule of thumb is to go bigger than you think you will need. It’s also important to take into account other species you may encounter while fishing. If you mostly pursue bass and walleye, for example, but occasionally run into large northern pike, a net with a deeper bag and larger hoop that can accommodate longer fish is a great choice.

When selecting the proper net, going bigger is always better than going small. Big fish require big nets, don’t skimp on size. Photo by Dawn Kazokas

While many fishermen prefer smaller nets because they are less cumbersome – a good rule of thumb is to go bigger rather than smaller. It’s no surprise that big fish fit into larger nets much easier, but an added benefit of a larger net bag is smaller fish tend to be calm when they are comfortable in a roomy net. This is especially true when the net bag is lowered into the water which permits fish to revive without being handled. Many catch and release anglers and guides use a net with a tangle-free bag deep enough to allow fish to remain in the water. Fish can easily be unhooked and then released by allowing them to swim freely from the open net. Or, if you’re taking a few photos, the fish can be quickly lifted from the net, refreshed and ready for a quick release.

The Spin

The character of the fish you catch is another consideration as some species can be troublesome. If you’ve ever dealt with a huge king salmon sporting a mouth full of treble hooks while it flops wildly on the deck of a crowded boat, you know how much of a problem this can be. This holds true for pike and muskie anglers, as well as saltwater anglers who regularly deal with ornery species that are notorious for twisting and spinning after being netted. Not only can this potentially injure a fish that was intended to be released, there is usually significant tangling of hooks into the netting and possible impalement to the person performing the removal.

Guiding light

Like many guides, a high-performance net is a must for Wisconsin captain and guide Pat Kalmerton. The Lake Michigan and inland lake veteran’s favorite nets by far are Frabill’s line of Conservation Series Nets.

“The Conservation Series features a flat, linear bottom, which supports the weight of the fish and prevents them from rolling,” he states. “The rubber-coated netting is easy on the fish and it’s much easier to remove hooks from. These nets definitely make my job easier. Frankly, I can’t imagine using anything else.

When big fish are on the line anglers need a pro-grade net to finish the job. Net failure should be the least of your worries. Photo by Author/Jay Anglin

“Also, the Pow’R Lok yoke on the Frabill Conservation Series is lightweight, yet, heavy duty – they are incredibly reliable,” Kalmerton added. “The handle design is nifty too. Round net handles can be difficult to hang on to with cold or wet hands. Frabill solved that problem by using an ergonomic heavy-duty aluminum handle that has grooves along the length of it that keep water off your hands so you can maintain a better grip. And trust me, if you’re lifting big fish out of the water non-stop during a hot bite, you need all the help you can get.”

If small spaces are a consideration, nets that have ability to collapse are much easier to fit in the busy confines of a fishing boat. The handles of the Frabill Power Stow Net line not only contract, but the hoop can be folded up. This is especially advantageous and certainly worth every penny when fishing from smaller boats.

On the other hand, some net models, such as the Frabill Conservation Series mentioned earlier, also offer telescoping handles, which provides increased range while netting fish. This is particularly important for anglers fishing from larger boats or an elevated position such as a break-wall or jetty. The longer handle is a huge asset when attempting to land large-bodied, speedy species such as salmon and steelhead, or any fish of trophy proportions that represent a greater challenge during the netting process.

Shore and wading anglers who regularly fish solo, conversely, may want to stick with nets that have shorter handles, which makes it easier to land fish by yourself.

Got the scoop?

The bottom-line is, choose your net wisely. Look for ones that feature the best design and reliable materials, as well the perfect combination of size and features that will most-assuredly improve landing success rates. A net that’s properly matched to the size of fish is especially valuable.

They may cost a bit more, but they are definitely worth the investment.


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.


by Bob Jensen of

How To: Catch More in the Spring

from The Fishing Wire

The days, too slowly, are getting warmer and longer. These warmer, longer days are getting more anglers in the mood to visit a lake, river, or pond to see if anyone in that lake, river, or pond wants to get caught. Fish are cold-blooded. Being cold-blooded, they respond to different stimulus in diverse ways. Sometimes they like to eat larger, faster moving prey, other times they prefer prey that is smaller and slower moving. Here are some ideas for fishing in the spring.

Spring is the time of year when most fish like their food to be smaller and slower moving. Since they like their natural food that way, it’s a good idea to offer the fish that we’re after baits that resemble their natural prey. In this case, smaller and slower moving. Small is relative though. A small bait to a largemouth bass is going to be too big for a bluegill, a perch, or a crappie. We as anglers need to tailor our bait presentation to the species of fish that we want to catch.

In many areas, walleyes are a popular target at this time of year. In many areas, walleyes are a popular target at any time of year. But if we fish for walleyes with the same bait in the same way in the same location every time we go fishing, we’re going to be limiting our success. For instance, a jig tipped with a minnow can be particularly good early in the year. In some places a fathead minnow will be good. In the lake just down the road, a shiner will be preferred. That’s early in the year. A few weeks later when the water has warmed and the walleyes are in more of a chasing mood, a jig tipped with a Rage Swimmer plastic will be better. The jig/Rage Swimmer combo is more effective fished faster, so we can show our bait to more fish, which usually increases the chance to get bit.

Another thing regarding minnows and jigs in the spring. Some folks like to hook the minnow through the lips, others like to put the hook in the minnow’s mouth and poke it out through the back of the minnow’s head. By doing the in-the-mouth and out-the-back of the head deal, the minnow will usually stay on the hook longer, and it will also appear to be a smaller presentation. Cold water, smaller presentation, usually more fish.

Now about lure speed. Slower moving lures will usually be better in the spring, but it’s also good to cover water quickly and efficiently. There are a couple of ways that you can do this.

First, and if you’re fishing in a state that only allows one line, try starting with an eighth ounce jig. Work it kind of quickly, but when you catch one or two in quick succession, slow down. Tie on a sixteenth ounce jig and really work the area thoroughly. You’ll catch a couple more. If you go five or ten minutes with no more catching, tie the larger jig back on and start moving again. When you find the fish, slow down and work’em over good.

Here’s something that works well in states that allow multiple lines. Cast the jig but put a slip-bobber rig out there also. I’ve even had success hanging a rod with a jig/minnow directly over the side of the boat. This is often referred to as a “dead rod.” Make sure the jig is near the bottom. You might be surprised how many walleyes you can catch on the slip-bobber rod, and at times that dead rod can get pretty lively. Usually, it’s worth the effort to get those extra lines in the water.

The same concept is true if you’re fishing for crappies or bass. Move the bait slowly but work the area quickly until you find the fish. Then slow down and make them bite.

Depending on where you’re fishing the next few weeks, if you keep the small and slow idea in mind, you’ll increase your odds for catching more fish.

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.

What Does It Mean To Be A Professional Bass Fisherman?

Pro bass fishermen at the Bassmasters Classic give young antlers advice on becoming a pro bass fisherman


from The Fishing Wire

What It Means To Be A Pro

Forestville, WI (February 9, 2022) – What defines a professional angler? Ask someone off the street and they’ll likely describe fancy boats, bright lights and big fish. Ask those who stand atop the leaderboard, however, and they’ll tell a different story – one of hard work, determination, and the efforts of many other industry pros who have helped them succeed.

“You can’t get to the top without others to lift you up,” says, Patrick Neu, president of the 1,400-member non-profit National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA). “Nobody reaches the pinnacle of professionalism in this industry without a lot of help. That’s exactly why the NPAA is inviting fishing industry workers of every type to join our ranks. Our purpose is to grow and protect sportfishing while providing our members the tools and association benefits needed to increase their professionalism and meet individualized goals.”

To be sure, professionalism in the fishing industry is wide ranging, a point not lost on the organization and its members. “Being a fishing industry ‘pro’ is a pretty loose term,” says NPAA member Chad Pipkens, a ten-year full-time veteran of the Bassmaster Elite Series and five-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier from Dewitt, Michigan, who spent several years prior honing his skills on a variety of smaller trails before acquiring the knowledge, money and flexibility of time needed to compete at the highest levels.

“Professional doctors diagnose and treat patients, teachers instruct students, pro golfers receive PGA cards, and electricians need a license to perform electrical work,” Pipkens says. “These are all well-defined fields of specialization. By comparison, the fishing world encompasses many different job opportunities. Sure, tournament anglers, captains and guides are fishing professionals, but so are the highly skilled mechanics that work on your engine as well as the folks who run the marina, design lures, sell fishing tackle, manage anglers and staff the tournament trails.

“To me,” Pipkens continued, “anyone making meaningful money or striving to earn a living in this industry should qualify as a pro. If you don’t want to be on the water day in and day out, but you still want to be in the industry, you can find the contacts amongst our membership to maybe make that happen.”

“Anyone making meaningful money or striving to earn a living in this industry should qualify as a pro.”

According to Pipkens, the NPAA does a great job of teaching aspiring pros how to run a fishing-related business through their seminars, annual conference and approachable members who have already achieved success. “NPAA membership can shorten your learning curve and raise your professionalism at any level,” he points out. “It’s a great organization for learning the ins and outs of running your own business; whether that’s tech stuff, accounting, how to network or get paid by more than one employer, it certainly can help shorten your learning curve.”

As a pro angler, Pipkens says his life is organized chaos; getting the boat ready, crisscrossing the country, and being on the road for five weeks at a time while never losing his family focus. He often practices on the water from sunrise to sunset. Despite the pressure to win, tournaments are actually the fun part of his routine. “Balancing all the rest,” he says, “is what really makes you a professional.”

For tournament pros, guides and charter captains in particular, there is a ton of preparation that takes place behind the scenes, notes John Campbell, an NPAA founding member and full-time guide. A Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame member inducted in 2018, Campbell managed to win both the Pro Walleye Trail Detroit River and FLW Lake Ouachita championships. He also qualified for a major walleye championship every single year from 1989 to 2011 while on the pro tour. That’s 22 consecutive years, if you’re counting.

Like Pickens, Campbell agrees publicly visible aspects of being a tournament angler or guide help solidify your status as a professional, but the business end of things is vitally important. “Sure, you’ve got to pre-fish, choose your lures, maintain your gear, set up the boat and put in plenty of time on the road,” he notes, “but you also have to learn to book charters, carefully plan out your competition schedule, promote your sponsors and tend to family matters. Earning money and winning tournaments is vital, but also important is finding ways to help grow the sport through sharing knowledge and getting more kids involved.”

As a professional guide, Campbell is in the business of educating anglers. “To me, helping others learn the game is the sign of a true pro,” he states, adding that this is exactly the kind of people you’ll network and rub elbows with in the NPAA. “This organization supported over 100 Future Angler clinics in 2021 alone. With support from the Future Angler Foundation, it’s member volunteers also distributed over 4,000 NPAA Future Pro T-shirts and 3,000 rod/reel combos to kids at NPAA Future Angler education events. That, I believe, is professionalism at its finest.”

For information on joining the NPAA and exploring the many benefits membership provides, visit

Tips On Cleaning and Cooking Trout

Trout, From Lake to Table
Tips on cleaning and cooking trout from Nebraska Game and Parks

By Larry Pape
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
from The Fishing Wire

Keep your catch of fish as fresh as possible and you will be rewarded with a wonderful meal that is the finale to a fishing trip. In mid-October, trout will be stocked across Nebraska in small city park ponds and state park lakes.

These pan-sized fish offer a person the delicious main course of a meal. From the lake to the table, every step is critical in making the best of what nature has given you.

Fish are a perishable food product and the quality of the meal is only as good as the handling of the fish after the catch. If practical, fish can be kept alive until just before cleaning. The best method is to keep them as cold as possible, as soon as possible. If you know you are going to be keeping fish, take along a cooler with ice and place them in it immediately after catching.

A 10-inch rainbow trout is one of the easiest fish to prepare for the pan. It is not necessary, nor advisable to skin or filet a small trout, as they have delicate flesh that is best kept whole. The method is simply to remove the internal organs and gills, and then wash.

Do this by making an incision along the belly from the vent to the gills, and disposing of the entrails. The gills may take a little more cutting to release them from the head. The head can be left on or removed depending on the diner’s sensibility. Notice a dark area inside and along the spine of the fish. This is the fish’s kidney and can be removed by gently rubbing while washing. It does not change the cooked product if left in the fish.

There are two easy methods for cooking trout:

Pan fry – Dredge in a mixture of flour, salt, pepper and seasoning of choice. Fry about 3 to 5 minutes per side in a quarter inch of medium hot oil. Use spatula to turn the fish gently. When done, place on a platter to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Bake – Wrap in foil and cook on the grill or in the oven. This allows each fish to be seasoned to the particular desires of the diner. Oil is necessary to keep the fish moist; use butter, olive or vegetable oil; just a splash will do. Spices can be delicate such as rosemary and parsley, or bold such as Cajun and curry, but remember that a little goes a long way. To add flavor and edible ingredients, include sliced onions, garlic cloves, capers, or artichoke hearts.

Seal this foil packet and bake on the grill grates or in the oven on a baking sheet for 10 to 15 minutes (350 degrees). Serve after resting for a few minutes and then placing each packet in front of the diner on a plate. Open carefully to release the steam and aroma.

A trout meal is best served with rice, vegetables and the stories of how they were caught.

If you are just getting into fishing and want more details, a helpful resource is Game and Parks’ Going Fishing Guide, available at For information on Fish Stocking, including the dates pf upcoming trout stocking,

Protect Your Boat’s Fuel System During Winter Storage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boating Industry magazine.
Visit to learn more.