Top 5 Freshwater Fishing Spinners

Top 5 Freshwater Fishing Spinners

In-line spinners are extremely versatile fishing lures. They are mostly used when freshwater fishing. Spinners will catch a wide variety of species, from small panfish to giant musky. There are many different spinners to choose from. In this article, Capt Jim’s top 5 freshwater fishing spinners will be listed.

river fishing for musky

The top 5 freshwater fishing spinners are;

  • Worden’s Original Rooster Tail spinner
  • Mepps Aglia
  • Blue Fox Vibrax
  • Panther Martin
  • Mepps Musky Killer

These five in-line spinners will cover every freshwater fishing situation and angler will face.

bluegill fishing

In-line spinners are fairly basic lures that have been around a long time. They consist of a wire shaft with some type of body in the middle. The body adds color and weight. A blade rotates on the shaft around the body, emitting both flash and vibration. There is a hook at the end, usually a treble hook. The hook can be plain or dressed with some type of hair, usually bucktail.

Spinner fishing techniques

Spinners are versatile lures they can be effective in a wide variety of angling situations. They can be used throughout the entire water column, from just under the surface all the way to the bottom. They are effective in all bodies of water, but particularly so in rivers with moving water. Spinners are also extremely effective when trolled, especially for trout.

fishing for rainbow trout

Spinners fishing in rivers

Spinners really shine when fished in moving water such as creeks, streams, and rivers. The current just assists in getting the blades to rotate and flash. Spinners also mimic the type of forged that game fish find in rivers. The best approach when fishing spinners in smaller rivers is to cast across the current and retrieve the spinner back just fast enough to keep the blades turning. The strike often occurs as the lure swings on a tight line at the end of the drift.

Anglers fishing in larger rivers do well to both casting and trolling. In this situation, heavier spinners are often used to get the lure down deeper in the water column. Slow trolling the deeper holes is an extremely effective technique for trout, salmon, and other species.

live bait for bass

Spinner fishing in lakes

Spinners are certainly very effective in lakes as well. Very small versions are deadly on bluegill, crappie, and other panfish. Anglers cast out small brightly colored spinners towards submerged vegetation and trees as well as docks and other structure. In most cases, a very slow and steady retrieve works best. The same approach using larger spinners will catch bass as well.

Larger spinners are extremely effective on northern pike and musky. These apex predators lie in wait, generally in submerged weed beds, and ambush helpless prey as it swims by. A large spinner flashing overhead, putting out vibration will often trigger a strike. For the most part, spinners mimic a wounded bait fish which is the primary forage of pike and musky.

Alberta fishing tips

Spinners are very effective for just about every species of trout in lakes as well. Rainbow trout in particular are stocked widely throughout the country. They tend to feed and the upper part of the water column and spinners are extremely effective lures, both cast and trolled. Larger spinners will catch lake trout and salmon in lakes as well.

The top 5 freshwater fishing spinners

While spinners are similar in how they operate, there are differences in the way spinners are manufactured. These differences will affect the optimum spots that they will be used in and techniques that will produce fish. Also, anglers will need to use different size spinners based on the forage available as well is the species being pursued.

Worden’s Original Rooster Tail spinner

Capt Jim’s favorite in-line spinner is the Worden’s Original Rooster Tail spinner. This is the lightest of the spinners on the list, making it particularly effective in streams and small rivers. Not coincidentally, these are Capt. Jim’s favorite waters to fish with spinners. These lures are available in a wide variety of sizes and color patterns, all of which can be effective.

rooster tail

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The 1/16 ounce and 1/8 ounce Rooster Tail spinners work extremely well in streams and small rivers. Capt. Jim’s favorite color patterns are brightly colored bodies with a gold blade. White with a silver blade would be his second choice. This is an extremely effective lure for all species of trout in waters that hold them. In warmer waters, bass and panfish will readily devour them.

trout fishing

Rooster tail spinners can certainly be used in lakes as well. They are particularly effective for panfish in smaller ponds and lakes. They can be used by anglers trolling as well, though due to their light weight trolling sinkers or some other device will be required to get them down in the water column.

Mepps Aglia spinner

The Mepps Aglia spinner is another fairly light lure that has been around a long time. Mepps has been an industry leader when it comes to fishing spinners for decades. It is a bit heavier than the Rooster Tail spinner, however is still an excellent choice for fishing streams and small rivers. It is available in multiple sizes and blade color in tail color combinations.

mepps

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The smaller sizes are excellent when used in streams and they will catch every species of trout along with warm water species such as panfish and smallmouth bass. Larger sizes are better for bass, pickerel, and pike as well. They do come with treble hooks which makes them better for fishing in open water. The most popular color combination is a gold blade with the brown hair skirt on the hook.

Blue Fox Vibrax spinner

The Blue Fox Vibrax spinner is a bit heavier than the previous two lures. It has a patented two-part brass body that along with the plated blade puts out a very unique vibration. This lure is available in sizes from 7/64 of an ounce to 5/8 ounces. It is available in a wide variety of body and blade color combinations.

blue fox spinner

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The Vibrax spinner is a excellent choice in larger rivers with deeper holes. This bait is fairly heavy and will sink quickly, getting down to the deeper depths where lighter spinners will not reach. For the same reason, they are fantastic lures to troll for trout and other species. The heavier versions will get down deep enough in the water column that they do not require any extra weight. This is a great convenience when trolling in lakes.

Panther Martin spinner

The Panther Martin spinner is also a fairly heavy lure. It is credited with being the first in-line spinner where the shaft ran through the body and the blade. Obviously, it is a proven bait with over 100 million units being sold. It has a larger and heavier body which emits a unique vibration as well as working a little bit deeper in the water column.

panther martin

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Panther Martin spoons are excellent trout lures, but will catch a variety of other species as well. They are a versatile spinner that can be cast as well as trolled. It is similar to the Blue Fox spinner, but with a slightly different vibration.

Mepps Musky Killer spinner

The Mepps Musky Killer is similar to the Mepps Aglia, with a few exceptions. It is one of the largest spinners available and is designed to be used by anglers fishing for musky in northern pike. These are large game fish with sharp teeth, which requires a stout lure. The Musky Killer is made from extra strong components and holds up better under these fishing conditions than other spinners do.

musky killer

Click this link to shop Amazon for Mepps Musky Killer spinners

This bait works best when fished over top of submerged vegetation. Musky and Pike are long and sleek and well designed to ambush bait fish in this environment. The spinner will not run through heavy weeds, the treble hook will snag up. However, in sparse vegetation and over submerged vegetation it is extremely effective.

In conclusion, this article on the top 5 freshwater fishing spinners will help anglers choose the right spinner for their fishing application and therefore catch more fish!

What is the Best Finesse Bait for Bass Fishing?

What is the Best Finesse Bait for Bass Fishing?

Fishing with finesse baits is a very effective bass fishing technique. It involves using smaller lures for finicky fish. There are many different finesse baits to choose from. However, there is one artificial lure that stands out above the rest.

The best finesse bait for bass fishing is the 4 inch Yamamoto Senko worm. This is a very versatile finesse bait. It has a very enticing, fish attracting action. It performs best with subtle movements, which works perfectly when finesse fishing. The Senko worm comes in many different colors, green pumpkin being the most popular.

The Senko worm looks like any other ordinary worm in the package. However, the main difference is the texture of the lure. It is very soft and “gummy”. This results in an excellent undulating motion in the water. It also causes bass and other game fish to hold onto it a bit longer. The unique shape also allows anglers to rig it in a variety of ways.

Best finesse fishing tackle

Spinning tackle works best when fishing the Senko worm and other finesse baits. While it bait casting tackle can be used, most anglers find spinning tackle more effective when casting these lighter baits. A 7 foot medium spinning rod with a fast action is an excellent all round choice. This rod will allow anglers to make long casts and feel delicate bites while still having the power to move a fish out of heavy cover. It should be matched with a 30 series reel.

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Line choices very important when it comes to finesse fishing. While braided line is the choice of many anglers bass fishing, particularly and heavy cover, fluorocarbon line is the better choice when fishing finesse baits. Fluorocarbon line is virtually invisible in the water and has less stretch than monofilament. It is a bit more expensive. However, most anglers consider the advantages worth the additional cost.

top 13 freshwater fishing plugs

Rigging up the Senko worm

One of the advantages of the Senko worm is its versatility. This bait can be fish and a variety of ways, including wacky rigged, Texas rigged, on a drop shot rig, on a shaky head hook, and on a Ned rig. All of these rigs take advantage of the lifelike action of the Senko worm. For the most part, finesse fishing really shines when bass are finicky or when anglers are fishing in very clear water.

Fishing the wacky worm

Fishing a worm wacky style is both easy and extremely effective. It is an excellent choice for inexperienced anglers as the bait does most of the work itself. It looks a bit odd as the hook is placed through the center of the worm. It is generally fished without any weight, though can be fished on a shaky head. The worm is cast out towards a weed line or other structure and allowed to sink naturally through the water column.

senko

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Most strikes occur as the worm initially falls. Anglers can hop it several times and allow it to fall slowly. The bait is then reeled in and cast out to another likely looking spot. Anglers need to be patient, it is amazing how long the Senko can sit there before a bass picks it up. This is a testament to how effective the Senko is as it puts out action with the slightest movement.

Texas rigging the Senko

bass fishing tackle and equipment

Anglers can certainly Texas rig the Senko worm as well. A smaller hook, 3/0 is a good size, works best with this smaller worm. It can be fished without a way, the most anglers add a 1/8 ounce or 1/4 ounce sliding worm weight above the hook. The lure is then cast out and worked through, over, and around structure. The worm is virtually weedless when fished in this manner. Anglers can peg the sinker to the warm hook to keep it from sliding if desired.

Drop shot fishing

Drop-shotting is a fairly recent bass fishing innovation. It is an extremely effective method used to catch all species of bass. The rig consists of a hook tied on the main line and then a special drop shock sinker 12 inches to 18 inches below the hook. The result is that the Senko is suspended just a bit above the bottom and can be danced seductively right in front of the fishes face.

In most cases, a drop shot rig is used in a vertical presentation. It is extremely effective when largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass are schooling over a piece of structure and deep water. Underwater islands, channel edges, and submerged structure such as fallen trees are all prime examples.

Oklahome bass fishing tips

The bait is simply dropped to the bottom and worked subtly. Small, gentle movements work better than sharp violent ones. The Senko is most often hooked through the nose, but can also be hooked wacky style. Anglers can also fish a drop shot rig and water that is not as deep by casting it out towards weed edges and structure. However, it is not as weedless as other presentations are.

Shaky head fishing

Shaky Head jigs are another excellent way to present the Senko worm and other finesse baits to largemouth bass. This is basically a light jig head with a thin, but strong hook. The rig is quite versatile and can be fished in both shallow water and deep water. The Senko can be hooked through the nose or wacky style. Again, most of the strikes will occur as the bait initially falls through the water column, but it can be jig along the bottom as well.

Oklahoma bass fishing women

Ned rig is effective for bass fishing

The Ned rig is another fairly recent bass fishing innovation. Once again, this is a fairly plain looking set up that is very effective. The Ned rig uses a specially designed jig head. The soft plastic bait is then placed on the jig head. In most cases, using the back half or pointed and of the Senko worm works best. Anglers can start off using a 2 1/2 inch to 3 inch piece and then even going shorter from there.

The Ned rig is extremely effective when fished over submerge grass and 5 feet of water to 10 feet of water. Anglers can cast out or use a vertical presentation, depending on the situation. This is an extremely effective technique for smallmouth bass on gravel bottoms. It is an open hook rig and will snag in very heavy cover or weeds.

Fish slow with the Senko worm

One of the biggest mistakes most novice anglers make when finesse fishing is moving the bait to quickly. While the Senko worm looks fairly ordinary, it has a very realistic and lifelike action and the water. Anglers may think the bait is just sitting there still and motionless, but wave action and angler movements will result in the bait undulating very naturally in the water.

Sarasota river fishing

One of the great ironies of bass fishing is that plastic worms are incredibly effective, yet they really do not exist in the water. The reality is that the bass is really just striking at the motion in action as opposed to it thinking that it is an actual worm or nightcrawler. A white worm can be used to mimic a shad while an orange worm will mimic a crayfish. It is more about presentation and action that actually simulating a true live worm.

Another difference and this style of fishing is that anglers do not really need to set the hook. In most instances the take will be fairly soft. The best approach, especially when using fairly light line, is just too real tight removing the slack and then gently lifting the rod up high. This will usually result in more fish hooked and will also help get the fish moving away from whatever structure it is holding on.

In conclusion, this article on the best finesse bait for bass fishing will help anglers catch more fish, especially when conditions are tough!

What is the best small spinnerbait for bass fishing?

What is the best small spinnerbait for bass fishing?

Small spinnerbaits are excellent lures for anglers bass fishing. There are times when smaller baits are more productive. There are many spinnerbaits to choose from. However, there is one small spinnerbait that is a notch above the others.

The best small spinnerbait for bass fishing is the Booyah Pond Magic spinnerbait. This lure is made from quality components. It weighs 3/16 of an ounce. The Pond Magic is available in six hand-picked colors which are designed to specifically match the forage most often found in smaller waters. These are the factors that set this lure apart from other small spinnerbaits.

Click this link to shop Amazon for Booyah Pond Magic spinnerbaits

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Bass fishing with small spinnerbaits

Bass and other game fish that are found in smaller bodies of water such as ponds, strip pits, and streams react differently than fish in larger lakes. Subtle presentations are often more productive. Also, the forage found in these areas is smaller as well. Bass are feeding on smaller sunfish, minnows, and crayfish as opposed to the larger shad that are available in lakes. As an added bonus, these small spinnerbaits will fool many other species such as smallmouth bass, pike, walleye, striped bass, and more!

largemouth bass fishing in creeks

Small spinnerbaits are most effective when fished in shallow water. This ties in nicely for smaller waters as they are usually fairly shallow. Shoreline cover and submerged vegetation will hold a lot of fish. Downed trees are top spots as well.

Anglers can read more about spinnerbait fishing in this article

Anglers bass fishing with small spinners should start out with a slow, steady retrieve. Again, a more subtle approach is generally more productive on these smaller waters. If a steady retrieve does not work, anglers can experiment with faster or erratic retrieves.

Sarasota freshwater fishing

Match the hatch for best results

As mentioned above, the Booyah Pond Magic spinnerbaits are offered in six color patterns, specifically designed for smaller waters. This is one aspect that sets them apart from other lures. Anglers should analyze the lake to determine what the likely forage is and then choose a color pattern to match that forage.

Shallow, weedy lakes will usually be full of sunfish. “Firebug” and “Grasshopper” are excellent choices in these waters. Ponds and lakes with clear water and more gravel and rocks will have good populations of crayfish. “Craw” and “Red Ant” are better choices in waters such as this as well as streams and small rivers.

best pond fishing lures

Chartreuse and white are excellent all round universal colors. White works well in clear water and on bright, sunny days. Chartreuse is a terrific color that produces in just about all water conditions. The old saying, “if it ain’t chartreuse, it ain’t no use” is an apt one!

More spinnerbait tactics

There are a couple of other retrieves that will produce bass for anglers fishing with small spinnerbaits. At times bass will be very active. This usually occurs at dawn, dusk, and on cloudy days. Buzzing a spinnerbait just under the surface can produce some explosive strikes!

bass fishing tackle and equipment

This technique can also be productive over submerged vegetation. Bass will blow up out of holes to crush the lure. Many will miss it, and that is just part of the excitement. Buzzing the bait through open water, then letting it fall as it reaches fallen timber or a weed line can trigger strikes as well.

Another productive technique is “slow rolling” a spinnerbait. This is basically letting the lure sink down in the water column, then slowly retrieving it back in. If it bounces off a rock or bottom structure occasionally, so much the better. This works best on bright, sunny days after a cold front or when bass are less active.

Best tackle for bass fishing with small spinnerbaits

Anglers fishing in ponds and streams can choose either spinning or light baitcasting tackle. Both are fine for fishing for bass with small spinnerbaits. Spinning tackle is easier to use when casting fairly light lures and is the best choice for anglers with less experience.

A 7 foot medium light spinning rod with matching 30 size reel is an excellent combination for fishing for bass in ponds and small lakes. It works well for casting lighter lures while giving anglers a chance to land a nice fish in heavy cover. Most anglers opt for braided line, though monofilament line can certainly be used. 20 lb braid and 14 lb monofilament line are good choices.

Click this link to shop Amazon for a Cadence spinning combo

Anglers choosing a baitcasting rod and reel will do well with a similar combination. The rod needs to have a fairly limber tip in order to cast small spinnerbaits. A medium rod with a fast action, matching reel, and 20 lb braided line is a great all-round rig.

Click this link to shop Amazon for a lew’s baitcasting combo

Other productive small spinnerbaits

While the Booyah Pond Magic is the best small spinnerbait for anglers bass fishing in small waters, there are other productive small spinnerbaits. Two of the best are the Strike King Mini spinnerbait and the venerable Johnson Beetlespin spinnerbait. Both are very effective lures for largemouth bass, but will certainly catch crappie, pike, and most other freshwater game fish as well.

Strike King Mini Spinnerbait

best small spinnerbait for bass fishing

Click this link to shop Amazon for Strike King Mini spinnerbaits

The Strike King Mini Spinnerbait weighs in at 1/8 of an ounce. It is available in over a dozen color combinations. This is an excellent choice where anglers are fishing for more of a “mixed bag” as opposed to solely targeting largemouth bass.

smallmouth bass fishing for beginners

These lures come with a Tennessee diamond blade. This puts out a lot of flash, especially at slow retrieve speeds. There are color patterns to match every angling situation. They are also very modestly priced.

Johnson Beetlespin

Sarasota crappie fishing

The Johnson Beetlespin is a legendary small to tiny spinnerbait. It is a deadly lure for panfish, and that is where it earned it’s reputation. However, in the larger sizes it is an excellent lure for catching bass in ponds and small rivers. It is best used with light spinning tackle.

Click this link to shop Amazon for Beetlespin spinnerbaits

The Beetlespin looks fairly drab in the package. However, do not let that fool you! These lures are extremely productive. When bass and other fish are being finicky, the Beetle spin can be a great choice. Generally, darker colors such as black and green are best.

Fishing rivers with small spinnerbaits

Rivers are often overlooked by anglers bass fishing. This can be a mistake! Rivers offer anglers several advantages over larger lakes. Rivers are generally less pressured. They offer excellent scenery and solitude. Bass and other fish are much easier to locate, there simply is a lot less water.

Read more about Bass Fishing in Creeks in this article

Small spinnerbaits are perfect for fishing these smaller rivers and streams. Crayfish patterns work well as that is the forage available to the game fish. Spinnerbaits are also fairly weedless and will bounce off of rocks where other lures will hang up.

In conclusion, this article on the best small spinnerbait for bass fishing will add another technique to their arsenal!

 

 

Best Brook Trout Fishing Tackle, a Complete Guide!

Best Brook Trout Fishing Tackle, a Complete Guide!

This article will thoroughly cover the best brook trout fishing tackle. Brook trout are the third most popular trout in North America, behind rainbow trout and brown trout. They are found in cold, clear waters. While originally found in the eastern portion of the United States, brook trout has been successfully stocked and many other parts of North America and the world. In order to be successful, anglers need the correct brook trout fishing tackle.

trout list

The best trout fishing tackle is ultralight spinning tackle and light fly fishing tackle. Brook trout do not grow very large, averaging less than a pound. They are also found in very clear water. For these reasons, anglers keeping their tackle very light and their lines very thin will have more success.

ice fishing for brook trout

Anglers can use both spinning and fly tackle to have success when fishing for brook trout. Both techniques are equally productive and popular throughout North America. Fly fishing tackle can actually be an advantage in some of the tiny streams in the tops of mountains where native brook trout are often found. Conversely, anglers casting a lure was spinning tackle may have an advantage in larger rivers and lakes.

Anglers can read this article on ice fishing for brook trout as well.

Best spinning tackle for brook trout fishing

The best rod and reel combination when spin fishing for brook trout would be an ultralight rod and a matching reel. Equality combination can be purchased for under $100. Unlike many other types of fishing, anglers brook trout fishing will really only need one rod and reel combination to cover the vast majority of Brook trout fishing situations.

best brook trout fishing tackle

In most cases, a slightly longer rod is preferred. A 6 foot to 6 1/2 foot ultralight rod with a fast action will allow anglers to make longer casts while giving them an advantage fighting larger fish.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for a 6′ and 6′ 6″ spinning rods

Shorter rods are often used by anglers went fishing in tight quarters where overhanging trees and shoreline vegetation makes longer rods a bit cumbersome.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for shorter spinning rods

The best fishing reel would be an ultralight open face spinning reel. This would match nicely to a 6 foot ultralight spinning rod. Spinning reels are versatile, effective, easy to use, and are available at a very modest price. Anglers can purchase a quality spinning reel for brook trout fishing for around $50.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon Daiwa ultralight reels

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Fishing line options

Anglers should keep the line very light and fishing for brook trout. As previously mentioned, they live in very clear water and art usually found quite shallow. Therefore, 4 pound test line is a good all-around choice. Many successful anglers drop it down to to pound line, though this certainly requires care when tying knots and landing a fish. However, anglers will often be rewarded with more takes. Rarely will and anglers need to step it up as high as 6 pound line.

trout fishing tackle

There are three main types of fishing line available to all anglers. These are braided line, monofilament line, and fluorocarbon line. Due to their keen eyesight and wary habits, most anglers opt for monofilament fishing line. It is cost efficient and very effective. Anglers who want to spend a little more money can opt for fluorocarbon line. Fluorocarbon line is even harder to see in the water and has less dredge than monofilament line does. However, a little bit of stress in the line can actually be a good thing, especially when using line as light as to pound test and 4 pound test.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for monofilament fishing line

Terminal tackle and lures for brook trout

brook trout tackle

Anglers spin fishing for brook trout will catch them using both natural and artificial baits. Top live baits include worms, grubs, and minnows. There are quite a few prepared baits that are quite effective on brook trout as well and are easier to store and use. Artificial lures certainly catch plenty of Brook trout, with tiny spinners and spoons being the top baits.

Terminal tackle

Anglers who choose to fish for brook trout with live bait or prepared baits including eggs will only need a very small supply of hooks, floats, and pinch on weights. The best hooks to use when brook trout fishing are small thin wire live bait hooks in sizes #8, #10, and #12. A couple tiny floats and a few bags of very small split shot will complete the tackle required to fish for brook trout with live bait.

Best brook trout fishing lures

Brook trout will certainly take artificial lures. The top two artificial lure types for brook trout fishing are spinners and spoons. These lures are very easy to cast and use on light spinning tackle. Tiny plugs can also be used to catch brook trout. Finally, small jigs are used by some anglers as well.

best trout tackle

Spinners

Spinners are simple yet very effective lures for brook trout and just about every other species in freshwater. They are particularly effective in rivers where the current will cause the blade to rotate. A spinner is basically a shaft with a blade that rotates around, a small body, and a hook that is usually dressed with hair.

There are many different lure manufacturers offer spinners. Capt. Jim’s favorite by far when fishing for brook trout and other species in small streams and rivers is the Worden’s Original Rooster Tail spinner. The thing that differentiates it from other lures in its class is the light weight. The spinners are extremely light which results in less snags when fishing small streams, creeks, and rivers.

brook trout fishing

Rooster tail spinners are available in a wide variety of colors and several sizes. In most brook trout fishing situations, a brightly colored body with a gold blade works best. In very clear water, a white body with a silver blade can be more effective. 1/16 ounce is a good size in small creeks while 1/8 ounce is an excellent all round size for larger streams or where larger brook trout are available.

rooster tail

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Rooster Tail spinners

Spoons

Tiny spoons are also very effective lures for anglers fishing for brook trout. A spoon is basically a curved piece of metal with a hook in it. The shape and size of the spoon will determine the action that it has. There are many spoons that are productive for brook trout fishing, however Capt. Jim’s favorite is the Acme Phoebe spoon.

Once again, the aspect of this spoon that is different from others is the fact that it is so light. This makes it easier to fish in very shallow streams without hanging up. The 1/8 ounce size in a gold finish is by far the most popular brook trout fishing spoon.

phoebe spoon

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for a gold Phoebe spoon

 

A close second would be the Acme Kastmaster spoon. It is best used on larger streams that have deep holes. It is also a better lure for anglers fishing in ponds and lakes for brook trout. It is an excellent trolling lure as well.

kastmaster

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for a Kastmaster spoon

Plugs

Small plugs can be extremely effective brook trout fishing lures and will usually attract larger specimens. Most anglers that are fishing for trout with plugs are targeting larger fish. This means that they will get less bites, but are often rewarded with a trophy fish. Capt. Jim’s favorite brook trout fishing plug is the Rapala Ultralight Floating Minnow.

This bait floats on the surface than dives down a foot or two upon retrieve. It has a very erratic action that entices trout to strike it. One downside is that it does come with treble hooks, which can result in more harm to the fish when being released. Silver with the black back and gold with a black back are the two best color patterns. This is also an excellent lure that anglers can use when trolling in lakes.

Rapala Ultralight floating minnow

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Rapala Ultralight minnow plugs

Jigs

Tiny hair or plastic tail jigs can be effective brook trout fishing lures as well. They very realistically imitate crayfish and larger they as a are bounced along the bottom. Tiny jigs are also used by anglers ice fishing with great success. The one downside to fishing with jigs in streams and rivers is that anglers will hang up often and lose a fair amount of baits.

Fly fishing tackle for brook trout

Many anglers choose to pursue brook trout with fly fishing tackle. Fly fishing for brook trout is fun, while being challenging and rewarding at the same time. Entire books have been written on fly fishing for trout, and even fly fishing for brook trout. Therefore, fly fishing tackle and gear for brook trout will be covered briefly.

As with spin fishing, the best approach is to go light on the tackle. A 3wt outfit is a good all-around rod and reel combination. However, anglers can certainly go lighter if needed. This is particularly true when fishing for brook trout and tiny, high mountain streams. Those fish are not very large and the foliage can make using a longer heavier rod challenging.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for an entry level 3wt fly fishing outfit

With fly fishing, the rod and line are much more important than the reel. In most cases, anglers will not use the fishing reel to land the fish, it basically just stores the line. Both lines and rods come in weight designations. This makes it very easy to make sure that the proper line is used with a matching rod. In the vast majority of fly fishing situations, a floating line is the best choice.

Fly line is thick and easy to see. Therefore, a leader is used between the end of the fly line and the fly. Anglers should go as light as possible with the leader size. This will result in more takes as brook trout are less apt to see the line. A 9 foot long 8x leader is a good all-around choice. 8X results in a tippet strength of about 2 lb test. However when brook trout are being especially fussy, anglers will often have to bump up the leader length to 12 feet long.

Fly selection can be both simple and extremely complicated. As mentioned above, and tire books have been written on the subject. Some flies float on the surface of the water while others sink. These are called dry flies and wet flies respectively. The best approach for any novice angler when fly fishing for brook trout is to visit a local fly shop. They will have the best selection of flies that are effective in that area along with current conditions.

In conclusion, this article on the best brook trout fishing tackle will help anglers understand the best equipment that is needed when pursuing these gorgeous and hard fighting little game fish!

Best Lake Trout Fishing Tackle and Gear

Best Lake Trout Fishing Tackle and Gear

This article will highlight the best lake trout fishing tackle and gear. Lake trout are found in the northern parts of north America. They prefer cold and clear water and are usually found in large bodies of water. Anglers ice fishing catch plenty of lake trout as well. Lake trout grow quite large, the world record is just over 100 pounds! In order to be successful, anglers need the correct lake trout fishing tackle.

lake trout fishing tips

Anglers need a variety of tackle to cover the situations that lake trout will be found and caught. Lake trout are caught on a variety of techniques and they vary greatly in size, depending on the fishery. Most lake trout are caught by anglers trolling. Vertical jigging is second in popularity. Lake trout can be caught in shallow water by anglers casting, though this is a distant third when it comes to lake trout fishing.

Angler can read more about ice fishing for lake trout in this article by Capt Jim.

ice fishing for lake trout

In this article, lake trout tackle and gear will be covered by the three primary techniques; trolling, jigging, and casting. Some of the lures and tackle overlap, but it is different enough to be covered in separate sections.

Lake trout trolling tackle and gear

lake trout fishing tackle

Trolling accounts for more lake trout than any other technique. There are a couple of reasons for that. Lake trout are often caught in very deep water. Trolling is the only effective way to present a lure that deep. Also, lake trout are a bit nomadic and anglers need to cover a lot of water to find them. Trolling is the best way to do that.

Trolling rods for deep water lake trout fishing

Trolling rods are generally fairly long with a medium or soft action. Unlike casting rods, which are “fast”, meaning they are stiff through much of their length, trolling rods are usually limber. This allows for more “cushion” when a big lake trout hits or makes a run close to the boat. Long, soft rods are more forgiving. These are the best chouce for trolling in deep water using sinkers and downriggers. The St Croix Eyecon series are excellent lake trout trolling rods.

best lake trout fishing tackle and gear

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for St. Croix Eyecon rods

Anglers seeking a less expensive option can choose the Daiwa Accudepth series of fishing rods. These are excellent rods that are usually under $50, that is a great price for quality tackle. Below is a link to a rod that is very versatile. It is 8′ 6” long with a medium action.

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for Daiwa Accudepth rods

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Trolling rods for shallow water lake trout fishing

There are times when lake trout can be found in fairly shallow water. This is usually just after the ice clears in spring and again in fall before it freezes over. Lake trout will move shallow to feed. Anglers can troll spoons and plugs on a flat line without the need for weights or a downrigger. This outfit can also be used to troll for walleye and other species as well. The 7′ 6” medium light Daiwa Accudepth rod is perfect for this at a great price.

lake trout fishing tackle

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for a light Accudepth trolling rod

Best reels for lake trout trolling

Conventional reels are the best choice for anglers trolling for lake trout and other species. Casting is not required. Again, the Daiwa Accudepth series of reels is an excellent choice. They have line counters built in so that anglers know exactly how much line is out. The 17 size is perfect for the light trolling rod, while the 27 and 47 sizes are better for heavier rods.

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for Daiwa Accudepth trolling reels

Best line for lake trout fishing

trolling for lake trout

Anglers have two choices when it comes to fishing line for lake trout; braided and monofilament line. Braid is thinner for it’s strength which allows anglers to get their lures down deeper. It is also much more expensive. Many anglers actually prefer the stretch of monofilament, especially when trolling. There really is no “correct” choice, it really is a personal preference.

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for Braided line

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for Monofilament line

Best lake trout trolling lures

The three basic types of lures that anglers use when trolling for lake trout are plugs, spoons, and spinners. All are used to mimic bait fish, which is the primary forage of lake trout. They feed on ciscoes, suckers, perch, and other fish. While there are too many effective lake trout fishing lures to list, a couple of the top producing lures of each type will be listed.

lake trout

Best lake trout plugs

Plugs come in a myriad of different sizes, shapes, and colors. Two of the best plugs for lake trout are the T-60 Flatfish and the Rapala Husky Jerk. These lures can be trolled on a “flat line”, without weight as well as behind a weighted rig. Both lures are available in a wide range of colors. The Flatfish has an excellent wobbling action. Anglers use the shallow diving Husky Jerk behind a downrigger and the deep diving models on a flat line.

flatfish

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for Flatfish lures

husky jerk

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for Rapala Husky Jerk lures

Best spoons for lake trout trolling

tackle for lake trout fishing

Spoons are extremely effective lake trout lures. They put out a ton of flash and wobble and very realistically mimic a wounded bait fish. There are many excellent spoons, with Eppinger Daredevil and Crokodile spoons being two of the top spoons for lake trout fishing.

daredevil

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for Eppinger spoons

Krocodile spoon

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for Krocodile spoons

Best spinners for lake trout fishing

fishing for lake trout

Most freshwater anglers are familiar with spinners. A spinner has a flashing blade that rotates around a shaft and most often a dressed hook. Mepps in the industry leader and offers a wide selection of spinners. In the Great Lakes region, Spin-N-Glo lures are extremely popular.

mepps

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for Mepps Spinners

spin-n-glo

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for Spin-N-Glo lures

Leaders and flashers and dodgers

Anglers will need to run leaders off of swivels and between dodgers (or flashers) and the lures. A dodger is a flat piece of metal that adds flash and action to the lure. It is placed a few feet in front of the lure, with the leader in between. In most cases, 20 lb flourocarbon line will cover most lake trout fishing applications.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for dodgers

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for leader material

Other trolling gear

Alberta fishing tips

There are a few other pieces of gear that anglers will need to troll for lake trout, especially in deeper water. These include bottom machines, downriggers, lead core lines, and planers. These devices will get the lure down to the desired depth.

Bottom machines/fish finders

A quality sonar unit is an absolute must for any angler lake trout fishing. It will mark fish and bait along with structure breaks and even temperature changes. Fortunately, these machines are fairly inexpensive, given the quality. Serious anglers may spend several thousand dollars. However, a quality unit can be purchases for a few hundred dollars.

Anglers can click on the link to shop Amazon for sonar units

Downriggers

Downriggers were basically invented by Great Lakes anglers to present their lures at the desired depth. They consist of an arm, a reel, a cable, and a heavy ball. Manual downriggers are great for casual anglers while serious trollers opt for electric downriggers. Cannon is THE name in downriggers and offers a unit for every angler.

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for Cannon downriggers

Lead core lines

Lead core lines are another method used by anglers trolling for lake trout. They are heavy and the depth is controlled by the length and number of segments used. Some anglers find them cumbersome, but they are effective and do not require downriggers or weights.

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for lead core lines

Planers are devices that dive down into the water. They depth is determined by the location of the line ties. The lure follows along behind a leader. Some even “trip” when a fish strikes. Dipsey Divers are the most recognizable and popular examples of these units.

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for Dipsey Divers

Best tackle for vertically jigging for lake trout

tackle for trolling

The second most popular method for fishing for lake trout is vertically jigging. This is a very effective technique when fish are located in a smaller area or for methodically working a piece of structure such as a ledge or reef. Spoons are the top lure, with a buck tail jig being the second choice. Live bait can be used with the same tackle as well.

Best lake trout jigging rod

The rods used for jigging are different than trolling rods. These are shorter with a “fast” action. This means the rod is stout at the butt and most of the way up the rod. The rod tapers quickly (thus the term “fast”) at the tip. This type of rod allows for good action and feel along with the power to handle a big fish. St Croix offers an Eyecon rod specifically designed for vertically jigging.

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for  St. Croix Eyecon jigging rods

Best lake trout jigging reel

Again, conventional, or baitcasting reels are the best choice for vertical jigging. No casting is required, the lure is just lowered down in the water. Baitcasting reeks offer excellent power, fast retrieve ratios, and good drag systems. The Shimano Tekota 30 is an excellent reel for jigging and trolling. The 300 size works well with the Eyecon rod.

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for Shimano Tekota 300 reels

Best lake trout jigging lures

The two best jigging lures for anglers fishing for lake trout are spoons and jigs. A white buck tail jig is an excellent lure for jigging for lake trout. 2 ounces is a good all round size. Anglers can add a soft plastic trailer for action and bulk. A strip of cut bait can be used as well. The same lures used for trolling are fine for vertically jigging as well.

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for Spro buck tail jigs

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for Eppinger spoons

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for Crocodile spoons

Best casting tackle for lake trout

There are certain times of year when lake trout can be caught by anglers casting lures or live baits. Lake trout will move in shallow early and late in the season. Anglers can cast diving plugs, spoons, and jigs as well as live bait. The best rod and reel combination is a medium light spinning rod and matching reel, 3000 is a good size. Most anglers already own a suitable combo, but here in a good Zebco Quantum outfit for around $80.

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for A Zebco Quantum rod and reel

In conclusion, this article on the best lake trout fishing tackle and gear will help anglers get the proper equipment needed to be successful!

 

Best Musky Fishing Tackle, a Guide to Rods, Reels, and Lures

Best Musky Fishing Tackle , a Guide to Rods, Reels, and Lures

This article will thoroughly cover the best musky fishing tackle. Many anglers consider musky, properly called muskellunge, the top freshwater game fish in North America. They certainly are apex predators. The “fish of ten thousand casts” grow large; the world record is 67 pounds! Musky are very challenging, but the effort may be rewarded with the fish of a lifetime! In order to be successful, anglers need the correct musky fishing tackle.

musky fishing tackle

As mentioned above, musky grow quite large. They prefer a substantial meal and feed primarily on smaller fish. These include suckers, perch, bluegill, shad, and small game fish. Therefore, the lures used to catch them are fairly heavy. This requires anglers to use stout tackle when in search of a trophy musky.

The best musky fishing tackle is a heavy baitcasting rod and reel. It is well suited to casting large, heavy lures that musky prefer. Baitcasting reels have excellent drag systems, which aid in fighting a big fish. The reels also handle heavy line better.These are the reasons that a heavy baitcasting rod and reel is the preferred choice of musky anglers.

However, quality spinning tackle will get the job done for anglers that prefer to use it. A 7′ to 7 1/2′ medium heavy spinning rod and 4000 size reel is a good combination. The same outfits will work well for large northern pike, too.

Best Musky rods

best musky fishing tackle

Anglers fishing for musky need to use heavy tackle. Rods should be at least 7 feet long with a heavy, but fast action. A “fast” action rod is beefy at the butt section and most of the way up the rod, but has a limber tip. This helps greatly when casting lures and fighting a large fish. Several manufacturers, including St Croix, which Capt Jim prefers, make quality musky rods at a reasonable price.

Most musky rods are one piece. This makes storing them more difficult, but they are also much stronger. Rods often break at the joints where they go together. One piece rods eliminates that. Below is a link to a St Croix musky baitcasting rod that is available in 7′ and 7′ 6″ lengths. It is an excellent rod for the cost.

Anglers can shop Amazon from this link for St Croix musky baitcasting rods

Spinnerbait fishing

Spinning rods can certainly be used by anglers fishing for musky. Longer rods work a bit better in this application. St Croix offers an excellent musky spinning rod at a reasonable price. It is 8′ long with a medium heavy, fast action.

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for St Croix musky spinning rods

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Best musky fishing reels

Anglers should purchase the best reel that he or she can afford. This is not the place to skimp and save a few dollars. A quality reel will last for decades with proper care. Quality baitcasting and spinning reels are in the $200 range, plus or minus. Below is a link to a Shimano Calcutta 400B baitcasting reel, which is Capt Jim’s preferred casting reel.

fishing for musky

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for Calcutta baitcasting reels.

Spinning reels should be fairly large when fishing for musky. The Daiwa Black Gold series was designed for saltwater and works great for musky fishing. It has quality components with excellent drag and bail systems. The 4500 is a good match for the St Croix rod above.

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for Daiwa Black gold spinning reels

Best musky fishing line

Anglers fishing in freshwater have several choices when choosing fishing line. Monofilament, flourocarbon, and braided line are all used. When it comes to fishing for musky, almost everyone used braided line. Braided line is much thinner than monofilament line of the same strength.

best river fishing lures

Braided line has several advantages over monofilament line. It casts further, has excellent sensitivity, is very strong, and lasts a long time. The only downsides are initial cost and knots are a bit more difficult to tie. Most musky anglers opt for 40 lb to 60 lb braided line. Capt Jim prefers Power Pro braided line for freshwater fishing.

Anglers can click on this link to shop Amazon for Power Pro line

Best musky fishing lures

While musky can certainly be caught using live bait, most are caught by anglers casting lures. Most of these are larger versions of lures designed for bass and other species. Muskellunge have a mouth full of teeth. For this reason, most anglers use a 12” to 18” steel leader. This also results in quick and easy lure changes.

1) Mepps Musky Killer

musky killer

Click this link to shop Amazon for Musky Killer spinners

The Mepps Musky Killer is aptly named! It is number one on our list of top X musky fishing lures. In terms of musky Lures, it is fairly light, coming in at a little less than an ounce. It is 7 inches long. The Mepps Musky Killer is a legend amongst veteran musky anglers. It will catch fish and just about every situation and in any location. It is large enough to attract trophy musky while being light enough to cast for hours at a time.

This is a very versatile lure. It can be fished on or near the surface or as deep as 10 feet. The Musky Killer can be cast or trolled. It will catch fish in all seasons as well. They come in a wide variety of color patterns to match the local forage. In the waning light of late afternoon, a gold blade with a brown and orange tail is a good all-around combination.

One great thing about the Musky Killer is that it is very easy to use. The blades rotate easily, putting out a lot of flash and vibration. All the angler does is cast out, allow it to sink to the desired depth, then reel it back in using a steady rhythmic retrieve. As with all fishing, angler should vary the speed until a productive pattern emerges.

2) Eppinger Daredevil

daredevil

Click this link to shop Amazon for Daredevil spoons

The Eppinger Daredevil is another iconic fishing lure. While most anglers associate it with northern pike, is extremely effective on musky as well. Most anglers go with the 1 ounce size, which is about 3 3/4 inches long. Like the Mepps lure above, it is relatively light in terms of a musky lure. This makes it fairly easy to cast for a long period of time. Some may consider it a nuisance, but as an added bonus it will catch plenty of northern pike along the way.

These spoons have a lot of built in action, making them easy to use for most anglers. The lure is cast out and allowed to sink a few seconds, then reeled back in using a steady retrieve, with some twitches and pauses in between. Again, the retrieve should be varied until a bite occurs. It is fairly versatile, and can be used over submerged weed beds, along weed lines, and even deeper around structure breaks such as channel edges and points.

The old school red and white daredevil spoon has caught a lot of fish over the decades. It is still a good choice for musky today. However, some anglers have gone to some of the more modern colors and finishes. Silver is a good choice on sunny days while gold works best on cloudy days and under other low light conditions. It is a versatile and durable bait that should be in every musky anglers tackle box!

3) Booyah Pikee Spinnerbait

pikee

Click this link to shop Amazon for Pikee Spinnerbaits

The Booyah Pikee Spinnerbait is another very productive musky fishing lure. Again, this is a fairly light baits coming in at just over one half an ounce. This makes it a great choice for anglers who prefer to use spinning tackle or don’t have the stamina to cast a heavy lure all day long. Don’t let the size for you, it will catch plenty of trophy musky!

Most anglers choose models with bright colors. It has large blades which put out a lot of flash and vibration. This bait is specifically designed by Booyah for musky fishing, therefore it is a bit more durable than other baits made for bass and pike. It is a fairly easy lure to use with a ton of built in action. Steady retrieve’s work best in a can be worked throughout the entire water column. Spinner baits are also a bit more weedless than spoons and in line spinners, making them an excellent choice and heavier weeds.

4) Musky Double Cowgirl

double cowgirl

Click this link to shop Amazon for Musky Double Cowgirl lure

This bait made by Musky Mayhem is another excellent musky lure with a proven track record. It is very durable and built to last and is one of the best spinners for musky. It is number four on the list of top X musky fishing lures. This is an excellent bait for novice anglers as it has a ton of built in action and all that is required to catch fish is a slow steady retrieve.

This is a larger bait, coming in at around 10 inches long and weighing close to 3 ounces. The pair of blades put out a ton of flash and vibration, even at slower speeds. It is an excellent lure to try when the sun is out and the musky are a bit less aggressive. It is excellent when fished over and through submerged weed beds as well is around other cover such as sunken trees and submerged rock piles.

5) Whopper Plopper

whopper plopper

Click this link to shop Amazon for Whopper Plopper lures

The Whopper Plopper is a relative newcomer to the fishing game, compared to some of these other old-school baits. However, it is extremely effective. This is a top water lure. It puts out a ton of commotion on the surface due to its concave face along with the action of the tail.

These baits are very effective at pulling fish out of deeper weed beds. It is an excellent choice in the summer time when water temperatures are a bit higher. The commotion of this bait will draw some heart stopping strikes! If there is one drawback to this lure, it is that it is not as durable as some others. However, this will not be an issue when a trophy musky grabs!

6) Suick Thriller

suick thriller

Click this link to shop Amazon for Suick Thriller lures

The Suick Thriller has been around almost a century. It truly is one of the original musky fishing lures and belongs in every serious musky anglers tackle box. It is a proven veteran still catches plenty of fish to this day. The Suick Thriller comes in several different sizes, ranging from 7 inches long to 10 inches long. Unlike some other lures, the Suick Thriller does not have much built in action, the angler must impart it to the lure.

This is basically a jerk bait. It is very effective when ripped through weed beds and is a very durable bait as well. It is perhaps not the best choice for novice anglers, as it does take a bit of practice to master the rhythmic retrieve that is required to catch fish. However, the effort put in to learn how to use this bait will pay off with trophy musky.

7) Reef Hawg

reef hawg

The Reef Hawg is in the family of glide baits. They are not as popular as they used to be, but are still very effective. This lure is made to work deeper than some of the other lures listed above. They can be used for both casting and trolling and are a good choice in cooler months when there is less weed growth and the fish have moved a bit deeper.

8) Lixada swimbait

lixada

Click this link to shop Amazon for Lixada swimbaits

This segmented, multi-jointed lure is a bit of a combination between a crank bait in a swim bait. These segments cause a to swim in a very lifelike manner. The bait sinks slow enough that it can be worked both near the surface and at deeper depths. It is a very durable bait with large, quality treble hooks.

In most instances, a slow steady retrieve a few feet below the surface works best. This is particularly true over submerged weed beds. The flash in action are astounding and this is a proven musky lure. This is a big bait, coming in at a full foot long and almost half a pound. Smaller versions of this lure are available, too.

9) #14 Rapala Shad Rap

shad rap

Click this link to shop Amazon for Shad Raps

This large crank bait is a very productive musky fishing lure that is popular with many anglers. It is a heavy bait and is effective when both cast and trolled. The yellow perch and fire tiger patterns work well. It has a lot of built in action. A slow steady retrieve with some hard jerks and pauses generally works best. Slow trolling with this bait is very effective in the wintertime.

10) Blitz Bite Jointed Minnow

blitx bite

The Blitz Bite Jointed Minnow is another very lifelike swim bait style lure. Anglers can tell from the first glance at it is a quality bait. It is 8 inches long and weighs 3 ounces. Like most of these lures in this family, a slow steady retrieve works best. The lure will swim through the water in a very natural manner. The bait is made from plastic and is fairly durable, all things considered.

11) #14 Rapala Husky Jerk

husky jerk

Click this link to shop Amazon for Husky Jerk lures

Rapala is the name in the industry when it comes to jerk baits. It is no exception when it comes to musky fishing as well. That is why the #14 Husky Jerk finishes off the list of the top 11 musky fishing lures. This is a long and slender bait that is fairly easy to cast and work all day. It comes in a variety of colors, with gold and fire tiger being proven finishes.

The key to the effectiveness of this lure is its ability to suspend in the water column. The angler retrieves the bait for a few feet then twitch is it hard followed by a pause. During this pause, the bait hangs there, seemingly motionless and helpless. This is often times when the fish attacks! It works well when either cast or troll. It also has a rattle and it as well.

Musky fishing tips

While musky are certainly not easy to catch, there are a few tips which will help anglers be more successful. Part of the allure and satisfaction of musky fish and is understanding how difficult and challenging they are to catch. It was easy, anyone could do it! Most anglers consider musky fish in the pinnacle of cold water freshwater fishing.

Most anglers with any experience musky fishing know about the “figure 8” technique. Musky are famous for following a lure all the way to the boat but not eating. At the end of each cast, anglers put their rod tip in the water and with the lure a few feet behind do several figure eights in the water. It is amazing how many musky have been hooked right at the boat using this technique.

Another helpful tip is to concentrate musky fishing on the prime times. For whatever reason, musky do not seem to feed well in the morning. Therefore, there is no need to get up at the crack of dawn and cast for an extra six hours. It is best to concentrate musky fishing in the afternoon hours as the light wanes. Cloudy, drizzly days are good as well.

Many anglers combine musky fishing with some other type of fishing. For example, they might get up at first light and through top water plugs for bass, then switch to jigging the bottom for walleye mid-day. After a good lunch and a nap, they can then hit the water hard for musky. Most anglers simply can’t cast these big heavy lures all day long. Therefore, it is best to maximize the opportunity and concentrate on the prime fishing times.

In conclusion, this article on the best musky fishing tackle will help anglers catch more of these incredible freshwater game fish!

 

 

Best Northern Pike Fishing Tips and Tackle

Best Northern Pike Fishing Tips and Tackle

The topic of this article will be northern pike fishing tips and tackle. Northern pike are an apex predator and are one of the most popular freshwater species in the northern portions of the United States and Canada. These fish grow quite large, with the record in North America being 46 pounds. However, specimens 270 pounds have been caught in Europe. In order to be successful, anglers need the correct northern pike fishing tackle.

northern pike fishing tackle and tips

The best northern pike fishing tackle is a medium heavy spinning or baitcasting rod and reel. Pike grow large and are often caught in heavy cover. They also prefer larger baits and lures. These factors combine to require anglers to use stout tackle and large lures when fishing for northern pike.

Northern pike are perfectly suited for their environment. The best They are long and torpedo shaped with a color pattern that camouflages perfectly in the weedy areas that they feed. While pike have a varied diet, they feed primarily on smaller fish. These include but are not limited to suckers, sunfish, yellow perch, shad, and more. They will take amphibians such as frogs off of the surface and will even eat small mammals including mice and ducks.

top 10 northern pike fishing lures

Pike are most active in fairly cold water. They are a top species for anglers ice fishing. A comprehensive article on ice fishing for northern pike can be found in this link. Northern pike and be caught by anglers using a variety of techniques. Some anglers prefer to fish with live bait. Many cast artificial lures in search of pike. Trolling with either live bait or artificial lures is a good way to catch a trophy pike as well.

Best fishing rods and reels for northern pike

As in all forms of fishing, anglers must have the proper rod and reel in order to be successful northern pike fishing. The two basic choices are spinning and bait casting tackle. Spin casting, or push button reels, really have no place for this type of fishing, the reels just are not strong enough.

pike fishing in Minnesota

Spinning tackle is certainly a fine choice for anglers chasing northern pike. The rod should be a bit longer and a bit more stout than what is normally used for fishing for bass and other species. Not only are the fish fairly large, but so are the lures used to fool them. A 7 foot to 7 1/2 foot medium action spinning rod with a 4000 series reel is an excellent all around combination.

Click these links to shop Amazon for KastKing Perigee rods and KastKing Megatron reels

“Fishing Lido Key is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. ”

While spinning tackle is the most often used type of tackle in freshwater fishing, conventional, or bait casting outfits are used by more serious anglers pike fishing. Bait casting reels have a couple of advantages over spinning reels. They provide more power, since the line does not have to turn 90° when it hits spool. The retrieve ratios are usually faster too, which helps on a long day of casting. Finally, the drags are a bit higher in quality. A rod that is 7 feet long with a medium heavy action and a matching reel is a good choice for pike fishing.

Click this link to shop Amazon for Lew’s baitcasting combos

Fishing line and leader choices

Anglers have a couple of choices when it comes to fishing line. While monofilament line is a good choice in many fishing applications, most anglers opt for braided line when northern pike fishing. Braided line has no stretch, which allows anglers to horse a heavy pike away from cover. Braided line also cuts through grass much better than monofilament line. In most cases, northern pike are not line shy, so 40 pound test braided line is a good choice.

Anglers will need a leader when northern pike fishing as well. Pike have a mouthful of very sharp teeth. For that reason, many anglers use a 12 inch steel leader. These come with a swivel on one end and a snap swivel on the other, which makes lore changes fast and easy. When fishing very clear water or when pike are fussy, anglers will exchange the steel leader for a fluorocarbon leader. This will almost certainly result in a few and lures lost, however the trade often bites might be worth it.

Northern pike fishing with live bait

Northern Pike can certainly be used by anglers fishing with live bait. The number one bait for pike by far is a live minnow. A 4 inch to 6 inch sucker is the preferred bait in many areas. However, each region has different bait fish that are effective as well as being legal to fish. It is important to check local fishing regulations to determine if treble hooks are allowed and also what types of bait fish are legal to use.

Minnesota walleys and pike fishing

Most anglers fishing with live bait fish for pike simply fish them under a float. Since pike are almost always found in submerged weed beds, the float can be used to suspend the bait just above the top of the weeds. As it struggles against the float to get down into the weeds, it will attract a hungry pike. Depending on local laws, anglers can use a large J hook or a treble hook. There are special harnesses available that consists of a wire leader and multiple hooks as well.

Fishing for northern pike with artificial lures

While northern pike can be caught by anglers fishing with live bait, the vast majority of those targeting pike do so using artificial lures. There are several reasons for this. Lures allow anglers to cover a lot more water than they can when using live bait. Secondly, lures take advantage of the aggressive nature of northern pike. The flash and vibration will often trigger a strike. Finally, lures are just a lot of fun to fish!

pike fishing

Anglers can read more about the best northern pike fishing lures here

The most productive northern pike fishing lures are very similar to those used by largemouth bass anglers. The primary difference is that they are a bit larger and that the hardware, including hooks is a bit more stout. As mentioned above, pike grow quite large, have a lot of teeth, enter hard on artificial lures. The top artificial lures for northern pike fishing will be listed below.

Fishing for pike with spoons

There is little doubt what the top artificial lure for northern pike fishing is; a spoon. Spoons are simple lures which are basically curved pieces of metal with a hook in them. The shape and design of the spoon will determine the action that it has. Wider spoons put out a slow rhythmic wobble while narrow spoons put out a tighter vibration. These are versatile lures that can be both cast and trolled. They are also very effective when vertically jigged both in open water and through the ice.

pike fishing

Spoons are very easy to fish. This makes them an excellent choice for novice anglers to use. Basically, the lure is cast out, allowed to sink a few seconds, then reeled back in. It really is that simple. Anglers can add some short twitches and pauses to increase the flash and vibration.

The Eppinger Daredevil spoon is a legendary northern pike fishing lure. It has been around for decades and has accounted for untold numbers of northern pike. It continues to be effective to this day. Red and white and five of diamonds are two proven color combinations. However, the spoons are offered in a variety of colors and finishes.

daredevil

Click this link to shop Amazon for Daredevil spoons

The Johnson Silver Minnow is another very effective spoon. It differs from the one above and that it is a weedless spoon. It has a single hook with a weed guard. In the water, it runs with the body side down and the hook writing up. This combination makes it relatively weedless that can be fished in very heavy vegetation. Anglers will often add a soft plastic trailer of some sort to add both bulk and vibration.

Inline spinners are effective lures

Inline spinners have been around for a long time. They are a favorite lure for many freshwater fishing anglers. In-line spinners work well for northern pike, too. They are an especially good choice for anglers chasing northern pike where weeds are not so thick. Fishing in in-line spinner and thick weeds can be frustrating, as it will hang up often. The number one in-line spinner for northern pike fishing is the Mepps Musky Killer Spinner.

musky killer

Click this link to shop Amazon for Musky Killer spinners

Spinnerbaits for pike

Spinnerbaits are very effective on northern pike as well. Like spoons, they are easy to use and are an excellent chance for anglers of all skill levels. A spinner bait has a wireframe with the blades on the top and some type of body on the bottom. The design results in a bait that is fairly weedless and will bounce over and through structure. It can be worked at all depths from the surface all the way to the bottom.

spinnerbait fishing for pike

The number one spinner bait for northern pike by far is the BooYah Pikee Spinnerbait. The main thing that sets this apart from other quality spinner baits is the hardware. Pike are tough on artificial lures. This spinner bait will hold up better than most others for anglers northern pike fishing.

pikee

Click this link to shop Amazon for Booyah Pikee spinnerbaits

Top plugs for northern pike

A plug is a hard body lure, usually made of plastic, but sometimes carved from wood. Most are designed to mimic bait fish. They come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Some plugs float on the surface. These are called top water plugs. Others float on the surface and then dive down to a determined depth, based on the shape of the lip on the plug.

top pike lures

Noisy top water plugs are very effective when fishing for northern pike, particularly when the water is a bit warm. Pike will rise up out of the grass beds and blast a top water bait. Poppers will have a concave face which puts out a distinctive noise when twitched. Some baits have propellers which put out a lot of commotion on the surface. The Rapala Skitter Prop and Rapala Skitter Pop are both excellent top water lures for northern pike.

Click this link to shop Amazon for Rapala Skitter Prop plugs

Lures that float on the surface and then dive down are often called jerk baits. This is especially true with lures that have a long slender design. The lure is worked fairly aggressively with hard jerks, which is how it gets its name. The erratic vibration along with the flash and action will often trigger strikes from fish that are not feeding. These are extremely effective when worked over the top of submerged weed beds for northern pike.

The two best subsurface fishing plugs for northern pike are the #10 Rapala X-Rap and the Rapala Super Shad Rap. They are available and multiple colors and finishes. Fire tiger is an excellent all round finish as it imitates yellow perch and other sunfish. Gold works well in stained water while silver is an excellent choice in clear water.

Rapala x rap

shad rap

Click this link to shop Amazon for X-Rap and Super Shad Rap plugs

Soft plastic swimbaits

Soft plastic swim baits are excellent northern pike fishing lures. They are an excellent choice when the water is cold or and pike are a bit less active. The same applies to days when pike are finicky, such as those days with high pressure in clear sky following a cold front. These lures are a bit more subtle in their presentation. Bass Assassin makes an excellent line of soft plastic baits that can be rigged either on a swim bait hook or on a jig head.

bass assassin

Click this link to shop Amazon for Bass Assassin baits

Northern pike fishing tips

Northern Pike are usually not difficult to catch, once they are located. That is one of the reasons that artificial lures are so effective as they allow anglers to cover a lot of water and trigger strikes from the aggressive pike. Many fishing principles as far as holding locations apply to northern pike the same as they do two most other predatory species.

Find weeds, find pike

Northern pike are ambush predators. They lie in wait in cover then dart out to attack unsuspecting prey. Northern pike love weeds, and this is where the vast majority of fish are caught. One look at the body of a Pike will let an angler no both in color and in shape that it was built to feed in weeds.

northern pike

Coves that have expansive shallow flats and large patches of weeds are ideal spots that should hold northern pike. Pike are not overly fond of waves or current and will seek out these backwater areas much of the time. Also, these are the spots that panfish, perch, and other forage species will seek out.

Rocks and wood will hold fish

Successful anglers do not overlook rocks when northern pike fishing. This is particularly true on lakes that do not have expansive areas of weed growth. Large boulders in water between 5 feet deep and 10 feet deep are outstanding spots to fish for northern pike. Sloping main lake and tributary creek points with rock and gravel are always worth a few casts. Pike will use these points as roads to get from the deeper water to the shallow grass flats.

Northern Pike, like most game fish, will be found around wood. This includes docks and fallen trees or submerged timber for whatever reason, these areas often tend to attract larger fish. Anglers should thoroughly fish the structure from multiple angles.

Best times to fish for northern pike

Like most of freshwater fishing, the northern pike bite is best early and late in the day and on days with cloud cover. Pike have fixed pupils. This means that they cannot adjust to varying light conditions. They are fixed to see best under low light conditions. Periods of extremely bright sunlight, such as the day or two just after a passing front, will usually have pike hunkered down in the weeds and not in the mood to feed.

Conversely, the hours before a front arrives can be magical when northern pike fishing. These conditions will consist of a little bit of when, cloudy skies, and maybe even some light rainfall. Northern Pike will since the dropping barometric pressure and will usually feed heavily at this time. Aggressively fishing with large artificial lures may produce the pike of a lifetime!

In conclusion, this article on northern pike fishing tips and tackle will help anglers understand the tactics and tackle required to catch these terrific game fish!

 

Best Smallmouth Bass Fishing Tackle and Lures

Best Smallmouth Bass Fishing Tackle and Lures

This post will thoroughly cover the best smallmouth bass fishing tackle and lures. Smallmouth bass are a very popular freshwater species. They prefer cooler and clearer water than their largemouth bass cousins. In a way, they are a bit of a combination of largemouth bass in freshwater trout. Smallmouth bass do not grow as large, but put up a terrific fight. They prefer current and are found as often in rivers as they are in lakes. In order to be successful, anglers need the best smallmouth bass fishing tackle.

smallmouth bass fishing tackle and lures

The best smallmouth bass fishing tackle is a light spinning rod and reel along with a good selection of lures would include spinners, spoons, plugs, and jigs. This selection of tackle and lures will cover most smallmouth bass fishing situations. Smallmouth bass are similar in size and habits throughout most of the country.

Smallmouth bass fishing, especially in rivers, is pretty basic. Due to their preference of clear water and the fact that they don’t grow as large, the best rod and reel combinations for smallmouth bass are a bit on the light side. Many anglers already own a rod and reel combination that is suitable for chasing smallies. There are a handful of proven artificial lures that still produce smallmouth bass to this day. Many anglers already own these.

Fishing rods and reels for smallmouth bass

There are three different rod and reel combinations that will cover every smallmouth bass fishing situation. These are an ultralight spinning outfit, a medium light spinning outfit, and a medium light bait casting rig. Anglers can certainly get away with only one rod and reel, but to ideally match the conditions, most anglers should have at least a couple different rod and reel combinations.

freshwater fishing tackle

Medium light spinning rod and reel

The most versatile rod and reel combination would be a medium light spinning rod that is between 6 feet long and 7 feet long matched with a 2000 series reel. It can be spooled up with 8 pound monofilament or 10 pound braided line. This would be a great choice for anglers who only want one outfit that will cover most smallmouth bass fishing situations. This outfit will be a tad heavy for fishing small rivers and a little light for fishing docks and other structure. However, it will cover the majority of smallmouth bass fishing applications.

Options for both medium light and ultra light KastKing rod and reel combinations can be purchased at Amazon from this link.

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Ultra light spinning rod and reel

Many anglers pursue smallmouth bass in small to medium-sized rivers. For the most part, these waters are fairly clear and the fish average three quarters of a pound or so. For this reason, every serious smallmouth bass angler should have an ultralight spinning outfit in his or her arsenal. A 6 foot ultralight rod with a 1000 series reel spooled up with 4 pound monofilament or 10 pound braid is an excellent all round outfit. This combination is excellent for casting very light lures and allows even a hand sized fish to give a good account of itself when hooked.

Medium light baitcasting reel

The third and final rod and reel combination would be a medium light bait casting outfit. For many anglers, this outfit can be omitted. However, serious smallmouth bass anglers who fish larger lakes that hold above average sized bass will usually have a rig such as this on board. It is better suited for casting heavier lures for larger fish as well as fishing around structure such as bridges, rip rap, docks, and submerged timber.

Shop Amazon for Lew’s baitcasting outfits in this link

Fly fishing outfit for smallmouth bass

Smallmouth bass are an excellent species to chase with a fly rod. For the most part, they are less finicky and easier to catch than trout. This is especially true in the heavily pressure trout fishing waters that many anglers are faced with. A good all-around fly fishing rod and reel would be a 9′ 5 wt outfit with a medium action. In most situations, a floating line will be fine. However, a sink tip or slowly sinking line does give the fly angler some versatility.

Shop Amazon for Orvis fly rod combos here

Tackle for fishing with live bait

Many anglers enjoy fishing for smallmouth bass with live bait. Live bait can be extremely effective in certain situations, especially when fish are located. Artificial lures do allow anglers to cover more water. However, live bait can be very productive when fish are located or when they are extremely fussy.

live bait fishing

The tackle required for using live bait on smallmouth bass is quite basic. A selection of light wire live bait hooks in sizes #2, #4, and #6 along with some pinch on weights, small sliding sinkers, and a couple of floats is really all that is required. Anglers to tie up special rigs may also use in-line swivels and three-way swivels.

Fishing for smallmouth bass with lures

It is probably safe to say that the majority of anglers fishing for smallmouth bass do so using artificial lures. There are a couple of reasons for this. Convenience is a major factor, there is no bait that is needed to be purchased, caught, and kept alive. Artificial lures allow anglers to cover much more water in search of fish. Smallmouth bass are aggressive in nature and artificial lures will often trigger a strike even when they are not feeding. Finally, artificial lures are just plain old fun to fish!

best 9 fishing lures for streams and small rivers

There are four basic types of artificial lures, jigs and soft plastic baits, plugs, spinners, and spoons. Each puts out vibration that mimics a wounded bait fish or other type of prey. Most have some type of built in action, while others require more manipulation on the part of the angler. Each lure type will be covered below including a few examples of proven and productive smallmouth bass lures.

Jigs and soft plastic lures

A jig is a hook with a weight molded at the front near the eye. This weight gives the lure its erratic action and the water along with its name. When properly fish to, the lore will jig up and down. Most strikes occur as the lure falls through the water column. This realistically mimics a dying or wounded bait fish or other form of forage. The jig head can come either dressed with natural or synthetic care or plain so that a trailer can be added.

Jigs are very versatile lures they can be fished in a variety of ways. Also, depending on the dressing or tail, a jig can be retrieved to mimic a bait fish such as shad or bounced along the bottom to imitate a crawfish or other crustacean. Jigs that come with dressing most often use bucktail, marabou or some type of synthetic hair. These are very effective, however not quite as versatile or durable as the jig and grub combination.

Tailwater fishing tips and techniques

Most anglers fishing for smallmouth bass with jigs use a jig head in combination with some type of soft plastic body. The endless combinations result in this being a very versatile and economical way to fish. An excellent example of this would be a 1/8 ounce black jig head with a green or orange crawfish style tail. This is a very universal color combination that is effective anywhere smallmouth bass are found. A 3 inch pearl had tail swim bait on a 1/4 ounce jig is an excellent choice when smallmouth bass are feeding on bait fish.

Below are several examples of effective dressed jigs as well as jig and grub combinations. By no means are these the only choices. There are countless manufacturers who sell quality smallmouth bass fishing jigs. These are a few proven baits which will catch smallmouth bass anywhere.

Tube baits

tube lure

Tube baits are extremely effective smallmouth bass fishing lures. They have a lot of action when worked slowly and subtly, which entices strikes when fish are not overly active. The body of the tube adds substance while the tails flutter seductively in the water. They are most often fished on the bottom, mimicking crayfish and other crustaceans. Natural colors such as olive in root beer work very well. White can be an excellent color when shad are present. The Berkley Power Bait tube is Capt. Jim’s personal favorite for smallmouth bass.

Click this link to shop Amazon for Berkley tube baits

Bass Assassin lures

bass assassin

The Bass Assassin line of swim baits are excellent smallmouth bass fishing lures. They come in a variety of color patterns in several sizes. Lighter, natural colors are Capt. Jim’s favorite for targeting smallmouth bass. They are most often fished on a jig head, but can also be used on a swim bait hook. These lures are very easy to use and have a lot of built in action.

Click this link to shop Amazon for Bass Assassin baits

Hair jigs

hair jig

Jigs that come with hair dressing are very effective smallmouth bass fishing lures as well. In some ways they are easier in that the angler does not have to match the tail to the head. Marabou is a common dressing for jigs and puts out a lot of action with very little movement. Bucktail is another popular ineffective dressing. Finally, jigs also come with synthetic hair dressing. Darker colors work best when bounced on the bottom while lighter colors are effective when fishing in schools of bait fish.

Click this link to shop Amazon for hair jigs

Yamamoto Senko

senko

The 4” Yamamoto Senko is an extremely effective in versatile bait for smallmouth bass and many other species. It does not look like much nor does it have a ton of action, but this finesse bait certainly catches fish. It is best worked with very little or even no action, just being allowed to flutter down through the water column or drift with the current. It can be fished on a bare hook or a light jig head.

Click this link to shop Amazon for Senko lures

Top plugs for smallmouth bass fishing

Plugs are hard bodied baits, usually made of plastic, that imitate bait fish or crawfish for the most part. Plugs are either worked on the surface or below the surface. Top water plugs float and spend their entire time working on the surface of the water. They are great fun to fish as the strike is visual. However, more fish are caught by anglers using plugs below the surface. These will dive to a variety of depths, based on the size and shape of the lip along with the design of the plug.

live bait for bass

Jerk baits are extremely effective smallmouth bass fishing lures. These are long slender baits that have a very erratic action and the water. They dive down from a couple of feet below the surface to 15 feet or more, depending on the shape of the lip. These lures are worked with an aggressive jerk and a pause in between. Most of the time the smallmouth bass hits the plug on the pause, as it hangs there seemingly helpless.

Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait

Rapala x-rap

Capt. Jim’s favorite jerk bait is the Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait. The #8 size works best in rivers and in lakes where the forage is on the small side. The #10 size is excellent when anglers are fishing in larger lakes. This plug is also available with a larger lip, allowing it to fish down to almost 15 feet. White is an excellent all-around color, with olive being a good second choice.

Click this link to shop Amazon for Rapala X Raps

Rebel Wee Craw

bebel wee craw

The Rebel Wee Craw is a legendary smallmouth bass fishing plug. As the name implies, it was built to imitate a crayfish and it does an excellent job of that. The lure is available and several different sizes and a handful of very natural looking finishes. It works extremely well when bounced through deeper holes and small to medium-size rivers. The Wee Craw is also effective when fished around riprap and on sloping rocky points in lakes.

Click this link to shop Amazon for Rebel Wee Craw plugs

Heddon Tiny Torpedo

tiny torpedo

The Heddon Tiny Torpedo is an outstanding top water lure for catching smallmouth bass in both rivers and lakes. Many plugs designed for largemouth bass are a bit too large for smallmouth bass. This bait is the perfect size and is very easy to fish. It has a conical nose and a propeller on the rear. When twitched, the propeller puts out a good amount of commotion which will draw smallmouth bass to the bait.

Click this link to shop Amazon for Tiny Torpedo plugs

Rapala Shad Rap

shad rap

The Rapala Shad Rap is an excellent plug to use when smallmouth bass are feeding on shad. It has a wider more substantial profile, better imitating Shad and herring that are often found in lakes. The smaller versions and lighter finishes work best when Shad and other bait fish are present. The lure is available in a deep diving version as well. Both bait fish and crayfish color patterns are productive.

Click this link to shop Amazon for Rapala Shad Rap plugs

Spinners and spinnerbaits

Spinners have been around a very long time. They are very simple and effective lures that are easy to use. This makes them an excellent choice for novice anglers. The two basic types of spinners are in line spinners and spinner baits. In line spinners have a blade that rotates around the shaft with some type of body and a dress tail. Spinner baits use a wire frame with a spinner at the top and some type of body at the bottom.

smallmouth bass fishing tackle and lures

In line spinners are most often associated with river fishing. They are very effective as the current causes the blade to rotate. Most often, the lure is cast across the stream and allowed to float down with just enough tension on the line to keep a tight. They can be used in lakes as well. Spinner baits are more often used in lakes and have a wider profile. Due to their design, spinner baits are also more weedless and are a better choice when fished around weeds and other cover.

Worden’s Original Rooster Tail spinner

rooster tail

Capt Jim’s favorite spinner by far is the Worden’s Original Rooster Tail Spinner. This is a very effective lure that comes in several sizes and many different color patterns. It is an outstanding lure for fishing streams and small rivers. It is very light in weight and will not sink down to the bottom and hang up as some other spinners well. The 1/8 ounce lure with a gold blade and any bright colored body is an excellent all round choice. One advantage these spinners have is that they will catch a lot of trout as an added bonus and waters where these fish are present.

Click this link to shop Amazon for Rooster tail spinners

Panther Martin spinner

panther martin

The Panther Martin is another effective spinner used when smallmouth bass fishing. It is heavier and more compact than the Rooster Tail. This makes it a better choice for anglers fishing larger rivers where long casts are required as well is getting down deeper into the holes. It is also a better choice in lakes and can even be trolled.

Click this link to shop Amazon for Panther Martin spinners

Terminator spinnerbait

terminator

The Terminator line of spinner baits are excellent lures for smallmouth bass fishing in lakes and larger rivers. They are well-made and very durable. Spinner baits put out a lot a flash and vibration. There also fairly heavy and can be cast a long distance. Gold bladed lures work best early and late in the day and in stained water. Conversely, silver blades and lighter colored bodies work best on bright sunny days.

Click this link to shop Amazon for Terminator spinnerbaits

Beetlespin spinnerbait

beetle spin

Beetlespin spinnerbaits are smaller and more subtle than the larger versions. These are excellent choices for fishing rivers and smaller lakes as well as in cold, clear water.

Click this link to shop Amazon for Beetlespin spinnerbaits

Spoons are effective smallmouth bass fishing lures

Spoons are another example of simple yet very effective fishing lures for smallmouth bass and many other species. A spoon is basically a curved piece of metal with a hook in. The design of the spoon will determine its action and how it can be used. This is another lure that is an excellent choice for novice anglers as it has a lot of built in action. Anglers should use some type of snap swivel or in-line swivel with spoons to help eliminate line twist.

Acme Kastmaster spoon

kastmaster

The Acme Kastmaster is a very effective spoon for smallmouth bass in both rivers and lakes. It is compact and dense which results in long casts. It has an excellent built in action and can be either cast and retrieved or troll. Generally, erratic retrieve’s work best. It comes in multiple sizes and finishes. Chrome with a blue neon and gold are Capt. Jim’s two favorite color patterns.

Click this link to shop Amazon for Kastmaster spoons

Eppinger Daredevil spoon

daredevil

The venerable Eppinger Daredevil spoon has been around for decades. It is a proven lure that catches smallmouth bass and many other species to this day. It comes in a variety of sizes and colors. It has more of the traditional spoon shape, sort of an elongated teardrop. Anglers fishing with this spoon in waters that have populations of pike will catch many of them as an added bonus.

Click this link to shop Amazon for Daredevil spoons

Luhr Jensen Krocodile spoon

Krocodile spoon

The Krocodile spoon is a versatile and effective smallmouth bass lure. Like most spoons, it comes in multiple sizes and finishes. These spoons can be cast out and retrieved, trolled, and vertically jigged.

Click this link to shop Amazon for Krocodile spoons

Hopkins jigging spoon

 

The Hopkins spoon is a bit of a specialty lure. It is primarily thought of as a vertically jigged spoon. The quarter ounce and half ounce silver spoon with the hammered finish is by far the most popular combination. This spoon is extremely effective when smallmouth bass are schooled in deep water over points, channel edges, and other structure. It is one of the few baits that will fool suspended fish into biting.

Click this link to shop Amazon for Hopkins spoons

In conclusion, this article on the best smallmouth bass fishing tackle and lures will help anglers choose the right equipment and baits in order to be more successful!

Rock Bass Fishing Tips and Tackle, an Anglers Guide

Rock Bass Fishing Tips and Tackle, an Anglers Guide

This post will cover rock bass fishing tips and tackle.Rock bass are common throughout the midewest and are an under appreciated little game fish.

Rock bass, also known as “goggle-eye” are a member of the panfish family and are often overlooked. Rock bass are native to east central United States. They don’t grow very large, 8 inches is an average size, but they put up an excellent tussle on ultralight tackle. Rock bass are quite aggressive in most instances and will bite when other species shut down. Finally, rock bass are very good to eat!

rock bass fishing tips and tackle

Capt. Jim Klopfer is a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida. However, he grew up in Maryland and has extensive freshwater fishing experience from Maine to Florida. He especially enjoys fishing for panfish, trout, smallmouth bass, and other species in streams and small rivers. He is sharing his tips and experience in this article.

Rock bass facts

Rock bass are found in a good percentage of the United States and even southern Canada. While originally from the Midwest, rock bass have extended their range naturally and through stocking. The Ozarks area is considered to be rock bass central.

Rock bass are most often associated with rivers, and with good reason. As their name implies, these diminutive name fish can often be found in rocky environments. Rivers, particularly those with slow to moderate current are the perfect waters to target these fish.

rock bass fishing tackle

Rock bass can be found in clear, deep lakes as well. In fact, just about any body of water that holds smallmouth bass will usually have a resident population of rock bass as well. Most anglers pursuing rock bass do so in streams and small rivers. Therefore, river fishing techniques will be emphasized. The same lures and tactics will produce and lakes as well.

Rock bass fishing tackle

Special equipment is certainly not needed when fishing for rock bass. Most anglers already have a rod and reel combination that is suitable. One reason that rock bass don’t get the respect they deserve is that they are often times caught on medium spinning tackle. To truly enjoy these hard fighting little fish, anglers should scale it down and use their ultralight bluegill and panfish outfits.

Click this link to shop Amazon for a light KastKing rod and reel combo

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A 6 foot light spinning rod paired with a 2000 series real and spooled up with 4 or 6 pound monofilament line is a perfect all-around combination. Longer rods are definitely an advantage, especially when fishing and rivers. They allow anglers to make a longer cast as well as keeping the lure or bait up out of the rocks.

Fishing for rock bass with live bait

Rock bass can most certainly be caught by anglers using live bait. The normal selection that produces fish in freshwater will be fine when fishing for rock bass. Nightcrawlers and crayfish top the list of live baits, especially when fishing and rivers. However, minnows, helgremites, hoppers, crickets, earthworms, and even prepared baits will catch fish.

rock bass fishing tips

The best approach when fishing for rock bass with live bait is to keep it simple. Rock bass do have a largemouth in proportion to their size. Therefore, anglers can go up a bit in hook size from what they would use for bluegill and other panfish. A number six short shank thin wire live bait hook is an excellent all round choice. A small selection of floats and pinch on split shot is all an angler needs to catch rock bass using live bait.

Top rock bass fishing lures

While live bait is quite effective for anglers fishing for rock bass, the majority of those targeting them opt for artificial lures. There are a couple of reasons for this. Lures are more convenient, there is no need to capture, purchase, and keep alive bait. Second, and most importantly, lures take advantage of the aggressive nature of a rock bass. Many smallmouth bass and largemouth bass anglers have been surprised at catching a small rock bass on a large artificial lure!

The same lures that have been producing in rivers for decades our perfect when chasing rock bass. The best approach is to keep it simple. Here is an article that Capt. Jim wrote on the best river fishing lures for anglers that want more information. Spinners, plugs, spinner baits, jigs, and spoons are the top artificial lures used when fishing for rock bass. Capt. Jim will list his favorite lure in each category below.

Worden’s Oringinal Rooster Tail spinner

Capt Jim’s favorite spinner when fishing and rivers is the Warden’s Original Rooster Tail. This is an excellent bait for fishing and streams and small rivers. The advantage it has over other spinners is that it is very light. This results in less snags than some other heavier spinners. Rooster Tail spinners are available in a wide selection of colors and several sizes.

rooster tail

Click this link to shop Amazon for Rooster Tail spinners

Capt. Jim’s favorite color combination is a brightly colored body such as green, orange, and chartreuse along with a gold blade. Gold blades just seem to be more productive in streams and rivers. On bright sunny days, switching to a white spinner with a silver blade can prove to be a good choice.

Rebel Wee Craw

The top plug for rock bass fishing is the legendary Rebel Wee Craw. This lure has a dedicated following among smallmouth bass anglers, and for good reason. It is an extremely effective artificial lure that very closely mimics a primary forage of rock bass; crayfish. These baits are available in several sizes and very natural looking finishes. When properly retrieved, the lure works erratically on the bottom, bouncing off of rocks and other obstructions. This very realistically mimics a fleeing crayfish.

Click this link to shop Amazon for Rebel Wee Craw lures

It is necessary to add a second lure to the plug category. This would be the Rapala Original Floating Minnow. This is an outstanding lure for fishing streams, small rivers, and lakes. It is been around a very long time and continues to produce fish to this day. It floats on the surface and dive down a couple feet upon retrieve. This makes it excellent in areas with a lot of snags on the bottom. Silver with a black back is Capt. Jim’s favorite color pattern.

Rapala Ultralight floating minnow

Click this link to shop Amazon for Rapala Ultralight Minnow lures

Johnson Beetlespin

beetle spin

Click this link to shop Amazon for Beetle spin lures

The number one spinner bait and Capt. Jim’s opinion for fishing for rock bass and panfish is the Johnson Beetlespin. This is a very simple yet extremely effective lure. It is compact, easy to cast, and relatively snag free as the wire frame design bounces over rocks and other obstructions. It is also very easy to use as angler simply casts it out and reel it back in steadily. The 1/8 ounce size with a silver blade and black body is his favorite combination.

Berkley Powerbait tube jig

tube lure

Click to shop Amazon for Berkley tube lures

Just about any soft plastic bait on a light jig head will produce rock bass when properly presented. However, Capt. Jim’s favorite jig/soft plastic lure is the Berkeley PowerbaitTube jig. Two baits are outstanding lures for smallmouth bass, which means they are productive on a rock bass as well. The design of the bait results in a lot of action even with very subtle movements by the angler. Natural colors such as root beer and olive on a 1/16 ounce or 1/8 ounce head are excellent all round choices.

Acme Phoebe spoon

phoebe spoon

Click to shop Amazon for Phoebe spoons

Capt Jim’s top spoon when fishing for rock bass is the Acme Phoebe spoon. While there are many other productive spoons on the market, what makes this one different is its light weight. Heavier spoons will almost certainly snag on the bottom, frustrating anglers. The Phoebe spoon in a gold finish and 1/6 ounce size is an excellent rock bass fishing lure.

Rock bass fishing tips and techniques

Rock bass are not that difficult to catch, once located. In fact, many smallmouth bass anglers actually consider them a nuisance. The reality is that rock bass have saved the day for many anglers when other game fish were reluctant to bite. They are an excellent option mid day and summer especially, when the bite can be tough for other species.

Like most game fish, rock bass are ambush predators. They will lie in wait behind a boulder or fallen tree in a break from the current then dart out to feed on prey that is swept down towards them. Any boulder, rock, drop off, fallen tree, or even a dock can be an excellent spot to catch a rock bass.

rock bass fishing tips and tackle

The best approach is to cast the lure or bait across the stream or river and then let it flow naturally with the current. Some artificial lures such as spinners require very little action, the angler simply needs to keep the line tight enough to make the blade rotate. Other lures will require a sharp twitch with a pause in between. Anglers can usually be fairly aggressive in the retrieve when pursuing rock bass.

Anglers fishing with live bait for rock bass will do best to free line the bait where possible. This means just presenting the bait alone on the hook with no weight or float added. However, and areas where snags are prevalent anglers may need to use a float to suspend the bait up off the bottom. Anglers fishing deeper holes may require a split shot or two to get the bait down.

In conclusion, this article on rock bass fishing tips and tackle will hopefully encourage anglers to spend more time pursuing these overlooked and underrated little game fish. They can often save the day on a hot summer afternoon and produce both excellent action and delicious meals!