Testing new tackle is a major task for FLW Outdoors Magazine each year. Relying on tournament pros, field editors and in-house staff, dozens of products hit the water each year, and it all starts following ICAST in summer. As usual, manufacturers didn’t disappoint in producing great new gear for 2010.
FLW Outdoors Magazine Editors
Like the idea of catching 75 or more smallies in a day? Start fishing wing dams
Sunken beneath the expanse that is the Mississippi River, where a turbulent current wages war against chunks of granite, lies angling bliss for anyone venturing to the Midwest.
Crankbait tricks for the nontroller
The back of the package made it sound easy. All it said for instructions for your new crankbait was “dives 7 to 9 feet.” That seemed simple enough. Chuck it out, pull it back on a frozen rope, and the crankbait should attain the described depth, and presumably, bring a fish back with it.
Having a pattern to yourself means finding one that never existed
My earliest memories of a TV include a giant “color television set” that took up half of my parents’ living room and weighed as much as a 150-hp outboard motor. That monstrosity of simulated wood grain and glass received a whopping 13 VHF channels. That’s right, 13 channels. Ironically, the same thing could be said for the way bass anglers described bass fishing patterns back in the days of rabbit-ear antennas, glass tubes and VHF.
How to quickly find and slowly pluck walleyes from weeds
“Find one piece of fruit and it can expose the entire tree.” It’s quotes like this one that make me think Berkley pro Tommy Skarlis needs to come with a disclaimer.
Forrest Wood Cup, Walleye Tour Angler of the Year issues great for collectors
The Forrest Wood Cup edition of FLW Outdoors Magazine has left the printers and should have been mailed to mailboxes and newsstands near you.
Take advantage of the early morning bite all season
Nothing compares to the sense of urgency that overwhelms a tournament angler at daybreak. Last-minute nerves and a recheck of the game plan has the mind pulled in every direction while jockeying for position among a flotilla of bass boats. But the thing that really accelerates the anticipation is the itch to make the most of the morning bite.
When it comes to live-bait fishing, few things inspire more confidence than a wiggling leech
On the totem pole of respect, not many of Mother Nature’s creatures rank lower than leeches. These invertebrates live their lives under logs and rocks and carry the stigma of being parasitic bloodsuckers, although some scavenge and eat invertebrates even farther down the totem pole than themselves.
The first step toward becoming a crankbait master is learning how every variable affects the system
I have a favorite crankbait. It dives to about 10 feet, has a green-and-white shad pattern with iridescent sides, and I’ve seen some good fish eat it on nearby Kentucky Lake.
Formulating success with four jig techniques
They’re as simple as fishing lures get. Yet, there’s nothing simple about them.
Lessons help overcome troublesome water clarity
Fish long enough and it’s bound to happen. The perfect trip goes awry with the inflow of sediment into an otherwise pristine paradise. Chocolate milk, brown gravy and molasses are all fine on the breakfast table, but they can turn an angler’s stomach when describing his favorite fishing spot being overrun with dirty water. During spring, rainy tournaments can go from a blowout to a washout in one evening.
Overlooked holding areas for river walleyes
There are several key differences among obvious fishing spots, subtle holding areas and dead water. Obvious fishing spots attract both fish and fishermen; dead water draws neither; and subtle holding areas draw fish but few anglers. The latter go overlooked because such areas are often indistinct or lie within the no man’s land between obvious fishing spots.
Fish softly but still carry your big stick
The worm and weight spiraled end over end between the tules like a South American bola on its way to snare wild game. The rapid pitch-and-twirl combo hit the water with a near-silent entry, and the dark corner of the reed clump was motionless. Professional angler Michael Rooke of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., stood statuesque, peering into the water for what seemed like an eternity. Slowly, he raised the tip of his rod.
Go against the norm and put weary walleyes in the boat
The cameras rolled as waves and wind gently bucked the angler up and down in the chop while he explained the nuances of his new weapons. It wasn’t difficult to explain how pulling different crankbaits than the norm can be effective. However, pro angler Jason Kerr of Holly, Mich., had limited experience trolling the new Z-Man ChatterSticks on Lake Erie.
Seven must-have colors for every tackle box
We’ve all been there. Standing in an aisle, surrounded by adjectives like “hot,” “bleeding,” “sparkle” and “tiger,” an angler’s eyes detect a foreign color. Instantly, his mind is triggered, bringing an entire lure inventory to the forefront of consciousness for analyzing. Like a supercomputer crunching data, his mind begins scrolling through boxes of lures in an attempt to identify the hue somewhere in the collection.
Get ready for an incredible $10 million season
Every sport is defined by its athletes. Most team sports are defined by positions and the standouts in those positions. In fishing, it’s a little different. Namely because anglers compete against variables they can’t control (the bass, the weather, etc.) no matter how much they train. However, this sport is often defined by the techniques, and certain pros are considered the best at those techniques.
FLW Outdoors Magazine editors give their product picks for the coming year, highlighting what’s in store for bass anglers.
FLW Outdoors Magazine editors give their product picks for the coming year, highlighting what’s in store for walleye anglers.
Scouting tactics for ice fishing during open water
A typical fall ice fishing primer is all about getting anglers excited about new products and developments in ice fishing technology. They’re great stories for anglers who like to spend more time organizing their gear than actually straddling a slushy hole.
Bennett breaks the bank and the records
If what is junk to one man is treasure to another, Duracell pro Michael Bennett of Lincoln, Calif., found a virtual scrapyard of finny riches roaming the shallows of South Carolina’s Lake Murray during the 2008 Forrest Wood Cup presented by BP and Castrol.
This category of soft baits may be the most versatile of all
The topic of naming and classifying fishing lures is a large one. Bass have been caught on thousands of variations of hundreds of designs, especially in the soft-plastic arena. Every year, however, anglers scramble around, searching for something new and something different in the never-ending quest to outsmart ever-smarter bass.
Transmitting bottom contours through lead and line
It’s no secret, walleye anglers have embraced technology. Large-megapixel sonar displays, GPS mapping and other electronics have some anglers’ boats rivaling NASA space stations in terms of electronics. And while many of those nifty gadgets were originally developed for a different industry, leave it to walleye anglers to pick up these tools and run wild with them.
Practice silence and stealth when they matter most
Two things help Captain Rob Gorta produce redfish in skinny water for his clients on a daily basis. For Gorta, silence is golden. His approach traces one of stealth, during which he avoids noise of any type. Gorta will even slip an anchor over the side without a ripple rather than try to ram a push-pole tip into the bottom of the flat and create sound waves fish can hear.
A straight-down lesson in deep-water trolling
Downriggers get lures deep, and they keep lures at precise depths. While trolling 60 to 100 feet (or more) deep, like salmon or salt anglers, may be a rare stretch for walleye anglers, hitting the 45-foot mark is not when on big water.
Apply big-water tactics to little locales
At one point, top professional anglers in competitive fishing were just weekend anglers with aspirations of going pro. They spent time learning to catch bigger bass more efficiently on smaller bodies of water before applying their experiences to larger lakes and rivers. Now, they can travel to lakes all over the country and piece together limits of keeper bass, falling back on their years of fishing small lakes.