Tips & Techniques Tech/Tackle Reviews

It’s no secret that one of the best baits you can throw at lethargic bass in chilly water is a suspending jerkbait. Just in time for this year’s prespawn brawl, here is a new twist on the darting, diving minnow imitator that’s sure to put a twinkle in the bass’ eye without putting a big dent in your tackle budget.


Matt Williams

With the magnum crankbait craze spreading in 2014, it makes sense that rod companies would start building rods specifically for fishing jumbo plugs. We analyzed three tournament-worthy rods built for launching crankbaits ranging from standard deep-divers such as the Strike King 6XD up to today’s true jumbo plugs like the Strike King 10XD. Here’s how they fared.


Jesse Schultz

Here’s a one-of-a-kind square-bill that crankbait junkies might want to think about adding to their shallow-water arsenal. I’m hesitant to call the Big Bubba new because Strike Pro actually unveiled it awhile back.


Matt Williams

With a name like DieZel, I expected the MinnowZ from Z-Man to be one rough customer. What I didn’t expect was something tough enough to catch several dozen bass and still not need replacing. Then I remembered the nifty 4-inch swimbait is manufactured using ElaZtech, a super-soft, yet incredibly strong material that has made a name for itself as one of the most pliable and durable soft plastics used in the fresh- and saltwater fishing industries.


Matt Williams

Just when you thought the soft-plastic worm market couldn’t get any fatter, Florida-based Gambler introduces a heavyweight surface swimmer that is designed to perform significantly better than others with a paddle-tail caboose. It’s called the Burner Worm, but it does way more than the name implies. To hear Walmart FLW Tour pros JT Kenney and Jim Tutt tell it, Gambler’s newest soft plastic is perfect for buzzing on top or crawled beneath the surface without ever missing a beat.


Matt Williams

There’s a new bladed swim jig in town from Strike King, and this one is sure to shake things up once the bass fishing masses catch on to some big changes it brings to the table. Not only does it rattle your rod tip and attract violent strikes from afar, it helps solve a couple of nagging problems inherent in a posse of its predecessors – poor hookup ratios and frustrating hangups.


Matt Williams

New technology offers advantages to put more bass in your boat
When you’re fishing with an old-school bass angler, nothing will sour his face faster than seeing you slip a smartphone out of your pocket to peek at your email. As understandable as that attitude is, no one can rightly deny that today’s phones provide a tremendous amount of useful stuff. Such a device can be as valuable as your graph or a good landing net. In fact, your phone is more like a toolbox than a tool because each app serves a separate function.


Jeff Samsel

Choosing the proper jerkbait for varying springtime conditions
Take in an early spring tournament on just about any fishery, and you’ll see dozens of anglers jerking, twitching and snapping a bevy of slender minnow-shaped jerkbaits. Yet the same select and relatively small group of anglers usually cashes the bulk of the checks on many lakes during the spring. Somehow, they manage to set themselves apart.


Jeff Samsel

Rapala DT Series in depth
For some reason, crankbaits overtook other lures this year in the speck of cyberspace inside my head that is my attention span. My wife gets annoyed that I can’t hear other words when I’m singularly focused on one task or noise. The problem is compounded when it involves something to do with fishing.


Jason Sealock

FLW Outdoors Magazine editors impressed by new line of Yamaha four-stroke outboards
Waking up Tuesday to rain at 6 a.m. didn’t dampen the excitement of testing the new Yamaha outboards. The air was cool but not cold, and the rain was spitting and misting on the 45-minute drive to the test facility in Bridgeport, Ala. A quick safety meeting got everyone on the same page, and then a rundown of the SHO outboard came next.


Jason Sealock

FLW Outdoors Magazine editors to test new line of Yamaha four-stroke outboards
Game changer? It’s definitely going to be a drool inducer. We were invited to an early viewing of the new four-stroke outboards from Yamaha. Monday we were only privy to images of the new outboards, and Tuesday we’ll actually get to put them through their paces on several different boats.


Jason Sealock

New line is a game changer in 2009
Approximately one decade ago the Yamamoto Senko hit the market and transformed the bass-fishing industry. A few years later the shaky head and finesse worm had a similar effect. In 2005 Bryan Thrift introduced the ChatterBait, and in 2007 Jay Yelas won the FLW Tour Angler of the Year by throwing an under-the-radar swimbait. This season, no singular bait stood out. Instead, a fluorocarbon line was the product with the most profound impact.


Brett Carlson

Blade baits polarizing subject for walleye anglers
When walleyes are concentrated behind river wing dams or in reservoirs feeding on bait balls near the thermocline, nothing beats a properly presented blade bait for enticing a limit of fish.


Walter Bryant

An in-depth look at a relatively simple bait
Pop. Pop. Splash. Splash. Set the Hook. Grab the net. Then drop that keeper in the livewell and fire back out there again. The action can be fast and furious when bass are schooling or rummaging shallow bushes looking for an easy meal, and they readily fall victim to popping topwaters. There are literally dozens of popper varieties on the market, and we sampled a large pool of manufacturers’ offerings.


Jason Sealock

Take your drop-shot rig beyond a finesse presentation
For anglers who live east of the Mississippi River, the term “drop-shot” often brings thoughts of deep water, wimpy rods, spinning reels, 6-pound-test and plastic worms the size of spaghetti noodles. While many Eastern anglers automatically place the dainty drop-shot into the finesse category, some Western pros do not see it that way.


Rob Newell

Routine trailer maintenance may reduce the pain at the fuel pump
With gas prices being what they are, a $20 bill won’t get you nearly as far down the road as it used to. Not surprisingly, just about everybody is looking for good ways to get more distance for their buck.


Matt Williams

No need to get fancy when walleyes strap on the feedbag
Catching walleyes isn’t complicated this time of year. The same methods and presentations that worked for your grandfather still work today. Here’s a refresher on some of the basics.


Vince Meyer

When Lowrance chose the term “high-definition” for its new system, it may have simply been because their depth finders offer aquarium clarity. But the name has much deeper meaning.


Snap-jigging triggers savage strikes
Just when you thought you had jigging down cold, it’s time to heat up the pace. Jigging for walleyes and saugers has traditionally been a slow, subtle, meticulous affair. But snap jigging is definitely against the ordinary walleye grain. It blends speed and erratic lure action to simultaneously cover water and force fish to respond to your lure. Even walleyes.


Dave Csanda

From competition to recreation, experts to beginners, tournaments to fantasy – new Web site serves as nexus of all things fishing
MINNEAPOLIS — has long served as the authority on FLW tournaments, but the Web site has branched out in recent months to address a far larger fishing community. The redesigned site now offers an array of new tools, dramatically expanded content and networking capabilities to bring that community together at a central location –, the ultimate fishing resource.


Patrick Baker

Select ‘FLW Outdoors’ TV shows added to video stable
Did you forget to set the TiVo when FSN aired the exciting conclusion of the 2008 Walmart FLW Tour regular season? Maybe you want to go back and watch highlights from the Forrest Wood Cup or see the first fantasy-sports millionaire get paid. And who couldn’t use tips on how to fish a plastic worm from veteran bass pro Larry Nixon?


Patrick Baker

Subtle adjustments to the classic Lindy Rig can turn finicky walleyes into willing biters
By middle to late summer on many natural lakes, there are no secrets. Stable and predictable patterns establish each open-water season. Main-lake structure and classic basin patterns are the basics for putting together a solid program together each summer on many of the most renowned walleye fisheries.


Jason Mitchell

Fishing style, location determine best trolling-motor choice
Few pieces of fishing equipment are utilized more frequently and undergo more abuse than a trolling motor. Think about it. How many times did you put the juice to the plastic prop on your last fishing trip? Fifty times, 100, 500? Now, imagine spending a day on the lake, river or bay minus a trolling motor. If you’re like most anglers, you might feel naked out there without one.


Matt Williams

The 2008 International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST) ended last Friday, and my head is still spinning from all the cool new products I sampled firsthand in Las Vegas. It’s one of the highlights of the year in the sport-fishing industry, when the world is introduced to what tackle manufacturers have been creating behind closed doors in secret labs for the last several months – and even years in some instances.


Jason Sealock

For best results, replace finesse tactics with swim tactics near boat docks
Largemouth bass are object nuts. Mother Nature genetically programmed bass to position themselves around submerged cover and structure. Give a bass timber, bushes, stumps, brush or grass, and chances are good it will be as cozy as a bug in a rug.


Matt Williams

Catch Lake Erie smallmouths on tubes after the 40-degree switch
To say I was looking forward to fishing with The General was an understatement. On my drive up to Lima, Ohio, to meet Steve Clapper, thoughts of multiple 5-pound smallmouths admittedly caused my mind to wander at times. Thankfully, the effects on my driving were minimal, and I arrived safely. The only hitch to the fishing would be navigating Lake Erie and all the pleasantries it can provide on an early April outing.


Will Brantley

A guide to making your own jigs for fishing, hobby or profit
“Just break it off,” my fishing partner said. I cringed at the thought of losing another $3 skirted jig. We were fishing a gnarled rock pile with stumps and root wads, and it was a jig-eating monster. But it held some bruiser bass, and sometimes that’s the price to pay for quality fish. Is there an alternative to buying 100 jigs a year? Absolutely.


Jason Sealock

Advantages to a tiller-driven system
Tiller boats were the norm rather than the exception not too many years ago. In the ’70s and early ’80s, tiller boats reigned supreme for most walleye anglers. Then, in the late ’80s, the popularity of walleye tournaments exploded, and preferences for walleye-boat steering changed.


Dan DeJaeghere

Spinner-blade analysis and application
The recent expansion of big-money walleye tournaments spurred a whirlwind dispersal and refinement of fishing techniques. Traveling anglers rapidly discovered that what often works here also works there. They often discover what catches fish in a new venue also produces when applied back home – modified in some fashion, perhaps, but still a new and exciting way to catch walleyes.


Dave Csanda

The disappearing practice of using hair jigs
In the 1950s, hand-tied hair jigs were a standard in the tackle boxes of freshwater anglers. However, when soft-plastic, action-tail bodies began coming on strong in the 1970s, hair jigs slowly began to fade from sight. But, just because the masses gave up hair in favor of plastic did not mean hair quit catching bass.


Darl Black

Taking a great bait and making it better has become a new art form
In all sports, competitors always look for small details that will give them an edge. For anglers, the tweaks to tackle and equipment are infinite because of the limitless options of colors, shapes, sizes and actions of baits on the market. The competition isn’t angler versus angler in this game. It’s angler versus fish – and anything that gives you a leg up in that competition is good.


Jason Sealock

Dragging their way to big ledge bass
Some lures are overnight sensations. At the other extreme are deadly lures that go largely unnoticed for decades before they catch on. The football-head jig falls into this category.


Mark Hicks

Modern advances in trolling motors breed better, more efficient function
Remember a decade ago when the best electric trolling motor was a 24-volt model – two batteries – that generated 55 pounds of thrust? In retrospect, you might also remember how battery power, though a huge improvement over the oomph supplied to glorified eggbeaters a decade before that, was lacking for a full day’s worth of pedal-to-the-medal maneuvering.


Dave Scroppo

One angler’s research sheds light in the darkness that is big bass behavior
Every bassin’ buff has a theory on what makes big fish tick. But for John Hope, the proof is in the pudding.


Matt Williams

Essential modifications are crucial when fishing professionally for bass or walleyes
Walk into any tackle shop or thumb through any fishing catalog, and you will be greeted with a dizzying array of hard- and soft-body baits. Each of these comes with its own unique properties, including depth, color, sound, speed, size, weight, hooks and motion.


Dusty Routh

Wal-Mart FLW Tour pro Craig Powers of Rockwood, Tenn., has a strange way of showing his love for crankbaits. It is perfectly normal for him to buy a dozen “store-bought” crankbaits, only to rip them apart and rebuild them to his own specifications.


Rob Newell

Sure, you’ve got your eyes on the prize when you’re trolling, spying electronics for the presence of baitfish and predators. An important tactic to pinpoint the twin pillars of open-water walleye angling, well beyond the parameters of typical trolling speeds of 2.4 mph and under, is to search at high speeds, a technique now possible with high-powered liquid-crystal units, particularly those with color readouts.


Dave Scroppo

Modern fish finders utilize technology that was invented during World War II to help destroyers locate German submarines. Although underwater locating devices have changed dramatically over the last 50 years, they still work on the same basic principle.


David Hart

The secret for cleaning your dirty boat is under your kitchen sink
After a hard few days fishing in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, on mineral-filled freshwater lakes that left hull and outboard flecked with water spots and white scale, you'd think it would have taken a chisel to pry the crud loose. But Joe Beech, maker of JNB Originals specialty walleye tackle and all-around handyman, pulled out a spray bottle, spritzed the stains and wiped clean with a towel.


Dave Scroppo

To properly winterize your boat, you'll need more than a few household cleaners. Here are a few things that you (or your boat dealer) should do if you plan to store your boat through the winter.


Ron Lappin

Keeping fish alive and well for over 30 years
Part three: From additives to circulation, livewell advancements are ongoing. Just as there are different factors that contribute to the effectiveness of livewells, there are varying uses for the systems that were created about 30 years ago.


Patrick Baker

Keeping fish alive and well for over 30 years
Part two: Multiple factors for consideration Developing a better livewell system is a work in progress. As new technology is incorporated and system designs are improved, the effectiveness of livewells continues to increase.


Patrick Baker

Keeping fish alive and well for over 30 years
Part one: Size matters. One could speculate with some certainty that the invention of the hook has been the single most important development in the history of fishing – at least outside the realm of commercial angling, in which large nets are the norm.


Patrick Baker