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Category Archives: Fishing Equipment

15 Top Lures For Pike Fishing

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When the stars align and the feeding window is open, a big  pike will hit anything that moves. Your bait selection doesn’t matter and all you have to do is be in the right place at the right time. If you’re lucky, you’ll experience this feeding-frenzy action once or twice a season. The rest of your time hunting trophy pike will be spent cranking, casting, and waiting. The right presentation will make the difference between a bite and a follow-up. So, don’t waste all of your effort pitching second-rate lures. Here’s our round up of the best pike fishing baits on the market right now.

Heddon Rattlin’ SpookPMlures_01The Spook’s renowned walk-the-dog style has long been a pike pleaser – especially over grass. The Rattlin’ model’s tungsten BBs emit an intense sound that mimics fleeing baitfish. These rattles also serve to enhance the bait’s walking retrieve. ($6.99, Lurenet.com)

Booyah Pikee

PMlures_02Strong and durable, this ½-ounce double willow leaf spinnerbait boasts a tough Vibra-Flx wire frame that stands up to powerful jaws with lots of teeth. The Pikee comes with a 12-inch steel leader for added insurance against big biters. ($5.99, Lurenet.com)

YUM DingerPMlures_03
The 7-inch version of this flexible stickbait does a good job of presenting a baitfish profile for pike and musky. Rig the bait Texas style over weeds or wacky style when working open water. ($5.79, Lurenet.com)

Eppinger Daredevle SpoonPMlures_04a

The 00 size of this classic spoon has seen plenty of teeth mark, and for good reason. The wiggling, wobbling action puts out a lot of flash and vibration to resemble a fleeing baitfish. Trolled or cast, the Daredevle tempts pike and musky in a broad range of depths. ($9.70, Eppinger.net)

Blue Fox Super BouPMlures_05
Big on the visuals and big on fish-grabbing ability, the size 10 Super Bou imitates mature baitfish and sprouts double trebles to snare the toothy predators that seek them. Tandem blades, combined with Marabou, Hackle and Flashabou fibers create a lifelike undulating action, while the free-turning brass gear emits sonic vibration and rattles when it strikes the outer shell. ($21.69, Rapala.com)

Mepps H210PMlures_06
There’s nothing modest about this heavyweight tandem spinner, but big muskies don’t do modest. Nine inches from eye to tail, the 3-ounce H210 emits big-time thump with its twin brass Indiana blades, while a bright 100-percent holographic tail is hand-tied to tandem 7/0 VMC cone cut hooks. ($39.80, Mepps.com)

Suick Weighted Holographic Musky Thriller Jerkbait

PMlures_07
The weighted version of the original Musky Thriller carries its unique shape and enticing wiggle deeper. Holographic finishes shimmer like real baitfish. ($27.70, Suick.com)

Tackle Industries Super D Swimbait
PMlures_08

A whopping 14-inches long with its tail extended, this sturdy swimbait is built around a full Body Lock coil harness that keeps the soft plastic body in place, while connecting two underside trebles to the frame linked to jig head. The 5-ounce Super D counts down at about a foot per second. Jig it, jerk it or crank it; the Super D’s rocking motion and curly tail put on a big show for big muskies. ($13.99, TackleIndustries.com)

Mepps Double Blade Aglia (Size #5)

PMlures_09
The popular Aglia design gains enhanced visual appeal, along with maximum sound and vibration from a second blade. Whether it’s flashing metallic blades or contrasting colors, the dual spinners provide added lift for fishing over weeds or other structure. Vividly colored hand-tied bucktails help make this bait easier for fish to spot. ($6.99, Mepps.com)

Mepps Syclops (Size #3)
PMlures_10a

A real pike pleaser, this sleekly contoured spoon casts easily and trolls effectively at most any common speed. Jig it vertically over deep spots or through the ice. ($4.75, Mepps.com)

Grandma Jointed Lure
PMlures_11b

An old-school classic, the flat body and jointed design yields a wobble and shimmy that drives big muskies crazy. When cast, the bait reaches 3-6 feet; trolled, it goes to 12. Made with high-impact plastic and a tough diving lip, a Grandma will withstand the fiercest attack from a toothy giant. ($17.99, Grandmalures.com)

Northland Fishing Tackle Bionic Bucktail Jig
PMlures_12

Hand-tied with genuine bucktail, this jig features a versatile double line tie that affords the option of vertical jigging deep water or casting and trolling shallow cover. A stinger hook secured to the jig’s Mustad Ultra-Point hook snares any short strikers. ($5.99, Northlandtackle.com)
Cisco Kid Topper
PMlures_13

A torpedo profile body with stainless steel propeller blades on the nose and tail create a big topside disturbance that gets the fish looking in the right direction. Effective for pike and muskie, the Cisco Kid Topper works well at a variety of speeds. ($17.95, Suick.com)

Bass Pro Shops Thump N Deal Swimbait
PMlures_14a

Equipped with a pair of 4/0 short shank trebles, this big bait swims with a slight side-to-side wobble that can be altered by bending and adjusting the internal non-slip body harness. A steady retrieve works best, but an occasional pause or twitch can turn followers into biter. ($17.99, Basspro.com)

Koppers Live Target Jointed Yellow Perch
PMlures_15

Incredibly realistic body shaping, coloration and fishy detail makes this a hard bait for big predators to ignore. Effective for casting or trolling, the jointed body creates an erratic tail kick that closely mimics the swimming motion of a real perch.  ($12.99, KoppersFishing.com)

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Understanding Your REEL

spincast2 Spin Cast Reel:  The spincasting reel is also known as a closed face reel because the spool and line are beneath the spool cover.  A simple press of the line release button and a flick of the wrist is pretty much all it takes to cast with this type of reel.  This is why spincast reel is probably the reel you started with as a kid.
Pros: This reel is a great teaching tool for anyone learning how to fish as it is by far the easiest reel to use.  As well the fact that it’s inexpensive gives you the flexibility of starting a kid out in fishing without breaking the bank on a hobby they may eventually cast aside.

Cons: Unfortunately because spincasting reels tend to be considered entry level reels they’re often not made for high intensity usage.  As a result many, not all, spincasting reels are not very durable as they are made of inferior materials.  As well this type of fishing reel is often not the best at long distance casting and suffers from a low hauling power which is needed for hauling big fish out of heavy cover like lilly pads and submerged vegetation.

IMG_0263

spinreel2Spinning Reel:  Spinning reels are probably the more widely used reels due to the relative ease of use as well as there moderate expense.  Spinning reels are also known as open faced reels because the spool and majority of the moving parts are located externally rather than behind a spool cover.  This makes the spinning reel ideal for surf fishing where there is a high likelihood of the reel getting wet with either fresh or saltwater.  The “open face” makes most parts of cleaning much easier than with other reel types.

Quick Tip: When picking spinning reels some tend to opt for reels with front drag systems rather than rear drags.  As the front drag has large washers that exert force on a flat surface which makes the front drag system smoother than the rear.  Where as the rear drag pushes against the drive shaft of the reel which has a smaller surface area.

Pros:  Overall the pros of using spinning reels are as follows.
1. You can get a decent spinning reel for a moderate price.
2.  Due to their open spool design spinning reels tend to hold more line that the other reel types.
3.  Spinning reels are relatively easy to use and are easy to learn to use.
4.  They are great for casting long distances and are very accurate with practice.
5.  Spinning reels are great reels when using light baits.
6.  Not prone to birds nest.

Cons:  The cons of spinning reels are as follows.
1.  Spinning reels are prone to line twist unlike baitcasters which are prone to birds nest.
2.  Spinning reels come in very limited gear ratios which limits your options for reel speeds.
3.  Unfortunately spinning reels are not powerhouses like their baitcasting cousins.  Because spinning reels actually wrap line on the stationary spool upon retrieval rather than the spool spinning hauling the line on like a wench, spinning reels are limited when it comes to hauling power.

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baitcast2Baitcasting Reel:
Baitcasting reels are quickly becoming just as widely used as spinning reels.  Where in the past you mostly saw more experienced and pro anglers using baitcasting reels now there isn’t a day that I’m out on my local pond harrassing the bass and there isn’t at least one other person out there using a baitcaster.

This is because more and more people are recognizing the benefits of using a baitcaster.

Pros: The pros and cons of using baitcasting reels are as follows.
1.  Baitcasting reels are wenches, of the different types of reels baitcasters have the most hauling power.
2.  Baitcasters work very well with heavier baits.
3.  Baitcasting reels offer many more gear ratios (retrieval speeds) so choosing the gear ratio that’s more fitting for specific baits is far easier.
4.  Baitcasting reels also have very smooth drag systems.
5.  Baitcasting reels work great with heavier lines and super lines like braid.

Cons:  The cons of using baitcasting reels are as follows.
1.   Baitcasters are the most difficult reels to use easily getting birds nest on bad cast.
2.  Because of the steep learning curve with baitcasters it takes a bit more practice to be able to make longer cast.
3.  Baitcasters are not the best choice for lighter baits.
4.  As said before baitcasters are prone to getting birds nests in the line upon casting if not thumbed correctly
5.  Prices of bait casters can easily surpass a budget friendly place for the average person who doesn’t fish that often.

IMG_20150716_180638837

Overall the different types of fishing reels are then to aid in different ways.  No one reel type is better than the other however they all just have different purposes.  As well with the technological progressions being made fishing reels are all being made with lighter and stronger materials as technology improves.  So choose wisely when choosing your next fishing reel and enjoy it for all it’s worth.

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Boat Trailering Tips

boat-trailering

Here is a short video with some helpful tips and reminders that you will get to your destination safely so that you can enjoy your fishing vacation without worry.

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Choosing the Right Gear Ratio

reel gear

Buying new fishing reels overwhelms many anglers, as an abundance of options can muddy the waters. One of the big decisions involves choosing the right gear ratio reel. Understanding gear ratios in fishing reels will increase your efficiency on the water and decrease your stress level when faced with a big purchasing decision.

Some quick technical talk

The gear ratio of a reel is measured by how many times the spool turns for each single turn of the handle. For instance, if a reel has a gear ratio of 6.4:1, every time you turn the handle, the spool inside turns exactly 6.4 times.

As a result, a reel with a gear ratio of 5.1:1 is going to be a much slower reel than one with a 7.1:1 gear ratio—the spool of a 5.1:1 reel will spin 5.1 times with each handle turn, while the 7.1:1 spool will turn 7.1 times with each handle turn.

It also helps to know the IPT of a reel or Inches per Turn. This is a measure of how much line is retrieved into the reel with a single handle turn. It can also mean a gear ratio reel that claims to be the fastest may really be the same as other high speed reels.

Because spool size, depth and width can impact IPT, just because a reel is 7.3:1 or 8:1 doesn’t necessarily mean it reels in more line per turn than a 7.1:1 reel– it also depends on the spool and line size.

Uses for a low gear ratio reel | 5.1:1 thru 5.4:1

•    Deep crankbaits
•    Big swimbaits
•    Deep water spinnerbaits

A lower gear ratio reel is ideal for big baits that pull a lot, such as deep crankbaits. These reels have the highest amount of torque, allowing you to put less effort into retrieving the bait and more energy towards finding the fish.

These reels are also great for slow rolling big, heavy baits such as spinnerbaits and swimbaits. In cold water when bass are especially wary, a slow gear ratio is perfect for these slower, non-threatening presentations. A slow reel also aids in keeping these baits in the strike zone longer, which can prove invaluable when fishing moving baits in deep water.

Uses for a medium gear ratio reel | 6.1:1 thru 6.4:1

•    Squarebill crankbaits
•    Medium depth crankbaits
•    Shallow spinnerbaits
•    Shallow castable umbrella rigs

These reels are great for multiple techniques and presentations, making them very popular among northern pike anglers. Whether you’re plowing through nasty cover with a squarebill during the prespawn or bombing spinnerbaits on shallow flats in the fall, a medium gear ratio reel will do the job.

Many prefer a 6.4:1 reel whenever using anything that triggers a reaction strike. The extra speed will let you fish the bait quickly, forcing the most aggressive fish to react. Conversely, opt for a 6.1:1 reel when fishing crankbaits that run in 8- to 14-foot range. The small decrease in speed helps keep them in the strike zone longer, while still maintaining enough speed to solicit a reaction strike and giving me added torque.

Uses for a high gear ratio reel | 7.1:1 thru 8.1:1

•    Jigs and big worms
•    Shaky heads
•    Texas rigs
•    Carolina rigs
•    Topwaters
•    Jerkbaits
•    Lipless crankbaits

If you’re fishing any lure that you primarily work with your rod, a high gear ratio reel is the way to go. You’re often pulling the bait with your rod tip, but you need to have the ability to quickly take up your slack when you get a bite. A fast reel also helps when fighting a big walleye—you need all the speed you can get in order to quickly pull it away from any line-fraying hazards.

Topwaters, jerkbaits, jigs, plastics and even lipless crankbaits warrant the use of a high speed reel. These techniques create a lot of slack in your line, and if you get bit 30 yards away from the boat, a high gear ratio comes in handy for getting a solid hookset.

Choosing the right gear ratio reel can be a bit confusing, but with some basic understanding of what the numbers really mean, it gets much easier to understand. When purchasing your next reel, try to keep things simple by remembering this simple gear ratio guide.

reels

 Left to Right: Abu Garcia MGX, Abu Garcia Revo SX, Lew’s Pro Team, Lew’s BB-1

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Fishing Gear Checklist

Here’s a checklist of things you’ll want to bring on your next fishing adventure.

Tackle And Gear

fishing

__ Rods: spinning, casting, trolling

__ Reels: Spooled with line

__ Extra line: fluorocarbon leader, monofilament, or superbraid

__ Tackle bag or tackle box

__ Hardbaits: crankbaits and minnowbaits

__ Spinnerbaits and inline spinners

__ Soft-plastics: grubs, tubes, jerkbaits, worms, lizards

__ Topwaters: poppers, walk-the-dogs, plastic frogs, buzzbaits

__ Bass hooks: offset shank for Texas-rigging, wide gap for wacky rigging

__ Bass flipping jigs

__ Walleye hooks for livebait: octopus

__ Circle hooks for catfish and pike

__ Bait hooks of various sizes

__ Various sized spoons

__ Sinkers: split shots, walking, egg

__ Leaders, snaps and swivels

__ Jig heads: ball, darter, tube

__ Bucktail or feather jigs

__ Worm harnesses and livebait rigs

__ Fish scent

__ Bobbers: slip, fixed, and illuminated for night fishing and bobber stops

__ Planner boards

__ Fishing net

__ Live bait: worms, minnows, leeches, and carrying containers (e.g., minnow bucket)

__ Valid fishing license and state regulations

__ Scale/ruler

__ Headlamp with extra batteries and bulbs

Clothing

Waders_Boots_1

__ Rain gear: jacket, pants and hat

__ Neoprene gloves or waterproof mittens

__ Waterproof footwear: hiking boots or rubber boots

__ Running shoes or sandals

__ Hats: ball cap, wide-brim, or wool

Clothing: Tops And Bottoms

frabill-lead

__ Moisture-wicking thermal underwear (if fishing in cold weather)

__ Sports bras

__ Moisture-wicking socks

__ Fleece mid-layer shirt and pants

__ Hooded sweater

__ Fleece vest

__ Pile or wool pants

__ Convertible zip-off pants

__ Lightweight shorts

__ Quick-drying swimsuit and towel

__ Moisture-wicking T-shirt and long-sleeve shirt

__ Gear bag to carry extra clothing

General Boating Gear

imagesSU39Q4UW

__ Rod holders

__ Pliers: needle-nose, split ring

__ Fish hook remover/extractor

__ Boat tools: spark plug wrench, pliers, standard wrench

__ Spare tire and jack

__ Life jackets

__ Paddle

__ Bailer or manual bilge

__ Flashlight with fresh batteries

__ Signaling device: horn, whistle, flares

__ Throw rope

__ Bowline

__ Boat fenders

__ Boat trailer tie-downs

__ Fire extinguisher

__ Spare oil

__ Spare spark plugs and fuses

__ Full tank of gas

__ Fish finder

__ GPS Unit

__ Weather radio

__ Hydrographic navigation maps and road maps

__ Map marking pen

__ All-weather pen and notebook

__ Trolling motor and charged battery

__ Duct and electrical tape

Other Items

safety-equipment-263x300

__ Sunscreen

__ Lip balm

__ Sunglasses

__ Bug repellant

__ First Aid/Medical Kit

__ Matches in a waterproof container

__ Biodegradable soap

__ Personal Medicine: eyewash, aspirin, lotion, etc.

__ Other personal toiletry items

__ Water

__ Tape measure

__ Camera

__ Cooler for lunch and drinks with ice packs

__ Thermos for coffee

__ Fillet knife and zippered plastic bags

__ Binoculars

__ Waterproof wrist watch

__ Emergency contact phone numbers

__ Cash, credit card, and phone calling card

__ Driver’s license and vehicle and boat insurance

__ Health insurance information or card

__ Travel alarm clock

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Understanding Your REEL

spincast2 Spin Cast Reel:  The spincasting reel is also known as a closed face reel because the spool and line are beneath the spool cover.  A simple press of the line release button and a flick of the wrist is pretty much all it takes to cast with this type of reel.  This is why spincast reel is probably the reel you started with as a kid.
Pros: This reel is a great teaching tool for anyone learning how to fish as it is by far the easiest reel to use.  As well the fact that it’s inexpensive gives you the flexibility of starting a kid out in fishing without breaking the bank on a hobby they may eventually cast aside.

Cons: Unfortunately because spincasting reels tend to be considered entry level reels they’re often not made for high intensity usage.  As a result many, not all, spincasting reels are not very durable as they are made of inferior materials.  As well this type of fishing reel is often not the best at long distance casting and suffers from a low hauling power which is needed for hauling big fish out of heavy cover like lilly pads and submerged vegetation.

IMG_0263

spinreel2Spinning Reel:  Spinning reels are probably the more widely used reels due to the relative ease of use as well as there moderate expense.  Spinning reels are also known as open faced reels because the spool and majority of the moving parts are located externally rather than behind a spool cover.  This makes the spinning reel ideal for surf fishing where there is a high likelihood of the reel getting wet with either fresh or saltwater.  The “open face” makes most parts of cleaning much easier than with other reel types.

Quick Tip: When picking spinning reels some tend to opt for reels with front drag systems rather than rear drags.  As the front drag has large washers that exert force on a flat surface which makes the front drag system smoother than the rear.  Where as the rear drag pushes against the drive shaft of the reel which has a smaller surface area.

Pros:  Overall the pros of using spinning reels are as follows.
1. You can get a decent spinning reel for a moderate price.
2.  Due to their open spool design spinning reels tend to hold more line that the other reel types.
3.  Spinning reels are relatively easy to use and are easy to learn to use.
4.  They are great for casting long distances and are very accurate with practice.
5.  Spinning reels are great reels when using light baits.
6.  Not prone to birds nest.

Cons:  The cons of spinning reels are as follows.
1.  Spinning reels are prone to line twist unlike baitcasters which are prone to birds nest.
2.  Spinning reels come in very limited gear ratios which limits your options for reel speeds.
3.  Unfortunately spinning reels are not powerhouses like their baitcasting cousins.  Because spinning reels actually wrap line on the stationary spool upon retrieval rather than the spool spinning hauling the line on like a wench, spinning reels are limited when it comes to hauling power.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

baitcast2Baitcasting Reel:
Baitcasting reels are quickly becoming just as widely used as spinning reels.  Where in the past you mostly saw more experienced and pro anglers using baitcasting reels now there isn’t a day that I’m out on my local pond harrassing the bass and there isn’t at least one other person out there using a baitcaster.

This is because more and more people are recognizing the benefits of using a baitcaster.

Pros: The pros and cons of using baitcasting reels are as follows.
1.  Baitcasting reels are wenches, of the different types of reels baitcasters have the most hauling power.
2.  Baitcasters work very well with heavier baits.
3.  Baitcasting reels offer many more gear ratios (retrieval speeds) so choosing the gear ratio that’s more fitting for specific baits is far easier.
4.  Baitcasting reels also have very smooth drag systems.
5.  Baitcasting reels work great with heavier lines and super lines like braid.

Cons:  The cons of using baitcasting reels are as follows.
1.   Baitcasters are the most difficult reels to use easily getting birds nest on bad cast.
2.  Because of the steep learning curve with baitcasters it takes a bit more practice to be able to make longer cast.
3.  Baitcasters are not the best choice for lighter baits.
4.  As said before baitcasters are prone to getting birds nests in the line upon casting if not thumbed correctly
5.  Prices of bait casters can easily surpass a budget friendly place for the average person who doesn’t fish that often.

IMG_20150716_180638837

Overall the different types of fishing reels are then to aid in different ways.  No one reel type is better than the other however they all just have different purposes.  As well with the technological progressions being made fishing reels are all being made with lighter and stronger materials as technology improves.  So choose wisely when choosing your next fishing reel and enjoy it for all it’s worth.

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Four Essential Rod-And-Reel Combos

 Quiver
How do you strike a happy medium between an exhaustive complement of rod-and-reel combos and a one-rod workhorse? Here’s our four-rod arsenal of favorite walleye fishing weapons that will help you master nearly every imaginable angling scenario.

The Enforcer

Enforcer_2_0
The Invicta rod’s golf club–like grip provides all-day, no-slip fishing comfort.

Best Suited For:
Big Swimbaits and Wake Baits, Alabama Rigs, Frogs

Yanking chunky fish out of matted vegetation or pulling heavy swimbaits requires stout gear.

Our industrial-strength rod-and-reel combo includes a 7-foot 6-inch Castaway Invicta rod and an Abu Garcia Revo Beast reel. Though robust, the Invicta is surprisingly sensitive and easily handles big baits and magnum fish without fuss. The Winn nonslip split grip is impervious to wet, nasty conditions and provided enough leverage to muscle fish from cover.

With 22 pounds of drag force, the Abu Garcia Beast is a stout cranker. In our test punching the thickest hydrilla, dragging deeply wedged fish (up to 9 pounds) out without a hitch. (rod: $250, castawayrods.com; reel: $350, abugarcia.com)

The Slinger
Slinger_1_0

 

Best Suited For:
Spinnerbaits, Jigs, Worms

While road-testing this featherlight combo this outfit excelled at bouncing spinnerbaits through standing timber and creeping jigs through shoreline brush piles.

The 7-foot Fenwick Elite Tech medium-heavy rod let me get on top of long casts and cover plenty of water while burning spinnerbaits in search of scattered fish. With a retrieve ratio of 6.2:1, the Shimano Chronarch 150 Ci4 reel was ideally suited for working weighted baits in the majority of fishing situations. The extra-low profile made palming the reel easy, which is a great advantage when working contact baits such as jigs and worms. (rod: $150, fenwickfishing.com; reel: $269, shimanofishing.com)

The Cranker

Cranker_0
Best Suited For:
Topwater Lures, Crankbaits, Jerkbaits

Our hard-bait combo consists of a 7-foot 3-inch Kistler Helium 3 rod and a Lew’s Lite Speed Spool TLL1H baitcasting reel.

The rod’s action is what sets it apart from others. The extra-fast taper of the Helium’s tip is subtle, flexes flawlessly, and keeps fish buttoned up on the light-gauge wire hooks typically found on topwaters, crankbaits, and jerkbaits.

The Lew’s Lite Speed Spool retrieves 28 inches of line per turn and offers a perfect compromise between a slow, pure cranking reel and a high-speed burner. It has plenty of low end for cranking down deep-diving crankbaits while still managing topwater retrieve cadences. It easily handles the light lines often used with hard baits. (rod: $260, kistlerrods.com; reel: $239, lews.com)

The Artist

 

Artist_0
Best Suited For:
Tube Jigs, Shaky Heads, Drop-Shot Rigs

When fish shut down, specialized gear is required to manage the thread-thin clear lines and micro-size baits necessary to turn the bite back on.

Our finesse rig includes an Edge Black Widow DSR 6101 rod and a Pflueger Patriarch spinning reel. The Edge’s supple tip allows users to paint the bottom with tempting morsel-size baits and features a gentle butt section for maneuvering big walleye once they’re hooked. When a cold front drove fish to deep shoals during our field test, the rod’s limber tip proved perfect for drop-shotting inactive fish from deeper water.

27.5

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