Here you will find quick “how to” equipment tips for anglers and bass fishing enthusiasts.

Dress For Winter

If you’re not properly prepared to be out on the water or ice during the winter, you’re asking for trouble. Here’s some basic tips that you need to keep in mind.

  • a) Dress in layers, pack an extra set of dry clothes to leave in the car and bring a couple of hand towels.
    b) You want moisture to be pulled away from your body when you sweat, so choose wicking materials
            - Base Layer tight to your skin and should draw moisture away
            - Second Layer Also should be wicking, but opt for a long sleeve tee shirt
            - Third Layer should be for warmth, fleece is one of the best choices available
            - Outer Layer (Typically your jacket) should be breathable, but water resistant. Skiing and Hunting gear work great. Make sure it has a hood and plenty of pockets… especially ones to put your hands into.
    c) In the winter, it’s “feet first”. This is not the time of year for your boat shoes or sneakers… you want to be wearing insulated, water proof and wind resistance boots. A thin wicking sock that will draw moisture away from your feet covered by a second cotton/wool sock is a great option.
    d) My favorite gloves are micro fleece fingerless that have pull over mittens attached to cover your fingers. I always keep a second pair of heavy water proof snow gloves in my boat and/or ice sled. Hand warming packets are nice to have to make things more comfortable under more extreme conditions.
    e) Do you think a hat might be a good idea? Also it’s really nice to have a face mask to cover your entire face. Under Armor’s Head Gear is pretty good stuff.
    f) Sunglasses to protect your eyes from snow on bright days.

Pocket Knocker - An Inexpensive Lure Retriever Is Better

Most anglers that have ever fished a crankbait have experienced the aggravation of loosing that "special" bait that seemed to out fish all others. Commercial lure retrievers, while effective, are cumbersome to use and more frequently left in the boat storage box than used to dislodge a lure. One of the most effective lure retrievers I have ever used is a simple, inexpensive devise known locally as a "pocket knocker". It is made by taking a "bell type" lead weight (1/2 to 1oz.) with a swivel molded in and attaching the small end of a "snap" to the swivel. You now have a "pocket knocker". The next time you snag a lure, (of any kind), simply lock the larger part of the snap on your line and drop it down to the lure. A simple "jiggle" will dislodge the lure 95% of the time. If it does not, use your traditional retriever to save both lure and knocker

Boating Safety

This is something that is too often taking for granted.  Just because we all have been driving boats since we were so small we had to sit in our dads laps to reach the steering wheel, we feel we know how to handle our boats. But we owe it to our families and co anglers to be as safe as possible and know the rules.  Each year there a numerous accidents that happen on the water that could be avoided if everyone just knew a few simple rules.  Sign up to take a boating safety course, they are usually provided by the Coast Guard at no charge or for a minimal fee. They not only will go over the rules of the water, but will show you what safety equipment you are required to carry in your boat.  A few hours of prevention can save your life or the life of the passengers in your boat.  Don’t take if for granted that the people in the other boats know the rules, you know them and execute if the need arises.

Polarized Sunglasses And Hat

So sight fishing is your game? Are you helping yourself out? The right pair of sunglasses isn’t the whole story, but it’s a darn good start. Good polarized glasses, either the wrap around style or the ones equipped with sides are needed. The reason for the side shields is to prevent light from splashing off your face on to the back of the lens. It’s easier to look from a dark environment into a lighted one. To further aid this concept use a long brimmed hat with a neck cover, they are called up-downers and are designed for fishing on flats. Buy the one that has dark material on the underside of the brim. This hat combined with the right type of sunglasses creates a tent from which you look out of into the lighted world. It’s easier to look from a dark environment into a lighted one. This set up will improve your vision in shallow water by at least 30%.

Backlash

Having one of those days when every other cast is a minor backlash? Here’s a quickie to help make getting the loops out a little easier. Press your thumb against the spool and crank the reel 3 or 4 turns. Make sure your thumb is pressed against the spool firmly. This aligns the loops all in the same direction. Pull the line off the spool in its normal direction and it usually comes right out. I find that this works about 75% of the time. It will save you a ton of picking out loops and for those guys over forty you can do it with your eyes closed.

Drift Sock Or Sea Anchor

An essential item to every Bass boat should be a drift sock or sea anchor, they help in boat control during the roughest current and wind conditions.

Graphite Fishing Rods

The biggest killer of graphite rods is impact against a hard object. It may not break in that spot the day it happens but there will be a weak spot at that point. Keep this in mind when stowing rods for travel. If you are keeping them on the deck, strap them flush against the deck so the become a part of the deck and aren’t rapping against it during travel. If you are storing them in a locker, do the same or put them in a horizontal holding system, where they won’t hit the side or floor of the locker. If you are the non boater and your partner doesn’t have room in his locker, try to find the spot that minimizes the repeated bouncing they will take if they are laid over the gunwale. If you have to, lay them over your leg when running the big engine. It's never fun to set the hook on a good fish and end up with a three piece rod.

Look For Suspended Fish

As a Pro Staff Team Member for Techsonic Industries, (Humminbird/Zercom) I have had the opportunity to use some of the best electronics available to help me locate fish. Many times finding the fish is harder than catching the fish, especially when conditions are such that the bass suspend. I personally don't know anyone that likes bass suspended well off the bottom. These are nearly impossible to catch, but you can learn to catch other bass by finding suspended bass.

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Stick With One Team

Rod, reel and line are one package. They work as a team. Purchasing a "magic" line may throw off your teamwork. Switching any team member affects the entire team's performance. Once you have the team that works for you- stick with it.

Fishing Rod Selection Basics

The most accurate casting is accomplished when baitcasting equipment is cast overhand. Baitcasting gear is extremely well suited for "targeted" fishing. On some occasions placing a lure under a boat dock, under over lying limbs or between pontoon boats may be necessary. In this situation skipping a lure is ideal. A spinning outfit is perfect for this chore. Be flexible and versatile and be able to use both types of equipment.  Make the right fishing rod selection for the situation.

More Is Better - Trolling Motor Selection

When you look at a bass boat one element is key to maintaining constant position on bass. That is the trolling motor. It is impossible to over power a bass boat with a trolling motor (you can always run it at less than full speed). However, it is easy to under power. And under power cannot be adjusted while you are fishing.