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While it may not be as popular as bass fishing, trout fishing is perhaps the real All-American staple. Whether you are fishing a lake, creek, river, or stream, you are likely to find a variety of trout at various times throughout the year. In our complete beginner’s guide to trout fishing, we explain that there […] The post 7 Excellent Spinning Reels for Trout Fishing appeared first on Premier...
While it may not be as popular as bass fishing, trout fishing is perhaps the real All-American staple.
Whether you are fishing a lake, creek, river, or stream, you are likely to find a variety of trout at various times throughout the year.
In our complete beginner’s guide to trout fishing, we explain that there are numerous species of trout. As such, some are much larger and will require heavier model reels (and rods) than the ones we list below (yes, we’re talking about you, brown trout and lake trout).
If you are fishing for most other species, including rainbow trout (and golden rainbow trout), brook trout, and tiger trout, however, the following reels should more than suffice.
Much like crappie and panfish, smaller species of trout are fairly well populated (especially if your state stocks them throughout the year). They are also pretty easy to catch, making them a popular fish for younger or inexperienced anglers.
As part of Daiwa’s “Light but Tough” reel series, the Regal LT is an affordably-priced additional the any angler’s smaller-species arsenal. Its build allows for a reliable and durable option that won’t break the bank. For those looking to add a solid trout fishing reel to their collection, it’s hard to go wrong with the Regal.
Making use of a 9+1 bearing system, the Regal LT Spinning Reel stakes its reputation on providing anglers with a smooth casting and retrieval experience. The reel’s lightweight carbon frame, air rotor, and ATD drag (which allows for both power and smoothness) are major selling points of this rod.
When it comes to spinning reels, Abu Garcia is a personal favorite of the staff here at Premier Angler. The brand is one of the most popular in the world, largely because it produces quality products at a variety of price points. If you are an angler who is looking to add a quality setup to your trout fishing catalog, then Abu Garcia’s Pro Max Spinning Reel is a solid candidate for that spot.
As with most of AG’s line, the Pro Max incorporates high quality materials with top-notch technology. This particular model features a 7-bearing system, an Everlast bail, machined aluminum spool, and a Rocket spool lip design.
For the majority of anglers across the country, trout fishing is a fun, simple, relaxing, and often rustic pastime. As such, it doesn’t often require top-of-the-line gear.
For those who may be a bit more competitive, then the Quantum PT Smoke S3 might be more in line with your particular tastes.
As a higher-end model that uses top-flight technology and materials, this is the type of reel that would sit competitive trout tournament anglers or those who simply have to have “the best of the best” in life. While the PT Smoke S3 will carry a heftier price tag than other reels on this list, it is engineered for performance.
Sporting an impressive 11+1 bearing system with a handful of other branded features (including a CL4F Carbor Fiber Razor Rotor, Reel Engine Design 2.0, and Braid Ready Maxcast 2.0 Spool), it’s easy to get lost. Often, when we hear about such “advanced” features, it’s hard to tell where the marketing ends of the performance begins.
In regards to the Quantum PT Smoke S3, however, the results speak for themselves across countless 5-star reviews from satisfied anglers.
If the Quantum PT Smoke S3 is the expert-level reel for trout fishing, then consider the Pflueger Trion Spinning Reel “Level One.”
That in no way should be seen as a slight on this reel, however, because if you are throwing the right rig at the right time in the right place, you’ll definitely be able to pull in trout on the Trion.
Unlike the previous entry, however (or some other mid-to-high-end reels on this list), the Pflueger Trion is intended to be an affordable reel for those anglers who may not want to make the type of financial commitment to fishing that often comes with the territory.
Featuring a 6+1 bearing system (with a modest 4+1 system in the TRI20X model), the Trion keeps it nice and simple. The reel is lightweight and features a graphite body with aluminum spool.
My experience with the Pflueger President Spinning Reel is definitely mixed. I picked one up from a big-box retailer on a whim a couple years ago — they are definitely attractive reels — and threw it on one of my older rods. Within a couple minutes of fishing, the handle dislodged and I wrote it off as being a “junk” reel.
After getting more familiar and comfortable with it, though, I decided that it was a reliable part of my collection. I’ll admit, this is not my top-choice reel for trout (or crappie, or really any other species for that matter), but if I’m hitting the water with multiple rigs, the President will make an appearance.
So, if you don’t absolutely love it, why is it on the list?
In reality, I haphazardly threw the reel on my rod without making sure everything was functioning and equipped properly and that may have soured me on an otherwise solid reel. For anglers who are looking to give a modestly-priced reel with a good deal of name value and a solid reputation a try, though, it’s hard to know the President.
At the same big-box retailers when you’ll find the Pflueger President, you’re likely to come across the Mitchell Avocet RZT.
And there’s a reason.
Mitchell has established itself as a solid, workman’s brand and offers nice, affordable, and “safe” reel options to anglers who are just cutting their teeth in the fishing game.
If you are planning to hit the water for some trout fishing once or twice this year, or if you aren’t comfortable making a considerable investment into your fishing gear, then the Avocet RZT is definitely available to you are a solid option.
Featuring 8 bearings, an aluminum handle, and graphite body, the Avocet may lack some of the elaborate technological features of other models on the list, but if a modest-sized trout hits your line, this reel is more than capable of helping you bring it in.
I am an unabashed Shimano fan and I’m proud to admit it.
My love for the brand came the first time I used the Sedona, which I picked up as part of a rod and reel combo at my local Cabela’s. Since then, I’ve made sure that I have a Sedona on at least one rod every time I leave the house.
While not the highest-end Shimano reel on the market, the Sedona is versatile enough (across its numerous sizes) to work wonders for both the most casual angler and those who take their fishing game more competitively.
As a lightweight reel with a 3+1 ball bearing system, it’s easy to think that the quality of the Shimano may be lacking. That said, this is much more than a sleek and attractive reel. Over the past year, I’ve pulled in largemouth, smallmouth, and rock bass, rainbow trout, numerous types of panfish, crappie, sauger, and channel catfish on the Sedona and it’s still holding up nicely.
If you have been a regular follower of multi-species angler and Youtuber Joseph Harrick (of 50/50 Fishing), you have probably seen some of his incredible fishing endeavors over the past couple years. Whether he is hunting down Winter striped bass in East Tennessee or hauling in 50 inch muskie from a kayak, Harrick can be […] The post Smallmouth Bass Fishing on Lake Erie’s Buffalo Harbor appeared first on Premier...
Whether he is hunting down Winter striped bass in East Tennessee or hauling in 50 inch muskie from a kayak, Harrick can be found fishing some of the hottest destination in the eastern United States (and even Canada) in search of big fish.
In the video below, however, Harrick is in search of smallmouth bass in New York State.
Hitting Lake Erie’s Buffalo Harbor with his dad and brother, Harrick and the crew manage to land quite a few nice smallies while fishing ned rigs and crank baits.
In addition to the smallmouths, they also bring in several other species (and not intentionally).
The post Smallmouth Bass Fishing on Lake Erie’s Buffalo Harbor appeared first on Premier Angler.
Last month, a 34-year-old angler from Philadelphia hauled in the heaviest flathead catfish on record in Pennsylvania. On the evening of May 24, Jonathon Pierce was fishing the Schuylkill River at East Falls. According to the official press release from the Pennsylvania Pressroom, the record fish hit Pierce’s line around 8:30 p.m. that night. The […] The post New Pennsylvania State Record Flathead Catfish appeared first on Premier...
Last month, a 34-year-old angler from Philadelphia hauled in the heaviest flathead catfish on record in Pennsylvania.
On the evening of May 24, Jonathon Pierce was fishing the Schuylkill River at East Falls. According to the official press release from the Pennsylvania Pressroom, the record fish hit Pierce’s line around 8:30 p.m. that night.
The release states that Pierce was fishing a brown trout head on a 8/0 circle hook with 50-pound braid line and a 20-foot, 60-pound test monofilament leader in 12 feet of depth.
Pierce — an experienced catfish angler whose previous best flathead was 37 pounds — fought the monster for around five minutes before hauling it in.
The next day, Pierce took his massive flathead to Blue Marsh Outdoors in Berks County, where he received an official weight: 56 pounds, 3 ounces!
The mammoth catfish also measured 50 inches in length as had an impressive girth of 28.875 inches.
The catch comfortably displaced the previous Pennsylvania flathead catfish state record, which was caught in April 2019 on the Susquehanna River in Lancaster County. That flathead weighed in at a respectable 50 pounds, 7 ounces.
For comparison, Ohio’s state catfish record sits at a ridiculous 76.5 pounds (and 58 5/8 inches), whereas West Virginia’s flathead record is 70 pounds (and 52 inches).
If you were to ask ten anglers to name the gear that they cannot leave home without, you would likely receive ten completely different answers. Every angler has their own particular preferences regarding what gear they consider “make or break” items, with the nation’s top pros being no exception. When asked for insight as to […] The post Ott Defoe’s Go-To Fishing Gear appeared first on Premier...
If you were to ask ten anglers to name the gear that they cannot leave home without, you would likely receive ten completely different answers.
Every angler has their own particular preferences regarding what gear they consider “make or break” items, with the nation’s top pros being no exception.
When asked for insight as to exactly which items he considers to be essential, current MLF pro and 2019 Bassmaster Classic Champion Ott Defoe was quick to emphasize the value that several pieces of gear offered to his efforts on the water. The following is a rundown of Defoe’s essential gear that he never hits the water without.
Every angler has that one particular lure which has paid dividends time and time again. When we tie on such a lure, our confidence automatically peaks, knowing fully that the lunker we have been hoping for awaits us on the next cast.
For Ott Defoe, there is no question as to exactly which lure he feels most confident toward. “I always get asked what bait I would use if I could only choose one. Anywhere around the country, at any time, it would definitely be a ½-ounce Terminator Pro Jig,” said Defoe.
Those that have followed Defoe’s career have likely noticed a pattern. Throughout the years, Defoe has gained notoriety for his substantial crankbait use. This is an approach that Defoe has hung his hat on more than once, and has employed during the course of many tournament wins.
So it might not come as a surprise to most that Defoe always takes to the water, armed with a variety of crankbaits.
“I always have several crankbaits in the boat, no matter where I am at. One that I always have with me is a Rapala DT6, although I typically have more than just those running that depth,” said Defoe.
Defoe is also quick to express his intent to never leave the ramp without at least one spinning set up by his side. It makes little difference to Defoe where in the nation he is fishing, as he feels that bass can be caught under a wide range of circumstances with the use of spinning tackle.
“I always make sure that I have a spinning rod with me, no matter where I go in the country. Up north, a lot of people expect you to have one in the boat. But even if I am in Florida, I am going to have a spinning rod. It’s typically a Johnny Morris Platinum, medium action, with ten-pound braid, and a 10-pound leader,” continued Defoe.
Like most competitive bass anglers, especially those fishing at the sport’s highest level, Defoe finds much merit in the use of his electronics, when seeking pockets of fish, and assessing the structure below. This allows him to make the most out of his time on the water, even on unfamiliar lakes.
“The biggest thing on my boat anymore is my Humminbird 360 imaging. It is so impressive to see what is out in front of you when you are fishing. If I could only have one graph on the boat, it would definitely be the 360. That is the one that I couldn’t live without. It is incredible,” said Defoe.
While the list of gear that is considered essential can differ greatly from one angler to the next, we all have those particular items that we do not wish to be caught on the water without.
The reason that we hold these items in such high regard is often derived from a blend of past history and personal preference.
Much like Ott Defoe, we all tend to gravitate to that gear which we feel has the potential to make us better anglers.
How to Catch Carp at Night Carp fishing at night can be one of the best scenarios for big tackle-busting carp, but it can also be downright boring if your approach is off. In this article, I will discuss factors I’ve found to work very well for catching more and larger common & mirror carp […] The post How to Catch Carp at Night: A Beginner’s Guide appeared first on Premier...
Carp fishing at night can be one of the best scenarios for big tackle-busting carp, but it can also be downright boring if your approach is off. In this article, I will discuss factors I’ve found to work very well for catching more and larger common & mirror carp in the darkness.
You don’t need expensive rod combos or specialty carp baits flown in from England. to catch carp at night, or in general. In fact, you can use off-the-rack rods from your local bait shop and pack baits the ingredients of which can be bought for around $6.
The best seasons for nighttime carp fishing is late spring after the spawn throughout the entirety of summer.
During these months, carp will be feeding within reasonable casting range of the shoreline along emergent weedlines and shallower flats. During these warmer months, carp will be active all night long because the water is cooler and insects are out in droves.
Unlike bass and trout, which are more sight-oriented, carp don’t need to see their food to find it. My experience has been that I catch more carp around the full moon and around the new moon than I do on the nights in between. This may vary for other anglers based upon their location, but it is a trend I’ve noticed over many years fishing different waters across the country.
Conversely, winter time is likely to be the worst time for night fishing because carp will be most active during the day and they will be tightly packed up into deep wintering holes often too far from shore to reach.
You don’t need to spend a ton of money on rods and reels for carp. I actually purchased all of my carp rods at the local bait shop. The rule I tend to follow is that if the rod works for catfish, it works for carp.
Typically, I use 7’4″ medium action rods spooled with 10-pound monofilament.
I don’t recommend using braid unless you are using high-end spinning reels, which I am not. The problem with braid is that the diameter is so thin, the line has a tendency to find its way into nooks and crannies on your cheap spinning reel that will lead to huge issues when a fish is hooked.
Cheap spinning reels are notorious for subpar made components and your braided line will be drawn like a magnet to those imperfections.
When it comes to rigging, pack baits are the way to go. I don’t think you can beat a method lead and hair rig setup for carp at night. Use a 30, 40, 50, or 60-ounce method lead with a hair rig. On the hair rig, I like to use a floating fake sweet corn kernel because it is more durable than real corn.
On the method lead, my go-to pack bait is Jell-O powder (I prefer strawberry, cherry, or pineapple), Panko bread crumbs, and a full can of sweet corn mixed together until it balls up nicely. It’s essentially chumming for carp. The carp will gobble up all the bait, grab your fake corn on the hair rig, and hook itself as it swims off.
I like to use a small bell as it warns me of a bite, but many carp anglers prefer bite alarms.
Another effective pack bait I use for rivers (because it dissolves slower) is Mexican masa balls mixed with Kool-aid powder, sweet corn, and water.
If you have a fly rod, try putting a small piece of white Styrofoam on a size 2 hook. You will need the fly line to carry your bait far enough from shore. This is the perfect way to catch those carp slurping moths off the water’s surface. The Styrofoam piece also mimics a piece of bread if your local carp get fed on occasion.
Carp become very active as the sun goes down. Visually seeing carp break the surface is hard after dark, but you can still hear them. Listen for the splashes of full body breaches and the slurping noise of carp grabbing insects off the surface. A 10-pound carp landing in the water will definitely make noise.
The increased insect and moth activity at night will bring carp up to the surface to feed. Even though you won’t be able to see much, if you listen closely, you can hear the carp. Oftentimes, this can be a great way to locate feeding carp when choosing your location.
Don’t waste your time fishing in a bad spot. How long you sit on a spot without getting a bite should depend on your time of day and season. For the sake of fishing carp at night, hopefully you are fishing during late spring, summer, and early fall when the water temperatures are warmer.
That is when you’ll generally have the most success. I recommend waiting 90 minutes for a bite at night.
Once that 90-minute timer goes off without a bite, move somewhere else.
Carp are constantly moving and feeding during the warmer seasons, so it could take them a while to find your bait. During the daytime, I give them a full hour, but at night I give them 90 minutes since it will take a little longer in the darkness to find your food.
But if you don’t get a bite at one spot in 90 minutes, move!
I recommend moving to a completely different zone. Carp will be more evenly dispersed in the lake in warmer seasons and at least one should find your bait within 90 minutes. If they don’t, that should tell you that the section of river or lake you’re at doesn’t hold many carp.
Bonus Tip: If you are fishing for carp during the daytime in winter, wait no longer than 20 minutes. Carp will congregate in huge numbers in deep wintering holes. A single wintering hole could hold every carp in an entire section of lake.
Even though the individual carp may be less willing to bite, when you have possibly hundreds of carp tightly packed into one hole, you will get a bite if your bait is on point. Because all the fish will be in just a handful of spots on the lake, move until you get bites. Once you find the fish, the fishing can be amazing.
There is a strong divide in the carp fishing community over whether artificial light spooks carp or not.
I have found very little evidence that artificial lights negatively affect fishing. If anything, lights could help success by drawing in moths and insects closer and give carp a good reason to forage along your side of the lake.
Make sure you wear some good insect repellent and long-sleeves so you don’t get chewed up by mosquitoes. If you can’t tolerate bugs, go “black out” and only turn on your lantern or headlamp when you need to re-bait or you get a bite. One thing I have been experimenting with recently is using a green LED underwater fishing light. You can pair this with a solid 12V battery, which will cost about $50.
When you lower it into the water, it creates a gorgeous green glow that draws in plankton and small fish. Bigger fish will arrive after to feed on the schooling shad and minnows. I have found that even when I’m not targeting carp, some of the biggest carp I’ve seen will come in to check out the novelty of the light.
I think it is worth your time to test out a light for yourself. For less than $75, you can get a quality fishing light and battery that will last a long time and improve your night fishing success for a variety of species beyond just carp.
In my opinion, your biggest adversary when night carp fishing is chaos.
Lights get tangled, fishing bells and rods get stepped on, drag gets ripped off the reel, and fishing partnerships end. All that can happen when you get a big carp on the line at night and you aren’t prepared.
What is the enemy of chaos? Order.
Keep your fishing space as tidy and organized as you can. You should know where your net is. Know where shoreline hazards are. Know where you dropped your fishing bells after setting the hook. Make sure you know where your friend’s cell phone is.
Once the bite indicator goes off, just calmly grab your rod and start fighting.
The calmer and more deliberate you and your fishing buddies are, the smoother everything will go.
Also, make sure your drag is set tight enough so the carp has to really pull to take line, but not so tight that she takes the rod out of your rod holder.
If a 20-pound carp decides to strip line, let her. Your line will break before a freshly hooked carp’s resolve will.
In a recent article, I wrote about my experience using the Whopper Plopper 75 for the first time. During the trip where I purchased the 75, I also picked up the slightly longer, thinner Whopper Plopper 90 (in “Sooner” color), and decided to take it out for a quick afternoon of fishing on Buffalo Creek, […] The post Whopper Plopper 90 Lure Review appeared first on Premier...
In a recent article, I wrote about my experience using the Whopper Plopper 75 for the first time.
During the trip where I purchased the 75, I also picked up the slightly longer, thinner Whopper Plopper 90 (in “Sooner” color), and decided to take it out for a quick afternoon of fishing on Buffalo Creek, which is a tributary of the Ohio River.
As I mentioned in the other article, my venture into bass fishing is fairly new — at least in terms of anything serious and committed — as I grew up primarily chasing crappie and muskie.
The reality, however, is that bass fishing is everywhere. It is certainly the largest segment of a nearly 50 billion dollar annual industry, and certain lures garner more attention than others.
In recent years, one of those lures has been the Whopper Plopper.
My grandfather used to say, “most fishing lures catch more anglers than they do fish.”
Thirty years later, that sentiment hasn’t changed. Without literally thousands of options available, many of which are fairly expensive, purchasing a new lure can be a real investment.
Perhaps the biggest deterrent for many anglers when considering purchasing their first Whopper Plopper, then, is the cost.
While it is not the most expensive bass lure on the market, it can run double the cost of some popular topwater bass lures. I was able to get a nice discount at my local Cabela’s, however, so stocking up on a couple made sense.
I have been using several different topwaters this summer, including the Rebel Pop-R and the Storm Arashi Cover Pop. Both a more traditional, cover-faced “poppers” that run slightly less expensive than the Whopper Plopper.
The profile and presentation of the Plopper, however, is enticing in itself. The 75 managed to land me several bass in a short period of time, so I was curious to see if the 90 could replicate those results.
When I first threw the shorter, broaded Whopper Plopper 75, I was pleased with the experience. It didn’t produce any massive bass, but I managed to land four fish in a relatively short time frame. Fishing from the shore in northern West Virginia, I wasn’t necessarily throwing lures in the heart of bass country, so I was pleased with the experience.
For the Whopper Plopper 90, I took my kayak out onto Buffalo Creek, fishing a half-mile run that flows into the Oho River. There’s a lot of great cover on the stretch, including two bridges. The weather forecast was also calling for clouds, which can be a real benefit when fishing topwater lures.
We hit the water around midday, though, and the skies were more clear than I expected. In hindsight, I probably should have either hit the water during early morning or come back out in the evening if I was going to work a topwater.
In fairness, we also threw some spinnerbaits and both lipless and round bill crankbaits, so it might have just been the wrong timing in the wrong location.
Even though my experience wasn’t terribly productive, there’s a lot to like about the Whopper Plopper 90.
And just like the 75, the snag resistance was maybe the most enticing feature of the 90. I threw this into some pretty thick coverage and, if using a different lure profile (or throwing it on monofilament), I’m not sure I would have retrieved my lure every time. But getting it back was almost like pulling a knife through butter. At its worst, I would maybe pick up an errant leaf.
In terms of the presentation, a lot of anglers prefer the thinner, longer body of the Whopper Plopper 90 (which spans 3 1/2 inches) to the thicker, shorter body of the Whopper Plopper 75 (which is only 3 inches).
In my (admittedly limited) experience with both, I found that the 75 was more robust. The “plopping” motion, which leave a nice, consistent bubble trail, was more noticeable on the shorter version. I also felt that the 90 did not displace water quite as well.
Given that I tried both of these on different fisheries at different times of the day, it’s hard to do a fair and accurate comparison.
Ultimately, I expect that I will be taking both the 75 and the 90 (possibly in new colors, too) any time I hit the water in search of bass. That also means that I will likely be updating my experience with the lure as it gets looks on different waters in different locations.
Popular Colors for the Whopper Plopper 90
While these can be hard to find in your local store — my local Cabela’s was practically sold out when I visited last week — you can almost always find them online.
Below, I am listing some of the most popular colors of the Whopper Plopper 90:
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