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How to Choose a Great Rod for Muskie Fishing For freshwater anglers, perhaps no game fish is more exciting and elusive than the muskie. You can call it “The King of the Lake,” “The Fish of 10,000 Casts,” or whatever you may choose, but if you’ve never caught a muskie, you don’t know what you’re […] The post Looking at Some of the Best Rods for Muskie Fishing appeared first on Premier...
For freshwater anglers, perhaps no game fish is more exciting and elusive than the muskie. You can call it “The King of the Lake,” “The Fish of 10,000 Casts,” or whatever you may choose, but if you’ve never caught a muskie, you don’t know what you’re missing!
For those of you who have, you know exactly what I’m talking about!
I was fortunate enough to land my first muskie at a young age over twenty years ago. To this day, I love fishing for just about anything that will bite, but there’s nothing that compares to the thrill of pulling one of these lake monsters in.
If you haven’t ventured into the world of predator hunting, you might be wondering where to find the best rods for muskie fishing. Heck, you might even be trying to figure out how to catch a muskie.
For absolute beginners, I recommend your check out our introductory guide to muskie fishing made easy… sort of before making any purchases. This will give you a very brief and basic understanding of what is a muskie is, when and where to find them, how to catch them, and some general “do’s and dont’s” to consider when fishing for muskie.
If you’re ready to grab a new rod or are simply browsing for different models, though, here are some of the top muskie rods on the market today.
The Bass Pro Shops Graphite Series Muskie Casting Rod makes for a very nice entry rod for the novice angler or even an experienced fisherman who is looking to transition into catching Northern Pike or Muskie.
This rod also allows for an angler to venture into the world of muskie without breaking the bank. Fishing is expensive enough, which can prevent many seasoned anglers from deviating from the species they know and are accustomed to. Bass Pro Shop’s Graphite Series accounts for this, offering both a solid and reliable product at an affordable price.
This rod series is made from an RT1 graphite blank, stainless steel guides, aluminum oxide inserts, graphite reel seats and a cork handle.
For anglers who are looking to buy a solid first rod from one of the industry’s most reputable brand, or for those maybe just looking for an upgrade for an entry-level model, the St. Croix Premier Series Musky Rod has you covered.
This particular St. Croix model comes in lengths from 7′ to 8’6″ with power ranges from heavy to extra heavy.
Like most St. Croix products on the market, you will find a very nice, handcrafted rod made from lightweight graphite blanks, aluminum oxide guides, FUJI graphite reel seats and a quality cork handle.
Trolling is and has been my preferred method when muskie fishing for over two decades so I may be slightly biased when it comes to this next selection. If you have the means and the patience to troll, this is a must-have rod to add to your arsenal.
The St. Croix Mojo Musky Trolling Rod, while not only a great trolling rod, also won’t wreck your wallet.
The rod is made with high quality products, including graphite S-glass blanks, Sea Guide stainless steel guides, double coated flex coat, Fuji DPS Reel Seats and ends with EVA Handles.
Unlike the previous entries on this list, Fenwick is a brand many anglers aren’t terribly familiar with. Unfortunately, a lack of familiarity with a brand and its products sometimes leads people to avoid trying them out.
When it comes to the Fenwick Elite Tech Predator Casting Rod, the product is sure to not disappoint.
Built to bring in the big boys while achieving a durable and light weight finished product, these rods are made with stainless steel guides, TAC handle and Carboloy tip top.
Give this brand a try and you might find that it holds up — or even surpasses, depending on your personal taste and style — some of the more popular companies’ products.
Abu Garcia is one of the biggest names in fishing, and for good reason — they make a range of top-notch products, with a history of producing excellent rods and reels.
A well built piece of equipment that comes in at a very reasonable price, the Veritas Toro is made with 30-ton graphite SubLayer Armor, stainless steel guides, zirconium inserts, EVA split grips and Fuji reel seats.
Since Bass Pro Shops absorbed Cabela’s in 2017, lots of folks seem to forget that the latter still has some quality products on the market. If you want to catch muskie, then Cabela’s Predator Musky Spinning Rod certainly fits that description.
This rod is made specifically for predatory fish, so being heavy-duty while not compromising castability makes this a strong additional to any muskie fishing toolkit. Its made up with fast action IM8 blanks, Fuji stainless steel guides, aluminum oxide inserts, Pac Bay Tip Top, Fuji reel seats and Winn Grips.
If you’ve fished for any reasonable length of time, you’ve probably owned (or at least fished with) an Ugly Stik at some point. Using one is also a right-of-passage.
While many experienced anglers tend gravitate toward more specialized (and often more expensive) rods, the Ugly Stik GX2 Casting Rod is probably the most affordable option available that is still capable of delivering consistent results.
A well constructed and reliable choice for an introduction to muskie fishing, this rod is priced accordingly. The GX2 features Ugly Tech Construction, graphite and fiberglass blank, Ugly Tuff Guides, one piece stainless steel inserts and Ugly Stik’s Classic Clear Tip.
We’ve seen a couple St. Croix rods on this list so far, but we would be lying if we said all muskie rods are created equal.
We would also be lying if we said all muskie rods were priced equally.
For those who are truly serious about their muskie hunting and want a premium, top-of-the-line rod, look no further than this St. Croix Legend Elite Musky Casting Rod. There is an old saying that “you get what you pay for,” and with this rod — whose company boasts itself as making the “Best Rods on Earth,” you may get just that.
This rod is chalk full of industry-standard design and materials. The Legend Elite features Advanced Reinforcing Technologies, high strain graphite with FRS, Fuji Torzite guides with titanium frames, Fuji PLS-LD palming reel seat, super-grade cork handles and comes with a manufacturer’s lifetime limited warranty.
The post Looking at Some of the Best Rods for Muskie Fishing appeared first on Premier Angler.
When your catalog of fishing lures includes products like the Lot Lizard, Dirty Diaper Crappie King, Angel Dust Wet Rocket, Cajun Sweet Corn Crappie King, Drama Queen Wet Rocket, and Hulk Urine Magic Shad, it is safe to say your company — and its customers — may be of a Different Breed. And no, that’s […] The post Different Breed Lures: Exclusive Interview appeared first on Premier...
When your catalog of fishing lures includes products like the Lot Lizard, Dirty Diaper Crappie King, Angel Dust Wet Rocket, Cajun Sweet Corn Crappie King, Drama Queen Wet Rocket, and Hulk Urine Magic Shad, it is safe to say your company — and its customers — may be of a Different Breed.
And no, that’s not a typo — you can actually buy a product called the Hulk Urine Magic Shad.
According to owner Josh Breedlove, this clever and catchy naming trend is absolutely by design.
… and if the past year is any indication, that design certainly seems to be paying off!
Like so many individuals involved in the fishing industry, Breedlove has been a lifelong angler. Where his story deviates from most, however, is in the fact that he also grew up making his own lures.
After attending college to study Conservation Law, Breedlove ultimately found that the field was not his passion. With time, he opted to return to a previous love and in 2019, he founded Different Breed Lures.
As the second company Breedlove has owned, his namesake fishing tackle brand has found rapid success due to a simple-but-effective philosophical approach.
“We’re not just trying to sell lures,” Breedlove said. “We are looking to build a family and a culture around the product.”
Despite only being in business for a little over one year, Different Breed Lures has amassed a respectable and active following on social media.
Offering both crappie and bass tackle, including soft plastics, jig heads, and a bottle labelled Slab Slobber Scent, Breedlove says much of the inspiration for his product’s clever naming comes from the community his company has built.
When a new prototype is released, Breedlove will often take to the Different Breed Lures Facebook page to field naming suggesting from his customer base. If someone happens to strike gold with a suggestion, there’s a healthy incentive attached.
“Whoever comes up with the best name, we give them the first one hundred products off the presses,” said Breedlove.
Likewise, the company has also published a 2020 calendar with photos of impressive bass and crappie caught on Different Breed lures.
Breedlove cites the example of established crappie fishing brands like the Bobby Garland series (Electric Chicken, BBQ Chicken, Monkey Milk, and Sweet Tea with Lemon are some popular products) as his inspiration for adopting a similar naming convention.
“The majority of colors are popular because of the name,” Breedlove explains. He certainly stands by the quality of his products, heralding the Crappie King series as the real backbone of the company, but understands that a witty pairing of names and colors certainly doesn’t hurt the bottom line.
For Breedlove, who started this project in Indiana, an unfortunate series of events has slowed down the rapid trajectory his company was experiencing.
After suffering a significant injury, he opted to relocate temporarily with family in the Jacksonville, Florida area. The setback temporarily stifled production, with Different Breed selling out of its pre-made inventory.
More recently, with concerns surrounding COVID-19 affecting practically every industry, enterprise, and entity in the United States, a circuit of fishing expos Breedlove planned to attend has also been effectively placed on the back burner for the remainder of 2020.
That said, given the relatively short lifespan of the company thus far, Different Breed Lures maintains a healthy distribution through both its online store and retailers across the nation.
“We’ve got the products in around one hundred shops nationwide and almost every state,” said Breedlove, who lists Maine as the only exception in the continental United States.
Moving forward, Breedlove hopes to eventually establish a permanent location (possibly around South Carolina) with both a larger production area as well as a physical shop where customers can buy products from the Different Breed catalog as well as make their own custom jigs.
Understanding the Landscape: Fishing and Disabilities Fishing is a major recreational pastime and economic mover in the United States. Each year, roughly 50-60 million Americans fish public and private waters. When you account for the cost of fishing licenses, bait, tackle, travel, boating, and other affiliate costs, recreational fishing alone brings over one-hundred billion dollars […] The post Fishing and Disabilities: Adaptive Fishing Equipment appeared first on Premier...
Fishing is a major recreational pastime and economic mover in the United States. Each year, roughly 50-60 million Americans fish public and private waters. When you account for the cost of fishing licenses, bait, tackle, travel, boating, and other affiliate costs, recreational fishing alone brings over one-hundred billion dollars to the U.S. economy.
With countless tournaments at the local, regional, and national level, an endless array of major retail and specialty stores carrying fishing equipment, and hundreds of individuals making a reasonable income through monetized digital platforms, one could argue that the fishing industry have never been hotter.
What rarely gets talked about, however, is how this booming industry accommodates individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities.
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself any of these questions?
Can you fish if you have a physical disability?
Where do disabled individuals fish?
How do disabled individuals fish?
What equipment is available for disabled anglers?
How is fishing different if you have a disability?
In this article, I am hoping to spread awareness about a handful of agencies and companies that have done wonders for disabled anglers who want to fish as comfortably as possible with reasonable accommodations.
First, let’s consider what needs to be done before the disabled angler even throws a single cast.
If I am disabled, do I need a fishing license?
The short answer to this question is, “yes, usually.”
In each of the fifty states, regulations for disabled individuals obtaining a fishing license is different. You can often find this information on your state’s Department of Natural Resources, Department of Fish and Game, Department of Wildlife Conservation, or equivalent website.
That said, navigating these websites can be tricky sometimes, especially if you have any type of visual impairment.
My advice is that it’s often easier to place a call directly. A representative should be able to answer your question or direct you to the information you need. If you are having trouble finding a contact number for your state’s department, your local marina should be able to assist you.
Also, it is worth noting that the majority of states offer significant discounts for state residents who can prove tenured residency (usually between six months and one year) and, in some cases, an affidavit from either the individual or their physician validating the disability. This discount tends to considerably reduce the cost of a regular annual license.
While disabilities in any form (physical, intellectual, developmental, etc.) can have a dramatic impact on the lives of individuals, we are fortunate enough to live in a time where incredible breakthroughs in assistive technologies and awareness take place every year.
While many able-bodied individuals may take an activity such as independently catching a fish or even entering a boat for granted, this is the type of activity that can add incredible levels of meaning, value, and personal enrichment to the disabled individual’s life.
The painful reality, however, is that for the majority of individuals with disabilties (especially certain mobility-related disabilities), these opportunities will never manifest.
Thankfully, the following companies have either created incredible products or offer fantastic services geared directly toward benefiting those fishing with a disability.
Based out of South Bend, Indiana, Fishing Abilities, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is “dedicated to helping physically challenged individuals who enjoy the great sport of fishing.”
Understanding that recreational activities like fishing can play a major factor in improving the overall healthy, qualities of life, and confidence of individuals with disabilities, the organization’s catalog of product help facilitate a therapeutic outlet.
Fishing Abilities, Inc’s products include:
Freedom Fishr Power Assist Fishing Reel: Using a 12V gear motor, this easy, one-handed option replaces the cranking technology that many individuals may find limiting.
As seen in the photo above, the device pairs with a Shimano Syncopate spinning reel (available in both the 2500 and 1000 series).
BadurMATE Fishing System: This system allows individuals with limited mobility in their arms and hands (including those who may be paraplegic or quadriplegic) to enjoy a fishing experience.
First, an assisting angler will cast to a desired location then place the rod and reel into a holder. Once connected to the system, the disabled angler will be able to control the retrieval by using their head.
In the video below, you will see how the BadurMATE Fishing System by Fishing Abilities, Inc. works.
Adaptive Fishing Equipment Video: BadurMATE Fishing System
Based out of Newberry Park, California, Access to Recreation was formed in 1987 by Don Krebs.
A former competitive water skier, Krebs began the sport at the age of 4 and competed through his youth, competing at the adult level once he turned 18. An accident in 1978 let to a broken neck, however, effectively ending Krebs’ career.
Krebs used this opportunity to return to school, both for a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Business Administration from California Lutheran University. Krebs created a business plan for the company that would eventually become Access to Recreation because he realized how many individuals were in similar situations and could benefit from a resource that paired them with adaptive sporting equipment.
By 2007 — twenty years after going into business — Access to Recreation was publishing 200,000 full-color catalogs filled with products that could assist individuals with physical disabilities.
Today, Access to Recreation sells over a dozen adaptive fishing products for disabled anglers, including:
*All products listed directly above can be purchased on the Access to Recreation website.
A company based out of Sandy, Utah, Rexfly’s namesake product — the Rexfly Casting System — offers anglers the opportunity to cast farther, lighter, and more fluidly. The system involves strapping a harness to your chest and pairs with any fly reel and single-handed rod.
As you can see in the video above, the company has modified this system to allow anglers with mobility and dexterity issues to have a better fishing experience.
The Adaptive/One-Arm Fishing modification uses a 6’6″ Shakespeare Ugly Stik Elite Spinning Rod that pairs with the Rexfly Chest Harness. Anglers who have use of one arm can cast and retrieve using this system. An added bonus is that it allows for ambidextrous use.
Based out of Columbia City, Indiana, Be Adaptive Equipment was started by Brian Kyler. As a fourth-generation welder and fabricator, Brian was moved after meeting an individual in 2001 who wanted to have a better, more adaptive hunting device. Together, the duo were able to come up with the Be Adaptive Model HQ100 High Quad shooting device.
Carrying the philosophy that “if you can dream it, we can build it,” Be Adaptive Equipment now offers over a dozen products that improve the overall experience for disabled hunters and anglers.
In terms of fishing equipment, the company offers the following products:
*All products listed above can be purchased at at Be Adaptive Equipment’s website.
Since its founding in 1967, Disabled Sports USA has been serving both youth and adults with disabilities, as well as wounded veterans, by providing sporting and recreational opportunities.
According to the official website, this Rockville, Maryland-based non-profit holds as its mission statement:
Our mission is to provide national leadership and opportunities for individuals with disabilities to develop independence, confidence, and fitness through participation in community sports, recreation, and educational programs.
Every day, we work hard to pursue our vision that “every person, regardless of ability, has an equal opportunity to participate in sports and recreation in their community.” – Disabled Sports USA
Disabled Sports USA has dozens of chapters throughout the country and offers programming in nearly forty adaptive sports, including swimming, skateboarding, surfing, volleyball, golf, archery, tennis, and weightlifting.
For fishing services, Disabled Sports USA partners with over a dozen equipment supplies to offer adaptive accommodations to anglers with a variety of physical disabilities.
When you visit the website for this Hayward, Wisconsin-based non-profit, a simple-but-powerful quote stands out:
“Most of us think that going fishing is as easy as a walk down to a lake. But for over 56 million Americans with disabilities, it’s just not that simple.”
Considering that roughly one out of every seven Americans struggle with some form of disability, Fishing Has No Boundaries aims, as part of their missions, to provide “recreational fishing opportunities for all anglers with disabilities regardless of their age, race, gender, or disability.”
In addition to having roughly two dozen chapters spread throughout the Mid-West and numerous events throughout the year, Fishing Has No Boundaries also offers an array of adaptive fishing equipment, including:
The post Fishing and Disabilities: Adaptive Fishing Equipment appeared first on Premier Angler.
Like many anglers, Sean Thornton’s fishing journey began at a young age. Growing up fishing with his dad, Sean recalls catching his first bass while fishing on his grandfather’s property. As the cliche goes, he was hooked on fishing at age six. Since then, the 18-year-old has been a passionate hunter and angler, typically fishing […] The post Arkansas Angler Lands Massive 4-Pound Crappie appeared first on Premier...
Like many anglers, Sean Thornton’s fishing journey began at a young age. Growing up fishing with his dad, Sean recalls catching his first bass while fishing on his grandfather’s property.
As the cliche goes, he was hooked on fishing at age six.
Since then, the 18-year-old has been a passionate hunter and angler, typically fishing small ponds and focusing primarily on catching bass in his native Arkansas.
“There’s nothing like that top water bite,” he said.
Over the past year, however, Sean has delved deeper into crappie fishing.
While his personal best bass sits at an impressive 7 pounds, 4 ounces, it may be the massive crappie he recently caught while fishing Lake Pauline near Benton, Arkansas that will shape his fishing career moving forward.
While fishing on Saturday, March 21st, Sean was using a Bobby Garland Baby Shad Swim’R, a Lew’s rod and an Abu Garcia reel. He pulled in a respectable four crappie on the day by fishing the bottom.
One of those four crappie just happened to be enormous.
Before reeling in the mammoth slab, Sean felt a jerk on his line. After a short fight, the giant crappie breached the surface and just floated to the bank.
At this point, Sean had been fishing solo. His girlfriend and her brother arrived shortly afterwards. After putting the fish on ice, Sean got an official weight once he returned home: his massive black crappie weighed in at 4 pounds, 1 ounce.
Prior to catching this super slab, Sean estimates his largest crappie being around 2 pounds. The thrill of catching a possible once-in-a-lifetime crappie has not slowed the angler’s time on the water, however.
In fact, it has only served to solidify his love of crappie fishing.
For lifetime crappie anglers, catching a slab over four pounds would be a career-defining moment. For Sean Thornton, however, he sees parallels between the monster he just caught and that first bass he landed well over a decade ago.
“I kind of see this as a new stage of fishing for me,” Sean said. “This is really that starting point for a new hobby.”
While his love of bass fishing still holds strong, the desire to catch more crappie is quickly becoming Sean’s focus.
“A couple days after I caught the big one, I went back to that same spot with a couple guys. We caught our limit two days in a row.”
Moving forward, Sean could see himself eventually getting involved on the crappie fishing tournament circuit.
In the meantime, however, Sean is keen to encourage people to get outside and appreciate nature during what has been an odd time for people around the world. While many individuals haven taken the term “social distancing” to mean complete isolation inside their homes, the young angler believes there is a genuine benefit to using this time to connect (or reconnect, for some) with the outdoors.
“If you’re reading this,” Sean said, “I encourage you to get outside as much as you can. It’s the best thing you can do right now.”
Every year, millions of Americans go fishing. After time, most of us find a couple specific species we like to target. Some enjoy the thrill of taking down a massive freshwater predator. For others, the ability to hit their limit day after day is the most enjoyable. But have you ever wondered what type of […] The post What Type of Fish are You? appeared first on Premier...
Every year, millions of Americans go fishing. After time, most of us find a couple specific species we like to target. Some enjoy the thrill of taking down a massive freshwater predator. For others, the ability to hit their limit day after day is the most enjoyable.
But have you ever wondered what type of freshwater fish you would be?
If you have, take our short quiz below to see what type of fish you are!
Over the past couple years, there have been several notable stories of anglers who may have caught a state record fish but didn’t have a scale on hand. Zack Hall had a potential contender for Ohio’s longstanding state record muskie on Piedmont Lake in 2018. In 2019, it was Demetrio Ascioti who caught a potential […] The post Potential Wisconsin State Record Yellow Perch Released appeared first on Premier...
Over the past couple years, there have been several notable stories of anglers who may have caught a state record fish but didn’t have a scale on hand.
Zack Hall had a potential contender for Ohio’s longstanding state record muskie on Piedmont Lake in 2018. In 2019, it was Demetrio Ascioti who caught a potential New York state record tiger muskie on Otisco Lake.
For 2020 — a year that we jokingly suggested may be remembered as the “Year of the Yellow Perch” — the story of “what could have been” may belong to Wisconsin angler Kyle Tokarski.
Tokarski, who has worked as a guide for Alexander Sport Fishing out of Green Bay for the past seven years, was actually fishing for walleye on March 23rd. Throughout the day, he also ended up catching a half dozen perch — something not at all uncommon for the area.
“They come through in packs,” Tokarski said. “You see them for a while, then they disappear.”
While yellow perch weren’t what Tokarski was targetting, one catch in particular made up for it.
While he did not have a scale on him — he had debated bringing one with him but opted to hit the ice without it — he did have a tape measurer to record the fish’s length and girth.
With a massive 16 inch girth and 17 inch length, Tokarski’s yellow perch would have easily qualified as Wisconsin’s live release record.
The current live release record for a yellow perch in Wisconsin was caught on Lake Altoona in June 2019.
That fish was 13 inches long — four inches shorter than the perch Tokarski landed. He also mentioned that they have been catching walleye with the same girth as his perch.
In the moment, however, he didn’t quite realize the magnitude of what he was working with.
In addition to working as a fishing guide, Tokarski is also an avid smallmouth bass angler.
“I know what a 3 1/2 or a 4 pound smallmouth feels like,” Tokarski said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if that perch was around 3.8 (pounds).”
Upon finding out that he had let a potential Wisconsin state record swim away unweighed, however, Tokarski’s sentiment is one most anglers can relate to.
“I looked up the state record and felt sick afterwards.”
Interestingly enough, Tokarski visited his local Cabela’s a couple days after catching and releasing his monster yellow perch. On site, they had a mounted replica of Wisconsin’s longstanding state record.
Taking to social media, Tokarski stated that he thought his fish would have eclipsed the current record and many others agreed.
For comparison, the fish above — the current Wisconsin state record yellow perch — was caught on Lake Winnebago in 1954. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources does not list a recorded length on its website, but the mount suggests the fish was 15 1/2 inches.
Nonetheless, Tokarski’s fishing journey will continue. A Rapala-sponsored angler, he wanted to thank the company for providing the Jigging Rap that allowed him to catch his monster perch.
If you would are headed to the Green Bay area and would like to book a fishing trip with Kyle Tokarski or any of the other experienced guides at Alexander’s Sport Fishing, you can visit their official website or call 920-851-4214.
The post Potential Wisconsin State Record Yellow Perch Released appeared first on Premier Angler.
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