14. October 2013

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Another Great Crop of Smallie Reels for 2013

There are two wonderful benefits from doing these reel review articles over the past 11 years. One, of course, is sharing with all of you information on some great smallie reels you should consider when looking to upgrade your current reels. And, I “get” to fish some outstanding reels each year that fit [...]

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15. July 2013

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Gear Review 2013

By Bill Schultz I’m picky and try to always use the best products for whatever type of fishing I’m doing. “Best” doesn’t always mean most expensive. I have a few products I’m going to give you my “quick” thoughts about in this article. As always, I hope the article is helpful and you [...]

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18. August 2012

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6 Great “Smallie” Reels for 2012

By Bill Schultz In Wisconsin we wait months for open water fishing. It arrives and amazingly we’re already past the mid-point of summer. I was able to spend more days in Door County, Wisconsin than most years. This is big water fishing on Green Bay of Lake Michigan, where big smallies roam. [...]

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“Re-engineered” St. Croix Legend Tournament Rod Series

Tue, Sep 11, 2012

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“Re-engineered” St. Croix Legend Tournament Rod Series

I’m not on any Pro Staffs for the reels that I review, but I need to give the disclaimer that I have been on the St. Croix Pro Staff for 14 years. I know many of you probably love using St. Croix rods and I can tell you those of us from Wisconsin love that St. Croix calls “up north” Wisconsin home.

I consider myself fortunate to have been fishing with St. Croix rods for years and in more recent years have spent a great deal of time with the Legend Xtremes and Elites. But, after learning about some of the upgrades on the re-engineered Legend Tournament, I thought I’d give them a try this year. I’ve been so pleased I thought I’d give you my thoughts. The first incarnation of the Legend Tournaments were very nice rods, but for me they were a little heavier than I liked, so when I learned that this re-engineering series was going to be lighter, I took note and decided to give them another try. Also, as some of you know I fish Kalin’s Lunker Grubs on 3/32 and 1/16 ounce jigs and for 2010 and 2011 had been using the 8’ medium-light with telescoping handle to get extra distance on the Kalin’s presentation. It threw the Kalin’s a mile, but at 4.6 ounces just felt too heavy. I actually liked it better sitting in my Wilderness Systems kayaks than standing in the Crestliner Fish Hawk. Last winter when reviewing the rods and the “new” weights, I saw that the 8’ medium-light was changed to a 2-piece with a much reduce weight of 3.8 ounces. I ordered two and have fished this model ton since May 6th. And, as noted in the reel review portion of this article, this rod is now my favorite Kalin’s rod, casting this lure a mile with plenty of backbone for big smallies. For you kayak guys, it’s a “great” kayak rod with the length for long casts and leverage needed while sitting and fishing.

stcroixrods

In the review on the WaveSpin reel I talk about wind knots, something we have all dealt with when using small diameter braid/superline. Well, with over all or part of 40 days on the water with the Legend Tournament rods that I have, no wind knots. Is this due to the “new” Fuji K Series tangle-free guides? I think it is. Also, along with St. Croix’s ART and IPC technology, this series now comes with NSi, which stands for Nano Silica resin. This 3M product makes the rods stronger and more durable. You’ll also note a very innovative new reel seat from Fuji for the re-engineered Legend Tournaments. I really like it because it puts your thumb and forefinger right at the point of the blank entering the handle for increase touch and sensitivity, along with being comfortable during hours of fishing. I’ve also been fishing the 7’6” medium-light, 7’6” medium and 7’ light action, along with a couple of the baitcast models. The Legend Tournament Series comes in both Bass and Walleye versions with great pricing from $230 to $270 for a high-end rod with tons of great features.

So, even though I’m still enjoying my Legend Xtreme and Elite rods, I’m now spending more time with the Legend Tournament series, which I highly recommend. Definitely a wish list item. www.stcroixrods.com

By Bill Schultz

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Susquehanna Fishing Magazine

Mon, Feb 15, 2010

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Susquehanna Fishing Magazine

Susquehanna Fishing Magazine is a new print magazine on fishing in the Susquehanna River regions of New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.

The Magazine covers productive techniques on fishing for smallmouth bass, muskie, walleye and catfish in the Susquehanna River, while promoting safety and responsible stewardship of the Susquehanna River.

Susquehanna Fishing Magazine is a free publication that is available at Bass Pro Shops, Dick’s Sporting Goods, visitor’s bureaus, campgrounds, local tackle shops and marine centers throughout the region.

To learn more about Susquehanna Fishing Magazine checkout their website at SusquehannaFishing.com

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“New” Gerber FliK Fish Multi-Tool Review

Wed, Dec 23, 2009

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“New” Gerber FliK Fish Multi-Tool Review

By: Bill Schultz

gerber-flik-fishThe Original Gerber Fisherman Multi-Tool 600 was introduced in 2001 and with a flick-of-the-wrist became a must have fishing accessory. I got my first one in 2002 and can’t remember any of the over 400 days on the water since then that I haven’t had my Fisherman Tool with me. This has been one of my all-time favorite pieces of essential equipment, so you can understand how disappointed I was to learn over a year ago that the product was being discontinued, but that disappointment quickly changed to excitement when I learn that it was being redesigned.

I received the new Gerber FliK Fish Multi-Tool in late August and have been on the water with it in my Wilderness Systems Tarpon 140 Angler as well as in the water wading in my Frogg Togg waders and boots. The FliK Fish is a great fishing accessory and just like the original with a flick-of-the wrist the long needle nose pliers deploy quickly, keeping one hand free for more important tasks.

The FliK Fish is a little heavier than the original at 9.2 ounces compared to just under 8 ounces, but this isn’t even noticed while using it. What jumped out at my right away were the “outboard” tools. All the implements open while he tool is closed, unlike the original, which had to be opened to access the implements. I especially like this feature with the wonderfully sharp scissors that are able to cut 150# line. They cut through superlines and braid with ease. The FliK Fish has the same tools as the original. These include the afore mention scissors, a saw blade, carbide coated hook sharpening file and knife blade, as well as four smaller tools which include a flat-head and Philips screwdriver head. When the implements are locked into place there is an “opening assist” feature that you pull back to retract and lock back in the handle. Pulling this back also pops the smaller tools up for easy opening.

gerber-fish-flik-01Opened or closed the FliK Fish is ¾” shorter than the original and the long needle-nose pliers are ¼” shorter than the original, but are slightly narrower. During the years I have used the original and now with the FliK Fish, I feel the long, narrow needle nose pliers have helped get hooks out of fish that would have been very tough with a normal wider needle nose pliers. The slightly narrower profile of the FliK Fish pliers will only make tough hook removal even easier.

The case for the FliK Fish has also been improved. With the original, taking the long, narrow needle nose in and out eventually wore through the bottom of the case. As you can see from the photo, the case has been redesigned to eliminate this problem. The new case actually will also accommodate the original. When open the handles on the FliK Fish are slightly farther apart than the original making spreading the pliers easier. Unlike the original, when closed the handles are locked together, which smoothly unlock when you flick your wrist to open the pliers for use.

The only feature from original I believe will be missed relates to cutting hooks. The FliK Fish has built-in pinch cutters that are adequate, but aren’t as hard as the three-sided carbide cutters on the original. Along with being harder, if there was any damage the blade could easily be rotated to a fresh cutting surface. Because of the more compact size, which I do like, there was not space for the three-sided cutter. In an emergency I’m sure the pinch cutters will do the job. I tested them on a lighter wire hook and they worked fine, although a small indentation was left behind on the blade.

As I said at the beginning of this review, I have been a “huge” fan of the original Gerber Fisherman Tool and the “new” FliK Fish is even better! The Gerber engineers did a super job with the redesign.

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Frogg Toggs Anura Waders and Hellbender Wading Boots Review

Fri, Aug 21, 2009

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Frogg Toggs Anura Waders and Hellbender Wading Boots Review

Review By Guest Contributor, Bill Schultz

The author wearing Frogg Toggs Anura Waders and Hellbender Wading Boots

The author wearing Frogg Toggs Anura Waders and Hellbender Wading Boots

A few weeks ago I met a friend to fish one of my smallie rivers in Southwest Wisconsin. As I got out of my car and we greeted each other, he said, “I didn’t know Frogg Toggs made waders”.   I told him not only are they in the business of making great waders, they also make super wading shoes.

Over the past 15 years I’ve spent hundreds of days wading rivers in Wisconsin in pursuit of my beloved smallmouth bass. Much of the time it’s during a part of the year that I could probably wet-wade, but how many times have I seen a Wisconsin Holstein get up off the bank on a hot day and do it’s “thing” while cooling off in a stream. With all the nicks and scrapes we get while fishing, I wear waders and wading boots. I long ago graduated to wearing breathable waders all the time. When the water’s a little cool, I can wear pants underneath or even long underwear.

Frogg Togg Anura Waders

Frogg Togg Anura Waders

I’m very picky about my fishing equipment and I’m picky about my waders and wading boots. Having been a fan of the Frogg Toggs raingear since they were first introduced I was curious about there new line of waders and shoes. I’ve been wearing the Anura Breathable Waders since May and just like the rainwear, am very impressed. They fit great, have comfortable Flex-fit 3.5 mm neoprene double-taped booties with a great gravel guard. These gravel guards are top quality and have the best lace hooks I’ve seen. The hook locks onto the laces better than any I’ve seen. This is the first pair I’ve worn where the lace hook has never come lose. I also appreciate the reinforced 6-ply breathable knees. I’m always doing some scrambling out of streams and hate tearing my waders. A few more nice features that you will appreciate are the exclusive “DriPore C3” waterproof/breathable technology, comfort fit wading belt with belt loops, custom chest pocket with expandable fly box pocket and zippered tippet. There’s also a zippered security pocket with top draw cord. The Anura waders have adjustable “X Back” web suspenders, with very durable buckles. I love these waders and think you will too, and they are reasonably price at $159.95.

ftshoesAll wading boots are not created equal. For a guy who has logged almost 6,000 hours on a racquetball court and waded hundreds of hours in rocky streams, my feet and ankles need comfort and support. Over the years I’ve worn cheap wading shoes and quite expensive ones. At $79.95 the Frogg Toggs Hellbender Wading Shoes are the best I’ve ever worn, and my feet thank whoever designed them. First, they are very light-weight, which is amazing given how tough they are and the tremendous foot and ankle support. A feature that jumped out at me immediately, and is very noticeable related to stability, is the “wide” wading last. The soles are wider than most and “do” make for more stable wading, especially in the rocky rivers I fish. Another great idea that anyone who wears felt-bottom wading shoes will appreciate, are the toe and heel grips on the felt soles, which are replaceable. What a great idea for those of us who do some walking to get to our “hotspots”. Another feature that became immediately noticeable and appreciated are the speed laces and locking lace clips. This makes lacing very easy and secure. These shoes come with sturdy rubberized toe and heel caps, thick and light-weight PU midsole for maximum comfort that I’ll attest to, padded collar for comfort and support, with a mesh and no-shrink PVC shell upper. For a guy who has had operations on both big toes, I and my feet thank Frogg Toggs for these wonderful shoes.

As noted earlier, I am picky. You won’t be disappointed if you give the Anura Breathable Waders and Hellbender Wading Shoes a try.

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