UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

First Look

First Look

(Editor's note: The following products were originally featured in the 2013 August/September issue of Bass Fishing magazine. To read more compelling articles from Bass Fishing magazine each month, become an FLW subscriber member. If you'd like to sign up for a digital subscription to access articles online, click here). T. Allen Rods - Wave Series T. Allen Rods - Wave SeriesFlorida big bass specialist Doug Hannon, who died earlier this year, invented a lot of useful fishing tackle and equipment during his life, and the "Microwave Guide System" featured in the Wave Series of graphite spinning rods is his latest and last. The unique stripper guide captures the line's energy as it comes off the spinning reel spool and funnels it through the first guide so that it doesn't "fluff" out to the side and lose forward momentum. Longer casts and fewer snarls are two benefits. Eight models, ranging in action and length from 6 feet, 8 inches to 7 feet, 10 inches, are in the series. $199.99 to $239.99. (tallenrods.com) Stanley Ribbit Top Toad Stanley Ribbit Top ToadFollowing in a successful line of fake frogs, the hollow-bodied Ribbit Top Toad works like a standard Ribbit, but you can stop it on the retrieve and it will just sit there and float until the bass that's been chasing catches up and engulfs it. A 4-inch high-floater with 3-D eyes, the Top Toad can be twitched along when fish want something moving slower, though its paddletail feet will still move enticingly. Pair it with Stanley's 5/0 Double Take hook. Six colors are available for $4.99 for three unrigged Top Toads or $6.99 for a pack with a pre-rigged version and one unrigged Top Toad. (fishstanley.com) Lew's Spinning Reels LewThe Lew's spinning reel lineup grows by two this summer, as the company is introducing a couple of high-speed series. The four models in the Tournament HS range (matched in size to the equivalent of 6-, 8-, 10- and 12-pound-test lines) have 10 ball bearings and graphite bodies. Spools are of double-anodized aluminum and ported, and the hollow stainless-steel bails are equipped with oversized aluminum line rollers to minimize line twist. Speeds vary from 25 inches per turn for the smallest reel to 38 inches per turn for the 12-pound-test version. $79.99 LewTeam Lew's Gold reels are similar in size, design and features to the Tournament HS line, but with upgrades such as high-strength carbon C40 sealed bodies and side covers, titanium line rollers, and stainless-steel screws. $129.99. (lews.com)

Minn Kota Talon Wireless Foot Switch Minn Kota Talon wireless foot switchThe same technology used in the Talon's wireless push-button control switch has been incorporated in a new foot-control model. Put pressure on one side or the other of the foot control to raise or lower one or two units. The foot control features an LED mode display and an easy-access battery compartment. It can be mounted in a fixed position or removed easily, but in case you kick it off the deck accidentally, it's also waterproof and floats. $149.99 (minnkotamotors.com) Gene Larew Big Bug Gene Larew Big BugA 5-inch version of the original 4 1/4-inch Biffle Bug, the Big Bug is just less than 1 inch at its greatest body width and 15 percent larger than its predecessor. Gene Larew and Tommy Biffle, the namesake of the lure series, adjusted the design to accommodate the extra mass without degrading the swimming action of the bug's legs or negating the hooksetting efficiency of the thin-walled hollow body. They also retained the same flexible cupped tail as the original. Pair the fake crawdad with a Biffle HardHead, the jointed jighead that Biffle also designed. The Big Bug is available in more than two dozen colors, including the popular Sooner run, mossy pumpkin, green pumpkin and watermelon pepper. $6.49 for a package of six (genelarew.com) Tiger Headz Tungsten Shakehead Tiger Headz Tungsten Shakehead jigheadEnvironmentally safe tungsten is heavier than lead, which means it can be shaped into smaller packages to perform the same duties as lead. That factored into Straight Talk Wireless pro Scott Canterbury's design of the Tiger Headz Tungsten Shakehead jighead, whose small size and distinctive shape allow it to slip through cover better without becoming snagged. Packaged in threes in black or green pumpkin, the shaky-style jighead is available in a 3/16-ounce size with 3/0 or 4/0 Mustad Ultra Point hook, and in 1/4-ounce size with 4/0 or 5/0 hook. $6 per pack (tiger-tungsten.com) Megabass Orochi XX Rods Megabass Orochi XX rodsChevy pro Luke Clausen and others have teamed up to design a new line of rods for Megabass. The Orochi XX range is made of premium graphite with Fuji components. Models include Dropshot, Shaky Head, Fast-Moving Special (crankbaits), Jerkbait Special, Flat-Side Special (an all-around model for various types of crankbaits and swimbaits, according to Clausen), Spinnerbait Special, Extreme Mission Type-F (Carolina rigs, jigs), Tour Versatile, Jig & Worm, Perfect Pitch, and Flipping Special. $275 to $299 (megabassusa.com) Lowrance Point-1 Lowrance Point-1 antennaAccuracy and repeatability are everything when you're depending on your electronics to get you back to a hot fishing spot tucked out of the way. That's why the new Point-1 antenna from Lowrance warrants attention from anglers who use HDS Gen2, HDS Gen2 Touch or Elite-7 units. The compact, waterproof antenna is engineered to provide precise position, speed and heading information. The Point-1 is sold ready-to-rig with a 4-foot cable, hardware and installation guide. $199. (lowrance.com) Dry Dudz Shorts Dry Dudz shortsDude, it's hot, and time to don clothes that will keep you as cool as possible while you're out there milking the ledges. Dry Dudz activewear shorts offer one stylish option to keep you from melting. The shorts have an inner mesh liner designed to ventilate without chaffing, and perhaps their best feature is the woven 115-gram polyester cloth that makes them light and airy. They're cut to boardshort length, meaning they will extend to or beyond the knees, and have zip or hook-and-loop pockets on the sides, rear and leg. Prices range from $25 to $75, while styles range from conservative solid gray or navy blue to wild combo colors. (drydudz.com)

Tags: magazine-features  gear 


2014 Buyer’s Guide: Soft plastics

No category of lure is as flexible as soft-plastic lures – both in action and in use. Not only do soft plastics move freely, even when deadsticked, but the range of their use is limited only by the angler’s imagination. READ MORE »


2-D sonar strategies

There was a time when experience almost always trumped equipment when it came to finding fish. If you wanted to be a better fisherman, you got out there on the water and paid your dues. You learned the spots that produced at certain times of the year, and culled the 90 percent of the water that was almost always void of bass. The last decade or so of fish-finding technology has changed the paradigm, however. Now anglers can buy a Lowrance HDS unit, cruise likely looking spots on any lake and literally see bass. READ MORE »


Swim-jigging winter grass lines

You can rip rattle baits through winter grass beds like everyone else, or you can offer bass something different: a swim jig. Veteran bass pro Ron Shuffield says a swim jig is one of his preferred cool-weather lures when bass set up camp on grass-line edges. It’s a lure that can be worked quickly, or dragged more slowly when conditions warrant a change-up. READ MORE »


Hog hunters

A five-fish limit is the first measure of success and job one in a tournament. But it’s how you see that quintet shaping up that sets the tone for your performance. Is it an open audition where anything that measures will do, or do you want five stars that’ll rock any stage? READ MORE »


Never (hardly) ever lose a fish

How many good fish do you lose in a season of fishing, whether it’s in a tournament or just when you’re fishing for the fun of it? If it’s more than you can count on your fingers, perhaps it’s time for some constructive self-criticism. Are the fish at fault, or are you? In case it’s the latter, we offer the following advice, observations and tips from some top pros regarding how to put the odds of landing a fish successfully more in your favor. READ MORE »


X Marks the spot

Two things stand out about winter bass fishing: The fish get a little bit pickier about where they want to be, and anglers don’t want to spend as much time running a bass boat around a frigid lake trying to find them. READ MORE »


Q&A with Andy Morgan

I wouldn’t say it was a perfect season, but it sure worked out. I mean, it was a good year, but not a great year. I was surprised to even have a shot to win after Beaver Lake (he finished 68th). Honestly, it was never even on my mind until someone mentioned right before Chickamauga that I had a shot at winning it. READ MORE »


Last-minute holiday gift guide

Naughty? Nice? Who cares – Christmas isn’t far away, and any bad behavior can be overlooked for a while as we celebrate the season with presents for those nearest and dearest. As is our custom, we’ve appointed ourselves Santa’s helpers and came up with a few gift ideas. We’ve also selected goodies that cover a range of price options. Regardless of their cost, the following gear, gadgets and clothing would make any angler beam with joy. READ MORE »


Boat Care 101: Simple do-it-yourself carpet cleaning

If there is one thing I hate worse than seeing a nice bass boat with a filthy finish, it’s seeing one with dirty carpet. I like to keep my stuff clean, but not just because it looks good. A bass boat is a huge investment, and the more you can do to protect that investment the better the returns if you ever decide to sell or trade it. READ MORE »


The Chilly Truth

Not surprisingly, bass fishing has its own set of myths: Bass don’t eat topwaters when it’s sunny, big fish only eat big lures and so on. Winter fishing seems to take myths to a whole new level. Maybe the long hours in freezing cold numbs the mind as much as it does the hands, but one could write an article about how many myths there are regarding this chilly time of year – and whether or not they’re true. READ MORE »


Ask the Experts

If I use heavy-gauge hooks for flipping grass with braided line, why not use the same gauge hooks for fishing all soft plastics? READ MORE »


Sound effects

Though some anglers contend that rattling baits don’t necessarily attract strikes, and might even deter them, the preponderance of evidence favors the rattle crowd. Virtually every hard lure made nowadays – crankbaits, jerkbaits, stick baits and so forth – can be had in rattling and silent versions. READ MORE »


Guide to treble hooks

As a general rule, the treble hooks on the lures of most tournament pros aren’t original equipment. Less-expensive stock trebles are usually replaced with ultra-sharp premium hooks of the angler’s choice. READ MORE »


Dock cranking

Well-honed casting skills are required to send a crankbait deep into the reaches of a dock. It can’t be skipped on the surface easily, but even an average caster can make a crankbait go where dock bass are likely to be if he employs a trick that Walmart FLW Tour pros Bryan Thrift and Wesley Strader call “driving,” or “steering.” READ MORE »


Drawdown tactics

As summer winds down, however, things can change quickly on a drawdown lake – a reservoir where lake managers reduce the water level in late summer and early fall. Come practice for the EverStart showdown, Dan Morehead’s fish were nowhere to be found. In fact, despite the amazing pre-practice, Morehead didn’t catch a fish during the first day and a half of practice. The dropping lake and progressing season had caused everything to change. READ MORE »


All the right turns

Tournament fishing isn’t just about catching fish. It’s about making sound decisions based on experience and applying the proper strategies to make good things happen when they count the most. Of course, sometimes it’s just about trusting your instincts. READ MORE »


Deep-diving details

Anyone who follows big-league bass fishing knows pro David Fritts is legendary for his ability to sniff out and catch bass on a crankbait. True, Fritts is handy with other styles of lures. But he is the iceman with a crankbait, particularly when the bass relate to cover or structure in deep water. READ MORE »


The right trailer for the task

A jig trailer seems simple enough: a piece of molded soft plastic that dangles from a jig’s hook to add bulk, enhance action, temper the fall and suggest a crawfish or other food item. Those basic functions, though, are somewhat divergent and sometimes work against each other. READ MORE »


Lures for the thick of it

While there is more than one way to get to a fat bass that is buried up in the jungle, few methods are more effective than flipping or punching. Both are short-range techniques built around a hard-core fishing system that includes thick line and a stout rod, and any number of lures and rigs designed to slip in and out of thick cover with the skill of a grass snake. READ MORE »


Advanced Rod Repair: Replace a broken guide

Eventually, your rod collection will grow to the point where it’s cost-effective for you to acquire the tools and learn the skills to make slightly advanced repairs, such as replacing a broken line guide. The task does require some special equipment, but if it keeps your favorite rod in the game without having to wait a couple of weeks for a local shop to fix it, the cost is worth the investment. And a few tools still cost less than replacing one of today’s specialized high-end rods. You might also consider going together with a fishing buddy to split the cost. READ MORE »