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FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

2011 Buyer’s Guide: Walleye edition

2011 Buyer’s Guide: Walleye edition
Plano Waterproof Stowaway

In years past we've done our best to pick out some of the best new products released at ICAST for our Buyer's Guide. This year, we wanted more. We have compiled more than 100 products for this year's Buyer's Guide, making it our most comprehensive guide ever. Don't worry, we still weeded out the products that should be weeded out, but we've included all the new products that we would normally showcase later on in the year, allowing you to see all the newest products in one place. To help you with your holiday wish list, we have also kept up the tradition of spotlighting some of our favorites.

Reels

Pinnacle Performa XT Spinning
This reel is pure value. It has top-end features like a ResistTwist line roller that reduces line twist and a QuickFold handle that folds with the push of a button for easy storage. Yet it carries only a $99.99 price tag.

Available in two sizes, the reel features a waterproof multistack drag system and eight double-shielded bearings that ward off dirt and water to keep the reel turning smoothly. Both models feature a 5.0:1 gear ratio. The smaller PEF30 model holds up to 100 yards of 8-pound-test line, while the PEF40 doubles that at 200 yards of
8-pound-test line.

Pflueger Patriarch Spinning
Anglers simply won't find a lighter reel on the market. The magnesium body and titanium shaft combine to create a reel that weighs only 5.6 ounces for the smallest 9525 model, while the largest still only tips the scales at 8.1 ounces. That weightlessness means the reel will balance well with almost any rod.

Inside the body, the reel features 10 XCR (Extreme Corrosion Resistant) shielded bearings, a 5.2:1 gear ratio and a sealed carbon drag system. Four sizes are available, with the smallest size able to hold 110 yards of 4-pound-test monofilament. Retail price is $199.95.

Daiwa AccuDepth IC Digital Line Counters
Line-counting reels have just reached the digital age. The two models in this series display the amount of line out on waterproof, digital screens that won't become loose or break as traditional rolling line counters sometimes do. Plus, the Solar/Battery Hybrid model comes equipped with a solar panel to extend the battery life.

The reels' low profiles make them more comfortable when fighting fish, yet Daiwa didn't sacrifice line capacity. The smaller ADICV15 model holds 150 yards of 10-pound-test line, while the larger Solar/Battery Hybrid model holds 350 yards of 12-pound test. Both reels feature four bearings and have Abu Garcia Revo Premier Spinning5.1:1 (ADICV25W) and 6.3:1 (ADICV15) gear ratios. The smaller model retails for $149.95, while the Solar/Battery Hybrid sells for $219.95.

Abu Garcia Revo Premier Spinning
The frame on the Revo Premier is touted as 300 percent stronger than normal graphite and 50 percent lighter than an aluminum frame. How can this be possible? NanoShield technology. The coating doesn't add any weight, but it is extremely strong. This was demonstrated at ICAST by coating a normal straw with NanoShield and then hanging a 10-pound weight from the center of the straw.

Outside of durability, the reel features 11 stainless-steel bearings, a stainless-steel main shaft and hardware, and a sealed Carbon Matrix Drag system with 12 pounds of maximum pressure.

The reel comes in two sizes. The smaller PRM20 has a 5.1:1 gear ratio and holds 130 yards of 8-pound test. The larger PRM30 features a 5.8:1 ratio and can hold 140 yards of 10-pound test. Both sizes retail for $249.95.

Shimano CaenanShimano Caenan
The Shimano lineup of low-profile reels is one of the best, if not the best, on the market. However, it seemed to be missing a reel between its higher-end Citica and midrange Chromica. Not anymore; the Caenan fills that void.

With the components of a high-end reel and the price of a midrange reel, the Caenan has an aluminum frame, weighs 7.2 ounces and has seven bearings. It comes with a 6.5:1 gear ratio for versatility. The spool holds 110 yards of 14-pound test. But the real key is the price: $89.99.

Rods

Abu Garcia Verdict
Expanding its rod lineup, Abu Garcia released the new Verdict series for 2011. Verdict rods use titanium guide frames, graphite blanks and EVA handle material for overall lightness. Most interesting, however, is the extendable rod butt. The butt extends several inches for exact balance with various Abu Garcia Verdictreels or for when the technique requires it.

Four spinning rods range in length from 6 foot, 6 inches to 7 foot in medium-light, medium and medium-heavy action. Eight baitcasting rods are available in lengths from 6 foot, 6 inches to 7 foot, 6 inches in medium, medium-heavy and heavy actions. The Verdict retails for $129.95 to $139.95.

Lamiglas Excel SM and CM
The Excel series from Lamiglas now includes several models with mico guides, the most notable being a spinning rod. Currently, the only spinning rod available with micro guides is the 7-foot, fast-action SM, which handles lures from 1/16 to 5/16 ounce. There are also two 7-foot, fast-action casting rods available with the guides. The rods are constructed with American Tackle Micro Lite guides, Fuji reel seats for casting rods, ergonomic Aero Comfort Touch reel seats for spinning rods and split-grip cork handles, bringing them in at less than 4 ounces. All are made in the United States. Retail price is $170.

e21 Carrot Stix Wild
Carrot Stix continues the trend of producing lightweight rods with telltale orange finishes with the introduction of its Wild series. The rods are made with semi-micro guides and a foam grip, like the original Professional Grade models, but the difference is the price. At $99.99, the Wild rods are $50 less than the Professional Grade rods, without sacrificing durability and performance. Carrot Stix made the price drop by scaling back a few of the nonessential frills, but you won't notice. The rods still come in between 3 and 4 ounces, with a new metallic orange look to boot. They're also backed by a lifetime warranty.

G.Loomis NRX
G.Loomis NRX Bass rods are the new top-of-the-line sticks from one of the industry's premier rod makers. G.Loomis markets the rods as 15 percent lighter and 20 percent stronger than its previously high-end GLX rods, something attributed to the use of Nano Silica resins and "stiffer, lighter and higher density carbon." In short, the designers combined the most high-tech materials to create some of the lightest, strongest, most-sensitive rods available.

NRX rods are available in eight casting and five spinning variations. They are not technique-specific, although G.Loomis offers recommendations for matching rods to techniques on its Web site. Retail price ranges from $450 to $500.

St. Croix Eyecon
Eyecon rods follow in the footprint of the St. Croix Mojo Bass series. They're affordable, at a price range of $100 to $120, and they are all technique-specific to guarantee you get the right action for the job.

Eleven spinning rods in fast and extra-fast, medium-light to medium actions and one medium-heavy, moderate-action casting rod make up the series, which covers 10 fishing techniques (some rods cover multiple techniques). All rods are accessorized with aluminum-oxide guides, split-grip cork handles and Fuji reel seats.

Castaway Microwave
CastAway has redefined micro guides. Designers of the Microwave rod replaced the traditional first, largest line guide with a new Microwave guide, which is actually a combination of two line guides. A smaller guide is mounted so that it "hovers" in front of and on the same center axis as a traditionally sized first line guide. The result is a funnel that collects line as it comes off the spool, guiding it on a straight path out the remaining eyes. The rod casts more like a baitcaster, with the line "pulling" off the reel, rather than "pushing" through the eyes. As of August, there are six rods in the series: two freshwater and four saltwater. All are medium power in moderate to moderate-fast actions. Retail price is $199.

Lures

Damiki Slim Jack
The slender design of the Slim Jack gives the lure a very erratic action when jerked, coupled with the ability to suspend. However, walleye anglers will like the 4-inch lure's tight, rolling wobble when retrieved straight. The lure will wobble at even the slowest speeds, making it perfect behind a three-way rig or for handlining.

The minnow-imitator weighs 3/8 ounce to help its casting ability, and it dives 2 to 3 feet. It is available in five colors and retails for $11.99.

Storm Deep Baby ThunderStick
The proven bloodline of the Storm ThunderStick now has a deeper package. The Deep Baby Storm Deep Baby ThunderstickThunderStick has all the positive traits of the originals. Its tight action still runs true even at fast speeds, but now that action can get down to 10 feet, depending on the model, which makes it a perfect trolling lure.

Equipped with VMC Black Nickel hooks, the lure comes in 1 3/4- and 2 1/2-inch sizes. It's available in 14 colors, including UV colors, and retails for $5.49.

Salmo Frisky
Featuring a jointed design that won't roll, tangle or deviate off course, the Frisky is quickly getting anglers' attention. Made of high-density foam, the lure has similar properties to balsa wood, which is why it has such a fast, yet subtle rolling wobble. However, the foam also gives it the durability of a hard-plastic lure.

The 2-inch Frisky runs 4 to 5 feet when cast and down to 9 feet when trolled. It is available in four colors and retails for $9.99 exclusively through Cabela's.

Koppers Livetarget Gizzard Shad Crank and Trap
Any more real and these lures could swim on their own. The LIVETARGET Gizzard Shad Crank and Trap continue Koppers' tradition for realistic lures, right down to the rear belly fins. The suspending Crank comes in three sizes (2, 2 3/4 and 3 1/2 inches), with diving depths ranging from 3 to 10 feet, depending on the model. The Gizzard Shad Trap has a similar, though not identical body shape to the LIVETARGET Golden Shiner lipless crankbait. It comes in 1/2-, 3/4- and 1-ounce models.

Both lures are available in four colors and feature Daiichi hooks. Retail price for both is $12.99 to $13.99, depending on size.

Northland Live-Forage Series
Northland Live-Forage SeriesHow excited is Northland about its Live-Forage line of lures? Excited enough to create nine new lures with the Live-Forage finish in its first year. The new finish makes use of Digital Imaging Technology to replicate the exact look of a baitfish or young of the year and put it on a lure with an HD Fish-Photo-Image pattern. Combine the realism with Northland's quality and these lures will catch fish.

Some of our favorites include the Moxie Minnow, Minnow Spoon and Minnow Jig, which will all be stellar come hard water. For open water, the Spinner and Crawler Hauler will be perfect for matching the hatch, especially in clear bodies of water where the fish can be picky.

Jackall Sierra Minnow 80s and I Shad
Most lures are designed to have some sort of action or swimming motion. We say "most" because these new Jackall products don't. The lures were built on the concept of I-Motion - the idea that baitfish swim in straight lines and don't move their tails violently like many crankbaits and lures do. Instead, just point the rod at one of these lures and crank it in, with the lure barely moving at all. It's an interesting concept, but it's one that many anglers across the country are embracing.

The Sierra Minnow 80S features a custom-wrapped treble hook to add to the technique, while the I Shad has a bulge in the end of its tail to keep it stable and a split-tail design to create small vibrations in the water. The soft plastic is also injected with two different salt compositions, with the top side infused with less salt than the bottom to make it heavier on the bottom for more stable swimming. Retail price is $14.99 for the Sierra Minnow 80S and $4.99 for the I Shad.

Gear

Lowrance Elite Series and Mark Series
Lowrance enters 2011 with a pair of budget-minded electronics series packed with features.

The Elite Series includes seven versions of color units. Most notable to readers are the Elite-5 and Elite-5 DSI. The Elite-5 is a standard GPS-depth finder combo with a 5-inch, 480-by-480 pixel color screen. It Lowrance Elite Serieshas an internal GPS antenna and built-in mapping, and is compatible with Navionics software. The retail price is $549. The Elite-5 DSI is identical in size and appearance, but instead of traditional sonar it is equipped with DownScan Imaging to provide picture-like images of what's below the boat. Along with DSI comes the TrackBack feature, which allows the user to scroll back through previously viewed content. The retail price is $649.

The Mark Series depth finders from Lowrance are sonar-only, black-and-white units. Three models are available with a single-frequency sonar transducer, a dual-frequency sonar transducer or DownScan Imaging. Retail prices for the Mark Series range from $159 to $299.

Plano Waterproof Stowaway
Plano has introduced an enhanced version of the industry-standard StowAway boxes: the Waterproof StowAway. Utilizing what Plano calls the Dri-Loc Seal and three cam-action latches, the box locks Plano Waterproof Stowawaydown tight and seals out moisture to protect tackle from rust. Additionally, the tight fit keeps tackle where you put it, so you're not left picking apart hooks and other tiny pieces.

The Waterproof StowAway is available in Plano sizes 3440, 3540, 3640, 3740 and 3741 to match many of the most popular tackle-storage products the company makes. Retail price is $6.99 to $14.99.

Northland BIONIC
BIONIC fishing line from Northland is designed to help multispecies anglers take the guesswork out of selecting the right fishing line. Northland created four distinct lines for four distinct styles of fishing: BASS, PANFISH, WALLEYE and ICE.

BIONIC WALLEYE comes in seven pound tests from 4 to 12 pounds and two colors: clear and green camo. Retail price for a 350-yard spool ranges from $4.99 to $5.99. BIONIC ICE comes in six pound tests from 2 to 8 pounds and two colors: clear and blue camo. Retail price for a 125-yard spool is $2.99.

Sufix 832 Advanced Superline
Sufix 832 Advanced Superline is the first braided line to incorporate GORE fibers into its weave. The 832 Advanced Superline has seven Dyneema fibers and one GORE fiber woven together at 32 weaves Sufix 832 Advanced Superlineper inch. The result is a consistently round, water-resistant braid with unmatched castability and abrasion resistance. It is available on 150-, 300- and 600-yard spools in low-vis green and neon lime in 6- to 80-pound tests. Retail price ranges from $19.99 to $69.99.

Frabill FXE Stormsuit
The FXE Stormsuit is designed for the most extreme weather conditions anglers encounter. It starts with a completely weatherproof, seam-sealed shell with a DuPont Teflon fabric protector and YKK Aquaguard zippers. The material was then molded by ergonomics experts for the movements anglers typically use. Throw in plenty of internal and external waterproof pockets, a hood and visor designed for a customized fit (with a vent to prevent the dreaded "parachute effect"), a completely waterproof crotch in the bibs, and padded knees.

The Stormsuit comes in two colors and small to 4XL sizes. The combo retails for $429 to $459, depending on the size. The bibs and jacket are also available separately.

Bert's Custom Tackle Rod Corral
Originally designed for Florida flats boats with little to no rod storage, the Rod Corral tightly locks in up to eight rods - from ultralight to heavy Luhr Jensen Dipsy Diver rods - in a vertical position. Once in place, a rubber gasket and sliding locking mechanism ensure that those rods aren't going anywhere. Then the entire unit, rods and all, can be hauled from home to boat and back.

Three versions are available, depending on your mounting preference. There is a model that matches each of the two most popular pedestal seat mounts, and another that installs into Bert's Track, which can be mounted anywhere on your boat, your truck or even your home for a cool rod display. The Rod Corral is made of durable stainless steel, anodized aluminum and marine-grade starboard. Retail price is $189.99.

DuraSafe BOLT Codable Locks
The DuraSafe BOLT one-key technology made its debut at ICAST 2009, but for 2010, DuraSafe came to the show with a complete series of locks for anglers. What makes the BOLT series unique is that all the locks can be fit to match the user's vehicle key. To fit the lock, simply insert your vehicle key into a new lock, turn the key once and the lock will remember it. The system eliminates the need for a bulky keychain full of keys.

Locks in the series include the Padlock, Cable Lock, Spare Tire Lock, Swing Away Trailer Tongue Lock and Receiver Lock. Locks are specific to brands. Check the DuraSafe Web site to find the right version for your vehicle. Retail price ranges from $29.95 to $39.95

EGO S2 Slider Landing Net
The biggest advantage of the EGO S2 Slider Landing Net is that it's not just one net. Its collapsible handle allows it to be multiple nets in one for up-close work or long-distance reaching when necessary. To operate it, simply push the release button and pull back on the handle. The handle extends in both directions simultaneously, with several locking points to help achieve the perfect length.

Three hoop sizes and three mesh types (nylon, PVC-coated and rubber) are available on three handle lengths (18 to 36 inches, 29 to 60 inches and 48 to 108 inches). The yoke is rounded to prevent boat or line damage. Retail price varies from $64 to $79.

Cannon Electric Downriggers
Although we don't typically include redesigned products in the new product Buyer's Guide, the changes made to Cannon's line of electric downriggers - the Magnum, Digi-Troll IV and Digi-Troll 10 - are significant enough to warrant review. Most notably, they have been reworked to be more user-friendly.

Cannon swapped out for an easy-access spool for quick spool changes. Switches and plug protectors have been moved for easier access and better protection. The Digi-Troll models have redesigned LCD keypads, and all electric downriggers come equipped with new ratcheting rod holders that can rotate 360 degrees. Retail prices in the series range from $399.99 to $1,499.99.

Jay Kendrick Q&A

Jay Kendrick Q&A

I don’t want to come off cocky or overconfident, but I don’t remember having that feeling like I’d made it or anything. I never doubted I would. It was just a matter of time. Just like I have no doubt I’ll win an FLW Tour event. It’s just a matter of time, though I think that’s close. READ MORE »

Buddy Gross Q&A

Buddy Gross Q&A

I’ve never been one to watch all the tournaments on TV. I’m not a good spectator; I’d rather be actually fishing. Now my best friend and tournament partner, James Milling, he’s always watching them and keeping me informed. He shows up all the time with the latest and greatest fishing lures. He gets on me about it. READ MORE »

Tom Monsoor Q&A

Tom Monsoor Q&A

He liked to fish, but it was my mom, Lola, who loved to fish. Every chance she got she’d drag us out to go fishing. She lived to fish. In fact, to the day she died, she had a wooden, flat-bottom rowboat on Blue Lake in La Crosse. READ MORE »

2014 Buyer’s Guide: Soft plastics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 »

First Look

First Look

The following products were originally featured in the 2013 August/September issue of Bass Fishing magazine. READ MORE »

Drawdown tactics

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

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 »