UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Santee Cooper

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Be a Tackle Tinkerer

Be a Tackle Tinkerer

One of the few benefits of living in Wisconsin and having long, miserably cold winters is I have a lot of time to mess with my tackle. One of my favorite things to do is to custom-build baits and rods. I’ve done it all – pouring my own lead, building spinnerbaits and buzzbaits, pouring plastics, hand-tying skirts and hair jigs, powder-coating, airbrushing, and most recently building my own rods. Now, I know this isn’t for everyone, but I do want to stress that there are a lot of benefits to building your own tackle.

First and foremost it provides me with the ability to customize tackle to my exact specifications. In some cases I create tackle that the fish haven’t seen before, which gives me an advantage over other anglers. I also carry a lot of lure-making materials with me to each event, which allows me to build skirts that match the hatch or make a bait that I couldn’t find or purchase in time for a tournament.

Tinkering with tackle also provides a better understanding of why baits function the way they do. This knowledge helps me choose the right bait for a specific situation. I like knowing how the action on my swim jig changes when it’s made with 28 strands of skirt material versus 48 strands. Or how I can change the functionality of a topwater or crankbait by sanding down portions of the lure. There is no right or wrong way to use a lure, but I encourage all of you to think outside the box the next time you buy a new bait. It doesn’t have to be used the way it was put in the package, and quite often it takes minimal effort to completely change the action of a lure.

There is a lot of satisfaction in knowing that you’ve built something that works, but more importantly I can’t stress how much your confidence increases when you use tackle you have built. This year I have completely switched over to custom rods, and can’t believe how much I’ve been missing over the years. By building a rod specifically for a bait I’m able to increase the action of the bait and the flow of sensitivity from the lure through the rod to my hands. When a rod and lure are matched up perfectly they feel as if they are one complete system, and until recently I had only experienced this with a handful of my rods. By building my own equipment I have become a much more detailed angler, and I believe this increases my success on the water.

I encourage all of you to start tinkering with your tackle. You don’t have to go out and buy all the equipment necessary to start building everything from scratch. Start by taking some old lures you don’t use and modifying them. That way if you ruin the lure, which will happen from time to time, you haven’t destroyed one of your go-to baits. Other good resources include tackle-building websites such as Mud Hole, Jann’s Netcraft and Barlow’s Tackle. Every time I go to these websites I get a lot of ideas just by looking at the products they offer. Fishing is often about creativity, and there is no better way to express your creativity than by building your own tackle.

Tags: matt-stefan  blog 

From Dead Last to Making Money

From Dead Last to Making Money

If you were hanging out with me at the FLW Tour event on Seminole recently, you would have thought I won the tournament. I was congratulated by every pro I saw, and they were being genuine. READ MORE »

Fishing the Worst Conditions

Fishing the Worst Conditions

Watching giant bags of bass caught down in Texas and Florida on FLW Live during FLW Tour events has many anglers dying to get on the water. The only problem is that a lot of people are still facing some of the toughest conditions for catching a bass – cold, muddy, moving water.   READ MORE »

How to Deal with Dock Talk

How to Deal with Dock Talk

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Moving into My New Office

Moving into My New Office

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How to Work in Fishing

How to Work in Fishing

There was a time when the only way to make money at fishing and to express your love for our sport was by fishing tournaments, but that’s just not true anymore. With the growth curve we’ve had, the economic muscle of the fishing industry has spawned some interesting opportunities that didn’t really exist years ago.  Now, there are many jobs in the fishing industry that allow someone with a creative mind to indulge in what they love to do. I get to be around a lot of pros, but my job has also brought me into contact with a lot of folks with other jobs in fishing. So, here are four people I think you should follow and study if you know you belong in the fishing industry, but you don’t know exactly where yet. READ MORE »

Why We Need More Winter Bass Tournaments

Why We Need More Winter Bass Tournaments

FLW Tour pro Brian Latimer explains why he loves winter bass fishing and tournaments. READ MORE »

Get More out of Guide Trips

Get More out of Guide Trips

Guide trips are great opportunities to learn about bass fishing and to have an enjoyable day on the water without the pressure of having to find fish and figure out patterns on your own. I highly recommend them, especially if you’re sitting around during the offseason with nothing much to do. READ MORE »

Martin’s Final Prep for the 2019 Tour

Martin’s Final Prep for the 2019 Tour

Getting mentally prepared is the biggest thing for me. There’s a process, and it has to be done. Everything has to be ready so when I roll into Texas to start practice for Sam Rayburn on Jan. 6 I know exactly where every piece of tackle is stowed and exactly how every piece of equipment works and exactly what I need to accomplish to support my sponsors and keep my own media  projects on schedule. Sometimes the preparation goes into panic mode, like I’m in hyperventilate mode or something, but that’s just part of it. READ MORE »

Life Between Seasons for a Pro Angler

Life Between Seasons for a Pro Angler

As busy as a Tour pro stays from August until December, getting things lined up for the following year, I still find time to relax a bit. Like most fishermen, I also enjoy passing time in the fall and winter by going hunting.   READ MORE »

Meet the Latimers

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I know everyone isn’t in the same situation, but personally, I wouldn’t want to try to be a pro angler and not have kids or a family. I got married in 2008, and I fished the EverStart FLW Series the first year I got married. READ MORE »

Create a Base List of Go-To Baits

Create a Base List of Go-To Baits

Every season, my garage goes from organized to absolute chaos as I come and go from one tournament to the next. By the time I empty out my boat in the fall to sell it, I wind up with a mountain of tackle that needs to be dealt with. It needs to be culled, cleaned up, organized, re-stocked or replaced so it can be packed into my new boat, organized in the garage or stowed in my truck bed camper, keeping in mind all the lakes and reservoirs the FLW Tour will be visiting from January through August. READ MORE »

A New Plan for 2019

A New Plan for 2019

If you haven’t been living under a rock this offseason then you know there are going to be some well-known faces missing from the FLW Tour next year. Over the years, my brother Jared and I have run a lot with the Johnston brothers, Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson and Jeff Sprague, and now they’ve all switched to fishing other circuits. It’s like high school again. At least, that’s the best analogy I can find: You grew up with the same buddies, but after you graduate you go your separate ways. I’m really sad about it. READ MORE »

You’re Not Great at Everything

You’re Not Great at Everything

My wheelhouse is shallow power fishing, mainly with single hook-type baits such as spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, bladed jigs, jigs, soft plastics, and flipping and pitching baits. But I also really like topwater and shallow cranking, plus sight-fishing. That’s where I feel like I really excel. READ MORE »

Fishing for a Championship

Fishing for a Championship

Watching the Forrest Wood Cup and the Bassmaster Classic as a kid was the source of, literally, my entire life’s motivation. I want to fish as a professional angler, and I love what I do every day, but the thought of fishing the Classic and the Forrest Wood Cup – that’s really what I want to do. I want to walk across that stage and be fishing against the top 50 guys in the world. For some guys the dream is Angler of the Year or finishing well in a Tour event or whatever, but mine has always been that big stage. READ MORE »

How to Fish Florida in the Fall

How to Fish Florida in the Fall

It’s been a while since my first blog, and with the season wrapping up around the rest of the country I figure it’s time to talk about Florida fishing. The big national tournaments don’t come down here this time of year, but the fishing is pretty good. It’s pretty simple this time of year, too. You just need a couple of rods. READ MORE »

How to Long-Line Pressured Smallies

How to Long-Line Pressured Smallies

So, up north, what we call “long-lining” has become a popular technique. It’s not done with a crankbait, like Southern ledge fishermen do, but it’s similar. You get your bait out a long way from the boat, and then drag it over key areas. It takes a long time to reel a fish in, but you get probably five times as many bites just by getting your bait that far away. READ MORE »

Jumpsuits, Patches and Bell-bottoms

Jumpsuits, Patches and Bell-bottoms

These days just about everybody puts something on every square inch of their shirts. There’s even a style of jersey with elastic armpits. It’s so you can cast easier, but there’s also a place there where you can put another sponsor’s logo that shows up when you hold up a fish or a trophy. Those guys back in the day were nowhere in the same league as far as showing off sponsors. READ MORE »

Why You Need to be Tying the FG Knot

Why You Need to be Tying the FG Knot

In my last couple years in Australia I learned the FG knot, which is a Japanese knot that originated from the guys fishing for giant trevally. They wanted to be able to use 100-pound-test braid with a 130-pound-test leader and be able to cast it through the guides. It’s the only knot I know that has 100 percent knot strength. The FG knot is actually stronger than the line, and it’s a plaited knot, which means the braid is woven around the fluorocarbon, so it’s super thin and there’s no curl in the fluorocarbon or anything. READ MORE »

My Favorite Stop of the Year

My Favorite Stop of the Year

We used to have an opening weekend tournament for maybe two years. That was when the fish were at the end of their spawn, and my brother Cory and I finished with maybe 2 ounces under 30 pounds and were in third place. Both years that tournament happened it took more than 30 pounds to win. READ MORE »

Dealing with Wear and Tear

Dealing with Wear and Tear

For a while earlier this spring it looked like shoulder surgery would be the next in a long line of repair jobs. It’s no secret that I’ve had a lot of problems with my hands, arms and shoulders over the years. I had surgery on my left hand last August, and it was supposed to fix a chronic problem that was affecting my grip. READ MORE »