Search This Blog

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fishing Knots

Your fishing line is only as strong as the knot used to tie it. Over time all knots start to weaken in some degree. The ability to tie a correct knot will save you from losing lures, bait as well as a fish. Listed below are good choices to learn and a few tips:
  • Always moisten the knot before snugging it up. This reduces the heat from friction that causes slight abrasions when you pull it tight.
  • When tying a knot give it a smooth strong pull to complete it on your lure, hook or leader. Don’t be timid about testing it with a couple good pulls. Better to know your knot is tied correctly than losing a big fish.
  • Always leave a little extra line before clipping the tag end after completing your knot some knots slip slightly. By leaving a little tag is good insurance that your knot is tied correctly.
  • Always retie your knot before a new trip and check your knot frequently when fishing, all knots will weaken with use.

Just click on any of the fishing knots below to view details about uses and how to tie them.
Arbor Knot
Spider Hitch
Palomar Knot
Dropper Loop Knot
Improved Clinch Knot
Albright Knot
Float Stop Knot
Surgeon's Knot
Uni-to-Uni Knot
Snell Knot
Nail Knot
Trilene Knot
Blood Knot
Copyright 2009 Outdoor Network All rights reserved. This material may not be copied, published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Fishing Line & Leaders

Fishing Line & Leaders
Fishing line is by far the utmost important fishing equipment component for anglers, as the line is the direct connection between the fisherman and the fish. Using the proper line in presenting lures or live bait, upon hooking a fish and landing the fish is the key to a successful catch. Yet many anglers are not aware about the new types of lines available today each with it’s own special use and qualities including stretch, flexibility, knot strength, visibility, breaking strength, diameter and abrasion resistance.

Modern day fishing lines are made entirely from artificial materials including nylon, polyethylene, dacron, spectra, dyneema, polyvinyl chloride, wire, and lead. The manufacturing of fishing lines vary from using a extrusion process, melting and mixing of polymers which is formed into a strand through a die forming monofilament, fluorocarbon or copolymer fishing line. Braided line is made by braiding or weaving man-made materials such as fibers of dacron, dyneema, spectra. Wire line used on copper and stainless steel are also braided forming stranded lines Thermally fused lines are made of dyneema/spectra that is twined or clustered together to form a single line.
No brand of line is perfect for all fishing conditions. In choosing the best line for the type of fish being targeted one must consider many factors, the size and species of fish along with the type of fishing presentation and the most important matching the line to the tackle (rod-reel-lure-bait) used. Understanding each of the line types and when to use them will increase one’s fishing success.
Here is a breakdown of each fishing line by type:

In 1935 nylon was discovered by DuPont, made public in 1938 as a new invention, this created a group of synthetic super polymers that are commonly used in textile manufacturing today. In 1939 DuPont began making nylon monofilament fishing line that was primitive by today’s standards (stiff and heavy) as braided line was considered still the popular choice by anglers. Over the next two decades improvements where made (added flexibility, uniform quality and thinner diameter) which increased the popularity with the fishing community.

Today monofilament is the most commonly used fishing line accounting most of the line sold today. It offers the angler versatility, as it is available in a selection of colors: red, yellow, green, blue, clear and fluorescent along with degrees of flexibility, stiffness and abrasion resistant qualities. It can be spooled on spinning, baitcasting and spincast reels. Monofilament is best used on shallower water presentations than deepwater fishing due to it’s high stretch and water absorption factors resulting in loose knots and lack of sensitivity.
Walleye and bass anglers use colored mono line when fishing jigs and soft plastic’s to detect strikes by watching the line, conversely live bait fisherman like thin flexible translucent mono for a natural presentation, on discolored water they favor fluorescent, on clearer water clear or green is preferred. For casting lures around cover and rocky area’s abrasion resistant lower stretch clear line is recommended.
With all of the options monofilament offers there are some line maintenance to follow, All monofilament have a memory, which means if the line is stored on a reel for a extended amount of time it will form to the shape around the reel spool. When this occurs in casting it will come off the reel in loops or coils. The other is the combination of sun or heat, storing your rod & reel outfit in a garage / shed over the  hot summer months or leaving it outside exposed to the heat sun will deteriorate the line making it weak and brittle, if the line has developed a chalky type film it is time to be replaced. Finally in buying monofilament line stay with the known recognized brands than the cheap off brands bulk spools, as the cheaper brands don’t receive the quality control, proper additives and attention during the manufacturing process as the premium grade lines receive.                 
Fluorocarbon fishing leaders originated in Japan, where the Japanese are extremely detailed about the presentation of their bait. The Japanese fish under heavy pressured conditions and make every attempt to make their presentations as real and lifelike as possible. They pride themselves on their ability to do this, and willingly spend more money to do so.
Ultimately, U.S. anglers began using fluorocarbon leaders, primarily in saltwater and fly fishing applications, for the same reason the Japanese were using it – low visibility. It caught on when anglers reported catching more fish with it. However, leaders are stiff and very expensive. Now, application of fishing line technologies has produced more flexible fluorocarbon at affordable prices.
Fluorocarbon is a polymer consisting of fluorine, a common element that is chemically bonded with carbon, another common element, to create a polymer that can be formed by molding, extrusion or other heat processes thus the name fluorocarbon.
It is inert, so it resists deterioration by the sun and most chemicals found on fishing boats such as, gasoline, battery acid or DEET (common ingredient found in insect repellents).
A density of 1.6, meaning it is heavier than water and sinks, which will enable lures to dive deeper and faster than monofilament fishing lines.
Abrasion resistant against rocks, docks, logs etc.
It is also almost invisible underwater with a light refractive index of 1.42 the same as water, the light passes through the line not reflecting back.
Non-absorbing, because fluorocarbon does not absorb water, it will not weaken or increase in stretch like monofilament fishing lines  
Stretch resistance – fluorocarbon stretches slower and less than monofilament, particularly when compared to wet mono making it much more sensitive

The popularity of fluorocarbon line used by anglers today is evident by the features listed above. Fluorocarbon offer’s the best advantage in clear water situations where fish are heavily pressured or slow to bite in finesse situations.

In the mid 1980’s copolymer fishing line was introduced. The process called copolymerization, is a combination of two or more nylon monomers to create a copolymer during the extrusion. The outcome of this resulted in a material that has additional benefits than monofilament. Copolymer fishing line features are smaller line diameters, abrasion resistant, have a lower stretch factor, high tensile strength, higher impact and greater shock resistance. Over the years new formulas have been added notably the addition of fluorocarbon which adds invisibility stealth factor to the line.
During the industrial period from the early 1900’s modern machinery was developed to manufacture braided fishing lines, this was considered the first commercial fishing line made in quantity. Silk was the common used material with many maintenance issues, after a day of fishing silk lines had to be un-spooled off the reel, washed and hung up to dry in order to prevent dry rot. Over the wars years two new synthetic fibers were developed and employed as fishing line, first Rayon considered at that time a artificial silk, then Dacron a polymer fiber know as polyester. The invention of braided fishing line was also instrumental in the development as a coated or wrapped component of specialty fishing lines such as fly lines, lead core trolling lines and for ice fishing tip up lines.
Braided lines are extremely strong, very abrasion resistant, low stretch and absorbs less water allowing greater sensitivity even when wet unlike monofilament. It also has no memory so it won’t come off your reel in coils and it doesn’t weaken from direct sunlight. Dacron braided line is still made today but with the advancements of monofilament along with the introduction of the new hybrid lines it has decreased in popularity by anglers and now primarily used for deep water trolling along with backing on fly reels.
In the early 1990s fishing line companies began adding new man made fibers to their braiding process such as Dyneema, and Spectra this created a new category of braided lines referred as " Super Braids - Multifilament" ( by combining multiple fibers together during the process of braiding) the new synthetic fibers are thread like thin, very strong, pliable but yet abrasion resistant and have little stretch. The common factor of all of the new super braids today is to provide the angler with the smallest diameter (ultrathin -microdiameter) with the highest break strength. The benefits of the super braids are numerous, in casting artificial lures they dive deeper and faster with longer casts due to the thin diameter, with the low stretch it telegraphs strikes instantly to the rod tip for a immediate hook set, along with the high break strength it is the primary line used by fisherman targeting big fish such as Muskie, Pike, Stripers, Catfish and Saltwater anglers.
In spooling super braids on reels you have two options to prevent line slipping, better casting and less backlashes. If you choose to spool your reel entirely with a super braid tie the line on the reel arbor, wrap a piece of electrical tape over the line and complete the spooling with tension applied, the other option is using monofilament as a line backing spooled on the reel arbor first and tied using a uni-knot to the super braid also applying tension upon spooling. (The lb test of mono should match the diameter of the super braid for uniformity and tying) Using a line backing conserves line usage as well as filling the spool, take in to account that super braids have small line diameters and the line filling amounts listed on the reel are based on monofilament diameters. Use the lb/yards amount listed on your reel as a guide for spooling the super braid; for instance if a 50lb super braid has the diameter equivalent of 12lb mono and the line capacity on the reel is 175 yds/12lb with the filler spool at 150 yards you will need to add approximately 20 yards of mono backing. As with all fishing lines the proper amount to fill a reel spool is within 1/8 of a inch from the top of the spool rim.                   
With the popularity of the new super braids incorporating the many features that Dyneema and Spectra micro fibers achieve: ultra thin diameter, low stretch and high tensile strength. Innovative fishing line companies realized this and introduced a new manufacturing process called fusion. Fused line are multiple layers of microfilament  gel spun polyethylene fibers fused/twined together to produce a single strand of line. The end results are a high performance line, ultra thin, superior strength, very sensitive with good abrasion resistance.
Fly Line:
Today’s fly lines consist of two components the inner core and outer coating. The inner core is made from a braid or monofilament line, the core determines the line strength, stretch and stiffness, The outer coating is wrapped around the core in a thick water proof sheath, often of PVC polyvinyl chloride. Imbedded in the outer core will determine the classification of floating or sinking line. Floating line has encased  micro bubbles allowing the line to float, sinking line has impregnated density micro particles such as powdered tungsten to weigh the line for a controlled sink rate. Almost all fly lines are made in such a way so they have a taper that helps the casting process and presenting the fly lure for the angler. Fly line tapers have four major categories: Weight Forward , Double Taper Shooting Taper and Level. Of the four, two are the most popular Weight Forward and Double Tapered. 
In order to spool a fly reel properly there are a set of steps to follow along with a knowledge of basic fishing knots. First the fly line backing (The fly reel instructions will provide the suggested amount of backing) which is usually composed of braided Dacron using 20-30lb test, this is secured to the reel spool by using a Arbor Knot. As most fly lines today are under a 100 yards this will ensure a adequate reserve in case of a run by large game fish as well as filling the spool to the proper capacity. The next step is the main fly line this is connected to the backing using a Albright Knot. Since the line backing (Dacron) and the fly line (plastic) are different materials the Albright Knot will slide easily through the line guides. The final steps are attaching the leader (typically tapered) of monofilament or fluorocarbon using a nail knot which provides a clean and straight connection from the fly line, and next is the tippet the section of monofilament between your fly and leader. Being that the leader and the tippet are two similar diameters a Double Surgeons knot is suitable. Finally the fly lure is attached to the tippet using a Improved Clinch Knot. As you assemble the fly line set-up make sure you moisten all the knots when drawing them tight slowly, always test each knot by giving a good hard pull, this will reduce the chance of knot failure. Be sure to replace leaders and tippets as they show any wear or abrasion.
Fly Line Maintenance:
Fly lines do have a life span, even with all of the new fly line technology prevalent today. With out proper care and maintenance a fly line (dependent on use) will only last one season or less. Here’s a few tips and pointers to extend the life of your fly line.
Cleaning your fly line:
All leading fly line manufacturers build a lubricant inside of the outer coating. Line performance, however, depends on the condition of the coating. The coating is slightly porous, it slowly releases the lubricant, keeping the line slick and floating. From casting the fly line will pick up suspended particulate in the water such as algae and dirt from stripping the line when your fishing from the shore. This clogs the line pores preventing the lubricant from doing it's job as the line will not float as well or slide through the rod guides easily. This can be remedied by cleaning your fly line with a clean damp cloth and some mild soap, by wiping down the amount of line you use on a cast. Always keep your fly line away from direct contact with insect repellants (Deet) suntan lotions, and any type chemicals or solvents, fuel or excessive heat. Never cast without a leader, avoid stepping on the stripped line and always check your reel for pinched line between the spool and the reel frame. In storing your fly line on your reel if it develops line memory and comes off in coils simply remove the line and slowly give it a stretch, it should revert back to perform perfectly.
Fly Line Selections:
For the beginning fly fishing angler there are a multitude line choices available today which can be confusing to say the least. Floating or sinking, the weight of line and the numerous different taper configurations. The fly line, not the lure size determines the rated fly rod and reel set-up. Your best bet in the selection process of a fly rod outfit is first to research the fishing presentation and species you are fishing for most of the time and match the recommended set-up. Fortunately fly fishing tackle manufactures have adapted a universal numerical measurement scale to classify fly line weight to the specific rod and type of fly fishing. The scale ranges from 1-14 with 1 the lightest to 14 the heaviest. With this information any good fly fishing pro shop will be able to assist you in setting up your fly fishing outfit. For instance if you intend to fish mainly for sunfish on ponds or small streams for trout a five or six weight line and rod would be the choice if you target pike and bass using larger fly lures or streamers you should consider a eight or nine weight rod. Using the correct fly line matched to the rod is critical for proper fly casting, if you use too heavy of line this will cause "overloading" causing the leader to turn over and bounce back to the angler, too light of line will inhibit the rod to load and will not be able to flex in the casting process causing short non controlled cast.      
Lead Core (Weighted Trolling Line)
Lead Core line came on to the fishing scene during the 1970’s as weighted trolling line. This allowed Salmon, Lake Trout, Steelhead and Walleye anglers the ability to use light weight shallow running lures such as spoons, balsa and plastic minnow lures to reach depths were the fish are present. Lead Core is constructed of two components, the inner wire made of soft pliable lead and the outer sheath of nylon braid which is color coated every ten yards for metering purposes referred as the term colors. Recently a new environmentally safe non lead line was introduced using a metal alloy wire in lieu of lead. Weighted trolling lines are available in 100 - 200 yard spools ranging from 12lb to 45 lb test ratings.
The amount of weighted trolling line spooled on your reel is totally dependent on the species of fish you are targeting by the depth required, as a example Great Lakes walleye anglers may use 30 yards of weighted line or three colors were as a salmon angler may spool the entire 200 yards or twenty colors. The approximate rule dependent on the lb test is every two yards of weighted line will sink one foot. The only reel type to be used for weighted trolling line is a conventional level wind trolling reel, the line capacity is based on the species ( smaller for walleyes larger for salmon). In spooling the reel a line backing should always be used this also helps to fill the reel to the proper line amount. The most popular line backing used today is the super braids which is tied to the weighted line using a Albright knot, after the weighted line is spooled a monofilament/fluorocarbon leader is tied using a Uni-knot.( Note: When tying backing or a leader to lead core remove the inner wire) This entire line set-up is referred as "segmented" which when properly used places the weighted line and lure at the feeding depth of fish. Trolling weighted (lead core) line is a technical presentation requiring a level of expertise and knowledge. If your considering using this trolling technique your success would be best served if you research the fishery and species before purchasing the proper equipment.          
Wire is another trolling line option especially if your fishing presentation requires to go very deep. Wire lines come in a variety of choices, solid and stranded. Solid wire know as Monel is a metal nickel copper alloy which will go deeper than stranded based on the ultra thin line diameter and weight. Stranded offers many versions made of stainless steel or copper, in cable-laid wire, 49 strand, three and seven strand wire some of these come with vinyl coatings used mainly as leader material. One of most popular wire line for freshwater fishing is the seven stranded six wrapped or braided around one.

Copper seven strand is utilized as a alternative to lead core where as the weight of copper is double than lead core this achieves the same depth of lead core with only half the amount of line. The advantages of using wire line are numerous when compared to other conventional lines such as braided or monofilament, wire line with the weight and the ultra low diameter cuts through the water easily getting deeper using less line, it also has very low line stretch thus telegraphing fish strikes as they happen.
Getting set-up with a wire line outfit requires all special equipment, reels are trolling level wind with a metal or stainless steel spool to accommodate wire line, rods require hardened line guides that wire won't cut along with a roller tip or all line guides using rollers. We highly recommend if you're looking to use wire as a trolling outfit, go to a pro shop that specializes in wire line rods and reels. One of the most common problems in using wire starts with correctly spooling the backing and wire on the reel to the proper level. Fishing wire with the proper knowledge and set-up will add another dimension to your arsenal increasing your catch rate.

Tip-Up Line: (Backing)
Tip Up’s are a fishing tool used for ice fishing, tip up’s are built from plastic or wood which lay on the ice, underneath the tip up the reel is submerged in the water. On the reel most ice fishing anglers use a line backing of 20lb to 40lb test to fill the spool, then attach various different types of leader materials, such as seven strand wire, coated wire, monofilament or fluorocarbon. The line backing on tip ups are  waterproofed by either coating a braid using Teflon or plastic vinyl wrapped over a braid. The purpose behind the waterproof backing is not to let the line to freeze on the reel, upon a strike allowing a fish to run with the bait (free spool) until the angler set’s the hook. Also with the heavier lb test it is easier to handle in cold weather and are less prone to tangle on the ice.

Line Maintenance / Spooling your reel:
Line replacement is highly important yet often neglected, this is commonly overlooked as some angler's feel the existing line on the reel is sufficient. In writing this we can attest to the numerous times trophy fish where lost due to line breakage, in asking when the line was changed the response was similar "never" or "years ago". Line degradation is caused by numerous different effects, some are environmental such as exposed to sunlight and heat for a extended amount of time other's are physical, line scraping across rocks, logs, docks or other lake structure. For practical purposes most line wear occurs in the first few feet from your lure or bait, periodically check this by running your line between your fingers, if you feel any nicks, frays or twists remove that section of line and retie. All fishing line needs to be replaced at one point, as fishing line becomes wet and dry over time it eventually breaks down and wears out. Depending on the amount of fishing you do will determine line changing frequency, tournament anglers and pro guides replace line daily, other fisherman that spend a lot of time on the water replace line weekly or monthly. As a general rule fishing line should be at least re-spooled annually.

Filling A Revolving-Spool Reel:
Baitcasting and trolling reels are the easiest to spool up, especially if you ask a friend to help you. Just remember to maintain a moderate, consistent tension on the line at all times (by gently pinching the line between your thumb and forefinger) to avoid loose wraps that might cause tangling later.
1)Insert a pencil into the supply spool to allow the fishing line to feed smoothly off the spool. Have someone hold each end of the pencil while you turn the reel handle. Your helper should maintain slight inward pressure on the supply spool to prevent it from overrunning, and to keep proper tension on the line.
2) Fill the reel within 1/4-inch of the outer rim of the revolving spool. Don't overfill.
Filling A Spinning Reel:
Because the spool of a spinning reel does not rotate, you should use this method to prevent putting a twist in the line.
1. Pull old line off reel through line guides until you have enough room on spool for new line. If this is a new reel or if you wish to completely place new line on the spool your reel use an arbor knot to tie your line onto the spool.    

2. If your leaving existing line always leave some line from spool through rod guides and past end of rod to tie new line to.

3. Tie new line to end of old line with a blood knot or a uni-knot 

4. Lay spool of new line of floor so line comes off spool just like it goes on reel spool

5. Hold line tight with hand not turning reel handle just above reel

6. Reel line onto reel slowly, making sure it is spooled firmly

7. After about 12 turns allow some slack between the supply spool of line and your rod to be sure you are not getting line twist. If the line is twisting flip the supply spool over. Check this periodically because spinning reels automatically put twist in your line.
Filling a Closed-Faced Spin-Cast Reel
Fill a closed-faced spin-cast reel the same way you would a spinning reel, except remember to thread the line through the hole in the front of the reel.  Spin-cast reels do not hold very much line, so remove the reel cover partway every now and then to make sure you do not overfill the enclosed spool.

Using a proper leader can be the difference between a successful fishing trip and one that ends up so to speak in the tank. Yes, they are that important. Leaders are often one of the most overlooked pieces of equipment that we use. Leaders are the segment of material attached between the fishing line and the lure or bait. It is what connects you and your equipment to the lure and hopefully with some luck, your catch.

Leaders are made of a variety of materials today such as: single strand wire, seven strand wire, coated or uncoated, stainless steel wire, titanium, hard monofilament, and fluorocarbon. They are also availible in various lengths and sizes as well. Some are ready to tie onto your mainline and clip on a lure and start fishing, where other applications may require you to tie it onto your mainline or attach or tie your own lure on. You must use the right application for the right type of fishing you will be doing.

Obviously you dont want to use a large musky leader to go walleye fishing nor do you want to bring a small walleye or pike leader to use when you are after trophy musky. Your leader can be the strongest or the weakest link in your set up, so you must give just as important care in choosing the correct leader for the job at hand as you would determining which lure to use.
Most tackle shops will carry a variety of leaders to choose from. Always be sure to consider what the weight limit or pound test is on the leader you may be using. A rule of thumb to go by is to always remember the lighter leader you use the higher your risk of being bit off or having leader failure can be. Not to say using a light leader is wrong, however just understand that you may have to be willing to accept the consequences. Once you determine what pound test you are going to go with, consider the hardware that is on the leader. Some leaders are tied, some are crimped, some are both. This pretty much boils down to personal preferance, and in time you will figure out what you are most comfortable using.
Take a look at the swivels, make sure they move freely and that they apear to be large enough or small enough to handle the task at hand. Same care to be given when choosing a proper snap. Consider the size lure you will be using and make sure the snap doesnt open and close too easily. The last thing you want is for it to come open on that trophy fish of a lifetime. If there is too much to choose from and you simply cannot figure it out ask a store employee for a hand and they can help you make the right selection.
So the next time you are ready to go fishing and need to run into your local sporting goods supply to just grab some leaders, take a few extra minutes to do an inspection of what you are purchasing. It might make the difference between a smiling photo or going home disapointed.
Page Sources: Berkley Line Co. Stealth Tackle

Fishing Rods & Reels

In determining a fishing rod and reel one must consider the species you are fishing for along with the type of lure or live bait to be used. For instance your rod and reel set-up should match the fishing presentation. If you're pursuing panfish using light lures or small minnows your outfit should be lightweight for casting and detecting bites, not a heavy baitcaster for pike or bass.
There are five main basic categories of fishing rod and reel combinations, and within each there are multiple sub-categories of specialty types of outfits used for specific fishing applications, for example Walleye fisherman use rod and reel set-ups for slip bobber, slip sinker, jigging and trolling. Bass fisherman carry pitchin', flippin', crank baiting, and soft plastics combo's. Muskie anglers have bucktail, jerk bait and top water outfits. In short, fishing rods and reels have come a long way over time, with new space age materials having been developed for rod construction making them longer and much lighter as well as reels with multiple ball bearings and one piece alloy and graphite frames.

Fishing Rod & Reel Combinations:

Fishing Rods & Reels
This is the preferred set-up for the inexperienced angler. Spincasting outfits are excellent in teaching the beginning angler and children the mechanics of casting. The spin cast reel is mounted above the rod with the reel spool enclosed with a nose cone cover, this prevents line snarling and backlash's that are associated with bait casting reels. Casting is a simple task, the angler presses and holds down a button on the rear of the reel, this disengages the line pick-up pin, upon the forward cast the line comes off the spool. Once the crank handle is turned the pick-up pin is engaged retrieving the line on the spool.

Spincast reels have low gear ratios as a result of the size of the spool, which makes it difficult to fish lures that require a fast retrieve such as: inline spinners, spinner baits and buzz baits. When purchasing a spincast reel consider selecting models with anti reverse and smooth drag system versus the inexpensive all plastic models with sticky drags that result in broken line. For rods buy fiberglass their durable will hold up from abuse.
Fishing Rods & Reels
Spinning reels where commercially introduced in 1948 by Mitchell Reel Company of France. The design was of a fixed spool reel mounted below the fishing rod with a mechanical pick-up (wire bail) used to retrieve the fishing line. The anti reverse feature prevents the crank handle from rotating while fighting a fish allowing the angler to use the drag. In casting a spinning reel the angler opens the bail, grasping the line with the forefinger, then using a backward snap of the rod followed by a forward cast, the line is drawn off the fixed non rotating spool and not against a rotating spool such as a bait casting reel. Because of this lighter lures can be used where the weight of the lure does not have to pull against a rotating spool. Spinning rods have large fishing line guides to minimize line friction upon casting. Spinning outfits operate best using fairly light weight limp flexible monofilament fishing lines and are used for bluegills, crappies, perch and walleyes.

Fishing Rods & Reels
Baitcasting outfits are excellent for many kinds of fishing, and come in a wide variety of options and types: Round and Low Profile, High and Low Retrieve Speed along with anti-reverse handles and line drags designed to slow runs by large and powerful gamefish. Baitcasting outfits are considered the standard when using heavier lures fishing bass, pike and muskie. All bait casting reels are mounted above the rod, when casting the angler moves the rod backward then snapping it forward, the line is pulled off the reel by the weight of the lure. In the early years of bait casting reels the angler used their thumb to control the amount of line travel as well as to prevent the spool overrun or backlash. Today all quality bait casting reels have a spool tension feature for adjusting the centrifugal brake, and or a magnetic 'cast control' to reduce spool overrun during a cast and resultant line snare called a birds nest.
For successful casting the most important setting is the casting brake. (The casting brake is the small knob located in the center under the reel handle side) To set the cast control, tie on your lure and reel it to the tip of your rod. Tighten the knob until it feels snug. Push the casting release button. Your lure should not move. Hold the rod at the 2 o’clock position and slowly turn the knob counter clockwise until the lure starts to fall. Let the lure hit the ground and watch the spool. The spool should not spin more than one revolution after the lure hit’s the ground. If it spins more than one revolution, tighten the cast control knob and repeat the procedure. If the spool does not spin after the lure hit’s the ground, the cast control is set too tight. Loosen the knob and repeat the procedure.
Baitcasting reels offer the angler a wide variety of fishing line options ranging from the new super lines (Braided Low Stretch) to copolymer "Fluorocarbon" and nylon monofilament. Baitcasting rods have also evolved from the older 5-6 foot pool cue rods to 7-9 foot lengths used today allowing increased casting distance and accuracy. Overall bait casting outfits are best suited for the experienced angler, they can be intimidating but you can learn with a little time and effort. In learning the casting technique we recommend practicing on land with a plastic casting plug.
Fishing Rods & Reels
The term trolling not only reflects the type of equipment, but a commonly used method of fishing. Trolling is a form of angling where lines with hook-rigged lures are dragged behind a boat to entice fish to bite. Trolling outfits are very similar to bait casting set-ups, as the trolling reels are mounted above the rod. Trolling rods range from long and limber for downriggers and planer boards to stiff for large crank baits. The spool line capacity on trolling reels is greater than bait casting reels to accommodate heavier fishing line that is used for long line big water trolling.
All trolling reels have three basic features: star drag (Line Braking System) on the reel handle for fighting large game fish, an on/off line release lever and a line out alarm (Clicker) other options are a line counter allowing the angler to replicate the amount of line used on successful fish catching patterns. Trolling can be as simple as just letting line off the reel with an attached lure known as flat lining or using rigging systems such as a downriggers, planer/trolling boards and dipsey divers. ( See our trolling section for more rigging information).
Trolling reels are designed to offer the most versatility when it comes to fishing line options. Inland freshwater anglers use monofilament and lead core for walleyes and salmon, Muskie & Pike anglers use low stretch braided super lines for trolling large plugs and spinners. Coastal saltwater anglers use wire lines made of stainless steel, titanium or a combination of metal alloys to prevent toothy fish from severing the line. Trolling is a productive fish catching technique by presenting multiple lures covering a lot of water, it is also illegal in some area’s of the country so please check your local fishing regulations.
Fishing Rods & Reels
The art of fly fishing has been documented going back for hundreds of years dating to ancient times, countless articles have been written regarding legendary trout stream fishing or for European salmon. The angling method of fly fishing is casting a fly or streamer consisting of a hook tied with fur,feathers, foam, or other lightweight materials to mimic insects, minnows and other aquatic creatures. The fly lure is non-weighted for which the fly rod uses the weight of the fly line in casting the fly lure. Fly lines are available in a variety of forms varying from tapered sections (double-tapered, weight-forward, shooting-head) level (even through out) as well as floating and sinking types, attached on the end of the fly line is a leader of monofilament or fluorocarbon fishing line called a tippet in whichthe fly lure is tied to. Fly rods are long, thin, flexible fishing rods originally made of split bamboo, but now are constructed from man made composite materials (fiberglass, carbon/graphite and boron/graphite) ranging from 6ft to 14ft in length.

The fly line, not the lure, determines casting. Fly rods are sized (matched) by the weight of the fly line from size #0 rods for the smallest freshwater trout and panfish up to and including #16 rods for large saltwater game fish. Fly fishing reels are mounted below the rod with the basic design of line storage. Early fly reels often had no drag systems just a clicker that was used to keep the reel from overrunning the line when pulled from the spool, the angler used their hand as a line brake known as palming when fighting a fish. Newer fly reels have incorporated disc type drag that allows the angler the adjustment range using the combination of the rod and reel to control large game fish in powerful runs.
There are several types of casts in fly fishing, the most common is the forward cast. The angler starts by stripping line off the reel with one hand while whipping the rod in a series of back a forth motions over the shoulder. The correct angle is 10 o' clock to 2 o' clock. The main objective is to load the rod with stored energy then transmit that energy to the fly line allowing the angler the acceptable amount of casting distance. The goal is to present the fly lure in such a way that the line lands smoothly on the water’s surface and appears natural. Other casting techniques are false casting, used to cast a fly lure with out landing on the water, others are single and double haul cast, roll cast side, or curve cast and the tuck cast. If you're considering fly fishing we highly recommend that you seek professional guidance by visiting your local fly fishing pro shop in selecting the rod, reel and fly lures as well as receiving lessons on casting.
Fishing Reel Features:
In selecting the right reel for your style of fishing there are literally thousands of different reels on the market today to choose from. For the less experienced angler this can be somewhat confusing. Before we compare the features of fishing reels here are some pointers that will help you determine a list of requirements for the best type of reel to use. First, what kind of fish will you be catching? What is the average size, and angling technique? Will you be casting lures using live bait or trolling. What pound test line is best suited for the fishing application. These answers will narrow down your search and aid in purchasing the proper reel. As a general guideline the lighter the line and smaller the game fish the best reel choice for the novice anglers and children is a spincast reel. For the more proficient caster using the same set-up a spinning reel is best. As the targeted species gets larger requiring heavier line and lures a conventional reel or bait caster will be the better choice.
For the best performance from your reel, the reel must be balanced with your rod. If you use a reel that weighs too much for the rod it will feel butt heavy. You will have problems casting and it will take away the sensitivity from the rod tip in feeling a fish strike. Conversely, a reel that is too light for a rod will make it feel tip heavy, by fishing for a length of time your wrist will tire by trying to hold the rod upward.For a properly balanced outfit hold the rod with the reel attached on the fore grip (the handle above the reel) by using a few fingers, the rod should sway back and forth and stay somewhat horizontal not completely moving forward or backward, if not change reel sizes or rod length to achieve a balanced outfit.
Listed below are the features and components that make up fishing reels, many of them are universal and found on all types of reels, these descriptions will help you identify and understand the ideal reel for your angling needs.
Anti Reverse:
The anti reverse function on fishing reels is so the handle does not turn backwards when the line is pulled from the reel as the drag is used. Spinning reels have an anti reverse on/off lever that will allow the angler the choice of engaging the drag or back reeling when fighting a fish. Most baitcasting reels today have anti reverse as a standard feature. High quality reels that feature the number of bearings on models followed with a single number such as 7+1 indicates a anti reverse bearing which with tighter machining tolerances provides the angler with a "no play in handle" giving the angler complete control during stop and go retrieves and solid hook sets. For larger game fish some bait casting and trolling reels use a additional anti reverse gear along with the bearing this adds security if the bearing can not handle the strain of hard running fish.
Ball Bearings:
All conventional fishing reels contain either ball bearings or bushings built within the reel to operate the spool smoothly. It is the generally thought that the greater amount of bearings in a reel the smoother the operation and the higher the cost. But one must consider that the amount of bearings does not necessarily mean that the reel is smoother than others with less. Reel companies only list the total number of bearings for the reel, not the type or quality of the bearings. In other words a 2 ball bearing reel machined with tight tolerances and high quality factory sealed stainless steel bearings will perform longer and smoother than a reel with 6 ball bearings made of brass. The deciding factor when it comes to purchasing a new reel should not be limited to just the number of bearings but the overall performance, (smooth cranking, machining & bearing qualities ) as comparing to other reels in determining which is the smoothest.
Casting Controls: (Baitcasting)
All quality baitcasting reels come with built in casting control systems that help determine how fast the spool is spinning when casting. These systems are centrifugal and magnetic, depending on the model some have one some have both and are either externally adjustable or internal. The centrifugal casting control is located on the reel handle side and his adjusted by turning the knob forward or backward. The magnetic control braking system is located on the other side with a numbered position dial to increase or decrease the amount of magnetic force applied to the spool. This is the fine tuning feature found on more expensive reels that works with a internal transfer braking mechanism, at the beginning of a cast (with the increased RPM‘s) this mechanism rotates out towards the braking magnets to slow the spool which helps reduce backlashing. While no bait casting reel is considered backlash free even with all of the casting features to help control the spool casting speed. It is still advisable to apply light thumb pressure on the spool in order to prevent a backlash.
All types of fishing reels have a drag system. The drag feature is a tension setting applied to the spool of the reel, think of it as a clutch or line braking system. The drag uses a set of multiple disc washers that compress when pressure is increased or relaxed when decreased. The concept of the drag is letting the line unwind in a controlled manner off the reel when a fish pulls so hard that the line is in danger of breaking. The drag should be set tight enough for a hook set, but loose enough to come off of the fishing reel easily.
Baitcasting/Trolling/Spincast reels use a star-shaped wheel located on the reel handle called a star drag, adjustments are made by turning the wheel to the proper tension. Spinning reels have two types of drags - front drag and a rear drag. Front drags are generally smoother than a rear drag. The front drag features larger, multiple disc drag washers on the spool that offer a higher level of performance and durability. The rear drag uses applied pressure on the drive shaft. Rear drag spinning reels may offer convenience and ease of use, but they normally don’t stand up to big fish and demanding conditions like front drag reel models. Lever drags are a available feature on high end (expensive) trolling and baitcasting reels. Lever drags allows the tension to be adjusted in more precise smaller increments which supplies a smoother fish fighting performance.
As a rule always check your drag before your first cast.Pull the line with your hand, if you have a decent amount of resistance, you should be fine. In cases where you hook a exceptional sized fish the drag should be adjusted (increased) as you feel the size of the fish. Another tip to reduce reel maintenance; when storing your reels for a extended amount of time, back off the drag tension setting. Leaving drag settings tight will cause the drag washers to become flat reducing the tension ability.
Gear Ratios:
All reel manufactures list the gear ratio on their products. The gear ratio refers to how many revolutions the spool of the reel makes per one complete turn of the reel handle. For instance a high speed reel with a 6:1 ratio will make 6 revolutions versus a low speed reel at 3:1 with 3 revolutions per each turn of the reel handle. Generally low speed reels are best suited for lures that require a slow presentation and greater cranking power such as crank baits for bass and pike, and large muskie baits. High speed reels are better for working lures quickly when the angler seeks speed for "burning" bucktails, spinnerbaits, and lipless crank baits. Reels with the range of 5.1 are the best compromise if purchasing a single reel. Another alternative is a two speed reel that the angler can shift from high speed to low speed with a simple push or pull of a button.

Level Wind:
Found on most baitcasting and trolling reels as the name implies, the level wind feature automatically places the line evenly or level across on the spool upon retrieving the line. On low profile and smaller round baitcasting reels the line guide will remain in its' position when casting, on larger round bait casting reels the line guide will follow the line when casting. This offers the angler the convenience of not manually guiding the line on the spool, which if not properly done will usually pile up in the center of the spool.

Line Capacity:

Printed on the reel or it's package is a guideline of the amount of fishing line that the spool of the reel will hold. This chart is based on the use of monofilament line and will look like this: 8/(175) 10/(155) 12/(130) the first number is the lb test followed by the amount of yards. This indicates the line rating set by the manufacturer for 8-12 lb test line to work correctly without either stressing parts or making it difficult to use.
By varying the pound test line on the reel such as placing 40lb on a reel rated for 8lb-12lb will give you an inadequate amount of line due to the increased line thickness making the reel difficult to cast as well as increasing the stress and eventual failure on the drag (By setting the drag too tight) With the advent of new fishing lines with increased lb test and reduced diameters we still recommend that you follow guideline placed on the reel by the reel company.

Line Counters:
This reel feature is found exclusively on trolling reels. It allows a reference by which anglers can consistently return a bait to the same depth or distance from the boat when flat line trolling or rigging (Downriggers, Dipsey Divers and Trolling Boards) There are two types of reel line counters, Analog and Digital. Analog line counters resemble car odometers, clicking off numbers as the spool revolves. Digital line counters provide the same line usage reading as the analog but can also be programmed for differences in line thickness accounting for impressive accuracy. Line counters are also very useful on how much line is left on your reel after a fish makes a run.
Line Out Alarm:
This feature is a audible alarm alerting the angler of a fish strike also known as a clicker or bait alarm. A simple on-off switch is used in the free spool mode. Always disengage the clicker when retrieving or casting. Line out alarms are available on baitcasting and spinning reels. They are mainly used for presenting live/cut bait on the ocean and freshwater muskie fishing using suckers.
On / Off Free Spool Lever:
On trolling reels there is a simple on/off lever that when switched on engages the reel for retrieving the line, when switched off it is in free spool allowing the angler to let the line run off the reel using a bait or lure. Always keep your thumb on the free spool to control the amount of line released to prevent a backlash.
Reel Housings and Frames:
Most reel housings and frames are constructed of either aluminum (die-cast or forged) or graphite.   Each of these materials has its advantages and disadvantages, reels made of anodized aluminum are generally stronger and more durable than the graphite models, however, they are heavier. Graphite-bodied reels are light and corrosion resistant, yet they normally don’t offer the same strength and durability as die-cast or forged aluminum fishing reels. Due to the nature of a spinning reel's design, their bodies are composed of multiple pieces. Many conventional baitcasting reels are also constructed in the same fashion; however, some manufacturers have introduced one-piece graphite frames. This design increases the overall integrity and strength of the reel, while maintaining the lighter weight.
When selecting a reel the material type and design of the spool should be a point of consideration. There are two common materials used, machined anodized aluminum and graphite. Of the two the anodized aluminum spool offers greater strength and durability than graphite spools, which can break or crack under torque. On many baitcasting aluminum spools holes have been drilled in to reduce the weight while increasing casting distance. For big water heavy duty fishing large baitcasting and trolling spools are made from metal, using bronze or stainless steel that will offer the strength and capacity required for specialty lines such as heavy dacron or wire used for trolling. Spinning reels today feature a "skirted" spool that overlaps the reel frame, preventing the line to become entangled with in the reel housing. Other skirted spinning reel spool options offers a choice of a standard spool, or a shallower, elongated "long cast" spool design. In theory, the newer long-cast spool design allows for reduced line friction, resulting in greater casting distance.
Fishing Rods:
Fishing Rods have evolved over the years, from the early days using natural materials with fixed fishing lines such as sticks, bamboo and cane poles to rods using steel or fiberglass to the rods of today using graphite or composites of graphite, fiberglass, boron and carbon. With this development of the rod materials came the specialty rods, rods designed for a fishing technique or lure such as jigging, jerkbait, worm, pitchin, flippin, crank baits, trolling, top water etc… the specialty rods are a specific tool, used and developed by tournament and pro anglers, for the recreational angler the catch rate will not increase based on having a specialty rod or rods, but place a specialty rod in the hands of an experienced fisherman in presenting a certain bait or lure and with their knowledge of fishing it will give them the edge in catching more fish.
As the old cliché states: "You get what you pay for" For the recreational angler we recommend spending as much as your budget allows, the better the rod the more sensitive it will be, the more responsive it will be, you will be able to cast farther feel structure, rocks, weeds and the most important feel fish strikes. Part of being a better angler is the ability to place your lure/bait exactly where you want it, often as quietly as possible, and a good rod will definitely help you accomplish this. With the numerous rod selections available today here’s a few suggested basic rod buying tips that will cover multiple fishing presentations.
5‘-6"-6‘-0" Spincast Rod
Power: Light
Action: Soft
Lure Weight
Test Line Rating 4lb-8lb
Fishing: Panfish (Crappies Perch Bluegills) and Walleye. Spooled with 6lb test. Good combo set-up for children and novice anglers for easy casting and bobber fishing.
7‘-0" Spinning Rod
Power: Light
Action: Soft
Lure Weight 1/32 - 1/8oz
Test line rating 4lb-6lb
Fishing: Panfish (Crappies Perch Bluegills) and early season Walleye spooled with 4lb test monofilament for Float(Bobbers) with live-bait, small jigs and light lures 1/16-1/8oz.
7’-0" Spinning Rod
Power: Medium Light-Medium
Action: Moderate
Lure Weight 1/8 - 3/8oz
Test Line rating 8lb-12lb
Fishing: Walleye and Bass spooled with 8lb test monofilament for live bait and soft plastic bottom rigs, jigs, tubes and mid weight lures 1/8-3/8oz.
6’-6"-7’-0" Baitcasting Rod
Power: Medium-Medium Heavy
Action: Fast
Lure Weight 3/8 - 1 oz
Test line rating 10lb-17lb
Fishing: Bass and Northern Pike spooled with 12lb-15lb test monofilament with a leader primarily for heavier artificial lures 3/8-1oz (spoons, crankbaits, inline spinners, spinner baits, topwater)
Length: 7’-0"
Type: Baitcasting Rod
Power: Extra Heavy
Action: Fast
Lure Weight: 1-3oz
Test line rating: 25lb +
Fishing: Northern Pike and Muskies spooled with 50lb-80lb braided line with a leader
for presenting heavy lures 1oz and up ( inline spinners, spinner baits, jerk baits, gliders, crank baits, top water)

Rod Materials:
Fiberglass: Fiberglass rods have been popular since the 1950’s taking over the era of steel rods, in terms of performance and features fiberglass does lack the sensitivity of the newer rods today made from graphite and weighs more, but is noted for it’s toughness and soft/moderate action. Some anglers use fiberglass when fishing crank baits for the slow action and muskie anglers use fiberglass in cold weather for quick strike rig sucker fishing where the rod sensitivity is not required but the toughness (setting the hook especially in very cold weather and not breaking the rod) is needed. Fiberglass is also a very good choice for children starting out in fishing where durability is an issue.
Graphite rod building started in the 1970’s and has continued to this day. Most all quality rods today are built using graphite and have become the preferred choice for rod blank builders. The benefits of graphite rods are many, they're extremely light, sensitive and flexible, which is vital for light biting fish, along with being strong and powerful to handle larger game fish.
In marketing graphite rods a few common terms have been developed to associate the quality of the rod. The first is "modulus graphite rating", graphite comes in what looks like sheets of cloth, the cloth is measured to determine the amount and stiffness to weight of modulus fibers. If your shopping for a new rod don’t base your decision solely on the modulus rating, the higher the rating the better the rod. For high performance rods the combination of fiber strength, resin toughness with the amount of fiber, resin and cross-scrim construction (overlapping layers to achieve exceptional strength and action) are more important than the modulus count or rating. Rods with high graphite modulus ratings tend to be brittle and need to have a secondary chemical added on the blank to increase the strain/strength rate. This is called a composite blank. The other term that rod companies use to identify a blank style is IM with a following number such as IM6 or 7 and currently up to 10. The IM rated rods are not regulated by industry standards or an indication of quality but rather a trade name for particular graphite produced by the Hexcel Corporation. Since some rod companies use the IM designation ratings to refer to their rod blanks that are not supplied by Hexcel, at least you can compare the rods built by the same manufacturer, being assured that the higher the IM ranking the higher the graphite quality of the rod.
Rod Ratings: Action / Power
Fishing Rods & Reels Action refers to the flex characteristics of a rod, in other words how much the rod bends when you put pressure on the tip and how far the rod flexes. Action ranges from extra fast where just the tip flexes to slow or softer where the majority of the rod flexes. Fast action rods are the best choice when the fishing technique requires the sensitivity of feeling light biting fish or when fishing for large game fish in heavy cover and weeds where the key is to setting the hook fast with just a snap of the wrist moving the fish’s head up and away. For instance, fast action light rods are used for jigs, soft plastic worms or twitching minnow/shad shaped crank baits for bass and walleye. Heavier fast action rods are used for Muskies & Pike in burning bucktails, walking top water lures or a cadence retrieve on gliders and jerkbaits. The moderate action rod is the most common choice due to the versatility of fishing applications, in casting a moderate action rod it will bend for about half of it’s length which will provide more casting distance and still have the capability for a adequate hookset. Ideal for slip bobbers/floats live bait for walleye fishing because the fish is less likely to feel resistance from the soft tip and drop the bait, along with reaction lures such as crank baits, spinner baits and spoons for bass and pike where the slower action will not pull the lure out of the fish’s mouth. Slow or Soft Action rods will bend starting in the lower third using nearly the entire rod providing the most flexibility. Because of this parabolic action the angler is using the rod as a shock absorber in fighting the fish, this allows the use of very light line. These rods are used for panfish especially for the paper thin mouths on crappies so the hook is not ripped clear on hooksets, and are also popular for drift fishing spawn sac’s on trout and salmon streams.
A rod’s power describes how much a rod will flex under a load also referred as a rod’s "backbone". The thickness and type of rod material will determine this, power ratings are usually described as heavy, medium heavy, medium, light, etc… some rod companies use a numerical system 1-10 with 1=Ultra Light-10= Extra Heavy. The rod’s power rating is closely related to the suggested line strength. It is important to follow the line test guideline limits printed on the rod since a heavy power rod will snap light lines too easily and heavy lines can snap a light rod. Another factor to consider is the fishing presentation, muskie, pike, and bass in weeds and cover will require a strong power rod using heavier line, on open water where hard to see light line is used for walleyes and crappies use a lighter power rod. Quite often anglers get confused with rod power ratings and action. As a example the power rating is listed on the rod, the flex of the rod is considered the action.
Rod Line Guides:
These are the circular loops affixed to the rod and run the length of the rod blank, The concept is simple, keeping the line from touching the rod, this offers a smooth surface for the line to pass over. The technology of rod guide designs has improved dramatically over the years from the old metal guides and the classic agate inserts of earlier rods. Most of the new guides today are made of two parts: a metal frame (stainless) attached to the rod blank and some form of a insert (inner ring) using Ceramic, Alconite, Silicon Carbide or Hardloy. Some rods use line guides made of all stainless steel wire instead of inserts, these guides are lighter reducing the overall rod weight, but they are not as smooth as rods using inserts. The newest line guide introduced is made from titanium wire, which will spring back even if they're bent flat unlike the stainless guide that will break. The overall purpose of the rod line guides manufactured today is to provide less friction along with reducing the line fray and wear in the guides during the cast. Less friction means longer casts and less heat, and heat definitely doesn’t help when it comes to fishing lines. The total amount of line guides on a rod are a important feature as well, the higher amount of guides the better, as they ensure distance on the cast, and when fighting a fish the energy/ stress on the rod is dispersed though out the entire rod blank. Depending of the rod power rating line guides are available in two different styles, single and double foot. Single foot guides adds less weight on the rod and help retain sensitivity, these are used for mainly ultra - light to medium power rods. The double foot line guides are used when sensitivity is not required but strength is as they are wrapped twice on the rod blank. These are found on heavy to extra heavy power rods used for larger game fish.
Handle / Reel Seats:
The combination of a quality rod handle and reel seat are as important as the rod blank itself. The reel seat is where the reel is attached to the rod and constructed of graphite and aluminum or both. Graphite is lighter and more sensitive, while aluminum is stronger. Some reel seats offer a cutout that allows direct finger contact on the rod blank for greater sensitivity. The rod handle is also referred to as "grips" and are located below and above the reel seat. Cork is the preferred choice on rod handles as it is lightweight, durable, and transmits rod vibrations even when wet better than synthetic materials using EVA foam. There are varying grades of cork based on the rod’s cost, the higher the rod price the better quality of cork used. Another alternative is cork tape to achieve the look of cork. Composite cork is made by combining a mixture of cork particles and resin, this combination is more durable than using straight cork.

Walleye Fishing Tips & Articles

Walleye fishing tips & articles
Artwork provided by Rodd Umlauff
Walleyes are creatures of the night. Like bats and owls and other nocturnal animals that are active and feed during the darkness. Walleyes have light sensitive eyes with a pigment layer in their retina called a tapetum lucidum, this allows Walleyes to see well in dimly lit or murky water. Walleyes are classified as a cool water fish and are found through out the U.S. inland waters, Great lakes, as well as many regions of Canada. Walleye fillets are considered to have the best tasting flesh of freshwater fish and are recreationally as well as commercially fished. The world record Walleye is 22 pounds 11 ounces from Greer’s Ferry, Arkansas in 1982.
Here are some walleye fishing tips and articles in helping you catch more fishing walleyes:

Getting started in Walleye fishing By Tom Christianson
(Click here to read article)
The fun world of walleye fishing doesn't require a huge investment. While many people prefer to fish from a boat, you can experience good walleye fishing while standing on shore or on a riverbank. Whether you fish from a boat or from shore, the equipment remains the same. Following are three popular methods used to catch walleyes.

WEED WALLEYES 101 By Joe Bucher
(Click here to read article)

One of the biggest keys to finding late spring/early summer walleyes on many lakes is the presence of perch; especially smaller young-of-the-year ones. Walleyes will key strongly on this perch forage throughout most of the season. Newly emerging weeds are amongst the strongest locations to find schools of small 3 to 4 inch perch. Find new weed beds on top of bars or in bays or even along flats and you’re bound to find both perch and walleyes.
Spring Spawning Walleye Secrets By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson
(Click here to read article)
There’s a great reason to look forward to the spring with ice melting and rivers running. About 80 to 90 percent of the walleyes across the country move from main lakes into the rivers to spawn. Unlike during the summer when trolling for big fish can be hit or miss, big walleyes become more catchable when they migrate upstream with the masses.
Early Season Walleyes By Mike Mladenik
(Click here to read article)
The entire Menominee Rivers offers excellent opportunities for walleye anglers. On the river there is a one fish bag limit until the first Saturday in May when the regular fishing season opens. Even with this one fish bag limit it is still worth your time spending a day on the river. March and April are prime time to catch big pre-spawn walleye and action with smaller males. If you need to take home a fish, you can take one home as long as it is over the 15-inch mark. Many anglers choose to fish in Marinette-Menominee where the Menominee Rivers enters the bay of Green Bay. While there is an excellent fishery present and big fish are caught on a daily basis, I prefer to fish the upper river. The lower Menominee River is an urban environment and while catching fish, you encounter noise, boat traffic and other congestion. Sure, you can choose to troll the big water out in the bay, but here to you don’t experience the Northwood’s or solitude, especially when you troll in a pack of boats.

Springtime Walleye Fishing Tips By Patricia Strutz
(Click here to read article)

Want to put some tasty walleyes on your dinner table? Vilas county guides share some insights with us… In early spring you have a great shot fishing for walleyes because they are so accessible. If there is late ice out the fish stay very shallow for two to three weeks after the spawning process. They may still be in only 3-4' of water.

Spring Walleyes By Mike Mladenik
(Click here to read article)
To successfully catch spring river walleyes, anglers need to be aware of present conditions. Water temperature, prevailing weather, current, and water levels are all critical for both walleye location and presentations.
Early Season Walleyes on Lac Vieux Desert By Dave Lamoreaux
(Click here to read article)

The early season (opening day-Mid May) is the best time of year to catch numbers of Eyes on the " Desert ". For the first couple weeks in May, the fish are usually in some part of their spawning ritual - pre-spawn, spawning, or post-spawn.
Crankin' Night Eyes By Captain Marty Papke
(Click here to read the article)

It's after the supper hour and you finish your meal, don't become a couch potato, as some of the most active fishing of the day will soon commence.
Night Shift Walleye By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson
(Click here to read the article)
Working the night shift can help you land the walleye of your dreams.
Fishin' The Woodpile For Walleyes By John H. Myhre
(Click here to read the article)

Fishing in the woodpile? I realize winters can get rather long and that about now some of you might tend to think that over the winter I have been sniffing to much wood smoke. This is an often overlooked tactic for taking walleye!
Tactics for Trolling Walleyes By Joe Bucher
(Click here to read the article)

Summer evening walleyes on spinner/crawler harnesses!
Crawler Harness Walleyes By Bob Devine
(Click here to read the article)
A time proven deadly live bait presentation for walleyes……….
Summer Walleyes tips on the deep clear lakes of Northern Wisconsin By Dave Lamoreaux
(Click here to read the article)

It has been referred to as the dog days of summer, but we like to call it the summer walleye bonanza. July and August are the best Walleye producing months, and here is a quick explanation why.
Hooking Live Bait for Walleye By Chip Leer
(Click here to read the article)

"Live bait hooking options- which way is best?"
Salad Bowl Walleyes By John Peterson with Noel Vick
(Click here to read the article)

There's a place where the water's dark and cool even while surface temperatures seethe. Forage abounds and the oxygen's thicker than a rain forest canopy. Cover's plentiful too, and it's surprisingly peaceful below despite the fact that this fantastic place is quite shallow, sometimes, unbelievably shallow.
The "Hot Summer Eyes" of Bay De Noc By Captain Marty Papke
(Click here to read the article)

It's what we've been waiting for those hot, lazy, crazy days of August and then someone says it's too "hot" to catch any walleye! The excuses start: too hot, too calm, too much humidity, too many fish (walleye's) and not enough days to fish them!
Jig Up Some 'Eyes By Dick Sternberg
(Click here to read the article)

When fall walleyes can roam at any depth, jigging is your best bet.
Walleyes and Weather By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson
(Click Here to read article)
An easy-to-understand story about barometric pressure and its impact on your walleye fishing
Fall River Walleye Tactics By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson
(Click Here to read Article)
River fishing for walleyes heats up in the fall, so get ready for some of the best fishing of the year. Rivers and jigs are like peanut butter and jam… they go together. Here are some jigging tactics for catching fall-run eyes.Rivers are typically not as weather-affected as lakes are. The water tends to be dirtier in rivers, so walleyes can be caught somewhat shallower than in lakes. And when they are shallow, they are easier to catch.

Fall Walleyes and Rocks By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson
(Click Here to read Article)
Though it can get cold - make that, very cold - during the fall, you don't need rocks in your head to chase late-season walleyes. Even more than spring, autumn can be the best time to hook the trophy of a lifetime. The fish are big and hungry and unlike spring when they are spawning, eating is the only thing on their minds in fall as they fatten up for winter. Weather and water levels can also be more stable later in the season than earlier in the year.
Anchors Away! By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson
(Click Here to Read Article)
There are times when fishing for walleyes is like putting a candy bar on the coffee table in front of couch potato trying to go on a diet. He might not eat it right away, but wait an hour and that chocolate will be gone. Faster tactics like trolling or even slower approaches like rigging will not work all the time. Conditions may dictate where jigging in one spot or suspending live bait below a slip bobber is needed just to entice a bite. The longer a walleye looks, the harder it is for it to resist.
Spring Time Walleyes By Joel DeBoer
(Click Here to Read Article)
Perhaps the most eagerly sought after of all game fish, at least during the early open-water months of spring, is the walleye. While the Wisconsin state-wide opener is not until early May, a few bodies such as the Wisconsin River system where I guide remain open year round. To my clients and me, the walleye presents a much needed bend in the rod after the icy grasp of winter; in addition, they are excellent table fare. For those willing to ply the chilly waters where fishing for walleyes is legal prior to the opener, the rewards can be great - each spring we boat literally hundreds of walleyes before the "rest" of Wisconsin anglers even get under way. Although March and April are typically when the action begins to heat up, we have had fantastic fishing action as early as mid-February, of course depending on the length and severity of winter.
Trophy Walleye Trip Planner By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson
(Click Here to Read Article)
Catching eating-size walleyes for the skillet is fun. But, who wouldn't want to see a 10-pound walleye in the net? Big fish get big because they're wary. They've got what it takes to avoid the hazards of the fish-eat-fish world they live in, and they're tough to fool into biting. That's what makes hoisting one into the boat something special. Two things are needed to have that dream come true. One is attention to detail. You can't have the fish of a lifetime up to the surface only to have your line snap.
Fall Over for Walleyes By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson
(Click Here to Read Article)
Though the calendar doesn't say so yet, weather forecasters count the time around Labor Day as the start of autumn. Walleye fishermen can attest to the truth of that. Fish are no longer scattered in their summer haunts. Trolling structure or fishing shallow weedlines produce fewer and fewer walleyes. Days are shorter. Nights are cooler. The transition has come. "All of a sudden, walleyes aren't where they were. They're gone," says Wisconsin guide and tackle designer Greg Bohn of the Lindy Little Joe Pro Staff.
The Eyes Have It By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson
(Click Here to Read Article)
Opinions on what role color plays in making fish bite are as varied as the colors of the rainbow. Color, when it comes to fishing, can be a controversial topic. One thing for sure is that every single angler has his or her favorite color and they typically have an opinion on which color makes fish bite. Buck Perry, the father of structure fishing and one of the sport's greatest thinkers, has said that the keys to fishing are depth and speed, but he added that, in his opinion, color is a trigger.

Lindy Riggin' Fall Trophies By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson
(Click Here to Read Article)
Boat traffic on lakes and rivers typically slows down after Labor Day. Kids are back in school. Moms and dads are thinking about putting deer meat in the freezer. But, the best walleye fishing of the year lies ahead. The Chicago Bears aren't the only 'Monsters of the Midway' gearing up for action. The months of August, September and October are the transition period from summer-when anglers tend to settle for smaller, easier-to-catch eating-sized walleyes-to autumn, when true trophy-sized fish become more accessible and vulnerable.

Dealing with the "hatch" By: Tom Christianson "WalleyeMaxx"
(Click Here to Read Article)
I want to talk about the "Mayfly hatch," and how to successfully fish for Walleyes during this time. It can be more difficult to catch numbers of walleyes and to make consistent catches during this time, but not impossible. There are hatches so thick that every fish in the lake gets their fill, and many times people use this as an excuse why they didn't catch anything, but even then walleyes can be caught. The most important aspect at this time is location.

Rigging with the Legend By: Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson
(Click Here to Read Article)
Here's the latest from the writing team of Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson. This time, Ted sits down with legendary fisherman Ron Lindner and talks about his invention of the original live bait rig, the Lindy Rig. In addition to being compelling reading from an historical perspective, the conversation sprinkles in excellent how-to tips, including Ron's surprising personal thoughts on leader length.

Fishing Safety Tips

By Todd Forcier
Spending time fishing is wonderful family sport, but in order for it to be enjoyable it should be safe and comfortable especially for small children. Fishing isn't a dangerous sport, but as with any activity, especially activities held in the ever-changing outdoors conditions do change. Unexpected bad weather, too much time in the sun, or encounter biting insects are a few factors that can spoil a fishing trip. Safety comes first. All the checklists in the world can’t anticipate all of the safety problems you or your young anglers might encounter on a fishing trip. So the best advice is think safety at all times. Look for trouble before it finds you. If it finds you anyway, know how to deal with it.
We recommend to start out to assemble a safety or a boat bag. A small duffle bag that would carry all of the required as necessary essentials on the water or on shore.
  1. First Aid Kit
  2. Chap Stick
  3. Suntan Lotion
  4. Sunburn Crème
  5. Insect Repellent
  6. Insect Bite Treatment
  7. Small Inexpensive Binoculars
  8. Packable Rain Gear or Ponchos      
  9. Disposable Waterproof Camera
  10. Aspirin or any Required Medications
Keep these important guidelines and tips in mind for a safe fishing experience
Fishing with small children. Whenever around water shoreline/dock or in a boat children should always wear a properly fitted Coast Guard approved (PFD) personal flotation device. Young anglers need constant adult supervision and guidance, establish a few rules; No running. Before each cast check for people behind and other obstructions. Have patience with small children they have a tendency to be impatient, reward them by allowing to keep a few small panfish in a bucket while fishing keeping there attention. 
New anglers. Should always learn how to cast overhead first. This cast teaches the proper technique and is safer than side casts.
Athletic Shoes. Shoes should always be worn, fishing from shore, off a dock or in a boat. Sharp rocks, glass, stray hooks and other objects on the shoreline could cut your feet. On a boat or dock shoes are designed to keep your feet from slipping in a wet boat or off a dock preventing you from taking an unexpected fall into the water.
Prevent Sunburn. Always wear sunscreen, the ultraviolet (UV) light of the sun can do a lot of damage to skin, eyes and lips. Apply sunscreen on youngsters cover face, neck, ears and all other exposed skin with a sun protection factor of 15 or higher.
Wear a billed cap. Hats keep the sun out of your eyes while fishing. They also keep your head cool in the summer and warm in the winter as well as protecting your head from stray cast with hooks.
Sunglasses. Everyone should wear glasses or sunglasses (preferably polarized) Polarized sunglasses protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays reflecting off the water, protect your eyes from errant casts with hooks and allows you to view below the surface of the water to see fish and other objects.
Bring Cold Drinks. During the summer temperatures can get very warm, to avoid dehydration or even heat stroke bring lots of cool water and other healthy drinks, Make sure the youngsters drink plenty of fluids. Liquids are also very important during the fall and winter months.                    
Insect Repellent. Keep the pests off by applying insect repellent. Mosquitoes, ticks, bees and other insects not only sting, they can carry diseases. Follow the directions on the container. If your insect repellent contains "Deet," it may be better to apply it to the clothing instead of the skin.
Bring Appropriate Clothing. Always dress for the weather and be prepared for unexpected changes. As an example it might be 75 degrees on shore but 10 degrees cooler on the lake with wind. Bring along a sweat shirt or a wind breaker just in case.
The listed guidelines below are to recognize and treat some outdoor hazards you may come across this season on the water. Note: The information provided herein should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical matters.
On the Water Safety
Drowning is second only to auto mishaps as the leading cause of death for teens.

Drowning Causes
  • Life jackets not worn.
  • Swimming in lakes or rivers is a LOT harder than swimming in a pool.
  • Water is cold enough to cool the person so fast that they can't swim (Hypothermia).
  • Swimmer's strength is overpowered by the current or other factors
Water Safety Precautions

  • Never use alcohol or drugs while you're swimming, diving, or in a boat.
  • Wear a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device when you boat, raft, go tubing, or swim across a river or lake.
  • When buying a life jacket or vest, select one that is comfortable, won't slip, and offers good freedom of movement.
  • Learn CPR and lifesaving, and take refresher courses.
  • Do not chew gum or eat while in the water, to prevent choking.
Water Rescue
Your diving into a lake or river to save potential-drowning victims is NOT recommended.
What to Do
Shout for help. When another person arrives, ask them to phone 911 and then come straight back.
Look around you for something to help the victim. This might be an empty ice chest, a pole, rope, tree limb, soccer ball, or even your spare tire! If a rope tie one end around a tree or post and throw the other end to the victim. Then, crouch down to maintain your balance and pull the victim to safety.
Even professional rescuers virtually NEVER attempt a water rescue without equipment. They bring a rescue tube, rescue board or other buoyant device to the victim.

Lightning Hazards
Lightning can create a sense of awe, excitement, and danger all in one. Most lightning strikes occur between noon and 6 p.m. in the summer.
Basic Precautions
Get an update weather forecast before you go. Develop a plan for emergency shelter If you hear thunder, you are at risk! Go to safe shelter immediately!

Learn CPR and keep your skills current through refresher training. Your CPR may save the life of someone struck by lightning and in cardiac arrest!

Any projection above the flat surface of the water acts as a potential lighting rod. Do not become a lightning rod!
Don't be a Target
Try to STAY OFF, and definitely GET OFF the water before a thunderstorm hits. If you are caught in open water during a thunderstorm, stay in the center of the cabin or low in the boat. Disconnect and do not use or touch the boat's major electronic equipment.
Stop fishing at the first sign of a storm, and get off the lake
Get out of the water and seek shelter at the first sigh of a storm.
If caught outdoors and no shelter is available, find a low spot away from trees, fences, power lines, and poles. Squat low to the ground, making yourself the smallest target possible. Minimize contact with the ground. DO NOT lie down! If you are in the woods, take shelter under the lower trees!
Cold Water
What is it? It is difficult even for an expert to define. It is estimated to be around and under the temperature of 70 degrees. However, this will vary in each case due to the specific circumstances and physical condition of the person involved.
What Happens In Cold Water?
Many of the fatal boating accidents occur in the "out-of-season" months when the water is cold.  What happens to the body when suddenly plunged into cold water?
The first hazards to contend with are panic and shock. The initial shock can place severe strain on the body, producing instant cardiac arrest, as happened to a 15 year old scout in the month of March in Pennsylvania several years ago.
Survivors of cold-water accidents have reported the breath driven from them on first impact with the water.   Should your face be in the water during that first involuntary gasp for breath, it may well be water rather than air.  Total disorientation may occur after cold-water immersion.  Persons have reported "thrashing helplessly in the water" for thirty seconds or more until they were able to get their bearings.
Immersion in cold water can quickly numb the extremities to the point of uselessness. Cold hands cannot fasten the straps of a lifejacket, grasp a thrown rescue line, or hold onto an over-turned boat. Within minutes, severe pain clouds rational thought. And, finally, hypothermia (exposure) sets in, and without rescue and proper first aid treatment, unconsciousness and death.
Normal body temperature of course, is 98.6. Shivering and the sensation of cold can begin when the body temperature lowers to approximately 96.5. Amnesia can begin to set in at approximately 94, unconsciousness at 86 and death at approximately 79 degrees.
What to Do In the Water
Cold water robs the body's heat 32 times faster than cold air. If you should fall into the water, all efforts should be given to getting out of the water by the fastest means possible.
Persons boating in the cold-water months should be thoroughly skilled in rescue and self-rescue techniques. Most accidents involve small boats, which with practice, can be righted and re-entered.  Most boats, even filled with water, will support the weight of its occupants. If the boat has capsized and cannot be made right, climb on top of it.
Physical exercise such as swimming causes the body to lose heat at a much faster rate than remaining still in the water. Blood is pumped to the extremities and quickly cooled. Few people can swim a mile in fifty degree water. Should you find yourself in cold water and are not able to get out, you will be faced with a critical choice - to adopt a defensive posture in the water to conserve heat and wait for rescue, or attempt to swim to safety.
Should you find yourself in the water, avoid panic. Air trapped in clothing can provide buoyancy as long as you remain still in the water. Swimming or treading water will greatly increase heat loss and can shorten survival time by more than 50%.
The major body heat loss areas are the head, neck, armpits, chest and groin. If you are not alone, huddle together or in a group facing each other to maintain body heat.
Proper preparation is essential when boating on cold water. Make sure your boat and equipment are in first class condition. Check the weather forecast before leaving for your event.  Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. Dress in several layers of light clothing. Next to a diver's wet suit, wool clothing offers the best protection. Always wear a personal flotation device (PFD) when boating.
First Aid Considerations for Cold Water Victims
Treatment for hypothermia depends on the condition of the person. Mild hypothermia victims who show only symptoms of shivering and are capable of rational conversation may only require removal of wet clothes and replacement with dry clothes or blankets.
In more severe cases where the victim is semi-conscious, immediate steps must be taken to begin the rewarming process. 
Get the person out of the water and into a warm environment. Remove the clothing only if it can be done with a minimum of movement of the victim's body. Do not massage the extremities.
Lay the semi-conscious person face up, with the head slightly lowered, unless vomiting occurs. The head down position allows more blood to flow to the brain.
If advanced rescue equipment is available it can be administered by those trained in its use. Warm humidified oxygen should be administered by facemask.
Immediately attempt to rewarm the victim's body core. If available, place the person in a bath of hot water at a temperature of 105 to 110 degrees. It is important that the victim's arms and legs be kept out of the water to prevent "after-drop". After-drop occurs when the cold blood from the limbs is forced back into the body resulting in further lowering of the core temperature. After-drop can be fatal.
If a tub is not available, apply hot, wet towels or blankets to the victim's head, neck, chest, groin, and abdomen. Do not warm the arms or legs.
If nothing else is available, a rescuer may use his or her own body heat to warm a hypothermia victim.
Never give alcohol to a hypothermia victim.
Some Important Facts to Remember
  • Most persons recovered in cold water "near" drowning cases show the typical symptoms of death:
  • Cyanotic (blue) skin coloration
  • No detectable breathing
  • No apparent pulse or heartbeat
  • Pupils fully dilated (opened)
These symptoms, it was discovered, did not always mean the victim was dead. They were, on the other hand, the body's way of increasing its chances of survival through what scientists call the mammalian diving reflex. This reflex is most evident in marine mammals such as whales, seals or porpoises.  In the diving reflex, blood is diverted away from the arms and legs to circulate (at the rate of only 6-8 beats per minute, in some cases) between the heart, brain and lungs. Marine mammals have developed this ability to the point where they can remain under water for extended periods of time (over 30 minutes in some species) without brain or body damage.
Human's experience the diving reflex, but it is not as pronounced as in other mammals. The factors, which enhance the diving reflex in humans, are:
Water temperature - less than 70 degrees or colder, the more profound the response and perhaps the more protective to the brain
Age - the younger the victim, the more active the reflex
Facial immersion - the pathways necessary for stimulating this series of responses seem to emanate from facial cold water stimulation.
The diving reflex is a protective mechanism for humans in cold water immersions, but it may confuse the rescuer into thinking the victim is dead. Resuscitative efforts for these victims should be started immediately utilizing CPR in accordance with your training.
Remember, numerous children have been brought up from freezing water after 30 minutes and been successfully resuscitated.

Expected Survival Time in Cold Water

Water Temperature  Exhaustion or Unconsciousness Expected Survival Time
70-80° F
(21-27° C)
3-12 hours  3 hours - indefinitely
60-70° F
(16-21° C)
2-7 hours  2-40 hours
50-60° F
(10-16° C)
1-2 hours  1-6 hours
40-50° F
(4-10° C) 
30-60 minutes  1-3 hours
32.5-40° F
(0-44° C) 
15-30 minutes  30-90 minutes
<32° F
(<0° C) 
Under 15 minutes  Under 15-45 minutes

Sunburn Prevention
Over the years the risk of developing malignant skin cancer has increased by 800%, to the extent that it is now considered to be at epidemic levels. And, 90% of the skin cancers are sun related.
Here is some skin protection guidelines to follow:
Sunscreen is a must! Choose one with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30. This number means that you are protected at least 30 times longer than you are without the sunscreen.
Apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before going out.

  • Be sure that your sunscreen protects against both UVA & UVB rays, and re-apply about every 2 hours.
  • Don't neglect your sunscreen on a cloudy day. Clouds filter only about 20% of the sun's ultraviolet rays.
  • Sunblock products containing titanium may offer additional protection and should be applied to your sensitive lips and noise.
  • If you are fishing on a day when the sun is strong, try to limit the amount of bare skin that is exposed. Also a hat should be worn. 
  • No sunscreen will protect you completely form the damaging rays of the sun. So, try to minimize outdoor exposures between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. - when the sun's rays are the strongest.
It is never to late to benefit from protecting your skin from sunburn. Try to avoid additional intense sun exposure to allow your skin to repair some of the damage on its own.

If you should bet sunburned.
  • Take a cool bath or apply wet cloths to the sunburned area. 
  • Apply aloe gels or first aid sunburn sprays as needed.
  • Try to limit additional sun exposure by staying cool indoors, or in the shade outdoors while your sunburn heals.

Eye Protection from Glare (Polarized Sunglasses)
During direct exposure to the sun, ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage the unprotected eye. These UV rays are simply invisible light waves that carry more energy than the visible light. People who spend lots of time outdoors without eye protection, especially near the water, will probably experience headaches, eye fatigue, and eventually, cataracts. Brightness and radiation are virtually doubled with reflected sunrays from the water surface! UV radiation has also been linked to a condition called photokeratitis - temporary but painful sunburn of the eye's surface. With this condition, which may not show effect for 12 - 24 hours, the person awakens in the middle of the night with searing eye pain and a feeling of sand or grit in the eyes.
Wear Your Sunglasses
Any polycarbonate sunglass lens can be expected to provide complete UV protection as well as excellent impact resistance. Also, a voluntary standard, ANSI Z80.3 has been adopted by some manufactures; and their conformance is referenced on some sunglass labels.

Guidelines for Purchasing Sunglasses
Ensure that lenses:

  • Block 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays
  • Screen out 75-90% of visible light
  • Are polarized to minimize reflected glare from snow/water
  • Match perfectly in color and adsorption
  • Have Zylonite (ophthalmic grade plastic) frames
  • Are free from optical distortion and lens flaws
  • Are dark enough so that you can't see your eyes easily when looking in a mirror with the sunglasses on
  • Preferably are gray. (They do not modify colors)
  • Carry the American Optometry Association seal of acceptance 
Prevention is the best defense against flying or crawling critters that can bite or sting. When your warm weather activities take you outdoors to hike, camp, fish, picnic, or just mow the lawn, you need to be aware of the insect problems that you may encounter.
Experts recommend that you:

Use a quality insect repellent and reapply every 2 -3 hours If your outdoor activities take you to a field or forest, wear light color long pants and long-sleeve shirts. Wear a hat, and working gloves if appropriate
These pests live near where water collects, and bay be more prevalent during the late afternoon and evening hours during calm weather. Staying indoors during these times may keep you from getting bit. If you do, scratching may make maters worse. Instead, treat bites with an anti-itch lotion.
Avoid bee problems by not wearing bright colored clothes or floral cosmetics, and by covering any sweet drinks. If a bee should land on you or your food, either blow or gently brush the bee away. If you are stung, tweezers are useful for removing the stinger. Otherwise, you can probably scrape the stinger off with a credit card or even your fingernail.
Although the vast majority of spiders that you will encounter are not harmful, caution and common sense must still be used. Keep any spiders that you see at a safe distance, and wear heavy-duty gloves when working with piles of brush or wood where spiders like to hide.
Wood Ticks
Ticks are the leading carriers of diseases to humans in the United States, second only to mosquitoes worldwide. It is not the tick bite but the toxins or organisms in the tick's saliva transmitted through the bite that cause disease.
Ticks are arthropods, like spiders. There are more than 800 species of ticks throughout the world. They are responsible for carrying such diseases as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, babesiosis (Texas fever), ehrlichiosis, and tularemia (also transmitted via rabbits), as well as Colorado tick fever and Powassan (a form of encephalitis).
In addition to disease transmission, ticks can also cause tick paralysis. This condition occurs when neurotoxins in the tick saliva make you ill; cause paralysis of the body; and in extreme cases, can stop you from breathing in extreme cases.
Two groups of ticks are important to humans because of the diseases they can transmit. Hard ticks have a tough back plate or scutum that defines their appearance. The hard ticks tend to attach and feed for hours to days. Disease transmission usually occurs near the end of a meal, as the tick becomes full of blood. Some of the more common hard ticks are these:

American dog tick
Wood tick
Deer tick (they carry lyme disease)
Lone star tick

Soft ticks have more rounded bodies and do not have the hard scutum found in hard ticks. These ticks usually feed for less than 1 hour. Disease transmission can occur in less than a minute. The bite of some of these ticks produces intensely painful reactions. Two common soft ticks found in the United States are the Pajaroello tick and spinose ear tick.

Outbreaks of tick-related illnesses follow seasonal patterns as ticks evolve from larvae to adults. They hide in low brush to hitch a ride on a potential host. Ticks require a "blood meal" to grow and survive, and they are not very particular upon whom or what they feed. If these freeloaders don't find a host, they may die.

Once a tick finds a host-such as you, your pet, a deer, a rabbit-and finds a suitable site for attachment, the tick begins to burrow with its mouthparts into exposed skin. Tick mouthparts are barbed, which helps to secure them to the host.

Often the tick secrets "cementum" to more firmly anchor its mouthparts and head to the host. Ticks may secrete or regurgitate small amounts of saliva that contain neurotoxins. These nerve poisons cleverly prevent you from feeling the pain and irritation of the bite. You may never notice the tick feeding on you. The saliva may contain a blood thinner to make it easier for
Tick bites are generally painless. You may not even notice the bite. And you may never find the tick if it falls off. Small ticks, like the deer tick that transmits Lyme disease, are so tiny they may be nearly undetectable. Some ticks are about as small as the period at the end of this sentence.
The actual bite may cause symptoms only after the tick drops off. You may notice local redness, itching, and burning-and, rarely, localized intense pain. The results of the illnesses transmitted by ticks often begin days to weeks after the tick is gone. That's why doctors may not suspect a tick-related illness.
You may have any of these symptoms:
Feel as if you have the flu

  • Fever 
  • Numbness 
  • Rash 
  • Confusion 
  • Weakness 
  • Pain and swelling in joints 
  • Palpitations 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Nausea and vomiting

Todd Forcier is a licensed EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) since 1991. In 1993 he became a Wisconsin licensed and National Registered EMT-Intermediate. In 1997 he became a Wisconsin licensed EMT-Paramedic (highest level of pre-hospital care). Todd also is a professional fishing guide since 1993 for the waters of Petenwell Flowage, Wisconsin River and Three Lakes WI. His main focus is Muskies, Walleye and Crappies. For more information regarding Todd’s guiding services please visit his web site at