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  • January 31, 2011

    A Low-Cost Reel with High-End Innovation

    By John Merwin

    I had just finished writing the other day about how some quality fishing tackle is getting less expensive when a really good example of that landed on my desk. The new U.S. Reel Supercaster 600 offers good looks, solid performance, and--significantly--genuine innovation in a baitcast reel selling for $60.00. Not bad. Especially considering that the average price among all baitcasters is around $140.00.

  • January 28, 2011

    Pawn Stars Buy Lures, Anglers Go Wild

    By Joe Cermele

    Of all these new economy-driven shows that inspire viewers to ponder whether stuff around the house is worth a fortune, History Channel's "Pawn Stars" is my favorite (with "American Pickers" a close second). Since I've been watching "Pawn Stars" I've yet to see anyone bring fishing tackle to the shop. Well, that streak was finally broken in a recent episode, and the outcome of the transaction got some fishermen riled up.

  • January 26, 2011

    Cast Before Purchase, Or Shake and Buy?

    By Joe Cermele

    That's my good friend and editor of Fly Fishing in Salt Waters John Frazier test casting a Rise rod with guide Amanda Switzer at the Somerset Fly Fishing Show last weekend. The line to get a turn on the casting pool was rather long, which I found encouraging. And watching the show-goers send casts to Hula Hoops floating down range got me thinking about the way anglers purchase rods.

  • January 25, 2011

    It's a Slow News Day in Austin When...

    By Joe Cermele

    So who had some friends back in high school or college that would have driven by this Austin, Texas, sign and thought about claiming it in the name of anarchy or Phi Kappa Tau?

  • January 24, 2011

    Quality Fishing Gear Costs Less Than Ever

    By John Merwin

    It was 23 degrees below zero here this morning. I quickly fired up the wood stove, which was just as quickly taken over by our old cat. Too cold for chasing mice, I guess. Too cold for fishing, too. At least as far as I’m concerned, although I know some hardy souls who will go ice-fishing no matter how cold it is.

    So I did the next best thing, which was to go online and order a new rod. This was made at least somewhat easy by the price: less than $100. And that in turn is indicative of a relatively new trend in tackle that seems to be peaking for the 2011 season. There’s more good, inexpensive fishing gear available than ever before.

    Whether you flyfish for trout, throw a Jitterbug for bass, or troll for walleyes, you can get into the game this year for less. And that doesn’t mean with the crummy, budget fall-apart tackle you might remember from a decade ago. Although prices are down, quality in general is up.

  • January 21, 2011

    What Made You Hang Up That Lure?

    By Joe Cermele

    These lures represent a small sampling of some I've either retired after time served, or deemed too cool to cast. I don't know many fishermen without such lures hanging in the basement, den, or garage.

  • January 20, 2011

    Debate: To Lip or Not Lip Your Fish

    By Joe Cermele

    Yesterday, in my blog regarding catching your first fish of 2011, reader King Fisher called me out for lipping the smallmouth in this photo. He wrote:

    “I get so sick and upset with photos from so called "veteran fisherman?" showing that it is somehow cool to try to rip the bottom of fishes mouth back to their tails! Cracking jaws like that is a selfish pose and offers nothing to support our resources. Come on, lets show some" veteran" understanding about handling fish correctly.”

    I read every comment I receive whether positive or negative, and I thought this was a good opportunity to open the floor to the issue of lipping. I found it very surprising that so many readers gave King Fisher a negative comment review.

  • January 19, 2011

    Catch Your First Fish of 2011 Yet?

    By Joe Cermele

    The smallmouth in the photo below was not big or feisty. No, it actually barely pulled the bobber below the surface when it picked up my live shiner. It fought like the shocked, cold little fellow it was, basically flopping once then curling into a "C" shape and reluctantly coming to my hand. But you know what? I don't care, because I'm now officially on the scoreboard for 2011. This was my first fish of the year.

  • January 18, 2011

    Is There Such a Thing as Catching Too Many Fish?

    By John Merwin

    Once in a while, we as anglers hit the mother lode. Instead of catching nothing, we are catching everything, seemingly all at once. Non-stop fish, one after another, big ones and little ones. Which brings up this question: How many fish are enough?

    I was once flyfishing for northern pike in far northern Saskatchewan (photo). There were lots of pike, big ones to 40 inches and more, and they were very easy to catch. At one point, I caught nine large pike on nine consecutive casts to a particular spot. This was from no particular skill on my part. The big, dumb fish were just that willing.

    After a while, the novelty of this fishing wore off. There was no challenge to it, and it got kind of boring. So we quit pike fishing for a while and started flyfishing for lake trout instead. The lakers were much harder to catch, and when we did get one it was that much more of a thrill.

  • January 13, 2011

    Skin Those Bluefish and Man Up, Top Chefs!

    By Joe Cermele

    Anyone catch the latest episode of "Top Chef All-Stars" on Bravo? I don't watch it religiously, but my wife does, and I was drawn to the couch last night when I learned that the cast's challenge would be to catch their own fish in Montauk, New York, and then cook it for 200 people. You often see seasoned TV anglers throw a short cooking bit into their shows, but watching the reverse--food experts trying to master the art of parachute jigging--was quite entertaining.

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