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  • March 31, 2011

    Vintage Tackle Contest: Keating's "Floating" Sinkers

    By Joe Cermele

    While looking through some of the most recent entries in our ongoing vintage tackle contest, these Keating Floating Sinkers caught my eye. I had never heard of such a thing before, and after learning what they do, I equate them to one of those fishing products you'd see on a late-night info-mercial. The photo was sent in by Jesse Martinez, who got the sinker set from his wife's 83-year-old grandfather. I can totally see my grandfather buying these, too, thinking they'd be all the rage.

  • March 30, 2011

    What Do You Do When a Mako Jumps in Your Boat?

    By Joe Cermele

    According to this story from the Associated Press, the 375-pound mako shark hanging next to fisherman Jason Kresse of Freeport, Texas, didn't require a lot of angling prowess to catch. No, it actually just jumped into his boat while he and his crew were tossing fish guts from their red snapper catch over the side. Now this is not the first time a mako has shot skyward and ended up flopping on a deck. Question is, what would you do if it happened to you?

    Option 1: Get as far away from the shark as possible and let it thrash itself to death on the deck.

    Option 2: Find the closest long, heavy, blunt object and swing away at the fish's head.

    Option 3: Jump on its back like a gator wrestler and sever its spine right behind the head with a knife.

  • March 29, 2011

    Name My Float Boat, Win a William Joseph Vest Pack

    By Joe Cermele

    Pictured below is my 13-foot Fish Cat pontoon boat set against the majestic skyline of downtown Trenton, New Jersey. I took this photo at the pull-out after the last smallmouth float of 2010. I only acquired this boat last spring, and we really just spent our first season getting to know each other. We've already caught lots of fish, but this year I'm pushing the limits of this vessel. Thing is, I'm a firm believer that a boat needs a name for maximum success. That's where you come in.

  • March 28, 2011

    Making a Rod Customized To Your Cast

    By John Merwin

    Rod-building has been mentioned by several readers here off and on, so let’s get into that just a bit. I guess I’ve built maybe a dozen rods over the years, by which I mean installing components on a rod blank and not making the blank itself.

    Almost always I’ve done this not to just save money but to get a rod that I can’t get any other way. The surfcasting rods I’ve made, for example, have rod grips specifically detailed to my hand size and arm length, which makes casting a lot easier. My favorite, though, and what I’d call my secret weapon, is a 9-foot, fast-action ultralight spinning rod.

    I wanted to be able to cast extremely light jigs and lures in larger rivers for trout, while at the same time having the extra reach of a longer rod to better control the drift. I found long, light-line steelhead rods, but the actions were too soft among the rods I looked at (remember “noodle” rods?).

  • March 25, 2011

    Joan Wulff Using Spinning Gear and Grilling Largemouth

    By Joe Cermele

    Joan Wulff is no doubt a fishing icon. Most of us can only hope to one day cast as well as she can. While Joan is now primarily tied to the the world of fly fishing, I found this video from the 1960s of Joan like I'd never seen her before...casting a spinning rod and cooking up largemouth bass. It's a cool old piece of footage, seemingly shot when Joan was a Garcia-Mitchell spokesperson. It might even bring back a few memories for some of you. My how things have changed. Have a good weekend.

  • March 24, 2011

    Vintage Tackle Contest: The Alcedo Micron Reel

    By Joe Cermele

    The photo that's this week's winner of our ongoing vintage tackle contest might be a little fuzzy, but of all the entries thus far, I think this one might take the cake for "jackpot" finds. It was sent in by Mack Boucher, who kept his description short and sweet, simply noting that he bought this old Alcedo Micron spinning reel at a garage sale for exactly 25 cents. Mack, get ready for a surprise.

  • March 23, 2011

    Those Pet Fish We've Caught Multiple Times

    By Joe Cermele

    The monster bass in this photo was recently caught by Sean Swank in Texas' Caddo Lake. The fish weighed in at 16.07-pounds. But it wasn't the size that led to this story on Texas Parks & Wildlife had implanted this fish with a microchip and learned that it was the same largemouth landed by angler Keith Burns around the same time last year.

    A microchip is a good way to figure out if a fish has been caught multiple times, but there are lots of big fish out there with unique characteristics fishermen note, allowing them to track how many times they've landed "Bertha" or "Lieutenant Shiny Sides" or whatever name these local denizens earn.

  • March 22, 2011

    What's The Order of Your Local Spring Fisheries?

    By Joe Cermele

    Well, happy spring. Finally, right? For many of us it's been a harsh winter, and though it may still be lingering in some areas, things are looking up. It's about this time of year  I begin to organzine my gear in the order of what comes first in my spring season. As an example, the Sebile Magic Swimmer and Storm Kickin' Stick in the photo are hanging from the "on deck" nail in the garage. I already know that one of those will likely be the first lure I cast this spring. As I type this, striped bass are migrating up the Delaware River and staging to spawn literally right up the street. I'm sure there are a few in my spots already. Heck, I might even try it tonight, and those are the lures that kill.

    Early-season river stripers come first for me. By the third week of April, I'll have switched over almost entirely to trout. As April presses on, the local smallmouth will move to the banks to spawn and I'll be there to throw a motoroil tube at them. By the time that's winding down, the saltwater stripers should be crushing bunker along the beaches, and that will carry me into early summer.

  • March 21, 2011

    Knot Strength Isn't All About Line Strength

    By John Merwin

    It’s time for some more notes on knots. Some will recall that I periodically spend absurd amounts of time testing fishing knots on some lab equipment and then publish the results, usually in our print edition. You can read about one such series of tests here.

    What then happens is I inevitably get some heat from readers because I didn’t include their favorite knot. Or sometimes my directions are mis-read, with the resulting correspondence claiming that I’m simply off my rocker. So I want to address a couple of misconceptions.

    First, I don’t personally care what knot you use to tie on a lure or fly. If you’re comfortable with an improved clinch, say, or a Palomar knot, by all means keep using it. All I’ve done over a period of years is to test and illustrate a variety of knots to give choices for those who might want to experiment or try something new.

  • March 18, 2011

    New Hook Shots: The Niagara River Trout Slam

    By Joe Cermele

    After a "Hook Shots" hiatus that started just before the holidays, I'm happy to announce that season 3 is underway. For the first episode, I headed up to frosty western New York a few weeks ago to try and connect with the Niagara River winter trout slam; steelhead, brown trout, lake trout. But there was more to it than that. It was chance for my uncle Bud and I to take another crack at a river that proved on our first visit to provide the coldest fishing experience of our lives.

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