Best of the Basics

Create action like you (and the fish) have never seen before.

Field & Stream Online Editors

[BRACKET "1"] ****Rapala Glass Shad Rap
Rapala has practically turned the Shad Rap into a live fish by adding a see-through body and an inner prismatic strip that reflects light in all directions and colors as the lure moves. The slightest twitch sends out rays of iridescence, even when the lure runs deep in low light. It's a smart innovation, and while other such highly reflective lures are pretty pricey, this is one you can afford to stock up on. $6; 952-933-7060; www.rapala.com

[BRACKET "2"] Salmo Teno
Salmo is not a big name in American fishing, but don't let that fool you. The Polish company's newest offering, the Teno, is a superspastic lure for spinning or trolling. Its wild waggle makes it look like a wounded baitfish running for its life. Fish it crosscurrent with a start-stop retrieve: It will hop and zigzag from seam to seam, something that gets trout, smallmouths, and walleyes to take notice. $7; 952-224-3649; www.salmo-usa.com

[BRACKET "3"] ****Stren Super Braid
In a specialty category that has one or two notable products and a number of mediocre ones, this new, gel-spun braided microfilament line stands out. Created with an advanced fiber-bonding technology, Super Braid holds its round shape instead of flattening in tough conditions, and keeps its color and slick finish without needing a wax or Teflon coating. In field tests, the knot strength was excellent and castability was superb. This is a go-to line for big catfish, muskies, and inshore species. $13 for 125 yards of 8- to 30-pound-test (prices vary with spool size and test weight); 800-243-9700; www.stren.com

[BRACKET "4"] Shimano Calais 100A Baitcasting Reel
In a future life, the Calais 100A will be a sports car. Proprietary "under-the-hood" performance features include large drive-and-pinion gears to power fast retrieves and increase wind leverage, an easily accessed system for making centrifugal brake adjustments to control backlashes, and 10 antirust bearings that maintain smoothness for the life of the reel. The 8.7-ounce 100A retrieves 24 inches of line per turn. $175; 877-577-0600; www.shimano.com

[BRACKET "5"] **G. Loomis Bronzeback Rods **
G. Loomis now offers a series of graphite rods engineered for lightness and strength specifically for smallmouth fishing. All 15 models (eight spinning and seven casting) are technique-specific and feature a fast, responsive tip for use with smaller lures and to help feel subtle bites. $195¿¿¿$230; 800-456-6647; www.gloomis.com

[BRACKET "6"] ****Sisson Hybrid
Crossbreeding technology is popular these days, though marrying two good ideas doesn't always work. The Sisson Hybrid does. This unique lure has an innovative diving plane that makes it run like a crankbait, yet still perform weedlessly like a spinnerbait. Let the 3/4-ounce lure sink to the 20-foot level, and it stays that deep on the retrieve. $7; 863-967-4036; www.sissonlures.com

**[BRACKET "7"] ****Ray Scott SuperCaster 225 Spinning Reel **
Ultralight monofilament often suffers from line twist because of the small diameter of modern spinning-reel spools. Enter the versatile SuperCaster with a 21/4-inch-diameter spool to minimize line memory and increase casting distance. Considering its carbon-fiber lightness, this reel has very gutsy gearing. $130; 314-962-9500; www.usreel.com