Fishing Tips Archives

Some people “shiver” at the idea of ice fishing. The thought of venturing out on a cold winter day to catch fish through the ice seems crazy to some, but to the diehard fisherman living in a colder climate area it is a welcome occasion, when the ice is safe for fishing.

Ice fishing can be an exciting & rewarding experience when you dress properly, have the right gear and always have safety on your mind. Safety on the ice is a crucial part to ice fishing, always check the thickness of the ice before stepping on to it.

Ice fishing

Ice Fishing

Important things to remember about safety on the ice are as follows. If the water you will be fishing on has a current be extremely cautious about where you walk and fish. A current will wear away the ice from underneath and can cause a very unsafe situation with thin ice.

You could be on 6 inches of ice in one area and then on 2 inches of ice in another due to a current flow. Always be familiar with any body of water where you plan to go ice fishing and never fish alone where there is a hard current.

Please take a moment to watch this video to learn how to survive a fall through the ice.

Minimum ice thickness (recommended but always check with local authorities, you are responsible for your safety)

1)       4 inches for a single fisherman

2)       5-6 inches for a snowmobile

3)       7+ inches for 3 or more fisherman

4)      8+ inches for a small car

5)      10+ inches for a light truck

6)      14 or more inches for a full size truck But again, always check with local Fish & Game or other local authorities before heading out as to the conditions on a body of water that you plan on ice fishing.

What to wear Always dress in layers with cotton or wool layers and end with something with a hood that is water repellant or resistant in case of rain or snow. Insulated gloves, a hat and warm boots are also critical to staying comfortable while ice fishing.  

Fishing gear Ice fishing has really changed over the last 20 years. It wasn’t too long ago that you would look at a given body of water and try to guess where the fish might be, set your tip-ups and hope for the best.

Now there are sonar units that you can drop down into a hole and see if there are any fish around. You can easily drill multiple holes with a gas powered auger and look for fish and if you find none it is much easier to move on.

Auger – You will need a hand operated or gas powered auger to drill your holes. Some fishermen use an axe or chisel to cut a hole but that really limits your ability to move around.

Skimmer – A large spoon with drain holes in it to remove ice and slush from collecting and refreezing the hole. Click here to get yours now.

Tip-ups – There are a number of different types of tip-ups, plastic, wood, metal, etc., to choose from. They have a spool with line and a long thin metal piece with a small flag attached to pop up signaling a fish on. Click here to get yours now

Fishing rod – Many anglers will sit over a hole with a small ice fishing rod while watching over their tip-ups. There are rods made specifically for ice fishing or you can use a small or telescopic fishing rod if you choose. Click here to get yours now.

With the Fall approaching and temperatures changing, so does Bass behavior and that requires changing your Bass fishing tactics. Bass will become more active as the hot summer temperatures begin to fall causing them to feed more to get ready for the cold winter.

This is a good time to locate schooling Bass, providing an opportunity that you really don’t see any other time of year. Some of the best freshwater Bass fishing takes place in the early Fall so don’t miss out.

The best places to find early Fall Bass are around steep drop-off points where you have shallow water nearby. As the days shorten Bass will move in & out of the shallow waters to suspend in the deep areas of the drop-offs.

Remember now, we are talking about early Fall where Bass have been spending most of their time in deep water due to the summer heat and will now be moving closer to the shallows but remain suspended on the drop-offs.

Also be aware of the wind as bait fish will go “with the wind” and Bass will chase them. On a windy day find areas that have deep water near shallow flats and the wind blowing on the shallow flats. Bass will be chasing the bait fish onto those flats during the day.

Late Fall & early Winter the Bass will be suspended and your focus will be in the deeper water and slower technique.

As the temps begin to cool in the shallow water they will become more active and hungry so big baits are in order here so some of the preferred baits for Fall are:
Jig & Pigs
Crank-baits (deep divers)

Try to match closely to the colors and size of the natural forage that Bass will be chasing in any given body of water.

Bass are aggressive this time of year so experiment with your retrieve and find what works best for your situation.

Many people are intimidated by the baitcasting reel or they just aren’t comfortable casting them and experience backlash all too often when casting. For this reason we are going to write this brief instruction post on how to use a baitcasting reel and hopefully it will address any fears that you might have of using one.

Once you have your baitcasting rod and reel set up and spooled with line you need to set it in preparation to cast. Changes will need to be made anytime that you change baits/lures to ensure a proper cast and limited ability for backlash.

First thing you’ll want to do is attach your bait and for beginners we recommend a heavy bait like a jig or plug until you get used to the baitcasting reel.

Take the centrifugal brake, a dial which is usually found on the side opposite the crank, and turn it all the way off. Now tighten the spool tension knob which is found right under or next to the drag on the cranking handle side of the reel.


Now hold your rod out straight or at about a 45 degree angle and slowly loosen the spool tension knob until your bait just starts to fall. Once you do that, tighten the centrifugal brake about halfway or slightly more and you are ready to cast.

There are a few ways you can cast the baitcasting rod and reel, overhead, side cast, and flipping, but for beginners Freshwater Fishing Rod Reviews recommends an easy side arm cast to start. Later you can move on the overhead and flipping casts once you are comfortable.

Holding your rod out in front of you press the casting button down and hold it down with your thumb against the spool. If you don’t press on the spool the line will roll out on you. Then bring the rod back ( side arm ) and in a smooth motion cast it forward, without whipping or snapping it.

Release the thumb as the rod tip comes in front of you (about one o’clock) but very gently keep your thumb so you feel the spool without stopping it. As the lure hits the water stop the spool with your thumb to prevent any backlash.

Now if you get a little backlash don’t get frustrated, it will happen, it happens to the pros. You can have everything set correctly and then cast into the wind which will slow down the lure but not the spool causing backlash.

Remember to practice casting and to always adjust the spool tension knob every time that you change lures/baits.

These tips should help you begin use a baitcasting rod and reel confidently and without any fear of backlash.

Remember to practice, practice, practice!

Here is a baitcasting combo that we feel might be a good match to start baitcasting with, check it out.





When most people think of trout fishing they think of a fly rod and reel but there are lots of folks that fish for trout with an ultra-light or light spinning rod and reel. It can be exciting, very productive and easy to do.


Many of you already have spinning gear or might find it too costly to go out and purchase a new fly rod and reel along with line and everything else you need to get started. Ultra-light spinning rods and reels can be found at very affordable prices.

Trout typically live in freshwater lakes, rivers and ponds except for some Rainbow trout which will live at sea for a few years and return to freshwater to spawn. These trout are known as Steelhead trout.


Trout generally are a colder water fish and they mainly feed on other small fish, flies, mayflies, shrimp, mealworms, waxworms, corn, etc., however larger trout tend to prefer to dine on other fish but will hit on large flies and lures also.


Spinning rods and Fly rods are best suited for trout fishing where light flies and lures are needed. Now there are many types of trout fishing that you can do and just as many different ways to catch them.


When fishing small streams for small Rainbows, Brooks or Browns an ultra-light spinning rod and reel is perfect. There are many different baits you can use with the spinning rod, even flies, but you will need to fish them in a certain way.


A productive way you can fish in very small streams with a current is with ultra-light spinning gear and flies. Try using 2-3 lb test line and attaching a tiny bobber or float about 1 foot above the fly then drift it past where the trout might be holding.


Be careful not to get the float caught up or to have it drifting at a different pace than the fly, you can adjust the distance between the float and fly as needed.


Another method for small streams, and even more so for small rivers with an ultra-light or light spinning rod and reel with 3-5 lb test line, is using small lures like rooster tails, tiny crank baits, kastmasters, small spoons, etc.


You can also try using worms, Salmon eggs, small minnows, corn or wax-worms just drifting it off the bottom. I like to use a tiny bullet sinker with a tiny split shot sinker stopping it about a foot up the line, then a small marshmellow to give the bait some lift.


For larger trout in big lakes, rivers or ponds, a light/medium or medium rod and reel set up is good but some still like the light fishing rod and reel for the action. However in a strong river current a much sturdier reel is needed to haul in those bigger trout. When fishing in a current remember to use swivels to avoid nasty twists and tangles.


Baits to use in large lakes, rivers and ponds can be crank-baits, panther-martin silver or gold dressed and undressed, mepps lures, spoons, live bait, etc.

Some good ultra-light spinning rigs for trout fishing can be found here.

Bass Fishing Tips for Beginners

One of the most popular types of fishing is Bass fishing. There is nothing like hooking into a nice Bass and the battle that follows. One of the most exciting memories a child will have is catching their 1st Bass, no matter what the size.

Bass fishing

For those of you just starting out with Bass fishing you don’t really need to “break the bank” to get started in catching fish. A decent spinning or baitcasting combo would be sufficient to jump right in and start catching Bass.

If you are experienced in other areas of fishing however, you will probably want a more sophisticated rod and reel for your move into Bass fishing. Either way Freshwater Fishing Rod Reviews will help you get started by giving you some choices for a god rod and reel and direction on how and where to catch Bass.

Rod & Reel

Certain types of rod and reel are perfect for catching freshwater Bass. I am referring to spinning and baitcasting rods and reels. Beginner’s new to fishing will probably want to start out with an open face spinning reel. They are easy to learn and easy to cast for those just starting into fishing.

The more experienced angler may want to try a baitcasting rod and reel set up but they can be a little bit more complicated for the beginner. Freshwater Fishing Rod Reviews is recommending a medium action spinning rod and reel combo for those just getting started with Bass fishing.

However if you choose a separate rod and reel, be sure that they are matched and balanced. It should feel comfortable when holding it with the reel stem between your four fingers, not too back heavy or top heavy.

Based upon our research and great reviews we recommend the following for beginners;

Shakespeare Catch More Fish Rod and Reel Combo for Bass
Shakespeare Catch More Fish Rod and Reel Combo for Bass
Fishing Line

For fishing line on this medium action rod and reel combo Freshwater Fishing Rod Reviews recommends 6 or 8 pound test monofilament fishing line for best results. Whenever possible have the tackle shop or store spool the reel for you.



There are numerous baits for Bass fishing out there and new ones are being created all the time but for a beginner we would suggest trying live bait first. The best live baits for Bass are night-crawlers, minnows, shiners, small bluegills and other small fish present in the waters you will be fishing.

There are also many different type artificial lures for Bass fishing;

Crankbaits, Spinnerbaits, Jigs, Plastic Worms, Weed-less Frogs, to name a few, but there are many, many more.

Where to Fish

 Bass can be found in almost every freshwater pond, lake or river in the United States and they can be found in Canada, Mexico and other countries as well.

When looking for places to catch Bass think of where a fish would hide. Remember that Bass are predatory fish by nature and will hide in “cover” waiting to pounce on a meal. A good comparison to a Bass is a cat in the wild and how they hunt and get excited by the movement of the prey. Bass react the same way to their prey, by lying in cover waiting for a passing meal.

When fishing small ponds look for bushes, or even a single bush standing in the water, or a boulder sitting on the bottom of the pond. Look for patches of lily pads or weed clusters standing in the middle of nowhere, there you will find Bass.

In larger ponds or lakes look for points or deep drop offs where there is shallow water nearby. Look for changes in vegetation, where grass connects with milfoil or other weed types. Fish around docks, fallen trees, and platforms that provide “cover” for Bass.

In large or man-made lakes also look for old road beds, submerged rock walls or river channels where Bass can hold out.

In rivers look for breaks in the current, where pools developed, and fish around pilings and boulders. Again look for pockets where weeds grow or tree roots provide a place to hide from the current.

This is so cool, you have to check this out!

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No useless product here! If you love one of the products you receive, you can go to the TG Store and purchase more. You will receive up to date new and innovative bait products geared toward your fishing specialty and need.

Give it a look by clicking on the Tackle Grab logo above, I’m sure you will like what you see.

Here are some tips on catching trophy sized catfish and the type of gear needed such as, rods, reels, line, tackle, etc.

Trophy sized cats will put any fishing gear to the test, they can break rods, snap line, even straighten your hooks. Big catfish have the ability to make a grown man cry unless you have the right fishing rod and reel for the job.

Big catfish are hard to find but if you can find a Channel Cat, Blue or Flathead, you can find a trophy cat up to 50 pounds. Now that’s a trophy catfish!
Big catfish are found almost everywhere but especially in large rivers and lakes, even in smaller ponds. If you match the proper freshwater fishing rod with a matching reel, you’ve won half the battle.

Link here for a nice Medium 8 foot catfishing spinning combo. Take the guessing out of picking a rod & reel for your catfishing needs.


As mentioned before you can pretty much catch catfish anywhere but big catfish will be found in the larger rivers and lakes. The best places to find them in a river are where there is a break in the current.

Big catfish will hold in a current break and wait for food to drift by in the current and grab it. This allows them to save energy by not having to fight the current thus needing to eat less.

Tossing your bait just above the current break or pooling waters, will entice a bite as it flows into the catfish’s holding area. This method is useful all year round, even in the spring spawning season as they move around a bit more but returning to the current breaks.

Big lakes can be a little tougher to find big catfish but they do move about much more so than in the rivers. They will hold along old creek and river beds in deep water in lakes. They will move to shallow water to feed, especially at night. Look for areas that have a gravely bottom or packed clay for feeding catfish.


Most catfish will feed at any time of day but the best times are early morning and late afternoon. Obviously seasons and temperature have an effect on feeding patterns and with that in mind remember colder water usually means deeper fish and slower feeding behavior. Warmer water means shallow feeding and more of it.

Big Flatheads become really lethargic in cold water, but they will manage to bite in the winter. The best times are in the early spring and late fall for cold water fishing because their either fattening up for winter or getting ready for spawning season. Presenting two great times of year to hook into a fat cat. Certainly they will take a bait all year long, even in the winter months, but spring and fall are great times for cat fishing.

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Your typical 61/2 or 7 foot medium action fishing rod is fine for small pond or small lake catfishing but, if you are after the big ones or are fishing a large river, you will want an adequate freshwater fishing rod and reel built for big catfish. At least a 7 foot medium-heavy action rod and a matching reel should be used for the larger catfish.

With the larger fishing rod you will have greater casting distance, quicker and better hook sets and the ability and strength to do battle with a big cat.
Recommended link for catfish rods


Bait casting reels are probably best for big catfishing because they are more compact and sturdy for fighting and reeling in a bigger fish. Many people prefer spinning reels for their ease of use but they tend to be more unstable than a bait caster when fighting and reeling in big catfish. But if that is your preference, they will work.
(recommendation for quality reels)
abu garcia revo baitcast


You are going to need a quality monofilament or braided fishing line and you will need to check it regularly, especially after a fight with a big catfish, for any nicks or wear. Monofilament line is probably best for lakes but a thin braided line is best for a river and it’s current.

You will need a good strength line for big cats, anywhere from 15lb test up to 80lb test, depending on the size fish you are after. You will need to check your line regularly, especially after a fight with a big catfish, for any nicks or wear and repair or replace as needed.

A quality circle type hook with good strength is highly recommended. A big cat will straighten a regular style hook and be waiving bye, bye, as she slips away back to the deep waters. There are many to choose from but we recommend Tru Turn or Gamakatsu catfish hooks, they do ok.
Hooks should be sharpened, even when brand new out of the package, to ensure that a big fish won’t be missed due to a dull hook.
Recommended link for catfish hooks


For some helpful info on baits – Click Here!

Big catfish, like Blues, Flatheads, Channel, etc., like live bait, hands down. Other types of bait will work for them but live bait is best for the big ones. If Herring or Shad are the natural baitfish then you should use that bait. Bluegills and Perch are good baits too if they are natural to the body of water that you are fishing.

You can also use cut up fish if you choose by simply cutting a small fish into pieces that you can then put on the hook for bait.
Chicken gizzards and stink baits are also good baits if live bait isn’t available or if you are fishing for smaller catfish.

Fishing is a worthwhile and enjoyable hobby to pursue, but There are so many varieties of fish and different conditions that lead you to numerous choices for fishing equipment from which to select for each fishing situation. The kind of fishing that you opt to participate in is going to determine the type of equipment you are going to use.

Things to Consider when Freshwater Fishing

The freshwater fishing gear that you will need may be different for each fishing expedition. The freshwater fishing gear need will include items such as line, sinkers, lures, bait, bobbers and other floats. Other items such as fish finders and depth finders may also be classified as fishing gear. The one piece of gear that is most important for a fisherman is the fishing rod.

What Kind of Fish are You Fishing For?

When choosing the rod, the first thing that you need to take into account is the kind of fishing that you are going to do. Thus, you should consider if you need a rod for fly fishing, bass fishing, walleye, pike, trout, catfish or other freshwater fishing. Every type of fishing possesses its own kind of rod made for the environment and the various demands that each of them requires. Here is a brief overview of the freshwater fishing rod and what you might need:

  • Ultra-light to light action freshwater fishing rods for the smaller species of fish.
  • Medium light -medium action freshwater fishing rods for medium sized species of fish.
  • Medium heavy to medium action freshwater fishing rods for large species of fish.
  • Shorter freshwater fishing rods for smaller rivers, creeks and ponds.
  • Shorter freshwater fishing rods for heavy cover around the location you are fishing.
  • Longer freshwater fishing rods for larger bodies of water and bigger rivers.

The kind of fish that you are going after is going to influence the kind of rod that you may need to use. An ultra-light to light action freshwater fishing rod is perfect for small fish such as perch, crappie, bluegill and some species of trout. Medium light to action freshwater fishing rod is perfect for medium- sized fish such as bass, walleye, larger trout species, smaller pike and catfish. The medium heavy to heavy action freshwater fishing rod, on the other hand, is ideal for large species of fish such as muskies, large pike and salmon.

The Length of Your Fishing Rod

The other factor that you require to consider is the length of your fishing pole.

The environment is normally the factor that determines this. When you are encircled by a lot of low hanging trees and bushes, then a shorter freshwater fishing rod is the best alternative. This is because the chances of getting entangled in the bushes highly decreases. Again, when fishing in rivers, ponds or smaller creeks, you will require a smaller fishing pole. In more open and larger waters, a longer rod is going to allow you cover more area and make longer casts.

When selecting the freshwater fishing rod, another factor to consider is the price range. There exist all kinds of these rods in every price range. You should just decide on what you can afford to pay, and begin searching. There are normally differences in materials that influence the cost. When you are just starting out, then you may decide to go for a cheaper freshwater fishing rod that will serve your purpose perfectly.