Lew’s Mach Crush Baitcaster from Live to Fish

Mach Crush 2
Lew’s Mach Crush Baitcasting Reel

Lew’s Mach Crush baitcast reels are available from Live to Fish.  You can find them in our brand new showroom and on our website, www.livetofish.com  Whether you’re looking for a right or left handed version of the Lew’s Mach Crush Speed Spool SLP Baitcasting Reel, our price remains a competitive $159.95.   A great deal for a great reel made by one of the top manufacturers in the industry.  The Mach Crush features Lew’s proprietary SLP Super Low Profile compact Speed Spool design, housed in a durable graphite frame with graphite sideplates.  The use of composite materials contributes to the reel’s low 7.3 oz. weight.  Whenever I hear that a reel is, “competitively priced,” or has, “good value,” personally, I get suspicious.  I become suspicious of the reel’s true inherent quality.  It’s just my opinion, but I’d rather pay more for quality fishing gear, take care of it, and know I can rely on it.  I like knowing it will hold it’s value as well as it’s own when a fish is on the line.  There are few reels that don’t break the bank but still offer the quality found in the Lew’s Mach Crush.  I would certainly be the first to point out any such flaws if the truth were otherwise.  The Lew’s Mach Crush performs just as well, if not better, than reels costing over $100.00 more.  The impressive performance comes from a premium 10-bearing system composed of double-shielded stainless-steel bearings.  The significance of the bearings being double shielded lies in the corrosion resistance and overall reel longevity.   Another factor contributing the reel’s capabilities is what Lew’s refers to as their “ZeroReverse,” anti-reverse.  A reel can look great on the outside, but contain substandard components inside.  Fortunately, that’s not the case with Lew’s Mach Crush.  If Lew’s made reels with sub par internal gears, they would never have been around as long as they have.  The main gear and crankshaft are strong solid brass. The 95mm bowed aluminum handle features another unique Lew’s invention: Winn Dri-Tac knobs.  These knobs ensure a no-slip grip in all conditions. Finally, the reel’s drag is Lew’s proven 20-pound rugged carbon drag system.

  • Strong and lightweight, Super Low Profile (SLP) graphite frame and sideplates
  • Machined and double anodized aluminum U-shape 32mm spool
  • High strength solid brass main gear and crank shaft
  • Premium 10-bearing system with double-shielded stainless-steel ball bearings and Zero Reverse® one-way clutch bearing
  • Externally-adjustable Multi-Setting Brake (MSB) dual cast control system utilizing both an external click-dial for setting the magnetic brake, plus 4 individually disengageable disk-mounted internal brake shoes that operate on centrifugal force
  • Double-anodized aluminum spool tension adjustment with audible click
  • Rugged carbon fiber drag system, provides up to 20 lbs. drag power
  • Anodized bowed aluminum 95mm handle with oversized Winn® Dri-Tac handle knobs
  • Anodized aluminum bowed drag star with audible click adjustment
  • Quick release sideplate lock lever
  • Zirconia line guide
  • External lube port

 HISTORY OF THE LEW’S COMPANY:

Lew Childre was said to be a man ahead of time.  Affable and outgoing, Lew easily made friends.  He had a way of expressing himself that compelled people to listen.  His passion for fishing flourished on the Gulf Coast of Alabama.  Lew married Vivian; who went by the nickname, “Bebe.”  Life wasn’t easy for Lew and his family, as they encountered numerous trials and tribulations during their early years of marriage.  Their difficulties were not lessened by the fact that they were working to raise two young sons named Craig and Casey. Lew first attempted to start a business selling shrimp as bait to fishermen.  That evolved into what became a small tackle shop.  Lew’s interest in making fishing poles is said to have come about during a time spent in his tackle shop.  Lew was retrieving a bamboo pole for a customer.  He was disappointed with the inconsistency from one pole to the next. This discrepancy led to a moment of reflection.  A moment that triggered his insatiable desire to build better fishing products than anyone else.

Lew, Bebe, Craig and Casey were beginning to realize their lifelong dreams were coming true when a nightmare hit. Lew, a pilot with his own sea plane and countless hours accumulated from flying to favorite fishing spots across the south, was killed in a crash on July 26, 1977. His two passengers survived; his son Casey and Lew’s grandson; Casey’s son.  Fortunately, by 1977, Lew’s commitment to quality was deeply embedded in every member of his company. Bebe, Craig and Casey forged forward with the same faith and knowledge that Lew had instilled in them for product development from design to final marketing.

40 Years of Innovation:

Over the 40-year-period, ranging from 1949 to 1989, the family-run business made many major contributions that would change forever the face of recreational sport fishing.  It was in 1989 that the Childre family licensed their name to Browning.  Beyond the speed stick and speed spool, additional introductions they were involved in included single-foot guide frames, aluminum oxide guides, unique spinning rod handles, Speed Sticker® worm hooks, Magic Carpet trolling motor, non-roller straddle-mounted trolling guides, Fuji FPS reel seat, V-shaped casting spool, SIC (silicon carbide) guide rings, Speed Spin® spinning reels, Speed Lock® reel seat/foregrip, telescopic graphite Speed Sticks, Fuji “V” frame guides, luminous tip downrigger rod, Hardloy guide rings, graphite Tennessee spinning handle, fused solid tip graphite rods, Boron Speed Sticks, graphite Bream Buster, Zirconia pawls, small body/large spool spinning reels, “Power Up” drag system and “Soft Trigger” handle system

Today, the Lew’s brand and its many well-known trademarks are under the ownership of Peak Rock Capital and longtime Childre family friend Lynn Reeves. Reeves has made the promise and commitment to return the Lew’s name to its place of prominence in the industry, keying on the same principles by which Lew Childre originally founded the company … building innovative products that are lighter, faster and stronger.

 

How to Properly Texas Rig

The Texas rig is arguably the most popular soft plastic rig used today. It can be used in freshwater as well as saltwater applications with many different kinds of soft plastics. I researched the inventor of the Texas Rig and finding a consensus is difficult. About the only thing we know for sure is that it was invented in Texas. Some say it was a guide down there that came up with the idea although his name was not saved for posterity. It’s too bad because that person would have definitely gone down in history as a fishing legend.

Being weedless, the Texas rig allows you to fish a soft plastic bait in and around weeds, brush and other types of cover while being able to stay virtually free of getting hung up. While it was first used primarily with worms it is now used with countless soft plastic baits in many different applications. You can fish a worm slowly along the bottom. You can pitch and flip a creature bait around cover, or burn a soft swimbait like a Gambler EZ through the Kissimmee grass in lakes in Florida. In saltwater, you can use the Texas Rig to fish a fluke or artificial shrimp. It is truly one of the most versatile rigs you can throw and even though it is decades old, there are still many anglers that don’t know how to rig it correctly.  In this video, we show you how to properly Texas rig a worm but remember that you can use this same rig with different baits. Give it a try the next time you are hitting the lake or skinny waters of the Gulf of Mexico and let us know how it fares for you. If you’re interested in purchasing the Trapper Tackle hooks mentioned in this video, click here.

By: Founder of Freshwaternation.com and Live to Fish Team Member: Dan Doyle

New 2017 Shimano Curado K from Live to Fish

It’s great when a fishing tackle manufacturer makes a product and completely gets it right. Unfortunately, a perfect relationship combining engineering, design, performance, and what emerges as the final product, doesn’t happen as often as consumers would like.  Fortunately, Shimano did, “get it right,” so to speak, with the Curado baitcasting reel.  The Curado has gained faithful fans and diehard enthusiasts. Given the legacy inherent within the Curado model line, there are fishermen who have literally been fishing with different versions of the Shimano Curado for decades.  Some brief history on the different versions of the Shimano Curado is noted below:

1992 Curado 100,200 (5:1) 2 bearings
1993 Curado 100A, 200A (6:1) 5 bearings
1994 Curado 200B (6.2:1) 5 bearings
1999 Curado 200B5 (5:1) 5 bearings
2001 Curado 200BSF (6.2:1), Curado 100B (6.2:1), Curado 200B38 (3.8:1) 5 bearings
2006 Curado 200DHSV (7:1), 200DPV (5:1) 6 bearings, 100D/DSV (6.2:1) 5 bearings
2007 Curado 300D (6.2:1) 6 bearings
2008 Curado 200E7 (7:1) 200E5 (5:1), 300E (6.2:1) 7 bearings

Before we get into the 2017 Curado K, some history concerning the Shimano company may be of interest.  If not, simply scroll down.

SHIMANO COMPANY HISTORY:

Most people are familiar with the Shimano name when it comes to fishing reels.  However, the company’s history may not be as well known.  In February 1921, Shozaburo Shimano opened Shimano Iron Works in Higashi Minato in Sakai City.  He was 26 at the time.  The location for his new company was a then demolished celluloid factory.  The monthly rent was 5 yen.  In 1921, that is the equivalent of $553.66.  The space measured no more than 430 square feet.  Shozaburo didn’t even own his own lathe.  Through a friendship with the owner of Sano Iron works, he borrowed the only lathe Shimano had at the time.  For the next 49 years, Shimano focused their manufacturing efforts on bicycle parts.  Shimano didn’t launch it’s Fishing Tackle Division until 1970.

Shozaburo Shimano:

Shozaburo Shimano 2

In 1978, the Bantam 100 and 100ex were the first reels produced under the Shimano name.  These reels were produced for the Lew Childre, Co.; more commonly known today as Lew’s. In 1989, the Childre family licensed the Lew’s brand to Browning.  Today, the Lew’s brand and its many well-known trademarks are under the ownership of Do Outdoors Inc., and longtime Childre family friend Lynn Reeves.  Here at Live to Fish, we proudly carry a number of Lew’s fishing reels, including the Lew’s TLCP1XH Team Lew’s Custom Pro.

In 1979, Shimano expanded their lineup with reels such as the 200, 300, 400, 500, and 10ex.  Most of these models continued until the early 1980’s.  Shimano needed a new price point in their lineup of reels, so they re-branded the old Curado into the Chronarch and cut the cost of the Curado.  The Shimano Curado became the middle man between the Chronarch and Citica.

THE NEW 2017 SHIMANO CURADO K

Curado K

The newest generation of Shimano’s Curado has a completely different shape from previous models.   I’ve personally owned and fished the previous Curado model in the way of a Shimano Curado 300E.  I bought the 300E after I’d purchased a Daiwa Lexa 300.  The Lexa 300 failed on me within the first month of ownership.  Daiwa appears to have fixed earlier problems with their Lexa line of baitcasters, but their first versions were not nearly as well made as the Curado 300 series.  In the race to create a large capacity, low profile, baitcasting reel, Shimano did a good job with the 300E.  What it lacked in drag power with 15 lbs of maximum drag, the 300 size Curado made up for it in nearly every other specification.  I used it for fishing in saltwater for Redfish, Snook, and Trout.  The Curado 300E was well suited to the saltwater environment.

Despite having a more compact size than the 300 series, the Curado K is no exception in terms of durability and reliability.  Shimano manufactured the new Curado K with both bass and inshore saltwater anglers in mind.  The reel features improved spool access and six shielded anti – rust ball bearings to help thwart corrosion.  The Curado series from Shimano has been one of the most popular reels for bass and inshore anglers looking for a reel they can depend on; day in and day out.  A reel that delivers on performance and features without breaking the bank.  The K series keeps that tradition alive, and goes with a much stealthier looking matte black finish than the previous green colored Curado.   In comparing the new Curado K to the most recent model, the new 2017 Curado K makes long casts are more effortless.  Short pinpoint casts seem more controlled with this new reel.  The new 2017 Shimano Curado K   is available for purchase through our website or by visiting our showroom located at: Live to Fish, 9942 State Road 52, Hudson, FL 34669 (844) 934-7446.

MAJOR DIFFERENCES IN THE NEW SHIMANO CURADO K

The Curado K series feature Shimano’s latest baitcast reel technological advancements. Such advancements include uniquely smooth, highly efficient, and decidedly durable MicroModule gearing.  A technology explained in further detail below.  The Curado K comes in gear rations up to 8.5:1.  There are a total of six new Curado 200K reels.  A 6.2:1, 7.4:1, and 8.5:1 gear retrieve ratios.  All models are available in both right and left hand retrieve. When compared with the previous generation, the Curado K styling is quite noticeably more compact. The first major upgrade over the previous  version is the smaller overall size.  Shimano managed to achieve manufacturing a more compact version without sacrificing any capacity. Manufacture of the Curado K starts with a solid aluminum frame to keep things pinned together; eliminating reel twist.  The handle side sideplate gets an upgraded Ci4 sideplate.  The Ci4 material is lighter, yet more rigid.  It’s a proprietary carbon composite material Shimano uses in a number of their reels. The non-handle sideplate is made from more traditional graphite material.  Under the non – handle sideplate, you’ll find access to Shimano’s new SVS Infinity centrifugal brake system.  This is the same system first introduced on the much more expensive Shimano Aldebaran reels.  The SVS Infinity centrifugal brake system offers both internally adjustable brakes, and a broader range of micro-adjustment capability with the external dial. The inclusion of this braking system on the new Curado K is one of the biggest upgrades over the previous model.   A wider range of adjustments allows anglers to more accurately dial in the amount of  cast control specific to the weight and type of lures being used.

The next major change and advantage found in the Curado K is it’s MicroModule gearing. MicroModule gearing is basically a system involving a larger main gear with a greater number of teeth, but that are each smaller in size than the teeth in the previous version.  The result is a system that feels smoother and provides greater efficiency in terms of transferring power to the retrieve.  By allowing more teeth to contact each other, the gear train becomes more efficient. Precise engagement between the teeth means a smoother power transmission without reducing the strength of the reel.  The engagement occurs between the drive and pinion gears; giving you a more connected feel. MicroModule gearing is one of Shimano’s newest gear technologies.

SVS Infinity is a centrifugal braking system, with brake weights that use inner friction against the raceway during the cast to control spool speed. Put simply, the SVS Infinity system provides easy-to-manage, consistent spool control and brake force. The latest generation of SVS Infinity allows for a wider adjustment with the brakes. The new design reduces vibration and maintenance. The result is a smoother and longer cast.

Shimano uses their simple yet effective drag system in the Curado K.  The drag system consists of Carbon Drag washers on both sides of the internal brass gearing.  Shimano rates the Curado K with 11 lbs of drag.  However, some users have conducted controlled drag tests wherein 12 lbs were achieved.

Reduced frame size to allow for a more comfortable feel in the hand. The 10% reduction in both length and width make the reel easier to palm and reduces fatigue.  Demand for lighter, smaller, yet more capable tackle would be the underlying impetus for Shimano’s decision to reduce the size of the Curado.  You’ll find that the the B side (palm side) plate is now attached to the reel.  No more swinging open like previous versions.  That is more of an advantage than some may realize.  I’ve personally accidentally opened the previous Curado model to watch my spool fall out and sink.  Fortunately, I was in no more than 4 feet of water at the time.

FINAL SPECIFICATIONS:

6.2:1/26 Inches Per Crank
7.4:1/ 30 Inches Per Crank
8.5:1/ 36 Inches Per Crank

11 pounds max drag

90mm Handle Length

6+1 bearings (4 S-ARB, 2 SUS and Roller bearing)

Aluminum frame, CI4+ A-side, Graphite B-side

7.6 ounces (standard and HG)
7.8 ounces (XG)

Visit us in person at our address above, or online at www.livetofish.com to order a new Curado K today.  We have knowledgeable staff on hand to answer on your fishing gear and technique related questions, regardless of whether you’re fishing in freshwater or saltwater.

Recover & Recycle Monofilament with Live toFish

Live to Fish has teamed up with the Florida Wildlife Commission to recover and recycle monofilament fishing line. Monofilament line can last hundreds of years before breaking down. Improperly discarded monofilament line causes devastating problems for marine life and the environment in general. Marine mammals, sea turtles, fish, and birds can become injured from entanglements, and some marine life go as far as to ingest the line, often dying as a result. Human divers and swimmers are also at risk.

The Monofilament Recovery & Recycling Program (MRRP) is a statewide effort that encourages monofilament recycling through a network of drop-off locations. This network of drop off locations is an efficient way to move large volumes of unwanted monofilament line, it’s free and available to the public at multiple locations including Live to Fish’s retail store in Hudson, Florida.

Please take the extra time to discard your monofilament line, it’s easy and it can make a huge difference in preserving our marine environments for generations to come. Live to Fish will gladly accept your unwanted fishing line and ensure that it gets disposed of properly. In the event that you are unable to find a drop-off location near you, feel free to mail your unwanted fishing line to us. Our store location, hours of operation, and mailing address are listed here.

Fishing Reel Drag Significance

 

By Live to Fish Team Member: Josh Stewart

Every fisherman can relate to that moment when a fish makes that first strike.  It’s completely and utterly exhilarating and easily one of the most intensely exciting moments.  The strike is one of the best experiences anyone can have in life, period.  For the fishing enthusiast, simply reading those few sentences likely caused memories of strikes in the past.  Perhaps your pulse rate quickened a bit.  Memories of large snook, trout, or redfish, exploding to the surface to smash your topwater!  Perhaps thinking of the first strike invoked memories of occasions when a live bait was out and your rod suddenly doubled over; the drag screaming.  The level of excitement is one element that brings us back to the water with rod in hand, time and time again. It’s what keeps us throwing cast after cast.  Sometimes late into the night, hoping for that strike.  It’s what gets you out of bed at ungodly hours like 3:30 or 4:00 AM in preparation to be on the water before sunrise.  The passion is what can result in having more fishing gear than some of the tackle shops you go to.  Personally, I just bought a new tackle bag to fit my gear in.  I went from a normal, respectably sized soft tackle box, to a duffel bag large enough to pack a year’s worth of clothes in.  What’s worse?  I think nothing of it.   The desire is what can actually cause thoughts such as, “if I just eat just spaghetti for a week, I’ll be able to afford that reel…,” and not have the least bit of concern over whether you’re thinking is rational.

Once the fish takes your bait, the tug of war begins.  Fighting your fish gives rise to the moment of truth.  You’ll find out whether you tied your knots correctly.  Whether you used heavy enough line and leader.  Whether you chose the right rod.  You’ll also discover quite a lot about a very important component of your fishing reel –  the drag.   The drag is simply a pair of friction plates inside of fishing reels. Drag systems are a mechanical means of applying pressure to to act as a friction brake. Drags supply resistance to your line after hook-up to aid in landing the fish without the line breaking. When you take your rod’s ability to flex, the technique applied, and your drag, and combine them together, it’s possible to land a fish that weighs more than the pound test line you’re using.

If your fish pulls hard enough, your fishing reel’s drag will be engaged.  If the drag is overpowered, your spool will begin to rotate backwards.  By rotating backwards, your spool is turning in the opposite direction it would be if you were reeling in.  Essentially, your reel’s drag system is letting line out.  On a baitcaster, your spool is spinning in the same direction it would be if you were casting.  On a spinning reel, the only time your spool will rotate is when line is pulled off by a fish overpowering your drag.  A degree of resistance to use against a large and strong fish  is a benefit.  If your reel did not have a drag system, or if you cranked your drag down so tightly that you effectively cancelled out your drag system, the most likely result would be a broken line.  The exception would be if you were fishing with a pound test fishing line far above the weight of the fish you caught.  A common practice among bass fisherman is to tighter their reel’s drag down all the way, then yank the bass out of the weeds and other vegetation as quickly as possible.  One way to think of your drag is like a bungee cord.  When you see people jump from great heights strapped to a bungee cord, they don’t suddenly stop when the length of the bungee cord is reached.  There’s a stretch that occurs; resulting in the person bouncing up and down for a while.  Your fishing reel drag is not a bungee cord, but it will let line out when a fish is making a run for it.

What are those, “friction plates,” mentioned above made of?  Today, discs used in a reel’s drag system can be made from a number of different materials.  Fishing reel manufacturers have taken it upon themselves to mix varied materials together in a proprietary blend.  There are also aftermarket drag washers.  Carbon fiber is a popular material.  It’s not uncommon for people to change out their drag washers.  I recently purchased a Shimano Stradic 5000FJ.  The reel was used and did not look like it had received the best treatment.  I unscrewed the drag tension knob on the front of the spinning reel.  I removed the odd shaped retaining pin that holds the drag washers in place.  Turning the spool upside down, I shook the drag washers out.  What didn’t fall out was later removed with a small screw driver.  The reel’s drag system was pretty much shot.  The felt washers that were installed were essentially rotted to nothing.  I purchased carbon fiber drag washers for that model reel.  Replacing drag washers is probably one of the easiest repairs or maintenance duties you can do yourself.  It’s also relatively inexpensive.  Most carbon fiber drag washers can be purchased for less than $10.00.  Pay attention to the sequence in which the metal plates separate each drag washer if you’re going to replace what’s in your reel now.  You’ll also want to determine whether you need to apply drag grease to the washers to ensure it functions properly.  If you have a rather popular spinning reel, there’s likely to be a video on YouTube showing you how to do it.

Drag Washers
Carbon Fishing Reel Drag Washers

Drags used to be made of one of two materials; either felt or cork.  Felt is a fibrous, seemingly resilient material.  Hence, it became a material used in fishing reel drags.  You will still find some reels today using felt or cork, but it’s rare.  Felt is not a particularly good choice as a drag material; especially with what other options exist.  How it used to work as a drag disc material was that it was kept oiled.  The oil prevented the felt washers from burning up inside the drag stack and allowed the system to ‘slip’ under pressure. The problem was, after a period of time, the oil would burn off.  That’s where the problems started.  When a fish runs, a great deal of heat is generated – that’s what a drag system does – develop friction and therefore heat; just like your car’s brakes. When the heat is prolonged with felt washers, it will actually melt the felt; turning it in a plastic dust and leaving you with a drag system that is metal on metal friction.  Not what you want to have happen.  The result would be seized up drag, followed by a lost fish, broken line, possibly a reel that is so badly damaged it’s time for a new one, and most certainly one upset angler.  If you have a reel with felt drag washers, the felt washers should be checked regularly.  They can become compromised because of all the pressure and heat. When compressed, felt drag washers can’t hold the oil they need to keep doing what they do.  If you’ve ever heard the tip, “don’t store your reels with the drag tight,” this is why.  In order to know where to look to determine if you have felt drag washers, unscrew the drag tightening knob at the top of the spool on your spinning reel.   Felt drag washers will appear as shown in the photos below.

dragpieces
Felt Drag System Removed from Reel

Spinning Reel Felt Drag Washers

Fishing reel drags have come a long way over the years.  Thinking back to what fishing must have been like before today’s engineering efforts have paid off in terms of fishing reel drag systems, Ernest Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea comes to mind.  Written in 1951 and published in 1952, it was Hemingway’s last full – length work published during his lifetime.  Though the tale is an extreme example of what fishing without a drag would be like, it does provide a basis upon which one can learn to appreciate the systems available now.


If you have questions about what fishing rod, fishing reel, line, leader, or any other gear is right for you, please contact us.  You can contact us through our website or email fishing questions directly to Josh Stewart at josh@buydmi.com.  Perhaps you’re trying to buy fishing gear as a gift.  Someone in your family loves fishing, but you don’t know what to get them because it seems that they either have everything, or you don’t know enough about fishing tackle to make a selection.  No problem!  We’ll walk you through ideas and provide you with some options to consider.  Visit: livetofish.com

Effectively Fish Far and Wide

Inevitably, every fishing trip ends.  What happens in between separates the good trips from the bad.  The memorable moments from the mundane.  One of our goals at Live to Fish is to ensure your fishing experiences that would otherwise be ordinary or dull are a thing of the past.  We’re happy to share our knowledge and resources.  With the benefit of our expertise, you stand a much better chance of creating some of the best  fishing memories you’ll have.  Though we can’t improve relations with your in – laws, we can help ensure you end up with more fish on the end of your line.

 

Common knowledge provides that our planet is mostly covered in water.  For fishing purposes, that means you’ve got a lot of ground… er, I mean water to cover.  For most of us, fishing trips don’t happen every day.  When they do, the duration is limited.  In order to make the most of that limited time, some suggestions are provided for you to consider.

Backwater estuary 2015Your fishing trip plan (float plan) should involve hitting several very specific spots.  Sure, you can just drift a flat and see what hits.  You can also enter an airport and buy a ticket to a location based on nothing other than how soon the next plane is taking off.  The point is, most people invest some degree of pre-planning.  If one of  your proposed spots is particularly expansive, you’re going to want to find out if fish are there as quickly as possible.  Yes, fishing is about relaxing, slowing down, and simply spending time on the water.  An article about finding fish quickly seems inconsistent with establishing the leisurely pace most associate with fishing.   A pace some believe should be the rule, rather than the exception, when on the water.   At Live to Fish, we understand and encourage adopting a laid-back attitude on the water.  We recognize the importance of reconnecting with friends and family.

Backwater creek 2015

Now, with that issue put to rest, who said, “reconnecting,” or, “leisure time,” doesn’t involve putting as many fish in the boat as possible?  No one!  Certainly no one at Live to Fish.  We’re out on the water for comradery.  We’re out there for the opportunity to teach a young son, daughter, or grandchild the benefits of fishing.  In case you’re wondering, as a matter of fact, yes… we have been aboard when the fishing slows down, and inevitably heard someone make the hackneyed, thoughtless remark, “that’s why they call it fishing and not catching.”  Ugh….That’s a pet peeve around here.  Call it what you want.  We leave the dock to catch.

So, the question becomes: what’s the fastest way to explore a large body of water to confirm the presence of fish?

If you’re offshore, high speed trolling is one option.  High speed trolling would be dragging your baits while your boat is going between 14 and 20 knots.  Such speeds result in covering more distance than proceeding at traditional trolling speeds.  Keep in mind that those high speeds are only going to attract certain predators.  Specifically, those predatory game fish willing and capable of attacking a bait moving that fast.  One such predatory gamefish is a wahoo.  Wahoo swim at speeds that exceed 60 mph.  So, trolling at 14, 16 and even 20 knots has become commonplace through using techniques developed by Capt. Ron Schatman, winner of a dozen major Bahamas wahoo tournaments over five years.  High speed trolling is not only limited to targeting certain species, it’s also a method of fishing limited by weather conditions.  No one aboard will be too thrilled about proceeding at 18 knots in windy weather and a sea state consisting of a 6’ foot chop.

If you’re inshore, consider using search baits.  A search bait refers to a type of lure you can work quickly and effectively over a large body of water.  Three of the most effective are: crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and topwater lures.  Certain jerk baits also fall into the search bait category.  When prospecting with search baits, you’ve got a good chance of getting the fish to show themselves.  Once you’ve nailed down a location, you can switch to more finesse style baits. deep-diver-crankbait

To help you paint a mental picture, imagine the following scenario:   You’ve just motored behind a mangrove wall.  This living wall of mangroves is high, thick, and about a half mile long.  A thing of beauty in and of itself, behind the wall exists a superb grass flat.  The mangroves do an excellent job of hiding this gem of a fishing spot.  You found it by accident one day about two years ago.  Since then, you’ve disclosed it to no more than one other fishing buddy.  Though you can’t imagine being the only one that knows about this spot; thus far you’ve never seen another boat here during any of your visits.

You’re careful with your approach.  At just over 100 yards away, you cut your engine.  You cover the remaining distance with your trolling motor.  You don’t dare run your trolling motor at a speed above a 2 or 3.  Particularly wary redfish will spook from the sound of trolling motor being run at high speed.  Perched on the bow with your rod in one hand, you’re panning from left to right; thanking god some optometrist figured out that polarized lenses in sunglasses would benefit fisherman.

It’s been a beautiful morning.  The seas are flat clam.  The run from the dock to this spot was like crossing glass.   The tide has been coming in for the past few hours.  High tide is only about a half hour away.  From experience, you know this spot is most productive right when the tide changes.  There’s something deeply satisfying about knowing you’re in the right place at the right time.  That sensation is what you’re experiencing now.

When the tide shFlatsifts to outgoing, baitfish are flushed from the estuaries that surround this flat.  Snook and Trout await these baitfish.  You watch the ever-changing imagery beneath your boat slowly pass by.   It’s mesmerizing.  The water is crystal clear.  Kind of like floating on air; and only about 4 feet deep.  Rich, thick turtle grass covers the bottom with intermittent patches of white sand.  A small sea turtle just swam off and away from your boat.

Just like a golfer doesn’t play a round of golf with just one club, you don’t go out on the water with just one rod.  Your favorite rod and reel combos are aboard.  Rigged up and ready in your rod holders.

Your mind begins to drift… You want one of those Minn Kota® iPilot trolling motors; or at least one you can steer with a remote control that hangs around your neck.  Barely audible, a sigh escapes as you think about the latest saltwater fishing technology. . . Then you snap out of that ungrateful reverie.  Fortunately, you’re quick to realize you have more to be grateful for than you’re acknowledging.  You laugh to yourself, knowing you’ll never believe you have enough fishing gear.  You continue your approach while remaining as stealthy as possible.

You’re not certain where the fish are.  You just know they’re in the general vicinity.  You unhook your lure from the hook keeper.  It hangs free at the end of the leader, slowly swinging back and forth about two to three feet from your rod tip.  Yep.  You’re ready to start making casts.

The scenario described above is one in which use of a search bait would be beneficial.  Whether you’re making casts from the bow of your boat, or casting from land, the best way to work a lure while using it as a search bait is to, “fan cast,” the area.  This simply means to cast from one side to the other, throwing your lure in a spot slightly farther away from the last place you threw it out each time.   Once you reach the other side, you move and fan cast another area.  When you’re where fish the fish are, using this method will result in your lure meeting up with one of their mouths soon enough.

At Live to Fish, we’re passionate about much more than just the sport of fishing.  We admit to being obsessive over how our business is run.  We want to ensure that each and every customer finds dealing with us to be easy, enjoyable, and productive.  If our showroom in Hudson, Florida is too far, check out our website at www.livetofish.com   You can contact us through the website.  We’ll gladly answer any questions you have.  Should you want an item you don’t see on our webpage, LET US KNOW!  We take pride in being able to find the products our customers want at competitive prices.  Although we can’t guarantee we’ll find anything you may ask, we can guarantee that if anyone can find your product, it’s us.  What do you have to lose?  Looking forward to hearing from you – Live to Fish

Stilt House Photo

Proper Fishing Reel Drag Settings

 

By Live to Fish Team Member: Josh Stewart

Fishing reels have come a long way in the past 10 to 15 years but the basic engineering concepts remain the same. Progressive changes are seen in terms of the materials used and the construction methods employed with advanced materials. Engineering, design, and material improvements keep your reels working longer, harder, and more smoothly.  With advancements regarding a fishing reel’s drag, bigger fish are capable of being safely landed with smaller reels. By, “safely landed,” I’m referring to fishing with equipment properly suited to the species you’re after. If you choose to chase down a large Tarpon with an unreasonably underweight light tackle spinning outfit, chances are you’ll lose that silver king.  However, if you were to pursue that Tarpon on such light tackle while your buddy drives the boat chasing after it on an open flat, you’re creating conditions that will lead to a battle that could easily last for hours.  An unnecessarily prolonged battle is what becomes unsafe. Fish mortality rates dramatically increase when the battle to bring them boat side is prolonged.  If you know you’re going to be practicing catch and release, make sure you don’t cancel out the main purpose of releasing the fish by engaging in conduct that renders its likelihood of survival remote.

Setting Your Reel Drag Properly

Now we’ll move on with discussing your fishing reel drag setting. Whether you’re fishing with a spinning or baitcasting reel, the reel has what is called a drag. When you hook a fish, they’re going to make a run for it.  When they do, your drag works to provide resistance. You can compare a fishing reel’s drag to the brakes in your car. Both work with friction to either decrease the speed of your car or slow the run of a hooked fish. The study of friction is a complex science called tribology. Without a drag to provide the proper degree of resistance, you’d hook that fish, they’d make a run for it, and you’d likely lose it.  If you set your drag too tight, you’re likely to lose the fish due to your line snapping or a knot failing.  Set your drag too lose and, depending on the species, you could either get, “spooled,” meaning, the fish swims off with all your new and expensive fishing line; or the fish swims for cover.  If the fish makes it to cover, which consists of things like mangroves, dock pilings, weeds, tree trunks, etc., then your line is likely to snap as it’s pulled hard against one of these objects.  There’s an exception to the above general rules for bass fisherman.  Bass fisherman have the option of hooking their bass, cranking down the drag on 20lb test line, and pulling the bass out of whatever cover they hooked him in. That technique doesn’t work for people after cobia, snook, redfish, sharks, and other pelagic species. What’s the correct amount of drag pressure to have? Technically, you’re supposed to set your drag to 25% of the breaking strength of your line. If you’re using 20 lb. test line, 20 divided by 4 = 5 lbs.  The only way to accurately determine if you’ve set your drag to 5 lbs. is to use a scale.  Though a scale will give you accurate feedback, I’ve never seen anyone actually go through the process of measuring their drag setting with a scale; nor do I even know anyone with such a scale.  The most direct and simple way to determine if you’ve set your drag properly is to gauge how difficult it is to pull the line off your reel with your hand against the drag.  By, “against the drag,” I mean with your bail closed.  You want it to be hard to pull the line, but not too hard to where pulling it causes the line to cut into your fingers, or is otherwise uncomfortable.  If you can pull the line off with complete ease, it’s way too loose.  Remember, you can always adjust your drag settings during the fight with the fish.

How Reel Drag Systems Work

Some of you may wonder how a fishing reel’s drag tension is created?  Most fishing reel drag systems work in the same manner as far as the fact that friction is used as the method to produce resistance.  A fishing reel’s drag usually consists of two or more discs, also called drag washers, working face to face.  These discs are made of material that will provide resistance when they’re moving against each other.  One of the oldest materials used for a fishing reel’s drag is cork.  Some companies still use cork today.  In principle, the tighter the two discs are pushed together (through the drag adjustment), the more resistance you create, thereby requiring more pull to cause the line to slip from the spool.  Reels vary in the different washer systems used and in the material the drag washers are made from. When you tighten your drag down, you’re increasing the pressure between the drag washers. Loosen your drag, and you’ll loosen the pressure between the drag washers.

Questions on Setting Your Reel Drag?

If you’re unsure of what type of reel and drag to use, please don’t hesitate to contact us, or comment below with questions. We’re happy to help make any recommendations you need.