Winter Fishing Tips

How different is Florida fishing in the winter compared to fishing in the Spring or Summer?  All things considered, more aspects are alike than different.  However, knowing the differences and how to best adjust your tactics can easily make the difference between coming home empty handed, or coming back with your limit.   A few of the biggest differences is that inshore fish change their locations and feeding habits during the winter.  What may be one of your best spots in the summer months can be empty during the winter.  A bait or lure that was one of your favorite for warmer water temps may be entirely ineffective during the winter.  As for the similarities, you still go out and cast your rod in hopes of landing the biggest fish.  You’re likely to use many of the same knots, same rods, and same reels.  You may wear more layers of clothing, but you’ll still appreciate your polarized sunglasses. There are certain species that are more easily caught during the winter than summer.  One of the most popular offshore examples is the sailfish.  They’re the fastest fish in the ocean, capable of speeds up to 68 miles per hour. Their large size and spirited fight make them a favorite among those seeking a trophy fish.  Stay tuned for an article we have coming up from a sailfishing trip I’ll take this upcoming weekend out of Stuart, Florida.  For pursuing sailfish, your gear would be different than what you would use for catching those winter redfish or trout.

Sailfish

As explained above, what changes most are the tactics and the locations. Otherwise, the battle of you versus the fish remains the same.  It’s more or less common knowledge that the earth is farther from the sun during colder winter months.  The increased distance from the sun causes colder temperatures on land, and correspondingly, colder water temperatures.  The colder water temperatures are what create the need for different tactics and different locations.

NEGATIVE TIDES

During winter, we experience the lowest tides of the year.  The lowest tides come about as a result of the pull of the new and full moon phases.  The ultra low tides are referred to as “negative tides,” negative lows,” or “moon tides.”  These referential names come from having a water level that’s lower than the mean low water mark upon which the relevant charts reflect.  You’ll see all the water disappear from a flat that might have been deep enough to support boat traffic no less than 12 hours earlier.  Seagrass blades lay flat, exposed to the air, while seagulls take advantage of shrimp left high and dry. The negative tides can be a good opportunity to gain a better understanding of the topography associated with your favorite spots.

WHERE TO LOOK

Just because the water up and disappeared from the flat, doesn’t mean your chances of landing anything did too.  Be on the lookout for random troughs, trenches, ditches and depressions.  In other words, look for those deep spots among the otherwise shallow flat.  Especially deep pockets directly next to the flat itself and associated sand bars.  The randomly placed deep water areas form a shallow water winter habitat.  When the negative tides occur, fish occupy these deeper areas.  These deeper areas hold comfortable depths to sustain larger game fish throughout the duration of the negative low tide.  If the deep pocket has a dark bottom, so much the better. Dark colors absorb heat from the sun. The result can be a hole with a sustaining amount of water and a warm bottom to make the space more comfortable.  Temporarily entrapped, some fish will even bite on a slack tide. However, focus on the last half of the outgoing tide and the first of the incoming tide.  Those times tend to be the most dependable.  Hungry game fish await the return of the high tide in these random troughs and potholes, and along the edges of a grassflat.  Casting a Berkley Gulp Bait, like the jerk shad, 3″ shrimp, or mullet , or a live shrimp affixed to a bait hook, into one of these deeper areas, and slowly working the bait, or letting the live shrimp drift across to the edge, is enough to entice a bite.  Flats with large numbers of wading birds such as herons, egrets, wood storks, and roseate spoonbills feeding along the shallow perimeters are indicative of a good spot.  These flats clearly hold an abundance of crustaceans and baitfish. Adjacent deep water is very likely to hold snook, trout and redfish.

Brandgard Sunset

You’ll find similar opportunities at the mouths of coastal arteries. Especially where water is forced under a bridge into a backwater canal area.

Dock light seen from this bridge while fishing during the winter.
Underwater dock light to target during winter fishing.

In the photo below, the docks and boats up on lifts are just past a small bridge.  All the fish that enter this canal area, and all the baitfish that ride the tides in and out of the are, have to use one of a few bridges to make their entrance and exit.  If you can find such bridges around the area you generally Fish, check out the ground structure on a particularly low tide.  More of the sea floor will be exposed.  If you see rocks or an oyster bed near that bridge entrance, the spot is worth trying during a high tide.   Because fish tend to be more lethargic in the winter with the lower water temperatures, focus on baits that either remain affixed to the bottom, or that you can bump slowly along the bottom; with emphasis on the word “slowly.”

MEANS OF APPROACH

If you generally fish from a boat, be prepared to get out of your boat and walk the flats during the winter. When sandbars, or simple lack of water impede your progress, anchor or stake out your boat.  Then proceed on foot.  If access depth allows, tether the boat to your waist towing it along behind you. Doing so will prevent unexpected lengthy returns if you happen to walk farther than you expected.

COLD WATER FISHING CHALLENGES

No doubt, extreme low tides yield opportunities. Yet, there’s always a balance maintained when fishing.  Meaning, though there may be plenty of fish, catching them will be as much of a challenge as catching them during any other time of the year.  The information in this article will help give you an edge; but its actually getting out there and doing it that will teach you the know how you need to be successful.  One thing to keep in mind is the risk that an increase in the water clarity presents.  Winter’s colder water turns gin clear. The clarity occurs because the bacteria that would live in warmer temperatures dies off. Years ago, I remember a guide describing the winter water clarity to me.  He said, “I feel like I’m floating on air…”  Clear water means high visibility – both for you and the fish.

Sarah Dock 2

REMEMBER THIS RULE:  If you can see a fish, he can see you.  In fact, chances are he’s already seen you.  Whether you can put that fish in the boat comes down to a degree of tolerance between you and that fish.  You’re already invading an area as familiar to him as your living room.  How hungry and likely he’ll be to bite is now more of a question than it would’ve been if you’d remained out of sight and avoided making any sounds.  Remember to keep your distance and keep quiet.  Keeping quiet is easier done when you’re walking on the exposed floor of flat than when you’re in a boat.  There are no hatches to close too quickly and loudly.  No deck to drop your rod, smartphone, water bottle, etc., on.  You may have seen flats boats with their decks covered in a type of foam padding. Not only does this enhance your comfort when walking on deck, it also helps to conceal your presence by decreasing the sounds a heavy step makes on the deck.  To make the most of fishing these conditions, you’d do well to use a long rod with braided line to achieve maximum casting distance.  Spinning rods that are 7’6″ and above, rated for 8-17lb test line, and have a fast to extra fast action, work well to make long casts to hungry fish. Long casts are particularly important in the winter because of the increased water clarity. You may also find yourself contending with higher winds during the winter.  The longer rod can add more momentum to your cast; thereby giving you an advantage when you need to cast into the wind.

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WHAT TO FISH WITH

Jigs in the 1/16- to 1/8-ounce range offer great versatility for experimenting with different body shapes and colors. Grub or shad tails work well, as do soft plastic jerkbaits. Darker colors are typically best for mimicking crustaceans, but a pearl, chartreuse or gold body may do the trick on a bright day. For a weedless presentation – often essential in thick grass – rig soft plastics Texas style on 3/0 to 5/0 worm hooks. Hooks with weighted shanks or pinch weights will increase your casting distance when the fish are nervous.

When searching broad areas, a weedless gold or silver spoon is tough to beat – especially on windy days. In a creek’s tidal eddies, slow-sinking plugs resemble disoriented baitfish and topwater lures are generally productive at daybreak or during cloudy conditions. Mullet expand the surface opportunity because slam species become so accustomed to the noise of the school that they’ll tolerate a splashy surface lure. Smaller mullet sometimes end up on the menu, so expect ferocious strikes.

WHAT TO BRING

 

If you know your fishing trip will involve wading, wear wading boots; or a pair of sneakers that fit securely on your feet.  Whatever you wear, you want to be able to tie it securely around your feet.  Otherwise, the seemingly amazing amount of pressure that starts when you step into a mud flat will suck your shoes right off your feet.  Commit to a handful of lures.  If you’re inclined to fish live bait, you can tie a bait bucket to your waist and let that drift behind you.  As for your terminal tackle, limit yourself to one small tray or resealable plastic bag.  You can carry either a small tray or the resealable plastic bag in a Live to Fish dry bag, chest pack, or stuffed inside a shirt pocket.  The advantage of going with the dry bag is that you can clip it to your belt and let it float along side you; without any worry over whether the contents will get wet.  One rod is usually sufficient.  If you can manage carrying two rods, you’ll have another with a different bait option ready.  Carrying a second rod is usually best accomplished through using a wading belt.  You want to look for a wading belt that has loops along the back edge for holding a spare rod. I’ve heard of some do it yourselfers fashioning their own wading belts from using lumbar support belts.  Because you’re wading through the water, your reel is likely to become submerged at one point or another.  You can avoid any damage to the reel by thoroughly rinsing it in fresh water immediately after use.  Your best bet is to not only rinse it, but use a reel best suited to the saltwater environment.  The Penn Slammer III is one such spinning reel made to survive the harsh saltwater environment.  Some other spinning reels are the Shimano Sustain FI series and the Daiwa Saltist.  These spinning reels tend to be more expensive with others, but the old saying “You get what you pay for,” is indeed true.

If you have any questions about any aspect of fishing or boating, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  You can visit us online at www.livetofish.com call us at 844-934-7446, or visit our showroom at: Live to Fish, 9942 State Road 52, Hudson, FL 34669.  In addition to selling fishing and boating equipment, we offer a wide variety of marine electronics and perform installations and warranty repair / service on SIMRAD, Lowrance, and B&G electronics.

THE IMPORTANCE OF OUR MANGROVE HABITATS

No, this isn’t going to be an article containing one or more rather mundane, so called, “fishing tips,” that pretty much everyone who’s ever held a rod, already knows about.  No, what you’ll read won’t sing praises to some new rod or reel.  Live to Fish has more products available than you could ever use, even if you fished every single day for the rest of your life.  Yet, we’re not going to discuss what we have in stock below.  You can come to our new, custom designed showroom, to see what we have at Live to Fish, 9942 State Road 52, Hudson, FL 34669 or visit us online at www.livetofish.com  What this article is about is something more important than the products we sell.  It’s about preserving the resources that allow us to catch the fish that we end up dreaming about later that night.  The fish we take numerous photos of; and which photos end up on social media and shared with friends.  It’s about being stewards of conservation in an effort to ensure that the quality of fishing we have today, doesn’t decline anymore than it already has.  What good does talking about a reel’s advanced drag system do if there’s no fish to test it on?

When it comes to the destruction of natural habitat, we’re our own worst enemies.  Human activity has had the greatest impact on the mangrove ecoregion in Florida. The Lake Worth Lagoon lost 87% of its mangroves in the second half of the 20th century.  Tampa Bay lost over 44% of its wetlands, including mangroves and salt marshes, during the 20th century. Heading to Florida’s East Coast, three-quarters of the mangrove wetlands along the Indian River Lagoon were impounded for mosquito control during the 20th century. As of 2001, natural water flow was being restored to some of the wetlands.

Human activity has impacted the mangrove ecoregion in Florida. While the coverage of mangroves at the end of the 20th century is estimated to have decreased only 5% from a century earlier, some localities have seen severe reductions. Ongoing and planned coastal development in Florida, Belize, the Bahamas, Mexico, and other locations, pose serious threats to mangroves.  The loss of mangrove habitat has a direct negative impact on our fisheries.

Me driving canoe

What this article contains is information about the importance of the habitat mangroves provide for our fisheries. You’ll come away with an understanding of how and why mangroves are many species, including some of our favorites; Tarpon and Snook.  Most people know that fish are often found in and around mangroves, but few know what a critical role they play in our marine ecosystem.  Mangrove forests are home to a large variety of fish, crab, shrimp, and mollusk species. Mangrove forests create fisheries that become an essential source of food for thousands of coastal communities around the world. The forests also serve as nurseries for many fish species, including coral reef fish.

250px-Atlantic_tarpon

Most people are unaware that Tarpon, Megalops Atlanticus, is currently considered a species under threat by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.  Juvenile tarpon depend on mangroves as nursery habitat.  Obviously, if we lose the habitat, the loss of the fishery will follow.  Juvenile tarpon use mangrove wetland habitats that are typically low in oxygen.  The low oxygen reduces the number of predatory fish that would otherwise post a threat to the species.  Mangroves also help provide protection to juvenile tarpon from bird predators. Most juvenile tarpon mangrove habitats have the following characteristics:  a mixture of depths – primarily shallow with deeper pools for the fish to congregate in when water levels decrease; tidal exchange through narrow, shallow, passages that inhibit access by larger predatory fish; freshwater inflow; and generally calm waters.  As Tarpon grow, they widen their use of protected habitats inside lagoons, creeks, canals, sloughs, and coastal bays.  Tarpon happen to share the same nursery habitats as Snook.  By helping to preserve environment for Tarpon, you’re helping Snook too.

Canoe Caught Snook

Tarpon aren’t just one of the most sought-after game fish for their beauty, the challenge in landing them, and their phenomenal aerial shows that often take place after they’re hooked.  They’re also one of the most vital species to numerous Florida economies.

tarpon_mid-atlantic_live_bait04

Next time you’re out on the water, take a moment to appreciate the mangrove shorelines, their inherent natural beauty, and the narrow rivers you see flowing in and out.  Now you can look upon them knowing that you’re looking at the place where some of the largest, and most valuable, sportfish begin their lives.

 

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.

2017 Shimano Sustain FI – ICAST Best Saltwater Reel

ICAST stands for the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades.  It is the world’s largest sportfishing trade show.  ICAST has the reputation as the premier showcase for the latest innovations in fishing gear, boating accessories, and apparel. ICAST is the bedrock of the sportfishing industry.  A successful showing at ICAST is known to result in a successful sales for that manufacturer for the foreseeable future.  Achieving a successful showing at ICAST would certainly be met if your product won a “Best Of,” ICAST show category.  In the category of  “Best New Saltwater Reel” the Shimano Sustain FI.  The Sustain is not a new model from Shimano.  It’s been in production for quite some time.  It’s first major overhaul took place 7 years ago.  In terms of quality and performance, the Shimano Sustain finds itself above the Shimano Stradic but below Shimano’s Stella line.

sustain

The first detail to take notice of is the designation of FI with the 2017 Shimano Sustain.  It’s predecessor was given the FG designation.  The main differences between the new Sustain FI and the former Sustain FG, are the addition of Shimano’s Hagane gear technology.   In addition, the Sustain FI has the G-Free body, X-Protect, Cross Carbon Washers, and the MGL Rotor.

Hagane Body design – The Hagane® body on the Sustain FI results in a rigid reel body.  The more rigid the body of the spinning reel, the less flex that occurs.  Reduced flex in the reel’s body means improved performance overall and less wear on the gears from being driven off center.

 

G-Free Body – The center of the mass of the reel has been moved closer to the rod to improve the reel’s weight and balance.  When you look at the reel, this design change appears as a small hump, or rise in the shape of the body, just beneath the spool.   This design was first utilized in the more expensive Shimano Stella but has now found it’s way into the Shimano Stradic and the Stradic Ci4+.  In the photo below and to the left, you can see the sleight hump referred to above present in the Stradic Ci4+.  Another reel available for sale at Live to Fish.

Ultra-hard Hagane cold forged drive gear – The Hagane precision cold forged gears provide one of the smoothest retrieve experience you will ever have, especially under a load.  The cold forging process uses nearly 200 tons of pressure to instantly create a precision gear without the need to do any cutting.  The advantage of this is that there is less room for error in the manufacturing process.  This proprietary process creates a gear drive system that is both durable and smooth.

Hagane 2

Magnumlite Rotor – Magnumlite is a new material that is even lighter than Ci4 and Ci4+ by as much as 30%.  Shimano uses the Magnumlite material to manufacture the rotor reducing more weight in the overall reel while still providing strength where it is needed.

X-Ship pinion gear – X-Ship is a combination of features that work together to enhance efficiency. By positioning the pinion gear closer to the centerline of the drive gear, more power is transferred from the handle directly to the rotor.  The increased power tranfer is beneficial when fighting fish and when working deep crank baits. The pinion gear is also supported by two Shimano SA-RB roller bearings. Support for the pinion gear in this manner provides more stability, reduces pinion gear twist, and rotor deflection; any or all of which can occur in extreme situations.  Engineering designed to eliminate such deficiencies provides a reel that will continue to feel smooth regardless of the circumstances and regardless of the pressure on the reel from a running fish.

X-Protect water resistance –  Common knowledge for those fishing in and around saltwater is the corrosive effect saltwater has on fishing gear.   X-Protect by Shimano uses a three lipped rubber seal that Shimano describes as a, “Labyrinth design.” Their intent is to make it nearly impossible for water to enter the rel through penetrating this seal.

Cross Carbon Drag system – The cross carbon drag system is fully and easily adjustable.  You have the option to dial in the exact amount of drag needed.  You can reduce the drag to near free spool, up to the reel’s maximum drag capacity.   The Sustain FI 2500/3000 have 20 lbs of drag and the Sustain 4000/5000 have 24 lbs of drag; decent numbers for an inshore reel.

8 S A-RB shielded stainless steel ball bearings –  The 8 ball bearings used on the Sustain are in the same family as the normal ARB bearings.  The exception is that with the additional shielding, the likelihood of any salt, dirt, or water, penetrating and affecting the bearings smoothness is greatly reduced.

Super Stopper II anti-reverse roller bearing – Shimano uses a one-way roller bearing.  Shimano gave this one way roller bearing the term, “Super Stopper II.”  A reel with Super Stopper II allows you to stop reeling and instantly set the hook, with zero back play coming from the reel.

The Shimano Sustain FI is available in 4 sizes. Model 2500, a 3000 that has the same size body as the 2500 but has a deeper cut spool for more line capacity both with 20 lbs of drag capacity.  Then the models 4000 and a 5000 .  The 5000 with a deeper cut spool for additional line capacity; both with 24 lbs of drag capacity.

While the Sustain is a great all around reel that can be used for all of your freshwater fishing, it is especially good for your inshore saltwater fishing.  The Sustain FI is also at home tackling certain smaller offshore species such as dolphin, smaller tuna, bluefish, and stripers.  If you are looking to target larger species such as tarpon, cobia, and bigger billfish, I would recommend that you look at something like the Shimano Saragosa or the Penn Slammer III.

 

Both of these reels are available at Live to Fish, www.livetofish.com, 844-934-7446 or visiting our showroom; Live to Fish, 9942 State Road 52, Hudson, FL 34669.

The additional engineering focused on keeping saltwater out of the reel will benefit any angler.  Moreover, it lends itself to increased longevity with the reel.   All of the enhancements and improvements mean that you will have a reel capable of lasting longer and requiring less maintenance.  Regardless, rinsing your rod and reel with freshwater after every use should never be avoided.

 

 

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.

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