Fishing Forecast: Now is the time to upgrade your tackle

By now, you’ve probably wet a line a time or two and found that perhaps your neglected tackle mainte

By now, you’ve probably wet a line a time or two and found that perhaps your neglected tackle maintenance on your rods, reels and lures has taken its toll.

And I’ll also bet there have been some big fish lost due to brittle old line on your reels since last season. The season is still young, and there’s plenty of time to check out what’s new in angling equipment to add to your enjoyment and catching. Remember, fishing is fun, but catching is more fun.

One of the best ways to start off a new fishing season is with a new rod and reel. This season, Shimano has a winning spinning combination that can be used for all our freshwater game fishing needs, and it’s very reasonably priced. The rod is the seven-foot Scimitar IM-6 graphite series, designed to haul in those big pike, tiger muskies, walleyes or even our Hudson River stripers. It’s a durable, lightweight rod with Fuji aluminum oxide guides, comfortable cork handle and hook keeper, and it’s extremely sensitive.

If you have never had or used a seven-foot rod, it’s time you did. You’ll be very glad you switched when that big northern pike grabs your 10-inch shiner/sucker and heads for the nastiest cover he can find. This is the rod to have in your hands when this hookup happens. It’ll definitely allow you to be in total command of your catch. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $42.

Now, a rod is only as good as the reel it’s matched with, and the Shimano Sahara Model SH4000FD is the perfect match for the seven-foot Scimitar, and will provide the versatility and durability needed to land larger game fish. Other features include a fast 5.7:1 gear ratio with propulsion line management, spool lip and a redesigned bail trip that will eliminate those nasty twists and tangles spinning reels sometimes get. The reel has graphite sideplates and rotor and an alum­inum spool to keep the total weight down to just 13.9 ounces. Line capacity is 200 yards of 10-pound test. MSRP is $80 (

And speaking of line, don’t be one of those anglers who buys a quality outfit like this and then fills the reel spool with cheap discount line. Who would want to take a chance on losing the fish of a lifetime and/or a $7 lure because the reel was spooled with a $1.59 bargain-basement monofilament? There are two new line choices that will comp­lement this combination rod and reel and provide the peace of mind and performance necessary to land a trophy — both are products of Spiderwire.

The first is EZ Braid, a high-tech Super­line that’s smooth for longer casts and is super thin in diameter, but maintains superior strength and sensitivity for big fish, light bites. It comes in a moss green color and 110-yard filler spools in line sizes 10-, 15-, 20-, 30- and 50-pound test. The 50-pound line has a diameter equal to that of 12-pound-test monofil­ament. MSRP is $10.

The other choice is Stealth Camo, which has the manageability of monofilament with an ultra-thin diameter. It also offers superior strength without giving up sens­itivity, and with its Teflon-treated microfibers, it’s quiet, glides off the spool and slides through the guides effortlessly due to its round shape. And because of its shape, it also reduces backlashes and does not dig into itself on the spool like flat lines. It’s offered in 125-yard filler spools in 6-, 8-, 10-, 15-, 20-, 30-, 50-, 65- and 80-pound test. The 80-pound has a diameter equal to 17-pound test monofil­ament. MSRP ranges from $14 to $20 (


I’m sure you’ve heard many fishing lures are designed to catch fishermen, not necessarily fish. Well, here are a few good-looking lures that will catch both. Over the past decade, the craftsmanship in fishing lures has really taken lure design to another level. Major lure manufacturers have used the talents and knowledge of their pro staff anglers who know what works and passed it on to the everyday angler.

I’m sure you’ve noticed how realistic some of these lures look, and when in the water, how realistically they imitate the baitfish. Here are a few of them that caught my eye, and will also catch fish for me this season.

When I saw the new Sebile Lures hanging on a peg board in the tackle shop, I was immediately drawn to them. The one I liked was a part of their Evidence Series, and called the ACAST Magic Swimmer. With a very life-like appearance, it’s been designed to give a natural, free swimming motion, and has built-in sound chambers that emit a fish-attracting chattering sound. You can swim or twitch it at various speeds, and it will always maintain its balance and tantalizing action that gives off intense vibrations and a fluid motion that will trigger reactive strikes.

It comes in sizes from 3.5 inches to a nine-inch jointed model, and has an MSRP range of $17 to $43 (www.seb­

There were also a number of new and good-looking choices in the soft artificial bait category, but my favorites were the Northland Tackle Company’s two new add­itions to their Slurpies Swim Shiner series — the Baby Bass and Emerald shiners. Last year, swim baits were hot sellers and catchers, and this year, they should continue their “fish catching.” This new Slurpie is hand-sculptured with an internally weighted life-like shiner minnow body, and features a sed­uctive CurlyFin teaser tail that looks, swims and tastes like a live baitfish. I wonder how they know how it tastes?

Add to this a salted and spiced baitfish attractor scent they call “SowSauce,” and those sniffers will now be biters. The Slurpie can be jigged along the bottom or trailed behind a spinnerbait, and I plan on trying it rigged Texas-style on a 2/0 or 3/0 wide gap hook. The four-inch, half-ounce Slurpie Swim Shiner has a MSRP of $4.50 (www.-northlandtackle.-com).

These are just two of dozens of artificial lures I’ll have in my tacklebox this year. Visit your local tackle shop and cruise their aisles and see for yourself. But be careful, these lures will catch you, too. In a few weeks, we’ll take a look at what you might want to add to your bass kit this year.

Good fishing.

Categories: Sports

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