When it comes to flash baits, Epic Baits builds the finest. Their Epic Buzz Bait Burner ($8.99), Epic Underspins ($7.99) and Epic Spinnerbaits ($5.99) have no equal.
Check out the latest and greatest from this noted builder of luxury class pleasure boats at the Miami International Boat Show Feb. 14-18.
These resources will address the recreational fishing data needs and priorities over the next several years for Gulf Coast stock assessors and managers.
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Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking public comment on open water fishing contests proposed for the 2024 open water season. All tournaments must be approved by MFWP.
With a patient steward and experienced fly angler, teaching a youngster to flyfish is well inside the realm of possibility.
For his efforts, Wood was rewarded with a 2024 Ranger Boats Z518 with Mercury 150 ProXS outboard presented by Bass Pro Shops, the prize boat was rigged with Power-Pole Charge and Bioenno Power Batteries valued at $55,000 and the winner’s $15,000 share, bringing the total Champion’s prize package to $70,000 in value.
Don Green, founder of Sage Fly Fishing, passed away January 26 according to an Instagram post by parent company Far Bank.
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Anderson Jones of Lander University saved the best for last en route to singlehandedly sacking up 43 pounds, 15 ounces and winning the Strike King Bassmaster College Series at Clarks Hill Reservoir presented by Bass Pro Shops.
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he Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s National Walleye Tour presented by Progressive registration is now open for Pro-Anglers fishing all four regular season events and wish to gain priority into the 2024 season.
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Vermont Fish and Wildlife has announced that a longnose gar 54 3/4" long taken by a bowfishing angler in 2023 has been certified as a new state record.

Sea Change in Leader Lengths

By Frank Sargeant

It used to be pretty much universal that anglers who fished with leaders—which included pretty much all saltwater anglers and a fair number of freshwater anglers—used just enough leader to allow casting with the knot outside the tip guide of the rod. Typically these leaders were 15 to 20 inches long. The idea was that the knot would not be compromised by running through the guide hundreds of times in a day, so would retain strength better and need retying less often. 

However, the innovations brought on by competitive fishing have now filtered into this aspect of angling as well as in so much else. Pro bass anglers who are now using light spinning gear with braided lines to chase fish they can see on forward scanning sonar are using leaders that are WAAAY longer than anything old school anglers are wedded to, with great results.

In fact, many anglers now use monofilament or fluorocarbon leaders 10 to 15 feet long, so long that they make several wraps on the reel spool rather than hanging out the tip of the rod. 

Mustad and many other companies make stout, locking snaps that are readily matched to leader strengths and lure sizes. (Mustad)

All that leader, it turns out, has several advantages.

First, the longer length of clear leader means the fish are less likely to see the connection than with the very visible braided line. 

Second, the leader is easier on the fingers when casting, particularly with heavier lures where the microthin braid can wear on the index finger over thousands of casts. 

Third, that long leader becomes a useful handle to control a fish brought into the boat, much easier to hang on to than the spiderweb thin braid.

Fourth, the extruded leaders serve as “stiffeners” for the lure attachment, keeping the attachment clear of snarls when treble-hook lures are used. 

And last but not least, you can fish all day, and maybe all week, without having to change leaders, even through multiple lure changes, because there’s plenty of leader length to tie your new knots as you swap lures.

Seaguar Pro Trey McKinney is one of many young pro anglers who depend heavily on forward scan sonar and light lures attached by thin leaders to their running line. (Seaguar)

The relatively larger diameter of mono and fluoro also provides added protection against abrasion compared to the thread-like diameter of braid, particularly in anything under 10 pound test. 

Sunline more or less specializes in leaders along with its very good fluorocarbon, and has one called the Tepa that actually tapers so it’s easy to tie to your running line but still has a fatter front section for improved abrasion resistance. Very handy, though somewhat pricey.

Bottom line is this simple change from tradition is just a lot better way of doing things for those who fish braided line, whether for weekend fun or for big tournament cash. 

Loops and Snaps

While we’re in fishing tips mode, if you’re not attaching your lures with either a loop knot or a small snap, you’re probably not catching as many fish as you could be. Having a non-binding tie on the eye of almost any lure improves the action.

Sunline's Tepa leaders are pre-made tapered leaders with a fat tip section for abrasion resistance and thinner running section for easy tying. (Sunline)

Loop knots are easy and quick to tie and relatively compact, so they don’t seem to put off fish.

However, you do have to cut them off and retie anytime you want to change lures.

If you want to avoid that, a small stainless steel locking snap is a better choice. While some guys vow fish can see the snaps, it doesn’t make sense that they’d be spooked by a small snap but not by the hooks or the split ring on the eye of the lure. (Maybe, for ultra-light jigs fished in clear water, but otherwise, no.)

Snaps come in various pound tests, and it’s usually best to use the smallest one that matches the strength of your line and leader. That way there’s no danger of “springing” the snap at boatside where pull is strongest.  

The nice thing about using a snap instead of a knot is that you can swap lures more quickly and without use of your nipper, so it makes changes more palatable and probably more frequent as a result. 

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