Author Archives: fcptackle

Choosing The Right Fishing Rod

bassrods

Choosing the Right Fishing Rod

We are all familiar with the phrase, you get what you pay for, but we also know there are products out there that are overpriced for what you’re actually getting. Good fishing tackle is worth a descent investment. Like most things in life, there are the cheap bargains and there are ridiculous priced equipment that are not worth breaking the bank for. Rods and reels are two of the most important and expensive components of your tackle. They should therefore require research and consideration before purchasing. Selecting a quality rod can be a confound experience for someone who wants the best their money can buy. We often wonder if that $300 rod is really three times as good as the $100 fishing rod. With the vast array of good rods available to anglers today, it is easy to find a great rod that is perfect for the application you are wanting to do with it. On the other hand, you could end up with something that is not the right fit and you’d be spending a fair amount money for something that you won’t use. For most anglers, the most expensive rod you own is the one you never use. Even the cheapest rod is a waste of your hard-earned money if it stays at home stuffed in the corner. With that said, you may have the most expensive rod in your collection that is used every time you go fishing and is your favorite, in which case is money well spent.

Most anglers prefer casting rods, with spinning rods being secondary for special techniques and light lures. If you’re just starting out and want a good rod type that handles most applications, my suggestion would be to look at our selection of 6’6″ and 7′ medium to medium heavy casting rods. These rods will work well for most fishing techniques and various lures. Once you progress as a bass angler they will always be useful to you. The golden question comes down to how much you may want to spend on your fishing rod and how often you will use it.

As a rule of thumb, the more spend on your rod, the more sensitive it will be. Therefore the more responsive it will be and the more accurate it will be for your application. Having an expensive rod you will not be able to break, would be a rod would not ever want to fish with it. There are many rods on the market that claim they will not break, but you won’t find them in the hands of serious anglers or any tour pros because they only use rods that are light, sensitive, and powerful. Professional rods cost more, but for those who use them, they are worth every penny.

A high price fishing rod may not make you a better angler from the start, but a low quality rod will be a limited factor for any angler. Your rod is one of your best tools, and any craftsman will always have better and more efficient work with a quality tool. A quality rod will allow you to feel much more action with your lures and baits. With a quality sensitive rod, you will be able to distinguish between dragging your baits through mud, sand, weeds and rocks. Most importantly, if it is a fish strike, which are often the hardest to detect.

As a good guide you should select a rod that will give you the ability to place your lure exactly where you intended for it to land, as quietly as possible. This is where a quality rod will come into play, definitely contributing to your casting ability. With a more responsive graphite and various actions, you can put any bait in place and have the sensitivity you are desiring. The ability to create special techniques only comes from more expensive fishing rods, Poor quality “cheap” will not allow for specific techniques. They generally impair your ability to do such techniques as well as experience great sensitivity,

When in the market for fishing rods, certain terms will be mentioned to describe the materials that are built in rods, which describes it flexes and how sensitive it is. Here we will attempt to explain a few of them for you in this article.

Fishing Rod Definitions

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The Action Of A Casting Rod

This is the description of how much of the rod bends when you put pressure at the tip. A fast action rod will bend in only the top third of the rod. Whereas a medium action will bend in the top half of the rod. A slow action will bend starting in the lower section of the rod. Sometimes slow action rods are generally bend similar throughout the entire length of the rod. This description is generally used in casting rods only, or least for this article. There are different rods that may use similar terms such as a fast action fly rod that will bend much lower and more easily than a fast action bass rod or an offshore trolling rod.

Most anglers fishing for bass use rods with actions that are fast to very fast. This is due to better sensitivity and the faster power for setting the hook. The term faster is meant by the bend ends higher on the rod, which means the rod does not have to be moved as far while setting the hook to get into the stiffer part of the rod. Fast action rods are generally best used in applications where a short to long casting distance is desired and using baits such as worm and jig fishing.

For anglers looking to use crankbaits and topwater lures, a medium or medium-fast rods will usually provide a little more casting distance and still provide adequate stiffness for setting the hook. These actions are often used for baits that involve treble hooks and spinnerbaits. A crankbait using a treble hook usually is not as deep as a single worm hook and it is easier to tear the hook from the mouth of the a fierce fish. So a medium action rod is less likely to pull the lure out of the fish’s mouth before it fully set. The selection of rod is usually determined by the type of lure you will use.

Thickness Of A Casting Rod

This is often referred to as the Taper. The taper describes the thickness of the rod and also the thickness of the wall of the casting rod. This means that less blank material is used allowing for more bend. The taper is usually the action of the rod. Light, medium and heavy, describes the taper or how thick the rod is. Pretty much the same as action. As the action is really describing the thickness of the rod.

Strength Of The Rod

This describes the strength of a rods lifting power. When a rod is described as having a lot of backbone, it is meant that it has good power or strength. Strength ratings are usually describes as heavy, medium heavy, medium, medium light, light or ultralight. Strength is related to the line ratings. A heavier strength rod will handle heavy line weights and lighter strength rods will handle much lighter weights and lines. It is important that your line test stay within the limits stated on the rod since a heavy power rod will snap light lines very easily and heavy lines can snap a light rod in two. Strength ratings vary by the type of rod being described. A heavy casting  rod and a heavy offshore trolling rod will definitely not feel the same. One could be rated for 25lb line and the other for 80lb line.

The bodies of water that you are fishing in will determine the power of the rod you should select. Thick, heavy cover will require a strong heavy rod to get the fish out before it gets hung on limbs or rocks. Clear open waters will often require light hard to see lines in order to not be seen by fish, which means you will need a light strength rod.

Rod Flexing

This is the reference of the fishing rods ability of the entire rod to flex under load and release the energy in the cast. Most finished rods are the result of different layers of different materials, which contributes to the responsiveness of the rod. The lighter the rod, especially the tip, the more responsive it will be. Weight is impeding to performance. The higher the strength, the more efficiently it will store and release energy. Which allows you the ability to accurately cast a lower trajectory.

Guides On a Casting Rod

Most guides found on casting rods today feature a metal frame and a ceramic ring that the line glides through. There can be a great variance in price, and one single guide on a spinning rod can cost $40 or as little as a few dollars. Silicon carbide is usually considered the best material today. It offers a super smooth surface that has less friction on the line during casting and retrieving.  Less friction means longer casts and less friction, as friction destroys fishing lines.

Alconite is also a smooth material that is much less expensive than Silicon carbide. Aluminum oxide are other ceramic materials that are found on most rods on the market today. They are very inexpensive. Some of the new guides on the market are Titanium wire. These guides bend back into place even if they are pushed flat. Stainless steel guides break instead of bending, which results in expensive repairs. Some rod guides use a ring of stainless steel instead of ceramic. These guides are not as smooth as the ceramic inserts. But they reduce the overall weight of the fishing rods.

The more guides that are placed on a rod will generally make it cast better and cost more than the same rod with less guides. More guides on the rod will allow it to bend more consistently throughout its length. This allows for more power and longer casts and excellent fishing fighting. The Fuji Concept Guide System is the most common example of guides on rods today.

Handles And Reel Seats

The need to have a comfortable and lightweight handle, cork is usually the desired handle. Casting rods have several options, from foam to custom wrapped and cork. Cork allows for sufficient grip, even while it is wet. It also for the feel of delicate vibrations from fish picking up your worm or baits. A fresh, high quality cork grip is a great addition to your fishing rod. Cork quality varies greatly along with the price. Most manufacturers determine the quality of cork used based on the overall cost of the rod. As everything in life, you get what you pay for, so the best cork will be on the most expensive fishing rods.

The reel seats hold the reel onto the rods. There is very little difference in reel seats. Most anglers choose graphite seats with a cutout that allows you to feel the rod closely. Less quality rods will use reel seats that do not have plastic cushions inside the metal hoods that hold the reel onto it. This allows the seats to often rust and can bind up your reel, making it difficult to remove it. Cheaper rods, particularly those made in China, will have cardboard spacers between the reel seat and the rod handle which dampens vibrations and tear very easily. This also allows the reel to rotate around the rod. Which is a huge problem while fighting a fierce fish!

So as you are considering new rods, all these factors need to be taking into consideration to determine the rod that is right for you. It becomes apparent to see why the best rods are much more expensive. This is true of modern casting rods, since anglers demand fast actions and the lightest weight possible. One last thing to consider is the ability to take a beating from your deck,  rod locker, or in the back of your pickup.

FCPTackle offers several rods to meet the demands of the modern fisherman. Check out the rods and their descriptions on our site, and buy the best rod you can afford based on what you’ve learned. We offer several rods in different price ranges. Good luck on your rod hunting quest.

Salt Water Fishing Techniques for Trolling

SunriseMoreheadCityAs we cleared the Atlantic Beach Bridge dawn was breaking in the eastern sky over the Morehead City channel, on our way out of Beaufort inlet home of the famous Big Rock tournament. After a few minutes running up on plane we turned north and buzzed past Cape Lookout searching for some visible sargassum grass lines to try our hand at some early morning Dolphin (Mahi).

When trolling we will use multiple baits, strategically placed on rods with lines close together to fool the fish. The technique is based on the idea that in order to catch dolphin, tuna, wahoo, or sailfish and marlin you will have to imitate the movement of their natural prey – schools of fish that move in very specific patterns.

Trolling for Multiple Species.
When trolling for saltwater predators, there are lots of considerations to keep in mind starting with your offshore location, the bait you have, the trolling technique you are going to use, and the types of fish you would like to catch. For the most part, sailfish, tuna, wahoo, and dolphin respond to the same trolling techniques so you don’t have to vary your approach much. Still, you will have to ask yourself, what kind of fish can be found in particular area your fishing? If you are pretty sure that there are more tuna than wahoo in the area, then you may have to make some subtle adjustments, like type of teasers or colors you are using. The best way is to experiment with several colors until you can pattern the fish better.

Here are some of my favorite types of trolling methods for aggressive fish.Mahi-Mahi-Dolphin2
When it comes right down to it, your technique for handling the boat and setting up your equipment depends on the kind of fish you want to catch and the type of boat you happen to have. Every boat is different so you would want to make careful study of the one you are actually using. Generally, here’s what it comes down to:

High Speed Trolling
High speed trolling involves kicking your boat speed up to 15 knots or more. Most people seem to think this is too fast, but high speed trolling is really the way to go if you want to catch wahoo, dolphin and other fish capable of chasing down fast moving bait. These are used to catching prey that flees off in terror, hence the need to fool them with a 15-knot speed that allows for some chasing.

Slow Speed Trolling
In some instances, of course, slow trolling is more ideal. For example, heavier baits are often trolled at slower speeds so that they would not be tumbling around in the water. You want your baits to assume a steady and straight lined pace because they are supposed to imitate actual schools of fish. When was the last time you saw fish swimming with their tail first?

Kite Trolling
Another excellent technique is kite trolling which perfectly imitates the way baitfish will scatter towards the surface and fly out of the water. This is ideal for tuna fishing since these deep-sea  fish are incredibly fond of the resistant prey. The kite basically gives your bait that eye-catching ‘hop’ that looks a lot like flying fish in action.
Planer Fishing
Planers are the opposite of Kite Trolling in that they are meant to get your bait below the surface down to a certain level. Wahoo, tuna, dolphin, and other predatory fish might swim close to the edge of the water to eat, but you can be sure that there are lots more in the deeper portions of the sea, just waiting for a snack. Planers make sure that your bait reaches the deeper portions, therefore making it easier for you to dangle the bait in your target’s eyesight.

Generally, the goal when trolling baits is to make them work as a unit – like a school of fish swimming through the water. A clean line of air pockets should be created with each bait, what is known as a ‘smoke trail’. You might have to experiment with speed to achieve this result.

Types of Rigs and Ballyhoo Rigged Baits
Fishing with Ballyhoo rigged baits are best if you want to catch different types of aggressive fish like dolphin (Mahi Mahi), tuna, and other predatory fish. In fact, the ballyhoo doesn’t even have to be a native to the waters you are fishing in – with the right speed and positioning, you will be able to get strikes from whatever fish is in the area while trolling. Ballyhoo baits are a no-fail type of rig if you are after two or more species of fish. Two of the best ways to rig ballyhoo are: the pin rig, pinless rigging, and circle hook.

However, that doesn’t mean you cannot experiment with other rigs. The market is currently filled with different types of rigs that can be used as bait for trolling. In these instances, it is best to choose a specific kind of rig that corresponds best with the type of predator fish you want to catch.

When it comes right down to it, there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to trolling. You are going to have to vary your techniques depending on the situation and figure out which of your methods get you the best results. Actually, that is part of the fun of trolling.

Mahi-Mahi-DolphinAs it turns out our day was a mixed bag of trolling techniques especially Ballyhoo rigged baits while trolling fast 8-12 knots, we added some colorful skirts, neon and chartreuse worked best. We managed to get 8 Dolphin (Mahi) in the boat along with several different toothy critters, Wahoo and Barracuda.  All in all it was a productive 6 hour trip never venturing farther than about 10 miles off of Cape Lookout.

If you ever have the pleasure or opportunity to fish off of North Carolina make sure you buy some pre-rigged ballyhoo and throw in some bright green chartreuse and neon orange skirts, you might just run in to a few aggressive fish and have a blast.

You can find all the Fishing Tackle and Rods, Reels or Combos at FCPTackle.com. We stock all that is needed to Saltwater Fish, Bass Fish or Surf Fish.

Good Luck and Happy Catch!! Remember to take a kid fishing!!

It will hook them for life!   

James

Tips and Techniques on Surf Fishing.

surf castingpngSurf fishing is fun and exciting adventure while enjoying the beach and the surf. It is a method of fishing off the beach, shoreline or wading in the water. The surf fishing rods are extremely long, ranging from 10ft to 15ft and in some cases even longer for custom rods. The purpose of these long rods is to be able to cast beyond the surf, to prevent the surf from bringing your bait back to shore. Most people prefer a good quality Spinning Reel for the surf rods. However some use bait casting reels to get further casting distance. The best line test is 17-25lb. Works well.  FCPTackle offers a wide array of Saltwater Gear.

 

When casting, the technique is to use both hands and your body to through the bait as far off the shoreline as you can get to avoid being washed back. You use a heavy weight of 3oz or more to cast further and hold bait to the bottom.

There are a number of fishing tackle setups that can be used, but for simplicity the drop rig is used quite often. surf rigspng.pngIt consist of a leader and a couple of swivels with a snap for the hook and the weight that is fixed at the bottom of the rig. The second method is known as the Carolina rig or sometimes called the fishing rig. It consist of a slip snap that has a large clip to install the weight. This slip snap allows the bait to move through it while still allowing the weight to rest at the bottom. You will slide the line through the slip snap and then tie on a swivel. Then you will create a leader of 18-24 inches long and tie on a hook. I usually use a good live bait hook or a sturdy long shaft hook depending on the bait I use. You can experiment with different options as you get use to Surf Fishing. There is a huge variety of Saltwater Fishing Tackle that can be used to suit your preferences.

 

surf rig 2.pngOne of the most important factors after you are rigged and ready, is to scope out the fishing area at low tide.
Locate areas and structures that might be havens for various species of fish. Use the locals and the local tackle shops for their knowledge of the best locations. Most will like to talk about the fish being caught.

Once you have your spot, then the incoming tide is when you want to fish it. Catch it coming in and fish the high tide. This is the best time as the fish come inward to feed on the bait fish in the area. Figuring out the baits around is also a good idea, that way you can try to use the same types of baits the fish are feeding on. I usually use shrimp. My preference is gulp shrimp. They stay on the hook longer and can be reused several times. They also produce well do to the scents Berkley uses. I sometimes use minnows as well. If Pompano are in the area, dig up some sand fleas, they love them.

You should purchase a really good sturdy rod holder. This is important. The cheap kind can result in lost rods or damaged reels from being dragged in the sand. I use sturdy aluminum spike ones. They work well and don’t fall apart as you are burying them in the sand.

One important factor in Surf Fishing to remember, People are everywhere on the beaches, including swimming in the water. So be very mindful of them. Very easy to sling those large rods and hit someone. Also be mindful of currents and undertows if you are wading in the water. They can be very dangerous, especially if you are using waders.

The most important part of it all is have fun and catch a few rays to improve the sun tan along with the many fish species that are running through.big fishpng

You can find all the Fishing Tackle and Rods, Reels or Combos at FCPTackle.com. We stock all that is needed to Saltwater Fish, Bass Fish or Surf Fish.

Good Luck and Happy Catch!! Remember to take a kid fishing!!

Get them hooked for life!   

James

Ever wonder why some Fishermen catch more fish than others, Here are some tips and tricks to catch more fish!

Often to many times you head out on your fishing trip with high expectations of filling the boat with more fish than you can count. Then while out on the water, you realize you are not meeting your imagined quota, but you noticed that several others are. Is it just a bad day for you or is there more to it? Maybe the other fishermen know something that you don’t! Here are some tips and tricks that might even the playing field.

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  1. How to use the Texas Rig for plastic baits:

Texas Rig or Weed less Rig, as it is sometimes called, is the most widely used among fishermen because of its ability to move your baits through heavy cover and most weeds without  getting hung. It is a simple process of using a variety of worm hooks or straight hooks with a bullet weight on top of the hook. Some Senko Worms or Brush Hogs are heavier in weight and do not need the use of weight with it. So first decide on whether or not to use a weight. Sometimes trying it both ways is a good idea to see what the fish prefer. Heavier baits react better without weights. The next step is deciding on the size of hook and variety of hooks you prefer. Gamakatsu or Owner hooks work great for this technique. The size of hook usually is determined by the size of the worm. The larger the worm, the larger the hook. Best way to determine the hook size is to lay the bait down and align the hook beside of it. There should be enough of a gap away from the worm and the hook should reach close to half way in the middle of the bait. Gamakatsu-HookOne other determining factor is the size of the line. The stronger the line, the stronger the hook and larger diameter it will need to be to prevent the hook from breaking before the line. Once you have decided on weight or not and size of hook, start by sliding the hook into the worm on the top of it. Push it in to the start of the bending of the hook, usually about 1/8 of an inch, at this point start rounding the hook so that the tip starts to come out of the side of the bait. Usually the underside. Push the hook all the way to the eyelet of the hook. You will want to bury the top of the hook slightly into the bait so that the weight fits well on top of the bait. From this point, you take the bait where the hook will enter into it in the middle and scrunch the bait upwards slightly and push the tip into the bait. The key is have the bait look as straight as possible and leave no evidence to the fish that there is a hook in the bait. Also make sure not to push the hook all the way through the bait. Just enough to get the barb in. This is what makes it truly weed less. Not to worry, if a fish strikes it, it will move through the bait and set the hook in the fish’s mouth. Presentation is absolutely key here. You want to leave the bait looking as natural as possible, otherwise it will not produce very many strikes.

When fishing Texas Rig, if the water is real muddy, consider using tungsten weights or brass weights with a glass bead or rattle tubes to allow the bait to make noise and draw attention to it. Now that your bait is rigged and ready, it is time to cast it out and start fishing. Cast towards fish holding cover, a little past the point of where you want to fish, so not to spook the fish in that area. Cast it out and allow the bait to sink to the bottom. At this point start to slide and shake the bait of the bottom. Raising the rod upwards and in a slight jerking motion up and then push the rod down to allow the bait to swim off the bottom and fall back to the bottom. Try a couple of different retrieving speeds to find out what the fish like on that particular moment. Generally in cooler water slow the retrieval down, but sometimes that is the best technique even in the summer. This rigging technique is also very good for flipping in heavy cover. Just work the worm up and down in a shaking motion making sure the bait always touches the bottom. All the best bait, weights and hooks are available on our website.

  1. How to use Carolina Rig for plastic baits:

A Carolina Rig is a top bass fishing rig that is one of the most effective rigs in fishing. It often catches fish when other methods do not. It is a simple rig that keeps your bait closest to the bottom and covers a lot of ground at the same time. This type of rig is good for when fish are feeding close to the bottom. When they are hovering at different depths then choose different methods as this isn’t for depths. Start this rig with a 3/4 ounce sinker, a bead and then tie on a swivel. Then tie on a leader usually around 24-30 inches long. Fluorocarbon line is best for this because of it very low visibility and low stretch strength. At the end of the leader, tie on a hook that is used for rigging. Rig the worm or bait with the hook just like you would with Texas rig, but without the bullet weight. Gulp baits work excellent on Carolina rigs, due to their scents. You can and should use good attractants on your baits to attract the fish to your bait trailing behind the weight on your leader. Work the bait similar to Texas rig, but more raising your rod up and down, than shaking it. The leader will allow the bait to flutter more because of the long leader. Give the Carolina Rig a try and hold on to the rod, as it produces strikes quite often.

  1. The third and final bait in this article is the Crank Bait:

Crank baits come in many sizes and shapes and most importantly, depth ranges. There are a tremendous number of colors to choose from in these baits. They all have one common factor which is they have a bill that it used to move the lures under the surface of the water. They are probably the most common baits used for bass fishing. The general rule with these baits is the longer the lip in front of it, the deeper it will dive down in depth. These baits usually have two treble hooks dangling from it and sometimes three. While they can get hung on cover and weeds, these lures usually travel with lip and head in a downward angle the makes the hooks tuck under it and prevent them from hanging up. These baits are cranked in continuously and can be at different retrieval rates, and should be at different speeds until you find what the fish are desiring on that day in that particular location. A slow action tip cranking rod works best on these lures, as it is more flexible rod that works the bait better and bends more when fish strike, preventing pulling the hooks out from the fish’s mouth. Crank baits can be sinking or floating baits. Several of the floating lures can be used for top water action. Cast them out and pull the rod to make the lure travel just below the surface and then slack the rod to allow it to float back to the top. This is a very effective technique in the early morning and late afternoon, when fish generally feed on top at these times. Throughout the day, lipped and sinking crank baits work well as they can reach depths to where fish are hanging out. Fish will usually hang out a deeper depths during hot days, which makes these baits a good choice, due to the fact that you can use specific ones for specific depths. These lures should mimic the types and colors of the bait fish that are usually present in those fishing locations. The more natural looking and movement of these lures to the live bait fish in your fishing spot, the likely you will experience more strikes. You often have to experiment with colors to get the more finicky fish to strike. Another good technique when using crank baits is to bump them off the rocks when possible, as the noise and movement from this maneuver greatly captures the attention of bass. Trying different speeds of retrieval and different depths and colors can change the number of strike produced. Once you discover the mood the fish are in that day, It’s Fish On!!!

Be sure to check out these baits and all your fishing needs at FCPTackle.com. We have over 32,000 products available to catch the large fish we all set out to capture!!