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Helix Ninja Buzzbait

By: Corey Campbell

One big misconception in fishing is that buzzbaits only produce during the summer in the early morning hours. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as I’ve caught many good fish on buzzbaits year around. While you probably will catch more fish on those early summer mornings when throwing a buzzbait that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t throw it during other key times as well. Right now is one of those key times as bass are looking to bulk up with bait fish being their key food source. The way I’ve been fishing my Helix Ninja buzzbait is I’ve removed the skirt and replaced it with a small paddle tail swimbait. Size and color are the 2 main factors here as you want to make sure you use a small swimbait so that you don’t weigh the buzzbait down, and definitely don’t use a 5″. While choosing the swimbait, try to match the size and color of the natural baitfish in the water in which you will be fishing. Once you have the lure tied on, I have found it best to work the buzzbait and try to bounce it off structure rather than just pull it back in a straight line, boat docks and tree branches have been awesome lately. Follow schools of baitfish and when you find them pull it right over the top of them. Think of it this way: the fish are already looking to feed on bait fish that resemble your swimbait; now you have added some disturbance with the buzzbait which really makes your presentation stand out from the rest of the baitfish in the pack. You get the benefit of both a feeding bite, as well as a reaction bite. Try this out and hopefully you will add a few extra fish each time out, plus there’s nothing like seeing that top water blow up!

IMG_1142 Pro Staff Pointers: November 2013

By: Captain John Curry

YO-ZURI Sashimi Pencil SW


The YO-ZURI Sashimi Pencil SW by YO-ZURI AMERICA is one versatile lure. My shipment came with the 4’ floating version in the chameleon gold copper finish (CMGC). This surface bait’s idea is to change colors as the plug is worked through the water. This mimics a natural color change that baitfish give off as they are pursued by predatory game fish. The CMGC looks like a burnt rust color from the back and dark green color from the front. I used this bait just a few days ago while chasing Spanish Mackerel on the Gulf of Mexico near Boca Grande and the bait casts very far for only being 5/8 ounce in weight. Its design cuts the wind and long casts with light line are easy. Also, I tossed the lure near mangroves and caught a few slot sized Speckled Trout. Fish the lure like you would any top water “walk the dog” type of lure and I look forward to casting this to stripers and blues in the spring up north. The bait also comes with a circle hook option and ranges in 10 colors with the chameleon ghost shad (CGSH) matching just about any baitfish.

Reaction Strike Fathead 5” Swim Bait


The Apex Fathead 5” swim bait by Reaction Strike is one beefy swim bait. Like the name implies it’s very wide and has great action when retrieved like you would any swim bait. The bait has a weed guard on the top hook that will come in handy for weedy situations, but the bottom trebles proved to be effective at snagging weeds pretty easily so I removed it and the bait had swam with the same vibrating action. The Chartreuse Shiner color is nice, but will be ordering the Holo Shad as this will be a perfect color for big stripers and tarpon. It also comes in 8” & 11” versions for when the fish are feeding ion big menhaden.

Bass Kandi Coastal Crippler


The 3.75” Coastal Crippler by Bass Kandi Baits is versatile soft plastic bait. Fish these on any sized jig head for a variety of inshore species. I used the LSU color (the package said Strawberry/White, but the shipment was the LSU color of purple/ chartreuse) on a ¼ ounce green jig head and the Red Fish tore them up. They are durable with a slim profile and cast great. Work them around any cover like bridge pilings and docks for mangrove snapper and of course the schoolie stripers will engulf them. The paddle tail gives off more vibration than similar soft plastics. Make sure you feed them on the hook perfectly straight as their slim profile will make them swim on the side if not centered well.

October Featured Baits

By: Tackle Grab Team

Freedom Tackle “Rogue” Football Head – Retail $6.99

Rogue Football


  • Hook has “Free range of motion”
  • Designed to minimize snags and enhance bait action
  • Fewer lost fish, as they can’t use weight for leverage
  • Hook is top quality, light-wire offset hook that is also interchangeable

TECHNIQUES – Pair the Freedom Tackle Rogue with a 7-7 ½ foot rod with medium-heavy action. Depending on water clarity, 12-17 pound test fluorocarbon line should be used. Texas-rig your favorite plastic craw, creature bait or worm, cast it out and work it slowly back to you, dragging it or hopping it, along the bottom.

Z-Man “Crawdadz” – Retail $3.99 6-pack



  • Colorful and extremely lifelike
  • Durable and buoyant
  • Built-in hook slot that aids in weedless rigging

TECHNIQUES – The Z-Man Crawdadz can be fished by itself on a Texas-rig, Carolina-rig or on a jig head. It is also very effective as a jig trailer. The individual application will dictate what type of rod and line you will use. The Crawdadz can be flipped, pitched or slowly worked along the bottom in 2-4 inch hops. Try to imitate a natural crawdad crawling along the bottom.

Fishbelly “Helix Ninja” Buzzbait – Retail $11.99

Helix Ninja


  • Revolutionary new buzzbait design
  • Allows for slower retrieve than traditional buzzer
  • The unique blade makes unique disturbance on the surface

TECHNIQUES – The Helix Ninja performs best when thrown on a 7-7 ½ foot rod with medium-heavy action. Throw it on 15-20 pound test monofilament or 50-65 pound braided line, depending on the type of cover you are fishing. Make long casts and retrieve the bait immediately upon hitting the surface, guiding the buzzbait alongside any visible cover.

Whiskey River “Whiptail” – Retail $3.19 6-pack



  • 6” soft and subtle finesse worm
  • Designed with a flat bottom like a traditional hand-poured worm
  • Unique bulky body with a long, narrow tail – distinct action underwater.
  • Excellent in clear water or tough conditions.

TECHNIQUES – The Whiptail can be utilized in multiple different presentations. Try throwing it on a Texas-rig or on a shakey head, when fishing in cover. It can also be rigged on a drop-shot for deep water fishing. It can even be used when swimming a jig as a trailer, allowing the action of the tail to ignite bites.

Evolve Frog

By: Corey Campbell, Tackle Grab Ambassador

One thing I’ve had success doing lately is using a pegged bullet weight with the Evolve frog. You will need a bullet weight, toothpick, and braided line. A few tips for using this technique:

  • Put the weight on the line like you would for a Texas rig then tie the Evolve frog on.
  • After tying the frog, slide the weight down to where it’s touching the line eye on the frog.
  • Next, take one end of the tooth pick and push it down in between the line and the weight on the top side of the weight.
  • Break the toothpick off flush with the weight and place it in the water for 30 seconds which will allow the toothpick to swell to prevent the weight from sliding.

The way I’ve been fishing this setup is over grass that is submerged a few feet under water. The weight causes the frog to dive down closer to the fish as well as simulating an injured frog very well. Once the frog dives allow the frog to float slowly back to the surface, most of my bites have occurred when the frog is floating back up. Since this frog is diving down with the fish it also triggers a reaction strike as well as the normal feeding bite. Choose the size of the weight based on how far below the water the grass line is. Try this when the top water bite isn’t producing as this is a setup that the fish aren’t as used to seeing.

I’ve caught several good largemouth on Lake Guntersville doing this over the past few weeks and it’s sure to produce on any lake that has good grass with frogs as a natural food source! Tight Lines!

I’m A Kayak Angler!

By Colin Belle
Regional Hobie Kayak Fishing Team

Kayak Fishing is not new. In fact there is evidence dating back over 4,000 years of kayaks constructed from stitched seal skins stretched over a carefully constructed wooden frame. These vessels were constructed by indigenous people living in Arctic regions who used them to hunt on inland lakes, rivers and the coastal waterways as a means of survival.

Over the past 10 years I have encountered many people who simply could not fathom how or why I would want to fish from a kayak by choice. This question used to confuse me until one day while out fishing I remembered I got involved in this sport somewhat by accident and chance myself.

I will do my best to outline the reasons why I have fallen in love with kayak fishing. How it has become a vital part of my life and a passion that I will continue to introduce to others so they may enjoy the simplicity and excitement of this fast growing sport like I have. Although the longer you fish the more gear you end up having!

In The Beginning

In short I’ve fished my entire life. Literally since I could walk I was probably thinking about fishing, it appeared as though I had it in my blood. You see my grandfather was an avid fisherman and known throughout the area of Huntington, Long Island as being just that, a fisherman. As I grew up I became known as a fisherman also. This only intensified while attending college in the Adirondack Mountains of NY where some of the best fishing on the East Coast can be found. Here I was introduced to whitewater kayaking. It took two years for me to even think about taking a fishing rod with me but I will never forget the day when I did. I was in my Dagger 9’6″ Zydeco, a great boat still made to this day, on an 8 mile float that I had done many times prior. Long story short I caught a bucket load of fish and from that day forward I was a kayak fisherman. In the past 10 years the sport has come a long way and there are now many high performance kayaks on the market specifically designed as a fishing platform. Unlike kayaks of the past sit-on-top kayaks are comfortable, versatile and customizable.

Kayak Begin

Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Sport

With the continued increase in the popularity of kayak fishing we’ve also seen an increase in the number and the notoriety of kayak fishing tournaments. You now see tournaments with hundreds of entrants. But pulling your fish around all day on a stringer off the side of your kayak and back to a weigh-in station at the end of the day seemed ridiculous, harmful to the fishes health (probably the paddlers too, hah), and just too hard to regulate fairly. And so the CPR style tournament was started by kayak fisherman! Which stands for Catch-Photo-Release, each fish caught will be measured on an approved measuring/bump board, a photo of the length is taken and the fish is immediately returned unharmed in the same location in which it was caught in. Also, you have no motor so there are far less pollutants entering the local waterways and thus contaminating the fish habitats you enjoy so much. To sum things up, less is more.

Physical Fitness

Kayaking is a great way to get a workout and most people do not realize that you are working your entire upper body including your core, abs and back. I happen to have the Hobie Outback with the Mirage Pedal Drive so I am also lucky enough to get a leg workout while I am kayaking as well. Just being out in the sun and able to enjoy good weather, and sometimes bad weather too, is great for the soul. Being outside so much has afforded me the opportunity to meet some really amazing people while out enjoying what I love to do. Kayak fishing is for the most part a sport of solidarity in that most of the time I am fishing alone or in a small group that is spread out along the course of a river. My most favorite trips are those that include a night of tent camping or even a float trip down a seclude river stopping to fly fish some good eddies and holes. Not only are the best fishing locations usually the hardest to get to but most of them are only accessible by a small human powered watercraft such as a kayak or canoe. This concept also holds true on large lakes with very small inlets that large powerboats cannot even approach with fear of destroying a prop or something worse.


I won’t go into much detail on this because it speaks for itself. But I have always enjoyed trying to capture the moments that I enjoy the most in life and that typically involves very scenic and beautiful locations. Being on a Hobie Outback Kayak has allowed me to get up close and approach wildlife in a very stealthy hands free manner allowing me the opportunity to take some really great photos.


Time to Unwind and Contemplate Life

kayak-sustainI work an office job Monday-Friday 45-50 hours a week, sometimes more. Kayak fishing allows me to escape the big city I live in; the sound of cars, emergency vehicles, traffic, and it lets me lose myself inside my own thoughts. This time of solidarity gives me time to contemplate my life. A lot of important life decisions that I have made were thought out and strategized while at the helm of my kayak out on Lake Michigan in large swells, or skillfully paddling around a downed tree on the Kishwaukee River, or on a 9 mile paddle back to the boat launch after a long day on the water. In other words some of the reasons I am a kayak angler have nothing to do with kayaking or fishing but rather what the experience of doing these things allows me to learn about myself and the people I encounter.

I Catch More and Better Fish

Yes, you heard that correctly. In my personal opinion over my kayak fishing career I have been more successful than when I was fishing from a powerboat. Obviously some days this will not be the case but in whole and when looking at all the species I fish for I do better from my kayak. This holds especially true when I am fishing pre-spawn largemouth where the fish are generally in 1-4ft of water marking their territory for bedding sites. My kayak allows me to get into skinny water habitats with ease and stealth to target fish visually like most anglers cannot do with their setup. Also trolling from a kayak has a major advantage over a powerboat in that you have no prop-wash, noise or vibration in the water column. Therefore baitfish and the associated predator species are not spooked as you pass over them or near them which in turn directly results in more hookups and more large fish.


I Fish More Often and Longer

Once you become a Kayak angler you will soon realize that you are able to fish more often and more regularly as well as for a little bit longer each time. Why do I say this? Because it takes less time and effort to get your kayak on your car and into a local water body compared to having to trailer and haul a boat that then uses gasoline. Most states do not require you to even register your kayak and there is hardly any maintenance or upkeep needed to own and use a kayak making them a much more affordable option that mostly anyone can afford, a starter kayak can range from $300-$900. In short you will enjoy fishing more because you will be able to do it more often with less of a headache!

Where I am Today!

Well a lot has happened in the past few years. I moved to Rockford Illinois to start a new career. In my first week here while out paddling on the Rock River I meet a man who owns a kayak store here in Rockford, Paddle and Trail, and was offered a job as a kayak river guide for that summer. It worked out and I was in fact a guide my first summer here, but it was realized soon on that my true passion was to fish. So I was encouraged to apply to the Hobie Kayak Fishing Team and I was accepted. After a year on the team I was promoted to a Regional Hobie Fishing Team Member. Now I travel even more doing demos, instructional classes, seminars and I am even getting into guiding trips on the side. Since moving to this region of the country I have fallen in love with King Salmon Fishing out on Lake Michigan in my Hobie Outback and have even started a fishing group, Midwest Kayak Anglers.



-So are you a Kayak Angler, interested in trying it or maybe thinking about getting a kayak of your own but do not know where to start?

-Then come fish with us at Midwest Kayak Anglers Group and we will get you in some Kayaks to see how you like it!

Trust me you too will fall in love with the simple yet challenging sport of Kayak Fishing!

REVIEW: Bassinova Baits – EarthShaker Bladed Jigs

By Andrew Martin

BassinovaJust like many of you, I get excited when I receive a new Tackle Grab box in the mail. You never know what new, innovative products are waiting for you inside that packaging. Although bladed jigs are not a brand new product (the “Original” Chatterbait was invented sometime around 2003) lure producers have been working hard to improve upon and update this productive fish catcher ever since.

Bassinova Baits, a company formed in 2012, has made a name for themselves on the west coast, producing their EarthShaker Bladed Jigs. When I received a couple of these from Tackle Grab, I immediately wanted to get on the water and give them a try! Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long.

What better place to try out a vibrating, bladed jig, than one of the top ten waterways in the country, the California Delta. Conditions were perfect for to maximize the effectiveness of the EarthShaker. The wind had been blowing steady for a week and a half and the water was really muddy. Chocolate milk, muddy. The vibration from a bladed jig fit the conditions perfectly.
The first thing I noticed about the EarthShaker Bladed Jig, was the quality construction. One of my biggest pet peeves with a lot of the bladed jigs on the market is poor components. I’ve had them break on the hook set, getting nothing back but the blade and the ring. The EarthShaker is made up of sturdy materials that are solid enough to withstand banging off stumps and ripping through heavy cover without any negative effects. They come with a nice, big hook which is also something that many other similar products lack.

BassinovaI managed to put a number of fish in the boat with the EarthShaker, the biggest being around four pounds. It performed flawlessly. I used the same green/purple patterned jig all day long with no problems. Overall, I was very pleased with Bassinova’s bladed jig. It had all the things you look for, solid construction, great vibration, erratic action and appealing color combinations. If you’re not lucky enough to get some Bassinova Baits EarthShakers in your Tackle Grab box, pick some up at their website,

Pro Staff: Dobyns Rods, Tackle Grab, PowerTeam Lures, Solar Bat Sunglasses, Skinny Bear Jigs, Gethooked Baits, Whiskey River Bait Co.

Contributing Writer:, Bass Utopia, Bass Angler Headquarters

REVIEW – AR Lures Minnow 110

By Andrew Martin

A few weeks back, I received my Tackle Grab box in the mail filled with some brand new lures. One lure that caught my eye immediately was the Minnow110-1 AR Lures Minnow 110 jerkbait in the rainbow trout color pattern. Once I took it out of the package, I knew this was not your typical “mass-produced” ripbait. It featured a wooden body with obvious hand crafted features. The paint job was superb and the hooks were incredibly sharp out of the package. It looked great, but looking good and performing well are two different things.

I’ve managed to get on the water with the AR Lures Minnow 110 twice in the last two weeks; once on a predominantly smallmouth fishery and once on a predominantly largemouth fishery. The Minnow 110 caught fish at both.

The smallmouth lake, was bowl shaped with sloping flats and rocky points. The fish were in prespawn, but were definitely thinking about moving up. I threw the Minnow 110 on a Dobyns Champion 704 CB, with 10 pound Seaguar Invizx fluorocarbon. The first thing I noticed was how well it casts. One of the issues I have with some of the lighter jerkbaits is castability. At 3/5 of an ounce, the Minnow 110 cast like a rocket. As I started ripping it back to the boat, it worked back and forth in perfect “walk the dog” like cadence. It has an amazing darting action. Probably more so than any ripbait I’ve ever thrown and it caught fish. Multiple smallies feel victim to the erratic action.

The largemouth lake, was a shallow reservoir with lots of flooded trees, rocky points and grassy flats. The fish were also in a prespawn pattern, but very close to getting up on their beds. I used the Minnow 110 as a search bait in the morning and it proved very successful. I caught a number of fish in the 2-3 Minnow110-2 pound range and they didn’t just slap at it, they devoured it.

The AR Lures Minnow 110 is an exceptional jerkbait. It’s very difficult when trying to write an impartial review of a lure, when there is literally nothing negative to say about it. I guess the price, which retails at $21.99 is possibly a deterrent for some, however, for a wooden custom lure even that is not particularly discouraging. If you like to fish jerkbaits, you need to give the AR Lures Minnow 110 a try. You will not be disappointed.

Pro Staff: Dobyns Rods, Tackle Grab, PowerTeam Lures, Solar Bat Sunglasses, Skinny Bear Jigs, Gethooked Baits, Whiskey River Bait Co.

Contributing Writer:, Bass Utopia, Bass Angler Headquarters