Strike King Expert fishing tips from the big-bass catching legend, plus seven of the best spinnerbaits The post How to Fish for Bass Like a Pro: Spinnerbait Tips from Kevin VanDam appeared first on Outdoor Life.
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Gone Fishin'"Gone Fishin'" - 5 new articles

  1. How to Fish for Bass Like a Pro: Spinnerbait Tips from Kevin VanDam
  2. Expert Night Fishing Tips for Catching Bigger Bass
  3. Catch Big Bass in Muddy Water With the Right Lure
  4. Best Baits: 15 Hottest Lures for Panfish
  5. Lures For Pike and Muskie Fishing
  6. More Recent Articles

How to Fish for Bass Like a Pro: Spinnerbait Tips from Kevin VanDam


Kevin VanDam has built his pro bass fishing career on effectively using spinnerbaits. One of the most versatile bass baits of all time, spinnerbaits can be fished deep, shallow, and everywhere in between. But there’s more to it than just casting and retrieving.

I got a chance to fish with KVD on a lake in Upstate New York a few summers ago, and he spilled some of his spinnerbait fishing secrets.

1. Use the Right Blade and Head

Choosing the right head weight and blade size and shape is critical. A simple rule of thumb: use a lighter spinnerbait with smaller blades in shallow water and a larger bait in deep water.

2. Match Your Retrieve to Water Clarity

On bright days in clear water, run your spinnerbait fast. This is to not give bass as long to inspect your bait in crystal clear conditions. Rip the spinner bait quickly for reaction strikes. That’s not an issue on overcast days or in turbid water, so slow down your retrieve in darker conditions.

3. Bump the Bait

Run your spinnerbait into cover like docks, vegetation, or logs. The erratic motion will trigger more strikes. If you’re fishing open water, give the bait sporadic jerks to create the same effect.

Plus: How to Pick the Best Spinnerbait for Catching Big Bass

There are a ton of different types of spinnerbaits to choose from, so let’s start with some basic definitions. When you’re talking to bass guys, a spinnerbait means a “safety pin”-style bait, where the blades are attached to an angled wire arm and run above the body of the bait. The other option is an inline spinnerbait, which is aptly named: the spinner runs in line with the body. In-line spinners come in a wide variety of sizes and designs, and are more commonly used for pike, muskies, or trout. But there are times when they work for largemouth bass, too. Here’s a look at a few different styles and their features.

1. KVD Finesse Spinnerbait

KVD Finesse Spinnerbait Strike King


This is a great example of a perfect all-around spinnerbait. It’s got one willow blade, a smaller Colorado blade, and a slightly smaller skirt that comes in a variety of natural colors. This 3/8oz spinnerbait can be fished over weeds, arounds stumps, along docks, and pretty much anywhere else bass hang out. Kevin VanDam, the king of spinnerbait fishing, helped design it, and if it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me, too.

2. Strike King Bottom Dweller

Strike King Bottom Dweller Strike King


With two thinner willow blades and extra weight added to the hook shank, this bait is designed to run in deeper water and track better when it hits the bottom. This bait would be ideal for fishing deep weed beds or reefs in the heart of summer when big bass are generally deep water. It’s available in 3/4, 1, and 1-3/8 oz models.

3. Booyah Moon Talker

Booyah Moon Talker Booyah


This bait has one big (#5 or #6) Colorado blade that allows you to keep the bait near the surface, displace a lot of water, and create plenty of vibration. As its name suggests, this spinnerbait is designed for nighttime fishing—specifically for rolling the bait just below the surface to get big bass to strike under moonlight. It comes in a variety of dark color patterns.

4. Booyah Super Shad

Booyah Super Shad Booyah


The four willow blades on this spinnerbait are designed to mimic a school of fleeing baitfish. You want to tie this on if you’re seeing bass chasing schools of shad in open water and crashing around you on the surface.

5. Mepps Comet Combo

Mepps Comet Combo Mepps


You probably won’t see this bait in Ranger boats on a pro tournament trail anytime soon, but you will see this staple in-line spinnerbait in plenty of Lund boats run by Northwoods bass anglers all summer long. The hook sinks into the Mister Twister tail to make it weedless, making it a great option to pull through heavy cover and pitch around logs and downfalls. The #4 blade creates plenty of vibration to bring in big bass. My favorite color combo is the silver blade with the white tail.

6. Panther Martin Weed Runner

Panther Martin Weed Runner Panther Martin


The Panther Martin name is well known by trout anglers, but the WeedRunner inline spinner was designed for bass and pike in heavy cover. Just like their traditional spinners are perfect for working trout rivers, The WeedRunner is a great choice for targeting river bass in slow-moving currents around heavy cover. Of course, you can throw it in lakes, too.

7. Johnson Original Beetle Spin

Johnson Original Beetle Spin Johnson


The smallest and least glamorous (and the cheapest) spinnerbait in our roundup is the old-school beetle spin. This is a known crappie killer, but the 1/4 oz. version (with a 2-inch body) is also a sleeper finesse bait for largemouth bass. This is a great bait for newbies and kids because if they cast into a snag, and break off, you can tie on another and only lose a few bucks.

More from KVD

How to Fish for Bass Like a Pro: Determine Fishing Conditions

How to Fish for Bass Like a Pro: Power Fish a Crankbait

How to Fish for Bass Like a Pro: Find Bass in Weeds

How to Fish for Bass Like a Pro: Choose the Right Hooks

The post How to Fish for Bass Like a Pro: Spinnerbait Tips from Kevin VanDam appeared first on Outdoor Life.


Expert Night Fishing Tips for Catching Bigger Bass

The hot and humid months of summer always seem to transform bass fishing lakes into a downright mess—­impoundments chock-full of supersize cabin cruisers, runabouts, and jet-skis. Once the sun goes down, though, not too many are night fishing. The crowds generally clear out and bass that were previously inactive begin to feed heavily again.

A few modifications to your tackle and gear are all it takes to get things cranking from dusk till dawn. When the sun goes down, flip on the lights and get in on summer’s best bass fishing.

Add a Black Light to Your Boat

One of the first steps in creating a high-impact night fishing arsenal is to spool up with clear/blue fluorescent monofilament line. This type of line is inexpensive and lights up like a glowing blue laser on the surface when you use it with a black light—which is my secret weapon. Currently, there are a variety of black lights to choose from. One of the most innovative and convenient models is the new Nightfishion Plus (

This complete customizable black-light system fits directly onto your boat’s rub rail. During the day, it’s virtually undetectable, but with a flip of a switch at night, nearly 360 degrees of lighting illuminates every possible casting angle. Plus, it has a dimmer switch that allows you to adjust the intensity based on the moonlight and fishing conditions.

Tip: Avoid muddy lakes when night-fishing. Clear water with a visibility of 2 to 4 feet is ideal for night fishing for bass.

Tie on Bold, Loud Lures

When daytime temperatures heat up, bass generally suspend deep off of breaks in points, ledges, and submerged islands or humps. As temperatures drop at night, they move up into the shallows to feed. I like to greet them with loud and bold lures.

A large single Colorado-blade spinnerbait rigged with a rubber imitation craw or chunk trailer puts off a great deal of fish-enticing vibration and can be fished at a variety of depths. Another deadly nighttime lure is a standard jig tipped with a chunk trailer that directly mimics the natural actions of shad and even crayfish. Crawling the jig and popping it across the bottom imitates crayfish coming out from beneath their rocky hides to feed at night. If bass are aggressively feeding on shad, switch to a swimming jig.

Under the right conditions, nothing turns on the bite, or builds more excitement, better than surface lures such as prop-baits, Jitterbugs, and buzzbaits. A big bass smashing a topwater on a dead-calm summer night is what fishing dreams are made of.

catching bass at night
A big Kentucky smallmouth bass comes to hand. Bill Lindner/Lindner Imagery

Match Lure Color to the Moonlight

Moon and cloud cover should guide your lure color selection. On pitch-black nights with little to no moonlight, go with solid black, brown, or blue. Under a bright moon or on a clear, starlit night, switch over to loud color combinations, such as green/orange or even red/chartreuse. On partially cloudy nights, go with red/black, blue/black, or green/black.

Expert Night Fishing Tips from Top Bass Guides

Night fishing for bass is electric. First there’s the static “zing” of the line as you cast, followed by the silence that leaves you tensed, listening for the “kerplunk.” Next your fingers begin to turn the reel crank and you feel the bait moving, pulsing through the water. It’s then that the unforgettable tingle–the anticipation of a hitÐis carried to your fingertips. You’re charged for the strike.

Summer night fishing for big bass has long had a cult following in the South, where daytime temperatures routinely edge into three digits, rain-forest-like humidity drains even the most determined anglers and jet skis run rampant. But the South is not the only place where nighttime bass fishing is productive. When the weather heats up, big bass everywhere await the cover of darkness to feed.

Scoring the big bite on bass after dark, however, demands a fresh angling perspective. Catching largemouths or smallmouths on a third-shift schedule requires an intimacy with the fish’s nocturnal haunts and habits, some specific gear items and an ability to read subtle changes in bottom composition and bank slope through your rod. Here are the strategies of three hard-core bass fishermen who prefer to fish by moonlight.

Nashville guide Jack Christian

Christian has introduced hundreds of clients to the mysterious world of nighttime bass fishing in his 25-year career. His preferred after-dark structure for both largemouths and smallmouths is the offshore hump. Christian likes humps because they’re harder to locate than points, which means they’re not as apt to be hammered by other anglers, and because they pull in big bass from a wide area.

“Picture a hump as an underwater oasis,” Christian says. “The best summer humps top out at around ten feet; I avoid the very shallow ones because they tend to attract smaller fish.”

In hot weather, schools of threadfin shad spend their days gathered around main-lake channel structure that may be in water 40 or 50 feet deep, Christian says. To intercept the baitfish, bass suspend off long points in this deep water, conserving energy while waiting for forage to happen by. But at night, a different scenario unfolds. Many of these bass slide up onto nearby humps to hunt for crayfish, which emerge in the dark to feed.

Fishing a hump at night requires stealth. Christian approaches the structure with his trolling motor or drifts within casting range if there’s sufficient wind. He makes a long cast with a bottom-bumping crawdad imitator (like a jig with a pork-frog trailer) to the top of the hump. At night he uses the reel handle more than the rod to move the lure, so that the jig maintains contact with the bottom as much as possible. This simulates a crawling crayfish best.

Christian uses bait colors that have just enough contrast to allow bass to distinguish the crayfish lure from the bottom. His favorite color choices are a black jig with a brown pork frog and a purple jig with a red frog. He does not use brightly colored lures at night.

Christian rigs his boat with black lights, which illuminate fluorescent line above the water, helping him to detect subtle bites. “If you feel the bass pull, it’s too late, he says. “The instant a fish detects pressure, it spits out the lure. Black lights let you see the line move before you feel the fish, and before the fish feels you.”

Charlie Ingram of Columbia, Tenn.

Ingram is one of the top money-winners on the professional bass circuit. But in hot weather, you can usually find him on Pickwick Lake at night, fishing for smallmouths. He’s caught some whoppers from this riverine impoundment, including a handful exceeding eight pounds. Charlie’s secret: fishing spinnerbaits across shallow structures that are swept by a current.

At night, Ingram targets gravel bars that are peppered with stumps near the old Tennessee River channel. “These bars slope down to about 10 feet and then drop off quickly,” he says. “When they pull water (through the generator turbines) at the dam, the current draws plankton into slack- water pockets on the bars and shad move in to feed on the plankton. Sometimes the bars are jammed wall-to-wall with bait until a wolf pack of big smallmouths shows up, that is.”

Ingram’s favorite night lure is a quarter-ounce spinnerbait with a single No. 3 blade and a red and purple skirt, dressed with a red pork frog. He makes a short cast onto the bar, lets the lure settle to the bottom, lifts the rod tip six inches, lowers it, reels up the slack and then lifts it again.

“Sooner or later, a big smallmouth will nail it. They travel in schools at night and can be incredibly aggressive. I’ve had ’em rip the rod right out of my hands,” says Ingram.

When the current shuts off, however, Ingram’s shallow technique evaporates as the bronzebacks slip back into the sanctuary of the deep river channel.

Fred McClintock of Celina, Tenn

McClintock fishes Dale Hollow Lake, a 29,000-acre highland reservoir known for big smallmouths, after sunset. Its scenic shorelines and exceptionally deep, clear water make the lake a top choice for summer vacationers, who churn it to a froth in houseboats. After sunset, though, Dale Hollow is a night-fisherman’s paradise, with more points, humps and drop-offs than you could hope to fish in a lifetime.

Because of Dale Hollow’s extreme clarity, light penetration allows lush weed beds to grow as deep as 35 feet. With the lake warming into the mid-90s by August, the biggest bass seek the coolness of deep water and refuse to move shallow, even at night. Instead, they stick to the deep edge of the weeds, where they find plenty of baitfish and crayfish.

McClintock targets weed beds that are situated near a sharp descent into the lake’s cavernous river channel. A weedy ledge that cascades down from 30 to 80 feet deep is best. Fast-dropping main-lake points with grass on them are also good spots to fishÐlong, slow-tapering points typically attract smaller bass.

“Changing lures in the dark can be painful, so I pre-rig several rods with a selection of jigs and spinnerbaits,”

McClintock says. “I’ve caught a lot of wall-hanger bass on spider jigs at night; these have long plastic legs that mimic the pinchers of a crayfish, and a soft collar around a weighted head that wiggles and feels alive when a bass chomps down on it. Heavy spinnerbaits, up to an ounce, are also good. There aren’t many other lures you can count on at night in the 30-foot zone.”

McClintock finds that, at night, smallmouth bass suspend on the tops and outer edges of weed beds, while largemouths are more likely to be buried in the vegetation. He starts by combing the grass with a spinnerbait that has a big No. 7 blade, reeling it slowly and steadily across the cover.

“Some nights, they just won’t hit a spinnerbait. When that happens, I’ll switch to the spider jig and crawl, bump and shake it through the vegetation,” says McClintock. “You need a stiff graphite rod to feel a light bite in super-deep water. I like a seven-foot bait-caster, because it moves a lot of line when I set the hook and enables me to power a big fish out of deep grass. But you’re not gonna land ’em all. I’ve had bass on at night that have literally towed the boat around before they busted off. But then, I guess that’s what keeps me coming back.”

The post Expert Night Fishing Tips for Catching Bigger Bass appeared first on Outdoor Life.


Catch Big Bass in Muddy Water With the Right Lure

muddy water bass

Catch more bass in murky and muddy water with these tips.

Spring rains, snow melt, a good summer tropical system—nature uses several methods of filling lakes and rivers, but such inflows always bring some level of mud.

Whether it’s a river system where the main artery scours the landscape and sends loads of sediment though its reservoir, or simply those hillside drains that funnel muddy water into the backs of pockets.

How Water Clarity Impacts Fishing

Muddy water decreases visibility and makes it harder for bass to spot baits. Decreased visibility also diminishes the likelihood of sight fishing.

Look for Ambush Points

When visibility decreases fish typically move shallow, as this enables them to feed more efficiently in smaller spaces. Think: Cornerback using the sideline to force a fleet-footed receiver out of bounds.

Notwithstanding muddy water’s concealing benefits, clarity is always a good thing. Vegetation filters the water, so look for areas thick with grass, reeds, etc. to clear up the quickest.

How to Choose the Right Lure for Poor Water Clarity

As rivers, streams, and creeks across the country begin to flood, we’re reminded that spring rains bring muddy water, which decreases visibility and makes bass fishing even more challenging. Turbid inflows prove particularly disruptive in lakes where fish are spawning, as the dirty–and typically colder–water will push fish off their beds.

Past the bedding season, murky water in any scenario demands attention and adjustment from anglers hoping to fool bass with artificials. It’s all about increasing the fish’s ability to detect your bait.

Switch to Bigger Lures

Large-profile baits provide a significant visual cue while displacing more water than smaller baits, allowing fish to “feel” something coming through the murk. Upsize your jig trailers, go with a larger worm on your Texas rig, or tie on a full-size topwater plug.

Reach for Louder Baits

Baits with internal rattles–be they crankbaits, jigs, topwaters, or frogs–give fish an audible beacon to follow. Bumping stumps or rocks with squarebills or crashing Texas-rigged baits into cover also keys strikes.

Choose Baits with Vibration

Lipless crankbaits earn their keep each spring, as their shuddering motion creates the bait-mimicking tremors to which bass respond. Likewise, Colorado blades produce the “thump” that draws fish to your spinnerbait.

Brighten Up Your Lure Color Choices

Dipping baits in chartreuse or orange dye enhances contrast, but when the water’s dirty don’t hesitate to get creative with colors. For example, Texas angler Dustin Grice modifies his spinnerbaits by adding chartreuse and white willow-leaf blades with a matching chartreuse/white skirt. That’s nothing new for brown bass, but Grice says the strategy also attracts the green ones.

“Most people think colored blades are just for smallmouths,” Grice says. “Smallmouths love them, but they also work for largemouth when the water’s dirty. I’ll throw (colored blades) to docks, points, and anywhere I find off-color water.”

Best Baits to Catch Muddy Water Bass

Simply put, you want to use baits that’ll garner attention with flash and/or vibration. Productive options include:

1. Spinnerbait

Big, flashy profile moves a lot of water. Make sure at least one of the blades is a thumping Colorado.

2. Crankbaits

Shallow divers, particularly squarebills shimmy through the murky water. Be sure to deflect off any cover you encounter.

3. Bladed Swim Jigs

Big on the visuals and vibes, this one’s especially productive with a large swimming tail like a Yamamoto Heart Tail Worm or a Gamble Big EZ.

4. Jigs

Once you locate a promising area (logs, laydown, etc.) with the “moving” baits, pick it apart with a dark colored flipping jig. Jigs with rattles are most productive and a big, active trailer is the way to go in muddy water.

5. Texas Rigs

Big worms, wide-bodied creature baits—anything with substantial mass and water-moving appendages will suffice. Similar to jig rattles, accenting these rigs with a bead between the hook and weight produces fish-calling clicking sounds.

The post Catch Big Bass in Muddy Water With the Right Lure appeared first on Outdoor Life.


Best Baits: 15 Hottest Lures for Panfish

When it comes to the ultimate setup for spring and summer panfish, it’s hard to beat a nightcrawler, hook, split shot, and bobber. But, there are some serious advantages to fishing for bluegills, crappies, and perch with artificial baits. You can cover more water quickly, and also avoid the little fish that are so good at robbing live bait rigs.

So with the warm panfishing months of summer on the way, we rounded up the 15 the best panfish lures of all time.

1. Rebel CrickHopper


Crickets and grasshoppers are the staples of the panfish diet mimicked well by this mini crankbait. Twitch or wake it on top or run it to depths of 3 feet. With its realistic profile and body details, the CrickHopper is a particularly good choice after rains or any windy weather that washes and blows insects into the water.

2. Berkley Gulp! Fish Fry


Soft and durable, these 100% biodegradable baits are loaded with Berkley’s powerful, patented scent formula, which attracts distant fish and expands your strike zone. Fished on light jig head or a small hook under a float, Gulp! Fish Fry offer an effective and convenient option to live bait – even through the ice.

3. Johnson Beetle Spin


A true classic, the flash and thump of a single Colorado blade calls attention to the bite-size plastic beetle. Fish the Beetle Spin on a light spinning outfit with 4- to 6-pound line and cast around grass lines, lily pads, docks and shady pockets beneath overhanging trees. When panfish hold deep, vertically jig the bait around brush piles and other structure.

4. Rapala Ultra Lite Minnow


Weighted for long casts, this slow sinker sports a unique swimming lip designed to create an enticing wobbling and rolling action. External scales and 3-D holographic eyes complete the visual appeal.

5. Rebel Wee Frog


A meaty amphibian makes a fine meal for any fish and at just 2 inches (1 ½ for the Teeny size), the Wee Frog makes a perfect panfish mouthful. Fish this floating crankbait on top to mimic a wandering frog or work it with sweeping rod motion for a fleeing action.

6. Original Marabou Road Runner


A truly unique profile, the Road Runner‘s downturned head sports a spinner blade that provides plenty of thump and flash to attract attention. Swim the bait with a variety of retrieves, hop it across the bottom or vertically jig it – in any presentation, the pulsing marabou tail is a deal closer.

7. Yum Ultralight Tripod


If one minnow is good, then two is better and three is great. Create the image of a bait pod by running a trio of 1/8-ounce lead heads with 2-inch Yum Money Fry from this scaled-down version of the popular Yumbrella rig. Stainless steel arms are heat-tempered for strength and memory in a rig that’s castable even on light tackle.

8. Booyah Micro Pond Magic


At 1/8-ounce, this diminutive spinnerbait is fair game for most panfish. The true-running “R” bend wire delivers serious vibration, while a lone Colorado blade handles the flash and water displacement. A 40-strand Bio-Flex silicone skirt and detailed head with realistic 3-D eye make the Micro Pond Magic an enticing target.

9. Mr. Crappie Slab Daddy Supper Rig


Mounting a 1/16- and a 1/8-ounce Slab Daddy on twin arms, this rig rings the panfish dinner bell with a finesse presentation that’s perfect for dock shooting, vertical jigging, slow trolling, long-lining, and casting. Each hand-tied minnow shaped Slab Daddy has a chenille midsection that holds scent attractants.

10. Bass Pro Shops 2-inch Triple Ripple Grub


The tri-split tail design increases this grubs fluttering action and churns up more water for maximum attraction. Fished on a 1/32- 1/16-ounce jig head or a split shot rig, the Triple Ripple Grub gives panfish an active target worthy of a bite.

11. Betts Poka Pop Poppers (size 8)


Listen closely to a lily pad field or grass line and you’ll hear the slurp and smack of bluegills and other panfish grabbing insects off the surface. Stripping these poppers across the water imitates the sound and action of a downed insect – an easy target for a hungry panfish. An 8-foot 5-weight fly rod will handle any panfish you hook, along with any bass that crash the party.

The old foam spider is a panfish killer and the Betts Bream Getter commands attention with its durable, buoyant body and latex rubber legs that wiggle with an enticing action. Leg spacing and tension ensure a realistic topwater presentation that opportunistic panfish can’t resist.

13. Strike King Panfish Baits


Dragonflies and Mayflies don’t last long when they touch the water’s surface and Strike King‘s soft-body imposters give panfish-tempting targets. Rigged on small light wire hooks and fished on ultralight outfits, these insect imitators are deadly around grass lines, lily pads, docks or anywhere panfish congregate.

14. Mister Twister Tri-Alive Hot Curly Tail Grub


A 2-inch grub with stimulating tail action gains visual appeal from a combination of three distinct color laminations, which produce natural baitfish contrast. Fished on a light jighead, the Tri-Alive Hot Curly Tail Grub‘s appearance and action will garner plenty of panfish attention.

15. Northland Fishing Tackle Slurpies Panfish Tube


Northland’s lifelike holographic Baitfish-Image body sports a tantalizing teaser tail that wiggles and displaces water for maximum attraction. Made to shimmer like real fish scales, the body contains Northland’s salted and spiced Sow-Sauce attractant. Hopped or swam on a light tube jig, this little bait looks a lot like the real thing.

Five Simple Panfish Recipes for Your Summer Fish Fry

The best way to end a day fishing for panfish in the summer heat is a fish fry with your family and friends. We couldn’t help including these simple recipes for panfish, from simple pan-fried fillets, to broiled and beyond. Don’t forget to pair them with a cold drink and some tunes.

1. Pan-Fried Crappie


  • 2 lb. crappie
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • Salt, pepper
  • Peanut oil

Directions Mix cornmeal and flour in a large zip-seal plastic bag. Salt and pepper each fillet, dip in egg, then shake in bag until coated with meal/flour mixture. Drop fillets in hot oil poured 1 to 2-inches deep in a cast-iron skillet. Cook fillets for one to two minutes each or until they flake with a fork.

2. Broiled Bass with Hot Melted Butter


  • 1 1/2 lb. white or yellow bass fillets
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. prepared mustard
  • 2 tb. chili sauce
  • 2 drops Tabasco sauce
  • 4 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tb. chopped parsley

Melt butter and stir in the last six ingredients. Pour enough of the butter mix into the bottom of a large glass baking dish and swirl around to coat the dish. Place the fish fillets in a single layer in the dish, then pour the remaining butter mix overtop. Broil, 4 to 6 inches beneath the heat source, for 10 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

3. Bullhead Po’ Boys


  • 6 fried bullhead fillets
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3 dashes hot sauce
  • 1 tb. minced onion
  • 1 tb. prepared mustard
  • 6 large crusty rolls
  • Dill pickles

Cut rolls in half, lengthwise, scoop out centers and discard. Place rolls in oven until hot but not crispy. Combine ketchup, hot sauce, mustard, and onion. Spread hot rolls with this mixture, then top with fish, pickles, and the top half of the roll.

4. Panfish with Herbs


  • 1 lb. panfish fillets
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. each chopped parsley, chives, and rosemary
  • 1 tb. Butter

Melt the butter and pour into a shallow baking dish. Arrange the fish fillets in the dish. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze about one tablespoon of lemon juice over the fillets. Sprinkle with the herbs. Slice the remaining lemon half into thin slices, and arrange the slices on top of the fish. Bake in a preheated 450-degree oven for 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

5. Perch Cakes


  • 1 lb. fillets, cooked, flaked
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 tb. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. parsley flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup cornflake crumbs
  • 2 tb. mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Vegetable oil

Mix egg, onion, mustard, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl; toss with flaked fish. Add enough cornflake crumbs to shape 4 to 6 fish cakes. Roll each cake in extra crumbs to coat the outside. Heat the oil in a skillet, and fry cakes until crisp and brown.

The post Best Baits: 15 Hottest Lures for Panfish appeared first on Outdoor Life.


Lures For Pike and Muskie Fishing

muskie boatside
Get the best fishing lures to catch a muskie. OL

When the stars align and the feeding window is open, a big muskie or pike will hit anything that moves. Your bait selection doesn’t matter and all you have to do is be in the right place at the right time. If you’re lucky, you’ll experience this feeding-frenzy action once or twice a season. The rest of your time hunting trophy pike and muskies will be spent cranking, casting, and waiting. The right presentation will make the difference between a bite and a follow-up. So, don’t waste all of your efforts pitching second-rate lures. Here’s our round up of the best muskie and pike fishing baits on the market right now.

1. Heddon Rattlin’ Spook

The Spook’s renowned walk-the-dog style has long been a pike pleaser – especially over grass. The Rattlin’ model’s tungsten BBs emit an intense sound that mimics fleeing baitfish. These rattles also serve to enhance the bait’s walking retrieve. Heddon


2. Booyah Pikee

Strong and durable, this ½-ounce double willow leaf spinnerbait boasts a tough Vibra-Flx wire frame that stands up to powerful jaws with lots of teeth. The Pikee comes with a 12-inch steel leader for added insurance against big biters. Booyah


3. YUM Dinger

The 7-inch version of this flexible stickbait does a good job of presenting a baitfish profile for pike and musky. Rig the bait Texas style over weeds or wacky style when working open water. YUM


4. Eppinger Daredevle Spoon

The 00 size of this classic spoon has seen plenty of teeth mark, and for good reason. The wiggling, wobbling action puts out a lot of flash and vibration to resemble a fleeing baitfish. Trolled or cast, the Daredevle tempts pike and musky in a broad range of depths. Eppinger


5. Blue Fox Super Bou

Big on the visuals and big on fish-grabbing ability, the size 10 Super Bou imitates mature baitfish and sprouts double trebles to snare the toothy predators that seek them. Tandem blades, combined with Marabou, Hackle, and Flashabou fibers create a lifelike undulating action, while the free-turning brass gear emits sonic vibration and rattles when it strikes the outer shell. Blue Fox


6. Mepps H210

There’s nothing modest about this heavyweight tandem spinner, but big muskies don’t do modest. Nine inches from eye to tail, the 3-ounce H210 emits big-time thump with its twin brass Indiana blades, while a bright 100-percent holographic tail is hand-tied to tandem 7/0 VMC cone cut hooks. Mepps


7. Suick Weighted Holographic Musky Thriller Jerkbait

The weighted version of the original Musky Thriller carries its unique shape and enticing wiggle deeper. Holographic finishes shimmer like real baitfish. Suick


8. Tackle Industries Super D Swimbait

A whopping 14-inches long with its tail extended, this sturdy swimbait is built around a full Body Lock coil harness that keeps the soft plastic body in place, while connecting two underside trebles to the frame linked to jig head. The 5-ounce Super D counts down at about a foot per second. Jig it, jerk it or crank it; the Super D’s rocking motion and curly tail put on a big show for big muskies. Tackle Industries


9. Mepps Double Blade Aglia (Size #5)

The popular Aglia design gains enhanced visual appeal, along with maximum sound and vibration from a second blade. Whether it’s flashing metallic blades or contrasting colors, the dual spinners provide added lift for fishing over weeds or other structures. Vividly colored hand-tied bucktails help make this bait easier for fish to spot. Mepps


10. Mepps Syclops (Size #3)

A real pike pleaser, this sleekly contoured spoon casts easily and trolls effectively at most any common speed. Jig it vertically over deep spots or through the ice. Mepps


11. Grandma Jointed Lure

An old-school classic, the flat body and jointed design yields a wobble and shimmy that drives big muskies crazy. When cast, the bait reaches 3-6 feet; trolled, it goes to 12. Made with high-impact plastic and a tough diving lip, a Grandma will withstand the fiercest attack from a toothy giant. Musky Shop


12. Northland Fishing Tackle Bionic Bucktail Jig

Hand-tied with genuine bucktail, this jig features a versatile double line tie that affords the option of vertical jigging deep water or casting and trolling shallow cover. A stinger hook secured to the jig’s Mustad Ultra-Point hook snares any short strikers. Northland Fishing Tackle


13. Cisco Kid Topper

A torpedo profile body with stainless steel propeller blades on the nose and tail create a big topside disturbance that gets the fish looking in the right direction. Effective for pike and muskie, the Cisco Kid Topper works well at a variety of speeds. Suick


14. Bass Pro Shops Thump N Deal Swimbait

Equipped with a pair of 4/0 short shank trebles, this big bait swims with a slight side-to-side wobble that can be altered by bending and adjusting the internal non-slip body harness. A steady retrieve works best, but an occasional pause or twitch can turn followers into biter.

15. Koppers Live Target Jointed Yellow Perch

Incredibly realistic body shaping, coloration, and fishy detail make this a hard bait for big predators to ignore. Effective for casting or trolling, the jointed body creates an erratic tail kick that closely mimics the swimming motion of a real perch. LiveTarget


The post Lures For Pike and Muskie Fishing appeared first on Outdoor Life.


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