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Staying in Contact

By Mark Romanack

Crankbaits are awesome lures for “staying in contact” with the bottom or
cover like weeds, rock and wood.
It’s always nice to stay in contact with the people we care about. When it comes to targeting walleye, bass and other species with crankbaits, staying in contact with the bottom, rock piles, weeds, wood and other cover is often critical to fishing success. Sure there are times when fish suspended in the water column will hammer a crankbait that wobbles past, but day in and day out the way to get the most from these lures is to fish them tight to cover.

Crankbaits for the most part have methodical wobbling actions that if the true were told can be a little too mechanical at times. A bait that moves along at the same speed and with the same vibrations may or may not trigger strikes from nearby fish. When a crankbait comes in contact with the bottom, weeds or other cover that methodical action is suddenly interrupted  and this is precisely when a crankbait is most likely to get hammered by a nearby walleye or smallmouth.

Sleeper Lures of the Great Lakes

By Mark Romanack

The Salmo Hornet is produced from a high density foam that gives the
bait a balsa wood style action, but with a lot more durability. All Salmo
baits are hand tuned making them one of the most fish catching
baits on the market.
A lot of legendary fishing lures have earned their stripes on the Great Lakes. More than a few baits, like the famous Luhr Jensen J-Plug, produced so many fish that dozens of copies were spawned over the years.

Over the years a few select artificial lures have reached what I’ll describe as “must have” status. The Storm Wiggle Wart was for years the primary crankbait in use on Lake Erie. I can remember when the Wiggle Wart phenomenon was at its peak. Most of the serious charter captains would be trolling with 12 lines and on every single line would be a Wiggle Wart! Now that’s loyalty to a lure.

The Two “T’s of Spinner Fishing

By Captain Jake Romanack

One of the youngest professional fishermen in
the Great Lakes region, follow Captain Jake’s
fishing adventures on Facebook at
In my book there are two “T’s” that sum up the important aspects of spinner fishing for walleye. The
first “T” stands for Tadpole because the OR36 Tadpole Resettable Diving Weight is the ultimate diving device for fishing walleye spinner rigs.

What sets the Tadpole apart from in-line weights and other diving devices is the simplicity in which these divers function. There are no trip arms or adjustable screws to mess with. The only moving part on a Tadpole is the coast lock snap that attaches to the terminal end of your fishing line and slides up and down on the tow arm of the diver. When the Tadpole is dropped into the water the snap slides to the elbow of the tow arm and the Tadpole dives much like a crankbait.

Trolling Heavy Metal

By Mark Romanack with Captain Steve Martin

A typical day aboard the MI Hi out of Benton Harbor, Michigan in late 
April and the month of May.
In recent years sinking style fishing lines like lead core and copper line have become critically
important to Great Lakes trout and salmon trolling. These lines can be used to reach substantial depths and with the help of in-line planer boards like the popular Off Shore Tackle OR12 Side-Planer it’s possible to stack several of these lines off each side of the boat.

Great Lakes charter captains like Steve Martin literally live and die by how well they can produce fish on boards these days. “When I’m salmon trolling I always have a minimum of three board lines per side in the water and often I’m fishing four board lines per side,” says Captain Steve. “In the spring at Benton Harbor when the fish are typically in 60 feet of water or less, we run a lot of lead core set ups and usually the 3, 5, 7 and 10 color rigs are the ticket.