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Outboards of the Future

By Mark Romanack

This Evinrude E-Tec 135 H.O. is mounted on a Starcraft 176 Starfish.The Fishing 411team has conducted a series of test ride videos featuring all
the popular Starcraft, Smoker Craft, American Angler and Starweld fishing boats.
These days outboard engines come in two flavors including standard models and High Output or H.O. models. High Output outboards feature a special gear case (lower unit) that is beefed up to take the abuse of constant use, tournament tortures and the long hours of service often dished out by guides and professional anglers.

What a lot of anglers don’t know is that the gear cases provided on H.O. outboards are actually designed to provide more performance on the water. This performance is achieved by streamlining the shape of the gear case so it passes through the water with less friction. 

Everything you Never Wanted to Know About Tow Vehicles

By Mark Romanack

The author’s Starcraft STX 2050 is large enough that a 3/4 ton truck
is the logical choice as a tow vehicle.
If you love the outdoors, chances are pretty good there is a pick up truck or full sized SUV in your garage. Once categorized as “gas guzzlers” these collective towing vehicles are today a standard of the American way of life.

Americans work hard all week long so they can go play with their toys on the weekend. Getting those toys from point “A” to point “B” and there are no shortage of vehicles out there to pick from. This blog isn’t about promoting Dodge, Chevy or Ford, but rather to provide some hints on what makes for a suitable tow vehicle.

Mark's Mailbag - Common Questions at Precision Trolling Data, LLC

Mark's Mailbag are occasional posts to the blog in response to questions people submit on the Fishing 411 website.  Mark personally responds to the question and when relevant, we repost his answer here.  If you have a question you would like to ask Mark, please visit us at

Travis writes:  I have just purchased the lifetime version of your precision trolling app. I was under the impression that along with all of the crankbaits listed that there would be more line diameter options as well as line types. Also, different options for trolling speed. I'm not sure what speed you based the data provided is. For the most part this should be a good investment, just wondering if any of the info I'm asking for is or will be provided. Thank you.

Mark Replies:  Travis,

Your purchase of the Precision Trolling Data app is indeed a good investment. Literally hundreds of lures and trolling devices have been tested and the respective diving depths documented by our team using scuba diving methods to test, confirm and document every data point. 

The A-B-C’s of In-Line Board Rigging

By Mark Romanack

Rigged appropriately planer boards like the popular
OR12 Side Planer can be used to catch just about
any species of fish including this nice
mess of crappie.
One of the reasons that in-line planer boards like the Off Shore Tackle OR12 Side-Planer are so popular is these fishing aids can be rigged a variety of ways. The Fishing 411 team rigs our boards three different ways depending on the species we are targeting and the type of trolling on the docket.

One of the most popular and “classic” rigging methods for in-line boards involves using an OR16 (red) Snap Weight Clip on the tow arm of the board and also a second OR16 mounted to a split ring at the back of the board. The OR16 has a small plastic pin in the middle of the rubber pads. When the line is placed behind the pin and the release closed, this rigging method virtually guarantees that the board is going to remain on the fishing line.

This is the rigging method I use most often when fishing lead core or copper line set ups that feature a pre-determined amount of sinking line and a monofilament backing. The lead core or copper line is deployed and the planer board is attached to the monofilament backing using both OR16 clips.

Getting the Most from Trout Spinners

By Mark Romanack

On a recent trip to Lake Nipigon in northwestern
Ontario the author’s son Jake caught this
magnificent brook trout casting a
Rooster Tail spinner.
Among those who covet trout fishing, most anglers agree that the in-line spinner is the “go to” bait for catching trout of all sizes and varieties. While the fly fishermen among us might put up a good argument that the Muddler Minnow is the most popular fly of all time, even the mighty Muddler Minnow hasn’t produced as many trout as popular spinners like the Yakima Rooster Tail, Mepps Aglia and Panther Martin.

Trout spinners bring to the table the unique combination of flash, vibration and a pulsating hackle that trumps just about any other lure type. Even better, spinners are easy to fish, they cast like a bullet and these lures are productive in large rivers, small streams, beaver ponds and natural lakes. About the only time a spinner won’t catch trout is when it’s owner leaves it in the tackle box in favor of some other Johnny-come-lately lure.

Spinners are produced using a wide variety of blade types, but the most popular among trout anglers are willow leaf, French blades and center spin blades. Of these three blade designs the willow leaf blade must be retrieved a little faster to get the blade rotating properly. Willow leaf spinners like the famous original Rooster Tail function best when fished at a moderate to fast retrieve speed or when fished in flowing water.