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The Smell of Money

By Mark Romanack

Zach Schoonover of Maxima Fishing line is a strong
advocate of cleaning lures before fishing and adding
 natural fish scents to his gear. Note the latex gloves
that Zach wears every time he goes fishing to
control unnatural scents in his fishing.
In the Romanack family when someone’s hands smell like fish, we jokingly say it’s the smell of money. Our clan has made a very comfortable living in the fishing industry and smelling like fish is a good thing when you fish for a living.

Over the years I’ve witnessed a lot of things in fishing I couldn’t explain. For example, how many times have you been in a fishing boat while one guy is catching fish like crazy and no one else can get a bite? Seemingly unexplainable and frustrating instances like this take place in a fishing boat all the time.

On a recent trip to the west coast I may have finally realized something that could explain those frustrating days when fish are obviously around, but not necessarily biting everyone’s fishing lures. One of the cool things about being able to fish in many different places and with lots of talented anglers is the things I learn that ultimately make me question how I’m fishing.

Case in point. As fishermen lots of us believe that scent plays a role in how fish react to baits and lures. We also know from solid science research that certain scents and chemicals are proven to actually repel fish.

Mark's Mailbag - Does the distance of the rod above the water affect the diving depth of a crankbait?

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

On Sept 20th, Lee wrote - "I was told that (the distance of the rod above the water does affect the diving depth of a crankbait) but I'm not sure it's true."

Mark replies - Lee,  The answer to your question is yes and no. It depends on how a person is trolling and with what accessory items. For example, if you’re trolling with a mast system that attaches a large planer board and tether line to a planer board mast, the lines closest to the boat are positioned several feet off the water surface. This indeed reduces the diving depth of the trailing crankbaits. I compensate by adding about 10% to 20% to the trolling lead in this situation.

If you were fishing an in-line planer board like the Off Shore Tackle Side-Planer, the board and line are at the water level and the diving depth of the crankbait is not impacted even if the rods tips are positioned straight up in the air.

For flat line trolling situations, the higher the rod is positioned off the water, the shallower the bait will run. This ratio is about 1 to 1 or in other words if you raise the rod tip one foot, you are reducing the diving depth of the lure about the same. For flat line fishing, I recommend positioning your rod tips just a couple inches above the water.

Great question Lee, I hope my answer helps you catch a few more fish. Thanks for writing.

Downrigger Release Technology

By Mark Romanack

Off Shore Tackle is a Michigan based manufacturer who produces the
industry standard in line releases and other trolling aids.
These days downriggers have evolved into highly sophisticated electronically mastered trolling aids that cost thousands of dollars. Ironically, I still routinely see anglers using a two cent rubber band as their downrigger line release! 

Logic like that makes me scratch my head because the downrigger line release is the most important part of any downrigger set up. If the line release is too weak, not enough resistance is put upon the fish when it strikes and a lousy hook set results. More times than not, these fish shake off before they can be landed.

If the tension setting on the line release is too heavy, a fish may be hooked solidly but dragged along at depth because it’s impossible to trip the release from the surface.

Fishing 411 has Smooth Moves

Fishing 411 TV and Smooth Moves recently reached a marketing and advertising agreement. Smooth Moves is based in Blooming Prairie, Minnesota and is the producer of a highly popular spring/shock mechanical suspension system for boat seats. “Smooth Moves put the fun back into fishing,” says Mark Romanack, the host of Fishing 411 Television. “I’ve spent my entire life fishing and running in rough water conditions has taken a toll on my body. Smooth Moves suspensions are easily adjustable in height and also for anglers’ weights ranging from 100 to 300 pounds”. “Smooth Moves suspensions have a built-in slide and swivel 360 degrees,” added Romanack. “Not only does the Smooth Moves mechanism take the torture out of fishing in rough water, these suspensions can be easily mounted in any fishing boat in just a few minutes time.”

Smooth Moves produces two models including the Smooth Moves Ultra at a MSRP of $550.00 and the Smooth Moves Classic which retails for $450.00. Both of these spring/shock assisted suspensions turn rough water boating into a painless affair!

“The Fishing 411 team is very excited to be fishing and endorsing Smooth Moves” explains Romanack. “This winter interested fishermen can take a “test ride” by visiting the Fishing 411 Boat/Sport Show Display at the Ultimate Fishing Show in Novi, MI, the Outdoor-a-Rama Show in Detroit, the Ultimate Sport Show in Grand Rapids, MI and the Greater Niagara Sportfishing Expo in Niagara Falls, NY.

For more information, visit or and don’t forget to register for the free Fishing 411 weekly blog that’s always full of fishing and boating information.

For Immediate Release

Contact: Mark Romanack, or Tammy Koller,

Fish Flash Owns the West... For good reason!

By Mark Romanack

The Big Al Fish Flash produced by Yakima Bait
 is hands down the flasher of choice on the west
 coast and this trend is starting to invade other
salmon fisheries.
Recently I had the great pleasure to fish the famed Buoy 10 region of the Columbia River for king salmon. My friends at Maxima Line and Yakima Bait hosted the trip and treated the Fishing 411 crew to some amazing salmon fishing west coast style. The Columbia receives one of the richest runs of salmon in North American and countless anglers from all over the nation converge here in August and September to experience the best sport salmon fishing found anywhere.

Before I even stepped into the boat I could see a trend that put a big smile on my face. Literally every angler walking down the dock, every captain getting his boat ready for clients and every anxious group of anglers at the boat launch had an unique flasher hanging from their fishing line called the Big Al Fish Flash.

Produced by Yakima Bait ( one of the largest tackle manufacturers in the USA, the Fish Flash is a triangle shaped flasher that spins on it’s own axis. Compared to other attractors, the Fish Flash puts out more strobes of light and moves through the water with zero drag or resistance.

A New Breed of Great Lakes Boats

By Mark Romanack

Travis White was nice enough to share this picture of his
 American Angler 202. This welded “V” hull is typical of the
trailerable boats popping up all across the Great Lakes. Travis
uses his to lead charter trips out to Stannard Rock in the middle of
Lake Superior! For more information on these adventure
 fishing trips visit
The times they are a changing. The traditional fiberglass deep V Cuddy Cabin style of fishing boat that once dominated on the Great Lakes severed a lot of captains well, but this style of boat and charter trip may have run its course. Larger “charter style” boats provide a lot of space and creature comforts, but these boats must also be slipped in a particular port. The owner and/or charter client is saddled with the necessity of fishing only one port all season long.

The Great Lakes recreational fishing resources are in turmoil. No one knows what the future holds for anglers who target species including lake trout, king salmon, coho salmon, Atlantic salmon, steelhead and brown trout. The uncertainty of the Great Lakes fishery has some savvy anglers opting for smaller boats they can trailer to hot ports at peak times of year.