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MotorGuide Unveils New Technology

By Mark Romanack

The MotorGuide Xi5 electric motor networks with Lowrance HDS sonar
units in a process called Gateway. This technology allows anglers to
operate the electric motor using the touch screen
on the Lowrance unit.
In the fishing industry some things stay the same and others are rapidly changing. Every winter I rig a new fishing boat, and it seems every year I’m adding some new technology to my fishing boat. The 2016 Starcraft STX 2050 currently setting in my garage is no exception. 

New for 2016 both Jake and I are adding “Gateway” to our rigs. Gateway is a shared technology of MotorGuide and Lowrance Electronics that allows our Xi5 Auto-Pilot electric trolling motors to be controlled using the touch screen on our HDS generation three sonar/GPS units.

This technology effectively allows the sonar/GPS unit to communicate with the electric motor via standard NMEA cables. The advantage of this system is the boat can be controlled three ways, including the foot control, the Key Fob and now using a Lowrance generation two and three sonar units.

Three Jigs for Walleye

By Mark Romanack
Chad Thompson of Pasha Lake Cabins near Beardmore, Ontario is a big
 fan of Bait Rigs jigs. The author introduced Chad to the Odd’ball many 
years ago and Chad has caught countless walleye using Bait Rigs 
products over the years.

Ever tell someone the importance of using the right tool for the job? The lures we use to catch popular species like walleye are in effect “tools” that are designed for a particular job. No single jig design can function flawlessly at every walleye jig fishing presentation. That’s precisely why I carry three different jig designs in my boat so I always have the right jig for the job at hand.

Stand-up jigs have been a favorite of mine longer than I can remember. A stand-up jig like the popular Bait Rigs Odd’ball do a great job of keeping the hook point ready for action. I use this jig design for vertical jigging in rivers, dragging jigs along gravel flats and also for working walleye holding on deep water humps and sunken islands.

It’s surprising how few jigs there are on the market designed to accept a soft plastic grub. A growing number of walleye anglers depend almost exclusively on these soft plastics and fishing them requires a jig designed for the task.

The Bait Rigs Long Shank Slo-Poke features an extra long shank hook design that is required to fish shad bodies, action tail grubs, split tail grubs and other soft plastics favored by walleye anglers. Available in 1/8, 1/4 and 3/8 ounce sizes, the Slo-Poke LS is my hands down choice for pitching plastics.

These three jig designs by Bait Rigs have served the author well in over 30
 years of chasing walleye. The Odd’ball (top) is ideal for vertical jigging or
dragging jigs, the Slo-Poke (left) is the author’s choice for casting live bait
and the Slo-Poke Long Shank (right) is the perfect jig for casting
soft plastic grubs.
Live bait can be fished on just about any jig design, but clearly the best jig for fishing leeches, minnows or a piece of nightcrawler are compact jig designs that can be casted and snaked easily through weeds, wood and rock cover. The classic Slo-Poke jig by Bait Rigs was brought to market years before anglers started routinely fishing soft plastics. In those days a jig was rated by how well it fished live bait and the Slo-Poke was then and is still today the live bait jig of choice.

The timeless Slo-Poke is a deadly jig for pitching leeches or minnows to weed edges, rocky shorelines or submerged timber. If the cover isn’t too thick, I love to tip a Slo-Poke with half a nightcrawler hooked through the nose.

The world might be full of jig brands and designs, but I find all the walleye fishing success I could want using just three popular models from Bait Rigs. The Odd’ball, Long Shank Slo-Poke and original Slo-Poke have all earned a place of honor in my boat.


Tackle Storage Solution

By Mark Romanack

Show me a fisherman and I’ll show you a guy or gal who’s frustrated with how to best store their coveted fishing gear. Some of the most difficult to store terminal tackle falls into the “rig” category. This broad based term can mean a lot of things including crawler harnesses, trolling flies and squids, herring harnesses, sardine heads, slip sinker set ups, diver leaders, meat rigs and much, much more.

All of these items are tough to store because they involve leaders of various line diameters and overall lengths. To neatly store this kind of gear requires a system that makes it easy to wrap up and just as importantly unwrap these leaders. Most of the solutions in this category come in the form of “leader wheels” that wrap up the line so tightly it quickly gets memory coils. Also, some rigs like “downrigger sliders” and “diver leaders”

Monofilament or Braid? The Great Trolling Debate

By Mark Romanack

The Diver Rod shown here is rigged with Spectra braid (Maxima 8
Strand) because the low stretch and super thin diameter makes it
easier to fish divers at greater depths.
Jake and I stay pretty busy in the winter months doing fishing seminars at sport shows, fishing clubs, wild game dinners, in-store promotions and church events. One of the most common questions we get focuses on the best line types for trolling.

A decade ago this question would have been easy to answer because only a handful of credible anglers were trolling with braid in those days. Today, approximately 50% of anglers favor monofilament and the rest are in the braid camp. The reason so many anglers are switching to braid is because these lines have frankly gotten a lot better over the years. The early “braids” weren’t even actually braided lines, but rather fishing lines formed by fusing Microdyneema fibers.