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Mark's Mailbag - Can I run deep divers behind leadcore?

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 June 8th, Dale wrote -  Hi. I troll with leadcore. Usually 3-7 colors in spring and then 7-10 in mid summer. I fish lake erie. I recently bought quite a few deep divers. Can I run these behind leadcore? I run about 15 ft of leader line.

Mark replied - Dale:
Thanks for writing. I’m also the founder of Precision Trolling Data, LLC, a company that has spent more than 20 years researching, testing and documenting the running depths of crankbaits, diving planers, trolling weights and also lead core line. In recent years we have done considerable work with

Do I Really Need Tattle Flags?

           By: Mark Romanack

     The Tattle Flag kits introduced by Off Shore Tackle more than a decade ago have become a “game changer” in the world of open water trolling. It amazes me how many anglers I encounter who have not yet adapted their boards to include Tattle Flags. The 98 cent question becomes are Tattle Flags really necessary?
For the angler after walleye, Off Shore Tackle Tattle Flags
are essential equipment. Not only do these spring loaded flag systems
make it easy to see bites, it helps anglers determine when they have snagged on floating weeds and other debris in the water.
     My answer is simple.... Tattle Flags are only necessary if you want to catch fish! Sarcasm comes naturally for me, but in this case Tattle Flags really are as good as advertised. Setting up your boards with spring loaded flag systems not only makes it easier to see when you’re getting a bite, it makes it obvious something is wrong even when your lure has hooked onto a piece of floating weed or other debris.
     Trolling is a game of numbers and to become an efficient troller requires having all your gear running at peak performance. Installing the original Tattle Flag kit or one of the new Economy Tattle Flag kits not only tells us when we are hooked up, it can even tell us when we have just missed a fish.


     It’s amazing how often when trolling with Tattle Flag kits I see the flag fold down them pop back up quickly before the board even moves. When a walleye or other fish strikes at  your lure but doesn’t get initially hooked, typically the Tattle Flag will telegraph that missed strike. If you react quickly, it’s even more amazing how often you can tease that fish into biting again and with more enthusiasm.
     When the Tattle Flag snaps down and then pops back up quickly, open the reel bail and let that board stall in the water while continuing to troll forward. After a few seconds flip the reel back into gear and watch what happens as the line pulls tight and that board starts to plane out again.
     Most of the time when that board begins to plane out, the flag will snap down and the board immediately starts rocketing backwards. Teasing fish into biting like this is highly effective and without the Tattle Flag kit in the first place, you would never know a bite occurred.

Tattle Flags are fully adjustable making
 them ideal for use with live bait rigs,
 crankbaits and even spoons fished
 on diving planers

                                        TATTLE FLAG KITS

Tattle Flag Kit
     There are two easy ways to get started fishing with Tattle Flags. The first is to purchase an after market Tattle Flag kit that comes complete with two OR16 Snap Weight clips, a new flag, the linkage arm, plus the spring and other necessary hardware to convert an OR12 board into a Tattle Flag board. It takes about five minutes and a pair of needle nose pliers to make the conversion.

                                                          ECONOMY TATTLE FLAG KITS

Economy Kit
     For anglers who already own OR12 boards another less expensive option is to purchase the Economy Tattle Flag kits. This kit only includes the necessary linkage wire, spring and hardware required to install a Tattle Flag  kit on boards that already have a flag and the necessary line releases. When Off Shore Tackle started factory supplying their boards with an OR19 release on the tow arm of the board and an OR16 Snap Weight Clip at the back of the board, the older Tattle Flag kits becomes somewhat outdated. Now anglers can upgrade their Off Shore boards to include Tattle Flags and save money in the process.

Tattle Flags work even when trolling
 deep diving crankbaits like this
 popular Reef Runner 800 series.

     Off Shore Tackle Side-Planers are the industry standard among in-line planer boards. By going a step further and adding Tattle Flags, the Side-Planer becomes the ultimate planer board hands down.

     Other manufacturers have copied the Off Shore Side-Planer and also the Tattle Flag kits. They say that imitation is a sincere form of flattery, but why not own and use the original. Off Shore Tackle is the Leader in Trolling Technology, always has been and continues to pioneer new and better ways to troll into the future.

Mark's Mailbag - Choosing the right rod/reel combo

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 May 15th, Mike wrote -  Mark - Relatively new to your show but really love it! The way you guys break down each segment and show what you are doing and why you chose a certain technique/method really adds to the education of the viewer. Just gearing up for walleye trolling. May be on Saginaw Bay or Erie the first week of June.  I've got big Ugly Stik rods with line counters but I want to downsize for walleyes. What specifics would you recommend to for pulling boards or Tadpoles? Can I get away with 7' med action spinning rods? Or would you go with casting reels and line counters? Size and action? I only want to buy this gear once so any insights would be most appreciated and THANKS in advance! Hoping you and your son keep up the good work for many years to come! -Mike

Mark replied - Mike:
Thanks for watching Fishing 411. I’m happy to answer your question and will also post this answer to our weekly fishing blog as I feel your questions will resonate with a lot of other walleye anglers. 

I’m willing to bet the Ugly Stick rods and line counter reels you already have are going to be ideal for walleye trolling. Ideally I recommend size 20 line counter reels for walleye

Evinrude New G2 Line-Up

By: Mark Romanack

            Two years ago Evinrude shocked the marine industry when they introduced the E-Tec G2 Outboard. Unlike anything that has ever powered a fishing boat, the G2 is as technically superior in function as it is new wave in appearance. Evinrude was looking to make a statement when they released the G2 in 2014.
            New for 2016 the popular E-Tec G2 line up has been expanded to include a 150, 150 HO, 175 and 200 horsepower versions. These 2016 additions complete the family of V6 powered G2 outboards. Even better, engines will start shipping to dealers and OEM’s as soon as July 2016.

            The new sizes of the G2 share the same space age look, high torque, exceptional fuel economy and low emission standards set down by the original G2 outboards. Built on a 66 degree V6 block, the new smaller versions of the G2 provide 30% more torque than competitive outboards, while coming in as the lowest emission outboards in the world. That’s right the Evinrude G2 two stroke outboards produce more torque, better fuel economy and less emissions than any four stroke outboard!
            Other noteworthy design features include a three gallon built in oil reservoir that allows the outboard to function for up to 50 hours without having to add oil. For most anglers that means they can top off the two stroke oil in the spring and fish all summer long without having to remove the cowling to add more two stroke oil.
            Evinrude is also expanding their standard cowling color options to include both an Ice Blue and Mossy Oak Camo version. With hundreds of cowling color and accent options to choose from, every E-Tec G2 owner can feel like they own a one of a kind outboard.
            Evinrude is backing up these new engines with the most comprehensive cowling to prop warranty ever offered in an outboard. For six full years the new G2 requires no scheduled maintenance!

            Evinrude E-Tec G2 outboards are leading the charge when it comes to engines that generate high torque, low emissions, industry leading fuel economy and low maintenance. For more information visit and see what all the buzz is about. 

Understanding Water Clarity

By Mark Romanack

Catching walleye in dirty water is tough, but there are options that put
 the odds of success in favor of the angler. This Detroit River hen hit a
minnow treated with Bad Azz Color Blast.
Water clarity makes a huge difference in walleye fishing success. Ironically, the best fishing conditions do not occur in gin clear water, but rather in stained waters.

If I can look over the back of the boat and barely make out the stainless steel prop, that’s what I consider stained water. Experience has taught me that stained water is the “just right” water clarity for walleye fishing.

At the other extreme anglers are often faced with clear water conditions and also very dirty water. When the water is gin clear fish have the luxury of scrutinizing lures and baits a little too closely.

Wind and run off can often turn a favorite body of water into a sea of chocolate milk. In these conditions visibility is reduced to the point fish struggle to see anything. Not surprisingly in dirty water fishing success often plummets.