Wiltz: What's in your tackle box?
I could care less about your love life, net worth, or collection of toys, but if you're a good
fisherman/woman, I'd like to take a peek into your tackle box. Tell you what. I'll show you mine if you show me yours.
I actually carry two boxes. One's a large tackle box, and one's a 17"x 8"x 9" tool box. The tool box contains an assortment of lines, both braided and mono, and tools including a knife, scissors, long nose pliers, and a screwdriver. My GPS may or may not be in this box depending on the situation. There will also be two or three backup reels, bottom-bouncers, catfish gear, a great assortment of soft plastics as well as walleye spinners, and a large assortment of jigs. Lying underneath will be a "cowbell" packet for trout trolling, and a folded piece of hunter orange vest to mark openings on wilderness lakes.
I make good use of old, antiquated bait-casting reels on my slip-bobber rigs. By setting the reel on "click," the fish can't pull the rig overboard or through an ice hole, and the audio "click" tells me when a fish has taken the bait—if I can hear it.
Now for my tackle box. I'm big on Rapalas. These include Skitter Props for bass on the surface,
Rattlin' Raps, Shadow Raps, Clackin' Raps which are lethal on lake trout, X-Raps, Floating Raps (one of my all-time favorites), HuskyJerks, Shad Raps, and Risto Raps.
There are an assortment of spoons and spinners including Blue Fox and Mepps which will be great for pike and Arctic grayling on Wollaston in Saskatchewan in June. I also like the old Heddon Sonics for walleyes and Jitterbugs for bass. Of course there will be the usual collection of snelled hooks, leaders, swivels, and sinkers.
Thanks to Tom, one of my sons-in-law, my tackle box contains gear that wouldn't have been there 20 years ago. These relate to four techniques he introduced me to. The first is slip-bobbers. When all else fails, I can usually find success with slip-bobbers and live bait. I like to put a slip-bobber rig out when I'm tossing jigs. They are also great for taking kids fishing. We're talking slip-bobbers, slip-bobber knots, and slip-bobber beads.
The next killer technique is tube jigs. Tom first introduced me to Gitzit tube jig kits. Since then I've gone to assorted soft plastic tube jig bodies in amber and smoke colors. For jigs, I like the teardrop-shaped Venom jigs made especially for tubes. It's my favorite way to fish, and it makes good sense as jigs are the world's #1 lure for all species.
Closely related to tubes, Tom introduced me to Texas rigs. For this, one needs the bullet-shaped
sinkers that slide on the line above the hook, special off-set shank worm hooks, and finally a grand assortment of the soft plastic worms, eels, grubs, crawdads, and lizards that go on the hook.
It was just last summer that Tom introduced me to Drop-Shot fishing. It worked when nothing else would. I'm guessing that the fish weren't particularly hungry, but they couldn't resist a tiny offering. I see it as being similar to the way I munch on Fritos or pistachios when I'm not hungry.
A plain ordinary hook fished two feet above an ordinary split shot sinker will work, but if you're
willing to spend a few extra bucks, there are custom drop-shot hooks as well as custom drop-shot sinkers. I don't see much need for custom sinkers, but I do like the VMC Spinshot Drop-Shot Hook or the more expensive Gamakatsu Swivel Shot Hook. To any of these hooks, thread on the tiny soft plastic insects, worms, or minnows meant for drop-shot angling. These are generally an inch or less long.
I also have a tackle box stocked exclusively with musky lures, as well as a rod and reel for musky fishing. As previously mentioned, I'm headed to Saskatchewan's Wollaston Lake in June, and I'll take that musky rod along to fish for giant northern pike and lake trout.
I have been remiss in not praising the job the Corp of Engineers has done in providing bank fishing access beneath the Fort Randall Dam. Other than the platform complete with benches in the boat ramp bay, there is easy access the length of the tail race and around the point. Little walking is required.
See you next week.