Technique

Pitching

Bass Pitching
Pitching lures to catch bass is a very effective technique when targeting bass in shallow cover. The act of pitching a lure allows the bait to take out line as the lure travels toward the desired target, and then ideally enter the water with a minimal disturbance. This technique can help the most when casting around docks, trees, grass, or other shallow water obstacles.

Video:Ott Defoe, Bassmaster Elite Series Pro, explains how to pitch baits into and around cover.

Top Rod Recommendations for Pitching:

AETOS
Elite Tech Bass
HMG

Cranking

Bass Cranking
Crankbaits can be a great tool when looking to cover a great amount of water. When fishing with a crankbait, deflection is key. The more erratic the action of the bait, the better the fish will typically react.

Video:Ott Defoe, Bassmaster Elite Series pro, explains how to choose the right fishing rod when fishing with crankbaits.

Top Rod Recommendations for Cranking:

AETOS
Elite Tech Bass
HMG

Shaky Head

Bass Shaky Head
A shaky head allows anglers to present fish with a smaller offering in a more subtle, slower technique. The shaky head can be attached to a variety of different soft plastics, although a slim, finesse style worm is the most common choice.

Video:Ott Defoe, Bassmaster Elite pro, explains how to rig and fish a shaky head.

Top Rod Recommendations for Shaky Head:

AETOS
Elite Tech Bass
HMG

Swimbaits

Bass Swimbaits
Swimbaits are baitfish imitating lures that have a great visual appeal. These lures are best used in clear to lightly stained water, due to their ability to draw fish by sight alone. Having the right tackle when throwing swimbaits can prove crucial, as they are typically known as a big fish lure. Without the right tackle, pulling the larger fish away from cover can be tricky and be detrimental to the success of fishing swimbaits.

Video:Ott Defoe, Bassmaster Elite series pro, explains how to choose the right gear when fishing a swimbait around cover.

Top Rod Recommendations for Swimbaits:

AETOS
Elite Tech Bass
Eagle

Spinnerbait

A spinnerbait is extremely versatile. It can be fished in almost any condition, deep or shallow, and imitates a baitfish. By giving off flash, vibration, and a great visual appeal, the spinnerbait when worked correctly can help you catch big fish, and loads of them.

Video:Ott Defoe, Bassmaster elite series pro, explains how to fish a spinnerbait and the proper gear to use.

Top Rod Recommendations for Spinnerbait:

AETOS
Elite Tech Bass
HMG

Dropshot

Bass Dropshot
Dropshoting is a finesse technique which uses light lines and weights accompanied by a small soft plastic. This technique involves the weight being tied below the hook, which gives the bait the ability to float off the bottom. Using a drop shot proves effective in all water depths from shallow to deep and even has the ability to help target suspended fish.

Top Rod Recommendations for Dropshot:

Elite Tech Bass
HMG
HMX

Jerkbaits

Bass Jerkbaits
Jerkbaits come in two types, soft and hard, both of which have their advantages. Soft jerkbaits can be rigged weed-less which gives the angler the ability to fish around cover without getting hung up. Hard jerkbaits have 2-3 treble hooks on them, and have the ability to suspend. This action allows the bait to remain in the strike zone for long periods of time, and entice a bass into eating it.

Top Rod Recommendations for Jerkbaits:

Aetos
Elite Tech Bass
HMG

Topwater

Bass Topwater
The exciting heart pumping action that can come with fishing a topwater bait, is not the only benefit of this technique. Topwater baits can be fished in shallow and deep water and allow anglers to cover a lot of water to find where the active fish are feeding. The best times of day to fish a topwater bait are early in the morning or late in the evening. Frogs, poppers, stickbaits, buzzbaits and prop baits are the most common topwater lures.

Top Rod Recommendations for Topwater:

Aetos
Elite Tech Bass
HMG

Magnum Shaky Head

Bass Magnum Shaky Head
A magnum shaky head can be a great replacement for throwing larger jigs. The larger shaky head allows anglers to fish in deeper open water or heavy cover, and big baits often times attract bigger fish! Magnum shaky heads are fished with larger normal worms and worked slowly over deep structure to trigger those big bites.

Top Rod Recommendations for Magnum Shaky Head:

Elite Tech Bass
HMG
Eagle

Figure 8

Muskie Figure 8
The figure 8 technique is used as the last step for retrieving a muskie lure when a muskie is following the bait, but has not eaten it yet. The technique involves sticking the rod tip underwater with about 18 inches of line out and swipe the rod tip through the water in figure 8 motions to entice the fish into biting. This final erratic motion of the lure at the end of a retrieve can be just enough to get a fish to commit.

Video:Nate Zelinsky, Muskie pro, explains how to use the figure 8 technique effectively.

Top Rod Recommendations for Figure 8:

Elite Tech Predator
Aetos

High Cast/Pounding

Muskie/Pike High Cast/Pounding
This technique is a method that involves making a high vertical cast and allowing the lure to splash down violently, which in turn creates disturbance in attempt to attract Muskie. A strong, stiff rod is normally used during this technique due to the weight of the large lures.

Video:Nate Zelinsky, Muskie Pro, explains how to use the high cast technique and its benefits.

Top Rod Recommendations for High Cast/Pounding:

Elite Tech Predator

Jigging

Walleye Jigging
Jigging for walleye is a popular technique that uses an artificial lure to entice walleye. Fishing on contours and allowing the jig to flutter back to the bottom can greatly increase chances for success when targeting walleye with this technique.

Video: Nate Zelinsky, Walleye pro, explains how to properly jig for walleye and what gear to use.

Top Rod Recommendations for Jigging:

Elite Tech Walleye
HMG

Slip Bobber

Walleye Slip Bobber
Using a slip bobber to present the bait to walleye will allow the bait to remain in the ideal depth to get a strike. This technique is easily adjustable to anything depth, and will help put more fish in the boat when using live bait.

Video: Nate Zelinsky, Walleye pro, explains how to use a slip bobber.

Top Rod Recommendations for Slip Bobber:

Elite Tech Walleye
HMG

Trolling

Walleye Trolling
Trolling for walleye is a popular technique that allows the boat to pull the baits and cover a great amount of water. The use of planer boards has become essential to allowing the baits to cover a wider area, and gives the angler the ability to use multiple rods. Having the correct rod is especially important when trolling with planer boards.

Video: Nate Zelinsky, Walleye pro, explains the importance of using the proper rod when trolling planer boards for walleye.

Top Rod Recommendations for Trolling:

Eagle

Rigging

Walleye Rigging
Walleye rigging is one of the most effective ways to present live bait to hungry fish. Whether you use a live worm or minnow, a soft sensitive rod can help you detect the lightest of pickups while using this finesse technique. A longer rod, over 7 feet, is usually implemented in this technique, and the key when setting the hook is to make a long sweeping hook set.

Top Rod Recommendations for Rigging:

Elite Tech Walleye
HMG
Eagle

Bottom Bouncing

Walleye Bottom Bouncing
When bottom bouncing for walleye, keeping the bait directly under the boat allows the angler to have the most control, and keep the bait upright. This upright position helps reduce the chances of snagging structure and losing your rig. The bait and weight selection is very wide when using this technique, but it is essential to use a large enough weight to keep bottom contact.

Top Rod Recommendations for Bottom Bouncing:

Elite Tech Walleye
HMG

Inline Spinners

Trout Inline Spinners
Inline spinners are casted and retrieved quickly to help simulate a small baitfish or minnow. These baits can be effectively used in both moving and still water conditions. While using this bait, anglers are able to cover a greater amount of water due to the speed in which it is worked.

Top Rod Recommendations for Inline Spinners:

Elite River Runner
Eagle

Dough Baits

Trout Dough Baits
Fishing dough baits is extremely productive because of the scent emitted from the baits can draw in fish from a long way off. These baits can be fished multiple ways, but one of the most popular ways is on the bottom with a slip sinker. By using a slip sinker in conjunction with this bait, the bait will float of the bottom enticing trout to come and bite.

Top Rod Recommendations for Dough Baits:

Elite River Runner
Eagle

Popping Corks

Redfish Popping Corks
The main function of a popping cork is to attract fish. The popping sound simulates fish feeding on the surface, thus drawing in more hungry fish looking for an easy meal. When rigging a popping cork, you should leave 1-3 feet below the cork where the bait will be attached. When the fish come to investigate the commotion, your bait will be there as a tasty offering.

Top Rod Recommendations for Popping Corks:

HMG
HMX
Eagle

Carolina Rig

Redfish Carolina Rig
Carolina rigging is a popular and effective way to present baits on the bottom. A sliding weight is placed on the main line, which is followed by a swivel, 1-3 foot leader, and hook. Bait choices can vary from live, dead, or Gulp® baits, which work well with this technique.

Top Rod Recommendations for Carolina Rig:

HMG
Eagle

Flats Fishing

Redfish Flats Fishing
Flats are long shallow stretches of water that are relatively consistent in depth and have grass, sand, or mud bottoms. When fishing on flats, looking for any abnormalities such as ditches, holes, or humps can greatly increase chances of finding fish. Long casts with lures and live bait help avoid scaring the fish and give the angler a better chance to catch hungry fish roaming the flats. The key to this technique is to continually scan the water looking for feeding fish and then making accurate casts to put the bait right in the strike zone.

Top Rod Recommendations for Flats Fishing:

HMG
Eagle

Topwater

Sea Trout Topwater
Topwater walking baits for sea trout are among the most exciting ways to catch them. While retrieving this style lure, twitching the bait while you have slack in the line causes the side-to-side action of the bait. The most common retrieve includes continuing this motion the entire time with no pauses. When a fish strikes makes sure to continue ‘walking’ the bait as a trout may strike it multiple times before it gets the hook.

Top Rod Recommendations for Topwater:

HMG
Eagle

Jig

Sea Trout Jig
Jigs are great options when fishing for sea trout. A normal sea trout jig is rigged with a 1/8 to 3/8 ounce jig head and a soft plastic. There are many options for soft plastic trailers including shrimp and baitfish style baits. These should be fished with a steady retrieve or a slower retrieve bouncing off the bottom.

Top Rod Recommendations for Jig:

HMG
HMX
Eagle

Bass

Pitching

Bass Pitching
Pitching lures to catch bass is a very effective technique when targeting bass in shallow cover. The act of pitching a lure allows the bait to take out line as the lure travels toward the desired target, and then ideally enter the water with a minimal disturbance. This technique can help the most when casting around docks, trees, grass, or other shallow water obstacles.

Video:Ott Defoe, Bassmaster Elite Series Pro, explains how to pitch baits into and around cover.

Top Rod Recommendations for Pitching:

AETOS
Elite Tech Bass
HMG

Cranking

Bass Cranking
Crankbaits can be a great tool when looking to cover a great amount of water. When fishing with a crankbait, deflection is key. The more erratic the action of the bait, the better the fish will typically react.

Video:Ott Defoe, Bassmaster Elite Series pro, explains how to choose the right fishing rod when fishing with crankbaits.

Top Rod Recommendations for Cranking:

AETOS
Elite Tech Bass
HMG

Shaky Head

Bass Shaky Head
A shaky head allows anglers to present fish with a smaller offering in a more subtle, slower technique. The shaky head can be attached to a variety of different soft plastics, although a slim, finesse style worm is the most common choice.

Video:Ott Defoe, Bassmaster Elite pro, explains how to rig and fish a shaky head.

Top Rod Recommendations for Shaky Head:

AETOS
Elite Tech Bass
HMG

Swimbaits

Bass Swimbaits
Swimbaits are baitfish imitating lures that have a great visual appeal. These lures are best used in clear to lightly stained water, due to their ability to draw fish by sight alone. Having the right tackle when throwing swimbaits can prove crucial, as they are typically known as a big fish lure. Without the right tackle, pulling the larger fish away from cover can be tricky and be detrimental to the success of fishing swimbaits.

Video:Ott Defoe, Bassmaster Elite series pro, explains how to choose the right gear when fishing a swimbait around cover.

Top Rod Recommendations for Swimbaits:

AETOS
Elite Tech Bass
Eagle

Spinnerbait

A spinnerbait is extremely versatile. It can be fished in almost any condition, deep or shallow, and imitates a baitfish. By giving off flash, vibration, and a great visual appeal, the spinnerbait when worked correctly can help you catch big fish, and loads of them.

Video:Ott Defoe, Bassmaster elite series pro, explains how to fish a spinnerbait and the proper gear to use.

Top Rod Recommendations for Spinnerbait:

AETOS
Elite Tech Bass
HMG

Dropshot

Bass Dropshot
Dropshoting is a finesse technique which uses light lines and weights accompanied by a small soft plastic. This technique involves the weight being tied below the hook, which gives the bait the ability to float off the bottom. Using a drop shot proves effective in all water depths from shallow to deep and even has the ability to help target suspended fish.

Top Rod Recommendations for Dropshot:

Elite Tech Bass
HMG
HMX

Jerkbaits

Bass Jerkbaits
Jerkbaits come in two types, soft and hard, both of which have their advantages. Soft jerkbaits can be rigged weed-less which gives the angler the ability to fish around cover without getting hung up. Hard jerkbaits have 2-3 treble hooks on them, and have the ability to suspend. This action allows the bait to remain in the strike zone for long periods of time, and entice a bass into eating it.

Top Rod Recommendations for Jerkbaits:

Aetos
Elite Tech Bass
HMG

Topwater

Bass Topwater
The exciting heart pumping action that can come with fishing a topwater bait, is not the only benefit of this technique. Topwater baits can be fished in shallow and deep water and allow anglers to cover a lot of water to find where the active fish are feeding. The best times of day to fish a topwater bait are early in the morning or late in the evening. Frogs, poppers, stickbaits, buzzbaits and prop baits are the most common topwater lures.

Top Rod Recommendations for Topwater:

Aetos
Elite Tech Bass
HMG

Magnum Shaky Head

Bass Magnum Shaky Head
A magnum shaky head can be a great replacement for throwing larger jigs. The larger shaky head allows anglers to fish in deeper open water or heavy cover, and big baits often times attract bigger fish! Magnum shaky heads are fished with larger normal worms and worked slowly over deep structure to trigger those big bites.

Top Rod Recommendations for Magnum Shaky Head:

Elite Tech Bass
HMG
Eagle

Muskie/Pike

Figure 8

Muskie Figure 8
The figure 8 technique is used as the last step for retrieving a muskie lure when a muskie is following the bait, but has not eaten it yet. The technique involves sticking the rod tip underwater with about 18 inches of line out and swipe the rod tip through the water in figure 8 motions to entice the fish into biting. This final erratic motion of the lure at the end of a retrieve can be just enough to get a fish to commit.

Video:Nate Zelinsky, Muskie pro, explains how to use the figure 8 technique effectively.

Top Rod Recommendations for Figure 8:

Elite Tech Predator
Aetos

High Cast/Pounding

Muskie/Pike High Cast/Pounding
This technique is a method that involves making a high vertical cast and allowing the lure to splash down violently, which in turn creates disturbance in attempt to attract Muskie. A strong, stiff rod is normally used during this technique due to the weight of the large lures.

Video:Nate Zelinsky, Muskie Pro, explains how to use the high cast technique and its benefits.

Top Rod Recommendations for High Cast/Pounding:

Elite Tech Predator

Walleye

Jigging

Walleye Jigging
Jigging for walleye is a popular technique that uses an artificial lure to entice walleye. Fishing on contours and allowing the jig to flutter back to the bottom can greatly increase chances for success when targeting walleye with this technique.

Video: Nate Zelinsky, Walleye pro, explains how to properly jig for walleye and what gear to use.

Top Rod Recommendations for Jigging:

Elite Tech Walleye
HMG

Slip Bobber

Walleye Slip Bobber
Using a slip bobber to present the bait to walleye will allow the bait to remain in the ideal depth to get a strike. This technique is easily adjustable to anything depth, and will help put more fish in the boat when using live bait.

Video: Nate Zelinsky, Walleye pro, explains how to use a slip bobber.

Top Rod Recommendations for Slip Bobber:

Elite Tech Walleye
HMG

Trolling

Walleye Trolling
Trolling for walleye is a popular technique that allows the boat to pull the baits and cover a great amount of water. The use of planer boards has become essential to allowing the baits to cover a wider area, and gives the angler the ability to use multiple rods. Having the correct rod is especially important when trolling with planer boards.

Video: Nate Zelinsky, Walleye pro, explains the importance of using the proper rod when trolling planer boards for walleye.

Top Rod Recommendations for Trolling:

Eagle

Rigging

Walleye Rigging
Walleye rigging is one of the most effective ways to present live bait to hungry fish. Whether you use a live worm or minnow, a soft sensitive rod can help you detect the lightest of pickups while using this finesse technique. A longer rod, over 7 feet, is usually implemented in this technique, and the key when setting the hook is to make a long sweeping hook set.

Top Rod Recommendations for Rigging:

Elite Tech Walleye
HMG
Eagle

Bottom Bouncing

Walleye Bottom Bouncing
When bottom bouncing for walleye, keeping the bait directly under the boat allows the angler to have the most control, and keep the bait upright. This upright position helps reduce the chances of snagging structure and losing your rig. The bait and weight selection is very wide when using this technique, but it is essential to use a large enough weight to keep bottom contact.

Top Rod Recommendations for Bottom Bouncing:

Elite Tech Walleye
HMG

Trout

Inline Spinners

Trout Inline Spinners
Inline spinners are casted and retrieved quickly to help simulate a small baitfish or minnow. These baits can be effectively used in both moving and still water conditions. While using this bait, anglers are able to cover a greater amount of water due to the speed in which it is worked.

Top Rod Recommendations for Inline Spinners:

Elite River Runner
Eagle

Dough Baits

Trout Dough Baits
Fishing dough baits is extremely productive because of the scent emitted from the baits can draw in fish from a long way off. These baits can be fished multiple ways, but one of the most popular ways is on the bottom with a slip sinker. By using a slip sinker in conjunction with this bait, the bait will float of the bottom enticing trout to come and bite.

Top Rod Recommendations for Dough Baits:

Elite River Runner
Eagle

Redfish

Popping Corks

Redfish Popping Corks
The main function of a popping cork is to attract fish. The popping sound simulates fish feeding on the surface, thus drawing in more hungry fish looking for an easy meal. When rigging a popping cork, you should leave 1-3 feet below the cork where the bait will be attached. When the fish come to investigate the commotion, your bait will be there as a tasty offering.

Top Rod Recommendations for Popping Corks:

HMG
HMX
Eagle

Carolina Rig

Redfish Carolina Rig
Carolina rigging is a popular and effective way to present baits on the bottom. A sliding weight is placed on the main line, which is followed by a swivel, 1-3 foot leader, and hook. Bait choices can vary from live, dead, or Gulp® baits, which work well with this technique.

Top Rod Recommendations for Carolina Rig:

HMG
Eagle

Flats Fishing

Redfish Flats Fishing
Flats are long shallow stretches of water that are relatively consistent in depth and have grass, sand, or mud bottoms. When fishing on flats, looking for any abnormalities such as ditches, holes, or humps can greatly increase chances of finding fish. Long casts with lures and live bait help avoid scaring the fish and give the angler a better chance to catch hungry fish roaming the flats. The key to this technique is to continually scan the water looking for feeding fish and then making accurate casts to put the bait right in the strike zone.

Top Rod Recommendations for Flats Fishing:

HMG
Eagle

Sea Trout

Topwater

Sea Trout Topwater
Topwater walking baits for sea trout are among the most exciting ways to catch them. While retrieving this style lure, twitching the bait while you have slack in the line causes the side-to-side action of the bait. The most common retrieve includes continuing this motion the entire time with no pauses. When a fish strikes makes sure to continue ‘walking’ the bait as a trout may strike it multiple times before it gets the hook.

Top Rod Recommendations for Topwater:

HMG
Eagle

Jig

Sea Trout Jig
Jigs are great options when fishing for sea trout. A normal sea trout jig is rigged with a 1/8 to 3/8 ounce jig head and a soft plastic. There are many options for soft plastic trailers including shrimp and baitfish style baits. These should be fished with a steady retrieve or a slower retrieve bouncing off the bottom.

Top Rod Recommendations for Jig:

HMG
HMX
Eagle