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Shimano’s Stella FK Spinning Reel is a Moping Legend

Enabling Swimbait Mode with BFS Gear - Zappu Bredy Weedless Underspin

Swimbait Rod Build: A Blank to Handle All your Big Bait Needs and More: Phenix Titan Long Fall Elusive No More : SPRO's KGB Chad Shad 180
SPRO's Very Affordable Vortex-E Casting Reel Illude Lunker Fighters Zombie Gerbil – A Deadly Walker Follow the Leader : A Look Into JDM Options Built for Life and Wherever It Takes You: The Costa Aransas

Additional Recent Articles

3 Decades of Green - Shimano's 200 M Baitcaster
The refresh of the new Shimano Curado 200 M flew under the radar this ICAST as the new Stradic FK took center stage. The new Curado iterates on a proven formula, and while it does not stray too far from the previous version, it does offer a number some improvements in design and feature-set for mainstream anglers.
Catching the BFS Wave with Phenix Rod's New Series
Until recently, most bass anglers turning to finesse techniques relied solely upon spinning gear to present their baits. However, over twenty years ago in Japan, manufacturers, third parties, and anglers were tuning their casting gear to do the same. Today, Bait Finesse Systems (BFS), are all the rage with large, US based manufacturers rolling out reels and rods to support the burgeoning approach.
Giving Bass "The Bird" - A New Crawler From Defiant
Defiant is best known for their soft bodied 210 and 247 trout profiled swimbaits which feature a line-through rigging system. The company has been expanding their product range and last season introduced a range of braided and fluorocarbon lines designed for big bait anglers. This Summer the company launches their first hard-bodied swimbait, a full sized topwater crawler called "The Bird."
Not Too Big, Not Too Small, with Versatility That Can Surprise and Confuse : CBC's Mini-Sonar
Born from the need for a consistent big bait profile for colder water, the Sonar has a build resembling a swimmer, but it is weighted to behave like a flutter spoon or blade bait - not a spinnerbait, but a solid metal, fish profile, blade.
Abu Garcia Raises the Bar in Their Quest for Speed : Revo5 RKT
Abu Garcia continues to challenge the speed barrier with their Revo Rocket platform, but with the latest, Revo5 iteration featuring the same retrieve ratio as the previous version, the Revo4, has physics and the laws of nature finally won out? Well, what if we told you, despite identical gear ratios, the Revo5 is actually a hair faster in inches per turn (IPT)? How is that possible?
A Next Level Swinghead from Gamakatsu
The swing head has seen a recent spike in popularity to the point many will think it’s new and innovative. Now, almost every terminal tackle manufacturer offers their own take.
"New" Slide Swimmer Glidebait, Same Old Song?
There are countless discussions regarding the merits of the old versus new versions of the bait including tuning strategies for both and even methods to convert the floating, wake bait version, the Silent Killer, into a Slide Swimmer...  
An Instant Classic? Daiwa Japan's '22 Silver Wolf SV TW PE Special
Once the leader in BFS enabled reel platforms, in recent years, Daiwa Japan has seen competing manufacturers match pace with their introductions. Still, few can match the manufacturer's fervor for offering variants to existing platforms built to suit specific techniques, applications, or game species.
Lew's Goes Lighter with HyperMag and a BFS Oriented Custom Lite Reels
Lew's focused on lighter weight and offering more refined baitcasters this ICAST with the launch of two new low profile reels, the HyperMag and Custom Lite Shallow Spool. Both of these reels are designed with better ergonomics, lighter overall weight, and the ability to cast lightweight baits with ease.
Baitcasting Young Guns: Fresh New Low-Profile Reels
While the reel market is very competitive there has been a number of rod manufacturers that have introduced their own branded reels, as well as a few independent reel makers that are entering the fray. Let's take a look at some of these baitcasting "young guns" that launched new low-profile reels at the recent ICAST.
Hardbaits at ICAST, from Swimbaits to BFS
This year at ICAST hardbait manufacturers seemed to focus on extremes, with a number of notable introductions in full sized swimbaits and on the opposite end of the spectrum a number of tiny lures designed for BFS. There were a few other interesting conventional baits where manufacturers added patterns or additional features.
The Worthy, Wild, and Just Plain Weird Soft Lures at ICAST 2023
This ICAST there was a wide range of soft-bodied lures introduced by American, JDM, and even a few independent manufacturers just breaking onto the scene. This year there was a lot to unpack in the soft lure category with a number of baits that looked worthy of tying on immediately, some that had wild features, and others that just looked plain weird.
Costa's Most Advanced Frames Yet. Hail the King Tide
Costa has established itself as a leader in optics and has always done a great job catering to the unique needs and challenges that anglers face. This ICAST, the brand celebrated their 40th Anniversary with the launch of their most technical frame to date, the feature-rich King Tide.
Shimano’s Stradic Moves Closer to Stella in Major Refresh
The Shimano Stradic has long been the workhorse reel in Shimano’s spinning lineup and this season the series gets a major refresh with features that debuted on the Stella FK. The new Stella FM is designed to be smoother, more powerful, and offer enhanced durability over its predecessor, yet it remains the same price.
Daiwa’s Tatula 100 Grows Fangs
Daiwa refreshes its top-selling Tatula Series reels with a completely new form factor that places an emphasis on ergonomics. However, the redesign is more than skin deep, as HYPERDRIVE features originally reserved for the company’s higher-end reels now make their way into the new 100 size baitcaster.
KastKing Makes Big Moves with the iReel One
KastKing, once known primarily for their value reels, made big moves this ICAST with the launch of their own smart reel. The iReel brings the Internet of Things (IoT) to US anglers, with the capability of providing real-time data to anglers as well as a plethora of statistics that anglers can use to identify patterns, make adjustments, and adapt quickly to improve their on-the-water success.
Okuma Goes Limited and JDM with Wave Off Urban Fishing and ITX CB Reels
Following the success of their previous limited-edition offerings including the Chroma and GT spinning reels Okuma is now dedicating more resources to creating unique reels that add to the experience of angling and fishing an Okuma product. The Wave Off is both the name of the next reel and Okuma’s new “Urban Design Team” which is responsible for creating these limited-edition offerings.
TackleTour ICAST 2023 Live Video Coverage
ICAST 2023 has arrived! After a strange last year we are excited to be once again on the water and show floor here in Orlando. This year in addition to our article coverage we will also be providing Instagram Quick Hit Videos from the manufacturers and pro anglers.

The Ultimate Poison – Shimano and Jackall Bring JDM Poison Ultima Rods Stateside
Shimano and Jackall are answering the Enthusiast call by bringing the ultra-high end Poison Ultima rods to U.S. shores stateside. These rods feature a number of unique design attributes and performance characteristics that make it the highest-end Shimano rod made available in the U.S. yet.

Daiwa's Got Your Bass Covered with 16 New Pro Inspired Application Specific Tatula AGS Rods
Daiwa will be introducing a number of new products at ICAST this year including an update to their popular Tatula line of reels and rods. The Tatula Elite AGS Bass Rod Series gets 16 new technique specific rods built with the latest SVF Nano Plus Blanks and AGS guides with signature actions and powers favored by their staff of Pro Anglers.

Chop It Like It's Hot. Baitsanity X TW New Chimera Shad
Baitsanity is launching their first shad profiled swimbait, the Chimera. In addition to a number of unique design features, and emphasis on chop-style action, one of the things that makes this new swimbait so interesting is that it was co-developed with the Tackle Warehouse product team from inception to mass production.

Berkley Culls First Batch Cullshad Swimbaits
Berkley is literally asking customers to "cull" all the first run Cullshad swimbaits to address a production issue that is affecting swimming action, and launches a process to replace the baits with properly manufactured ones.

Z-Man Ready to Launch Drew's Ultimate NED Finesse Rods at ICAST
When it comes to fishing NED rigs the first bait company that usually comes to mind is Z-Man, and with good reason. The TRD is a globally renowned bait and this ICAST the company is launching their own signature NED rods designed with Drew Reese, a finesse legend himself, and co-creator of the TRD bait.
Drift Mode Enabled: Minn Kota Goes Brushless with Upgraded QUEST Bow Trolling Motors
The arms race in the trolling motor wars has continued to heat up with Minn Kota’s biggest lineup refresh in a decade and gets some interesting new features including Drift Mode. The highest end Minn Kota bow motors have been re-redesigned with a new dual brushless technology platform called QUEST offering even more power and efficiency.

For the Culture – 7 Takeaways from Toxic Day 4
Toxic Day 4, or TD4, is the creation of Caesar Chavez, the head honcho at Toxic Baits and is an event that brings together custom lure makers and anglers from all over the country. Originally created as a local swimbait show the annual event has grown and transformed into something much greater...

Fenwick is Back! A First Look at the Completely Refreshed Lineup from Eagle to World Class
This coming ICAST Fenwick is looking to refresh of their entire lineup, getting back to their legacy of innovation, and re-introducing the brand to both loyal fans and a new generation of anglers.

Megabass's Unheralded Spark Shad Swimbait
When it comes to a soft bodied swimbait in Megabass's product line, it's really mostly about MagDraft. Available in two varieties, MagDraft is a proven producer. The Sleeper line is probably a close second, but those are more like jigs. A third less talked about alternative, at least as a stand alone option, we feel deserves more attention.

A Reel for Those Who Like to Cast Fast, but Retrieve Slow : The Revo5 Winch
With each passing revision, one of the Revo platforms I look forward to getting re-acquainted with the most is the Winch. While the battle for who can build a small, low profile caster that can pull in the most line with each crank of the handle endures, I continue to covet the slow, plodding, long game reels like the Winch.

Shimano's High End, Light Weight Champion, Vanquish '23
It's only been a couple of years since my first experience with Shimano Japan's Vanquish line of spinning reels, so when reports of a refresh was in the pipeline for 2023, I was hesitant. However, craving a new spinning reel for this season and not feeling the need for a Stella or Exist, Vanquish kind of hit the sweet spot..

Kickin' It with Yamamoto's Zako Variant
The original Zako, featuring a y-shaped swim tail, is a popular choice as trailer on skirted baits like vibrating and swim jigs, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, etc.. The Kickin' Zako is variant made instead, with a paddletail.
Megabass's New Sleeper Craw : Just Tie It On, Pitch It Out, and Get Bit
One of the surest methods to get anglers to bite as both fishermen and consumers is with realistic craw profiles. Anyone who has fished with live crawdads knows the effectiveness of this little delicacy, so a bait that imitates the crustacean just makes sense. Unfortunately, not all realistic craw baits are effective...


Shimano Readies Mastiff Fluorocarbon Line with Nanoarmor Tech
Shimano has been in the line game for a while now with their PowerPro brand of braided superlines, and this season is introducing a new fluorocarbon line called Mastiff. Designed and manufactured in Japan, Mastiff is engineered with a technology called Nanoarmor, which incorporates nano-sized ridges to deliver several performance advantages.
ARK Fishing's Gravity G5, An Impressive Middle Child Casting Reel
ARK Fishing's Gravity G5 casting reel is the current middle child among three options. I say current, because with ARK Fishing's aggressive approach to offering product, the situation is always fluid.
The Search for One - Reel? Lew's Super Duty LFS
With so many specialized techniques, it's even more difficult to find a reel, or really, one reel platform, to handle a wide variety of techniques. However, with the latest iteration of their Super Duty LFS, Lew's may actually have a contender for the title. Let's take a look.

A Reel for Those Who Like to Cast Fast, but Retrieve Slow : The Revo5 Winch
With each passing revision, one of the Revo platforms I look forward to getting re-acquainted with the most is the Winch. While the battle for who can build a small, low profile caster that can pull in the most line with each crank of the handle endures, I continue to covet the slow, plodding, long game reels like the Winch.

A Stick That's Difficult to Pin Down : Megabass's US Destroyer P5 F7-75X BMG
Coming off of our positive experience with Megabass of America's US Destroyer P5 F7.5-76X Mark-56, we felt it appropriate to take a step back and look at a stick with an appeal for more conventional techniques.
Berkley’s Latest Finesse Worm Doesn’t Fall Flat
Berkley’s PowerBait MaxScent lineup of lures spans everything from large creatures and trailers to finesse baits. Designed for finesse applications Berkley’s MaxScent Flat Worms are deadly effective across a wide range of conditions, and is even designed to perform when the bite is especially tough and fish are suspended or finicky.
Okuma Raises Their Bass Rod Game to the X-Level
Okuma has been elevating their bass reel and rod offerings over the last few seasons by leveraging new technology and materials to improve performance. Unveiled at the Classic the new X-Series rods are Okuma’s latest creation and designed to raise the bar for the brand’s application specific bass offering.
Going Basic. The Reliable and Affordable Gravity G3 Baitcaster from ARK Fishing
New to the fishing reel market, ARK Fishing follows the familiar trend set by many manufacturers of using the same frame and sideplate design for their catalog of casting reels and putting them together in different ways to meet varying price points. The Gravity G3 is currently at the entry level of ARK's casting reel lineup...
Shimano BOOSTs Freshwater Hardbait Lineup
In advance of the Bassmaster Classic Shimano is bolstering their freshwater lure lineup with three new lures that make use of the company’s patented BOOST CONCEPT technologies. These new offerings include the Enber jerkbait, World Rush squarebill, and finesse oriented Zumverno jerkbait.
A Solid Little Reel With a Bigger Purpose: Lew's American Hero Tier 1 Casting Reel
The American Hero Tier 1 LFS casting reel from Lew's is a familiar profile from the manufacturer in a size that's roughly equivalent to an industry standard 100. It is built with an aluminum frame and graphite sideplates and features an externally adjustable magnetic braking system...
Fold to Cast Further – Shimano’s Armajoint Hard Bodied Swimbait
The swimbait segment continues to grow, and it was just a matter of time before Shimano launched their own hard bodied swimbait. Rather than introduce just another single jointed glide or dual jointed wake, Shimano’s lure engineers wanted to put their own spin on a shad-like profile and create a bait that could be cast further and fished effectively by anglers of all skill levels.
Mike Iaconelli's Powerbait Flute Worm by Berkley is no Fluke
We are in the process of looking at some of their newest PowerBait lures including the Maxscent Flat Worm but before that review goes live let's take a look at one of Berkley's classics. With the help of Mike Iaconelli this the Flute Tail Worm was created for those dedicated Neko/wacky/shaky head fishermen

Forward-Facing Sonar Units and the ‘Harass-A-Bass’ Technique Have Changed Bass Fishing Forever
The rumors percolated pre-pandemic of an electronics guru devouring the competition in America’s largest crappie tournaments. Fishing in a previously unimagined futuristic manner, from the not-so-bass-mecca state of Oklahoma, Josh Jones is reported to have caught more than 200 ten-pound fish in less than five years...









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