How To Make Your Rods, Reels and Lures Better

There’s so many factors to your fishing arsenal, you have a rod with various components, a reel with various components and then a tackle box of treasures. Combine that with today’s innovation and there is thousands of products that are advertised to enhance your fishing experience/skills when really, there’s a lot of things that you could do at home that work the same, if not better. If you missed yesterdays article, 8 homemade fishing tools that you need, start there.


Rope-Tape Your Grip

Having a good grip on your rod can make or break a fish fight, especially when you’re fishing for big species like salmon or muskies. Even if the rod’s handle is tucked under your arm, the less it slips and moves, the more control you maintain.

To increase that grip, try wrapping your handle hockey stick-style. Start with a spool of cloth stick tape, available at sporting-goods stores. Make a few wraps around the butt of the rod, unwind about a foot of tape, and spin the spool to create a thin tape rope. Wrap that rope in inch-wide spirals around the handle toward the reel. Next, wrap the tape flat back down the handle toward the butt, covering the thin rope.

Not only does this wrapping style boost your grip as you hold the rod; it’s extra protection against the rod’s slipping out of a holder on the troll.


Widen Your Eyes (No Pun Intended)

A wide gathering guide offers several benefits: It will increase both casting accuracy and distance by giving the line more freedom of flow during the cast, and will let you feather the line more effectively when you need to put a frog between two pads. During the retrieve, a wider gathering guide can reduce kinking and memory by adding more tension to the line as it winds back onto the reel.

With a wider gathering guide, you also will be able to use a reel with a wider spool on a lighter rod. That means you can increase your line capacity without the need to downsize line strength and lure weight. And you’ll be able to use a lighter outfit for bigger fish.


Trim your plastics for more hookups

One solution to bass tapping at a spinnerbait without connecting is to add a trailer hook. That’s fine for open water but can result in more snags around structure. Instead, trim the skirt so it hangs evenly with the hook bend.

Sometimes bass grab the skirt legs of a hollow-body frog lure and miss the hook. Trimming legs back even 1⁄2 inch can reduce short strikes and actually give frogs a smoother side-to-side glide when “walking the dog.”

How many times have you reeled up a curly-tailed grub with the curly tail bitten off? Solve this by cutting away a portion of the front so the hook sits just in front of the tail. Cut back a soft-plastic shad for the same hook placement.


1. Heavy Head:
Make a wacky-rigged worm or Senko even wackier by inserting a small finishing nail into the head of the bait. The soft plastic will flail more erratically.

2. Backdrop:
Push a nail into a soft-plastic shad’s back just forward of the tail and run a plain hook through the nose. The lure will drop back when you pause the retrieve.

3. Craw Sticker:
Insert a finishing nail in the tail of a soft-plastic crawfish and hook the bait through the head. The nail keeps bait and hook at a better fish-hooking angle.