"NEW TRICKS FOR AN OLD FISHERMAN" by Luke Clayton Luke Clayton It seems in the world of fishing, someone is always reinventing the mousetrap. The market is annually deluged with a smorgasbord of products, some highly effective fish catching tools, other little more than gizmos to clutter the tackle box. Just yesterday, I spent the day fishing for white bass and hybrid stripers at Richland Chambers Reservoir, located about 1.5 hours south of Dallas, with some very veteran fishermen, testing a brand new reel, the likes of which I have never seen and, something as simple as a lead slab rigged differently than any Ive fished with. Tackle Rep John McClain recently shipped me a new bait casting reel by U.S. Reels along with a note that went something like this, Luke, give this new reel a try and let me know what you think. I think you will find it unlike anything youve ever fished with. Upon opening the box, I noted there was no hole in the line guide to evenly distribute the line onto the reel. Instead, there was a bar in the shape of an elongated Z. I spooled my new reel with 14 pound monofilament, screwed it to a 6 foot rod, placed a bell sinker on the end of the line and did some test casting in the backyard. This thing was smooth and, to my surprise, the line wound perfectly onto the reel, dispersed perfectly across the spool. The location of the distributing bar can be raised or lowered, which increases or decreases the angle of the line on the spool, thus, the ease the line strips off the spool during the cast. Photo by Luke Clayton About the time the new reel showed up at the house, Mike Oser, owner of Moes Tackle Unlimited (www.moestackleshop.com) , mailed me some very good looking baits designed for catching stripers and white bass. Mike owns the very successful online tackle shop that specializes in lures designed to catch fish. Mike says the baits have all been extensively tested and are used daily by a team of pro staff guides, guys that make their living catching fish, as well as the fishing public. In the assortment of baits, I noted a 1 ounce slab that was rigged with two very short, very stout hooks. The hooks were attached close to the slab via small pieces of line. Ive been fishing so long that through the years, Ive developed my stand by baits; lures that have produced for me in the past and lures that I continue to put great confidence in. This new 2-hooked slab caught my eye and I couldnt wait to put it to use on a school of white bass. Jason Barber guides with Guaranteed Guide Service (www.nofishnocharge.com) and has spent a life time catching everything from redfish to catfish. I thought a trip with Baber on Richland Chambers would be an excellent testing ground for the new reel and what I felt strongly a new slab that appeared to have the potential to become my favorite white bass lure. As Barber eased the boat up to a submerged ledge on the lower end of the lake, he buried his face in the graph, tossed out a marker buoy and set up a drift about 50 yards upwind of the fish. We were rigged with an assortment of lead slabs, supplied by Oser. My bait of choice was the little one ounce slab with the 2 single hooks. After vertical fishing the bait directly under the boat and connecting with several of those magnum white bass that have made Richland Chambers famous, I learned just how effective this new lure really is. Those two razor sharp hooks seemed to connect with every white bass that came close. Oser instructed us to tie the line on the end of the slab closest to the hooks, rather than the opposite end as I first thought. This method works best when vertical jigging but when making long casts and working the bait back through suspended fish, its best to tie the line on the end opposite the hooks; this gives the lure action that perfectly mimics a shad flashing ahead of the predatory white bass. I already knew the new Super Caster cast like a dream but the only way to truly know what a reel is made of is to put it to work on big fish. After catching enough white bass for a magnum fish fry, Barber informed us the hybrid striper bite has been very dependable. Nothing in freshwater, with the exception of redfish, does a better job of testing a reels guts than the hybrid striper. Most hybrids (the mule is a good example) are stronger than either of their parents and the hybrid striper is no exception. These brutes know how to stretch your line and scream your reels drag system. After using the Super Caster to bring a couple of these big fish to net, I now have a favorite bait casting reel. Photo by Luke Clayton Looking back on the recent trip, I feel pretty good about my two newfound favorites. For an old fisherman that has the habit of sticking with techniques and lures that hes used for several decades, its exciting to find a new way to put fish in the boat. Who said its impossible to invent a better mousetrap? OUTDOOR TIP OF THE WEEK: Its not uncommon for a turkey gobbler to hang up (respond to the hunters calling by gobbling but refuse to come in). When this occurs, its a good idea to move 50 yards or so and resume calling. The gobbler is tricked into thinking the hen is on the move, possibly leaving the area; the gobbler often closes the distance quickly. When chalking your box call, be careful which type chalk you use. Most blackboard chalk contains clays and waxes which build up a residue that alters the pitch of the call. Walbuck, Ltd. (www.walbuck.com) makes a special box chalk that is free of clays and waxes and insures the pitch of your box call remains true. Many of the major call makers include this chalk with their products. If youre like me and detest using a latex diaphragm call, rest assured that the tried and true old box call will get the job done, providing you keep it properly chalked. I use a piece of camo netting to conceal movement when using a box or slate call. Want even more of Luke's hunting/fishing tips and tricks, wild game recipes etc? Listen to Outdoors With Luke Clayton for a new show each week at www.catfishradio.com and check out the new fishing videos at lukeshotspots.com Contact Luke at firstname.lastname@example.org The BOC has a virtual library of Luke's stories right here on the forums; just about anything you could want to read about the outdoors. Click here to see a boat load of information!