Reviewed by Capt. Mike Schoonveld


The dodgers and flashers I started using decades ago all came outfitted with a curly-cue swivel thing on the end to quickly attach and detach fly leaders. Whether or not they are the perfect answer, millions of fish have been landed using them.

Then some of the “newer” rotating flashers (i.e. Spin Doctors, others) showed up with a ball bearing snap swivel with the snap connected to the flasher and the ring end free. Where do you attach the leader? So you have to take it off, push the loop at the end of the leader through and over and then reattach. The next time I want to put that fly on a different attractor I have to unattach it and it has a kink in the loop maybe weakening it, definitely making it harder to attach a second time.

Okay, it’s not all that big of a deal, but compared to the curly-cue on the others, it seems cumbersome. Maybe it’s a left brain, right brain thing.

When I spotted the Offshore Brand Quick Clip Snaps at a Bass Pro Shops store, either my left brain or right kicked in and I picked up a pack. Both sides of my brain are now equally happy.

Use the clips two different ways. I either substitute a Quick Clip for the loop at the end of the trolling fly leader or put a Quick Clip on the ring end of the snap swivel of each Spin Doctor. Available at most Bass Pro Shops retail stores or on-line at http://www.basspro.com.




Reviewed by Capt. Mike Schoonveld


It’s not often I get a product to sample that is (or can be) simple, functional, useful, and decorative in any combination. It’s called a Reel Grip which, to be more descriptive should be called a reel handle knob grip. Made of some sort of silicone, spongy rubber material, it’s a sleeve that slips tightly over the reel handle knob on most any reel.

That’s simple enough. Just order or pick up the one you need, whether it be for a trolling reel, baitcaster, spinning reel or fly reels. (They make great sense on fly reels since for some reason you can buy a $500 fly reel with a 50 cent reel knob.)

On fly reels and others, they make a good reel even better by giving the reel cranker a good, non-slip comfortable handle knob to grab. Reel Grips are softer and more textured than even the handles on my reels which come with rubberized knobs. The factory-installed rubber handles have to last the life of the reel. Slip on a Reel Grip and if the RG gets worn out in a season or two, swap it out for a new one. Have a reel with a hard plastic or wood handle? Try a Reel Grip and you’ll never want to crank that reel again without it.

Reel Grips come in a wide range of solid colors or multi-colors. Bears fans might like the Orange and Blue ones, Michigan State backers can go with Green and White. Or color code your gear. Put solid blue grips on your downrigger reels, green ones on your diver rigs and cover the handles on lead core reels with red ones.

Reel Grips are carried in many tackle shops and big box sporting goods outlets. Or get the specific colors and kinds you need at http://www.reelgrip.com.



Reviewed by Capt. Mike Schoonveld


It’s been a long time since I saw something related to fishing that made me scratch my head a bit and wonder, “What’s that for?” When I opened a package of goodies from Brecks Inc. I recognized most of the samples they sent. Brecks sells items under many brand names probably familiar to you. Their Mooselock brand spoon is shaped like a fish. Their Savant spoons come sized and colored perfectly for Great Lakes walleye. They also brand Williams Wablers, a spoon that’s been around almost 100 years. .


The “mystery” product is a Lake Clear Wabbler from a brand called Lake Clear. It looks like a wide-bodied spoon with no hook on either end – just empty split rings. There’s no swivel on either end, and no markings or other way to determine if there’s a front end or a rear end, even if I wanted to attach a hook.


At a smidge over 3 inches long and about 1 ½ inches wide, the football shaped lure didn’t much look like anything I’ve ever trolled or cast. Before I relegated it to my box of yard sale discards, I did a bit of investigating. The give away was the claim the Wabbler is to be used as an attractor, much the same as putting a dodger or flasher ahead of a squid or trolling fly. The Wabblers are used most often a couple feet up the line from a spoon or body bait.


I’ve no doubt some of the allure (some of the time) of a Dipsey Diver is as attributable to it’s being an attractor as much as a tool to pull lures deep. Why else would they come in an array of colors? Why else do you buy an array of colors?


I tested the two colors I have (yellow orange and fire tiger) with spoons, spinners and stickbaits about two feet behind the Wabbler. All caught fish. One day in particular, I paired the fire tiger Wabbler with one of the above mentioned Flashabou Aglias in fire tiger and it produced one coho after another all morning long.


I’m not saying every lure I’ll be running from now on will have a Wabbler ahead of it, but it’s a trick I’m going to put in my bag of tricks and continue to refine. Check out www. lakeclearwabbler.com




Reviewed by Capt. Mike Schoonveld


I was skeptical the first time I saw a “spinner” lure. It was probably in my grandpa’s tackle box and since he was mainly a bullhead fisherman, I don’t know why he had it. I knew the concept “big fish eat little fish” so I understood why a minnow-shaped artificial lure would catch fish. I knew bullheads eat worms, so I understood plastic worms. “What in the world swims through the water looking like a spinner? What sort of pea-brained fish would mistake a spinner for something it ought to eat?” I thought.
I still don’t have the answers, but I do know plenty of pea-brained fish have fallen for the spinners attached to the end of my line since then. Plenty of them have been coho and king salmon, steelhead and brown trout. Plenty of times, especially when fishing in dirty water, storm muddled or silty from tributary effluent dirty, I reach into my arsenal of lures and select a spinner and use them to fool the pea-brains swimming there hunting for something (that looks nothing like a spinner) to bite.
Among my favorite spinners are Mepps Aglias and though they’ve accounted for uncounted numbers of fish in their original versions, they’ve gotten better this year. The better is the hook on the end of them is now dressed with mylar tinsel from Flashabou instead of the traditional squirrel tail hair.
For years Mepps claimed nothing was better than squirrel tails for spinner hook dressing. Maybe for most fish, but the Flashabou dressed #5 Aglias I’ve been using this season are outproducing the squirrel tails seven days to Sunday. In the stained water (and because cohos in particular like to bite hot orange lures) the orange blade with orange/black hook dressing has been my top choice. The fire-tiger with fire-tiger(ish) mylar tail isn’t far behind.
I’ve caught a few fish on a double bladed model – one orange, one black blade, but so far, it’s not any better than its single bladed cousin. I suspect, the added noise may make it a better choice for steelhead.
I use them on both downriggers and behind Dipsey Divers. Be sure to employ a good ball bearing swivel. The Aglia Flashabou spinners may not be widely available this summer but you can always order them on-line at www. mepps .com.