Modern anglers are blessed with a host of great options when it comes to fishing gear. As fishing techniques have progressed, specifically for bass and walleye anglers, the equipment used has become more and more specialized in recent years. There are many great reasons to use rods, reel, and line that is fine-tuned for a specific application, but there is also a case for keeping things simple.
One of the best ways to keep things basic and match the situation at hand is to use a braided line for spinning gear and adjust leaders based on the conditions and techniques. That’s the approach that professional bass angler Miles “Sonar” Burghoff takes to ensure that he is ready for anything he is faced with on the water. Wisconsin fishing guide, Jeff Evans, takes an even more simplified lane, settling on the same mainline and leader combination for a host of different techniques for walleye fishing.
The Case for Simplification
Seaguar® pro Miles Burghoff competes on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit and finds himself following the trail from Florida to New York and everywhere in between in a given season. As he travels the country as a professional angler, his boat’s rod lockers are chock full of rods and reels, but he utilizes just two different models for spinning gear.
I try to keep it simple with spinning gear and use only two models to cover any technique I need,” he says. “I have all of my spinning reels spooled with 20 lb Seaguar Smackdown™ Flash Green braided line and adjust my Gold Label fluorocarbon leader pound test depending on the cover and conditions.”
While he may have duplicate rods, he sticks with just two different models for his bass fishing needs, both from Fitzgerald Fishing in the Vursa series that he pairs with a S4000 Fitzgerald Stunner Spinning Reel.
“The 6’10” medium-heavy is my choice for close-quarters fishing when I am skipping a wacky rig or using lighter baits like a Ned Rig,” says Burghoff. “The 7’2″ medium-heavy is when I use anything heavier like a tube jig, shaky head, or heavier drop-shot. There is something to be said about being familiar with your tackle and that includes it all — your rods, reels, and line.”
With just two different spinning rod models in his arsenal, their feel remains the same no matter what technique he is using.
“Using the same pound test Smackdown braid allows me to have the consistency with casting and feel,” he says. “20 lb is best for me because it has a thin diameter and is very manageable while also being plenty strong. Then, all I have to do is adjust my Gold Label size for how I am fishing.”
“6 lb Gold Label is very thin and something that I use to control the depth of my lures,” he shares. “This is for lures like spybaits, where the action is heavily affected by line size. 8 lb Gold Label is my favorite all-around size and it’s perfect for finesse applications like drop-shot rigs and Ned Rigs.”
For slightly heavier lures or when around thick cover, he ups it to 10 or 12 lb Gold Label fluorocarbon, a line designed specifically by Seaguar for use as leader material. It is the thinnest and strongest leader made by Seaguar, the originator of fluorocarbon fishing lines.
“For baits that I am hopping along, like Ned Rigs and drop-shots, 8 lb is perfect,” he said. “But when I switch to dragging a bait along the bottom more like a tube or shaky head, I prefer 10 lb test. I’ll go up to 12 lb when I am around thick cover.”
The Perfect Walleye Setup
Northern Wisconsin’s Jeff Evans, of Jeff Evans Fishing Guides, guides clients throughout the state on Hayward area lakes, Chequamegon Bay and Lake Superior.
“For me, my go-to setup is the same for almost all of our walleye fishing,” he says. “A 6’10” medium-light 13 Fishing Omen rod, 2000-sized 13 Fishing Creed GT spinning reel spooled with 30 lb Seaguar Smackdown Flash Green braided line with a leader of 10 lb Gold Label fluorocarbon. That line combination is the perfect diameter match and provides excellent knot strength.”
His simplistic approach with rod, reel, and line gives him enough versatility to target walleye and bass with a wide range of different techniques. For walleye, that could be jigging minnows or leeches, using a Herky Jerky Minnow or Rapala Jigging Rap, or fishing spoons like a Kastmaster.
“Those three ways of fishing are ‘bullet-proof’ ways to catch walleye all season long,” he says. “The same setup can fish them all.”
Through much trial-and-error, he arrived at what he believes is the perfect line setup to cover almost all the situations he will face as he guides his clients nearly every single day from May 1st through November 1st.
“To be honest, the season is so busy that it’s a blur, and as a guide that is on the water so much, I want to spend as little time as possible rigging rods at night and retying leaders,” says Evans. “That is one of the first things I noticed when switching to Gold Label fluorocarbon leaders is how easily the knots are to tie. They cinch down perfectly and that makes me faster and more efficient for my clients.”
He credits Seaguar Smackdown braid with withstanding the grueling guide season he goes through every season.
“For as much as those reels are used, the Smackdown braid is incredibly durable,” he adds. “I spool up the reels to start the season, and I never have to re-spool all season. That’s impressive to me and the line holds up to all of the rocks, wood, and weeds that we have in the water here.”
There is still a place for simplifying things in the day and age of intense specialization for fishing gear. The use of braided fishing lines in spinning applications has helped anglers experience the benefits of better casting distance, more sensitivity, and the ability to customize your setup just by adjusting the size of your fluorocarbon leader.
Seaguar Smackdown braid is available in high visibility Flash Green and low visibility Stealth Gray. It is available in 150-yards spools in sizes ranging from 10 to 65 lb test.
Seaguar Gold Label fluorocarbon leader is available in twenty five-yard spools in 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 & 12 lb test for fresh water use, complementing the 15, 20, 25, 30, 40 , 50 , 60 and 80 lb test leaders available for saltwater.