Leave it to a Bass to eat a lure that is almost as big as it is!

I had a small but ferocious large mouth bass in a wild fish aquarium literally gorge himself to death years ago.

Over about four months, that bass, about six inches long, had cleaned the tank of all other fish accept a gold shiner, that was almost as big as he was. Amazingly, the bass was being fed Missouri minnows every other day on a regular basis. The issue wasn’t that he was hungry, it was territorial. He became possessed with chasing down and eating everything in that tank.

I watched him chasing that shiner for three days. It was so big I thought, “there is no way he can actually eat that shiner”.

The third evening I watched as he caught the shiner by the head. I quickly disengaged it from his mouth. The shiner, a little dazed, swam away unscathed.

The next morning however, The bass had him again, and had swallowed the head down to the gills. The rest of the shiner was hanging out of his mouth and was dead. The bass was laying on the bottom of the aquarium, could hardly swim with the shiner in his mouth, but was slowly working the huge meal down it’s throat. Over the next day and a half, that bass continued to slowly swallow the shiner. There was nothing I could do to help him at that point.

The bass was able to start swimming again the second day, with nothing but a small portion of the tail hanging out of it’s mouth. I though, “he might pull this off after all!”

But the third day the bass lay dead at the bottom of the tank. The shiner was totally digested, but the largemouth’s lust for that shiner killed him.

There must be a life lesson in that somewhere!

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Fishing Lures Then and Now

mKu8J9OhiufoqWJGWNFk4YAThe Heddon Zara Spook has been in experienced anglers fishing tackle arsenal for over 75 years. The Zara spook #9260 was the plastic version of Heddon’s original Zaragossa #6500 series, which were developed in the early 1920’s.  The original Zaragossa lures were made of wood, and some had natural looking glass eyes.

The design of the Zaragossa and the Zara Spook provides a top water lure that swims in a zig zag motion when retrieved rapidly. The “walk the dog” surface retrieve emulates a wounded bait fish, and hungry predators cannot resist. These lures have been fished successfully around the world for decades. The spooks are deadly for snook, tarpon, jack cravelle, blue fish, stripers, dolphin and more.

The Heddon Zara Spooks are still being made and fished by discriminating anglers today. Many styles and numerous colors of Spooks are manufactured, some of which are now decorated with natural fish looking hologram finishes. The spooks are now made in a saltwater version, and in several sizes from the Baby Zaras to the new saltwater Super Spooks.

I personally have fished Zara Spooks for over 55 years. When catching Jack Cravelles in Palm Beach Inlet back in the mid 1950’s my brother and I would remove the hooks from the lures. When the big Jacks attacked them, we would get the first run out of the fish before they would spit out the hookless spook. That saved us a long grueling battle with a 30 or 40 lb. Jack. We also used the Spooks off the beaches and ocean piers during the fall mullet runs, and caught tarpon, snook and blue fish on them. They are great inshore lures and can be used around docks, seawalls and mangroves for snook tarpon, jacks and more.

Some old vintage style lures just cannot be improved upon. The Zara Spooks are some of those style lures. If you want to buy a truly proven lure with a 75 year history of successes, you cannot go wrong with a Heddon Zara Spook.

You can purchase your Heddon Zara Spooks at Fishing Tackle Depot.


Vintage Zara Spooks



Modern Zara Spooks



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The Alabama Rigs are setting records in Oklahoma


Dale Miller of Panama holds a new state record largemouth bass caught from Cedar                     Lake. It’s the second consecutive year Cedar Lake has produced a state record bass.

Alabama Rigs in Oklahoma

A new lake record largemouth bass (12.3 pounds) was caught March 3rd by angler Billy Lemon on Grand Lake, Oklahoma on an Alabama Rig. The fish won a local tournament. The following week, Lemon won the FLW’s Bass Fishing Tournament on the same lake, catching Almost 20 pounds of fish using the Alabama Rig again. Billy uses the Gene Larew Sweet Swimmers to tip the umbrella wires of the umbrella Rig.

On Wednesday March 20th, angler Dale Miller of Panama caught an Oklahoma state record largemouth bass on an Alabama Rig. Several double digit bass have been caught from Arbuckle on the red hot Alabama umbrella rigs.


A local tournament angler and tackle dealer declares “if you throw it ( the Alabama Rig) at Arbuckle, something’s going to eat it.” Since Lemon’s success, sales of the Alabama Rigs is up over 30 – 40% in the state of Oklahoma. Finding soft baits locally to fish on the Alabama Rigs has become difficult.

The Alabama Rigs are called umbrella rigs due to the five spreader wires that protrude from the head of the lure. Each spreader wire pulls a lure, and when pulled through the water, the rig looks like an entire school of bait fish. The most popular color bait used in the local Oklahoma fisheries is a dark colored back and white belly shad plastic lures.

One caution is that the rig does not do well around weeds or brush piles due to the five hooks in the water at the same time. Experienced anglers recommend using heavier braid than usual, in case it gets hung up. A strong pull can straighten out hooks that may be hung up on snags. One B.A.S.S. Elite Series tournament angler recommends that if the rig gets hung up, you need to go to the lure and pull straight up. It will usually come loose that way.

The Alabama Rigs have caused quite a stir nation wide. Several States have even outlawed them. The B.A.S.S. Elite Series have banned them because anglers have caught so many fish on them.

You can purchase your Alabama Rigs form several popular manufacturers at Fishing Tackle Depot.  (www.fishingtackledepot.com)



Catfish like the Alabama Rig too!








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The Launch

It’s never quite as exciting as the launch of a Space Shuttle, but the boat launch can often be as eventful, as unpredictable, as entertaining, as challenging and even as life changing as blasting off astronauts into space.

My experiences at boat ramps goes back over 60 years. I’ve pretty much seen it all at least once.

When I was young, boats that were trailed behind cars and trucks were much smaller. They were usually no more than 14 or 16 feet in length. They were made of wood, and had a single outboard motor on them, or maybe a single screw inboard in them. I remember the first 20 foot fiberglass Thunderbird Cabin Cruiser my Dad sold to a neighbor, with new twin 1958, 50 h.p. Johnson outboards motors on it. It was huge, and launching it was a whole new adventure.

Back then, most boat launching ramps were crude, often no more than a concrete pads poured out into the water on some sloped beach near the water way. There were seldom docks, seawalls, or cat walks. The process of launching boats back then was more simplified. There was much less ramp traffic, and much less pressure for the unseasoned boater to perform under the eyes of and the scrutiny of other more experienced and sometimes inebriated  boaters.


In the 1950’s and 1960’s, many good boat trailer manufacturers came out with tilt down and roll on trailers, which made boat launching even easier. My Dad sold Gator Trailers, Magic Tilt Trailers and Seminole trailers, all of which, if set up properly, made launching  boats a breeze. With these trailers, the rear wheels usually never touched the water, but the boats would slide off effortlessly.

As trailed boats grew larger, heavier, and later included three and four engines, trailers became larger and heavier as well.  Tilt style and roll on trailers gave way to the modern float on trailers, with water proof bearings and aluminum frames. The boats no longer slide off the trailers, but must float off and on. Of course that means the trailer must be partially or mostly submerged, which also means the vehicle must much be farther down the ramp than in the early days. Most modern public boat ramps are now steeper, have bulk heads cat walks, and staging areas. Many have numerous ramps where multiple boats are launching and pulling out at the same time.

Especially on holiday weekends, most are over crowded during peak hours, and wait times can be tens of minutes and even hours before launch time. When it’s your turn, pressure is on!

All of these changes and evolving dynamics have made the modern boat ramps a stage for almost any type of human behavior imaginable. From outright drunken brawls, to total humiliation, to vulgar exchanges, and even pure stupidity, it all can be observed on a given weekend at the average public boat ramp.

There’s always the guy who cannot back his trailer straight down the boat ramp. After numerous tries, he’s straddled the middle, taking up the entire ramp, and leaving others unable to launch or pull their boats out of the water, tempers flare!

There’s the beginner, that cannot drive his boat correctly, and bounces off other boats to make his landing. Or the drunk that is lucky to even see the ramp let alone dock accordingly. Both Launching and removing boats can be a source for adventure at the boat ramp. Tempers flare!

You can often see someone fall on the ramp, slide into the water, fall off their trailer, fall overboard, or even fall off the dock. That’s a common occurrence. Often others laugh.

I’ve seen numerous times, where the captain forgets a dock line to secure the boat at launch, only to helpless watch it float away while he stands on the trailer watching. Usually a brief swim is needed to retrieve the boat at that point.

Then there’s the guy that forgets to remove the wench cable from the bow after launch, and who then proceeds to drag the boat back up the ramp when he pulls the trailer from the water.

With many of the large heavy boats today, some vehicles are not able to pull the boats out of the steep ramps, and must be pulled out by other vehicles. This always ties up ramps and often tempers flare.

The most humiliating event is when the vehicle ends up down the ramp and in the water.

If you ever want free entertainment on a busy holiday weekend, most public boat ramps will provide all you need. Just bring a comfortable chair, sit back and watch the action.




The Ultimate in stupidity!


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My tuna in the boat 2The sweetest music to a fisherman’s ears is the tune played by a fishing reel, when line is screaming off the spool, as your prize catch grabs your bait and decides to leave the scene in hast. It is a “Sweet Sound” that only fishermen understand.

Depending on the rod and reel, the type and size of the reel, the size and kind of line used, and the species of fish on the other end of the line, the music is as varied as Mozart and Bach is from hip ho and heavy metal. From the small light spinner, to the Shimano Calcutta 700, to the Fin Nor 12/0, each instrument has it’s own unique tune. They are as varied as the instruments in a full orchestra.

Each species of fish has it’s own unique fight. Some make swift long runs and others just dog the line from the reel. A wahoo will sing a reel while ripping off hundreds of yards of 50 lb. or 80lb. test line at over 50 miles per hour. A blue marlin or large tuna will do the same while pulling 35 or 45 lbs. of strike drag, on 130 lb. test line, from a reel. A good sized bone fish, on the flats, will spool a light tackle spinning reel, or fly reel in a heart beat. A red fish, permit or cuda will do the same. Each has it’s own tune on different instruments. The music is sweet to the ears.

Having fished for over sixty years professionally and privately, I have heard many of those “Sweet Sounds’ over the years. But there is none so “Sweet” as that of of a 600+ lb giant blue fin tuna, strumming a 12/0 Fin Nor, on a 13o lb rod, which is tied to a cockpit fighting chair to keep the rod in the boat. The music is majestic while great tuna is stripping off over 700 yards of line in mere minutes, pulling a measured 45 lbs. of strike drag off the tip of the rod.

At the strike, the boat turns to run with the fish full out at 30 knots. The chair is turned sideways in the cockpit as the boat chases the fish to the Drop a mile and a half off shore, where the fish is headed. The reel sings to a high pitch  as the line is stripped from the spool at lightning speeds. The more line that is taken, the faster the spool spins and the higher the pitch of the music.

The sound of the music increases to a steady melody as the 130lb line screams through gold anodized fin nor roller guides on a now bent 130 lb. class rod. You are strapped in the bucket harness with the harness straps snapped on the ring eyes of the Fin Nor 12/0 which is on the rod, tied in the chair gimble between your legs. You are “In The Air” as the power of the great fish has lifted your entire weight off the chair. The boat continues to chase after him. Your legs are burning and begin to shake, with your feet solidly planted on the foot stand of the fighting chair. As they attempt to withstand the pressure of the pull on the rod against them your legs become weakened. The reel sings louder as the fish strips the line, while still outrunning the boat to the edge.

As the giant tuna presses hard to reach the deep water, and the boat continues the chase. The tune of the reel reaches a crescendo, as the line on the spool seems to continue to evaporate, and the spool turns faster and faster. Then the tune suddenly begins to soften, as the fish reaches the deep water and begins to sound. The boat slows to a stop and the captain spins the boat to address the cockpit to the diving fish. Line continues to spool of the reel, but the sound is now soft and steady. The drag is now over ridden from 45 lbs. to 80 lbs. to pop the fish up if possible. Finally the music is temporarily silenced. The fish is coming back the the surface and you begin to gain line swiftly, as you have shifted the two speed reel into high gear. After several tiring minutes, you have retrieved most of the 700 yards of line, and the fish has pooped back to the surface. Once again however, he decides to leave the scene. The song is not over yet. The reel sings again, and at an even higher pitch, with 75 lbs. of drag on the giant. Several hundred yards of line disappear from the reel once again.  The run is brief, but is then followed by two more short bursts at high pitch. Finally the music stops. The final yards of line are cranked on the big reel, and the concert is over. The great fish takes his bow at the side of the boat, and the lights go out.  “How Sweet the Sound” to a fisherman’s ears.

My tune 3

My tuna doug & larry

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I personally have been on the ocean fishing for much of my 64 years. I’ve seen a lot of interesting things swimming, floating, and basking in the ocean waters, sometimes far at sea. But when I saw this today, I had to share it with my friends!  This is amazing!



This button Buck was found 1 1/2 miles off shore, was rescued and released unharmed when they got him back to shore.

Thanks guys!

We believe in conservation and preserving our wildlife when possible at the Depot!

Visit or conservation & Education site:  www.Fishingtackledepot.net 

Buy tournament quality fishing tackle & accessories at:  www.Fishingtackledepot.com

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Woolyboogers Produce Results


Wollybooger Lures produce results for anglers from the Atlantic, to the Gulf of Mexico and now Kona Hawaii.  Below are some examples of recent catches trolling Woolyboogers. The pink & white sugar pops  seem to be “hot” right now.  We sell the entire line of Woolybooger lures at the Depot. If you want to enhance your spread, you need to add Woolyboogers to your arsenal.

Buy your Woolybooger Lures at the Fishing Tackle Depot

531 lb. Blue Marlin caught on a pink and white sugar pop in the Gulf of Mexico


800 lb+ Giant Blue fin tuna caught on a pink & white Sugar Pop.


Recent short nosed spear fish caught on a pink & white Sugar Pop in Kona Hawaii


Tournament winners with Woolybooger Lures


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