Shirts, hoodies, & more!
If you are interested in getting a Haight’s Wanderings Shirt to represent the great outdoors and the passion for nature that I show on my channel then please head to the following link. I do NOT have these shirts/hoodies with me in stock (they are all sold through an external third party.) The link will take you to Melanie’s Etsy shop where she is able to sell through the Printful company. I hope you enjoy :)
I do not make any money off of these sales - this is simply for fun and to represent the Catch. Release. Wander. attitude.
My top must have Upper Peninsula Smallmouth, Largemouth, Pike, Musky, and Walleye Lures
Fish can be very finicky - what do they want? Take out the guesswork and try these lures as I have already done the guesswork and experimentation and know that fish will hit them.
I've caught smallies, largemouth, pike, musky, and even walleye on these lures. These are by far my favorite lures to fish with in the UP. I always have one, two, or three of these in my emergency tacklebox when I leave home. You never know when you are going to need to stop and fish!
The SPRO BBZ-1 Size 30 rat is my favorite lure to fish rivers in the UP. It's a topwater lure that dives to about 1 foot of depth when given a steady retrieve. I've caught huge smallies, largies, pike, musky, and even walleye with this lure. My favorite locations to toss it are in shallow rivers with a bit of current. This lure is great - however don't be turned off by the larger size 40 and try different colors as well. I've caught nice fish on the morning dawn rat, brown rat and chrome rat in size 30 and 40.
This lure has caught a great walleye 23-26 inches, as well as multiple 20 inch smallies, and some nice 36+ inch musky.
The Heddon Zara Puppy is a great topwater lure for a variety of species of gamefish. It is an old lure that still rocks the walk-the-dog style retrieve that entices big topwater bites. This is my favorite economical lure of the UP. This lure has caught smallies, pike, musky and even some smaller species will hit it. The trick to fishing the lure is fishing it with a lighter line - if you use a leader of metal or heavy fluorocarbon it will entirely kill the action. IF you are fishing water with lots of pike and musky it would be a better bet to size up to a larger Super Spook Jr. so you can get away with using a heavier leader to avoid bite offs and keep the good action.
I caught a 39 inch musky on the Zara Puppy and a variety of 20 inch smallmouth bass.
The Heddon Feather Dressed Super Spook Jr. and Heddon Super Spook Jr. are another great topwater lure option. This lure is slightly larger than the Zara puppy and will produce more noise and commotion to bring deeper fish to the surface. Sometimes more size is the key to getting the fish to hit. The great aspect of this lure is that you can use a heavier leader and still retain the good action of the lure. My favorite colors are Redhead, Bone, and the Foxxy colors.
This lure holds my current personal best (actually measured... I am sure I’ve gone over 20.5 without my measuring stick) smallmouth 20.5" and largemouth 19".
The Yamamoto Senko or Yum Dinger 3 inch - 4inch - and 5 inch in any color (my favorite is Watermelon green with flakes). This is my go-to bait when other lures are not working. Sometimes topwater just won't work. When topwater fails I throw this bait rigged weightless, wacky, or with a small splitshot. In the rivers I prefer a small splitshot about 12-18inches above the worm and on lakes I ALWAYS throw it wacky style.
I throw these baits with the Owner Wacky hooks. They do good work on all kinds of bass. They are not weedless, but you can rig it weedless by leaving the hook embedded in the worm. To retain your worms on the hook I suggest using small O-rings or mini-zipties to cinch the worm in the middle to keep it attached to the hook.
Largemouth and smallmouth cannot resist this bait - drift it or let it sink. They will come to it.
Rarely, I've even had MUSKY hit this worm wacky rigged.
The Size 3-4-5 Mepps Agila Dressed Spinner is fantastic. This is my go-to bait when I want to fish fast. This lure has caught me more big pike, musky, and smallies than any of my other lures combined.. I've caught big pike casting and trolling this lure, as well as smallies, and musky. I love fishing this lure in current of any kind. My favorite colors are the Silver Blade with a Brown hair skirt.
I've caught 36-39 inch pike on this lure, 36+ inch musky, and 20 inch smallmouth.
The Mepps Musky Killer is a larger version of the Mepps Agila and a GREAT Musky / Pike lure that can be retrieved at a rapid pace. This lure is great in current and is a fun river musky lure. You won't be catching smallmouth very often on this lure - but the muskies will definitely hit this. Make sure you have a metal leader / heavy fluorocarbon leader when fishing this type of lure as when the musky bites you want to be able to avoid any bite through on your line.
The Nikko Hellgrammite 3 inch soft-plastic is DYNAMITE for river smallmouth. I’ve had the pleasure of using this bait for a year and I can confidently say that it rocks. I made two entire videos dedicated to this bait and some other Nikko products and you can see the huge fish that I pick up with them. I think I caught a smallmouth using this on my VERY first cast - how crazy is that? My two colors that I have used and had success with are the lite brown gold flake and the watermelon red flake. This bait can be tossed on a very light jig head with a long shank to give this bait some great movement in the water. Unlike Senkos and worm baits, the Nikko hellgrammite is DURABLE and can catch fish all day without losing any of it's durability. For me, as a conservation minded angler, I like the fact that these are biodegradable and not harmful for the fish. Really a key element for me in making them one of my go to baits.
The Whopper Plopper is great! My very first day using this lure I caught 2 musky and a 20inch smallmouth. This is a great lure for river fishing. Musky, Smallies, and pike nail this lure. This might be my all time favorite lure - for ease of use, price, topwater blowup potential, and fish catching ability. Great lure. Get at least 3 - one to lose in a tree, one to lose to a big musky, and the last to keep slinging all day.
I love the size 90 the most - however, the size 75, 110, and 130 will all catch fish. Some days I will throw the size 90 in Sooner color all day and never rig another lure. Sooner color is amazing - as well as the bone coloration. However, any color will catch you fish.
I don’t usually fish for largemouth in ponds and lakes… but when I do - I ALWAYS bring this Booyah Pad Crasher Jr. Leopard coloration. This is a great Northern Mid-West largemouth lure. Our fish don’t grow as big as the Southern ones and we need to throw slightly smaller sized frogs. These frogs are so much fun. I usually fish this tied directly onto my braid and on a slightly tougher rod - gotta get these things straight into the thick of the vegetation and let the largies do their work!
Other Fishing Essentials
Below you will find the other fishing gear that I use constantly.
Pflueger Spinning Rod and Reel Combo in both Ultralight and Medium action. Fishing with this combo is awesome. I use the ultralight version for trout and panfish and I use the medium action version for smallmouth, pike, walleye, and river musky. Definitely high quality rods, reels, and line for an affordable price. I toss on 6 LB test if I am targeting trout with the ultralight version. If I am targeting fish with the medium action rod I use 20-30 LB braid with a leader of fluorocarbon in front of it. Check below for the exact line.
For small river musky fishing I suggest a medium heavy / heavy spinning rod like the St. Croix Premiere XH Spinning Rod paired with a size 40 Pflueger Presidential XT Spinning reel. However, if you are trying to be economical you can get by musky fishing with the Ugly Stik Bigwater which does the job just fine with big musky. Musky are not known for their prolific fights and you can usually get them into the net in less than 30 seconds. This rod does just fine and doesn’t break any bank. You could pair it with a regular quality medium heavy spinning reel (Size 40) and be just fine. If you are hunting trophy muskies in big lakes and reservoirs then perhaps you would want to upgrade the rod and reel. But, for small river action, this works well.
Kayak nets are hard to find - they need to be compact enough to not get in the way, but also large enough to scoop a big pike, musky, or salmon. These are the two nets that I most frequently use. The EGO S2 Extra Large Landing Net is great. I carry it in the EXTRA LARGE size - I use a 6 inch handle and it can comfortably land a 40-45 inch musky. It is a staple that I now bring with me whenever there is a chance I could run into very large fish. I also use it to land smallmouth and while it swallows them - it is not TOO big. The cool part about the EGO S2 net is the removable handles - you can keep the handle very short for a kayak trip and then attach a full 48 inch handle for your canoe or boat trip. This saves room from having multiple nets - a single paint pole extension fits the handle size and can be changed easily.
The second net is the Frabill Wade net - these nets come in different sizes depending on the fish you are targeting. I usually run with the largest, or second largest size as the net is big enough for fish up to around 30-32 inches. While it can net a larger fish - it usually is better for fish ranging 18-30 inches. This is the perfect net for smallmouth and walleye from a kayak. I also drag it along when I go wading and it works great.
Power Pro 20/25/30 LB Braided fishing line with Vicious Fishing 17 Lb Fluorocarbon leader is great for your line and then leader material. If you are fishing for smallies, largies, or walleye and want to avoid the random pike biteoffs and still catch fish you should try this leader out. In two years of fishing I've only had one straight bite through on this line and that was a nice sized muskie. Really great to avoid losing lures to 18 inch pike.
If you are even more concerned about bite offs and you want to upgrade your leader material I would suggest the Rio Fluoroflex tippet. I use this leader material in the 20 LB and 40 LB size. It is a bit stiffer, but I have not had a fish bite through this leader yet. I know it is marketed towards fly angers, but it works great for spin-fishermen as well.
All other Assorted Gear
Below you will find the other items and gear that I use nearly daily over the spring, summer, and fall months fishing and exploring.
GoPro Hero 7 Black, GoPro Hero5 Black, and also GoPro Hero3+ Silver are my three go to recording items. I like having two or three different angles, but you can get away with one of them and use only a headmount for pretty cheap. The Black Pro Basic Common Outdoor Sport's Kit has a bunch of great GoPro accessories that I use frequently.
Any of the newer GoPro products will be great - they can all do 1080p video in 60 frames or higher allowing for super smooth slow motion shots and great overall quality. My default filming is generally in 4k at 30frames or at 2.7k at 60 frames. I then export my videos at 1080 60frames per second. If you have any questions about my processes please contact me and I can explain in more detail.
AmazonBasics Carrying Case! This case and dry bag combo rocks! If you own a GoPro, you need this case and bag - it is inexpensive, but quite good in the quality department. I've taken my cases to Africa, Mexico, and into the deep woods and water and back without any issues. The Dry bag is a Gecko Equipment 10L bag - it actually fits the AmazonBasics carrying case perfectly. The fear with kayaking, canoeing, and fishing is that you are always one slip away from frying all of your electronics. I really like this dry bag and always have it with me.
Other than the small dry bag - I also carry a extra large bag when I am on the river for an extended trip. The Sea to Summit Stopper 35L dry bag is large and can fit a LOT. Between these two bags and my case I can keep all of my gear protected from the elements if I run into a downpour while on the rivers.
To get good audio on all of the GoPros you will need this case to hold this mic for best results. The Rode VideoMicro is great matched with the Luxebell C400 Alum. case. The GoPro Hero models have a tendency to pick up a lot of wind noise and this mic eliminates 99% of that issue. If you plan on using your video for Youtube, Vimeo, or Facebook I would suggest using this mic setup. If you’ve ever watched a video on YouTube that is in the wind without a mic, you know how distracting it can be! These products help eliminate so much of that background crackling sound.
For the editing that I do with all of my videos - 100% of the time I am playing in Adobe Premiere Pro - it’s a bit overwhelming at the start, but after just a few quick tutorials it is easy and quick to use. There is a lot of depth though for advanced use. I am still learning tricks to save time and edit better over two years later. I highly recommend this program - I have used both Sony Vegas and Corel Video programs and vastly prefer the Adobe video program.
This is the gear I use to rig my GoPro and audio Mic setup behind me for that over-the-shoulder view. The Painter pole extends the camera and all it needs is the adapter to mount your GoPro mount to the painter pole. It works very well.
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