Man Fishing on a Lake

Fishing Questions Answered

Can I Buy A Fishing License from Walmart?

Yes, you most certainly can buy a fishing license from Walmart. Just about every Walmart in every state will have an arrangement with their local wildlife and fisheries to act as an agent.

These days, most anglers purchase and renew their fishing licenses easily and conveniently online. 

But there’s still plenty of anglers that seek out a retailer or government point of sale location. Walmart is ideal simply because of its widespread distribution.

TIP

Fishing license fees can vary right across the country. Walmart doesn’t set the price, its set by the state.

Buy License in Packs

You can package your fishing license with a hunting license. You also have various license options such as annual, day, pensioner, visitor, lifetime options and more.

Again, things will be different in your state, so it pays to get online and check it out. Perhaps a call to your local Walmart will be the go if you’re not so net-savvy.

Let’s take a look at Oklahoma Walmart fishing licenses for an example. Just be aware that fees do change, usually upward, so it pays to check before you purchase.

  • Lifetime Fishing: $225
  • Lifetime Fishing/Hunting Combination: $775
  • Five-Year Fishing: $88
  • Five-Year Fishing/Hunting: $148
  • Annual Fishing: $25 (Youth, 16–17: $5)
  • Annual Fishing/Hunting Combination: $53 (Youth, 16-17: $19)
  • Two-Day Fishing: $15
  • Non-Resident Annual: $55
  • Non-Resident Six-Day: $35
  • Non-Resident One-Day $15

What to do if I Lost my License?

Should you lose your license or it be stolen, your first action is to call the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife, and they will provide you with instructions.

Online replacements are possible, as is a replacement via an agent such as Walmart. But there’s a possibility that you’ll have to visit the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife with appropriate photo identification. Expect a fee.

Here’s Oklahoma’s fishing license page. It’s a great resource, and indicative of such sites for many other states.

What are the best weedless lures for fishing?

Firstly, I’ve kinda learned to distrust the term “weedless.” In many respects, it can be misinterpreted or is open to interpretation.

There’s a well-known lack of standards in fishing tackle terminology and its use in tackle labeling and marketing.

Define “weedless”

What is weedless anyway? Regardless of design features, there’s nothing preventing a manufacturer from calling any lure “weedless.” And they do.

When the weedless lure hit the fishing world, anglers took the term quite literally, i.e. the design somehow prevents or reduces the impact of weed on the lure. This feature (we assumed) also included weed impact on action, not just foul hooking and snagging.

Over time, “weedless” has grown to cover any lure design feature that purports to mitigate foul hooking any snag or structure. Or it’s at least it’s interpreted as such.

There are definitely lure designs, hook configurations and lure mods, that do mitigate the dreaded snag or foul hook.

Yellow Softbait Lures
Yellow Softbait Lures

A true definition of weedless. In my opinion

Weedless refers to a configuration of the hook(s) on a lure so that they protrude far less, or the point is obstructed, therefore avoiding snagging. 

Weedless refers to a configuration of the hook(s) on a lure so that they protrude far less…

This configuration encourages anglers to cast deep into structure of all sorts, confident they won’t lose their lure to foul hooking.

This has become very popular (and even possible) with the advent of soft plastics. It has become possible to set the hook super close to the lure body, even embedding or obstructing the hook point.

It’s the action of the biting fish that exposes the hook for secure hook-up. In many respects, weedless baiting is a lure rigging technique.

NOTE

Hook manufacturers make a large selection of weedless hooks (or jig heads), specifically designed for the purpose.

Weedless Lures

Firstly, just about any lure, if not every lure, will collect weed when tossed into weedy structure. If nothing else, weed will often collect where the lure joins the leader.

Some lures will collect more than others. The shape has a lot to do with it, it’s par for the course, and anglers accept this will happen. Weed removal is necessary, as it will impact lure action.

You will find genuine weedless lures have a hook configuration that somehow obscures the hook without compromising effective hook-ups.

Watch Out for False “weedless” Claims

Be on guard for lures with multiple treble hooks that make a weedless claim. The notion that a lure with trebles can be weedless is ridiculous in my opinion.

The notion that a lure with trebles can be weedless is ridiculous in my opinion…

Treble hooks are such that they will get caught on invisible dark matter in the vacuum of space while completely stationary.

So, what are the best weedless lures?

To be honest, this question is very difficult to answer. There are simply too many variables to isolate the best. 

Variables that impact a weedless lure rating will include; angler skill, target species, and location, types of weed or structure, line class (a huge factor), current and more.

And, what use is a weedless lure if the fish aren’t interested in it? Yes, you might save your lure from snags, but you might also not get a hit.

Not for Me

Personally, I don’t buy elaborate weedless lures. I certainly use weedless soft plastic designs, jig heads, and hooks, however.

While I fish weedless configurations, the more intricate weedless lure creations have not really been my thing.

Collection Of Different Fishing Lures
Collection Of Different Fishing Lures

Weedless Lures Recommendation

I can, however, recommend good places to start, so you can buy a few, cast a few, and make your own determination based on your applications and local fishing haunts.

The trick is to start with a manufacturer renowned for quality lures. It seems like a no-brainer, but it’s certainly worth stating.

The trick is to start with a manufacturer renowned for quality lures…

While I said that I don’t do genuine weedless lures as such, I’d cast the Zerek weedless lure and the Rapala weedless shad in a second.

I love these designs and they’re listed below. These are definitely worth investing in. In my humble opinion.

Here are a few. Note the different weedless approaches by designers.

  • Rapala Weedless Shad. Rapala makes awesome lures, their quality and performance are legendary. I love hard body lures; I’d try this weedless design without hesitation

  • Lunkerhunt Lunker Frog. Lunkerhunt makes great lures. This is a great topwater option, particularly for topwater bass hunters. Cast it right up on the bank and drag it over structure

  • Chasebaits Wiggle Bomb Fishing Lure. Chasebaits are another innovative lure company designing and manufacturing quality. This is another frog worth a look

  • Zerek Weedless Fish Trap. Zerek (Wilson Fishing) is Australian, and their video made me want to jump on a plane. The Fish Trap looks like a brilliant weedless weapon for a heap of US species, salt and fresh. These guys are chasing the famous Australian Barramundi. 

A note about “weedless” interpretation.

I’m not sure whether it’s an interpretation or not, but I have seen reviews for these lures below that suggest they are weedless.

  • ROSE KULI Fishing Lures. These are a beautiful looking swimbait. However, I saw them reviewed in a top 5 weedless list. They might be a great lure, but weedless? I’ll eat my chum…

  • TRUSCEND Fishing Lures. Again, these lures might be brilliant, but how they end up in a top-five weedless list is beyond me. Again, they’re not weedless.

TIP

Just be aware, that the term weedless turns up in the most unlikely of places. If there’s no specific attempt, by design, to protect the hook tip from structure, it’s unlikely to be weedless.

What is the penalty for fishing without a license in California? Does it vary if you’ve been penalized before?

If you are caught fishing without a valid recreational/sporting fishing license in California, you will receive a fine of $485.

You are required to have it on your person or be able to produce it immediately, e.g., it’s in your tackle bag, or you are able to quickly produce it from your car or boat.

If you have left it at home, you will be charged the full price of fishing without a valid license. However, if you produce your valid license to the judge, which is dated prior to the issue of the penalty, your fine will be reduced to $192.

Man Fishing in a River
Man Fishing in a River

Be Familiar with the Law

Understanding local and state fishing laws is critical to avoid unwanted legal trouble. Fines for various infringements, many of which you may not be familiar, can reach beyond $50,000 and jail terms.

Ignorance is no defense. It’s up to you to know the laws, national, state and local…

Ignorance is no defense. It’s up to you to know the laws, national, state and local. Here’s a list of infringements and their respective penalty values from the Judicial Council of California.

“The California Fish and Game Code (FGC), section 7145 (a) requires that every person aged 16 and older who takes any fish, reptile, or amphibian must have a valid sport fishing license on his or her person or in his or her immediate possession.” Check it out here.

There is no information readily available about repeating the offense. Expect the same again at the very least. The best thing to do is to keep your license on you at all times.

TIP

I am never ever without my phone, even when I fish out of range. My fishing license remains in my phone cover permanently. I also have a photo of it on my phone for back-up. The fines hurt – avoid them.

Four great tips for rooster tail fishing

Rooster tails are simply spinners. They’re about as old school as lures get and you can catch anything with scales with these little gems.

They’re generally inexpensive, and they’re the easiest of lures to use and master…

They’re generally inexpensive, and they’re the easiest of lures to use and master. More importantly, they can be very productive.

They’re generally considered a freshwater lure and frequently overlooked for saltwater action. However, they shouldn’t be overlooked for the salty stuff. These guys are great in the saltwater against everything.

Here are four great rooster tale tips.

  • Often we’ll go fishing with a specific target in mind. Other times we’re not quite sure what’s about, and end up second-guessing which lure to toss first. It’s at this point when you should toss out a rooster tail.

If there’s something there, they’ll hit it. Once you know what’s biting either continue casting your rooster or change up to something more target-specific.

  • Rooster tails are by far the easiest lure to use. This makes them ideal for kids, beginners, and those anglers new to lure fishing.

They can be worked at any speed and will suit the erratic approach often displayed by the kids and noobs.

Smaller fish will often take rooster tails, and they’re excellent for teaching kids and noobs the difference between fish attacks on flesh baits and lures.

  • When fishing the shallows or heavily snagged areas, try using your rooster tail with a bobber. I know it sounds completely ridiculous, but it keeps your rooster off the bottom and out of the gnarly danger. It actually works. You will catch fish

  • When you’ve cast every lure in your arsenal and not got so much as a touch, put on a rooster tail. Often the silver flashes from the blade can be all it takes to inspire a fish. Often it will bring them on the chew.

BONUS TIP

You’re desperate to cast into the most gnarly ugly looking bunch of snags you’ve ever seen. You’re certain there’s fish there, but you’re also certain you’ll lose your most expensive and favorite lure.

Cast a rooster tail in there. If there’s a fish, it’ll take it. If you lose it to a snag…it’s no loss.

How reliable are telescopic fishing rods

Straight up I am going to have to say that I don’t like them, and they’re less than reliable. But they do have a place in the angling market. When I’ve fished eastern Europe, they were everywhere, probably more out of necessity than performance.

If you’re limited with space, transport, and cash, the telescopic rod can be a great option for providing access to rod and reel fishing. In that regard, they get a tick from me.

In terms of Price and Quality

Telescopic rods, and combos, are highly affordable and very easy to store and transport. However, they’re cheap. I don’t just mean inexpensive, I mean cheap. The component parts are generally of poor quality and have little in the way of durability.

Metal parts rust quickly, and I also find that section frequently jam, particularly if you get sand or other foreign matter in the telescopic mechanism.

Check out the selection here. Note that these combos and rods all look fantastic. Then note the price. You can get a new telescopic rod starting at 20 bucks, with combos up to 60 bucks, or a little more.

NOTE

This is telling. A quality rod with feel, response, durability, and strength, let alone a lightweight feel, generally starts at around 60 bucks for a base model.

Telescopic rods, in my opinion, don’t have feel, response, durability, and strength.

Options?

If you’re limited with cash and space, or fish once in a blue moon, sure, go for the telescopic.

My recommendation, however, is to go for the 3, 4 or 5 piece travel rods. The multi-section configuration takes care of transport and storage convenience.

The multi-section configuration takes care of transport and storage convenience…

Good brands also deliver outstanding performance, comparable if not equal to standard configurations.

Yep, you’re going to pay more. The Daiwa Ardito or the Daiwa Saltiga G Boat are prime examples of excellent travel rod performance.

RECOMMENDATION

Shimano and other brands have travel rods at varying prices and performance. I can say for certain, they’re far better value for money than the telescopic rod.

Collection of Fishing Rods
Collection of Fishing Rods

What are the best brands of fishing reels?

There are two short answers to this question; all of them, and it depends. This question can be effectively answered, but a complete answer would take several big chapters of a larger book.

A better question would be, what is the best brand of reel for chasing kingfish from piers; or what is the best brand of reel for a beginner on a max budget of 50 dollars.

NOTE

Different reels do different things better, and different manufacturers are more preferred for certain applications.

There are also brands that do everything brilliantly across all applications and price points.

Be Specific

The question, “What are the best brands of fishing reels?” is far too broad, invites a considerable number of variables to be established, and ultimately, it becomes highly subjective. There’s plenty of brand loyalty out there.

Like any other product, there are the big names in fishing reels, lessor names and absolute fringe dwellers. In my opinion, they all have something to offer the market.

The Big Brands

Globally, the biggest names in fishing reels are Shimano, Penn, and Daiwa. But brands like Okuma and ABU Garcia are also huge.

Pflueger, Quantum, Australia’s Alvey, the USA’s KastKing and Piscifun also command massive respect and trust in the US and around the globe. Given this an incomplete list would be:

  • Shimano
  • Penn
  • Daiwa
  • Okuma
  • ABU Garcia
  • Pflueger
  • Quantum
  • Alvey
  • KastKing
  • Piscifun

I can tell you with confidence, that (generally speaking) if you buy a reel from one of these manufacturers, you will be getting quality at some level.

f you buy a reel from one of these manufacturers, you will be getting quality at some level…

In terms of finding the reel brand for your specific application, far more questions have to be asked. Here’s a list of things to consider when trying to find the reel/reel brand that’s right for you.

  • Budget
  • Target species
  • Level of fishing experience
  • Had eye coordination
  • Fresh or saltwater fishing or both
  • Frequency of use
  • Geography of likely fishing destinations
  • Are you rough on, or careless with sporting equipment

TIP

Considering these things is imperative before making a reel choice. Once you’ve worked out these key criteria, discuss it with a pro, and a brand choice will become clearer.

How is fishing a sport?

If you’ve only ever watched anglers sit lazily on the dock staring into space with a rod in their hands, you may question fishing as a sport.

Indeed, there is a time when so many of us just sat with a rod in our hands that puts fishing squarely in the leisurely pastime category.

While I’m certainly a sports angler, I have little trouble sitting by a beautiful river surrounded by nature, catching absolutely nothing. Not only is my heart rate at rest, I’m nigh on dreaming…hardly sport.

Not Acknowledged by All

I have heard many people question the ‘sport’ of fishing, and many scoff at the idea that it even closely resembles a sport.

To those people I say; try your hand at wrestling a 400-pound tiger shark with nothing but rod and reel. I think you’ll change your mind very quickly.

For that matter, any fish over 20 pounds delivers a workout. But there’s more to sport than strength and stamina. So what is sport?

What is sport anyway?

Let’s define sport and see if fishing fits.

The Cambridge definition of sport:

“a game, competition, or activity needing physical effort and skill that is played or done according to rules, for enjoyment and/or as a job…”

Now let’s break this down.

  • Competition
    • Fishing has been competitive for time immemorial. Game fishing is still the time-honored pinnacle of fishing. Where anglers pit their fishing skills against each other in a race to catch the oceans biggest
    • In the modern fishing world, there are touring professional anglers competing for big prize money in national and statewide competitions. Again, professional anglers pit their skills against each other and the rules to find and land the greatest weight of a designated number of a particular species
    • One can also argue that in many circumstances the angler is in competition with the fish. Both have opposing goals they want to achieve, and will do all they can to achieve them
  • Skill
    • It takes a great deal of skill to master the techniques of fishing. From casting a rod and reel, to fighting fish, to identifying weather conditions, angling skills are built over a lifetime.
  • Effort
    • Casting lures over a session of a few hours requires plenty of effort, and that’s without battling fish, of any size. However, fighting big fish will often require incredible effort. Battling a 500-pound marlin over the course of an hour or maybe two will exhaust the strongest and fittest of people.

Now that’s hardly an in-depth analysis of why fishing qualifies as a sport, but I don’t believe it’s really required. It’s clearly evident.

Still not sure? Watch this

And this…Yep. Fishing is a sport. Has been forever.

The beauty of fishing is that it can be a high action sport or the most leisurely of lazy pastimes. For many anglers, me included, it’s both, and always will be.

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