Tackle & Equipment Recommendations
Braden uses technique-specific rods between 7-foot-6 and 9-foot-6. The rods mentioned below (exception 7-6 St. Croix) are telescoping models. These collapse for safe storage when travelling or in the home or garage. Braden prefers full grip rods with long rear butt sections. Below is a description of the application
St. Croix Legend Tournament 7-6 XH "The Jerk" ● Abu Garcia Revo Toro Winch 60
Stealth Tackle Leader - ST174G 174# Walk the Dog Solid Wire
Side-to-side lures like gliding jerkbaits and walk-the-dog topwaters require a short, stout rod. Downward taps with the short rod allow deliberate movements that allow side-to-side motions with minimal forward movement.
move these lures a short distance. The low-speed Toro Winch recovers slack line without pulling the lure forward. This keeps twitches in synch.
There is no swivel on this technique-specific leader, and thus no unnecessary drag on the lure.
Shimano Compre 8-6 XH ● Shimano Calcutta 400TE
Stealth Tackle Leader - ST150 150# Fluoro / ST174 174# Solid Wire / ST174W1, W2, W3 Weighted Leaders
Braden uses this combo for mid-size tail-rotating topwaters, jerkbaits (dive-and-rise style/minnowbaits/twitchbaits), and crankbaits. The moderate speed of the 400TE recovers ample slack line and does not overwork the lure. The 8-6 rod is ideal for cross-body twitches, yet maintains adequate length for boatside maneuvers.
Braden recommends a rod-reel combo to these specifications to those entering the sport. This setup can handle mid-size lures in every lure category, perfect for new recruits.
Braden prefers 150-pound fluorocarbon leaders in clear water. He swaps this for single-strand wire when necessary; six-inch jerkbaits and crankbaits often have better action with solid wire leaders. In late fall, he uses weighted leaders, which help to prolong the lure's "hang time."
Tackle Industries 9-6 MH ● Shimano Tranx 400HG
Stealth Tackle Leader - ST150 150# Fluoro / ST124 Twitch Bait Leader
Braden uses this combo when working small lures. Often, speed is used with these small offerings to trigger reaction strikes. This is easily accomplished with the high-speed 400-series Tranx that recovers around 40 inches of line. It's primary function is burning small bucktails (up to size 8 blades). This rod has a soft enough tip to launch these light bucktails, yet it has plenty of backbone for casting medium-size plastics (5 oz.) and below.
Stealth's 150-pound fluorocarbon can be used with mid-sized lures. Braden pairs Stealth's 124-pound wire Twitch Bait leader with smaller lures, which are often negatively affected by heavy leaders.
Tackle Industries 9-6 XH ● Shimano Tranx 500PG
Stealth Tackle Leader - ST150 150# Fluoro
This combo is used exclusively for large, double-bladed bucktails and large, tail-rotating topwater lures. The 9-6 rod has plenty of length for large boatside maneuvers. In spite of its size, the 500-series Tranx is comfortable. The low gear ratio of the "Power Gear" model makes retrieving hard-pulling bucktails a breeze. Thanks to the oversized spool, each turn of the handle recovers approximately 30 inches of line.
The combo will also handle large soft plastic lures, but Braden prefers the setup below for this lure category.
Tackle Industries 9-0 XXH ● Abu Garcia Revo Toro 60HS
Stealth Tackle Leader - ST150 150# Fluoro
When it's time to throw large soft plastic lures, Braden leans on the advantages of Tackle Industries rods. All TI rods feature 1.25-inch cork handles, which are thicker than standard musky rods. Braden prefers the full cork models because the thick cork spans his ribs and is more comfortable. The 18-inch butt section also provides better leverage for lobbing heavy baits.
The high-speed Revo reel recovers 30 inches of line, which Braden feels is the minimum necessary for rubber lures. Braden uses 150-pound fluorocarbon leaders with all of his plastic lures.
Slow moving lures like gliding jerkbaits or walk-the-dog topwaters
TI rods listed above telescope for safe storage and travel..
Saturation casting should be seen as a complement and not a replacement of the camping and run-and-gun tactics. Each is effective when employed at the appropriate times. These stipulations are painfully critical, yet woefully abused. Many in the world of modern musky angling believe more casts equal more muskies seen, boated, or otherwise. Fast is inherently best.
The final myth to debunk is our spatial relationship to cover. Simply, it extends beyond tight quarters, and consequently short casts. I maintain the same distance from cover when saturation casting as I do when camping and on the run, even bomb casting at times
TACKLE INDUSTRIES RODS
Saturation casters will ease through historically productive areas, particularly when favorable conditions align. Campers, filling a deeper commitment, require more concrete evidence than past-experience alone. Recent follows, missed opportunities, or even boated muskies lead to extended stays.