The Lunker List: Fishing Gear You Should Buy this Spring feature
PHOTO BY CHRIS IRWIN

Fishing Gear To Take a Look at This Spring

We scoured the 2019 ICAST show for you, and with the help of the experts at Bass Pro Shops,  rounded up these must-haves for your shopping list.  

Spring has sprung and many of us are again hitting the water. But first, it’s time to update your bass fishing gear. ICAST showcased some awesome products this year. Tech has taken the sport to new levels: from the most advanced sonar to the sharpest hooks ever set. We saw technical fabrics used across the industry to protect you from the elements, cutting edge rod and reel designs, stealthier and smarter trolling motors, and unique lures that are bound to make it into your tackle box. Mix all that with products from YouTube to Major League Fishing and you certainly have no shortage of gear to choose from. With these products (and a bit of luck), you will be reeling in more lunkers than ever before. 

Minn Kota Ultrex with MDI and iPilot Link, MSRP: $2,999.99, minnkotamotors.com 

Minn Kota Ultrex with MDI and iPilot Link The Lunker List: Fishing Gear You Should Buy this Spring

This trolling motor revolutionized boat control by combining Spot-Lock™ and other advanced technologies like Follow the Contour and power steering in an intuitive and responsive heel-toe foot pedal. Now, Minn Kota has incorporated Humminbird’s® MEGA Down Imaging® into the Ultrex, resulting in the clearest images from the bow of the boat and better-informed decision making in real-time. The transducer is housed in the motor’s lower unit, and the wiring runs through the indestructible composite shaft providing clean rigging that is protected from damage over time. 

SOLIX® 12 CHIRP MSI GPS G2, MSRP: $3,099.99, humminbird.com  

SOLIX® 12 CHIRP MSI GPS G2 The Lunker List: Fishing Gear You Should Buy this Spring

This system combines tournament-ready technologies like MEGA Imaging+™, Dual Spectrum CHIRP sonar, and AutoChart Live® custom mapping, all at your fingertips with intuitive Cross Touch® control. Industry-leading MEGA Imaging+ sonar extends Humminbird’s® best-in-class imaging capabilities down 200 feet for MEGA Down Imaging+™ and 200 feet to each side with MEGA Side Imaging+™, to reveal more fish and structure. In addition, SOLIX® Series models are compatible with Humminbird LakeMaster® and Navionics® digital charts for high definition coverage no matter where you fish. 

Shimano SLX DC Baitcast Reel, $189.99, fish.shimano.com 

Shimano SLX DC Baitcast Reel The Lunker List: Fishing Gear You Should Buy this Spring

Specially equipped with Digital Control braking (a computerized cast control system that monitors the reel’s spool speed 1,000 times per second and automatically applies the correct brake pressure to prevent backlash and maximize casting distance), this reel brings Shimano’s most advanced casting system ever into the realm of affordability. On the retrieve, you’ll find the 4+1 bearing system to be lean and efficient, while the sturdy drag system provides up to 11-12 lbs. of maximum drag.  

Shimano Stradic 2500HG, $199.99, fish.shimano.com 

Shimano Stradic 2500HG The Lunker List: Fishing Gear You Should Buy this Spring

This beefed up reel sets a whole new performance standard for its price point, with extreme technology representing the latest goodies from Shimano—including SilentDrive, a total redesign of all moving parts to eliminate noise and vibration. As always, you get a whisper-smooth, strong, incredibly durable reel that can match up to any quarry in freshwater, as well as inshore saltwater. 6 S A-RB shielded stainless steel ball bearings (plus 1 Super Stopper II Anti Reverse roller bearing) are backed by the high-efficiency Propulsion Line Management System. 

G. Loomis IMX-Pro Bass Casting Rod $325.00-$360.00 gloomis.com 

G. Loomis IMX-Pro Bass Casting Rod The Lunker List: Fishing Gear You Should Buy this Spring

This rod uses a proprietary IMX-Pro blank technology for a rod that’s up to 15 percent lighter over standard IMX rods, with improved strength. Strategic scrim placement allows G. Loomis to create specific tapers, tailored to specialized fishing techniques. Whether you’re jigging and working worms through lily pads or using Carolina rigs, or flipp’n’ and punch’n’, there’s a perfect rod in this series, with a matched power and action, to match your game.

Googan Lunker Log, $5.99, and Googan Bandito, $5.99, basspro.com 

Googan Lunker Log and Bandito The Lunker List: Fishing Gear You Should Buy this Spring

With well over a half a million YouTube subscribers, the Googan Squad has captured the attention of up-and-coming anglers and serves as influencers for the youth. Now, the Googan Squad is delivering their own line of baits. Check out their Lunker Logs and our favorite, the Googan Bandito. Packed with Slaunch Sauce and more salt than their YouTube comment section, these lures are a fish-snatching soft bait that is sure to raise some pulses. 

Johnny Morris Signature Series Baitcaster, $159.99, basspro.com 

Johnny Morris Signature Series Baitcaster The Lunker List: Fishing Gear You Should Buy this Spring

This reel’s sturdy one-piece aluminum frame provides a solid foundation, keeping the internals tightly aligned and operating smoothly; at the business end, the combination of a perfectly balanced, super-lightweight rotor, a hollow stainless steel bail wire, and a forged, double-anodized aluminum spool ensure even weight distribution, strength, and long-term corrosion resistance. The quality 10-bearing (9+1) system features premium ball bearings and includes Powerlock™ instant anti-reverse. 

Johnny Morris Signature Series Spinning Reel, $99.99, basspro.com 

Johnny Morris Signature Series Spinning Reel The Lunker List: Fishing Gear You Should Buy this Spring

How do you improve a legend with an 18-year reputation for quality, performance, and near-bulletproof reliability? This new completely reconfigured reel is smaller, more ergonomically fitted to your hand, and a full 15 percent lighter than before, yet still as rugged, dependable, and flat-out fun to fish as ever.  

Rapala Mag Spring Pliers, $29.49-$31.99, basspro.com 

Rapala Mag Spring Pliers The Lunker List: Fishing Gear You Should Buy this Spring

These pliers deliver an easy-to-use, high-performance grip anytime you need it. Designed around Rapala’s new Mag-Spring system, these pliers stay open and ready for easy one-handed use while holding your rod or a fish with the other hand. Made of a durable 420 stainless steel with tin-nickel alloy plating, these tough pliers offer the strength and long-lasting durability anglers want.  

Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris CarbonLite Rod, $119.99, basspro.com 

Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris CarbonLite Rod The Lunker List: Fishing Gear You Should Buy this Spring

Built with Carbon Coil Technology™, an advanced construction process that creates a double-helix configuration of materials for structural reinforcement. Made with RT4 Graphite, developed for the avid tournament angler, this rod is light and also very sensitive, so anglers can use them with confidence—even with a win on the line.  

Kid’s Dude Perfect Combo, $29.99, basspro.com 

Kid’s Dude Perfect Combo The Lunker List: Fishing Gear You Should Buy this Spring

Start your young one off the right way. This lightweight fiberglass rod and micro spincast reel are easy to manage. The reel comes pre-spooled to eliminate hassle, and the included practice plug eases them into the swing of things. 

Bubba Blade Fillet Knife, $49.99, basspro.com 

Bubba Blade Filet Knife The Lunker List: Fishing Gear You Should Buy this Spring

With a little extra flex, you can make those precise boning cuts that result in perfect fillets. This knife is designed for precision work on fish of all sizes, with a fully tanged Ultra Flex blade that’s strong enough for the backbone cut, yet flexible enough to enable easy rib and Y-bone removal with no loss of meat. 

Plano Z-Series Kryptek Bag, $89.99, basspro.com 

Plano Z-Series Kryptek Bag The Lunker List: Fishing Gear You Should Buy this Spring

With no zippers to fail and splash-proof fast-entry openings, this bag eliminates fumbling and frustration on the water. In tournament conditions, or anytime a hot bite is underway, you’ll appreciate this technically advanced bag’s ability to provide instant, no-hassle access to your gear. Made of high-performance TPE-coated waterproof fabric, it features a roomy main compartment that will hold all your gear in StowAway® utility boxes.  

Costa Del Mar Rincon Moss Frames, $259.00, costadelmar.com 

Costa Del Mar Rincon Moss Frames The Lunker List: Fishing Gear You Should Buy this Spring

Made from castor plant bio-based resin, these big-framed sunglasses cut through the glare and pierce below the surface. With their spring hinges and polarized lenses, the Rincon is a great oversized style for most. New this year is Costa’s Moss color, and we couldn’t love the look any more.  

Sufix Monofilament Line, $13.99, basspro.com 

Sufix Monofilament Line The Lunker List: Fishing Gear You Should Buy this Spring

This monofilament line offers performance other mono lines can’t. For starters, Advance Mono has 50 percent lower stretch than standard monofilament, for super feel with just enough forgiveness to keep that hook buried throughout the fight. UV absorption, too, has been reduced by 50 percent, to maintain full strength and flexibility through extended use. With its superior sensitivity, excellent abrasion resistance, high knot strength, and low memory, it provides smooth, consistent casting and reliability for baitcast and spinning gear alike.  

Lunkerhunt Phantom Spider,  $9.49, basspro.com 

Lunkerhunt Phantom Spider The Lunker List: Fishing Gear You Should Buy this Spring

One of the most unique lures we found, the Phantom Spider is sure to catch the attention of big bass. Big fish love bursting through the water’s surface if a spider is tippy-toeing across. This lifelike (almost too lifelike) weedless topwater lure has motion-packed walking legs that stride, glide, and twitch when you work it across the water. The hollow-body design keeps it afloat, and a self-righting ballast in its sternum helps it mimic the real thing in almost every way.  

Strike King KVD Jerkbait, $9.99, basspro.com 

Strike King KVD Jerkbait The Lunker List: Fishing Gear You Should Buy this Spring

This jerkbait combines the roll, wiggle, and flash that allow you to make irresistible presentations. A weight transfer system increases this lure’s castability, allowing longer and more accurate casts. Lifelike 3D eyes; fitted with premium black nickel hooks. For maximum action, simply jerk on a slack line and hold on tight. 

Strike King KVD Square Bill Crankbaits, $5.99-$11.99, basspro.com 

Strike King KVD Square Bill Crankbaits The Lunker List: Fishing Gear You Should Buy this Spring

Designed to the exact specifications of the four-time Bassmaster Classic® champ, this bait is a silent assassin, perfect for Kevin VanDam’s style of shallow-water power fishing. In addition to enabling this KVD hardbait to bounce and deflect off cover, the square bill design also forces it to constantly wander with an erratic searching action while still running true. It does not have internal rattles, making it absolutely perfect for skittish, pressured fish. 

BooYah Covert Tandem Spinnerbait, $9.99, basspro.com 

BooYah Covert Tandem Spinnerbait The Lunker List: Fishing Gear You Should Buy this Spring

This special spinnerbait is built on super-tough 17/7 steel wire with a dull non-plated finish, for a stealthy approach with ultimate strength. Top-quality components are used throughout, including premium Hildebrandt® blades; heavier and better balanced than standard blades, attached with ball-bearing swivels, they provide superior spin, flash, and thump in all conditions. The head design stands out for its concave appearance, which shifts the balance point toward one side in order to counter-balance blade torque, to ensure it tracks straight and true.  

Cabela’s Advanced Anglers Backpack, $64.99, cabelas.com 

Cabela’s Advanced Anglers Backpack The Lunker List: Fishing Gear You Should Buy this Spring

Comfortably hike to your secret fishing hole with all of your fishing gear. This pack is made of polyurethane-coated, 900-denier reinforced nylon for water-resistant, rip-free performance. It boasts strategically placed internal and external pockets that provide all the gear storage you’ll ever need. Complete with an integrated rod-holder system and a fleece-lined sunglasses pocket at the top, this bag is perfect for pond hopping.  

TroKar Hooks, $5.99, basspro.com 

TroKar Hooks The Lunker List: Fishing Gear You Should Buy this Spring

Turn more bites into hook-ups with the penetrating power of the world’s one-and-only surgically sharpened hook. Tested and proven by tournament pros—including 2009 Bassmaster Classic® Champion Skeet Reese—these hooks consistently pierce a fish’s lip with half the force of any other hook. The secret is in the tailored tempering process, which turns the cold-forged high-carbon steel into a deadly weapon with a computer-sharpened three-sided hook point and just the right amount of flexibility. The bolstered forged wire diameter adds strength to the shank, and the low-profile barb delivers ultimate holding power.  

Mossy Oak Long Sleeve Fishing Tech Tee, $34.99, store.mossyoak.com 

Mossy Oak Long Sleeve Fishing Tech Tee Marlin The Lunker List: Fishing Gear You Should Buy this Spring

This tee features a lightweight stretch material that’s powered by Coolcore® technology. This technology promotes hyper-evaporation through advanced moisture wicking to keep you comfortable, cool, and dry throughout the day. It features a non-binding raglan cut, UPF sun protection, and a mesh back panel for additional ventilation. This is the ideal shirt for helping anglers reach their maximum level of comfort and performance for all types fishing.