Great Lakes Angler Blog

MULL BLOG Keeping Swimbaits Straight

Monday, March 02, 2015

One of the newest lures that's taking off in the world of salmon and trout trolling is the soft plastic swim bait. If you haven't tried it yet, get yourself some Z-Man Scented PaddlerZs or Strike King Shadaliscious baits and give them a try. All you need to do is rig them with a treble hook on a weighted bass hook, tie them on to a lead core, copper or diver rod and start trolling. They work especially well in the cold water of spring--my personal-best brown trout, which weighed 19 pounds, 4 ounces, came on Lake Michigan out of St. Joseph in April. It hit a swim bait!  Read Full Story

Mull BLOG VanDam on Storage Solutions

Friday, January 02, 2015

So we're two days into 2015, and around Southwest Michigan, it's cold but not cold enough for much ice on the lakes yet. It's also cold enough that it's not that much fun to wade in and cast for steelhead with spinning gear. So what do you do? How about watch some videos. Here's one my good friend and fellow writer Louie Stout put together for his website, which is actually a page for Michiana Outdoor News. In it, the world's greatest bass fisherman, Kevin VanDam discusses how he stores tackle. Of course he's sponsored by Plano, which is why he shows a lot of Plano storage boxes and bags. What the heck, I enjoyed watching it.  Read Full Story

Free Frabill Ice Book Helps Catch Fish

Thursday, January 23, 2014

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Crankbait Net Keeps Flopping Fish from Tangling

Monday, October 28, 2013
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PLANO, IL – Heartening to know some new product ideas are still born on the water. Sure, modern design programs convert concepts into digital drawings and prototypes are passed around boardroom tables. But it’s finding solutions to real world fishing challenges that plant the seeds of true innovation.


Such was the case not many moons ago when Plano V.P. of Engineering Ryan Kleckner hit the water with his better half Heidi and Frabill pro staff Tom Neustrom. Objective: pry loose a few walleyes.   


That’s where the story begins.



“We were absolutely pounding the walleyes,” said Kleckner, harkening back to the amazing fishing they experienced on Minnesota’s Lake Winnibigoshish. In the interest of experimentation, however, the trio set aside the credentialed jig and minnow tandem and decided to do a little trolling. As it went, the grand march of walleyes continued, fish after fish smashing the crankbait offerings.


Could it get any better for the Kleckners and Neustrom? Probably not. How about worse? Well, yes…relatively speaking. “Almost every time we netted a walleye or pike it’d go into a death roll and the baits and their hooks would get totally tangled. It was frustrating. Really chewed up our fishing time.”


So like any good inventor, Kleckner sought a solution. He looked up from a cocooned crankbait into Neustrom’s animated eyes and said, “Tom, I’ll find a fix.”      


Back to the laboratory in Plano, Illinois, Kleckner went. And for the next 18-months, while Neustrom rigorously tested prototypes on the water, he watched a notion evolve into what is now the most advanced landing net in fishing.



What makes the current configuration so extraordinary? “Hooks don’t get snagged,” said Kleckner, sounding like Benjamin Franklin issuing a major ‘well, duh!’ “And even if the hooks go through the holes, they come right back out without knotting everything up.”


Those very holes are principle to the effectiveness of Frabill’s Crankbait Net. Rather than round or oval, they’re hexagonal. Kleckner and Neustrom tried every geometrical shape known to man, and found that a six-sided hole best staved off snags.


Those distinctively shaped holes are only half the story. The other primary objective is preventing the hook points from piercing the woven mesh fabric. Frabill has for years coated the mesh on its premium landing nets. Not only do the vinyl coatings fight snagging, they offer fish

TLC by saving protective slime coats and not battering fins, scales or gills.


For his signature Crankbait Net, however, Kleckner demanded a more substantial vinyl dipped coating. And on top of that, to further control the dipping process, the net material is treated before manufacturing. This superior technique is unique to Frabill landing nets.    


Frabill’s Crankbait Netting is available on five models within the Conservation Series, ranging in price from $59.99 to $109.99.


It’s said that ‘necessity’ is the mother of invention. But if you ask Kleckner and Neustrom, they’ll say it was ‘frustration.’



Plano Molding and Synergy Outdoors Form Plano Synergy Holdings

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

PLANO, IL – Plano Molding Company (Plano) and Synergy Outdoors are pleased to announce a newly formed strategic merger called Plano Synergy Holdings.  Plano is a leading brand in the fishing accessories market, and is the premier supplier of outdoor sports storage systems.  Synergy Outdoors is a market leader in hunting-related products, and is home to a portfolio of market leading brands, including Wildgame Innovations, Barnett Outdoors, Ameristep Hunting Products, Flextone Game Calls, Halo Optics and Evolved Harvest & Habitats.  Together, the companies will form one of the leading platforms in the outdoor products industry and will be ideally positioned to accelerate growth both organically and via acquisition.


Based in Plano, Illinois, and founded in 1932, Plano is recognized as the leading brand in fishing and fall sports markets where it proudly supplies tackle boxes, bait storage, gun cases, archery cases, and Frabill branded ice fishing, landing nets and live bait storage products. It also produces cases for cosmetics, tools and crafts, as well as storage containers and shelving for home and office.  Plano is currently owned by management and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.


Synergy Outdoors, based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and founded in 2002 by Ryan Busbice, has grown rapidly since inception by developing industry leading brands, focusing on product innovation, and reliably delivering for its retail customers.  Ryan, along with his brother Matt and father Bill, star in the hit television show “Wildgame Nation” which airs on the Outdoor Channel.  Ryan and Matt will assume senior management positions with the combined company, and will join as significant shareholders in Plano Synergy Holdings.


“The Plano management team and I are extremely excited to be partnering with Ryan and Matt Busbice along with the wide range of talented personnel across Plano Synergy Holdings” stated Tom Hurt, the Company’s President and CEO. Hurt added, “We look forward to working together to grow both the exciting Synergy portfolio of brands and Plano’s heritage brands to their full potential.  We plan to continue our dedication to exceeding our customer expectations in product innovation, market leadership and world-class customer service.  An exciting new journey has just begun for our companies, our valued associates and the many market leading brands under the Plano Synergy umbrella.”


Ryan Busbice said “Over the last decade we have sought to bring our passion for hunting to the marketplace by developing innovative products that make hunters more successful in the field.  This combination will allow us to move towards our long-term vision of becoming a true year-round leader in the broader outdoor industry.  Plano Synergy Holdings will be well positioned with leading brands across both hunting and fishing product categories.  I am thankful for the true dedication of the Synergy team over the years, and I now look forward to also working with Tom Hurt and the rest of the Plano team to continue to serve our dedicated consumers and valued retail partners.”

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Plano storage system wins in Vegas

Thursday, July 18, 2013

This is a press release from Plano Molding, a name synonymous with tackle boxes. Capt. Pat Kalmerton, who charters out of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, walked me through the features of this system and it certainly deserved to win. I especially liked the idea of having the "hot box" on top of the bag. –Dave Mull  Read Full Story


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