New Fishing Gear for March: Freshwater Edition

New rods, reels, lures and footwear for freshwater anglers.

new fresh water fishing gear
Every angler knows you can never have enough fishing gear. Courtesy Pexels / Ihsan Adityawarman

In Minnesota, Lake of the Woods will allow fish houses to remain on the ice until the end of March. But for many of us across the US, the ice is melting quickly. In fact, for some anglers, it’s gone already or was never cold enough this past winter. Open water fishing is back on the menu.

Time to get your tackle and gear ready to fish. One of the top species many freshwater anglers will be itching to target is bass — largemouths or smallmouths are favorites. Yes, catfish, walleye, trout, pike and panfish have fanatics too, but their popularity is nothing compared to bass fishing.

As proof, pro angler Jeff Gustafon recently won the 2023 Bassmaster Classic on the Tennessee River. He caught 42 pounds of smallmouth bass over three days of fishing to take home a check surpassing $300,000. He was quoted as saying, “This is my Stanley Cup.” That’s quite a statement from a Canadian.

Checkout this new gear for freshwater anglers. Will something highlighted below help you land a bass worth bragging about? Maybe it’ll even help you catch a tournament winner.

Daiwa Tatula Elite

Daiwa Tatula Elite
The Daiwa Tatula Elite casting rod. Daiwa

Looking for a new baitcasting rod that allows you to cast far and work a jig deep? Daiwa’s Tatula Elite could be a great option ($189.99). When Daiwa created this series of rods — and there are a bunch of rod options — they asked bass pros their favorite techniques and optimal rod actions. Canada’s Cory Johnston prefers a specific Tatula Elite rod (Model: TTEL751MHRB) for football jigs. The 7-foot, 5-inch medium-heavy casting rod has a straight cork grip and is built from Daiwa’s X45 BIAS graphite fiber construction. He calls it his “everything rod” for bottom-bouncing techniques. Pair the rod with Daiwa’s Tatula SV 70 casting reel ($229.99) and a Daiwa + Ever Green International ¾-ounce Grass Ripper jig ($7.49). This quality setup will shine when fishing deep water or exploring shallow grass in the spring.

Berkley Scented Flicker Shad

Berkley Flicker Shad
The Berkley Flicker Shad with scent cavity.

There’s more to this lipped bait than meets the eye. Berkley Labs combined smell into its lineup of new Berkley Flicker Shad hard baits. Everyone knows about Berkley’s Gulp! soft baits and attractants, but the proprietary scent tech has now jumped to lures with trebles. Here’s how it works: The new Flicker Shads contain a scent pocket that holds and disperses Berkley’s Gulp! gel. A tube of Gulp! hard bait gel comes with new Flicker Shads (available in 10 colors), so you can apply the smell to a strip on the side of the lure over and over again. The scent disperses in the water as you troll or cast a lipped Flicker Shad. Reapply new Gulp! gel as necessary. The new Flicker Shads are sold as 1-packs ($9.99), 3-packs ($19.99) and 5-packs ($29.99) in 5- and 7-cm lengths.

H2OX Spinning Rod and Reel

H2OX spinning rod and reel
The H2OX Mettle 30 spinning reel paired with an H2OX Evo spinning rod. Sam Hudson

What is the most common question you see on fishing forums and other online groups from new anglers? It’s almost always something along the lines of: “I’m new to fishing. What rod and reel should I buy?” To me, the answer is an affordable, easy to use spinning outfit that doesn’t have the barriers of sticker shock or a steep learning curve.

Check out these options from Academy Sports: The H2OX Mettle 30 spinning reel ($29.99) has a 5.2:1 gear ratio, 6 bearings, composite frame, and aluminum spool. Match the reel to a 7-foot H2OX Evo spinning rod ($99.99), with its medium-light power, moderate action, helical core graphite construction, semi-micro Kigan SiC line guides, Fuji PTS reel seat, EVA foregrip and carbon fiber rear grip.

To me, this setup with 10- to 15-pound line, works great for any bass angler looking to cast and retrieve lightweight soft plastics — the rod sensitivity is there to feel subtle bites. I tried out the rod-and-reel pair, and let me tell you, even catching 1-pounders on soft stick baits was a blast.

Orvis Pro Approach Hiker

Orvis Pro Approach Hiker
The Orvis Pro Approach Hiker with Michelin outsole. Orvis

Wading warriors, this one is for you — it doesn’t matter if you’re fishing the fresh or salt. The Orvis Pro Approach Hiker ($229) is one tough mid-height, wet-wading boot. Use the Approach Hiker in many applications, including river fishing, flats fishing or even kayak fishing. Included in the boot is a liner with substantial ankle support and foam foot bed, plus a soft EVA midsole. A Michelin outsole, similar to Orvis’ Pro Wading boots, means anglers can expect reliable wet and dry traction on slick or rocky terrain. The rubber toe helps too. A built-in, zippered gravel guard with hook-and-loop strap is the top layer of the boot, but just below is a lace-up interior that gives you that secure shoe feel. Easy access heel loops on the outer cover and interior help you pull the boots on snug quickly. Trek to the spot and then wade-fish all in the same footwear.

Abu Garcia Revo Rocket

Abu Garcia Revo Rocket
The Abu Garcia Revo Rocket with new asymmetric body design. Abu Garcia

Abu Garcia’s Revo casting reels have undergone a complete redesign with a new look and upgraded components. The Abu Garcia Revo Rocket ($329.95) casting reel now has an asymmetric body design to handle a larger spool for increased castability without growing the size of reel’s total profile. The reel’s Powerstack drag system delivers a surprising amount of stopping power, maxing out at 18 pounds. Other specs include an IVCB-6 brake system for controlled casts, 10 stainless-steel bearings (plus 1 roller bearing), a 95-mm handle with oversized knobs, and 10.1:1 gear ratio (about 43.5 inches per turn). Of note, Abu Garcia also makes a Revo Rocket spinning reel ($199.95) that’s hard to miss with its blazing red colors.

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