Baitfeeders For Spring Trout and Catfish

Dave Brown is the Western Regional Sales Manager at Okuma Fishing Tackle.  Enjoying a wide range of fishing that most definitely includes a relaxing day of bait fishing, Dave shares his top technique for using baitfeeder functionality on spinning reels to advance his success.

Still fishing gear for trout

Still fishing for trout and catfish is a great way to get out and enjoy fishing with minimal expense.

It’s a beautiful spring morning with dew on the lawn. The kids have been itching to get out of the house for months. Finally there is a window of opportunity to hit the local water and soak a line. You’ve heard of an early season bite and it’s time to get out and see for yourself. The lake is full after all of the early season rain and snow melt and primed for some fishing.

Avenger Baitfeeder Trout Rig

The typical rig consists of mainline running through a sliding egg sinker to a swivel. To the other side of the swivel a light leader, hook and bait.

With costs rising, sometimes it is difficult to find an inexpensive activity. Why not get out and plunk some bait? Be it a dough bait for trout or a nice chicken liver for a catfish or two, there are many options and methods to this relatively simple form of fishing. I’m a Southern California born and raised fisherman, and one very common method for our trout fishing is soaking some dough bait.

Spring conditions typically include some wind. When we fish in windy conditions we normally struggle for a way to get the slack out of our line. A common solution to this is to attach something weighted to your line to remove the slack. A bobber with a sinker, or a lure, is what I see most often.

Removing slack from still fishing line with a lure.

Lures and weighted bobbers are often used to keep the slack out of line when still fishing, but these solutions create their own problems.

This isn’t the most convenient way to fish as once you do get a bite, the fish can feel the resistance of your weighted bobber or lure and spit the bait. Also, if you do manage to hook your fish, you must now remove your bobber or lure without fraying your line.

Okuma has come up with a solution to this type of fishing. The Okuma Avenger Baitfeeder 20a (ABF-20a)  is the perfect reel for this type of fishing. This is the smallest baitfeeder in the market and ideal for the bait plunker or still fisherman that wants fish to be able to eat a bait and move away while feeling little to no resistance.

Baitfeeder reels were designed for live bait anglers in order to let their bait run freely and still have their reel engaged. For the still fisherman, you can utilize the baitfeeder function to let fish bite, then turn and run with your bait with little to no resistance. The Avenger Baitfeeder has a secondary drag system that allows your reel to be engaged, but let’s your line run freely out of the spool. You can control the tension of the line leaving your spool by the secondary drag knob on the bottom of the reel. Once you do get a bite and you hear the clicking of your spool, all you have to do is turn the handle to engage the primary drag system and you are fighting your fish with regular drag pressure. It’s just that simple. In windy conditions, you can tighten the tension on your baitfeeder drag to get enough tension to take the slack out of your line, but still let a fish bite and run freely. There’s no need for a weighted bobber, lure, or anything that will cause interference when using the baitfeeder.

The Avenger Baitfeeder reels contain a full lineup of sizes. You can find everything from the size 20 to a size 90 for big offshore applications. Baitfeeders are also available in Epixor, Coronado and Cedros spinning reel line-ups!

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$20,000 For Steve Schmidt & Rick Newton!

Steve Schmidt of Schmidt’s Big Bass Guide Service in Mansfield, TX has been fishing Okuma since 2007.  You won’t meet a more straight-up guy.  He buys his gear like everyone else and is never the guy looking for freebies at every corner. That’s what made it so exciting when his email came through and we saw his post on our Facebook page.  He posted simply, “The products that Okuma puts out are the BEST. I used the Citrx and Serrano reels and AL-20 helped me win Bass Champs North Div.”

In looking at the Bass Champs website,, not only Steve and his partner win the tournament at Ray Roberts on April 16th, they took home $20,000 to boot! Knocking down that kind of money on a Saturday has got to be one of life’s great moments, so we took the opportunity to catch up with Steve for an overview.

Steve Schmidt & Rick Newton Top 199 teams to Win $20,000 on Ray Roberts

Steve Schmidt and Rick Newton took home $20,000 for their win on Ray Roberts

“The weather down here has been windy and crazy,” he began, “we missed our pre-fishing the week before because it was too windy.” So they just had to go fishing.

The team stared the day fishing 4″ Senko-type baits rigged wacky style.  Schmidt fished braid on an Alumina 20 spinning reel to a fluorocarbon leader.  “Right off the bat, Rick caught a 14-incher on the outside of some grass, so it was like okay, the fish are here.”  They worked the bank for a bit with no more bites.  Moving to the next ditch, Schmidt switched to a chatterbait fished on a Citrix 7.3:1 baitcast reel.  An immediate 5-pounder raised the team’s spirits substantially.

Working other spots to no avail and always coming back to the same general area, the duo picked up a 6-pounder next, then another 5-pounder. Slowly, they picked off a quality limit with the exception of the 14-incher they never were able to cull. “The fish were on windy secondary points, ambushing bait in dirty water,” said Schmidt.

The team felt good, feeling a check of some sort, as they headed to the weigh-in.  With 199 teams out there though, anything could happen.  They were in the first wave, weighing their sack in the first group of 15 or so teams.  Up goes their solid weight of 21.56-pounds, with some Ray Roberts experts still to come.

“We had to wait for more than an hour,” Schmidt said.  We can only imagine the nerves involved as team after team carries sacks of fish to the scales.  When it was all said and done, Schmidt and Newton had come out on top.

“Everything lined up,” he began.  “I lost my hat running across the lake and had to turn around to pick it up. If that didn’t happen, maybe the day would have been different.”

Congratulations on the victory Steve and thanks a million for a great story! Interested in fishing with a tournament-winning bass guide?  Catch up with Steve at: