Educational Articles


Calibrate to Catch More Fish

I am amazed when I talk to many Walleye trolling anglers that they put little or no thought into calibrating there line counter reels. In my opinion it is the most overlooked aspect and every bit as important as boat control. Let’s put it in perspective, you fill or have your reels spooled and the counter is accurate right, wrong probably not. I set all my reels to calibrate accurately at a 50 foot mark which I will explain later in the article. 

I had one outing in Saginaw bay where we were pounding Walleyes on an early July morning where I contacted a close family member who was fishing just miles from us on his boat with no action at his location. The active fish were suspended in the water column so when he arrived at our location I instructed him as to how to set his lines. 40 to 45 back with 1.5 ounce inline sinkers trolled at 1.2 trolling speed. As he pulled in slightly behind and to the side of me we both set lines and started our troll downwind with the waves. Three line set’s in and it was game on with nonstop action until we filled our three man ticket. Half way through the pass and began farming one fish after another back to the bay. I felt bad as our side kick was not having any success and watched as we continued to just pound fish after fish with multiple doubles.

How could this be as he was running the same harnesses (I supplied him as I tie all my own). His speed and location were identical. My suspicions were later confirmed when I met him at his cabin at my request. We set a tape measure mark at 50 feet and field checked 6 of his set ups with quite the variation found reel to reel. They should have checked out 50 at 50 feet but they varied from 60 to 78 feet on the line counter to the check line of 50 feet. In essence when he let out 45 feet of line he was really averaging 30 to 35 feet of line, at least ten foot shorter than anything we were running which equates to 6 to 7 feet above us and not in the happy zone. As my suspicions were confirmed we calibrated all his set ups to within one foot of each other and now measure 50 feet at 50 feet on the counter. Needless to say his catch rate has since soared. 

Have you ever been in a trolling experience where one or two lines are producing and though you matched other lines with the exact set up (weight, harness, color) they fail to produce. I have to admit I learned this early on the hard way and when I did figure it out it was light a light bulb turned on. The counter works by the revolutions of the spool not line length. If your reel is half full the diameter is smaller so your counter will read more line than there actually is. Whether you’re targeting suspended fish or just attempting to tick the bottom with bottom bouncers it is essential that your line counter reels are accurate and identical so you can duplicate what’s working.  

Calibration can be completed easily if you follow these steps. NOTE: To accomplish this task do not cut the line from the supply spool you are filling your reel with. Leave it connected until you verify the line counters is accurate as you must add or subtract line as needed to calibrate. 

Step One: Use a measuring tape and mark 50 feet at each end. 

Step Two: Reset the line counter to zero and pull rod tip from point to point and check the line counter to see what it displays.

Step Three: If it measures less than 50 feet remove some line and repeat step two. On most reels about 30 feet of line is equal to about 1 foot on line counter readout depending on reel brand and model (30 to 50 feet is normal).

Step Four: If the line counter measures more than 50 feet then you will need to add line to the reel in same increments described in step three (although you will add not take away line). Therefore, you cannot cut the line from the filling supply spool until calibration is confirmed.

Step Five: Double check all the reals afterwards to ensure all reels are calibrated to 50 feet. Now you can match what’s working with extreme accuracy. Removing or adding line changes the spools diameter which allows the calibration of the counter to be accurate.

You can change your calibration should 50 feet not fit the body of water’s you fish (75 to 100 ft. are acceptable). Reel Rumors Fishing Charters specializes in Walleye charters in Saginaw Bay out of the home port of the Au Gres River. Contact Captain Dale Megie at 989-915-3312 or

Crystals & Crawlers


Reel Tackle Crystal Harnesses


During the summer of 2013, we began experimenting with glass crystal beads as part of our crawler harness package.  Walleyes are dominate night feeders and tend to shut down under high light penetration. Our goal was to create a more productive bait compared to the standard crawler harness rig that used plastic beads.  To our amazement, crawler harnesses outfitted with glass crystal beads out-produced standard plastic bead harnesses 10 to 1.  These glass crystal beads with color coordinated spinner blades simply dominated not only when the bite is on but also under calm water and sunny conditions.

The Reel Tackle evolution continues in 2018, as we are switching our previously used air-brush painted crawler blades over to powder coated blades. Over our years of field testing our biggest obstacle was the failure of the painted finishes on the standard blades as they would not hold up to the crystals abrasive edges. It is our experience that powder coated blades are more vibrant with their colors and will withstand the rigors of water conditions and use with their durability.  Reel Tackle is also introducing new color combinations into our regimen, to complement our previous preferred colors.  These combinations will accommodate calm, clear water and sunny conditions as well as murky, turned up water and cloudy conditions.  {{{{You could also simply say that beginning in 2018, all of our crawler harnesses will utilize custom powder coated spinner blades with color combinations for all weather conditions}}}}}

All of the Reel Tackle crawler harnesses are outfitted with 20 lb. fluorocarbon 60-inch leaders, two each # 4 Lazer Baitholder single hooks, glass crystal beads and custom powder coated Colorado # 4 spinner blades.

Reel Tackle is proud to display our tackle as part of our Outdoor Shows display booth testing tube.  Videos of our "Go To Tackle" may also be viewed under Reel Tackle Harnesses tab at  Today, this is the ONLY BAIT we run on Reel Rumors Charters, from early May through late summer.