The guy has a Stiffy!!! Great day on Okeechobee, sight fishing, poling around some good areas, taking it slow and stealth, and it paid off.

I have a 14 foot fiberglass Stiffy Push Pole.  It works great.  You need a push pole for many reasons, especially for hunting big bed fish up shallow in places like Okeechobee and Seminole.  The Stiffy Push Pole I have is two pieces, it screws together and can be stored in two 7 Foot sections.   The size of 14″ is a good size for me, the size of the boat and how deep of water I’m sitting.    I seriously like having either 7 foot sections or one long 14 foot section of strong fiberglass pole in my boat when I run around Okeechobee.  Between snakes, gators, birds and who knows what else, you never know when you need something to keep the critters away.   Also, getting stuck, high centered, overheated, lost or otherwise in a bad situation, a push pole is quite a useful tool that I find myself using often.   I imagine guys on the California Delta or Potomac, with the tidal nature of those waters, and for sure the river rats that duck into backwaters and ponds and need to push up and over shallow bars and structures, could use a good push pole.   Click HERE to see us fishing on Lake Okeechobee, where we show the 14 foot fiberglass Stiffy Push Pole in action.

Something about a push pole is just cool. You get back to slowing things down, and taking the stealth approach. Don't kid yourself, it's way physically exhausting to push yourself and a 20 foot fiberglass boat around. It takes time to get skills and even get your boat pointed the direction you want to go.

Stiffy makes other push poles and accessories too.  You can get the high end (and much lighter weight) graphite Stiffy Push Pole.  There are multiple piece/modular push poles and also single piece.  Just talk to the them if you have any special requests, they are good and can work with you to get the right length, material, and modular setup for your boat, and have the accessories for storage and mounting the push pole to your boat.

Stiffy storage on my Ranger Z520. I wrap the cord around it and secure it to my step, works great. Run that thing right down the center of your boat seems to be a good way to store it,when you plan on using it a lot and want to keep it as one big long piece.
The Big Hammer Sight Fishing Rig is part of a system. It's a system that involves using finesse baits and bigbaits to aggravate a fish into biting. The swimbait is fished as an 'intruder' and provides a power fishing approach to big fish, the female kind usually, but also good for the better than dink males you might need in a tournament situation.

We shared this rig in Southern Trout Eaters.  We have been getting asked a lot of questions about it, and Spring has sprung, so here goes.    Think of the 5″ Big Hammer Sight Fishing Rig as a workhorse bed fishing bait, geared for ‘bigger’ fish.   The one rod you have rigged up in case you come up on or purposely hunt big fish on  beds.   We’ve had a few years to validate this rig, in the mountains, and in the grass of Okeechobee and Seminole.  I credit my friend and trophy bass hunter from the Bay Area, Rob Belloni, for sharing the fundamental of his Big Hammer Texas Rig with me. I’ve sorta dumbed it down since I’m usually not hunting double digit fish with it, most of my world, 4-9 pounders are king, with chances at double digits for sure though.    I’ve made my own adjustments and have made it a staple in my sight fishing system.   Rob has fooled giants, I have now fooled quite a few 4-9 pounders with it in multiple Southern States.   This is a great trophy and tournament style of sight fishing, and it points out the need for a knock out punch in your bed fishing arsenal.

The 5" Big Hammer Sight Fishing Rig. 5" Big Hammer, rigged flat side up. Just bury your hook point enough to keep the bait weedless and free from snagging the fish, but able to sting one that just barely grabs it. Peg your weight, pitch and hop this thing around larger bed fish and see what happens.

The 5″ Big Hammer Sight Fishing Rig:

Bait: 5″ Big Hammer Swimbait  (colors:  Pearl, Invader, Glowbug, Silver Phantom, Chartreuse, Fire tiger)

Sinker: 3/4 to 1 ounce Picasso Tungsten Weight or Pro-Metal Weights (since you just need ‘weight’ high performance tungsten not 100% necessary.)  (pegged)

Hook: 5/0 Owner Wide Gap Offset Worm Hook

Line: 25# P-Line CXX Xtra Strong w/ Palomar knot

Glasses:  Kaenon Hard Kore Y35 or C12 Lens

Reel: Shimano Curado CU200G6

Rods: Powell 7’10” MH (7105) Flipping Rod or Okuma Guide Select 7’6″ Heavy Casting (761H)

This 7'10" Powell Flipping Rod is a favorite all purpose 'heavy pitching' rod, for baits >1 ounce but not more than 1.5 or so. ie the Medlock Jig, 5" Big Hammer Rig, pitching 3/4 -1 ounce creature baits in grass, and light punching. The rod has guts. I think of it as a heavy pitching stick. I have whipped some nice fish with this rod. The short handle makes it handle and fish nicely, but long enough for leverage.

When you look at the trends in where bed/sight fishing is going, you will notice certain swimbaits and softbaits have flat sides or can be rigged flat side up are doing the most damage out there.  More cutting edge, more geared towards targeting bigger fish or a better mouse trap for fooling weary pressured fish.   The Dean Rojas Warmouth,  and the Jackall Clone Gill 2.5 and the Mission Fish are all part of the big picture of modern sight fishing.  All have wild variations and secret rigging and tricks I’m sure. I know the Hammer and Mission Fish best, both part of my toolkit.  Believe me when I tell you I use a drop shot a lot when sight fishing.  You need a big knock out punch and you need finesse, so I use the Mission Fish and Hammer as my big knockout punches, and drop shot/wacky and light texas rigs like the Warmouth and Clone Gill as my finesse approach.  I thought it important to note flat side up  or just flat sided bed fishing baits, have something about their swagger.  Flat sides, square/boot/slight swallow tails, realism, perch/bluegill profiles, buoyancy, weedlessness, unique vortex, and big fish attraction.   The Lateral Perch from PowerTackle is a derivative here, and likely a bed fishing bait for someone out there, but too has the this flat side up profile and swim, and is worth noting. I cannot speak to how well the Lateral Perch catches fish, but all of the other named baits I’m 100% certain catch fish on beds really well, and have too much in common not to connect the dots.   They all fish differently, but in the grand scheme of sight fishing, you better have tools that can be drop shotted, pitched, weightless/wackied, hopped, swam, and texas rigged if you want to be competitive.   Don’t just limit yourself to white tubes, craws and creature baits.  Be thinking perch/bluegill too.

The Okuma 7'6" MH Rod getting it done too. You need some 7'6" and shorter than 8' rods for fishing baits like the Mission Fish. This is an even beefier style of pitching stick vs. the Powell, but it takes the conversation to more like 2-6 ounce baits no problem. I liked using it for the 5" Big Hammer rig too. Lots of power and fished very nicely. The rod still has good feel even though my rig was under weighted for the rod, and it just worked for me.

The 5″ Big Hammer Sight Fishing Rig is an excellent sight fishing system.  You can see your bait very well in the black Florida water, and it shows up well fishing a bed fish in >8 feet of water in clear water.   The rig has ample weight involved, which means you can ‘rapid fire’ and harass a fish with the bait, pushing the fish around, and firing them up into biting.  The bait hops really well, and has the square tailed flap on the way back down to the bottom.  It’s more of a hop hop and slight drag and shake style of  bait.  The fish love to ‘catch’ the bait coming back down to the bottom, with a well placed and timed hop.  The 5″ Big Hammer gets bigger bed fish to bite and has an excellent hook-up and land ratio.  There is very little risk of foul hooking or snagging a fish, with the Texas rigged nature of the bait, which also opens up the ability to bounce the rig off of the side, head and tail of the fish, making them eat it.   You can expect to see a sight fishing production from us in the near future, highlighting this rig.  We gave a sneak peak of the bait underwater in our Lake Seminole FLW Evestart Preview video, in case you missed it.


Please excuse the extra cheeseball performance in the above video clip.  This is seriously a good tip to make yourself up a bunch of cleaning solution to clean your sunglasses, fish finders, etc.   I couldn’t keep a serious face when I was trying to put together the square and normal version of the video, so I went with the “Sham-Wow” style.

Here are the secret ingredients to the Amazing Magic 50/50 Formula:

  • 50% White Distilled Vinegar
  • 50% Distilled Water
  • Spray Bottle
  • Micro Towel

It’s not just swimbait fishing here folks,  we clean, we wax, we polish and we shine.  We pride ourselves in providing solutions to the visually impaired, and are applying for a government grant!   Exactly one out of one person (me) that we interviewed said the Amazing Magic 50/50 Formula was safe, effective and chicks dig the vinegar smell.    We scored it a 9.4567  (would have been 9.4572 but the spray bottle wasn’t as ergonomically friendly as we’d preferred, but still a good spray bottle)!!!!!!!!

The Amazing 50/50 Formula cleans, shines, waxes, finishes, puts your boat on the trailer, cooks you dinner, and if you call in the next 20 minutes .... hahahahahaha.