With the much-anticipated start of the 2011 season not far off, Iíd like to share some experience I had with new tackle and gear during the í10 season. If you have any money left in your off-season muskie budget, maybe I can offer suggestions to help folks spend it on good stuff and pass on stuff thatís not. I wasnít very good about posting during the offseason, so thereís a lot to coverÖ

For the first installment, I have a very positive review of the Storm Giant Flatstick. I was one of the lucky ones that got a handful last year and loved it. It fished quite a bit differently than I expected. It runs with a wide wobble and has near-neutral buoyancy. It runs with a pretty loud rattle, and the rattle is quite a bit different from any other rattle bait Iíve used. The sound coming through the water and the way the vibration felt coming back through the rod were both, well, different? Thatís not very descriptive, but I donít know another way to put it. The marketing folks at Storm describe it this way, ďLarger body volume allows this bait to swim with the power of a much longer and heavier bait.Ē I have to say thatís a pretty accurate description. I know of a few big fish caught trolling the Flatstick last year, which was pretty impressive considering how little it was used and the fish were caught at a time when Mille Lacs fishing was pretty tough. Rumor has it that the Linders boated a bunch on this lure last year. Iíll probably use the Flatstick more for casting than trolling. It can be straight-retrieved to cover water, but I really like the way it hangs during a pause so it works great as a twitch-bait. With the wide wobble, it really kicks sideways when given a twitch-pause. Itís only $12.99, which is a pretty sweet price for a muskie lure nowadays.