Bills Bait and Tackle Blog
Welcome to our Bait Blog. Here you find out the latest information about what is going on in the area, the store and current news we want to share with our community.

Hey folks!

I hope everyone has had a fantastic summer, and I hope that you are all embracing the cooler temps and beautiful colors that fall brings us each year, here in Southern Ontario. Today I am going to talk about a very versatile and useful piece of equipment that is often best utilized in the fall – today I will discuss the Centrepin.

With the growth in sportfishing, we are experiencing new anglers more and more each year. One of the main questions people ask me at the shop is, "where can I catch big fish without a boat?". Now, during the fall and winter months this question is very easy to answer – in the creeks/rivers, you will be hard-pressed to not find yourself some sort of salmonoid species cruising/spawning in shallow creeks/streams.

One of the best ways (and most favored) to hook into these tanks, is to utilize a float fishing setup – the preferred setup for float fishing consists of a long rod (often 10-13ft in length), and a Centrepin reel. The reason many anglers prefer a Centrepin setup over a traditional spinning or baitcasting reel setup (for float fishing), is because a Centrepin allows you to present the most natural drifting/floating presentation. Another advantage that the Centrepin yields over its competitors, is the amount of line that you can stack onto these reels (in relation to weight/line capacity ratio). In addition to the advantages to using a Centrepin setup for float fishing, it is also a very fun and challenging way to catch fish!

Now, for those of you that have no idea what a Centrepin reel is... The best way to describe it, is by literally looking at one of the simplest machine designs ever; the invention of the wheel and axle. The circular metal piece known as the Arbor, has the line wrap around it, and spins freely on the Pin (axle) - most centrepin setups have absolutely no drag system! This makes it very challenging to catch fish, but this is also what allows anglers to create the 'perfect drift' and make their presentation look as natural as possible.

For anglers looking at purchasing a Centrepin setup, there are many things to consider and it can often become a very confusing (and almost intimidating) process. Don’t sweat it though, because I'm going to tell you the basic in's and out's to picking out the best Centrepin for YOU.

When you head to the river and ask most of the local guys, "what kind of centrepin should I get?" Or, "what kind of centrepin is the best?"… Some guys will swear that Islander makes the best centrepin, other guys will use nothing other than Raven equipment for centrepin fishing... While others will swear that you need a $1000 Kingpin centrepin to be a decent centrepin angler. In the end though, what matters is that you have a product that will gives you years of service, and one that you will be happy/comfortable with on the water.

So let's talk about the things to look for when trying to pick out a centrepin... First things first, how does the reel feel in your hand? Will you feel comfortable holding it for an entire day on the water – is it too small/large to comfortably hold, is it too heavy? These are all things you should be asking yourself. Much of the questions that you will ask for this segment will depend on the size of the arbor of the reel. The arbor will determine the overall diameter of the reel – most arbors will generally be around 4.5".

The diameter of the arbor will not only determine the weight or overall 'feel' of the reel, but it also determines the pickup speed of your reel. Generally, 4.5" for an arbor size will be a great universal size for all river/streams you fish. For those anglers that plan to fish larger/faster rivers, such as the mighty Niagara River, a larger sized arbor will be more effective. The reason for this being, that the Niagara will have faster/more aggressive drifts, you will be forced to get your presentation deeper, and you will generally have longer drifts – having a larger arbor allows for a faster pick-up speed on your retrieve, which really helps in getting a solid hookset when you see your float drop.

Another reason some anglers prefer a larger arbor reel, is because they might have larger hands, or even anglers (such as myself) suffer from arthritis and find holding a larger arbor reel easier to hold for long periods of time. An example of a larger diameter centrepin reel would be the Raven Matrix XL, which boasts a 5 1/8" arbor.  

The next thing you should look for when looking for the right centrepin for you, would be the bearings. The quality of bearings in your centrepin will generally determine the overall 'smoothness' of your reel. When selecting a centrepin based off of the stock bearings, you'll want to take the reel and hold it how you would normally hold it while fishing (do not put it flat on the counter and spin it – this does not give an accurate representation of how the bearings work). Hold it firmly, and spin it with your opposite hand – listen for squeaks/grinding, look for any wobbling in the arbor (tighten if it's loose) to ensure there aren't any warps in the arbor itself, and feel for any abnormalities. If the bearings pass this first test, simply wait to see how long the arbor will continue spinning – generally, the longer; the better.

With all of this being said, I'd also like to mention that many anglers choose to swap out their stock bearings (regardless of quality) for top-of-the-line ceramic bearings, such as Boca Bearings. Though many anglers go this route, it is not 100% necessary. For example, the Okuma Sheffield comes fully equipped with a pair of German ABEC 7 bearings, that will provide years of service before requiring replacement – I've got a buddy who bought his Sheffield off of Kijiji and has used his centrepin for years and it still spins smooth!

Having a smooth pair of bearings in your centrepin is what will ensure that you get a smooth drift time and time again, and will also give you more distance/cast ability for the anglers that utilize the Wallace Cast.

One of the main things anglers look for when investing in a centrepin, is the overall durability of the centrepin... This can be determined by many things – what is the main material component of the reel? Does it have a separate drag system (more uncommon in centrepins)? Does it have exposed parts, such as an exposed clicker system? These are all things you should look into before you purchase a centrepin.

Having an exposed clicker (the part of the centrepin that stops it from free-spooling) is one of the most inconvenient features on some of today's centrepins. Having this system exposed opens the opportunity of dirt/grit getting into the overall system of your reel, and it also allows for parts to be damaged/lost. My first centrepin had an exposed clicker system, and I lost the clicker spring/some components of the system multiple times – once from accidently dropping it, and a couple times from simply bumping it with my finger while fighting a fish. With that being said, not all reels with an exposed clicker system will have these problems – just make sure that it is a possibility when purchasing a centrepin with an exposed clicker.

As I mentioned above, double-checking what the main material used to make the reel is also important if you're looking for durability. Generally, you can literally 'feel' the quality of the material when you hold the reel in your hand. One of the most overall durable reels I've ever seen, is the Islander centrepin. I've seen these things dropped on concrete/stone, and still spin true, I've seen anglers cover them in skein/roe, and drop them in sand/dirt - after a quick rinse in the river, they all spun true and continued to work as if they were brand new. The Islander centrepin is one of the more expensive reels on the market, but it is a reliable reel that is guaranteed to provide you with years of service.

The final thing to consider when looking at purchasing a centrepin, is your overall budget. Yes, spending more money will get you the top-of-the-line reel – but it is not entirely necessary. Many companies offer cost-efficient 'economy' centrepin reels that will provide you years of service (minus some of the bells and whistles). An example of a cost-efficient reel is the Streamside Vortex. The streamside vortex is a fantastic 'entry' or 'economy' reel, that costs a little over $150. Another comparable and good 'entry/economy' reel is the Raven Helix. Both of these reels are more cost-efficient reels that have a great balance between quality and cost.

Now that we've covered the basics for picking a centrepin reel, let's quickly talk about pairing it up with a rod that meets your needs on the water.

Generally, the longer the rod, the more shock absorption and distance you'll be able to cast. You must also keep in mind though – longer rods are significantly harder to learn on, and longer rods will also be much harder to use in small/brushed-in creeks. A good universal length and action for a centrepin rod would be a 11ft medium action rod – this will be long enough for casting in big waters, while still not being too long for most smaller streams... It will also allow for plenty of shock absorption for larger fish.

So, there you have it folks'! There's a quick rundown of the things to consider and look for when purchasing a centrepin setup. I hope this article has provided you all with some insight on selecting the right centrepin for you.

Please don't hesitate to contact us at the shop if you have any questions –we'd be more than happy to help!

As always,

Stay safe, and happy fishing!



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by Greg | Dec 31st 1969 | Tags :

Golden Horseshoe Outdoors Club Annual Perch Derby
Fifty Point Marina
Saturday November 4th 2017 - 8:00 a.m. - 1:00p.m.
$10.00 per person
Prizes for top 5 fish. 

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by Greg | Dec 31st 1969 | Tags :

Highlighted Fall Hunting Equipment 


We've got all the gear and services to get YOU ready for your fall hunting needs! Whether you're planning on hunting whitetail deer, coyotes, turkey, or small game – we've got you covered. Have a look below at some of the highlighted equipment to get your ready for the field! 


Trail Cameras 

We carry the most popular and reliable trail cameras here, at the shop. A team Bills Bait Hunting Team favorite are any of the cameras made by StealthCam 

These cameras are user-friendly, reliable, and most units come with batteries and an SD card – so you're ready to open it out of the package and put it on the tree closest to your bait/mineral plot!  

Pictured below is our most popular StealthCam, that is loaded with an 8.0-megapixel camera, and boasts a 60ft range. It comes with 8 AA Duracel batteries, and an 8GB SD card. This camera is capable of shooting up to 6 pictures at a time in 'Burst Mode', and can shoot videos in 5, 15, or 30 second increments. The StealthCam also provides the option for a Time, Date, and Moon Phase stamp on all your pictures/videos.  






We've got quite the assortment of many different fixed and mechanical blade broadheads... Why not get both so you, yourself can solve the 'Mechanical vs Fixed' blade endless argument! Have a look below at some of the highlighted broadheads we're carrying for the fall hunting season; you won't be disappointed! 




Spitfire MAXX and Spitfire (by NAP) 

These broadheads are just downright NASTY. With both of these heads providing at 1 ¾" cutting diameter (3-blade), these things will create nasty both entry and exit wound. One of the most favored things about this broadhead is that this mechanical broadhead expands upon entry, without the use of O-rings; eliminating almost any room for error (which is one of the big arguments in using mechanical broadheads). 

The Spitfire MAXX also comes fully equipped with a razor-sharp cut-on-contact tip that wreaks absolute havoc from the moment of contact. The Spitfire broadheads come in packs of 3, and offer replacement blades (should you catch the ribcage of an animal on your shot!). These broadheads come in both 100 and 125 grain, and will shoot like a field point. These broadheads are among our annual best-sellers for hunters looking to tag a whitetail deer! 


RAGE Hypodermic, X-Treme, and Crossbow-X 

These broadheads are another favorite among bowhunters. These mechanical broadheads are a two-blade, rear-deploying broadhead (that makes use of a 'shock collar' instead of a traditional O-ring), that create a massive 2"+ cut (actually a 2.3" cut with the X-Treme model); which means quicker/more ethical passing of the animal, bigger blood trails, and quicker recovery. These Rage broadheads are known to shoot exactly like your field points (with the X-Treme model having a nasty ferrule tip that cuts-on-impact), and are also known for their durability (though replacement blades and shock collar replacements are available).  

Rage broadheads come in packs of 3 (with some including a 'practice tip' - which is awesome for getting you prepped for the hunting season). These broadheads come in 100 and 125 grain weights.  





G5 Montec 

G5 has been producing one of the most reliable and favored fixed-blade broadheads on the market – the Montec. The Montec is a rugged one-piece broadhead that is made of 100% stainless steel, and has a 1 1/16" cutting diameter. This means one thing – quick installation, and incredible reliability in the field. These broadheads are designed to bust through bones (should you clip a shoulder blade or rib), which will lead to a clean pass-through on a proper-placed shot. G5 also boasts that these broadheads are 100% spin-tested; guaranteeing field-point accuracy. These broadheads aren't pretty, but if you shoot a well-placed shot; they'll get the job done.  





Muzzy Original, and MX-3 

Muzzy broadheads have debatably dropped more bucks than any other broadhead currently on the market. Why? Because they're simple and extremely cost-efficient. The original Muzzy and MX-3 models are both 3-blade fixed broadheads that come fully equipped with a Trocar tip, and razor-sharp blades that are designed with a decreased blade surface for increased accuracy. The Muzzy MX-3 hits with a 1 ¼" cutting diameter, and the original holds respectively with a 1 3/16" cutting diameter. All of Muzzy's broadheads are designed with a short profile (also increasing accuracy), and are available in 100 and 125 grain sizes. If you're looking for a simple and cost efficient, but rugged and reliable broadhead – go with a Muzzy.  





For this fall we've got many different styles of targets to appeal to both compound and crossbow shooters. Below are a few of our highlighted targets. 


3D Targets 

We've got a couple different 3D target styles, including Coyote 3D targets, and Turkey targets.  



Gel Targets 

Gel targets are probably the most durable targets on the market, and are designed to take punishment for bows/crossbows that exceed 300fps on their shots. Gel targets are also a better option for individuals' that like to practice with the broadheads they plan to shoot. Below are some pictures of the gel targets we offer.  



Foam Targets 

Foam targets are probably the most popular targets among shooters – as they have a respectable balance between cost-efficiency and durability. We've got a few different styles to choose from – cube targets, hexagonal targets that can be hung from something, and even sphere-shaped or 'ball' targets (these are phenomenal practice for those that hunt small game!). Below are some pictures of our Foam Targets. 


We carry many different bows for hunters of all ages - from recurve, compound bows, and crossbows. We are a licensed HOYT, Excaliber, and Mathews dealer. Any bow you want - we can get it... Just be sure to call ahead of time to ensure we can order it in time for the fall hunting season! We also service just about any kind of bow/crossbow, and also specialize in equipment setup for the new and even experienced hunters. 




If there are any products you'd like that aren't displayed in this article or in-store, please feel free to ask a staff member, or contact us direct at (905) 388-5873, and we'd be happy to do a special order for you.  

Don't forget to practice, practice, practice! And always Hunt safe, Hunt Smart, and have fun! Good luck to all that are taking advantage of the fall hunting season!
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by Greg | Dec 31st 1969 | Tags :

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