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Pro Tips


Ranger Boats are Easy on the Body – Just Ask Darrell Peters

We all know Ranger Boats are a more comfortable ride, but Darrell Peters really needed it to keep on fishing. 

When Peters was a six-year-old boy riding bikes in small town Clara City, Minnesota, a drunk driver ran him over. It changed his life forever. Though a paraplegic from the injuries, it never slowed him down. Darrell used a wheelchair and grew up hunting and fishing. After school, he worked as a 9-1-1 dispatcher. His wife’s job moved the family to Iowa. “I’m a trophy husband,” piped Darrell. “What can I say.”

Then a second accident hit. “I rolled an ATV while hunting and broke four vertebrae in my neck,” said Darrell. “That set me back a bit more. The doctors told me I had a 90% chance of losing the movement in both arms. But fortunately one surgery worked out and I can still move my right arm.”

Darrell fished the walleye circuits, but the pain from the second accident made it so hard. He could only prefish for three or four hours maximum. He’d have to head in early. Then a friend suggested he try his Ranger Boat with three to four feet waves on Lake Oahe. “I couldn’t believe how smooth it was. It made all the difference in the world how it cut through the waves so nice.”

This was Darrell’s first year fishing out of a Ranger Boat and Ranger is proud to include Darrell in their pro staff.

“I’ve loved fishing since I was a kid growing up. My parents had a cabin on a resort in Alexandria. As soon as we arrived, I usually headed straight to the boat. I'd spend all weekend on the boat fishing for anything that would bite,” said Darrell. “I didn't catch many walleyes as a kid, as they were too hard to catch, but I caught bass, panfish, and northern. I'd wear my dad out.”

His dad finally told him, “You need to get your own boater’s permit, so I can go in for a nap.” With a tiller and a 25 horsepower motor, Darrell found freedom from sunrise to sunset.

Growing up, if Darrell ever got in trouble the parents would quickly threaten to ground the boat. Darrell took it seriously. To this day, he enjoys a lot of pheasant, duck and goose hunting as well as serious walleye fishing. “Maybe I'm too stubborn to give up, I just do it.”

Darrell’s passion for walleyes came from watching locals on the lake. “Early on, I couldn’t figure them out. I was challenged to learn how to catch them.” He admits he is an extremely competitive person.

“It drives my wife crazy, but I’m competitive about everything I’ve done—wheelchair basketball, for example. We made it to the NCAA final four.” When Darrell was 19, he made it to the Junior Olympics and took silver in the Championship round. “Throwing darts, too; I won the Minnesota state title in Level One and people couldn’t believe it. I love winning trophies.”

The fishing became serious after the wheelchair basketball ended.

Darrell doesn’t remember life before a wheelchair. “This is all I know.”

It sure doesn’t slow him down.

Building great boats that provide a safe, dry and comfortable ride is what Ranger Boats is all about. We’re proud of the hard work Darrell Peters extends when he’s fishing. “The benefit of not being beat up is worth every penny of that boat,” said Darrell. And he has it rigged up pretty nice with a hands-free bowmount trolling motor.  “I hit a button and run the trolling motor up; run to a spot; hit a button and drop the motor. Everyone is amazed.”

Darrell Peters, age 40, and his wife, Heather, live in Hinton, Iowa with their twin daughters, Kyra and Kadence, age nine.  He runs a Ranger FS 621 with a Mercury 300 Verado and Minn Kota-Humminbird electronics and bowmount.

“I can stow and deploy the trolling motor, can run the kicker and the big motor—all with remote control,” said Darrell. “Even though I’m at a bit of a disadvantage, the hardest part is finding the fish and that’s hard for everyone. To me, it is more of a mental challenge than physical. Making the right decisions is what’s important, about using your brains to figure it out. I feel like I can be right there with them.”

Since the second injury, Darrell has stayed with team format with Cabela’s MWC and Cabela’s National Team Championship because his partner is someone he can depend on to help throughout the day. “I think I’m getting strong enough to think about competing at the pro side of a pro-co format in the Cabela’s National Walleye Tour circuit,” said Darrell.

Good luck, Darrell. We’ll be watching for you.  -- by K.J. Houtman tinyurl/houtman

As spring approaches and the jerk bait bite slows, it's time to break out two of the most effective baits for locating pre-spawn bass and bass guarding beds or fry – swim jigs and bladed swim jigs.

In the spring I like to work them around shorelines and above grass, when the water is roughly between 52 to 65 degrees, 73 degrees in the South. Temperatures are just an approximation and can differ slightly bases on conditions and the mood of the fish.

Blade or no blade? - Wind and water clarity are the major determining variables in my selection, but the fish get to make the final decision. If it is calm and flat regardless of water clarity I will first try a swim jig, possibly changing jig colors to get a bite. When there is a little "chop" on clear water or in "flat" stained water I will try placing glass rattles in the plastic trailer if the bladed jig is too much for the given situation. For windy conditions and especially if the water is stained a bladed jig will be my first choice. Additional alterations to consider, for both baits, are your plastic trailer. Grubs, Swim Senko, Swimming Fluke Jr and Little Dippers are my "go to trailers." Utilize them to tweak water displacement and bait action.

The swim jig is one of the most effective action baits to make contact with the bottom, especially through grass. It can be worked in 1 to 40 feet of water, bounced off of ledges or with a constant retrieve and ticking or ripping it through grass. Play with your presentation, the fish will give you feedback if you're doing it the way they want.

Swim jigs are something different for the fish -- more subtle -- and you can use them in places you can't use crankbaits. They can be used at times, and in areas, you can't drag other baits and excel where and when you can't use a spinnerbait or Texas rig. They are the most effective when the water is still cold but the pre-spawn is underway, during the early days of the season. However, they are also rumored to load the boat when bass are recovering from spawning and before moving into their summer pattern.

Contact me on Facebook if you have additional questions or comments. – Janet Parker

One thing I think is really cool about the Flicker Minnow and Flicker Shad series of crankbaits is the packaging. It comes with its own dive charts. You can see how many feet down you want to go, how many feet you need to let out. Try to run your lures three to four feet above where you are marking fish on your electronics. I just keep this in my Plano box so it is quick and easy to remember. - All-Star Walleye Champion Korey Sprengel

Watch this 3:02 "how" and "why" on planer boards with special attention to clip choices with All-Star angler Jason Pzekurat.

Check out this 1:33 tip from All-Star Walleye angler Korey Sprengel on blade baits. He's a hot stick and he'll help you dial in for a strike.

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