Last time we reviewed blade baits by looking at the lure in detail. Now we’re going to talk about what tackle to use and how to fish them.
For starters let’s review the holes and clips on the back of the lure. It doesn’t make much difference whether you use a clip, a split ring or a swivel on a blade bait. They’ll all work. I like clips and snaps because you can change holes on the fly easy. Split rings are a little harder to take off and put back where you want them, especially with cold fingers.
The middle hole is the most useful, at least for me. I get plenty of flash and a medium-type of vibration. That’s the one I use most of the time. The forward hole will give you a tighter vibration and less flash. It’s best for ultra-clear, super cold water. The back hole gives you a harder and slower thump. It’s at its best in muddy or heavily stained water.
I throw a 3/8-ounce or a 3/16-ounce Molix Trago Vib on spinning tackle. Anything bigger than that calls for casting tackle. Whatever size I’m using I go with a medium action 7-foot rod that has some tip to it. I want just a little delay when I fish my bait and when I set the hook.
The Abu Garcia IKE Finesse Series Spinning Rod, medium action, 7-foot is perfect. When I’m casting I go with the Abu Garcia IKE Power Series Casting Rod in the same action and length. Both rods have a fast tip which is exactly what I want.
I spool both reels with fluorocarbon line unless I’m fishing extremely heavy cover. Then I go with braid and a short fluorocarbon leader.
The fluorocarbon line is important. Blade baits perform much better on fluorocarbon than on braid. That’s why I use it 80 percent of the time. It makes for a more natural fall, a better pull-up off the bottom, a better vibration, and a more secure hookset. On spinning tackle, I go with 10- to 12-pound-test Berkley Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon. On casting tackle I’ll use the same line in anything from 14 to 20-pound-test, but I really love 12 or 15-pound-test.
Now, the way you fish this bait—mostly anyway—is to make long casts, let it fall to the bottom and then bring it up fast. Start your lift at 3 o’clock and pull it up to 12 o’clock. Let it drop back down on a semi-slack line. I push my rod out a ways and then bend my lower back towards the lure, following it down to the bottom. This is nothing more than a yo-yo presentation, but it’s important. Most of your bites will come on the fall.
If you’re in open water, any high-quality VMC treble hook will do you. If you’re in heavy cover, use the two prong hooks that come with the Molix bait. If you have trebles on your lire, rotate one prong so it faces forward and then clip the point off. That’ll make a two-prong, relatively snag-proof setup and you’ll still get a good hookup percentage.
Another retrieve that I use when the water is super cold and the fish are holding tight to cover is what I call my stitch retrieve. It’s a tighter form of a yo-yo retrieve. Instead of starting at 3 o’clock I start at 1 o’clock. This creates short up and down movements. The stitch retrieve doesn’t cover water. It stays in place more. That’s exactly what you want under those conditions.
There you have it fish-heads. An analysis of fishing blade baits from beginning to end. Use them all the way through the early prespawn. You won’t be sorry.
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