April 9th, 2015
A Deadly Combo for Big Fish – How Toby Jeremy Schneider November 21, 2014
Bladed baits, at one time, were a staple in most anglers’ tackle boxes. In my observations in recent years, however, it seems to have lost favor with some bass anglers. Fortunately for me, the fish see the blade less every year. While my confidence in the blade continues to grow as the years go on. It’s a versatile staple in my arsenal which allows me to cover water, catch numbers of fish and helps put a few big ones in my boat to boot.
On any given year, about half my fish over 4-lbs are caught on this bait. I’ll admit, I’ve never hit the 5-lb mark with it ( I live in Ontario and 5-lb largies here are trophies). But, I have caught multiple 4-pounders with this bait in a day. The key to using this bait is not to just reel it in on a steady retrieve. You’ll get a bite more often if you allow it to run into cover, throw in a few jerks like a jerk bait, play ping pong with reed steams and even rip it hard through weeds.
I usually use a 3/8-oz bait with a Colorado and willow leaf blade combo. I usually swap out the stock willow leaf blade and change to a #4 blade instead. I generally use nickel blades, but I will use gold in dark water. The 3/8-oz blade allows you to fish shallow without hanging up too much. I would use a ½-oz on windy days, or even bright sunny days, to get the bait a little lower in the water column. This will produce an extra bite or two. My favorite color is white, hands down; and a bluegill pattern can be deadly early in the year. Also, don’t forget the trailer hook; I like to use a #1 VMC trailer hook when I can get away with it.
When: You are looking for fish fast.
Where: Weed flats, points, saddles and weed lines are great places to throw this bait. Really, there isn’t a bad place to throw this to find fish.
Gear: I use Shimano Curado with a 7:1 gear ratio and a medium/ heavy St. Croix spinner bait rod with 30-lb braid. I’ll use a 12-lb fluorocarbon leader, tied on with a back-to-back uni- knot when I’m fishing exclusively for smallmouth. The gear ratio allows you to reel-in quickly. The rod is soft enough to be able to launch your spinner blade far to cover water, and powerful enough to land a big fish.
When the summer turns into early fall and the water temperatures drop, I switch the blade to a white Z-Man Chatterbait with a swimbait on the back. The reason I do this is because the Chatterbait attracts bigger fish in the fall. My favorite swimbait is a X-Zone Swammer and I use the 4″ to 5″ baits. I like a big profile bait with the Chatterbait because fish are looking to bulk up for the winter and want a big meal without expending too much energy. This bait produces less numbers of fish, but the size will be definitely be bigger. This bait is deadly on both big smallies and largemouth. I find it an easy lure to use; all you have to do is reel it in on a steady retrieve and hold on. I mainly use a cisco pattern Swammer, but I also use a bluegill pattern swimbait/chatter-bait also to mix it up. This bait is good in stump fields for largemouth and over deep water for suspending smallmouth during the summer and fall. The one condition where this bait shows some weakness is in ultra clear water with very little weed growth. The fish simply get too good of a look at it, so other baits are a better choice.
Where: Any lake that has big bass. You can toss this bait anywhere. It performs particularly well in weeds that are still alive with some rocks mixed in.
Gear: Again, I like to use the spinnerbait rod made by St.Croix or a 7-ft heavy action rod is a also great choice. I use a 6:3:1 gear ratio reel with 40-lb test braid. I use a slower ratio because I want the bait moving a little slower than a spinnerblade; I think it looks more vulnerable to big bass.
Tip: I get asked a lot if I use a trailer hook with this bait. I don’t; it kills the actions of the swimbait. It also ruins the swimbait quickly when you set the hook and it catches on cover, ripping the bait and puts a bigger dent in your wallet.
Bonus: Big bad pike love this bait early and late in the year and will hunt this sucker down!
About AuthorMore info about author
Jeremy Schneider is an avid multi-species angler. Making his home in Southern Ontario, Jeremy fishes for northern pike and bass. When he is not tournament fishing in the B.A.S.S he can be found enjoying the outdoors hiking and camping. Jeremy has had a lifelong love affair with fishing, He is one of the true northern originals and can remember fishing throughout all of Ontario ever since he was a child. During hard water months, Jeremy can be found studying up on new techniques and tackle to catch his favorite species, largemouth.More by Jeremy Schneider