The All Season Bait: Bass Magnet “Shift’r Shad”by Jamie Wilson March 16, 2013
Making waves through all four seasons.
Well, it’s time. Spring is in the air and you’re gearing up for the changing of the seasons. As an angler, changing seasonal tactics can be a little like changing your tires. You have your all seasons and your winter tires. One is far superior in the dead of winter, while the other excels under warmer conditions.
If tire manufacturers could make a single product that excels equally through any and all conditions, you would most likely want to pick up a set right?
Well this analogy rings true as it pertains to fishing lures/baits, and Bass Magnet Lures has created a product that can fool those big ‘ol beauties from spring to winter. The Bass Magnet “Shift’r Shad” is an ultra-modern swimbait that does not need to be rigged on a belly-weighted hook to run upright. That’s right, no spinning folks.
The secret to the “Shift’r Shad’s” unbelievably enticing action is the thin tail, coupled with it’s very soft, micro-salt infused plastic. Also, these baits are incredibly durable, just like the entire line of Bass Magnet Lures.
Ontario guide Ryan Hare has reported that the “Shift’r Shad” has become a mainstay in his hard water arsenal. This speaks volumes. Ryan makes a living as a guide, so success on the water is paramount to his livelihood.
Ryan’s tips ‘n tactics – 36” med-med heavy rod paired with a 2500 series reel, 8lb braid (mainline) connected to a 10lb fluorocarbon leader on a 3/8oz-1/2oz Football/ball head jig.
Ryan uses two basic methods to target these massive Lake Trout. The first is Bottom Bouncing. Ryan enjoys a ton of success when “tapping the mud” with the “Shift’r Shad” rigged on a football jig head in varying weights depending on the depth. This tactic targets inactive fish cruising on bottom and seems to appeal to a Trout’s curiosity. “The curious Trout come in to check out what is stirring up the bottom, and are usually enticed to hit when the bait is being lifted”.
Dead-sticking 15-25ft off of bottom is his second go-to tactic. The key with this method is paying attention to the sonar. Monitoring the bait while leaving it motionless is the deal here. The Trout cruising bottom will key in on this presentation from a distance as they deem it an easy target. When Ryan sees a Trout tracking the bait on the sonar, he then begins to pull the bait away from the fish which usually results in brutal, violent strikes.
Now let’s do a 180. The “Shift’r Shad” swimbait is a bait that every open water Bass angler should have in his or her repertoire. Why? Simply put..it just plain catches fish. Smallmouth and Largemouth alike, the “Shift’r Shad”, turns bites even when conditions are least favorable. One dog day of summer I was out dragging tubes and rolling spinnerbaits over an area that I knew typically held large schools of Smallmouth, but I (just for the life of me) could not turn a strike. I then decided it was time to take advice from none other than Mike and Mary Nabulsi, owners of Bass Magnet/Water Wolf Lures. I have many tactics that I like to employ, but when I mentioned the fact that I did not fish swimbaits, they both emphatically urged me to fish swimbaits.
First impressions – The barometric pressure was high, and the weather was very unstable for several days which I think caused the Smallmouth to travel in tight schools. Locating these bronze beasts was tough so I decided to fan cast the “Shifter Shad” across varying contours on steep shoreline banks and points adjacent to deep water. I went on to unlock a whole new pattern that, I admit, did not realize was there for the takin’.
Landing five big Smallmouth in about an hour put a smile on my face, but more importantly, I gained confidence in this baits ability to turn strikes even when the strikzone narrows. It’s thumping tail action sends naturalistic pulsations at a Bass’s lateral line so they feel it even before they see it which is very useful in stained or muddy water. I think the Bass felt those pulsations (which mimic fleeing baitfish) and immediately turned the switch then decided to track down or better yet hunt down and consume whatever tasty little morsel was causing all the commotion.
How to rig ‘em – 7ft medium heavy/fast action spinning rod, 2500 series/wide arbour reel, 20lb braided line/18-24” 10-15lb flourocarbon leader rigged on a 4/0-5/0 Bass Magnet screw lock Swimbait hook. My go-to colors are simple; black-blue laminate at low-light dusk periods with white or natural color patterns such as Baby bass, Bluegill or Smoke Red Pepper rounding out the day.
Other ways to present this bait when the bite is deep is slow rolling/bottom boucing/dragging with a 1/4oz-1/2oz football jig head. Just deadly on inactive Bass, or even those finicky Walleye.
Alternate ways to present the “Shift’r Shad” is the weightless/weedless EWG rig for skipping docks, or skimming Lilly pads and other submerged vegetation/cover. Also as a spinnerbait trailer, or even a swim jig trailer. My set-up for fishin’ the slop, or any heavy cover for that matter, would be a high speed 7ft med/heavy-heavy action baitcasting combo, spooled with 50-65lb braided line. I would recommend using the same setup for flippin’ jigs (fluorocarbon for spinnerbaits).
It can be fished horizontally or vertically, fast or slow, whatever tickles a fish’s fancy. The “Shift’r Shad” comes in two sizes (3.5” and 5”), and in seventeen unique eye-catching colors to choose from (there’s one for every situation and location).
I know it’s a lot to take in right? Sure. Just know that the swimbait revolution is in full swing on the hard water and soft water everywhere, with innovative companies like Bass Magnet Lures leading the charge. And remember that all season radials are not equally as effective spring, summer, winter, and fall…but Bass Magnet “Shift’r Shads” are. Vroom-vroom!
About AuthorMore info about author
Jamie Wilson is a passionate lifelong multi-species angler specializing in both smallmouth and largemouth Bass. He is a writer for such online publications as of course, Angling Authority, Rahfish, Exist to Fish, ODU Magazine and Fishulo/Scout. Along with being a tournament angler, Jamie comes to us representing the Canadian Bass Angler Fan Page, and he is a staff member/promotional team member for Rage Fish Attractants,Lake Fork Tackle, Rod Sox, Fizards, Easthill Outdoors, Riverrun Tackle, Musky Innovations, Bumblelure, Kamooki Lures ltd. and Bill's Bait and Tackle. Jamie is also the owner of J.W. Media.More by Jamie Wilson