If you’ve read many of my magazine features or newspaper and Internet columns on fishing over the past half century, you know I have some definite thoughts where the word “always” is concerned.
My contention is that “always” should be eliminated from your vocabulary when fishing is what you’re talking about. This is especially true when you’re dealing with some of our most popular sports fish.
There’s no mystery why I’ve arrived at this conclusion. If you’ve done enough bass or walleye fishing to know that a Fat Free Shad isn’t an item you’ll find on a restaurant menu, you’ve probably made the same determination.
The reason is that sports fish, especially those hard to figure boogers like bass and walleye, don’t always react in the same fashion. It’s my contention one of the worst approaches you can take when you’re after either species is to go out thinking you know exactly which lure is “always” going to get the best results.
Another mistake is to pre-determine that you know exactly how this or that lure has to “always” be manipulated to make it happen. We’ve all had days when we’ve had really great success using a single lure in just one way. Do this a couple of times and unless you watch yourself you’ll wind up fishing that lure in exactly the same fashion each time out. Do that and you’ll also soon be mired up to your belly button in a catch-limiting rut.
As far as I’m concerned we just can’t put too much emphasis on paying attention to what the fish are trying to tell us every time we’re on the water. Oftentimes the slightest change in our approach makes a big difference in the number of fish we put in the boat.
Some angling accessories are designed to make these subtle changes easy to accomplish. Lures typical of what I’m talking about are the fish-attracting Smile Blades marketed by Mack’s Lure out of Washington State.
|More and more anglers around the country are discovering just how effective Mack's Lure Smile Blades can be.
A few years back when you told a friend about Smile Blades he might have asked: “What the heck are Smile Blades?” Today if you ask the same question chances are your friend is more likely to say: “Oh yeah, I’ve heard about those things. A friend used one to win a walleye tournament near here a couple of weeks ago.”
I’ve interviewed a number of pros who have won all the marbles in major walleye tournaments. The thing I keep hearing from these pros is how easily Smile Blades let them adapt to different situations.
Having a spinner blade that’s adaptable to boat speed is an example of what I’m talking about. A walleye angler told me about an experience he had a year or so ago. He had been out when the fish were really inactive. He told me he’d been fishing for a couple of hours at his usual boat speeds and hadn’t had so much as a bump.
He pondered the situation and decided to try a slower trolling speed. The problem is the metal blades he’d always used wouldn’t continue to turn once he slowed down. He found that as the water shallowed those heavy blades he had on flopped into the bottom mud and muck.
Just about time he decided maybe he’d better call it a day, he remembered what he’d read in his newspaper’s outdoor column about some guy winning a local walleye tournament using his worms behind something called a “Smile Blade.”
Successful anglers like Indiana's Paul Wright know all about Smile Blades. The versatility these Mylar plastic blades provide for an angler has repeatedly been a factor in professional walleye tournament competition.
One of the things mentioned in that fishing column was these new spinner blades were made of plastic and that they turned at extremely slow speeds. The next time this fellow visited a sporting goods store he picked up a half dozen of these blades. He stuck them in a corner of his tackle box and promptly forgot about them.
He had been reeling in and getting set to quit on the day he told me about when that newspaper story popped into his mind. “I wonder,” he muttered, “if those plastic blades just might be the answer.”
In my next column I’ll share what my friend found out. We’ll also take a closer look at why Mack’s Lure Smile Blades are attracting so much attention all over the country. Do they really outperform the metal variety?
Stay tuned. You might be surprised at the answers to that question. I’ll provide them in my column starting Aug. 15.
-To Be Continued-