Please Visit Source Website, Click here!- 08/11/2005
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A Spinnerbait Lesson
was slow, embarrassingly slow. My buddy, who had recently returned from
his summer job in Minneapolis, thought I had forgotten how to fish
smallies on the Sheyenne River - a flow where just two months ago, fish
from three to five pounds were being caught and released on a daily
basis in my boat, and twenty-fish floats were the norm. My regular
fishing buddy thankfully agreed with me, that summer can change a
fish's mood. But we both figured it would speed things up, not slow
The three of us cast jigs, tubes and soft plastics as
we did all spring, but to no avail. With three bullheads and one
six-inch smallmouth to show for the first hour, I grew frustrated. This
was August, the time of plenty on the river. Young of the year fry,
minnows, crayfish and bugs were everywhere, and predator fish should
have been on the warpath. Why the fish wouldn't hit a juicy
garlic-scented tube was beyond me, it had to taste better than anything
under the surface at the very least.
Frustrated, I reached for
something new. The idea of a fast-moving spinnerbait came to mind when
I lifted my tackle box and heard the din of copper and hammered-nickel
blades jingling away in a small side compartment.
of the models in my tackle box were 99-cent specials in various
combinations and ages, some were four seasons old, others were bought
at a Cabela's closeout last winter. None of them had been used very
much, if at all. I think I had purchased most of them to fill up the
spinnerbait box that came with my monster Plano tackle chest; most
likely thinking if I'm not the complete angler, at least I would look
I popped the top of the container, half expecting moths
to fly out of it. I had done a nice job some months ago sorting the
baits by color, dark on one end, light on another and colored in the
middle. I figured with the dingy waters, something bright would be the
key. I selected a white half-ounce model with a single Colorado blade
and tied it on. To bulk up the profile I added a four-inch grub as a
trailer and buzzed the bait about six inches under the water. The lure
ran straight as we moved along the shoreline.
The first test
came on a sharp bank that led directly into the channel of the river. I
flipped the lure out, almost forgetting it wasn't a weedless-rigged
tube, and plunked it in a patch of shoreline grass. I worked it loose
and skittered it into the first three inches of water and began a slow
hauled back on the rod and set the hook. A twelve-inch fish rocketed to
the surface like an ICBM out of a Russian submarine. "Back in
business," I said to my fishing buddies as I unhooked the fat smallie.
proceeded down the shore with the late summer sun as it sank behind the
trees. The fish came quick for the buzz of the spinnerbait, its white
skirt pulsing with each turn of the reel. I'd miss a small one here and
there, but most of the fish were big enough to set the hook on, and by
my tenth fish I was convinced that this was the lure of the season.
in Mack-truck fashion, a fish slammed my offering. The line ran toward
the center of the river and went slack as the direction reversed and
the fish bolted for the surface. Time seemed to stand still as a
monster smallmouth exploded from the water. The fish, easily 18-inches
in length, cleared the surface by twice its body length and sent the
pearl and silver lure flying back toward the boat. As the bass splashed
down, free of hook and line, I stood in awe and respect, primarily for
the fish, but also for this unsung hero in my tacklebox. Straightening
the bait's bent arm and mangled skirt, I readied it for the rest of the
evening, and after a few more fish, I let it rest for the night.
next evening we all had spinnerbaits on; white, chartreuse, two blades,
one blade, grubs, trailers and the whole nine yards. I landed five
smallies in about ten casts, but no monsters. In fact, most of the fish
were healthy specimens around a pound-and-a-half. After the early
barrage of aggressive fish, the action slowed. We approached the first
bridge and drifted under it. The wind stopped, no cars passed overhead,
and all was silent.
I heard that sweet
song a reel makes when pushed to its limit as yards of line peeled off
my buddy's reel. The rod pulsated with the might of a large fish at its
end and the beast tailwalked around the back of the boat. Within
moments, a 17-inch smallie was in the net; the chartreuse spinnerbait
buried firmly in the corner of its mouth. My friend held the fish up
with a smile on his face, as another spinnerbait believer was born.
With my credibility restored, we cast on well into the evening singing
the praises of our lures and learning the power these baits can have
over aggressive summer smallmouth.
Though out of school now, I
am constantly reminded that I should never stop learning. At work, in
continuing education and with other projects, advancing one's knowledge
is important. Certainly, based on my recent spinnerbait lessons,
there's no better place to keep on learning...than our outdoors.