Daily Archives: August 6, 2013
The Lure of Mepps Spinners Flash & Vibration
Most fishing lures are imitators. They look like a minnow, worm, crawfish, frog or other aquatic creature. Soft plastic fishing lures and crankbaits are molded in these shapes. Spoons imitate minnows. Feeding fish are quick to grab these lures.
While the Mister Twister TwisterMite may be the best hellgrammite imitator you’ll find anywhere, it won’t do you a lot of good if the fish aren’t feeding. When the bite gets tough you have entice the fish to strike. This is the time to tie on a Mepps spinner.
Mepps spinners are very different. They are not designed to imitate anything. They entice a fish into striking by appealing to its basic survival instinct. “I don’t know what that is, but it’s invading my territory and I’m going to kill it.” Or, “Look at that. I can have some fun with that.” How does a spinner do this? It really is simple. Spinners use flash and vibration to attract fish. This flash and vibration comes from their revolving blade. No other fishing lure has this unique feature.
For this very reason, Mepps spinners will catch fish when no other lure will. Have you ever played with a cat? Feed a cat all it wants and it stops eating. It may even go to sleep. But, tie a toy to a string, drag it across the floor and the cat comes to life. It pounces on the toy. It’s not hungry, it’s been enticed it into striking. A Mepps spinner has the same effect on a fish. The fish sees the spinner and goes on the attack. The “key” word is “sees.” The fish must “see” the spinner to attack it.
“What is the best Mepps lure to use for…” To answer this, Mepps offers more than 4-thousand (that’s right 4,000) different lures in a wide variety of sizes and colors.
Lure size is important. The general rule of thumb is use smaller lures to catch smaller fish and larger lures to catch larger fish. But, this a rule of thumb. It is not pure science, nor is it etched in stone.
Mepps spinners in sizes #3 and #4 are preferred by walleye fishermen. In fact, the #3 dressed Mepps Aglia was rated the best all around lure.. Size #3 Mepps spinners are also ideal for walleye three pounds and over.
Size #4 and #5 Mepps are ideal for large rainbow trout and steelhead, as well as coho (silver) and chinook (king) salmon. Giant tackle busting northern pike will inhale a dressed #5 Mepps spinner. Or, if you are after trophy northern pike try a Mepps Musky Killer, Magnum Musky Killer, Giant Killer, Mepps Marabou or Musky Marabou.
Does water temperature influence lure selection? You bet is does. Fish are cold blooded creatures. This means their body temperature rises in warm water and falls in cold water. Fish are most active when the water they live in is cool. Think about it. Even though you are not a cold blooded creature, you are most active when the atmosphere you live in is comfortable… not too hot and not too cold. Cool is, “just right.”
When you are too hot or too cold, you alter your activities to adapt to your environment. If it’s too cold, you warp yourself in a warm blanket and hunker down with a favorite magazine or book. If you’re watching television, the remote had better be near-by because you are not getting up to change channels. If it’s sweltering, you’ll slip into a pair of comfortable shorts and stretch out in front of the air conditioner. You’re not about to get up to make yourself a sandwich, as just the thought of moving around can make you queasy.
Fish react the same way, only their reactions are stronger. They cannot warm or cool their blood as we do to control our body temperature. Instead, when the water is cold a fish will move to shallow warm water, especially if the sun is out and it is warming that water. Here it will rest until its body temperature warms up. On the other hand, when the water is warm, a fish will move into a deep pocket in a lake, or into a fast run in a stream. Here it will “rest” until its body temperature cools down.
Just like you, under these less than ideal conditions, a fish isn’t about to leave the comfort of his pocket or run. In other words, it’s not about to go chasing around after a lure. It’s also not about to eat, so it doesn’t matter if that crankbait is the perfect crawfish imitator, it will be ignored.
However, let a small Mepps spinner slowly “swim” by and that same fish will grab it, and why not? Here is a small unrecognized creature, bug or “thing” invading the sanctity of its comfort zone, its “easy chair” so to speak. BANG! After all, you might not get up to make that sandwich, but what if someone were kind enough to drop a piece of your favorite candy in your lap? BANG!
Now let’s take a look at what you do when the temperature is ideal. You wade your favorite lake, You jog, you go biking. You play 18 holes of golf and you carry your clubs. You may even paint the house or build a deck. In other words, you exercise and, as you do, you work up an appetite. So, you stoke up the grill.
When the water temperature is cool, a fish reacts the same way. This is the time to toss spoons and other imitators. Fish them fast or slow. Vary your retrieve to see what works best. Keep in mind, however, you will only catch fish as long as they are feeding. When they stop biting its time to tie on that spinner.
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For the most part, however, motion, shape, noise, and water displacement are the primary stimuli that cause fish to strike a lure. Most game fish sense and are attracted to your lure long before smell or taste figure in the picture. Once fish do get close enough to your bait and commit to striking, taste and smell certainly have an important impact on their final decision. Walleye are in the middle of the pack regarding their sensitivity to smell and pike are at the tail end.
Masking Those Negative Smells “Bug spray (DEET), sunscreen (PABA), fragrances, and nicotine are substances that are repulsive to fish,” said Pure Fishing Research Director Dr. Keith Jones. “Some substances, like DEET, are highly repulsive. Studies done in labs demonstrate that fish and probably many species, can detect, and are repelled by DEET concentrations as low as 1 part per billion. Other substances, detergents for example, are also extremely repulsive, as well as quite lethal. Nicotine would be only mildly repulsive.”
One trait most fish attractants have is the ability to mask or neutralize scents deemed negative. The favorable molecules in your fish scent will adhere to the unwanted molecules that have been placed on your lures, equating to a positive smell, if the molecules are of the right size, or no smell, if they’re the wrong fit.
“Masking agents work in two ways. One way is to dampen offensive odors and tastes by mixing in positive substances. The positive agent confounds the chemosensory system, diluting the offensive nature of the repellent. In the other strategy, the masking agent actually limits physical contact with the offensive agent. Oil-based scents operate in this way. They overlay the molecules of a fish repellent with an impermeable barrier, thus preventing the repellent from dissolving into the water and reaching a bass’s chemoreceptors,” wrote Dr. Jones in his book, “Knowing Bass — The Scientific Approach to Catching More Fish.”
Scent Receptors A receptor cell is necessary to distinguish certain tastes or smells, thus sending a positive or negative message to the brain. Water-borne molecules come in all shapes and sizes. A receptor cell will only allow the correct size and type of scent molecule to make it into the cavity, thus sending a signal to the brain. If the wrong size or type of molecule is offered, then no signal will be sent.
“Fish chemoreceptors (essentially small pockets into which the stimulant molecules fit) can accommodate only small, water-soluble molecules in the size range of about 50- to 500 Daltons (a measure of molecular weight). Those molecules that are too large to fit into the chemoreceptive pockets are not able to stimulate either the fish’s olfactory (smell) or gustatory (taste) system. A good molecule will elicit a positive response, while a bad one will be deemed negative.
So, by covering unwanted and negative smells we leave on baits, fish scent can play a large part in getting fish to strike that may not otherwise do so.
Longer Hang-Time Fish scent, whether through taste, smell, or masking properties, will often entice a fish to hold on to your bait longer, allowing extra crucial seconds for you to set the hook. Some fish chomp down on a lure for upwards of 20 seconds, leaving anglers to conclude scent definitely does make a difference.
In the labs they frequently run bait ‘taste tests’ wherein a fish is offered a small piece of soft bait. Accurate counts are made of the number of times the fish rejects the bait (i.e. spits it out) vs. the number of times the bait is consumed. Fish like walleye and perch typically reject pieces of plain (non-flavored) soft baits within one to two seconds, and virtually never eat one. In contrast, pieces of Power Bait are consumed about 95 percent of the time where Gulp is consumed at a rate of 99.9 percent.
When To Use It When fish are in a negative or neutral mood, such as during cold-front conditions or in heavily pressured waters, scent can up your odds.
Cold-water conditions, such as those from fall through spring, also call for the use of scent. Fish can be finicky then, due to lowered metabolism rates, so taste and smell are often triggering factors.
Any vertical presentation, especially when working a bait slowly and methodically, deserves an extra helping or two of scent. Fish have a longer time to inspect baits, so giving them something that smells positive is always a good bet. The same goes when working heavy cover.
In the angling world, you still need skill, knowledge, and determination to catch fish. Using scents, no matter how good, can never take the place of experience on the water, but they can certainly help. Take a look at fish attractants the next time you troll the tackle aisle — you’ll be glad you did.