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Tag Archives: Spinnerbait

How & Why Mepps Spinners Catch Fish

The Lure of Mepps Spinners Flash & Vibration

id-73-2Most 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
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.

Use #2 & #3 Mepps spinners for  Walleye   150-62-walleye (1)

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.

 Use #4 & #5 Mepps spinners for the following Northern Pike
150-39-northern-pike

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.

Water Temperature
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!

al2

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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Top Lures For Early Season Pike

With spring, thoughts of hefty pike in shallow water dance through anglers’ heads. Fresh from the spawn, pike will be found in specific locations and can be caught with a variety of lures.

At that time of year, the fishing can be fast and furious, monster pike are more than willing to entertain you with a game of tug-of-war. Jump-start your fishing season by tangling with the mighty “water wolf,” and be prepared for some of the best fishing you can imagine.

piketipsWhere To Find Them
Pike spawn in shallow, weedy back bays shortly after ice-out. Bays and shorelines found on the north side of the lake will be the first to warm up, and will be the most attractive to the cruising pike. Once the spawn is complete, the majority of the fish will linger in these back bays for some time, gorging on the available baitfish and awaiting a warming trend to occur in the main lake area.

Searching the shallow bays on your favorite lake will be the key to finding post-spawn pike. Make sure the area you are concentrating on has a variety of cover — be it weeds, logs or stumps — and is between the depths of 2 feet and 6 feet. Finding an area like this has pike written all over it, although your next step will be deciding what to throw at them.

Lures To Consider
One of the most productive and easiest baits to fish for spring pike is the spinnerbait. It represents an easy meal, has a bulky profile in the water and gives off flash and vibration that rings the dinner bell loudly for these opportunistic feeders.

A personal preference early in the season is a spinnerbait sporting a large willow-leaf blade, a sturdy wire body that will stand up to the abuse a pike can dish out, and a fur or nylon skirt that undulates nicely in the water. Couple this with a needle-sharp sturdy hook and you have the perfect setup for the mighty pike.

Bright colors seem to be the best route early in the season with chartreuse, red and white getting the nod for most applications. Depending on water conditions, it is best to experiment with natural and unnatural colors until you hit a winning pattern.

Topwater
Nothing can compare to the visual thrill and heart-pounding excitement of taking a pike on a topwater plug. Post spawn fish are more than willing to grab an easy meal off the surface, and the shallow water locations make this tactic extremely productive.

topwater3There are a number of topwater baits on the market that are suited to early season pike and have worked well for me over the years. The buzzbait is a top choice due to the large silhouette it provides and the surface commotion it exhibits. Fish this bait with a steady retrieve and be prepared to hold on tight. A stinger hook may be necessary for those fish that strike short or blow up on the bait.

 

Another key lure is the Zara Spook. The lazy side-to-side motion is intoxicating to both aggressive and neutral fish, and many of the pike you encounter will hunt down this bait as if it truly is alive. Choose the larger version Spook and make sure you fish the lure with a wire leader in order to save it from the jaws of this predator.

Spoons
Spoons have become a staple among early season pike anglers and for good reason — they catch fish. A spoon exhibits the movements of a baitfish precisely, and the positive vibrations and body characteristics make it a good choice.

spoonsProven spoon picks are the Red Devle Dardevle, Five of Diamonds, Red Eye, Blue Fox, Original Doctor, Johnson Silver Minnow, and many of the Williams Wobblers’ line of baits. Experiment with different weights, and thickness of bodies, in order to establish those that have the most desirable motion and action in the water, and which ones the pike show a preference to striking.

A trick to keep in mind for fish that follow yet refuse to hit, is to suddenly stop the spoon in mid-reel and let it flutter slowly downward. This tactic will entice the majority of “hot” pike to strike, and has proven itself repeatedly.

Head to Wawang Lake this spring and have a tussle with the mighty “water wolf.” The fishing will be fast and exciting and the eagerness of the pike to strike will have you returning year after year.

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Catch Walleye on Spinner Baits

Once the spawn is over, walleye are all about feeding as they move shallow into warm water where the food chain is in high gear. Banks and shallow flats are loaded with minnows, small pan fish—all sorts of prey. Many will use crank baits and jigs tipped with bait or artificial to work that zone, but at times a spinner bait can be more effective.

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Since spinner baits are snag-resistant, they work better than just about anything else around standing timber, flooded bushes, and brush.  Walleye use that cover when feeding on baitfish, lake herring, and minnows. Rocky shores can be good, too, especially when a modest wind is blowing in.  Fish the tops of shallow flats and along drop-offs where the flats breaks into deeper water.  Prey fish must be present to get walleyes hunting shallow.  In spring and early summer, some days they’re shallow and some days they’re not. You need to experiment, be patient and not give up on this technique. Like anything else, it doesn’t work all the time.”

Rigging
Use bass tackle for spinner baiting—a medium-heavy bait casting outfit 6 ½ feet long and a reel spooled with 10- or 12-pound mono or braid of similar diameter.  Fish shallow, but you still need to be aware of structural elements, so you need sonar, unless you’re familiar with the lake’s layout. The unit also helps pinpoint baitfish when you’re deeper than 5 feet or so.

Use spinner baits from 1/8- to 3/8-ounce. You’ll want a true-running bait with good components and use various models from Stanley Jigs of Huntington, Texas. A tapered-wire shaft enhances vibration that may be a key component of the spinner bait’s attraction. The Stanley Salty Boss is hard to beat.

img1-INFS-110020-SBAIT-02

Some days, blade color matters so switch among silver, gold, white, chartreuse, and key-lime-green blades constantly throughout the day. For the skirt, baitfish colors work fine in clearer water—silvers, golds, smoke-sparkle, and so on. In murkier water, chartreuse and white do well.

Wear top-quality polarized sunglasses as they are vital, since you often are sight-fishing and most favorably are those that block out light from the sides, such as the Wiley X models with a foam insert that seals the glasses around your face.   Look carefully and you can spot walleyes in water as shallow as 6 inches and keep your distance, approach cautiously, and you can catch those fish.

Presentation
When they’re holding shallow and tight to the bank, cast right onto the edge of the shore. It’s common to have fish bite in the first five feet of the retrieve. In deeper water, make the retrieve smooth and slow, so the spinner bait moves along near bottom. If you’re fishing a sloping area, slow down as the water deepens, to keep the spinner bait down—what the bass guys call ‘slow-rolling.’

Use the lure’s snag resistance to saturate shallow cover, easing it among boulders, weed clumps, brush, and stumps. Make it bump the cover on occasion, as that momentary change in direction can trigger bites from less active fish. A spinner bait works well when retrieved parallel to a rocky bluff. Once you figure the prime depth, you repeat the presentation.

At times it pays to experiment with more erratic action. Pause the bait and let it flutter. The blade on a good spinner bait lets it helicopter down, and that can be deadly on walleyes.”

img2-INFS-110020-SBAIT-06

Tips for Success
A spinner bait is essentially a simple lure and at times there’s no wrong way to work it. Like other lures, it doesn’t always work, but when it’s on, it can load the boat with big walleyes.

Bait:  At times, it pays to tip the spinner bait with a night crawler or minnow. There’s something about the look, smell, and taste of real food. Make sure the lure continues to run perfectly straight when bait is attached. Baits will often turn on the hook and ruin the presentation. So keep it straight and natural looking.

Short strikes:  If you get bumped and don’t hook up, try a trailer or stinger hook to nail short strikers. Some days, the stinger gets most of the fish. But it can be a pain around brush and grass, so don’t use one until you start missing fish.

Other species:  It’s common to catch walleye as you move along a bank—pike as well. But if you start catching nothing but pike, it’s time to move, unless you’re just fishing for fun, and then it’s hard to abandon a fast bite regardless of the species.

Tackle care:  You’re working through cover, and the line takes a beating, even heavy mono or braid. Moreover, walleye really slam these things. Check the line and retie to keep from eventually breaking off by a lunker.   After catching some fish, the lure may get out of balance. Bend the overheard wire back into shape so it runs true. Sharpen the hook, too, and replace skirts when they get threadbare.”

 img3-INFS-110020-SBAIT-07

Deep Tactics
Spinner baits are at their finest around shallow cover and on shallow banks in spring and early summer, but they can also be used deep. Again, the presence of cover often is the key.  Slow-trolling one-ounce spinner baits on a long line through the tops of the vegetation:  trees, weeds, etc. can be deadly. Anglers also use lead core line to get spinner baits down.

Another option is a teaser ahead of a trolled spinner bait.  Before you tie on, string on a couple beads—-a favorite color, key lime —then a clevis with a tiny Colorado blade, then four more beads. It looks like multiple baitfish being chased by a smaller predatory fish.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Spinner baits use flash and vibration to sell the image of vulnerable prey to a predator.  As a spinner turns, it produces a steady flash, since both sides are gold or silver or whatever. But when you watch a school of baitfish, they don’t produce a regular flash; it’s far more random. At times an intermittent flash or flicker is a better trigger than a constant flash. To produce intermittent flash, use a magic marker to blacken the concave side of the blade.

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Top Lures For Early Season Pike

With spring, thoughts of hefty pike in shallow water dance through anglers’ heads. Fresh from the spawn, pike will be found in specific locations and can be caught with a variety of lures.

Welter Group

At that time of year, the fishing can be fast and furious, monster pike are more than willing to entertain you with a game of tug-of-war. Jump-start your fishing season by tangling with the mighty “water wolf,” and be prepared for some of the best fishing you can imagine.

piketipsWhere To Find Them
Pike spawn in shallow, weedy back bays shortly after ice-out. Bays and shorelines found on the north side of the lake will be the first to warm up, and will be the most attractive to the cruising pike. Once the spawn is complete, the majority of the fish will linger in these back bays for some time, gorging on the available baitfish and awaiting a warming trend to occur in the main lake area.

Searching the shallow bays on your favorite lake will be the key to finding post-spawn pike. Make sure the area you are concentrating on has a variety of cover — be it weeds, logs or stumps — and is between the depths of 2 feet and 6 feet. Finding an area like this has pike written all over it, although your next step will be deciding what to throw at them.

Lures To Consider
One of the most productive and easiest baits to fish for spring pike is the spinnerbait. It represents an easy meal, has a bulky profile in the water and gives off flash and vibration that rings the dinner bell loudly for these opportunistic feeders.

A personal preference early in the season is a spinnerbait sporting a large willow-leaf blade, a sturdy wire body that will stand up to the abuse a pike can dish out, and a fur or nylon skirt that undulates nicely in the water. Couple this with a needle-sharp sturdy hook and you have the perfect setup for the mighty pike.

Bright colors seem to be the best route early in the season with chartreuse, red and white getting the nod for most applications. Depending on water conditions, it is best to experiment with natural and unnatural colors until you hit a winning pattern.

Topwater
Nothing can compare to the visual thrill and heart-pounding excitement of taking a pike on a topwater plug. Post spawn fish are more than willing to grab an easy meal off the surface, and the shallow water locations make this tactic extremely productive.

topwater3There are a number of topwater baits on the market that are suited to early season pike and have worked well for me over the years. The buzzbait is a top choice due to the large silhouette it provides and the surface commotion it exhibits. Fish this bait with a steady retrieve and be prepared to hold on tight. A stinger hook may be necessary for those fish that strike short or blow up on the bait.

 

Another key lure is the Zara Spook. The lazy side-to-side motion is intoxicating to both aggressive and neutral fish, and many of the pike you encounter will hunt down this bait as if it truly is alive. Choose the larger version Spook and make sure you fish the lure with a wire leader in order to save it from the jaws of this predator.

Spoons
Spoons have become a staple among early season pike anglers and for good reason — they catch fish. A spoon exhibits the movements of a baitfish precisely, and the positive vibrations and body characteristics make it a good choice.

spoonsProven spoon picks are the Red Devle Dardevle, Five of Diamonds, Red Eye, Blue Fox, Original Doctor, Johnson Silver Minnow, and many of the Williams Wobblers’ line of baits. Experiment with different weights, and thickness of bodies, in order to establish those that have the most desirable motion and action in the water, and which ones the pike show a preference to striking.

A trick to keep in mind for fish that follow yet refuse to hit, is to suddenly stop the spoon in mid-reel and let it flutter slowly downward. This tactic will entice the majority of “hot” pike to strike, and has proven itself repeatedly.

Head to Wawang Lake this spring and have a tussle with the mighty “water wolf.” The fishing will be fast and exciting and the eagerness of the pike to strike will have you returning year after year.

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Spinner Baits For Pike

imagesCAYT6O8FSpinner baits are an effective presentation for covering expanses of water looking for pike. Whether you’re working weed beds, shallow sand flats, or rocky reefs, these lures are sure to put fish in the boat. Here are some of our top tips for targeting pike with spinner baits this season.

Choosing A Pike Spinner Bait

It’s no secret pike like the protection and ambushing advantages of weeds. A spinner bait, upward-facing, single hook keeps the bait fairly weedless, making it ideal to cast vegetation.  Use baits weighing up to 1.5-ounces for deep water, but mostly throw lures ranging from 1/2-ounce- to 1-ounce.

Willow-leaf-bladed baits give off plenty of flash, run deeper, and can be retrieved at a faster pace than Colorado-bladed baits. Yet, these latter blades are effective too for slower retrieves, or when you want plenty of thump in your presentation. Make sure you carry an Musky_FluorOrange_360assortment of both. When it comes to body materials, the bucktail is a bait that will have a longer lifespan and stand up to catching multiple fish. Some silicone skirts perform well, but rarely as good as tied hair. As for colors, popular colors are:  chartreuse and white, white and red, and orange and black are great producers, along with fire-tiger, and color combinations that present a perch or herring look.

Spinner Bait Line Tie Details

Use leaders when casting for pike and spinner baits with a closed coil bend in the wire form as opposed to the “V” common in many spinnerbaits. The coil secures the snap-lock of my leader in place, minimizing tangles. Leader snaps can move out of the V-bend wire forms, increasing the odds of fouling a bait on a cast. When not using leaders and targeting other species, V-bends are less of an issue as the line is tied direct to the bend and the taut knot holds the lure in place.


Three Prime Spots For Spinner Baits:

graph-weed-pikeINFS-110026-WEATH-05a

Weeds
Fan casting the weedbeds with spinner baits lets you quickly cover water and better your chances of contacting a fish. If you spot any structure in the weed flat, such as logs or rocks, cast beyond the target, then reel the bait into the area. Hold on, as this zone is a prime ambush area.  Concentrate on working the bait around edges in weeds, like a weed wall or cut into the bed.

Sand Flats
Beyond weed beds, shallow, sandy areas are good. These produce fish early in the season since they warm up quickly. As summer arrives, they can also be feeding zones. Look for signs of baitfish as you cast. Forage is a good indicator of whether or not the area will hold pike. In some instances, you can sight fish for pike, but remember to cast beyond the fish or you risk spooking them.

imagesCAYO9AKCRocks And Reefs
Rocky zones, such as points or shallow reefs, surrounded by deep water are other hot spots. Work baits around the edges and breaks. Don’t neglect the top of the reef. On water systems where pike are the dominant predator, reefs are some of my favorite zones to look for trophy-sized fish. These areas can be particularly good in cool, sunny conditions when pike may be sunning themselves on the rocks, which absorb heat. Rocks can also be good in high winds as the turmoil and turbidity caused by waves gives pike a predatory advantage to ambush disoriented prey.

Spinner Bait Gear
When casting spinner baits for pike, use a heavy-duty rods with a bit of flex in the tip, as it can easily cast baits. Too stiff a tip and you won’t get any distance out of casts. The baitcast reel spooled with 50- to 65-pound-test super line makes a great combination. A quality drag is a must for line-peeling runs common with large northern pike. At the business end of the setup,  We suggest to tie on a fluorocarbon leader in clear water and only use wire in murky conditions. Quality locking snaps and ball bearing swivels are a must for strength, and preventing line twist.

One final thing to keep in mind is although you may be reeling baits in on a straight retrieve, don’t make it consistent. Twitch the rod to impart erratic moves to the bait as these variances trigger hits. This is a good triggering move and has r

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esulted in many pike meeting many landing net over the years.  This will without a doubt will work for you, too.

 

 

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FISHING PLUGS & CRANK BAITS

                     Fishing with Surface Lures, Minnow Baits, Crankbaits & Creatures

plugsThe word “Plug” was used many years ago to describe a lure that was hand carved from a block of wood, but most modern-day plugs are made from hollow plastic or molded plastic. Many avid anglers still consider wooden plugs the best lure having better action than similar ones made from plastic. A few lure manufacturers still use wood in making lure bodies, mainly balsa, some hardwoods and pine.

Most plugs replicate some type of bait fish but some types of plugs resemble mice, crayfish, insects, frogs, and snakes that fish prey on. Plugs attract fish by their action and flash, producing sounds that draws the attention of game fish. It may be the vibration of a minnow bait swimming through the water, or the splash pop and gurgle of a surface plug or just the sound of hooks clicking the lure body. Many new plastic plugs today have internal chambers filled with shot producing a rattling sound that attracts fish.

There are two category of plugs Surface (Topwater) and Subsurface (Diving).
Listed below is a reference guide to help you identify the common types of plugs and how they are used:

Surface Lures: (Topwater)
There is nothing more exciting to see a fish strike a surface lure. Surface lures work especially well when fish are shallow and the water temperature is 60 degrees or warmer. The water should be relatively calm otherwise the fish do not notice the action. The best hours to fish surface lures are generally early in the morning and at dusk into the evening. But there has been fish caught on surface lures in the middle of the day. For lure colors a very good universal color is black, it works well on all water types clear, stained or dark. Black provides the best silhouette against the sky as the fish looks upward towards the water surface. Other colors will work as well dependent on the forage in the water system such as Orange/Yellow for Perch, Green/White for Frogs, and White/Blue/Chrome for Shad and Shiners.

plugs2

CRAWLERS

Crawlers
Crawlers produce a plopping/gurgling sound, used on calm water with a steady slow retrieve. (Left) This crawler, also known as a creeper, has wings mounted on the side that will swim across the water. (Right) A large face plate will make this crawler body move back and forth producing a wake on the surface.

chuggers

CHUGGERS


Chuggers
Chuggers have an indented cup on the face of the lure, it catches water when the lure is jerked over the surface producing a popping/chugging sound.  .

center rotating blade

CENTER ROTATING BLADE

Center Rotating Blade

Commonly know as a Globe, this has been a favorite surface lure for pike anglers for many years. The center blade rotates upon the retrieve producing a bubble trail.

rotating tail

ROTATING TAIL

Rotating Tail

The tail section rotates creating a plopping noise from the blade attached. The tail rotating lures works well on calm water to slight chop. Commonly used for fishing northern pike.

surface wobbler

SURFACE WOBBLER

Surface Wobbler

The jointed surface wobbler creates a clicking sound as the lure rocks back and forth when retrieved,  and the tail prop adds a wake. Work this lure slow on calm water in the evening.

Propeller

PROPELLER

Propeller

The propeller lure has props on the nose and tail or on the tail, this topwater lure is versatile, run it slow with a straight retrieve, pop it using a stop and go method, or buzz it across the water to trigger aggressive feeding fish. Excellent lure for new anglers to experience top water fishing. Also know as Propbait or Topper Bait.

Stickbait

STICKBAIT

Stickbait

The stickbait has no lip or propellers, they also have no built-in wobble. The angler must supply lure action through a series of short sharp cadence pulls upon the retrieve creating the side to side action known as “walk the dog” on the surface. Also known as torpedo lure.

Flaptail

FLAPTAIL

Flaptail

The flaptail rocks back and forth while the brass blade on the tail slaps the water with a plopping sound. The retrieve is very slow allowing the bait to work. Used on calm water.


Subsurface Plugs (Diving, Floating, Sinking)
There are two categories of subsurface plugs, both have floating or sinking models. The first are diving lures that dive with attached plastic/metal lips or dive based on the lure body design such as cupped, pointed head or a flattened curved forehead, all have a side to side wiggle action as they travel through the water, these are commonly known as crankbaits. The second group of plugs refer to the action of the lure provided by the angler in the retrieve. These are classified as gliders, jerkbaits and twitch baits, the action of the each lure is achieved through a series of cadence pulls, strong jerks, or short stop and go techniques.

Diving lures will catch fish in any type of water calm or rough any time of the day. In selecting lures with a lip attached to the nose of the lure the angle of lip will determine the running depth of the lure, for instance a deep running lure will have an elongated lip attached approximately 90 degrees horizontal from the nose which acts as a diving plane forcing the lure downward. Mid range divers will have a lip set at a 45 degree angle. Shallow running lures will have lip placed vertically off of the nose creating a water resistance forcing the lure to run shallow.

Diving lures will run at depths from just under the surface at 1 foot to 20 feet or greater. All lure companies provide the running/diving depth of each lure on their box or packaging. It is wise to have a few of each to cover the fishing situations you could encounter. The deep runners are classified as 10 feet plus, mid range 5-10 feet and shallow are 1-3 feet.

Floating Minnow (Crankbait)

FLOATING MINNOW (CRANKBAIT)

Floating Minnow (Crankbait)

This is the most popular type and the most versatile crank bait lure designed to imitate a thin bodied bait fish. For shallow lures running at 1-3 feet as a floater this will maintain the shallow depth. Anglers who use midrange running lures have a few more options. In casting the angler can pop the lure along the surface or crank it a few feet down to 5 to 8 feet with a straight retrieve. For trolling using a midrange lip off of downrigger or lead core line the lure will maintain the set depth. When casting deep running lures this allows the angler to bounce lures off of deep structure (bottom bouncing) such as rocks or wood without getting snagged by letting the lure just float up after making contact.

Floating Shad-Perch crankbait

FLOATING SHAD/PERCH (CRANKBAIT)

Floating Shad/Perch (Crankbait)

Similar to the floating minnow style with a diving lip. These lures imitate the forage of shad and perch with a wider or fatter body style. Made from balsa wood and hollow plastic with and without internal chambers filled with shot to produce a loud rattle.

Floating Lipless (Crankbait)

FLOATING LIPESS (CRANKBAIT)

Floating Lipless (Crankbait)

The series of lures shown above have been made for many years, timed tested and still today catch many fish. The lure body design to dive is based on a cupped, or a flattened curved forehead all have a side to side wobble action as they travel through the water.

Vibrating (Crankbait)

VIBRATING (CRANKBAIT)

Vibrating (Crankbait)

These thin bodied lures do not have a diving lip and are attached to the line with the eye on top of the head, resulting in a tight wiggle. All vibrating lures have internal chambers filled with shot to produce a loud rattle. Most are sinking models but some do float at rest.

Sinking (Crankbait)

SINKING (CRANKBAIT)

Sinking (Crankbait)

Also known as a countdown this lure is weighted to sink horizontally. When fish suspend over 10 feet at a specific depth the sinking lure is a very good option to use. The angler simply cast the lure and count’s down at a rate of 1 foot per second to the specified depth and retrieves the lure. The sinking lure uses a midrange lip to maintain the depth until the end of the retrieve.

Neutrally Buoyant (Crankbait)

NEUTRALLY BUOYANT (CRANKBAIT)

Neutrally Buoyant (Crankbait)

Also referred as a suspending lure or a jerk bait. The lure is designed using an internal weight system or a weighted tape to achieve neutral buoyancy. The presentation is an erratic jerk pause type of retrieve, when stopped the lure will remain suspended and motionless in the water. Very good lure for finicky fish that follows and don’t bite.

Floating (Trolling Plugs)

FLOATING (TROLLING PLUGS)

Floating (Trolling Plugs)

These are designed and used primarily for trolling as they are relatively too light to cast. Generally most trolling plugs float at rest and dive based on the flattened forehead that creates a wide erratic wobble through the water. To achieve the depth required for a successful controlled trolling depth anglers use an online diving plane (Dipsey Diver) or attached to a line release on a downrigger.

Floating (Jerkbait)

FLOATING (JERKBAIT)

Floating (Jerkbait)

These are large elongated plugs intended for fishing pike. They float at rest and dive when given a strong jerk or pull than float upward to the surface. Many have a metal tail that can be bent to change the action and depth setting.

Sinking (Gliders & Twitch)

SINKING (GLIDERS & TWITCH)

Sinking (Gliders & Twitch)

Gliders and Twitch baits are lipless and sink, the action of each lure is in part provided by the angler. The Twitch bait (Top) is retrieved with a series of short taps of the rod or twitches which gives the lure an erratic motion, up down side to side action. The Glider (Bottom) is retrieved using timed cadence short pulls causing the lure to glide side to side or an underwater walk the dog action creating a dart and flash of the lure.

Creatures

CREATURES

Creatures

Freshwater game fish are predatory by nature there also opportunistic and will take advantage of any food source presented to them to fill their feeding needs. Other than bait fish they will also feed on crawfish, frogs, water snakes, swimming rodents, amphibians and insects. The above photo shows lures that imitate each type.

Lure Colors
Crankbaits are available in a spectrum of colors and finishes, painted, foil, chrome, prism, glass, photo and holographic finishes. In building your lure assortment the best is to mimic the dominant forage in the waters your fishing. Here’s a simple guideline of basic successful colors:

Open Water Suspended Forage: Shad, Shiners, Cisco’s, Alewives, Smelt
Black, Green, Blue, Purple top with Silver sides
Black top with White sides
All Silver Chrome or White

Structure Orientated Forage: Perch, Suckers, Crawfish, Minnows
Black top with Gold sides  (Sucker)
Black top with Silver sides (Minnow)
Black top with Orange sides (Perch-Crawfish)
Black top with Green sides with Bars (Perch)
Brown top Orange or Red sides (Crawfish)

Fluorescent Colors
For dark, stained or muddy waters the hot colors work effective, here’s a few top producers.
Dark Green top Chartreuse sides orange belly ( Fire tiger )
Blue top Chartreuse sides orange belly ( Parrot )
Orange top & sides Chartreuse belly (Hot Tiger )
Red Head Chartreuse Body ( Clown )

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When and Where to Find Northern Pike

Now, who does not love catching a hard fighting northern pike. The northern pike is a voracious predator that is usually perched on top of the local food chain. and described the northern pike as “a tyrant, a fish that is solitary and bold”.

To suggest the northern pike is a tyrant may be a little harsh. However, this fish is truly bold could be an understatement. This predatory fish is often the top predator wherever it swims. This is one of the few species with a circumpolar distribution as it is found throughout the northern hemisphere. This species has a major following wherever it is found. Due to this following many anglers target this species. In Southern Canada, many species like walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, black crappie and muskellunge have a loyal following of anglers. However, early in the season many anglers will target northern pike as this predatory fish has predictable habits. They are relatively easy to locate and catch with a little homework.

Diane Rohl – 43″ Northern Pike

 Spawning – The Details
Northern pike spawning takes place during the spring when water temperatures are between 40°F to 52°. Often there may be ice on the main lake and northern pike are already seeking out spawning locations in local marshes and tributaries. Northern pike will seek out spawning areas in heavily vegetated areas of river floodplains, marshes and the bays of large lakes. Northern pike are often associated with high densities of emergent vegetation such as sedges, grasses, cattails, etc. Northern pike will spawn in pairs but one female may see several suitors during the spawning season. Spawning takes place in very shallow water, often only a few inches deep. Unlike sunfish species (i.e. largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, pumpkinseed) no nest is constructed. Eggs and sperm are scattered onto surrounding vegetation. Spawning pairs may stay together for a few days spawning repeatedly during that time. Eggs are very adhesive and will actually stick to the surrounding vegetation. Emergent vegetation provides a great surface for egg adhesion. Fish will remain in the spawning areas for a short time after spawning. At that time they will retreat to deeper water nearby to rest and begin feeding after the rigors of spawning.

Pike Spawning habitat1

Pike Spawning Habitat

Pike Spawning habitat2

Pike Spawning Habitat


Locating Spawning Habitat – Map Study
Why would anglers want to locate northern pike spawning areas? In Ontario, most spawning seasons are protected calendar periods for fish to spawn in peace. This holds true for northern pike across much of Ontario. However, locating spawning habitat for northern pike will help anglers locate fish even after season opens. As mentioned above, northern pike will setup in feeding areas near their spawning areas as they recuperate from the rigors of spawning. Armed with a basic knowledge of pike spawning habitats and lake characteristics anglers can narrow their search for northern pike relatively quickly. For anglers pursuing northern pike in Ontario they can use the Ministry of Natural Resources Fish Online web application. This tool can help you find lots of information about waterbodies in Ontario included species lists, fishing regulation information, boat launches, lake bathymetry and more. You can even complete fishing reports to help inform the Ministry of Natural Resources about fishing conditions in the lakes you fish!

Locating Spawning Areas – Time on the Water
Water temperature is very important to determine what stage of the spawn northern pike will be in. A large lake could see northern pike at various spawning stages around the lake depending on the location of the spawning habitats. Many anglers will begin their search in the northern areas of most lakes. In the Northern Hemisphere lakes the northerly shorelines of all lakes will receive more sun exposure than southerly shorelines. From this general piece of information anglers can begin to survey bays, river mouths and flats for northern pike. With water in the 30 degree range (Fahrenheit), northern pike will be staging in deep water adjacent to spawning locations. As the water temperature rises into the 40 degree range, northern pike will begin to seek out spawning locations. Once water temperatures reach 50 degrees, northern pike will vacate spawning areas and setup in nearby deeper water.

Anglers are best to begin their search slowly from deep to shallow. Using their electronics, lures and eyes they can locate fish. Electronics will keep you dialed into the local water temperature. Casting large lures can be used to locate fish away from the boat. Casting in a methodical pattern to cover water can help locate northern pike or eliminate water. The final key search too is an anglers eyes. A good pair of polarized sunglasses will help you locate emerging vegetation and also fish. Northern pike are large predators but very wary in shallow water. Good polarized sunglasses will help anglers see them before the anglers themselves are spotted.

Here are some GREAT lure choices for northern pike:

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 I hope some of this information helps put a few more Northern Pike in your boat this year.  by Jason Barnucz

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