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My left arm still hurts, and the black and blue mark on my left
side near my ribs is still there. No, I have not been in a fight.
I just returned from, Lake Huites, near Los
Mochis, Mexico. In the
next couple of months my column will feature stories and pictures
from Lake Huites and Lake Huites Lodge. It was the trip of a life
time and man did we catch fish. What an awesome experience! Soft
plastic jerk baits, accounted for a lot of those fish. I learned
some cool tricks associated with these lures, and that will be the
focus for this month.
Numerous companies make their own version of these lures and I am
sure they all work. The two I used were the Prowler Soft
the Prowler Slim Jim. The soft shad is a soft baitfish imitator that
is a proximately 4 inches long with a hook slot in the belly and
a split tail. The top is flat which helps with the gliding motion
the lure exhibits on a twitch and stop retrieve. I was using bait
casting equipment and my set up was as follows. I used a 6'6 medium
heavy rod, 15 pound test line, and a Gamakatsu 3/0 EWG super line
hook. This is an awesome hook for ANY soft plastic jerk bait. The
extra wide gap hook acts perfectly as a keel for the bait, which
helps in depth control, castability, and high hooking percentage.
Ok, now the standard retrieve is to cast the lure out, let it sink
slightly, and work it as you would a standard jerk bait. Using a
cadence of a jerk, pause, and jerk, jerk, pause. We know and understand
that, so lets get to some tactics that became strike triggers for
me. In the past, I have watched fish follow these lures and not strike.
I usually start out with a pearl white Soft Shad. When fish would
follow and not strike, there are several things that have worked
for me. There are numerous dyes on the market. Dipping the tail in
Chartreuse, and or taking a spray and spraying a red color up near
the head of the lure to change its color has worked. No question
about it. Red and or chartreuse can be a trigger in clear water.
Pitching the lure to cover, and letting it sink deeper next to the
cover. Dead sticking a soft jerk bait next to visible cover is a
great trick. For example, on Lake Huites, we fished a lot of deep
canyon walls with Mesquite trees and cactus that were in 30 feet
of water. A fast shallow retrieve was rarely successful. However,
by being patient, and feeding line to my sinking lure, I was able
to let the lure fall on slack line down 15 to 20 feet. My strikes
increase considerably from bass that were relating to the trees but
harder to catch because they were suspended. These were post spawn
fish, and this tactic will work on all post spawn fish.
Soft plastic jerk baits can be harder to fish when there is wind
to contend with. I recently learned a great trick for that. Pinch
on a small split shot 6 to 10 inches in front of the lure. The closer
you attach the small split shot the more the lure will nose dive.
However, move the split shot up the line, say 10 inches, and the
soft shad will fall in a slow spiral. WHAM!!!!!!
As I mentioned earlier, the other lure I used was the Slim
This lure is a "senko" type lure. It is tapered differently
on both ends, loaded with salt and on a 3/0 EWG texas rigged with
no weight, falls completely horizontal. That alone, often triggers
a strike. Here are a couple more tricks for you. Again the dyes can
make a big difference. When the lure is rigged texas style, the slimmer
end shakes on the fall. Dye the tail a color of your choice and hang
on. If its a sunny day and the fish are not reacting to a solid or
bright color, in clear water, try the natural colors like, green
pumpkin and or water melon. These are two great colors to have with
you at all times. They work in clear water and if you become faced
with a stained water situation, a simple addition of a dyed tail
can adjust you and the lure to the new water condition. This can
also save you money and space in your tackle storage, by not having
so many different colors.
Here is another trick for you. These "senko" type baits
also react differently depending on the hook style that you use.
I mentioned that the EWG works great for a horizontal fall, however
to make the Slim Jim walk, some what, away from you, or fade on a
pause in your retrieve, use a 3/0 straight shake hook. With this
hook, a pause in your retrieve allows the lure to go sightly backward.
This is a great technique when fishing laydowns, grass lines, standing
timber, and boat docks. These lures can also be an advantage to you
when the wind kicks up. Since they are heavier, and sink faster,
you can keep them lower in the water column. The heavier weight affords
you more precision, and depth control.
Fishing Lake Huites, I was also faced with deep bluffs that the
fish were relating to. Getting a 4 pound bass to bite 25 foot deep,
when the fish are suspended is tough. Here is something that worked
extremely well for all of us. Sticking a straight shank hook through
the middle of the Slim Jim, is referred to as Wacky
worm hangs off either side of the hook and looks stupid, I mean wacky.
Hence the name! Anyway, pitching the wacky worm to the base of the
bluff and stripping off line so the lure would fall straight down
and stay close to the bluff generated numerous strikes. One evening
it accounted for double hook ups between myself and the gentlemen
I was fishing with 3 times in ten minutes. What a rush! A bluff is
no more than a vertical change in the bottom, or simply stated, a
vertical structure. At the right time that will work on numerous
bodies of water through out the midwest.
Soft plastic jerk baits put fish in the boat. Like any other lure,
slight modifications make them even more productive. What ever brand
that you use, give some of these ideas a try. Until next month..............Audios