Blade baits be­come strong choice again

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Terry Wick­strom Join Terry Wick­strom ev­ery Satur­day at 9 a.m. for all your out­door in­for­ma­tion on Terry Wick­strom Out­doors on 104.3 FM.

Alure class known as blade baits first showed up on the fish­ing scene in the late 1950s. The orig­i­nal blade bait was the Hed­don Sonic, in­tro­duced in 1957. Un­like nearly all the wooden or plas­tic plugs of its day, when it hit the wa­ter, the Sonic sank straight to the bot­tom. When re­trieved, it wob­bled with a tight vi­bra­tion you could feel even on those old glass rods of yes­ter­year.

This style of bait found fa­vor with an­glers through­out the ’60s be­fore it vir­tu­ally dis­ap­peared for al­most a gen­er­a­tion. In the ’80s, blade baits made a comeback but seemed rel­e­gated to a se­cret place in the tackle box of top an­glers.

Re­cent tackle trends are see­ing the blade bait’s pop­u­lar­ity soar­ing. Many tackle man­u­fac­tur­ers now of­fer a num­ber of mod­els and col­ors. The se­cret to the at­trac­tion of blade baits is vi­bra­tion. Whether jigged, ripped or re­trieved, blade baits send out a thump­ing, puls­ing rhythm that walleyes and most other species just can’t re­sist. One of my fa­vorite blade baits is the John­son ThinFisher. Fish­ing guide Austin Parr joined me on my ra­dio show Satur­day to dis­cuss why this lure has be­come one of his go-to pre­sen­ta­tions.

Blade baits are of­ten grouped with a style of lures known as jig­ging spoons. Jig­ging spoons are a main­stay in western reser­voirs and are es­pe­cially ef­fec­tive in cold-wa­ter sit­u­a­tions.

Jig­ging spoons and blade baits have long been thought of as a cold wa­ter pre­sen­ta­tion. The key was fall­ing wa­ter tem­per­a­tures stress bait fish, es­pe­cially the shad. A spoon or blade bait flut­ter­ing or vi­brat­ing trig­gers a reaction strike from fish con­cen­trat­ing on this vul­ner­a­ble prey. Be­cause blade baits tend to be a bet­ter choice for hor­i­zon­tal pre­sen­ta­tions ver­sus a typ­i­cal ver­ti­cal pre­sen­ta­tion used with a jig­ging spoon, an­glers like Parr have ex­tended its use through­out the year in a va­ri­ety of ap­pli­ca­tions, and for a va­ri­ety of species. In fact, in the heat of sum­mer when an­glers are chas­ing walleyes on lo­cal reser­voirs such as Cherry Creek and Chat­field with bait, Parr switches to blade baits in the mid­dle of the day when the bite slows down. By “yo-yo-ing” the bait over humps and points, he is able to add some fish to his catch dur­ing the tough­est part of the day.

I asked Parr if there is a sea­son when he doesn’t use blade baits and he said he catches fish on them year round. He also said he has caught vir­tu­ally ev­ery species of fish in Colorado on blade baits.

I asked Parr why he thought more an­glers don’t use blade baits. He said they don’t have the ap­peal to an­glers that a re­al­is­tic crankbait or scented soft bait does. There is also a bit of a learn­ing curve to fish­ing blade baits suc­cess­fully and gain­ing con­fi­dence.

I asked why, like me, he liked the John­son ThinFisher so much. Parr felt the ThinFisher had a tighter vi­bra­tion and its de­sign seemed ex­cel­lent at trig­ger­ing fish to bite. The ThinFisher is avail­able in three sizes and a va­ri­ety of col­ors. When fish­ing shad-based lakes, sil­ver with a black back is a good color choice. On reser­voirs such as Aurora, where perch tend to be the main for­age, a green and gold seems to work the best. I like to have a few sil­ver and a cou­ple va­ri­eties of gold col­ors in my tackle box. For­tu­nately, the ThinFisher is rel­a­tively in­ex­pen­sive (about $3.50 each). You will lose some in the rocks and cover, but that tends to be where the fish are. Whether you fish from a boat or shore, and what­ever species you pre­fer to chase, the ThinFisher will give you an­other trick in your bag to catch fish, es­pe­cially on some of those tough bites.

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