For those who have not fished them, blade baits are an animal all of their own. My first experience with a blade bait was on Lake Erie and the results were impressive to say the least. I was fishing out of Cranberry Creek Marina near Huron, Ohio and both walleye and smallmouth bass were eager to do business with the Reef Runner Cicada.
Blade baits have been around a long time, but the Reef Runner Cicada can be credited with giving this timeless lure a face lift. It was an article published by In-Fisherman magazine that got me thinking I needed to try my hand at blade bait fishing.
Since that first introduction to the “magic” of the blade, I’ve fished these lures often and caught impressive numbers of walleye, smallmouth bass, northern pike and lake trout using them. Blade baits are fish catchers, but there is a learning curve in getting the most from these rather unusual baits.
Blade baits shine best in cold water conditions and are a great alternative to jigging.
WARM OR COLD?
Blade baits can be used to catch fish in both warm and cold water conditions, but clearly this lure shines best as a alternative to more traditional cold water presentations. Blades work when a lot of other lures simply don’t even in icy cold water.
“I think that most anglers fish blade baits too aggressively,” says Jake Romanack of Fishing 411 TV. “The vibration a blade bait produces is what triggers strikes. It’s easy to over do it with a blade bait, especially when using super lines that have near zero stretch.”
Rather than snapping the rod tip, a more subtle lift or pulling of the bait normally produces best with these lures. Blades can be effective when fished vertically and also when casted. Either way it’s best to pull just hard enough to get the blade vibrating.
FAVORITE SET UP
Bass professionals Mike Elkins (right) and Kendall Ulsh (center) are experts as getting the “magic” out of a blade bait.
Most bass pros will tell you the ideal set up for fishing a blade bait is either a medium action spinning or baitcasting combo spooled up with 10 pound test fluorocarbon line. The controlled stretch of fluorocarbon line works perfectly for dumbing down the violent vibrating action these lures are known for producing.
Unfortunately not every angler has the “touch” of a bass pro and in that case switching to a super braid with a five or six foot fluorocarbon leader is another good option.
When casting a blade bait make a long cast, let the bait sink all the way to bottom and then reel up the slack line. The instant the rod tip starts to load up from the weight of the blade bait, lift the rod to get the blade moving and vibrating. Staying in close quarters to the bottom is critical, but it is also important to keep the blade moving just fast enough that the vibration can be felt in the rod tip.
Blades are just as deadly for vertical jigging. In this case let the blade bait sink to bottom and then reel up the slack line. Using just your wrist raise the rod tip just enough to bring the blade to life.
The temptation to tip blade baits with a piece of worm or small minnow is overwhelming to some anglers. In this case, it’s best to leave well enough alone. The vibration of a blade bait is a subtle thing and adding anything to the lure can ruin that delicate action.
A better option than tipping blades with bait is to douse them in a generous coating of fishing scent such as Pro Cure’s Super Gel. This sticky stuff does an excellent job of staying put on blade baits and other hard lures, yet produces a powerful scent trail in the water.
SUMMING IT UP
Blades are one of those hard baits that don’t get much love. No doubt these lures require a learning curve, but in the hands of an angler who knows how to use them, nothing is more effective than a blade bait.