Welcome Aboard! Winter-time blade bait fishing is probably as old as fishing with artificial lures and there is definitely not another type of artificial lure as consistent at catching all species of fish in the frigid late fall and winter water temperatures. In fact the current Maryland tidal water largemouth record was caught last winter (2007) by Justin and Ed Riley using a blade bait on the Potomac River. Have I got your attention yet?
While fishing a blade bait (known by many as a silver buddy, which was one of the first and original makers of today’s style blade baits) SLOWwwwww, is many times the key. This retrieve works very well for the cold weather conditions but I promise however cold it is, once you feel the heavy weight of a good quality largemouth bass on the end of your blade bait your blood will immediately start to flow and the fight will be on.
The Retrieve: There are three popular retrieves when fishing a blade bait.
- First- cast and let your bait hit the bottom and then with a quick snap of your wrist vertically lift the bait about one foot off the bottom and then let your bait fall back to the bottom, continue to work your bait back to the boat using this retrieve. Many times when you proceed to snap your bait it will be very heavy and once you have snapped your wrist to set the hook it’s FISH-ON.
- Second- vertically jig your blade bait with short hops while keeping a tight line as the bait falls to the bottom. This technique requires a lot of concentration of your bait and line or you will miss a lot of bites.
- Third- Cast your blade bait and countdown to the desired depth. Once your bait has fallen to the desired depth use a steady medium speed retrieve bringing your bait back to the boat, much as you would a lipless crankbait.
Equipment: I prefer to use spinning equipment. My personal choice is the new St. Croix MOJO series spinning rod, model# MBS70MF. It is a 7 foot medium power, fast action rod. Pair it with a Team Daiwa Advantage-A 3000 series spinning reel and you are ready to go. I have been experimenting with the Gamma Edge Flourocarbon line in 10 lb. test and so far this season I have had great success without any of the problems that fluorocarbon lines are famous for.
Baits: The original silver buddy is my first choice, but many times they are not available and I have found that the Poor Boy’s Blade Bait works just as well. I must say that they are the best thing when I can’t get the original silver buddy. They are packaged with the clip, which in my opinion is critical for the action of a blade bait. I usually put the clip in the middle line eye of the bait; I never tie my line directly to my blade bait. The ½ ounce size is my standard choice but depending on the conditions current, wind and desired depth I will switch to the ¼ or ¾ ounce size bait.
Bait Tricks: For many years now I have been modifying my blade baits by holding the bait in the middle horizontally with a pair of needle nose pliers, and then putting a very slight twist in the body of the blade bait. Yes it will take practice to get the feel of the right amount of twist but it will super charge your blade bait and give it a different and very erratic action that most other blade baits will not have. Just be sure to have a good grip on your fishing rod.
Structure/Cover: There is no wrong area to fish a blade bait but I look for ledges, drop-offs and channel edges, I never pass-up a bridge pilling or dock pilling. Large rocks adjacent to deep water are a must fish area.
Now it’s time for us to all get out there and HOOK-A-BIG One!!!
Thanks & Good Fishing, Capt. Karl
Captain Karl Bunch, Owner/Guide for Karl's Bassin' Adventures is a United States Coast Guard Licensed Captain, Red Cross CPR & First Aid certified and licensed in the State of Maryland and Commercially insured. We strictly Practice Catch & Release of Largemouth & Smallmouth Bass. You can contact Karl’s Bassin’ Adventures at www.karlsbassinadventures.com or by phone, cell # (410) 459-7445.