Terminator Titanium Spinnerbaits
That’s right! A spinnerbait that is made out of Titanium. You may be wondering why on earth would somebody want to make a spinnerbait out of that. Isn’t that what they make space ships and stuff out of?? That’s exactly the reason the the makers of the Terminator decided to use Titanium. It’s extremely strong, flexible and has an excellent “memory”. The term “memory” here refers to the metals ability to bounce back to it’s original shape. So a perfectly tuned Terminator Spinnerbait will always run straight no mater what you or the fish will do to it.
All reports indicate that the claims that they make as far as the bait running true out of the container are accurate. The only current drawback to this bait would be the price. It’s about double the price of your average spinnerbait. However if you have to keep replacing your spinnerbaits every so often because you, the fish or the places you fish just absolutely destroy them then the investment should be worthwhile.
You use these baits like any other spinnerbait (only with these you can throw them anywhere and they won’t get damaged). A typical retrieve for this time of year could be just a simple straight cast and retrieve, or something as complicated as a slow-roll just above some submerged weeds. Other techniques include “burning them” just under the surface so that they make a wake, combine this with an occasional stopping the retrieve so the lure “helicopters” down( giving the look of a dying shad or minnow) and the bass will just nail the living daylights out of it.
Rapala Husky Jerk
Although this lure has been around for a year or two this is one that should definitely be added to your tackle box and this time of year in the North and Northeast have one tied on at all times.
This lure comes in four sizes, from 3 1/8″ long (1/4 oz) to 5 1/2″ long (1/2oz). The most productive for Smallmouth’s being the 3 1/8″ and 4″ sizes. This is a thin narrow bait designed with no real built in action besides the standard wobble you get with a steady retrieve. The action depends entirely on the fishermen/fisherpersons using it. You have to give the bass the impression that this is a wounded baitfish. The most attractive feature about this and most other good jerkbaits is that it suspends when at rest. Meaning that when the lure is at rest it just sits there, neither rising or falling (just like a real baitfish) this bait also has built in rattles to help bass locate it.
Obviously you can use as heavy a line as you want but for clear water you want to use as light a line as you can. So far 8lb test is the lightest that’s been used here but you can probably go with 6lbs test if your very careful with your method of retrieve. Speaking of retrieving… the way to retrieve a Husky Jerk is after you cast it out give it a twitch or “jerk” then pause then twitch. You can vary this by giving your bait several twitches in a row before pausing or combining a swimming retrieve with twitching. How hard you twitch or jerk this bait depends on the strength of the line and the action of the rod you are using. When the water is still cold or when the fish are being finicky a lot of your hits will be when the lure is “suspending” or sitting still. You won’t know you have a bass on until you try to twitch it again. If they are aggressive they will try to take your arm off when they strike.
This is a relatively new bait from Florida (of all places!). It was originally made for Largemouth bass but it is also an excellent choice for Smallmouth.
The lure is made out of solid wood and will cast like you wouldn’t believe! Due to its shape it is ideally made to order for “walking the dog”. A good technique to use in addition to “walking the dog” is to combine the topwater retrieve with that of a crankbait retrieve. Cast past the spot you want to target and crank it close to where you want to go then stop the retrieve and let it rest for a few seconds or longer then start your topwater retrieve.
Although it doesn’t have a bill it will dive down to about two feet and it does have a little action when it moves through the water. It comes in a variety of colors and two sizes, 3 1/4″ and 4 1/4″. The 3 1/4″ size is a good size to use for most Smallie use.
The Original Floating Rapala!
This is perhaps one of the best Smallmouth lures ever invented! Every serious Smallie fisherperson should carry one in their tackle box whether you’re in a boat on one of the big Southern impoundment’s or floating down the New River in Virginia.
The lure comes in various sizes and colors, one of the best colors being the Gold/Black back. Sizes range from two inches to a huge seven inches!
The most popular method of retrieval is to throw it out next to your favorite piece of cover or over a shallow rocky flat and just let it sit there until the ripples fade away then twitch it. Wait until the ripples fade away again and twitch it again. Keep doing this until a Smallie nails it or it gets to your boat. You can also use it as a “jerkbait ” by giving it a good hard twitch or jerk which will pull the lure down about 12 to 18 inches. The bass will usually hit it when it’s under the surface usually just as it starts to rise. You should always use as light a line as you possible can to give the lure a more natural presentation.
This lure also has some built in action and can be used as a crankbait. It will dive to about two feet and has a natural wobbly type action. A lot of hits will come as an angler is retrieving the Rapala back to the boat (not paying attention of course) and the bass will hit and usually get off.
The Rapala Shad Rap!
This lure really needs no introduction since it set a new standard in the lure industry when it was first introduced. For those of you who are not familiar with it, the Shad Rap most closely imitates the natural action of a shad, minnow or other small baitfish. Plus the profile of the lure also looks completely natural.
The most popular size is the #7 which is 2-3/4″ long, the smallest size is 2″ and the largest is 3-1/2″ long. It comes in 8 different colors and at least one of them should match the baitfish in your area. The most productive colors are the Shad and Perch colors (since these represent the most prevalent type of baitfish available).
These lures can be used in any body of water from small streams to large reservoirs. You can just cast into the current of a stream or river and retrieve the lure with the current around rocks and logs or use a stop and go retrieve over submerged weed beds in your favorite lake or pond.
One way to make your Shad Raps more effective is to change the hooks to one size larger. This will cause them to suspend or rise slowly when the lure is stopped. Using a stop and go retrieve with larger hooks is an especially deadly method when the water is cold and the Smallies are a bit sluggish.
Neal’s Handcrafted Lures
These lures are made by Neal’s Handcrafted Lures out of Virginia. The quality and craftsmanship of these lures is excellent. The lures pictured above are 1/8 oz. hair jigs, a 1/8 oz. spinner bait and two 1/4 oz. spinnerbaits.
In field testing I removed the weed guard from the black/brown jig as there were no weeds in the area and prefer not to have them on my jigs. In testing them on a spinning rod with 8 lb. test the jigs cast well, the paint isn’t susceptible to immediate chipping when worked over rocks and catch Smallies as well. The best retrieve for this time of year (water temperature was 46 degrees) was to work the jig in 9 – 11 feet of water (this was at the edge of a drop off) and after the jig hit the bottom pop the jig up about two feet and let it slowly descend. The bass would hit the jig as it was falling. Another method that is good is to swim the jig along the bottom. Keep the jig about a foot or two above the bottom or at least just touching the bottom and slowly and steadily retrieve the jig back to you.
The spinnerbaits performed excellently as well. The baits ran true without any pre fishing adjustments and the skirts pulsated freely behind the blades without getting tangled. These can be fished like any standard spinner bait but with the color combination of the 1/8 oz. pictured above you may want to work them in the same manner as I described the jigs. The results may just save the day.
Phil’s World Class Hair Jigs!
Phil’s World Class Hair Jigs are definitely the cream of the crop when it comes to not just hair jigs but all jigs. The workmanship, detail and just plain hard work that goes into them makes them perhaps the best hair jigs in the country.
The action that these jigs have give it a very life like presentation when used in a variety of retrieves. The most popular method of retrieve for these jigs is a swimming retrieve. After you cast out your jig you let sink down to the appropriate depth and reel the jig in similar to a crankbait only a lot slower. Just enough speed to keep it off the bottom. While retrieving you can also sweep the rod tip up or shake it a little to give it more action.
Another method is the stop and go method while dragging it along the bottom. Slowly drag the jig across the bottom pausing occasionally for a few seconds then continuing. This works better if the bottom is fairly smooth or on small gravel. If you try this with a lot of snags and a very irregular bottom you should carry a good supply with you.
The retrieve that has worked the best recently has been hopping it along the bottom. In this situation the bottom was broken up with all sizes of rocks from small gravel to car size boulders. After your jig hits the bottom jerk your rod tip up so that your jig hops up about a foot or two and keep tension on the line. This will cause the jig to fall towards you and when they hit you will usually be able to either see your line move or feel them hit depending on how aggressive they are.
Phil’s jigs come in 1/8, 1/4 and 3/8 oz. sizes.
Jensen Jigs Bou-Tubes!
The “Bou-Tube” combines a tube with a marabou tail and the results are fantastic! Already well renowned for their jigs by In-Fisherman Magazine they have broken new ground with this innovative design.
As for their action, imagine the flowing and flaring tail of the marabou jig and combining that with the versatility of a tube jig. The result is a much more lifelike action than that of just plain plastic tentacles. You can hop them like a tube bait or use a combination of swim/jerk for a unique erratic retrieve, similar to a jerk bait. With the head of the jig being somewhat protected by the tube it’s not as susceptible to hang ups as regular jigs are.
Here’s a testimonial to their effectiveness:
“I was guiding on a clear lake in Florence County. The water temp was dropping at night and your tube jigs worked very well. They were hitting my larger tube jigs and skirted grubs short. The crayfish patterns were effective on this clear water lake.”
“In fact I had to give one of the jigs to one of my clients (very good ones, they fish with me regularly) After he was catching fish I could not take it from him. I let them know where they came from.”
Mike Mladnick WI. outdoor writer and guide
And a tip from Mr. Jig who started using them (or a similar version) for some time now:
” I often fish it glided just over the bottom in spring as you would use a hair jig.
It is of course highly effective on the drop or lift dropped -“popped”, as the season progresses.”