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Dragging Bass
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It was just a matter of time before I pop the question:

"What do I need to know about Blade Baits?"

As I said in another post, I have never caught anything on them, and at the moment, I do not even own one.

Brands, rod/reel setups, presentations???

I have heard them mentioned way too much in the last couple weeks not to make them an important part of my arsenal!
 

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What, me worry?
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Funny Noel..... I was lamenting to myself Sunday when I was at my son's hockey game that if I could have been fishing with you on Erie, I was going to be using a blade bait. I always have one tied on this time of year.

I prefer a 6.5 foot M/H baitcasting rod with 12 - 14 lb test line. This setup is a good all-around setup whether you're vertical jigging the lure or casting it. Most guys I talked to prefer the rod to be 6 - 6.5 feet and a bit on the heavy side. Usually too long of a rod will fatigue you after a while. Also, too heavy of a line will retard the action of the bait.

As for the bait, I like the BPS version of the lure but really have caught fish on all the varying makes. White with gold sides has been my best bait for smallies. Largies seem to prefer a silver bait.

Most times I fish them pretty much like a jigging spoon but often I will cast them out over structure and yo-yo it back.
 

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I don't do it too often but if my hand was better I would do it this year. Two of the best baits I've used are the Hopkins shorty and the BPS Laser blade.....ok the Silver buddy is good too.
 

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the Dude's setup and choices are so remarkably like mine!

Noel: do a search on here, there have been several threads before detailing a lot about blade baiting......


the best point I will add for you is this: look at what a blade does and when it does it!.....by this I mean, it is designed to vibrate and cause water disturbance when it is moving FORWARD!!

as such, it's attraction to the fish is when it is jigged UP, NOT when fluttering down like a STRATA type spoon....

this is a very very important distinction: Blades attract fish on their way UP in the column.....when dropping down, they have little or no positive action, so you almost have to exaggerate the upwards motion with this type of lure......

Strata type hammered spoons attract the fish as they flutter down......the less you do to them as they fall from the lift , the better they work....violently hopping the lift is not necessary in this case....it is the fall, that does it......almost like a lead dropbait! LOL.....

but again, blades push and move water as they surge ahead...as such, they attract fish fish that are more willing to jump up and grab it, as opposed to the ones that can sit and wait on a flutterer..........

you have to be ready to set the hook in a different way with blades, as the fish will often hit it right BEFORE it drops again, making for an entirely different feeling.....whereas , with fluttering spoons, you look for a subtlety as it drops back to the bottom, requiring a timing change that you must notice....as you achieve a rhythm with a Strata, you get a feel for how long it takes to hit bottom and when that changes, you SET!!! kind of like when dropping a senko through laydown trees on free fall.....


but on that blade, look for a sharp hit! there is NOTHING subtle about a blade hit, even in very cold water......you must be ready to "double" lift your rod, as I said, the hit might come soon after the lift and then you may have to lift right away and higher to get the set......
 

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Noel,

In my opinion, blade baiting is the most potent and effective deep water presentation, especially while fishing for smallies in clear, cold and rocky lakes.

There are two vital things that will determine your success with blade baits....Quality Electronics and Sensitive Tackle. I use 6'6"med/hvy casting gear spooled with 12/50 Power Pro braid. The braid is instrumental to feel a fish "breathe" on your lure when fishing between 25' - 55' deep. Also, because it has virtually no stretch, it's a major asset when setting the hook at that depth. You can also use Fluorocarbon but the braid behaves much better, especially in cold weather.

As far as baits are concerned, one of my favorites is the BPS Lazer Blade, followed by the Heddon Sonar and the Silver Buddy ranging between 1/2oz. - 3/4oz.

Blade baiting is primarily a clear water application. With that in mind, it's pretty easy to choose colors, I use silver and gold patterns which cover all my needs.

Good luck........


Ronnie
 

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Wishin' I'm Fishin'
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JohnG,
Thank you very much for the great insight to your experiences using both those bait types.
 

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I have been catching a lot of smallies on a 1/4 and 1/2 oz silver buddy. The fish haven't seem to prefer one weight over the other though gold has been working better for me lately. I fish them on a medium action spinning rod with 8 lb test. After casting I immediatly reel up any slack so that the bait swims toward me on a tight line until I feel it hit bottom. I then lower the rod tip and reel in any slack and raise the rod letting the bait swim toward me with the rod tip high until the bait hits bottom. Repeat. Sometimes "bottom" will be a fish the feel of the bite is similar. The baits are small and fish will have the whole bait in their mouths so you have time to set the hook so don't worry about getting caught with your tip up. If you should miss a fish continue, most times it or another fish will hit a second or third time. When water is below 45 degrees you have the best chance to have a hundred plus day of smallie fishing......if you can find where they winter. The beauty is once you find these places, you can go back year after year and repeat.....
 

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There is probably no better time to catch and release than now. The water is the same temp as the air and the bass expend half the effort that they will during the warmer months. I would be surprised if there was any delayed mortality and certainly no way near 10 %
I am an avid Fly fisherman and the concern that you expressed is a valid one for trout. A fly fisherman can do harm to trout population by catching and releasing a large number of trout during a strong hatch. Fortunately bass is a hardy self sustaining species.
 

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Pitchin' Fool
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I have caught nada, zero and zilch on blades. I got frustrated when most of the time Id make a long cast with a silver buddy, the rear hook would catch the front hook.

Am I doing something wrong here, gents?.....

Joe
 

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Dragging Bass
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Joe reminded me off something...

Are there any modifications than need to be made to the bait? Such as split rings and/or ball bearing swivels at the line tie, split rings on the hooks or just plain changing of the hooks?

I have always had a hard time believing that it is a good idea to tie directly to the holes on the blade. Seems like a "line wearer" to me.
 

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Silver Buddys come with a snap that you need to use. You don't need a ball bearing swival as you won't get line twist and the extra lenghth will increase the chance it will foul. The hooks that come with them are open shank treble hooks that break after a while with use. They are designed so that a split ring is not needed. I would imagine that a split ring would make it so the hooks tangled together and would effect its action. I haven't seen other manufacturers other than mustad that make the open shank hook.
 

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Joe: you need to spend a day fishing them with ME! LOL...seriously, we should do an outing.....


and NOEL:

I have made a practice of putting a small split ring in the middle hole and then tying direct to the split ring....you will get far fewer foul ups that way......

the combination of the split ring and heavier line lessens foul ups.....
 

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I came across a great article, written by Ken Nance. Ken is one of those 'tinkerer's"....always changing and modifying his lures (or making his own). Ken's articles can be found on his web page, www.crankenstein.net Good read:


Metal and Rock, by Ken Nance.

Probably one of the most under-utilized baits in modern bass fishing is a bait that has been around for years. The bait I am talking about is the Silverbuddy. I have used Silverbuddys for as long as I can remember. I have won several tournaments on the bait and employ it about every time I hit the water. What I want to discuss with you in the article is how to modify the bait and how to fish it. I have had the privilege of knowing Kendall Banks, owner and operator of Silverbuddy Inc., for several years. I have toured the Silverbuddy factory on many occasions and am lucky enough to be sponsored by them. A person would be hard pressed to find a finer group of people anywhere to spend an afternoon visiting with. Now to the good stuff! Let’s get started. First off you have to overcome the fear of losing the bait. When a fish strikes a Silverbuddy they usually inhale the bait like they do when they strike a crankbait. Razor sharp hooks and a rod with a good parabolic action will help you lose less fish while using a Silverbuddy or a crankbait for that matter. When you set the hook on a Silverbuddy fish just use a sweeping action of the rod as you would with a crankbait. If it is not a fish and you become hung up, simply shake the bait and it will usually come loose. I rarely lose a Silverbuddy.


Modifications

The first thing we will discuss is how I modify a Silverbuddy. When I get my baits the first thing I do is to cut the hooks off. I install split rings and add Mustad round bend hooks (fig 1). Although you can certainly use a Silverbuddy directly out of the package, I like to modify mine. Some other modifications you can make to a Silverbuddy is to put 2/0 Gamakatsu hooks on them (fig 2). I like to flip and pitch this bait as a person would a jig-n-pig. I have found that when presented with a body of water that is experiencing a lot of fishing pressure, I can switch to this bait and catch fish that other angles have left behind. This is a technique and a bait that these fish have rarely been presented with. You can flip the bait into the center of a brush pile and hop it up off the bottom several inches causing it to put off a lot of vibration and flash. I have some baits that Kendall is currently having some of us pro-staffers field test that are chartreuse, pink, and black. I have had quite a bit of success using these baits in muddy water. Again, you can flip or pitch this bait into a brush pile and vertically jig it up and down putting off a lot of vibration enticing the fish to strike.

(fig 1) (fig 2)


Another trick I like to do with a Silverbuddy is to take a pair of needle nose pliers and bend the very tip of the bait (fig 3). It causes the bait to spiral downward and gives it a more subtle vibration. I like to present a bait like this when I am fishing creek mouths in river systems. It seems to me that Sauger and Walleye really key in on the vibration of these baits and bending the tail of the lure deadens the vibration that in turn I feel helps me target Bass more effectively. An additional modification I like to make to my Silverbuddies is to add a feathered treble to the bait (fig 4). This adds more flash and visual appeal to the bait and additionally the feathered treble hook is an excellent way to add Kick-n-Bass Anise Shad to the bait.


(fig 3) (fig 4)


Fishing a Silverbuddy

When fishing a Silverbuddy the possibilities are countless. Silverbuddy states their baits catch anything that swims and its true. I have caught everything from Smallmouth to Carp on this bait. What I will do in this part of the article is narrow down how I fish Silverbuddies into 5 categories. The 5 different categories are, fishing around rock, flipping, vertical presentation, cast and drag, and fishing the bait in schooling fish. I will discuss each of these topics individually.



Metal and rock

Fishing a Silverbuddy around rock is one of my favorite ways to fish the bait. The sound of the metal clicking off the rock attracts Bass to the bait. The metal construction of a Silverbuddy provides many angles built into the bait that offer a multitude of different sounds the bait can make. The hooks, lead, and metal body of the Silverbuddy all make different sounds when they are bounced off rock. I like to work the bait down long sloping points targeting precise depth ranges until I find the fish. Once you find the depth range the fish are located in you can specifically target the fish in that range. Bluff walls are another excellent place to fish Silverbuddies. You can parallel a bluff wall and allow the bait to fall along the wall clanging and banging off it. When you hit a ledge on the bluff wall, drag it around, and then let it fall again. Every form of rock will make a different sound when a Silverbuddy is bounced around it. Most people consider this bait to be primarily presented strictly as a vertical type bait and the vertical presentation capabilities of this bait are just the tip of the iceberg.


Flipping a Silverbuddy

Flipping and pitching a Silverbuddy is an awesome technique that not many people employ in today’s tournament scene. If you will stop and think about it, flipping and pitching a Silverbuddy is an awesome technique when an angler is presented with muddy water. My personal favorite is a chartreuse Silverbuddy with (2) Gamakatsu weedless hooks. I usually like to use 20-pound P-line or Power Pro braided line when I am pitching and flipping a Silverbuddy, as you will need a heavy line to move the fish out of the cover when it takes the bait. I flip a Silverbuddy just like I would a jig-n-pig or a soft plastic bait. The main difference here is the amount of Vibration an angler can present to the fish in a muddy water situation. When I flip a jig into a brush pile and shake it I am counting on the vibration of the jigs’ rattles to attract the fish. Using the same theory you can pitch a Silverbuddy into a brush pile and give it short 4 to 6” hops off the bottom causing the bait to put off an enormous amount of vibration. If you are fishing a tournament where the fish has been heavily pressured then this may just be the edge you need to help put that extra few fish in the boat. One additional modification I make with this presentation is to tie a piece of cotton to the hook of the front of the bait. I actually wrap the cotton as if I were tying a fly. This allows me to ass Kick-n-Bass Anise Shad or Kick-n-Bass Garlic to the bait to make the bait even more appetizing to the fish.


Vertical Jigging

Vertical jigging a Silverbuddy is probably one of the most common ways today’s anglers fish a Silverbuddy. This can be another excellent technique when you need to put the bait in front of some already located fish for an extended period of time. Good electronics like a Garmin 240 Fishfinder will aid you in your vertical presentation to the fish. There are a few tips one can do to be more successful when vertical jigging a Silverbuddy. Once you find a school of fish, lets say on a drop or on a roadbed in deep water (15 to 25’ deep) you can throw out a Crankenstein Stealth Buoy to mark exactly where the fish are. I usually then turn off my electronics and rely on the Stealth Buoy to help me maintain boat position. Once you are in position let the bait free fall to the bottom on a slack line. In time you will become familiar with the fall rates of the different weighted Silverbuddies and will know about when the bait should reach the bottom. As the bait falls it is extremely important to watch your line to detect a strike as the bait falls. This is when being familiar with the fall rates of the bait will aid you in detecting a strike. If, for example, you are using a ½ ounce Silverbuddy in 20 feet of water, the Silverbuddy should hit the bottom in about 10 to 15 seconds. If the bait hits the bottom in 5 seconds then you need to engage the reel and do a sweeping hook set as a fish has probably inhaled it. Once the bait makes it to the bottom you need to see what kind of presentation the fish want. I start off first with little hops off the bottom always allowing the bait to fall on a slack line. My initial hops may only be 2 to 4 inches off the bottom. If the fish don’t seem to be interested in this approach then I will try some more aggressive vertical jigging. If I still can’t get the fish to feed on the bait then I will literally swim the bait in small circles counting on the shiny metal to become the attractant. I have found that swimming a Silverbuddy is another excellent technique to use when the fish are heavily pressured or affected by weather. Finally if I can’t get the fish to eat the bait in any of the afore mentioned tactics I will pick the bait up off the bottom and let is suspend about a foot off the bottom. I will vibrate the bait and kill it, then swim it, then vibrate it again. Usually by now I have determined the presentation the fish want.


Casting a Silverbuddy

Casting a Silverbuddy is another common way fisherman utilize a Silverbuddy on a frequent basis. You can actually throw the bait as you would a vibrating lipless crankbait, or you can cast and drag the bait, which is my personal favorite next to flipping the bait. What I like to do is make a long cast, parallel to a drop or break line and drag the bait back to the boat only allowing the bait to leave the bottom less than a foot. Other anglers using Carolina Rigs and other deep probing techniques may have fished this same area and this presentation is yet another way to offer the fish something different. I usually use spinning tackle during this scenario, as I want to feel what the bait is doing. I want to feel the bait slide in next to a stump or bump into some rocks. When I feel the bait next to an obstruction I will pop the bait away from the structure trying to draw a reaction strike from the fish. The cast and drag technique works best on peat gravel bottoms or other small gravel bottom contents. This is really a very simple technique and the best tip I can give you in this scenario is to be patient when you get the bait hung up. When you do hang the bait up go to the bait with your trolling motor, get on the other side of the obstruction the bait is hung up in and shake it loose. As soon as you shake it loose allow the bait to fall back to the bottom and vertical jig it. You will be amazed at how many times a fish will inhale the bait that has been attracted to it due to the commotion of the bait being hung up.


Jump Fishing

Jump fishing with a Silverbuddy is not a tactic that I hear of a lot of people doing. I would much rather use a Silverbuddy when fishing for schooling fish for several reasons. The slender design of the bait allows me to cast the bait like a bullet and present the bait with pinpoint accuracy, which is paramount when fishing for schooling fish. Most people swim a large hair jig or throw a rattling lipless crankbait into a school of actively feeding fish and crank it back in. While this tactic will work I feel that employing a Silverbuddy is by far a better technique to catch these fish. I like to target these fish with a swimming yo-yo technique. I allow the bait to sink a few feet below the school if they are actively feeding on the surface. I feel that fishing under the school presents the bait to the largest fish in the school and cuts down on the fish slashing at the bait. I also feel that when fishing under a school, when you hook a fish you are less likely to spook the school due to most of the school being above the hooked fish and not being startled by the fish you have hooked.

I hope that you find this article informative and that it aids you in catching fish on a Silverbuddy. These baits are an integral part of my fishing arsenal and I use one about every time I am on the water. You can order Silverbuddies on-line at www.silverbuddy.com or click on the companies’ link under my sponsor section of crankenstein.net. I want to thank you for visiting my site and hope you found it enjoyable. Tight lines, Ken Nance.
 

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Seth: that is an excellent article, thank you for re-printing it on here.....

a couple of points:

first: the bass pro shops version comes with the hooks already attached to split rings, making it easier to change them,,,,,you don't have to destroy the original hooks if you replace them

their version is extemely sharp out of the package, but after a day of use, I will then put a Gammy on at least the back hook...

second: here is a true sponsor talking, with this quote:

"If it is not a fish and you become hung up, simply shake the bait and it will usually come loose. I rarely lose a Silverbuddy. "

that is just a great one!!!

blade baits will hang onto almost anything, and often with distrastrous results......you will commonly hang up on old fishing line, which if braided, is another way to lose your bait.....order plenty of them and have plenty on hand.......don't get me wrong: I can often go a whole day on only one or two, but then you might be on a water or spot where you can just lose 4 in a heartbeat......
 

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In the early Spring Silver Buddies rule the T scene here in NH but man you can lose a ton of them in no time at all. I always change out the stock hooks to gammies of triple grips.
 

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Exactly Phil! anyone fishing them seriously will go through many of them, regardless of the brand.....
 

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Seth: that is an excellent article, thank you for re-printing it on here.....

a couple of points:

first: the bass pro shops version comes with the hooks already attached to split rings, making it easier to change them,,,,,you don't have to destroy the original hooks if you replace them

their version is extemely sharp out of the package, but after a day of use, I will then put a Gammy on at least the back hook...

second: here is a true sponsor talking, with this quote:

"If it is not a fish and you become hung up, simply shake the bait and it will usually come loose. I rarely lose a Silverbuddy. "

that is just a great one!!!

blade baits will hang onto almost anything, and often with distrastrous results......you will commonly hang up on old fishing line, which if braided, is another way to lose your bait.....order plenty of them and have plenty on hand.......don't get me wrong: I can often go a whole day on only one or two, but then you might be on a water or spot where you can just lose 4 in a heartbeat......
Hey Guys, I have been out of the tournament field for several years do to a severe back injury. I am gradually getting back into it. I was browsing the net looking for my writings when I found this article here. Your response is a very valid response and looking back I should have added more information to the article before publishing it. If I could re-write that section I would write, :When you perform a sweeping hook set resulting in becoming hung up rather than attached to a fish, shake the bait from several angles on a slack line as to not drive the hooks into what the bait is hung up on. Allow the weight of the lure to help you free it. If I cannot free the bait with boat position I will send down my lure knocker that has chains attached to it on commercial grade twine. If I can't free it then I will wrap the twine around one of my boats tie off's and use the trolling motor to straighten out the hook. With employing these tactics I rarely lose a Silverbuddy."

I hope that helps clear up my lack of giving out all of the information as I should have. Tight lines, Ken.
 

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Ha, Noel. I was trying to figure out why you were asking about blade baits. You are who I would go to with questions. Then I saw the date . . .
 
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