For the past several mornings I scheduled myself just a few moments to nab a large, hard
fighting fish on my light spinning gear. Time has been tight, and besides, the outside
temperature soon hits 90 degrees. However, success has been 100%, as I caught and
released about 75 pounds in only 7 fish!
My technique is simple, but most unusual. I quietly approach a stream hole just below the
spillway of a small, popular lake. It is nice and dark under the shadows of the nearby
bridge, but, nevertheless, my initial cast with a tiny Wade's Blade and maggot is directed
into the shallower lower pool. Usually an instant hookup occurs, and I have me a beautiful
3 to 4" bluegill! Wait! Didn't I mention 75 POUNDS of fish flesh??!! Well, hold on, so far I've
just acquired BAIT!
Now, I know the 6-foot deep, dark bridge hole contains big channel cats and largemouth
bass that found their way over the upper lake's dam during recent rains and high water.
So, I leave the floppin' little 'gill lip-pinned by the Wade Blade's small hook, then attach a
little double hook (or #8 treble, but these sometimes cause tangles and prove difficult to
remove for quick release). I fasten the size 6, 8, or 10 double hook through the very top
skin of the upper back or tail section of my bluegill. The leader's end loop is then inserted
into the snap that originally secured the Wade's Blade (a snap isn't normally suggested
for the tiny blade, but bluegills are rarely discouraged from hitting, and this set-up allows
instant, no tackle changing, big fish angling, once bait is obtained!).
After using a different type of "blade" to slice bleeding cuts into the 'gill's flanks, I GENTLY
heave upstream (not really as hard as it sounds with a light but firm spinning rod -just
remember "gently"!) into the deep, hopefully big fish laden, bridge pool. A bluegill lands
with a unique, noisy "splat!" that really wakes up big bass and catfish; don't be surprised
if a strike comes immediately on touchdown! Also with practice and a good casting angle,
a flat sided panfish SKIPS neatly to create extra special attraction. Hungry gamefish
KNOW when a delicate morsel is experiencing swimming distress!
Since I deem this a light tackle approach (I use 5# to 8# Power Pro line and a 5' graphite
rod), the bluegill is unweighted (unless you count the Wade's Blade hanging from its
mouth) and spirals downward slowly. At first, of course, this lively bait can be a bit too
active, but blood loss soon yields a more subdued, sinking, twitching action that big
gamefish absolutely LOVE! Then I just jig the lure back slowly; once slack shows bottom
is reached, it's allowed to rest for several seconds, retrieved at a snail's pace for 2 feet,
sink and rest again, etc. I look at it as jigging with the colorful Wade's Blade, but with
EXTRA BIG bait tipping!!
The take (except for heart stopping surface explosions!) by bass or cat (yet don't rule out
huge brown trout, striped bass, or muskies!) is usually just a slow but firm swim-away.
Please control the adrenaline rush and Do Not rear back on your rod. Simply start
cranking - the small sharp double hook, and sometimes the Wade's Blade aberdeen hook
(note to Greg: please build a few with sturdy # 8 salmon egg hooks for this method!!) will
easily penetrate just from the sheer pressure of a strong fish swimming. After that, hope
you have a reliable, durable drag set near perfectly! (And are wearing thick socks, since
you will be standing on "pins and needles" for the next 15 minutes!).
Now, all my fish this week have been hefty channel catfish, unless, of course, you also
count the initial bluegills that the Blade has conquered for me! And, so far, I've caught one
thick, hard fightin' cat for every bluegill taken; ya can't beat that bait efficiency!! Yet, we
must remember that the new world record largemouth bass was also caught recently on
a live bluegill from a lake in Japan. So DOUBLE UP on your fishing fun and enjoy both
panfishing and gamefishing on one lure! Heck, if ya manage to bring the bass record back
to the states, Greg Wade may give ya a free Blade!!