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Livebait Rigging with Spinners, There’s Differences By Gary Howey

  Livebait rigging, bottom bouncers and spinners is effective bait anytime of the year and does not take long for an angler to learn and to master them. 

  It is one of those rigs that pretty much fish themselves, where all you need to do is to lower the rig down  to the bottom, put the rod in the rod holder and wait for the rod to bend, indicating you have a fish on.

  Bottom bouncing with spinners or other live bait rigs is very simple.

  The bouncer is an inverted “L” shaped piece of bent-wire with a weight attached about halfway down the longer of the two wires.

  This weight on the rig allows the bouncer and spinner to get down on or just off the bottom, where the fish are located and if used correctly will stand up and work its way through all the rocks and snags, with the spinner following close behind.  The spinner creates a vibration and the flash, which attracts the fish as it, works up off the bottom through the structure, the rock and rubble, areas where the fish will be holding.

  Where the two wires twist, forming a circle, is where you attach the snap tied to your line, there is also a snap on the shorter top wire, which is where your spinner attaches.

  The key to using this set up correctly is to keep a tight line, fishing vertically, allowing the rig to stand up and to work its way along the bottom, with the longer weighted bottom wire keeping the spinner up above many of the snags. If you are not fishing vertically and have too much line out, the bouncer will drag and more than likely become snagged.

  I found that when fishing bottom bouncer in the Glacial Lakes , Missouri River reservoirs,  Lewis & Clark Lake, Lake Francis Case, Lake Sharpe and Lake Oahe, that the bottom bouncers most often used are those in the one to two ounce range.  There are heavier ones, but I have never had to use them in the depths of the Glacial Lakes of South Dakota, Minnesota, the reservoirs and the rivers that I fish.

  A good general rule to follow for using bottom bouncers when trolled from speeds of one to two miles per hour is to use a one-ounce bottom bouncer when fishing shallower depths, those from ten to fifteen-foot deep.  If you fish water that is fifteen to twenty-five foot in depth, you will want to go with a one and a half ounce bouncer and when fishing deeper than that, to go with a larger, a two-ounce size bottom bouncer.

    Another thing I learned when fishing bottom bouncers is that its stiff wire helps me to feel the

bottom changes, where it goes from soft or hard bottom to rocks or other structure as it works its way into and through it, I can feel the vibration or change the bouncer  through my rod.

  Now that we have a good idea as to what a bottom bouncer is, let’s talk about spinner blades and spinner rigs.

  Spinner blades come in numerous shapes and sizes with each style of blades performing differently under different fishing conditions.

  You will find most metal blades stamped from brass; those plated or have a painted finish one the top while others are Mylar plastic.

  Their flashy side and vibration of a spinner helps draw the fish in, and once a fish moves up and directly behind it , closing in on your bait, the flash and vibration become less of an attraction as the fish has seen and zeroed onto the bait, the hook and the its movement.

  Which spinner blade you use has a lot to do with where you are fishing, the clarity of the water, how deep you will be fishing and the speed you drift or troll.

  Some spinner rigs, those rigged with the smaller metal blades will not work well or spin when fishing at slower speeds,  less than one mile per hour. The smaller blades like many of the other blades work best when trolled at around one and a half miles per hour and faster.

  Each spinner rig is somewhat different depending on its size, the style of the blade, their color, the way they are painted, the different size beads, as well as the number of beads used on the rig and their different colors. This along with the line test used on the spinner rig, how many hooks are on the rig,  all may making a big difference from one day to the next  when it comes to catching fish.

  The attractor on spinner rigs is the blade, which performs best when fished at a certain speeds and depth.

  Spinner lengths may vary depending on how clear the water you fish,  running from about forty-eight inches long to seventy-two inches long, as anglers fishing clearer water prefer the longer snells.

   There is a lot of discussion out there when it comes to blade or bait color, I believe the best color to use is generally the color of the spinner or bait you use the most.  That color of spinner or bait is on your line and in the water the most, it is a bait you have used to catch fish, unlike many of those other colored spinners and baits you have in your tackle bag or tackle box.

  As I have mentioned before, if I have a choice between a solid color spinner or bait and a multi colored spinner such as the Firetiger, I am going to go with Firetiger. Firetiger has numerous colors on the blade not just one and any one of those colors might be the color that the walleyes want that day. 

  By using a multi-colored spinners or bait, you have it in the water longer and do not have to waste time attaching and retying baits.

   Listed below are several spinner blade variations available to the angler, information I have learned over the years about the spinners and some I have used when fishing different bodies of water, water of different clarities and other fishing situations.

Smile Blade Spinners

  Unlike the metal spinners, Mack’s Lure Smile Blade spinners are not metal, but constructed from a Mylar plastic allowing the angler to change the Smile Blade action by simply squeezing or flattening the blade.

  If you want to make the Smile Blade Spinner rotate slower, flatten the blade and to have it rotate faster, all you need to do is to pinch the blade down.

  This blade works at all speeds and can be trolled or drifted down to one-quarter mile per hour, as the these blades spin at much slower speeds than the metal blades.

  Where this blade really stands out is when fish are not aggressive, how you present the bait where the spinner still has action and catches those non-aggressive fish.

  These blades are available in four patterns, thirty-six colors, available in six sizes, allowing the angler to fish the Smile Blade spinners in all fishing conditions baited with minnows, night crawlers and leeches.

  They come in two leader lengths, the longer seventy -two inch leader, tied with either twelve and fourteen-pound test, longer leaders work well when fishing clearer water conditions where you want your bait farther away from your bottom bouncer and when and if fishing conditions change your leader  length can be shortened. [Read more…]

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Bottom Bouncing Slow Death Rigs On Francis Case By Gary Howey

 As we pulled into the parking lot on Tuesday, the second day of our fishing trip on Lake Francis Case, there were sixteen rigs inline waiting to launch their boats, my first thoughts were, Wow doesn’t anyone work anymore!”

  When the bite is on, news travels fast and the bite was definitely on with boats launching out of Platte Creek in the Dock 44 area.

  As I mentioned in the beginning of this column, it was our second day on the water, where we’d be filming with professional angler and Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame inductee, Ted Takasaki, Sioux Falls, S.D.
  Larry Myhre, Sioux City, IA., camera operator Bill, Miller, Elgin, NE.  and I had driven up on Monday in heavy wind and intermittent rain showers, and it looked like the bite would surely be off because of the front coming through and we’d have to pound the water late into the first day to find some fish.

  Ted, who arrived mid afternoon had waited out the storms, which took roofs off several buildings in Armour, S.D. and dropped hail east of Sioux Falls. He’s been busy as he just returned from fishing the National Walleye Tour on Lake Sakakawea where he finished in 5th Place.

  We launched Ted’s Lund 219 Pro V mid afternoon, heading out of the bay, expecting to having to fight the wind, when it  calmed down, making for a perfect walleye chop and a nice smooth ride to where we would be fishing.

  This was the first day of our two-day trip and with all the fronts that had gone through, I didn’t know what to expect as cold fronts generally shut the fish off.

  When we arrived at the first spot we’d planned to fish, we were greeted by several boats working the point, with the majority of them pulling plugs.

  Because we were filming, which seems to attract a crowd, Ted maneuvered the boat to an area that was less crowded?

  On this trip, we’d be using bottom bouncers and spinners. Ted uses the Smile spinner blade Slow Death rigs, which proved to be deadly on walleye. The Slow Death hook is off set causing the bait to spin with a corkscrew action with the blade’s extra wiggle gives off more vibration. If you’re using the rig with crawlers, you want to insert the barb of the hook as close to the top of the crawlers head and thread it up past the hooks eye, the pinch off all bur 5 or 6″ of the worm. The vibration from the blade and the action of the hook along with the scent being dispersed from the crawler seemed to draw fish to the bait. [Read more…]