It is that time of the year, the last of the crawler harnesses have been broken down. The components have been separated to be used again next year. It’s also time for my annual look back at the spinners that put the most walleyes in the box during the 2011 walleye season.
Quite a few blades had their turn to shine, some produced big numbers of fish, others just produced big fish. This year the old adage proved to be true, “bigger is better.” It also didn’t hurt that I made a decision to run bigger blades while the spring rains were mudding up Lake Erie’s waters.
Rarely did I run anything smaller than a #6 colorado blade, the reason was simple , bigger blades would make a bigger thump in the water column. More vibration, and more of what I call, “Max Flash”. Longer blades like #5 whiptails and willows lay back against the line, and when ran up high where the water would be somewhat
cleaner produce more flash to the fish below. Part of the plan was to get bigger elsewhere too, with running big #8 indiana’s, with #7 and 8 colorado’s, as well.
D&B Fishing makes some really nice patterns and are locally produced in the Lake St. Clair area.
Their whiptail blades ROCK, like a willow blade they lay back along the axis of the line with a slight difference. As it spins, it bulges out slightly creating a bigger bubble in the water as it travels through. All this means that it makes slightly more vibration than what your traditional will do under the same circumstance.
Depending how often you check in and read Fishing Michigan during the spinner rig season, you probably have an inkling of how much I like running blue blades. A couple of years ago a guy asked if black was the new purple when it came to spinner blades and their success on Erie. I thought to myself that it may be, but neither of them
really touch the success rates of running blue blades. Last year I went to D&B and said I wanted to see a Maui Waui pattern and Darren (owner, along with his wife Kathy) nailed it. In fact so did the fish, the pattern produced more fish consistently all season long.
Northland Tackle just may have started the blade craze with their Baitfish Image holographic spinners.
Classics like Sunrise, Gold Perch and Rainbow still produce good numbers of walleyes for me year in and year out.
But, its during the mayfly hatch/bite that one blade has a special place behind my boards. Golden Shiner during
the bug bite is highly effective, that pattern with its mix of browns and gold tints drives the walleyes crazy while running in all depths throughout the column.
Several years ago I became a believer in running willow blades, and that was due to Fishlander’s Hedgehog blade. I wish I had gotten more of them before the company went out of business, but luckily another company carries on with their own lineup of serrated willow blades. What I like about Yeck Lures is that the colors really pop in the sun. Granted it wasn’t until mid-June this year when the silt in the waters had settled, but when they did these lures produced some nice fish while running over their heads and getting them to rise up and slash at the flash.
I shouldn’t really phrase this quite the way I am going to, but Big Eye Custom Lures is my “newcomer of the year”. Really it’s more to the fact that I didn’t discover this Green Bay, Wisconsin based producer until the beginning of July, maybe late June. I was looking for a specific pattern, and got to the point where I posted the question on Facebook, and Don Dumas was one of the first to respond. I ordered a dozen in Copper Oriole and three other patterns, liked them so much I ordered 4 more patterns when they were introduced a short time later. Like a week later, and here I was calling Green Bay saying, “Hey Don, it’s me again!”
A couple of years back I was working a spring show for St. Croix rods at the Bass Pro Shop at Great Lakes Crossing in Auburn Hills. While there I met C.J. Baker of Puddle Jumper Charter’s, he was booking trips (out of Brest Bay Marina) and representing Silver Streak/Wolverine Tackle. A little later I briefly met Chip Cartrwright. Then a few weeks later while at Fisherman’s Warf in Port Clinton, OH I ran into the guys again. So now whenever the guys have a booth at the MI-OH Sportfishing Expo (Monroe Co. Fairgrounds) in February I stop in to see
what the newest and bluest items they have to sell. This past Feb. I looked over the blade displays and they hit
me, the #8 indiana blades. There were only a few there, but I grabbed up six Pink Panties and six Angry Dog paint
schemes, just to try out.
I broke out these big indy’s as soon as the water temps hit 48’ and we got about a foot or two of visibility below the lake’s surface. First time out, Pink Panties produced a 6 and 8 lb fish. The week after that, one fish just below 11 lbs, and another that was over 9.5 lbs. Having already lost two PP blades, it was time for a re-order, messaged a bud who had the number, and called to get more of each pattern, plus wanted to go with a couple of metallic colors too. The picture does not do justice to the NASCAR pattern, but Doughboy came out pretty well.
As big those blades were, I wanted bigger colorado’s, also. I remembered some Tommy Harris Spider Blades that I had picked up at Frank’s Great Outdoors in November of 2010, while giving a Vexilar seminar. Went to the website, but all I found were more #6’s. So I sent off a message to Tommy who called me back, it wasn’t long before more #7’s were on the way, along with some #8. Got them a little late in the year, but perfect for trolling out by West Sister in the deeper water.
If you are like me, you are already thinking about next season. Think BIG, you will not be disappointed.