January 24, 2012
Do You Overlook Blade Baits?
By Joe Cermele
I'm working on a story that requires me to interview a couple muskie guides from around the country. In my experience, you can always count on these guys to peg one of three lures as their favorite; bucktail, jerkbait, or soft-plastic like the Bull Dawg. But Wisconsin guide Bruce Shumway threw me a curve ball, citing the Fuzzy Duzzit (below) as one of his go-to baits for giant muskies. The Fuzzy is nothing more than a huge blade bait that Shumway jigs over weed beds and rock piles. I was surprised to hear that this lure was one of his top producers, not because I don't believe it, but because I'm of the opinion that blade baits are largely overlooked these days. In 7 years of interviewing guides, Shumway was the first to recommend a blade.
I remember having a Cicada blade bait in my tackle box when I was a little kid. I think my grandfather bought it for me, though I don't recall using it very much. I'm sure I lost it to a snag at some point, and I never picked up another one. In fact, it wasn't until just last year that I decided blade baits needed to be staples in my arsenal.
I was fishing on Lake Erie with guide Frank Campbell for smallmouth, and we had every tube, creature, crankbait, and spinnerbait on that boat. This was early spring, and in the cold water the bite was slow. It didn't take Frank long to give his old stand-by, the Heddon Sonar, a shot at a shallow, rocky area. As we drifted along, he just vertically jigged the blade, and the smallmouth and walleyes started climbing all over it like it was the first meal they'd had in months.
Since then, I always have a Sonar in my smallmouth box, and more than a few times it has saved the day when the local rivers got dirty. What I've also found with blade baits is that they seem to catch variety. As an example, there's a hole on the Delaware River I've git hundreds of times, and all it ever produced was smallmouth. Last summer I was fishing it with a Sonar when the water was dirty, and pulled 4 smallmouths, 2 walleyes, a crappie, a catfish, and a small rainbow trout. Perhaps blades get no fanfare anymore, but do you still use them?