Easily Modify Metal Baits to Catch More Fish

Daniel C. Nielsen   Tuesday, July 25, 2006 12:35 AM

Hard metal baits, ie spoons, spinners, spinnerbaits, and slashbaits like the Hedon Sonar, are usually pretty productive right out of the package. However, given a little time and some individual ingenuity, these baits can be made to work better, given each anglers desired preferences and tackle components.

As Frank has pointed out in many of his posts, there are certain characteristics a lure possesses that illicit strikes from fish. These hard metal baits follow the same principals.

A hard metal bait's main triggering aspects are flash (sight), wobble (vibration pattern/water displacement) and in some instances with spinnerbaits, rattlebaits ora few slashbaits, rattle (sound).

One of the easiest ways to modify a spoon for example is the addition of a curly tailed plastic trailer. A small grub threaded onto a rear treble can make a world of difference in the productivity of the lure. The three best colors I have found to date are the standard yellow, white and black curly tail grubs.

By adding a grub body to the spoon, depending on the grubs size, you can effectively slow the metals descent a bit. On lighter spoons, for instance, this added mass acts like a brake so to speak and you can really slow up the fall of the lure through the water column.

Another simple thing to do to increase the lures effectiveness is to purchase a jewelers cloth and polish those metal finishes up. I have found by doing this, I can actually attract the attention of fish from further away, since the polished surface reflects light farther than an out of the package metal bait. Bear in mind though, this generally works better in dingier water than in clear water and the clearer the water, the more wary the fish are of such high intensity flash.

Other modifications an angler can do to his hard metal baits are to add reflective prism tape. This waterproof tape comes in a variety of designs, colors and can be cut to any shape you want. This tape lends itself very well to any creative impulses you have and with a little practice, you can add more triggering effect to your lure.

Standard modifications include the addition of prismatic eyes, a 50/50 split between the lures natural metallic finish and a prismatic highlight. "Bloodlines or a gill-line" achieved by trimming red prismatic tap to a gill contour, false eyes near the tail like a shad possesses, etc.

What other modifications can an angler achieve with a hard metal bait? Easy enough. How about switching your hooks from the standard packaged hooks to those colored hooks made by a few hook companies now, most notable Daiichi, Mustad and now Eagle Claw. They come in a host of different colors from red, (always a favorite) to blues, chartreuse, yellow, and straight green). This is a simple enough process and a very killer modification.

What about sound? This might sound crazy but I have been doing this for a few years now. I'll take the smaller snap on jig rattle chambers, like the ones H&H Rattles make and snap them onto the treble hook at the back of the spoon or the front treble of a bait like a heddon sonar. Even with this minor addition, the baits productivity is improved. Especially if you find your self fishing these baits at lowlight periods or in deeper water. Makes the bait easier for the fish to find. Thus more fish strike your lure.

How would you like to take these baits where few have gone before? Easy enough. Swap out the rear treble on a bait like a spoon with a larger single weedless hook that has a bait holder prong with it. Slip on a curly tail grub onto the bait holding prong and bury the point Texas style into the plastic body and you now have a pretty weedless metal bait. Perfect for trolling and casting the weedlines for outsize fish. As summer progresses, youc an forego the grub and slap on a small worm of your choice color. You'll be suprised how effective this can be.

But what about spinnerbaits? What can you do about them?

You can swap blades on them easy enough. There are a lot of different clevis types out there that enable an angler to make on the water adjustments. Bring along a combination of Willow, Colorado, Indiana, hatchet and Dakota blades and you'll be ready for any occasion.

If you are brave enough, try painting a few blades some different natural colors, or your favorite colors such as blue, red, chartreuse, yellow or crayfish colors. Painted Blades are an over looked option. Prismatic tape additions are also a fine option.

Skirts, the living rubber kind, are also important. If you have a wide assortment, fine tuning or micro-tuning the lures appearance can be achieved.

While this might be standard for most bass anglers, you can add a smaller kicker blade at the rear of your spinnerbait with the addition of a larger snap swivel and some tubing. Snap the blade into the snap swivel, run the other end of the swivel over the spinnerbait hook, and then place a small bit of tubing over top of this, running it over the hook the same way you ran the swivel. This can be very effective and a lot of my bigger bass have fallen to this trick.

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