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Think of yourself sitting outside on a warm summer night.  Now look into the distance toward town and tell me what you see.  No, I don’t want a description of the landscape, but rather the things that catch your eye.  We see a radio tower with a red flashing light.  Maybe a plane flying overhead with its strobe lights on.  Oh, crap.  Somebody got nailed for speeding.  I can see the squad car has hit his flashing lights.  Now let’s try this same experiment during the day.  There is a bunch of cars on the road.  One, in particular, stands out.  The one with the shiny chrome rims.  I can tell Mrs. Smith is fighting to keep the birds out of her cherry trees again.  I can see the flashing of the pie pans in the trees.  School must be getting ready to dismiss.  I can see the yellow flashing lights going by the crosswalk. 

 People are a whole lot more advanced than fish, but we still perceive  subtle changes in our environment no matter how well we know it.  Fish, believe it or not, are no different.  That is why when you are going about your everyday life, your eyes tend to focus on things like flashing lights or even a glimmer of the sun’s rays reflecting off a puddle of water.  So why not add these high visual impact distractions to our lures to make them not merely work the water column, but jump forth and say EAT ME!  Now I know that most, if not all, lure companies have come out with some type of holographic bait over the last couple of years.  But there is one major problem with that.  I started buying hard and soft baits a long time ago when your flashiest bait was silver paint.  So over the past couple of years, myself and others have spent countless hours experimenting with different ways to flash up our baits to make them stand out and be noticed.  Here are a few ways to make your simple baits more attractive. 

 1.) WTP Tapes, Tinsel & Eyes -  The company WTP, formerly Witch Craft, has come out with several new products that will hold up to the rigors of trolling and casting.  They make a new transparent holoform, adhesive backed tape that can be stretched to fit the contour of spoons, spinner blades or crankbaits.  This is an inexpensive way to add a lot of flash to your old baits.  I have used it for the last several months with great success.  I have a magic maker muskie bait I put it on this spring.  After several fish and thousands of casts, it is still sticking and holding up great.  The holographic eyes also are holding on the baits well.  I add the 3-D eyes to all of my baits.  I think it provokes more strikes because it gives the appearance of the bulging eyes of a wounded baitfish. You can also add flash by tying a small amount of tinsel to your hooks.  Be sure not to add too much, or it will take away from the action.  You can find these new products at most any sporting goods outlet.  If you cannot find them, you can look them up on the net. 
 2.) Adding Blades - For years I have been adding in-line spinners ahead of my crankbaits, but after talking to John Askins, a Central Illinois Muskie guide, I have been adding the large spinner blades straight to my big baits such as the Mania 10” Jake.  This is a fairly easy task.  All you need are a set of good split ring pliers, a #7 ball bearing snap swivel, a few small split rings, and, of course, good quality blades.  I have found the deep cup blades sold by Grim Reaper lures to be ideal for this application.  You can get their blades and lures by calling (606) 780-9239.  Start by removing the back hook of the crankbait.  Then add the #7 snap swivel to the existing split ring on the bait.  Next, snap the Grim Reaper blade on the swivel.  Buy several types and colors of blades so you can switch them to change color and vibration.  Remember, a #8 Colorado blade gives off a lot different vibration than the  Willow Blade.  For daytime use, I would stay with the Willow type blades.  These type blades produce a great deal of flash, but when evening approaches, I switch to a #8 Colorado blade.  Not only will it add flash to your bait,  it will produce a steady thumping vibration that will help the fish locate and home in on the bait; thus, preventing short strike or a missed fish all together.  For smaller baits, you have to approach it a little different.  Smaller baits will lose a lot of their action if too much drag is added to the bait, so a little experimenting will have to be done to find out how large of blade you can go with before the action is impaired. 

 3.) Adding Grub Tails and Soft Plastics - Adding soft plastics to crankbaits serves several proposes.  It bulks up a bait and gives you somewhat of a way to alter color and/or action.  There are thousands of different colors and types of soft plastics on the market today.  By adding these soft plastics to the front or back hook, you can come up with a wide range of color combinations and even change the action of your bait.  As a rule of thumb, small baits need the soft plastic to be on the front hook.  If the plastic is put on the back hook, it will produce too much drag in the water, thus, making the bait lose too much action.  You can only use deep diving cranks in the smaller size because if you were to use a stick bait that runs on a more horizontal plane, the trailer grub will foul the back hook.  This means no wiggle.  No wiggle, no fish!  For the larger baits such as the ones you would use for muskie, you can get away with a lot more.  The larger lips on the big baits will continue to produce good action no matter where you hook the plastics.  Once again, a little experimenting will tell you where and what size you can get away with. 

 4.) Adding Spinner to Soft Plastics - This is another great technique for adding flash and vibration to your soft plastics.  I learned this technique over in Indiana while fishing the Indiana Muskie Classic from a guide named Chae Dolsen.  We were having limited success fishing Bulldogs off the dropoffs.  (A Bulldog is a large soft plastic lure for muskie.)  We could get the fish to follow, but not get the aggressive strikes.  Chae said he was getting more strikes by adding a large willow blade to the bait.  I was baffled at how he was attaching the blade swivel combination to the bait.  So I asked him.  He takes a regular, long shank hook and attaches the swivel blade combination to it.  This makes it so you stick it anywhere in the bait you like.  This was too simple, but believe me, it had awesome results.  You do not have to be a muskie fisherman to use the technique.  By simply downsizing your hooks and spinners, they will work on panfish size baits all the way up to 14” muskie baits.  If you would like to fish with Chae Dolsen or Ben Clendening, both of Webster Lake Guide Service, you can call them at (594) 834-1669 for Chae, or (317) 826-8711 for Ben.  I have seen both in action and would recommend both.  If you want to put big fish in the boat, give them a call. 

 These are simple, but extremely effective ways to dress up old baits or bring a whole lot more attention to your new ones. 

 For guided walleye, muskie, smallmouth, or striper trips, you can give me a call at 309-347-1728, or e-mail me at trolling@mtco.com.  I am booking summer and fall trips now.  For additional articles and tips, you can check  out on my web page at www.walleyesinc.com

 SEE ‘YA ON THE WATER!For guided trips you can call Predator Guide Service at 309-347-1728 or e-mail me at trolling@mtco.com

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