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Off to the Races; BoJoLe Below Dams

05/12/11 COMMENTS 0

Keys to Hot Fishing Action Below DamsBoJoLe Flutter Spoon - Benny Hull

As summer turns the corner to fall, some of the hottest action on the water can be found on tailraces below dams. From August to October, my guide trips are booked solid with anglers eager to get in on some of the most sure-fire fishing of the year.

Walleye, smallmouth and largemouth bass, stripers and hybrids; in August they start moving up around the swift waters to gorge on the new generation of shad that hatched out in mid-summer. If you set the table for them, serve up lures that match the hatch and present them properly, the fish can be easy pickings.

In early August shad fry ran about two inches in length, and successful tailrace anglers were throwing lures of that size. Good lures included spinnerbaits that could be fished across swift water without rolling over, like a Secret Weapon Quickstrike rigged with #3 willowleaf blades. Quarter-ounce lipless crankbaits, small flutter spoons, grubs and swim jigs all fit the bill, too.

When it comes to tailrace fishing, the best artificial bait I’ve discovered is the BoJoLe Flutter Spoon. Its action is unlike any conventional spoon or crankbait. Stamped from lightweight stainless steel, this American-made lure doesn’t spin but flutters and wobbles erratically during retrieves and on the drop.

BoJoLe Flutter Spoon - Erratic Action Catches All Species of Fish In August, #2/0 flutter spoons exactly mimicked the new shad that were being spit out below the turbines. Stainless steel or chartreuse patterns, both bright colors that stood out clearly, delivered exceptional results. By now, the shad have grown enough so that the #3/0 is a closer match. As fall wears on, you’ll find the #4/0 coming into its own, but chartreuse will still out-produce white, bronze, or stainless steel.

Chartreuse makes your lure stand out in a ball of shad. It gives the game fish something definite to aim for and is highly visible for greater distances through turbulent water. For years it has almost doubled my catch rates, working equally well on trout, walleye, bass and striped hybrids

To get your flutter spoon where it will do the most good, position your boat in the boils right below the generating turbines and allow the boat to drift. Cast your lure upstream and off to one side at a 45 degree angle to the current and retrieve it just fast enough for it to tick across the tops of the boulders on the riverbed.

Let the fish tell you where to concentrate your efforts. Sometimes they give themselves away by busting shad on the surface. But even when you see no top-water action, the fish are there; you just have to hunt for them them. One day they’ll be out in the middle of the swift current chasing shad as they shoot out of the turbines. Another day you’ll find them holding along the edges of eddies. Cast to one side and then the other until you find the pattern that works.

Below some dams the channel is only eight to ten feet deep or even shallower. On others, the bottom might be fifteen to twenty feet down. Regardless, the disoriented, scattered, and often injured shad will head for the safety of the rocks, and the walleye, bass, and stripers scour the bottom in search of them.

When Carolina-rigging a BoJoLe (usually the most effective presentation), use just enough weight to get the sinker to the bottom. Start with a 1/8-ounce weight. It should click across the rocks without falling down between them. If there’s a lot of water spilling over the flood gates and three or four turbines are generating or if you’re fishing deeper water, try a quarter-ounce or even half-ounce sinker.

By casting upstream and a little out to one side, as the boat drifts downstream the lure will track along the bottom at about the same rate. Lift the bait with your rod and then allow it to flutter back down, reeling slowly to take up slack until you feel the rocks, and then repeat.

With this tactic, the flutter spoon looks a lot like a dazed or wounded shad heading for shelter. Gamefish are hard-wired to attack such prey quicker than they will healthy minnows.

Fishing the tailraces, you’re going to hang up. If you’re fishing where you need to be, there’s no way to avoid it. Swift water will push your lure into crevices between rocks. But if you don’t jerk hard on your line and just run your boat up past where the lure is hung, 99 per cent of the time it will come loose and you will lose neither your rig nor the time required to retie.

If bass and stripers continue to feed on the surface, replace the sinker on your Carolina rig with a weighted float or popping cork. Cast out and retrieve the lure with sweeps and pops of your rod tip. A BoJoLe dancing seductively just below the surface will prove irresistible to fish in the jumps.

Depending on the river, you can expect fast action for an eighth to a quarter mile below the dam. When you reach a point where the river has settled down, reel in and run back up to the dam for your next drift.

Drift-fishing the tailraces involves line-watching, much like jig fishing in calm water. A fish may scoop up your bait and move toward you, or you’ll have enough of a loop in your line from the turbulence that you might not feel a strike. Spool up with orange or chartreuse high-visibility line and keep a close watch on your line in order to detect slight ticks that signal strikes. Each twitch might be a fish or a boulder sticking up from the bottom; either way, reel up slack and set the hook!

A big hybrid can slam your bait so hard that it snaps your line before your drag even kicks in, so use a good quality monofilament with enough stretch to absorb the shock. I recommend 8-pound test line because it’s strong enough to handle trophy-size fish in open water, yet is thin enough to enable your bait to reach the bottom even in swift current.

Since knocking around the rocks will nick and scrape your line pretty fast, tie on an 18-inch to two-foot leader of ten- to twelve-pound test fluorocarbon or other low-vis line. Even with a few nicks, it will remain strong enough to handle a big fish. Check your leader after each drift and retie before heading back up to the dam.

These tactics have paid off for me below dams on the Missouri, Tennessee, and Ohio rivers and others across the country. When the late summer bite slows down on reservoirs and you’re itching to get bit, head to the other side of the dam for a change of pace. You’ll find the action you crave in the tailraces. [Buy BoJoLe Flutter Spoons Now.]

Benny Hull
“The Ol’ Stump Bumper”

Bradley Roy’s Christmas List

20/11/11 COMMENTS 0

BioborEBREMEMBER LYING AWAKE ALL NIGHT listening for reindeer hooves and wishing for daybreak? 2010 Bassmaster Rookie of the Year Bradley Roy does like it was last year. (In fact, it probably was last year.) We asked Bradley what he hopes to find under the tree this Christmas, and of course he’s thinking fishing. Here’s what made his wish list:

 1. A wise cowboy takes care of his horse before himself. On the tour, Bradley pampers his motor to make sure it gets him there and back again, too. That’s why he is hoping for a year’s supply of Biobor Ethanol Buster. With laws allowing ethanol in our gasoline, it is imperative to protect your outboard with the most advanced gas
treatment out there.

Taylor Man's Custom Lures Hawg Seeker Jig

2. Christmas is when the winter turns the corner heading toward Spring, and Spring means warmer water and shallow jig flippin’. Get ready with an assortment of Taylor Man’s Hawg Seeker Jigs.

 

3. Taylor Man’s Shaky Man’s Jig Head- because let’s face it, every now and then you have to finesse a little bit.

 

 

Taylor Man's Custom Lures Super Spin Elite Charteuse-White spinnerbait4. Spring = Shad Spawn, and shad spawn means big fish on a spinnerbait, so make
sure you have one tied on that will attract attention and hold up to abuse. With Taylor Man’s Super Spin Elite Spinnerbaits you can be confident you won’t miss the chance of a lifetime.

 

5. Year round, you’re going to find some bass up shallow, but your chances pick up as the water warms. It will soon be time to get really shallow, and you need to be prepared with the best flippin’ bait out there: Berkley Havoc Pit Boss.

 

 

6. A thousand or more casts during a long day on the water can wear out even a young man like Bradley, and it helps that he uses Abu Garcia’s Revo MGX. At 5.4 ounces it is just a no-brainer; a reel this smooth is not suppose to be this light!

 

 

7. Rugged Shark Atlantic is Bradley’s personal favorite shoe — light and comfortable. Fish all day in these or wear them out and about. Either way they are the most comfortable shoes you will ever have on.

Swim Jig Done Right

09/09/11 COMMENTS 0

If he were a fisherman, McGyver would like jigs. They are simple, dependable, durable, and can be used in many ways — an entire tackle box in one lure. For that reason ball-head bucktail jigs were included in pilots’ survival kits during WW-II. They could be depended on to produce meat under the widest range of conditions. Even novices could jig, drag, crawl, twitch, swim, skim, skip or sweep them and catch fish.

Over time, jigs evolved into a range of shapes, sizes, and compositions. Many expert anglers keep an assortment of specialized jigs best suited for various presentations and situations. One category that has grown in popularity over the past decade is the swim jig — designed to simulate baitfish slipping past vegetation, busting through brush, and darting across open stretches of water. Despite the proven effectiveness of this approach, even some very experienced fishermen remain unclear as to what to look for in a good swim jig. Tyler Brinks of T Brinks Fishing laid it out in a September 2011 article on his Website. He wrote:

Tyler Brinks

The Swim Jig has been one of my go-to baits for the past few years. The popularity of the swimming jig has grown over the last few years, yet many people have yet to try one of the best ways to catch bass in and around grass. I have used several brands and have come to realize that there are a few things that make a good quality bait. The skirt must be of good quality and come in good colors. The hook has to be top quality and the line tie needs to be in the correct spot. Surprisingly, it’s pretty hard to find a bait that has all of these qualities. I have found a jig that meets my standards and it’s from Taylor Man’s Lures.

I first heard of the company when they signed Elite Series Angler Bradley Roy last year. I contacted the owner to do a product review and the minute I saw the baits, I knew they were good.

The age-old question for skirted jigs is to tie or to use a collar? How about both? Taylor Man’s uses both a collar as well as a wire wrapping to tie the skirt securely to the hook. If you have ever gotten into a good swimjig bite, you know the importance of keeping the skirt secure. After a few fish the collar may get loose and your skirt will start sliding down before it eventually fails. The tie prevents this problem before it stops.

T-man's swim jigs with trailersBy looking at the pictures, you can tell that quality is very important. The skirt colors are impeccable and they even have matching, color coordinated weed guards to ensure that everything looks the same. I believe small things like this can make a difference when the fishing gets tough. I also mentioned the need to have a good hook, Taylor Man’s feature Gamakatsu hooks so you know they are sharp. The components and quality are two things that Taylor Man’s lives by when making all of their baits (they make much more than just swimjigs)

Taylor Man's Custom Lures Swim Jigs with trailersLooking at the picture you can get an insight into some of my favorite trailers: the end of a Zoom Magnum Ultravibe Speedworm (I use the ends of used baits), the Gambler Twin Tail Swim Jig Trailer, a Zoom Ultravibe Speedcraw and a Net Bait Baby Paca Craw (not pictured). I’m anxiously waiting for the new Z-Man Flappin CrawZ as well. I like to mix up different trailers and colors to see what the fish want and also switch based on the forage they are keying on.

Scoring for the Taylor Man’s Swim Jig

Price/Value: 3They retail for around $4.00. This is a little higher than some, but the quality of the components make it worth it.
Durability: 5I fished it through grass, rocks and trees and saw no chipping of the paint. The hook is super sharp and stayed that way after a few fish and the skirt is still intact after a bunch of Okeechobee bass.
Performance: 4The jig works great and because of the quality, I rated this a 4.
Innovation: 3Everyone makes a swimjig, but very few do it right.
Availability: 2They are still fairly new and can be found on Taylor Man’s Website as well as the Secret Weapon Lures online store.

Total Score: 17 – Good Buy!

This is the first of a series of articles that we plan to present on Taylor Man’s Website that will help anglers understand how to choose and use the most effective jig and spinnerbait for different fishing conditions.

Good fishing!

T-Man

[Buy Now]

Twitter Updates for 2011-07-02

02/07/11 COMMENTS 0
  • http://t.co/gQtz3B4 #
  • http://t.co/kWreTTA #
  • http://t.co/qYv9Ulu #
  • @TBrinks Thanks! for the mentionTyler. Let me know if you ever need any of my products, i'll hook you up. Enjoy your weekend… #
  • @TBrinks yes I will be fishing for sure TB, my home town lake…Reidsville City Lake, loaded with some real good largemouths. #
  • Hope everyone has a safe holiday weekend! #
  • Night fishing in order…hot as hades this weekend. #

Twitter Updates for 2011-07-01

01/07/11 COMMENTS 0
  • Dredge Roller, coming soon! The deepwater alternative… tmclures.com #
  • Glen Beck is no more…what the heck is fox going to do without him? #
  • Glen Beck a great American…he will be missed. #
  • glen beck, the left has seen nothing yet…bet he got some surprise for those dudes. #
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