Use Blades for Cold Weather Success

bladeTemperatures are dropping all around the country right now, and have been for several weeks. Experienced anglers know that fall temperatures don’t mean fishing ceases altogether, though. In fact, one of the best tools for fooling fish this time of the year also happens to be one of the simplest: the blade bait. Little more than a metal head, or belly, molded to a thin blade stamped into the profile of a baitfish, blade baits are easy to fish, appeal to a wide variety of baitfish eating fish, and are excellent when water temperatures begin to drop in the fall.

Blades can be cast and retrieved or even trolled, but many anglers prefer to jig them vertically. Vertically jigging your blade may sound boring, but you can change things up by adding action here and there, such as pausing the drop portion of your retrieve, essentially creating an erratic action. You can also take more control of the blade by keeping the line tight and dropping the lure at a little slower speed. However, the conventional—and conventional for a reason—method is simply letting the blade drop at its own pace on a limp line, which will often times produce strikes just fine.

In the autumn, fish are often found holding close to structure. In this case, it’s smart to cast to the shallows with your boat positioned just off the deeper edges to locate active fish. Here, use a hopping retrieve from the shallow flats to the deeper water beneath your boat, which will give the lure a leaping motion. Make sure to come into contact with the bottom between each short jump, as well. After each hop, allow the blade to flutter back to the bottom on your slack line. Once the blade is below your boat after the retrieve, then it’s time to use a vertical jigging action and pound the gravel or sandy bottom to attract fish.

When it comes to tackle, there are several blade baits on the market from which to choose. Popular models include the classic Heddon Sonar, the Vibe-E, Reef Runner Cicada, Coton Cordell’s Gay Blade, and Worden’s Showdown. You’ll also want to make sure your blade and tackle match up. For instance, with blades weighing between 1/8 and 3/8oz a six-foot, medium-action spinning rod is a good option. If you’re fishing deeper, more open waters with blades that may weigh ½ to 3/4-oz, a medium-heavy rod might be smarter.

Blades are a great bait for when the seasons change and the temperatures start to fall. Be sure to keep a fair variety of blades on you this fall, and you’ll be sure to find yourself reaching for the net regularly.