I often recall the lessons I was fortunate to learn when I fished a PMTT event in Cave Run Kentucky many years ago with my good friend Mike Spratt. I had pre-fished Cave Run with a really nice really knowledgeable man named Denis Ortlieb. Denis taught how subtle changes in water levels move fish in and out of the shallows and we caught 9 fish in 15 hours on the lake. I was all set to teach these Americans how to catch muskies on their water.
By the time the tournament came around six weeks later the conditions had changed from the shirt sleeve weather Denis and I fished in to the ultimate cold front and it was time for more learning instead of teaching. It was so cold that when we reached the judges on our way through the starting gate they couldn’t open any of the hatches on the boat to inspect as they were all frozen shut. Mike Tackett of TNT had told me that you had to have a tail on your bait in the cold fronts on the Cave or you weren’t going to catch anything. He was right too. Mike and I had three chances and two of them came on baits with tails. We came in with nothing which didn’t make us proud representatives of our country but considering that some 251 out of 270 people in the tournament didn’t catch anything it almost made it alright.
From that day on I began to use baits with nice tails more and more to solve difficult fishing conditions, conditions when fish have low energy levels, and in conditions that are conducive to fish being belly on the bottom. Fish slower and fish closer to the bottom. Use the pause.
When you are trolling you achieve this with your baits by doing short zigzags and swinging the back of your boat back and forth causing your lures to speed up and slow down over and over.
My favourite baits with tails include:
Curly Sue by Suick
Leo Lure jerk baits with tails
Mike Nabulsi from Water Wolf Lures makers of Shadzilla also introduced the lightweight ForkTail this year, which is a bait made for pausing and fluttering in cold water conditions. Fishing the traditional Shadzilla swimbait in deeper water produces and Gord Pyzer like to leave them laying on the bottom and ripping them down steep slopes this time of year
Here are a few of the fish we caught throwing baits with nice tails this past week.
John M. Anderson
We produce BIG fish!!
be good, do good, live well
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