Blade baits have been around for a long time. Years ago they were very popular. Then they seemed to fall out of favor for a little while. Now a lure called the steel shad is making a lot of waves, literally and figuratively. I have used the steel shad and caught fish. But I was already catching plenty of fish on other blade baits for years. Blade baits are a good baitfish imitation that kick off a lot of sound and vibration. In the right situation they can be very effective.
Walleye and ice anglers are two groups who have always known about blade bait. Even when blade baits weren’t as popular in general you would often see people using them on the hard water or when targeting walleye. I think this was too limited though. Blade baits look and act somewhat like wounded baitfish. So it only makes sense that they would catch any fish that eats other fish. In my experience that has certainly been the case.
Blade baits for bass and trout
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Blade baits were long overlooked for species like bass and trout. At least when it comes to bass that seems to have changed in recent years. The aforementioned Steel Shad is now being thrown by a number of bass anglers. Some are even using them in bass tournaments. I don’t care much about those sorts of contests. But when people are fishing for money you can bet they are using baits they know will catch fish. So it is something worth noting.
I’ve caught a number of largemouth and smallmouth bass on blade baits. The Johnson Thinfisher in particular has worked very well for me on bass. But I have also caught a decent number of bass on the gold steel shad. Both of these lures work well for bass in my experience.
When it comes to trout, I do seem to catch more fish with the Johnson Thinfisher than any other blade bait. Trout fishing with lures has never been all that popular in the United States, but it works. Especially for larger trout that focus more on fish than other food sources. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another person throw a blade bait for trout. I have used them quite a bit, and caught a lot of fish. When it comes to catching rainbows, big lake brookies, brown trout or lakers, I like the Thinfishers in either perch or pink colors. People fishing with me have also caught them on other colors. But perch and pink have long been my favorites.
Fishing with blade baits
Like I wrote above, blade baits basically look and act like wounded minnows. So you could use them in any situation where you are going after fish that eat smaller fish. That would cover a lot of situations! It’s not a bad idea to look at a blade bait as a general fish finder either. You can cast them way out and cover a lot of water quickly. So they can definitely work that way. I tend to think of blade baits for specific situations however.
The first situation where blade baits work well is jigging. Whether you are in a boat, on a dam wall, or otherwise over some deeper water, you can use a blade bait as a sort of jig. You pull it up, let it fall, then pull it up again. Jigging the lure like this can catch a lot of fish. Especially species like walleye and lake trout.
This also applies to ice fishing. When you are fishing through a hole at your feet you are basically forced to jig your lure. You can do that well with a blade bait. A lot of blade baits even have different holes you can attach your line to. So you can get a vertical retrieve going with ease.
Fishing high or stained water is another time to reach for a blade bait. Blade baits put off a lot of sound and vibration. So they can be easy for predator fish to find even in off colored water. I’ve caught trout out of water almost as brown as chocolate milk using blade baits. The racket the lures put off brought in the fish and led to some real hammering hits.
Finally, blade baits are great for fishing deep or at a distance. These lures are heavy yet thin. So you can whip them out there a country mile and let them sink down as deep as you want to go. Lures like lipless crankbaits can work in a lot of the same situations as blade baits. But blade baits will go deeper and get down faster. They’re also typically much easier to cast.
So blade baits work in a lot of situations. It’s worthwhile to have at least a few of these lures in your arsenal. They come into their own and catch fish in some instances when you might otherwise leave the water skunked. Try them out!