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Live Bait Rigging
A Reason to Smile by Dennis Foster

What I am referring to here is a deadly presentation method-that when added to your bag of tricks, will ultimately put more walleye’s in your boat this season. I will describe an innovative system that will help you bridge speed the gap between traditional ultra-slow live bait fishing and quickly moving spinners through an area. We can now go from both ends of the speed spectrum-and anywhere in between, with the same setup.

SmileThe system is predicated on using Mack’s Lure Smile Blades for an attractor on live bait leaders in lieu of more mundane snells and offers an extremely attractive substitute for a traditional bouncer and spinner combo. This is definitely something that not many fish have seen before and can give you an advantage in heavily fished areas.

They consist of a spinning Delta Wing shaped blade made of extremely lightweight Mylar plastic. The unique construction allows them to remain nearly neutrally buoyant and rotate at speeds as low as .25 mph-meaning they don’t immediately sink to the bottom and snag as do other leader options presented at low speeds. This gives us the advantage of adding action to our baits at speeds previously unheard of. Thus, we can apply a bit of spice to our live bait of choice. Try this with a conventional metal bladed spinner and all you will do is dredge bottom.

Now that we’re aware of the low end capabilities, we need to discuss bumping the pace up a notch. You can simply do just that…as the rig continues to function-just spins faster. No need to switch to a spinner when you want to increase your speed. By leaving the Smile Blade setup on, you can achieve any action you feel the fish may want. Very beneficial in the fact that you can effortlessly go up and down the scale-letting the fish tell you what they prefer at any given moment.

Another method of throwing the fish a change up with this presentation is you can either bend the blades inward for a tighter more compact spinning motion or outward for an action that can be best described as undulating and erratic.

Further triggering action is accomplished without changing boat speed by simply sweeping your rod forward and letting it fall back under slight tension. Changes not only the tempo-but thump and vibration, conveying some visual cues to fool the fish into thinking your bait is either scurrying away…or is in distress and falling back. You do not see minnows swimming at a constant pace in a straight line for any distance…if you can help it-your offerings shouldn’t either.

Continuing with this theme: not holding and manipulating your rod is by far the largest downfall I observe with most anglers. The toss the rod into a holder and forget it method is fine for one “dead” rod. You just as well make the other one “come alive” in the regard that you are in control of its’ actions. Also lets you feel subtle takes and gives you the ability to react accordingly. How many times have you sat and watched you rod tips bend ever so slightly…then nothing? You can either chalk it up to the fish were “off” today or do something about it. Every fish that “mouths” your bait is a fish that can and should be caught. They have obviously showed some interest-it’s up to you to finish ‘em off.

If you’re not able to find any pre-tied snells locally, you can find them or the components needed to customize your own at www.mackslure.com.


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