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By John Clark
Some of you might think of only spinner rigs when you hear the words Mack’s Lure, but I think of many presentations that I can add to my arsenal.
First I would like to talk about the jig. There are several ways guys can use Mack’s Smile Blade to add action to their jig presentation.
I learn of guys placing a Smile Blade onto their lines, adding a small bead, placing a bobber-stop, and then tying on their favorite jig. I tried this and it did add more action to my jig. It also added vibration along with the extra flash from the Smile Blade.
I took this presentation one step farther by tying a small swivel to the end of my line, and placing the Smile Blade, bead, bobber stops, and jig onto a four-foot leader. If I wanted to change the Smile Blade on my line, all I had to do was cut the line at the top of the leader, pull the Smile Blade off, place the color blade I wanted on, and then tie the leader back onto the small swivel that was connected to my mainline. I still use this presentation today but like all anglers. I was always looking for ways to add different presentations.
Last winter in my basement I took this presentation even one step further. I was looking at the many different jigs that I have acquired over the years. That is when I spotted my box of Northland Whistler jigs. I remembered doing well with this jig and that’s when the light bulb went on.
I began thinking of combining Mack’s Smile Blade to a jig to create my own version of a whistler jig.
I started by cutting down a few of my 1.1’’ blades. I took off about a fourth of their size. I did this so that I would have some jigs that would drop at different speeds, give out different vibrations, and have different flashes.
The reason I picked Bait Rigs jigs was so that the blade could be placed as close to the head of the jig as possible. This could not be possible with a collared jig.
The reason I decided to go with a long shank jig was to make sure I had enough clearance from the blade and the hook point for a good hook set. I ran the hook of the jig through the hole of the Smile Blade, with the color side of the Smile Blade facing the head of the jig.
Next, I ran the hook through the 3mm bead so that the blade had something to spin on. Finally, I cut the shrink tubing into small enough sizes to fit in the rest of the straight part of the hook shank.
I placed the shrink tube so that the blade was as close to the jig, but had enough room for spinning freely. I then heated the shrink tubing just enough so everything would hold in place. If you heat it too long your tubing will catch on fire. I learned that through trial and error.
I then went back into my basement and assembled 20 different color combinations. I had a chartreuse jig head with glow gold tiger blade, orange jig head with chartreuse sparkle blade, and glow jig head with red scale blade. This list goes on. I was like a kid on the last week of school before summer break waiting for the ice to come off the lakes in Ohio.
That day finally came, and I was out fishing up on Indian Lake with my partner Marc Colwell. I had Marc throw a regular jig while I tried my new homemade smiley version of a whistler jig. It was a couple of weeks after ice-out with a strong 25 mph west wind and the lake was muddy.
We were fishing up North Fork Creek which is a feeder creek on the north side of the lake to get out of the strong wind. We were planning to fish the hole out in front of the creek mouth but the wind was too strong. We cruised up about 200 yards from the mouth till we found clearer water.
I started out with the 1/8-ounce chartreuse head with a glow gold tiger blade jig that I made. Marc started with a 1/8-ounce chartreuse jig. We both were using shiners at the end of our jigs.
A few more casts after that I caught an 18-inch saugeye. Marc stated, “those jigs you made seem to be working very good”. He then went into his box for chartreuse whistler jig. I then caught another. Marc finally caught one on his whistler jig.
We were just about done fishing for the day after both of us caught our limits, which we didn’t keep.
We were making our way out of the creek. As we headed toward the muddy water I switched over to a glow head with a glow tiger blade.
To my surprise, I caught a 22-inch saugeye right in the muddy water. We both thought it was a fluke. So we stayed a little while longer to fish the muddy mouth of the creek. We ended up catching three more fish in that muddy water.