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Expert Tip: Sonic Baitfish for Vertical Jigging

Expert Tip: Sonic Baitfish for Vertical Jigging

By Capt Pete

Capt Pete Pro Fisherman for Mack's Lure and Mack Attack Contributor

I feel that there is no better month to fish for kokanee than September. In addition, a Sonic BaitFish is the lure that has the potential to catch the most kokanee by vertical jigging!

Before all of you trollers quit reading the rest of this article because of the word “jigging,” please read on as this article is especially for you.

The Sonic Baitfish is uniquely effective because of two primary actions — darting and vibration. Watch your rod tip when flatline trolling. It is actively pulsating because of its darting and vibration action. These are two primary actions that cause a fish to strike. These actions are duplicated whether using downriggers or any other fishing device.

Tip for trolling: do not attach an attractor (flashers, dodgers, etc.) directly to your mainline. Attach it to your downrigger cable as an “indirect attractor. Mack’s Lure offers a number of great indirect options for this, including the Ball Troll and Flash Lite Troll.

By attaching an attractor to your mainline, the true darting action of the Sonic Baitfish is reduced. The only attractor I add to the mainline is the Sonic Baitfish itself.

  • I attach an Indiana blade to the split ring on the back side of the hook shank (away from the hook point).
  • Oftentimes, I connect the blade to the split ring with a duolock snap. This gives a more effective, free-swinging, side-to-side action. I never attach a swivel to the blade, only to the nose of the Sonic Baitfish when casting or trolling — not when vertical jigging.
  • Try not to extend the blade beyond the end of the hook, as to not interfere with hook sets on the strike.
Sonic Baitfish may be the best lure for catching KokaneeHere is one of the truly unique features of the Sonic Baitfish for you trollers and any other angler, in general.
  • During open water seasons, troll with the Sonic Baitfish until you locate fish.

  • Then, vertical jig that location by attaching that same Sonic Baitfish to your second rod. This is how you can catch large numbers of fish on calm water days by monitoring your electronic fish locating and staying over those fish.

  • When that open water freezes over, jig that same Sonic Baitfish through the ice.
The following are excerpts from a previous article, published in September 2019.

From a personal standpoint, a welldesigned metal jig is the ideal fishing lure for me wherever I travel. Its only limitation is extreme water depth. It can be cast, jigged, swimmed or trolled. It is the Sonic BaitFish.

When TECH GUIDE I began designing metal jigs almost 40 years ago, my goal was two-fold.

I wanted to create a lure that was both effective and easy to use. I wanted fishing to be fun, like I remember it as a youth in the 1940s. In one word — uncomplicated. Today’s world is hectic, stressful and complicated. It can also be very expensive as advertisers tell us about all of the high tech equipment we need to catch fish.

Originally, I was a salmon moocher and troller. But, my fascination with metal jigs steered me in that direction. By early 1983, I applied for a mechanical patent for my new metal jig, the Crippled Herring. That U.S. patent was granted in 1986. “Prior to that time, metal jigs did not resemble batifish. The Crippled Herring was the first to resemble a real bait fish, the Pacific herring. The Crippled Herring was also the first metal jig to attach a metal attractor blade to the tail. 

The Swedish Pimple had one but it was red plastic and kept breaking off. I was never able to catch large numbers of fish by mooching or trolling. That dramatically changed with jigging and casting metal jigs. What also changed was that I needed only a single lure-type to fish anywhere! That included both fresh and saltwater and through the ice.
A multitude of state, IGFA and foreign country fish records are a testament to the effectiveness of that metal jig. The Crippled Herring was a valuable teaching lessen in improving the mechanics, and versatility, of future metal jigs. In a short period, the Sonic BaitFish has had its share of accomplishments.

Some of those notables are as follows:

  1. “Best Lure in All Canada,” an award by the All Canada magazine and professional angler / writer Gord Pyzer.

  2. Modern day Lake Erie walleye record of 14 lbs. by 11-year-old Will Tibbels.

  3. Sept. 26, 2015 - Lake Sutherland, WA - One-man jigging catch of 200 kokanee.

  4. Sekiu, WA. Twice, two-angler (200) coho salmon released, casting 1/3 oz. Sonic BaitFish between Pillar Point and Slip Point.

Trolling Techniques I Use

I do not carry downriggers on my boat because I much prefer drift casting and vertical jigging — following the natural flow of water. I rely on my fish locator to help me find the fish. If I do troll, I still enjoy flatline trolling early in the morning with fish located near the surface and where I can work the rod.
When fish run deeper, I rig with a Luhr Jensen Deep Six diver. This method has given me the opprtunity to troll a glow white Sonic BaitFish and out-fish my fishing partner’s hoochies, and cut plug herring, off his downrigger.

This method also allows me to more easily detect any debris that may catch on my presentation.

I am a strong proponent of adding an Indiana spinner blade to the tail of my metal jig. If the eye of the blade is too small to attach to the split ring on the back side of the hook, then, as mentioned previously, attach it with a duo-lock snap like the one included in the Sonic BaitFish packaging. Always place the shiny side out.

The Sonic BaitFish acts a sa mini-flasher with its darting action. Adding a tail blade adds to its flash and vibration. As a result, I find that adding an attractor in front of the lure actually deadens the jig’s action and minimizes strikes.

After almost 40 years of working with metal jigs, I still am learning something on every outing.
This year’s biggest discovery happened on Lake Erie when high winds made fishing the Sonic BaitFish impossible. Nice walleyes were belly down on the bottom in about 35-feet of water.

Even casting the Sonic Baitfish ahead of the drift just gave me seconds to feel bottom. Out of desperation, I attached my Sonic Baitfish, tipped with a piece of nightcrawler, to a borrowed bottom bouncer rig and dropped it straight down.

In short order, I caught my limit of six walleyes. With that boat speed, I was actually trolling, and not drifting, that Sonic Baitfish. I would like to think that this bottom bouncer technique could be deadly on the Columbia River.

I wish I was familiar with it some time ago when I was invited to fish the Tri Cities area of the Columbia when vast amounts of water were being released from the dams that made jigging very difficult.

That’s it for this month. Thank you for being a valued subscriber to the Mack Attack. It is my sincere hope that my articles add to your success, and enjoyment, on the water.  - Capt. Pete
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