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By Pete Rosko, Hall of Fame Angler
There are different actions when horizontal and vertical fishing the Sonic BaitFish (SBF).
Horizontal is when casting or trolling. This is primarily a swimming and darting action. In order to increase its flash and vibration, I routinely add a spinner blade to the split ring on its tail with the line attached to the nose and a snap swivel to minimize line twist.
An Indiana-style blade works best for me. It should be a little shorter than the length of the hook on the side opposite of the hook’s gap. The concave portion of the blade faces the hook shank.
Additionally, the blade must be able to swing freely on its split ring for maximum flash and harmonics of the blade tinging against the hook’s shank. If the blade eye needs enlargement, running a rotary drill bit in reverse will cut the metal without binding.
Note: If an attractor is used when trolling, select the smallest side possible so it does not affect the natural actin of the SBF.
Fishing vertical is basically straight up-and-down jigging in open water or through the ice. It creates flash, flutter and vibration on the fall. Vertical jigging is the deadliest strike-creating action in sport fishing.
It’s action on the fall imitates an injured bait fish that represents an easy meal for a predator fish. An option for more vibration is to attach the line/snap to the top of its back. Its unique reciprocal windshield wiper-type action is the same on the life and fall.
This attachment is exclusively only for vertical jigging and not for casting or trolling. A snap, not a snap-swivel, is recommended for all vertical jigging for better feel of the lure. The junction created between the swivel and snap reduced the feel of the working lure. By eliminating the swivel, you now have a solid connection between the main line and the lure, and you can simply use the snap that is provided in the Sonic BaitFish package.
I cannot stress enough the importance of sensitivity in feeling what the lure is doing, especially when fishing in structure. This “separates the men from the boys.”
When casting to bottom structure on a windy day, it is best to cast directly downwind to avoid any bow in your line where all sensitivity is lost. Such an example would entail fan-casting to bottom-positioned walleye on a windy day. Until you can eliminate that bow in your line, success will result only by pure luck.
Regardless of technique, I always use 2- to 4-feet of fluorocarbon leader attached to my braided mainline on one end and a duo-lock snap on the terminal end. The length of my leader is largely dependent on the length of my rod. The only time I would suggest using monofilament main line is when trolling. That said, I cannot overstress the importance of jigging with braided main line for a better feel of the working lure and better hook sets, too!
A 6- or 6 1/2-foot rod is the maximum length that I use for both jigging and casting. For vertical jigging, the shorter the rod, the better the feel. Always avoid a long, whippy rod. A rod with a good backbone and fast-action tip will serve you well. I generally look for a rod that bends no more than a third from its tip.
At the end of the day on the water, remove all the hardware on the rods that were fished. Then, troll those bare lines back to the dock to unravel any twist that may have occurred that day. You will be glad you did, as to avoid line tangles on your next trip.
In closing, it is my hope that these tips will put a few more fish in the boat. Attention to detail is important, especially when the catching gets tough. And as always, thank you for subscribing to the Mack Attack Magazine. We’ll see you in the next issue. — Capt. Pete