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Utilizing the Smile Blade for Walleye Fishing

Walleye: Enhance Your Presentation with a Smile Blade

by Nick Harrington | Mack's Lure Pro Staff | Midwest Lip Rippers

The versatility of the Mack's Lure Smile Blade makes it a critical part of every walleye angler's tackle arsenal. The Smile Blade 0.8, the smallest size Mack's Lure offers, makes for a perfect added attractant for a live bait tackle rig without stealing the show.

This tiny Smile Blade excels when trolled at slow speeds, as it requires hardly any speed to make the blade turn correctly. You can troll Macks Lure blades at speeds as slow as 1/4 mph and still get the same type of action as if you were trolling at 1 mph. This makes this blade a perfect early and late season fishing option when trolling slowly is the best way to catch walleye. 

Using the Smile Blade lures in the summer for aggressive walleye

As the forage availability increases throughout the summer, the larger Smile Blade sizes, including the 1.1, 1.5, and 1.9, shine as they capture the attention of walleye in areas already green with other forage opportunities. This attractor prompts fish to strike bait aggressively in the summer, a time when walleye are more active.

The Smile Blade makes it easy to match the hatch

While walleye love the Smile Blade, the anglers who utilize this spinner blade love them even more. This attractor is extremely simple to fish and allows fine-tuning to quickly take place on the water. Slide the Smile Blade over a standard Double Surgeon's knot for a quick change. This enables anglers to experiment with tackle adjustments until the color, size, and bait the fish prefer at the moment are identified. 

In addition to having five sizes in stock, Smile Blades are available in dozens of colors and patterns, including Sparkle, Tiger, Mirror, High UV, Diamond, and Scale. Figure out what the fish are feeding on, and then mirror the color of your tackle to their primary food source. UV lures are especially helpful in low-light and early morning conditions. 

How to properly tune the Smile Blade

The other benefit of fishing with these spinner blades is that each Smile Blade can be fished two ways, which makes it a very efficient addition to the tackle box. First, utilize a wide blade angle for a slow, rolling wobble on your line when you want your fishing presentation to slow down a bit. Alternatively, you can create a narrow blade angle for a more aggressive shake and spin, which is ideal when targeting fish during active feeding periods. The best part is that these flexible butterfly wings can be tuned in seconds with just your fingers.

How a guide utilizes the Smile Blade spinner

As a guide on the Missouri River, I deploy a plan using this tackle option every time I hit the water. I like to have half of my rods fish with only a single bead (no blade) set up, while the other half of my rods have a single bead and various colors of Macks Smile Blade ready to fish. 

Sizes depend on the time of year, but a basic rule of thumb is as follows:

  • March through June, use a Smile Blade size 0.8
  • July through September, use a Smile Blade size 1.1 or 1.5

As each day goes on, I pay close attention to see if the fish favor the blade setups or the blade-less setups featuring only beads. If the fish are passive to my bait, they are most likely to prefer plain setups. However, I find walleyes often choose a blade presentation if they are feeling neutral to aggressive.

On the days they favor the Smile Blade tackle setup, I also pay attention to the top colors. In my view, several color and sparkle options work well in the Midwest, and I will share them with you.

These are the five most effective Smile Blade color options I've identified for fishing walleye:

  • Hot Pink/Silver TIger
  • Chartreuse Scale
  • Silver Scale
  • Hot Pink Mirror
  • Gold Sparkle

Once I've determined the best tackle colors for the day, I will fine-tune the Smile Blade from there. Again, the ability to quickly slide the blades on and off makes this a quick and efficient process.

As a side note, I generally keep the same snells on all day, but if coaxing bites proves to be difficult on all tackle setups, I will go back and experiment with snell length, as well. 

A special thanks to Pro Staff Nick Harrington for this contribution to the Mack Attack Magazine. You can learn more about Nick's guide service, Lip Ripper Guide Service, at

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