Dog days blade tricks

Stephen Headrick

About the author

Stephen Headrick

Stephen Headrick

Stephen Headrick is better known to the bass fishing world as the Smallmouth Guru. He lives in Celina, Tenn., and is the owner of Punisher Lures.

I don't know where you live, but where I live in Tennessee, it's hot! I mean really hot. So hot that fishing during the day is almost too painful. So hot that even most of the tried and true summertime tactics are just not working.

That's why I have a new tactic for you — one I'm pretty sure you've never used and maybe even one you've never thought of. It starts with a big spinnerbait, which most smallmouth anglers don't consider for their summertime fishing. We've been trained to use spinnerbaits in the spring, when the brown bass are shallower than at any other time of the year. But spinnerbaits are too versatile to use in just one season. If you'll follow my advice, you'll be reaching for a blade even in the hottest days of summer.

For my dog days spinnerbait fishing, I choose a 3/4- to 1-ounce Punisher model that has either one or two blades — the way we're going to fish it, it won't matter, but at least one of the blades should be big (a number 6 or larger). The bait needs to be that heavy because we're going to fish it deep, right on the bottom in the areas that summertime smallmouths traditionally hold.

Using heavy baitcasting gear — I like a Shimano Calais 100A strapped to an All Pro Smallmouth Guru rod that's 7 feet long with a medium-heavy action and spooled with 17-pound line — I make a long cast to deep structure and let my bait sink all the way to the bottom. Once it gets there, it's time to breathe some life into the lure, and this is where this technique is so different.

Most spinnerbait anglers would lift the bait sharply and start cranking it just fast enough to get the blades spinning. Not me.

Right now, I'm catching lots of good brown bass fishing that spinnerbait like it was a football jig. I lift it slowly and gently. The blades barely turn, and the spinnerbait doesn't even right itself to stand up and move through the water.

I want those blades to drag and turn against the rocks and other cover on the bottom. They clank around down there like nothing before and get the attention of the bass that have never seen nor heard anything quite like it.

Bass are curious creatures. When you show them something new or different, they'll usually take notice. This technique is different, and it's working wonders.

Maybe the best thing about it is that it works day or night. I'm fishing the big spinnerbait like this during the day — using light colors under bright conditions — and at night, when I switch to darker colors.

One of the keys to my success is my fishing line. I'm using Stren's 100% Fluoro which comes in clear blue fluorescent. It's virtually invisible under the water, but you can see it great at night under a black light. It's the perfect line for this technique or anytime you're going back and forth between daytime and nighttime fishing.

A lot of folks might tell you that you can do the same thing with a Road Runner-type bait, but those lures have smaller blades and just don't create the disturbance of a big spinnerbait.

Give "blade dragging" a try this summer. I think you'll be surprised at how many big smallies you hook into.

Until next time, if you have any questions or comments, I'd love to hear from you. Please e-mail me atStephen@thesmallmouthguru.com.

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