More about tidal river bass


Gary Tramontina

Despite my embarrassment over this Silver Buddy thing I have to talk about it because I caught a ton of fish on it under tough conditions in a tough body of water. You can do the same thing. I didn’t fish it out of the box, however.

First off, I’m using Silver Buddy as a generic name for metal blade baits. The one I was using is not a true Buddy. It’s different. My bait has three holes in the top. I changed the clip that comes with it to a split ring. I use the biggest one I can that’ll still allow the lure to swing freely when I’m working it.

I put my ring into the hole that best suits the conditions at the moment. The forward hole is the best for really cold, clear water. It gives your bait a tight wiggle which is what you want when things are cold and the bass can see your bait.

The back hole is best for warmer, darker water. It creates more of a thump. That helps the bass find it when visual clues aren’t all that good.

Use the middle hole when conditions are somewhere in the middle or when you don’t know which hole will work best. It’ll get you through most situations. Frankly, I use it a lot.

The next thing I do is modify my bait to make it semi-weedless. The best way to do that is to hang your hooks so that one of the points is forward facing. Then clip off that forward point. That’ll avoid hang-ups in rock and concrete spills in the shipping squares, or wherever else you’re fishing. It’ll also help around wood and brush, but it’s not nearly as effective in those places.

As I write this I can imagine what you’re thinking — that you’ll lose fish because you won’t get a good hookset. That’s nonsense. I’ve fished baits that way for a least two decades and I’ll tell you that the front point missing doesn’t make any difference.

These are small lures. Mostly the fish suck them all the way in their mouths. Most breakoffs happen when the line rubs on the fish’s teeth. There’s very little you can do to prevent that other than use real heavy line. The problem with that is that it’ll kill the vibration of the blade and reduce your bites to next to nothing.

Fishing one of these things is simple. Cast it out and let it fall. Bring it back with slow, methodical hops. The idea is to bring it up so that it vibrates just before it falls down like a struggling baitfish. The bite will come on the fall. Keep a sharp eye on your line so you don’t miss the telltale twitch.

There’s a lesson in all of this: Never get locked into anything when you’re fishing. I said — and still believe — that a Rapala Jigging Rap is a better lure than a Silver Buddy, but not always. You have to fish the moment. Sometimes that means breaking the rules and going against what you “know."

Mike Iaconelli's column appears weekly on You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter or visit his website,