Tag Archives: bass

New Spin On Classic Lure

Field Testing Shows Rooster Tail Minnow Catches Multiple Species
By Scott Haugen

I dropped my rod tip toward the river and stripped out some line. I watched as my spinner quickly sank, sunlight bouncing off its bright, chrome body. Then I pulled the rod from side to side, eager to see the action of the blade.

The first time the author used the new Rooster Tail Minnow, he landed and released over 30 smallmouth bass on it in less than two hours. (SCOTT HAUGEN)

The first time the author used the new Rooster Tail Minnow, he landed and released over 30 smallmouth bass on it in less than two hours. (SCOTT HAUGEN)

It took little speed to set the blade in motion, and soon an impressive swath of light reflected to the sides of the spinner. As I prepared to pull the spinner from the water and make my first cast with it, a smallmouth bass shot out from behind a rock and followed the lure. I kept the spinner in the water, now drawing figure eights with it, like I’d done before to entice pike and coho salmon to bite. Soon more smallmouth followed it – then one hit.

The spinner I was using for the first time was the new Rooster Tail Minnow. By day’s end, I’d catch and release over 50 smallmouth, most having fallen to the Rooster Tail. The biggest smallie of the day was caught on this spinner, and just like that, I was eager to try this presentation elsewhere.

A GENERATIONAL LURE
The original Rooster Tail was crafted in the late 1940s and has established itself as one of the best all-around fish-catching spinners ever. I’ve caught a lot of fish in a lot of places over the years on that lure, and so after a summer and fall of fishing the Rooster Tail Minnow, I was even more impressed with the new product.

On my first smallmouth fishing experience with this spinner, river conditions were crystal clear. The same was true during summer fishing trips for rainbow trout in rivers, creeks, lakes and ponds. During these clear-water fishing trips, I was impressed by the interest fish showed in the highly reflective spinner. What impressed me more was how long the fish would follow the spinner and then attack it.

The details of the molded body – combined with the large eye – make for a very realistic, enticing simulation of a baitfish. Most of the time, when fish follow a spinner for any great distance, they pull away; it’s not so with the Rooster Tail Minnow. After following the lure and studying its details, fish hit this spinner more often than others I fished, including the original Rooster Tail.
CAUGHT ON FILM
Underwater video camera work helped me study the reaction of fish when they see this lure.

With the Rooster Tail Minnow’s intricate body details, there’s no doubt it was specifically designed to fish best in clear water. But as summer conditions led to algae blooms and moss growth, I was eager to try the new spinner in murkier environments.

The very first cast I made into an algae-infested pond resulted in a fat crappie. The next two casts also produced fine-sized crappie. In the course of an hour, I’d land bluegill and largemouth bass on the chartreuse-colored Rooster Tail Minnow.

As fall river conditions shifted from clear to turbid, I hit the water in search of rainbows and the spinner produced. Perhaps the most impressive display of effectiveness came last November. I fished a small lake that was shallow and muddy due to recent rains. In 18 inches of visibility, I hooked and landed a limit of five trout while standing on the bank – three on the silver/red Rooster Tail minnow, and two on the chartreuse one.

Even with the low visibility, the dime-bright body and spinner blade cast a halo of light that caught the attention of fish. Not only did this light-casting property impress me, the number of species that hit the lure did, too.
NEW LURE, NEW FISH

Even in turbid, dark waters, the author was impressed with how rainbow trout struck the new spinner in both river and lake settings. (SCOTT HAUGEN)

Even in turbid, dark waters, the author was impressed with how rainbow trout struck the new spinner in both river and lake settings. (SCOTT HAUGEN)

Having been an avid angler for 45 years, it never ceases to amaze me, the new innovations continually created to catch fish. The Rooster Tail Minnow is a fine example of ingenuity. I’m excited about this new lure, not only for my future fishing adventures but to see how it performs for fellow anglers around the country on multiple species.

As is the case with all fishing, when it comes to trying something new, give it a chance. Take your favorite standby lures but give the new stuff a chance to work before resorting to what you have confidence in. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the importance of trying new gear and thinking outside the box is key to becoming a better angler. CS
Editor’s note: For signed copies of Scott Haugen’s popular book, 300 Tips To More Salmon & Steelhead, send a check for $29.95 (free S&H) to Haugen Enterprises, P.O. Box 275, Walterville, OR 97489, or visit scotthaugen.com.

Big Bass Are Lurking

WITH WATER TEMPS ON THE RISE, SOCAL LAKES ARE PRODUCING MASSIVE FISH
By Bill Schaefer

As spring approaches, it increases the chances of a trophy bass for your wall, with the males running the banks looking for a place to nest and the big  females just waiting to move into the shallows.
Southern California is already putting out some giant  bass, and lots of big largemouth seekers are already catching them, some on the record and some not. While most anglers tend to just post for a few friends on Facebook, they’re not officially recording the catch with the local lake’s staff. But the regular weekend warriors are scoring at some lakes as well and coming in with some massive specimens. Water temps are up at most lakes, which is starting to create the magic.
At the time of this writing, the largest bass on record is a 14.30-pound largemouth from Lake Otay in San Diego County. I talked with angler Ashley Hayden and she was thrilled with the catch.
“My dreams came true. I got to catch a 14-pound bass on a crawdad. The fight was fun and everything felt perfect,” she says. “I couldn’t ask for a better day!”
While crawdads are a staple of the bass and are great old-school bait, most trophy seekers are throwing swimbaits right now as we come out of winter into warmer  weather. A lot of lakes plant trout during the winter or  there are holdover fish from previous years that the giants eat up for a fast meal. Remember, the big mama bass need nourishment to lay their eggs and make it through the spawn during those times when they rarely eat.
Heading into spring there will be giants on beds and the baits that get them to bite will vary, but a lot of larger fish spawn out a little deeper and you cannot see them,
especially once the wind comes up. This is where having an assortment of swimbaits helps you out.
Once on a bed, the bass will protect it at all costs. Predators include other bass, bluegill and many other species  that swim in the lake; all

Ashley Hayden used a crawdad to land a giant 14.30-pound largemouth at Lake Otay, one of the largest fish around San Diego’s bass fisheries caught this year as of press time in mid-February. (ASHLEY HAYDEN)

Ashley Hayden used a crawdad to land a giant 14.30-pound largemouth at Lake Otay, one of the largest fish around San Diego’s bass fisheries caught this year as of press time in mid-February. (ASHLEY HAYDEN)

are trying to eat those nutrient-rich eggs. Swimbaits come in all species now, so make sure you have a diverse assortment. Sometimes swimming a bluegill by a bed won’t work, but the first pass with a baby bass will trigger a reaction strike.
For tackle, a strong trigger stick and reel are key components. Most of all, make sure your drag is set correctly.
I like to use the Daiwa Lexa 300 with Maxima braid in  the 50- to 60-pound range. A short fluorocarbon leader of 20 to 30 pounds will help. Tackle is as important as the baits, and just like your swimbait options, you should also have an assortment of actions and line size. You want that trophy in the boat, and as Hayden and others have discovered, the waters are teeming with giant bass.