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John R. Flannery

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  1. I saw them too. They are back ordered or are not on sale till the end of the month. I had the same impression, Mark. Unless that part in front is plastic and not lead, they will not be good in rocks. Might be good in weeds or wood. If I get some, I will post the results. I have been keeping track of the Weighted Keeper Hooks longevity that I have been using in extremely rocky areas. The 1/16th oz. one goes back to March 2017 when I snagged the previous one by setting the hook into a branch. The 1/8th oz. one replaced the previous one that was bitten off by a pike in April 2017. Both are getting hard to sharpen and are not their true weight due to abrasion on the rocks. Even though the hooks on them are not the greatest, the combination with these buoyant plastics I have been fishing is almost miraculous how well it comes through the rocks.
  2. Z-Man has released its' latest Midwest Finesse bait, the TRD CrawZ. As far as I know , the only place that has them now is Anglers International Resources/ Fishing Gurus in Palatine. They have a web site and do free shipping on orders over 50.00. I tried them on the Dupage today. They are 2.5 inches and come in about 8 colors so far. They work well on a weighted keeper hook, look great in the water. The claws are very bulbous and buoyant and wag when you move and stop the bait. Obviously a dragging or hopping retrieve with stop and go would be most natural. Unfortunately the 20 or so bass I saw today were super spooky and had lockjaw. I could entice only one 10 incher that came on a half Zinker Z. Might have gotten a few more if I had the 2 inch grubs along. Not a fair trial for the bait. The owner of the store told me it is his fastest selling bait in a long time and that they are almost out of the black/blue color.
  3. Fun topic. If I am wading or bank fishing and I think the fish saw me move after following, I sometimes will reposition myself, try to be more stealthy, and cast the area from a different angle. Also, if a fish follows, but does not strike, I take that as an indicator that I'm attracting the fish, but something about the presentation is not triggering them, so I might try a presentation with more triggering qualities I learned that from steelhead fishing. Many times I have fished a run meticulously in a grid pattern with a float rod with spawn/beads, then make a cast with a spinner and catch a fish on the first cast. This has happened so many times that even though it is a hassle, I always carry a two piece spinner rod in the back of my vest when steelhead fishing and always fish a spinner after the float before moving on. I would say this has upped my catch 20-30%. Regarding fish that get hooked but escape, I figure that the memory span of a fish is fairly short, and since the fish went for the presentation, I let the spot rest for a few minutes, then make the same presentation, perhaps from a different angle. It might not apply to smallmouth fishing, but it is amazing to see how the mood of a group of fish can be radically changed by chumming (where legal). Back in the good old days of perch fishing, by anchoring and having multiple guys fishing minnows, you would get a spot to "fire" into a feeding frenzy once the amount of bait in the water increased from minnows getting stolen, and the fish getting attracted and competitive by the activity. Where it is legal, trout and steelhead guides do the same thing by flipping out spoonfuls of loose eggs into a run, or fishing in a hot water discharge with the same result. If you can get the fish into a competitive state, their willingness to bite increases. I think this is what happens when you have multiple following fish. Best thing to do then is to keep the hooked fish in the water if he is solidly hooked, and another angler flip in a Ned, tube or Senko.
  4. It is also a killer bait rigged as a drop shot for deeper smallies on Lake Geneva. Also the Hula Z, fished like a Neko rig on the bottom if the eel grass is not too bad. B&P Jighead in Carlyle, Il. (618) 594-8469 makes a special jighead they designed to Texas rig the lure weedless. It works great, but you will need to use the super glue. I have a Plano 3500 box that I have been using for the Neds for at least 5 years. The top is warped, which would be a problem if it was not for the latches. Some other boxes not so stuffed with baits so that the lures do not come into contact with the top have not warped at all. Netcraft in Toledo also sells a mold, hooks and keeper wires if you want to defray the high cost of the Shroom heads and try better quality hooks. Last fall I was fishing Racine Harbor for brown trout. Nothing was happening, so for the heck of it, I tried dragging a goby colored Ned across the bottom, with a few hops.. Caught a six pound brown trout. Any place there are gobies, like in Door County, the Ned is becoming a go-to lure. Bill Schultz, who kayak fishes up there a lot, and was our featured speaker many, many years ago at the Blowout, when it was still in Wilmington, uses them first, even though he is sponsored by Kalins. Not to imp[y that the Kalins grub is a bad lure, but that should tell you something.
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