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Trying Something New

Like most fishermen, sometimes we like to keep with lures and techniques that are familiar to us and have been successful in the past. Picking a different lure can be easier than trying a new technique and no matter how many fishing shows we watch, sometimes we still go back to the tried-and-true presentation.

I had planned on using a couple of techniques on a recent trip down to Stockade Lake here in the Black Hills to target pike and both largemouth and smallmouth bass that have been successful in the past, but as luck would have it, there was a fishing show that I watched two days before I planned on going that gave me some inspiration.

Now, I normally am not the fisherman who gets "hooked" by seeing the stuff used on TV. Fishing lures catch fishermen is the phrase I've heard before, but after watching them catching smallmouth on certain jerkbaits in shallow, I took the whole bait hard. So went down to the local fishing store and bought one the next day.

I've never used jerkbaits before, so I watched a couple of videos just to get the basics down and I headed off to the lake the next day with my friend Steve who would shorefish while I was in the pontoon.

We'd try for bluegills from shore later in the morning and I was using slip bobbers, which most are familiar with. Once I was at the spot, I tried a spinnerbait to start with, which was tried-and-true, but didn't have takers.

Tried a spoon after that with no luck either. Finally, I decided it was to try the jerkbait. Using quick jerks followed by two to five second pauses, I managed to catch a few small pike, but no big ones or bass.

So headed off to some cattails that had fish nearby during the winter to try my luck there. I casted out close to the reeds and had just jerked the bait when wham, fish on! Even though I had my anchor down, the fish still tugged my little boat a bit as I brought it in.

It was a rather nice pike and I had to let it tire itself out a little before I could attempt to get it into the net. Once I had it, there was no lure hanging outside the fish's mouth, it inhaled the lure good. If I had any doubts about using the jerkbaits, they were quickly dashed when I saw that.

I was a little worried at first about getting the lure out without damaging the fish's gullet or gills, but I had my trusty Cold Snap Outdoor Toothpick XL on me and was able to get the hooks out without damaging much and watch the fish swim away after a picture. After that fish, no other fish wanted to try for it so I went back to Steve, loaded up the pontoon and off to the east side we went for some 'gill action.

We were treated to some decent action on the east side using Northland Tackle LiteBite slip bobbers and either plain hooks or 1/16th oz. Fireball jigs tipped with worms with a few nicer 'gills mixed in the smaller ones.

But for me, trying something new and seeing some success with it was the most fulfilling part of my day. Using a jerkbait is now fully within my grasp now and I'll be sure to check out some other colors now as well and use it more often. I'll be looking forward to that first good bass hit as well. Sometimes it takes a perfectly timed fishing episode to help us try something unfamiliar and success on it will only make us try to further refine the technique.

Honestly if I hadn't caught anything, I'm not sure when I would've tried again, but I know I can catch fish now with it and will try again soon, and all because of a fishing show.

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