Posts Tagged Crappie

Berkley Powerbait Manic Shad Review

Berkley Powerbait Manic Shad

Product Type Swimbait
Tested Size(s) 3”, 4”, 5”
Tested Colors/Patterns Fathead, Firetiger, Smelt,
MSRP $5.99

manic shad

FishPittsburgh.com Score

(1- Poor to 10 – Fantastic)

Category

Score

Notes

Durability

9

Manic Shad is very durable because the soft plastic body is medium density.  It is not easily torn and there are extra body in each pack.

“Fish Appeal”

7

I have experienced a lot of fish (Bass mostly) following the bait to the boat and then striking because of the action.

Special Traits

7

The rubber blade in the front of the lure gives it an unique action.  This blade allows it to be easily adjusted.

Price

5

Because the lure is very durable and has a great action I believe that the price is very fair.

Diversity

5

Fish in the local rivers, ponds, and lakes have shown interest, but wind or current will mess with the lures action.

Total

33/50

See Comments Below.

RECOMMENDATIONS: First, if you purchase the manic shad, rig the lure with a barrel swivel about 8 inches up the line.  This will help eliminate line twisting.  Another thought is to use lighter line with the 3” versus a little heavier line for the 5” size.  I like 8lb test for the 3” and I used 15lb test for the 5” size.  Check your hooks before you start fishing because most of them are sharp but I found a couple that were slightly sharper than I like.  Take a file and sharpen the hook and you will be ready to catch some fish.

Berkley Powerbait Manic Shad

Pros

Cons

Action is Unique Line Twist
Durable Lack of hook-ups
Color Selection Inconsistent Hook Sharpness
Ability to be tuned
Size Availability

ABOUT THE CRITIC: You must know that I am very critical of my lures.  I only have about 3 lures that I use that would receive a perfect 50 and I personally modify those lures once I have them.  I consider any lure over 40 great and any lure over 30 good.  Anything less than 30 and you probably won’t see it in my tackle box.

First of many Smallies on 4” firetiger at Chautauqua.

First of many Smallies on 4” firetiger at Chautauqua.

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Weightless for Big Bass?

Some people believe that weightless rigs only work occassionally or for small bass.  A weightless rig has an endless amount of applications for bass and other species.  I have caught just about every species you can imagine using weightless applications.  Using this rig may seem very simple and easy to use, but for tournament fishermen it can be very difficult because of how slow you must fish using this technique.  In the following I will discuss how to use weightless applications on different bodies of water, times to use the technique, and some lures to get you started.

The big question is when should you try to fish weightless fishing rigs?  There is no define answer to that question, however, here are a couple of factors to think about.  First, what stage of the spawn or time of year is it.  Weightless fishing can be very effective during the spawn while the fish are on beds, or in the post spawn because most fish are suspended and very inactive.  Fish during the post spawn typically are looking for an easy meal, and one that floats right infront of them is about the easiest targets for them.  Late spring through the summer months seem to be the best times for these lures.  That is not to say that they wont work in the fall and winter months though.  Second you should consider the fishing pressure that your body of water recieves.  One of the easiest ways to catch fish on lakes or rivers that have an extreme amount of fishing or boating pressure is to go weightless.  Another factor to consider is the water clearity of your body of water.  You can fish a weighless lure in 20′ of water if the water is clear.  If you are fishing muddy water then I typically don’t use this technique.  Water current should also be considered because if there in a current then it will give the lure a more lifelike action.  Time of day truly makes no difference other than lure choice.  In the morning and evening you will typically get more baitfish lures to work, but in the middle of the day stick worms work very well. 

Chautauqua Smallmouth #2

Chautauqua Smallmouth

What bodies of water should we use weightless techniques?  My answer to that is lakes, rivers, streams, and ponds.  I know that doesn’t narrow it down, but there are certain factors to consider.  The most important factor is the water clearity of the body of water.  For example, this spring/early summer I was fishing at Lake Chautauqua in New York and the water clearity was around 8 feet.  Because of that a stick worm and small minnow immation lure I was able to catch a bunch of 3 and 4 pound smallmouth.  I tried to use the same lures at pymatuning lake, but I was unsuccessful mainly because the water clearity was around 1 foot or less.  The two main places to fish a weightless rig in lakes boat docks and weeds.  This doesn’t mean that you should skip throwing at stumps, bushes, and laydowns as well.  In rivers and streams you should fish weightless in certain areas.  My best area to go weightless is in shallow fast moving water.  The bait will never be more natural than in the current floating down stream.  Leave the lure on slack line and watch the line to see if it jumps or stops moving.  The next place you should try is a boat docks.  Once the sun comes up, these floating pieces of structure can be unbelievable.  Two other places to try this style is on the rivers are metals break or retaining walls were fish suspend and by floating barges that are tied to shore.  The more industrial pools of the river will have more of this type of structure to fish.  Ponds are a place where you can always use a weighless rig and catch fish.  Ponds rarely have water that is stained badly, so a stick worm is a safe bet.

I hear a lot of guys always asking each other way lures to fish weightless.  They are actually asking the wrong question.  The true question should be what soft plastic lure can’t be used weightless.  My answer to that question is that there isn’t a lure that I won’t throw weightless under the right conditions.  Probably my favorite lure would be stick worms in varies sizes and colors.  On the Allegheny, Ohio, and Mon. Rivers in Western PA I tend to use 3-4″ green pumpkin or pumpkinseed lures.  Not all brands are created equally because the colors are slightly different or their fall rates are different.  On lakes I tend to go with 5″ stick baits.  Color selection is a lot of trial and error.  For pond fishing I try to match the size of the bluegill that are in the pond.  Some other lures to consider are fluke or minnow immitators, tubes for top water, floating worms for top water, and frog for top water.  There are always more lures that will be successful if you just take the time to fish slow.  One item that most guys over look is the type of line which they are using.  If you want the worm to fall faster go with a 6-10 lb. flourocarbon line.  Monofilament and braided lines float so they will be better with top water presentations. 

The secret to fishing weightless is being patient and working the lures very slowly.  If you are looking for surface strikes you can speed up some, but the best action is typically on the fall.  Crappie and Walleye fishermen tend to make good weightless presentations because they are used to fishing slowly.  For myself it took a lot of practice and wasted time on the water to realize that fishing this way can be really beneficial to a bass fishermen.   Remember to experiment as you fish this style.  Some color, size, structure, or species is always willing to eat a slow presentation.  Good luck.

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Slow Crappie Bite

leos-striperI spent last night at Lake Arthur with a good friend trying to find crappie for a fish fry.  We were only able to get a couple crappie in the live well which we end up releasing.  I haven’t been to Lake Arthur since the KBBC Tournament in early April, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the lake.  First, we hit a couple of brush piles and we were unsuccessful.  Then we tried the weeds and once again unsuccessful.  Finally, we went to a beaver hut and caught 3 crappie.  There wasn’t any size to them so we released them. 

Around 8:00 we decided to quit crappie fishing and see if we could get into the hybrid stripers.  After driving to one of my favorite spots on the jays-striperroadbed I could see some bait activity, but less than normal.  It took us about 15 minutes until we caught our first striper and it was only about 12 inches.  After that my friend and I each caught a 26″ hybrid striper.  Both fish were taken on light weight tackle and we were using Rapala X-Raps.  We had a few more stikes, but no more hook ups.  Those big stripers made the night even better than it already was. 

 

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WILD WAVES

Saturday a friend of mine and myself decided to head to Pymatuning Lake.  The forecast was calling for high winds and rough water, and they hit it right on the money.  By the end of the day there were any where from 2 to 4 foot waves blowing down the lake.  These were the biggest waves that I had ever seen on this lake.  I was glad that we had decided to launch at the Linesville Marina Launch.  Despite the waves and wind we were able to get into some nice fish.  It is my belief that the spawn hasn’t kick off yejess-with-a-rainbow-troutt, but I believe that we are not far off.  This weekends KBBC tournament on saturday should be a full of good limits.

On mothers day between breakfast with her mom and diner my mom, my wife and I decided to hit Thorn Creek for a couple hours.  We were pretty unsuccessful, but managed 1 nice Rainbow Trout.

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Finding Spring Crappie

crappie_art

Catching spring crappie is a great way to spend a nice spring afternoon or evening. The key to finding spring crappie is to find the type of water that is holding them. The best places to start looking for spring crappie would be: wood, weeds, rocks, or possible some bridge pillar. Once you find what the crappies are holding on start looking for other places that look like the place you found. Minnows seem to be the most consistent bait and will give you the best success in catching good numbers of crappie. In clear water you will want to make sure you are using light weight fluorocarbon line or at least a fluorocarbon leader. The rig of choice would be a slip bobber with a jig and minnow or a minnow on a split shot rig. A great place to start if you are just starting out is to go out and get a book about crappie fishing.  Here is one of the best crappie book  I have ever read,  Crappie Fundamentals. Good luck and have fun.

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Lake Arthur Cranking….

Saturday my dad and I went to Lake Arthur in hopes of finding some walleye.  In my experiences on Lake Arthur I have caught many walleye while using a crankbait for bass, so we decided to try our luck at getting some walleye working crankbaits on the points, road beds and rocky shorelines. Sorry to say that we didn’t catch any walleye on this trip.  We were able to catch a few fish though. We ended up with 4 really nice crappie, a bass, a musky, and a carp.  The fish we caught came on DT-10s Yes a carp on a crankbait.   We had a scale but really didn’t have a way to measure the fish, but the musky was 13 ½ lbs and the carp was 16 ¾ lbs.  All in all it was a good day of fishing.  

muskie-0402 carp-0402

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