Seeing Red

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A lot of you are probably going to hate me for this, but a spinnerbait with a little red kicker blade can be deadly. As far as I know, it was the Oklahoma boys who first popularized this color scheme, but from my experience it works just about anywhere bass need to eat. I’ve used them successfully on the California Delta, for smallmouths up north, and they are my absolute steel-lock go-to on many of our eastern tidal rivers – and don’t get me started on El Salto, where the fish’ll rattle your fillings free and force you to an early rotator cuff surgery if you throw a red blade in the right places.

My favorite version up until now has been the one from War Eagle. They make great spinnerbaits across the board, and this one is no exception. The ¼ ounce model or the Screamin’ Eagle is great when you need a smaller profile, and in Mexico I’ve relied primarily on the ¾ ounce jumbo. The big one works exceptionally well at generating bites, but it’s not necessarily built to withstand them. In particular, it has an “R-Bend” line tie instead of twisted wire. Half of the time the fish come to the boat with the spinnerbait completely straightened out. The rest of the time, as a result of their boatside thrashing it gets equally mangled. I can usually bend it back into shape, but I know that eventually they’re going to break – usually at the worst possible time, like after a big fish bites.

I needed a more durable facsimile, and into this mix stepped Jim Miller of Shinbone Ridge Custom Baits. He made me exactly what I wanted, ¾ ounce baits with a chartreuse and white skirt, a red kicker blade, and big number six and seven hammered willows. Most importantly, it’s built to handle the brutal Mexican bass, with a twisted line tie and copper wire in addition to the rubber band holding on the skirt.

I’ve got over a hundred days left until the next Mexico trip – with a new boat, the Classic and some other cool adventures coming before then – but right now I’m most excited about the prospect of seeing if I can destroy one or two of these seemingly bulletproof baits as a result of too many violent bass battles.