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Bob Banfelder

Bob is an award-winning crime-thriller novelist and outdoors writer. "The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water" is endorsed by Lefty Kreh and Angelo Peluso~online at Amazon.

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January 02, 2017

Berkley's Fusion19 Super-Sharp Hooks: From Panfish to Pelagics ~ Part II

by Bob Banfelder

Moving up in size from where we left off yesterday, let's examine the SUPERLINE EWG 4/0 hook, which has a forged bend and an increased diameter for added strength, giving it the power required to pull fish out of weeds, reeds, and other thick vegetation. The hooks are offered in sizes 2/0–7/0. The 2/0 and 3/0 come six to a package; 4/0 and 5/0 come five to a package; 6/0 and 7/0 come four to a package ~ $3.99 per package.

One of the two soft plastic crawdad-type representations shown below (left), rigged Texas style, is Berkley's scented 3½-inch Alabama Craw duel-colored PowerBait, nicknamed the Fight'n Bug. As many of us reading this piece are not presently in the southeast, in your mind, set aside the lure's crawdad creature feature, its regional color (Alabama Craw), as well as limiting the lure solely to freshwater applications. Instead, consider this killer bait for the suds. Here on the East End of Long Island, Donna and I have caught and released more than our fair share of blues and striped bass with this crawdad color imitation as we have with, perhaps, the more suitable northeast purplish colors (right), which I'll cover momentarily. I believe it's not so much a matter of color or menu choice as it is purely an appetite decision, for food is food for thought for the fish. Hunger is probably the cognitive conception coupled to Berkley's scented attractions.


Left ~ top and bottom: Berkley's Alabama Craw duel-colored PowerBait ‘Fight'n Bug' & Superline Ewg 4/0 hook
Right ~ top and bottom: Berkley's Bama Bug purple color PowerBait ‘Change Up' & Heavy Cover 4/0 hook

The only thing I do differently referencing the Texas-style rigging is to push the point of the hook ¼ inch into the nose of the larger soft plastic baits instead of 1/8 inch on smaller soft plastic worms. Otherwise, the procedure remains the same. Also, I do not worry about concealing the eye of the hook. I do, however, concern myself with making the lure weedless by skin-hooking it as described yesterday in Part 1.

Shown above on the right side of photo and rigged Texas style is Berkley's HAVOC 4½-inch Bama Bug purple color, monikered the ‘Change Up' by designer Scott Suggs. The soft plastic lure is impaled with Berkley's HEAVY COVER 4/0 hook, built for flipping. Half of the top section of the hook shank is constructed with a stainless steel bait-keeper wire wrapped within a tight-gripping material in order to reduce slippage and prevent readjusting. The hooks are offered in sizes 3/0–6/0). All four sizes come four to a package ~ $5.99 per package.

For getting down into the water column, Berkley's weighted hooks, such as the Weighted Superline 4/0 EWG and Weighted Swimbait 5/0 with screwlock, are the key to nailing those denizens of the deep. Donna and I use them on our swimbaits rigged Texas style. We have had excellent success with Berkley's specifically formulated PowerBaits for Saltwater; namely, Berkley's 5-inch Jerkshad in a Pearl/Watermelon color. That's when we switch from spinning outfits to our low-profile bait casting reels and rods. The knack to working the lure(s) is to slowly . . . s.l.o.w.l.y retrieve your swimbait, which imparts maximum tail action, which in turn produces some serious strikes.

Berkley's Weighted Superline 4/0 EWG hooks (Environmental Working Group) are offered in sizes 3/0–7/0. The size is imprinted on the leaded portion for easy identification. The weighted 4/0 shown below is approximately 3/16 of an ounce. Sizes 3/0, 4/0, and 5/0 come five to a package; sizes 6/0 and 7/0 come four to a package ~ $5.99 per package.


Left top and bottom: 6-inch Boss Dog with Weighted Swimbait 5/0 and screwlock
Right top and bottom: 5-inch Jerkshad with Weighted Superline 4/0 EWG without screwlock


The Weighted Swimbait 5/0 hook and screwlock are offered in sizes 3/0–7/0 and also has the hook size imprinted on the leaded portion for easy identification. The spiral bait keeper makes for fast and secure rigging of plastics. These leaded hooks will take your swimbaits down deep to the lunkers. The weighted 5/0 is approximately 1/3 of an ounce. All sizes come four to a package ~ $5.99 per package. Both Donna and I have had very good results using Berkley's HAVOC 6-inch Black-Red Fleck/Chartreuse color plastics, dubbed the Boss Dog, designed by Gary Klein.

As some folks make the mistake of pushing the body of the plastic lure over the weighted belly of the hook (thereby compromising it), let's take a moment to address the proper way to rig such a weighted hook (with or without the screwlock) Texas style. First, push the point of the hook approximately ¼ inch (for larger lures) into the nose of the lure as you normally would, exiting the bottom of its body. Now, carefully back it out, completely removing it. You have just created a channel. Next, insert both the eye and angled neck of the hook into that bottom channel, rotating and aligning the body vertically at the center of the bend in the hook. You'll recall earlier that to precisely place and reinsert the point of the hook into the body of the lure so as to keep it perfectly straight is to hold the hook vertically and allow the lure to hang naturally. Within the bottom center of the hook's bend is exactly where the second reentry point should be made. You will have to bend the swimbait to accommodate this entry point. Embed the point of the hook into the body and out its top. Both the point and barb should lay perfectly flat atop the lure. Next, in order to make the swimbait weedless, stretch forward the section of body below the barb, allowing the section to return rearward and skin-hook the point of the hook into the body. The point of the hook should be barely concealed as pictured. Leave the eye of the hook exposed for tying your fluorocarbon leader. No need to conceal the eye as you had the worm lure. Good to go.

The Swimbait 5/0 with screwlock (unweighted) is shown below. The hooks are offered in sizes 3/0–7/0. Sizes 3/0, 4/0, and 5/0 come five to a package; sizes 6/0 and 7/0 come four to a package ~ $3.99 per package.

Although the suggested hook for Berkley's 4½-inch Blue Shiner Gold color PowerBait, named the Rib Shad, is a Swimbait Jighead, I employ the unweighted 5/0 Swimbait hook with screwlock. I didn't listen too well in school either. :o) :o) You'll note that I rig the Rib Shad with the screwlock secured in its nose and the hook through the lure's body and out the top. However, you'll also note that because of the hook's configuration that the barb and point do not lay flat atop the lure (Texas style) and that its body is positioned directly between the bend of the hook, creating a sail-like, keel-like combo. That is precisely the form and figure I desire. The hook's smoke-satin finish will not spook fish as might a typical shiny stainless steel sail-like, keel-like display. Also, by not skin-hooking this rather thick-bodied shad imitator, you will be more assured of solid hookups.

The tail-thumping, paddle action of this killer bait triggers hard-hitting reactions. If you wish to go deeper into the water column, simply rig this imposter on a weighted Swimbait 5/0, similar to that when rigging for the 6-inch HAVOC Boss Dog explained earlier.


Berkley's 5/0 Swimbait hook with screwlock & Rib Shad PowerBait

Visit Berkley at http://www.berkley.com for a full description of their entire line of Fusion19 hooks and soft plastics. The hooks and lures are winners—not only in terms of producing solid hookups, but in terms of pricing. You'll thank me later.

Also, you can secure the recipe for Bob B's Black & White BIG Bull's-Eye Fly that appeared in the April 7, 2009 Nor'east Saltwater magazine issue (page 54 ~ illustrating prismatic Mylar eyes) by copying and pasting the issue's following URL in your Google address search box: http://files1.allcoastmedia.com/magazineissues/pdf/Noreast2004_0385126.PDF.


Bob
B's Black & White BIG Bull's-Eye Fly ~ updated 2016 photo with molded 3-D eyes.

Bob Banfelder
https://www.robertbanfelder.com

Award-Winning
Crime-Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer

Member: Outdoor Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association
Long Island Outdoor Communicators Network

Cablevision TV Host Special Interests with Robert Banfelder & Donna Derasmo

Bi-monthly contributor to Nor'east Saltwater ~ presented on the 1st & 2nd of every month.


Available on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats


Available on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats





January 01, 2017

Berkely's Fusion19 Super-Sharp Hooks: From Panfish to Pelagics ~ Part I

by Bob Banfelder

First off, Donna and I wish everyone a Healthy and Happy New Year, including a great 2017 Fishing Season.

Donna and I have been field-testing nine of Berkley's Fusion19™ smoke-satin-color hooks for the past year, along with several of the company's soft plastic (silicone) baits. They are absolutely awesome. Berkley's Fusion19 hooks is a trademark as is their revolutionary, technologically-advanced polymer coating designated as SlickSet; hence, Fusion19™ hooks and SlickSet™. What Berkley did was to fuse the SlickSet coating to their high-carbon steel hooks. The result: effortless hook-sets. The hooks' tips are tack-driving, needle-point sharp and easily penetrate a fish's cartilage as well as the flesh of your finger if you are not careful. The hooks are engineered to be the sharpest and slickest on the market. They were new for 2015.

The hooks are freshwater "bass-specific designs," says the company. However, Donna and I use them for virtually all saltwater applications as well as sweetwater situations. Together, you and I will be examining these perfected hooks closely. In the suds, both Donna and I have taken stripers, bluefish, weakfish, porgies, blowfish, seabass, blackfish, and fluke. In freshwater, we had a blast landing brook, rainbow, and brown trout with a fly rod, especially after tying a few new flies on Berkley's size 1/0 Drop Shot Fusion19 hooks. Next, I went on to playing around with their Weedless Wide Gap size 1/0 for largemouth bass. Playtime was over. We began nailing one largemouth after the other, along with a few smallmouth bass. More on that momentarily.

Among Berkley's Fusion19 hooks are nine designs I'll cover today and tomorrow: Drop Shot 1/0; Weedless Wide Gap 1/0; Offset Worm 3/0; EWG (Environmental Working Group) 3/0; Superline EWG 4/0; Heavy Cover 4/0; Weighted Superline EWG 4/0; Weighted Swimbait with screwlock 5/0; and Swimbait with screwlock 5/0. As pictured below, the hooks are clamshell-packaged in their resealable plastic storage units for easy accessibility and safety's sake because, as already mentioned, these hooks are extremely sharp. Depending on size, the hooks come in quantities ranging from four to seven hooks per package.


Resealable Clamshell Packaging


Let's begin with Berkley's Fusion19 Drop Shot 1/0 and the Weedless Wide Gap 1/0. These hooks have become a favorite of mine for tying a streamer fly that I created back in early 2008, aptly named Bob B's Black & White BIG Bull's-Eye Fly. It is a unique fly pattern in that the eye of the fly essentially is the fly. Berkley's Fusion19 Drop Shot 1/0 hook and their Weedless Wide Gap 1/0 (with its fluorocarbon weed guard) lend themselves well to this pattern because the eye of the fly fits neatly into the hook's semi-circular frame.

Apart from the hook's intended purpose as a drop-shot rig for live or artificial bait such a plastic worms, I find the Drop Shot 1/0 very useful for tying both saltwater and freshwater dry flies, too. With the aid of buoyant materials such as deer hair spun around the shank of the hook, its short shank and slightly raised eyelet assist in keeping the pattern resting flat atop the water column; hence, making the hook quite suitable for many dry fly applications. The hooks come seven to a package and are offered in sizes #6, #4, #2, #1, 1/0 and 2/0 ~ $3.99 per package.

Referencing the somewhat larger Weedless Wide Gap 1/0, you can work a fly where others dare not swim; namely, weeds and other thickly vegetated areas. Bob B's Black & White BIG Bull's-Eye Fly, serving as a wet fly, is a great all-around pattern, for you can fish it in both fresh water and salt water. In our northeast waters, Donna and I have taken panfish to pelagics. Initially, I tied the fly with flat (tape-type) prismatic Mylar eyes before experimenting with 3-D (dome-shaped) eyes and larger heads to push water. Too, I played and plied our rivers and bays with a yellow/green color pattern. The Weedless Wide Gap hooks are offered in sizes #1, 1/0, 2/0, 3/0. All but the 3/0 come five hooks to a package. The 3/0 comes four to a package ~ $5.99 per package.


Top: left to right ~ Drop-Shot 1/0 & Weedless Wide Gap 1/0 hooks
Center: left to right ~ Bob B's Black & White BIG Bull's-Eye Flies ~ exhibiting 3-D (dome-shaped) eyes ~ fly on left pushes water nicely
Bottom: experimenting of late with a yellow/green pattern.

All three patterns have been proven effective in either sweet water or the suds.

Moving on to larger size Berkley Fusion19 hooks. As a rule of thumb, I use a 3/0 hook for smaller baits, a 4/0 for medium size baits, and a 5/0 hook for larger baits. Let's examine the Offset Worm 3/0 and the EWG 3/0.

The Offset Worm hook 3/0 has a slightly narrower gap than the EWG 3/0. The hooks are offered in sizes 1/0–5/0. The 1/0 and 2/0 hooks come seven to a package; 3/0, 4/0, and 5/0 come six to a package ~ $3.99 per package.

The EWG 3/0 hook has a slightly wider gap than the above. The hooks are offered in sizes #1, 1/0–5/0. The #1, 1/0, and 2/0 hooks come seven to a package; 3/0, 4/0, and 5/0 come six to a package ~ $3.99 per package.

Texas Style Rigging:

Both hook designs are ideal for rigging soft plastics, particularly worms. Let's rig Berkley's HAVOC 4½-inch Junebug color (monikered the ‘Money Maker') by designer Brandon Palaniuk. We'll rig the worm (along with some other soft plastics) Texas style.

First, push the point of either hook (Offset Worm 3/0 or EWG 3/0) into the nose of the worm, approximately 1/8th inch in and out the side. Slide and rotate the worm up the shank, past the hook's 90 degree angled neck, right up to the eye of the hook. This angle holds and keeps the worm from sliding down.

Next, a trick to precisely place and reinsert the point of the hook into the body of the worm so as to keep the worm perfectly straight is to hold the hook vertically and allow the worm to hang naturally. Within the bottom center of the hook's bend is exactly where the second reentry point should be made. You will have to bend the worm to accommodate this entry point. Embed the point of the hook into the body and out its top. Both the point and barb should lay perfectly flat atop the worm. Next, in order to make the lure weedless, stretch forward the section of worm below the barb, allowing the section to return rearward and skin-hook the point of the hook into the body. The point of the hook should be barely concealed as pictured below. After tying your fluorocarbon leader to the hook, gently push the head of the worm over the eye of the hook, concealing the connection. Good to go.

I cast this lure with a light-action spinning reel and rod—no weight added to either lure or line of any sort. The worm's action in the water column is natural, so you will receive strikes and solid hookups.


Top to Bottom: one Offset Worm 3/0 hook and two EWG 3/0 hooks ~ HAVOC Junebug (color). Top two worms show hooks' exposed eyes, barbs, and points. Bottom worm—properly rigged weedless—conceals hook's eye, barb, and point. Berkley's Vanish fluorocarbon leader material, tied to the eye of the hook and hidden, offers a virtually invisible presentation.

Tomorrow, we'll continue with Part 2 of BERKLEY'S FUSION19 SUPER-SHARP HOOKS ~ FROM PANFISH to PELAGICS.

Once again, a Healthy and Happy New Year, including a great 2017 Fishing Season.

Stay tuned.


Available on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats


Available on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats

Bob Banfelder
https://www.robertbanfelder.com

Award-Winning
Crime-Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer

Member: Outdoor Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association
Long Island Outdoor Communicators Network

Cablevision TV Host Special Interests with Robert Banfelder & Donna Derasmo

Bi-monthly contributor to Nor'east Saltwater ~ presented on the 1st & 2nd of every month.




December 01, 2016

HOLIDAY HAPPINESS ~ Great Gift Ideas for Boaters & Anglers ~ Part 1

by Bob Banfelder

Whether one celebrates Hanukkah or Christmas, both festivals (technically) fall hours apart from each other this year—December 24th, December 25th respectively—that is, only a few days after the first day of winter. Winter! December 21st. By then your boat should be winterized, shrink wrapped, or stored in a protective shelter. By now, surf casters, fly fishermen, and anglers of all sorts should be taking care of his or her fishing equipment; namely, reels, rods, lures, et cetera. By now—December 1st—you should certainly be thinking about buying presents. But for whom? But for you, of course! Presents that you are unlikely to find under the Christmas tree or Hanukkah bush . . . unless, of course, you dropped many hints and/or presumptuously presented a wish-list similar to that of a wedding gift registry. Ah, reviewing the 2016 calendar, I also noted that Kwanzaa falls on December 26th, lest I be accused of failing to be politically correct. The Kwanzaa celebrations honor the African heritage in African-American cultures.

Boaters


One of several handy gift suggestions comes from Happy Cove (www.happycove.com), a distributor of innovative, creative products for your boat. The wizard behind the curtain is Glen Sherman. A four-season, veteran boater who lives aboard a 43.4 foot Endeavour catamaran with his wife, Diane. The vessel is named Debt Free. When I first saw the man, I called out to him from our dock as he was pulling his brand-new craft into the marina next to us. "Ahoy, there! Are you truly debt free?" He smiled amicably and said, "Not after just purchasing this boat." Glen is a mild-mannered, highly intelligent individual. The man's love of boating is reflected in his product line.

Let's take a look at a must-have item that belongs on every boat. It is the SOS C-1001 SIRIUS NIGHT VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNAL. By federal law, boats over 16 feet are required to carry three currently-dated, hand-held, approved flares for both day and night distress signaling, inshore and offshore. What is interesting about the SIRIUS NIGHT VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNAL is that it's Coast Guard Compliant, making flares obsolete when coupled with a 3 x 3-foot orange distress flag, included in the SOS C-1001 package. The LED (Light Emitting Diode) VDS (Visual Distress Signal) runs off three alkaline C-cell batteries—not included.

How many times have you questioned whether or not your flares were still within the legitimately-dated time frame? Surely, not after you requested a voluntary dockside Auxiliary Coast Guard vessel safety check.Hopefully, not during an on-the-water surprise appearance by the Coast Guard. For failure to carry flares aboard your boat, or having expired flares, could result in a $1,000 fine. Forty-two (42) months from the flares' date of manufacture to expiration date is a long time. Surely, I'm sill within that time period, you may be thinking. When's the last time you even checked?

Keep in mind, too, that a 4-pack of Orion Locate handheld signal flares state a burn-time rate of three (3) minutes per flare as compared to a steady six-plus hours with the SOS C-1001 SIRIUS NIGHT VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNAL. Also, an Orion Locate rated handheld marine flare has a visible rating of 700 candela; that is, 700 feet as compared to SIRIUS' NIGHT VISUAL SIGNAL of 10 miles. In all candor, after researching visible shore distances, coastal distances, day/night illumination, and intensity, the considerations are varied—altitude being a key factor. Therefore, in terms of safety sense, it would be wise to carry both flares and the SOS C-1001 SIRIUS NIGHT VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNAL. If you are boarded by the Coast Guard, you will certainly be compliant, night or day, with the NIGHT VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNAL and accompanying orange flag. If you suddenly discover that the ancillary flares are expired, replace them immediately. Just don't broadcast your oversight.

A list of features and benefits of the SOS C-1001 SIRIUS NIGHT VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNAL is impressive. Unlike handheld signal flares, your gift to you is a one-time purchase. It is family-safe because it is a non-pyrotechnic electronic unit, so even your children can operate it in an emergency situation. It is easy to operate, displaying a simple on/off switch. Again, the signal lasts six-plus hours. The unit is buoyant because it has built-in flotation.

On a supposed negative side, which I really don't see as a downside, the SOS C-1001 SIRIUS NIGHT VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNAL is more expensive than initially purchasing flares. However, in the long run, it is less expensive. Flares may be more visible during daytime; that is why I suggest carrying both flares and the night distress signal light. Also, alkaline batteries can leak as can the batteries in your flashlight, handheld radio, and other such items. Removing batteries in the off-season then checking them periodically through the boating season will resolve this potential problem.

Whether your craft is sixteen-plus feet or far less, be smart and give yourself the gift of peace of mind.

Peace.


As shown, the SOS C-1001 SIRIUS NIGHT VISUAL DISTRESS SIGNAL light also comes with an orange distress (3' x 3') signal flag


Anglers


Many anglers know the importance of selecting fine terminal tackle. For example: hooks, weights, split rings, swivels, lures, et cetera. Serious, knowledgeable anglers know the importance of power clips; specifically, Tactical Anglers Power Clips. When changing lures, especially those long- and short-lipped crankbaits (aka square-bill hardbaits), they often prove troublesome. When? Answer: When it is dark, wet, and/or cold. Why troublesome? Answer: because you are trying to do one of two things: you are either cutting the line and retying it to the metal eye fixed up against the nose of the lure, or you are trying to slip a barrel swivel affixed to the end of your line onto a split ring that is attached to the metal eye up against the nose of the lure. The first procedure is time-consuming. The second procedure proves awkward, particularly when you're in a hurry. You just don't have the dexterity required on a rocking boat.

Tactical Anglers Power Clips allow you to change these types of lures easily and quickly—I'm talking practically a nanosecond, especially when connecting a barrel swivel to a power clip in lieu of a split ring. With smaller, long-lipped hardbaits, tight quarters make it all but impossible to attach a barrel swivel to a split ring. Even after doing so, in the comfort of your home, it is still cumbersome to later try and affix a barrel swivel to the split ring when changing lures on a bobbin boat (the exception maybe being when the eye is positioned forward of the lure's face, fastened to its bill). Keep in mind that today's quality hooks are extremely sharp. Ouch! What to do to ensure dexterity?

What I've done most recently is to simply remove all split rings from my long-and short-lipped crankbaits, replacing them with the appropriate size Tactical Anglers Power Clip. Attached to the end of my fluorocarbon leader is a quality barrel swivel to which I slide the other end onto the arm of the Power Clip, changing lures in a heartbeat because, now, you have something to easily grip between thumb and forefinger—instead of being all thumbs. I could literally change lures blindfolded. It is that easy. Also, there is no chance of the clip opening up like that of a snap-type swivel, which has surely happened to several of us in years gone by.

Backing up to split rings for a moment, I have seen anglers tie their leader/line directly to the split ring attached to the metal eye in the nose of the lure. A thin line can most magically work its way along the attenuated section of the split ring; that is, in between the ends of the double coil where it forms a narrow single-coil space. Say good-bye to that lure. A barrel swivel affixed to a Tactical Anglers Power Clip (shown below) is not going anywhere.


Barrel swivel & 50 lb. test-strength Tactical Anglers Power Clip affixed to eye of long-lipped crankbait

Tactical Anglers Power Clips are offered in four test-strength sizes of 50 lbs., 75 lbs., 125 lbs., and 175 lbs., available in small packages or bulk-packed. If you are an avid angler, I strongly suggest that you buy them in bulk because you are likely to use them for a number of applications, considering the fact that they will make changing lures facile instead of frustrating. Tactical Anglers Power Clips are bulk-packaged in quantities of 25 clips referencing 175 lbs., 125 lbs., and 75 lbs. test-strength sizes; 30 clips re the 50 lbs. test-strength size.

Tactical Anglers Power Clips are made from thick stainless steel wire, beefier than the standard round-ended clips with which you may be familiar. Also, these Power Clips are designed to be relatively pointed at both ends rather than rounded, and for two good reasons. They keep knots properly seated; swivels, better positioned. To paraphrase Alberto Knie, CEO of Tactical Anglers: ". . . Most pelagic (ocean) fish have a tendency to shift their head [when fighting], but with the pointed clip design, it allows for the line to follow; hence, minimizing slippage," which is more likely to occur with the round-ended design. The benefit of the semi-pointed clip is that maximum direct contact is maintained.

Come February, I'll be covering Tactical Anglers Power Clips in further detail as they apply to your favorite spoons. In the meantime, after immediately gifting yourself these indispensable Power Clips in time for the holiday, surprise a fishing-fanatic friend—even a novice—a gift he or she will greatly appreciate. Too, as a stocking stuffer, be reminded of that age-old-adage: "Good things come in small packages."


Stocking Stuffers

Tomorrow, December 2nd, we'll continue with some great gift ideas for the upcoming holidays.

Stay tuned.

Bob Banfelder
https://www.robertbanfelder.com

Award-Winning
Crime-Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer
Member: Outdoors Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association
Long Island Outdoor Communicators Network
Cablevision TV Host Special Interests with Robert Banfelder & Donna Derasmo
Bi-monthly contributor to Nor'east Saltwater ~ presented on the 1st & 2nd of every month.


Available on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats



Available on Amazon in paperback and e-book formats










October 01, 2016

Crankbait Transitions from Sweetwater to the Suds ~ A Colorful Array of Keen Killers ~ Part I

by Bob Banfelder

If you're angling for some of the best synthetic hardbaits and penetratingly honed treble hooks available in today's highly competitive fishing industry, allow me to lure you in and hook you up solidly. You won't be disappointed with the following offerings, for you will save money, time, and frustration. You will steadfastly attract and confidently fight fish. What kind of fish? Answer: virtually all kinds of fish referencing freshwater, brackish, and, yes, saltwater applications. Designed by David Fritts and his dream team for freshwater fishing—but not necessarily limited as such—the following selection of crankbaits is positively deadly in the suds. Therefore, do not shortchange yourself. Too, their devastatingly chemically-sharpened treble hooks may surprise you.

Here in Part 1, we'll take a good look at a few of Berkley's assortment of proven Fishing Evolved crankbait designs: Bad Shad, Digger, and the Warpig models. These designs are hard on fish but easy on the pocketbook—$6.95 each. When you team up professional design engineers with professional anglers in state-of-the-art testing facilities, the results are awesome as you will soon see. David Fritts, Justin Lucas, Josh Bertrand, Garry Klein, and Scott Suggs comprise the Berkley pro-design dream team referencing these Fishing Evolved crankbaits.

First in the lineup is the Bad Shad 5, shown below in the Black Gold color; 18 killer colors from which to choose, available in 2", ¼ oz. It is a dynamite lure, diving from 5 to 7 feet. This crankbait is lethal on walleyes, muskies, trout, crappies, smallmouth and largemouth bass, stripers, bluefish, and weakfish.

The design features a lifelike side-to-side roll and simulated tail wag that drive fish bonkers. Within an hour, Donna caught and released a few schoolies. Not to be upstaged, I headed our boat toward a neighboring bay, grabbed another rod set up with the slightly longer, heavier Bad Shad 7, which you will see momentarily, and went to town on a good many schoolie bass and cocktail blues.


Bad Shad 5


Bad Shad 5 ~ Black Gold color ~ gets belted by 15-inch cocktail blue

Note: Both the Bad Shad #5 and #7 (shown below) dive on retrieve, slowly ascend the water column when paused, and remain afloat at rest. Employing a variety of rod-action techniques, the fishing action for both Donna and me was nonstop.

The Bad Shad 7 is shown below in Irish Shad; 18 colors from which to choose, available in 2¾", 1/3 oz., diving from 6 to 9 feet.


Bad Shad 7


Bad Shad 7 ~ Irish Shad color ~ is clobbered by cocktail blue

*******

Next are the Digger models. The lures come in three sizes and weights: Digger 3.5, 1¾", ¼ oz. ~ Digger 6.5, 2", ½ oz. ~ and the Digger 8.5, 2½", 7/16th oz. Shown below are the 6.5 Digger in Red Craw color and the 8.5 Digger in Brown Mustard; 18 colors from which to choose. The lures present a stocky profile with a downward angled bill. These crankbaits are lethal lures for both saltwater and freshwater applications. The action is awesome, a truly deep-digging descent on retrieve while displaying an aggressive wobble and seductive side flash—then a slow ascension when paused. The lures rattle to draw attention, and two needle-sharp Fusion19 treble hooks ensure triple, terrible trouble for predators.


Digger 6.5 ~ Red Craw color ~ fools small fluke

The Digger 6.5 dives and covers the water column from 5 to 8 feet. This bantam-sized fluke did not just strike the lure, it inhaled it. The Digger 6.5 drove steadily toward the floor when suddenly a summer flounder hit the Red Craw color crankbait in 7 feet of water, both fish and artificial rising to the occasion with a vengeance. Just short of performing radical surgery, I had all to do to remove the lure from its mouth and release the small fry, unharmed, to swim away and fight another day. Cocktail blues and schoolie bass, too, saw ‘red,' smacking the devilish Digger in a maelstrom of sheer madness. I am very impressed with these lures. The power you feel on the retrieve, coupled to the action you see in the suds, are absolutely awesome . . . and when a strike does occur—stand by! You'll positively dig this crankbait.


Digger 8.5


Digger 8.5 ~ Brown Mustard color ~ dupes this 19-inch keeper fluke

The Digger 8.5, diving from 7 to 9 feet, is designed to drive a bit deeper into the water column than its 6.5 cousin. Where my go-to Glow Squid plastic lure rigged with a strip of fresh/frozen squid and a feisty (live) mummichog (killiefish) failed to attract any attention, Berkley's Brown Mustard-colored 8.5 Digger flimflammed this respectable keeper. On my first cast, the fluke smacked the crankbait in 9 feet of water.

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The following is Berkley's Warpig. The lures come in two sizes and weights: 2 3/8", ¼ oz. and 3", ½ oz. Shown below are the Cream Pie and the Vintage Craw colors, respectively; 18 colors each from which to choose. The Warpig is a fast-sinking, bluntnose, lipless, noisy rattling rascal that exhibits aggressive action. The heavier 3", ½ oz. lure allows you to cover a lot of water faster and deeper. The pair offers realistic appeal, acoustical allurement, and absconding action throughout the water column. Predator fish will be on the warpath for Berkley's Warpigs . . . until that final moment.


Warpig ¼ ounce Cream Pie color


Warpig ¼ ounce ~ Cream Pie color ~ garners all-you-want bluefish

Donna caught and released a score of cocktail-size blues with Berkley's Cream-Pie colored ¼ ounce Warpig; that is, until a BIG chopper came along and chomped through the line. I'll only have to go into my piggy bank to replace that lure, whereas I'd have to delve deep into my war chest for a hopefully similar replacement via another brand. Another way of putting it is that Berkley lures are to be viewed as inexpensive, not to be labeled cheap.


Warpig ½-ounce


Warpig ½-ounce ~ Vintage Craw color ~ has schoolie bass succumb

Now shy one Cream Pie color ¼-ounce Warpig in my arsenal, Berkley's Vintage Craw color ½-ounce Warpig has done double duty in annihilating schoolies, both cocktails-size and chopper-size blues, too.

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Tomorrow, October 2nd, we will continue with five additional Berkley crankbait designs. Stay tuned.


Bob Banfelder
www.robertbanfelder.com

Award-Winning Crime-Thriller Novelist & Outdoors Writer
Member: Outdoors Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association
Long Island Outdoor Communicators Network
Cablevision TV Host Special Interests with Robert Banfelder & Donna Derasmo
Bi-monthly contributor to Nor'east Saltwater


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