Bringing Back Blades: How an Old-School Bait is Becoming a New-School Trend
Just about every serious Midwestern walleye angler has at least one rusty, bent, chipped up blade bait, silently corroding at the bottom of the boat. Whether it is a Sonar, a Cicada, or even a Zip Lure, it may only see water twice a year; spring and fall. For most anglers, that is pretty typical. The common perception of the blade bait follows the idea that it is only good for triggering reaction strikes in the spring and fall. That’s all. Tie it to your favorite heavy jigging rod, let it hit bottom, then rip it sharply upwards. What most anglers’ seem to overlook, is how versatile blade baits can be all year long.
By design, most common blade baits only allow for vertical jigging or a straight cast-retrieve method. However, a new blade bait is changing the way these baits are perceived, and fished. The Echotail, made by Vibrations Tackle is the creation of Justin and Rob Blanchar. This bait turns heads at almost every sports show and tackle shop, because there is simply nothing else like it.
By design, the Echotail is similar to other baits as it has a stainless steel body, a lead weighting system, and two treble hooks. So why is this bait changing the blade bait nitch; the tail. The lure has a barbed tail section, enabling the angler to slide on his or her favorite soft bait products. By making this addition, the profile, action, as well as scent of the lure can be changed quickly to fit the current conditions. Some of the most popular choices for tails are Kalin’s grubs, Uncle Josh Meat Products, as well as Berkley Gulp! products.
Along the top of the lure, there are five holes for connecting it to your line, via use of a cross lock snap. Depending on the desired action, the furthest back holes produce greater vibration, while the front holes produce less vibration, but more darting action. With all of this tuning ability, the Echotail excels at jigging, casting, as well as trolling.
No, you didn’t just misread that, I did say trolling (yes, trying to make a point here) and no, contrary to popular belief, I am not crazy. Not only does this bait out fish other blades while vertical jigging, it also slays fish when pulled behind planer boards. Both the 1/2oz and the 1oz models have been hot for trolling walleyes in the last year, and are really starting to catch on. Both models have dive charts located in the shopping cart according to size on the Vibrations Tackle website, and run very similarly to most medium sized crankbaits. Since they run so consistently, Echotails can be pulled right along any other crankbaits you are fishing, anywhere from 1.5 to 3mph.
With minor tuning (by simply bending the tail section left or right until the bait runs true), the bait is ready to troll. Simply attach to the main line using a snap (no swivel), clip on your Offshore Tackle OR12 planer boards, and you are ready to troll. Try throwing a few “S” turns into your trolling runs to speed up the outside baits, and let the inside baits flutter and dance as they fall. Experiment with different tails to change up the actions.
In most tournaments, it is usually the person who gets off on their own somewhere, doing something different who ends up winning. Trolling blade baits is definitely different, and believe me, it works. Check out the entire Echotail lineup at www.vibrationstackle.com, or ask about them at your local tackle shop. Also, be sure to follow me on FISHIDY for more tips and tactics for trolling and rigging Echotails for year-round success!