While searching for artificial alternatives, Capt. Mitchell Blake of Chocowinity found the versatility of jumbo-sized, lipless crankbaits to be the ticket for enticing full-speed strikes from the jumbo-sized red drum that inhabit the Pamlico Sound and its tributaries during their spawning season.
A spiking interest in fishing artificial lures for old drum is turning what was once solely a “bait-and-wait” fishery into a fast-paced game of chase with aggressive predators. Blake (252-495-1803), who runs FishIBX.com, has seen the shift firsthand, and the need for an artificial option that could be effective in a variety of quickly changing circumstances brought lipless crankbaits to his mind.
“We fish a lot of big water with a lot of wind,” said Blake. “I needed something that could be cast a long distance, and something that I could fish in 5 feet or 20 feet of water.”
While popular in freshwater fishing for decades, the lipless crankbaits being cast to largemouth bass might not quite fit the description of those Blake is using. He stresses that most lures on the shelf will not stand up to the challenge.
“If you just take a crankbait out of the box and tie it on, you’re going to get your feelings hurt, these are not puppy drum,” Blake said. “A saltwater grade Bomber Super Pogy is the only thing I will tie on right out of the box. I fish Rat-L-Traps and Cordell Super Spots in sizes over an ounce, but I change out the factory hardware for heavy, wide-gap hooks and heavy split rings. These fish are 40-pounds-plus. I like lures in natural colors, but I’ll use louder colors in dirty water.”
How and where that bait is fished is just as important as which you choose.
“I’ll fish these lures on ledges, drops, flats and around bait. I’m making a long cast and using a yo-yo style retrieve to rip the bait off the bottom and then let it free fall while keeping contact with the line” said Blake. “When you rip it up, it vibrates and engages the rattle chamber, that alerts the fish. Then you drop the rod tip and it imitates a wounded baitfish; they can’t stand it.”
“I’ve studied these fish for a long time,” said Blake. “After seeing the areas they travel, the areas they stage and how they behave around bait, these lures fit their patterns. It really changes the mindset that these fish have a scavenger mentality. I didn’t know they would exert so much energy to eat. We’re talking about a 40- to 50-pound fish hitting these lures at speeds never experienced.”