A couple weeks back Carole and I went to a family reunion on a northern Minnesota lake. The hosts told me what to expect for fishing and generally the fishing wasn't bad but in line with what they told me ahead of time the fish tended to be on the small size. It was a beautiful lake so catching was the focus, not so much the size. While I was packing gear for the trip, I tossed one of Do-It's Panfish cranks in the plano. I figured that as long as the average largemouth would be around two pounds, a bit this size would fit the bill nicely. Not wrong on that either.
The lake is full of nice largemouths as well as crappies, sunfish and even some pike that maybe went 18" if the fish was stretched a bit. While I was getting things in order for the trip I was told that, no, there are no smallies in the lake. On the last evening of fishing of the trip I had the Panfish crank tied on and was getting a bass and a pike here and there. As we ran along a weedbed I made a cast out in the open water away from the weeds and was instantly nailed. The fish was out of the water as much as in and when I reach down to lip it I told the boat runner that it was a smallie. He said no way and came up to where I was on the pontoon, and he about crapped. Here was a dandy Smallie, maybe 2 and half pounds. With temps in the upper 90's and surface water around 82 degrees I opted to get the hooks out and the fish right back in the drink. He swam away unscathed.
Later that evening some of the neighbors came over to shoot the bull and Chris mentioned that I caught a really nice Smallie. The guys couldn't believe it. And these are guys who fish religiously there and have for upwards of 15 years for a couple of them and no, they'd never caught or heard of anyone else catching one on that lake. So, the lack of size was trumped by rarity. That's fine with me. I like being the odd man out. lol
Shortly after having caught the non-existent fish of the day a pike nailed the little crank and cut it off. So, I have had to make a couple duplicates cause if Smallies will hit the bait up there, they'll do it down here. Here's the very basic bait color. I used the fine mesh for scale patterns on these and I hope the scales show thru in the picture. It's a really cool bait color with the scales done in Do-It's Bait Blast Golden Shiner over a blend of Bait Blast's Hot Yellow and Yellow Chartreuse which coated the belly and sides. The back color is Bait Blast Brown and Watermelon mixed about equally, maybe a touch more watermelon than brown. The final coat was Bait Blast clear thinned out real well and platinum hi lite powder mixed in. No Idea where I got the platinum hi lite but the stuff really is neat over the back color and sides. No idea where the eyes came from I bought them off another plastics worker, maybe 600 of them. $5.00. They work.
Believe it or not I fished this bait on 40 pound power pro when I got that bass, tying directly to the eye. The bait that went bye-bye was also fished on conventional crappie equipment and six pound Trilene XL. The bait tracked just as nicely on the rope as when on the mono. If anyone is looking for a bait to finish that covers a buch of ground, this one is it. The ones in the picture will get some trebles, then they'll be water ready. I use a #10 treble on the belly hanger and a size 8 on the tail hanger. They track great with this hook arrangement.