The #1 Cold Water Fishing Lure

The #1 Cold Water Fishing Lure


The Basics of Blade Baits


Jigging baits or blade baits have been around since Paul “Buddy” Banks invented the Silver Buddy™ lure and trademarked the name in 1983.  Billy Westmoreland, known as the world’s greatest smallmouth fisherman, used this particular bait nearly every trip.  The bait works magic all year round but excels in the winter when fish are normally deeper and tighter to the bottom and less willing to chase.  This bait will catch or snag anything that swims including perch, walleye, bass, striper, crappie, carp, bluefish, sea bass, catfish, pike, and more. 


I have been using the bait since the early 90’s when I was first introduced to fishing deep clear water on Lake Anna.  It’s a hunk of metal with some lead molded into it with two #4 trebles.   Its total cost of materials is most likely less than $1.50.  I had no idea how valuable the simple looking bait was to my tackle arsenal until I felt the baits vibration during the short “rips” off the bottom.  The vibration is powerful.  The fish feel this vibration in their lateral line and it drives them nuts.  The bait does not take much patience to fish.  It sinks like a rock and keeps the angler engaged with each “rip.”  Fishing the bait becomes addicting and the rewards are plentiful.


After 10 or 20 short “rips” off the bottom you’ll lift the rod up to rip it once more, but you’ll feel heavy pressure similar to a wet rag feeling.  That will be the 3lb bass that ate the bait on the fall.  You’ll want to engage this feeling by quickly reeling down and applying pressure without using a snap hook set.    Nearly 99% of your hits will come on the fall after you hop the bait off the bottom 12-24” allowing the bait to free fall back down as seen in the sonar pic.  You must maintain bottom contact and be able to feel the bottom for the detection of brush, rock, and of course fish.  If you do get hung up, do not yank or pull.  Move your boat to the opposite side of the object and shake the bait loose or utilize the boomerang technique to free the bait.  In the sonar picture below you can see what the bait should look like.  You are looking at a 1/2oz Cincy Fisher Blade bait vertically jigged while moving slowly through an area.  In this particular situation I was jigging a flat with scattered schools of bait on the bottom followed by large bass and walleye.

I like a 7’ casting rod with a medium to medium heavy action, and a 6.3:1 to 7.1:1 gear ratio bait casting reel such as a Daiwa Tatula/Lexa/Exceler, or a Shimano Scorpion 200 spooled with12lb-15lb P-line CXX Moss Green.  This co-polymer is brutally strong and abrasive resistant with the 12lb breaking at over 25.5lb.  Don’t make the mistake of using too light of a line or braid.  Small diameter lines below .014”/.35mm will make your blade bait experience a rough one due to the number of times your bait will foul up in the line.  You also do not want the bait to fall too fast after each “rip” or hop.  The thicker the line you use the more time the fish has to inhale the bait on the drop.  The action of my Tom’s Custom Rod’s Batson Rainshadow RX7 CB70MH, or MHX CB845, or Abu Garcia Veritas 7’0M are all perfect for the 1/2oz size.  The deeper I’m fishing, the heavier action I want the rod to be to ensure I can get a decent hook up due to line stretch, distance, and to lift the fish quickly away from cover.   The Veritas 7’0M is close to a MH action for many manufacturers and this is the rod I’ll use often when fishing the bait below the 18’ range.  If I’m fishing heavier cover such as brush piles, loading piers, bridges and rock piles, I’ll utilize heavier 17lb P-Line CXX, or 17lb P-line HALO.

Often times I’ll find fish suspended in deeper water and this is when I will not allow the bait to fall all the way to the bottom but instead I’ll rip the bait back to the boat with 2 to 4’ strokes or longer hops through the school of fish. 

If you’re fishing the bait correctly you’re going to lose it, and this is why I have dozens of them on hand each trip.  I have struggled using in the past as often as I should due to the replacement cost until a few years ago when I started ordering them from Brian at Cincy Fisher.  The original bait retails at over $5.00 each and losing 5 to 10 a trip can put a real hurtin’ on my wallet, so I started looking elsewhere.  I found Cincy Fisher Baits in 2013 and I have not bought another style of “blade” bait since.  Brian May, owner of Cincy Fisher lives in Ohio and is well known for crushing smallmouth year round on the exact same baits he makes in his garage.  He has literally cut the cost in half and offers both brass, nickle, and painted blade baits.  He adds heavy duty split rings and high quality Mustad treble hooks along with a snap for easy line tie.   Cincy Fisher blade baits are available in a variety of sizes to fit any situation. 


There are 5 sizes as seen in the chart above.  1/4 and 3/8oz are on a smaller blade and are great for crappie, white bass, and perch, as well as smaller bass.  1/2, 5/8, and 3/4oz are all built on the larger body which tends to catch more quality bass, and less smaller species.  All sizes come in nickle or brass.  A #6 Mustad is used on the smaller frame and a #4 is used on the larger frame.   The 3/8oz is a perfect choice for anglers fishing smaller waters which are less than 15' deep. 


Cincy Fisher components were recently put to the ultimate test when the 1/2oz gold Cincy Fisher blade bait caught a 37lb 13oz Blue Catfish out of a local lake in VA.  The hooks did not bend out or break and the snap did not give way either even with an extra 25lbs of brush piles that came up with the fish.  17lb P-line CXX was used in this heavy cover situation.  I'd fished all the brands including the new Johnson version, Heddon Sonar Flash, Bass Pro Lazer Blade, Cotton Cordell Gay Blade, and many more.  This bait from Cincy Fisher is made by a blade bait expert, and the price is right.

Cincy Fisher is now unloading these in big numbers.  There is no other fully assembled blade bait on the market sold at this low of a price.  For those of you new to the blades, I’d suggest nickel 1/2oz for most super clear wintertime waters and brass for the waters which have a slight stain to them.   Colored versions such as the white/purple back, or chartreuse/blue back, work well in low light conditions such as cloudy days, and I'll use them on super calm days with clear water.  Colored versions are slightly more expensive and custom colors can be made. 


I have played around some with these baits.  Feather tails can help finicky fish eat the bait better, and cutting the front treble’s leading shaft can lower your hang up ratio.  Spraying some WD40 on the bait and using a rag to shine it up some can draw some extra attention.  Having a pull board handy is needed for your hang-ups.  There is no need to pull straight down on a hang-up and bury your line down in your spool often causing bad kinks or worse.  You can also bend your spool shaft if the line is strong enough.  Your rod should also not be forced to twist under pressure.  This puts a terrible amount of strain on the graphite blank and can cause immediate or later breakage.  Use a small wooden stake with a rag around it so you don’t fray your line, slice your hand open,  and/or destroy your equipment. 

For more information and to place an order contact Bryan May of Cincy Fisher Baits at (513) 378-6685 or Bryan@bkmay.comCincy Fisher Baits does except PayPal.


Tight Lines,

BayBass Bryan