Ripping Lips or Blades, as it is commonly called, is a technique most fishermen know but almost never use. This unique style of lure and presentation has the ability to take fish when all other techniques fail. Especially on hot sluggish days. Many a day on the water has been saved by this simple, but effective, bait. To use this lure effectively, you must first understand blade basics.
1. Equipment – When using blades, you need a 6 1/2 to 7 foot medium-heavy rod with a lot of sensitivity. I use the Johnny Morris Signature Series from Bass Pro 85 million modular graphite. The length of the rod is very important. A long rod lets you take up a great deal of line quickly, which is needed for good hook sets. Sensitivity is also important as a lot of strikes will come as the lure falls back. When jigging blades, I encourage the use of the no-stretch super lines. I use Fireline Crystal it is a fused line that does not soak up water. The no-stretch lines have a great deal more sensitivity and the thin diameter cuts the water effectively without sacrificing strength. There for allowing you to keep the line vertical if you are in a boat, I prefer to use a basic casting reel with a flipping switch. The flipping switch enables me to let out line quickly to keep constant bottom contact, yet you don’t need two hands to lock the spool.
2. Rigging – The rigging of a blade is very simple, but if not done correctly, will quickly turn your line into a twisted mess. To alleviate line twist, add a barrel swivel about 2 feet above your bait. I will also add a few glass beads above the swivel to add sound to my presentation. When completed, the set up looks like a Carolina rig without the sinker. Most blades come with 1-to-3-line attachment locations. Each changes the vibration and action on the rip and on the fall, I always use a cross lock snap instead of tying line directly to the bait this enables me to change action quickly. I also sometimes change the hooks to a Kahel style treble hook, same size but the shape of the hook does not miss like round bends sometime can. If I am fishing in waters that have Muskie and Pike in them, I will sometimes add a 20 lb. braided coated leader with 60-pound cross lock snaps and a 60-pound swivel. Berkley makes a good one 12 to 18 inches.
3. Choosing a Bait – There are a lot of blades on the market, Zounders, Zonars, Cicadas, Raps etc. All have a place in the tackle box. Each one of these baits puts out a little different vibration. The fish will tell you which one they want on that particular day. Weight and color are two other choices to take into consideration. A good rule of thumb when choosing color is while fishing in dirty water, stick with the fluorescent colors such as chartreuse, pink and orange, and also gold. In clear water, I will fish a lot of chrome and natural colors such as blue, gray and silver. The weight of a lure is simple. Use a heavy enough blade to keep constant bottom contact and still stay vertical. In other words, don’t use a 1/4 ounce in 30 foot of water in heavy current.
4. Presentation – Ripping a blade is as simple as 1-2-3. Number one, let the line out until you feel the bait come in contact with the bottom. Number two, rip the bait with a sharp upward snap of the wrist. You will instantly know if you are ripping fast enough as the bait will send out strong vibrations easily felt. If you don’t feel these vibrations, one of two things have happened. You aren’t ripping fast enough or the bait has fouled. Number three, follow the bait back down on a tight line. If you don’t, you will not be able to detect the strike as the lure falls back down to the bottom. The Cast and Rip works well on drop offs as well as open water. It works just like it sounds. Cast out your blade, count it down to desired depth and rip it back to the boat or your position on shorelines. Most of the time, the fish will hit on the fall and be hooked on the rip. I also pull blades in the summer. By pulling, I mean trolling with the bow mounted electric motor. Let out desired amount of line, wait until you feel the slack taken out by forward motion of the boat, then rip, drop back the rod tip, and repeat.
Ripping blades is a presentation that most people use on aggressive fish in the Spring, but the technique works equally effective on fish that are sluggish or in a neutral state. All Predators will fall prey to this technique. The bait works on a reaction strike. The is no time for the fish to think about it (Bite it or Spook) It imitates a fleeing bait fish that Walleye, White Bass, Crappie even weed hugging Largemouth and Muskies can’t resist.
The next time the bite goes cold, try a blade. Especially on those windless, warm, sunny, summer days. I think you will be surprised how effective they really are.
Rip them Lips…..