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Use these tips to help effectiveness of artificial baits

Last week I discussed at length the proper presentation for live bait. Follow those suggestions and you can increase the bite opportunities for catching fish. This week, as promised, I will make some suggestions that may help with the effectiveness of fishing with artificial type baits.

Let's start with crankbaits. The biggest problem that can interfere with the effectiveness of a crankbait is one that is not properly "tuned." A properly tuned crankbait will run straight and have the proper wobble. One that is out of tune will dive to one side, and/or have a wobble that interferes with its effectiveness (like wobbling on its side instead of remaining upright). Some baits will run correct right out of the package, many will not. Many will get knocked out of tune after catching fish, getting knocked around in tackle boxes, or getting removed from fish and nets.

To tune a crankbait, let the crankbait run along side the boat at the speed you are trolling or casting and retrieving. If it is not running straight and true, hold the bait facing you, with a needle nose pliers gently and slightly move the eyelet the opposite direction the bait is diving. Try the bait again and keep adjusting until it runs true.

It is a good practice to check all baits before just hooking them on and fishing with them. Tying a crankbait clip on your line can make changing your baits quick and easy. These clips replace the loop knot. Some anglers prefer to tie direct to the line using the loop knot. Have at it. I invite you to join the 21st century. The Apple 2 computer from 20 years ago improved word processing, you are still welcome to use that if you want also!

Plastics are a bigger part of the fishing equation now. Bass and Musky anglers have been on to the artificial baits for a long time. The walleye fishermen are expanding the use of plastics with some significant success.

A very key point to note when using plastics on a jig is to get them on the hook without kinks and to make sure they are trailing straight. It is important to get the plastic bait on the jig or hook properly so spend the time, and if necessary, the additional piece of plastic (if you screwed up the first one), to get it on correctly.

Using jigs with bait holders will help keep the baits in place. They help save the bait so that you may be able to catch multiple fish before having to replace your plastic bait.

You may need to increase the size of jig or hook when fishing with plastic baits. Plastic baits have a larger profile and more buoyancy, so consider these factors when presenting the baits. With twistertails, swirltails, k-grubs, or flutter tail baits, hook them so the tail is up if fishing them solo.

If you are tipping the presentation with a small piece of crawler, leech or small minnow also, fish them tail down so the combination fishes well together.

Most packages have instructions on them for how to fish their baits. You can also check out "YouTube" as many anglers have posted helpful hints or instructions for many of the baits on the market.

For the spinner-fishing crowd, a reminder it is always important to match blade size with speed and forage. Larger blades will turn better at slower retrieval or trolling speeds. Small blades require more speed. Size and speed are many times more important than color. Color will be a factor for consideration once you have size and speed dialed in. Matching the size of the "hatch" will help with getting the bites on spinners.

As always, get out and practice to get better and fun on the water.

(Laabs runs Brad Laabs Guide Service in Detroit Lakes.)