BassWestUSA - January/February, 2011, Page 41



Fishing Old School

When I was about 8 years old, I started collecting them, becoming almost fanatical about it. I had every single size and color made. I rst began using the oating minnow, later experimented with the countdown model, and nally settled on the countdown version for my early ice-out shing. It has just evolved from there. The Rapala CountDown minnow is my main weapon of choice when shing really, really cold water conditions. I am talking about the situation you often nd in springtime up north, when the main lake is still frozen and the bays have just started opening up. Weeds have usu- ally decayed completely by this time of year, and that is what I focus on. I sh the CountDown minnow similar to a worm or jig. I let it settle on top of weeds on the bottom and slowly lift it up off the bottom, just enough so that it barely wiggles. After a couple cranks, I’ll stop and let it fall again. I like to let it sit on the bottom for a little bit, too. Eventually, you will come across bare spots in the weeds or changes in the bottom. The sh will hang around those areas, and that is where you can really catch them. The weedy ats that I sh are anywhere from 4 to 12 feet deep. For gear, I recommend using a 7-foot medium-heavy rod with 12-pound uo- rocarbon line. I prefer heavier action rods than what most people would think of using in that situation, but you need the ability to quickly clear soft weeds when the lure fouls. A stiffer rod will help you do that. The two main colors I use are black and sil- ver in clearer water, and black and gold when the water is a little dirtier. I have used and experiment- ed with all different sizes, but my two favorites are the #5 and #7. I’ve had many 200 sh days up where I live. There are lots of high tech, thirty dollar suspending baits on the market right now, but nine times out of ten, I can beat you with the CountDown min- now in those early spring con- ditions.

January/February 2011


peers on tour constantly scan my boat, hoping to catch a glimpse of the oldie but goodie lures I regu- larly use, says FLW and PAA professional angler Dave Lefebre of Union City, Pennsylvania. Some friends have nicknamed me “Old School” because of it. Several of the lures and baits I rst learned to sh with are still on top of my deck when the bite turns tough. The lakes we sh on tour get hammered. We practice on them for three or four days, and then pound them for another three or four more during the tourna- ment. That is why it’s so important to present baits and lures that the sh have not seen before - and the following old school lures fall into that category.


The Rapala Original Floater and CountDown minnows were the very rst arti cial lures that I used in my shing lifetime.