Mystery Tackle Box a Winner

Mystery Tackle Box a Winner

An email came in that wasn’t spam! It asked me if I wanted a Mystery Tackle Box. Yes I did. The MTB came in three flavors- bass, panfish, and saltwater. Which did I want?
I wanted all three of course but I chose saltwater, then forgot about it. A few days later, though, a Mystery Tackle Box came in the mail.

mystery_tackle_box_logo
Frankly I expected junk from a Chinese knock-off factory. Much to my surprise and delight everything in the box was something I could use, to whit:

-a package of Big Bite soft plastic saltwater baits, shrimp imitations;
-a package of Pintail soft plastic baits, jerk baits;
-a package of Mustad Power Lock Plus size 3/0, 1/8th ounce hooks;
-a Strike Pro surface plug, walk-the-dog type;
-a Hyper Striper jig, something like a Road Runner;
-a package of Knot 2 Kinky nickel-titanium leader wire.

Heck Yeah!

So, now it was time to see what Mystery Tackle Box really was. A visit to their website (http://mysterytacklebox.com) ensued. This is what I found:
Mystery Tackle Box is a monthly subscription service that introduces both beginner and expert anglers to new fishing lures and tackle. In addition to receiving fishing lures, you will also receive a “About Your Box” card that will explain a little more about each bait you received in your box as well as a unique link to our website to watch videos, read product reviews, learn different rigging options and much more information about each of the products in your box.

“Each month you will get a variety of quality fishing products from both large and small manufacturers. We do our best to send a variety of brands and products types in each box to ensure that you have the best chance of discovering and trying new products. We have product specialists who are experienced tournament fisherman reviewing each bait that we put in the box to make sure it is good quality.  Every box will have at least $20 worth of products and most boxes have $23-$27 worth of retail value.”

You can subscribe for yourself or as a gift subscription for someone else. The testimonials page on the website is full of glowing letters from folks who were happy with their boxes.

Check them out at http://mysterytacklebox.com and see if a Mystery Tackle Box subscription will work for you.

 

John Kumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2015. All rights are reserved.




Brief History of the Johnson Minnow

Brief History of the Johnson Minnow

johnson minnow red

Reader Chuck at BellSouth sent me a question about my three favorite lures for blind casting in the lagoons. My response was:

-the Chug Bug
-the Johnson Minnow
-the DOA Deadly Combo

Chuck replied with the following:

“Thanks for tips!

“Would have never guessed the old Johnson Minnow spoon would make the list. But after doing some research on this lure, I now understand why it works well in Mosquito Lagoon.

“You might be interested in the history of the Johnson Silver Minnow and why it’s unique design makes it so successful.”

Silver Minnow is still shining after 73 years

The Johnson Silver Minnow, one of the most enduring and successful fishing lures of all time, was invented in 1920 by Louis Johnson, a retired Chicago foundry operator. The lake where Louis and his son fished was full of fish, but it was also weedy. So, with the practical style of many creative Midwesterners, he set out to develop a fishing lure that would not catch weeds but still catch fish.

The result was the first spoon lure with a weed guard, stiff enough to keep weeds away from the hook, but flexible enough for bass and pike to get hooked. In fact, his experimental spoon lures were made from silver table spoons with the handles cut off and a Scents hook and weed guard soldered to the concave underside. History does not record whether these first spoons were silver plate or genuine sterling, but the idea of having a fishing lure made of silver caught his imagination. Seventy-three years later, the Johnson Silver Minnow is still plated with real silver.

Like other spoon lures of the day, the Johnson Silver Minnow was designed to imitate the flashing movement of a minnow. Other manufacturers had long incorporated flashing spinners into the design of their lures, but Louis Johnson’s new lure was the first to integrate a guarded hook onto the spoon, and the first to use real silver for a whiter, brighter flash than chrome of polished steel.

Johnson didn’t work with his “table spoon” very long before the learned something else about designing the perfect weedless lure: hooks that faced up were less weedy than hooks that faced down or spun around from the lure’s action. Even a guarded hook would catch weeds occasionally if it was retrieved with the hook facing down. Johnson reasoned that if he could figure out a way to ensure that the hook would always face up, the lure would be almost completely weedless.

Putting his years of foundry experience to work, Johnson decided to forge a spoon of a special copper/zinc alloy that was thicker in the middle than on the edges. With its weight concentrated along its centerline, this created a spoon that would rock back and forth as it was retrieved, but always keep the convex face down and the hook facing up. Other spoons of the day were simply stamped out of brass or steel. They often just spun through the water as they were retrieved. In fact, much of the Silver Minnow’s weedlessness can be attributed to the way in which the downward-riding spoon itself acts as a weed guard — and simply rides over weeds much like a water skier rides of the waves.

By getting the lure to keep its convex spoon side down and it hook up, Johnson also unwittingly made the lure visually effective under water. When retrieved, Johnson’s Silver Minnow rocks back and forth through a 270 degree angle, flashing reflections downs and to both sides, but not up. Since fish almost always attacked a lure from below or the side, there was no need for it to be visible from above. That meant that the lure could produce more flashes in the right directions per retrieve than stamped metal spoon lures.

Yet another benefit of the rocking spoon-down motion was that anglers no longer had to worry about line twist or special swivels. Spinning spoon lures used without swivels twist fishing line, and contribute to backlashes and tangles. To this day, Johnson Silver Minnows are manufactured with a simple soldered wire eye. Line can be tied directly to the lure without fear of line twist. The one exception would be when using the versatile Silver Minnow for” pike or muskellunge. Since even medium-sized pike will often inhale the entire lure, it is wise to use the lure with a short steel leader.

The Silver Minnow’s rocking motion also helps control the sinking rate when cast. Whereas many spoons simply dive to the bottom tail first, the Silver Minnow gently drops horizontally, rocking in its characteristic motion. This gives an angler ample time to take up the slack after cast and begin the retrieve before the lure has had a chance to bury itself in weedy cover, or behind a log. This feature also makes the lure effective the second it touches the water. Many strikes on the Silver Minnow come as the just-cast lure is rocking gently toward the bottom.

Trailers and the Silver Minnow.

The Johnson Silver Minnow is a deadly lure when fished plain, but when it is combined with a trailer, it is especially effective in triggering strikes. In addition, the Silver Minnow’s unique rocking motion is not affective by a trailer like many other spoons are.

For traditionalists, a pork rind trailer of red/white or yellow/white is one of the best combinations. Adding a red 3-inch waving tail imitates the red gill rakers that would show on a wounded or distressed bait fish. This works like a visual “dinner bell” to a predatory fish, who would rather attack a slower, “wounded” fish than try to catch a fast, healthy one.

But red is not always the color of choice. Often some experimentation is needed to find out what color of trailer will be working on that day, in that lake, on that particular species of fish in that particular kind of cover. Newer plastic trailers are more convenient than the traditional pork rind, and can be carried in a great variety of colors with less weight and bulk. Soft plastic Silver Minnow Trailers in a variety of colors, are now marketed by Johnson Fishing for use with all Silver Minnows.

The Silver Minnow Today
The Johnson Silver Minnow is still manufactured in the same way it was in 1920 — by hand — and still plated with real silver for the brightest possible underwater “flash.” Originally manufactured in Chicago by the Louis Johnson Company, the lure was purchased by Johnson Fishing Inc. of Mankato, MN in 1974. In 1976, manufacturing facilities were moved to Johnson Fishing’s Bass Buster Lure division in Amsterdam, MO. The Silver Minnow continues to be one of the best selling lures of all time.

Source:
Gettysburg Times, August 11, 1993

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And that is a brief history of the Johnson Minnow. The Johnson Minnow has been in continuous production longer than any other fishing lure in history. There just might be a good reason for that.

Thanks for the great response, Chuck- I was able to turn it into a blog!

John Kumiski



When to Use Small Lures

When to Use Small Lures

When to use small lures presents problems to the fisherman.

Small lures don’t cast well. The hooks are weak and prone to failure. You need to use lighter line and leaders. However, sometimes the fish don’t give you a choice. Use smaller lures or don’t get a bite.

Let’s look at four situations where small baits are necessary.

The fish are keying on small baits. In the southeastern saltwaters the bay anchovy, commonly called a glass minnow, is an important baitfish. These baits are small, frequently two inches or less. Certain gamefish species will feed on them selectively, ignoring other, larger baits.Whenever you find gamefish selectively feeding on small baits of any kind you need to “match the hatch.” Failure to do so will lead to frustration.

Haw River Tackle makes a great lure called a Sting Silver which many fish species will accept as a glass minnow imitation. Find them at www.hrtackle.com.

Orlando Saltwater Tarpon Fishing Report

The Sting Silver is the hot tip for tunny. Doesn’t look like much but they do like it!

Cold water– unlike humans, fish are cold blooded. Their metabolism slows as the water temperature drops. Consequently they are much less interested in eating large meals when the water is cold. For this reason winter fishing often requires the use of smaller lures than used during other seasons.

Heavily pressured fish– in areas where fishing pressure is heavy the fish have seen all the commonly used baits over and over again. The fish learn to avoid these commonly used baits. By using small lures the fisherman gains a competitive advantage. The fish haven’t seen a lot of small baits, and the bait itself is not perceived as a threat.

My current favorite for this situation is the DOA CAL Shad. At three inches in length it qualifies as a small bait. You can rig it with a 2/0 hook , which will hold most any fish likely to eat it.

orlando area fishing report

The lure is a DOA CAL Shad.

Some gamefish just like small baits. Tarpon come to mind. One wouldn’t think a 100 pound fish could derive much nutrition from a two or three inch long minnow. But tarpon often key in on small baits even when larger prey is available. I’ve watched tarpon swim through schools of glass minnows with their mouths open, just filtering the baits out of the water. Again, match the hatch or go fishless.

The DOA TerrorEyz is a small lure which is deadly on tarpon (and other fish). Find them at www.doalures.com.

I’m not suggesting that you toss all your large baits overboard. But you should carry a selection of small baits and be prepared to use them when condition require. If you want to catch more fish, know when to use small lures.

John Kumiski
http://www.spottedtail.com

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2014. All rights are reserved.



Lunkerhunt Swim Bentos Bait

Lunkerhunt Swim Bentos Bait

Whether a fish you cast to bites or not generally depends more on how you present the bait than what it is. That having been said, a confidence factor definitely affects how that bait gets fished.

I just got three packages of confidence in a box FedEx delivered.

Lunkerhunt makes fishing lures. They’re based in Toronto. What could they know about saltwater lures? A glance at the picture below shows that clearly they understand what fish will bite and what fishermen will buy. Their baits are gorgeous.

lunkerhunt swim bentos

Their website says, “Designed to perfection, the Lunkerhunt Swim Bento™ is one of the most realistic baitfish imitators on the market. The Swim Bento™ features a lively keeled tail, holographic core, and biologically correct detailing. All of these elements are incorporated into a soft yet durable body construction that enables the Swim Bento™ to come to life with the slightest movement.”

These baits have not made it off my desk yet but there can be no doubt that they will catch any kind of inshore saltwater fish Florida fishermen are interested in.

You can see how to rig them properly here and here. These rigging instruction will work for any kind of jerk bait, too.

I usually fish these types of baits slowly, with gentle twitches of the rod tip to give the bait a dying minnow type of action. Of course, every situation is different, so individual interpretation comes into play.

The Lunkerhunt website shows all their other baits (they specialize in baits for bass and pike) and also tells you where you can get some Swim Bentos of your own. There are also a bunch of videos there if you like that sort of thing.

What are you waiting for? Go get some Swim Bentos!

John Kumiski
http://www.spottedtail.com

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2014. All rights are reserved.