May 2017 | Mack Attack Magazine

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May 2017

Friends, Family, and Fishing

Lance Merz

As we all know, fishing is a fantastic sport that can be shared with the old and the young. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world; there is always water that has fish in it that is just waiting to be caught. Sharing those experiences with friends and family intensifies the feelings and experiences that are shared together, which makes memories last a lifetime. As we grow older, these times seem to mean more than they did when we were younger. I can remember fishing while camping with my family, which are some of my fonder moments while growing up. As a father who shares that same passion as my Dad did, I understand why we did it so much. It’s a euphoric state of mind that creates snapshots of our children growing into mature and respectable adults.

By Lance Merz Mack’s Lure has been assisting with creating those memories. In 1969, Vern McPherson created the company in his garage in Riggins, Idaho. Prior to, he had been creating memories with his friends and family. It all started with the Wedding Ring® spinner and became a tremendous success. His passion for fishing flowed throughout he and his family. I had the pleasure of working with his daughter, Dawn. She would from time to time, tell stories of her Dad and their experiences together. Each time I heard her stories, you could visibly see a glimmer in her eye, which brought her to her happy place; her Dad. Not only did Vern instill fishing into Dawn, he created a hardworking, respectful, dependable, loving, caring, kind, and hardworking person. Whether it’s the Wedding Ring Spinner, Smile Blade®, or other Mack’s Lure fishing lures, our commitment to making memories of fishing remain on the forefront of our thoughts when it comes to producing a quality product that consistently catches fish. Our motto is “A legacy of Innovation”, which clearly shows and instills pride and ownership in the product. In today’s society, many of the sports of which we love are expensive and a little out of reach.

Fishing is still an affordable sport that can be enjoyed from a child to an elderly person. Plus, it brings friends and families together without the use of an IPhone, IPad, or any other electronic device. Enjoy the great outdoors, spend time with your friends, and love your family. Mack’s Lure will be right there to support those endeavors for years to come. A tackle box of Mack’s Lures’ would be a great Mother’s Day gift!

Start your kids off early. The author’s son, Nick gets a feel of a Kokanee his Dad just caught that day.

I would be remised if I didn’t say thank you to all the veterans who have served before and after me. Your countless efforts and sacrifices are never unnoticed. To those who are gone, I salute you. To those who have served or are serving, thank you! Page 1

Stan’s Space The Skinny On Swivels & Snaps

By Hall-of-Fame Angler Stan Fagerstrom Part 1 Many aspects of fishing are confusing to the newcomer just getting into the sport. One such is when and when not to use a snap to attach a lure. Something as small as a swivel or snap may not seem all that important. But sometimes little things can and sometimes do make a big difference. That’s true of snaps and snap swivels. There are instances where you want a snap swivel and others where just a snap is necessary. This choice of which way to go certainly applies to lures. There are some lures that just won’t work worth a toot if you use use a snap swivel attached directly to it. A snap by itself is justfine but forget about using a swivel along with it.

There’s no question that this is more important with certain lures than it is with others. Going the wrong way with some specific lures may destroy the action they have. They might also alter the balance on other delicately balanced lures. There are times, of course, when you will want to use a snap and swivel. In-line spinners provide an example. Perhaps some readers are throwing in-line spinners for steelhead and salmon. Years ago I interviewed a guy regarded as one of the top spinner experts in the United States.

If you’d like to do some casting with a famous Mack’s Lure Wedding Ring® spinner here’s the way some experts do it. They attach ball bearing swivels to the end of the their line. Choose the amount to leader you want. Tie one end of the leader to the swivel at the end of your line and the other end directly to the lure.

“Stan, any time your fish a spinner in heavy current,” he said, “you can get line twist....” But don’t attach a snap swivel right to the spinner’s line tie to eliminate that twist. Tie a quality ball bearing swivel to the end of your fishing line. Now get yourself about 12-inches of leader. Attach one end of that 12-inch leader to the ball bearing swivel on the end of your line. Now tie the other end of your leader directly to the spinner. That way you’ve still got the swivel to help prevent line twist, but it’s not down there at the eye of the lure to interfere with its action.”

None of us, including this expert, want line twist. The way he attaches his ball bearing swivel farther up at the end of his fishing line helps eliminate that problem.

This expert, and he’s just one I’ve talked to who had similar opinions, didn’t want his spinner flopping around as it might if it’s attached directly to a snap swivel. If the spinner is tied direct to the line, you are always pulling the spinner straight through the water. This results in better action and better action means more fish. There are places where you want to use a snap and places where you don’t. If I’m fishing a plastic worm like I used to hook this nice bass I’ll always tie my line or leader directly to my hook.

Expert bass fishermen usually have some definite thoughts about snaps, especially when it comes to fishing certain surface lures. The Zara Spook is a surface lure that’s been around for ages. Few lures have stood up to the test that time eventually puts on everything. Experienced anglers after either largemouth or smallmouth bass know a Zara is often at its best when you are “Walkin” the Dog” with it. In this technique the lure is made to dance from side to side by flips of the rod tip. Each flip of the rod tip is accompanied by half turns of the reel handle. You can still manipulate a Zara Spook in this fashion to a degree when you’ve tied your line direct to the lure, but the snap makes it easier. Unlike a spinner where you want the lure to pull straight ahead, now you want the lure to have all the freedom of movement possible. The snap provides it.

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Anyone who has read much Finesse Jigging With research on bass fishing has The Sonic BaitFish undoubtedly come across the name (SBF) of Charlie Campbell. This Missouri By Captain Pete Rosko expert was a nationally known a top By Brad Hole water bass fishing specialist even before professional bass fishing It was six years ago when I first got really got going. into kayak fishing. With some help of local anglers, I taught myself how to fish for cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, lake trout and Kokanee in lakes close to my home in Seattle. My experience has taught me that trolling with lead core line is a great way to cover a large area of water to locate fish in the upper part of the water column. However, there are those times in the summer and fall Professional fishermen rely on USA when fish are holding deeper than Chain Swivels™ and Duo Snaps the my line can reach. Faced with because they will not accidentally the dilemma of not wanting to install pop open and are very effective at a downrigger on my kayak, I would preventing line twist. have considered any fish 60 to 100 feet a missed opportunity. That was He was an artist with the Zara until I tried finesse jigging. Spook. He could make that darn thing do stuff like lots of us try First and foremost, there’s the but never do manage to master the wind. When it comes to jigging procedures required the way he did. avoid windy day forecasts. You’re I interviewed Charlie once while going to be most effective when doing a story about surface fishing you can stay right on top of the fish. for largemouth bass for a national Heavy chop on the water is going fishing magazine. to make it hard to feel strikes. If the wind picks up, point the nose It didn’t take long to learn how of your kayak towards the wind. Charlie felt about using swivels A Hobie MirageDrive I personally or snaps. Be sure to catch my next find essential in that I can keep my Stan’s Corner column. I’ll share rod steady and keep my kayak in with you the interesting thoughts in position. this regard that Charlie shared with me.

Fishing from a Kayak allows an angler to control trolling speeds with Mack’s Lure products. Photo courtesy of Brad Hole.

Have faith in your electronics. A color fish finder will typically illustrate better than a black and white screen. When I come to a spot on the lake where my fish finder is telling me that fish are holding deep in the water column or right smack down on the bottom; dropping a jig down can often turn a fish-less day into multiple hook ups. Depending on the time of year, fish will fluctuate at which depth they stage. Temperature, oxygen level and food all play role. Trout and Kokanee salmon generally like temperatures between 45 and 60 degrees. If you’re marking multiple fish at a certain depth, then you have probably found the right thermocline. Though small electronic devices like the Fish Hawk can be trolled or lowered down into the water and will accurately tell you the temperature every 5 feet and how deep you are in the water column. The gear. I have found a 7 foot medium to medium heavy rod with a sensitive tip to be enough to jig for trout. Bait casting reels have their advantage as they are easier to free-spool and thumb the line as it drops through the water column. A depth counter on your reel can help you get pretty close to the fish. A spinning rod is also a viable alternative. Braided line with a 12 to 15# monofilament leader I find to be more sensitive to feeling the must subtle strike. The tackle. Do your research and find out what the trout in your area are feeding on and try to “match the hatch” with the appropriate color and bait size. The weight of your jig can vary from a 3/8 ounce to 1 oz depending on how deep you’re fishing and if your kayak is drifting on top of the water.

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A fish suspended off the bottom won’t think twice about whacking a fluttering jigging spoon/ bar jig falling in front its face. Lures like Mack’s Sonic Baitfish™ is a great jigging spoon that look like a wounded baitfish falling through the water column. Spoons (because they are metal) are also easier to see on your fish finders. There’s nothing more captivating than watching your lure drop in a zig zag motion on a fish finder and watching a fish grab it.

will happen on the drop though I have had fish follow the lure on the retrieve. If you don’t get a strike after a couple of minutes, reposition yourself and drop again or move on to the next area. Finesse jigging for trout can not only be very rewarding but it also helps to break up a long day of trolling.

Gary’s Fishing Corner

Plankton Bloom Trout By Gary Miralles

Mack’s Lure Sonic BaitFish™ Gary Miralles

A nice Mackinaw (Lake Trout) caught by the author. Photo courtesy of Brad Hole.

If you’re targeting big Mackinaw lake trout they spend much of their time laying right on the bottom or suspended just off the bottom. Lead headed jigs slipped into a bass tube baits or a plastic fluke or shad tails threaded up the jig shank are better suited for fish directly on the bottom. Have a variety of colors and sizes available at your disposal depending on light conditions. Whites, greens and chartreuse are effective colors. I always have on hand one rod rigged with a 1/2 to 3/4 oz Sonic Baitfish and one with a tube jig. The key to drawing a strike is “finesse jigging”. When you drop your line to the desired spot only lift the rod tip between 2 to 6 inches and allow it to drop before lifting the rod again. Anything faster will only spook the fish. Most strikes

The weather is settling down and the fishing will be improving as the barometer settles down and the water temperature get warmer. May has always been one of my favorite months to fish Shasta Lake. The lake is always at its highest level in May; this year the lake is full. That means that there is 365 miles of beautiful tree covered shoreline to witness as you fish the many areas of the lake. One of the big advantages to fishing Shasta in May is that the trout are prevalent, active, and on the surface. You can practically catch fish anywhere on the lake in this month. You can even catch trout trolling behind your house boat! Just put your favorite Cripplure™ on the surface 300 feet behind the boat, set your RPM’s at 1200 and you’ll catch plenty of fish. That being said, there is a special event that takes place every May on Shasta Lake. It is the unique and exciting trout bite in Plankton Bloom, and I have only found it to be present on one arm of the lake and that is the Pitt arm. Why the Pitt you ask? Good question. I don’t have an exact or scientific reason, but I suspect it’s because the Pitt River from the Lassen drainage, run through the fertile farmland and Continued on Page 5

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ranch lands of the Burney and Fall River basin. Many of the nutrients needed to create this massive bloom of plankton is flushed out every spring down the Pitt River into the lake. Now I’m not educated enough to explain the entire process of how this happens; all I know is that every May, we get this massive bloom of plankton so thick, it is easily visible as you travel up the river through it. The downside is that the bloom is often in the upper reaches of the Pitts arm, which is usually somewhere between Arbuckle flat and Stein Creek, 18 to 25 miles up River from the Jones Valley boat launch.

and begin your procedure of setting out your lines. You want to have all your lures in place when you reach the bloom.

Color, depth, and distance are important. Since the plankton is kind of a copper, orange, and gold color I’ve found that similar colors work best. But remember, visibility is tough, so bright and fluorescent colors can work as well. Depth is important because the plankton is usually near the surface in the top 15 feet of water. In fact, the plankton is light sensitive and tends to move with the sun and the shade of the surrounding mountain side as The key to finding this bloom the sun slowly rises above a steep is water temperature. As you’re canyon. traveling up river, the water temperature in the main body of the Remember there are many lake is usually in the low to mid- submerged free standing trees in sixties. As you approach the upper the Pitt, so fishing deep can be a reaches of the Pitt arm, you’ll see the dangerous game. The fish are in water temperature drop drastically the top ten feet of water so you need from the sixties into the fifties. This to get your lines at least 150 to 200 is important to notice because this feet back behind the boat. Now let’s is the proper temperature needed for get more specific. the bloom. Once you begin to notice the temperature drop, look real close My favorite lure combinations are for signs of the bloom. Usually, you as follows. will notice a lot of surface clutter such as leaves, needles, sticks and 1. Small copper orange Sling branches. I’ve even seen huge logs Blade™ trailing 3’ back and in this area floating on the surface. tied direct a copper orange Hum Dinger®. Often times, you will see the fish feeding in these areas as they 2. A Small Orange gold Sling cruise the surface, inhaling massive Blade trailing a Red Gold Sand quantities of plankton. Once you Humdinger 3’ back. observe this scenario, look closely at the water for what looks almost I setup these combinations on my like a massive wall of rolling mud. downriggers at five feet and the other You can literally watch the fish at 8 to 10’ 150 feet back. I like to swimming through this massive use Cripplures™ (brass Red prism wall of nutrient-rich food as they and Brass Crush fire) on the surface inhale large quantities with every because the action is readable on the pass. rod tip. As this lure spins and rolls, it creates a back-and-forth bouncing Ok, now let’s get to the meat of action on your Rod tip so you can the subject. Once you’ve located easily tell if your hook is fouled. I the area to fish, move back a good set them 200 feet back. I never run three hundred yards from the spot more than four rods and believe me,

that’s plenty in this scenario. Now that you’re set, just troll 2mph right through the middle of the bloom while navigating your boat to avoid larger surface clutter. You will hook up one or two fish every time you pass through the bloom. The average size fish range from 18 to 25 inches with an 18 inch rainbow often weighing two and a half pounds. Remember, you are usually only fishing an area maybe 200-300 feet in distance, so I usually troll through the plankton up to a wider area and then make a fast quick turn and head right back through there again (almost in a figure eight pattern one way up and then back the other). The Plankton is light sensitive so you need to be up there early before the sun gets above your head, which is normally around 10:00am. Remember to stay in the middle of the lake as you travel up early mornings to avoid any of the submerged trees. Good fishing y’all.

Cripplure Glow

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keep hearing about Kokanee fishing and how fun it is to catch these fish. Why is Kokanee fishing so popular and what lures would you recommend to catch them? A: Kokanee fishing can be a very rewarding and frustrating experience. The reason these fish are becoming so popular is because you can fish for them virtually year round. Normally, Kokanee are most active in water temperatures between 50-55 degrees and begin to school up around the early May time frame. Once schooled, the action is fast and furious and is a

Photo of the Month

great way to get kids interested in fishing because of it. It can be frustrating because there are so many variables that must be taken into consideration. Some of those variables are water temperature, trolling speeds, scents, baits, color choices, etc. The list goes on, but these fish must be targeted. To alleviate this frustration, try using a Mack’s Lure Double D™ Dodger with a Cha Cha® Kokanee Squidder. Tie the leader approximately 8-10” behind the dodger. I usually start with pinks and orange squidders, with a trolling speed of 1.2mph. Pee Wee™ Wiggle Hoochies™ are also an effective tool to using when fishing for kokanee. Mack’s Lure is known for their trout and kokanee products, so eliminating the frustration from the beginning is well worth it. There are too many other variables that must be taken into consideration. If you have any questions pertaining to kokanee fishing, please feel free to email us at

Video of the Month Spring Chinook season has arrived! Click Here to watch how to fish it. If you have video’s to share, we’d love to see them!! Send your video links to: MacksLure@

Now that winter is gone, it’s time to go fishing!

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