Anyone who spends any amount of time chasing summer walleyes no doubt logs a few hours bouncing blades. When fish are holding near bottom, as many summer eyes do, it’s a technique that excels at covering water while keeping your offering in the fish, and triggering strikes. It’s also a technique that’s very simple to learn, yet due to the variables involved, can be a difficult one to master. Speed, snell length, blade type, color, and size, are a few of the elements that experienced blade bouncers consider. One would correctly assume that the more variables that get introduced into the equation, the more complex it becomes. However, variables in the spinner equation are options, and options are GOOD.
There are times when the fish will try and take that bouncer rod right out of your hand, regardless of the setup you’re pulling. But those times normally don’t last for long, and we’re left with some stubborn fish on the graph. This is why we need options, and often just changing one of them will trigger a run of bites. When I’m graphing fish and not getting bit anymore, I’m a fan of significant change versus a subtle one, and for me this normally begins with a blade style change. Northland Tackle’s Butterfly Blade is a newer option that really embodies that strategy. It’s a significant departure from traditional blades, giving fish flash and feel that they’re not accustomed to – and it works. It’s similar to the propeller-style blade on a Whistler Jig, but with more pronounced curvature, more size and surface area, and as a result more displacement. The construction of the blade is polycarbonate, and it’s light weight and propeller design give it substantial lift. Not being a fan of super long snells, this is a huge plus. It allows me to get the spinner up to where the fish are without adding too much snell length, floating components, or decreasing speed.
The blade itself comes in two sizes – #1 and #2, and in a dozen colors consisting of naturals, fluorescents, metallics, and holographics. A couple of the colors are referred to as “clear tip,” which I’m a big fan of. It’s essentially a clear blade with subtly-colored fluorescent tips, giving me confidence in pulling these “fluorescent” blades in even ultra-clear water. There is a substantial difference between the two sizes, which is great. When I change a blade size, I want it to be a noticeable difference. I like the smaller #1 for neutral fish, clearer water, and slower speeds, as this blade will spin at a crawl! The larger #2 provides more thump and flash at speed, and works well for aggressive fish, darker water, or when trying to trigger strikes from neutral fish. The two sizes really do fish like different blades.
Like many, when it comes to summer walleyes I often lean heavily on nightcrawlers, and Butterfly Blades come in two pre-tied rigs that cater to this. The Butterfly Blade Harness, and the Butterfly Blade Super Death®. The Butterfly Blade Harness is pretty much your go-to crawler harness, but with the new blade. It’s my favorite for pulling the Impulse Nightcrawler, but also excels with the real thing. The Butterfly Blade Super Death® uses a very aggressively-canted hook, similar to Northland’s Crawler Hauler Hook, but with even more twist. This is my favorite rig when using just a portion of crawler, and hooks up fish remarkably well with it’s elongated hook. It’s another great option to show pressured or reluctant fish. Northland also offers the Butterfly Blade Rig, a traditional single hook rig for leeches, minnows, or portioned crawlers. For those of us that like to tie are own rigs, Butterfly Blades are also available as standalone offering in all sizes and colors, in 3/card and 25/bag quantity.
I’ve gotten enough confidence in these blades in such a short time, that I often start with them, rather than switch to them. Either way, they’re a powerful option to add to your spinner arsenal.
So next time you’re confronted with a graph full of uncooperative eyes, change it up!