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SARLEY: Know the right way to use lure

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The majority of artificial lure baits, which I recently wrote about, are supposed to look like real food to the fish, things such as worms, crayfish and minnows.

If a lure is supposed to look like a minnow, shouldn’t it act like one? Have you ever seen a real, live minnow wobble from side-to-side like an artificial minnow lure wobbles? I haven’t, but I understand why they are made to do that. The lure is meant to look like a crippled or dying minnow – an easy meal that stands out from the crowd of lively, healthy minnows.

Have you ever seen a real minnow just stop still in the water? Better yet, have you seen a minnow stop still in the water right there on the surface? I have not.

If that is the case, then why is the Bagley Bang-O Lure so effective? Beats me, but I’ve seen it work its magic many times. You cast it out, then give it a few cranks to get the slack out of the line. Now stop and wait while the circles of water around the lure fade away. It’s hard to be that patient, but it is a must.

Now, give it a tug and reel in the new slack line, or just give it a couple of cranks. Repeat the pause. Don’t wait just a second or two, take your time. Now jerk the lure again or give it a couple more cranks.

The big surprise is going to come when a big hungry bass decides to attack your Bang-O Lure. It will not happen when the lure is in motion, it will happen when it lies on top of the water motionless.

When the strike comes, set the hook, and I mean set it hard – really hard. Don’t be afraid, you’re not going to hurt the fish. Use very sharp hooks and a no-stretch superline like power Pro to get the best hookset. Now hold tight, start to crank and holler to your partner to get the net.

If a fish attacks your Bang-O Lure but misses its target, don’t just reel in quickly and cast again. Keep repeating the process because it is more than likely that the fish is going to give you a second opportunity to catch it.

A few weeks back, Spence Petros mentioned his success using Wedgies, a plastic bait that is deadly for panfish through the ice or open water.

Many of you have asked where to obtain this bait. Wedgies are made and sold by a Racine gentleman named “Plastic Joe” Moreau. They’re available in forty colors. Spence’s favorites are: motor oil and red; plain red; chartreuse; and dark purple with gold. Joe’s phone number is 262-554-8830.

Fishing report

Northern Illinois

Dave Kranz from Dave’s Bait, Tackle and Taxidermy in Crystal Lake reports: “Both largemouth and smallmouth can be caught at Vulcan Lakes at the Three Oaks Recreation Area in Crystal Lake on drop shot rigs, Yamamoto Senkos or Rapala DT-6 and DT-10 crankbaits. I am getting fair reports on northern pike using large golden roach minnows on the Fox Chain and Fox River. Catfishing remains good using cut bait on the bottom near current breaks. Bluegills are in the shallows spawning and can be caught on waxworms or redworms. Lake Geneva and Lake Delavan bass fishing has been as good as it gets.” Call 815-455-2040 for updated reports.

• From Honest John’s Fishing report from C.J. Smith’s on the Fox Chain: “The lakes are back to normal and tons of fish are being caught. Crappies are really biting well. The shallow channels are producing nice numbers. This week’s hot spot is the side channel off of the channel between Petite and Fox Lake, under the little bridge. Small fatheads tipped on a Mini-Mite jig are working well. Largemouth Bass are being caught everywhere, but unfortunately many of them are only 12 to 13 inches. The channels all around Spring Lake are producing some nice ones. Small to medium crank baits and assorted plastics are tempting them. The walleyes are biting. The Spring Lake bridge is a hot spot or try drifting the sandbar in Lake Marie. The current under the bridge is just what walleyes like. Try XL fatheads or leeches for some real action. Whopper Catfish are being caught and the channels are the places to be. Nightcrawlers, stink bait or shrimp are all good bait choices. Bluegills are coming on strong in the shallow channels too. Trout worms are working well or use a #10 hook tipped with a redworm or waxworm.

• For up-to-the-minute water conditions on the Fox Chain and Fox River, visit or call 847-587-8540.

Lake Michigan

• Captain Bob Rossa of Migrator Charters ( says: “Fishing on Lake Michigan has continued to be very good this past week. Most of the fish being caught are Coho salmon with a few steelheads mixed in. Small OO orange dodgers with blue/green/gold peanut flies tied 16" behind them are still the best bait. Cohoes are being caught in 45 to 200-feet of water. Fish the top 20-feet of the water column. Perch fishing has remained very poor.”

• Call Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan Fishing Hotline at 414-382-7920 to hear the latest fishing information for Lake Michigan and its tributaries.

Outdoors notes

Big Bucks Bass events

June 8 – Lake Winnebago

June 9 – Madison Chain

June 15 – Geneva

June 30 – Geneva

June 14 – Fox Chain

For more info, visit

World Walleye Association – Illinois Circuit

June 9 - Fox Chain

June 22 - Fox Chain (Rescheduled from May 5)

June 23 - Fox Chain (Rescheduled from April 21)

September 15 - Fox Chain

October 6 - Fox Chain

For more info, visit

World Walleye Association – Wisconsin Circuit

Aug. 4 - Winneconne - Youth Fishing Event

Sept. 8 - Oshkosh

Sept. 29 - Winneconne

Oct. 20 - Winneconne

For more info, visit

IDNR deer management open houses

The IDNR has slated five open houses for the public to ask questions and receive information about Illinois' deer herd. IDNR staff will be on hand to discuss the deer management program, hunting regulations, and surveillance/management of chronic wasting disease. The public is invited to attend the open houses from 4-7 p.m. at the following locations and dates in northern Illinois:

• June 3 – Rockford Public Library (East Branch), 6685 East State St., Rockford

• June 4 – Hickory Hills Discovery Center (Twinleaf West room), St. Charles Park District, 3795 Campton Hills Road, St. Charles

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