With 30-mile-an-hour winds muddying up the already stained water, Jeremy Smith knew exactly what to tie on to tempt a big Ontario muskie to bite — a Blue Fox Vibrax Super Bou, a big double-bladed bucktail bait.
His instincts paid off, rewarding him with a 53-inch muskie.
“The water got really riled up, so it was really dark,” explains Smith, a former muskie guide and current contributor, on camera and off, to the Lindner’s Angling Edge TV program. “So that Vibrax bell was really key for making fish aware the bait is present and drawing them in.”
In the Vibrax chamber — a feature unique to Blue Fox baits — a free-turning brass gear emits a sonic vibration and a rattle when it rubs against a bullet-shaped bell. The Super Bou’s unique double-blade set-up causes additional fish-attracting ruckus.
“There’s something special about those double blades that just gets the attention of fish, regardless of where you are,” Smith says.
Along with the Vibrax bell, the Super Bou’s unique combination of marabou, hackle feathers and flashabou fibers gives it an edge over other bucktail baits. Smith caught the 53-incher on a Pink Purple pattern size 10 Super Bou. Wind-riled dirty water influenced Smith’s bait-color choice, as well as his size preference.
Unusually high water this spring across the Upper Midwest and Canada led to “really dirty conditions” on many of the lakes where Smith chases muskies. As a result, pink has been a “really hot color” this season. Smith favors colors that he can see in the water. “If I can see it, then it seems like the fish should be able to see it as well,” he explains.
When Smith caught the 53-incher, he was burning his size 10 Super Bou pretty fast, to prevent getting hung up. “We were finding the fish in two to five feet of water,” he explains. “Those double-10 blades have a lot of lift, so you can keep ‘em up high and they’re not going to sink and get snagged up.”
Avoiding snags was an ongoing concern, as all the muskies Smith found on his recent trip to Northwest Ontario were holding on rock. That’s “pretty typical” in August and September, he says. He caught the 53-incher off of a “gull rock” near an island complex that led out into the main lake. “Just a totally classic muskie spot,” he says.
For those unfamiliar with the term, a “gull rock,” Smith explains, is “just a flat rock that comes out of the water, maybe a few feet — you see gulls sitting on them a lot.” In the water around and below such rocks, he says, there’s often a shelf with nearby deep water. And that’s what you’re looking for.
“Any time you can find good areas with food shelves — those flats that are, say, four- to ten-feet deep surrounding an area that has good access to the big water — that’s a bonus,” Smith explains.
Located about 50 yards from where he caught the 53-incher was an island featuring a broken-rock shoreline around it. Between the island and the gull rock was a 20-foot ditch. “Pretty classic muskie habitat,” Smith says.
When targeting structure such as a gull rock, Smith casts his Super Bou as close to it possible. “Those big fish can be in just enough water to cover their backs,” he says.
Smith throws size 10 Blue Fox Vibrax Super Bous on an 8 1/2-foot medium-heavy rod paired with a 6.4:1 gear-ratio reel, “for increased speed.” He throws size 8 Super Bous on a 7-foot, 11-inch heavy-action flipping stick with a 7:1 gear ratio reel for “tons of speed.”
In the summer, Smith says, “any time you can put more speed on a bait, it seems like that can be a bonus, depending on water clarity. And sometimes, that’s the whole deal — how fast can you can make your bait go?”
Smith throws both size 8 and 10 Super Bous on 65-pound-test Sufix Performance Braid. The longest casting and easiest handling braid on the market, Sufix Performance Braid handles effortlessly, casts a mile and resists wind knots — all while remaining abrasion resistant and super-sensitive.