All plastics are NOT created equal. Yes, you read that right. Different plastic baits have different actions, target different fish, and some just don’t seem to work as well as others. With that being said, I want to introduce you to a must-have plastic bait for all year round. Let me introduce you to the Northland Impulse Mayfly, released in Fall 2011.
I became aware of these baits last winter as they just started hitting the shelves at my favorite bait shop Kabele’s in Spirit Lake, Iowa. Heard a couple people talk about them and seen them on the wall, so i decided to give them a try. Luckily Kabele’s is really in touch with their customer’s reports, and can get any bait in a hurry that proves to be “on fire” for us fellow anglers. Your bigger box stores are not as reactive on stocking new and hot baits as smaller shops, so trying to find these at Scheels was a no-go for me. Not much bigger than a dime, and really not much thicker either, however the flicker action of the little legs and tail seemed to make even the most stubborn blue gills and perch commit to the bite. These baits were just amazing late in the ice fishing season, that I felt it was too late to write a report on them as the ice was going away fast and I didn’t know how they would work in open waters.
My collection grew during the last push of the ice season, and my results kept improving. However, I still wanted to know if these were worth carrying around in my open water box, or just pack them away with my winter lures. Fast forward a month or so to March 25th, 2012, in Correctionville, Iowa. Not too far from my home in Anthon are a couple ponds, like the Little Sioux Park and Shagbark, both in Correctionville. Little Sioux Park is usually an over-pressured pond from all the campers, however Shagbark is hidden since it’s on a hunting reserve. Both places can produce good blue gill fishing, as well as bass and catfish, but currently both are doing really well this year compared to last. My goal this weekend was to find a couple 2 to 3 inch sized blue gill for my home aquarium, as well as have fun fighting some blue gills with my ultralite rod.
Worms were going to be too big for the bait of choice for the smaller gills, so I decided to give the Mayfly a try. My mind told me that just like normal blue gill fishing, just add a bobber and let it sit. At the Little Sioux Park, this proved to be ok for the bigger gills, it was not getting the job done for some 2 inch aquarium fish. 8 to 10 inch gills would hammer my bait just like it was a night crawler, which was fun but not what i truly wanted. I figured once I caught my keepers, I could go after some trophy gills or some of the amazing bass I seen swimming by my bait while I prayed they passed on. Luckily the #8 Eagle Claw snell hook I was using allowed me to yank the lure back out of most of the bass’ mouths without setting the hook on them. As fun as the fishing was at this pond, I wasn’t succeeding in my goal. Catching trophy fish isn’t as hard as catching 2 inch blue gills sometimes.
So I decided to hit Shagbark up, where I knew blue gills exist and were usually more aggressive than the gills in other ponds. The journey from parking lot thru the mowed path over the hill revealed a pond hurting from the lack of moisture. This pond was easily 3 feet more shallow due to the lack of heavy snows and rains. I surveyed the pond in disgust, almost wishing I hadn’t came. Luckily I decided since I made the trek, I would atleast give it a try. Casted out about 15 feet, and the waiting game began. Couple nibbles here and there, so I was about to switch baits and slowly retrieved when all the sudden my bait got hammered by blue gills. So I removed the bobber and just casted with a slow retrieve, with every cast landing another blue gill. My bucket of water was filling up with small dink sized blue gill, as well as tossing back a couple 6 to 8 inch sized gills. For over an hour, it was non-stop action with this lure. The slow retrieve was making the tail and legs flicker in the water, making it irresistible to any gill in the proximity. So irresistible that I could see flocks of other gills chasing my bait till one finally succeeded in grabbing my lure every retrieve.
So after an hour worth of fishing, or should I just say “catching”, at Shagbark, and another 10 minutes of sorting, I accomplished my goal of getting a couple gills for my aquarium and more importantly, finding out if this bait was worth keeping in my tackle all year round. The Northland Impulse Mayfly has proved itself to be a superb performer when used correctly, outshining where others have failed, as well as saving me from spending 3 bucks for crawlers every time I want to go blue gill fishing. One pack of these baits were about 2 bucks and some change, with about 10 or so in a package, and not one was lost to a fish this whole year. I consider this bait a must-have regardless of what season you choose to fish. The Mayfly will help you keep your lines tight for seasons to come!