04-14-99.....We decided to take the day off from fishing, so today I will make up
some more slabs for the upcoming slabbing season. When I first moved to the lake,
I spent around $250.00 in the first three months on fishing lures before I found
something that really "worked" for me. It was a one-ounce slab. The one thing
I found out that was wrong with it, was, that when it was windy, the lure trailed
a long way behind me, and had too much slack in the line to set the hook when a
fish did strike. So I bought a mold for a two-ounce slab and started making my own
lures. I did not like the looks of it, and knew I had made a mistake. I made up
a few and tried them out. Hey, they worked better than the one ounce. Then I
started fooling around with different color combinations. It took me about 4 years
to find a combination that really works, year after year, the two tone white and
chartreuse, white one side and chartreuse the other side. And another couple of years
to find paint that would hold up without chipping off. The same held true with
hooks. I finally settled on the VMC 9651N hook. They seemed to work better than
anything else did. Now I had a lure that really produced, and would take the
beating it gets. I gave these away at first, but realized I could not afford that,
so I had to start charging for them. I still give some away to people I see
that are not catching fish and watching us catch fish. We like to see others
catch fish, especially children,they really get excited and have a ball.
Since I first started making these, I have found a couple of other colors
that also work, the "Orange Blaze" and the "Hot Pink". But the "Yellow Chartreuse"
has been the most popular combination.
I call my lure a " Prune Picker Slab ". The   comes from what others
started calling me, Prune Picker ( that's what they call people who come from
California ). Hey, if you have never tried my lure, and are in the area, look
me up, and I will give you a couple of them.
Here I am, waiting for paint to dry.
It rained this morning, so we picked
a good day not to go fishing. I paint
up to 200 lures at a time. 2 coats of
white, 2 coats of color, and 2
coats of clear. Takes a while just
for the paint to dry between coats.
If you wish to try your hand and making your own, click here
and take a look at my Do It Yourself Page. I go through the
whole process for you, even telling you where I pruchase my
supplies. I also show pictures on what I am doing through out
the whole process.
We have been asked, "what is the best way to use slabs?" That depends on the depth of
water you are fishing in, and the way fish are hitting at the time. Listed below are some
suggestions you might want to try.
First of all, and we canít stress this too much, keep your hooks sharp. We even
sharpen new hooks, and check our hooks all the time we are fishing for a dull point.
Carry a hook sharpener with you whenever you go fishing.
Be courteous, the golden rule applies on the water. Do unto others, as you would
have them do unto you. (Or something like that). (You will see people on the water that
believes just the opposite, like, do unto others before they have a chance to do unto you).
Don't get mad; just move away from them, you are out to have fun.
When you spot fish, donít run in on them (the fish or boats) and wake other boats in
the area. Leave casting distance between you and other boats nearby. Donít leave your
motor running, which will chase off the fish. Donít cut other people off from their fish
if they are casting out. If you canít get to the fish, watch which way they are going and
try to get in front of them and the other boats and wait for them to come to you. You will
catch more fish that way, as you can catch them as they are coming to you, and going away
from you, before you have to move again. Remember, ease up the where the fish are, or else
you will scatter them, and spoil your own fishing.
If you have a locator, find the fish using it. If not, watch for fish surfacing on top
(on a calm day you will be able to see their splashes quite a way of). If the sea gulls
are in, watch for them feeding on the shad the fish are chasing, and fish below the gulls
(donít look up with your mouth open). The most productive way of catching the stripers is
to find them on your locator, and a long way from other boats where you have them to yourself,
but that would be a rare occasion, as the other boats will see you sooner or later.
If there are boats in the area that are downrigging, try to avoid them, as their constant
running back and forth will usually chase the schooling fish off, unless it is a large school.
We have downriggers, but do not use them often, only when we know that is the only way to
catch fish at certain times of the year. They do produce fish, but not a fun way to catch
them, just a last resort if you are out for fresh fish for dinner. It's like pulling in
dead weight, no sport to it as far as we are concerned. (But that's only our opinion)
When you see them on your locator, in deep water, jig the slab up and down at the
depth the fish are in. If they do not hit, try dropping your slab below them then "burn"
your slab in. This will, on occasion, catch the fish if they are not hitting by jigging the
slab up and down. Quick tip here on using level wind reels and knowing how deep you are
fishing. Before you go fishing, take your rod with the slab (or any lure) on. Place the
lure on the floor; watch your level wind go across the reel. Determine how much line goes
out with each travel across the reel. Average for a full reel is about 7 feet. If you
are "marking" fish around 35 feet deep, you can watch your reel and let it go across the
reel about 5 to 6 times, this will get you a little below the fish, and as you jig, you
will be coming up through the fish. This is a quick way to get your slab down to the depth
the fish are working, and where the best action will be. If there are fish on top, and
you are in front of them, cast you lure to the school and let it drop, then reel, drop, reel,
drop, until you get a strike or close to your boat, then let it drop and burn it in. Same
thing holds true when they are going away from you. This gives you a longer time to fish
a school that is on the move and will produce more fish.
If you are in shallow (15í-20í) water, try casting you slab out into, or beyond the fish.
Then work the bottom by reeling in and dropping back to the bottom as you retrieve your line.
The bigger fish are below the fish feeding on top, picking up stunned shad as they fall.
The only problem with this is, you will lose some slabs on the bottom if you happen to be
in a rocky or stumpy area, and can not get your slab loose. Another thought here, while on
the subject of losing slabs. Check you line often for cuts by running your thumbnail down
the last couple feet of line. Stripers have sharp fins and they can nick you line causing
you to lose your lures (and fish), whether it be a slab or an expensive top water plug.
As the slab is dropping, keep a little tension on the line, as the fish will hit the
slab on the drop, and you need to feel them hit, and when they hit, set the hook.
Use a medium action rod, not a stiff rod, to feel the hit. I am going to add a personal
note here. I used to (and I really don't like saying this) really out fish George. One day
while we were slabbing, he was watching me, and asked to "borrow" the rod I was fishing with.
I handed it to him; (I had two identical rod and reel set ups, so I just grabbed the other
one). Do you know, he kept that rod for 6 weeks before he returned it to me. He found out
that the rod I was using was more sensitive then the rods he had, and searched for a new rod
for himself. He ended up buying 3 rods from Pro Bass, and gave both John and myself each 1.
We have all switched to these new rods, George has a dozen of them now, I have 8, and John
has 8. We all catch fish about equal now; (I lost my edge on them). We all have these rods
set up for slabbing, top water, and bait fishing. If you don't believe me about the importance
of having a rod you can "feel" the fish just slightly touch your lure, just ask George or
John. It has really improved our total catch each time we go out fishing.
The rod is a Bionic Blade, IM8, Model BNC66MHT.
Here is another little tip that might sound just a bit crazy, but it does work. If you
are marking a few fish, take an old rod and beat the water. This will draw the fish under
you if they are in the area. You may have seen others doing this and wondered what the heck
they were doing, believe me, this does work.
And again, keep those hooks sharp
Best of fishing to you and enjoy your day on the lake, and if you have the chance,
take a youngster, teach them the sport. There is nothing like seeing a youngster
catching fish, it will bring back memories of your first fish.