Ron Ludwig, Prune Picker, spent years fishing Lake Texoma, launched the Sixoldgeezers website on July 5, 1999 and then compiled these tips on fishing his Prunepicker Slabs.
Before Ron passed away on November 21, 2012 Ron passed on to Joe McKlemurry, Axman, tips on lure making. Ax has continued the tradition with Reaxtion Lures which now carries the famous "Prunepicker Slabs" among his product line.
These are Ron's slabbing & fishing tips.
We have been asked ďwhat is the best way to use slabs?Ē
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 who believe 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, that 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 to 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
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 thumb nail down the last couple feet of line. Stripers ave 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 one 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.
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.
On June 20th, 2005, John took David and Ron out for some top water fishing.
It was slow (like nothing) starting, but once the fish were located, we had
a ball. I have been here 16 years, and 10 days, and I finally got my wall
hanger, and on a top water plug, not a "Prune Picker Slab". But that's ok,
I will settle for it. 24 pounds, 6 ounces, on a black "Poppa Dog".
By Ron "Prune Picker" Ludwig.
This book, published in May of 1997, is about 200 pages of "All I know about
fishing", only 1 copy published, and all of the pages are blank. Actually, it
was given to Ron for his 63rd birthday, by some close friends, Jack & Virgina