With the Balisong Minnow Longbill 130 SF, deps owner and chief lure designer Kazu Okumura desired to create a new concept lure for big bass – a big profile,natural minnow body combined with an oversized bill like you find on a deep-diving crankbait.
Okumura desired to produce a new concept big bait for big bass that you can still crash into riprap, bounce off rocks and other structure because of the oversized bill – but not have an overpowering wide wobbling crankbait action. Instead, the action is a tighter rolling and flashing action.
A crankbait features a bulbous rotund body that makes an attention-getting wide wobble and you can say it’s even an obnoxious lure. Throwing a crankbait over and over in the same area is a proven method to make a bass so annoyed that it attacks the boisterous crankbait out of ire.
With the Balisong Longbill, it features more of a natural silhouette, fluid flashing and has a more natural baitfish allure with a tight, shuddering wiggle. When bass behave spookily, especially in clear water where they can’t be repeatedly harassed or bullied into biting, that’s where the natural Balisong Longbill minnow can produce better than the uncouthly crankbait.
This new bait is designed to be fished and is fished predominately two ways for big bass in Japan.
First method: Making the Magic
The first method which is the predominant method for using the Longbill is called the “pumping method” in open water. It is not your typical jerk and pause because this minnow does not glide, stride or stray wide out to the sides. When pumped it darts straight ahead with a brisk wiggle. That’s what a baitfish typically does.
Make a long cast and initially crank the bait down so it will track underwater at approximately 8 to 11 feet deep. This depth is the domain of the Balisong Minnow and it is a well-known “attack range” or comfort zone of many trophy bass and above-average size bass caught in Japan. Most all bass lures work shallower or deeper, above or below this desired 8 to 11-foot depth range of trophy bass hunters in Japan. The Longbill maximizes all its time in the big bass attack range with its big baitfish profile and natural wiggling action.
So, with the first few cranks of the handle, get it down into attack range and then switch to the pumping method.
Hold the rod pointed around 9 to 10 o’clock, sighted directly down the line at the lure and raise the rod straight up in pumping strokes to 11 or 12 o’clock. Definitely play around with the length of the strokes and also the quickness, softness, hardness, suddenness etc. Use the reel mostly to take up loose line on the downstroke. This will produce bursts of tight, natural and fluid swimming actions from the minnow on the upstroke, followed by a hesitant pause on the downstroke.
This kind of action is most natural in clear, open water because most small fish are always stopping to look around in order to make sure the coast is clear before they move again. The baitfish stops, makes up its mind which way to go and whether to burst into escape flight or not. Most of the time, the baitfish moves straight ahead in a sequence of short advances and short pauses. So an action that imitates that swim-pause-look-continue, swim-pause-look-continue movement of live prey is the predominant method to give life to the Longbill.
Most of their lives, baitfish slink and lurk along tentatively, always looking first one way, then the other, before they step out into the open. They swim a short distance, then pause, swim a little more, pause and move on, ad infinitum. That natural baitfish action when replicated with a pumping method is a most effective way to use it.
Action Reversal Strike Trigger
There is a little weak, struggling moment that Okumura built in for you as well – and that vulnerable instant triggers many strikes. After it is pumped forward, when the rod tip is drawn back to 11 or 12 o’clock, the Longbill stalls and stutters right at that moment because it’s a slow-floating lure, it starts to rise and has to revert and changeup from a forward-moving head-down posture to a backward-moving rise making the bait appear weak and vulnerable for a second before it regains and stabilizes its rising,slow-floating composure. Again, the strike trigger is strongest only for a second as it changes up – but that instant often compels a following big bass to strike it.
Again, experiment with long and short, slow or fast, soft or hard pumps or mix them up and let the bass tell you how they want it pumped on any given day, which can change as the conditions do during a day.
Overall, it is the start-and-stop, swim-pause-look-continue action of a natural minnow that you are trying to replicate with the Longbill. There’s a knack to pausing the bait correctly so it looks around for security and then continues swimming like a natural baitfish. So replicating that lifelike action – doing what a minnow does – is key to this pumping retrieve. Hard to describe in writing, but so easy to understand once you acquire your knack of maintaining this baitfish’s swimming sequence of starts-and-stops for the duration of the retrieve. You must “be” the Longbill to produce big bass with it.
Again, one of the ideas behind this big profile minnow is getting it to track in the big bass attack range strike zone. The bait will track 8 to 11 feet deep in open water and excels predominately when the bottom, structure, flooded treetops or deep underwater grass will be 10 to 15 feet below the surface. It’s very easy to control the depth of this bait and to know you will always be in the strike zone and the “attack range” of above average size and trophy bass.
Read the rest and get more info on the Balisong Minnow at the Optimum Baits website.