Few lures fire in winter for bass like a blade. The time when bass come together and school in numbers nothing quite nails stacked up bass like a small metal profile jigged, hopped, and dropped on their nose.
The Ecogear ZX 40 blade stands out when it comes to this approach, whether jigged vertically, cast and hopped, slow rolled, or one of my favourites at the moments, dropped on the nose of inactive and holding tight to the bottom. A means of triggering inactive fish to bite, an Ecogear ZX40 blade can, and is often your gateway to turning a quiet winter day into one filled with biting bass.
Weapons of Choice
When I find schooled and scattered bass holding hard on the bottom the rod I reach for is a 7’ 1” medium light spin rod with a medium action that’ll allow me cast my blade as far as possible to cover plenty of ground. I choose this rod for its longcast capability, while its medium action it perfect for the technique and the retrieve. I spool my reel with 12lb PE with a 6Lb flurocarbon leader. 12lb PE gives you plenty of pulling power and allows for a perfect FG knot to be tied.
The technique I like to use with these ZX40 is an aggressive one where I twitch the rod twice (but only half way of a full lift of the rod), then give the handle of the reel a whole rotation to pick up line, yet still allows enough slack in the line to enable the blade to sink back down. I want the lure to remain within 2 foot of the bottom.
An aggressive twitch of the lure makes the lure dart of the bottom like a fleeing shrimp. It’s as the blade sinks back down that most of the bites come, and they generally appear as a small twitch of the line.
If you don’t see the twitch of the line it’s when you go to twitch the lure again that you’ll often find a fish has eaten the blade. It’s once the bass has eaten the blade that the medium action taper of the rod comes into play, with its softer action reducing the likely hood of pulling the small hooks of the ZX out of the fish’s mouth.
A full rotation of the reel handle every couple of twitches of the lure minimizes slack in the line and helps maximise lure contact and feel throughout the retrieve. When a bite does come I don’t initially strike but instead continue the retrieve and use the next movement of retrieve to set the hooks and pin the fish.
A simple technique and an easy to repeat process, a twitched and dropped Ecogear ZX blade is a technique that bass find hard to resist, and one that winter dwelling bass will cue up to eat.