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Magic Lures and the Banjo Minnow; practice needed

By Gary Korsgaden / For the Enterprise

  The banjo minnow and its claims to catch hundreds of fish in a day made me skeptical.  I’ve never owned or used one. At my fishing seminars it was always stressed there is never a magic lure, so don’t fall for the claims of the banjo minnow.

Knowledge is the key to fishing success and applying the tools in a particular situation is the key to catching them.

Years ago my fishing partner, a physician friend by the name of John, and I made several trips a year to Mille Lacs lake.

Timed correctly, we always caught a lot of fish including a number of larger fish. But an issue John had was tying snells that would hold without breaking.

It was frustrating seeing a big walleye almost to the net only to swim away from a snell that became untied. John would have to turn to me to ty his snells.

That was until the year we attended the sport show in Minneapolis.

Just as we walked in, there was a booth, with a well-dressed individual with a headset for a microphone, who invited anyone willing hear his pitch.  The item, “just what the doctor ordered,” was a tool to make snell tying easy. Confident, John, had found the solution to his problem. “I won’t be bugging you anymore to tie my snells Gary, no more lost fish either.”

Our first trip to Mille Lacs couldn’t come fast enough for both of us. Not to be disappointed on the first day, walleyes came easy and big ones at that.  John, still confident he found the solution to tying a strong snell, pulled his snell tying tool out of his tackle box.

After landing several smaller walleyes, John’s confidence swelled, until he lost his first big walleye. Undaunted, he re-tied, setting the hook on the second big fish. That one also became unbuttoned right at the boat.

Remaining silent, as John tied his third snell, He watched yet another trophy walleye become untied right at the boat. As the third fish swam away, John pitched his tool and the hopes of it solving his snell tying woes in Mille Lacs lake. “Guess I am back to Gary tying my snells,” he theorized.

  Last week I attended a fishing seminar by Gary Parsons, recognized as one of the best walleye fisherman of our times. He spoke of the success of the moonshine shiver minnow. Is this another banjo minnow, I thought?

Or John’s snell tying tool?.

Today’s baits are the shiver minnow and the jigging rapalas or the puppet minnow.

Skeptical, I asked myself, do these baits really work? It’s tough to beat a jig and minnow, I thought. As I listened to Parsons’ success he had experienced on walleyes, it became clear the shiver minnow, like the jigging rapala and puppet minnow, need to be worked properly to trigger a strike.

The shiver minnow needs to be cast and retrieved with sweeping motions; the jigging rapala and puppet minnow need to be vertically jigged and retrieved just off the bottom.

Like John’s snell-tying tool, they have to be used properly to work.

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