He started laughing out loud as soon as he saw what I was doing…
It was raining, a bit windy and the normally active smallies on the Susquehanna River were in a sluggish mood for the first day of summer. We had been fishing for about an hour and the bass weren’t hitting their most common choices such as tubes, swimbaits, spinnerbaits or topwater.
The air temp was about 65 degrees and the water temp 75, after a few days of hot weather earlier in the week.
I remember my discussion with smallie angler and author, Jim Root, who told me, “try the Steelshad blade bait any time you would fish a crankbait or spinnerbait”, so I tied on a gold Steelshad, and let her rip.
With Ken, my buddy and awesome Susquehanna fishing guide, laughing, it took about 10 seconds to get my first strike. It was a nice summer smallie, nothing big, but something.
Thinking this was beginners luck, we both laughed and I proceeded to catch four more bass in current seams and chutes where they weren’t hitting anything else.
After catching 5 smallies to his none in that time frame, I took my only other gold Steelshad and handed it to Ken.
He was able to get in on the fun as well, until a monster smallie broke off his line and we lost one of our two baits.
Over the next few hours, I put a whooping on Ken, until the sun came out and the smallies started hitting tubes for us. At that time, the Steelshad was still working but the bigger fish seemed to be coming on tubes. The location we were fishing was more tube jig water.
I was ecstatic that this lure that most people think of as a cold water bait was outfishing anything else we tried on the first day of summer.
How to Fish A Steelshad
This video shows the action of the Steelshad bait under various different types of retrieves.
The lure produced great, seemed to be resistant to getting hung up, despite the exposed VMC treble hooks (be careful when you catch a 10 inch smallie that is thrashing!) and had amazing erratic action.
You fish it like a spinnerbait or crankbait and can burn it or slow it down, depending on the conditions, depth of the water and mood of the bass. I was fishing it in pretty shallow water, 2 to 6 feet in light to moderate current so I kept it moving at all times. I varied the speed and sometimes would pause very briefly to trigger more erratic action.
You can fish this at almost any depth.
I liked how this thing casts a mile and you can cover lots of water quickly looking for active fish. It’s erratic action probably creates lots of reaction strikes and moves more like a baitfish, and is likely something bass haven’t seen much, especially in rivers.
You’ve got to try it. It’s a blast!