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Muskie Fishing -> Lures,Tackle, and Equipment -> Bouncers
Message Subject: Bouncers
Posted 4/25/2023 12:34 PM (#1020251)
Subject: Bouncers

Posts: 312

A recent exchange on here with an old friend and master muskie guy,Reef Hawg,got me thinking about something and since I haven't gone 'weirdo' here for awhile I'll share my thoughts on 'bouncers'.I'm talking bucktails,not the door guarding beast at your fav watering hole.
What I call a 'bouncer' is a bucktail the rear section of which 'bounces' up/down vertically on the retrieve.Big,noticeable,almost violent up/down bounces.Action way beyond the usual trailing section whether hair,maribou,flashaboo,rubber,plastic,whatever.
This action is not the action of most tails.Suspect the causes are varied but blade size,style,numbers,length of rear section,composition,weight and so on all can play a part but whatever,the result is bouncing.An action you know when u see it.
Make a difference?I think so,particularly in shallower water where lure travel is often level with the fish,making the near violent,erratic action very visible-often causing a reaction.IMO the action enhances the normal flaring,pulsating,sound making action of a bucktail triggerin fish interest and instinct.
For me,in shallow water it seems to trigger more strikes-particularly when burning.I will utilize a fav bouncer for sure if fishing behind another burner,even if they are throwing a standard D10.Musky Mayhem Rabid Squirrels often are my choices but tinkering can give u others varying in size and style.One of the best I've had was a homemade tail given to me by Reef Hawg years ago.Thanks Jason!(it was a large copper indiana bladed thing-green flash tape on blade- followed by a paddle tail fishy looking green plastic/rubber ducky type body).Wonderful action!Killer.
For us northern guys,open water is coming.Good bouncing to all!
Posted 4/25/2023 1:42 PM (#1020254 - in reply to #1020251)
Subject: Re: Bouncers

Posts: 8748

I think our whole attitude towards lures is flawed.

We try to make lures that look like fish. Match the hatch. "Looks like a perch, that's going to get eaten!" Probably, but that perch has evolved to be LESS visible to predators. The most effective lures are easy to see. If they can't see it, they're gonna miss when they try to eat it!

We try to make lures that swim like fish. What then differentiates our lures from all the other fish swimming around? Other than the fact that they are swimming along apparently oblivious to predators that is...

And this "looks like a dying fish" thing. From an evolutionary standpoint, it makes no sense for a muskie to eat something that's dying. There's something wrong with it, don't eat that!!

Think about how you trigger fish on the figure 8. They get aggressive ant eat when their prey is about to get away. If you stop that lure or slow it down, what happens? So why do you want to make your lure look like a dying fish?

The triggers we use to get muskies to eat our lures mimic two things. Feeding behavior is #1. Did you ever stop to actually watch fish, either in a tank or clear water? They all just sit there, even if food is nearby. But when one of them decides to eat, they all follow suit. The most effective lures and presentations of said lures mimic the movements of a feeding fish. #2 is trying to get away. Again, the figure 8. Those changes of speed and direction are what gets 'em. Fish only move like that when they're eating, or trying to avoid being eaten.

So Dick's example above makes total sense - that additional change of speed and direction of an otherwise linear presentation makes it look more like it's feeding, or trying to not get eaten.
Posted 4/25/2023 2:50 PM (#1020260 - in reply to #1020251)
Subject: Re: Bouncers

Posts: 312

Interesting EA.
Few follow up notes.The easy way to get a bouncer is via split ring.Almost any body attached to almost and blade via a split ring bounces.All time classic would be the mepps tails.For decades(70s,80s,90s) the 'Giant Killer' by Mepps was putting 100s of big fish in the boat.Back then we jokingly called it the natural muskie food on Leech.!00s of 50s there alone including Doc Cottons 56.How could such a tiny bucktail do it?I think I know.
Recall the Vibrax blade with its 'bell resonator' inside?Well I suspect much of its success was attributable to the fact it split ringed to assorted rear ends- again creating bouncers.Would almost bet Al Lindner probably still throws one.I know I'd put Northland Tackle 'Bionic' tails on Vibrax blades and tear M up on walls all over the Shield.Roger Halvorsons 56 from the Woods fell for one.
Over the years some of the characters I've been blessed to know and fish with had their precious special bucktail.Whether called 'ol Nelly' or 'big fish bubba' once i saw them in the water they usually were beat up bouncers.
Nut cases,well maybe for fishing with me but they knew a winning lure when they saw it.Much like i occ have/treasure a trolling bait that 'skips','walks','kicks out','stutters' or whatever that sets it apart.Those trolling baits(often Head or Mattlocks nowadays)are treasured just like my bouncers.Different.Proven.
I'll shut up.Good fishing!
Posted 4/25/2023 11:41 PM (#1020269 - in reply to #1020251)
Subject: Re: Bouncers

Posts: 508

Location: NW WI
Sorry EA: But I think Dive n rises, glides, walk the dogs, poppers, jerks, flaptails, flutter/jigging spoons, and hung suckers might stand a case for immulating wounded or dying prey has a case for success. Buuuut, than again, who other than a muskie can say if they bit because they thought it was an efficient food item, or did they just mentally snap because of the stop and go action or were triggered by sudden motion and or flash.
I agree though too 110% that there's plenty of evidence that says odd,unusual,abnormal, un-understandable presentations also are wildly successful, whether that be color,action, or profile. Case in point-Bucktails,prop baits, Medusas,Buzz baits, Toads. There's no match the hatch there, they just put on a show and hit the lateral line just right and the muskys want it in there mouth. Either that or Muskys are gangsters and see an outsider that needs to be dealt with.

Imagination is the limit with bait design, somebody will stray from the herd and pop out something absurd that works. Just a matter of time. History likes to repeat itself sometimes.
Posted 4/26/2023 7:29 AM (#1020274 - in reply to #1020251)
Subject: Re: Bouncers

Posts: 357

interesting. Interesting in the fact that i have caught an overwhelming amount of my fish of bucktails with a joint. Even in D10 days i did better with jointed ones. I just never really had good luck straight shafts.

i always just kind of thought it was how i reel, have kind of a lumpy cadence that kind of made the jointed baits "swim".

i make most of my own now and use a wire to wire connection so i dont need a split ring.
Posted 4/26/2023 8:02 AM (#1020275 - in reply to #1020251)
Subject: Re: Bouncers

Posts: 20194

Location: oswego, il
The double 10 and 12 vibrax baits because of the binge suck the tinsel into the blades giving them momentary interruptions. That also triggers fish. I've had success on the mepps double 8 and I am sure it would work on the 10 by adding a bell sinker to the split ring. The blades will tick it giving it great vibration. It also allows them to be cast much farther and retrieved faster.
Posted 4/26/2023 8:20 AM (#1020276 - in reply to #1020251)
Subject: Re: Bouncers

Posts: 312

Love this stuff!Does it matter?Who knows?I really think so in shallow water particularly.Much more motion and then,of course more lateral line 'noise' follows.Double boost-vision and vibes.
Yeh jointed baits almost always have it.Easy to create but not always easy to create jointed ones that cast well without tangling.Jointed Cowgirls are dream catchers.I have some very old regular MM Cowgirls that do it perfectly.Hard to say why but think it's some sort of blade 'drag' creating thing.A torn up,small body behind?A fear is that wire 'fatigue' is playing a role makes me hesitant to continue using them.Fish catching machines.
Gene at Leaders n Lures once gave me a couple bucktails that had flexible braided wire as the body support instead of solid.Great bouncers,great catchers.Not sure if Gene still makes M.
Posted 4/28/2023 11:05 PM (#1020361 - in reply to #1020251)
Subject: Re: Bouncers

Posts: 1271

My first Muskies were caught on Mepps along with everyone else during that time. Talking lures and being weird?
This is Weirdo Central! And to top it off tomorrow I'll have to cut up some Bucktails and put hinges on them.
Posted 4/29/2023 6:11 AM (#1020362 - in reply to #1020251)
Subject: Re: Bouncers

Posts: 312

Yes!!!Weirdo Central!
Good 4 you on cutting up bucktails.If u want go ahead and construct an argument that the 'hinges' will make it a better hooker as well.Easy to do.
Of course that assumes it doesn't tangle every few casts-the challenge with hinges.
Posted 4/29/2023 10:48 PM (#1020381 - in reply to #1020251)
Subject: Re: Bouncers

Posts: 486

Location: Northern Illinois
Another original bouncer - Shumway's Giant Flasher - sshhh...
Reef Hawg
Posted 5/1/2023 5:26 PM (#1020412 - in reply to #1020251)
Subject: RE: Bouncers

Posts: 3518

Location: north central wisconsin
Great stuff here, and quite the history burst from Dick, as that was 2004, and 'Triple Take' was the lure. I still use these. I believe the one I gave you was a straight shaft, but the tail action always 'held' the lure back when coupled with a shorter package, creating the drag and subsequent bounce, something a joint would do on other tails. We cut our teeth on Green Bay with these in early 2000's fishing super shallow. I then went to an internal hinged design with these using 7 strand through the the tail, mitigating movement restriction, reducing twist, and eliminating need to rebend internal shaft.

Now, i'll deviate. There are things on a lure, bends, varied weights, hair/flashabou(or lack of) tails, bodies that will make an individual 'act up' accordingly. Sometimes difficult to reproduce, and hinging some of them seems the operative method. There is another thing about the Mepps and the Vibrax that is unique though....

Before I forget, I lost a giant fish one morning while fishing with my brother on another style 'bouncer', a Hellraiser Bear Paw which was around decades prior the Boilermaker style lures popular today. We'd just left the dock conversation with LOTW legend Dickp, where he threw one of the first and well used 'Grinders' in my boat for my bro to use. Joe and Monica cleaned up on that lure the rest of the week, and I'll never forget it.
Posted 5/1/2023 6:46 PM (#1020414 - in reply to #1020251)
Subject: RE: Bouncers

Posts: 368

Location: On the River
Shrink tube the rear treble on a mepps tandem it will give you extra bounce.
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