Wild Northerner Magazine Spring 2017 - Page 75

BY SCOTT HADDOW

Wild Northerner staff

I looked up a towering white pine tree and cursed. Lodged firmly in a branch about 40-feet up was my new favourite crank bait - the Berkley Pitbull/Squarebull 5.5.

Moments earlier, I had messed up a cast big time into the wind and the lure went for a ride into the tree. I wanted to climb the tree and get the lure. My fishing buddy, James, shook his head for two reasons. One, because he thought it was crazy. Two, he just wasn’t doing it.

“It’s gone,” he said bluntly.

I watched, with equal bits of horror and bitterness, as we slowly distanced ourselves from the tree and my lure. I cursed some more. I knew it would do no good, but I let it all out. The Pitbull had been my primary weapon for spring smallmouth bass fishing last year, and to a lesser extent for northern pike. For a month, I could do no wrong with it - from May until early June. I was using the crawfish colour. I used the crank bait with a classic 6-6 medium rod with eight-pound Gamma copolymer line. It was on. Every lake I went to, the Pitbull produced. It gave me outings of 20 to 30 fish.

There it was, snagged in a tree and rendered completely useless to me because of my foolish cast.

A week earlier, I made James anchor the boat in five-feet of water while I stripped down to my underwear and jumped into a spring-fed lake in late May to dig the same lure out of a snag on a boulder pile. It took me a while and I froze, but I got it out.

It was disappointing to leave the lure behind after having so much success with it. I had used its seductive underwater charm to slay plenty of smallies, but also to land quite a number of pike.

“I’m sure you have another one,” James stated out loud in almost a mocking fashion to me as we continued down the shoreline and I continued to grumble about the lost lure.

I did. It wasn’t a crawfish colour. It was a perch pattern. I tied it on and started casting again. It didn’t take too long until this new pattern got smashed. I got over the lost lure - to a degree. That big pine tree has begun to lean heavily over the water and I figure it’s a matter of time before it topples into the lake. If I’m around and find out, I will be on that tree to try and get my lure back.

The next day I was back in the tackle shop and grabbed a few new Pitbulls. I had to.

I like these lures a lot. They are well constructed. They are designed to float, but will travel down about five to six-feet in the water column, depending on retrieval rate. On a pause, the Pitbull makes a slow and steady rise. This induces hard strikes. It’s like a lot of other crank baits - it has a hard, square lip to bounce of structure and bottom and has a tight wobble. The Pitbull can take some hard abuse. The pike couldn’t help themselves with it. Whenever I was using the Pitbull and a pike was around, it just hammered it. The Pitbull took the full wrath of numerous eight-pound pike and didn’t fail in any area.

The Pitbull comes in different sizes and many different colour options. The finish on them seems tough enough to last for years.

I really like the fact this crankbait can be purchased for under $9. The price of some lures these days shocks me, but the Pitbull justifies its fairly modest price tag with results and resiliency.

I have only recently gotten into spring bass fishing as a few years ago the season opened for them year round in my part of the world. I had such tremendous success with the Pitbull last year, I will be plying its talents again this spring in hopes for more bronze slabs and the odd northern pike.