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FATSO- why it is good to be fat again

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FATSO- why it is good to be fat again
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It was not so long time ago that the goal among the fishing lure manufacturers was to resemble the natural prey as closely as possible. It is still true today to some degree.  But our experience over the years proven that there are many factors other than hunger that cause fish to strike.  Other than hunger there is also aggression, territorial dominance, curiosity and probably many more…        The fishing lure market meets the never ending demand by introducing newer models and colors.  Some of them do not meet the angler’s expectations and  soon disappear from the market, while on the other hand some earn the reputation of fishing classics and are available unchanged for many years.  We are fortunate to live in the times when the Salmo products not only have the traits of many “classic” lures, but by our innovative technology we were able to improve many models and open the whole new world of possibilities for fishermen.  If we want to test this fact on our own, all we have to do is to go to the nearest tackle store that carries our lures and say one magic word-Fatso!


All the trophy fish caught all over the world are the best confirmation about the effectiveness of this lure.  It was designed for typical freshwater predators of the northern hemisphere (pike, muskie, zander, wels catfish), however due to increased popularity of fishing tourism in recent years, it proved to be a lethal weapon for many other species of predatory fish- from the monsters of the Amazon to the beasts roaming the saltwater flats and mangroves of the world’s oceans.  It can be honestly said that this is a first lure of this kind that works like a crankbait even though it has no lip.  Those of you who can still remember the good old days of fishing will immediately compare Fatso’s action to that of a spoon.  When considering today’s lures and techniques of fishing, Fatso can be classified as a jerkbait from the pullbait sub-group.  However I think that trying to box this lure into some narrow classification is futile, since the variety of techniques with which it can be utilized goes beyond any standard norms.

The Necessary Power

Let’s face the facts, Fatso is not a lure for the small fish.  When we put this bad boy at the end of our line we must be ready to fight with the biggest fish that roam our lake or river.  Even after the first glance it is clear that this lure is x-size meal, a true fatso!  And the fish of this size are usually number one in the menu of the trophy predators.  We have several different color versions to choose from, both the natural and crazy/fantastic patterns will help us match the right color to the one preferred by fish in the given moment.

When considering the fact that our potential opponents will be the biggest and strongest members of the local fishery, it is crucial that the strength of our gear will be reflective of that fact.  Although the two versions of the fatso differ by over 50gr weight difference, both models can easily tempt the biggest trophies.  That is why we should use strong rod and reel no matter what version we will fish.  It does not matter whether we will fish Fatso like a classic crankbait, or if we will pull and jerk it like a jerkbait, or if we will troll steadily behind a boat- our rod must have sufficient power.  During jerking, when using both the “baby fatso” (10cm) or the bigger 14cm version we should use a stiff casting rod up to 100g and 180-240cm length.  The length of the rod should depend on the angler’s height and the conditions on the water.  Higher the fisherman, more it will be easier for him to use a longer rod.  At the same time, somebody who is shorter will find it easier to fish with a shorter rod.  A stiff rod is a must when fishing a 14cm Fatso.  A softer rod will bend too much during a cast and make fishing this lure pretty difficult.  On the other hand such rod would be perfect for trolling since it would give us the necessary amortization during the first strike.  The rod should be matched with mid size, strong multiplayer reel filled with braided line of 15-20kg.  This would be the absolute minimum because the forces that are being created during casting and fighting the fish will quickly find the weakest link in our fishing set up.  We can also increase the strength of our line when fishing for bigger fish like catfish or a salt water species.  To connect our lure to the line we should use only the strongest snaps and leaders resistant to the sharp teeth of the pike.

Now would it be possible to fish Fatso with a classical spinning rod and reel?  Well of course, although with the 14cm version it would be quite reckless.  Simply stating, whosoever tasted the comfort of fishing the heavy lures with the baitcasting rod and reel will probably find it hard to fish them any other way.

The table below describes the parameters of all Fatso models:

Model Version Lenght (cm) Weight (g) Hooks Mono line / braid  (mm) Diving depth   spinning / trolling [m]
F 10 F floating 10 48 2 x # 1 0,30/0,20 0,8/1,2
F 10 S sinking 10 52 2 x # 1 0,30/0,20 1,2/2,0
F 14 F floating 14 85 2 x # 4/0 0,30/0,20 1,0/1,5
F 14 S sinking 14 115 2 x # 4/0 0,30/0,20 2,0/3,0

The lazy bum technique

There are few tried and tested methods of fishing this magic lure and I bet there are many more still waiting to be discovered.  The easiest of them all is a steady retrieve during which Fatso wobbles and flashes its sides like classic crank bait or a large spoon. It is this wobbling action that imitates a large weak fish and that drives pike, catfish and sanders crazy.  The speed of our retrieve should be adjusted to the activity of the fish and the model we are using at that moment.  It is no mystery that the sinking Fatso will act totally different than the floating one.  The models that have the F (floating) letter on their backs are going to float on the surface.  It is not until we start our retrieve when the line tension and the water resistance will cause the lure to dive.  The faster our retrieve will be, the deeper our Fatso will dive until it will reach its maximum depth which in case of both floating models should be about 1,5m.  Both floating versions are best suited for fishing spots no deeper than 3 meters.

Now it is time to unveil a few magic tricks.  One of them is reeling in a floating Fatso as slow as possible, so that it will be barely submerged under the surface.  It will look like as if it is pushing a wave of water from up front.  Such a movement of lure and water can be extremely effective in shallow and weedy waters.  Another cool trick is leaving Salmo motionless right after cast.  A massive lure makes a large splash when falling in the water that is enticing to the fish (catfish, pike, large perch).  If we let the lure wobble on the waves for a while, we have the chance to witness a very violent strike during which a large predator will suck our lure from the surface like a trout rising to an insect.  I assure you that such a sight will stay in memory for a very long time.

When on the back of our Fatso we can see the letter S (sinking), it means that we are dealing with a sinking lure with which we can easily fish in places that are even 4-6 meters deep.  After making a cast, our lure will begin to slowly sink but we will notice that it will wobble and flash its sides at the same time.  Any experienced angler will know that such action is extremely provoking to fish.  In this case, the trick described in the paragraph above will have the opposite effect.  With a fast retrieve, the lure will run shallow because it will not have enough time to sink.  But by reeling it in slowly, we will be able to penetrate the deeper parts of the water.  Definitely we should not be afraid of a very slow retrieve.  As a matter of fact, this is one of the best kept secrets of the Dutch fishing pros.  A lot of times, large and lazy predators can be provoked with an equally lazy lure retrieve.  We can also help ourselves by changing the angle of our rod.  By keeping the rod tip down, we will let our lure run deeper.  But when we are fishing on the underwater slope and cast toward the bank, we will avoid snags by lifting the rod tip up in the first phase of our retrieve.  When our lure will go over the deep edge, then we can gradually lower the rod tip to let Fatso sink deeper.  When predators are sitting deeper than 6 meters, we can still use our Fatso.  We should use the 14cm sinking model and after making a cast we should let it sink all the way to the bottom.  Then we reel it up a few feet and let it sink again.  I am convinced that a prey darting from the bottom like that will not go unnoticed by hungry fish.

A classic pulling technique

A traditional jerking is nothing more than a rhythmical pulling of our lure with the rod, and in reality the movement of our bait is limited only by our imagination.  And like with the other fishing techniques, with jerking our “fatty” will also perform flawlessly.  We don’t have to hurry, our movements should be fluid and not to energetic.  We should just remember about reeling in the line slack that forms between our rod strokes.  It is during those pauses when both models sort of “hang” in the water.  Then after a brief moment, sinking version will slowly start falling to the bottom with its seductive wobble.  On the other hand, a floating version will do the same thing except that it will rise to the surface.  You only have to witness this action once to realize that there not many fish that will be able to withstand such provocation.  It is exactly during this moment of “hanging” dead in the water and the during the lure’s vertical movement when most of the bites will happen.  That is why we should always stay maximally focused.  Like with the most lures, using the varied retrieve will increase our effectiveness.  That is why we should experiment with frequency and strength of our rod stokes, and also with the length of our pauses.  Sometimes we should go faster or slower, and keep searching as long till we find the pattern that will be effective that day.  If some of you will get tired from the constant swinging of the rod, you should modify the jerking method by retrieving Fatso using just a reel handle.  In order to do that you should point the rod so that it will be in the straight line with the lure and the line, and retrieve the lure by just cranking on the reel handle.  The lure action should not differ much from the traditional jerking, and also by this modification we will eliminate the line slack that forms between our rod sweeps and therefore increase our hookset ratio.

Trolling

Fatso is an excellent lure for active trolling.  What it means is to constantly working the lure while pulling it behind the boat at the same time.  We hold the rod in hand and rhythmically pull the lure with our rod tip almost touching the water surface.  During each of those pulls our “fatty” will make few extra wobbles which might be just enough to tempt a strike out of wary predator that was just following our lure.  This method is best suited for waters 1-3m deep for the floating version, and 3-5m for the sinking one.

If the waters we want to troll are much deeper (6-15m), and we want to keep our lure close to the bottom structure, then we have no other choice but to use the extra weight.  We have to use extra long leader and with a three way swivel snap. We have to tie it about 1,5m from the lure and we use extra 50cm leader to tie the 50-200g weight to the swivel.  With this extra weight we will increase the range of our lure.  Of course for all the trolling pros out there the best solution will be to simply use the downrigger.  In most situations we should troll slowly; however there are certain times when rapid acceleration will be the key to awake the lazy “water wolves”.

A trophy fish of all species are caught on variety of lures; however only few of those lures were designed specifically to handle the true behemoths.  If we really hunt for a true trophy and want to catch only the biggest fish that swim in our favorite waters-then Fatso is our ideal lure.  I admit that it takes tenacity, patience and due to its size-some deal of strength to fish it effectively.  However the reward for our efforts might be the fish of a lifetime.

 

Mateusz Baran

 

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