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How the Salmo Fatso 10S became my most successful jerkbait

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How the Salmo Fatso 10S became my most successful jerkbait
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If there has ever been a right moment to write this story, it is this afternoon. For only 2 hours ago I caught my biggest pike of the season that is almost finished now. A very fat and pregnant lady of 110 cm couldn’t resist the Salmo Fatso 10 S in Grey Shiner colour and gave me a very good fight. Although the water of this 8 meter wide poldercanal was less than one meter deep, the pike stayed close to the bottom and for some time I had no idea how big it was. But when it came headshaking to the surface, telling me the Fatso was completely swallowed, I knew at once it was well over the Dutch dream limit of 100 cms. The splashing of the pike, the noise of the screaming reeldrag and the curved rod tip, made that a group of youngsters, coming from school by bike, stopped and watched how I got this fat mamma closer to the bank. Finally I could get my hand behind the gill cover and lift her out of the water. What a nice well conditioned pike it was and I wanted her to go back in the water as soon as possible. Thank God todays youngsters have almost all a mobile phone with them a because I had forgotten my camera, they could help me by making some, not the best, pics of this nice fish. And this only happened about 2 hourse ago and another statistic number tells me it was pike no 202 of this season that started September 1st. So far the introduction and now it is time to tell the other brothers and sisters of the ever growing Salmo society how the Salmo Fatso 10S became my no 1 lure.

A broken line is to blame

Although I had several Fatso 10 jerkbaits in floating and sinking version in my tackle box, I had never used them. Why ? I think it was a matter of not enough confidence in this lure. I had used the bigger and much heavier 14 cm cm version in both Ireland and Canada and found the Fatso 14 too heavy to cast with all day. Add the fact that I liked the wide side to side action of the Salmo Slider much more than the somewhat narrow action of the Fatso and you know why there was most of the times a Slider 10S on my leader. A wrong way of thinking about for it is not important what Jan Eggers thinks about the action of a lure but what my friend Esox lucius thinks about it. And you can only find out in practice what Mister Pike thinks about a certain lure.

It was the 23rd of November 2005 that I went fishing in our polder canals with my good friend Henk Simonsz, consultant of SPRO and big boss of the most popular website for fishermen in Holland: Total Fishing. I had caught already 2 nice pikes on the Slider 10S in perch colour when I made a too long cast and dropped my Slider into some very strong reed stems on the other side of the canal. Although I fish with 0,28 mm Dyneema line with 20 kg breaking strength I managed to cut the line leaving my jerkbait at the opposite side of the canal. I was not in the mood to walk 2-3 km back to my car and was happy to find a brand new, still in the packaging, Fatso 10S in EP colour in one of the pockets of my Barbour waxcoat . I even found a steel leader in another pocket and could continue to fish again. I’ll be honest and tell the readers I didn’t like the lesser action of this Fatso 10S so much and had in mind to change it for my good old Slider 10S as soon as we were back at my car. At that moment I had no idea that this Fatso 10S would stay for the rest of the season and the first months of the new season on my leader. The reason why is easy to explain: my friend Esox liked it very much and already during the rest of that day fishing with Henk Simonsz I caught 3 pikes between 86 and 92 cm on it. Don’t get the idea I know all these data by heart, it is an advantage if you keep a diary of all your fishing days and there I found this information. The first pike caught on a Fatso 10S that 23rd of November 2005 was number 164 of that season. And when I look at 28th of February 2006, I see that my total for that season that started at the 1st of September 2005 had become 299 pikes. I have closely examined all the individual results of the 135 pikes between 23-11-2005 and 28-2-2006 and can tell the readers now no less than 112 pikes were caught on the same Salmo Fatso 10S and the rest on spinners and wobblers. But the incredible story doesn’t end here. Research in my diary from 1-9-2006 on tells me I also caught another 21 pikes on this holy Fatso 10S before I lost it on the 4th of October in a canal nearby my home. What can I say more about the efficiency, the confidence and even durability of this lure? It made me a believer that pike really like them and never change a winning team. We are 6-7 years later now and it is still my number one jerkbait and I dare to say I have become a practical expert in catching good numbers of pike on it. But I also have to admit that the way I fish this Fatso 10S has changed quite a lot from the very first pikes I caught in November 2005. I have no secrets and will explain here how I do it.

Vertical action with a heavy head.

When I fish with jerkbaits, I prefer to use a short massive leader with a spiral lock for the risk the lock opens during catsting and fishing is very small. Another personal addition to every new lure I use, is to add a not too small split ring that will give the lure the best chances to move into every direction. Better said it gives more action and for me action is the key to trigger the pike to attack. When I started jerking with this combination with the Fatso, I noticed that with a certain way of making short jerks, the Fatso would move upwards to the surface and when I stopped reeling in for a moment, it would dive downwards to the bottom. This strange action reminded me on the fishing with the so called Drachkovitch deadbait system where some lead is placed in from of the nose of the deadbait. I also noticed that the Fatso 10S was most of the times attacked by the pike when it was diving to the bottom. You can see this very well on some used models where the teeth of the pikes have made a lot of little holes. I have noticed that the longer you fish with a certain lure, the more you feel and also see which jerks of the rod tip are the most effective. For me there is no difference in the way I fish in summer and winter with the Fatso 10S. I have made several films with Fisch und Fang , Vis-Visie and Discovery about jerkbait fishing and every time my favourite Salmo did the right job. I still remember Juergen Haese told the viewers one should jerk slowly in winter and not fast as he showed on film. But funny enough he got a strike when he demonstrated it the so called wrong fast way.

For me the sinking version is much better than the floating one and I will explain why. In Holland we practice, thank God we do, catch and release and our pike get wiser and have learned to avoid certain lures. This means more and more pike attack slow and don’t take the jerkbait with full speed but you have seen it is there. For me it is a challenge to catch that pike and fishing the Fatso 10S as a kind of dropshot in a vertical way is often the key to succes. When I fish in deeper waters, my polder canals are often no more than 100 cm deep, I use longer massive leaders with spiral lock and on the front a piece of lead of a few grams that makes the jerkbait sink faster. You can simply say I am tuning my lures and adapt them to the kind of water I am fishing. And believe me, the more pikes caught on a certain lure, the more scratches on the surface and the better they catch pike. I have the idea that the rougher the surface of a lure, no matter if it is a wobbler or jerkbait, is, the more original and interesting the vibrations of the lure are for the predators.

Finally this: the Fatso 10S is an excellent lure for fishermen starting to fish with jerkbaits. I see that each year again and again during the pike fishing seminars I organise with our Dutch Belgium Pike Anglers Club for both youngsters and adults. I remember one guy, Andrew Holliwell is his name, who caught 2 nice pikes during the seminar, bought some Fatso’s and an old baitcast outfit and went fishing in the canals nearby Amsterdam Airport. A week later he phoned me and was over the moon, I could hear it on his voice, for he had just caught a pike of 104 cm and his Fatso 10S was to blame.

Well, today it was the same lure that was responsible for my 110 pregnant Esox and triggered me to write this article. But not only this pike is responsible for the title “My most successful jerkbait” . Also the hundreds of pike caught between that 23rd of November 2005 and right now made this title is well deserved and I hope to catch many more in the years to come. My final advice is therefor: Give this Salmo Fatso 10S that is waiting so long in the darkness of your tackle box a fair chance. You will be awarded, I did it earlier. Success!!

 

Jan Eggers

 

 

 

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