Norm Westerhold’s favorite comment before many of his casts was “here’s dinner!”. Norm never ceased to amaze me. I have never seen anyone that could fish a #3 Mepps Aglia spinner, either gold (sunny) silver for (cloudy) like him. Smallmouth bass, walleyes, northern pike all eat the Mepps like no tomorrow. Norm had an intricate feel of how fast to retrieve the spinner. You can do it too. Norm always fished with polarized sunglasses. They are the great equalizer, they allow you to see the subtle changes in water color. Norm would reel quick in the brown (shallow) water and slowed it down as it gets deeper.
It takes a little getting used to on both the shallow and as it gets deeper. The best strike zone areas are from 2-5 feet of water. Concentrate on each cast from start to finish. If you get hung up increase the speed just enough to not get hung up. Don’t let frustration get you, you will figure it out. I use 6 lbs. monofilament with Mepps spinners.
Next in the box you see two Countdown Rapala’s. Norm like I said was a very good fisherman. When you hit a cold front nobody likes to quit fishing and you don’t have to. The Countdown Rapala is a great cold front bait. It has a subtle (narrow) wobble. Fish do not like eratic baits during cold fronts. The Countdown sinks; it can be cranked and pulled down working the shallow break lines effectively. Norm always had a surprise for the fish. The Tail Dancer is another great bait for moody fish, tight narrow wobble, billed so it can probe the break line.
Next is Norm’s smallmouth bass box. These lures are topwater or surface baits. The bottom level are Pop R’s or a knock off. They are casted right on the bass bed or to the edge of the flat weeds in the coves that have rubble, sand and rock in them. The baits are popped then hesitate then pop etc. The longer in the strike zone early season the better. As the season progresses pop, hesitate, pop, all the way back to the boat works well. You should here blub, blub, blub in the aggressive retrieve.
In the top right tray are two stick baits. these are great surface baits especially when the bass are in a neutral mood. You must use your polarized sunglasses to see the doughnut shaped circle that is the nest. Cast the stick bait to the center of the nest, do not move the lure, pick up the slack carefully, shake or wiggle your rod tip, don’t pull the bait. It will wiggle in place above the nest, barely pick up the slack and wiggle or shake rod tip again and bang the bass strikes. I call this home plate fishing, keep the bait over home plate (the nest) as long as you can, get as many wiggles as you can. Once the bait is out of the strike zone real it in and cast it again. This was Norm’s arsenal, not a lot of baits, but what he brought was very effective.
The card above will help you catch more fish especially if you use the super lines. Super lines were designed to keep you from catching fish. I am kidding but it can and will happen to you. When fish get in neutral to negative moods some species react adversely to these lines. They give off tremendous amounts of vibration when they are reeled, jerked, snagged etc. I have seen many instances where you absolutely will catch less fish when fishing Power Pro, Fireline and others. One way to alleviate this issue is to add a shocker. A shocker is a piece of monofilament line that is tied to the end of the super line. The card shows you how to tie a surgeons knot. This is one knot that will grip the super line allowing you to have the leader or shocker. The knot is similar to a granny except you pull the tags through twice as depicted. Pull tight make sure it is secure and trim, attach lure and your ready to go!
Norm Westerhold is not with us anymore, he is missed very much. Norm and his and my good friend George Schaefer still give cat calls from their little island that they inhabit. You might hear “here’s dinner, you catch more with the lure in the water, there are not any fish in the trees, it is Norm doing what he did best. George and Norm fished together for many years. We were fortunate to have had them with us for a long time, we are even luckier to have them here forever!