Reviewed by: CAPT. MIKE SCHOONVELD
What? Is there now a lure being made to catch vegetarian fish? No – the Freedom Lures Herring Cutbait Trolling Lure is designed to simulate the spinning action a plastic meat head/herring filet has when it’s trolled – but no herring strips needed.
I would have been somewhat skeptical of this had it not been for a day I spent on Lake Ontario a few years ago. Capt. Danny had thin pieces of plastic cut into an elongated triangle shape in a variety of colors.
He told me, “We were really smacking the salmon on meat rigs one day and ran out of herring strips. I grabbed a strip of plastic, cut it to the shape of a herring strip and pinned it into the meat head. That day, the fish bit the meatless meat rigs just a well as they did the ones with the herring strips. I don’t use them every time, but occasionally, when the fish are keying more on the ‘action’ than the scent, the plastic strips work just as well, once in a while, even better than meatheads with real herring.”
I flashed back to that day on Lake Ontario when I ran into the Freedom Lures guys at the ICAST show last summer. They make a plug, called the Herring Cutbait, which has the same spinning action as a rotating meathead on a meat rig.
By the time I got some on my boat we were targeting bottom hugging lakers and pre-spawn chinooks so I stuck to the 5-inch versions. They are also available in a 3 1/2 inch model which (by the time you are reading this) will be in the game for cohos and steelhead on my boat. Both sizes come in a dozen time-proven chinook and trout colors, including UV and glow patterns. I may have to spice them up with some hot red lure tape accents to give them a boost for the ‘hos and ‘heads.
I ran the lures I sampled “clean,” with no flasher or other attractor ahead of them. The guys at Freedom Tackle said they do it both ways, with or without a flasher ahead of the plug. The Herring Cutbaits are packaged with a 40-pound leader and bead chain swivel. I had no problems just running them with a quality ball bearing swivel but they do spin, so be sure to use one or the other.
The Herring Cutbait Trolling Lures are available in some retail outlets and online. Check them all out at http://www.freedomlures.com.