With the goal of more big fish and a good time on the water, here are a few techniques you can apply to fish the believer in the right conditions. The believer can be one of the most versatile baits in my box as it is one of the few baits I find myself reaching for all year. From spring time till fall, trolling to casting the believer is guaranteed to put fish in the boat.
Trolling- The Believer is one of my favorite trolling lures for its wide wobble action and resistance to snagging due to its durable wide lip body that will bounce of everything from rocks to stumps. The Believer has put a lot of fish in my boat trolling at speeds from 3-5 mph due to its very buoyant design it takes more speed to get to depths of 8’ and greater which really makes it a great bait for late spring and summer trolling. I prefer the deeper setting because the bait gets more action and depth can be controlled with line length and planer boards. Incorporating planer boards into your technique is especially important when fishing in shallow water 8’ or less and to get the baits away from the boat on heavily pressured waters where muskies tend to be boat shy. The believer has an erratic action when trolled at speeds over 3.5 mph often kicking out to side randomly, many people try to tune this action out of the bait by adjusting the hook eye but I find a good balance of erratic action creates strikes and is what truly makes the Believer a unique bait. Fall is one of my favorite times to troll 10” Believers both straight and jointed in the northern Muskie region. When muskies are vigorously feeding on Cisco spawning near the surface the Believer stays in the top 8’ of the water column with as much as 50’ of line out trolling at speeds as slow as 1.8-2.5 mph, this is a great time to try trolling at night as well. Another tactic often overlooked is trolling the Believer in dense stump fields of southern reservoirs. During the 2008 PMTT qualifier on Lake Shelbyville my partner Scott Donovan and I during a tough bite trolled through stump filled coves bouncing 8” jointed Believers off numerous trees with only a couple snags all day. We were able to put the odds in our favor by coving a lot of water, after a two fish day we finished up with a second place win.
Casting- The Believer is extremely versatile casting bait because of the ability to work the bait in so many different ways, with two ways to hook it up both shallow and deep. One of my favorite times to throw the Believer is in thick wooded coves. The ability of the Believer to contact cover and escape without snagging is what makes it so great. Many of the strikes I have experienced while casting timber and rocks were immediately after the bait had made contact with structure. Throughout the summer and spring during tough conditions I find myself often putting my bucktails away and going back to crank baits. There is no mistaking how well bucktails work in the summer months and the majority of Muskie anglers will be fishing them in July and august when the water warms to summer temps. Since I am always fishing in the back of the boat behind clients and friends I tend to throw different baits than the majority to catch the conditioned fish or ones looking for an easy meal. A time that you will certainly find me casting a Believer from the back of the boat is during post frontal conditions when fish are moving slowly. My favorite way to work a 10” jointed believer during these conditions is to slow roll it on the surface working it as if it is a topwater. This slow enticing action will often get slow moving negative muskies to eat.
Versatility comes in many forms from your bait choices to the speed you chose to fish them. Experience, which creates instinct, is what tells you how and where to fish. Try fishing the Believer and learn to trust your instincts and you’ll become a better angler.
by Chris Riebe