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Steve Pollick: New method of fishing - just stick it to 'em

July 4, 1999

Steve Pollick

How many times does a fisherman see a ``bug'' - cricket, grasshopper, ant, beetle, bee, wasp, whatever - that falls into or lands on the water only to be sucked up by a gamefish in an eyeblink?

And how many times does a fisherman wish he or she could really have that insect on a hook instead of faking it with an artificial? That wiggly action of truly live bait on water is irresistible to fish and so hard to duplicate.

Try threading an insect on a hook and often as not, you kill it, and the enticing action with it. So don't hook the bait, stick it on - alive. Sounds too good to be true, but it's not.

Jearald Dudley, of Rockwood, Mich., a dyed-in-the-wool fisherman and experimenter, has developed a product called Baitstick. It is a non-toxic glue that will hold live insects and other dry baits on a fishhook.

Even though I'm ``from Missouri'' when it comes to tons of gadgets and gimmicks on the sporting goods market, I decided to try a bottle of Baitstick one day last week at a couple of favorite ponds.

My plan was to conduct a huntin' 'n fishin' trip: Hunt up insects from roundabout, stick whatever I caught on a hook, and try to catch fish with it. Well: grasshoppers were the hands-down ``fave'' of bluegills and largemouth bass, followed by crickets. I brought along a small container of waxworms in case I wasn't still kid enough (fast enough) to nab insects - and they caught fish, too.

I tried to find a swarm of big, black carpenter ants - great fish food - but didn't connect. However, I cannot imagine that two or three of them wriggling on a hook would not be dynamite. Next time I'll hunt up some ants beforehand and bring along some in a jar. Then all I'll have to do is dip a Baitsticky hook into the jar to come up with two or three, and start dunking.

Spinning tackle with a small bobber and a No. 8 hook worked fine, but so did a nine-foot flyrod using only a No. 12 hook. I have not yet tried actually flycasting with a stuck-on insect, but in the aforementioned applications, the bait does stick.

At one point I removed a barbless hook from one bluegill's mouth and the waxworm was still attached and wriggling. Other times, pieces-parts of the insects were left on the hook after the fish had eaten dinner.

So Baitstick is a very sticky goo. It is about the consistency of sun-warmed pine sap. ``It's basically just a lot of resins - cooked to a perfect consistency,'' said Dudley.

He claims it stays soft and sticky and is environmentally safe. The stuff also works with dry baits such as dogfood (for catfish).

Some anglers even dip a fishhook with Baitstick-glued waxworm into a container of colored cake sprinkles. ``Out West they're killing trout,'' Dudley said, adding that the fish seem to like the color and sweetness of the confection along with the bait.

``It's so unconventional, it's almost laughable . . . until they start using it.''

Dudley, who calls himself ``just an inventor,'' began marketing Baitstick last August. But he's been angling since his youth. ``The first big bass I ever caught was on a cricket. I was 9 years old.''

My test fishing trip showed me that Baitstick indeed is sticky. Wear old clothes the first time you try it. Watch that the glued bait and hook do not touch your hair, the grass, or whatever loose debris, else it will pick up some of that, too. Following the directions on the package also helps - but did I read them?

``It's messy when you first use it. I tell everybody that.''

Dudley recommends carrying along a small bottle of mineral spirits or similar solvent to unstick your fingers if you get messy. Take a rag or paper towel, too, just in case. If you do not have solvent with you, however, Baitstick will come off your hands if you just rub in a little sand or dirt. It will ball up and roll off.

Baitstick comes in red, green, yellow, or clear. The two-ounce size is $7.50 plus $2.40 shipping, and the four-ounce size is $13 plus $3.75 shipping. The mailing address is Baitstick, 30274 Young St., Rockwood, Mich., 48173. Telephone orders can be placed at 734-544-4599. E-mail orders can be placed at the following web site: www.baitstick.com

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