Glowing reviews - Major League Fishing

Glowing reviews

Image for Glowing reviews
Many pros light up when asked about their experiences with Mirror Glow spinner baits.
July 25, 2002 • Mark Hicks • Archives

Tournament professionals frequently test lures made by their sponsors before the baits are introduced to the fishing public. Once the lures show up in stores, the pro’s job switches from research and development to promotion. Sometimes an angler fares so well with the new lures that he has second thoughts about turning his competitors onto a good thing. Such is the plight of Keith Williams, a regular on the Wal-Mart FLW Tour.

Keith’s dilemma began during practice for a Wal-Mart FLW Tour event scheduled for Lake Champlain. He and his father, Jerry, both from Conway, Ark., received an Arkie Lures care package that included six prototype Mirror Glow spinner baits. Since spinner baits have helped both anglers qualify for the FLW Tour Championship, they were eager to give their sponsor’s lures a workout.

As the pair burned the spinner baits up near the surface of Champlain’s crystalline water, 3- to 4-pound smallmouths rocketed from submerged grass beds and blasted the baits 30 to 50 times a day. The lures out-fished other spinner baits by a 3-1 ratio.

The events of Sept. 11, however, forced the cancellation of the Champlain tournament. But the success of the Mirror Glow spinner bait was not forgotten. Keith tied one on when practicing for a Wal-Mart FLW event on Lake Okeechobee last January and caught a 9-pound, 9-ounce largemouth on his third cast. The Mirror Glow spinner bait helped him earn a check at Okeechobee, nail down fifth place at the next FLW Tour event on Wheeler Lake and finish well enough at Lake Ouachita to hold seventh place in the Angler-of-the-Year standings after the first three events.

“Keith caught most of his bass in those tournaments on the Mirror Glow spinner bait,” Jerry said. “He would just as soon not tell anybody about it. When he goes fishing these days, he sets out with two rods. One is rigged with a jig, the other with a Mirror Glow spinner bait.”

The Mirror Glow spinner bait, an official Wal-Mart FLW Tour lure, is available exclusively at Wal-Mart stores. Its most distinguishing feature is a skirt that adapts to the color of its surroundings thanks to color-shifting fibers. What does this color-shifting business mean, and why does it appeal to bass?

“We experimented with this skirt for the better part of a year,” said Skip Carnes of Arkie Lures. “It’s a combination of light-gathering and reflective strands. It reflects light at greater distances and changes color depending on where it’s fished.”

When retrieved near the surface, the skirt brightens, as do shad and other silvery baitfish when light glints off their sides. In lush vegetation, the skirt takes on a greenish tint. Slow roll the spinner bait near a mud bottom, and the skirt darkens, where it could represent a bottom-dwelling baitfish or crayfish. All Mirror Glow spinner baits also have a light-reflecting finish on the head, which brings about additional flash and enhances the mirror effect.

“The skirt has a lot more flash, and its thin fibers work with more pulsation than anything else out there,” said former Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League All-American champion Joe Thomas, who also experimented with Mirror Glow prototypes. “Even in stained water, when I fluff the spinner bait near the surface, the skirt lights up. It literally glows.”

The primary advantage of the Mirror Glow skirt is visibility. Bass are drawn to it from greater distances, especially in clear water. In murky water, where the vibration of the blades may be the initial attraction, the bright skirt helps bass target the bait as they surge close to strike. Even though the skirt is highly visible, it shows bass a slender, minnow-like silhouette.

“In clear water,” Thomas said, “it is very important that a spinner bait have more of a ghostly appearance. With the Mirror Glow, bass see bright flashes, but at the same time, it’s a subtle bait. The skirt folds back in the water and presents a slim profile, which is a very positive thing.”

Thomas sees a correlation between the Mirror Glow spinner bait and jerkbaits that have reflective metallic finishes. Twitch a flashy jerkbait beneath the surface, and its sides reflect brash light that pulls bass from great distances. The Mirror Glow, Thomas said, is the first spinner bait to produce a similar effect. Thomas also praised the skirt’s durability.

“A lot of spinner-bait skirts slip down on the hook and their strands break off,” Thomas said. “The Mirror Glow skirt is hand-tied to the bait, and its strands are tough. You’re going to catch a lot of fish on one of these baits before it loses its bass appeal.”

The Mirror Glow spinner bait is currently available in 1/8-, 1/4- and 3/8-ounce sizes and in four color patterns including shiner, shad, chartreuse and firetiger. You have the option of single and tandem willow-leaf and turtle-back blade combinations in nickel, gold and crystalline painted finishes.

The 3/8-ounce tandem turtle Mirror Glow spinner bait in firetiger has been the big hitter for Keith. This was the lure that produced heavy smallmouths on Lake Champlain, and it has come through for him in a number of tournaments in clear to downright muddy water. When fishing the FLW Tour event on Okeechobee, he relied on a 3/8-ounce shad Mirror Glow spinner bait with tandem blades.

Jerry dotes on the 3/8-ounce Mirror Glow spinner bait with a single, gold turtle-back blade.

“Years ago,” Jerry said, “I won a lot of money fishing tournaments with a single-spin, Colorado-blade spinner bait. It threw off a lot of vibration and ran true at fast and slow speeds. Now I can’t find a bait like that, that won’t roll over. When I fished the Mirror Glow with the turtle-back blade, I couldn’t believe it. It puts out more vibrations than a Colorado blade and runs perfectly.”

Williams created Arkie Lures for the superior design and materials that contribute to the performance and toughness of Mirror Glow spinner baits. He has tried other spinner baits made with single turtle-back blades, but they wouldn’t run true, especially at high speeds. Nor would they hold up to more than half a dozen heavyweight bass.

Jerry Williams, Keith “Any spinner bait that catches up to 50 big smallmouths in a single day has to be made right,” Jerry said. “The Mirror Glow has superior hooks, a quality ball-bearing swivel and a wire frame that takes abuse. The wire has to be balanced just right for the bait to run true. The folks at Arkie Lures did their homework.”

The 1/4- and 3/8-ounce Mirror Glow spinner baits do most of the work for Thomas, but he also makes good use of the 1/8-ounce size. When fishing the diminutive spinner bait, he drops from 17- to 14-pound-test green Stren. He prefers the shiner skirt with tandem blades and a turtle back ahead of a willow leaf because he believes this combination closely mimics a small minnow.

“That little bait is very effective in the spring or fall when bass are feeding on tiny baitfish, typically in grassy situations,” Thomas said. “That small-profile spinner bait really comes through grass well.”

In the fall, the grass is typically matted on the surface or very close to it. Thomas claims he can clip the edges of the vegetation with the 1/8-ounce spinner bait and not foul as often as with heavier spinner baits. He also finds that bass frequently show a preference for smaller spinner baits.

“In the fall,” Thomas said, “a small spinner bait often gets the job done. That may be because the bass have seen so many bigger spinner baits all year. When fishing pressure is heavy, that 1/8-ounce spinner bait will catch them when a bigger bait won’t.”