Photo by Hunter Hill

The Eel by Thomas Spinning Lures. Look into those eyes and tell me you don't want a bite!

The Eel by Thomas 12/21/18

I’ve been getting all set for ice fishing this winter. The ice hasn’t quite thickened up yet and we’ve had a few warm days that just keep the waiting game going. But in the mean time I’ve been reading up on ice fishing methods, tips and tricks, in the hopes that I’ll be even halfway successful this winter. I live in Northern Wayne County and just recently was reminded of a local giant in the lure industry. Thomas Spinning Lures. They’re based in Hawley PA which for those of you who don’t know, is maybe a half hour south of my stomping grounds.

My dad recommended them to me and said that he always kept a few on hand when fishing any of the salmonoid family. So in my pursuit of ice fishing options I sought them out and decided on the Eel. The Eel lure I picked up is an eighth ounce gold model. Thomas lures packaging is clean and simple with an old fashioned kind of helpfulness. Helpful you ask? I have this quirk about new lures that spend more time designing the paint swatches on the package than the description of the lure itself. Thomas appears to take heed to my preferences and provides a list right on the front of the package of various fish this lure is effective for. If you turn it over, it describes a method for fishing the lure itself that achieves optimum performance. For the Eel it reads:
 

For best results:

Stream or River fishing — Cast slightly or directly upstream and allow the lure to “flutter” to bottom, the retrieve with the current keeping the lure near bottom. A stop and go retrieve generally works best. Be ready when lure makes “swing” coming cross-current and upstream, this is when many strikes occur.

River pools and lakes — Cast Lureand allow to sink to desired depth. Retrieve at speed which gives lure best “action,” twitching rod tip occasionally. The various methods of trolling also work well with most Thomas lures. The Rough Rider, Little Tiger, and Eel are great for ice jigging!


I had planned on using this lure for jigging and with the confirmation of the package description I sure will. What’s great about it in my own mind at least, is that this lure isn’t exclusive to ice fishing. As the description states it’s great for fishing moving water, so even when the ice melts off, I’ll be able to take this out in the spring and keep this in my arsenal.

The Eel is about one and a half inches long not including the treble hook that hangs from the tail. The whole body is gold plated with a light imprint of an eel snaking along the length of the lure. At the nose of the lure is an open tie-on hole and just below that are two painted eyes, black with red pupils. As my father says, red is a great trigger color. The body of the Eel is warped lengthwise so as to have an arched back and a concave belly. The first half of it is fairly straight until it curves up and then back down as like an inchworm would appear while scooching around. Speaking of worms, my dad gave me another suggestion in terms of jigging. He said that if you have a piece of worm (nightcrawler, meal-worm, etc.) it helps to give fish confidence when they notice it. The flash of the gold and the fluttering motion is going to get fish to come by if you are in the right place of course, but what he says akes the difference sometimes is if they have a reinforcement of what they are seeing.  If the fish smells that live bait on what’s dangling in front of them, they may be quicker to strike than an baited lure. Just some “fish-food” for thought (yeah I know that was bad).

Another tip I would offer is putting a barrel swivel about a foot or two up the leader from your lure. It flips and flutters a lot like a traditional spoon will, so it helps to have that swivel to keep your line from twisting. I would also put a swivel or snap on the nose tie-on as well because I never like to tie directly onto plate metal, even if it is smoothed by the laminate gold paint. Some sort of snap-swivel really helps to make a secure knot and keep your line from slipping or breaking at the pressure points created by line on the edge of metal.

Get out there and pick one up. I got mine in Walmart, but maybe next time I’ll be able to have a chat with the folks at Thomas Spinning Lures. It’s Christmas time after all so if you want to support local, these guys are just down the road.

*If you have any luck with the lure of the week, feel free to email your pictures to events@riverreporter.com for an opportunity to share them on our website. If you have a favorite kind of lure we haven’t reviewed yet, feel free to send that lure to our office at PO box 150 Narrowsburg, NY 12764. We will add it to our weekly reviews and share the results. Check back each week on Fridays to see the new lure of the week!

 

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