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Have a Fishing Question? — Ask Shep!
I've been answering fishing questions for three generations of Mepps anglers. Check out my list of common fishing question and answers below. If you don't find your answer there, please drop me a line and I'll shoot an answer off to you as soon as I can. Thanks for your interest!
[Return to Top] Question 1: Can you explain the different style blade angles?
Answer: The rotation of the different blades are:
-Aglia fishes shallow with a 60 degree angle rotation from body to blade.
-Comet and Black Fury blades fish mid-shallow with a 45 degree angle rotation.
-Aglia Long blades fish mid-deph with a 30 degree angle rotation.
-XD blades fish deep with a 25 degree angle rotation.
Answer: FILLETING NORTHERN PIKE
Make sure you have a sharp knife with a 6" or 7" blade. Knives will dull cutting around bones, so you may need to resharpen blade.
1. Place fish flat on its belly and grip by head on cutting board. Cut downward from back of head until you hit the backbone. Turn knife and run it along the top of the backbone. Turn knife and run it along the top of the backbone to the front of the top fin near the tail. Raise knife, cutting the piece of meat off leaving a boneless fillet.
2. The backbone and a row of forked rib "Y" bones will now be exposed. Avoid these small "Y" bones. Turn fish on its side with exposed spine facing you. Start cutting about a quarter of an inch deep on outside edge of "Y" bones toward the rear of fish stopping at the point where the first fillet was cut-off.
3. Cut directly down to the spine at the back dorsal fin and behind the head. This operation produces a flap of boneless meat between troublesome rib bones and skin.
4. Cut lengthways along the outside edge of the "Y" bones. This allows you to begin lifting the meat with your thumb. As you lift the flap of meat, cut deeper skimming along the top of the belly(along the white line on the outer skin). Turn the fish to the other side and repeat steps 2 through 4.
5. You will still have a portion of meat behind the back dorsal fin. This section of fish does not have "Y" bones in it. Lay the fish on its side and simply run your knife along the side of the backbone all the way to the tail. Repeat this step on the other side of the fish.
6. You now have five boneless fillets with little waste. One from the back, two from the sides of the mid-section and two pieces from the sides of the tail portion. Skin each piece after each cut. Do not use any belly meat, nor meat precisely next to the skin. The meat just under the skin contains strong oils and fat. By removing the red blotches and leaving perhaps a small portion of the meat next to the skin, all the strong "fishy" tasting elements are removed.
[Return to Top] Question 3: How can I bring back the shine to my old Mepps lures?
Answer: To put the shine back on the blades and bodies, rub them lightly with toothpaste, rinse clean and dry thoroughly, then coat them with a clear lacquer such as fingernail polish. To remove rust, you can also soak them in lemon juice for approximately five minutes. To help prevent premature rust, leave your tackle box open overnight after a fishing trip to make sure the lures are completely dried out.
[Return to Top] Question 4: Why are the prices in Mepps Master Catalog higher than at retail stores?
Most of our business is wholesale. If we discounted prices to individuals, we would be in direct competition with our wholesalers and sporting goods dealers. That would not be good business. For this reason, the "Mepps Master Catalog" price is full list price. We realize this may be higher than the same product in your local area. The Fishing Guide is a great reference manual for lure color, size and style, plus it keeps you up to date on new product introductions. The order form in the Guide encourages fishermen to order the merchandise they would like through a local dealer. When this is not possible, we accept individual orders at listed prices.
[Return to Top] Question 5: I am having trouble placing an order off your web site. What is the problem?
Answer: On occasion we hear from customers who, for one reason or another, cannot order off our web site. Usually this is caused by a setting in their web browser. You must have cookies enabled to order from our secure site; the security features require this. If you have cookies enabled and are still having problems, I would encourage you to contact us toll-free by calling 800-237-9877. One of our friendly customer service representatives will be more than happy to take your order. Our switchboard hours are Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. CST. Thank you for your interest.
[Return to Top] Question 6: I own a Mepps Super Meca Reel, do you still make this? Can you make repairs on it?
Answer: The Mepps Super Meca reel was introduced in the early 1960's. It was discontinued in the early 1970's. New, it sold for about $40.00, making it one of the highest quality reels of its day. Today, a Super Meca reel in good condition can be sold to a fishing tackle collector for between $75 and $100.
We are now out of most parts to repair the reel. If you would like to have it repaired, please send it directly to our factory. We will give it a complete going over and replace the necessary parts, if they are available. We charge $10.00 for this service, and it includes all parts, labor and return postage. Please include a check for $10.00 with your reel. Please note, if your reel is in need of a drag assembly, we are completely out of them.
In the event your reel cannot be repaired, your check will be returned and you will have two options. We will either return the reel or, if you agree, we will keep it and allow you $15.00 in trade from the current Fishing Guide.
[Return to Top] Question 7: Can I use a swivel to attach my lure to my line?
We recommend tying the lure directly onto your line. Most of us remember that "one" knot, the knot that slips when a fish is on, so practice tying knots. The Palomar and Trilene knots are simple to tie. Also, check for frays frequently, cut off about a foot of line before tying on your Mepps, then tie it directly to your line. Practice so you can tie your Mepps spinner on without looking. This will help when fishing in low light. If you will be fishing for northern, musky or other species with very sharp teeth, you'll want to use a steel leader. This is insurance so you don't lose that lunker and your Mepps spinner.
[Return to Top] Question 8: My wires bent on some of my lures, why?
I've heard fishermen having a few problems such as you mentioned, however, it usually turned out they were pulling in the fish by the lure or holding it up by the lure while it was in the fish's mouth. When you handle a lure this way it will bend the wire. Also, another reason is when the lure is slapped against the water causing the wire to bend and the blade will also get mis-shaped which in turn will not let the blade rotate properly. You can try bending the wire back in shape.
[Return to Top] Question 9: Will Mepps give me a sponsorship for fishing in tournaments?
We do not sponsor any individual fisherman. The major part of our promotional efforts goes into preserving fish habitat and supporting fishing clubs and groups. I know you'll agree with us that protecting fishing rights and habitat are big jobs. There is a considerable number of Mepps boosters throughout the country. In fact, Mepps is the world's largest selling lure among pro and novice fishermen alike. There is a growing number of tournament fishermen using Mepps, for they produce fish. From the millions of Mepps fishermen, we receive testimonials, plus photos of their Mepps catches for use in our Mepps Master Catalog each year.
[Return to Top] Question 10: I am interested in tying flies at home. How do I go about it?
We appreciate your interest, but unfortunately, all the tyers who work for us must live within the radius of approximately ten miles which limits who can tie for us. This is necessary because we must be in contact with them for an extensive training program, weekly to distribute tying materials and for the tyer to drop off the finished product. If you do not meet this requirement, you would not be able to apply. Check with us prior to see if we are accepting applications.
[Return to Top] Question 11: Where do northern pike like to be in a lake?
Answer: Northern Pike prefers shallow water and areas congested with aquatic weeds. They spawn just after ice thaws. The adhesive eggs are simply scattered over the bottom or onto vegetation.
Fish make up the bulk of their diet but they will also take frogs, crayfish, waterdogs, ducks, birds, and mice. Effective lures and bait for pike are large spoons, spinners, plugs or waterdogs. Northern pike have sharp teeth, so many anglers use a wire leader to prevent the line from being cut.
They are aggressive fish. However, they are known to regularly break off the hunt if the target doesn't look right. If you see that you are getting "follows" but not "strikes", change your retrieve. Make it more erratic, start and stop, cut back and forth, speed up and slow down.
Northerns like warm water. In spring, they will be in shallow bays - usually over weed beds. As summer comes to the border lakes, they will move a little deeper, but still gravitate toward structure. Look for submerged logs, a solitary boulder in the shallows, or weeds in less than 15 feet of water.
Pike hunt for food in the morning and evening ... this is the time to work creek mouths, and narrow entrances to bays. During mid-day, troll shorelines with medium to deep running lures and spoons. Run your lure about half-way between the surface and the bottom. With northern pike, always use a wire leader!
When the water is cold in May, fish early in the morning. Early in this period, pike gather at stream mouths and wait for bait fish to be washed into the lake. Position yourself opposite a creek mouth and throw into the warmer current upstream of the shoreline. Keep crankin' the slack out of the line as it washes into the lake 'till the northern slams it in about 2-3 feet of water. Some of the biggest pike of the season are caught on "Opening Weekend". As the water warms up a bit, they move a little farther out onto flats and hang on the edge of new weed growth. Larger Mepps will work great at this time of year, Magnum Musky Killers. Just before the Fourth of July, we like to switch over to big spinners such as the #5 Mepps Black Fury being one of my favorites, along with the Mepps Giant Killers and Musky Killers.
As summer rolls on through late-July and August, we get smaller pike staying in the shallows while the older and larger pike move to weed edges adjacent to deep water.
September sees most of the largest northern pike catches. The same techniques used on the deeper weedlines in mid-summer are still effective.
Pay close attention to the size and color of the bait fish during the different seasons of the year. Try to match as closely as possible the size of your lure to the size of the forage fish.
I hope this helps you out.
Answer: Filleting Most Game Fish
1. Lay your fish on a cleaning board, make a cut behind the head and pectoral fins. Cut only through the meat. When you feel your knife hit the backbone, you have cut deeply enough.
2. Make a cut next to the back or dorsal fin. The knife blade should be parallel to the flatside of the fish. Only cut through the meat; when you feel the blade of your knife hitting the rib cage, you have cut deeply enough.
This second cut should extend 3/4 the length of the fish. The main idea is to make it at least the full length of the rib cage.
3. Start lifting up the edge of the fillet with your thumb as you carefully work your knife around the rib cage with a series of short cuts. As you cut, lift the fillet away from the rib cage. Continue until the fillet is freed from the ribs. Lay your knife parallel to the tail bone and cut from the rear of the rib cage to the tail. However, leave the fillet attached to the carcass at the tail.
Note cutting around the bones dulls any knife and I like to be able to re-sharpen the knife in a hurry. Also, a flexible knife works abound the rib bones easier than a stiff knife.
4. Flip fish over and go through steps 1-3.
5. The skinning process is simple. Lay the fillet right next to the edge of your board or table. By holding it down, cut through the meat until the knife touches the skin. Then, turn the blade so it's flat against the board and while you make a sawing motion with the knife, pull on the skin with your other hand. Practice makes this an easy and fast technique to master.
[Return to Top] Question 13: Why don't you ship outside of the United States?
We are under contract with Mepps France. Please contact them regarding European or South American sales. The contact at Mepps France is Rodolphe Jacques. His e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you live outside of the United States, direct contact with Mepps France helps them serve your needs and, if necessary, adapt products for your country. If you're from Canada, please contact Brecks', in Sherbrooke, Quebec: email@example.com You will find additional Mepps contact names and telephone numbers here: http://www.mepps.com/contact_us/
[Return to Top] Question 14: I was wondering how you get the rust off my treble hooks. I have a real problem with this. What is the solution?
Answer: I’m not sure how bad your hooks are rusted. The hooks are made of steel and will rust when they sit extended periods of time while wet. Never put your tackle box away with wet lures, especially if you do not intend on using them soon. It doesn't take long for rust to appear. Anybody who fishes in wet conditions is going to get some rust on their hooks.
I would not recommend using anything such as CLR. For one thing, it could damage the finishes on the blades. Also, if they are that badly rusted, it will just weaken the hooks more. Try taking a file and make sure the hooks are sharp. An excellent product to use is the Mister Twister Cone Hone, click here, www.mistertwister.com to give it that renewed sharpness. You can tell, then, if they are weak. If they are weak, I'd suggest replacing them because you don't want to lose a fish due to a broken hook. It's not worth taking a chance fishin' with weak hooks.
[Return to Top] Question 15: Do you have a factory store in Antigo?
Answer: Sheldons', Inc, home of Mepps lures, is located in Antigo, Wisconsin and is the world headquarters for Mepps. We have a display area with over 4000 different Mepps lures we manufacture. You can purchase any Mepps lures we manufacture at retail prices right here at our factory. Your order will be processed for you while you wait. Tours of the factory are also available. Watch the Mepps lures while they are being hand-assembled. Click here for information on factory tours http://www.mepps.com/about_us/
[Return to Top] Question 16: Sometimes my wire bends on my lures. Why, and how can you remedy it?
Answer: All our wires are made of Swedish Sandvic stainless steel. Sandvic stainless steel is the hardest and most durable form of stainless steel available. We keep our wire as thick as it needs to be to catch the largest freshwater fish , and as thin as it can be so you may bend the wire back into shape by hand.
I've heard fishermen having a few problems such as you mentioned, however, it usually turned out that they were pulling in the fish by the lure or holding it up by the lure while it was in the fish's mouth. When you handle a lure this way it will bend the wire. Also, another reason is when the lure is slapped against the water causing the wire to bend along with the blade geting mis-shaped which in turn will not let the blade rotate properly. The force a large fish can exert on a spinner may bend wires, also.
Take notice on how the lure is being used to determine what may be happening. You can straighten the wire out by carefully bending it back in place. If you feel there is more of a problem, please return the lure you had a problem with and we will evaluate it and either repair or replace it at no charge.
[Return to Top] Question 17: Can you tell me how each blade style works?
Answer: Each blade style when run at the same speed and depth, the rate at which the blade revolves around the spinner body, will be different.
The Aglia blade revovles at about a 60 degree angle from the spinner body. This blade will spin at very slow retrieves. It can be brought in just under the surface or buzzed along the the surface quite easily with a faster retreive.
The Comet and Black Fury blades spin at about a 45 degree angle. These spinners will run deeper on faster retrieves. After spawning, when fish move to deeper brake lines, the Comet and Black Fury are ideal for getting to them.
The Aglia Long blade spins very close to the body, at about a 30 degree angle. The Aglia Long is ideal for deeper water or fishing in heavier river currents.
The Syclops and Timber Doodle are spoons. The Syclops has a side-to-side wobble and can be used with downriggers, planer boards, Dipsy or Jet Divers. They are perfect for drift fishermen or ultralite casters. The Timber Doodle produces an erratic swimming action irrestistible to game fish. They flutter as they sink and they can be veritcally jigged, cast or trolled.
The Little Wolf spoon doesn't stall when you stop your retrieve, but , maintains its action as it falls. It is perfectly balanced to maintain the same intense side-to-side wobbiling action at all retrievals.
The Mepps XD is a count-down spinner. It runs deep and stays deep.
The Thunder Bug acts like a bug as it flutters into action.
You may wish to order our free catalog. Click here http://www.mepps.com/mepps/catalog/ Click here for info on our awards program http://www.mepps.com/mepps/information/masterangler/ Hope this is helpful.
[Return to Top] Question 18: My Comet Mino does'nt follow a straight line, what's wrong with my lure?
If you take a careful look at the lure as it comes through the water, it will, at times, run right side up, then dart or flip erratically. A number of different studies have shown that game fish, when feeding on a school of bait fish, will concentrate on the fish with the more unusual or erratic action. If the Comet Mino came through the water in a straight line, it would lose much of its appeal. The Comet style lure runs at a 45 degree angle. This style spinner will run deeper on faster retrieves. After spawning, when fish move to deeper break lines, the Comet is ideal for enticing them.
[Return to Top] Question 19: Do you send orders and your Mepps Master Catalog outside the USA?
We are under contract with Mepps France. Please contact them regarding European or South American sales. The contact at Mepps France is Rodolphe Jacques. His e-mail address is: :firstname.lastname@example.org If you live outside of the United States, direct contact with Mepps France helps them serve your needs and, if necessary, adapt products for your country. If you're from Canada, please contact Brecks', in Sherbrooke, Quebec: email@example.com You will find additional Mepps contact names and telephone numbers here: http://www.mepps.com/customer-service/contact-us/
[Return to Top] Question 20: How can I get a hold of a discontinued Mepps Lure?
Answer: If available, we will sell any of our discontinued style lures we have on the shelves at the price they were when discontinued. Sometimes, we will have parts in stock to actually assemble them for a customer if they are not already made. Give our order department a call during office hours from 7:30-4pm CST 800/237-9877.
[Return to Top] Question 21: Can you explain the action of the Mepps Comet Mino?
Answer: The Comet style lure runs at a 45 degree angle and acts like a wounded baitfish. This style spinner will run deeper on faster retrieves. After spawning, when fish move to deeper break lines, the Comet is ideal for enticing them.
If you take a careful look at the lure as it comes through the water, it will, at times, run right side up, then dart or flip erratically. A number of different studies have shown that game fish, when feeding on a school of bait fish, will concentrate on the fish with the more unusual or erratic action. If the Comet Mino came through the water in a straight line, it would lose much of its appeal.
[Return to Top] Question 22: Why do you call some of your dressed tails on your lures bucktails and not deer tails?
Answer: The reason the dressings on some of our lures are callled bucktails as many years ago hunters could shoot only bucks while the does were protected. Therefore, at one time, the dressings were all called bucktails. The terminology stuck and we still call the dressing on some of our lures bucktails. However, in reality, we now use buck and doe deer tails. We also use natural squirrel tail dressing on some of our lures as well.
[Return to Top] Question 23: Is Mepps interested in conservation?
Answer: It's always great to hear from other Mepps fishermen who are conservation minded.
Mepps has always been very interested in conserving not only fish, but all of our natural resources. After all, fish live in water so it wouldn't do us any good to promote "catch and release" without promoting clean water. In fact, we have been promoting "catch and release" to the last three generations of fishermen.
It might interest you to know that the Europeans are ahead of the United States when it comes to "catch and release." European anglers like to say, "Don't kill your limit, limit your kill." Because of this philosophy, the country of Holland has many trophy northern pike. Some have been caught and released many times. These fish are handled very carefully while being photographed then they are immediately released back into the water. More and more fishermen in the United States are aware of practicing "catch and release" and have taken strides in the correct manner to handle fish as not to endanger them.
Also, all over the United States, organizations like Trout Unlimited and Muskies Unlimited work very hard to preserve our resources ,and we are a big supporter of both of these organizations, as well as many other conservation groups.
Thanks for your interest in the Mepps products. Virtually, the blades, bodies and wires are lead-free. The hooks and bodies are the only part that is brazened with a trace of lead. We use the lead mixed with brass to make it malleable which makes this mixture more pliable to work with to prevent brittleness. The standard lead level according to the EPA standard is 5%. The lead level in our lures is at 3% which is well below the standard allowed. The lead warning is applied to the packages due to the Proposition 65 in the state of California to keep carcinogens out of the environment. The state of California'a lead level is set at 1/2% well below EPA standards. Lead in the bodies to be machined is 2% or 3.25% and the blades are .001% lead.
[Return to Top] Question 25: I leave my GLO lures under a lamp overnight. I fish very early morning in the dark. Why do my GLO lures quit glowing shortly after I start fishing?
Answer: In natural light or sunlight, the lure absorbs light and will reflect for a good 30 minutes. Artificial light is good to use, however, it may not hold the charge quite as long. In a situation, such as you described, I would take a long a bright flashlight and charge up the lure for at least 1-2 minutes. It will last approximately 4-5 casts before you need to recharge it again. You can also try a camera flash. Then, as the sun rises, you can leave the lure in the sunlight for about 1 minute or so and it will absorb the light and be bright again for a longer period of time. The lure is similar to a rechargeable battery in that respect.