Jan 31, 2012
Here’s the story — and video — behind Uncle Josh’s deadly big-fish bait, The Porker!
The Porker has been a sleeper bait for years!
It is one of the best baits I’ve used for giant bass. It has stayed under the radar for the simple reason that we’ve all fallen in love with the colors, designs and ease of use that soft plastic baits offer.
Many cold-water jig fisherman still understand the beauty and utility of pork. It offers a slow, lifelike action reminiscent of many a cold-blooded creature in cold water. And when bass hit a pork bait, they hold on!
You may have fished pork rind lures extensively as jig trailers once upon a time. If you have had good success fishing a jig in cold water, odds are you know the advantage of pork when a bass’s metabolism slows. Maybe you incorporated a pork eel into your bass fishing arsenal in the past. You may have even come across the Pork-O, a pork lure designed by Bill Dance for Strike King years ago but discontinued when the tide of plastics all but swept away pork baits.
I had great success with the bait two years ago on a multitude of waters. I fished it again the following March with Tab Walker, the Newton Lake (Illinois) guide and owner of Outdoor Sportsman’s Lodge who initially introduced me to Porker fishing. He reported that the bait was as hot as ever for big largemouth bass.
The latter trip was an eye-opener. Porker fishing had been a “black and white” issue for us in the past. Walker had won a tournament with the 5-1/2-inch Porker the first day he cast one. Then he and I enjoyed the bulk of our success with a 5-1/2-inch white Porker on an outing that had netted us back-to-back seven-pound-plus largemouth and inspired a feature that appeared in Bassmaster magazine in 2009.
But both Tab and I have adjusted our earlier views of the Porker.
VIDEO: Learn how to fish “The Porker” from Uncle Josh Bait Co. in this Small Waters Fishing exclusive video, “Fishing the Porker.”
For one, we have a more “colorful” approach to Porker fishing. When action slowed one day, we decided to test those brightly colored Porkers that we had philosophically dismissed before. To our embarrassed delight, bass up to five-pounds-plus came quickly on the 7-1/2 inch chartreuse, a bait I’ve used on quarries, natural lakes, golf course ponds and residential development waters since.
Update: After scorching bass with the chartreuse, white and black Porkers the past two years, I tried the red and red and white baits in late spring on Minnesota bass with similar results. I also found the Porker a great bait for fishing reed beds.
The brighter colors certainly offer an advantage on dark waters and, it seems, near heavy cover, too.
Be sure to keep you Porker jars properly closed and filled with pork rind juice. If you keep pork rind baits out of the juice too long, they will stiffen, and you will lose that enticing undulating action that makes these baits so deadly. I should also warn you that pork baits do not come from the factory with the consistency of a plastic bait, and you may find some with thick skin that impedes action. But my experience is that the 7-1/2 inch baits come out of the jar with better consistency than the 5-1/2 inchers.
When you fish it with the weedless Kahle Hook (see sidebar) recommended for the bait, you can toss this lure into tangles you wouldn’t dream about fishing with most other lures!
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To learn how to fish the Porker effectively, view the companion video piece on this site and track down that feature I wrote in the 2009 issue of Bassmaster magazine.
The Five Tenets of Porker Fishing
1) Fish the Porker with a weedless Kahle (shiner-type) hook (a 5/0 — available from Uncle Josh and Eagle Claw — is best but a 3/0 through 6/0 will work) — weightless or with split shot. The bait can be fished in tight places you wouldn’t dare throw 95 percent of your lures beyond flipping distance.
2) Begin working the bait with a very slow retrieve, lift and drop approach, or modified jerkbait fashion, varying the length of your pauses and occasionally letting the bait fall helplessly out of sight. (This can be tough because the bait is fun to just watch!) Vary your retrieve until you find one that fits the fish’s mood.
3) Let the bait fall at the base of emergent vegetation and beside grass edges, dropoffs and wood.
4) Use a rod with good backbone yet with a tip fast enough to permit you to cast accurately in tight places. I prefer 15-20 pound fluorocarbon.
5) Give the fish a count or two to take the bait before you set the hook. You’ll find that bass hold onto pork longer than they do other baits.
Can’t find “The Porker?” We can help!
A number of bass fishermen have told me they have had trouble locating The Porker or — equally important — the 5/0 weedless Kahle (shiner) hooks so critical to its presentation. Small Waters Fishing has arranged with Uncle Josh to put together a kit of three Porker jars together with two sets of hooks and an instruction sheet. If you can’t find the bait or the hooks, contact us at 708/223-0169 or firstname.lastname@example.org . -- Mike Pehanich
Uncle Josh brings home the“Meat”
Love pork baits but hate the jars and juice? Uncle Josh has cracked the code with its new MEAT series of baits. These soft pork baits, which come in leech, minnow, crawler, frog, ‘beaver,’ and craw varieties, are easy to carry, easy to store and easy to handle. Instead of jars filled with liquid, MEAT baits come in resealable plastic pouches akin to those your favorite plastic baits come in. The Uncle Josh clan claims the baits will stay fresh for up to two
years even after you’ve opened the bags.
“We’ve taken the skin off these baits, so they are softer and go on and off the hook more easily,” explained Uncle Josh marketing director, Matt Bichanich at ICAST 2011. Just keep that bag of baits sealed, and your Uncle Josh promises that they will last!
Forsaking pork rind baits for plastic might be a big mistake, especially during cold weather, cold fronts and other conditions when bites come tough. The slower fall, lifelike texture and taste of pork attract hits and make fish hold on longer. Pork also hold scent well.
Try small skirted jigs (3/16 oz and under) with an Uncle Josh Spinning Frog in cold weather. You may find the fish weren’t as “turned off” as you thought!