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Jamie’s Halloween Takes On Clown Coach Dog

Could a new lure out­perform a tried-and-true white perch favorite?

The Rooster Tail champ, the Clown Coach Dog, left, and the contender, Jamie’s Halloween.

The Super Rooster Tail in the Clown Coach Dog pattern has been the king of white perch shallow-water spinner baits for Bay anglers for the last decade.
    Why that is, no one can explain. The bait looks like nothing in nature. It is a safety-pin-type spinner bait with a cylindrical bright-yellow lead body marked with irregular red-orange fluorescent spots, dressed with dark spun hackle and finished with a double hook. It swings on its wire frame under a single silver willow-leaf blade.
    This odd Rooster Tail is generally fished on tackle specialized for white perch: high-quality, light-action spin or, more rarely, casting rods of five to seven feet matched with ultra-light reels and very smooth drags. Spooled with four- to six-pound mono or eight- to 12-pound braid, this equipment is uniquely suited to provide the best feel, the most accurate casting and the most sport in tangling with our Chesapeake Bay white perch.
    It is worked slowly along shallow (six feet or less) shoreline bottoms, particularly in shaded areas, near riprap or along rock jetties … anywhere near old wood bulkheads or pilings, docks and piers … near semi-submerged laydowns (fallen trees) … or close to any structure that would provide refuge for the white perch that teem in the mid to upper Bay.
    I have tried just about every other bait that could tempt these same white perch — all to no avail. It has been no contest. The Clown Coach Dog has remained the top producer for me and just about every fanatical white perch angler who fishes them.
    Until now.
    Some two months ago a Georgia-based small-batch lure maker, Bert Deener, got together with an ardent Chesapeake Bay white perch angler, Jamie Avedon.
    Recalling some bright color combinations on small jigs that had been especially effective during the past few springtime seasons, Jamie came up with a new color scheme for Captain Bert’s Perch Pounder. The model has been named Jamie’s Halloween.
    It’s a basic safety-pin-type spinner bait (1⁄8- to 1⁄4-ounce) with a gloss-black, gold-flecked lead head with a bright-orange, soft-plastic fringed skirt plus a single integral Gamagatsu hook. It is positioned on the bait’s wire frame under a small, gold spinner blade with a ball-bearing swivel.
    A few weeks ago, I heard that Jamie’s Halloween pattern was even better than the vaunted Clown Coach Dog. I didn’t believe it, especially in light of all my past attempts at bettering the Clown, but decided to try it out anyway.
    It fishes a little deeper and faster than a Clown Coach Dog, but after a couple of trips to accustom myself to its action, I have found it at least as deadly on perch if not more so.
    It is a little early to pronounce this lure true royalty. Perch could turn up their noses and ignore it tomorrow, while the Clown Coach Dog has maintained dominance for a decade. For now, it will be perch-angling ecstasy to fish both to see how the competition eventually turns out.
    For now, I’m one of the lucky few who’ll get that chance. The manufacturer is overwhelmed with orders and asks new customers to hold off.