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the why


Although coptering a single spin spinnerbait is by no means a new technique, I believe that my 'Copter' is the first spinnerbait specifically designed for the task. The basic technique in coptering is to allow a single spin spinnerbait to sink vertically to the bottom of a pocket in a weedbed and when it hits the bottom the angler powers the bait out at a very fast rate to contrast the slower drop. Over the years I have caught a number of my biggest Muskies coptering. I believe it is a successful technique because it incorporates a seldom used for Muskie vertical presentation and a horizontal presentation in one technique. I like to say that the drop (coptering down) mesmerizes the fish and the rake (powering off the bottom) turns their little bait educated pea brains to mush.They can not seem to resist chasing much like a cat that has stalked a bird and when the bird flushes the cat can't help but instintively jump for it.
I have learned through trial and error over the years a number of tricks that have made me a better 'Copter' pilot. haha Take what you think will help you from these following suggestions.
First, I use only solid single strand leader material for spinnerbaits. I use flexible leader material (fluorocarbon and seven strand) for different applications but with spinnerbaits flexible leaders have the irritating tendency to wrap around the upper arm on the cast which  wastes your cast. Stiffer single strand fouls much less. I only use Stay-Loc snaps on my leaders. I have also learned to lightly thumb my spool immediately before the bait enters the water. This in effect straightens out the leader, the blade or blades, and the hooks for the drop or retrieve. It also shows you any problems that have occurred on the cast BEFORE you begin your drop or retrieve. I actually do this with all casts on all styles of baits.

the how

The design of the 'Copter' is different than a conventional single spin in that the upper arm is just long enough to keep the blade directly above the head of the bait on the drop but not to long as to make the bait roll over on the power rake. Also the length of the upper arm
positions the blade directly over the hooks on the rake which reduces the number of blade hits on the rake, as blade hits are a huge problem with conventional single spins used for coptering. If a Muskie hits the blade of a 'Copter' on the rake, it is automatically HOOKED. 
When targeting pockets in weedbeds in less than 10' of water, I use the 2 oz. 'Copter'. The 2 oz. has a drop rate of 1 1/2 feet per second. Perfect for shallower water. I position the boat with the electric a short distance outside the pocket. (this is not the time for the football field long cast) I cast to the opposite side of the pocket from the boat. After I thumb the spool and the bait hits the water I ENGAGE the reel. (allowing the bait to free-fall on an open spool will cost you a fish sooner or later) Active Muskies readily will hit on the drop so you also need to keep a tight line on the drop and follow the bait down to the bottom with your rod tip. This puts you in an excellent position to set on a strike. It is important to try to get as vertical a drop as possible but keeping a tight line is more important. If you must reel ever so slightly to keep a tight line, that is fine. When the bait hits the bottom your line will go slack and then you power the bait out with the REEL, not the rod. Raking with the rod will put you in an impossible situation as Muskie usually hit from behind on the rake. If you have your rod up in the 10 to 12 oclock position when the Muskie hits you are sunk. I use Abu Garcia 7000s fully spooled for power raking. I suppose other quality high speed reels will work in a pinch though. haha When the 'Copter' reaches near the surface on the rake,I stall out the bait and let the silicone puff out. If nothing has happened I reel in and go to the next pocket. Repeat casting weed pockets has not been productive for me although a real big one that looks fishy may require another cast from a different angle. Use your own discretion. The real beauty of coptering weed pockets is that you not only target active fish but the technique also triggers neutral fish instinctively.
Another coptering technique is coptering the outside weedline. Unless the water is real dark and the weedline super shallow, I opt for the 3 oz. 'Copter' The 3 oz. has a drop rate of about 2 fps. This is when you macho guys can make your football field long casts parallel to the outside edge of the weedline. The technique is exactly the same as pocket coptering only continual. On the rake,when I can see the blade I begin the process over again all the way back to the boat. Coptering parallel to the weedline edge can be ultra productive. You are targeting fish set up for ambush inside the weeds, fish on the bottom outside the weeds and fish suspended outside the weeds. Strikes can come at any point in the process so stay focused on where you are and what your doing.
As the majority of conventional Muskie baits are made to strain the top 12' of the water column, the 4 oz. 'Copter' can be your ticket to virgin water. Sunken islands, deep rock piles and deep isolated weedbeds can all be targeted with the 4 oz. This process is more like copter jigging than pocket coptering.The 4 oz. has a drop rate of 2 1/2 fps.You don't need to bring the rake all the way to the surface with this technique. I experiment with number of reels turns per rake or length of bail movement across the spool. Somedays they want a lot of height on the rake and somedays they don't.

Note: The 'Copter' is also an excellent horizontal retrieved bait for reeds and bullrushes.




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