by Jeff Samsel

With a bit of time to kill before an afternoon fishing last fall, I decided to swing by the Wilson Dam tailwater in North Alabama. I mostly wanted to get photos of the dam and the river, but there would be time to make a few casts, and I wanted to try out one of the new TD57 Tracdown Ghost Minnows I had just gotten. The TD47 Ghost Minnow, which is 2 1/2-inches long, has long been one of my favorite lures, especially in trout streams, so I was eager to see how the 4 1/2-inch version compared.

The first things I happily confirmed were that the larger Ghost Minnow casts like a rocket and is well suited for baitcasting gear and that it has no problems handling even the strong currents of a big-river tailwater. It gets down nicely in the current and swims like it’s supposed to, instead of rolling over like many minnow-style lures do in fast water.

Given the bait’s profile and action and the natural forage match of the Tennessee Shad color that I was using, I wasn’t surprised to hook a fish within my first five minutes of throwing the Ghost Minnow. Given the setting and the amount of water moving, I was a little surprised that the first fish turned out to be a chunky largemouth, not a smallmouth, white bass or striper.

Later that day, while out on Wilson Lake with Tennessee River guide Jimmy Mason, I used the same lure to catch several smallmouths and white bass, which were coming up in small schools to attack shad on the surface. For schooling fish, easy casting distances and the shad-imitating flashes served me very well.

I’ve since used the 4 1/2-inch Tracdown Minnow in several settings (including freshwater and saltwater) with excellent success, and the more I use one, the more applications I discover. Of course, I’ve yet to get to throw one in the setting I’m most excited about. Given the success I’ve consistently enjoyed catching trout with the smaller TD47, I cannot wait to throw a TD57 in a big cold-water tailwater that supports large brown trout when decent water is running.

The larger Tracdown Ghost Minnow looks and acts just like the smaller one and even comes in the same six colors. It’s a narrow-profiled slow sinker that offers a broad range of actions. Steady reeling creates a very tight wiggle. Twitches cause it to flair. Solid jerks make it highly erratic.

The fact that this lure naturally sinks also creates versatility. By pausing after a cast or during a retrieve or by working the lure slowly with the rod low, it’s possible to get it down in deeper holes. However, the same lure can be kept shallow with a high rod position and steady movement.

I’m still learning TD57 applications, but one thing I’ve absolutely figured out is that I want a few of these larger Ghost Minnows handy for a lot of different fishing situations.