By JIM FOSTER
Special to the Parade
If you were to listen in on conversations between fishermen the number one question asked on the dock or in the tackle shops would be, “What did you catch them on?” In this case, the answer is a lure.
There are basically four types of artificial lures. These are the soft plastic baits that include, shrimp tails, touts, and similar offerings, the topwater bait (floating), the lipped or diving/floating lures and the old standby the spoon. The best part is they all catch fish.
The soft plastics are the most common and most numerous offering of the four choices. Tackle shops, such as Bass Pro Shops, will have staggering displays of different shapes, sizes, and colors to choose from. A rule proven true over the years is there will always be something “hot.” Most of the “soft” types are fished on a weighted jig-head hook.
These soft plastics are now made in many shapes but the basic two would be the shrimp tail and the shad designs. These designs are found everywhere and in a confusing array of colors. Of the two, the easiest to fish for someone just starting would be the shad type design. The shad type bait has built in action and a steady retrieve back to the angler is all that is required. The new GULP bait by the Berkley Company has been one of the most popular.
Topwater lures have always been popular in saltwater, with a multitude of shapes and sizes to choose from. Casting large topwater plugs for trophy trout has been this writer’s favorite for many years.
Some of my favorites are the Chug Bug by the Storm Lure Company, the Ghost, and the Top Dog Jr. by the Mirror Lure Company. These lures are fished in a “walk the dog” retrieve or a steady retrieve with lots of stops and chugs or pops. Speckled trout, redfish, and other saltwater species can be “lured” into hitting these hard baits.
The next group is also a hard bait type but these are lipped, floating/diving baits. This lure has had diminished popularity in saltwater but the bait is still a worthwhile addition to a tackle box.
The lure that has remained constant over the years is the spoon mostly in gold but the silver variety is a good choice. These lures are some of the oldest and at times the most productive of all the different types of lures. Ask any red fisherman and the subject of the spoon will come up.
I am sure I have missed some lures that will catch fish from time to time, but these are the four basic groups. Selecting the right bait for the right time and condition is another story.
So from the splash of a topwater lure to the quiet swimming attraction of a soft plastic tout and spoon, lure fishing is an interesting and exciting way to spend the day.
As I have written many times, fishing is a personal thing and how you accomplish your sport is up to the individual. Fishing with artificial lures does not make a person a better angler than one who chooses dead or live bait.
However, like an old “lures only” friend of mine used to say, “If they can’t take a joke, I don’t want to play with them.”