Top 13 Freshwater Fishing Plugs

Top 13 Freshwater Fishing Plugs

This article will list the top 13 freshwater fishing plugs. Plugs are hard bodied artificial fishing lures. For the most part, they imitate crayfish and bait fish. Back in the day, they were carved from wood. Most today are made from plastic. They are available in models that fish from the surface down to twenty feet or more.

top 13 frehwater fishing plugs

Capt Jim Klopfer is a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida. He has fished extensively all over the United States. There are quite a few different types of fishing plugs. In this article, he will list his personal favorite lure in each “family” of baits.

The top 13 freshwater fishing plugs are the Heddon Zara Spook, Rapala Skitter Prop, Rebel Pop R, Arbogast Hula Popper, Rapala X-Rap Slashbait, Yozuri Crystal Minnow, Strike King KVD Squarebill crankbait, Rapala Original Floating Minnow, Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap, Rapala Shad Rap, Bomber Fat Free Shad, Rebel Crawfish, and the Flatfish.

  • Heddon Zara Spook
  • Rapala Skitter Prop
  • Rebel Pop R
  • Arbogast Hula Popper
  • Rapala X-Rap Slashbait
  • Yozuri Crystal Minnow
  • Strike King KVD Squarebill
  • Rapala Original Floating Minnow
  • Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap
  • Rapala Shad Rap
  • Bomber Fat Free Shad
  • Rebel Crawfish
  • Flatfish

Plug colors, sizes, and characteristics

In order to not be repetitive, colors and sizes will be covered here. While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to color and size, there are some guidelines to follow. Wherever possible, it is advised to closely mimic the locally available forage in both size and color. This applies to shad, bluegill, perch, crayfish, and other forage species.

Generally speaking, light colors work best in clear water and on sunny days. Conversely, darker colors produce better in stained water and on overcast days. In muddy water, bright colors work well. Chrome and chartreuse are good all round finishes that are hard to beat. Color is less of a factor when using topwater plugs.

best freshwater fishing topwater plugs

Plugs are also very versatile, while topwater plugs are excluded, all other plugs can be either cast out or trolled. Trolling with diving plugs is a very efficient way to locate fish. It is also easy to do and productive. Some plugs can even be fished vertically, and that includes through the ice!

Capt Jim’s list of favorite plugs includes baits that are versatile and will catch a variety of species. Many are legendary baits with decades long reputations. There are many fine “specialty” plugs designed for a certain species or application, but those will not be on the list. Many are targeted to anglers fishing for largemouth bass.

Top 13 freshwater fishing plugs

The first 4 baits on Capt Jim’s list of top 13 freshwater fishing plugs are topwater baits. These float on the surface the entire time, drawing strikes from fish below. While they all work on the surface, there are three different types of topwater plugs. These are walk the dog baits, propeller baits, and poppers.

1)  Heddon Zara Spook

“Fishing Lido Key is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon”

The Heddon Zara Spook was the original “walk the dog” style bait. It is an extremely effective lure that catches fish to this day. It is available in several sizes and many different finishes. Chrome is a good all round finish.

2)  Rapala Skitter Prop

The Rapala Skitter Prop is number two on Capt Jim’s list. It puts out a lot of commotion while sitting relatively still. Gold is his favorite color. This is an excellent choice when it is breezy or there is a bit of chop on the water.

3)  Rebel Pop R

The Rebel Pop R is the next bait on the list. It is a “popper” and is a very easy bait for novice anglers to use. It comes with buck tail dressing on the tail. Capt Jim likes the silver finish with the blue back.

4)  Arbogast Hula Popper

The Arbogast Hula Popper has been around a long time. It is an excellent popper that works well in ponds and smaller waters. The rubber tail prodecues a lot of action. Frog is a good color pattern.

Jerk baits

The next three lures on Capt Jim’s list of the top 13 freshwater fishing plugs are jerk baits. These are long and slender. They float on the surface and dive down upon retrieve. The lip determines the depth that they will dive. Models are available that work a few feed below the surface down to twenty feet or more.

top 13 freshwater fishing plugs

These lures are called “jerk baits” due to the manner in which they are retrieved. The lure is cast out and then the rod tip is sharply jerked. The bait will lurch forward while flashing, then stop and hang motionless when given a little slack. This action simulates a wounded bait fish and drives fish crazy!

5)  Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait

The Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait is Capt Jim’s favorite jerk bait. It is a very versatile and catches just about every freshwater species. It is available in a lot of sizes, running depths, and many different color patterns.

6)  Yozuri Crystal Minnow

The Yozuri Crystal Minnow is another excellent jerk bait. It is available in many sizes and has an excellent, high quality finish. Most anglers opt for a lighter color which highlights the flash of the bait.

7)  Rapala Original Floating Minnow

The Rapala Original Floating Minnow is an old-school jerk bait that still has many fans. It is a bit less expensive and still catches a ton of fish. Silver with the black back is the most popular finish.


The next five lures on Capt Jim’s list of the top 13 freshwater fishing plugs are crank baits. These are cast out and “cranked” back in, thus the name. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. The plastic lip determines the depth that they run. Lipless crankbaits do not have a lip. They are simply reeled back in while putting out a bunch of flash and vibration.

8)  Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap

The Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap is the most recognized and productive lipless crankbait, and for good reason. It has been catching fish for decades. It is a very easy lure to use. It is cast out and reeled back in using a steady pace. It works when trolled as well. The ½ ounce bait in chrome with a blue back is Capt Jim’s favorite.

9)  Strike King KVD Squarebill crankbait

The Strike King KVD Square Bill line of crankbaits are veery effective lures. The 1.5 size in the Sexy Shad is an excellent choice when fish are feeding an 2” to 3” shad. The baits come in larger sizes as well. It has a very unique side to side wobble and bounces off structure well. They cover a large portion of the water column.

10)  Rapala Shad Rap

The Rapala Shad Rap is an excellent deep water crankbait. It gets down deep quickly and is easy to work back to the boat. The Shad Rap is an excellent trolling lure as well. It comes in a wide variety of colors and several; sizes.

11)  Bomber Fat Free Shad

The Bomber Fat Free Shad is an excellent deep water crankbait. It gets down quickly and can then be slowed down to work the bottom. Bark colors mimic crayfish while lighter colors mimic shad that school in deep water.

12)  Rebel Wee Craw

The Rebel Wee Craw is a terrific crankbait when used in rivers and rocky lakes. It is a legend among river smallmouth and walleye anglers. They work best when bounced off the rocks on the bottom.

13)  Flatfish

The Flatfish has been around for a very long time. Some anglers have forgotten about them, but that is a mistake! The Flatfish has a great action and works well when both trolled and cast. It produces big trout in fast moving rivers.

Best rods and reels for plug fishing

Anglers can use both spinning tackle and bait casting gear effectively when fishing with plugs in freshwater. The determining factors will really be the size of the lure and angler preference. Spinning tackle is the best option when casting smaller plugs, it is just better suited for lighter lures.

Anglers can read a comprehensive article on freshwater tackle in this link.

Bait casting gear is perfect for casting heavier plugs, and especially when using top water baits. Due to the nature and which they are retrieved, there is often times slack in the line when using a top water plug. Bait casting reels handle taking up the slack much better than do spinning reels, which are prone to getting loops in ordinary fishing. Bait casting and conventional outfits are preferred when trolling with plugs.

Anglers freshwater fishing with plugs often find that a softer action rod works better than the normal fast action rod’s preferred and other types of fishing. A more parabolic bend usually results in a better hook set. That extra cushion comes in handy when a fish is shaking its head violently. This is also safer as it eliminates the plug being thrown back at the angler.

Best lines for fishing with plugs

While braided line has become very popular, many anglers casting plugs opt for monofilament or fluorocarbon lines. The stretch and the line is preferred, very much for the same reasons as using a softer action rod. However, many anglers do fine with braided lines, especially when fishing around heavy cover such as fallen timber and docks.

In conclusion, this article on the best 13 freshwater fishing plugs will help anglers catch more fish using these extremely effective lures!


Best 11 Topwater Plugs for Freshwater Fishing

Best 11 Topwater Plugs for Freshwater Fishing

This article will list the best 11 topwater plugs for freshwater fishing. Many anglers consider catching a fish on a topwater plug to be the most exciting aspect of the sport! The visual component certainly adds another dimension. In the past, topwater plugs were made out of wood, often times carved by hand. The vast majority of today’s top water plugs for freshwater fishing are made from plastic.

Best 11 topwater plugs for freshwater fishing

Topwater plugs float on the surface at rest. They are then worked in an erratic manner, which simulates a wounded bait fish struggling on the surface. This action and commotion will attract the attention of nearby game fish and hopefully induce them to strike. Some top water plugs resemble frogs and even small mammals such as mice and birds.

Sacramento River striped bass

There are basically three types of topwater plugs; poppers, propeller baits, and walk the dog baits. The first two types, poppers and propeller baits, have a fair amount of built in action. The third group, walk the dog baits, have very little action by themselves. The angler must impart the action in order to elicit a strike.

Top 11 freshwater fishing topwater plugs

The best 11 topwater plugs for freshwater fishing are; Heddon Zara Spook, Arbogast Hula Popper, Rapala Skitter Prop, Rebel Pop R, Whopper Popper, Smithwick Devils Horse, Arbogast Jitterbug, Rapala Skitter Pop, Heddon Tiny Torpedo, Rapala Skitter walk, and the Strom Rattlin’ Chug Bug. These 11 freshwater top water plugs will produce for anglers fishing on the surface and every conceivable application.

  • Heddon Zara Spook
  • Arbogast Hula Popper
  • Rapala Skitter Prop
  • Rebel Pop R
  • Whopper Plopper
  • Smithwick Devils Horse
  • Arbogast Jitterbug
  • Rapala Skitter Pop
  • Heddon Tiny Torpedo
  • Rapala Skitter Walk
  • Storm Rattlin’ Chug Bug

Poppers are surface plugs that have a concave opening at the front. When twitched sharply, the plug digs into the water and produces a loud “popping” sound. Propeller baits have either a propeller at the rear or one on both ends. When moved, the propellers dig into the water putting out a lot of commotion. Walk the dog baits have very little built in action. The angler imparts it using a rhythmic twitching of the rod tip.

best freshwater fishing topwater plugs

Topwater poppers

Poppers are perhaps the easiest of the best topwater plugs for anglers freshwater fishing to use. These make them an excellent choice for novice anglers. The lure is cast out towards some likely looking structure and allowed to settle, waiting for the rings to completely dissipate. With the rod tip held low and the line taught, the angler gives the rod tip a sharp twitch. This causes the lure to dig into the water and make a loud “pop”.

fishing with spinners in rivers and streams

Due to their design, poppers work best when the water is calm. It is more difficult to produce that fish attracting sound when there is a ripple on the water. Also, poppers are best when fished in specific locations. They do not allow anglers to cover as much water as some of the other topwater plugs do. Once the lure has been twitched several times, the angler reels it back in and casts to another spot, repeating the process.

Fred Arbogast Hula Popper

“Fishing Lido Key is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon”

The Arbogast Hula Popper is a legendary fishing lure. It has been around for decades and has produced many fish for freshwater anglers. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and pike are probably the most often caught species. The frog color pattern is both popular and effective. The rubber skirted tail is unique and gives the bait a lot of its action.

Rebel Pop R

The Rebel Pop R is another proven fish catching bait. It has a large concave face with the rear treble hook dressed with bucktail. One attractive aspect of this lure is that it is available in multiple sizes, especially in smaller versions. That makes it a great choice for anglers fishing for panfish and other smaller species in ponds.

Rapala Skitter Pop

The Rapala Skitter Pop is another very effective popper. Most anglers use that the larger sizes for game fish such as pike, largemouth bass, striped bass, and more. It is also a crossover lure that is quite effective on saltwater fish as well. This bait uses a large plastic concave lip produce the famous popping sound.

Propeller style topwater plugs

Propeller baits, also known as prop baits, are just as the name implies, they come with either a rear propeller or one on both ends. When worked in the water, they put out a tremendous amount of sound and vibration. They can be worked faster than poppers, making them a better choice for anglers desiring to cover more water.

best fishing lure for northern pike

The lure is cast out towards some shoreline cover and allowed to settle. It is then worked back towards the angler using either a series of short twitches or a fairly steady retrieve. In most cases, the twitch and pause presentation works best. The fish will usually hit the lure as it sits motionless. However, there are days when the fish are quite aggressive and will hit a bait as it is retrieve steadily on the surface.

Smithwick Devils Horse

The Smithwick Devils Horse is a legendary top water plug that is used by freshwater anglers. It is long and slender, giving it a finesse type profile. The propellers fore and aft give the bait a ton of action and commotion that will draw game fish up from weeds and other cover.

Rapala Skitter Prop

The Rapala Skitter Prop is another very effective propeller style top water plug. It has a broader profile then does the Devils Horse and only has one propeller on the rear of the bait. It puts out a lot of noise while offering fish a more substantial meal. It comes in a couple different sizes, with the 07 being the best all round size for bass and other medium to large game fish.

Heddon Tiny Torpedo

The Heddon Tiny Torpedo is a terrific all round propeller bait for freshwater fishing. It has a huge following among anglers fishing for smallmouth bass and rivers. It is also an extremely effective pond fishing lure. It smaller size and single propeller result in a more subtle presentations than some of the other larger baits. Frog is an excellent all round color pattern.

Walk the Dog style freshwater topwater plugs

Walk the dog style baits are the most difficult for anglers to learn to use. The lure has no real built in action. Instead, the angler must work the bait in a way that induces the strike. These baits are long and slender, tapering down in the front and the rear. Many consider these to be “big fish” baits that tend to attract larger game fish.

Oklahoma bass fishing women

The walk the dog technique is accomplished in the following manner. The lore is cast out and allowed to settle. Then, with the rod tip low near the surface, the angler twitches the rod tip sharply while giving the handle of the real about a half a turn. When done properly, this will cause the lure to dance from side-to-side. It is a bit more difficult, however once mastered will produce some very nice fish.

Heddon Zara Spook

The Heddon Zara Spook is by far the most popular lure in this family. Heddon basically invented the whole family of baits with this lure. It comes in several sizes and a variety of colors and finishes. Striped bass, largemouth bass, northern pike, and musky will all fall prey to this legendary lure. There are even saltwater models manufactured with heavy duty hardware to catch large saltwater game fish.

Rapala Skitter Walk

The Rapala Skitter Walk is another walk the dog bait, very similar to the Zara Spook. It is offered in several sizes and many color patterns and is available in slightly smaller sizes as well.

More topwater plugs for freshwater fishing

There are a couple of other very productive top water plugs used by freshwater anglers that do not fit into any of the three categories. These are the Arbogast Jitterbug and the Whopper Plopper. The first has been around for a very long time while the second is a relative newcomer to the sport. Both of these lures belong in every freshwater anglers tackle box.

Fred Arbogast Jitterbug

The Jitterbug is a top water plug that has a wide metal lip at the front. While it does put out a bit of a popping sound, the bill or live causes the bait to waggle from side-to-side upon retrieve. This lure has been around for decades and has produced countless fish for anglers over the years. Many anglers associate using a black Jitterbug at night for bass.

Whopper Plopper

The Whopper Plopper is another unique top water lure. It is not been around very long, but has already earned a great reputation among seasoned bass anglers. It is a larger lore with a plastic tail that puts out a lot of splash when retrieved. It is almost, but not quite, a propeller bait. Whatever name you give it, it certainly produces fish!

Color choice for topwater plugs

topwater plugs freshwater fishing

Of all of the types of lures available to anglers, color probably matters less when it comes to top water plugs than all of the others. The reason for this is simple, fish can only see the underside of it. In most cases, it is really just a silhouette of the profile against the sky that the fish see. Frog is a very popular and productive all round color for freshwater fishing. Many anglers believe that black is the best color when fishing at night. Bone, chrome, and other light colors work well on sunny days.

Tackle options for casting topwater plugs

Anglers casting topwater plugs for freshwater fish can use both spinning in conventional tackle. Anglers casting lighter lures for smaller fish will do best using spinning tackle and most situations. Conversely, conventional or bait casting gear is often preferred by anglers casting heavier lures for larger fish. The really is no right or wrong, the choice should be based on the size of the lure being used, size of the fish being targeted, and angler preference.

Anglers can click on the link to read an article on the best freshwater fishing tackle.

Best technique for setting the hook

One thing that anglers who are new to fishing with top water plugs need to learn to do is to delay the hook set. It can be quite unnerving, and exciting, to see if fish blast a topwater plug. Often times the angler’s first instinct is to instantly set the hook. However, this will usually result in the fish being missed and sometimes even have the plug flying back into the boat. This can be quite dangerous! Instead, anglers should wait until the weight of the fishes fell and then set the hook using a sideways sweep of the rod.

In conclusion, this article on the best 11 top water plugs for freshwater fishing will help anglers catch more fish using this exciting and productive technique!

Best 6 Topwater Plugs for Saltwater Fishing

Best 6 Topwater Plugs for Saltwater Fishing

This post will list the best 6 top water plugs for saltwater fishing. Most anglers enjoy catching fish on top water plugs. Being able to visually see the strike is very exciting! Top water plugs float on the surface. They are designed to imitate a wounded bait fish that is struggling on top of the water. For the most part, they are most effective in fairly shallow water.

best 6 topwater plugs for saltwater fishing

There are several varieties of saltwater top water plugs. These include poppers, propeller baits, and “walk the dog” baits. While they are similar in that they float on the surface and put out some type of commotion, there are differences as well. All three are designed to imitate struggling bait fish on the surface of the water.

Sacramento River striped bass

The best 6 top water plugs for saltwater fishing are the Rapala Saltwater Skitter Prop, MirrOlure 5M, Heddon Saltwater Super Spook, Rapala Skitter Walk, Atom Popper, and Storm Rattlin” Chug Bug. These 6 saltwater topwater plugs will cover every angling situation.

  • Rapala Skitter Prop
  • Heddon Salatwater Super Spook
  • Atom popper
  • Storm Chug Bug
  • Rapala Saltwater Skitter walk
  • MirrOlure 5M

Topwater Poppers

fishing for bluefish

Poppers are top water plugs that have a concave face. The I let for the line tie is in the center of the bait in most cases. When twitched sharply, the face digs into the water emitting a popping sound as well as producing some splash. These type of lures can call fish up from a long distance and a fairly significant depth. They are very popular on a wide variety of species and many saltwater fishing applications.

Atom Popper

The Atom Popper is a very popular top water lure that is in the Popper family. It is fairly long and slender, making it aerodynamic which increases casting distance. It comes in several different sizes from 7/8 of an ounce to 3 ounces. It is a durable plug and is a very popular choice among striped bass anglers in the Northeast. It is a versatile bait that is used by anglers fishing from the surf, jetties, peers, and boats.

Chug Bug

The Storm Rattlin’ Chug Bug is another popular saltwater popper. It is used more often by anglers fishing the inshore waters. It is a bit smaller at 3 1/4″, which is better suited for inshore fishing. The rattle helps call game fish in to the bait. This lure will take a variety of species including striped bass, bluefish, spotted sea trout, redfish, and more. It is available and many different color patterns and several different sizes.

Propeller Topwater Baits

fishing for snook

Propeller baits or prop baits are another type of surface plug that has been around for a very long time. Some baits have propellers at both ends while many only have one at the rear of the lure. When twitched sharply, the propeller digs into the water and puts out a loud and distinctive churning sound. These baits can put out a lot of noise and commotion without moving very far.

Skitter Prop

The Rapala Skitter Prop is a popular saltwater top water bait that falls into the propeller family. It has one propeller on the rear of the bait with a conical shaped nose. This bait puts out a lot of commotion while moving a very short distance. This lore is a good choice for anglers fishing inshore waters, especially on calm days. The bait will call fish up from quite a distance away.

MirrOlure 5M

The MirrOlure 5M is a more aggressive propeller style bait. It has a propeller on both the front and rear of the lure. It puts out quite a commotion and is an excellent choice when there is a bit of chop on the water or when fish are especially aggressive. It is a durable bait that comes with saltwater hardware. The 5M comes in a couple different sizes and many color variations.

Topwater Fishing with Walk the Dog Baits

The last type of top water plug for saltwater fishing is the walk the dog bait. Unlike the previous two lures, these have very little built in action. Instead, the angler must work the bait in a way that elicits a strike. These baits are long and slender and tapered at the front and rear. When worked properly, the lore zigzags back and forth as it moves across the water. This type of lure is better for anglers who need to cover a fair amount of distance.

Heddon Super Spook

The Zara Spook is one of the most famous and recognizable top water fishing plugs. It is one of the original top water lures that is in the walk the dog family of baits. Their saltwater version in the Super Spook. It is a long and slender lore that is tapered at both ends. It comes with very sturdy saltwater hooks and hardware. The bait is available in several different sizes and multiple finishes.

Rapala Skitter Walk

The Rapala Saltwater Skitter Walk is very similar to the Super Spook. It is a bit smaller in size and profile, making it a better choice on very calm days. It is available and a couple different sizes and several color patterns. Like all lures in the walk the dog family, the action on this bait must be imparted by the angler.

Best Tackle for Fishing Topwater Plugs

In most saltwater fishing applications, spinning tackle is the best choice. However, while spinning tackle can certainly be used, and most situations conventional, or bait casting tackle is best. There are a couple of reasons for this. Due to the manner in which these top water plugs are worked, anglers will invariably get slack in the line. Bait casting outfits are better suited to handle this while spinning outfits will often create loops.

best redfish lures

Furthermore, most of these top water plugs are fairly heavy. While spinning outfits have the advantage when casting light lures, bait casting rigs are often better when throwing heavier baits. Bait casting rods offer anglers the ability to cast towards shoreline cover then stop the bait exactly where needed using the angler’s thumb. This results in a fairly subtle presentation given the weight of the lure.

Best Baitcasting outfit

While there is no one best conventional or bait casting outfit, a 7 foot to 7 1/2 foot medium heavy rod with a matching reel is an excellent all round combination. While anglers targeting larger species such as trophy striped bass will need to bump it up a bit, this rig will cover the vast majority of angling situations involving top water plugs.

Top Spinning Rig

Anglers can certainly use spinning outfits when casting top water plugs as well. Just as with bait casting outfits, there is no one combination that will cover every situation. However, a 7 foot medium heavy spinning rod with a 3002 4000 series real will get the job done in most situations.

Fishing Line Choices

Anglers have a couple different choices when it comes to fishing line. Braided line is very thin in diameter and will allow anglers some extra casting distance. However, many anglers actually prefer the stretch of monofilament line when using top water plugs. The stretch and the line can result in more fish being hooked and landed. Florocarbon lines are a bit of a combination, but are quite expensive. It really just is a matter of personal choice. 20 pound braided line and 12 to 15 pound monofilament line are good all-around choices.

Topwater Lure Fishing Techniques for Saltwater Anglers

Anglers saltwater fishing with surface plugs can find success in a variety of situations. While for the most part these types of baits are most effective in fairly shallow water, they can be used in deeper water as well. This is especially true when the water is clear. Top water baits will catch fish on shallow flats over bars and grass. They are also effective when cast towards shoreline cover such as docks, seawalls, riprap, fallen timber, oyster bars, and more.

fishing for striped bass

The best approach is to cast the lure out and allow it to settle for a few moments. Once the rings have dissipated, the retrieve can begin. Anglers using poppers and propeller baits will do best to twitch the lure sharply, then allow it to set a few moments again. This is repeated several times then the lure is reeled back in and cast out to another spot. These lures work best around structure as a can be worked multiple times without the lure being moved very far.

Walk the dog baits are a better choice for anglers looking to cover a larger area of water such as an expansive flats. Once again, the lure is cast out and allowed to settle. Then, with the rod tip held low towards the surface, the angler begins reeling it in while twitching the rod tip in a rhythmic pattern. When done properly, the lore will dance side-to-side as it comes back in towards the angler.

Proper technique for setting the hook

It is very important when fishing with top water plugs in saltwater to not set the hook when visually seeing the strike. This can be difficult as the take is often quite explosive. However, anglers who do so will most often miss the fish while sending the lure with multiple treble hooks back towards the angler.

Instead, the technique that works best when setting the hook with a top water plug is to wait until the fish is actually felt on the end of the line. This may seem like a long time, but it is not only more effective, it is much safer as well. Also, instead of an aggressive hook set, the best approach is usually a sideways sweep of the rod while reeling tight to get all the slack out of the line.

In conclusion, this article on the best 6 top water plugs for saltwater fishing will help anglers catch more fish using this exciting and productive technique!

Best 7 Saltwater Fishing Spoons

Best 7 Saltwater Fishing Spoons

This post will list the top 9 saltwater fishing spoons. Spoons are simple yet very effective artificial lures that catch a wide variety of species. For the most part, they mimic bait fish as they put out a lot a flash and vibration in the water. Spoons come in many sizes to match the locally available forage. They are very versatile lures which are effective when cast, trolled, and vertically presented.

Spanish mackerel fishing in Florida

A spoon is basically a curved piece of metal with a hook in. The shape of the spoon along with the design will determine how it works in the water. Spoons that are wider tend to wobble more and are best when worked at a slower pace. Long slender spoons can be worked or trolled much faster as they incorporate a tighter wiggle. Most spoons have a single treble hook, though some do come with a large single hook as well.

Most of the baits in this list of the top 9 saltwater fishing spoons are available in a wide variety of colors and finishes. However, most anglers tend to lean towards either a silver or gold finish. In clear water where silvery and light-colored bait fish are present, silver is just a natural finish which closely mimics the local prey. Conversely, gold is the choice in water that is a bit darker and on overcast days as well.

saltwater fishing spoons

Top 9 saltwater fishing spoons

This is Capt. Jim Klopfer’s top 9 saltwater fishing spoons. Capt. Jim runs fishing charters and Sarasota Florida and has over 30 years experience on the water. These spoons will produce for anglers and just about any fishing situation.

  • Acme Kastmaster
  • Sea Striker
  • Hopkins
  • Johnson silver minnow
  • crocodile
  • Johnson Sprite
  • Clark spoon
  • drone spoon

Spoon fishing tackle

The tackle required for fishing with spoons and saltwater will vary greatly depending on the application. Anglers casting spoons to mackerel, bluefish, striped bass, and other species will do well with a medium spinning outfit. A 7 foot medium action rod with a 3000 or 4000 series reel will get the job done.

top 9 saltwater fishing spoons

Anglers fishing with spoons and saltwater can certainly use bait casting tackle as well. Again, a medium action outfit that is about 7 foot long works best in most applications.

Anglers who prefer to troll with spoons will do best with a light conventional outfit. These are versatile rigs that most saltwater anglers already own. A 20 series or 30 series rod and reel combination will work fine for trolling spoons with sinkers and small planers.

Using swivels with spoons

inshore saltwater fishing

It is always recommended to use some type of swivel when fishing with spoons. Due to their design, spoons will twist and roll in the water. This is part of what makes them effective as they flash and vibration. Anglers can place a swivel between the running line and the leader or have the swivel right at the top of the spoon. Many anglers use a snap swivel to facilitate lure changing.

Spoon fishing techniques

Spoons are used by anglers fishing and saltwater in three different ways; casting, jigging, and trolling. Several spoons on this list of top 9 saltwater fishing spoons can do all three. Most can do two different things and some are specifically designed to do one, mostly troll.

Casting spoons

Casting spoons are meant to be cast out with the rod and reel and retrieved back in. Anglers can use them in a variety of applications. It is great sport to cast a spoon into a school of breaking fish. These are fish that are feeding on the surface as they have trapped baitfish. In this situation, fish are very aggressive and will often take any lure that is cast into the fray.

inshore saltwater fishing

Anglers can also blind cast with spoons to cover an area in search of fish. This is often done over a flat, sandbar, or near some type of structure such as jetties, rocks, bridges, docks, and any other spots that will hold fish.

Jigging spoons

Vertically jigging is a very effective technique when fish are schooled up over deep water structure. Casting is not practical as the fish are holding in such deep water. With this technique, the boat is placed above the fish and the spoon lower down to the bottom. The bait is then worked back towards the surface using hard jerks in an erratic manner.

Trolling spoons

Spoons are very effective lures when trolled as well. Trolling is simply the technique were anglers put lures out behind the boat and drive around in search of fish. While there are many nuances to it, that is basically the approach. Certain spoons are designed to be specifically trolled and not fished in any other manner. The spoons are light and some method must be used to get them down to the desired depth.

Florida king mackerel fishing

The two most common methods used when trolling with spoons are sinkers and planers. Trolling sinkers are just sinkers that are tied in line between the running line and the leader. The weight of the sinker will be determined by the depth of the water to be fished as well as the trolling speed. 2 to 4 ounces is a good all-around size, but anglers can certainly go heavier if needed.

Planers are clever devices that are similar to the lip on the diving plug. When set, the angle of the planer will cause the planer and spoon to dive down to a certain depth. A number one planer will dive down 5 to 7 feet. A number two planer will dive down 12 to 15 feet. A leader connects the spoon to the planer, 20 feet is a good length. When a fish strikes, the planer trips, allowing the angler to fight the fish without the drag of the planer.

Top 9 saltwater fishing spoons

Here is a description and a link for shopping for each of Capt. Jim’s top 9 saltwater fishing spoons.

Acme Kastmaster

The Acme Kastmaster spoon has been around a long time and is a proven lure. It has a unique shape that is different from other spoons. While primarily a casting spoon, it is very effective when jigs and trolled as well. It is one of those versatile spoons that can be used for all three techniques. The silver and gold finish is are most popular, with the silver and neon blue becoming more popular of late.

Sea Striker

The Sea Striker spoon is a very popular casting spoon. It has the traditional teardrop shaped where it is narrower with the top and wider at the bottom. It puts out a very enticing wobble and vibration along with flash. It comes in a variety of sizes and can be matched to the available forage. In most cases, a slow steady retrieve works best.


Hopkins spoons are most often thought of as jigging spoons, and for good reason. They basically invented the technique. These spoons are very heavy and dense, which allows them to sing quickly when fishing deep water and in heavy current. They come in a variety of sizes to match most fishing conditions. The silver spoon with a hammered finish and the hook dressed with white is the most popular Hopkins spoon.

Johnson Silver Minnow

The Johnson Silver Minnow spoon is a bit of a specialty bait. This is a weedless spoon that rides with the body of the spoon down in the hook up. It also has a weed guard. This design results in it be in very weedless. The spoon is most often fished in shallow water when weeds are present. It is a great search bait when trying to locate fish on expansive shallow flats. Many anglers associate it with redfish, however it will catch a wide variety of species.


The Krocodile spoon is another bait that can be used when casting, trolling, and vertically jigging. It is a bit of a hybrid spoon as it is long in fairly slender, but still has a bit of girth in the middle. The spoons are available in a very wide variety of colors and finishes along with alterable sizes.

Johnson Sprite

The Johnson Sprite spoon is a casting spoon. It has the traditional teardrop shape and is quite wide at the base. Gold and silver are the most popular finishes by far. This is a great spoon to use when fish are in water less than 10 feet deep. A slow steady retrieve works best.


Clark spoons are the number one trolling spoons used by saltwater anglers. They have a unique long slender design which realistically mimics the many species of similarly shaped bait fish. Their design also allows anglers to troll quite fast, up to 8 knots. This allows anglers to cover much more water in search of speedy game fish such as king mackerel and Spanish mackerel and false albacore. The spoons are almost always fish behind planers or sinkers. Silver is the most popular finish and the size varies depending on the size of the bait fish in the area.

Crippled Herring

The Crippled Herring is most often used as a vertically jigging lure. However, it can be cast out and retrieved as well. It is not terribly heavy for its size. Therefore, it works best when fish are feeding on smaller bait and reasonably shallow water. It can also be trolled when schools of glass minnows and other small bait fish are on the surface.


The Drone spoon is a wide bodied trolling spoon. Many anglers put it in the family of a bunker spoon. It was designed to mimic large, wider bait fish such as bunker and threadfin herring. It is an excellent trolling lure when these larger bait fish are present. It can be fish behind a sinker but is most often fish behind planers. Despite the size, anglers can troll this lure fairly quickly.

In conclusion, this list of Capt. Jim’s top 9 saltwater fishing spoons will help anglers understand which spoons work better and a particular application, and most importantly, catch more fish!


Top 11 Freshwater Fishing Spoons

Top 11 Freshwater Fishing Spoons

This article will list the top 11 freshwater fishing spoons. Spoons are a very simple, yet effective fishing lure. They have been around for a very long time. A spoon is basically a curved piece of metal with a hook in it. The bait can be of a metallic finish such as silver, gold, or bronze. Spoons are available painted as well. Some are even a combination of the two. Spoons usually have a single treble hook, though some spoons, especially weedless versions, have a single hook.


Spoons have several advantages as a fishing lure. They are fairly dense and heavy and cast a long way. This allows anglers to both cover a lot of water as well as reach spots that are a good distance away. Spoons are also very versatile, they are quite effective as both casting lures and trolling lures. They can also be used throughout the entire water column.

For the most part, spoons imitate live bait fish. They put out plenty of flash, vibration, and action. The shape of the spoon will determine its action. Wider spoons put out more of a wobble and are usually worked a bit slower. Spoons that are more slender can be worked faster and put out a more subtle vibration. As with all fishing, it is best to match the spoon to the forage species that the fish are feeding on.

Best tackle for fishing with spoons

The tackle that anglers will use when fishing with spoons will vary due to several factors. The primary factor is the size of the spoon that the angler is using. Spoons come in a wide variety of sizes and weights, from very tiny up to several ounces. Obviously, light spinning tackle is the best choice when casting tiny spoons for panfish and trout. Conversely, heavier spinning tackle or bait casting tackle works well when casting heavier spoons.

Top 11 freshwater fishing spoons

There are many different spoons available to anglers out there on the market. When properly presented, all of them will catch fish. However, there are some spoons that have proven themselves over time to be a cut above the rest. Here is the list of the top 11 freshwater fishing spoons.

  • Eppinger Daredevil
  • Johnson silver minnow
  • Acme cast master
  • Johnson Sprite
  • Acme Phoebe
  • Swedish pimple
  • Mepps Syclops
  • Acme Little Cleo
  • Hopkins jigging spoon
  • Luhr Jensen Krocodile
  • Williams whitefish

Eppinger Daredevil spoon

The Eppinger Daredevil spoon is a classic fishing lure. It has been around for decades and still catches fish to this day. More northern pike have been caught on the half ounce red and white Daredevil than any other fishing lure. That is the most popular bait in this line. The five of diamonds pattern is popular as well, especially for anglers trolling for lake trout. This lure is available in a wide variety of colors and several sizes.

Johnson Silver Minnow spoon

The Johnson Silver Minnow is a weedless spoon. It rides with the spoon side down and the hook up and also has a weed guard. This design result in a very weedless bait they can be worked through weeds as well is on top of them. While called the “Silver Minnow”, the most popular bait is a gold spoon and they 1/2 ounce size. It is also available and multiple color patterns and sizes. Anglers sometimes add a trailer such as a soft plastic or pork chop to enhance the action.

Acme Kastmaster spoon

The Acme Kastmaster is a unique looking spoon. It is shaped a bit differently from other baits. It is denser than most spoons and is quite heavy for its size. This results in a lore that works very well in a variety of applications. Anglers can cast a long way, covering a lot of water. It can also be trolled. Finally, it is an excellent spoon to use in a vertical presentation, whether fishing in open water or through the ice. Silver with blue neon and gold are the two most popular finishes. The spoon comes in a wide variety of sizes.

Johnson Sprite spoon

The Johnson Sprite spoon is a classic casting spoon. It has the traditional spoon shape of being narrow at the top and wide at the bottom. It casts and performs best when used with a slow steady retrieve. It can be trolled, however anglers will need to use some type of weight or device to get it down in the water column. Silver and gold are the two most popular finishes and one quarter ounce and 1/2 ounce the most popular sizes.

Acme Phoebe spoon

The Acme Phoebe spoon is most often used by anglers targeting trout and panfish. It is a bit of a niche lure in that regard. The vast majority of anglers using the spoons choose the gold finish. It is an extremely effective River trout fishing lure. It is very light, which allows anglers to fish shallow streams without hanging up. It is also a very popular ineffective ice fishing lure. Sizes from 1/64 ounce to 1/8 ounce are most popular.

Sweedish Pimple spoon

The Sweedish Pimple is a long slender spoon. It is an excellent choice in northern lakes when game fish are feeding on long skinny silver baitfish such as smelt and emerald shiners. A can be cast out and retrieved, trolled, and vertically jigged. It is an extremely popular ice fishing lure that catches a wide variety of species.

Mepps Syclops spoon

The Mepps Syclops is another long slender spoon. It comes in five sizes and a variety of colors. It is similar to the bait listed above. It is effective when cast, trolled, and vertically fished. It does have a bend near the eye that gives it a unique action.

Acme Little Cleo spoon

The Acme Little Cleo is another classic casting spoon. It has that traditional teardrop shape. They are available and nine different sizes and many different color patterns. Like most casting spoons, they produce best for anglers using a slow steady retrieve. The heavier versions are excellent when trolled. They are also a popular ice fishing lure as well.

Hopkins spoon

The Hopkins spoon is unique in that it is used almost exclusively as a jigging spoon in a vertical presentation. The half ounce spoon in the silver color with a hammered finish and white dressed hook is a classic fishing lure. It works extremely well for bass, trout, and other species when they are schooled up on deep structure. This lore realistically imitates a shad or other type of wounded bait fish. They are heavy and sink quickly and have an excellent erratic action.

Luhr Jensen Krocodile spoon

The Luhr Jensen Krocodile is a bit of a hybrid spoon, with a shape that is in between the classic wider casting spoons and the narrow jigging type spoons. The result is a very versatile lure that comes in 11 different sizes and a variety of color pattern. The spoon is very popular throughout the country and is productive on a wide variety of species. There is no one color pattern or size that is more effective than the other.

Williams Whitefish spoon

The Williams Whitefish spoon is a specialized bait. It only comes in three sizes, all of them fairly large. This spoon imitates larger praise such as ciscoes and is primarily used in larger open lakes for predators such as lake trout in the largest walleye. It is a heavy bait that sinks quickly and is most often used when vertically jigging or trolling, it is a bit heavy to cast for any real length of time.

Top 11 freshwater fishing spoons

These top 11 freshwater fishing spoons will cover every situation an angler will find himself or herself in. As mentioned above, the primary consideration is to match the lure size was importantly and colors secondarily to the available forage locally prayed on by game fish. Also, the size of the fish being pursued is a factor.

spinnerbait fishing techniques

Is important to use a swivel went fishing with spoons. Many anglers already incorporate a snap swivel on the end of the line to facilitate changing lures. By the nature of their design, spoons will roll and spin in the water. This action is what makes them effective. However, anglers who do not use a swivel will quickly find that the spoon will twist the line up into knots. The swivel can be right at the spoon, in the form of a snap swivel, or used between the running line any longer leader.

Spoon fishing techniques

One of the great aspects of fishing with spoons is the ease in which they are used. Unlike some freshwater fishing lures, spoons have a ton of built in action. That means that the angler can simply reel the bait in and catch fish. Of course, he or she can manipulate the rod tip to give the spoon even more erratic action. This ease of which they are used makes it a great choice for novice anglers. Spoons are also heavy and cast a long way, again making them a great choice for beginners.

walleye fishing

Anglers casting spoons simply make a cast, allow the lure to sink, then retrieve it back in at the desired pace. The entire water column can be covered by adjusting the time that the spoon is allowed to sink. Anglers do not want to Dragon on the bottom, or it will hang up.

Fishing with spoons in rivers

Spoons are extremely effective River fishing lures. The lighter versions work best in small, shallow streams as the bait can be worked at a fairly slow pace without it hanging up on the bottom. Conversely, larger heavier spoons are better choice in big fast-moving rivers. Silver and light colors work well on bright sunny days when the water is clear. Conversely, gold and darker colors are better choices under low light conditions and when the water has a bit of color to it.

fishing with spinners in rivers and streams

The best approach is to usually cast straight across the stream or river, then worked the spoon back in on a tight line is the current takes it downstream. Often times the bite will occur as the spoon starts to swing sharply in the current on the tight line. Many salmon and rainbow trout have been caught in this manner. The heads and tails of pools as well as the deeper runs between riffles are prime spots in rivers to fish with spoons.

Trolling with spoons

Spoons are fantastic trolling lures. They realistically imitate the forage that is found in most lakes and deeper rivers. The speed at which the angler can troll is determined by the shape of the spoon. Wider spoons must be trolled at a slower pace than long slender spoons.

trout lures

Heavier spoons in shallow lakes and rivers can be trolled by themselves. The angler simply attaches it to his or her line and using a swivel somewhere drags the bait behind the boat at a steady speed. However, in most cases anglers we have to use some other tackle or device to get the spoon down into the water column.

The easiest method is to use a trolling sinker. This is a cylindrical piece of lead with swivels at both ends. One end is tied to the running line and a section of leader is added to the other. The spoon finishes off the rig. The angler will have to adjust the trolling weight to the speed being trolled as well is the depth and current of the water being fished. In most cases, anglers will want to get the spoon fairly deep in the water column.

In conclusion, this article on the top 11 freshwater fishing spoons will help anglers select the proper spoon for the application being fished and result in more fish being caught!

Bass Fishing Tackle and Equipment, a Beginners Guide

Largemouth Bass Fishing Tackle and Equipment

In this article, largemouth bass fishing tackle will be thoroughly covered. Largemouth bass are the most popular game fish in North America. There are several reasons for this. Largemouth bass are apex predators, with a huge mouth and a powerful tail. When hooked, they often leap high and put up a great tussle. Bass can be very aggressive and will take a wide variety of artificial lures. While most anglers use lures, largemouth bass can be certainly caught on live bait as well.

women bass fishing

Another factor in the popularity of largemouth bass is their availability. Largemouth bass are very adaptable, tolerating a wide range of temperatures. They flourish in warm places such as Florida and other southern states. Several lakes in Mexico offer fantastic largemouth bass fishing as well. Florida strain largemouth have adapted to the deep clear lakes of California. Alaska even has a population of fish as well.

This popularity has spawned an entire industry. There is so much largemouth bass fishing equipment available to anglers that it can be overwhelming. Rows and rows of fishing rods, reels, soft plastic baits, hard baits and more fill the aisles at retail outlets. The purpose of this article is to simplify it a bit for anglers just getting into the sport.

largemouth bass

Bass fishing rods and reels

Anglers watching a fishing show with tournament bass anglers often see a dozen or more rods lying on the deck. Many of these are specialty rods that are designed for one particular type of bass fishing. However, that does not mean that every angler needs a dozen rods and reels!

There are three types of reels that anglers can choose from. The first and most basic are spin cast reels. Some anglers know them as push button reels. These are suitable for fishing for panfish and other smaller species, but not really adequate for serious bass fishing. Bait casting reels, also known as conventional reels, are very popular among bass anglers. However, they are a bit more complicated to learn to cast and use. Once mastered, every bass anglers should own a bait casting outfit or two.

best largemouth bass fishing lures for beginners

The majority of anglers choosing largemouth bass fishing equipment who are just starting out will do best with spinning tackle. These are also known as open faced reels. Anglers put their finger under the line and then open the bail, letting the line slide off their finger at the cast. The bail is then closed and the line retrieved. Spinning tackle is versatile, reasonably priced, and easy to learn to use. It has become much more popular among professional bass anglers of late as finesse fishing has grown.

Bass fishing rods

The fishing rods are matched to the fishing reels. Spinning rods and bait casting rods are slightly different. Spinning rods have larger guides while bait casting rods have smaller ones. The handles and grips on the butt section are often different as well.

best 13 bass lures for pond fishing

The two most important aspects of a fishing rod are the length and the action. The length is self-explanatory. Most anglers prefer a rod that is 6 1/2 feet to 7 1/2 feet long. A rod this long allows for anglers to make long casts as well as fight a good fish without it being clunky or awkward. Other than storage or fishing in very tight quarters, there really is no advantage to a shorter rod.

Fishing rods come in many different actions. This is the internal design of the rod that determines where it is stronger and stiffer and where it is more limber and how these two things transition. Different actions are actually desired for different types of fishing. This is one reason that you see so many fishing rods on tournament bass anglers boats.

Sarasota bass fishing

Rod and reel outfits

Beginning anglers choosing largemouth bass fishing equipment can really cover most fishing situations with two outfits. The first outfit would be a medium or medium light spinning outfit that has a 7 foot rod and a 3000 series spinning reel. The rod should have a fast action. This means that it is fairly stout at the butt section but quite limber at the tip. This is a very versatile outfit.

A spinning outfit like this is light enough for anglers to use light soft plastic baits and other finesse style baits effectively. However, it will still be suitable for casting heavier hard bodied plugs such as jerk baits and top water plugs. Anglers can spool the reel up with 12 pound monofilament or fluorocarbon line or 20 pound braided line. If an angler can only afford to purchase one rod and reel, this would be a very good choice.

The second outfit would be a bit stouter. It would be a medium heavy outfit. A bait casting outfit would be best, but anglers can certainly use a spinning reel as well. Bait casting reels have more power and often a fast retrieve ratio. This heavier outfit is better suited for pitching and flipping soft plastic baits into heavy cover as well as casting heavier spinner baits and plugs around cover. In these environments, an angler often needs muscle to get the fish out. Braid is the best line choice in this situation, and anglers can go fairly heavy, between 40 pound and 60 pound test.

Bass fishing lures

There have been countless books written about largemouth bass fishing lures. There is no way to completely cover that subject in a blog post. However, the subject can be simplified to keep it from being overwhelming for a novice angler.

top texas fish species

Largemouth bass fishing lures can be broken down into these categories; soft plastic baits, bladed baits, jigs, and plugs. With each lure type, specific examples of productive baits including size and color will be given to help anglers get started.

Soft plastic lures for bass fishing

The largemouth bass fishing world was revolutionized in the late 60s when plastic worms first came about. The initial versions were very stiff and not at all lifelike. They have certainly come a long way! Bass anglers today have an incredible assortment of soft plastic baits at their disposal. These can imitate worms, crayfish, salamanders, and creatures that do not exist. It is more the lifelike presentation in the water that catches bass as opposed to it realistically imitating some natural forage.

Yamamoto Senko

One of the most versatile and effective soft plastic baits is the Yamamoto Senko. This is termed a finesse bait. It can be rigged several ways including Texas rigged, wacky rigged, and used on a drop shot. Is a very versatile little bait. The 5 inch version and green pumpkin is an excellent all round lure that will catch largemouth bass anywhere.

Zoom Trick worm

The Zoom Trick worm is an excellent full-sized plastic worm. It has a bit more action than the Senko and is a good choice when fish are bit more active. This is a versatile bait that can be slowly crawled along the bottom or swim through vegetation. The design of the lure and the shape of the tail give it tremendous action. A 7 inch size in darker colors such work well.

Mister Twister grub

Mister Twister grubs are a simple yet very effective soft plastic lure. These baits hit the fishing scene in the late 70s and anglers have been having tremendous success with them ever since. The curly tail design puts out fantastic action and vibration in the water. These are terrific baits in clear water and in the cooler months when largemouth bass feed on smaller prey. They can be crawled on the bottom to imitate crustaceans and worked through the water column to mimic shad and other bait fish.

Berkley Powerbait Chigger Craw

The Chigger Craw would fall into the creature bait category. These are soft plastic baits that sort of resemble a crayfish or other crustaceans or prey. For the most part, it is the bulk and action of the bait that makes it effective. These baits are bulkier and are more noticeable when moved through weeds and over and around other structure. The Chigger Craw in green pumpkin is a good all round bait. Anglers can shop the line of Berkley creature baits from this link.

Bass Assassin Die Dapper swimbait

Swim baits are another soft plastic lower that every bass angler should have in his or her tackle box. Bass Assassin manufactures an excellent line of soft plastic swim baits. The Die Dapper is an excellent size for largemouth bass. These baits are very easy to use as the angler just cast it out and slowly reels it back in. In most instances, the less action the angler imparts, the better. They are used on both swim bait hooks and on jig heads.

Hooks and sinkers for fishing soft plastic baits

Anglers fishing soft plastic baits have several different ways with which they can hook and present these lures. Anglers can rig the baits weedless using the Texas rig. With this rig a specially designed hook is used allows the worm to hang straight and still be able to bury the hook in the worm. Creature baits and crayfish baits can be used as well. 3/0 and 5/0 are good sizes.

The gap in the hook needs to be large to get through the plastic and into the fishes mouth. Anglers can fish this rig with no weight. However, most of the time a small sinker is used. Specially designed worm sinkers are conical shaped which allow them to move through weeds and over cover without hanging up. The line slides through the the sinker, allowing a fish to pick up the worm and move off with it. In heavy cover, anglers pegs the sinker right to the eye of the hook to reduce hangups.

Swim bait hooks can also be used with just about every soft plastic bait. However, they were primarily designed to be used with larger soft plastic swim baits. The hooks have some type of keeper near the eye to attach the front of the swim bait and then the hook is placed in the rear of the bait. Most often, it is rigged weedless. A weight is molded into the bend of the hook which results in the lure having a horizontal presentation. Again, 3/0 and 5/0 are good sizes.

Finally, anglers can rig any of these soft plastic baits on a simple jig head. A jig head is a hook with a weight molded near the eye. This provides both weight for casting as well as giving the lure it’s action. This is a very simple and effective way to fish a soft plastic bait.

Bass fishing jigs

There is evidence to support the statement that the jig was the first artificial lure used by humans to catch fish. The design is fairly simple, it is basically a hook with a weight molded near the eye. This offset weight gives the bait it’s action and the water. Jig head designs and eye placements will also affect the action and where the bait can be used.

women tournament bass fishing

Jigs are also available already dressed. These are extremely effective largemouth bass fishing lures that are used in several applications. They come in various weights, sizes, and colors. Anglers use heavy jigs to punch through matted vegetation when flipping. They can also be fished slowly along the bottom. Finally, swim jigs can be worked anywhere in the water column.

There are many choices when it comes to bass fishing jigs. In most cases, darker colors work best such as black, purple, and dark green. Most have a weed guard which keeps them from hanging up when used in heavy cover. Some anglers add a soft plastic trailer to give the lure even more bulk and action. The Booyah is an excellent all round bass fishing jig.

Bladed baits

There are several varieties of bladed baits. These include spinner baits, buzz baits, and bladed jigs. Inline spinners are also considered bladed baits, though there are seldom used for largemouth bass fishing these days. Every bass angler should have a decent selection of bladed baits. They are easy to use and have great built in action. In most cases the angler simply cast them out and reels and back in with a steady retrieve. Most of these lures are weedless as well. They are terrific bass fishing lures for beginners.

Strike King Finess KVD spinnerbait

The Strike King Finesse KVD spinner bait is an excellent all round lure. Spinner baits are a great bait for novice bass anglers as a are quite easy to use. They are relatively weedless and are normally fished around shoreline cover. Spinner baits come in many different configurations. The KVD spinner bait is a tandem blade bait that is a bit smaller than some other baits on the market.

Terminator spinnerbait

Terminator spinnerbaits are legendary for their toughness and durability. The have a titanium frame which bends more than other types of spinner baits and springs back into place. These cost a little bit more, but the quality hardware and components make it worth. The heavier models work best when cast with a bait casting outfit.

Booyah buzzbait

Buzzbaits are like spinner baits, except that they spend the entire time on the surface. When retrieved at the proper speed, they put out a very rhythmic commotion on the surface. Strikes are usually explosive! Buzz baits are most often used along shoreline cover and over the top of submerged weed beds. White and chartreuse are two of the most popular colors. The Booyah buzzbait is a good all-around largemouth bass fishing lure.


Bladed jigs are a relatively new bass fishing lure. It is a combination between a spinner bait and a jig. It has a weighted head with a hook and a rubber skirt. In front of the jig head is a blade which gives the lure action, flash, and vibration. These are very effective and also very easy to use. In most cases, a steady retrieve through or over vegetation works best. The Z-man Chatter bait is the original lure in this family.

Best bass fishing plugs

Plugs have been catching largemouth bass for many decades now. Back in the day they were made of balsa wood, but nearly all of them now are made of plastic. They are very effective and come in many different sizes, shapes, and colors. They can imitate either bait fish, crayfish, and even frogs. Most are designed to run at a determine depth or on the surface. The downside to plugs is that they are fairly expensive.

Rapala Skitter Prop

The Rapala Skitter prop is a top water plug. It floats on top of the water and when twitched sharply the propeller on the rear puts out a lot a commotion. Top water plugs are most often fished near shoreline cover. Low light conditions such as early and late in the day and on cloudy days are usually best.

Rebel Pop R

The Rebel Pop R is a top water plug as well. It is in the family known as poppers. It has a concave face and when twitched sharply the nose digs into the water and produces a loud popping sound. Thus the name. This bait is a bit smaller then the Skitter Prop and is an excellent choice in ponds as well as small lakes.

Rapala X-Rap

The Rapala X-Rap is what is known is a jerk bait. It floats on the surface and then dives down to a determine depth upon retrieve. This bait comes in a couple different models to fish various depths. The plastic bill on the front of the lure is what determines how deep it will dive. This bait is worked fairly aggressively, using hard jerks (thus the name) with a pause in between. Most bites occur as the plug hangs there motionless.

Strike King Deep Diving plug

The KVD Sexy Shad is a very popular crank bait. It has a much wider profile then the X-Rap. It is designed to work in much deeper water such as points and channel edges. In darker colors it can be bounced along the bottom to mimic crayfish. It also is very effective in lighter colors that work shallower in very realistically mimic a shad, which is a top forage of largemouth bass in many lakes. These lures are easy to fish and allow anglers to cover a lot of water in search of fish.

Strike King 1.5 Squarebill crankbait

The Strike King Square Bill crank bait is an excellent lure for fishing shallow water cover. The 1.5 ounce model will dive down a couple of feet or so. Lighter bait fish colors normally work best. Sexy shad is a great all-round color pattern. This is an excellent lure when fish are active or scattered out. It has an exaggerated side to side wobble.


The Rattletrap is a lipless crank bait. Unlike the others, it does not float when it hits the water but instead will slowly sink. Another difference in this plug is that it does not have a bill. The lure is cast out, allowed to sink to the desired depth, then reeled back in with a fairly brisk and steady retrieve. It puts out a loud rattle and vibration that the angler can feel through the line. This is a great bait to use in fairly open water when searching for fish. The half ounce size in chrome with a blue back is a great all round bait.

Live Target frog

Frogs have become very popular in the last few years. These are surface lures that anglers fish either near structure or over matted vegetation. Like any top water bait, the strikes can be explosive! Most are weedless for obvious reasons. These are easy baits to use and are a lot a fun to fish. The Live Target Hollow Body Frog is an excellent frog bait.

In conclusion, this article on largemouth bass fishing tackle and equipment for beginners should help anglers get started enjoying this terrific sport!

Largemouth Bass Fishing in Creeks

Largemouth Bass Fishing in Creeks

In this article we will cover largemouth bass fishing in creeks. These smaller waters are often overlooked by anglers. In most cases, the fish will be smaller. However, the simplicity and relaxing nature of Creek fishing is appealing. Also, fish and smaller creeks are much easier to locate and therefore catch.

largemouth bass

Largemouth bass fishing in creeks does require a slight change in tactics and tackle. For the most part, this means that almost everything is scale down a bit. The tackle used is generally a little bit lighter. The lures are smaller and the presentations are a bit less aggressive. However, the same basic principles of bass fishing and lakes applies to streams and creeks as well.

The first thing anglers must do is identify creeks that have decent largemouth bass populations. Often times, these are tributaries to lakes and river systems. Largemouth bass do not like strong current. The best creeks will have a slow to moderate current. Other attributes would be areas of deeper water as well as sufficient cover such as weeds and fallen trees.

Best tackle for creek fishing

In most cases, the best choice for anglers largemouth bass fishing in creeks when it comes to a rod and reel is spinning tackle. A medium light spinning rod that is 6 1/2 feet to 7 feet long and matched with a 20 series reel and 10 pound braided line or monofilament line is a good all-around outfit. As mentioned above, the lures being cast are downsized a bit. This letter tackle will allow anglers to make the proper presentation while still being heavy enough to land a decent fish.

“Fishing Lido Key is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon”

Those who prefer it can use a light bait casting rig as well. A 6 foot to 6 1/2 foot light bait casting outfit with 10 pound monofilament or 15 pound braided line will be fine. It will be difficult to cast lures that do not weigh very much with this outfit.

Bass creek fishing spots

One of the primary advantages of fishing for largemouth bass or any other species in creeks is that the fish are simply much easier to locate. The the holding and feeding spots are just more obvious and easier to identify. In most cases, largemouth bass will stage in slightly deeper water were cover is present. Unlike trout and smallmouth bass, largemouth bass will usually not be found in the runs and riffles a fast-moving current. Occasionally, they will be caught behind boulders in the middle of the creek.

fly fishing Sarasota rivers

Outside bends in the creek are prime spots for largemouth bass and other species. These spots are naturally deeper as the current gouges out a hole in the bank. Often times, there is an undercut bank as well. This is a guaranteed hotspot! Another factor in the spots is that the current tends to deposit debris in these locations. The combination of deep water, undercut banks, slowing current, and cover result in an ideal habitat.

Other prime spots to target largemouth bass in creeks are the heads and tails of riffles. These areas will generally have a slightly deeper depression were fish can hide in feed while staying out of the current. Eddie’s and slack water areas behind current break such as boulders and trees will also hold largemouth bass. Man-made cover such as bridges and docks will attract fish as well.

Understanding changing conditions when creek fishing for bass

One challenging aspect of fishing in creeks, streams, and rivers is the constantly changing conditions. Creeks are changing constantly. A heavy rain miles away can result in a Creek turning from low and clear to high and muddy in a very short time. Identifying how these conditions affect fishing is crucial to success.

The two main factors are water clarity and height. In most creeks, the best fishing will occur during periods when the water level, clarity, and flow are at normal levels. Bass will be used to these conditions and will be more comfortable and feed more often. Also, anglers who fish a particular Creek enough to know it well will be in tune to the changes in conditions during these times.

Sarasota freshwater fishing

Fishing creeks during high, fast, muddy water is not only difficult, it can be dangerous. In most cases, small creeks do not really present a danger. However, it is always best to put safety first and not take a chance. Also, fishing can be extremely difficult under these conditions. Fish will not be able to see to feed in most cases will just find a spot out of the heavy current to hunker down. In all honesty, it is best to not even try to fish during these conditions.

Low-water can be challenging as well, though for different reasons. This often occurs in late summer. With little water, largemouth bass will congregate in the deepest water available. They will also become quite finicky and spooky. Anglers will need to scale down their lures and line size as well as taking care when approaching and waiting in the creek.

Fishing for largemouth bass in creeks with live bait

While most anglers choose to fish with artificial lures when largemouth bass fishing in creeks, live bait works very well. The three top live baits are nightcrawlers, minnows, and crayfish. Nightcrawlers are readily available at most retail outlets that sell fishing tackle. Minnows can be available in some cases at bait shops. Crayfish are less available for anglers to purchase, in most cases they will have to catch their own.

All of these live baits can be free lined on a hook or fished under a float. Where possible, free lining the bait results in a more natural presentation. However, if snags become a problem, adding a float above the hook will solve the problem. The best spots to fish live baits are deeper holes and slow-moving runs.

Nightcrawlers are best hooked through the front so that they can wriggle seductively in the water. Minnows should be hooked through the lips. This is especially true in creeks where current is present. Crawfish are usually hooked in the tail from the bottom up. The angler can then work the bait along the bottom, moving backward, which is how they flee when frightened.

Creek fishing for bass with lures

Anglers largemouth bass fishing in creeks can get the job done with just a handful of lures. In most cases, anglers are doing a fair amount of walking and lugging around a great big tackle box is neither fun nor efficient. A small backpack or even a penny pack will hold the few lures that an angler will need to be successful.

Small spinnerbaits

Small spinner baits are excellent creek fishing lures. While they resemble nothing that lives in the water, they put out flash and vibration as well as action to attract bass. In most cases, a 1/4 ounce spinner bait is the best size. While many anglers are familiar with the rubber skirt and spinner baits that bass anglers use and lakes, there are a few baits that are more effective when fishing in creeks.

Anglers can choose from a spinner bait that has a grub body, such as the BeetleSpin. A spinner bait with a curly tail grub is effective as well. These smaller spinner baits with the grub style bodies are not quite as obtrusive and are more productive when fishing for bass in creeks, especially smaller ones.

Rooster Tail spinner

The Wordens Rooster Tail is a famous Creek fishing lure. Most anglers associate it with trout fishing. However, it is an outstanding lore for anglers fishing for largemouth bass in creeks. The great thing about this bait is its simplicity. An angler simply casts it across the current, let it sink a few seconds, then retrieve it in a slow steady manner. In most cases, the slower the better as long as the blade a spinning.

The one quarter ounce size in a variety of colors will produce fish. Generally speaking, a light colored spinner with a silver blade is the best choice when the water is clear and the sun is shining brightly. Conversely, darker and brighter colors with a gold blade produce better under low light conditions and when the water has some color to it.

Heddon Tiny Torpedo

The Heddon Tiny Torpedo is the perfect top water plug for fishing creeks. It is small enough to where it can be presented properly yet still puts out enough commotion to attract a largemouth bass. It is a compact bait with a conical nose and a propeller on the tail. Short jerks of the rod tip will result in the propeller digging into the water, imitating a wounded bait fish.

Sticking to the theme of “less is more” when fishing in creeks, anglers fishing this top water bait should not overdo the action. Gentle, subtle twitches are all that it takes. The best spots to fish this lore are around any type of fallen timber or other cover. It is important when fishing a top water plug to wait until the weight of the fish is felt when a strike occurs. Setting the hook on the visual strike will usually result in a fish missed.

Yamamoto Senko

Of course, no list of largemouth bass fishing baits would be complete without some type of soft plastic worm. The Yamamoto Senko is a terrific and versatile bait. It is available in a 4 inch or a 5 inch length. Darker colors such as green pumpkin usually work best. In most cases, the best approach is to fish this bait on a 1/8 ounce jig head or with no weight on a plastic worm hook.

As with other lures, it is best not to give this bait too much action. Just a gentle raising of the rod tip or a slight twitch will give it enough action, especially if current is present. The Senko can be crawled across the bottom in over cover as well as drifted in the current. Often times, just that drifting the bait with no action at all will be the most productive presentation.

Rebel Crawfish

The Rebel Wee Craw is a legendary lure for fishing in creeks and rivers. It imitates one of the top forage species in all creeks and rivers; the crayfish. While many anglers associate it with smallmouth bass fishing, it works extremely well in creeks that house largemouth bass, too. It is available in several sizes and colors, with a natural Olive and crayfish colors being best.

This bait does the best when it is constantly bumping and bouncing off of the bottom. This action realistically imitates a fleeing crayfish and will often draw a strike from a nearby largemouth bass. If smallmouth bass inhabit the same creek, anglers will surely catch a few of them as well. In most cases, they are a quite welcome interloper!

In conclusion, this article on largemouth bass fishing in creeks should help anglers fishing these smaller waters catch more fish.

Spinnerbait Fishing Tips and Techniques

Spinnerbait Fishing Tips and Techniques

This article will cover spinnerbait fishing tips and techniques. Spinnerbaits are very effective fishing lures. While they really don’t resemble any type of natural forage, they put out flash, vibration, and action. Spinnerbaits consist of a wire arm that is shaped a bit like a safety pin. On the upper arm is a spinner blade or blades. On the lower arm is a hook, usually adorned with a rubber skirt or soft plastic bait. The line is tied in the center.

spinnerbait fishing tips and techniques

Thanks to Kayla for some great pics!  Follow Kayla on Instagram

Spinnerbaits are popular with anglers for several reasons. Due to their design, spinnerbaits are quite weedless. The wire frame allows them to walk over structure and through weeds and grass. Spinnerbaits have a lot of built in action and are very easy to use. This is important for novice and inexperienced anglers. They also allow anglers to cover a lot of water in a short period of time in search of fish.

Spinnerbaits are mostly used by freshwater anglers. They come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, styles, and colors. The tiniest versions will catch bluegill and panfish. The largest spinner baits will fool a trophy pike or musky. Saltwater anglers do use spinnerbaits occasionally as well, mostly for fishing for redfish in shallow water.

spinnerbait fishing tips

Capt Jim Klopfer is a fishing charter captain in Sarasota, Florida. While he mostly runs saltwater charters, he grew up in Maryland fishing rivers and tributaries on Chesapeake Bay. He also does quite a bit of freshwater fishing in Florida. He shares some tips and his favorite spinnerbaits in this article

Rods and reels for fishing with spinnerbaits

Anglers fishing with spinnerbaits use both spinning and bait casting tackle. The primary consideration is the size of the spinnerbait being used. Anglers casting small baits in search of panfish, small bass, and other species usually rely on spinning tackle. This is simply because it is not practical trying to cast a very light lure with bait casting equipment.

spinnerbait fishing for pike

Anglers should match the rod and reel to the size of the spinnerbait being cast as well as the fish being targeted. An ultralight outfit with 4 pound or 6 pound line is excellent for panfish, crappie, bluegill, and small bass. 10 to 12 pounds spinning tackle works well for medium-size fish such as Bass, walleye, small pike, and other species. Anglers casting the largest of spinner baits for big bass, pike, and musky can either use bait casting equipment or heavy spinning outfits. Shakespear Ugly Sticks are available in many sizes at a reasonable price.

Spinnerbait fishing tips and techniques

One of the primary advantages of spinnerbaits is that they are so easy to use. The action is basically built in, anglers really only need to vary the retrieve speed. They can be used in a variety of depths. However, in most instances they are most effective when fished in reasonably shallow water. Also, in many types of fishing, especially using soft plastic baits, bites can be difficult to detect. This is not the case with spinnerbaits!

spinnerbait fishing techniques

Spinnerbaits really shine when fished around cover. The design of the bait makes them relatively weedless. Spinner baits tend to walk over fallen trees as well as rocks and other submerged cover. They will also worked our way through weeds. However, just like most baits, spinner baits will load up on heavy moss.

Spinnerbaits are best when fished near cover

The most effective way to fish a spinnerbait is generally to work shoreline cover. The boat is placed at an angle, 45° or less, to the shoreline. This results in the spinner baits staying in the strike zone longer. The angler then casts the lure out past likely looking structure and then works the spinner bait back to it. If the bait can be bounced off a tree limb or rock, so much the better. This is often when a strike occurs.

best 13 bass lures for pond fishing

As with all fishing, anglers should vary the cover, location, depth, and speed to determine what the fish want that day. In most cases, a fairly brisk and steady retrieve works best. However this is not always the case. Sometimes burning it just under the surface will produce. Other days slow rolling close to the bottom works best. Anglers can even combine the two and reel fast for a bit and then let the spinnerbait flutter to the bottom. Spinnerbaits are very effective when worked just over the top of submerged weed beds.

Spinnerbaits can also be used to work deeper structure such as points and rock piles in water between 10 and 15 feet deep. However, this is a bit more technical. It is a technique that produces when the water is on the cold side and fish have schooled up in these traditional winter locations.

Spinnerbait color and size considerations

As in all fishing, anglers who match the spinner bait to the locally available forage as well as the current conditions will almost always be more successful. Spinnerbaits come in a wide variety of sizes and just about every color pattern imaginable. The species of fish being targeted is also another factor to take into account. Obviously, anglers pursuing pan fish will use tiny spinner baits while those chasing pike will use the largest versions.

spinnerbait fishing

While color combinations are endless, there are a few patterns that have proven themselves to be productive over time. White is an outstanding color in many fishing situations. Lakes with clear water and those with a lot of shad are natural spots to cast a white spinnerbait. In fact, many forage species tend to be light colored or silvery. This makes white with a silver blade or blades an excellent choice for a variety of species.

Conversely, darker colors along with gold blades work very well in stained water conditions and in low light conditions such as morning, evening, and on cloudy days. Tannin stained water and gold just go together very well. Chartreuse spinnerbaits with either silver or gold blades will catch fish in just about any situation.

Spinnerbait blade options

The blades that are used on a spinner bait definitely have an effect on the action of the lure. The three types of spinnerbait blades that are commonly used are willow leaf, Indiana, and Colorado. Willow leaf blades are long and slender. They are an excellent choice in very clear water or and conditions when fish want more of a finesse presentation. Often times they are used in combination with a Colorado or Indiana blade.

fishing with spinnerbaits

Colorado blades are large and round and put out a ton of vibration. They are the best choice in dirty or stained water when used with a slow steady retrieve. The vibration and flash will draw fish into the bait. They are effective in clear water as well. Indiana blades are similar to Colorado blades, but they are just a little bit smaller.

Trailers and trailer hooks

Anglers can tweak their spinnerbaits a bit more if they desire. Most spinner baits come with a skirt with rubber legs. These undulate seductively in the water and look very realistic. However, many anglers enhance this action while adding some bulk to the lure with the addition of a soft plastic trailer.

Basically any paddle or curly tail grub can be added to the hook of a spinnerbait. This adds both bulk in action to the lure. Even larger soft plastic baits such as frogs can be used. Back in the day, anglers used a chunk of pork with undulating legs on. Soft plastic baits have pretty much replaced that now.

Some spinnerbaits come with a trailer or stinger hook. Anglers can add them to the lure as well. This is another hook that slides over the point and then down to the bend of the spinner bait hook. There are many times when bass and other species will short strike a spinner bait. On these days, the stinger hook can make all the difference in the world.

spinnerbait fishing

Top spinnerbaits

There are many different spinnerbaits on the market for anglers to choose from. There really is no right or wrong lure and all of them will produce fish when used correctly in locations were fish are present. Here are some of the best spinnerbaits that Capt. Jim has found to be productive. The list will be given from the smallest spinnerbaits for panfish up to the largest for pike and musky.

Johnson Beetlespin

The Johnson Beetlespin is an unassuming looking little bait. However, it is an extremely effective spinnerbait for bluegill and panfish. The 1/16 ounce size works very well in most situations for panfish. Anglers chasing larger bluegill as well as crappie can bump it up to the 1/8 ounce size. Finally, the one quarter ounce size is extremely effective for bass and ponds and streams.

Sarasota crappie fishing

Beetlespins come in a wide variety of color patterns. Capt. Jim’s favorite is the simple silver blade with a black grub body with either a white or yellow stripe. Green would be his second favorite, followed by white. These lures look very simple in the package, but they really are incredibly effective fishing lures.

Mister Twister spinnerbait

The Mister Twister spinnerbait and they 1/8 ounce size is a terrific lure for panfish and small bass. The flash of the blade and the incredible action of the curly tail are irresistible to many fish. Like most spinner baits, especially when chasing panfish, the slower the retrieve the better. As long as the blades are rotating in flashing, it will produce fish. Chartreuse is by far Capt. Jim’s favorite color.

fishing for panfish with spinnerbaits

Strike King Mini spinnerbait

The Strike King Mini spinnerbait is an excellent “transition” lure. It is an excellent choice when fishing smaller bodies of water such as ponds, streams, and smaller rivers. In situations where larger spinner baits land too loudly or are too large and flashy, these mid sized spinner baits work extremely well. The one quarter ounce size in black with a silver blade is Capt. Jim’s favorite. White can be extremely effective right after a shad spawn when game fish are feeding on fry bait.

Booyah Pond Magic spinnerbait

The Booyah Pond Magic is another spinnerbait designed to fish smaller bodies of water. It is a tandem bladed bait and is a bit larger than the lure listed above. These baits come in some very enticing and unique color combinations that were specifically designed for fishing in small ponds and rivers.

Full sized spinnerbaits

Oklahoma bass fishing women

There are many companies that manufacture quality spinnerbaits. It would be impossible to list them all and no slight is meant for those that are omitted. Most of these larger spinner baits are tandem bladed baits. They are offered and combinations of willow leaf, Colorado, and Indiana blades. The following is a list of larger spinnerbaits that are available in multiple sizes and colors for anglers to use.

Strike King Spinnerbaits

Strike King is a leader in the industry when it comes to spinnerbaits. We have already listed the many spinnerbait above. There are several strike King spinner baits that anglers should consider. The premier plus spinner bait by strike King is an outstanding lure. It is a tandem blades spinner bait, sporting a Colorado and a willow leaf blade.


The Strike King Finesse KVD Spinnerbait is a bit smaller in size and profile. It is an excellent choice in very clear water, especially in the cooler months when bait tends to be smaller. It is a tandem blades spinnerbait that has a smaller profile skirt. Like all Strike King spinner baits, it is a stout lure made with quality components.

Terminator spinnerbaits

The Terminator line of spinnerbaits is well-known throughout the industry to be an incredibly tough and durable fishing lure. It is made from quality components and has a frame that bounces back into shape. It uses quality ball bearings swivels on the blades. The head of the jig was specifically designed to be especially weedless. Terminator spinner baits come in a variety of color combinations.

Booyah spinnerbaits

Booyah spinnerbaits have taken the market by storm in a relatively short amount of time. They offer several different spinnerbait models that are both durable and effective. These super shad spinner bait is unique in that it comes with four willow leaf blades. This results in the lure mimicking a small school of fish, similar to the Alabama rigs, but much easier to cast.

Booyah offers a complete line of spinnerbait options for anglers. The choice is endless, single and tandem bladed baits with combinations of Colorado, Indiana, and willow leaf blades are available in a variety of sizes. The Booyah Pikee spinner bait is the best lure on the market for anglers who want to cast a spinner bait for pike or musky.

Z-Man spinnerbaits

Z-Man is another company that offers quality spinnerbaits to anglers. They are all tandem bladed baits that are available in a combination of blades along with skirt color options. These baits are constructed with quality components and are both durable and effective.

Molix spinnerbaits

Molix spinnerbaits are premium lures that use high quality components. They are Kayla’s personal favorite baits. Discerning anglers who want to use the best may choose to use these lures. Like most manufacturers, Molix offers anglers a variety of color combinations in both skirts and blades.

Redfish Magic Spinnerbait

The Redfish Magic is the first spinnerbait designed for saltwater anglers. It is an excellent search bait that can cover a lot of water when fishing expansive flats. While primarily designed for redfish in the shallows, it will catch spotted sea trout, snook, jacks, and other species as well. It comes with a large, single gold blade with a paddle tail grub body.

In conclusion, this article on spinnerbait fishing tips and techniques should encourage anglers to take advantage of these very effective lures which are easy to use!

Best Sheepshead Fishing Tackle and Baits

Best Sheepshead Fishing Tackle and Baits

This post is all about the best sheepshead fishing tackle and baits. Sheepshead are a hard fighting and great tasting member of the porgy family. They are found near structure in inshore saltwater bays, inlets, and near shore waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. They feed primarily on crustaceans such as shrimp and crabs. Sheepshead range from Texas all along the coast up to new England.

best sheepshead fishing tackle and baits

Anglers fishing for sheepshead will do well using standard bottom fishing techniques. Sheepshead are almost always found either on bottom structure or close to vertical structure such as bridge pilings and piers. Sheepshead have an unusual set of teeth that they use to cross shells of mollusks and barnacles. They then devour the animal living inside the shell. Sheepshead are very seldom caught by anglers using artificial lures.

One of the great things about fishing for sheepshead is that they are one of the less finicky fish species. They have saved the day for many an angler when the water was cool and dirty. Another great attribute of sheepshead is that anglers do not need a ton of skill to have a successful day. Once again, this is very basic bottom fishing with a few nuances.

Capt. Jim Klopfer has been running fishing charters in Sarasota Florida since 1991. He targets a wide variety of species throughout the year. Many of his clients include children and novice anglers. Also, conditions are often less than ideal in the winter. Add to these factors the excellent eating quality, and you have several reasons why he targets sheepshead throughout the winter and early spring.

Best sheepshead fishing tackle

Fortunately, anglers seeking the best sheepshead fishing tackle can keep it quite simple. In fact, most anglers who do any inshore saltwater fishing most likely already own a suitable rod and reel combination. Sheepshead average from 2 pounds to 5 pounds and are normally found around structure. For this application, a medium spinning outfit works best. It allows anglers to enjoy the fight of the fish while still being able to handle it around structure.

Best 15 sheepshead fishing tips

The best all round spinning outfit is a 7 foot medium or medium light action rod with a fairly limber tip. While sheepshead pull hard, they bite very lightly. A soft tip will allow anglers to feel the bite while a stout butt section enables the angler to horse the fish away from structure. The rod should be matched with a 3000 series real spooled up with 12 pound monofilament or 20 pound braided line.

Anglers can use a light conventional outfit as well. These are known to some as bait casting rigs. These are more appropriate for anglers vertically fishing over racks and other submerged structure. They are a bit more difficult to cast. However, they work very well when pursuing larger fish.

Sheepshead fishing rigs

bottom fishing rigs

There are several standard bottom rigs that work well for anglers sheepshead fishing. These include a dropper, or chicken rig, sliding sinker or Carolina rig, knocker rig, or a simple free line rig. Each has advantages and situations where they work best.

Freeline rig

The easiest and simplest fishing rig for sheepshead is to free line a live bait back to the fish. This rig simply consist of a leader, a hook, and a split shot or two if required. The advantages of this rig are that the bait land softly, resulting in a more delicate presentation. Also, with no weight, the fish can pick up the bait and move off without any resistance.

Florida saltwater fishing in winter

This rig is used primarily around structure such as docks and oyster bars in fairly shallow water. In deeper water, especially with any current present, the bait will not usually get down deep enough. It is extremely effective around oyster bars in the mouths of feeder creeks.

Carolina rig

The sliding sinker rig, known to many as a Carolina rig, is perhaps the most commonly used in versatile rig for sheepshead fishing. It consists of an egg sinker, which has a hole through the center. The running line goes through this whole and then a swivel is attached. The swivel both stops the sinker from moving any further as well as giving a place to attach a leader. A 2 foot to 3 foot leader followed by a hook completes the rig.

top texas game fish

The beauty of the Carolina rig is that the sliding sinker allows a sheepshead to pick up the bait and move off with it without feeling any resistance. This can be crucial on days when the bite is very light and delicate. The sinker weight can be changed and adjusted to match the current fishing situation. Water depth and current speed are the most important factors. Anglers should use the lightest weight possible to reach and hold the bottom.

Knocker rig

The knocker rig is similar to a Carolina rig with one big exception. The sinker slides onto the leader just above the hook. When lower down to the bottom, the sinker actually sits right on top of the eye of the hook. The main advantage to this rig is that anglers will know exactly where the bait is; when the sinker is on the bottom, the bait is on the bottom.

saltwater fishing in Florida with live bait

The knocker rig is most often used around fairly heavy structure where other rigs will snag the bottom. By keeping the hook in sinker and one location, hangups are limited. When the hook does snag, a sharp jerk of the rod tip will send the sinker up the leader and and sliding back down to the eye of the hook, knocking it free. This is how it got the name.

Dropper rig

Dropper rigs, also known as chicken rakes, are very effective for sheepshead as well. They consist of a sinker at the bottom, with hooks tied off on short droppers at different intervals. This allows anglers to present multiple baits at multiple levels at the same time. This is a standard bottom fishing rig which has been producing for many, many years.

Sarasota fishing charters

This is the rig to choose for anglers vertically fishing and drifting. Normally, a bank sinker is used. The sinker tends to bounce off of and rollover rocks and other obstructions. This does not work well on reefs and wrecks where snags are really bad. At some point, the rig will hang up on the bottom. This rig will catch a variety of other species for anglers bottom fishing off of structure.

Best hooks for sheepshead fishing

Obviously, what piece of sheepshead fishing tackle that anglers will need is a hook. Hooks come in a wide variety of sizes, styles, and strengths. For most sheepshead fishing situations, a #1 or #1/0 short shank live bait hook works well. Sheepshead have a very strong by and a stout hook is required. Many anglers have gone to circle hooks as well. When used properly, the hookup ratio is high in the fish are almost always hooked in the corner of the mouth. They are required in many parts of the Gulf of Mexico. #4/0 is a good all-around hook size.


Sinkers are another item that sheepshead anglers will need in their tackle boxes. However, only a few sizes and styles are really needed. A selection of egg sinkers from 1/2 ounce to 2 ounce, bank sinkers from 1 ounce to 4 ounce, and a couple bags of split shot will get the job done.

Leaders and swivels

Most sheepshead anglers tie their own rigs. Those do will need leader material and swivels. The leader strength is determined by the clarity of the water, the size of the fish being pursued, and the structure being fished. In most cases, 30 pound fluorocarbon leader is all that an angler needs. #10 black swivels are a good all-around choice. Most local bait shops to sell pre-made rigs for anglers who do not want to tie their own.

Best sheepshead fishing baits

As mentioned above, the vast majority of sheepshead are landed by anglers using natural bait. Occasionally, sheepshead will take it artificial lore, but this is the exception and not the role. Top sheepshead baits, either live or frozen, include shrimp, fiddler crabs, sand fleas, oyster crabs, oysters, and clams.

  • Shrimp
  • Fiddler crabs
  • Sand fleas
  • Oyster crabs
  • Oysters and Clams


The number one bait for anglers fishing inshore salt waters from the Carolinas south and around the Gulf Coast is shrimp. They are available at every bait store in that area. Live shrimp are very effective sheepshead baits. While some anglers consider some other baits more productive, it is hard to beat the convenience with which fresh or frozen shrimp can be obtained. Fresh dead shrimp works well, as does frozen shrimp.

Sarasota family fishing charters

Fiddler crabs

Fiddler crabs are available at some coastal bait shops. However, they are much less prevalent than are shrimp and other baits. Serious sheepshead anglers catch them on the title flats at low tide. There are easy to see as a mass of them scurries about with their one claw shaking angrily up in the air. These are fantastic sheepshead fishing baits, perhaps the best of them all.

Sand fleas

Sand fleas, whose proper name is more crab, are a popular bait for anglers surf fishing for a variety of species. Live sand fleas are hardly ever sold at bait shops, though some do carry frozen ones. Most anglers catch them in the surf is a fish using special sand flea rakes. As the surf comes in, angler scoop out a bunch of sand and shell, sifting out the sand and hoping there’s a few sand fleas left.

Oyster crabs

Oyster crabs and other small crabs are also very good sheepshead fishing baits. However, anglers using these almost always have to catch them themselves. They are mostly found around rocks and oysters that are submerged at high tide but exposed at low tide. While quite a bit of effort to procure them, many sheepshead anglers consider it worth the trouble.

Oysters and clams

Oysters and clams are a very good an underutilized sheepshead fishing bait. They are easy to obtain and use. They can be purchased at grocery stores, fish markets and bait shops. Razor clams are favored in some areas. Clams are tough baits would stay on the hook well. Most anglers cut them into bite-sized pieces for the sheepshead.

Hooking sheepshead

Many anglers new to the sport of sheepshead fishing have a lot of difficulty hooking them. There are a couple mistakes that many novice anglers make. Capt. Jim will share a few tips and techniques which will help these anglers hook more of these feisty saltwater panfish.

What mistake many anglers make when sheepshead fishing is moving the bait too much. Capt. Jim likes to cast the lure out towards likely structure, or drop it to the bottom when fishing vertically in deeper water. Once the bait comes to rest on the bottom, the slack is reeled out of the line. The angler then holds the rod tip low and keeps the bait motionless while waiting for a bite.

Sarasota fishing report

The bite usually begins with a fairly distinct “tap”. This is where many anglers make their first mistake, they want to move or gently lift the bait. That is a mistake! The best approach is to keep the bait motionless. Many times there will be a series of taps. However, at some point the sheepshead will either get the bait or picking up and move off with it.

This is where the other mistake comes into play. Once that slow steady pull is felt, many anglers want to set the hook. Again, this is a mistake and is especially true with anglers using circle hooks. Instead, the technique that works best for Capt. Jim is to real fast and hard while slowly lifting the rod tip up high. This will remove all the slack from the line and start the hook in the sheepshead’s mouth.

Sheepshead fishing spots

Just about any structure can hold sheepshead when they are in the area. Oyster bars are extremely productive and backwater areas were title creeks and rivers are prevalent. The same holds true for shallow water bays between the mainland and the barrier islands. The best approach when fishing oyster bars for sheepshead is to free line a bait out where the oyster bar drops off into slightly deeper water.

Docks and bridges are prime spots for sheepshead as well. These provide both overhead cover and shade as well as vertical cover in the form of pilings. Bridges and docks and water 10 feet or shallower should be fished a distance away and cast towards. Anglers fishing deeper bridges and docks can do so with a vertical presentation both knocker rigs and sliding sinker rigs work well.

Inlets and passes are prime spots to target sheepshead as well. Most have abundant structure in the form of docks, seawalls, bridges, and submerged rock piles. In many areas, these are the spots that sheepshead school up in big numbers to spawn. The best time to fish these areas is usually on the turn of the tide when the water slacks up. It is just too difficult, and sometimes dangerous, to anchor in the swift current. Knocker rigs and spreader rigs work well.

Reefs and wrecks in the inshore waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico will also hold plenty of sheepshead as well. Also, in some areas these tend to be the largest fish. Anglers can anchor or drift in most cases a vertical presentation with a spreader rig is the best choice.

In conclusion, this article on the best sheepshead fishing tackle and baits should help anglers catch more of these hard fighting and great tasting saltwater panfish!