Best 11 Brook Trout Fishing Lures

Best 11 Brook Trout Fishing Lures

This article will list Capt Jim’s top 11 brook trout fishing lures. Brook trout are native to North America. They are the smallest of the big three trout species. However, many consider them the most beautiful and most challenging! While many anglers fly fish for them, brook trout will take a wide variety of artificial lures as well.

brook trout fishing lures

The top 11 brook trout fishing lures are;

  • Rooster tail spinner
  • Mepps Aglia spinner
  • Panther Martin spinner
  • Blue Fox spinners;
  • Kastmaster spoon
  • Phoebe spoon
  • Krocodile spoon
  • Flatfish
  • Rapala Original Floating Minnow
  • Mister Twister teeny
  • Gulp Alive jigs

This selection of artificial lures will catch brook trout in any situation that an angler may encounter.

Best brook trout fishing tackle

Most brook trout anglers casting artificial lures opt for spinning tackle. These outfits are affordable, durable, versatile, and easy to use. They really are the best tools for the job. Spin cast gear still has a place as well. It can be easier to manage for children and novice anglers. However, it does have it’s limitations.

brook trout fishing lures

Most brook trout are fairly small. A 4 pound fish is a trophy! Therefore, an ultralight spinning rod and reel is the best choice. A 5 1/2 foot light action rod matched to a 1000 series reel is a great all-round combo. Anglers can shop for other outfits as well.

Anglers can shop Amazon from this link for an ultralight rod and reel

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brook trout fishing

Click to read more about the best brook trout fishing tackle

 Light line is very important when trout fishing!

Light line is very important when it comes to fishing for brook trout. This is especially true in very clear water, which is where most trout will be found. 4 lb test is a good all round choice. Some stream anglers go down to 2 lb line. 6 lb line can be used in stained water. Going higher that that will really reduce strikes.

trout fishing tackle

Anglers can shop Amazon from this link for 4 lb fishing line

List of top brook trout fishing lures

The top brook trout lures can be broken down into four categories: spinners, spoons, jigs and plugs. Most brook trout lures can be both cast and trolled effectively as well as covering the entire water column. All can be used in both rivers and lakes.

Top Spinners for brook trout fishing

Spinners are clever artificial lures that anglers have been using for decades to catch fish. They catch a wide variety of species and brook trout are certainly no exception. Spinners come in many different sizes and colors. A blade rotates around a shaft, putting out flash and vibration. There is a slender body and a hook that often comes with some type of dressing. Gold blades and bright colors seem to work best in most applications.

best trout tackle

Spinners are very easy to use. The angler casts it out and allows it to sink down a bit. A sharp twitch of the rod tip will get the blade turning. A slow, steady retrieve is used to bring the bait back in. In most cases, less action is better. This lure produces when very slowly trolled as well.

Spinners really shine when fishing for brook trout in streams and rivers. The current is used to keep the lure moving and the blade spinning. The best approach is to cast across the stream, 90 degrees to the current. The lure is reeled in very slowly as it sweeps down stream. Many takes occur at the end of the drift as the line gets tight and the spinner “swings” in the current. Fly casters are very familiar with “swinging a nymph”. This technique is very effective!

brook trout lures

Spinners come in a variety of sizes and colors. 1/16 ounce baits work best in most brook trout situations. Larger baits can be used in lakes and when trophy fish are a possibility. Silver blades and light colors work best in clear water with bright sun. Copper blades and darker colors work great on cloudy days. Anglers can read more about fishing with spinners in rivers and streams here.

1) Wordens Rooster tail spinner

rooster tail

The Worden’s Rooster tail is a terrific spinner for fishing streams and small rivers. It is Capt Jim’s favorite trout fishing lure! Rooster tails come in many different colors and sizes. It is also available with a single hook for areas that require them. The single hook also aids in a good, healthy release. This lure works best when retrieved VERY slowly! As long as the blade is rotating, it can’t be worked too slowly.

Anglers can shop Amazon from this link for Rooster Tail spinners

 

2) Mepps Aglia spinner

mepps

The Mepps Aglia is another classic spinner that produces a lot brook trout for anglers. It also comes in a very wide selection of sizes and colors. Mepps spinners works well in both streams and lakes. Many anglers prefer the larger sizes for trolling in lakes. Capt Jim prefers the versions with dressing on the tail. Gold blade with brown fur is the classic pattern.

Anglers can shop Amazon from this link for Mepps Aglia spinners

 

3) Panther Martin spinner

panther martin

The Panther Martin spinner is another excellent brook trout fishing lure. It is a tad heavier and more compact than Rooster tail and Mepps spinners. Therefore, they are a better choice in larger, deeper rivers and lakes. They will cast a long distance on light line.

Anglers can shop Amazon from this link for Panther Martin spinners

4) Blue Fox spinners

blue fox spinner

Blue Fox spinners certainly have their loyal fans. Some anglers believe that it puts out a very distinct, and effective, vibration. Like the Panther Martin, it is heavier and more compact. It works best in slightly deeper or swifter water with a faster retrieve. It is a great lure for trolling deeper in lakes as well.

Anglers can shop Amazon from this link for Blue Fox spinners

Best spoons for rainbow trout fishing

A spoon is basically a curved piece of metal with a hook at the rear. Spoons are simple, yet very effective on brook trout and just about every other species. They work well on brook trout from small streams to the largest of lakes. Spoons can also be presented in a vertical manner, making them the top lure for ice fishing for brook trout.

ice fishing for brook trout

Spoons are relatively heavy for their size and cast a long way. The best retrieve is usually a steady one with the occasional pause or twitch. Anglers should vary the retrieve until a productive pattern emerges. Spoons put out a LOT of flash and vibration. They will call fish in from a distance.

Like most lures, spoons come in different sizes and finishes. Silver and gold are the most popular, though painted versions catch plenty of trout as well. Silver is best on sunny days while gold is preferred on cloudy days. Smaller sizes work best in smaller waters while the larger spoons are a better choice in lakes and larger rivers. A swivel should be used to reduce line twist when using spoons.

5) Kastmaster spoon

kastmaster

The Kastmaster spoon is very compact and dense. It is quite heavy for it’s size. Kastmaster spoons are a great spoon for fishing deeper lakes from the shoreline. It works well in larger, deeper rivers as well. Finally, it produces well when trolled.

Anglers can shop Amazon from this link for Kastmaster spoons

6) Acme Phoebe spoon

phoebe spoon

The Acme Phoebe spoon has been around a long time. It is a small, delicate spoon that is the ideal choice for brook trout fishing in smaller streams. Many spoons are too heavy for small streams. The Phoebe spoon flutters seductively in the current and trout love it. Phoebe spoons come in gold and silver, most anglers prefer gold. Both the 1/8 ounce and 1/12 ounce sizes are effective.

Anglers can shop Amazon from this link for Phoebe spoons

7) Luhr-Jensen Krocodile spoon

Krocodile spoon

The Lurhr-Jensen Krocodile spoon is a terrific bait for anglers seeking larger brook trout. It is fairly large and heavy, offering trout a substantial meal. Krocodile spoons are best used in larger rivers and lakes. It is a terrific lure for trolling up a big brookie.

Anglers can shop Amazon from this link for Krocodile spoons

Fishing for brook trout with plugs

Many anglers ignore plugs when it comes to fishing for brook trout. However, that is a mistake. As trout get larger, they begin to feed more on minnows and less on insects. They are seeking a more substantial meal. Plugs closely mimic small, wounded bait fish. They generally do not produce as many trout, but they are almost always larger.

Brook trout fishing in Minnesota

Most plugs float on the surface then dive down to a determined depth when retrieved. The depth it dives is a result of the size and shape of the bill. Most plugs have this information on the package, though some are “optimistic”. Plugs should match the size and color of the local forage.

Shallow diving plugs are extremely effective in rivers and streams. Tiny plugs work great in smaller streams. They are best used in the deeper sections and at the head and tail of riffles. Deeper diving plugs are used in lakes for anglers casting and trolling.

8) Rapala Original Floating Minnow

Rapala Ultralight floating minnow

The Rapala Original Floating Minnow still has it’s loyal following, and for good reason! This is an old-school bait that still catches plenty of fish. It works well in both streams and lakes and is terrific when trolled. It comes in many sizes and colors. A lot of veteran brook trout anglers prefer the original silver finish.

Anglers can shop Amazon from this link for Rapala Floating Minnow plugs

9) Flatfish

flatfish

The Flatfish is another classic bait that has a ton of built in action. It can be cast out and retrieved but is often trolled. One unusual technique is to simply let the plug back in the current and hold it in place. The Flatfish will vibrate in place in the current. This drives trout crazy!

Anglers can shop Amazon from this link for Flatfish plugs

Fishing for brook trout with jigs

Most anglers do not associate trout fishing with jigs. However, they can be effective lures for brook trout and tend to catch larger fish. Jigs mimic both bait fish and crustaceans. Those are the preferred forage of larger trout. Jigs are also effective through the ice.

best brook trout lures

Most anglers fishing for trout with jigs use the jig and grub combination. This allows for easy changing of tails to adapt to conditions. White and chartreuse generally imitate bait fish. Darker colors such as olive and rootbeer look like crayfish and nymphs.

These baits work very well when drifted along with the current in riffles. They can also be used in slower, deeper holes. Anglers fishing in lakes will catch fish as well. They can be trolled if the jig heads are heavy enough.

12) Mister Twister Teeny grub

mister twister

The Mister Twister Teeny Grub is an excellent soft plastic lure for brook trout. It has a very life like action on the water, particularly in current. It works well in small streams on a very light jig head.

Anglers can shop Amazon from this link for Mister Twister Teeny grubs

13) Gulp Alive Minnow

gulp alive minnow

The Gulp Alive Minnow kind of bridges the gap between live bait and artificial lures. It is heavily scented and also has great action in the water. It is most often fished on a light jig head in a manner similar to other jigs. Brook trout will hold on to it longer due to the scent.

Anglers can shop Amazon from this link for Gulp! Alive Minnows

In conclusion, this article on the best 11brook trout fishing lures will help anglers catch more of these very popular freshwater game fish!

 

 

7 Essential Striped Bass Fishing Lures

7 Essential Striped Bass Fishing Lures

This post will list the 7 essential striped bass fishing lures. Striped bass are a very popular game fish. While anglers certainly catch plenty of fish using live and cut bait, many anglers prefer to use artificial lures.

striped bass fishing lures

The 7 essential striped bass fishing lures are:

  • Spro bucktail jig
  • Kastmaster spoon
  • Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait
  • Atom Popper
  • Gulp
  • Diamond jig
  • Bunker spoon

Striped bass are a bit unusual in that they thrive in both freshwater and saltwater. In the oceans and bays, striped bass migrate up rivers to spawn. In many cases, they go way upriver to where it is totally fresh water. Consequently, striped bass have been stocked in large reservoirs with great success!

Striped bass feed mainly on bait fish, though they certainly happily devour crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp as well. Most striped bass fishing lures imitate bait fish. The main lure types are plugs, spoons, jigs, metals, and soft plastic baits. All of them will produce fish when properly presented.

striped bass fishing tips

One of the most confusing aspects of using artificial lures in the selection. In this article, Capt Jim will list his favorite lures in each category. These are time proven striped bass fishing lures that will catch fish anywhere. This will help simplify the process of stocking the tackle box while having a striped bass fishing lure for every situation than an angler will face.

Striped bass tackle

The tackle required for striped bass fishing varies greatly depending on the size of the fish, water depth, current, and bait size. Both spinning tackle and conventional tackle are used successfully.

Anglers can click this link to read a comprehensive article by Capt Jim on striped bass fishing tackle

Spro bucktail jig

bucktail jig

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Jigs are the oldest artificial lure used by humans to catch fish. A jig is a hook with aq piece of metal, usually lead, molded near the head. This weight provides for casting distance, depth control, and it gives the lure it’s erratic action. Jigs can be bare with a soft plastic tail or can have some synthetic or natural hair tied on.

The Spro bucktail jig is number one on the list of seven essential striped bass fishing lures. In fact, it is Capt. Jim’s favorite. The main reason for this is the versatility of this lure. Bucktail jigs can be fished effectively throughout the entire water column, from the surface all the way to the bottom. It can be cast, trolled, or vertically jig.

light tackle trolling in saltwater

White bucktail jigs have been very effective striped bass fishing lures for decades. They are simple yet very productive. White is the most popular color as it matches most saltwater forage species. However, often times the jig is tied with a contrasting darker color such as olive or purple. Many bait fish species are silvery or white on the bottom and dark along the top.

The Spro bucktail jig is available in a wide variety of sizes in several colors. As mentioned, is hard to go wrong with all white. Anglers should match the weight of the jig to the depth of the water, current, and size of the locally available forage. This bait is made from quality components which will hold up under harsh saltwater fishing conditions.

Kastmaster spoon

kastmaster

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Spoons are another simple yet extremely effective striped bass fishing lure. A spoon is basically a curved piece of metal with a hook in it. The size and shape of the metal will determine the action in the water. Slender spoons have a tight wiggle and are generally work quickly. Wider spoons are worked more slowly and have a more distinct wobble.

The Kastmaster spoon is second on Capt. Jim’s list of seven essential striped bass fishing lures. Once again, a key to its effectiveness is the versatility of this bait. The cast master spoon is a bit more slender and has an excellent action in the water when trolled, cast, or fished vertically over structure. It is a dense bait that cast a long way, making it a favorite of surf anglers and those fishing from other shore locations.

inshore saltwater fishing

The spoon puts out a lot of flash and vibration as it is worked through the water. As with jigs, this type of spoon can be worked throughout the entire water column. It is extremely effective when striped bass are found feeding on the surface. Long casts are often required in this situation. It is also very effective when trolled and is often heavy enough to be trolled without any additional weight. When striped bass are holding over deep structure, the Kastmaster spoon is an excellent choice.

The Kastmaster spoon is available in several sizes and many different color patterns. The all silver with a white bucktail dressing on the hook is an extremely popular and effective combination. The spoon is available with a single hook which facilitates an easier release. The silver with a neon blue finish is also an excellent color choice.

Rapaa X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait

Rapala x-rap

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Hard bodied plugs are extremely effective lures for striped bass and just about every other game fish species. These lures come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. However, they all basically fish the same. The size and shape of the body along with the size and shape of the lip will determine the action and the depth that which the lore will dive.

Plugs put out a lot a flash and vibration. Bass fishing circles, they are known as jerk baits. These lures can be cast out and retrieved back in using an erratic stop and go action. Many strikes occur on the pause, as the bait sits there motionless. Wounded baitfish wobble from side to side and put out flash and vibration, which these lures imitate very realistically.

Susquehanna River striped bass

The Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait is Capt. Jim’s favorite jerk bait. It is a must have lure for every serious striped bass angler in both freshwater and saltwater. They come in a wide variety of color patterns and several sizes. The number 10 and number 12 sizes are excellent choices for most situations. White and olive are excellent all round color combinations.

These lures are extremely effective when trolled as well. The Rapala X Rap comes in a deep diving version which has a larger lip. This makes it very easy to present a bait in the 15 foot to 20 foot deep area of the water column. The standard version with the shallow diving lip is excellent when fish are feeding on or near the surface or when casting to shoreline structure.

Atom Popper

atom popper

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Some plugs are fished entirely on the surface. These are known as top water plugs. They come in different variations with a concave face which is known as a Popper, conical plugs, and those with propellers. Poppers work very well and are easy to use for even novice anglers. It is very exciting to see a big striped bass take a top water plug.

The Atom Popper is number four on Capt. Jim’s list of seven essential striped bass fishing lures. It is an established lure that has been around a long time. It is a favorite of surf anglers as well as those fishing from jetties and other shoreline spots. It is fairly heavy and cast a long way.

striped bass fishing spots

Top water lures are an excellent choice whenever striped bass and other species are seen feeding on the surface. The lure is worked fairly aggressively with hard jerks of the rod tip which results in a splash and commotion emitting from the lure. It is then allowed to set still for a moment. This is often when the strike occurs. Striped bass will rise up a surprising distance in order to attack a top water plug, especially when the water is clear.

Gulp baits

Soft plastic baits have revolutionized both freshwater and saltwater fishing since they were first introduced in the mid-1970s. There are several reasons for their effectiveness. Soft plastic lures come in many different sizes, shapes, and colors which allow anglers to easily and quickly match the locally available forage. They mimic both bait fish and crustaceans.

striped bass fishing tackle

Most anglers fishing for striped bass and using soft plastics opt for swim baits or shad style tales. This is a bait that resembles a bait fish and has a paddle tail on the rear. When worked through the water, it puts out a very realistic action and vibration. As with all artificial lures, the best approach is to try and match the size and color of the soft plastic bait to the locally available forage.

Capt. Jim’s favorite soft plastic lure by far is the gulp line of products. These have a revolutionary design that has an incredible sent factor included. There are several different gulp baits which work very well for striped bass and every other freshwater and saltwater species. These soft plastic baits are most often fished on a bear jig head, which provides both casting weight and a hook in one tidy unit.

Gulp Jerk Shad

gulp jerk shad

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The Gulp Jerk Shad is a long slender bait that has a terrific action and the water. Like all of these baits, it is fished on a jig head, the size of which is determined by the depth of the water and current speed. White is an excellent all round color. The best retrieve is one where the lure is allowed to sink and then jerked back to the boat and in erratic manner.

Gulp Paddle Shad

paddleshad

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The newest member of the Gulp line up is the paddle Shad. What makes this a bit different is the fact that it is offered in several sizes between 3 inches and 6 inches long. It is available and several very lifelike color combinations to match shad, herring, menhaden, and just about anything else a striped bass will feed on. Often times a slow steady retrieve works best to let the action of the tail attract the fish. It can be trolled as well.

Gulp Swimming Mullet

swimming mullet

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The Gulp Swimming Mullet has a curly tail or twister tail. This puts out a terrific, though more subtle action in the water. Is an excellent choice and just about any watercolor or fishing condition. The twister tale is very effective when jig off the bottom as in helicopters back down.

Gulp eel

gulp eel

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Eels are a favorite live bait in forage of striped bass. The Gulp Eel is a terrific bait for striped bass and were present cobia. Both of these species are known to have an affinity for eels. It is most effective when fished slowly on the bottom which is where eels live. This is more of a “big fish” bait for anglers seeking a trophy striped bass.

Diamond jig

diamond jig

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The Diamond Jig is a relatively unassuming little lure, but don’t let that fool you. It is an extremely effective striped bass fishing lure that is been catching fish for a long time. It is a long and slender shiny piece of metal, usually led, with a hook in the rear. It can be cast out, trolled, or used in a vertical presentation.

The Diamond jig really shines when fish are a bit fussy and more reluctant to bite. It is number six on Capt. Jim’s list of seven essential striped bass fishing lures. Anglers are often faced with clear water this bait has a much more subtle action. In ways, it really is a bit of a finesse presentation. When worked through the water, it does not put out a lot of flash or action. However, it is just enough to resemble a wounded bait fish.

This lure works best when striped bass are feeding on small, slender forage such as glass minnows, anchovies, and sand eels. While it can be cast out, it’s design works better for trolling and vertically jigging, especially while drifting over structure. Heavier models in the 2 ounce to 3 ounce range can certainly be cast out effectively by anglers using spinning tackle. Silver is the predominant finish.

Bunker spoon

bunker spoon

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The Bunker spoon is a larger and wider spoon with a very distinctive action. It is a bit of a specialty bait which was really designed for striped bass fishing in the Northeast off of the New England coast. Striped bass there feed heavily on menhaden. These are a wide bait fish species in the Bunker spoon does an excellent job of mimicking this forage.

In conclusion, this article on the 7 essential striped bass fishing lures will help anglers catch more fish!

 

Top 13 Chesapeake Bay Game Fish

Top 14 Chesapeake Bay Game Fish

This post will list the top 14 Chesapeake Bay Game fish. Chesapeake Bay and it’s tributaries make up an amazing estuary that supports many game fish species. As salinity levels drop up and the waters become more brackish, freshwater game fish become more plentiful.

striped bass

The top 14 Chesapeake Bay game fish are:

  • Striped bass (rockfish)
  • cobia
  • flounder
  • red drum
  • back drum
  • speckled trout
  • Spanish mackerel
  • Bluefish
  • white perch
  • croaker
  • smallmouth bass
  • largemouth bass
  • blue catfish
  • channel catfish

Top 13 Cheasapeake Bay game fish species

Capt Jim Klopfer runs fishing charters in Sarasota Florida. However, he was born in Washington D.C. And grew up fishing the waters of the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. Here is his list of the top 13 Chesapeake Bay game fish, in no particular order.

Anglers can read about the tackle Capt Jim uses for inshore fishing

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Striped bass

The undisputed king of Chesapeake Bay is the striped bass. It is known locally as “rockfish” or just “rock”. Chesapeake Bay is the primary spawning grounds for most of the striped bass on the east coast of the United States. It is a perfect environment with many tributary rivers and brackish water.

top 13 Chesapeake Bay game fish

Striped bass feed on both crustaceans and bait fish. Chesapeake Bay is famous for it’s blue crabs, which striped bass enjoy every bit as much as humans do! Large striped bass make a seasonal migration throughout Chesapeake Bay. Striped bass populations have seen their ups and downs. In the early 80’s, anglers could hardly catch one. Now, they are the top predator species in Chesapeake Bay. Striped bass are excellent to eat, but anglers should be responsible in their fishing.

Read more about striped bass fishing tackle and lures

Spring will find striped bass moving up into rivers to spawn. All major tributaries will see a run of fish. One unusual aspect of this large fishery is that there are no man made dams to stop fish movements, other than Cowingo on the Susquehanna, at the top of the bay. This allows for the fish to move quite a way up the rivers. At the northern end of Chesapeake Bay is the Susquehanna flats. This area offers anglers the chance to catch huge striped bass in shallow water.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge striped bass

By mid summer, striped bass are found throughout the bay. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge is a hot spot, as are the Choptank, and mouth of the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers. Really, all of the middle bay area should have fish.

By fall, the striped bass have moved south to the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. There is one last flurry at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel before the season winds down. Some very big fish are caught here in late fall!

inshore saltwater fishing

Cobia

Cobia are a terrific game fish that have become more plentiful in recent years. However, there is a danger of over fishing them, as they are fantastic to eat. Cobia used to be found at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. However, they can be caught almost anywhere in the warmer months.

cobia fishing tackle and lures

Cobia have an interesting behavior of cruising right along the surface. This results in anglers having the ability to sight cast to them using lures and live bait. This is very exciting as cobia can grow to 100 pounds!

Click to read more about cobia fishing tackle and lures

Cobia also love structure. Anglers can bottom fish for them on ledges and dropoffs, around bridges, jetties, rock piles, and channel markers. Jigs are the top lure while live eels are the best live bait.

Flounder

Flounder put up a nice little fight when hooked, but they are prized by anglers for their incredible fillets. They are in the “flatfish” family, all of which are terrific on a dinner plate.

Chesapeake Bay fish species

Flounder are predator fish that hide in the bottom and attach prey as it comes by in the current. Anglers target flounder by presenting their offering on or very close to the bottom. Most anglers use live or fresh cut bait, but jigs will produce as well. The fish will most often be found in the sandy areas adjacent to structure such as rocks or bridges.

Read more about flounder and fluke fishing

Flounder numbers are not what they once were. This is mostly due to their high quality fillets. However, management strategies are helping and flounder are rebounding in Chesapeake Bay.

Red Drum

Red drum are another species that are doing well in Chesapeake Bay. Smaller versions are known as “puppy drum”. In the southern states they are “redfish” or “reds”, it is all the same fish.

best Chesapeake Bay game fish

Red drum grow very large, well over 50 pounds. They feed primarily on crustaceans, and the abundance of crabs is certainly an attraction. The schools of big fish are often found in the deeper water, though they will move shallow to feed as well. They are also caught by anglers surf fishing the beaches of Assateague and Chincoteague.They are less tolerant of fresh water are are rarely caught north of the Bay Bridge.

Read more about fishing for red drum

Smaller drum will also be found in schools, often times in shallow water. They are great fun on light tackle and will readily take a jig and grub. Most anglers looking for a meal will do best to keep a couple smaller fish and release the large ones, they can be wormy and those big fish are mostly breeder females, which are best left to reproduce.

Black Drum

Black drum are a cousin to the red drum. They school up in large numbers in late summer and grow quite large. The area around Smith Island at the Maryland Virginia border is a top spot. They are usually found in deep water.

Chesapeake Bay game fish

Black drum are less likely to be caught by anglers using lures. The vast majority are caught on natural bait, with crab being the top choice. As with red drum, the smaller fish are much better to eat, larger drum tend to get wormy. They are great fun to catch, though!

Smaller black drum are found in the same types are areas as red drum. Oyster bars are top spots as drum feed primarily on crustaceans. Man made structure including docks, bridges, seawalls, and jetties will attract black drum as well.

Speckled Trout

Speckled trout, also known as “specks” or spotted sea trout, are another recent visitor to Chesapeake Bay. They have become more numerous in recent years. Back in the day, weakfish, a similar species, were abundant, not so any more. The improving water quality and abundance of bait are probably reasons for this.

Chesapeake Bay speckled trout

Speckled trout have a very diverse diet. They feed on both crustaceans and bait fish. They are often found on large flats in 5′ to 10′ of water. Drifting and casting jigs or bouncing a live or cut bait on the bottom will catch them. A lead head jig with a grub body works very well. In cooler water, speckled trout can be found schooled up in deeper water.

Get more spotted sea trout fishing tips here!

Speckled trout are fantastic eating! They are the most popular inshore species from Texas around to the Carolinas. As with most fish, the medium sized fish are best to keep while the big girls should be released to spawn. Most trout will be found from the Choptank River south to the mouth of the bay.

Spanish mackerel

Spanish mackerel are another southern species that has ranged up into the southern portion of Chesapeake Bay. They are primarily found in the summer and early fall. Spanish mackerel school up in big numbers and feed aggressively. They are very good to eat, though should be prepared within a day or two of catching them. Mackerel do not freeze well.

Spanish mackerel fishing in Florida

It is very exciting to encounter schools of Spanish mackerel feeding on the surface. On a calm day, this can be seen from a long way off. Just about any fast moving shiny lure will catch them. If the fish go down, anglers can usually mark them on the bottom machine and get them to bite a spoon or jig.

Trolling is another excellent technique used to catch Spanish mackerel. It will also produce bluefish, striped bass and other species. Anglers use planers and sinkers to get the lure down in the water column. Mackerel respond to fast moving lures, 5-6 knots works well.

Bluefish

Bluefish one ruled Chesapeake Bay, not so anymore. When Capt Jim was a youngster (late 70’s) big bluefish terrorized the bay. 10 pound blues were not uncommon. The resurgence of striped bass in the mid 80s seems to have displaced the bluefish. They have always been a cyclical species. Bluefish are found in the saltier portions of Chesapeake Bay.

fishing Siesta Key

Bluefish are voracious predators. They feed in packs and are very aggressive. They can be caught by anglers casting and drifting lures as well as on cut bait. Surf casters catch them all along the Atlantic coast. Bluefish have a strong meat, and though decent when eaten right away, few anglers prize them for their fillets.

White perch

Some anglers may not consider white perch a game fish, but Capt. Jim does. When caught on ultralight spinning tackle or a light fly rod, these little saltwater panfish put up an excellent fight. They are also one of the best eating fish found in Chesapeake Bay. They do not grow large, with 12 inches being a very nice fish. However, when the larger “black backs” as they are locally called move in, it is great fun.

white perch

Most anglers target white perch in the spring when they move into the smaller creeks to spawn. Deeper holes and outside bends can hold large concentrations of fish. It is not uncommon to sit in one good spot and catch as many fish as an angler needs. Live bait is most often use, with blood worms, nightcrawlers, and razor clams being the top baits. They will certainly hit small artificial lures such as a jig or spoon.

Croaker

Atlantic croaker are another very popular bottom fish found in Chesapeake Bay. Locally known as “hard heads”, croaker grow to 20 inches and put up a very good fight for their size. They are especially known for how hard they strike a bait. Most croaker are found in schools and slightly deeper water. Areas of rocky bottom, oyster, and ledges are prime spots.

Chesapeake Bay fish species

The vast majority of croaker are landed by anglers bottom fishing with live or cut bait. Peeler crab, nightcrawlers, blood worms, razor clams, strips of cut bait, and even live minnows will fool them. Croaker are outstanding eating, but do have a lot a bones in a fairly large rib cage. They are not as abundant as in years past.

Smallmouth bass

Not a lot of anglers associate smallmouth bass with Chesapeake Bay. However, the upper reaches of the Chesapeake Bay along with the upper reaches of many of the tributary rivers, especially on the west side, offer anglers excellent smallmouth bass fishing. They are a little less tolerant of saltwater than are their largemouth bass cousins.

smallmouth bass fishing tackle and lures

The Susquehanna River is a terrific smallmouth bass fishery. Plenty of them find their way into the brackish portion of the river below Cowingo dam. Anglers target them with artificial lures such as spinner baits and jerk baits, just as they would and most other freshwater lakes. The upper reaches of the Rappahannock River, James River, and Potomac River also have plenty of smallmouth bass. While smallmouth bass are good to eat, most anglers practice catch and release.

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass are much more tolerant of brackish water than are smallmouth bass. In fact, some of the best bass fishing in the United States occurs in these areas where freshwater and saltwater mix. The reason for this is the abundance of forage; there is just so much for the fish to eat. Most of largemouth bass caught in the Chesapeake Bay estuary are very healthy, chunky fish.

Chesapeake Bay bass

The eastern shore rivers in particular are noted for excellent smallmouth bass fishing. The Chopank River, Sassafras River, Nanticoke River, Wicomico River, and Pocomoke River all offer excellent fishing for largemouth bass. The same is true for the large shallow Susquehanna flats at the headwaters of Chesapeake Bay.

Blue catfish

There is a lot of controversy surrounding blue catfish in the Chesapeake Bay system. These are apex predators which grow in excess of 100 pounds. They have been stocked and several of the larger reservoirs to offer anglers an opportunity for a very large freshwater fish to target. Some have escaped into the rivers and have thrown off the natural balance, especially affecting smallmouth bass in rivers such as the James and Rappahannock.

chesapeake Bay blue catfish

Some anglers are actually targeting blue catfish in Chesapeake Bay. As mentioned, they grow very large and put up a terrific fight. Also, the fillets are snow white and flaky. Many consider blue Is to be the best eating fish of all the catfish species. Time will tell how they affect the fishery, but as of now they are here to stay.

Channel catfish

Channel catfish are native to all of the tributary rivers of Chesapeake Bay. They are found in both the freshwater and brackish portions of most of the rivers. They are quite plentiful in the upper Chesapeake Bay as well. Channel catfish average 3 to 5 pounds and put up a nice little tussle on light to medium tackle. They are very good eating!

fishing for freshwater catfish

Channel catfish have a wide and varied diet. While most anglers fish for them using live or cut bait, channel catfish will most certainly take and artificial lure. They get a bit of a bad reputation as being a bottom feeder the prefer some kind of rotting, stinking bait. This is far from the truth. Many a bass fisherman has been surprised when a channel catfish has taken the lure and convince the angler that a trophy bass was hooked.

In conclusion, this article on the top 14 Chesapeake Bay game fish will help anglers identify the species and better understand how and where to catch them.

Best 14 Tampa Bay Fishing Spots

Best 14 Tampa Bay Fishing Spots

This post will list the 14 best Tampa Bay fishing spots. Tampa Bay is an incredible fishery located on the west coast of Florida. It offers anglers a chance to catch just about every inshore saltwater species in Florida.

The top 14 Tampa Bay fishing sports are;

  1. Bean Point
  2. The Bulkhead
  3. Emerson Point
  4. Manatee River
  5. Terra Ceia Bay
  6. Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier and bridge
  7. Fort Desota Park
  8. Egmont Key
  9. Tampa Bay shipping channel
  10. Skyway Fishing Pier State Park
  11. Bishop’s Harbor
  12. Port Manatee
  13. Cockroach Bay and Apollo Beach
  14. Weedon Island

Capt Jim Klopfer runs fishing charters in Sarasota, Florida, just a bit to the south. He gets up to Tampa Bay on a regular basis. The spots are mostly larger areas. Detail will be given as to species, tides, seasons, and techniques for each Tampa Bay fishing spot.

Tampa Bay fishing spots

Best 14 Tampa Bay fishing spots

Here are Capt Jim’s top 14 fishing spots in Tampa Bay. Most of them are in the southern portion of Tampa Bay. Fishing is good in the northern part of the bay, particularly in the cooler months. Year round, this part of Tampa Bay offers the best fishing.

1)  Bean Point

Bean Point is in a very strategic location, right at the southern mouth of Tampa Bay. Obviously, it gets excellent current flow. The long shallow bar extending north of Bean Point is an excellent spot to fish for snook in the summer when they move out onto the beaches. Anglers can sight fish for tarpon there as well. Schools of permit will also be seen moving across the bar.

11 fantastic Tampa Bay fishing tips

The deeper water off of Bean Point is an excellent area for a variety of species including pompano, Spanish mackerel, tarpon, ladyfish, and more. Anglers can cast to schools of breaking fish on the surface as well as drift through the area while bouncing jigs off of the bottom. Flats on the inside and Anna Maria sound hold speckled trout, snook, and redfish.

Anglers can watch this video or click on this link to read more about the tackle that Capt Jim uses on his fishing charters

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There are two fishing piers on the north end of Anna Maria Island right near Bean Point that offer access to anglers without a boat. Due to the current flow and abundance of bait, these are two of the better fishing piers in the area. Spanish mackerel runs can be legendary! Bottom fish such as sheepshead and snapper are caught in the cooler months. Monster snook will hang out under the piers as well. The Kingfish boat ramp is a short distance away to the south just off of Manatee Avenue.

2)  The Bulkhead

The Bulkhead is a legendary fishing spot in South Tampa Bay. It is basically a shallow sandbar area that lies between the mouth of Anna Maria Sound and the mouth of the Manatee River. With deeper water on all sides an excellent current flow along with a nice mixture of grass and sand, it makes for an ideal fishing spot for just about every species available in Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay redfish

This is also a very popular spot for both guides and recreational anglers to catch bait in the warmer months. Once again, the same factors that attract game fish attract the bait fish. Clean salty water coming in from the Gulf of Mexico along with the nice mixture of grass and sand make this an excellent spot to load up on bait in the morning.

Anglers can read more Tampa Bay fishing tips in this article by Capt Jim

The deeper grass flats and edges that drop off into slightly deeper water will hold speckled trout, mackerel, pompano, jacks, bluefish, cobia, ladyfish, and more. Drifting these areas while casting jigs or live bait works very well. The shallow flats to the east are excellent for finding schools of redfish and snook. A low incoming tide is preferred.

3)  Emerson Point

Emerson Point is another excellent and strategically located fishing spot. It is on a point that lies between the mouth of the Manatee River to the south in the mouth of Terra Ceia Bay to the north. There is a great park at Emerson Point with excellent access to anglers who like to wade. There is also a nice canoe and kayak launch as well.

Tampa Bay fishing tips

The best fishing is right off of the point into Tampa Bay and then around to the east and north. Massive areas of shallow grass mixed with deeper potholes offer outstanding fishing for redfish, snook, speckled trout, and jacks. Anglers do well casting weedless spoons and soft plastic baits in the shallow water. Top water plugs can be fun as well.

Anglers can click this link to read a comprehensive article on fishing for snook

Chumming with live bait is certainly a very productive and reliable method, especially in the warmer months. Anglers anchor the boat up tide of a slightly deeper hole in the grass or a nice mangrove shoreline with deeper water. A few minutes of chumming with live bait will let anglers know whether there are game fish in the area.

4)  Manatee River

The Manatee River offers excellent fishing from the mouth at Tampa Bay at Snead Island all the way up river to the dam at Lake Manatee. DeSoto National Memorial Park on the Bradenton side offers access for anglers wading and using kayaks and canoes. Expansive shallow flats are excellent for chasing redfish and snook.

fishing for snook in Tampa Bay

Docks, bridges, and other man-made structure from this point up river to the I 75 bridge offer excellent fishing for just about every species. Snook are plentiful, with some of the fish growing quite large. Redfish, trout, jacks, flounder, snapper, drum, and more will also be caught. Casting a live shrimp on a jig head is a very effective technique. Shallow diving plugs are also productive and allow anglers to cover a lot of water.

In the wintertime, snook and jack crevalle will move up river seeking warmer water. There is a new boat ramp and park a few miles east of I 75 at Ft. Hamer. The ramp is very nice and can accommodate a fairly large boat. The stretch of water between Fort Hamer and the I 75 bridge can be very good in the winter. The river does get quite shallow a few miles east of the Fort Hamer ramp.

river snook fishing

5)  Terra Ceia Bay

Terra Ceia Bay is an excellent little estuary that offers fine fishing, though it is mostly suited to anglers with boats. There is some access for waders and kayaks at the SR 19 bridge. The west and north parts of the bay are best as there are miles of shallow flats with small islands and mangrove shorelines mixed in. This can be a good spot to fish when wind is an issue.

fishing for sea trout

Terra Ciea Bay offers anglers the classic Florida shallow water experience. Those who prefer to use artificial lures will do well with weedless spoons and soft plastic lures on weedless swim bait hooks. Much of the water is shallow with grassy bottom. Topwater plugs can be effective as well, particularly at high tide.

Read more about spotted sea trout fishing

Anglers using live bait will do well fishing a live shrimp under a popping cork on the deeper grass flats as well as chumming with live bait. Speckled trout will normally be found in slightly deeper grass, from 4 feet deep to 6 feet deep. Snook and redfish are more apt to be caught on the bars, along mangrove shorelines, and in the potholes.

6)  Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier and bridge

The Sunshine Skyway fishing pier is the longest fishing pier in the world. It extends out on both sides of Tampa Bay from the Palmetto side on the south end the St. Petersburg side on the north. It is the remnants of the original sunshine Skyway bridge which was damaged in an accident in the early 1980s.

Tampa Bay fishing tips

This pier offers anglers without a boat outstanding fishing! The pier itself creates abundant structure which attracts massive schools of baitfish which then in turn attracts game fish. Just about every species can be caught here, including snook, redfish, Spanish mackerel, gag grouper, mangrove snapper, sheepshead, flounder, drum, ladyfish, and more. Trophy cobia and the king mackerel are even caught on occasion.

One great aspect of this fishing pier is that it is very convenient. Anglers can fish a few steps from their vehicle and bait is readily available to either be purchased or caught. There are artificial reefs off of the ends of both peers which can be accessed by both anglers fishing from the pier and in boats. Anglers fishing from boats should give the pier anglers plenty of room to fish.

top 8 Sarasota fish species

Anglers with boats will have similar fishing around and under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge as well. It is not legal to tie up to or anchor under the bridge, but anglers can drift and work the bottom structure for snapper, grouper, and more. Giant tarpon are caught at night in the shadow line. Mackerel can be thick at times.

7)  Fort Desoto State Park

Fort Desoto Park is one of the coolest and most unique fishing spots in Florida. It covers a large area and offers anglers just about every type of fishing environment. Huge backwater areas are excellent for redfish and snook. Many of these areas prohibit any type of gas propulsion, which means less fishing pressure and disturbances. The normal shallow water lures and baits work well in this situation.

Anglers do very well fishing from the beach for a variety of species from the mouth of Tampa Bay around to the north and into Bunces Pass. Sight fishing for snook is very productive in the summer time and offers great sport along with the chance to catch a truly large fish on light tackle. Spanish mackerel are available in the spring and fall. Whiting can be plentiful in the wintertime.

fishing in Tampa Bay

There are two fishing piers and Fort Desoto Park as well. One extends out into the Gulf of Mexico and the other into Tampa Bay. Both can be productive, though the Gulf fishing pier is generally more reliable. Runs of Spanish mackerel are legendary and when they occur every angler on the pier gets bit. Sheepshead and other bottom fish are plentiful in the winter.

The big shallow bar just off of Fort Desoto Park is a terrific Tampa Bay fishing spot for tarpon in the summer. Anglers in skiffs will sit patiently while waiting for a shot at the Silver King. In the spring and the fall Spanish mackerel and false albacore are fairly reliable. Anglers can troll, cast lures into breaking fish, or drift with live bait.

8)  Egmont Key 

Egmont Key sits right in the middle of the mouth of Tampa Bay. There is excellent current flow and Steve drop-offs on both sides of the key. Flats to the west of Egmont Key are good for tarpon in the summer. Deeper edges and drop-offs hold bottom fish such as snapper and grouper along with pelagic species including Spanish and king mackerel.

Spanish mackerel fishing in Florida

An artificial reef was constructed a bit east of Egmont Key in around 10 feet of water, near the drop off into the main channel. The coordinates are,

N 27-35 W 82-44.6 Anglers can find a list of Tampa Bay artificial reefs in this link.

This structure attracts bottom fish, mostly mangrove snapper but some grouper as well along with sheepshead in the winter. It is an excellent spot to anchor and chum for Spanish mackerel in the spring and the fall.

9) Tampa Bay shipping channel

The Tampa Bay shipping channel is a terrific fishing spot! This is especially true in the winter and early spring, but fall can be good as well. Dredging efforts resulted in steep drop-offs and rocky ledges. The most productive areas are where the flat drops off sharply into the deeper shipping channel. This area holds huge gag grouper along with mangrove snapper and sheepshead on the bottom.

One technique that is very effective when fishing for large grouper in the Tampa Bay shipping channel in the winter is trolling with large plugs. Several companies manufacture plugs that are designed to get down 30 feet deep or more. The Mann’s Stretch 30 really started this type of fishing and still remains an excellent lure. The best approach is to zigzag back and forth across the drop off between 20 and 50 feet of water.

saltwater fishing spoons

Tides are very important when fishing the Tampa Bay shipping channel. It is virtually impossible to anchor and bottom fish when the tide is running hard. Therefore, the best times to try to anchor and bottom fish are during slack tides. Mangrove snapper, sheepshead, flounder, grouper, and other species will be caught.

Large king mackerel are caught in the shipping channel as well in the spring and the fall. This is mostly done by anglers using a specialized technique where they slowly troll large live bait fish, with blue runners being the top choice. Trolling spoons with planers will also produce smaller king mackerel and plenty of Spanish mackerel.

10)  Skyway Fishing Pier State Park

The causeway that runs through the Skyway fishing pier State Park gives anglers without a boat a ton of access to the shallow flats in this area. Wading is very effective at and is easily done as there are plenty of spots to pull over to enter the water. Also, due to the geography, anglers can always find a protected area to fish. Anglers can also launch kayaks and canoes in the spots.

best live baits for saltwater fishing in Florida

Anglers with boats can certainly do well fishing this area. The shallow flats will hold redfish while the deeper flats will have spotted sea trout, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, and other species. Several bridges offer excellent bottom fishing sheepshead in the winter and mangrove snapper all year long. Larger fish such as big snook and tarpon will be found under these bridges, particularly at night.

11)  Bishop’s Harbor

Bishop’s Harbor is a protected small bay on the southeast part of Tampa Bay. It is a bit of a mini Tampa Bay, offering anglers the chance to catch all of the primary game fish species found in this area. Mangrove shorelines and potholes will hold snook and redfish. Speckled trout will be found in the slightly deeper areas as well as along the bars.

Florida saltwater fishing in winter

There is a large area for kayaks, canoes and small skiffs at 8701 Bishop Harbor Rd., Palmetto, FL, 34221. This is a fairly primitive ramp. Anglers can certainly enter Bishop’s Harbor from the main Tampa Bay itself. This is an excellent spots to try on a breezy day when the open and exposed waters are difficult to fish.

12)  Port Manatee 

The Port Manatee area is another excellent Tampa Bay fishing spot. There are a lot of spoil islands which were the result of dredging to create the channel into the port. These bars that drop off into deeper water are excellent spots for trout, jacks, snook, and redfish. There are also many miles of mangrove shorelines and acres of shallow grass flats, especially south of the harbor to the mouth of Bishop’s Harbor.

top texas game fish

Man-made structure including docks and an artificial reef will hold game fish species along with bottom fish such as flounder, drum, sheepshead, and snapper. The artificial reef coordinates are N 27 39.79 and W 82 34.74

13)  Cockroach Bay and Apollo Beach

Cockroach Bay is an excellent spot for winter snook and redfish. It is a small little backwater area and outboard motors are prohibited. Anglers in small boats using electric motors and kayaks and canoes can find some excellent action as these fish do not see a ton of pressure. Tides are important and it can be difficult launching and fishing when the tide is running against the angler really hard. There is a decent boat ramp right at the mouth of Cockroach Bay at 5299 Cockroach Bay Road Ruskin, Florida 33570.

Sarasota fly fishing charters

Apollo Beach lies a bit to the north of Cockroach Bay and is just off of this map. The little Manatee River dumps into Tampa Bay just to the south of Apollo Beach. All of this offers excellent fishing for every species and Tampa Bay. Snook will be found along the mangrove shorelines and bars and will move up into the river in the cooler months. Redfish will be found in the same areas. Speckled trout, jacks, mackerel, and other species are found on the outside edges of the bars and on the deeper grass flats. There is a very nice boat ramp at E.G. Simmons Park.

The entire east side of Tampa Bay offers very good fishing in this area from Apollo Beach South to Cockroach Bay and North to the power plant. On low tide the fish will stage on the outside bars then move up to the mangrove shorelines as the tide comes in. There is also an artificial reef, the coordinates are N 27 44.89 and W 82 32.92.

14)  Weedon Island and Tampa Bay Bridges

Weedon Island Preserve offers anglers a refuge right in the middle of the city. This area sits just to the south of the Gandy bridge and is conveniently located, just to the north off of this map. Anglers can wade as well as there is access for kayaks and canoes. This is pretty much your standard shallow water fishing for snook, redfish, and trout. It does get a lot of pressure due to its convenient location. However, patient and persistent anglers will do well. The spot is generally best from fall through spring as fish migrate up into this portion of Tampa Bay.

In conclusion, this article on the best 14 Tampa Bay fishing spots will help anglers catch more fish!

 

What is the Best Striped Bass Fishing Lure?

The Best Striped Bass Fishing Lure is a White Bucktail Jig

Striped bass are a very popular game fish. They thrive in both fresh and salt water. Many striped bass are caught by anglers using live bait. However, many anglers pursue them using artificial lures. There are many effective striped bass fishing lures, but there is one bait that exceeds all others.

best striped bass lure

The best striped bass fishing lure is a white bucktail jig. There are several reasons for their success and productivity. Bucktail jigs are very versatile. They can be cast, trolled, and vertically presented. Bucktail jigs can effectively mimic bait fish and crustaceans. They are available in many sizes to cover every angling situation.

There is evidence to support the claim that a jig was the first fishing lure used by humans. A jig is basically a hook with weight, usually lead, molded in near the eye. This weight gives the lute it’s action and name. The hook is then dressed with some type of hair, synthetic or natural. Soft plastic tails are also used and are quite effective.

light tackle trolling in saltwater

White is a natural color for a fishing lure. Most bait fish are silvery or white in color. At the very least, almost all of them have a white belly. Some darker colors can be included to add contrast and a darker back. Of course, bucktail jigs are available in a wide variety of color patterns.

Best striped bass fishing lure

As mentioned above, the reason that the best striped bass fishing lure is a bucktail jig is the versatility of the bait. These lures can be used throughout the entire water column. Anglers can cast a bucktail jig to breaking fish on the surface, work the mid-depths by trolling or casting, and fish the bottom either by vertically jigging or drifting.

striped bass fishing tips and spots

As in most fishing situations, anglers who match the size of the bucktail jig to the available forage will usually have more success. Fortunately white bucktail jigs are available and just about every size and weight imaginable. Again, white bucktail jigs with some darker green or other natural color tide in will effectively mimic a pogy, sardine, herring, or other common forage of striped bass.

The weight of the bucktail jig is also an important consideration. There are several factors which will determine the best weight of jig to be used. The primary concerns are water depth and current speed. A 1/2 ounce jig may be fine for casting or drifting and water that is fairly shallow with little current flow. Conversely, anglers fishing in deep water with a strong current can go up as high as 6 ounces or more.

striped bass fishing tips

White bucktail jigs are just as effective for striped bass when freshwater fishing as they are in saltwater. Stocking of striped bass into freshwater reservoirs has been a huge success for fishery management officials. Most of these lakes and rivers were also stocked with forage species such as blueback herring. White bucktail jigs effectively imitate these species.

Best bucktail jigs for striped bass

Anglers have quite a selection when it comes to choosing the best white buck tail jig. There are many manufacturers who offer a quality lure. Capt. Jim Klopfer has been a fishing charter captain in Sarasota Florida since 1991. He also grew up fishing in Chesapeake Bay.

Spro jigs

bucktail jig

Capt. Jim’s favorite bucktail jig is the Spro jig. It is available in many different sizes and is a quality jig that will hold up to the rigors of saltwater fishing. While white is primarily used, there are many other color choices and combinations of the Spro jig to choose from.

Click here to shop Amazon for Spro jigs

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Sea Striker jigs

Sea Striker makes excellent bucktail jigs for striped bass. They are made from quality components and are quire durable. Sea Striker jigs come in a great variety of colors and sizes.

Click here to shop Amazon for Sea Striker jigs

VMC jigs

VMC jigs are a great choice for freshwater and saltwater anglers requiring a smaller jig.

Click to shop Amazon for VMC jigs

Adding a trailer to a bucktail jig

best striped bass fishing lure

As has been previously mentioned, one of the aspects of the bucktail jigs that makes it so effective is its versatility. One extremely effective technique is to add a soft plastic trailer on to the jig. Swim bait tales and yield tails are most commonly used in both can be extremely productive. These add both bulk and action to the bucktail jig. In fact, many anglers rarely fish this lure on its own.

Both live bait and cut bait can also be used in conjunction with a bucktail jig when fishing for striped bass. Live minnows and bait fish along with live eels can be hooked through the lips and fished effectively. Long, slender strips of cut bait that tapered to a point work extremely well on a bucktail jig, too.

Best striped bass rods and reels

There is no single rod and reel outfit that works best when fishing for striped bass with bucktail jigs. The size of the fish being pursued is the primary consideration. The size of the bucktail jig being used as a secondary factor, though it is tied to the size of the fish as well.

Oklahome striped bass

A medium action conventional or bait casting rod around 7 feet long with a matching real is an excellent all round combination when fishing with bucktail jigs for striped bass. This outfit will work very well for drift fishing, light trolling, and vertically jigging. Anglers can spool the real with 20 pound to 30 pound braided or monofilament fishing line.

Read a comprehensive article on striped bass tackle in this article

Spinning tackle certainly has its place when casting jigs for striped bass as well. This is particularly true when chasing schools of striped bass that are feeding on the surface. Anglers will often have to make a slightly longer cast while keeping the boat away from the feeding fish. Most anglers surf fishing you spinning tackle as well. The best all round spinning outfit for striped bass would be a 7 foot to 8 foot medium action rod with a 5000-6000 series reel.

Tailwater fishing for bass and catfish

Bucktail jig fishing techniques for striped bass.

There are several techniques that work very well when fishing a bucktail jigs for striped bass. These primarily are casting, drifting, and trolling. All three of these techniques will produce striped bass for anglers fishing in both freshwater and saltwater.

Casting bucktail jigs for striped bass

Bucktail jigs can be cast out and retrieved to catch striped bass in a variety of situations. Perhaps the most fun and exciting condition is when striped bass are feeding on the surface. The bucktail jig is cast to the edge of the school and worked back in an erratic manner. This will almost always elicit a strike from actively feeding fish.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge striped bass

Bucktail jigs can also be cast out towards shoreline structure and cover. Flats that are in 5 to 10 feet of water and then drop off sharply are prime spots. Striped bass will often stage on the edge of this drop in wait for the current to bring food to them. Any type of cover such as submerged or fallen timber, rocks and seawalls, docks, and bridges can all be prime spots to cast a jig for striped bass.

Drift fishing with bucktail jigs for striped bass

Drifting is an extremely effective technique that is used more when saltwater fishing manner freshwater. The reason for this is the strength of the tide. Tides will often move the boat along at 45 knots. Anglers simply bounce a jig off the bottom or work it in the mid-depths in search of fish. The main benefit in this type of fishing is that anglers can cover a lot of water in a relatively short period of time. Inlets are prime spots to drift fish for striped bass.

Trolling bucktail jigs for striped bass

Trolling catches a lot of striped bass for anglers fishing in both freshwater and saltwater. Once again, it allows anglers to cover a lot of water in a fairly short amount of time. Trolling also offers the advantage of being able to present multiple lures at various depths in search of fish. This can be a huge advantage when fish are scattered out throughout a large area or in different depths.

In conclusion, this article on the best striped bass fishing lure will encourage anglers to add a white buck tail jig to their tackle boxes!

 

What is the Best Fishing Bait for Channel Catfish?

The Best Fishing Bait for Channel Catfish are Nightcrawlers!

Catfish are very popular among freshwater anglers. Channel catfish are the most plentiful and widespread of the species. While channel catfish will occasionally take and artificial lure, the vast majority of them are caught by anglers using bait. There are many baits that are effective. However, there is one bait that is the best when fishing for channel catfish.

best fishing bait for channel catfish

The best fishing bait for channel catfish are live nightcrawlers. There are several reasons for this. First and foremost, channel catfish devour them greedily. Nightcrawlers are very economical to use. They are widely available and are sold at just about every bait shop and even department stores. Nightcrawlers are very easy to store and keep alive. Finally, nightcrawlers stay on the hook very well and catch just about every freshwater fish that swims.

Anglers have been fishing successfully with live worms for a very long time. There is evidence to support that they were the first live bait used on a hook. While worms are not really all that abundant in the water, for whatever reason just about every freshwater game fish species will readily take them.

best live bait for freshwater fishing

Nightcrawlers are even better than regular worms due to their size. A large live nightcrawler puts out a lot of scent as well as action as it wiggles seductively on the hook. Nightcrawlers represent a substantial meal as well. So, in conclusion, nightcrawlers have excellent action along with a great scent and taste. It is no wonder that they are the best fishing bait for channel catfish!

Best fishing tackle for channel catfish

The tackle that anglers fishing for channel catfish will use is dependent on a couple of factors. The primary factor is the size of the fish being pursued. Channel catfish are the most numerous of the catfish species, but there also the smallest. In general, channel catfish average 3 to 5 pounds. However, larger specimens are certainly a possibility.

best channel catfish bait

Water depth and current are the other two primary factors when it comes to choosing the best channel catfish fishing tackle. Many anglers pursue channel catfish and rivers, and for good reason. Rivers are a primary habitat for channel catfish. Obviously, deeper swifter rivers will require heavier tackle then will rivers that are more shallow with less current flow.

Click this link to read a comprehensive article on catfish tackle and gear

Both medium spinning tackle and bait casting tackle are both excellent choices when it comes to fishing for channel catfish. Anglers fishing from shore who need to make long cast will probably do better with spinning outfit. However, skilled anglers can certainly do well with conventional tackle. The best spinning outfit would be a 7 foot to 8 foot rod with a medium action and a 4002 5000 series real. Most anglers opt for braided line due to its thin diameter and strength. 20 pound to 30 pound braid works well.

Click this link to shop Amazon for a medium action spinning rod and reel

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best catfish fishing tackle and gear

Anglers choosing to fish with a conventional or bait casting outfit will do well to to something similar. A 7 foot to 8 foot rod with a stout butt section and a limber tip and matching real spooled up with 20 pound to 30 pound braided line is an excellent all round choice. This works especially well for anglers fishing from boats, were long casts are not a requirement. Bait casting tackle is also a better choice were larger fish are a possibility.

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Channel catfish hooks and rigs

There are many different choices when it comes to hooks when fishing with live bait for catfish. Many anglers have turned to circle hooks as they tend to end up in the mouth of the fish, thus reducing mortality rates. Other anglers still prefer to use “J” hooks. There really is no wrong answer, it is just a matter of angler preference. 2/0 “J” hooks and 5/0 circle hooks are good all-around size is when fishing for average sized channel catfish.

channel catfish fishing bait

While channel catfish are most often found on or near the bottom, there are several different ways to present a live nightcrawler to them. The most commonly used rig would be the sliding sinker rig, also known as a Carolina rig. This consists of a sinker with a hole in the center, which the running line slides through. A swivel is then tied on, which not only stops the sinker but facilitates use of a leader. A short leader is used between the swivel and the hook.

This rig allows catfish to pick up the bait and move off a bit without feeling the weight of the sinker. Is a very effective rig for catfish and just about any other bottom feeding species. Many anglers opt for special flat catfish sinkers which sit on the bottom and do not roll. These are also known as “no roll” sinkers, for obvious reasons.

fishing for river catfish

More channel catfish rigs

Channel catfish will also feed a bit above the bottom. In these situations, anglers do well with a high low rig, also known as a spreader rig or chicken rig. With this rig anglers can present multiple baits at varying depths above the bottom. Most anglers limit this to two or three hooks at most, as it becomes cumbersome after that. A couple of hooks are tied on the mainline a foot or so apart with a sinker at the bottom. Bank sinkers are most often used. This is a very popular rigs for anglers fishing for catfish in rivers from shore as well as docks and bridges.

fishing for river catfish

Channel catfish will be found quite shallow at times, which surprises some anglers. This is especially true at night. Fallen trees and other structure as well as flats and drop-offs will be prime spots to catch channel catfish. Fishing a nightcrawler under a float can be a very effective presentation during these times. This is a simple as adding a float or bomber three or 4 feet above the hook. Often times a small split shot is used just above the hook to get the nightcrawler down into the water column. When the float disappears, it is fish on!

fishing for channel catfish

Other channel catfish baits

While the best fishing bait for channel catfish is a nightcrawler, there are plenty of other effective baits as well. These include shrimp, fresh cut bait, livers, live minnows, prepared baits, and more. Some anglers swear by soap as bait! Channel catfish will eat just about anything at one time or another.

Fresh cut bait

channel catfish bait

Fresh cut bait is a very effective bait for channel catfish and other catfish species. It is best to use a bait fish that has just been caught in the local waters. These include shad, herring, suckers, pin fish, and more. These baits can be cut into fillets, but are more often used as chunks. These chunks, or plugs, tend to stay on the hook a little longer. It is important to check local regulations before using any fresh caught fish to as bait.

Shrimp

fishing in tailwaters for catfish

Shrimp are another very effective bait for channel catfish. Fresh or frozen shrimp are easy to obtain at any grocery store. They stay on the hook pretty well and put out a lot of scent in the water. The one downfall to using shrimp is bait is the cost, it is a bit more than most other baits. However, some experienced channel catfish anglers swear by them. Fresh grass shrimp are terrific, but are a bit more involved to catch and use.

Livers

Lake Murray catfish

Chicken livers are another inexpensive and easy to obtain bait when fishing for channel catfish. They are available at just about any grocery store. One downside to using chicken livers is that they do not stay on the hook all that well. Pork liver can actually be a better choice as it is a bit fattier and stays on the hook longer. This is particularly important for anglers making long casts from the banks of rivers and lakes.

Minnows

channel catfish fishing

There is a misconception the channel catfish are just scavengers who feet off the bottom. This is not true! Catfish are predators and will just assume prefer a nice lively bait such as a nightcrawler over a rotting piece of fish on the bottom. For this reason, live minnows are another good catfish bait. Minnows are a bit more difficult to keep alive as anglers have to use a bucket with an aerator. Also, anglers may have to catch their own live minnows. However, they are very effective bait for channel catfish fished on the bottom or under a float.

Prepared baits

catfish bubblegum

There are many different commercially prepared baits available to catfish anglers. These are very effective and also quite convenient. Most of them can be stored and tackle boxes for an extended period of time. This makes an impromptu catfish fishing trip much easier. In most cases, they are some type of paste a can be formed into a ball around the hook. The one drawback is that some of these baits do not stay on the hook as long, especially when River fishing in current.

In conclusion, this article on the best fishing bait for channel catfish will help anglers catch more of these hard fighting and tasty game fish!

What is the best fishing knot?

The Best Fishing Knot is the Uni Knot

Strong, well tied knots are very important when it comes to fishing. They keep the fish connected to the angler. There are many excellent fishing knots that can be chosen. However, there is one fishing knot that is the best knot to use.

The best fishing not is the Uni knot. This is true for several reasons. Uni knots are very strong. They are also one of the easiest and quickest knots to tie. Finally, the Uni knot is quite versatile and can be used in variation to match every fishing situation that an anglers will encounter.

Capt Jim Klopfer has been a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida since 1991. He has tried just about every fishing knot out there. As a charter boat captain, he requires a knot that is strong and fast and easy to tie. The Uni knot meets those requirements and is the only knot that Capt Jim uses.

Anglers can see the tackle and lures that Capt Jim uses in this link to his article

Most fishing knots are a variation of the same principle. The line goes through the eye of the hook or lower, is wrapped around the running line several times, then goes back through and is cinched tight. The Uni knot is no exception. However, there are a couple of distinctions that make the Uni not the best fishing not.

Reasons why the uni knot is the best fishing knot

First and foremost, the Uni knot is quick and very easy to tie. This is important for charter boat captains who have to re-rig quickly and efficiently. It also comes into play for anglers fishing in low light conditions where the line is more difficult to see. Finally, when a blitz is on, anglers can confidently and quickly tie a Uni knot.

Strength is extremely important when it comes to fishing knots. The Uni knot is one of the strongest ones out there, when properly tied. It works well with both monofilament and braided line, which is not true of every fishing knot.

Uni knots are also quite versatile. By pulling the tag line tight instead of the running line, anglers can make a very effective loop knot. Uni knots are also a very easy way to tie multiple hooks on some type of dropper rig for bottom fishing or any other situation where more than one hook or lure is used. Finally, a double Uni knot is an excellent way to tie a piece of leader to the main line without having to use a swivel.

Tying the uni knot

what is the best fishing knot

The Uni knot is very easy to tie. The first step is to pass the line through the eye of the hook with about 6 inches of excess line to use to tie the knot. The angler then makes a loop pinching all three portions of the line between the thumb and forefinger. The tag end is then passed through the open loop 3 to 5 times when using monofilament line and 8 to 10 times when using braided line. The tag end is then slowly pulled snug. When properly done, the line will wrap over itself in a figure 8 manner. It does not hurt to wet monofilament line before pulling it tight. Once the knot is snug, the angler pulls on the running line to slide the knot down to the eye of the hook or lure. The tag end can then be trimmed. If a loop not is desired, the angler can finish up the knot by pulling tight on the tag and and trimming that end of the knot.

Variations of the uni knot

One variation of the Uni knot is to tie a double Uni knot. This is an excellent line to line knot, used to attach two pieces of fishing line without the use of a swivel. This can include a fluorocarbon leader to monofilament, two pieces of monofilament, two pieces of braid, or a monofilament leader attaching to braided line.

double uni knot

The double uni-knot is tied very similarly, with a little bit of difference. Both lines are laid over top of each other, with the tag end facing in different directions. A Uni knot is tied on one and, then the line flipped over and another one tied on the other end. The two knots are then pulled snug, resulting in a nice compact and strong knot.

Uni knots also work very well when tying dropper rigs when bottom fishing or when using multiple lures on one rig. The line is passed through the eye of the hook or lure, then a Uni not is tied. Once the size of the loop is the desired size, the tag end is pulled tight. This can then be repeated as many times as needed.

In conclusion, this article on the best fishing knot will help anglers land more fish!

What is the Best Fishing Bait for Blue Catfish?

The Best Fishing Bait for Blue Catfish is Fresh Cut Bait

Blue catfish are an increasingly popular freshwater game fish. They grow quite large and are widely distributed. There are several baits that are effective when fishing for blue catfish. However, there is one bait that is the best fishing bait for blue catfish.

The best fishing bait for blue catfish is fresh cut bait. There is nothing that a blue catfish prefers more than a freshly cut chunk of locally available forage. It is always best to use fresh bait, especially if that bait is present locally in the waters. Fresh cut bait puts out a ton of fish attracting scent, which will attract blue catfish to the hook.

best fishing bait for blue catfish

Blue catfish were introduced into many larger river and reservoir systems throughout the country, particularly in the Southeast and Midwest. This was done to give anglers the opportunity to catch a very large game fish. Blue catfish grow to over 100 pounds! They have a large mouth and a voracious appetite, making them an apex predator.

Best blue catfish baits

As mentioned above, the best fishing bait for blue catfish is a chunk of fresh cut bait. The best baits are normally shad, herring, and suckers. Shad and herring have been stocked into many larger lakes to provide a food source for striped bass. They are certainly happily devoured by blue catfish as well.

fishing for catfish

These are oily fish that put out a mini chum slick of scent into the water. As blue catfish primarily feed on forage fish and are also scent feeders, this makes a chunk of fresh cut bait a natural choice. Some anglers do go to the trouble of using live bait fish for blue catfish as well. However cut bait is very productive and there is no need to keep these fragile bait fish alive.

Frozen bait can be used in a pinch, however fresh bait will drastically outperform frozen bait in most instances. Fresh baits can be purchased at some bait shops and even grocery stores. However, most serious anglers fishing for blue catfish catch their own bait. Shad and herring are most often caught by anglers throwing a cast net. Suckers are usually caught on a hook in line with a piece of warm, but can be caught in nets or traps as well. It is important to check local regulations to determine what baits are legal to use and what methods are legal to use an order to obtain them.

Catfish bait

Anglers using fresh cut bait when fishing for blue catfish have two options; fillets or chunks. Most anglers opt for using chunks for several reasons. Using a sharp knife, the bait fish is caught into several sections, usually around 2 inches wide. This results in each piece of bait having some blood and entrails which will help attract the fish. The bone under the top of the bait fish helps keep the bait on the hook longer.

Best fishing rod and reel for blue catfish

Blue catfish grow very large. Fish in the 30 pound to 50 pound class are not at all uncommon. The current world record blue catfish is 130 pounds. For this reason, fairly stout conventional tackle is the best choice when fishing for blue catfish.

bank fishing

Fortunately, several manufacturers offer quality cat fishing outfits at a very affordable price. A 7 foot to 8 foot medium heavy rod with a fairly limber tip and matching reel is an excellent all round combination. This outfit will be light enough to enjoy the fight of a small to medium-size blue catfish while providing the power to land a trophy. Most anglers use braided line, with 50 pound test being a good choice.

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Anglers can certainly use heavy spinning tackle as well. Spinning tackle is actually advantageous in situations where anglers need to make long casts. Again, a 7 foot to 8 foot medium heavy rod with a 6000 to 8000 series reel spooled up with 40 pound braided line is an excellent spinning outfit when fishing for blue catfish.

fishing for blue catfish

Hooks and rigs for catching blue catfish

There are many different choices when it comes to hooks when fishing with cut bait bait for blue catfish. Many anglers have turned to circle hooks as they tend to end up in the mouth of the fish, which reduces catfish mortality rates. Other anglers still prefer to use “J” hooks. There really is no wrong answer, it is just a matter of angler preference. 5/0 “J” hooks and 10/0 circle hooks are good all-around size is when fishing for average sized blue catfish.

catfish leaders

While blue catfish are most often found on or near the bottom, there are several different ways to present a chunk of cut bait to them. The most commonly used rig would be the sliding sinker rig, also known as a Carolina rig. This consists of a sinker with a hole in the center, which the running line slides through. A swivel is then tied on, which not only stops the sinker but facilitates use of a leader. A short leader is used between the swivel and the hook.

This rig allows catfish to pick up the bait and move off a bit without feeling the weight of the sinker. Is a very effective rig for catfish and just about any other bottom feeding species. Many anglers opt for special flat catfish sinkers which sit on the bottom and do not roll. These are also known as “no roll” sinkers, for obvious reasons.

fishing for blue catfish

More blue catfish rigs

Blue catfish will also feed a few feet above the bottom. Anglers often do well with a high low rig, also known as a spreader rig. With this rig anglers can present multiple baits at varying depths above the bottom. Most anglers limit this to two or three hooks at most, as it becomes cumbersome after that.

fishing for river catfish

Three-way swivels are used to tie this rig. The running line is tied to one end of the swivel. The leader with a hook in it is tied to in other end of the swivel. A short piece of line connects the third ring of the swivel with either a sinker or another three-way swivel and the process is repeated.

Blue catfish will be found quite shallow at times, especially true at night. Submerged timber, rocks, and other structure including flats and drop-offs will be prime spots to catch channel catfish. Fishing a chunk of cut bait under a float can be a very effective presentation during these times. This is a simple as adding a float several feet above the hook.

Other effective blue catfish baits

While fresh cut bait is the best fishing bait for blue catfish, there are other baits that can be productive as well. These include live versions of the same cut bait, prepared baits, and nightcrawlers.

Live bait fish

As mentioned earlier, live a shad, herring, suckers, and even panfish where legal can be very good baits when fishing for blue catfish. The main disadvantage is the extra care and inconvenience that is required when fishing with live bait fish. Herring and Shad in particular are very delicate and require large live wells with strong pumps in order to keep the bait alive for very long. Suckers and panfish are a bit easier to deal with. There are some anglers fishing for blue catfish who feel that live bait fish are worth the trouble.

Prepared catfish baits

Catfish Bubblegum

There are many commercially available prepared catfish baits that will certainly full blue catfish as well. These normally do not work as well and heavily pressured waters. The main advantage to these baits is their convenience. Anglers can keep them stored in their tackle boxes or garages for a long time and they are ready to use whenever the angler wants to go fishing. These tend to catch more channel catfish as well, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on the angler.

Nightcrawlers

best live bait for freshwater fishing

Nightcrawlers will catch just about every freshwater species, and blue catfish are no exception. There are times when a gob of lively nightcrawlers on I hook will be the preferred bait for anglers fishing for blue catfish and other species. Nightcrawlers are readily obtainable and easy to keep alive, which are both definitely advantages. The main disadvantage, if you want to call it that, with nightcrawlers is the fact that just about everything else will eat them. Anglers targeting blue catfish will often find these other game fish to be a “nuisance”.

In conclusion, this article on the best fishing bait for blue catfish should help anglers catch more of these powerful freshwater game fish!

What is the Best Largemouth Bass Fishing Lure?

The Best Largemouth Bass Fishing Lure is the Plastic Worm

Largemouth bass are the most popular freshwater game fish in North America. Most anglers catch them using artificial lures. There are many lures that anglers fishing for largemouth bass to choose from. However, there is one bait that is the best largemouth bass fishing lure.

best largemouth bass fishing lure

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The best largemouth bass fishing lure is a plastic worm. This is true for several reasons. Plastic worms are very versatile and will catch largemouth bass under all conditions.. They can be rigged and presented in a variety of ways. Plastic worms also come in many different lengths and colors. Finally, plastic worms are very economical to fish.

Plastic worms first hit the bass fishing scene in the late 60s. At that time they were very stiff and were not very lifelike. That has changed greatly over the decades. Plastic worms look and even taste like natural prey. While largemouth bass do not necessarily feed on nightcrawlers all that extensively, plastic worms just resembles something that is alive and tasty and crawling along the bottom or swimming through the water.

bass fishing with a worm

Plastic worm choices for bass fishing

Plastic worms vary in length from small versions that are only a couple inches long up to gigantic baits that are a foot long. As mentioned above, these can imitate salamanders, crayfish, baitfish, and other forage. In most cases, a 6 inch or 7 inch plastic worm is the best choice for most anglers.

best largemouth bass lure

The key to the effectiveness of plastic worms is the action they produce in the water. Plastic worms undulate seductively in the water, both as they are falling through the water column and as they are being retrieved back in by the angler. In most cases, a slower retrieved works best to allow the natural action of the lure to attract the fish. Rarely does a fast, aggressive retrieves produce largemouth bass for anglers fishing with plastic worms.

Anglers have many different colors to choose from when it comes to fishing with plastic worms for bass. In some cases, the selection can be overwhelming! However, the general rule of thumb of using light colored worms in clear water and darker colored worms and stained water works pretty well. Natural colors such as green pumpkin, motor oil, and black roof produce in just about any body of water and under all conditions.

best bass lure

Best tackle for fishing a plastic worm

Anglers fishing for largemouth bass with plastic worms can use both spinning tackle and bait casting tackle successfully. Spinning tackle is becoming much more popular among bass anglers, especially when using finesse style plastic worms. These are smaller plastic worms used in conjunction with smaller hooks and lighter lines. It is easier to cast these lighter baits out with spinning tackle than it is with conventional tackle.

best bass lure

The best spinning outfit for largemouth bass fishing with plastic worms is a 7 foot to seven 1/2 foot medium action rod paired with a 3000 to 4000 series real and spooled up with 10 pound to 20 pound monofilament or braided line. This is an excellent all round combination that anglers can use that will cover a wide variety of fishing situations.

Read this article on tackle choices for largemouth bass

Heavier bait casting tackle certainly has its place when it comes to fishing for bass the plastic worms. This is especially true when casting worms into heavy cover. In this application, anglers will need to set the hook hard and horse the fish out of the vegetation or away from the structure. Bait casting tackle is better equipped for this. A medium action bait casting rod with matching real and 40 pound braided line is an excellent outfit.

Top plastic worms for bass fishing

There are too many manufacturers who offer quality plastic worms to listed this post. However, Capt. Jim will list several of his personal favorite plastic worms that he uses to catch largemouth bass.

Zoom Trick worm

zoom trick worm

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The Zoom Trick Worm is an excellent and versatile plastic worm. Capt. Jim prefers the standard 6 1/2 inch size. It is a long slender lure that comes in a wide variety of colors. Green pumpkin and motor oil work very well and are excellent all round colors for many different applications. White is also an excellent color and is underutilized by many bass anglers. This worm is most often fished Texas rigged or on a swim bait hook. It also floats, making it very effective when fished deep on a Carolina rig.

Yamamoto Senko

Senko

The Yamamoto Senko is a fantastic plastic worm in his Capt. Jim’s favorite finesse style bait. Both the 4 inch and 5 inch versions in natural colors such as green pumpkin and read Shad work very well. These baits are most often fished on a drop shot rig, wacky rigged, or on a Shaky Head jig. However, they can certainly be fished on a Texas rig or a swim bait hook as well, anglers just need to use a smaller hook size.

Click this link to shop Amazon for Senko baits

Culprit

culprit

Click this link to shop Amazon for Culprit worms

Culprit worms are another one of Capt. Jim’s favorite plastic worms for largemouth bass fishing. He prefers this worm with a curly tail when a little bit more action is desired. It is a great worm to swim. As with the other manufacturers, this worm comes in a variety of fish catching colors. Capt. Jim likes to six-inch or 7 inch versions. Is mostly fished Texas rigged bite is very effective when reeled and steadily on a swim bait hook. It also works very well when fished wacky style.

Mann’s Jelly worm

jelly worm

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The man’s jelly worm is an old-school bait that is been around a very long time. It was designed by legendary bass angler Tom Mann. It has a flat tail which has excellent action and the water. Capt. Jim goes to the jelly worm in the 10 inch or even 12 inch size when looking to fish a larger plastic worm.

Rigging plastic worms for bass fishing

There are several effective ways to rig and fish the plastic worm when fishing for bass. These include a Texas rig, swim bait hook, wacky rig, Carolina rig, and a drop shot rig.

Texas rig

texas rigged worm

A Texas rigged worm uses a special worm hook along with a sliding worm sinker. The worm is threaded on to the front of the hook while the point of the hook is inserted through the body. When properly done, the worm hangs perfectly straight and is virtually weedless. This is the best way to fish the worm in shallow water where cover is present.

Swim hook

swim bait hook

Swimming a worm has become popular of late amongst both recreational and tournament bass fisherman. It is a very simple yet effective technique that is easy for novice anglers to learn. Swim bait hooks are similar to bare warm hooks except that there is a little bit of weight added to the shank. These hooks also have some type of device be it a bar or screw to hold the nose of the bait. The hook is then inserted through the body with the tip of the point buried in the worm. The lure is cast out and reeled and slowly and steadily. This works very well in vegetation.

Wacky rig

wacky rig

Wacky rigging a worm hit the bass fishing scene 20 years or so ago. It looks ridiculous, but is incredibly effective. The worm is basically hooked right through the center of the bait. The point of the hook is exposed. Most strikes occur as the worm lands in the water and falls through the water column, wiggling seductively. Largemouth bass will pick up the worm and run off with it, making the strike easy to detect. This is most often used in shallow water and is an excellent method for novice anglers to use to catch fish.

Carolina rig

carolina rig

A Carolina rig consists of a sliding egg sinker, a swivel, a length of leader, and then a worm hook. This rig is used to crawl over cover and structure in deep water. Many anglers prefer a floating worm with this rig as it will result in the worm hovering 6 inches to a foot above the bottom. That is basically determined by the length of the leader. This is not an easy method to master, but is very effective when fish are schooled out in deep water structure.

Drop shot rig

drop shot

Drop-shotting is a very effective finesse style presentation that is grown massively and popularity. It works extremely well when bass are suspended in deeper water, when the water is clear, and imposed cold front conditions. It consists of a hook tide in line with a sinker generally 1 foot to 18 inches below. The worm is hooked through the nose than lower down to the desired depth usually starting on the bottom. Very little action is used, just slight manipulation of the rod tip. The lore will dance and wriggle in the water, attracting bass.

In conclusion, this article on the best largemouth bass fishing lure will help anglers learn how to purchase and fish a plastic worm.

What is the Best Crappie Fishing Lure?

The Best Crappie Fishing Lure is the Blakemore Road Runner

Crappie are one of the most popular freshwater game fish species. Many anglers choose to fish for them using artificial lures. There are many lures that will fool them. However, there is one lure that is particularly effective when crappie fishing.

The best crappie fishing lure is the Blakemore Road Runner. It is an extremely versatile and productive bait when fishing for crappie. The Blakemore Road Runner combines the bulk and action of a jig with the flash and vibration of a spinner. They are available in a wide variety of color combinations and several different sizes. Road Runner lures are effective, versatile, and economical.

best crappie fishing lure

Jigs have long been used by anglers to catch crappie, and for good reason. A jig is basically a hook with a lead weight molded at the head and dressed with a soft plastic or hair body. This lure has an erratic action in the water, particularly when falling. It can be fished at any depth effectively.

Spinners have long been used by freshwater anglers to catch crappie and other species. The rotating blade adds both flash and vibration, imitating wounded bait fish. The genius of the Blakemore Road Runner is that it combines both of these highly productive crappie fishing lures into one unit.

road runner

Click this link to shop Amazon for Road Runner lures

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Road Runner crappie fishing lure options

Road Runner are available dressed with hair, mostly marabou, and with soft plastic grub tales. Each have advantages and disadvantages. Marabou dressed to jigs are very effective and extremely lifelike in the water. The natural hair dressing undulate seductively in the water with even the slightest movement. These jigs come in many different color combinations.

Many anglers prefer the soft plastic tails for their versatility. Anglers can quickly and easily change the color and action of the jig by simply changing the grub body tail. Also, the tails are easily replaced if they get chewed up or the curly tail is bitten off. Either way, anglers can’t go wrong choosing the marabou or soft plastic tailed Blakemore roadrunner lures.

Best crappie fishing rod and reel

Anglers fishing for crappie with Blakemore Road Runner lures mostly opt for light spinning tackle. Given that crappie average a pound or so, for pound or 6 pound light spinning outfits work very well. This outfit will work well whether casting lures, vertically fishing, or even trolling. Anglers fishing for larger crappie around heavy structure will have to bump it up a bit.

Click this link to shop Amazon for a Zebco Quantum rod and reel

fishing for crappie bluegill and panfish

Click to read a detailed article on crappie fishing tackle and lures

Choosing the best color and size for crappie fishing

Blakemore Road Runners are available in many different colors and several different sizes. As in all fishing situations, anglers fishing for crappie should match the lure to the current fishing situation and conditions. Water clarity, water depth, current, forage size, structure, and fish size are all factors that should be taken into account.

The 1/8 ounce size is an excellent all round size for most crappie fishing situations. It is small enough to catch average sized fish while large enough to attract trophy crappie. In darker, tannin stained waters, bright colors will be more productive. Pink and chartreuse are the top colors in stained water, with white being a another good choice. In clear water, white works very well. Chartreuse is the most popular color and works well in all conditions.

crappie fishing with minnows

Crappie fishing techniques

One of the key elements that makes the Blakemore roadrunner the best crappie fishing lure is its versatility. These lures can be cast out and retrieved, fished under a float, trolled, or even used to present a live bait.

Casting the best crappie fishing lure

Casting and retrieving the roadrunner is a very effective technique. This is most often used in shallow water were anglers want to keep a distance away from the cover being fished. The lure is cast out, allowed to sink, then reeled back in. In most cases, a slow steady retrieve works best. This is a very effective technique to use over submerged grass beds as well as around structure such as docs and fallen trees.

Sarasota crappie fishing

The Blakemore roadrunner is very effective when fished under a float as well. This serves a couple of different purposes. Allows anglers to suspend the lure at the desired depth, usually over submerged vegetation or structure. It also gives anglers a visual reference when a strike occurs as the float will disappear or move, indicating a strike.

In deeper water, anglers can vertically fish the Blakemore roadrunner quite effectively. This is a very efficient technique when crappie are located over deeper structure such as channel edges, creek beds, artificial reefs, and submerged timber. The bait is dropped down to the bottom and jig subtly. After a few moments, the angler reels up a few feet of line and repeats the process. This is an excellent way to catch suspended crappie, which can be difficult to catch at times.

Trolling for crappie

Trolling is a very efficient and effective way to locate and catch crappie. Trolling is simply the act of slowly moving the boat while pulling lures behind. This also allows anglers to present multiple baits at various levels at the same time. The roadrunner is an excellent lure to use when trolling for crappie as the combination of the flashing blade in the action of the lure body combined to attract fish.

crappie fishing in Texas

Trolling for crappie can be as simple or as complicated as an angler desires. In its easiest form, a couple of lures are simply trolled behind a slowly moving boat while the angler holds the rod in anticipation of a strike a couple of anglers can easily troll for rods using rod holders or just holding them.

Many anglers have taken trolling for crappie to a much higher level. A special technique called spider rigging is used by serious anglers. This involves the use of multiple special rods that vary and length up to 16 feet or more. It is usually done from the bow of the boat. This is a bit complicated as anglers have to constantly monitor many different rods and lines.

Using the Road Runner with live bait

Anglers fishing for crappie can even use Road runners to present a live bait. This is an option as the roadrunner is available bear, ready for a soft plastic grub body to be attached. This makes the lure an excellent choice when fishing with live bait, as it has weight, a hook, in the flash of a spinner all in one tidy little unit.

fishing Texas lakes

Live minnows are the most popular bait used by anglers fishing for crappie. A 2 inch minnow hooked through both lips from the bottom works very well behind a roadrunner. Anglers can certainly use other baits such as nightcrawlers or worms as well.

More productive crappie fishing lures

While the Blakemore Rd., Runner is the best crappie fishing lure, there are certainly other baits which are effective as well. Several of these will be listed below.

Rooster Tail inline spinners

rooster tail

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Inline spinners are effective lures for just about every freshwater species, and crappie are no exception. The Worden’s Rooster Tail line of in-line spinners are very productive crappie fishing lures. They are available in many different color patterns, with the 1/8 ounce size being the best all round choice. They produce best with a very slow and steady retrieve. These lures can be cast out as well as trolled.

Mister Twister grubs

mister twister

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Mister Twister pretty much invented the curly tail jig back in the late 1970s. These lures revolutionized soft plastic baits. The 2 inch Mister Twister continues to be a very effective lure to this day. It is most often fished on a 1/16 ounce or 1/8 ounce jig head. It can be productive and every crappie fishing situation and is fished similarly to the roadrunner. The primary difference is that it does not have the flashing blade.

Rapala Husky Jerk

husky jerk

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The Rapala Husky Jerk in the 06 size is an excellent crappie fishing lure. It is a shallow diving plug that realistically mimics a wounded minnow. This lure floats on the surface and dive down several feet when retrieved. It works best in fairly shallow water and is an excellent choice for anglers targeting larger fish. Silver and gold are the top color patterns.

In conclusion, this article on the best crappie fishing lure will help anglers catch more of these desirable freshwater fish!