Fishing with Lures, a Complete Guide

Fishing with Lures, a Complete Guide

This topic of this article is fishing with lures. Many fish are caught by anglers who fool their quarry with lures as opposed to live bait. Lures are extremely effective for both freshwater and saltwater anglers. The different lure types, proper tackle, and techniques used to catch fish with artificial lures will be thoroughly covered.

fishing for largemouth bass

Advantages of fishing with lures vs live bait

Many anglers, particularly those new to the sport, assume that live bait is always the best choice. While it may seem that the “real thing” is always more effective, this is not the case. Artificial lures have several advantages over live bait.

fishing with lures

Fishing with lures is more convenient than fishing with live bait. Anglers using lures do not need to catch or purchase bait not keep it alive. Lures sit in the anglers tackle box, always ready to go fishing!

Lures also catch fish that are not in a feeding mood. The action and vibration of lures will trigger strikes from fish out of angler, irritation, excitement, competition, and just natural reflex. Live bait generally catches fish that are in a feeding mood or just opportunistic.

best 11 smallmouth bass fishing lures

Perhaps the main advantage that anglers fishing with lures have is that lures allow anglers to cover so much more water than anglers fishing with live bait can. This greatly aids in locating and catching fish. Trolling lures in particular is an extremely efficient fishing method. Great Lakes anglers have perfected this techniques on walleye, trout, and salmon.

Best rods and reels for fishing with lures

Anglers fishing with lures can use spinning, baitcasting and conventional, and spincasting rods and reels. For the most part, spincasting outfits, also known as “push button” or “closed face” tackle, will be left out of the discussion as it is really not very suitable for fishing with lures.

top 12 Michigan game fish species

Spinning tackle, also known as “open faced” tackle, is well suited to fishing with lures, especially lighter lures. However, heavier lures can certainly be used as well. The rod and reel should match the size of the fish being pursued and lures being cast. Ultralight spinning rods and reels are perfect for casting light lures for panfish and small fish. Heavier tackle is fine for larger fish such as pike and bass as well as saltwater species.

Baitcasting tackle certainly has it’s place when fishing with lures as well. It is often the best choice when fishing with plugs and other heavier lures. The same applies to casting into heavy cover, baitcasting outfits provide the power need to handle a big fish in tight quarters.

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Conventional tackle is often used by anglers trolling artificial lures for larger fish. As mentioned above, anglers fishing the Great Lakes troll extensively and almost always use conventional tackle. Saltwater anglers use conventional outfits as well. Again, the tackle should match the size of the fish being sought.

Artificial fishing lure types

Saltwater fishing with artificial lures

There are six basic categories of artificial lures. These are:

  • jigs,

  • spinners

  • spoons

  • plugs

  • soft plastic baits

  • spinner baits and buzz baits

Just about every single fishing lure that an angler can use will fall into one of these categories. However, there are certainly variations lure type.

Jigs

Tailwater fishing tips and techniques

Jigs are very basic fishing lures. They consist of a hook with lead molded in the front near the eye. This weight and the offset position creates an erratic action, which gives the lure its name. There is evidence two point to the jig being the first artificial lure used by humans to catch fish. Jigs are very effective lures and will catch just about every freshwater and saltwater game fish species.

best crappie fishing lure

There are many different tales or dressings that can be added to the hook to give the bait bulk, action, and flash. Natural or synthetic hair is often used. Bucktail is the most common natural dressing and is still popular today. However, synthetic hair is used quite often. It is effective and more durable than natural hair.

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Marabou feathers are also used in conjunction with a jig. This is especially true for anglers targeting crappie and other panfish. Marabou has a very enticing undulating action, especially when worked slowly.

Sarasota jig fishing

Many anglers at a soft plastic grub body to the jig head. This jig and grub combo is an extremely effective fishing lore and both freshwater and saltwater. These grub bodies will be further covered in the “soft plastic baits” section.

Jig fishing tackle and techniques

Jigs can be fished effectively by anglers using both spinning and bait casting tackle. Jigs that way one quarter ounce or less are much more easily fished by anglers using light spinning tackle. Jigs that weigh ¼ ounce to ½ ounce can be fished using either spinning or bait casting equipment. Jigs much heavier than that are best fished with bait casting tackle.

Manitoba walleye fishing

Jigs are very versatile lures that can be cast out and retrieved, trolled, or presented in a vertical manner. They can also be used to cover the entire water column. Jigs can mimic just about every type of forage that game fish feed on. Anglers match the hatch by choosing a size and color to match the local prey in the area.

A dark colored jig, whether soft plastic or natural hair, bounced along a rocky bottom very realistically mimics a fleeing crayfish. Lighter colors such as white and chartreuse work very well when imitating bait fish. Anglers can swim a jig through the water column to produce fish. This produces in both freshwater and saltwater fishing situations. Shad tail and curly tail jigs as well as natural hair jigs are effective when slowly trolled as well.

fishing for largemouth bass

Anglers bass fishing in heavy weeds and other cover use specially designed jigs. These are usually quite heavy, up to 1 ounce or more. Most have fairly thick rubber skirts that undulate naturally in the water. Anglers often combine these jigs with a soft plastic trailer. This is an extremely effective combination for flipping and pitching in heavy cover and produces some of the biggest bass caught.

Click to read more about fishing with jigs

saltwater fishing with artificial lures

Finally, jigs are very effective when presented vertically. During the warmest and coldest parts of the year, fish will often school up in deep water over certain types of structure such as sloping points, channel edges, and submerged timber. Anglers can use a vertical presentation to precisely deliver their offering to the desired depth, working it right in front of the fish until a strike occurs. This exact same technique is extremely effective for anglers ice fishing as well.

Spinners

fishing with lures

Spinners are very simple lures which have been around a long time. While used occasionally and saltwater, these are primarily freshwater fishing lures. Spinners consist of a wire frame with than I let on the top so that anglers can attach the line. The frame has a body of some sort with a blade that rotates around. A hook, often dressed with some type of hair, completes the lure.

Spinners put out a lot of flash and vibration. One of the great attributes of fishing with spinners is that they are very easy for anglers to use. Spinners have a lot of built in action and produce best when fist with a slow, steady retrieve. This makes them an excellent choice for novice anglers who don’t have a lot of experience.

best 13 brown trout fishing lures

All spinners are similar regardless of size. The smallest spinners are extremely effective on panfish in ponds and lakes. Small spinners are also terrific lures for anglers chasing trout in streams and small rivers. Smallmouth bass and walleye will fall for medium-sized spinners. Giant spinners are used for anglers pursuing large northern pike and musky.

Spinner fishing techniques

As mentioned above, one of the advantages of choosing a spinner by anglers fishing with lures is that they don’t require a lot of technique in order to be effective. As long as the spinner is moving fast enough for the blade to rotate, it will catch fish.

steelhead

Spinners really shine when fishing in streams and small rivers. In most situations, the best approach is to cast directly across the stream and then just keep the line tight while the current provides enough movement to cause the blades to rotate. They work well in deeper holes and runs as well as in faster riffles. Often times, the strike occurs at the end of the drift as the spinner swings in the current.

Read more about fishing with spinners in streams

rock bass fishing tackle

Spinners also work well in ponds and lakes. However, if there is one disadvantage to a spinner it is that it is not very weedless. Anglers will do best by working the spinner along the edges of weed lines as opposed to through the thicker vegetation. The same applies to docs and fallen timber.

Spinners do work very well when retrieved over the top of submerged vegetation. This is the best approach for northern pike and musky, both of which like to lie in the weeds waiting to ambush unsuspecting prey.

best northern pike fishing lure

Trolling with spinners is also very effective, especially for anglers chasing rainbow trout in lakes. Trout will often suspend high up in the water column and a spinner putting out a lot a flash and vibration will attract trout to the lure. Again, slower speeds are often the most effective.

Spoons

trolling for mackerel

Anglers fishing with lures have been catching just about every freshwater and saltwater species using spoons for a very long time. A spoon is basically a curved piece of metal with a hook in. The shape of the spoon along with the bend will dictate the action. Long, slender spoons have a fast erratic action. Conversely, wider spoons have a slow enticing wobble.

Read more about fishing with spoons in freshwater

brook trout fishing lures

Spoons are available in just about every size and color imaginable. Silver and gold are the two most popular finishes. Tiny spoons are very effective on trout and panfish. They are used extensively by anglers ice fishing. Spoons in the 1/2 ounce size are very versatile as they match a lot of the available forage in both fresh and saltwater. Spoons as large as a foot long are used to mimic shad and herring and other prey for anglers pursuing trout and salmon in freshwater as well as striped bass and other predator species and saltwater.

Spoon fishing techniques

Spoons are another versatile fishing lure that is fairly easy for anglers to use as they have a lot of built in action. They can be cast out and retrieved, trolled, and fished vertically. Most spoons have a treble hook though they are available in single hook bottles as well.

lues for surf fishing

Spoons are an excellent search bait for anglers who like to cast artificial lures. They are quite dense and will cast a long way for anglers using both spinning and bait casting tackle. Anglers should vary the retrieve, though a steady retrieve with the occasional twitch or pause is usually the most effective. The spoon will flash as it falls seductively on this pause, simulating a wounded bait fish.

Spoons are an excellent choice when anglers are chasing “breaking fish”. It is when game fish have trapped a school of bait fish up against the surface and are feeding aggressively This happens often in saltwater, but does occur in freshwater as well. It can be seen from quite a distance as birds are diving in the water is actually frothing. A silver spoon very realistically mimics the bait fish that are being devoured.

Best 6 fishing lures for redfish

Spoons are very effective when blind cast as well. Again, due to the fact that they are heavy and can be cast a long distance, they are an excellent lure to use when searching large areas for fish. Where possible, it is best to match the size and color of the spoon to the locally available forage.

Weedless spoons can be extremely effective when fished through areas of thick vegetation. This is true for anglers chasing bass in freshwater as well as redfish in saltwater. Weedless spoons have a single hook which rides up in a weed guard to deflect snags. They are one of the most effective artificial lures to use, especially in shallow water situations.

Great Lakes salmon fishing

Spoons are outstanding trolling lures! Anglers fishing in the Great Lakes region have been using them successfully for decades to catch salmon and just about every trout species. Walleye also fall victim to spoons quite often. Anglers trolling for striped bass in both freshwater and saltwater do well with spoons. Finally, every species of mackerel will readily take a trolled spoon.

walleye fishing

Anglers can also use spoons in a vertical presentation. In fact, some spoons are specifically designed for this application. The Hopkins jigging spoon is a prime example. Suspended fish can be very difficult to catch. Anglers using a vertical presentation can keep the lure in the strike zone for a long period of time, hopefully enticing a strike. This technique is extremely effective for anglers ice fishing with spoons.

Plugs

best jerkbait for saltwater fishing

Plugs are another category of fishing lures. In the early days, they were hand carved from balsa wood. However, the vast majority of fishing plugs available on the market today are made from plastic. Most imitate wounded bait fish, but some mimic crayfish and other types of forage.

Check out the top freshwater fishing plugs!

These are very effective baits for anglers fishing with lures. For the most part, they are either cast out and retrieved or trolled. There is one type of plug that can be used in a vertical presentation. Like most lures, plugs are available and just about every size, shape, and color imaginable to match the available forage.

snook fishing tackle

While plugs have many advantages, there are a couple of disadvantages as well. Plugs are fairly expensive to purchase compared to other artificial lures. Also, the multiple treble hooks that often increase the hookup ratio also can be quite dangerous. Anglers need to be very careful when casting plugs as well as when will landing a fish and removing the lure from the fishes mouth.

Different plug types and fishing techniques

There are several types and styles of plugs. These include top water plugs, crank baits, and jerk baits. While they are all similar, there are enough differences that they should be covered in separate sections.

Topwater plugs

best 6 topwater plugs for saltwater fishing

As the name implies, top water plugs are worked on the surface. There are several different styles and they all are designed to put out a commotion on the surface that imitates a struggling and wounded bait fish or other prey. Top water plugs are generally worked fairly slowly with sharp twitch is in a pause. The strike often occurs on this pause. For the most part, top water plugs work best in fairly shallow water or when fish are seen feeding on the surface.

Read about the best topwater plugs for saltwater fishing

The three types of top water plugs are poppers, propeller baits, and “walk the dog” baits. Poppers have a concave face and when twitched sharply they dig into the water and produce a loud popping sound. Propeller baits have propellers either for, aft, or both. Again, when twitched sharply they put out a lot of surface commotion, more than a popper.

Chesapeake Bay bass

Walk the dog baits are a little bit different”. Unlike the other two types of top water plugs, these have very little built in action, the angler must imparted to the lure. They are conical he shaped front and rear. With the rod tip held low near the water, the lure is retrieved steadily while the rod tip twitched and a rhythmic manner. This causes the lure to dance sideways back and forth. It takes a while to master this technique, but is extremely effective on a wide variety of freshwater and saltwater game fish.

Crankbaits

Just as with top water plugs, there are several different styles of crankbaits. Crankbaits are generally cast out and retrieved back in, or cranked in, thus the name. They are available in many different shapes and sizes. Generally speaking, they have a fairly wide body that imitates shad, bluegill, herring, and even crayfish.

Sacramento River striped bass

Most crankbaits have a plastic bill on the front. This bill, along with the shape of the plug, determines how deep the lure will run. Most manufacturers offer some type of charge give anglers a rough guide of how deep a particular lure will run, though there are other factors which affect this. Obviously, the best approach is to match the depth that which the lure is designed to dive with the area being fished. In most cases, it is best to have the lure occasionally bumping the bottom.

Squarebill crankbaits have become fairly popular of late. These lures are especially erratic and for whatever reason seem to bump off of cover instead of get hung up. This makes them an excellent choice to fish in and around heavy cover. For the most part, this is a shallow diving bait, but deep diving models are available as well.

bass fishing

Lipless crankbaits do not have the plastic lip on them. They are shaped like a fish in the line tie is usually on top near the center of the bait. When retrieved through the water, they put out a ton of vibration and noise as well as some flash.

Anglers fishing with crankbaits should vary the retrieve until a productive one emerges. The best all round retrieve is to cast the lure out, reel quickly to get it down to the desired depth, then work it back in using an erratic twitches and pauses. Again, experimenting will determine what the fish want that day.

walleye fishing, a beginners guide

Crankbaits are excellent trolling lures as well. Due to the fact that the lip will cause a lore to dive, anglers do not need weights and downrigger’s and other devices to get the lure down to the desired depth. Special crank baits are used by saltwater anglers that will dive as deep as 50 feet on their own. Anglers fishing larger freshwater lakes often use lures that dive down 25 feet or so.

Jerkbaits

fishing for snook

Jerkbaits are long, slender plugs. They have a plastic lip and come in both shallow and deep diving models. They are worked aggressively, with the angler giving the lure a hard jerk (thus the name), followed by a pause. The pause is crucial as this is when the fish most often hits the lure.

There are many different jerkbaits on the market and they produce a lot of both freshwater and saltwater species. Smallmouth bass in particular love them as jerkbaits often perform well in clear water conditions. Most jerkbaits also do well when trolled, either alone or behind a downrigger or sinker.

fishing with lures

A wide variety of saltwater species will take them as well. Saltwater fish tend to be more aggressive and the erratic nature of a jerkbait appeals to them.

Soft plastic baits

spotted sea trout fishing

Soft plastic baits have revolutionized fishing, and that is not an overstatement. These lures are soft, supple, and very lifelike. They look and feel like the real thing to game fish. Some soft plastic lures also incorporate scent as well. This only increases their effectiveness.

Soft plastic lures are available in a myriad of shapes, sizes, and colors. Plastic worms were the original soft plastic bait. When they came out in the late 1960s, they were very stiff and unnatural looking. That has changed a lot today! However, a six inch plastic worm remains one of the most effective largemouth bass fishing lures to this day.

fishing for crappie with jigs

Most soft plastic lures are meant to be fished quite slowly, imitating natural creatures that are crawling along the bottom. They are available in worms, salamanders, crayfish, and creature baits which really don’t look like anything in the water. The bulk and action of these lures is very effective.

inshore saltwater fishing

Soft plastic swim baits are also very effective, particularly for anglers saltwater fishing. They are most often fished on a jig head and are cast out and retrieved similar to other artificial lures. They are not confined to saltwater, many freshwater predator species including smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and walleye will readily take a soft plastic swim bait on a jig head.

Fishing with soft plastic baits

Unlike other fishing lures, soft plastic baits must be rigged up in some manner. The lures are sold in bags separately from the hooks. There are several different ways that anglers can rig and fish soft plastic lures. These include Texas rig, Carolina rig, wacky rig, drop shot rig, and soft plastics on a jig head.

texas rigged worm

When plastic worms first came out, the most commonly used rig was a Texas rig. This involved a specially designed hook as well as a sliding conical he shaped sinker. The shape of the hook allowed for the worm to hang straight while embedding the hook in the worm. This resulted in it being almost entirely weedless. The sliding weight allowed for the worm to be fished through weeds and over cover, yet allow the bass to pick the worm up and move off with it without feeling any weight. This rig is still popular and very effective and can be used with just about any soft plastic lure.

carolina rig

A Carolina rig is similar to a Texas rig with a couple of differences. Instead of the sinker being allowed to rest up against the eye of the hook, a swivel is used to stop the sinker. A leader around 30 inches long connects the other end of the swivel to the hook. A floating worm is most often used. The result is a rig that allows the sinker to crawl over cover while the worm works just a little bit above the bottom. This is an extremely effective rig that is most often used in deeper water around structure such as points and channel edges.

wacky rig

There is perhaps no easier way to fish a plastic worm then to use a wacky worm rig. It simply consists of a hook placed through the center of the worm and then cast out towards likely structure, usually along the shoreline. As the worm syncs through the water column, it undulates naturally in very seductively. It is extremely effective and it is very easy for novice anglers to use and master. In most cases, the fish, usually a bass, picks up the worm and runs off with it.

drop shot

A drop shot rig is an extremely effective way to present a soft plastic lure. The hook is tied in line about 12 inches to 18 inches above a sinker. This results in the bait being presented just off the bottom. It is extremely effective when fish are fussy and desire a very subtle presentations. The bait can be wiggled right in front of the fishes nose for a long period of time, hopefully drawing a strike. Just about any soft plastic lure can be used with this presentation.

guide to inshore fishing

The final presentation that anglers can use when presenting a soft plastic lure is to use it in conjunction with a jig head. While the previous for rigs are mostly tailored to bass fishing, a soft plastic bait on a jig head will catch just about every species that swims. One of the keys to this combination is the versatility. Any tail can be added to the jig head to mimic a baitfish, shrimp, crayfish, or any other type of aquatic life. The jig and grub can be bounced off the bottom, worked in the middle of the water column, and even worked just under the surface.

Spinnerbaits and buzzbaits

spinnerbait fishing

Spinnerbaits are excellent choices for anglers fishing with lures. They consist of a wire frame that looks a bit like a safety pin. In fact, back in the day they were called safety pin lures. A blade or blade rides on the top of the arm and a jig head is molded into the lower arm with the line tie being in the center. The result is a lure that is a combination between a jig and a spinner; two of the most effective fishing lures.

Spinnerbaits are mostly used by anglers freshwater fishing. There are a couple of saltwater applications, mostly fishing for redfish in fairly shallow water. Some anglers snook fishing use them as well. However, the vast amount of anglers casting spinner baits will do so in freshwater.

Best fishing lures for bluegill

Spinnerbaits have several advantages. They have a ton of built in action and are easy for novice anglers to use. In most cases, the best retrieve is a steady one. The rotating blade swimming skirt on the jig attracts fish. The lure is fairly easy to cast. Finally, spinnerbaits, due to their design, are relatively weedless. They tend to walk over and around structure.

Spinnerbaits come in several different configurations. Lures with one blade are called single bladed while those with two blades are called tandem spinnerbaits. Gold and silver are the most popular finishes on the blades. These blades are also available in several different designs; Colorado, Indiana, and willow leaf blades. All put out slightly different vibration. Skirt colors are endless two, with white and chartreuse being the top colors.

Tiny versions of these lures are incredibly effective on panfish, with the Beetle spin being a prime example. Generally, the slowest retrieve that will keep the blade spinning it will be the most productive. Larger versions in the 1/4 ounce to 1/2 ounce size are extremely effective on just about every other species. Larger models are used on Pike and musky.

For the most part, spinnerbaits are a shallow water bait. They work best around vegetation, fallen timber, and other structure. Heavier lures can be fished slowly and deeply, this is called slow rolling a spinnerbait. These lures are almost always cast out and retrieved, they do not work well in a vertical presentation and are rarely trolled, though they can be.

best buzzbait fishing lures

Buzzbaits are basically top water versions. They are designed to run right on top of the water with a specially designed blade that puts out a rhythmic gurgling sound and a ton of commotion. This is considered by many anglers to be a big fish bait and will draw some explosive strikes!

In conclusion, this article on fishing with lures will help anglers be more successful when using artificial baits!

Best 13 White Bass fishing Lures – Hybrid Bass Too!

Best 13 White Bass fishing Lures – Hybrid Bass Too!

This article will list the best 13 white bass fishing lures. Since hybrid bass are very similar in habits, this list applies to them as well. Anglers fishing for white bass and hybrid bass often find them in large schools, feeding aggressively. Therefore, the best white bass and hybrid bass fishing lures are compact and cast well. White bass and hybrid bass are found throughout the country, particularly in the Midwest.

best 13 white bass fishing lures

The best 13 white bass fishing lures and hybrid bass fishing lures are;

  • Acme Kastmaster spoon
  • Blakemore Road Runner lure
  • Rat-L-Trap Tiny Trap
  • Mann’s Little George
  • Mepps spinners
  • Bass Assassin grub on a jig head
  • Rapala Husky Jerk plug
  • Rebel Pop-R topwater plug
  • Johnson Beetle spin spinnerbait
  • Johnson Sprite spoon
  • Mister Twister curly tail grub on a jig head
  • Hopkins jigging spoon
  • Rapala Shad Rap crankbait

White bass and hybrid bass characteristics and habits

white bass lures

Special thanks to Jamie Smith for the great pics and info!  She loves fishing and fitness and lives in Texas. Follow Jamie on Instagram for more great pics!

white bass

White bass, Morone chrysops, do not grow very large. The world record is 6 pounds, 13 ounces. However, most white bass caught are around a foot long. They are quite aggressive and are often found in large schools. Many anglers target them as they feed actively on the surface. Both white bass and hybrid bass have varied diets, but feed primarily on bait fish as they mature. White bass are found in larger lakes and river systems. They spawn in the tributary rivers in the spring.

hybrid bass fishing

Hybrid white bass are a mix of white bass and striped bass. They grow larger than white bass, growing to over 20 pounds, and can be distinguished by the broken lateral stripes on the lower half of the fish. Hybrid bass exhibit many of the same habits as white bass. The same artificial lures work well when fishing for both white bass and hybrid bass.

white bass fishing lures

White bass fishing tackle

Spinning tackle is the best choice for anglers targeting white bass. White bass lures are small and light, matching the shad, minnows, and other forage that white bass feed on. Ultralight rods and reels are usually the best choice.

white bass fishing tackle

A 6 foot light rod with a 1000 series reel spooled up with 6 pound line is an excellent all round combination for anglers fishing for white bass. This will cover most situations where white bass and hybrid bass will be encountered. Anglers fishing in areas where larger hybrid bass are available can certainly bump up the tackle a bit.

Best 13 white bass fishing lures

fishing for white bass

Here is Capt Jim’s list of the best 13 white bass fishing lures. As mentioned above, white bass and hybrid bass feed aggressively. Therefore, lures that offer a fast, erratic presentation are usually the best choice. Many anglers chase “breaking” fish. These are hybrid bass and white bass that are feeding on shad and herring on the surface. Anglers often need to make quick, long casts to get in on the action. Small, compact lures and light lines are the most effective for this application.

Acme Kastmaster spoon

kastmaster

The Acme Kasmaster spoon is the perfect spoon for fishing for white bass and hybrid bass. It is first on the list of the best 13 white bass fishing lures. The Kastmaster is a slender spoon with a unique action. It casts well and can be fished throughout the entire water column, from breaking fish to vertical jigging. These spoons available in many sizes, 1/8 ounce and ¼ ounce are the most popular sizes for white bass fishing. Chrome, gold, and “split” finishes work great.

Blakemore Road Runner lure

road runner

The Blakemore Road Runner is a terrific white bass fishing lure! It sort of combines two great lures in one; a spinner and a jig. Road runner lures are compact and cast fairly well for their light weight. The 1/8 ounce and ¼ ounce sizes are best. White, chartreuse, and pink are top colors. They can be cast into breaking fish as well as working submerged structure, points, and channel edges.

Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap Tiny Trap

rat-l-trap

The Bill Lewis Tiny Trap is a small version of the venerable Rat-L-Trap, a lure that has been catching fish for decades. It is a great example of a lipless crankbait. Tiny traps are third on the list of the best 13 white bass fishing lures. These lures vibrate and rattle when retrieved through the water. They work very well for casting to fish on the surface as well as blind casting. It is an outstanding search bait and can be trolled as well.

Mann’s Little George

mann's little george

The Mann’s Little George is an old school bait that has been around a long time. It was designed by legendary angler Tom Mann. Little George lures are quite dense and compact and can be cast a very long distance. It is a terrific lure to use on busting fish, particularly when they are a bit spooky. It also is very effective in a vertical presentation when white bass and hybrid bass are schooled up deep over structure.

Mepps Spinners

mepps

Most freshwater anglers are familiar with Mepps spinners. They have been used to catch a wide variety of species, and white bass are no exception. Mepps spinners work best in the spring when white bass have moved into tributary rivers to spawn. Spinners in general are excellent lures in rivers. They can also be trolled effectively.

Bass Assassin 2″ Crappie Dapper on a jig head

bass assassin

The jig and grub combo is one of the most effective fishing lures in both fresh and salt waters. It will catch just about every species that swims. Capt Jim prefers the Bass Assassin line of baits. They offer a variety of sizes and colors. The 2” Crappie Dapper on a 1/8 ounce jig head is a good all round white bass fishing lure. The 3 ½ inch Die Dapper is a better choice when larger hybrid bass are feeding on bigger shad and herring.

white bass fishing lures

These lures are quite versatile. They can be cast, both blind casting and into breaking fish, as well, as trolled and presented vertically. White and chartreuse are top colors. These baits work very well when fish are a bit less active and react better to a more subtle presentation.

Rapala Husky Jerk plug

husky jerk

Jerkbaits are very effective white bass and hybrid bass fishing lures. They have a very erratic action and put out a bunch of flash and vibration. They very realistically mimic wounded bait fish. There are many fine jerkbaits on the market. Capt Jim’s personal favorite for freshwater fishing is the Rapala Husky Jerk. It is fairly economical and comes in a variety of sizes and colors. Lighter shad patterns as well as silver and gold in the 08 size work great. They can be cast and trolled.

Rebel Pop-R topwater plug

rebel pop-r

Topwater plugs are both great fun to fish and are extremely productive in the right situation. They are a natural fit when white bass are feeding on the surface. Capt Jim’s favorite freshwater topwater plug is the Rebel Pop-R. It has a concave face which puts out a loud “pop” when twitched sharply. They also work well when fish have moved shallow near shoreline cover. Pop-R plugs are 8th on the list of the best 13 white bass fishing lures.

Johnson Beetle spin spinnerbait

beetle spin

Spinnerbaits are terrific fishing lures. While they really do not look like anything that white bass or hybrid bass feed on, they put out flash and vibration. They combine a jig and a spinner in one unit. Capt Jim’s favorite freshwater lure is the Johnson Beetle spin. It is a compact spinnerbait with a short, grub body. The 1/8 ounce and ¼ ounce baits in black, white, and green are great choices. They work best when cast and retrieved when white bass are in fairly shallow water.

Johnson Sprite spoon

sprite spoon

The Johnson Sprite spoon is a great example of a classically shaped spoon. It has the teardrop shape and puts out a great wobble that flashed and vibrates. It really mimics a wounded bait fish. The Sprite spoon works best when cast out and reeled back in using an erratic retrieve. They can also be trolled as well. The ¼ ounce model in gold or silver works best.

Mister Twister curly tail grub on a jig head

mister twister

Mister Twister revolutionized fishing back in the mid 70’s when they introduced the Mister Twister curly tail grub. A curly tail grub has incredible action in the water when simply reeled in. It can be used to fish the entire water column. It is very effective when bounced down a sloping point or over a ledge. It also works great when whit bass are in the rivers. The 3” grub on a 1/8 ounce jig head works great. White and chartreuse are top colors.

Hopkins jigging spoon

hopkins jigging spoon

The Hopkins jigging spoon is a bit of a specialty bait. While it can be cast out, it is almost always used in a vertical presentation when white bass and hybrid bass are schooled up over structure in deep water. It is one of the best baits for suspended fish of all bass species. Silver with a hammered finish is by far the top finish. ¼ ounce is a good size for white bass.

Rapala Shad Rap crankbait

shad rap

Crankbaits are last, but certainly not least, on the list of best 13 white bass fishing lures. Crankbaits differ from jerkbaits in a couple of ways. They are wider and better resemble shad and herring. They are can be purchased with larger lips that cause them to dive fairly deep. Capt Jim’s favorite crankbait is the Rapala Shad Rap. It comes in shallow and deep models in a variety of sizes and colors. It is an excellent trolling lure as well.

In conclusion, this article on the best 13 white bass fishing lures will help anglers catch more of both white and hybrid bass!

Lipless Crankbait Fishing, a Guide to Success!

Lipless Crankbait Fishing, a Guide to Success!

This article will thoroughly cover lipless crankbait fishing. Lipless crankbaits are versatile lures that will catch a wide variety of both freshwater and saltwater species.

lipless crankbait fishing

Lipless crankbaits are hard bodied lures, usually made from plastic. Unlike most crankbaits, lipless baits do not have a bill or lip which dictates the depth at which they run. Lipless crankbaits emit a lot of vibration and flash, mimicking a wounded bait fish.

Lipless crankbaits can be used at any depth. The angler controls the depth at which the lure is presented by the time it is allowed to sink and the speed of the retrieve. Lipless crankbaits are very versatile lures. They can be cast out and retrieved, trolled, vertically jigged, and even produce for anglers ice fishing!

ice fishing for walleye

Best lipless crankbaits

Most lure manufacturers sell a lipless crankbait. They are effective lures that have a lot of built in action. Often times, a simple steady retrieve works best. This makes these lures an excellent choice for novice anglers and children. Lipless crankbaits are available in a wide selection of sizes and colors to match the forage that game fish are feeding on.

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crankbait fishing

The top 8 lipless crankbaits are;

  • Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap
  • Rapala Rattlin Rap
  • Berkley Warpig
  • Booyah Hard Knocker
  • Cotton Cordell Super Spot
  • LiveTarget Golden Shiner
  • Strike King Red Eye Shad
  • Yo-Zuri Rattl’n Vibe

Here is the list of Capt Jim’s favorite lipless crankbaits. Most have rattles inside, as the names imply. The slender bodies create a very tight wiggle. The combination of this action with the rattles results in a lure with a lot of vibration and noise, which will pull fish in to attack it.

Bill Lewis Rat-LTrap

rat-l-trap

Click to shop Amazon for Rat-L-Trap lures

Any list of lipless crankbaits begins with the Bill Lewis Rat-LTrap. This is by far the most popular lipless crankbait and is an extremely effective lure. They come in a wide variety of colors and are available in both freshwater and saltwater models.

Rapala Rattlin Rap

rapala rattlin rap

Click to shop Amazon for Rattlin Rap lures

The Rapala Rattlin Rap is Capt Jim’s favorite lipless crankbait. The gold lure in the ½ ounce size is his go-to bait in both rivers, lakes, and in saltwater. They are available in several sizes and a wide variety of colors.

Berkley Warpig

Berkley Warpig

Click to shop Amazon for Warpig lures

The Berkley Warpig is a well-balanced bait designed for Berkley with the help of Daid Fritts. It is a quality lure that comes well tuned right out of the box. The shad pattern is very productive.

Booyah Hard Knocker

Booyah Hard Knocker

Click to shop Amazon for Hard Knocker lures

The Booyah Hard Knocker is one of the louder, more aggressive lipless crankbaits on the market. It is a good bait when the water quality is poor or to irritate inactive bass and other species.

Cotton Cordell Super Spot

Cordell Super Spot

Click to shop Amazon for Super Spot lures

The Cotton Cordell Super Spot is a lipless crankbait that has been around a long time. It has a more subtle action that some other lures. It is an excellent all-round choice for most situations where a lipless crankbait will produce.

LiveTarget Golden Shiner

livetarget golden shiner

Click to shop Amazon for Golden Shiner lures

The lIvetarget Golden Shiner is a recent addition to the lipless crankbait lineup. It is a quality bait that is available in many different finishes. It has high quality finishes and is a favorite among anglers ice fishing.

Strike King Red Eye Shad

red eye shad

Click to shop Amazon for Red Eye Shad lures

The Strike King Red Eye Shad is a quality bait designed by the famous Strike King fishing pro staff. It works well in a variety of applications and has an excellent fishing. The ½ ounce bait in the Sexy Shad finish works very well.

Yo-Zuri Rattl’n Vibe

rattl'n vibe

Click to shop Amazon for Rattl’n Vibe lures

The Yo-Zuri Rattl’n Vibe is an aggressive bait with a quality finish. It casts well and puts out a ton of noise and vibration. It works great in a vertical presentation as well.

Best rods and reels for fishing with lipless crankbaits

There are varying schools of thought when it comes to the best rods and reels for fishing lipless crankbaits. The best outfit is a medium action baitcasting rod and reel. The rod should have a bit softer action to absorb the violet strikes and so that anglers do not rip the hooks out of the mouth of the fish.

lipless crankbait fishing

Baitcasting reels have a faster retrieve ratios. This helps when a fast retrieve is producing. Also, baitcasting reels work best when a twitch and pause is used, these reels handle the slack better.

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Spinning outfits can certainly be used as well. This is particularly true when a steady retrieve of moderate pace is used. Again, a softer rod works best. With both spinning and casting rods, monofilament or flourocarbon line is best. A little bit of stretch is actually desirable.

Lipless crankbait fishing techniques

smallmouth bass fishing for beginners

As mentioned earlier, lipless crankbaits are very versatile. They can be cast and retrieved, trolled, and vertically jigged. The size and color of the lure should match the locally available forage, where practical.

Casting and retrieving lipless crankbaits

Most fish caught by anglers using lipless crankbaits are done so casting the lure out and retrieving it back in. These lures put out a large amount of flash and vibration. This produces in several situation, Active fish will obviously be attracted to it. Inactive fish can be irritated into striking it. When visibility is low, the sound will help fish find it.

best bass lure

In many situations, a medium paced steady retrieve works best. The depth is controlled by the time the lure is allowed to sink, along with the speed of the lure. Strikes are very easy to detect. They cast very easily as well. These factors combine to make lipless crankbaits an excellent choice for anglers with a bit less experience.

While a steady retrieve often produces fish, anglers should certainly vary the retrieve to find out what the fish want that day. One extremely effective technique is to use several fast cranks of the reel followed by a pause. This imitates a wounded bait fish that appears to be dying. At times, being extremely aggressive and ripping the bait hard followed by a two or 3 foot drop will trigger a strike.

These baits are extremely effective when fished over submerged vegetation. The proper speed will have the bait ticking the tops of the weeds. Experienced anglers actually let it sink into the vegetation and then “rip” it out. This will trigger strikes from inactive fish. Lipless crankbaits produces around any type of structure as well. As with most lures, occasionally knocking the plug off of the structure is a very effective technique.

Lipless crankbaits are perfect for open water fishing when fish are feeding on the surface. These lures cast a good distance. They look just like shad and other forage. Anglers can easily match the size of the forage using a lipless crankbait.

Lipless crankbaits can imitate crayfish

Anglers casting lipless crankbaits are generally imitating wounded bait fish. However, they can be used to imitate another abundant freshwater forage; crayfish. Most manufacturers offer anglers these lures in crayfish patterns. Red with some black and it seems to be particularly effective.

9 essential smallmouth bass fishing lures

The best technique in this situation is to fish the bait very close to the bottom. Instead of a steady retrieve, a more erratic one is used where the bait is moved quickly for a few feet then allowed to fall back to the bottom. This realistically imitates a fleeing crayfish. It is a very effective retrieve for a variety of species.

Trolling with lipless crankbaits

Trolling is another very effective lipless crankbait fishing technique. These lures put out excellent flash and vibration when retrieved using a steady speed. This makes them a perfect choice for trolling. It is also a very easy method that any angler can use to cover a lot of water in search of fish.

walleye fishing tackle and lures

Anglers can keep it simple organ as complicated as they want when trolling with lipless crankbaits. In fairly shallow water, the best approach is to simply measure out a length of line behind the boat then slowly drive around at a few miles per hour. Anglers can use heavier lures as well as let more line out in order to achieve the proper depth.

The best spots to troll are large areas with some type of cover or structure. Channel edges that drop off into deep water are excellent spots to troll. Deep, submerged weed beds as well as submerged timber are other terrific spots. Trolling lipless crankbaits works well to cover large areas like rip rap around bridges.

Lipless crankbaits produce in a vertical presentation

Lipless crank baits are also productive when used in a vertical presentation. They are fished very similarly to a jigging spoon. The lore is let straight down to the bottom, usually around some type of structure such as a sloping point, channel edge, submerged timber or weeds, or around schools of bait fish.

Once the lure reaches the bottom, the angler sharply jerks the bait up several feet off the bottom, then allows it to flutter back down. The line is reeled up a crank or two, then the process repeated. This allows anglers to work the entire water column and is extremely effective on suspended fish. Anglers ice fishing have been using this technique for decades with lipless crankbaits.

Lipless crankbaits are more than just bass lures

There is little doubt that lipless crankbaits are most often used by anglers targeting largemouth bass, and for good reason. Besides the fact that bass are one of the most popular freshwater game fish, these lures are very effective for them. However, it is a mistake to think that that is the only species they will catch. In fact, anglers often overlook opportunities to fish these lures for other species.

top Michigan species

 

Any game fish that feeds on live bait fish can be caught on a lipless crankbait. These lures are available in sizes and patterns to imitate every prey species including bluegill, perch, herring, shad, and more. Northern pike, walleye, smallmouth bass, musky, trout, salmon, and even panfish can be caught by anglers casting these extremely effective lures.

Lipless crankbaits produce in saltwater fishing

river snook fishing charter

While the majority of anglers using lipless crank baits will do so when freshwater fishing, these lures are also very productive in the salt as well. Snook behave very much like largemouth bass. In fact, almost all of the best snook fishing lures are really adapted largemouth bass lures. Lipless crankbaits are no exception.

Striped bass and bluefish will certainly hit these baits as well. The same goes for Spanish mackerel, jacks, sea trout, and false albacore. In reality, any game fish species in freshwater or saltwater that feeds on bait fish will take a lipless crank \baits. It is particularly true of fish species that feed aggressively in schools.

In conclusion, this article on lipless crankbait fishing will help anglers be more successful using these very effective artificial lures.

 

 

12 Useful Blue Catfish Fishing Tips

12 Useful Blue Catfish Fishing Tips

This article will list 12 useful blue catfish fishing tips. Blue catfish have become a very popular target of anglers throughout North America. They have been successfully introduced into many large river and reservoir systems.

blue catfish fishing tips

Blue catfish, Ictalurus furcatus, are the largest of the three major catfish species. They are apex predators that grow to 150 pounds. Blue catfish are native to the Mississippi River and it’s tributaries, but have been introduced throughout North America. They adapt well to large reservoir and river systems.

The introduction of blue catfish into some systems is not without controversy. They are a large predator game fish that can change the balance in a particular body of water. Some anglers are not happy with the way they have affected native populations. Fish management agencies introduced blue catfish to offer anglers an opportunity to catch a large, trophy fish.

Blue catfish expert Samantha

blue catfish fishing tips

Samantha Caudill is an experienced tournament angler and a blue catfish expert. She fishes with her boyfriend Matt Russell. She is sponsored by Dales Tackle, River Rats reel repair, RS Nets, Reel Em Up, BKPC Nation, Fish Hard Industries, Slimecat Rods, and Cat River Anchor. Follow her on her YouTube Channel. Special thanks to her for sharing her pictures and tips!

12 useful blue catfish fishing tips

The following list of 12 useful blue catfish fishing tips will focus on the differences between blue catfish and the other catfish species. While similar in habits, there are some subtle differences in blue catfish behavior and habits. Anglers who understand these factors will be more successful.

fishing for blue catfish

1)  Proper tackle is important when fishing for blue catfish

Anglers chasing blue catfish will need the proper tackle in order to be successful. In most cases, the rods and reels will be quite a bit heavier than used for other freshwater species. Smaller blue catfish can be caught on lighter tackle, but serious anglers will beef up the tackle quite a bit.

Anglers fishing from boats will do best using fairly heavy conventional tackle. For the most part, casting is not required. Samantha likes a 7′ 3”xmh Slimecat rod foot rod with a Penn Squall 20 reel. Most anglers use braided line, Samantha prefers 40 pound test.

Click to read a detailed article on catfish tackle

fishing for catfish

Heavy spinning tackle can certainly be used as well, particularly by anglers fishing without a boat. In this application, long casts may be required and spinning tackle is certainly better for that for most anglers. A 7 to 8 foot long heavy rod with a fast action matched to a 6000-8000 series reel is a good all around combo. 40 pound braided line completes the rig.

2)  Fresh cut bait is best for blue catfish

The best fishing bait for blue catfish is a fresh chunk of cut bait. Bait fish that are available in the water being fished is best. Herring and shad species in particular are effective as they are quite oily. This helps spread the scent down current and will draw blue catfish in to the bait. Suckers and chubs are also popular. Check local regulations before using fresh caught bait.

catfish bait

Anglers can cut the bait fish into chunks or strips. Chunks, or “plugs” are most often used as they provide more bulk and stay on the hook better. The chunk can be hooked right under the dorsal fin. Serious anglers pursuing blue catfish prefer to catch their own bait. Cast nets are often used. In some areas, traps can be employed as well. Anglers also catch bait using a light rod and small hooks. Again, check local regulations to remain in compliance.

3)  Understanding current is a key to success

Current is a very important factor in all types of fishing, and blue catfish are no exception. They thrive in river systems and understanding how current will locate fish is important. Predator fish like to find breaks in the current where they can lie in ambush while not expending a lot of energy.

blue catfish tips

Anything that causes a break in the current can hold blue catfish and other species. Fallen trees, rock piles, and bridge pilings are examples of this. Ledges are also used by game fish to ambush prey.

Current is extremely important when fishing for catfish in rivers. The spots they will stage in really depends on the level of the river. Entire books have been written on the subject. Basically, when the river is high and fast, catfish will find quiet water out of the main current. Conversely, during low water conditions, they will often be found in the swiftest moving water that has some depth to it.

4)  Night time is the right time for catching blue catfish

fishing for blue catfish

It is no secret that catfish are nocturnal species. They are built to feed efficiently under almost zero visibility conditions. This included night time as well as very murky water. They use their keen sense of smell more than their sight.

Blue catfish will often move up quite shallow at night as well. Flats that are adjacent to river channels are prime spots. Fish will move out of the depths and up onto the flats to roam about and feet. Obviously, anglers need to be extra careful when fishing in the dark, especially if current is present.

fishing for blue catfish

5)  Proper rigging for blue catfish is crucial

Fishing for blue catfish is not complicated. However, using the proper rigs and tackle will certainly increase the odds of success. Most often, anglers present the bait on or near the bottom. The basic 3 way catfish rig works very well for this, especially in current.

fishing for river catfish

The Carolina rig is a bit less complicated and is very effective as well. With this rig the line slides through the sinker and a swivel stops it from sliding down to the hook. A float can be added to lift the bait a bit above the bottom. This also gives the bait a natural looking action as it sways in the current. Rattles can be added as well to help blue catfish find the bait.

catfish leaders

Most anglers fishing for blue catfish use circle hooks these days. They almost always result in the hook being lodged in the corner of the fish’s mouth. This greatly aids in releasing fish in a healthy state. Sizes vary, but 5/0 is a good all round size for average fish. The hook should be matched to the size of the bait being used. Samantha uses 10/0 circle hooks for most of her fishing that targets larger cats.

There are quite a few choices when it comes to sinkers as well. Samantha, and most catfish anglers, prefer the flat “no roll” sinkers, especially in heaver current. Anglers using 3 way rigs often opt for bank sinkers. Egg sinkers are used when it is desirable to have the bait drifting with the current.

whisker bomb

A whisker bomb is a special rig used when precise placement of the bait is desired. With no leader, the bait will not move around and get snagged. This rig is used in heavy cover.

Read more about catfish rigs and baits

6)  Top spots for locating blue catfish

catfish fishing tips

Blue catfish are like many other game fish. They prefer structure so that they can ambush prey. The same structure attracts the same forage. Fallen timber, rocks, bridges, channel edges, sloping points and wing dams are all prime examples, Areas that combine two or more of these are prime spots. A channel edge with a steep drop off and fallen timber would be a great example. Blue catfish will get up on a flat to feed as well, particularly at night. Also, generally speaking, blue catfish prefer larger bodies of water. Smaller lakes and rivers will not be as productive.

7)  Blue catfish are excellent to eat, but larger fish should be released

tips for catching blue catfish

Blue catfish are fantastic eating! Their flesh is white, firm, and flaky. Many consider them to be the best table fare of all the catfish species. However, like most fish, the smaller and medium sized fish are best to keep for anglers who desire a meal. Larger blue catfish are usually females. It is important not to over fish the breeder stock.

8)  Safety first when handling catfish

blue catfish

Anglers fishing for catfish of any species need to exercise caution when handling them. This is especially true of blue catfish, due to their size. Gloves are highly desired, as is some type of tool to grip a fish in the mouth. The dorsal and pectoral fins have barbs and toxin that are extremely painful if they stab an angler.

9)  Other effective baits for blue catfish

best live bait for freshwater fishing

While fresh cut bait is the preferred bait for blue catfish, there are several other productive baits. Nightcrawlers will certainly catch blue catfish, as well as just about every other freshwater species. That is actually the main disadvantage to using nightcrawlers and worms. Serious blue cat anglers not not want to be ‘interrupted” by these other fish. For anglers who do not mind, they are an excellent choice. Nightcrawlers are readily available and easy to keep alive.

fishing

Prepared commercial baits are very popular among catfish anglers as well, particularly for those targeting channel catfish. However, blue catfish will be caught on these baits as well. The main advantage to using prepared baits is the convenience; they are always in the tackle box and ready to go.

10)  Boat position is very important

blue catfish tips

Boat positioning is crucial to success when it comes to fishing for blue catfish. They will often be found in fairly precise location, though they will also scatter out over a large flat. The key is to place the boat up-current of the spot or area to be fished. Anglers can then put out their spreads as dictated by the conditions. This is a skill that really comes from practice.

Here are some tips on anchoring from Samantha and Matt. Anchor: when anchoring we like to be around 100ft to 120ft from our spot that we marked in our graph. Depending on how deep the water is, is how much rope you will need to let out to keep your anchor in place and so it doesn’t slide. We use a 20lb HD Cat River Anchor with a 150ft rope. When double anchoring we will use one 20lb HD anchor for the front of the boat and 0ne 20lb HD anchor for the back of the boat

11)  Blue catfish can be caught from shore

catfish fishing tackle

Anglers without a boat can certainly experience success when fishing for blue catfish. This can be done in lakes but is probably more effective when done from a river bank. Fish in rivers are easier to locate. Anglers can access deeper holes on outside bends from the shoreline. Tailwaters (see next tip) are prime spots for blue catfish and many other species. Bridges can offer anglers access as well.

Heavy spinning tackle is usually the best choice for anglers fishing from the shore. However, those proficient with baitcasting tackle can cast just as far, if not further. It is just a bit more difficult, especially for the novice angler.

12)  Tailwaters are a top spot for blue catfish

fishing in tailwaters for catfish

A “tailwater” is the section of a river just below a dam. These are prime locations for anglers seeking many different species, including blue catfish. The current is often swift and catfish will hold behind large rocks and boulders as well as in eddies and current breaks.

Bait fish often get caught in the turbines of the dam and are chopped up and dumped into the flow. This creates a natural “chum slick” of sorts and fish set up to gorge on the easy pickings. Therefore, a chunk of cut shad or herring is tough to beat.

Anglers fishing from shore can often access these areas to fish. Parks are often created in these spots so that kayakers and anglers can access the river. It is VERY important to make safety the top consideration! Water flow levels vary greatly. Most dame have schedules that let anglers know when the water is being released.

These can be great times to fish, but maybe not the best time to be in a small boat. Anglers should never anchor in a heavy current, many have died doing that. Drifting or anchoring downstream and out of the strong current is best. The same applies to anglers fishing from shore; be careful!

In conclusion, this article on 12 useful blue catfish fishing tips will help anglers catch more of these large and powerful freshwater game fish!