This post is the list of fishing articles written by Capt Jim Klopfer. These articles will be broken down into several categories. These include Sarasota fishing articles, Florida fishing articles, freshwater fishing articles, and miscellaneous fishing articles. Simply click on the article title to read the article.
Many anglers that enjoy freshwater fishing do so using artificial lures. While live bait is certainly productive, lures have advantages as well. They are more convenient, versatile, and will elicit strikes when fish are not hungry. Lures are also a lot of fun to fish! However, anglers can be confused by the vast amount of lure choices. Capt Jim will list the top 6 freshwater fishing lures in this article.
The top 6 freshwater fishing lures are:
soft plastic baits
These lures will cover every fishing situation that a freshwater angler will encounter.
Capt Jim Klopfer is a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida. He grew up in Maryland and has fished extensively in freshwater throughout the country. He will break down each lure type along with his personal favorite lures.
One advantage lures have over live bait is the ability to cover water much more quickly in search of fish. Lures will also cause fish to bite out of reflex, angler, excitement, curiosity, and more. Artificial lures are also more convenient; no need to keep bait alive. It can also be easier to release fish when using lures, especially those with a single hook.
Inline spinners were one of the first freshwater fishing lures. They consist of a metal shaft with a blade that rotates around a body. At the rear of the spinner is a hook, most often a treble hook, that can be dressed with hair or fur and is sometimes plain. Spinners put out a lot of flash and vibration and are very easy for novice anglers to use. In most cases, a slow steady retrieve is best.
Spinners work extremely well and rivers. The current alone will usually cause the spinner blade to rotate and flash. Anglers simply cast the spinner across the stream or river and allow it to drift down stream on a tight line, retrieving it just fast enough to keep the blade turning. In-line spinners also work very well in lakes, they can be cast out and retrieved but are also very productive when trolled.
Spinners catch a wide variety of freshwater species, from small panfish up to giant pike and musky. This versatility is one of the attributes that makes it one of the top 6 freshwater fishing lures! Capt. Jim’s personal favorite in-line spinner is the Wordens Rooster Tail spinner. It is very light which makes it an excellent choice when fishing and streams and small rivers as it will not sink down and get hung up on the bottom.
Mepps spinners are another favorite lure of freshwater anglers. They have been around a long time and have caught countless fish over the decades. While Mepps offer several varieties, the Aglia spinner is there best seller. The combination of the gold blade and brown tail is an excellent all round color combination.
As mentioned above, in-line spinners will catch large fish as well. The best in-line spinner for larger game fish, especially musky and pike, is the Mepps Musky Killer spinner. It is a large lure with sturdy hardware, which makes it a good choice when fishing for powerful fish with a mouth full of teeth such as musky and pike. Generally speaking, bright color combinations work best.
The jig is an extremely versatile fishing lure that produces fish in freshwater as well as saltwater and catches just about every species that swims. They are number two on the list of the top 6 freshwater fishing lures. Jigs are available in a wide variety of styles, sizes, and colors. They can be cast out and retrieved as well as presented vertically. Jigs can mimic bait fish, crayfish, and other popular freshwater forage. Jigs are most often cast out or fished vertically, however there are instances where trolling with jigs can be effective as well.
Jig and grub
One of the most popular jigs is the jig and grub combo. This consists of a jig head, which is a hook with some lead molded at the front near the eye. This offset weight causes the jig to have its erratic action. Some type of soft plastic body is then threaded onto the jig head.
One of the advantages of the jig and grub combination is the versatility. Anglers can easily change the grub body to match the conditions and the locally available forage. They are also quite economical as the grub body can be replaced once a fish tears it up. The same applies to anglers fishing in areas where snags are common, the jig and grub usually costs less than one dollar.
Grub bodies are available in a myriad of styles, shapes, and colors. They can mimic crayfish, leeches, bait fish, and even come in styles that do not look like anything found in freshwater. While they all catch fish, Capt. Jim’s personal favorite is a chartreuse curly tail grub on a jig head. The size of the lure is matched to the fish being pursued. Tiny 1 inch jigs are deadly on panfish while 3 inch to 4 inch versions work well on bass, walleye, and larger game fish.
Jigs are also available with some type of natural or synthetic care tied onto the jig head. These are often referred to as bucktail jigs or marabou jigs. They are extremely effective lures for a variety of species. Tiny marabou jigs are extremely effective on crappie and panfish. Large bucktail jigs are very effective lures for striped bass and other larger game fish.
While very effective freshwater fishing lures, these hair jigs do have a couple of disadvantages; primarily being cost and durability. Unlike the jig and grub, once the hair dressing is torn up, it cannot be easily replaced. Also, these jigs are more expensive to fish than a jig with a soft plastic body.
There are several different styles of bass jigs available to anglers freshwater fishing. Most of these have a fairly heavy head, a sturdy hook, and some type of rubber legs for dressing. The rubber legs undulate naturally in the water and are very effective. Anglers often add some type of soft plastic trailer to add bulk and even more action. These are generally used around weeds and heavy cover. Capt Jim likes the Booyah Boo jig in dark colors.
Third on the list of the top 6 freshwater fishing lures are soft plastic baits. Soft plastic baits are extremely effective freshwater fishing lures. Plastic worms were introduced in the late 60s and revolutionized bass fishing. The soft plastic baits available today are much more sophisticated and effective. Anglers can purchase a soft plastic lure that resembles just about anything in the water, including worms, salamanders, crayfish, leeches, bait fish, and more.
Soft plastic baits can be fished several different ways. Anglers can thread them on a jig head as mentioned above. They can be rigged on special hooks which allow anglers to present these baits in an almost weedless manner. Soft plastic baits can also be fished on hooks either in a drop shot presentation or wacky rigged. The combinations are really endless.
Capt. Jim’s favorite soft plastic bait is the Yamamoto Senko worm in green pumpkin. This is a fairly unassuming bait that does not look like much, however it really catches fish. It can be fished drop shot style, wacky rigged, Texas rigged, and on a shaky head jig. All of these are effective presentations. In most cases, a subtle action works best. These are finesse style baits and fish often respond with little or even no action by the angler.
Spinnerbaits are extremely effective freshwater fishing lures. They are next on the list of the top 6 freshwater fishing lures. Spinnerbaits consist of a wire frame that resembles a safety pin with a blade or blades at the top and some type of body with a hook at the bottom. The weighted hook can come with a rubber skirt or some type of soft plastic trailer, and sometimes both.
Spinner baits are very easy for novice anglers to use. The lure is simply cast out and retrieved back in in a steady pace. They are fairly weedless and will bounce over submerged timber and other structure. While they really do not look like anything that is in the water, spinner baits put out a ton of flash and vibration, which attracts game fish. In most cases, they resemble bait fish. However, they are available in darker patterns which can be bounced along the bottom to mimic crayfish as well.
Capt. Jim’s favorite spinner bait is the Johnson Beetle Spin. This is a fairly plain looking lure, however it is extremely effective on a variety of species. The 1/16 ounce versions are deadly on panfish. The larger one quarter ounce model is extremely effective for bass and other species in lakes and ponds. His favorite color combination is a black body with a silver blade.
Strike King offers anglers a wide variety of spinner bait options. The KVD finesse spinner bait is an excellent choice when anglers are trying to imitate smaller shad or other bait fish. It also works well when fish are a bit finicky. The larger versions work very well in larger bodies of water where shad are present. They will catch largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, striped bass, walleye, pike, and other game fish.
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Spoons have been catching freshwater fish for anglers for many decades. A spoon is a very simple yet effective fishing lure. It consists of a curved piece of metal with a hook in it. In most cases, the spoon comes with a treble hook that swings freely on the rear. The shape and curve of the spoon will dictate the action. Long slender spoons have a tight wiggle and are best worked quickly. Wider spoons have a slow deliberate wobble and produce better when slowly retrieved.
Spoons are very effective fishing lures that can be presented in a variety of ways. Spoons can be cast out and retrieved back in. They are also very effective when vertically fished over structure. Anglers ice fishing you spoons extensively for walleye, lake trout, and other species. Finally, spoons are extremely effective when trolled for salmon, trout, walleye, and other species.
The discussion of freshwater fishing spoons starts with the venerable Eppinger Daredevil spoon. This simple fishing lure has been around for decades and has probably accounted for more northern pike than any other lure. It is also effective on just about every other freshwater species. It comes in a wide variety of sizes and colors. The 1/4 ounce red and white daredevil spoon is Capt. Jim’s favorite.
The list of effective and productive freshwater fishing spoons is very long. Johnson offers anglers a couple of very effective spoons. The Johnson Silver Minnow is a weedless spoon which is a very effective lure for bass and pike that can be used when the fish are in heavy vegetation. The spoon wobbles with the hook writing up in a weed guard, making the lure fairly weedless. Anglers will often add some type of soft plastic trailer to add more action and bulk. The 1/4 ounce spoon in the gold finish is Capt. Jim’s favorite.
Johnson also offers anglers a casting spoon, called the sprite spoon. This is more of an open water lure as it has a single treble hook on the rear. It comes in a variety of sizes and both the silver and gold finishes are very productive.
Another excellent spoon that Capt. Jim likes is the Acme Kastmaster spoon. It has a bit of an unusual shape and design. The cast master is a dense spoon which casts very well. It works best when using a fast, erratic retrieve. Anglers can also troll with it or presented vertically. The chrome spoon with a blue prism finish works very well, as does gold.
Last on the list of top 6 freshwater fishing lures are plugs. Plugs are hard bodied baits, usually made of plastic, that for the most part mimic bait fish. Some plugs do scour the bottom and are designed to mimic crayfish. Some plugs float on the surface, these are called top water plugs. However, most plugs work below the surface.
Plugs are generally float and then dive down to a determined depth upon retrieve. The depth that they achieve is mostly dictated by the plastic bill on the front of the plug. Some plugs do sink on their own. Other plugs, known as suspending plugs, will slowly sink down and then can be worked at a certain depth in the middle of the water column.
Topwater plugs are great fun to fish! It is very exciting to see a largemouth bass or other game fish attack a plug as it is being worked on the surface. There are numerous effective top water fishing plugs that will catch a variety of species. They come in several styles including poppers, propeller baits, and walk the dog baits.
Capt. Jim’s favorite top water plug is the Rapala Skitter Prop. This lure has a conical nose and a single rear propeller. When twitched sharply, it puts out excellent action and commotion on the surface of the water. Like most top water plugs, it is best fished close to a weed line or other type of structure.
Jerkbaits are long slender plugs that have a very erratic action and the water. They are worked by using short twitches of the rod tip followed by a pause, thus the name, jerk bait. The hard jerk in flash will attract the game fish and the pause simulates easy prey and is usually when the fish strikes. There are many manufacturers of quality jerk baits that come in many different sizes and colors.
Capt. Jim’s favorite jerk bait is the Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slash Bait. This lure comes in many different sizes small versions that will fool crappie and panfish to six-inch models that will catch pike, musky, and lake trout. The #10 X-Rap in ghost (white) is a very effective and versatile lure. When the forage is running a little smaller, anglers can drop down to the number eight size.
Crankbaits generally refer to plugs that dive down deeper in the water column. For the most part, they have a larger profile which resembles shad or bluegill. 2 inch to 3 inch long models are the most productive. Capt. Jim’s favorite crank baits is the rapid a shad rap in the number 5 size and silver finish. Crank baits are often cast out and retrieved but they are extremely effective lures for trolling as well.
Lipless cranbaits are another type of plug. These do not float nor do they have a lip. They are cast out, allowed to sink, then retrieved back in using a fairly steady pace. These lures put out a tremendous amount of vibration and are excellent lures for covering a lot of water quickly. The discussion of lipless crank baits really starts and ends with the Bill Lewis rattletrap. The half ounce model in chrome with a blue back is Capt. Jim’s top choice.Anglers can troll them as well.
What is the best scented soft plastic fishing lure?
Soft plastic baits are very productive fishing lures. Some are even scented to add to their effectiveness. There are many quality scented soft plastic fishing lures, but there is one bait that has proven to be the best one on the market.
The Gulp line of baits is the best scented soft plastic fishing lure. They are offered in both freshwater and saltwater versions. Gulp baits are available in sizes and shapes that mimic just about every forage for game fish. The lures are actually manufactured with the scent as opposed to the scent being added to it. This is what makes Gulp baits so effective.
The scent adds several advantages for anglers. Gulp baits really combine the best of both lures and live bait. They have the action of a lure with the small and taste of the real thing. First, the scent will help attract game fish to the lure initially. Secondly, the scent will cause fish to hold onto the bait significantly longer. This aids greatly in hooking the fish. Capt Jim uses this on his Sarasota fishing charters, where he gets a lot of novice anglers.
Gulp baits for saltwater fishing
Gulp baits are available to saltwater anglers to imitate a variety of crustaceans and other forage that game fish feed on. These include shrimp, crabs, bait fish, sea worms, eels, and squid. They are all effective on a wide variety of saltwater game fish. The top Gulp baits will be highlighted below.
Capt Jim has been a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida since 1991. Anglers who are interested in purchasing the equipment that he uses and writes about in his articles and reports can do so HERE on the PRODUCTS page.
The Gulp Shrimp is the top producing scented soft plastic fishing lure in saltwater. It is a versatile bait that can be fished in a variety of ways. The 3” size is most popular, but 4” Gulp Shrimp work in some applications as well. The 2” version can be effective in cooler water when fish are selective.
Most often, the Gulp Shrimp is fished on a weighted jig head. They can also be fished on a bare hook, just as an angler would with a live shrimp. Top colors will vary. White with a chartreuse tail is an excellent all round color. New Penny is also very popular. Root beer gold with a chartreuse tail is another very good color pattern.
The Gulp Jerk Shad is another very productive saltwater fishing lure. It is a long and slender lure that really does not directly resemble a particular forage. It is a “fluke” style lure with a forked tail. In the water, it has a very enticing action as it is jerked sharply and allowed to fall.
The Gulp Saltwater Jerk Shad come in two sizes, 5” and 6” lengths. White is an excellent color, as is chartreuse. The lure is versatile and can be rigged several ways. Anglers can fish shallow grass by rigging it Texas style. Weighted swimbait hooks work as well. In deeper water, the bait can be fished on a jig head.
The Gulp line of saltwater baits include several lures that mimic bait fish. These include the Swimming Mullet, Ripple Mullet, Saltwater Nemesis, Pogy, and Paddleshad. All of these are effective lures for a variety of species. The Swimming Mullet is perhaps the most versatile and durable. Nuisance fish can be a problem at times as they rip off the tail of swimming baits.
Finally, anglers fishing in saltwater can choose to fish with baits that mimic crabs, eels, and even squid. These are excellent lures for striped bass and other species. These lures are mostly used in the north east portion on the country.
Anglers fishing in freshwater have a wide variety of Gulp baits to choose from as well. Game fish in freshwater feed on a wide variety of insects, crustaceans, bait fish, and more. Minnows, worms, maggots, crickets, leeches, and more are represented in the freshwater line of Gulp baits.
Gulp Alive Minnow
The Gulp Alive Minnow is a very effective and versatile lure. It is available in four sizes from 1” to 4” to match the needs of just about every freshwater species. They can be used for bluegill, crappie, and other panfish both in open water fishing and when ice fishing. Larger versions produce bass, walleye, and other species.
The Gulp Alive Minnow falls into the “finesse bait” category. It is a slender lure with subtle action. It is best fished slowly on relatively light line. Anglers can fish the bait on a light jig head. A drop shot rig is another effective method used to present the lure.
There are several choices when it comes to Gulp worms for freshwater fishing. These include the Nightcrawler, Pinched Crawler, Shaky Worm, Floating Trout Worm, Angle Worm, and Earth Worm. Most are best fished slowly on light tackle. Worms can be rigged on a hook with a split shot or two, a jig head, Texas rigged, Carolina rigged, or on a drop shot rig.
The Gulp Nightcrawler is perhaps the best and most versatile worm bait. It is large enough to interest bass and walleye. Other fish such as smallmouth bass and larger panfish will take them as well. One very easy and effective method is to fish them “wacky style”. This is just inserting the hook in the middle of the worm and letting it attract fish as it falls through the water column. They are effective trout lures when drifted in streams.
Leeches are excellent baits for walleye and bass. They undulate enticingly in the water. Leeches are fairly large, easy to catch, and have a lot of protein. They are most often used in northern waters. Gulp offers several different sizes of leeches for anglers to choose from.
Gulp offers freshwater anglers more choices when it comes to bait fish and finesse bait options. These include the Minnow, Fry, Sinking Minnow, Shaky Head, Minnow Grub, Jerk Shad, Jigging Grub, and Floating Minnow. These baits can all be fished similarly to the other finesses lures, on a bare hook, jig head, Carolina or Texas rigged, and on a drop shot.
Gulp baits for trout
Gulp offers anglers who fish for trout several options as well. These are mostly in the form of corn and egg style baits. However, many of the lures listed above will certainly catch trout in streams and lakes. The corn and salmon egg baits are primarily designed specifically for trout anglers. They are very convenient, as opposed to dealing with live bait.
Ice fishing is very popular among anglers who live in colder climates. Ice fishing requires a vertical presentation. Fish are lethargic in most cases and the scent really plays a big role in catching fish. The same baits that are effective for ice fishing are also excellent for bluegill and panfish as well. These include Ice Fish Fry, Waxies, Maggots, Crickets, and Ice Minnows.
In-line spinners are extremely versatile fishing lures. They are mostly used when freshwater fishing. Spinners will catch a wide variety of species, from small panfish to giant musky. There are many different spinners to choose from. In this article, Capt Jim’s top 5 freshwater fishing spinners will be listed.
The top 5 freshwater fishing spinners are;
Worden’s Original Rooster Tail spinner
Blue Fox Vibrax
Mepps Musky Killer
These five in-line spinners will cover every freshwater fishing situation and angler will face.
In-line spinners are fairly basic lures that have been around a long time. They consist of a wire shaft with some type of body in the middle. The body adds color and weight. A blade rotates on the shaft around the body, emitting both flash and vibration. There is a hook at the end, usually a treble hook. The hook can be plain or dressed with some type of hair, usually bucktail.
Spinner fishing techniques
Spinners are versatile lures they can be effective in a wide variety of angling situations. They can be used throughout the entire water column, from just under the surface all the way to the bottom. They are effective in all bodies of water, but particularly so in rivers with moving water. Spinners are also extremely effective when trolled, especially for trout.
Spinners fishing in rivers
Spinners really shine when fished in moving water such as creeks, streams, and rivers. The current just assists in getting the blades to rotate and flash. Spinners also mimic the type of forged that game fish find in rivers. The best approach when fishing spinners in smaller rivers is to cast across the current and retrieve the spinner back just fast enough to keep the blades turning. The strike often occurs as the lure swings on a tight line at the end of the drift.
Anglers fishing in larger rivers do well to both casting and trolling. In this situation, heavier spinners are often used to get the lure down deeper in the water column. Slow trolling the deeper holes is an extremely effective technique for trout, salmon, and other species.
Spinner fishing in lakes
Spinners are certainly very effective in lakes as well. Very small versions are deadly on bluegill, crappie, and other panfish. Anglers cast out small brightly colored spinners towards submerged vegetation and trees as well as docks and other structure. In most cases, a very slow and steady retrieve works best. The same approach using larger spinners will catch bass as well.
Larger spinners are extremely effective on northern pike and musky. These apex predators lie in wait, generally in submerged weed beds, and ambush helpless prey as it swims by. A large spinner flashing overhead, putting out vibration will often trigger a strike. For the most part, spinners mimic a wounded bait fish which is the primary forage of pike and musky.
Spinners are very effective for just about every species of trout in lakes as well. Rainbow trout in particular are stocked widely throughout the country. They tend to feed and the upper part of the water column and spinners are extremely effective lures, both cast and trolled. Larger spinners will catch lake trout and salmon in lakes as well.
The top 5 freshwater fishing spinners
While spinners are similar in how they operate, there are differences in the way spinners are manufactured. These differences will affect the optimum spots that they will be used in and techniques that will produce fish. Also, anglers will need to use different size spinners based on the forage available as well is the species being pursued.
Worden’s Original Rooster Tail spinner
Capt Jim’s favorite in-line spinner is the Worden’s Original Rooster Tail spinner. This is the lightest of the spinners on the list, making it particularly effective in streams and small rivers. Not coincidentally, these are Capt. Jim’s favorite waters to fish with spinners. These lures are available in a wide variety of sizes and color patterns, all of which can be effective.
The 1/16 ounce and 1/8 ounce Rooster Tail spinners work extremely well in streams and small rivers. Capt. Jim’s favorite color patterns are brightly colored bodies with a gold blade. White with a silver blade would be his second choice. This is an extremely effective lure for all species of trout in waters that hold them. In warmer waters, bass and panfish will readily devour them.
Rooster tail spinners can certainly be used in lakes as well. They are particularly effective for panfish in smaller ponds and lakes. They can be used by anglers trolling as well, though due to their light weight trolling sinkers or some other device will be required to get them down in the water column.
Mepps Aglia spinner
The Mepps Aglia spinner is another fairly light lure that has been around a long time. Mepps has been an industry leader when it comes to fishing spinners for decades. It is a bit heavier than the Rooster Tail spinner, however is still an excellent choice for fishing streams and small rivers. It is available in multiple sizes and blade color in tail color combinations.
The smaller sizes are excellent when used in streams and they will catch every species of trout along with warm water species such as panfish and smallmouth bass. Larger sizes are better for bass, pickerel, and pike as well. They do come with treble hooks which makes them better for fishing in open water. The most popular color combination is a gold blade with the brown hair skirt on the hook.
Blue Fox Vibrax spinner
The Blue Fox Vibrax spinner is a bit heavier than the previous two lures. It has a patented two-part brass body that along with the plated blade puts out a very unique vibration. This lure is available in sizes from 7/64 of an ounce to 5/8 ounces. It is available in a wide variety of body and blade color combinations.
The Vibrax spinner is a excellent choice in larger rivers with deeper holes. This bait is fairly heavy and will sink quickly, getting down to the deeper depths where lighter spinners will not reach. For the same reason, they are fantastic lures to troll for trout and other species. The heavier versions will get down deep enough in the water column that they do not require any extra weight. This is a great convenience when trolling in lakes.
Panther Martin spinner
The Panther Martin spinner is also a fairly heavy lure. It is credited with being the first in-line spinner where the shaft ran through the body and the blade. Obviously, it is a proven bait with over 100 million units being sold. It has a larger and heavier body which emits a unique vibration as well as working a little bit deeper in the water column.
Panther Martin spoons are excellent trout lures, but will catch a variety of other species as well. They are a versatile spinner that can be cast as well as trolled. It is similar to the Blue Fox spinner, but with a slightly different vibration.
Mepps Musky Killer spinner
The Mepps Musky Killer is similar to the Mepps Aglia, with a few exceptions. It is one of the largest spinners available and is designed to be used by anglers fishing for musky in northern pike. These are large game fish with sharp teeth, which requires a stout lure. The Musky Killer is made from extra strong components and holds up better under these fishing conditions than other spinners do.
This bait works best when fished over top of submerged vegetation. Musky and Pike are long and sleek and well designed to ambush bait fish in this environment. The spinner will not run through heavy weeds, the treble hook will snag up. However, in sparse vegetation and over submerged vegetation it is extremely effective.
In conclusion, this article on the top 5 freshwater fishing spinners will help anglers choose the right spinner for their fishing application and therefore catch more fish!
Fishing with finesse baits is a very effective bass fishing technique. It involves using smaller lures for finicky fish. There are many different finesse baits to choose from. However, there is one artificial lure that stands out above the rest.
The best finesse bait for bass fishing is the 4 inch Yamamoto Senko worm. This is a very versatile finesse bait. It has a very enticing, fish attracting action. It performs best with subtle movements, which works perfectly when finesse fishing. The Senko worm comes in many different colors, green pumpkin being the most popular.
The Senko worm looks like any other ordinary worm in the package. However, the main difference is the texture of the lure. It is very soft and “gummy”. This results in an excellent undulating motion in the water. It also causes bass and other game fish to hold onto it a bit longer. The unique shape also allows anglers to rig it in a variety of ways.
Best finesse fishing tackle
Spinning tackle works best when fishing the Senko worm and other finesse baits. While it bait casting tackle can be used, most anglers find spinning tackle more effective when casting these lighter baits. A 7 foot medium spinning rod with a fast action is an excellent all round choice. This rod will allow anglers to make long casts and feel delicate bites while still having the power to move a fish out of heavy cover. It should be matched with a 30 series reel.
Line choices very important when it comes to finesse fishing. While braided line is the choice of many anglers bass fishing, particularly and heavy cover, fluorocarbon line is the better choice when fishing finesse baits. Fluorocarbon line is virtually invisible in the water and has less stretch than monofilament. It is a bit more expensive. However, most anglers consider the advantages worth the additional cost.
Rigging up the Senko worm
One of the advantages of the Senko worm is its versatility. This bait can be fish and a variety of ways, including wacky rigged, Texas rigged, on a drop shot rig, on a shaky head hook, and on a Ned rig. All of these rigs take advantage of the lifelike action of the Senko worm. For the most part, finesse fishing really shines when bass are finicky or when anglers are fishing in very clear water.
Fishing the wacky worm
Fishing a worm wacky style is both easy and extremely effective. It is an excellent choice for inexperienced anglers as the bait does most of the work itself. It looks a bit odd as the hook is placed through the center of the worm. It is generally fished without any weight, though can be fished on a shaky head. The worm is cast out towards a weed line or other structure and allowed to sink naturally through the water column.
Most strikes occur as the worm initially falls. Anglers can hop it several times and allow it to fall slowly. The bait is then reeled in and cast out to another likely looking spot. Anglers need to be patient, it is amazing how long the Senko can sit there before a bass picks it up. This is a testament to how effective the Senko is as it puts out action with the slightest movement.
Texas rigging the Senko
Anglers can certainly Texas rig the Senko worm as well. A smaller hook, 3/0 is a good size, works best with this smaller worm. It can be fished without a way, the most anglers add a 1/8 ounce or 1/4 ounce sliding worm weight above the hook. The lure is then cast out and worked through, over, and around structure. The worm is virtually weedless when fished in this manner. Anglers can peg the sinker to the warm hook to keep it from sliding if desired.
Drop shot fishing
Drop-shotting is a fairly recent bass fishing innovation. It is an extremely effective method used to catch all species of bass. The rig consists of a hook tied on the main line and then a special drop shock sinker 12 inches to 18 inches below the hook. The result is that the Senko is suspended just a bit above the bottom and can be danced seductively right in front of the fishes face.
In most cases, a drop shot rig is used in a vertical presentation. It is extremely effective when largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass are schooling over a piece of structure and deep water. Underwater islands, channel edges, and submerged structure such as fallen trees are all prime examples.
The bait is simply dropped to the bottom and worked subtly. Small, gentle movements work better than sharp violent ones. The Senko is most often hooked through the nose, but can also be hooked wacky style. Anglers can also fish a drop shot rig and water that is not as deep by casting it out towards weed edges and structure. However, it is not as weedless as other presentations are.
Shaky head fishing
Shaky Head jigs are another excellent way to present the Senko worm and other finesse baits to largemouth bass. This is basically a light jig head with a thin, but strong hook. The rig is quite versatile and can be fished in both shallow water and deep water. The Senko can be hooked through the nose or wacky style. Again, most of the strikes will occur as the bait initially falls through the water column, but it can be jig along the bottom as well.
Ned rig is effective for bass fishing
The Ned rig is another fairly recent bass fishing innovation. Once again, this is a fairly plain looking set up that is very effective. The Ned rig uses a specially designed jig head. The soft plastic bait is then placed on the jig head. In most cases, using the back half or pointed and of the Senko worm works best. Anglers can start off using a 2 1/2 inch to 3 inch piece and then even going shorter from there.
The Ned rig is extremely effective when fished over submerge grass and 5 feet of water to 10 feet of water. Anglers can cast out or use a vertical presentation, depending on the situation. This is an extremely effective technique for smallmouth bass on gravel bottoms. It is an open hook rig and will snag in very heavy cover or weeds.
Fish slow with the Senko worm
One of the biggest mistakes most novice anglers make when finesse fishing is moving the bait to quickly. While the Senko worm looks fairly ordinary, it has a very realistic and lifelike action and the water. Anglers may think the bait is just sitting there still and motionless, but wave action and angler movements will result in the bait undulating very naturally in the water.
One of the great ironies of bass fishing is that plastic worms are incredibly effective, yet they really do not exist in the water. The reality is that the bass is really just striking at the motion in action as opposed to it thinking that it is an actual worm or nightcrawler. A white worm can be used to mimic a shad while an orange worm will mimic a crayfish. It is more about presentation and action that actually simulating a true live worm.
Another difference and this style of fishing is that anglers do not really need to set the hook. In most instances the take will be fairly soft. The best approach, especially when using fairly light line, is just too real tight removing the slack and then gently lifting the rod up high. This will usually result in more fish hooked and will also help get the fish moving away from whatever structure it is holding on.
In conclusion, this article on the best finesse bait for bass fishing will help anglers catch more fish, especially when conditions are tough!
What is the best small spinnerbait for bass fishing?
Small spinnerbaits are excellent lures for anglers bass fishing. There are times when smaller baits are more productive. There are many spinnerbaits to choose from. However, there is one small spinnerbait that is a notch above the others.
The best small spinnerbait for bass fishing is the Booyah Pond Magic spinnerbait. This lure is made from quality components. It weighs 3/16 of an ounce. The Pond Magic is available in six hand-picked colors which are designed to specifically match the forage most often found in smaller waters. These are the factors that set this lure apart from other small spinnerbaits.
Bass and other game fish that are found in smaller bodies of water such as ponds, strip pits, and streams react differently than fish in larger lakes. Subtle presentations are often more productive. Also, the forage found in these areas is smaller as well. Bass are feeding on smaller sunfish, minnows, and crayfish as opposed to the larger shad that are available in lakes. As an added bonus, these small spinnerbaits will fool many other species such as smallmouth bass, pike, walleye, striped bass, and more!
Small spinnerbaits are most effective when fished in shallow water. This ties in nicely for smaller waters as they are usually fairly shallow. Shoreline cover and submerged vegetation will hold a lot of fish. Downed trees are top spots as well.
Anglers bass fishing with small spinners should start out with a slow, steady retrieve. Again, a more subtle approach is generally more productive on these smaller waters. If a steady retrieve does not work, anglers can experiment with faster or erratic retrieves.
Match the hatch for best results
As mentioned above, the Booyah Pond Magic spinnerbaits are offered in six color patterns, specifically designed for smaller waters. This is one aspect that sets them apart from other lures. Anglers should analyze the lake to determine what the likely forage is and then choose a color pattern to match that forage.
Shallow, weedy lakes will usually be full of sunfish. “Firebug” and “Grasshopper” are excellent choices in these waters. Ponds and lakes with clear water and more gravel and rocks will have good populations of crayfish. “Craw” and “Red Ant” are better choices in waters such as this as well as streams and small rivers.
Chartreuse and white are excellent all round universal colors. White works well in clear water and on bright, sunny days. Chartreuse is a terrific color that produces in just about all water conditions. The old saying, “if it ain’t chartreuse, it ain’t no use” is an apt one!
More spinnerbait tactics
There are a couple of other retrieves that will produce bass for anglers fishing with small spinnerbaits. At times bass will be very active. This usually occurs at dawn, dusk, and on cloudy days. Buzzing a spinnerbait just under the surface can produce some explosive strikes!
This technique can also be productive over submerged vegetation. Bass will blow up out of holes to crush the lure. Many will miss it, and that is just part of the excitement. Buzzing the bait through open water, then letting it fall as it reaches fallen timber or a weed line can trigger strikes as well.
Another productive technique is “slow rolling” a spinnerbait. This is basically letting the lure sink down in the water column, then slowly retrieving it back in. If it bounces off a rock or bottom structure occasionally, so much the better. This works best on bright, sunny days after a cold front or when bass are less active.
Best tackle for bass fishing with small spinnerbaits
Anglers fishing in ponds and streams can choose either spinning or light baitcasting tackle. Both are fine for fishing for bass with small spinnerbaits. Spinning tackle is easier to use when casting fairly light lures and is the best choice for anglers with less experience.
A 7 foot medium light spinning rod with matching 30 size reel is an excellent combination for fishing for bass in ponds and small lakes. It works well for casting lighter lures while giving anglers a chance to land a nice fish in heavy cover. Most anglers opt for braided line, though monofilament line can certainly be used. 20 lb braid and 14 lb monofilament line are good choices.
Anglers choosing a baitcasting rod and reel will do well with a similar combination. The rod needs to have a fairly limber tip in order to cast small spinnerbaits. A medium rod with a fast action, matching reel, and 20 lb braided line is a great all-round rig.
While the Booyah Pond Magic is the best small spinnerbait for anglers bass fishing in small waters, there are other productive small spinnerbaits. Two of the best are the Strike King Mini spinnerbait and the venerable Johnson Beetlespin spinnerbait. Both are very effective lures for largemouth bass, but will certainly catch crappie, pike, and most other freshwater game fish as well.
The Strike King Mini Spinnerbait weighs in at 1/8 of an ounce. It is available in over a dozen color combinations. This is an excellent choice where anglers are fishing for more of a “mixed bag” as opposed to solely targeting largemouth bass.
These lures come with a Tennessee diamond blade. This puts out a lot of flash, especially at slow retrieve speeds. There are color patterns to match every angling situation. They are also very modestly priced.
The Johnson Beetlespin is a legendary small to tiny spinnerbait. It is a deadly lure for panfish, and that is where it earned it’s reputation. However, in the larger sizes it is an excellent lure for catching bass in ponds and small rivers. It is best used with light spinning tackle.
The Beetlespin looks fairly drab in the package. However, do not let that fool you! These lures are extremely productive. When bass and other fish are being finicky, the Beetle spin can be a great choice. Generally, darker colors such as black and green are best.
Fishing rivers with small spinnerbaits
Rivers are often overlooked by anglers bass fishing. This can be a mistake! Rivers offer anglers several advantages over larger lakes. Rivers are generally less pressured. They offer excellent scenery and solitude. Bass and other fish are much easier to locate, there simply is a lot less water.
Small spinnerbaits are perfect for fishing these smaller rivers and streams. Crayfish patterns work well as that is the forage available to the game fish. Spinnerbaits are also fairly weedless and will bounce off of rocks where other lures will hang up.
In conclusion, this article on the best small spinnerbait for bass fishing will add another technique to their arsenal!
Best Brook Trout Fishing Tackle, a Complete Guide!
This article will thoroughly cover the best brook trout fishing tackle. Brook trout are the third most popular trout in North America, behind rainbow trout and brown trout. They are found in cold, clear waters. While originally found in the eastern portion of the United States, brook trout has been successfully stocked and many other parts of North America and the world. In order to be successful, anglers need the correct brook trout fishing tackle.
The best trout fishing tackle is ultralight spinning tackle and light fly fishing tackle. Brook trout do not grow very large, averaging less than a pound. They are also found in very clear water. For these reasons, anglers keeping their tackle very light and their lines very thin will have more success.
Anglers can use both spinning and fly tackle to have success when fishing for brook trout. Both techniques are equally productive and popular throughout North America. Fly fishing tackle can actually be an advantage in some of the tiny streams in the tops of mountains where native brook trout are often found. Conversely, anglers casting a lure was spinning tackle may have an advantage in larger rivers and lakes.
The best rod and reel combination when spin fishing for brook trout would be an ultralight rod and a matching reel. Equality combination can be purchased for under $100. Unlike many other types of fishing, anglers brook trout fishing will really only need one rod and reel combination to cover the vast majority of Brook trout fishing situations.
In most cases, a slightly longer rod is preferred. A 6 foot to 6 1/2 foot ultralight rod with a fast action will allow anglers to make longer casts while giving them an advantage fighting larger fish.
The best fishing reel would be an ultralight open face spinning reel. This would match nicely to a 6 foot ultralight spinning rod. Spinning reels are versatile, effective, easy to use, and are available at a very modest price. Anglers can purchase a quality spinning reel for brook trout fishing for around $50.
Anglers should keep the line very light and fishing for brook trout. As previously mentioned, they live in very clear water and art usually found quite shallow. Therefore, 4 pound test line is a good all-around choice. Many successful anglers drop it down to to pound line, though this certainly requires care when tying knots and landing a fish. However, anglers will often be rewarded with more takes. Rarely will and anglers need to step it up as high as 6 pound line.
There are three main types of fishing line available to all anglers. These are braided line, monofilament line, and fluorocarbon line. Due to their keen eyesight and wary habits, most anglers opt for monofilament fishing line. It is cost efficient and very effective. Anglers who want to spend a little more money can opt for fluorocarbon line. Fluorocarbon line is even harder to see in the water and has less dredge than monofilament line does. However, a little bit of stress in the line can actually be a good thing, especially when using line as light as to pound test and 4 pound test.
Anglers spin fishing for brook trout will catch them using both natural and artificial baits. Top live baits include worms, grubs, and minnows. There are quite a few prepared baits that are quite effective on brook trout as well and are easier to store and use. Artificial lures certainly catch plenty of Brook trout, with tiny spinners and spoons being the top baits.
Anglers who choose to fish for brook trout with live bait or prepared baits including eggs will only need a very small supply of hooks, floats, and pinch on weights. The best hooks to use when brook trout fishing are small thin wire live bait hooks in sizes #8, #10, and #12. A couple tiny floats and a few bags of very small split shot will complete the tackle required to fish for brook trout with live bait.
Best brook trout fishing lures
Brook trout will certainly take artificial lures. The top two artificial lure types for brook trout fishing are spinners and spoons. These lures are very easy to cast and use on light spinning tackle. Tiny plugs can also be used to catch brook trout. Finally, small jigs are used by some anglers as well.
Spinners are simple yet very effective lures for brook trout and just about every other species in freshwater. They are particularly effective in rivers where the current will cause the blade to rotate. A spinner is basically a shaft with a blade that rotates around, a small body, and a hook that is usually dressed with hair.
There are many different lure manufacturers offer spinners. Capt. Jim’s favorite by far when fishing for brook trout and other species in small streams and rivers is the Worden’s Original Rooster Tail spinner. The thing that differentiates it from other lures in its class is the light weight. The spinners are extremely light which results in less snags when fishing small streams, creeks, and rivers.
Rooster tail spinners are available in a wide variety of colors and several sizes. In most brook trout fishing situations, a brightly colored body with a gold blade works best. In very clear water, a white body with a silver blade can be more effective. 1/16 ounce is a good size in small creeks while 1/8 ounce is an excellent all round size for larger streams or where larger brook trout are available.
Tiny spoons are also very effective lures for anglers fishing for brook trout. A spoon is basically a curved piece of metal with a hook in it. The shape and size of the spoon will determine the action that it has. There are many spoons that are productive for brook trout fishing, however Capt. Jim’s favorite is the Acme Phoebe spoon.
Once again, the aspect of this spoon that is different from others is the fact that it is so light. This makes it easier to fish in very shallow streams without hanging up. The 1/8 ounce size in a gold finish is by far the most popular brook trout fishing spoon.
A close second would be the Acme Kastmaster spoon. It is best used on larger streams that have deep holes. It is also a better lure for anglers fishing in ponds and lakes for brook trout. It is an excellent trolling lure as well.
Small plugs can be extremely effective brook trout fishing lures and will usually attract larger specimens. Most anglers that are fishing for trout with plugs are targeting larger fish. This means that they will get less bites, but are often rewarded with a trophy fish. Capt. Jim’s favorite brook trout fishing plug is the Rapala Ultralight Floating Minnow.
This bait floats on the surface than dives down a foot or two upon retrieve. It has a very erratic action that entices trout to strike it. One downside is that it does come with treble hooks, which can result in more harm to the fish when being released. Silver with the black back and gold with a black back are the two best color patterns. This is also an excellent lure that anglers can use when trolling in lakes.
Tiny hair or plastic tail jigs can be effective brook trout fishing lures as well. They very realistically imitate crayfish and larger they as a are bounced along the bottom. Tiny jigs are also used by anglers ice fishing with great success. The one downside to fishing with jigs in streams and rivers is that anglers will hang up often and lose a fair amount of baits.
Fly fishing tackle for brook trout
Many anglers choose to pursue brook trout with fly fishing tackle. Fly fishing for brook trout is fun, while being challenging and rewarding at the same time. Entire books have been written on fly fishing for trout, and even fly fishing for brook trout. Therefore, fly fishing tackle and gear for brook trout will be covered briefly.
As with spin fishing, the best approach is to go light on the tackle. A 3wt outfit is a good all-around rod and reel combination. However, anglers can certainly go lighter if needed. This is particularly true when fishing for brook trout and tiny, high mountain streams. Those fish are not very large and the foliage can make using a longer heavier rod challenging.
With fly fishing, the rod and line are much more important than the reel. In most cases, anglers will not use the fishing reel to land the fish, it basically just stores the line. Both lines and rods come in weight designations. This makes it very easy to make sure that the proper line is used with a matching rod. In the vast majority of fly fishing situations, a floating line is the best choice.
Fly line is thick and easy to see. Therefore, a leader is used between the end of the fly line and the fly. Anglers should go as light as possible with the leader size. This will result in more takes as brook trout are less apt to see the line. A 9 foot long 8x leader is a good all-around choice. 8X results in a tippet strength of about 2 lb test. However when brook trout are being especially fussy, anglers will often have to bump up the leader length to 12 feet long.
Fly selection can be both simple and extremely complicated. As mentioned above, and tire books have been written on the subject. Some flies float on the surface of the water while others sink. These are called dry flies and wet flies respectively. The best approach for any novice angler when fly fishing for brook trout is to visit a local fly shop. They will have the best selection of flies that are effective in that area along with current conditions.
In conclusion, this article on the best brook trout fishing tackle will help anglers understand the best equipment that is needed when pursuing these gorgeous and hard fighting little game fish!
This article will highlight the best lake trout fishing tackle and gear. Lake trout are found in the northern parts of north America. They prefer cold and clear water and are usually found in large bodies of water. Anglers ice fishing catch plenty of lake trout as well. Lake trout grow quite large, the world record is just over 100 pounds! In order to be successful, anglers need the correct lake trout fishing tackle.
Anglers need a variety of tackle to cover the situations that lake trout will be found and caught. Lake trout are caught on a variety of techniques and they vary greatly in size, depending on the fishery. Most lake trout are caught by anglers trolling. Vertical jigging is second in popularity. Lake trout can be caught in shallow water by anglers casting, though this is a distant third when it comes to lake trout fishing.
In this article, lake trout tackle and gear will be covered by the three primary techniques; trolling, jigging, and casting. Some of the lures and tackle overlap, but it is different enough to be covered in separate sections.
Lake trout trolling tackle and gear
Trolling accounts for more lake trout than any other technique. There are a couple of reasons for that. Lake trout are often caught in very deep water. Trolling is the only effective way to present a lure that deep. Also, lake trout are a bit nomadic and anglers need to cover a lot of water to find them. Trolling is the best way to do that.
Trolling rods for deep water lake trout fishing
Trolling rods are generally fairly long with a medium or soft action. Unlike casting rods, which are “fast”, meaning they are stiff through much of their length, trolling rods are usually limber. This allows for more “cushion” when a big lake trout hits or makes a run close to the boat. Long, soft rods are more forgiving. These are the best chouce for trolling in deep water using sinkers and downriggers. The St Croix Eyecon series are excellent lake trout trolling rods.
Anglers seeking a less expensive option can choose the Daiwa Accudepth series of fishing rods. These are excellent rods that are usually under $50, that is a great price for quality tackle. Below is a link to a rod that is very versatile. It is 8′ 6” long with a medium action.
Trolling rods for shallow water lake trout fishing
There are times when lake trout can be found in fairly shallow water. This is usually just after the ice clears in spring and again in fall before it freezes over. Lake trout will move shallow to feed. Anglers can troll spoons and plugs on a flat line without the need for weights or a downrigger. This outfit can also be used to troll for walleye and other species as well. The 7′ 6” medium light Daiwa Accudepth rod is perfect for this at a great price.
Conventional reels are the best choice for anglers trolling for lake trout and other species. Casting is not required. Again, the Daiwa Accudepth series of reels is an excellent choice. They have line counters built in so that anglers know exactly how much line is out. The 17 size is perfect for the light trolling rod, while the 27 and 47 sizes are better for heavier rods.
Anglers have two choices when it comes to fishing line for lake trout; braided and monofilament line. Braid is thinner for it’s strength which allows anglers to get their lures down deeper. It is also much more expensive. Many anglers actually prefer the stretch of monofilament, especially when trolling. There really is no “correct” choice, it really is a personal preference.
The three basic types of lures that anglers use when trolling for lake trout are plugs, spoons, and spinners. All are used to mimic bait fish, which is the primary forage of lake trout. They feed on ciscoes, suckers, perch, and other fish. While there are too many effective lake trout fishing lures to list, a couple of the top producing lures of each type will be listed.
Best lake trout plugs
Plugs come in a myriad of different sizes, shapes, and colors. Two of the best plugs for lake trout are the T-60 Flatfish and the Rapala Husky Jerk. These lures can be trolled on a “flat line”, without weight as well as behind a weighted rig. Both lures are available in a wide range of colors. The Flatfish has an excellent wobbling action. Anglers use the shallow diving Husky Jerk behind a downrigger and the deep diving models on a flat line.
Spoons are extremely effective lake trout lures. They put out a ton of flash and wobble and very realistically mimic a wounded bait fish. There are many excellent spoons, with Eppinger Daredevil and Crokodile spoons being two of the top spoons for lake trout fishing.
Most freshwater anglers are familiar with spinners. A spinner has a flashing blade that rotates around a shaft and most often a dressed hook. Mepps in the industry leader and offers a wide selection of spinners. In the Great Lakes region, Spin-N-Glo lures are extremely popular.
Anglers will need to run leaders off of swivels and between dodgers (or flashers) and the lures. A dodger is a flat piece of metal that adds flash and action to the lure. It is placed a few feet in front of the lure, with the leader in between. In most cases, 20 lb flourocarbon line will cover most lake trout fishing applications.
There are a few other pieces of gear that anglers will need to troll for lake trout, especially in deeper water. These include bottom machines, downriggers, lead core lines, and planers. These devices will get the lure down to the desired depth.
Bottom machines/fish finders
A quality sonar unit is an absolute must for any angler lake trout fishing. It will mark fish and bait along with structure breaks and even temperature changes. Fortunately, these machines are fairly inexpensive, given the quality. Serious anglers may spend several thousand dollars. However, a quality unit can be purchases for a few hundred dollars.
Downriggers were basically invented by Great Lakes anglers to present their lures at the desired depth. They consist of an arm, a reel, a cable, and a heavy ball. Manual downriggers are great for casual anglers while serious trollers opt for electric downriggers. Cannon is THE name in downriggers and offers a unit for every angler.
Lead core lines are another method used by anglers trolling for lake trout. They are heavy and the depth is controlled by the length and number of segments used. Some anglers find them cumbersome, but they are effective and do not require downriggers or weights.
Planers are devices that dive down into the water. They depth is determined by the location of the line ties. The lure follows along behind a leader. Some even “trip” when a fish strikes. Dipsey Divers are the most recognizable and popular examples of these units.
The second most popular method for fishing for lake trout is vertically jigging. This is a very effective technique when fish are located in a smaller area or for methodically working a piece of structure such as a ledge or reef. Spoons are the top lure, with a buck tail jig being the second choice. Live bait can be used with the same tackle as well.
Best lake trout jigging rod
The rods used for jigging are different than trolling rods. These are shorter with a “fast” action. This means the rod is stout at the butt and most of the way up the rod. The rod tapers quickly (thus the term “fast”) at the tip. This type of rod allows for good action and feel along with the power to handle a big fish. St Croix offers an Eyecon rod specifically designed for vertically jigging.
Again, conventional, or baitcasting reels are the best choice for vertical jigging. No casting is required, the lure is just lowered down in the water. Baitcasting reeks offer excellent power, fast retrieve ratios, and good drag systems. The Shimano Tekota 30 is an excellent reel for jigging and trolling. The 300 size works well with the Eyecon rod.
The two best jigging lures for anglers fishing for lake trout are spoons and jigs. A white buck tail jig is an excellent lure for jigging for lake trout. 2 ounces is a good all round size. Anglers can add a soft plastic trailer for action and bulk. A strip of cut bait can be used as well. The same lures used for trolling are fine for vertically jigging as well.
There are certain times of year when lake trout can be caught by anglers casting lures or live baits. Lake trout will move in shallow early and late in the season. Anglers can cast diving plugs, spoons, and jigs as well as live bait. The best rod and reel combination is a medium light spinning rod and matching reel, 3000 is a good size. Most anglers already own a suitable combo, but here in a good Zebco Quantum outfit for around $80.
Best Musky Fishing Tackle , a Guide to Rods, Reels, and Lures
This article will thoroughly cover the best musky fishing tackle. Many anglers consider musky, properly called muskellunge, the top freshwater game fish in North America. They certainly are apex predators. The “fish of ten thousand casts” grow large; the world record is 67 pounds! Musky are very challenging, but the effort may be rewarded with the fish of a lifetime! In order to be successful, anglers need the correct musky fishing tackle.
As mentioned above, musky grow quite large. They prefer a substantial meal and feed primarily on smaller fish. These include suckers, perch, bluegill, shad, and small game fish. Therefore, the lures used to catch them are fairly heavy. This requires anglers to use stout tackle when in search of a trophy musky.
The best musky fishing tackle is a heavy baitcasting rod and reel. It is well suited to casting large, heavy lures that musky prefer. Baitcasting reels have excellent drag systems, which aid in fighting a big fish. The reels also handle heavy line better.These are the reasons that a heavy baitcasting rod and reel is the preferred choice of musky anglers.
However, quality spinning tackle will get the job done for anglers that prefer to use it. A 7′ to 7 1/2′ medium heavy spinning rod and 4000 size reel is a good combination. The same outfits will work well for large northern pike, too.
Best Musky rods
Anglers fishing for musky need to use heavy tackle. Rods should be at least 7 feet long with a heavy, but fast action. A “fast” action rod is beefy at the butt section and most of the way up the rod, but has a limber tip. This helps greatly when casting lures and fighting a large fish. Several manufacturers, including St Croix, which Capt Jim prefers, make quality musky rods at a reasonable price.
Most musky rods are one piece. This makes storing them more difficult, but they are also much stronger. Rods often break at the joints where they go together. One piece rods eliminates that. Below is a link to a St Croix musky baitcasting rod that is available in 7′ and 7′ 6″ lengths. It is an excellent rod for the cost.
Spinning rods can certainly be used by anglers fishing for musky. Longer rods work a bit better in this application. St Croix offers an excellent musky spinning rod at a reasonable price. It is 8′ long with a medium heavy, fast action.
Anglers should purchase the best reel that he or she can afford. This is not the place to skimp and save a few dollars. A quality reel will last for decades with proper care. Quality baitcasting and spinning reels are in the $200 range, plus or minus. Below is a link to a Shimano Calcutta 400B baitcasting reel, which is Capt Jim’s preferred casting reel.
Spinning reels should be fairly large when fishing for musky. The Daiwa Black Gold series was designed for saltwater and works great for musky fishing. It has quality components with excellent drag and bail systems. The 4500 is a good match for the St Croix rod above.
Anglers fishing in freshwater have several choices when choosing fishing line. Monofilament, flourocarbon, and braided line are all used. When it comes to fishing for musky, almost everyone used braided line. Braided line is much thinner than monofilament line of the same strength.
Braided line has several advantages over monofilament line. It casts further, has excellent sensitivity, is very strong, and lasts a long time. The only downsides are initial cost and knots are a bit more difficult to tie. Most musky anglers opt for 40 lb to 60 lb braided line. Capt Jim prefers Power Pro braided line for freshwater fishing.
While musky can certainly be caught using live bait, most are caught by anglers casting lures. Most of these are larger versions of lures designed for bass and other species. Muskellunge have a mouth full of teeth. For this reason, most anglers use a 12” to 18” steel leader. This also results in quick and easy lure changes.
The Mepps Musky Killer is aptly named! It is number one on our list of top X musky fishing lures. In terms of musky Lures, it is fairly light, coming in at a little less than an ounce. It is 7 inches long. The Mepps Musky Killer is a legend amongst veteran musky anglers. It will catch fish and just about every situation and in any location. It is large enough to attract trophy musky while being light enough to cast for hours at a time.
This is a very versatile lure. It can be fished on or near the surface or as deep as 10 feet. The Musky Killer can be cast or trolled. It will catch fish in all seasons as well. They come in a wide variety of color patterns to match the local forage. In the waning light of late afternoon, a gold blade with a brown and orange tail is a good all-around combination.
One great thing about the Musky Killer is that it is very easy to use. The blades rotate easily, putting out a lot of flash and vibration. All the angler does is cast out, allow it to sink to the desired depth, then reel it back in using a steady rhythmic retrieve. As with all fishing, angler should vary the speed until a productive pattern emerges.
The Eppinger Daredevil is another iconic fishing lure. While most anglers associate it with northern pike, is extremely effective on musky as well. Most anglers go with the 1 ounce size, which is about 3 3/4 inches long. Like the Mepps lure above, it is relatively light in terms of a musky lure. This makes it fairly easy to cast for a long period of time. Some may consider it a nuisance, but as an added bonus it will catch plenty of northern pike along the way.
These spoons have a lot of built in action, making them easy to use for most anglers. The lure is cast out and allowed to sink a few seconds, then reeled back in using a steady retrieve, with some twitches and pauses in between. Again, the retrieve should be varied until a bite occurs. It is fairly versatile, and can be used over submerged weed beds, along weed lines, and even deeper around structure breaks such as channel edges and points.
The old school red and white daredevil spoon has caught a lot of fish over the decades. It is still a good choice for musky today. However, some anglers have gone to some of the more modern colors and finishes. Silver is a good choice on sunny days while gold works best on cloudy days and under other low light conditions. It is a versatile and durable bait that should be in every musky anglers tackle box!
The Booyah Pikee Spinnerbait is another very productive musky fishing lure. Again, this is a fairly light baits coming in at just over one half an ounce. This makes it a great choice for anglers who prefer to use spinning tackle or don’t have the stamina to cast a heavy lure all day long. Don’t let the size for you, it will catch plenty of trophy musky!
Most anglers choose models with bright colors. It has large blades which put out a lot of flash and vibration. This bait is specifically designed by Booyah for musky fishing, therefore it is a bit more durable than other baits made for bass and pike. It is a fairly easy lure to use with a ton of built in action. Steady retrieve’s work best in a can be worked throughout the entire water column. Spinner baits are also a bit more weedless than spoons and in line spinners, making them an excellent choice and heavier weeds.
This bait made by Musky Mayhem is another excellent musky lure with a proven track record. It is very durable and built to last and is one of the best spinners for musky. It is number four on the list of top X musky fishing lures. This is an excellent bait for novice anglers as it has a ton of built in action and all that is required to catch fish is a slow steady retrieve.
This is a larger bait, coming in at around 10 inches long and weighing close to 3 ounces. The pair of blades put out a ton of flash and vibration, even at slower speeds. It is an excellent lure to try when the sun is out and the musky are a bit less aggressive. It is excellent when fished over and through submerged weed beds as well is around other cover such as sunken trees and submerged rock piles.
The Whopper Plopper is a relative newcomer to the fishing game, compared to some of these other old-school baits. However, it is extremely effective. This is a top water lure. It puts out a ton of commotion on the surface due to its concave face along with the action of the tail.
These baits are very effective at pulling fish out of deeper weed beds. It is an excellent choice in the summer time when water temperatures are a bit higher. The commotion of this bait will draw some heart stopping strikes! If there is one drawback to this lure, it is that it is not as durable as some others. However, this will not be an issue when a trophy musky grabs!
The Suick Thriller has been around almost a century. It truly is one of the original musky fishing lures and belongs in every serious musky anglers tackle box. It is a proven veteran still catches plenty of fish to this day. The Suick Thriller comes in several different sizes, ranging from 7 inches long to 10 inches long. Unlike some other lures, the Suick Thriller does not have much built in action, the angler must impart it to the lure.
This is basically a jerk bait. It is very effective when ripped through weed beds and is a very durable bait as well. It is perhaps not the best choice for novice anglers, as it does take a bit of practice to master the rhythmic retrieve that is required to catch fish. However, the effort put in to learn how to use this bait will pay off with trophy musky.
7) Reef Hawg
The Reef Hawg is in the family of glide baits. They are not as popular as they used to be, but are still very effective. This lure is made to work deeper than some of the other lures listed above. They can be used for both casting and trolling and are a good choice in cooler months when there is less weed growth and the fish have moved a bit deeper.
This segmented, multi-jointed lure is a bit of a combination between a crank bait in a swim bait. These segments cause a to swim in a very lifelike manner. The bait sinks slow enough that it can be worked both near the surface and at deeper depths. It is a very durable bait with large, quality treble hooks.
In most instances, a slow steady retrieve a few feet below the surface works best. This is particularly true over submerged weed beds. The flash in action are astounding and this is a proven musky lure. This is a big bait, coming in at a full foot long and almost half a pound. Smaller versions of this lure are available, too.
This large crank bait is a very productive musky fishing lure that is popular with many anglers. It is a heavy bait and is effective when both cast and trolled. The yellow perch and fire tiger patterns work well. It has a lot of built in action. A slow steady retrieve with some hard jerks and pauses generally works best. Slow trolling with this bait is very effective in the wintertime.
10) Blitz Bite Jointed Minnow
The Blitz Bite Jointed Minnow is another very lifelike swim bait style lure. Anglers can tell from the first glance at it is a quality bait. It is 8 inches long and weighs 3 ounces. Like most of these lures in this family, a slow steady retrieve works best. The lure will swim through the water in a very natural manner. The bait is made from plastic and is fairly durable, all things considered.
Rapala is the name in the industry when it comes to jerk baits. It is no exception when it comes to musky fishing as well. That is why the #14 Husky Jerk finishes off the list of the top 11 musky fishing lures. This is a long and slender bait that is fairly easy to cast and work all day. It comes in a variety of colors, with gold and fire tiger being proven finishes.
The key to the effectiveness of this lure is its ability to suspend in the water column. The angler retrieves the bait for a few feet then twitch is it hard followed by a pause. During this pause, the bait hangs there, seemingly motionless and helpless. This is often times when the fish attacks! It works well when either cast or troll. It also has a rattle and it as well.
Musky fishing tips
While musky are certainly not easy to catch, there are a few tips which will help anglers be more successful. Part of the allure and satisfaction of musky fish and is understanding how difficult and challenging they are to catch. It was easy, anyone could do it! Most anglers consider musky fish in the pinnacle of cold water freshwater fishing.
Most anglers with any experience musky fishing know about the “figure 8” technique. Musky are famous for following a lure all the way to the boat but not eating. At the end of each cast, anglers put their rod tip in the water and with the lure a few feet behind do several figure eights in the water. It is amazing how many musky have been hooked right at the boat using this technique.
Another helpful tip is to concentrate musky fishing on the prime times. For whatever reason, musky do not seem to feed well in the morning. Therefore, there is no need to get up at the crack of dawn and cast for an extra six hours. It is best to concentrate musky fishing in the afternoon hours as the light wanes. Cloudy, drizzly days are good as well.
Many anglers combine musky fishing with some other type of fishing. For example, they might get up at first light and through top water plugs for bass, then switch to jigging the bottom for walleye mid-day. After a good lunch and a nap, they can then hit the water hard for musky. Most anglers simply can’t cast these big heavy lures all day long. Therefore, it is best to maximize the opportunity and concentrate on the prime fishing times.
In conclusion, this article on the best musky fishing tackle will help anglers catch more of these incredible freshwater game fish!
The topic of this article will be northern pike fishing tips and tackle. Northern Pike are an apex predator and are one of the most popular freshwater species in the northern portions of the United States and Canada. These fish grow quite large, with the record in North America being 46 pounds. However, specimens 270 pounds have been caught in Europe. In order to be successful, anglers need the correct northern pike fishing tackle.
The best northern pike fishing tackle is a medium heavy spinning or baitcasting rod and reel. Pike grow large and are often caught in heavy cover. They also prefer larger baits and lures. These combine to require anglers to use stout tackle when fishing for northern pike.
Northern pike are perfectly suited for their environment. The best They are long and torpedo shaped with a color pattern that camouflages perfectly in the weedy areas that they feed. While pike have a varied diet, they feed primarily on smaller fish. These include but are not limited to suckers, sunfish, yellow perch, shad, and more. They will take amphibians such as frogs off of the surface and will even eat small mammals including mice and ducks.
Pike are most active in fairly cold water. They are a top species for anglers ice fishing. A comprehensive article on ice fishing for northern pike can be found in this link. Northern pike and be caught by anglers using a variety of techniques. Some anglers prefer to fish with live bait. Many cast artificial lures in search of pike. Trolling with either live bait or artificial lures is a good way to catch a trophy pike as well.
Best fishing rods and reels for northern pike
As in all forms of fishing, anglers must have the proper rod and reel in order to be successful northern pike fishing. The two basic choices are spinning and bait casting tackle. Spin casting, or push button reels, really have no place for this type of fishing, the reels just are not strong enough.
Spinning tackle is certainly a fine choice for anglers chasing northern pike. The rod should be a bit longer and a bit more stout than what is normally used for fishing for bass and other species. Not only are the fish fairly large, but so are the lures used to fool them. A 7 foot to 7 1/2 foot medium action spinning rod with a 4000 series reel is an excellent all around combination.
While spinning tackle is the most often used type of tackle in freshwater fishing, conventional, or bait casting outfits are used by more serious anglers pike fishing. Bait casting reels have a couple of advantages over spinning reels. They provide more power, since the line does not have to turn 90° when it hits spool. The retrieve ratios are usually faster too, which helps on a long day of casting. Finally, the drags are a bit higher in quality. A rod that is 7 feet long with a medium heavy action and a matching reel is a good choice for pike fishing.
Fishing line and leader choices
Anglers have a couple of choices when it comes to fishing line. While monofilament line is a good choice in many fishing applications, most anglers opt for braided line when northern pike fishing. Braided line has no stretch, which allows anglers to horse a heavy pike away from cover. Braided line also cuts through grass much better than monofilament line. In most cases, northern pike are not line shy, so 40 pound test braided line is a good choice.
Anglers will need a leader when northern pike fishing as well. Pike have a mouthful of very sharp teeth. For that reason, many anglers use a 12 inch steel leader. These come with a swivel on one end and a snap swivel on the other, which makes lore changes fast and easy. When fishing very clear water or when pike are fussy, anglers will exchange the steel leader for a fluorocarbon leader. This will almost certainly result in a few and lures lost, however the trade often bites might be worth it.
Northern pike fishing with live bait
Northern Pike can certainly be used by anglers fishing with live bait. The number one bait for pike by far is a live minnow. A 4 inch to 6 inch sucker is the preferred bait in many areas. However, each region has different bait fish that are effective as well as being legal to fish. It is important to check local fishing regulations to determine if treble hooks are allowed and also what types of bait fish are legal to use.
Most anglers fishing with live bait fish for pike simply fish them under a float. Since pike are almost always found in submerged weed beds, the float can be used to suspend the bait just above the top of the weeds. As it struggles against the float to get down into the weeds, it will attract a hungry pike. Depending on local laws, anglers can use a large J hook or a treble hook. There are special harnesses available that consists of a wire leader and multiple hooks as well.
Fishing for northern pike with artificial lures
While northern pike can be caught by anglers fishing with live bait, the vast majority of those targeting pike do so using artificial lures. There are several reasons for this. Lures allow anglers to cover a lot more water than they can when using live bait. Secondly, lures take advantage of the aggressive nature of northern pike. The flash and vibration will often trigger a strike. Finally, lures are just a lot of fun to fish!
The most productive northern pike fishing lures are very similar to those used by largemouth bass anglers. The primary difference is that they are a bit larger and that the hardware, including hooks is a bit more stout. As mentioned above, pike grow quite large, have a lot of teeth, enter hard on artificial lures. The top artificial lures for northern pike fishing will be listed below.
Fishing for pike with spoons
There is little doubt what the top artificial lure for northern pike fishing is; a spoon. Spoons are simple lures which are basically curved pieces of metal with a hook in them. The shape and design of the spoon will determine the action that it has. Wider spoons put out a slow rhythmic wobble while narrow spoons put out a tighter vibration. These are versatile lures that can be both cast and trolled. They are also very effective when vertically jigged both in open water and through the ice.
Spoons are very easy to fish. This makes them an excellent choice for novice anglers to use. Basically, the lure is cast out, allowed to sink a few seconds, then reeled back in. It really is that simple. Anglers can add some short twitches and pauses to increase the flash and vibration.
The Eppinger Daredevil spoon is a legendary northern pike fishing lure. It has been around for decades and has accounted for untold numbers of northern pike. It continues to be effective to this day. Red and white and five of diamonds are two proven color combinations. However, the spoons are offered in a variety of colors and finishes.
The Johnson Silver Minnow is another very effective spoon. It differs from the one above and that it is a weedless spoon. It has a single hook with a weed guard. In the water, it runs with the body side down and the hook writing up. This combination makes it relatively weedless that can be fished in very heavy vegetation. Anglers will often add a soft plastic trailer of some sort to add both bulk and vibration.
Inline spinners are effective lures
Inline spinners have been around for a long time. They are a favorite lure for many freshwater fishing anglers. In-line spinners work well for northern pike, too. They are an especially good choice for anglers chasing northern pike where weeds are not so thick. Fishing in in-line spinner and thick weeds can be frustrating, as it will hang up often. The number one in-line spinner for northern pike fishing is the Mepps Musky Killer Spinner.
Spinnerbaits for pike
Spinnerbaits are very effective on northern pike as well. Like spoons, they are easy to use and are an excellent chance for anglers of all skill levels. A spinner bait has a wireframe with the blades on the top and some type of body on the bottom. The design results in a bait that is fairly weedless and will bounce over and through structure. It can be worked at all depths from the surface all the way to the bottom.
The number one spinner bait for northern pike by far is the BooYah Pikee Spinnerbait. The main thing that sets this apart from other quality spinner baits is the hardware. Pike are tough on artificial lures. This spinner bait will hold up better than most others for anglers northern pike fishing.
Top plugs for northern pike
A plug is a hard body lure, usually made of plastic, but sometimes carved from wood. Most are designed to mimic bait fish. They come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Some plugs float on the surface. These are called top water plugs. Others float on the surface and then dive down to a determined depth, based on the shape of the lip on the plug.
Noisy top water plugs are very effective when fishing for northern pike, particularly when the water is a bit warm. Pike will rise up out of the grass beds and blast a top water bait. Poppers will have a concave face which puts out a distinctive noise when twitched. Some baits have propellers which put out a lot of commotion on the surface. The Rapala Skitter Prop and Rapala Skitter Pop are both excellent top water lures for northern pike.
Lures that float on the surface and then dive down are often called jerk baits. This is especially true with lures that have a long slender design. The lure is worked fairly aggressively with hard jerks, which is how it gets its name. The erratic vibration along with the flash and action will often trigger strikes from fish that are not feeding. These are extremely effective when worked over the top of submerged weed beds for northern pike.
The two best subsurface fishing plugs for northern pike are the #10 Rapala X-Rap and the Rapala Super Shad Rap. They are available and multiple colors and finishes. Fire tiger is an excellent all round finish as it imitates yellow perch and other sunfish. Gold works well in stained water while silver is an excellent choice in clear water.
Soft plastic swimbaits
Soft plastic swim baits are excellent northern pike fishing lures. They are an excellent choice when the water is cold or and pike are a bit less active. The same applies to days when pike are finicky, such as those days with high pressure in clear sky following a cold front. These lures are a bit more subtle in their presentation. Bass Assassin makes an excellent line of soft plastic baits that can be rigged either on a swim bait hook or on a jig head.
Northern pike fishing tips
Northern Pike are usually not difficult to catch, once they are located. That is one of the reasons that artificial lures are so effective as they allow anglers to cover a lot of water and trigger strikes from the aggressive pike. Many fishing principles as far as holding locations apply to northern pike the same as they do two most other predatory species.
Find weeds, find pike
Northern pike are ambush predators. They lie in wait in cover then dart out to attack unsuspecting prey. Northern pike love weeds, and this is where the vast majority of fish are caught. One look at the body of a Pike will let an angler no both in color and in shape that it was built to feed in weeds.
Coves that have expansive shallow flats and large patches of weeds are ideal spots that should hold northern pike. Pike are not overly fond of waves or current and will seek out these backwater areas much of the time. Also, these are the spots that panfish, perch, and other forage species will seek out.
Rocks and wood will hold fish
Successful anglers do not overlook rocks when northern pike fishing. This is particularly true on lakes that do not have expansive areas of weed growth. Large boulders in water between 5 feet deep and 10 feet deep are outstanding spots to fish for northern pike. Sloping main lake and tributary creek points with rock and gravel are always worth a few casts. Pike will use these points as roads to get from the deeper water to the shallow grass flats.
Northern Pike, like most game fish, will be found around wood. This includes docks and fallen trees or submerged timber for whatever reason, these areas often tend to attract larger fish. Anglers should thoroughly fish the structure from multiple angles.
Best times to fish for northern pike
Like most of freshwater fishing, the northern pike bite is best early and late in the day and on days with cloud cover. Pike have fixed pupils. This means that they cannot adjust to varying light conditions. They are fixed to see best under lowlight conditions. Periods of extremely bright sunlight, such as the day or two just after a passing front, will usually have pike hunkered down in the weeds and not in the mood to feed.
Conversely, the hours before a front arrives can be magical when northern pike fishing. These conditions will consist of a little bit of when, cloudy skies, and maybe even some light rainfall. Northern Pike will since the dropping barometric pressure and will usually feed heavily at this time. Aggressively fishing with large artificial lures may produce the pike of a lifetime!
In conclusion, this article on northern pike fishing tips and tackle will help anglers understand the tactics and tackle required to catch these terrific game fish!