What is the Best Fishing Bait for Blue Catfish?

The Best Fishing Bait for Blue Catfish is Fresh Cut Bait

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

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

best fishing bait for blue catfish

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

Best blue catfish baits

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

fishing for catfish

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

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

Catfish bait

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

Best fishing rod and reel for blue catfish

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

bank fishing

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

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

fishing for blue catfish

Hooks and rigs for catching blue catfish

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

catfish leaders

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

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

fishing for blue catfish

More blue catfish rigs

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

fishing for river catfish

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

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

Other effective blue catfish baits

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

Live bait fish

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

Prepared catfish baits

Catfish Bubblegum

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

Nightcrawlers

best live bait for freshwater fishing

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

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

What is the Best Largemouth Bass Fishing Lure?

The Best Largemouth Bass Fishing Lure is the Plastic Worm

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

best largemouth bass fishing lure

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

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

bass fishing with a worm

Plastic worm choices for bass fishing

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

best largemouth bass lure

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

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

best bass lure

Best tackle for fishing a plastic worm

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

best bass lure

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

Read this article on tackle choices for largemouth bass

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

Top plastic worms for bass fishing

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

Zoom Trick worm

zoom trick worm

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

Yamamoto Senko

Senko

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

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Culprit

culprit

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

Mann’s Jelly worm

jelly worm

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

Rigging plastic worms for bass fishing

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

Texas rig

texas rigged worm

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

Swim hook

swim bait hook

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

Wacky rig

wacky rig

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

Carolina rig

carolina rig

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

Drop shot rig

drop shot

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

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

What is the Best Crappie Fishing Lure?

The Best Crappie Fishing Lure is the Blakemore Road Runner

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

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

best crappie fishing lure

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

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

road runner

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Road Runner crappie fishing lure options

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

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

Best crappie fishing rod and reel

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

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fishing for crappie bluegill and panfish

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

Choosing the best color and size for crappie fishing

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

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

crappie fishing with minnows

Crappie fishing techniques

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

Casting the best crappie fishing lure

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

Sarasota crappie fishing

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

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

Trolling for crappie

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

crappie fishing in Texas

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

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

Using the Road Runner with live bait

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

fishing Texas lakes

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

More productive crappie fishing lures

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

Rooster Tail inline spinners

rooster tail

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

Mister Twister grubs

mister twister

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

Rapala Husky Jerk

husky jerk

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

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

9 Essential Smallmouth Bass Fishing Lures

9 Essential Smallmouth Bass Fishing Lures

Most anglers fishing for smallmouth bass do so using artificial lures. These baits allow anglers to cover more water as well as triggering bites from non active fish. However, there are a few lures that have proven to catch more smallmouth bass than other lures.

9 essential smallmouth bass fishing lures

The 9 essential smallmouth bass fishing lures are

  • Berkley Power Tube
  • Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait
  • Heddon Tiny Torpedo
  • Yamamota Senko
  • Rebel Crawfish
  • Strike King KVD Finesse spinnerbait
  • Spro hair jig
  • Mepps Spinner
  • Daredevil spoon

Smallmouth bass feeding habits

Many of the best fishing lures for smallmouth bass are smaller versions of those used for largemouth bass. As the name implies, smallmouth bass do have a smaller mouth. The forage that they feed on generally consists of crayfish, helgramites, and smaller fish.

9 essential smallmouth bass fishing lures

Crayfish in particular are sought after by feeding smallmouth bass. They are found in rocky environments, which smallmouth bass prefer. This is especially true in rivers. Crayfish are high in protein and relatively easy to catch. Many of the top smallmouth bass lures mimic a fleeing crayfish.

Smallmouth bass certainly feed extensively on bait fish as well. The type of fish will vary depending on the region and body of water. White and silver lures work well in waters that have shad and herring. Darker colors imitate gobies in the Great Lakes region. Yellow perch and bluegill patters are effective as well.

smallmouth bass fsihing lures

Best smallmouth bass fishing tackle

In most cases, light or medium light spinning tackle is the best choice when casting lures for smallmouth bass. Many of these lures are light. Therefore, spinning tackle is much better suited for tossing these baits. Anglers casting heavier plugs can certainly opt for light baitcasting outfits.

smallmouth bass fishing

Read more about smallmouth bass fishing tackle here

The best rod and reel is a 6 ½ foot to 7 foot rod with a ‘fast” action. This means that the rod has some strength at the reel, then tapers to a limber tip. This combination allows anglers to cast light lures while having the power to handle a good fish. 6 lb monofilament or flourocarbon line or 10 lb braided line are good line choices.

fishing lures for smallmouth

9 Essential smallmouth bass fishing lures

This is the list of Capt Jim’s 9 essential smallmouth bass fishing lures. They have produced many fish over decades for him and countless other anglers. These lures will cover every fishing situation that will be encountered as well as all depths from the surface to the bottom.

Berkley Powerbait tube

tube lure

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Tube baits are incredible baits and top the list of the 9 essential smallmouth bass fishing lures. Many anglers associate tube lures with smallmouth bass, though they are certainly effective on many other species, particularly panfish. Tube baits are basically soft plastic lures with a slender body and many split tales that undulate realistically in the water. The Berkley Power Bait Tube is Capt. Jim’s favorite tube lure.

These are very versatile fishing lures. They realistically imitate both crustaceans and live bait fish. Natural colors such as brown, red, olive, and orange are excellent crayfish colors. They are very effective when bounced along the bottom, mimicking a fleeing crayfish. Tube baits produce well for anglers in both lakes and rivers.

live bait for bass

Tube baits can also imitate live bait fish. In most cases, pearl, white, silver, and chartreuse are the top choices when shad and herring are present. Darker colors produce better when smallmouth bass are feeding on gobies, bluegill, and yellow perch. The tube size should be matched to the prey as well, with 3 inch baits being an excellent all round choice.

Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait

Rapala x-rap

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Second on the list of 9 essential smallmouth bass fishing lures is the Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait. This is in the family of hard plugs known as “jerk baits”. These are long and slender lures that are worked very aggressively. The angler jerks the rod tip sharply, thus earning its name. In between jerks, the lure is allowed to pause and hang motionless in the water. This is most often when the strike occurs as the lure resembles a wounded bait fish and seems like easy prey.

river smallmouth bass fishing

Anglers have several different sizes and many different colors to choose from. In most smallmouth bass fishing situations in lakes, the number 10 size is the best all round choice. It is available in both a shallow diving in deep diving version to suit the depth of the water being fished. Anglers targeting smallmouth bass in rivers and streams will often do better scaling down to the number 8 size X-Rap.

As with all lures, the color should be matched to the locally available forage. For the most part, jerk baits mimic live bait fish, especially shad. Lighter colors such as white and silver are excellent choices. The shallow running version will work a few feet below the surface, where shad and herring often school.

Heddon Tiny Torpedo

tiny torpedo

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The Heddon Tiny Torpedo is a legendary fishing lure that has been around for many decades. It is a top water plug, which means that it stays on the surface the entire time. This bait has a cone shaped nose with a propeller on the rear. This combination puts out just the right amount of splash and action to be productive. It is third on the list of 9 essential smallmouth bass fishing lures. It comes in one size. Color is less important on top water lures as it is more about profile and action.

best 7 river smallmouth fishing lures

Top water lures are mostly worked around shoreline structure or over shallow submerged structure such as rocky points and sunken islands. In clear water, smallmouth bass will rise a surprising distance to take a top water plug. The best retrieve consists of a sharp twitch to cause the propellers to make a commotion on the surface, followed by a pause. In many instances, the bass will hit on this pause as the lure sits there seemingly helpless.

One mistake that many novice anglers make when fishing the Tiny Torpedo and other top water lures is setting the hook too quickly. It is easy to get excited and set the hook when the take is seen. However, this will often result in missing the fish. A better technique is to wait until the fish is actually felt on the line, then sweeping the rod tip and coming tight while reeling. This will result in more hookups.

Yamamoto Senko

senko

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The Yamamoto Senko is a fantastic soft plastic fishing lure! It is in the family of what is known as “finesse” baits and is very versatile. It is basically a plastic worm. In most cases, the Senko is most productive with very little or even no action. It can be rigged Texas style, wacky style, on a shaky head jig, on a drop shot rig, or on a jig head. It is fourth on the list of 9 essential smallmouth bass fishing lures.

The 4 inch size Senko is the best choice for most anglers fishing for smallmouth bass. It is available in the 5 inch size for anglers targeting larger fish. Natural colors are very productive, with green pumpkin being an excellent choice in just about every fishing condition or situation. While mostly used in lakes, these baits are very effective when fishing in rivers as well.

Virginia river fishing tips

The best technique when fishing the Senko is to let the natural action of the bait attract the fish. Many strikes will occur as the lure falls through the water column, no matter what the depth being fished or the type of rig being used. Once the lure reaches the bottom, it can be twitched or hopped very slowly along bottom structure, especially rocks. Again, it is important not to work this lure to aggressively. Anglers fishing in rivers will do well to simply allow the bait to drift naturally with the current through riffles and pools.

Rebel Crawfish

bebel wee craw

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The Rebel Crawfish is another legendary smallmouth bass fishing lure, especially for anglers fishing in streams and rivers. This is a hard body plug that dives down five or 6 feet and has a very effective erratic action. When worked properly, it will bounce off of rocks and other cover, realistically imitating a fleeing crayfish. It is next on the list of the 9 essential smallmouth bass fishing lures.

Oklahoma smallmouth bass

The standard crawfish size works very well in most river and lake situations. Anglers can drop down to the Wee Craw when fishing in smaller streams. These lures will also catch trout in waters where they reside. The Rebel Crawfish is available in a handful of natural colors and finishes. Where possible, anglers should match the bait color to the color of the crayfish in the area.

This lure is fairly simple to use and has a great built in action. Anglers simply cast it out, reel quickly to get the lure down to the desired depth, then work it back in using an erratic action. As mentioned above, bouncing the lure off of rocks and other obstructions will only increase its effectiveness. This is a fantastic lure that realistically imitates the favorite food of smallmouth bass.

Strike King KVD Finesse Spinnerbait

terminator

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The Strike King KVD Finesse Spinnerbait is number six on the list of 9 essential smallmouth bass fishing lures. Spinnerbaits are very effective lures on bass and just about every other game fish species in freshwater. As the name implies, this spinner bait is a bit smaller than other models offered for largemouth bass. That makes it the perfect choice for anglers fishing for smallmouth bass.

smallmouth bass fishing tackle and lures

This lure is a tandem spinner bait, which means it has two blades. These put out excellent flash and vibration, which imitate a wounded baitfish. In most cases, the lure is mimicking bait fish. White and chartreuse are the top color patterns. However, anglers can slow roll and bounce this lure off the bottom to imitate crayfish. There are a couple of darker color patterns to suit this presentation.

In most cases, spinner baits are most productive when fish in fairly shallow water, 10 feet deep or less. However, in very clear water, these lures can be effective when worked deeper. Spinner baits are very easy to use and are an excellent choice for novice anglers as they have terrific built in action. A slow steady retrieve is often the most productive. Spinnerbaits can be worked through the entire water column, from just on the surface all the way to the bottom.

Spro hair jig

bucktail jig

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The Spro jig is another very effective smallmouth bass fishing lure. These baits have the hair or dressing fixed permanently to the jig head. They are very versatile lures that can be used to mimic a wide variety of forage. They are especially effective in natural or darker colors and bounced along the bottom, mimicking crayfish. White is another very popular color and is an excellent choice when herring and shad are in the area.

Tailwater fishing tips and techniques

Jigs are one of the oldest lures that man has been using to catch fish. The combination of the weighted jig head and hair dressing results in a very enticing and natural looking lure in the water. Subtle action is generally draw more strikes, though there are times when active fish will respond better to a fast, erratic retrieve. Some anglers increase the effectiveness of this lure by adding a soft plastic trailer or even a live minnow.

Mepps spinner

mepps

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The Mepps line of spinners have been catching smallmouth bass for anglers for decades now. This is a very simple lure that is an in-line spinner. This consists of a shaft with a weighted body, a hook which is often dressed, and a blade that rotates around the body putting out both flash and vibration.

fishing in rivers for smallmouth bass

Spinners are very easy to use, making them an excellent choice for novice anglers. While they are used effectively in lakes, spinners really shine when chasing smallmouth bass in rivers. The best technique is to cast straight across the stream then reel back in using a slow, steady retrieve. The current will assist in rotating the blade. Many bites occur as the spinner swings in the current at the end of the drift. Spinners are an excellent choice for anglers fishing waters that are cold enough to have trout along with the smallmouth bass.

Eppinger Daredevil Spoon

daredevil

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The Eppinger Daredevil spoon is last, but certainly not least, on the list of 9 essential smallmouth bass fishing lures. Spoons have fallen a bit out of favor with smallmouth bass anglers of late, but this is a big mistake. A spoon is basically a curved piece of metal with a hook in. Spoons are excellent and productive lures and have several advantages. Silver, gold, red/white, and 5 of diamonds are the top colors. 1/2 ounce is a great all round size.

Most spoons are fairly heavy and are very easy to cast a long distance. They are worked fairly quickly and put out a lot a flash and vibration. This combination makes them an excellent choice for anglers who need to cover a lot of water in search of fish. Spoons can also be used in a vertical presentation on are very effective when jigs over submerged structure. This is especially true in winter and summer when smallmouth bass move deep.

Finally, spoons are excellent lures to use when trolling. Whether casting or trolling it is important to use a quality swivel when fishing with a spoon to reduce line twist. The final advantage anglers fishing with spoons for smallmouth bass will realize is that they will catch many other species as well, including northern pike, trout, and walleye.

In conclusion, this article on the 9 essential smallmouth bass fishing lures will help anglers fill their tackle boxes with baits that will produce fish in any location and at any time of year!

 

14 Essential Walleye Trolling Lures

14 Essential Walleye Trolling Lures

Trolling is an extremely effective fishing technique. Walleye in particular are mostly caught by anglers trolling, particularly in the Great Lakes region. However, there are specific lures that are more productive for anglers trolling for walleye.

walleye fishing tackle and lures

The 14 essential walleye trolling lures are;

  • Reef Runner 800 Series Deep Diver
  • Rapala Shad Rap
  • Bandit Walleye Deep Diver
  • Michigan Stinger Spoon
  • Bomber Long A
  • Storm Thunderstick
  • Rapala Husky Jerk
  • Moonshine Walleye Spoon
  • Cotton Cordell Wally Diver
  • Storm Hot N Tot
  • Erie Dearie
  • Yo Zuri Crystal Minnow Deep Diver Walleye
  • Northland Whistler
  • Hammer Time Walleye Spinner

Trolling is the act of slowly moving the boat while pulling lures behind. However, there is much more to it than that. Special equipment can be required, depending on the depth being fished. Speed, technique, and presentation are very important. Having the best lures is the first place to start.

walleye fishing, a beginners guide

Anglers can read about the best walleye fishing tackle in this article

The main advantage in trolling is the ability to cover so much more water than anglers can casting or drifting. Also, multiple lures can be presented at one time in varying depths, colors, and sizes. This makes trolling a very productive and effective technique for a nomadic, bottom feeding species such as walleye.

walleye fishing

Walleye feed extensively on bait fish. Therefore, most of the lures designed for walleye trolling mimic this forage. Lures are available in many sizes and colors. Successful anglers choose a bait that resembles the forage that walleye are feeding on in their specific waters. Of course, there are days when a gaudy color and size will draw a strike.

14 Essential walleye trolling lures

The three basic types of walleye trolling lures are plugs, spinners, and spoons. Plugs are by far the most popular for a couple of reasons. Plugs can be purchased with lip sizes that result in them diving down to a determined depth. This means that anglers do not have to use other hardware such as downriggers and sinkers. Plugs are also available in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and colors.

14 essential walleye trolling lures

Anglers can read a comprehensive article on walleye fishing in this article

Spoons and spinners do have their place and are effective walleye trolling lures as well. Both require a method in which to get the lure down in the water column and down to the desired depth. This is most often accomplished using in-line weights, a downrigger, or a Dipsey Diver. One advantage of spoons and spinners when trolling for walleye is that other species, especially trout and salmon, are often taken on these lures.

Reef Runner 800 Series Deep Diver

reef runner plug

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Number one on the list of the 14 essential walleye trolling lures is the Reef Runner 800 Series Deep Diver. Reef Runner 800 Series Deep Divers are popular casting and deep-diving trolling lures. These Deep Divers are rattling minnow imitators designed to deliver a wide erratic swimming action. Reef Runner 800 Series Deep Divers have a long slender design with a rounded lip. This bait will dive down to 30 feet. They are available in a wide variety of color patterns.

Rapala Shad Rap

shad rap

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The Rapala Shad Rap is second on the list of 14 essential walleye trolling lures. This is a legendary bait that has been around for a very long time. It has a wider body than does many of the long slender banana style plugs such as the one listed above. This is an excellent lure to use when walleye are feeding on shad and other larger, wide profile forage species, including yellow perch.

walleye fishing tackle and lures

These baits are available in multiple sizes to cover the depths at which anglers will troll for walleye. The smaller #5 Shad Raps are excellent for trolling in shallow water between 4 feet deep and 8 feet deep in the spring. Larger models, all the way up to the #14 size, are used to get the bait down deeper in the summer. Anglers should match the color and size to the forage in the body of water being fished.

Bandit Walleye Deep Diver

walleye fishing

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The next bait on the list of 14 essential walleye trolling lures is the Bandit Walleye Deep Diver. This lure is long and slender and will exceed 30 feet in depth when trolled properly. It is four and three-quarter inches long and 5/8 of an ounce. This is a very effective bait with a dedicated following among anglers, and for good reason. They have been producing excellent catches of walleye for decades.

Michigan Stinger Spoon

walleye fishing

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The Michigan Stinger Spoon is the first spoon on the list of the 14 essential walleye trolling lures. It is the “go to” spoon for anglers trolling for walleye and other freshwater game fish species. It is by far the most popular trolling spoon used in the Great Lakes region. These spoons are available in several sizes and a wide variety of colors and finishes.

walleye fishing for beginners

Spoons do require some method of getting them down into the water column. Trolling sinkers and downriggers are generally used. One benefit of trolling with spoons is that they are extremely effective lures for salmon and trout. Therefore, anglers trolling for walleye in waters that have these other game fish will often be happily interrupted by these other species.

Bomber Long A

walleye trolling

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The Bomber Long A is a very versatile lure that has been around for a long time. It is fifth on the list of 14 essential walleye trolling lures. The Bomber Long A is a legendary slender minnow jerkbait. It mimics a minnow’s lifelike swimming action when trolled at a constant pace. They are available in many different color patterns.

walleye fishing tips

These lures also are available with a deep diving lip and a shallow diving lip. Anglers can troll the shallow diving lipped baits behind a downrigger ball or trolling sinkers while the deep diving lip will reach the desired depth on its own.

Storm ThunderStick

trolling for walleye

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The Storm ThunderStick is another very popular ineffective stick bait used to troll for walleye. Storm Original Deep ThunderSticks are a true classic lure, used by anglers around the world. These baits feature designs from the original ThunderStick molds and are outfitted with premium VMC hooks for sure holding power. The injured baitfish swimming action of these lures attract walleye and other species. It weighs 5/8 of an ounce and will dive down to 25 feet. Like the Bomber Long A, it is available with a smaller lip to troll behind a downrigger or in very shallow water.

Rapala Husky Jerk

walleye fishing

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The Rapala Husky Jerk is number seven on the list of 14 essential walleye trolling lures. This is been a very popular jerk bait for freshwater anglers for decades. It will catch a variety of species, including a walleye. Like several of the other plugs listed above, it is available in both a deep diving and shallow diving model. The deep diving version will go down 20 feet or so and they are well known for running true right out-of-the-box.

 

Moonshine spoon

walleye spoon

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The second spoon on the list of top walleye trolling lures is the Moonshine Walleye Spoon. The Moonshine Walleye Spoon is a high-quality trolling spoon and is one the brightest UV glowing products offered by Moonshine. This durable 3-inch spoon features proven patterns for success that are painted with eye-popping colors. The amazing UV colors are best used in low light scenarios but the Walleye Spoons will even excel in daylight use!

Cotton Cordell Wally Diver

walleye trolling lures

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The Cotton Cordell Walleye Diver is another very effective plug. It is legendary among both recreational and charter anglers throughout the Great Lakes region. It has a slightly larger head and a long slender body resulting in a terrific tight wiggling action. It is available in two different sizes and is perfect when trolling for walleye in water depths between 10 feet deep and 20 feet deep.

Storm Hot N Tot

walleye trolling lures

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The Storm Hot-N-Tot is another effective walleye trolling lure that has been around for a very long time. It has changed very little since its inception. It still has the original metal lip. It is a smaller bait with a wider profile that has a very erratic side-to-side action it is 2 inches long, weighs 3/16 of an ounce, and will troll down to 15 feet or so. Is an excellent lure to use when trolling for walleye in water between 10 and 20 feet deep or when the fish are a bit finicky.

Erie Dearie

trolling lures for walleye

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Number 11 on the list of 14 essential walleye trolling lures is the Erie Dearie. Many anglers have used this interesting looking lure over the years. It is basically a weight forward spinner that is designed to bounce right off of the bottom where walleye feed. The Erie Dearie is used in conjunction with live bait. It is an extremely effective way to slow troll and present a live nightcrawler to bottom feeding walleye.

Yo Zuri Crystal Minnow Deep Diver Walleye

walleye fishing lures

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The Yo Zuri Crystal Minnow Deep Diver Walleye is next on the list of 14 essential walleye trolling lures. Yo Zuri is world renowned for the finishes on their baits. Their addition into the realm of deep diving trolling lures for walleye is no exception. These baits are available in three different sizes, with the largest reaching depths of 15 feet to 18 feet. They are available in a wide variety of colors as well.

Northland Whistler

walleye trolling lure

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The Northland Whistler is an unusual looking lure that is really a combination of a jig and a spinner. While some anglers may not consider it a true trolling lure as it is often used when casting or vertically jigging, it is very effective when slow trolling for walleye. It is used in conjunction with live bait, either a nightcrawler, minnow, or leech. It is an excellent choice in cold water when walleye are less active as well as in situations where fish are found in a small confined area.

Hammer Time Spinner

fishing for walleye

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Last, but certainly not least, on the list of best walleye trolling lures is the Hammer Time Walleye Spinner. It is a harness rig to slowly troll a nightcrawler. Give walleye an even greater edge in low-light conditions. The Hammer Time Walleye Spinner Rig expands the strike zone in clear water and helps walleye home in on your bait in dark, stained, or dingy water. Rigged with Glo beads and a hammered Colorado blade with a UV finish, the Hammer Time Spinner maximizes both sonic and visible attraction. This premium 2-hook crawler harness is hand-snelled on a nearly-invisible 60″L, 15-lb. fluorocarbon leader with 2 perfectly-spaced octopus hooks and a quick-change clevis.

In conclusion, this list of the 14 essential walleye trolling lures will help anglers choose the correct baits for their angling situations, and therefore catch more fish!

 

What is the best pompano fishing lure?

What is the Best Pompano Fishing Lure?

Pompano are a very popular inshore saltwater species. Anglers prize them for both their strong fight and their incredible fillets. Pompano can be caught on a variety of baits and lures. However, there is one artificial lure that is the best for pompano fishing.

The best pompano fishing lure is a jig. A jig is basically a weighted hook that usually has some type of dressing. Pompano feed right on the bottom, rooting out shrimp, crabs, and other crustaceans. A jig bounced and along a sandy bottom very realistically mimics this fleeing prey. Jigs can be presented right where pompano, feed. This makes them incredibly effective pompano fishing lures.

best pompano fishing lure

A jig is just a natural lure when it comes to pompano fishing. Pompano are often times found in inlets and passes, especially in deeper water. This generally requires a vertical presentation. A jig that is just heavy enough to reach the bottom can be bounced along as the boat drifts with the current. This is an extremely effective pompano fishing technique.

Jigs can also be cast out and retrieved back in. This technique is most often employed on shallower flats and sandbars. Anglers surf fishing do this as well. The same principle applies as the jig is allowed to hit the bottom and is retrieved back in using a series of sharp twitches. Unless grass is present, the best approach is to let the jig hit the bottom and kick up a little puff of sand between each twitch.

jig fishing for pompano

Capt. Jim Klopfer is a professional saltwater fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida. Pompano are one of his favorite species to catch. In this article, he will share his favorite pompano fishing jigs and techniques.

Anglers can read more about “Inshore Saltwater Fishing” in Capt Jim’s E-book.

Pompano jigs

While the standard lead head jig with a soft plastic trailer will catch pompano, anglers specifically targeting these tasty and hard fighting fish will use specialized lures. Pompano have small mouths and the best jigs are small and compact. They also have smaller hooks and the dressing often ends just behind the bend of the hook. This is a bit different from any other saltwater jigs where the tail provides the action. With pompano jigs, it is all about quick and erratic movements.

jig fishing for pompano

The most effective pompano fishing jigs are usually those with contrasting colors. This usually includes white or silver and bright colors such as pink, yellow, red, or chartreuse. Pompano can be fussy, however usually locating them is the most difficult part. It is definitely suggested to have a selection of different sizes, styles, and colors on board for the days when pompano are more selective.

Anglers can read this article by Capt Jim on Pompano fishing

Anglers fishing shallow water and casting jigs out in search of pompano usually opt for ¼ ounce to 1/2 ounce jigs. Jigs of this size are easily cast out with light to medium light spinning tackle, which is the best choice for most anglers when pompano fishing. The same sized jigs will work fine when drifting passes and inlets as well. The best approach when drifting is to use the lightest jig that will reach the bottom. Successful anglers will constantly adjust the weight of the jig to the ever changing current conditions.

pompano fishing in Florida

Jigs are often quite productive on their own. However, some anglers prefer to tip the jig with a tiny pea-sized piece of shrimp. This is especially effective on days where the bite is tough or when the water is stirred up and dirty. A taste of the real thing will help pompano find the jig and hold onto it a bit longer.

Rigging for pompano

As mentioned above, in most applications the best choice when it comes to rod and reel is a light or medium light spinning outfit. A 7 foot rod with a fast action and a limber tip paired with a 2500 to 3000 series reel is a great all round combination. Most saltwater anglers already own and outfit such as this that they use for spotted sea trout and redfish. The reel can be spooled up with 10 pound monofilament or braided fishing line.

Anglers can shop Amazon for Penn Fierce 3000 reels in this link.

Anglers can shop Amazon for Shimano Convergence rods in this link.

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Top Sarasota species

Most anglers use some type of leader between the running line and the jig. While pompano do not have teeth, they are often caught around structure. Also, other species that do have teeth or raspy jaws such as bluefish, Spanish mackerel, jacks, and ladyfish are often caught in the same areas where pompano are found. In clear water, a 2 foot section of 20 pound fluorocarbon leader is a good choice. Anglers can bump it up to 30 pound test in stained water or when other species are plentiful.

Styles of pompano jigs

There are several different jig styles which have proven themselves to be very effective pompano fishing lures. The pompano jig, banana jig, and standard jig and grub combination with a short trailer are the most effective lures for these feisty little game fish.

charters in Siesta Key

Best pompano jigs

There are a couple of pompano jigs that Capt. Jim has found particularly effective. His personal favorite is the Bomber Nylure jig. This bait comes with a shiny lead nose that has a conical shape. It is dressed with a nylon skirt that is available and several bright colors. Green and pink are two productive colors.

pompano jig

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The Sea Striker pompano jig is another very effective Pompano jig. It is more of the conventional style with a round head and a short thick skirt along with a fairly small hook. This jig in the smaller sizes is extremely effective in clear water or when pompano are being especially fussy. Tipping it with a tiny piece of shrimp can often make the difference. This little jig will catch just about every species in any pass or inlet.

pompano jig

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Wahoo pompano jigs are similar to the Sea Striker jigs are are equally effective.

Click this link to shop Amazon for Wahoo pompano jigs

The other type of jig that is proven itself to be extremely productive for Capt. Jim and just about every other experienced pompano fisherman is the banana style jig. There are several manufacturers who offer this lure to anglers. It is an odd shape and at first glance does not seem like it would catch fish. However, it has a very erratic action in the water.

pompano jigs

Click this link to shop Amazon for banana pompano jigs

This type of jig is a tad more difficult for some anglers to learn to use. It requires a sharp twitch of the rod tip and a bit of tots to feel the bite. Many of these lures come with a little fly or teaser as an added attract. Many pompano are caught under the chin on this little teaser. Bright colors such as pink and white and yellow and white are the most productive.

The traditional jig and grub combination will certainly catch pompano as well. In fact, many are caught by accident as anglers drift the grass flats in search of spotted sea trout and other species. However, anglers who are specifically targeting pompano will do better by scaling down their offerings. A 1/8 ounce jig head with a small hook in a small soft plastic grub works best. Grub bodies with a flat tail tend to be more effective.

gulp shrimp

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One excellent option when using the jig and grub combination is to use a small scented grub on the jig head. Capt. Jim’s favorite scented soft plastic bait by far is the Gulp Shrimp. The 2 inch version on a small jig head does not cast a long way but is an extremely effective pompano fishing lure. Anglers can bump up to a 1/4 ounce jig head with the 3 inch shrimp. White with a chartreuse tail is a top producer.

In conclusion, this article on the best pompano fishing lure will help anglers catch more of these very hard fighting an incredibly tasty saltwater game fish species!

Best Speckled Trout Fishing Tackle

Best Speckled Trout Fishing Tackle

This article will thoroughly cover the best speckled trout fishing tackle. Speckled trout are a very popular saltwater inshore game fish. In order to be successful fishing for speckled trout, anglers will need the proper tackle and equipment.

The best speckled trout fishing tackle includes a 7 foot medium light rod and reel, hooks, floats, leader, and a selection of artificial lures. The top lures will consist of jig heads and soft plastic baits, spoons, and plugs. This is the tackle that anglers will need in order to consistently produce speckled trout.

best speckled trout fishing tackle

Best fishing rods and reels for speckled trout

Anglers fishing for speckled trout can choose between spinning and baitcasting tackle. Spinning tackle is more popular as it is a bit easier to use, especially for novice anglers. It is also best for smaller fish and for casting light lures free lining light baits. Baitcasting tackle is popular along the upper Gulf Coast, where anglers use heavier corks and lures for larger fish.

light tackle bottom fishing tips

The Rod and Reel are arguably the most important components. The best route for speckled trout fishing is a 7 foot to 7 1/2 foot medium light rod with a fast action. Fast action refers to the strength and taper of the rod. Fast action rods are stout in the butt section but very limber at the tip. This allows anglers to cast light baits and lures a reasonable distance while providing the strength to fight a decent fish.

Speckled trout are also famous for the very thin membrane in their mouth. It is very easy for a speckled trout to shake its head and throw the hook. A rod such as the one outlined above with a nice limber tip will help facilitate landing more speckled trout. The rod should be matched with a 2500 or 3000 series spinning reel or appropriate baitcasting reel. Capt. Jim likes the Penn conflict combo, it is a quality outfit for around $200. Lew’s sells some quality baitcasting combos at a very affordable price.

Anglers can click these links to shop Amazon for Penn Conflict spinning and Lew’s baitcasting combos.

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Fishing line options

Top Florida saltwater game fish

Anglers have two basic choices when it comes to fishing line; monofilament line in braided line. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Monofilament line is much less expensive. However, it does not last as long and does have some stretch. Some anglers actually prefer the stretch when fish and force speckled trout, which have those tender mouth mentioned above. Braided line is more expensive but last a long time. It also facilitates longer casts and has excellent sensitivity with no stretch. It really is just a matter of personal preference.

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Leaders are used when saltwater fishing

Anglers fishing and saltwater almost always use some type of leader. This is true with speckled trout fishing as well. Speckled trout did not have a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth, such as is the case with bluefish and Spanish mackerel. However, they do have raspy teeth and anglers will encounter other species when chasing speckled trout. Therefore, a leader is required.

Sarasota speckled trout fishing

Most anglers opt for a 24 inch to 30 inch piece of 25lb or 30lb fluorocarbon leader. This is an excellent all round choice for most situations anglers will encounter. An extremely clear water, anglers can drop down to 20 pound or even 15 pound test. Conversely, and muddy water or went fishing around heavy structure, anglers can go up to 40 pound test. The leader can be attached with a line to line not such as a double Uni-knot or by using a small black swivel.

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Hooks and floats

Live bait is extremely effective when fishing for speckled trout. In fact, more trout have probably been landed by anglers fishing a live shrimp under a popping cork and by all other methods combined. A few different hook sizes will cover most speckled trout fishing situations.

Siesta Key fishing charters

As mentioned above, speckled trout have a thin membrane in their mouth. This requires the use of a fairly light and fine wire hook as opposed to sturdy live bait hooks that are often used and saltwater for other species. Anglers will definitely land more trout using a lighter hook. A #1/0 short shank live bait hook will cover the vast majority of situations speckled trout anglers will find themselves in. Some anglers do prefer the long shank Aberdeen style hook, though this may straighten out on a larger redfish or other game fish.

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Speckled trout are often caught over submerged vegetation. These are most often referred to as grass flats. In these situations, anglers use a float of some sort to suspend the shrimp or other live bait just above the top of the grass. There are two types of floats that anglers use; popping corks and a larger, noisy clacking style float.

Lido Key fishing charters

Popping corks have a slot that runs down the length of them and a pin to hold them in place. When twitched sharply, the concave surface of the float digs into the water producing a popping sound which attracts game fish. The larger clack are style floats accomplish the same thing, only they are larger and put out a lot more noise.

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Popping corks have the advantage of being easily added or removed, while the clack are style floats require a leader between the hook in the float. Both are very effective when fishing for speckled trout.

Top artificial lures for speckled trout fishing

Speckled trout will certainly hit artificial lures. Jigs, spoons, and plugs are all effective artificial lures for speckled trout and most other inshore saltwater species.

Read this article on the best speckled trout fishing lures

Jigs are productive speckled trout fishing lures

Without a doubt, the most popular artificial lure when fishing for speckled trout is the jig and grub combination. This consists of a jig head and in some type of soft plastic grub or tail added. The weight of the jig head will vary depending on fishing conditions such as depth and current. One quarter ounce is a very popular jig head size.

guide to inshore fishing

Anglers can purchase Capt Jim’s E-book, “Inshore Saltwater Fishing” for $5 by clicking on the title link. It is 23,000 words long and covers tackle, tactics, and species.

Anglers have endless choices when it comes to the soft plastic body that they add to the jig head. These come in a myriad of sizes, shapes, and colors that mimic just about every forage that’s tackle trout feed on. Most imitate either a crustacean such as a crab or shrimp or a bait fish. 3 inch to 4 inch baits are most effective in the majority of fishing applications. Capt. Jim’s two favorite soft plastic baits are the 4” Bass Assassin Sea Shad and the 3 inch gulp shrimp.

Best Speckled trout fishing lures

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Fishing for speckled trout with spoons

Spoons are another very effective artificial lure for speckled trout and other species. There are two basic types of spoons, weedless spoons and open water spoons. Weedless spoons have a single hook in a weed guard in the spoon runs through the grass with the hook up, reducing snags. Open water spoons have a single treble hook instead. The Johnson Silver minnow and Johnson sprite are two examples of very effective weedless and open water spoons.

sprite spoon

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Plugs catch speckled trout, too

Plugs are very effective speckled trout fishing lures as well. Plugs either work on the surface, these are called top water plugs, or they dive down into the water and work different parts of the water column. Some plugs float on the surface and a lip causes the plug to dive down. Others sink slowly and suspend in a certain depth.

guide to inshore saltwater fishing

Capt. Jim’s favorite top water plug is the Rapala Skitter Prop. It has a conical nose and a single propeller on the rear. When twitched sharply, it puts out a very enticing fish attracting noise. It is also a fairly easy bait for novice anglers to use as it has a lot of built in action. Top water plugs work best early and late in the day and on days with cloud cover.

Capt. Jim’s favorite shallow diving plug is the Rapala X-Rap slashbait. He most often uses the #8 size as it closely imitates sardines, herring, and finger mullet which speckled trout often feed on. Anglers can certainly go up in size to mimic larger bait fish. Olive and white are excellent all round colors. These are very versatile lures which can be cast out towards shoreline cover, over bars and flats, and even trolled effectively.

Top saltwater species in Florida

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MirrOlure manufacturers several extremely effective suspending lures for speckled trout. These are time-tested baits that are legendary among saltwater anglers. The MirrOdine very realistically emulates a sardine. The 52 M series is better for larger fish as it imitates pin fish, grunts, and mullet. Both baits are slow sinking and when twitched sharply will suspend at that depth.

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In conclusion, this article on the best speckled trout fishing tackle will help anglers acquire the correct gear in order to be successful catching these popular and great tasting inshore game fish!

Top 6 Freshwater Fishing Lures

Top 6 Freshwater Fishing Lures

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.

musky fishing tackle

The top 6 freshwater fishing lures are:

  • Inline spinners
  • jigs
  • soft plastic baits
  • spinnerbaits
  • spoons
  • plugs

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.

top 6 freshwater fishing 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

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.

bluegill fishing

Spinners work extremely well in 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.

best trout tackle

Read more about Fishing with Spinners!

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 spinners 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 in streams and small rivers as it will not sink down and get hung up on the bottom.

rooster tail

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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 their best seller. The combination of the gold blade and brown tail is an excellent all round color combination.

mepps

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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.

musky killer

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Jigs

Tailwater fishing tips and techniques

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.

Sarasota crappie fishing

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.

fishing for crappie

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.

mister twister

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Hair jigs

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.

striped bass fishing tips and spots

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.

bucktail jig

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Bass jigs

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.

Booyah jig

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Soft plastic baits

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.

Women bass fishing tips

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.

senko

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Spinnerbaits

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.

spinnerbait fishing

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.

Sarasota trolling techniques

Read more about Fishing with Spinnerbaits in this article!

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.

beetle spin

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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.

best small spinnerbait for bass fishing

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Spoons

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.

top 11 freshwater fishing spoons

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.

Read more about fishing with spoons in this link!

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.

daredevil

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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.

silver minnow

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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.

sprite spoon

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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.

kastmaster

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Plugs

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.

best soft plastic lure

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

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.

Read more about the best fishing plugs in this article

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.

skitter prop

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Jerkbaits

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.

Rapala x-rap

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Crankbaits

walleye fishing tackle and lures

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.

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Lipless crankbaits

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.

rat-l-trap

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In conclusion, this article on the top 6 freshwater fishing lures will help anglers understand which lures they need and to ultimately catch more fish!

What is the Best Live Bait for Crappie Fishing?

What is the Best Live Bait for Crappie Fishing?

Crappie are one of the most popular freshwater game fish in North America. While they can be caught by anglers using artificial lures, a lot of crappie are caught on live bait. There are several effective live baits for crappie fishing. However, there is one live bait that stands out above the rest.

Live minnows are the best live bait for crappie fishing. While crappie feed on crustaceans and insects, the majority of their diet consists of smaller fish. Crappie have a fairly large mouth relative to their size which enables them to easily inhale a small minnow. There are a wide variety of live minnows available for anglers to use that can be either caught locally or purchased at bait shops.

Crappie fishing minnows

Anglers have two choices when it comes to using live minnows, they can purchase them at a bait shop or catch their own. Most anglers choose to purchase live minnows at a local bait shop, as they are reasonably priced and it is quite convenient. Each region has minnows that are popular for that particular area. Missouri minnows are famous for being extremely hardy and easy to keep alive. Emerald shiners are popular for northern anglers fishing both in open water and when ice fishing for crappie.

best live bait for crappie

Some anglers prefer to catch their own live minnows, and are of the opinion that the local forage is more desirable to game fish species. Live minnows are caught in baited minnow traps as well is in seines and in dip nets. For some, this is just part of the fun and adds to the adventure of crappie fishing. Anglers should check local regulations to make sure they are in compliance.

crappie fishing with minnows

The best live minnows for crappie fishing are between 1 inches long and 2 inches long. Anglers who specifically target the largest crappie may go up to 3 inches long. Modern fishing boats have live wells that easily keep bait fresh and lively all day long. However, a simple bucket with a battery operated aerator works fine as well.

Crappie fishing tackle

Anglers have several choices when it comes to the tackle they use for crappie fishing with live minnows. Most anglers opt for spinning tackle these days. It is very versatile, reasonably priced, and easy to use. The old push button spin cast reels still work fine for anglers that prefer them. Some anglers keep it simple and just use a cane pole with a hook in a float. Conversely, serious crappie anglers use specially designed rods up to 14 feet long called “spider rods”. These allow anglers to troll several rods at one time.

Crappie seasonal migrations

Crappie are a schooling fish and once located, anglers can usually catch quite a few in one spot. They have a fairly reliable seasonal migration. In the cool and warm months, crappie school up in deeper water, normally over offshore structure. This can be channel edges, submerged islands, deep weed beds, and even bridges.

top freshwater species

In the spring time, crappie move into shallow waters to spawn. This is the time of year that many anglers pursue them, as they are aggressive and relatively easy to find. Just about any type of cover will hold the crappie in the spring time. Fallen trees are particularly attractive to crappie. Some serious crappie anglers even create their own artificial structure using tree limbs, cinder blocks and Christmas trees.

Presentations for crappie fishing

One of the great advantages of fishing for crappie with live minnows is the simplicity. Anglers basically present live minnows to crappie in one of two ways; under a float or on some type of bottom rig. Some anglers will add a live minnow to and artificial lure, particularly a jig. This can be the best of both worlds as it combines the action of the lure with the smell and taste of a live bait.

fishing Texas lakes

Shallow water crappie fishing

Most freshwater anglers have fished for panfish using a worm or other live bait under a float. This is a very simple technique which continues to be effective to this day. Obviously, fishing with a live minnow under a float for crappie works best in shallow water. This usually occurs in the spring time when crappie move in close to the bank or on shallow bars and flats to spawn.

The rig for fishing a live minnow under a float for crappie in shallow water is very simple. It begins with simply tying a hook onto the end of the running line. Many anglers opt for thin wire hooks with a long shank. Crappie have a very thin membrane in their mouth and a thick heavy hook will often create a large hole, enabling the hook to fall out.

tackle and lures for crappie fishing

The hook size should be matched to the size of the minnow being used. In most cases, 1 inch long to 2 inch long minnows are best for crappie fishing. Therefore, hooks and sizes from #6 down to #2 work best. The float is then attached to the line 2 feet to 3 feet above the hook. If required, a tiny split shot can be added near the hook to keep the minnow down.

Deep water crappie fishing

While fishing for crappie in shallow water is relatively easy, pursuing them in deeper water is a bit more difficult. However, it can be very rewarding as once a school is located a bunch of fish can be caught in short order. Also, and some fisheries, the larger fish are caught in deeper water. Prime spots are point drop-offs, flat drop-offs, main River and tributary Creek channel edges, submerged rock piles, submerged weed beds, sunken islands, and bridges.

best crappie lures

Most anglers fishing in deep water with live minnows for crappie use a two hook spreader rig. This consists of two hooks projecting out from the side of the main running line a foot or so apart. This allows anglers to present multiple baits at multiple depths. A sinker is used to get the baits down to the desired depth. The same hooks used in the above section 4 shallow water fishing work fine when fishing for crappie and deep water as well. Anglers should use the minimum amount of weight required to get the rig to the desired depth.

crappie rig

One very easy technique used by anglers to fish for crappie with minnows and deep water is to simply add a live minnow to a jig. This is an extremely effective way to present a live minnow in deeper water without the hindrance of sinkers and special rigs. Small marabou jigs are perfect for this. The angler simply hooks the minnow through both lips up from the bottom that fish is the jig the same way he or she would without the minnow.

Anglers can also fish in deep water for crappie using a float. This is done so with a sliding float or slip float. The running line passes through the float and then a hook is tied on. A small split shot is added 1 foot to 18 inches above the hook. A special stop is used on the running line at the desired depth. This is usually a piece of yarn or a rubber band or some other clever device that is small enough to pass through the rod tip, allowing anglers to make a long cast. Once cast out, the line slides through the float and then stops at the desired spot.

Crappie fishing with lures

Sarasota freshwater fishing

While live minnows are the best live bait for crappie fishing, there are many effective crappie lures which will catch plenty of fish as well. Just about all of these lures imitate live minnows, which is the primary forage of crappie. Jigs are by far the most popular crappie fishing lure. Small spoons and tiny plugs are also effective as well.

More live baits for crappie fishing

While live minnows are the best live bait for crappie fishing, there are other baits that will produce as well. Nightcrawlers and worms are traditional freshwater fishing baits. Both will produce crappie when presented under a float or on a bottom rig in the right location. Grass shrimp are a terrific live bait for crappie, but can be difficult to obtain. Crickets and grasshoppers will catch a few crappie as well.

In conclusion, this article on the best live bait for crappie fishing will help anglers catch more of these terrific freshwater fish!

Best Cobia Fishing Tackle and Lures

Best Cobia Fishing Tackle and Lures

Cobia are a popular saltwater game fish. They grow quite large, reaching weights of over 100 pounds. Anglers pursuing cobia will need to have the correct fishing tackle in order to be successful.

cobia fishing tackle and lures

The best cobia fishing tackle consist of a heavy spinning or medium conventional outfit and a good selection of hooks and artificial lures. Cobia are a pelagic saltwater species. They are found on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, both inshore along the coast and in offshore waters. In the United States, cobisa are found along the eastern United States coast from Texas to Maine. The world record cobia is 105 pounds. These large fish will put an angler’s tackle to the test. Therefore, stout fishing tackle is required.

Cobia vary greatly in size. This makes it difficult for one rod and reel to cover every cobia fishing situation. Smaller fish, averaging under 10 pounds, are commonly caught in the inshore bays and passes. Occasionally, larger cobia are caught in these waters as well. Generally speaking, most large cobia are are caught along the beaches close to shore and near offshore structure such as wrecks, reefs, oil rigs, and hard bottom.

cobia fishing tackle

Cobia fishing techniques

Cobia are caught by anglers using several different techniques. Sight casting to cobia is fantastic sport! Cobia have a unique habit of swimming right on the surface of the water. This allows anglers to visually spot the fish and then present a lure or bait in front of it. This type of fishing can occur all along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastline. In this situation, heavy spinning tackle is usually the best choice, though anglers who are proficient with bait casting tackle can use those outfits as well.

best tackle for cobia

While cobia are often seen cruising in open water, they are quite often caught by anglers fishing structure. Very large cobia are caught by anglers in the Gulf of Mexico fishing the numerous oil rigs as these attract bait and provide cover for cobia and many other game fish species. Hard bottom areas, natural ledges and sunken wrecks and artificial reefs will hold cobia as well. These cobia will often hold close to the bottom structure.

Anglers can purchase Capt Jim’s E-book, “Inshore Saltwater Fishing” for $5 by clicking on the title link. It is 23,000 words long and covers tackle, tactics, and species.

Chumming is a very effective technique used by anglers fishing structure. Chum will pull fish out away from the heavy cover and give anglers a chance to land them. Chumming also gets fish excited and in a mood to feed. Since cobia like to come to the surface, chum works especially well for them. Frozen chum will work, but live bait fish used as chum is extremely effective.

cobia fishing lures

Cobia are often seen in small groups, referred to as pods. It is not uncommon at all to see a group of six or eight cobia swim right up to the transom of the boat. They are a curious fish, and this habit has led to many a cobia’s demise. Cobia are also less fussy than many other game fish. In most cases, locating them is the most difficult part. Cobia will usually take a well presented lure or live bait.

Best rods and reels for cobia fishing

The best all round cobia fishing rod and reel is a medium heavy spinning outfit. A 7 foot to 8 foot medium heavy rod works well. Spinning tackle is very versatile. This type of rod has a heavy butt section which allows anglers to land a large cobia, while tapering to a fairly limber tip. This tip is important as it aids in casting lighter lures and live baits a fair distance.

cobia fishing

The rod is matched with a 6000 to 8000 series spinning reel. This real will have a lot of line capacity, which is important when chasing large game fish such as cobia. It will also have a substantial drag which will be needed to turn a large cobia went fishing around structure.

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There are places where anglers catch small cobia, in the 5 lb to 10 lb range. For the most part, this occurs in the shallow, inshore waters. In these instances, the same inshore tackle used for schoolie stripers and bluefish, speckled trout, and redfish will work fine.

cobia tackle and lures

Conventional tackle

There are situations where conventional tackle will be a better choice when cobia fishing. For the most part, this is when casting is not required. Anglers bottom fishing near heavy structure such as oil rigs and sunken wrecks will need stout tackle to pull a fish away from this heavy cover. A heavy conventional outfit does a better job in this application than spinning tackle will.

Some experienced anglers do prefer baitcasting outfits. These are conventional reels that allow for casting. Freshwater bass anglers use them extensively. It does take more practice, but in a skilled angler’s hands, they are an excellent choice. Baitcasting reels have more power than spinning reels and in most cases a faster retrieve ratio.

Best fishing line

lures for cobia fishing

Anglers have two choices when it comes to fishing line; monofilament line in braided line. Most anglers fishing for cobia opt for braided line. It is more expensive, however it will last a very long time. The main advantages of braided line are that the thin diameter allows for more line to be wound on the spool as well as longer casting distances. Braided line also has almost no stretch, which is advantageous when fishing near heavy structure. 50 pound test 280 pound test braided line is used on both spinning and conventional outfits, depending on the size of the fish being pursued and the area being fished.

Leaders

Saltwater anglers are very familiar with the use of a shock leader. This is a section of heavier line that is used between the running line and the hook or lure. Fluorocarbon leader is preferred as it is less visible in the water. While cobia do not have teeth, they do have raspy jaws which will fray lighter line. Most anglers use a swivel to connect the leader to the running line. In most cases, 50 pound to 80 pounds leader is used for larger cobia.

Hooks

Anglers cobia fishing with live bait will obviously need hooks. Since cobia grow fairly large, larger live baits are usually used. These basically include any locally available forage species such as threadfin herring, pogies, mullet, sardines, blue runners, and more. In some areas, live eels are a top bait as well.

cobia fishing tackle

Cobia have a special affinity for crustaceans! Large live shrimp and medium-size live crabs are top baits. Anglers will do well with large, heavy live bait hooks. 4/0 to 8/0 conventional “j” hooks and 6/0 to 10/0 circle hooks will usually get the job done.

Fishing for cobia with artificial lures

While many anglers fish with live bait, cobia are curious fish and will readily take artificial lures. The top cobia lure is without a doubt a white buck tail jig with a soft plastic trailer. The jig provides casting weight as well is a stout hook and the trailer adds bulk and action to the lure. It is also a versatile bait in that it can be used to cast to fish seen cruising on the surface as well as fishing the entire water column from the bottom to the surface.

tackle for cobia fishing

Lures are used for both sight casting and when vertically fishing wrecks and other structure. Another very effective cobia fishing lore is a butterfly jig. These are quite heavy and sink down to the bottom quickly, which is an advantage when fishing in deeper water. Once the lore gets to the desired depth or the bottom, it is jig very sharply and allowed to fall. Most strikes occur on the fall as the lure flutters, mimicking a helpless bait fish.

Plugs will certainly fool cobia as well. Larger diving and suspending baits are usually best as cobia prefer a larger meat. However, plugs have the disadvantage in that they make handling and releasing the fish much more difficult. Many cobia will be under-sized. A thrashing cobia and treble hooks are not a great combination.

Cobia fishing tips

cobia fishing tackle and lures

Cobia are really not all that difficult to full once they are located. Therefore, finding them is of prime importance. Cobia are very temperature sensitive and are constantly on the move. Below are listed some cobia fishing tips which will help anglers achieve more success.

  1. 70° is the magic number. Cobia are very temperature sensitive and are constantly seeking the ideal water temperature. Not coincidental, this is also an excellent all round water temperature for bait fish. Sometimes just a few degrees of water temperature will make a huge difference.
  2. Look for rays. Cobia will often times be found feeding under stingrays. This is particularly true on the shallow flats. As rays move about flapping their wings, they kick up but and sand off the bottom, which often dislodges crustaceans and other prey. However, cobia will be found feeding under rays offshore as well.
  3. Cobia are often targets of opportunity. Anglers who are fishing offshore wrecks for other species such as bottom fish will do well to keep a rod rigged up and ready for cobia. This can be a live bait rig or a buck tail jig with a soft plastic trailer. Cobia are notorious for just appearing and anglers who are ready to take advantage of this opportunity will be more successful.
  4. Use a net not a gaff. In most states, cobia need to be fairly large to keep. They are fantastic eating, so they are a desirable species. However, it is easy to overestimate the length. It is better to net the fish to ensure a healthy release.
  1. Try jigs first, then use live baits if needed. This will result in the more active and aggressive cobia being caught first. Also, releasing the fish is usually easier.
  2. Don’t land a “green” cobia. Cobia are famous for kind of coming to the boat before they are really tired. The last thing an angler needs is for a 50 pound fish to be thrashing around on the deck.
  3. Chum the wrecks. Chum will bring cobia up off of the bottom where anglers can sight cast to them as opposed to catching them off the bottom.
  4. Cobia are primarily sight feeders. Therefore, most are caught during daylight hours, though disk and dawn can be great times to fish for them, as with most species.

 

Top cobia fishing spots

Cobia are found all along the coast line in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. However, there are certain areas where cobia will be found in better numbers. Cobia are a pelagic species. That means they constantly migrate and are found throughout the water column.

The mouths and waters just inside of large bays are terrific Cobia spots. This includes but is not limited to Galveston Bay, Mobile Bay, Tampa Bay, and Charlotte Harbor are top spots on the Gulf Coast. On the Atlantic side, Biscayne Bay, Georgia and South Carolina tidal river mouths, Pamlico Sound, Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, and Long Island Sound attract and hold fish.

cobia fishing

For whatever reason, some stretches of beach are extremely productive cobia fishing spots for sight fishing. Two of the best are the Destin, Florida area and Virginia Beach and points north and south at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is a cobia magnet. Any large bridge has the potential to hold cobia.

Anglers also run channel markers in search of cobia. They will lie right on the surface on the down current side of any type of marker post or buoy, waiting to ambush unsuspecting prey.

Pier fishing for cobia

There are very few fishing situations where a very large fish can be caught without using a boat. Cobia can be caught by anglers fishing from piers, due to their habits. Cobia cruise coastal waters several hundred yards off the beach. This is usually where fishing piers are located. Also, the height of the pier aids greatly in sighting a fish or small pod of cobia.

Most anglers use heavy spinning tackle when fishing for cobia from piers and even bridges. It can be difficult to handle a big fish near the pilings. Also, long casts are often required. Anglers can use lures, but in this situation live bait usually works best. Suspending a live bait under a cork is a good presentation.

In conclusion, this article on the best cobia fishing tackle and lures will help anglers catch more of these terrific game fish!