Many people take to the water this time of year, hoping to finally catch “the big one”. Some will, some won’t, but the real fun is in the game. Fishing is just that: a game of wits between man and creature, to see just who will outsmart who. One of the things that will determine who pulls the most, or biggest, fish from the lake is the angler’s choice of bait.
Bait is one of man’s best friends when trying to outsmart a fish. In truth, other than jumping into the water and angling by hand, or using a spear-gun to basically “hunt” the fish, using bait and lures are the only ways for man to fool the fish and come out the winner. So what type of bait should you be using? It completely depends on the type of fish you are after.
Some fish want live bait, and in this case, a worm or a minnow really can be all you need. But many fish need something more to attract them, something to outwit them and lure them in. There are many types of lures available, and different ways to use them. Lures are great because you can use them over and over again, and really get a feel for which types you prefer.
Some lures resemble small fish, with shiny scales. Some may be brightly-colored, and resemble worms. Some lures will be scented. Others dance on the surface, reflecting light and splashing to get a fish’s attention. A lure may dangle mid-level in the water, and appear to “swim” along. Some lures spin. Others may need to be jerked about in the water, imitating frantic movements of a dying fish.
If you are fishing for bass, for example, you will see great results from spinning lures. These are inexpensive, easily found at fishing supply stores and attract bass like crazy. You can control these lures by “tweaking” your pole from time to time, and reeling in slightly at opportune moments. The motion this will create on the lure below the surface will attract the fish, and you should get a bite. For more bass fishing tips, check out this guide.
Scented lures, as you would expect, draw the fish in by releasing an enticing and powerful smell into the water. These fragrant lures are often made of squishy, rubberized materials and can be used to attract a variety of fish, including bass and crappie. Many resemble worms, though some look more like little neon-colored tubes with tassels hanging off of them. Using your rod and reel, you can manipulate these lures, getting the fish visually excited by their motion. The smell helps reinforce to the fish that even if the item before them doesn’t appear to be food (ie: a lure not resembling a worm or a fish), it must be worth a try since it smells so darn good! Scented lures are fairly inexpensive, and can be found at any local fishing supply store or online at suppliers such as Storm.
You can choose between hard and soft-bodied plastic lures. I have heard from fellow fishing-enthusiasts that Pike seem to prefer hard-bodied lures, however I feel both soft and hard-bodied lures will draw them in, depending on water depths and activity levels. The main problem with soft-plastic lures is lack of durability. If it’s a rough catch, you may have a soft-bodied lure destroyed with it’s first use. Hard-bodied lures are far more durable, but not attractive to every fish. Fish are sensitive, and if they don’t like what they bite, you may not have time to jerk the rod and set your hook before they swim away in disgust.
Be certain that you are using the appropriate weight for the lure you have chosen, to ensure it sits where you want it within the water. If you weigh down a surface lure with a heavy sinker, and you have it pinned to the bottom, it won’t perform the way it should. Likewise, if a lure designed to “eek” along the bottom of the lake or ocean floor is dancing at the surface, you may not get the desired results.
There are many different styles of lures to choose from, and just as many people ready to tell you which is “the best” or claiming to know exactly which one is right for you. Take well-intended advice to heart, but do your own experimenting, use your own good judgment and pay attention to what the fish tell you. After all, they’re the real experts!