Watch My Lips
The lip on a hard plastic lure
determines the depth the lure is able to achieve, the width and
frequency of the lure’s wiggle, and aids in snag avoidance.
Lures designed to run very deep have
long, wide lips that are oriented approximately in line with the
fore/aft axis of the lure. The lure shown is the Rebel Deep Wee-R.
For its size, it is a deep diving lure.
designed to run very shallow have smaller lips that are installed at
a steeper angle. The lure pictured below is the Rebel Wee-R. The
Wee-R has long been one of my favorite Bass lures. It is no slouch
as a Redfish catcher either. It has a wide, flat lip with squared
corners that keep it virtually snag free. For saltwater use, remove
the factory installed split-rings and hooks then replace them with
stainless rings and saltwater resistant hooks.
Most modern lures have very strong
lips that are seldom damaged. Most early lures had metal lips that
could get bent and out of alignment. Lures like the
Megadiver 25 and 30 have lips that are
exceedingly tough. Damage can still occur if you use the lip as a
handle while unhooking a fish. With the
Megadiver, the lip is a molded extension of the lure body.
Chain Lure for
I’ve caught dozens, of Wahoo on this
rig. Wahoo like long lures that move fast. The chain lure can be
made as long as you might need to match the local baitfish. I
used 2 Mustad 34007 Size 12/0
Stainless Steel hooks with about 14” of chain to make this lure.
I carefully opened the eye of each hook and crimped it closed
around a link in the chain. Space the hooks so that one is far
aft and the other is ~2” in front of the eye of the back hook.
Choose chain links for the hooks that are oriented 90 degrees
apart for a better hookup ratio. I added a length of Surveyors
flagging tape for added color. Hot pink has always been a favorite
color for Wahoo. (At least for me) The flagging tape is
zig-zagged in and out of the links.
I add a 3’ length of 49
Strand Aircraft Cable for a leader. These lures are as close to
indestructible as a lure can be.
Although I have no way of proving
it, these lures must make a lot of noise as they skip in your wake
at 12 or more knots. My old Pacemaker cruised at 19kts and caught
lots of Wahoo at that speed on these lures. Big Dolphin
were frequent catches too.
Three or four links of chain Ty-wrapped
to a hook will definitely catch Grouper. Make one like the one I
show below and try it, just for kicks. If you are a “Doubting
Thomas,” give it a try. Pull one out when you have a crew aboard
and say, “I’ll bet I can catch a Grouper on a piece of chain,”
then catch one.
Easy Bonita Lure
Take a 2oz trolling sinker (cigar
type)and remove the swivel from the fat end (if it has a fat end)
Add a hook to the other end by opening the eye with your cutters
and crimping it back closed over the wire loop on the sinker.
Next, scrape the lead with your
pocket knife to make it sparkle. Tie it on to a short leader and
you are ready to go.
The baitfish are
about 2-3" long right now so the sinker works fine. My Gulf
Coaster works better but everybody don't
have a box full of 'em on their boat
like I do.
Cast past the fish and reel as fast
as possible. No sense casting if the fish are not
bustin' on top. Wait for them to come
Trolling will work but casting is
more fun and far more productive.
I trolled a 16-32oz sinker just like
this for thousands on miles when I was a kid fishing on the Gulf
Pride. I caught Kingfish, Wahoo, several species of Tuna,
Barracuda, Dolphin and a Sailfish and White Marlin or two on
nothing but a sinker and hook.
The “Flutter Spoon” is a
lure, for sure but after Norm Dzkowski
showed me one, the old “light bulb” lit up again. As best I can
remember, I never caught a fish on a Flutter Spoon but I’ve caught
a bunch of Spanish Mackerel, Spade Fish
and Mangrove Snapper that the Flutter Spoon attracted. Here’s
a Flutter Spoon about 18” in front of a Spanish Fly or a plain
long shank hook baited with Mackerel belly strip or Bumper strip.
The Flutter Spoon gets their attention and activates the strip or
fly. In the illustration I used green mono rather than
I use the Flutter Spoon while at
anchor about 90% of the time but it works well when drifting on a
Add Eyes for More
Do lures with eyes catch more fish?
Darned if I know but why not give them a try and find out for your
self? Witchcraft Tape Products produce “stick-on” eyes that
adhere tightly to clean surfaces. Take a look.
Add a Weed Guard
to your Spoon
Some days weeds foul up your lures
and your day. When weeds are bad, you either move to another area
or choose another method of fishing. If you add a weed guard to
your spoon, you can eliminate a lot of the problems.
Here is how to do it with many
single hook spoons. Remove the nut and screw that holds the hook
on. In most cases, you will have to purchase a longer screw to
accommodate the wire weed guard. From the photo below, I think
you will be able to figure out how to fabricate the wire guard. I
use #7 or #9 single strand leader wire.
Add a Tail to
Some spoons work fine with a tail or
trailer. I’ve used a strip of Uncle Josh pork rind on spoons as
far back as I can remember. Take a look at the photo above. The
trailer is a pinch of Christmas Tree Tinsel wrapped on some soft
stainless steel wire. The spoon is a “King Spoon,” one of my
Does the extra flash help? You’d
better believe it!
Off Season Lure
I quit trolling for Grouper when the
water gets too cold and take most of my lures off of the boat. I
wash them in detergent and then Salt-X.
Light scrubbing with Ajax
removes rust from lures. Tarnish on spoons can be removed with a
pencil eraser. Stainless steel spoons can be polished with 800grit
wet or dry emery cloth. A little Johnson's paste wax brings back
the shine and preserves the finish on all lures. I replace all
split rings and hooks as needed. I plan to use all 150# test rings
Make sure everything is nice and dry
before storing them.
Add a Little Fish
Appeal to your Lures
Here is a quick way to add a little
color to your lures. I've always liked lures with skirts or
tails. The rub here is that some lures will not track properly
with a skirt or tail. Vibrating lures like the Rattle Trap won't
work with a skirt. The Stretch series can't handle much of
anything behind them either.
Cigar Minnows have yellow tails.
Why not spray paint the rear treble of your lures hot,
Cover the hook points with short
lengths of plastic tubing to keep the paint off. Spray with white
Spray with Fluorescent Yellow-2
coats. After the hooks dry, spray with clear coat or use 2 part
epoxy. As in all painting procedures, check
for paint compatibility before painting. Epoxy will work
with darn near every paint and is very
tough. Notice the short lengths of tubing in the
pic below. They were used to keep
paint off the hook points.
Does this increase the lure's
productivity? Darned if I know but it really shines in the water.
Some folks tip a jig with a piece of
fish or shrimp. It works best on certain styles of Jig heads. The
“Banana” style jig head works best for me.
Baiting jigs that use plastic shrimp
or grub tails causes the jig to twist and totally inhibits the
action. A “Banana” head jig with a reversed bass style rubber
(plastic) skirt works great with bait but I came up with a better
rig a few years ago. I don’t know why I haven’t posted it here
sooner. It is cheap, easy to make and incredibly effective.
I make a truncated cone shaped skirt
out of 4-6mil plastic. (Visqueen works fine) I size the skirt to
fit the jig and tie the skirt on facing the front of the jig then
turn it back down over the wrappings. This leaves sort of a hollow
core that protects the bait from Pinfish but allows the smell to
get out. It also protects the wrapping thread from Blowfish. I
generally use my Snell Knot with 30# mono in place of thread when
wrapping these jigs because it is faster and stronger than most
fly tying methods.
You can get the plastic skirt
material in many colors. A heavy duty gallon Zip-Lok Bag™ will
make a dozen or more skirts. Colored pennants used at car
dealerships come in many colors including silver and gold
Using Live Bait
on a Jig Head
If you hook a live bait upside down
on a jig head, the bait fish fights hard to right himself. The
extra commotion the bait makes gets extra bites. I’m using a soft
plastic minnow in this illustration but I bait the same way with a
Walk Your Dog Easier
I never heard the term "Walking the Dog" when I was a kid but I
darn sure practiced it with "stick baits" of the day which
included Zaras. Mono was never used on bait casters of the day. We
used "Black Silk," actually a braided Nylon. No leader, just tie
to the lure.
Nylon is slightly heavier than water so it sinks. As it sinks, it
drags your lure toward you, something that you don't want to
happen when "Walking the Dog." Additionally, when the line sinks,
you have a belly in it that slows up hook sets.
We had a simple solution. We greased the first 10' of line (while
it was dry) with fly line dressing or in a pinch, with candle
Mono was a pain in the butt to "Walk the Dog" with because it sank
and wouldn't hold fly-line floatant for any period.
With your line floating, you can twitch the lure slightly and
hardly move it toward you at all. This works great with
My Dad was a master with the Creek Chub Darter and Dalton Special.
He always greased his line. When his line started to sink after
hours of fishing, he'd hook his plug on the front seat of the
boat, apply a lot of tension and "Strum" the line. The vibration
would sort of flip out entrapped water. Next, he'd apply more fly
line floatant and go back to casting.
I think Dad picked up this from Percy Johnson. Percy was a great
Bass fisherman and the World's Sling Shot Champion.
Spinners in the
When choosing spinners for salt water,
the first and most important consideration has to be blade
material. Plated steel blades just don’t cut it in the salty. The
easiest way to assure you aren’t buying steel blades is to take a
magnet to the store with you. If the magnet picks up the blade, you
definitely do not want it. Brass is the material to choose.
Blade shape is important for a couple
of reasons. First, long, narrow blades (Willow Leaf style) require
more speed for them to spin. Will Leaf Spinners spin close to the
shaft and are, likely the quietest blades. I use Willow Leaf Blades
when I fish deep or for faster trolling. They create a lot less
drag hence they allow deeper and faster trolling.
The next style is the Indiana
Spinner. This blade is tear drop shaped and spins slower and
further from the shaft than Willow Leaf Blades. Indiana’s give your rod’s tip a distinct throb as they spin. The
Indiana blade is probably the most versatile blade. In all cases, I
prefer hammered finish blades.
The first spinner blade was very
similar to today’s Colorado blade. This blade is
nearly circular. The Colorado is the slowest turning spinner and
the easiest to start. Colorado spinners produce a strong vibration
and a lot of drag. I like to use single spins with a #4 Colorado
blade for Trippletails. Add a chunk of
cut bait to a single spin, cast close to a channel marker and allow
the lure to sink along side it. Trippletails
are not especially bright and don’t seem to mind the hardware. I’ve
watched them munch on the spinner for several seconds, spit it out
then take it again.
Spinner baits can be “in-line” where
the blade revolves around a central shaft, “Over arm” where the
blade revolves on a shaft that extends above the lure body or
revolves on a swivel above the lure body or rigged as a “Tail-spin
where the blade is behind the lure body. There are many variations
of each of these.
Over Arm spinner
A light “Over-arm” spinner, rigged
with a #4 Colorado blade can be reeled right over
shallow oyster bars with no snagging. Light over-arm spinners are a
great choice for Redfish, especially when used with a chunk of
My “Grouper-Fly” is nothing but a 12oz
“tail-spin” rigged to run hook-up so that it bounces over rocks when
Spinners attract many species of fish
in fresh or salt water. Rig a spinner several inches in front of
a live bait and you will get more bites
for some species. Vibrations given off by spinners, call up the