For the beginning angler, walking into a bait and tackle shop for the first time can be overwhelming because of the huge selection of lures by type, color and sizes. Many just buy a tackle box and fill it with a random assortment of lures and hope through trial and error one works, others just purchase a lure or two and use it all day.
When building a tackle selection one must consider the species of fish you’re targeting along with the season you’re fishing in. Expert fishermen understand seasonal locations of fish and the proper presentation, meaning the choice of lure and how to retrieve it. This builds confidence knowing how to fish the proper lure at the proper depth to maximize your catch rate, and catching fish is the quickest way to gain confidence.
When buying lures to cover multiple fishing presentations select a few of each type and color by using these factors listed below.
Depth is a major factor in lure selection. There are three categories or lure types, surface, sub-surface and deep. Let’s start with Spring, when most gamefish move into the shallow water to spawn and seek food. Surface lures and shallow running lures are the best choice. During the Summer months fish move to deeper water where deep running lures and jigs are used. When fall arrives fish tend to move back to shallower water sub-surface and surface lures will be effective.
Species such as largemouth bass and northern pike will be related to weeds throughout the year. When fishing thick weeds and brush use a lure with a weed guard (weedless) to prevent snagging. Always have a few surface lures on hand as well when fishing around cover especially during the early morning and evening hours.
Level of Fish Activity
The gamefish level of activity determines the size and action of the lure. For instance water temperature affects fish more than and other elements, and weather conditions play a major role, such as when a cold front arrives. Cold water reduces the fish activity and it is best to downsize your lure and present your lure slowly. For muskies and northern pike use lures such as jerk baits and gliders with a pause between in your retrieve, walleyes use jigging spoons twitched and paused along with small jigs tiped with live bait crawled on the bottom will work well.
During warm stable weather as the fish’s metabolism is active they feed readily. This is the best time to be on the water to fish, inline spinners, spinner baits, spoons and crank baits with fast retrieves will move and catch fish.
Fishing Lure Colors, Light & Water Clarity
Many articles have been written and theories discussed about lure color and how the water clarity affects the colors. All water acts as a light filter depending on the clarity, (clear or stained) and depth of the lure. It has been a general rule of thumb that lighter colored lures work the best in clear water in stained or murky water fluorescent colored are favored. The other cliché is light color on bright days and dark colors on overcast days no matter what the water color is. But this does not explain why dark colors such as purple or black worms for largemouth bass works so well on clear water on a bright day.
Fishing Lure Sizes
Sizing of lures is also apart of the proper presentation. Here is a recommended chart for length of lures for various game fish.
Crappies, Perch, Bluegills-1-2″
Salmon, Lake Trout-3-7″
Muskies, Northern Pike-4-12″
For more information on each type of fishing lure please click on the links below: