Lure lowdown: A few good ones are all you need

OUTDOORS

March 13, 1994|By LONNY WEAVER

I did a little local sporting goods store hopping last weekend. Everywhere I went, from Angler's to WalMart, I found anxious anglers shopping for fishing lures.

Lots of folks were rattling and squeezing and closely inspecting lures of all types, mostly aimed at bass anglers.

But despite my half-dozen overflowing tackle boxes, I wind up using a handful of reliable lures that do the job year after year.

The plastic worm has tied me into more bass than all other lures combined. It is especially deadly on largemouth bass. I generally rig it with a 2/0 to 5/0 worm hook, Texas-style, which makes the worm virtually snag-proof. Texas-style means that the point of the hook is buried in the worm and is pulled through when I set the hook on a strike.

Generally I fish it behind a half-ounce cone sinker, which I pin in place directly ahead of the worm with a toothpick. Black, purple and red are my usual color choices and these past few years I've favored the curlytail style.

Another soft plastic lure that I rely on, especially for early-season bass, is one of the lizard or salamander lures. This is a very good lure for brackish water bass in swampy areas like those found throughout Anne Arundel County, southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore.

One of these in a pumpkin seed color really lit up the bass during a trip to Blackwater late last spring. Rig it like you would the plastic worm and fish just a little faster.

Years ago former Baltimore Sun outdoors writer Lefty Kreh tipped me off about a Mepp's #5 spinner. At the time I was fishing a lot in Liberty and Prettyboy reservoirs.

I wouldn't dream of going on a bass lake without a couple of them in my tackle box. I rank Mepps spinners and Rapala minnows as two of the greatest lures to come along.

To avoid line twist, always use a good quality swivel with a Mepps. I use models with a gold spinning blade in murky waters and silver the rest of the time. The models wearing squirrel tails have a slight edge over those that don't.

Many anglers tend to fish the Mepps spinners too fast. Retrieve it just fast enough to make the blade spin and even stop it now and again.

The Rapala is my favorite when the pressure is on to put a fish on the line. My wife's uncle, who lives during the summer months on one of the fishiest lakes in all of Ontario, practically recoils in horror when you try to give him any lure other than a Rapala.

Cast the Rapala out, let it sit for a moment or two and then retrieve it at varying speeds down to and including a full stop. The lure is intended to imitate an injured minnow or other small baitfish and no other lure does the job as well.

It is absolutely deadly when trolled slowly on any bass water, and that's a popular method of fishing in Canada. Using a trolled Rapala, I've caught bass, walleye and northern pike with equal ease.

Any crankbait is a must for early-season bass. I used to swear by the Bomber, but have found myself reaching for a wooden Poe more often these days. These lures have large lips on them.

As you retrieve the lure, it dives to the bottom and digs up a furrow that large bass cannot resist. It is at its best when fished over soft bottoms. The better model crankbaits are rated for maximum depths. You shouldn't find much use for versions intended for deeper than 10 or 12 feet. I like black and chartreuse for general purpose, a cream/yellow combo for dark water conditions.

Time to register your boat

Now, before fishing action heats up, is the time to get youboat's registration work done for the year.

Registrations can be obtained by mail or by taking renewal applications to a Department of Natural Resource's regional service centers.

The Annapolis center is at 580 Taylor Ave., Tawes State Office Bldg., C-1, Annapolis, Md. 21401 (410 974-3211/3212). Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Reader's tip

Mike Stanley of Pasadena has this week's best tip:

"Water clarity varies and so does the ability of fish to see lures. Here's a simple gauge I use. I put on a white lure and push my rod tip straight down into the water.

"If the lure disappears within six inches, visibility is limited and I know to use a rattling type lure. If the lure disappears at three to four feet, visibility is fair, and I know to use contrasting colors in my lures.

"If the lure disappears at six feet or more, visibility is very good and I will know to use natural lure colors such as shiner, shad and bluegill."

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