By: Dan Carns
Fishing with artificial lures is a little bit art, a little bit luck and a lot of practice. There is now a dizzying array of hard and soft plastics that all claim to be the “one” and sometimes I believe they are designed to entice you more than the fish but over time and through either experience or shared expertise you will find the ones that work for your area. Admittedly I’m a soft plastic fanatic as the range of colors, sizes and shapes help me present baits that are closely matched to what the predators we chase are already eating. Sure, you can toss your favorite lure all day and perhaps trick one or two fish to hit but alternating between various options may increase your catch rate. Don’t get me wrong as I’ve been known to throw a top water bait for hours, well past the magic couple of early morning hours that is typical, knowing that I’m going to entice one more top water attack just to prove I can but in reality, catching more fish is the goal!
Fishing with lures takes practice because your trying to convince a fish that something that is not natural is food so presentation and what is called cadence meaning the speed at which you reel the line back and the way you twitch your rod tip or pause the retrieve is the all deciding factor. Over time and with practice a pattern begins to emerge for each bait that helps you present the right action to elicit a strike. Don’t be afraid to ask others how they use a lure as it will shorten the learning curve. There is one technique that I personally think is being completely over looked and that is the steady retrieve. Because I fish out of the peddle drive kayak, I can peddle and troll baits behind me. I’m now catching more fish on this method so I’ve included this steady retrieve even while stopped and it’s a proven style for me.
As fall is now approaching S.W. Florida there is one fish to target that will absolutely respond to a large array of plastic baits and that is the Redfish. October is prime redfish season although once you figure them out you’ll be able to target them year-round. These fish will gladly follow a slow worked paddle tail or shad tail rubber bait, on a twist lock weighted hook, across a shallow flat until it decides to attack or turn off. You’ll know when you see a big bulge of water coming up behind the bait and a word of caution, do not stop a bait that the fish are pursuing as they are used to prey darting away not pausing.
Trout are another species that will readily take plastics and especially a paddle tail on a jig head worked right across the top of grass and potholes. Get some plastics and start practicing your “style”!
It’s A Wild World-Get Out There! Fishman Dan