Introduction To Fishing Baits

Fishing the right lure or bait is critical for successful fishing.  Today many different lures are readily available and have been designed to work best under various conditions.  While many of these lures of very effective in attracting fish it’s still up to the fisherman to select the best lure for the species of fish being perused, type of water or structure being fished, and one that best matches the aggressiveness of the fish. 

Jig are probably one of the most versatile and effective lures ever designed for all species of fish, even freshwater and saltwater.  This lure can be fished at any depth and used for both active and neutral fish.  A jig is simple a hook that has a particular weight of lead molded around it towards the eye of the hook.

Typically a plastic body is then slid on the hook up to lead head.  Many different sizes and shapes of plastic body designs are available in many different colors also.  Jig are great bait for bass, walleyes, perch, and panfish. 

Crankbaits or plugs as some anglers call them are the next most popular lure for fishing.  These lures are also very versatile and can catch freshwater and saltwater fish.  These lures have a lip of plastic on the very front that causes the lure to dive when retrieved.  Crankbaits are available in many different sizes, shapes, colors, and models that dive to different depths.  The depth that a crankbait dives to is more dependant up on the bait than the speed in which it is retrieved or trolled at. Crankbaits work very well for bass, walleye, and bass. 

Spoons are another age old favorite among anglers and can also catch a variety of fish.  This lure can also be worked at varying depths which is totally dependant upon the speed at which it is retrieved or trolled at.  Several different sizes and colors are available. This lure also imitates a minnow or chub and targets game fish such as walleye, northern pike, and bass.  While spoons are usually thought of as a northern pike lure they also work very well for smallmouth bass and walleyes in medium sized rivers. 

In-line spinners can be worked at different depths also and are speed dependant in regards to depth.  These lures are designed to imitate a minnow are very effective for trout, bass, and northern pike.  These lures typically do not run more than 6 feet deep meaning they are very well suited for fishing shallower rivers and streams or to run above deep water weeds extending towards the surface in a lake. 

Surface lures are great for bass fishing.  Many of these lures make a popping sound, burbling sound or produce a buzzing noise from propellers to further attract largemouth or smallmouth bass.  Surface lures are also effective for northern pike. 

Plastic worms are probably the all time best lure for largemouth bass fishing.  These lures can be fished either shallow or deep, and also can target both active and neutral fish.  Depth is both speed dependant and determined by the amount of weight added by the angler.  Typically bullet style weights are added on the fishing line or rigged Carolina style when the water exceeds eight feet.  Many styles and colors exist for the angler to choose from. 

Live bait is of the course the all time favorite of many anglers and to this day very effective.  Often live bait will out perform artificial lures especially when the fish are not real active.  The key to successfully fishing live bait is to present it in a fashion that allows the bait to look alive as possible, meaning the more movement by the bait the better.  This often means using small hooks and in a way as to not kill the bait being used.

Jeff Matura has been fishing during the open water season and through the ice for over twenty years in the Midwest including the Mississippi River for crappie, walleye, and bass.

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