Secret Lures for Finicky Fish? Indeed.
Summer crappie are often hiding in plain sight. You know what I mean? We often drift, troll, and cast around our favorite waterways for many species and then, once in a while, we get surprised and we shout to our partner or the day, “Hey look! It’s a crappie!” Then we go on doing what we were doing and never catch another one. But we want to!
Crappie are School Fish
The one crappie that we caught on a lure that was probably not meant to catch crappie is a great signal for just one thing. There are more! That one cooperative fish was the alpha leader in a pack of crappie and he made the first move. Oftentimes, if we switch to a smaller lure, a more usual crappie lure, the fish will often be more than just a little cooperative. They’ll slam your lure.
About Secret Lures
Secret lures are really a misnomer of language-use among anglers. Yes, there are lures that are hot one day or two days, but most of the time, a hot lure that works for only a short while and has a much longer story as to why it worked. The sun angle, the sun-ray deflecting wind riffle on the surface, the water clarity in a certain lake zone, speed of lure, depth of lure, rod action imparted to the lure, all that and much more.
Then once in a while we find a lure that seems to work for all, or at least many, occasions and we have to wonder how and why. It works everywhere and sun angle makes no matter, and all the rest.
My grandson and I were fishing a Florida waterway last winter and at about 45 minutes before sunset, he switched to a new lure he received at Christmas. It was a small spin-jig lure made by Blue Fox Lure Company with a very small spinner blade and a flesh colored tail that has some holographic flash material embedded in the tail, a tail that is very, very flexible.
Lazy Fish Will Slam Convincing Baits
He used a Palomar knot to tie on the lure and on the first cast, wham! He hooked a fish and reeled in a 14 inch crappie. This seemed hard to believe since we had been fishing the water for about an hour and has tried so many different lures without success. He caught 10 more fish in the next 20 minutes before we got called to dinner by his grandma.
We went back the next day during the day and he did the same thing again! Okay, I had to see this lure and study it too. It’s not much different than so many other lures similar to it, but this lure has just the right amount of flash and right amount of life-like wiggle in the tail to convince the unconvincing crappie that it’s time to gobble, not just feed. They slam this lure!
Lure Action, Flash, Sink-Rate – they Matter
I was not totally convinced though, really, so when I fished a bass tournament in Kentucky Lake this last May. After the tournament and as sunset approached, I headed for the docks and tied one of these lures on. On my first cast, wham! A 13-inch white crappie! Over the next several minutes, I caught several more.
Since I live in New York, what were the chances this one lure would work this way in so many places? I had to find out. So I called my grandson and he agreed to help me with this special lure test –we all need an excuse to get out from cutting the grass when mom and dad have those plans. What are grandpa’s for?
We headed for a small lake with very warm water last week, as it has been a really hot summer in the northeast. We were only shore fishing this time, so we walked softly and worked our way in between reeds growing along shore to get our casts in toward some submerged structure we knew about.
The first cast went out, the lure sank to about 4 feet and my grandson started his slow retrieve. The lure about 10 feet and wham! A short fight and here he comes up the bank with a 14-inch crappie! No way you say, right? He caught 6 more on 10 casts and said with a big smile, “I think this is enough for 10 fish sandwiches that Grammy makes. Can I call her to see if she will cook em up?” Grammy never says no to that question.
Since then, we have used this lure a few more times and caught crappie, perch and bass that were all way too big for such small lure.
The message that seems to be driving through, the message that we learned totally by accident, is that sometimes in summer, winter, fall and spring, downsizing your lure size is not a bad thing!
We normally use large lures and catch larger fish than most folks, but this lure with the unique action and reflection and controllable sink rate, is one of those lures you just put into the “special category.”
Live, Learn, Share
So I’d like to ask all of you out there in crappieland, when you find your next new lure that works so well that it seems the fish cannot resist, please take a few minutes to share your success with a kid. Get him or her started on catching fish like you do and let’s get together to share and discover the outdoors with others through the fun of fishing.