As a beginner, the internet is full of opinions on what lure to use. Lure selection for beginners needs to be simple. Experienced anglers will make good choices. Yet, they often forget a beginner lacks the skills to use some lures. You want to start with easy-to-use lures that are productive where you fish.
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The type of fish influences the choice also. Then additional factors affect a choice in lures. A beginner can be successful with 2 or 3 types of lures. You need to learn how to use these lures as the first step. Then add more types of lures to your tackle.
Lures fall into several categories. Common types tend to fall into reaction, top-water, or finesse presentations. The presentation is the retrieve method a lure uses. A beginner should have a finesse and reaction type to start. Add a top-water if needed based on species and conditions.
A reaction lure selection for beginners will include one of the following types. These are the simplest lures to learn and catch fish. The lures require minor adjustments to retrieve rate and depth control as a beginner. You need to buy a few options of the chosen type for depth control.
Also, color choice plays a part in the correct lure. Getting 2-3 colors is all an angler needs to catch fish. Lure makers produce many colors to hook anglers more than fish. Experienced anglers know this aspect and choose colors based on the waterway.
Spinnerbaits use flash and vibration to attract fish to the lure. There are a few things you need to understand about the lures. The weight affects how fast it sinks and will cast. The blade types produce lift to control depth. Blades produce different vibrations and spin. The different designs spin close or farther away from the shaft.
A Colorado blade produces the most lift. You can retrieve the lure with a slower retrieve without it hitting the bottom. Colorado blades spin the farthest from the shaft. This makes the lure visible when retrieving toward a fish. These blades produce a lower pitch vibration or a thump if larger.
Willow leaf blades produce a higher pitch vibration. The blades spin closer to the shaft making the lure visible from the side view. These lures work better in weeds with the closer spin to the shaft. Faster retrieves are possible with willow leaf blades also. Since they provide less lift.
Fishing deep and slow uses a lighter spinnerbait with a Colorado blade. Achieving a fast retrieve in deeper water use a willow leaf spinnerbait weighing more. Fishing a spinnerbait shallow uses a lightweight colorado blade lure.
The weight and blades change the running depth and retrieve rates possible. In a short time, you will be able to choose the right weight and blade for each condition. Gaining experience is the only way to learn which blade and weight to use in specific situations.
A crankbaits are likely the easiest to use lures. The lip design controls the depth and action. Using them is cast and retrieve. The angler needs to choose a crankbait based on the depth it will run. These lures come in shallow, mid-depth, and deep-running versions. Also, some lures contain rattles to add a sound factor for attraction.
There are also a few options in body shape or style. Crankbaits come in fat bodies and thin body shapes. A fat body will have more wobble and searching in its action. Searching is wandering to the left or right to some degree. Use this type in warmer water conditions above 75 degrees.
The thin body version tends to wiggle instead of wobble. This type is for cooler waters ranging from 60-75 degrees when fish have slightly lower activity.
The last option in crankbaits is the lipless models. A lipless crankbait works best in situations below 65 degrees. These lures will produce in the water down to 50 degrees. The lure will likely have a rattle inside the body for noise. This helps to attract fish to the lure.
A lipless crankbait uses its body shape for action. Plus, these lures sink to get to the desired depth. Look at how fast it sinks and count down to depth. Then retrieve with enough speed to maintain the depth.
When using crankbaits you want them striking and glancing off cover or the bottom of the waterway. The fish hit when the lure glances of the structure or cover. It looks like a fleeing baitfish.
The jerk-bait is a favorite of many experienced anglers. Jerkbaits are versatile in the retrieve. You can retrieve the lure at a fast pace or go very slow. Anglers with little or no experience tend to reel them in like a crankbait or spinnerbait. The proper technique is to use twitches and short jerks with the rod.
You can add a pause for cool water conditions or in areas with high fishing pressure. The pause helps with more strikes in almost all conditions. The retrieve using jerks and pauses mimic an injured or dying baitfish. All fish seek out injured or dying baitfish since they are an easier meal.
A jerkbaits comes in three types. these are the floating, suspending, and countdown models. Floating jerkbaits work well above cover and in shallow water. A suspending will hang at a depth on the pause. Allowing a fish time to strike. Use this type in water 4-10 feet deep. These models excel in cooler waters
The countdown or sinking version does sink at a specific rate. You can count to achieve a desired depth with the lure. The lures usually sink at a one foot per second rate. You can test the sink rate in clearer water since water temperature will affect the rate.
Finesse lure selection for beginners will get into species-specific rigs or jigs. In this style of fishing, the right rig and size can be critical for success. A few of the rig will cross over to other species. Use one of the crossover types if you fish waters holding both smallmouth and largemouth bass.
In water with only one species, another rig may be more productive. Eventually, several options will become part of your tackle selection. Starting with finesse lures, keep it to one or two at the most. It does take longer to learn a finesse lure. Focus on one to learn, then go to a second rig.
When using finesse lures strike detection is the hardest part to learn. Fish will hit lightly or mouth the lure. They do hit hard at times. But do understand the lighter bites are common. You need to watch the line to see if a fish pulls on the lure. As a result, learning the feel of the strikes takes a few outings for most beginners.
The Texas rig is the staple of largemouth bass fishing. A beginner’s lure selection should have this rig for largemouth. A simple setup using a soft plastic worm, offset hook, and a bullet weight. The size of the worms varies from 5 -10 inches. A six to the eight-inch worm is good to start.
When tying the rig make sure the worm is on the hook straight. If the hook is off-center, the worm will spin twisting your line. A standard offset is better than the EWG hooks. You will hook more fish with a standard offset hook.
Using the lure is easy to learn. Cast the lure to a target area in the water. Allow it to sink to the bottom. Then retrieve with short drags or hops of a few inches to a foot. Let it rest for 10-20 seconds and repeat. Use some variation to the drag or hop until a fish strike. You need to find the right tempo. The pause can be altered also.
Simple variations to the rig include pegging the weight to prevent sliding. This helps in the weeds to keep the worm and weight together. Also, the weight can be moved up the line. Use a swivel to hold the weight above the lure and tie the hook and worm to the swivel with a leader. That is a Carolina Rig for use in open areas of water. It does have a different action.
A tube jig is great for use in water with currents. Smallmouths are found in moving water most of the time. The tube jig will bounce easily along the bottom with minimal snagging. The jig below is assembled and can be bought made. Saving money the tube and jig can be bought separately. You slide the jig into the tube and pop the line tie eye through the tube.
Working a tube jig is the same as a Texas rig. Cast to your target in the water. Pop or hop the jig back towards you a few inches at a time. Give the jig a pause, then repeat. You can vary the popping and pause to find the right tempo.
The lure takes some practice to become efficient. Be patient and you will be rewarded with a great skill for catching bass or walleye.
A beginner looking for lure selection for both types of bass will like a wacky rig. The lure is one to try where fish see a lot of pressure. It has a unique action. The setup is only a hook and a smaller worm. A 5 to 6-inch worm is good to start. The hook can be placed as shown or you can use an o-ring designed for the rig. Both work, but the o-ring does make the plastic worm last longer.
The rig does not use any weight. It is recommended to use a spinning combo with a lighter line. A 6-8 pound test line is better with this rig. The presentation is simple. Cast the lure out and let it fall down in the water.
The ends of the lure will flutter while falling. Watch the line for strikes since the lure is presented with slack in the line. You want the lure to fall down straight in the water. Using a tight line will make the lure pendulum back towards you in the water.
Note; A wacky rig is best suited for calm or little current. Moderate or strong currents wash the lure quickly downstream.
A variation of the wacky rig is a Neko rig. Adding a nail weight to the end of the soft plastic changes the lure’s drop and action. Nail weights are small weights that slide into the end of the worm.
A Ned rig is ideal for beginners with the tube jig or Texas rig. This rig is also for pressured fish. The bait is small at 3-4 inches compared to the other worm rigs. Pressured fish will hit a smaller lure often. The rig is a specialized jig head with a shorter trick worm. The jig head is designed for standing when it hits the bottom.
As with all soft plastics, rigging needs the soft plastic placed on the hook straight. You get a better action and the lure will not spin. The retrieve is the same as the Texas rig or tube jig. Use smaller movements of the lure and longer pauses as the difference. This is the lure to use when all others fail you fishing for bass.
The topwater lure selection for beginners has a few highly productive choices. The lures are easy to use and catch a lot of fish. The drawback is they are seasonal. Use this type of lure in the summer and early fall when fish are at the highest activity.
Also, a few people consider the following lures over-priced. I deem the lures a good to great value. You have to decide if a lure that will catch fish is worth more than a lure that might catch a fish. We are talking about paying 10-15 dollars versus 5-10 dollars it is your choice.
A popular and the easiest to use of the lures. The lure cast well and uses a straight retrieve. You do not need to do anything else, then reel it in at the desired speed. The lure comes in several sizes. The 90 and 120 are the common choices for bass fishing. These sizes are 3 1/2 or 4 3/8 of an inch.
This lure works in areas with less cover and open areas. The hook placement results in grabbing weeds if heavy. This lure uses an action of a rotating tail to create a plop or pop sound to attract fish, it is effective. A beginner will find the lure simple to use and enjoy the strikes it receives.
A classic lure used for decades. A lot of beginners have experienced their first topwater catch with a Jitterbug. The lure has a unique lip design. It creates a side-to-side wiggle with a lot of noise and splashing. The action does draw the fish into to strike.
The Jitterbug casts well and has the simple retrieve. You only reel the lure in at the right speed to attract fish. It is a little limited compared to the whopper plopper in speed. Use a slow to moderate retrieve with the lure. Going too fast it becomes too erratic.
Plus, the lure is limited to areas without a lot of weed growth. The hooks grab weeds easily resulting in loss of action.
Soft Body Frogs
A soft body frog is the choice for fishing in weeds. The hooks are upturned and tucked against the body. This prevents the lure from grabbing weeds. The soft body will collapse when a fish strikes exposing the hooks. Soft body frogs are almost snagless when using in weeds or brushy areas.
A frog will cast fairly well but not as good as the hard body lures mentioned previously. The distance is adequate so the distance is not an issue. Using a frog lure does require buying a quality version. The cheap Chinese knock-offs tend to land and float upside down. The weighting is poor on the cheap models.
Working a frog allows you to vary the retrieve. It can be brought back by reeling with or without pausing. Also, the lure can be twitched to imitate a natural frog action. This will develop the skill needed for a walk the dog, glide, and jerkbaits. Having the twitching skill is important in fishing.
Summary of Top Water Lures
Although easy to use and catch fish. A lot of anglers use these lures at the wrong time. The lures are most effective in the early morning and late evening into nighttime. Plus the lures work in the summer and early fall, limiting their use to a shorter period of the year.
The lures come in an extensive array of colors. Do not be fooled by the number of colors. A dark and bright body version is all you need. Look at the black, bright greens, or yellows. It is that simple to choose a color for topwater lures.
The size is important. Buy a smaller size and larger size to complement each other. At times, a small lure is better and catches more fish of a smaller size. The larger models catch bigger fish but not quite as many. Regardless both are worth having in your tackle box.
Conclusions to Lure Selection for Beginners
Start with the easier-to-use lures. These lures offer a simpler cast and retrieve compared to many other lure types. Choose a lure for the depth you are fishing. Have a couple of sizes starting with a small and larger size. Limit the color choices to mimic natural prey or color making a good silhouette.
Learn how to correctly use the lures. Every lure has a time and place they are effective. This will take some experience but is worthwhile. As a beginner keep the number of lures you buy low. Learn which lures are the best for where and how you fish.