Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

June 3, 2013

GONE FISHING WITH JERRY MILLER: Choosing the Right Lure

JERRY MILLER
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE —     I wonder what the fish are biting?  That’s the question every fisherman faces each time he goes fishing.  Most fishermen have at least a hundred or more hard baits and even more soft plastic baits, but which one to choose?

    Many fishermen simply choose one of their favorite lures to begin their day.  We all have confidence baits that have come through for us many times.

    One bait that I use often and have a lot of confidence in is a spinner bait.  Some fishermen claim that spinner baits are not effective anymore and have replaced the spinner bait with swim baits.  I still use both lures with great success.

    The very best time to use a spinner bait is when the wind is blowing.  That’s when I target points – windy points.  If you have grass, bushes or other cover on the point you will often be successful.  

    The color of the skirt is very important, especially when the shad are spawning.  When I fish Lake Palestine in May, I always use a shad color spinner bait like the Nichols’ Mag 44 with a blue shad skirt.

    On Lake Nacogdoches I’ve encountered a lot of bream on the banks, so I use a white, chartreuse or a blue, white and chartreuse skirt.  Last week on Lake Nacogdoches Ron Stacy and I caught about six bass on a windy main lake point early in the morning.  I was using a Rick Clunn 3/8 oz blue/white/chartreuse skirt spinner and getting solid strikes.

    Later that morning when the wind died down we discovered the bass would bite a 3/8 oz. chartreuse and white Chatter bait on the edge of a grass rimmed creek.

    Deciding what lure to use is a process.  I try to start my fishing in an area that I know holds some bass.  Once I arrive I choose a lure that fits the cover, depth and structure that I’m targeting.  In shallow water with scattered cover I usually start with a spinner and a crank bait.  If the bass are reluctant to strike those lures I begin to change lures and my speed of retrieve until I can match the mood of the bass.  At times I may go through a dozen baits before I catch my first bass.

    In the early morning bass are usually active, especially if it’s windy, but if not, you need to select lures that are slower and more subtle.

    I simply keep changing lures trying different actions and speed of retrieve until I get bit.  There are times when you have to keep changing lures throughout the day trying to match the mood of the bass.  Keep changing lures until the bass tell you what they want.  It’s simply a process of elimination.

    The day we fishing Lake Nacogdoches we started off catching bass on spinner baits.  When we moved to a new area the wind died down and we had to fish a Sienko swim bait with no weight in and around shallow hydrilla.

    When we got into thicker vegetation with lily pads and grass I caught our largest bass on a Strike King Rage tail lure.  As we worked our way into the creek area where there was a distinct hydrilla line we discovered that a 3/8 oz. chartreuse/white Chatter bait was best.

    We also found crappie feeding on the shallow edge of the creek.  I caught two keeper crappie on a spinner bait and got several other crappie bites.  The creek on the north end of the lake is becoming very congested with hydrilla.  Some portions of the creek are clogged up.  The creek is still accessible, but you have to motor through a lot of hydrilla.

    As you can see, we let the cover and structure and mood of the bass determine what lures to use.

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Jerry Miller can be contacted at: gonefishing2@suddenlink.net