They say that lures are made to catch fisherman, but in fact those of us that fish artificials do have our favorites that seem to work better in certain conditions. For instance, one of the topwater plugs I use is the freshwater version of the Rapala Skitterwalk; it’s smaller than the saltwater version, and I just catch more fish with it than the larger plug. I also favor certain colors at certain times of day. In the early morning I use bright shiny plugs (an example would be the nickle SuperSpook Junior), while later in the day I’ll usually switch to a more toned down version (for instance, bone or darker colors). For suspending lures, I like Paul Brown’s Corky Lures (now made by Mirrolure) and the Mirrodine, and for medium sized crankbaits, the Heddon Swim’n Image. However, like everyone else, we are frequently trying new lures, looking for something better. A report from the iCast convention in Florida Sportsman caught my eye; I’ve never seen lures that looked as much like real fish as these, but they weren’t released yet. However, I managed to land a few LiveTarget lures (and bought several for Capt. Tommy Thompson for his Christmas present). I literally got mine the day after they were released, and couldn’t wait to try them out. I ordered a a 3 inch scaled sardine suspending bait, a 4 inch Mullet Walking Bait, and a 3.5 inch Mullet Wakebait.
I was anxious to try these out and Tommy Thompson and I took a trip out of Steinhatchee this past weekend. Conditions were remarkably good considering how awful the wind had been recently, and the air temps were in the 50’s early, up to the low 70’s later in the day. With a midday low of zero, we figured we better get out early and fish our near-shore spots. We were fishing in 2.5 feet in an area of scattered grass and rocks where we have had some good days recently. I started out with the topwater (as usual) but there wasn’t much of a topwater bite. The topwater mullet lure was quite heavy for its size, 1 1/8 oz., and was easy to cast a long distance. It has rattles and rode somewhat differently, with a bit more tail weight than some other topwaters. This means that it rides very high in the front when working it. Because of the weight, it also works better with a somewhat slower action to emphasize the walk-the-dog action that we aim for. Tommy began catching some fish with suspending lures so I switched to the wakebait and immediately began catching fish, some of the biggest trout of the fall, with several over 20 inches. I also managed one excellent redfish, which slammed the wakebait aggressively.
The wakebait has some excellent characteristics for fishing shallow. It’s jointed, which gives it a great action, and the lip is at an angle that allows it to run just under the surface if worked slowly, but it will dive down to 6 inches or so when worked faster, which provides a lot of flexibility. We had to leave the area as the tide ran out, and the day became overcast . I tried the suspending sardine bait later on in the day. Unlike many similar lures (such as the Mirrodine), this plug actually floats slowly to the top, but will work down to about 2 feet when worked as a twitch bait. I caught several smaller trout later in the day using it. I thought all of the lures had their advantages, and are fairly unique. They are also not cheap, but in the right situations, I suspect I’ll be using them regularly.