Imagine yourself as a cop.
You’ve been called to the scene of a hit-and-run accident where three witnesses are waiting to give their statements. The first witness reports, “An older, green pickup was heading south on Colorado and was turning left at the light when a dark little SUV ran the light and clipped the front end of the pickup. I was behind the SUV: She had her turn signal on and looked like she was going to turn right, then she ran the light right into the front fender of the truck. I didn’t get the plates.”
“I was walking my dog and waiting to cross Colorado when I heard a loud crash. I looked up to see a black or dark blue late-model crossover speeding off after hitting that dark-green, four-door Toyota,” said the second witness.
“I was next to the forest-green, crew-cab, four-wheel drive Toyota Tundra at the light, I looked at it because my boss has one just like it. His was a 2008. The Tundra driver got the green arrow and turned onto MLK when the lady in the charcoal 2008–2012 Chevy Equinox ran the light and hit the truck. I never liked those Equinoxes, I rented one and had a choice between that and a Mazda CX-5. I wished I would have gone with the Mazda. The Chevy drove like a tank, and not in a good way. Always liked Mazdas more than Chevys, expecially the new Mazdas,” said the third witness. “I hope they can fix that Tundra, those things last forever,” they added.
All three witnesses are accurate, and all are describing the same exact thing, but in wildly differing ways. Is the hit-and-run vehicle an SUV, a crossover or a late-model Chevy Equinox? The answer to all is yes. All witnesses described the exact same vehicle. Now, picture yourself asking the witnesses about fishing lures.
For the beginning or average angler, it can get pretty overwhelming deciding what lure to give a try, and whose advice to listen to. Add in the fact that there are far more types of lures than there are types of automobiles, and tons more manufacturers, and those anglers might be tempted to just try a hook and a worm.
There are six main types of lures. Seven if you include flies, but that opens a whole new can of worm substitutes. Here are the main types, other ways to describe them and how to fish them:
Also known as:
Although these lures are mostly known as just jigs, there are many types: Flipping jigs, tied-dressing jigs, soft-plastic dressed jigs, live-bait jigs, floating jigs and weedless jigs.
The design of a jig is fairly simple and consistent. A head is cast from lead or, the more enviromentally friendly metal, tungsten. Most jig heads are round and painted with bold eyes, although some are shaped like fish, are oblong or oval, or have shapes that cause the lure to ‘‘swim” or wobble. They can be dressed with feathers, hair, marabou, mylar or tinsel, as well as a variety of soft plastics. Others are set up for rigging with live bait.
One of the most popular jigs for both beginner and pro anglers is the soft-plastic jig rigged with a curly tailed grub (the middle jig in the illustration above). Depending on the retrieve, the grub can imitate a baitfish or a crayfish.
Unless you are trolling with a jig, all the action comes from the angler. Cast the jig and let it hit the bottom; the line will go slack when the lure rests on the bottom. Bring it back in with a series of hops by raising the rod tip about 18 inches, then let the jig hit bottom again, reel in the slack line (but not more) and hop it again. A medium cast helps — too much line out makes it harder to detect the hops and rests. Be fairly consistent in the motions of the retrieve because a subtle variation to the feel may indicate a striking fish. The bite is often light as the fish sometimes inhales the jig on the fall of the hop. Picture a goldfish feeding on flakes, not a huge largemouth hitting a topwater lure. Use the line as a strike indicator — if the line twitches, or is slack when it should be tight, there might be a fish on the other end.
The article, photo and illustrations are by Wayne D. Lewis. Wayne is the editor and art director of Colorado Outdoors. He is based in Denver.