BassWestUSA - January/February, 2011, Page 36


The Art of

Choosing Lures Wisely

and better lures are available today than ever before. Too many for any one angler to use them all. An easy way to gauge how many lures you truly need can be loosely correlated to how much time you spend on the water. Say you sh 10 times a year (twice monthly from May through September), you may fare well with 10 good lures. If you sh 30 days a year (about 5 days a month from April through September), you can be equipped with 30 good lures. For 100 days per season (two trips average every week), you may feel you need 100 lures to face different conditions and bodies of water. If you sh 300 days (6 days a week), 300 lures may not seem excessive. These amounts are just a reasonableness check. What’s not reasonable is if you sh 30 times a year and have 300 lures, or if you sh 300 days and have 30 lures. You’re probably not getting the most bene t from your bait selections in either of those cases. In choosing which lures are right for you, begin with an assessment of the company or brand rst. Some lure companies specialize in saltwater, walleye, salmon, pike or other non-bass lure types. There often isn’t a cross-over capability where those other lure types prove bene cial for bass anglers. They tend to be for slightly different tackle, techniques, conditions and approaches. Unless you hear something to the contrary, it’s probably okay to summarily dismiss many non-bass brands of lures. Don’t worry that you’re missing out on something; there’s still a multitude of vendors and brands that specialize in bass lures. Just like individual bass anglers may become specialists or strong with a particular lure type, you’ll nd that many bass lure companies also specialize in speci c lure types. Some companies are world famous for their soft plastic baits and that‘s all they offer anglers. Others brands may be industry leaders in terms of hard plastic lures. Some companies claim fame for producing wicked jigs and jigheads. Others, spinnerbaits. Swim bait companies tend to be niche boutiques more often than not. There certainly are some vendors that offer a full range of multiple lure types (jigs, spoons, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, hard plastics, soft plastics, swimbaits, etc.). Yet even these multi-faceted companies tend to be known best for particular lure types or models within their overall product line. Bass lure companies that specialize in or are famous for a particular lure type, they tend to produce numerous models and sizes of the good ones over time. When a company has a proven top-seller, they’ll expand into new sizes and variations of that top-selling model, and every year, there’s the need to introduce brand new models to stay innovative or to stay competitive with other companies. A recognized name in soft baits may amass fty or more models and sizes of worms, grubs, craws, lizards, creatures, soft stickbaits, etc. Likewise a leading hard plastic vendor may expand to fty models and sizes of topwa- ter walkers, poppers, jerkbaits, shallow, medium and deep crankbaits, wakebaits, lipless and others. Note not all models/sizes from a vendor will work equally swell. A generalism that loosely applies is say twenty percent (10 out of 50) of the models and sizes will seem exceptional and be very popular. About sixty percent (30 out of 50) tend to be average or modest performers. The last twenty percent (10 in 50) tend not to become popular. So, acknowledge when a company mainly specializes in producing a particular lure type, and make your lure choices aligned with each vendor’s core competencies. You can’t go wrong to keep your lure choices within each producer’s area of expertise. Then, identify a short list of each vendor’s top performers, the most popular, proven and productive models and sizes within each company’s product line, and stock your tackle bag accordingly. This selection process is the antithesis of the “show them something new” proposition. In effect, you’ll be stocking your bag with the best, perennially popular models the lure industry has to offer, and that’s not a bad thing to do. It’s part of the ne art of choosing lures wisely. We are all artists when we pick up a rod, and what we tie on the end is our paintbrush. BW





January/February 2011