Archive for January, 2009

“Artificial lures or live bait”?

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Each month I field a question from a reader and answer it as best I can, focusing on those inquiries and responses that I believe will be of general benefit or interest. I recently received this email from Tom in Georgia, who asks: “Is live bait always a better choice than artificials?”

I just finished reading an article in a prominent fishing publication that read (and I paraphrase a bit): “Nothing will out-produce a flipping live bait..you’ll catch more and achieve the kind of gratification that only comes with enticing quality fish on live bait…” My reaction: “Huh?” While live bait can be super productive and a ball to use, it is not the best answer all or even most of the time, as the article implied. Used correctly, in certain situations artificial lures can easily account for more fish than live bait. I recall a summer evening in which a buddy and I caught three snook on jigs for every one caught by a crowd of live baiters. And in shallow backwaters, covering water with a plug is far more efficient than constantly changing “livies”. As for the “gratification” thing, does anyone really believe that it’s more fulfilling to catch a fish on a baitfish than it is to fool them with a chunk of plastic or a tuft of fur and feathers? I think not. So…while both have their place, in many situations artificial lures can be just as effective – and far more rewarding – than the real deal. Bonus: they smell better, too.

Fishing Tip: silence your anchor with a towel

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

When fishing shallows in a skiff, it pays to keep your anchor—tied to a cleat with a short length of free line—on the casting deck. When you hook up, simply drop the anchor over the side to stop your drift, preventing you from floating across potentially productive water as you fight and land the fish. The downside of this approach is that an anchor can make a lot of noise as it clunks around on the deck. A simple solution: put an old towel underneath it. This approach not only deadens sound, it also serves to keep the deck dry.

Seeing spots

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

My wife and I headed out yesterday for a quick trip to a local bay. Extreme low tides had exposed most of the bottom, forcing schools of hungry speckled trout into narrow channels. We had a ball catching them hand over fist on light tackle. We stopped counting at around 45 “specks.” Other fish occasionally joined the party – including jack, bluefish, gafftopsail catfish and ladyfish – and we hooked a beautiful starfish and a funky sea cucumber that sprayed the deck with fluorescent purple ink. Raccoons, diving ospreys, a host of water birds and a group of bald eagles added some visual spice. The chilly weather gave way to a warm sun, the perfect backdrop for a great day together.

Angling Artist: Herb Booth

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

Herb Booth’s paintings are best described in a quote by author Michael McIntosh, who notes: “It is a peculiar fact of sporting art that it cannot be successfully faked. A sporting scene, if it aspires to any degree of acceptance, must not only reflect genuine experience on the artist’s part but must also evoke the memory and feeling of similar experience in the viewer.” To preview the Herb Booth prints available in our online gallery, click the image to the left.