Throughout my years of fishing as a hobby, a passion and now as a profession, I have had the luxury of tying thousands of different lures and rigging combinations to the end of my lines. From using bait, spinners and spoons for trout, to fly fishing for anything that swims, I’ve used it all. And now, I’m using a large assortment of hardware to target black bass. I believe, to a certain extent, that if it has hooks, I’ve tried it.
There are a lot of gimmicks out there that are designed to catch fishermen and not fish. We’ve all seen those funny contraptions that are best sold on late night infomercials. If used in the right place at the right time, any of them have a chance to tempt the fish. But, through years of trial and error, I have found a small selection of lures and presentations that are tried and true. This small assortment will fit in a single tackle box and I refer to it as my First Aid kit. When things get downright tough and we need to get some bites, I turn to this kit to try healing the wound of getting skunked and returning to the dock empty handed.
Trout fishing is something that I do very little of these days, and I still have invested a large portion of my life chasing these slick rainbows, browns and brooks. As far as bait fishing goes, it is hard to beat a night-crawler or any live bait. The live bait won’t keep, so having it as a backup in the kit is not an option. But, having a small selection of hooks, swivels and weights is always a good choice. And remember, if you turn over a few rocks by the water, I’m sure you will find some worms, hellgrammites or grubs to put on your hook.
For those who do not want to dig in the dirt and prefer an artificial presentation, two spinners and two spoons will catch fish in creeks, rivers and lakes across the state. For the spinners (Panther Martins), I choose one with a gold blade and one with a silver blade. As for the spoons (Kastmasters), one silver base and one gold base should do the trick. In my opinion, having the alternate reflective qualities is more important than having different colors.
When it comes to fly fishing, the possibilities are endless. However, to narrow it down, there are three flies that you just can’t beat. The first is an olive Bead Head Woolly Bugger. This pattern resembles a minnow when stripped and an insect when drifted. The next is a stimulator; a bushy buoyant attractant pattern that can be fished alone or as an indicator. And the last is a Bead Head pheasant tail, a subsurface nymph.
The world of bass fishing is beyond complex. However, it is probably the easiest to simplify. Learning to use all the techniques and lures, along with the when, why, where, what and how ,can be mind boggling. But honestly, a good ol’ rubber worm fished along the bottom is hard to beat. With a small selection of hooks and weights, a couple of worm patterns and some patience, a bite is sure to come.
When the going gets tough, remember what the targeted species are accustomed to eating on a daily basis and use something that resembles that. If it looks and acts like what the fish eat, your chance of tricking one to bite increases drastically.
These suggestions are a good reference for any angler, from beginners just trying to get into the sport, to avid anglers trying to salvage a trip to the lake. We never know when things may not go as planned and a First Aid kit could save the day.
John Liechty is the owner of Xperience Fishing Guide Service in Angels Camp. Contact John at 743-9932 or xperiencefishing.net.