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What lure for bass?

June 8, 2016

Justin is a fine young fellow, soon to graduate from high school and thoughtful enough to visit his grandparents upon the event of “Pop-Pop’s” 95th birthday. The momentous occasion somehow left Justin with just enough time to wet a line on Highland Lake. He caught a good pickerel and wondered if it was a record, as it was the largest pickerel he ever saw.

Big pickerel come in three sizes: “That’s a fine fish!” “That’s a monster!” and “Yikes!!” Justin’s fish was not quite a “Yikes!!” but it was fine fish. I asked him what he caught it on, and he showed me a chewed-up black jig. That jig is now his favorite lure.

Bass season is just around the corner. The season opens June 18, and bass fishers are readying their gear, crafts and especially tackle boxes.

Bass tackle boxes are unique in all of outdoor sports. There are small tackle boxes designed to hold every lure you will ever need. In the small box, front and center, will be the angler’s favorite lure (the one used to catch the largest career fish). This lure is so precious that there are six editions of it. Then there are other copies of the same lure in all the six sizes manufactured and in all six color combinations.

Already we need a bigger tackle box, as you now have over 200 lures, exactly like your favorite. Do the math: 6x6x6= a bigger tackle box.

Of course, it doesn’t stop here. There are literally thousands of bass lures. All of them have caught bass. Certainly you don’t want to be on the lake without “THE” lure working best that particular day.

So tackle boxes have grown exponentially, and many now resemble Victorian trunks the whole family might have packed up to move to the Catskills.

Even so, you may need two or more of these beasts to stow all the gear necessary for a morning of bass fishing. And now we need a bigger boat just for the tackle boxes. But that’s another story.

For bass, I fly-rod with a plain red and white popper. I have more than a dozen copies of this popper all the same size. This doesn’t mean that I too don’t have a small warehouse of bass lures.

For pickerel, what beats a red and white “Daredevil”? The answer is, of course, a red and white Daredevil with a short, light, wire leader. But then again, there is the ever productive Rapala. That too comes in many sizes, colors and configurations. (Sometimes you want a jointed version in a size 9—no, make it size 11.) Here we go with the need for a bigger tackle box again.