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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, I admit I've always been a "put some shrimp or cut-bait on a hook and toss it out" kind of guy, so I know precisely squat about using lures to fish salt-water.

Going to Bass Pro Shops and wandering around their fishing section only compounds the problem beause of their inventory of approximately 8 million different kinds of lures.

I've picked up a few silver and gold spoons (weedless and not), some DOA shrimp, some TerrorEyz, etc., and have tossed these out in the surf and also off various piers without much success.

I've read several posts here referring to Bucktail jigs, but once again, I'm not sure exactly which ones to use, or even how to use them.

I have 2 lightweight poles (5' - 12 lb test w/20 lb shockleader) a 9' medium weight and my new 12 footer which I haven't christened yet.

So I guess my questions are:

1. What are some good, all around lures (spoons, soft, etc) to use in the surf and off the piers

2. What weight lures should I be using

3. How should I be using them? Tied directly to the line, with a small sinker to make it a little easier to cast farther, etc. Slow retrieve, jigging, etc.

Except for the nice little 17' Blue I caught off Playalinda 8 on a lip-hooked mullet a week or so ago, the area surrounding me in the surf of at the piers is pretty much guaranteed to be a "fish-free zone"

Thanks!
 

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my rule of thumb...

Although I spend most of my time using bait in the surf, I like to cast lures when it's not too rough and I had the same problem about deciding what to use (WalMart's selection was even too much for me, let alone Bass Pro Shop, when I first started looking). In the end, I just decided to 'match-the-hatch' (to roughly borrow the fly fishing term) and got some lures that matched the bait sized fish I had seen in the surf (mullet and small whiting for where I usually fish). Seems to work well as a rule of thumb for when I am looking for a new lure to try out. I've also had good luck just with any lures that are shiney/reflective and have a lot of action when retrieved fast (metallic spoons work well especially when the surf is a bit dirty). I know this might sound like common sense, but it might help narrow down a search with all the selection that is available. I think the most important thing, when fishing with artificials, is finding what bait the fish are active on and where .

As far as retrieve: In the surf zone I've had the best luck with fast/zippy types of retrieves (often as fast as I can reel) - most fish in the surf that go after bait fish are extrememly fast and active predators so I guess this makes sense.

As far as weight: This is probably more dependant on your rod, reel and line weight more than anyting but I tend towards the heavier end of what my setup can handle so I can get the furtherest cast possible and pull the lure through the turbulence of crashing waves. For the same reason I usually get lures that dive moderately to steeply.

However, I'm usually only fishing in the surf - people that fish at piers, inlets, or structures will probably have different or more specific lures and tactics then what I use. Hope this helps some.
 

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Ya what wtf.over said . I bet I have seen his posting somewhere else . What other boards to you visit wtf.over. I detect something in your style of posting ? Call it a hunch.
 

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Hi Kozlow

This is my first time posting on any forum actually. I have been reading this forum for the past couple of weeks and have really learned a lot. There is a lot of good general info being posted here, and keep those those fishing reports flowing!

As a side note, when I arrived at Playalinda Beach this morning, the beach was strewn with plastic type garbage the high tide had left as well as trash (and popped balloons everywhere) that beach-goers had left. It was so bad I had to get a bag out of my car and spend about 10 minutes picking up all the garbage near my stake on the beach before I could enjoy it. This is a really sad state to see such a beautiful beach in, not to mention the damage all that trash can cause. Other areas out at the wildlife refuge that I used to fish at have already been closed to the public due to the trash problem. Next time any of you are out at your favorite spot please take the time to leave it in a better state than when you got there - I'm going to start bringing a bag with me every time for just this pupose... ok, that's the end of my first rant too!
 

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Litter Bugs / Don't Let Us Catch You In The Act

Not out of the ordinary it seems the garbage I mean. I always pick up other people's trash when I'm out and about . Like you said wtf.over it would be a shame to loose a good fishin spot due to others being carless with their trash . If they would only stop and think what their doing. But in most cases thats a lot to ask of them to do considering what they do and the ignorance they show when they do it. Sometimes you would just like to follow them home and drop it on their front pourch. I could think of a few other things to do with their trash but this is a family site. :)


Hey Mark

Artificial Lures
The term "artificial lures" refers to the man-made, non-natural objects used to attract game fish and entice them into biting. The majority of artificial lures are designed to imitate some form of "live" or "natural" forage found in nature, though some simply impart a look or action that triggers a feeding response or other instinct that may cause certain game fish to strike. Lures are manufactured in many shapes, sizes and styles and are constructed from a variety of materials, such as wood, metal, lead, hard and soft plastic, feathers, fur and yarn - often a combination of more than one material.

Not every species of fish is inclined to strike an artificial lure, which for some anglers excludes them from the popular definition of "game" fish. Virtually all fish classified as game fish can be caught on artificial lures at least some, if not most, of the time. That does not mean, however, that one particular type of lure will be more effective than live or natural bait, or even another type or color of lure. However, certain lures develop a history of success on particular species over time. Many prove successful on a local level before gaining widespread popularity, while others are fashioned to imitate a specific forage species found only in a limited geographic range, which may limit their effectiveness when used elsewhere.

Freshwater vs. Saltwater

Many of the same basic artificial lure types are used in both freshwater and saltwater fishing. The primary differences lie in the size, design and color of lures used in each environment. For example, jigs, plugs and soft plastic lures are all popular lure types. But a freshwater version of each lure type will likely be smaller and colored differently than one used for salt water.

There are, however, certain lure types or specific styles that are used only in fresh or salt water. A rubber-skirted leadhead jig with a pork-frog trailer is an extremely popular lure for freshwater bass but rarely, if ever, used in salt water. Likewise, large trolling lures used for offshore saltwater fish have little or no value anywhere in fresh water.

In general, there are more variations and styles of the same lure type in freshwater fishing, with many lures designed especially for certain species. In saltwater angling, however, there are fewer variations and styles, but each one may appeal to a wider variety of game fish. One particular style of diving plug may only work well on largemouth bass in fresh water, while one style of diving plug may attract several different saltwater species.

Saltwater lures also tend to be more brightly colored, often times in a color scheme that doesn’t mimic anything found in the water. Another key difference is the type of material used for a lure’s hooks. The majority of freshwater hooks are carbon steel coated with a bronze finish. Due to the highly corrosive nature of salt water, most hooks used on saltwater lures are stainless steel with some sort of corrosion-resistant finish, such as cadmium-tin or chrome-zinc.

Lure Selection

The range of food consumed by fish is obviously large. When choosing the most effective lure, the angler should become familiar with the behavior of the fish being sought and the food they consume, and then match the lure to that behavior and diet. Secondly, a solid understanding of the characteristics of each lure will enable the angler to make each work to its designed ability.

A second major factor in lure selection is the condition of the water being fished. Depth, temperature and clarity should all be considered. In general, deep water necessitates the use of a lure that can reach the desired depth and perform in its designed fashion once there. Warm water temperatures often call for lures that can be worked at a rapid pace, while cold or hot temperatures may require lures designed for a slower presentation, depending on the species of game fish being pursued. Clear water generally calls for visible qualities like bright, shiny colors and finishes or a lure that produces a lot of flash; in stained or dingy water, where visibility is less important, dark colors and lures that vibrate tend to be more effective.

Continued on the next reply
 

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Spoons
Spoons refer to the large family of artificial lures consisting of rounded, usually metal bodies with a solitary hook attached. Spoons are among the most versatile of all artificial lures because they can be used for casting, trolling and jigging. They can also be fished in shallow, deep or medium-depth waters and appeal to numerous freshwater and saltwater game fish. In fact, almost every game fish can be caught on a spoon at one time or another. For many species, it is often the most effective and popular lure choice.

Their common name aptly describes the general appearance and material of most spoons. The typical spoon is longer than it is wide, with either a curved or straight metal body and shiny metallic finish. As it’s pulled through the water, a spoon will generally wobble in a side-to-side fashion and sink or flutter rapidly at rest. This type of action and flash resembles fleeing or wounded baitfish, which will always attract hungry predator fish.

Many spoons share the typical teardrop shape and hard metal construction, however, not all spoons are metal, nor are they universally shaped. Countless sizes, styles and finishes exist to target a wide variety of game fish. Despite the multitude of different spoons available, they all fall into only two basic categories: casting or jigging. One style is designed to be cast and retrieved or trolled; the other to be cast or dropped into the water and worked in a jigging motion. Casting spoons are more commonly used than jigging spoons, but both are effective fish-catchers when worked properly.

Casting Spoons

This category describes spoons that are cast or trolled, and what most anglers think of when they hear the word "spoon." All casting spoons feature a slightly curved body that produces a wobbling motion when retrieved or trolled behind a boat. They are usually slender, elongated slabs of metal, though the shape may vary from long and thin to short and wide.

Most are made from steel with a brass, nickel or chrome finish. Although shiny, metallic finishes are most common, spoons may also be painted or coated with multiple colors and patterns. A good number of spoons have bodies with small impressions or scale patterns hammered into the finish.

The majority of casting spoons feature one treble hook that is fastened to the lure with a split ring. Others, particularly many salmon, trout and saltwater jigs, will have a large single hook attached. A few but highly popular spoons have a large single hook forged directly into the metal body.

Casting spoons are primarily retrieved in a steady or stop-and-go manner in a horizontal path between lure and angler. Because they are relatively heavy and not very buoyant, they must be retrieved or trolled at moderate to high speeds in order to be effective.

Jigging Spoons

Unlike casting spoons, jigging spoons are generally long, thin and heavy, with a flat body that produces very little action on its own. Instead of casting and retrieving or trolling, the primary method of fishing these spoons is casting or dropping them over the side of the boat, allowing them to flutter downward to a desired depth, and then jigging them up and down, often with a rapid snapping motion of the rod tip. They are generally confined to deep water use and wherever a vertical presentation is required.

Other than their flat body, jigging spoons have basically the same paint, finish and color schemes as casting spoons, and most also feature solitary treble hooks attached with a split ring.

Jigging spoons are not as versatile as casting spoons, though they work extremely well for schooling game fish that congregate in deep water. They enable the angler to fish precise depths and locations and repeatedly work the lure in a defined strike zone, whereas casting spoons are better for covering more water.

Plugs
A large number of lures fall under the generalized term "plugs," all of which are shaped and painted to resemble a variety of baitfish and other prey species, and built to simulate the movements of a fleeing or wounded specimen.

Plugs are most frequently cast and retrieved, though many can also be trolled at slow to moderate speeds. Some are designed to float at the surface and "pop" or create some other type of disturbance when twitched or retrieved. Others may float upon landing, but then dive and wobble from side to side when retrieved or trolled, and either float back toward the surface at rest or suspend in a neutrally buoyant manner. Still others may sink rapidly after landing, then rising and wobbling on the retrieve.

Plugs can be divided into three categories: topwater (or surface), diving, or sinking.

Topwater/Surface Plugs - These are floating lures that create disturbance on the water to attract game fish that typically feed on or near the surface. They are designed to buzz, pop or gurgle when twitched or retrieved, and their action is usually the direct result of how the angler manipulates the retrieve.

Diving - Often referred to as "crankbaits," diving plugs usually float at rest and dive on the retrieve. Pieces of wood, metal or plastic at the front of the plug (lips) create resistance against the water, causing the lure to wobble and dive to various depths, usually determined by the length of the lip. When the retrieve is stopped, the plug either floats back toward the surface or suspends in a neutrally buoyant fashion.

Sinking - Sinking plugs are similar to diving plugs, only they sink at rest rather than float. They normally sink at a consistent rate, allowing the angler to "count down" to the desired depth prior to retrieving. They are commonly used to reach depths deeper than standard diving plugs can achieve and are good choices for trolling.

The majority of plugs have built-in action that can be achieved by simply retrieving or trolling them in a steady fashion, although most surface plugs require additional effort on the part of the angler to achieve the desired action. Aside from the built-in action, anglers usually experiment with fast and slow retrieves, stop-and-go reeling and short or long jerks of the rod tip to impart variations in lure performance.

Most plugs are tied directly to the line with no additional terminal tackle because the weight of the lure is all that’s needed for casting; hooks are attached or built into the lure; and adding terminal tackle often interferes with the designed action of the lure. (Some plugs may be fastened to a snap or snap-swivel, which may help alleviate line twist or improve lure action).

Plug Components

Eye - The eye of a plug is where the line or leader is tied. It is screwed or molded into the body or lip, and usually located near the front of the plug. Some plugs may have an eye located on the top.
Split ring - A good number of plugs feature a split ring fastened to the eye. The line or leader is tied to the ring instead of the eye, which usually enhances the action of the plug. If a plug does not come with a split ring attached, the manufacturer recommends tying directly to the eye for optimum performance.
Eyes - These differ from the eye where line is attached. Rather, they are eyes painted or glued to the lure body to imitate baitfish eyes, and are often enlarged to create the perception of distressed prey.
Mouth - Mouth shape is a factor on surface plugs, but not subsurface or diving plugs. When retrieving a surface plug, a flat mouth will displace more water and create more "spray." A cupped or curved mouth will create a louder "popping" noise.
Lip - The lip protrudes outward from the front of the plug, and is either molded or glued into the body, or carved out of the same piece of wood or plastic. Lip length, more than any other component, determines how deep a plug will dive.
Hooks - The overwhelming majority of plugs have treble hooks attached rather than single hooks. Most will have two or three treble hooks of various sizes corresponding the size and length of the body.
Body - Bodies can be long or short and narrow or wide. Whether short or long, wide bodies will generally produce a wider wobble and more vibration; narrow bodies typically produce a tighter wobble and less vibration.
Finish - Plug bodies can be painted, laminated or dyed during the manufacturing process. A plug’s finish will either resemble the color(s) of a particular species of baitfish or other prey, or feature chrome or metallic foil finishes that reflect light and flash under water.
 

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Get Jiggy with it

Jigs
Jigs refer to the family of artificial lures in which a hook and weighted head are molded together into a single unit and commonly dressed with a soft plastic body or a combination of feathers, fur, thread or yarn. Jigs are also frequently "tipped" with live bait such as shrimp, baitfish or cut bait. "Jigging" refers to the use of jigs and is a fundamental fishing technique used on many saltwater game fish.

Jigs are perhaps the most versatile of all artificial lures. Fish can be caught with jigs in any season, in shallow or deep water, and can be cast, trolled or fished vertically. Though many jigs do not appear to represent any specific baitfish or other aquatic forage base, when presented properly fish often see jigs as live, wriggling, swimming creatures that make for easy meals.

Unlike other artificial lures, such as plugs, spinners, surface lures or flies, jigs have little or no "action" on their own. At times, that subtle nature is what makes them so effective. In other situations, a violent upward snap of the fishing rod may be required to make the jig appealing. Whether the retrieve technique is fast, slow, subtle or aggressive, it is up to the angler to produce the right action and fish-attracting movement that will result in a strike.

Jig Components

Jigs come in all shapes and sizes, but the three key elements of any jig are the head, hook and body:

The head is made from a heavy substance, usually lead, that forces the lure to sink once it hits the water. Jigheads can be ball-shaped, oval-shaped, keeled, bullet-shaped, coin-shaped, long and narrow, flat and wide, or short and bulky. The shape of the head helps determine the angle at which the jig descends in the water, as well as how it will sit at rest on the bottom. Head shape can also affect the speed at which it drops, though this mostly corresponds to the weight of the head.
The hook is molded inside the head, forming one balanced piece. The size of the hook is usually determined by the size and weight of the head, resulting in a balanced jig. Virtually all jig hooks are molded in an upright fashion, with the hook point parallel to the top of the jig. Some jigheads may include various types of weed guards made from metal wire or thick fiber that is molded into the head and extends to or beyond the hook point.
The body is made up of whatever material is placed between the head and hook, such as soft plastic, animal hair, feathers, rubber, silicone or nylon. Jigs with feather or hair bodies are usually purchased pre-assembled. Soft plastic bodies are typically purchased separately along with plain, undressed leadheads so the angler can match bodies and heads as needed. Live or natural bait can be threaded onto a plain leadhead and is often added to fully dressed jigs as well.
Sizes

Jigs range in size from 1/64 to 6 ounces and should be selected based on the species of fish sought, depth of the water, and current and wind strength.

In general, for small saltwater species, jig sizes will range from 1/16 to ¼ ounce; ¼ to 2 ounces for medium-sized fish; and more than 2 ounces for large game fish.

Jig selection for fishing shallow water will often be different for deep water, even for the same size and species of fish. A light jig may be preferred for casting to a shallow rock jetty, but a heavier jig is more suitable for vertical jigging in deep water. Likewise, as current and wind strengths increase, heavier jigs are needed so that the angler can stay in contact with the jig.

Color

Color selection is often determined by what has proven effective on certain species over time. It may also factor in the type of forage present in a given area and preferred by the targeted species. And, if only a plain jighead with live or natural bait is used, color may be of little importance.

Most importantly, the jig must be easily seen underwater. Therefore, as a rule, a brightly colored jig is often most effective on sunny days. During overcast skies, darker jigs work best. Depending on the clarity of the water, a combination of colors can be used. In murkier waters, darker colors work best. In clearer waters, lighter colors work well.

Hope it helps ya
 

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Dang Kozlw.........great post. Think it might be time to write a how to book on fishing. I'll buy a copy.
 

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style

Have you posted before--think I have seen your style before!! LOLOLOLOL

Am currently in Michigan-wife called and the beach is wild with bait fish and what she is describing as sharks in a few feet of water. Can't wait to get back home.
 

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I can see it now book titled " THE WORLD OF KOZLOW "
 

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Kozlow...Best post I've seen explaining the "In's & Out's of lures. I'd like to see it posted across every board. Maybe the "How-To" section should be renamed to "Tips & Techniques". I'm sure a lot of people don't even go there or even know it exists.

As far a trash on the beach is concerned you guys need to get together and have some CLEAN-UPS like we are doing on the MD/DE boards. We've gained a lot credibility with the DNR up here and it's a good feeling to give a little back.

Catman.
 

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Good idea catman - both of my parents work out at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge here in Florida and I always drag out some people when they do have clean-ups. I'll post when the next one is in a different thread when it happens. How many people were you all able to get out to the ones you did? There are some places here (like near Haulover Canal) that aren't on the beach but are popular fishing areas and are TRASHED beyond belief. Would be great if I could find enough people in the area to do something about it...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
When I stopped at the Shark Pit on Thursday, I saw a large amount of junk on the beach. Milk bottles, cans, etc. Not sure if it washed up there or it was left there by careless people.

I agree. Might make for good press for the FL P&S folks to plan a cleanup sometime in the future.
 
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