View Full Version : lure inherent action vs speed/presentation vs color

11-21-2012, 08:11 AM
The last post and replies on color got me thinking of the obvious:
color doesn't matter a bit if the lure's action isn't enhanced by lure speed/presentation. The first time I caught a fish on an artificial, it was if the lure possessed a magical quality and from that point on I tried hundreds of different type lures to try and understand their appeal and when and how to use them.

Lure profile can be extremely important. I should know since I design and/modify soft plastic lures all year round and test them on panfish all year round. What I've noticed using a particular, simple design (shown below) and modification of it is that - the sum total of the body of a lure and possibly its tail action should do something specifically that will force aggressive behavior.

As you can see from the photos the tails are different in length and therefore make a difference in lure action at rest with a do-nothing action or a vertical drop. Last year I noted that someone was using a Southern Pro minnow imitation that had no action at all but that the stick-body when cast and allowed to drop, got picked off by large crappie in one area. If I use the same stick to deadstick beneath the boat, it isn't as effective as the lure with the thin tail (bottom photo) that flutters no matter how still you keep the rod. In fact you could lay the rod down and the lure will get taken. From that lesson I learned that a finesse tail will work under a bobber as effectively as a fly or hair jig which is also slim in profile but also has a finesse tail action.

Prong tailed soft plastics (bottom picture) and small tubes that many anglers use have finesse action. Curl tails cannot usually catch fish by comparison unless they move at a certain speed either horizontally or vertically. The thicker the tail, the faster the lure speed must be to get it to move. At rest, the tail gives the total lure profile a look that is not attractive to fish. Curl tail grubs I put into the same category of lures that have more extreme action and flash such as spinners, spoons and small crankbaits. These are faster warm water baits that fish will chase vs those that provoke a bite at rest. (The exception is a Rapala floating minnow or an X-Rap suspending minnow.)

I believe that artificial lure selection follow the basics noted above. Something to ponder before you go out.


11-21-2012, 08:37 AM
Like the legendary Elwood "Buck" Perry said, successful fishing must be predicated upon the premise that depth & speed control are paramount. Anything other than that just fine tunes the presentation. In nearly 60 years of fishing, for just about every freshwater species in the northeast, I found this to be absolutely true.

11-21-2012, 01:38 PM
Don't think I replied to the color post but I will say something about color. When Scott and I spider rig, sometimes not all the time, the fish do show a preference to a certain color. We fish 8 poles off the front of the boat with all poles at the same depth using the same weight line, all things as close to the same as we can make it except color of the jigs. As I said the pole(s) with the color they seem to like get bite the most even when we swap the poles to other holders, don't understand it myself. Of course if they are showing a preference we load up all the poles with that color. And then the next time it does not seem to matter but we generally start out with that same color as we left them on from the last time and if the fishing is slow we start changing colors to see if we can find a color they like that day. Just MHO. Every time I think I know something the fish tell me otherwise. But you do have to find the right depth too.

11-21-2012, 08:05 PM
Spoonminnow,I agree,I too have been designing my own soft baits and have most of the baits you are showing with just a little different. I have notice a while back that the shape is more inportant than color.I notice that at times they want a bait that jiggle easy then at other time they want one that comes thru water like a stick. I make a bait a little skinnier than bgss which people say wiggle so much but mine wiggle easier but I notice that at times I fish it so slow that it do not wiggle and they then tear it up,check them in a pool at slow speed.Also my carrot bait that I make and was using them before they were talk about,but at slow speed they do not wiggle unless I once in a while twitch it. Again shape and presentation should come first but color has it's place also,I use white 95% of the time. Went today and caught 80 and today they wanted it to jiggle so I use a skinnie flat tail and a skinnie round tail that I design

11-22-2012, 03:23 AM
Genec, you get where I'm coming from. The colors in the pictures are all I ever need regardless of water clarity and I wonder why so many colors are offered in so many baits when fish will respond to a few and reject others. I'll stick to the few colors I know work and base lure selection on a few lure actions that cover most aggression levels. The carrot
stick is a good example as is the thin "wiggle" tail - two totally different actions proven to catch fish 99% of the time.

A question I asked myself long ago when using a spike on a Swedish Pimple spoon ice fishing: what attracted the bite of the fish I caught? Was it the flash of the spoon? Was it the scent of the maggot? Or was it the tiny squirming thing skewered on my hook? Fish usually hooked themselves when the lure was stationary so it couldn't be the silver spoon that made the difference. I've also used 1/64 jig heads and maggots and gotten bit. I believe it was the 'squirm' that caught their eye the same as the flutter of a lure's tail. Fish notice details - not realistic color schemes and body features which have never been proven to be appreciated by fish - but lure action(s) that turn a fish into a bully or a predator from a state of less activity. Less active fish are what most of us catch while searching for active school fish simple to catch.

11-22-2012, 05:16 AM
[QUOTE=Spoonminnow;2093021]Curl tail grubs I put into the same category of lures that have more extreme action and flash such as spinners, spoons and small crankbaits. These are faster warm water baits that fish will chase vs those that provoke a bite at rest.

I don't understand why you say that a curly tail grub is a warm water bait. I have seen the water here in north florida get down to the low 40's and I was able to catch a many fish on them. Seeing that your from the north that might be warm to you. But if we ever get ice on our waters here I'm going to pack it up and move to Bora Bora.

11-22-2012, 09:02 AM
I think our point is one day a fast wiggle is best ,next day a slow wiggle ,next day no wiggle, next day slow reel next day sitting still is best,and certain baits do the best job to present it in that fashion for that day,then some days a real smal bait ,next day a large bait is best and minnows have not had time to grow that fast,just fish mood change,and the real important question that no one seams to deal with is curosity which I think is one of the most reason fish bites,they cannot pick up a bait with hands to see what it is, so I think when we add a strange color like a nibble or something ,many times it is not smell making them but to peck at that object. I and wife jigs side by side and she tried a nibble this year and caught a few more than I was catching so I decided to cut a bass florance orange up the size of a nibble and I caught so many that she had to go to the piece of worm that we fish for 3 weeks. But I went yesterday and caught 80 ,up to 15 inches but then they would not touch the worm or my friends nibbles,so I am saying fish are like a woman ,just when you think you know them ,look out for they are getting ready to change,LOL

11-23-2012, 11:18 AM
I've lived and fished in southern Florida and I never saw the water temp go down to the low 40's, especially the surface temp at midday. The lowest I saw them go was low 50's and that is warm by any standard. The temperature is relative to fish aggression level IMO and slower lures or deadstick lures (drop shot or under a float) are usually more effective most times of day in open cold water and under cold front, clear skies.

There are exceptions even in 38 degree water where I mentioned in another post how a 3" tube caught over 45 pounds of crappie in a few hours in one area where active schoolies were really turned on. Crappie clobbered the tube on the fall or when suspended with rod twitches. But note, this was a vertical presentation in one column of water beneath a hole in the ice. Curl tails in cold open water may get bit the same way, but must be retrieved faster than the lures (shown above) rigged on 1/32oz or 1/64oz jigs, retrieved very slow 10-15' horizontally. The curl tail doesn't have the action at rest or when moved too slowly.

Good point about lure size. Bigger lure/ bigger fish applies in my experience to certain situations where large crappies and white perch are schooled up itching for a fight. In that case I use a thicker bodied 4" grub with a wider tail on a 1/8 oz jig head for long casts in open water over flats or humps.

Another great point about curiosity! Last year I experimented with a dropshot rig in 4' near a weed line. It was a bright sunny day in May and fish were milling around and not spooky. I held the rod steady with my finesse minnow 2' off bottom and, low and behold, a perch noses up to the lure staring at it. Soon, it attacked and hooked itself. More perch and sunfish came out from the weeds and decided to do the same thing except now there were 4 or 5 milling around the lure. More fish were caught. Soon a 1lb bass came out of nowhere and hooked itself! I've seen the same thing ice fishing - multi-species hitting the same lure in the same location.
Curiosity is contagious!