Does your favorite angler have a birthday coming up? Maybe you’re looking for a “just because” gift? What could be a better choice, you might figure, than a lure, right?
We’ll, that’s partially true. The problem is that a lot of lures are area and/or species specific in terms of how well they work. The best choices of these for your angling crew are best discovered with a trip to a local tackle shop where you can simply ask the salesman to guide you to a choice or two that match up well with local species and conditions. Many anglers have a favorite tackle shop or marina where they check in regularly during the season and chances are good if you head to one of these someone on staff will even know your angler’s preference. Problem solved.
But what if you want to order online, or get a gift for someone who lives in a different region of the country or even travels the world to get their fishing fix? How do you know which lures – and which colors – to pick out then?
Fortunately, there are some lure types that seem to have nearly universal appeal. The simple bucktail, for example, a hook imbedded in a lead head jig and finished with either a deer hair or synthetic hair imitation tail, is a perfect example. Because of their size, shape and weight range, bucktails can be worked at any depth for virtually any kind of predatory fish from summer flounder on the bottom to pelagic surface feeders like mahi mahi. A ¾ or 1-oz., white or chartreuse Spro Bucktail jig ($5) is a gift just about any angler can use. The jigs are tied cleanly, cast well, hold up against the elements and catch really well. Tipped with a red or white Fat Cow 3-1/2-inch Eel Tail Jig Strip ($12.95) for a little extra action, they will catch nearly any predatory fish that swims.
A solid set of soft-plastic swimbaits is another can’t miss fishing gift. Panther Martin makes a weedless, slim-bodied lure called the Big Fin 3-in-1 Paddletail Weedless Swimbait ($8.99 — $10.99) on which I’ve personally caught everything from striped bass, false albacore, fluke, blues and sea bass in northeast waters to mahi, redfish, snook, flounder and rainbow runners in the Everglades and along the gulf coast. Buy the 1-ounce size for anglers who tend to favor shallow, inshore waters and the 2-ounce size for those who like to work deeper waters and rough surf. White and chartreuse patterns will work well, as will all black – an absolutely evil pattern for night fishing around bridges and other snook structure. Storm WildEye Swim Shads ($3.99 – 10.99) are also easy to use and bring consistent results. As with the Big Fins, simply cast them out and retrieve at slow, medium or fast speeds until you find a winner. The four-inch size is a perennial winner.
Some anglers really like a challenge and for these topwater fishing often produces the biggest thrills. To tackle this gift, consider the Tactical Anglers Crossover Stalker ($8.99). It will bring just about any aggressive saltwater feeder right to the surface in response to a simple side-to-side (walk-the-dog) retrieve across the surface. Big stripers, redfish and snook – sometimes surpassing 40 inches in length – seem especially drawn to this lure.
Again, there is no better way to load up with lures that will work in hometown waters than to physically take a trip to the nearest tackle shop. If you prefer or need to shop online, however, any of the above options – or combination thereof – is sure to bring both smiles this holiday season and tight lines for months to come whenever your anglers head out on the water.