During the summer I like to explore a bit and search out new waters. Whether its a mountain lake, a roaring river or a private pond you can bet I’m going to have a beat-up Penn rod & reel with me and my trusty Plano tackle box. Inside my box I keep five lures up near the top that I know are going to work for me in just about any body of water.
Here they are:
Johnson Beetle Spin
Many have tried to imitate it, but there’s only one original Beetle Spin made by Johnson. A mainstay lure for pond anglers since the 1950’s this lure still crushes panfish, crappie and bass everywhere it goes. A loud, hard vibration caused by cupped blade calls in fish from far away. Beetle bodies offered in a ton of different colors and styles. I prefer a 1 1/2 inch beetle spin with a yellow or green 1/8 oz bait. This is a great lure for finding out quickly what’s in that pond or small creek. Small fish will hit it with abandon but so will larger fish looking for an easy meal.
PowerBait Plastic Worm
Berkeley’s PowerBait Plastic Worm is the one bait I catch big bass on more than anything else. Big fish love these things and will have them halfway down their throat when you set the hook. Is it the smell? The movement? The feel? Yes, all of those. I like to wake up early and slip out into the Millpond on my boat and throw a few of these to downed logs and lily pads. The Electric Grape in a 7 inch is my go to worm.
River2Sea Whopper Plopper Topwater
The first time my ten year old son showed me one of these I laughed. It reminded me of that old Budweiser can lure. But sure enough, he tied it onto his line and out-fished me all afternoon. The action of the lure resembles a mouse churning its feet below surface trying to get across the water. Unsurprisingly, it triggers massive strikes. My son uses the bone colored version mostly and he will slam snakeheads, bowfin and big bass on it in the evening hours. River2Sea’s Whopper Plopper, designed by the legendary angler Larry Dahlberg, is his secret weapon for musky fishing. The soft, pliable tail rotates on the harness and creates muskie alluring rumbles at variety retrieve speeds and depths. You should also use these at night on the river or lake for huge brown trout.
Mepps Aglia Spin Fly
The Mepps Aglia Spin Fly is the first thing I pull out of the box when I hit a new trout stream. These things are devastating to hungry fish. I like a Hackle Dressed 1/2 oz with a copper blade and red or black tail. Many a Wyoming cutthroat has fallen for my soft approach along the riverbank with a Mepps Spin Fly. Virtually snagless, these lightweight single-hook spinners will also work for panfish and small bass.
Rapala Original Floating Minnow
These are great for casting out into those hard to reach spots where there’s a lot of weeds or other structure that keeps you from using a sinking lure. The Rapala Floating Minnow can be lightly twitched on the surface and kept in the strike zone longer to produce more and bigger strikes. When reeled fast the Rapala minnow wiggles from side to side in an alluring and tempting dance that big bass seem to love. I catch all sizes of bass on these minnows and have lost a couple huge ones on them while trolling. The treble hooks at front and back insure a good hook set. I prefer the silver and black 3.5 inch for most occasions but in spring a smaller zebra rainbow pattern entices spawning fish to slam them hard.