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The Tackle Box
Pre-Spawn Lures of Choice"
Ralph B. Spoerl


As a retired guide, I have found that when talking to folks out on the water, they always seem to ask what equipment we’ll be using.  Many do not fish regularly enough to purchase (or know to purchase) the equipment a guide will be letting them use during their fishing expedition, but they do like some direction.  So, I try to give them the benefit of the Tackle Box’s experience and steer them to the most popular and well-known trends in equipment.  Here are some of my suggestions for the spring on the water:

The Jig and Pig:
Normally, I go with a Berkley Jay Yalas Black and Blue ½ oz jig.  Then I’ll add a Zoom Fat Albert Twin Tail Trailer.  Color of choices: Sapphire Blue or Solid Black.  To tweak it for spring, I bend the hook up about 15 degrees.  Then I trim the skirt off up to the bend in the hook and add red eyes with a fine-tipped paint pen.  Next, I remove three of the body rings from the trailer to bring it a little closer to the jig.  Now I’m ready to do some flipping and pitching!

Swim Jig:
Ordinarily, this is a Brovarney ½ oz. Silver Shiner with a Yamamoto 5” Pearl White single-tailed trailer.  Again, I sharpen and bend the hook up 15 degrees.  I also trim the skirt in the shape of a minnow (a bit rounded).  I also cut off three or four body rings off the trailer.  This will cover the mid-range of the water column just above the weeds.

Option to Swim Jig:
If there is a steady wind (maybe 10-15 mph), giving me good wave action, I may use a Strike King Premier elite ¼ oz. spinnerbait in the Golden Shiner color with Colorado and Willow Leaf Blades and add a trailer hook.  Again, I trim the skirt the same way as the swim jig, except that I trim the skirt back to the hook bend, sharpen the hooks, and bend them up the 15 degrees.

As you have probably noticed, there are no plastic trailers.  The only trailer used is a Gamakatsu 3/0 nickel trailer hook.  I place a keeper above the hook so that the hook moves freely on the end of the spinnerbait hook.

Suspended Jerk Bait:
This will likely be a Gold Rapala Husky Jerk #8 (1/4 oz.).  I remove the factory hooks and change them to Gamakatsu 4/0 treble hooks.  They are then sharpened and the leading hooks first hook is cut off.  Then I bend the treble hooks out about 10 degrees.  This was something I learned from a Walleye Tournament friend of mine.  It’s a good way to keep the lead hook from getting snagged on grass and weeds.

You’ll notice that with these baits, I’ve suggested sharpening and bending hooks, as well as trimming skirts.  These are fairly standard preparations for most tournament people, but not for folks who don’t get out as often.

There are many springtime options, however, I would never suggest throwing away your Carolina Rigs, Drop Shot Rigs, or (heaven forbid!) your Rattle Trap.  Do whatever makes you feel warm and fuzzy—these are just some alternative suggestions.  After all, variety is the spice of life.  Everything in The Tackle Box is there for a reason!  I’ve always said… reach in, grab what you can, and remember what works (and what doesn’t).

Welcome back, Spring!  Go get ‘em!

*The Tackle Box doesn’t endorse any of the baits mentioned, but intends its instructions for use of popular baits.