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One Lure Challenge

by JJ
(Upstate SC)

I know that this is something one associates more with Tenkara, and to a lesser extent western fly fishing, but this year I am going to apply it to lure fishing. My lure of choice?.....Minnow lures (Plugs).

It seems that the idea of limiting oneself to a single lure is to strip away the excess and focus on the fishing itself. Personally, I enjoy some of the excesses. Especially lure experimentation. There is no question that spoons and inline spinners are effective trout lures, and I have fished both successfully on the same stretch of water. With many sizes and styles available, especially the spoons, it’s possible to find one that will be effective in most any circumstance.

Having said all of that, I favor minnow lures for a variety of reasons. First of all, I just enjoy fishing them the most, and isn’t that what it’s all about? Second, I have more confidence while fishing them. In my mind, minnow lures are essentially decoys. They look and move like fish. Whether trout are trying to eat them, or chase them away, I expect some sort of reaction. As long as I have made a good approach, that is. While also effective, spoons and spinners are really just hunks of metal that don’t actually look like anything in the river. Third, with a single barbless hook oriented up, in the rear position I seem to hang up less. Even with the 4.5 gram Duo Spearhead Ryuki that Chris sells, I can see and feel it ticking across the bottom, without getting hung up.....much. Fourth, I feel that my ability to use the rod to twitch the lure is more effective. The minnow shaped lure is essentially swimming in the current. I know that you can alter the presentation of spoons and spinners also, I just feel that the minnow lure reacts more naturally and consistently to rod input. Fifth, speaking of hanging up, I have found that I can gently twitch my minnow off of overhanging limbs easier than I can with spoons or spinners. It seems to have something to do with size to mass. The smaller more compact footprint of the spoons, especially, have a tendency to wrap several times, making a long distance retrieve harder, thus ruining the fishing in that bit of water. With the minnow lures, after an errant cast, I can slowly and gently flip it over the snag, and finish out the cast without taking a step. Sixth, topwater! To my knowledge there aren’t any floating spoons or spinners. I will always enjoy fishing the surface. Whether dry fly, popper, or some sort of frog or terrestrial, there’s nothing like seeing the take on top. Seventh, and last for now. The Japanese do it. How can one not pay attention to the most popular lure and method of trout fishing in a country that takes fishing as seriously as they do?

So, just to sum up. I won’t be limiting myself to only one size or style minnow lure. I still have that curiosity that needs tending, but if I am fishing this year, there will be a minnow lure of some sort attached to my line.

Comments for One Lure Challenge

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Mar 01, 2019
One more point
by: Chris Stewart

One thing I found out when fishing alongside a Japanese lure fisherman on my last trip to Japan was that minnow lures are still effective when fished downstream in current. The lip causes them to dive, while lipless spoons and spinners get forced to the surface.

Mar 01, 2019
JJ - Love your insights
by: Les Albjerg

JJ - As I venture into Bait casting, I have been thinking a lot more about minnow lures. I've got one sitting in front of me at my computer as I contemplate making my own. I would like to get the cost of losing them at a more reasonable ratio. I'm not sure why I'm so afraid of losing them, as I haven't lost one yet. I've pretty much given up spinners. I like spoons. But your right there is something special about imitating a small fish!

It also goes back to thinking about last year. For me, fishing is also about making memories. When I ask myself, "What was the most memorable day on the water in 2018?", I didn't even have to look at my diary. It was a day on one of my favorite streams fishing a Duo Spearhead Ryuki 50S with my Spectra. In a one hour period, I caught a 20 inch cutthroat and an 18 inch brook trout. Both of those fish slammed the lure as I am sure in the fishes mind, they were about to make it to shallow water. Talk about exploding water! There were several nice 14 to 16 inch rainbows caught that day (afternoon) as well, and several more brook trout. Enjoyable stream fishing. None of my casts were much over 10 yards. It was a much better day than successfully completing the "Frank Nale" challenge of over 100 fish in a day. That was too much of a marathon.

Watching Angler Saito has shown me that even small trout will attack a plug that is almost their size, and that they can be fished in much smaller streams than I thought possible! It is going to be a fun spring, summer and fall.

Mar 01, 2019
One Lure
by: Craig

I’m focusing on 5g spoons this year, have a nice collection and getting ready to add another batch to round out the shape and sizes.

Tried plugs but not quite my style though I may look at them again in the future.

Mar 02, 2019
Maybe this year
by: bill piatek

I promised myself I would fish more plugs last year but never got there. Maybe this year? Heaven knows I have enough of a selection.

I fished less of my home brew inline spinners but more spoons. Heavier 1/8 - 3/16 for lakes and smaller JDM for rivers and streams. Even a lot of bait too.

Mar 04, 2019
BFS Pluggin
by: Greg D

I've always been attracted to small lures. I've had some in my collections from way back. I never really fished them much until this year. BFS changed that for me. My local trout stream has some big pools and I learned this winter that as mid day approached fish quit responding to my spoons or spinners but a minnow plug would get their attention. Even it they didn't hit it I found fish following it. Oftentimes they would strike it when I was at the very end of retrieve while lifting it. Being in a inflatable this was happening right in front of me, talk about adrenaline rush! It seems to that some fish that strike but don't hook will oftentimes come back to a minnow plug. I will switch plugs and try again and at times it will pay off. While I'm not going to take spins and spoons out of my box I have filtered out many of them to make room from a good selection of plugs and my challenge this year is a one box challenge. Everything I need has to fit in one box. Another great thread!

Mar 04, 2019
BFS buzz !
by: JJ

I have been watching and following the BFS movement for a couple of years now. Fishing plugs seems to be ideal for that method. I’m pretty content fishing UL spin for now. I don’t have any trouble getting my lure where I need it. My hope is that with an increase in popularity, the cost of BFS will moderate a bit. I would be more willing to dip a toe in then. Thanks in large part to Chris, its nice to be able to discuss, and have access to these methods that don’t involve fly fishing.

Mar 07, 2019
Dr minnow jointed
by: Tony

For sure if i was going to stick to one lure it would be the daiwa jointed dr minnow.
A phenomenal trout lure in both the sinking and floating models.

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The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.