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than 200 million have been sold in the
United States. Spinners are an excellent
choice for trout, bass, and panfish. They’re
particularly effective in slightly off-color
or cloudy water, because the spinner sends
out vibrations that fish can home in on.
4Topwater Plugs: Lures like the Heddon Zara Spook and the Bomber Badonk-A-Donk are
adored for the adrenaline-inducing explo-
sions they produce when fished with a
classic “walk-the-dog” retrieve. There are
many variations on topwater plugs; some
chug and pop, others bob and weave, and
still others have small spinners or propel-
Topwater lures can be used for a wide
variety of species, but they’re most effective when cast to shoreline haunts where
fish like striped bass and snook attack
from below. They’re also spectacularly
effective when fish are in a feeding frenzy
and break water on shoals of bait.
6Jigging Spoons: Jigging spoons don’t really have a spoon-like shape and are usually long and
narrow; some folks call them dog-bone
spoons. Rather than wobble, these spoons
are designed to sink quickly to reach great
depths, then dart and weave as the angler
jerks his or her rod tip.
While there are freshwater applications in larger bodies of water, due to the
deepwater nature of jigging spoons, they’re
mostly used in open bays and oceans.
Since giving the spoon some action is
entirely up to the angler, it takes constant
work to be successful with jigging spoons.
7Soft Plastic Shad: Few lures are as versatile as soft plastic shad jigs – and few come in more shapes, sizes,
and colors. Some with paddle tails swim
when retrieved, some have straight tails
that require angler input, and some have
tails with fins that flap. All are effective.
Soft plastics cover so many bases that
it’s impossible to generalize where and
when they shine. They can be used without any weight for topwater action one
day, then rigged on a lead jig head to
40 | BoatU.S. Magazine APRIL | MAY 2016
5 Swimming Plugs: Swimming plugs, also known as lip- less crankbaits, have an angled face
that forces the lure to dig into the water and
wiggle from side to side as it moves forward. The
Rat-L-Trap, manufactured by Bill Lewis Outdoors, is considered the classic, and as legend has it, Bill Lewis himself named
the lures while selling them from his rattletrap station wagon in
the 1960s. These plugs have rattles inside to produce fish-attract-ing vibrations. Swimming plugs are an excellent choice in low-light conditions and when fishing in murky waters. The vibrations
they create can call in fish from afar, when visibility is reduced.
Swimming plugs are also a good choice for subsurface trolling,
when fish are suspended just below the water’s surface.
Available in a
wide range of
colors (this one’s
Chicken) and sizes, the Rat-L-Trap
is an immensely
popular swimming plug.