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Artificials or Live Bait

Artificials or Live Bait Artificials or Live Bait
By Jim Hammond

This past week I had the opportunity to fish with my bubby James Roney. We planned on fishing a small lake for specks (crappie). The day before, he asked if I had any minnows, to which I replied, I have mud minnows in the big boat. This was not what he had in mind, he wanted Missouri minnows. The small minnows that most people speck fish with. I told him that we could catch the fish without minnows and his reply to this was these fish don't want artificials, just minnows.

James has been with me on several occasions when we tore up the specks on just artificials but these fish only wanted minnows. I told him that I would go by Thrifty Bait and get some minnows on the way the next day.

Well the next day came and I was on my way to the lake to catch some specks. Woops, I forgot to go by Thrifty and get minnows. Oh well, I bet we can catch them on the killer new baits that I had just unboxed from MirrOLure.

When I pulled up the spot, James immediately went to the boat and seemed as if he was looking for the Keep Alive portable live well, which he could not find because I did not bring it. Therefore there were no minnows. Right away, he was asking where were the minnows. I told him that we did not need minnows to catch specks but he was convinced that no minnows equals no specks.

We launched the boat, slipped the MotorGuide trolling motor in the water and proceeded to make our way down the shoreline casting and retrieving our artificials. I was throwing the MirrOLure MMLS a jointed crank bait 1-5/8 inches long that weighs 1/16 of an ounce and dives to about 5 feet.

This lure has such a lifelike action that I cannot believe James would question it's ability to lure in the crappie one after another and, it looks just like a little minnow.

James was throwing a 1/16 ounce lead head with an Exude 1 inch scented curly tail.

As soon as the first cast was made with no fish on the other end, he started in. I told you we were going to need minnows, if we had minnows we would have had several specks by now. All the while, I knew that when we found them, we would start to put them in the boat.

We had now worked about 200 yards of shoreline and NO FISH. He was now throwing a 6 inch plastic worm trying to scare up a bass. I was steady working my little MirrOLure. We managed to go about another 200 yards and he put down the bass worm and picked up the little curly tail. I asked "what are you doing" and his reply was "this is where the specks have been". I then asked why we were fishing the last 400 yards of shore line if this is where they have been???????? He said he thought we might pick one up down there.

I was the first to cast into the spot. This spot was a place in the shoreline that was sort of an indention. It was a spot that was about twenty feet long that did not have any dollar weed growing in it and the bank sort of was drawn back from the rest of the shoreline. My cast was right in the spot and I worked the little lure right back to the boat and no fish. James and I made about a dozen cast to the spot and no fish. I was really getting it now. James was giving me heck about not stopping and getting minnows. We fished this area for about ten minutes and no fish.

You would have had to have been there to appreciate his attitude about having to throw these artificials and not having any minnows. I kept telling him that when we found fish they would eat what we had to offer and he kept saying that if I had brought minnows we would have had several fish by now. I was not convinced that we had thrown our baits near any fish to this point as I have caught many a specks on the bait that he was throwing and the little MirrOLure that I was throwing was so much like a minnow that you could not have gotten any closer without having a real minnow on the hook.

At on time James even got on the radio and called one of his buddies and asked him to bring us some minnows.

Things were about to change.

We eased down a little farther and I was hooked up. I hollered "FISH ON" and proceeded to work the fish toward the boat. I had a speck and not on a live minnow but my MirrOLure MMLS Broken Back Crank Bait. I managed to get the fish right up to the boat and as I was rubbing it in that these fish would eat artificials, he got off of the hook. Uh Oh, open mouth insert foot. I immediately made another cast in the same general area and I was hooked up again. This one managed to make it in the boat and now I was all bowed up. I quickly released this fish and as I was about to make another cast, James was hooked up. His managed to make it to the boat as did several more from both our efforts in this little stretch of shoreline. Not bad we had actually been in the water for about 1 hour but only in the right spot for about 20 minutes and had managed to boat about 8 nice specks.

We continued to work this section of shoreline picking up a fish every minute or two. Every now and then we would mange to find a spot that was holding a few fish and we would work that spot until the bite stopped.

I would cast the little MirrOLure right up on the shoreline and slowly retrieve it back towards the boat. I was trying to keep it just off of the bottom as it was covered with a moss like grass. With the exception of one or two fish the bite on the crank bait was as if they were just there. No big slam, no strike, they were just there. What I mean by "just there" is the lure felt heavy, it was more difficult to turn the handle on the reel, it almost felt like I was hung on something, then the fish would begin to pull back and then there was "NO DOUBT" that the fish was there.

The rig that I was using was a Pflueger Trion Ultra Light rod and Pflueger Trion Ultra Light spinning reel. With an ultra light outfit like this, you can cast a small lure plenty far enough and the rig is so light that even a small speck fights like a big dog.

We fished until about 9:30 that morning and managed to catch about 25 specks on "ARTIFICIALS", no live minnows, no dead minnows, just a MirrOLure ultra light crank bait and an Exude 1 inch curly tail on a 1/16 ounce jig. I don't think this turned out to be such a bad morning after all, around 25 specks in about 2 hours. We then turned our attention to bass fishing and on my second cast. Wait just a minute. This is another story all together. You are going to have to read about this some other time.

The point to be learned from this day is, artificials will catch fish. Now I am not saying for all of you to throw away all of your live or natural bait tackle and convert over to artificial but you do not always need to fish live bait to have fun and end up with a mess of fish.

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