When it comes to such a trip, I have to pack wisely – the family’s luggage takes up a lot of space in the truck and, on top of that, I really can’t take a massive tackle box out in the kayak with me. Any tackle that’s going on the water has to fit into my life vest.
That really limits what can go. I must focus on lures that I find reliable, no matter the water, no matter the species. In the Adirondacks, just like anywhere in upstate New York, I might find myself targeting trout on one cast and bass or pike the next. I have to be diverse and prepared to catch anything.
This is old hat to me. I’ve been vacationing in the Adirondacks with my wife for a dozen years and I’ve been small boat fishing longer than that. So, I already have my old stand-bys that I stuff into life vest. It just so happens, they are the very same lures that I keep with me no matter where I might fish, be it Alma Pond near the Pennsylvania border or Glenwood Lake in Orleans County.
So, just what is in my life vest?
Here is my “go to” fishing gear:
- 7.5” black plastic worms: I won’t fish any bass pond without a handful of these effective baits. Rigged Texas style -- that is with a bullet weight and a hook made weedless in the body of the worm -- they can be fished in shallow waters, along deep weed edges, or dragged across the top of the thickest mats of moss. Fished with touch and nuance, they are deadly lures for largemouth bass.
- 3” tube jigs: I use only the smoke colored tubes shown in the photo with a ¼ ounce jig inside of them. Smoke is a neutral color that mimics many species of baitfish, making them useful for any body of water and any species of fish. They can be fished shallow or to depths to 20 feet and in lakes or fast moving rivers. They are incredibly versatile and I’ve caught everything from salmon to pike to walleye on them.
- 3” white Mr. Twisters: Many longtime anglers may have given up on these lures as they became more “serious”. I haven’t. They are productive and, to me, they are just as fun as they were when I just started to fish. On one roadside Adirondack lake I’ve used Twisters to catch a 20” bass and a 30” lake trout from my kayak. Those aren’t slouches on any waterway in New York. I always keep two sizes of jigs handy – 1/8 ounce for jigging in shallow water (15 feet or less) and a heavy one – ¼ ounce -- for deep-water jigging (up to 50 feet).
- Live worms: Those same jig heads that I use on Mr. Twisters are also used on live worms. Many fishermen might think I’m a heathen or an amateur for using nightcrawlers, but I’ll tell you what – they catch fish. When I’m stymied on smallmouth bass lakes, I put on worms and start catching fish. Likewise, many a jigged crawler has tempted tasty panfish, walleye, and trout. Plus, earthworms always lend themselves to surprises – you never really do know what’s on the other end of the line when you set the hook. I’ve even been caught off guard by two snapping turtles, a real shocker when you are in a kayak.
So, that’s it. That’s all you will find in my life vest. My selection might seem simple. Maybe it is. But it works.
And, I should probably tell you that with that gear I always use a two-piece medium action rod with 12 pound test on a spinning reel. That line diameter allows for a nice slow, subtle drop of tube jigs and it gives me the strength I need to horse a bass out of weeds.
This begs the question: What are YOUR “go to” lures and baits?
If you were stuck in the wilderness and had just a handful of lures to stay alive, what would you hope you had with you?
I’m curious what you would choose and why. Comment on this story on Facebook and Twitter to keep the conversation going.
From the 06 October 2016 All WNY News