Just a quick hitting entry on something I just learned today. Any big-time bass fisherman right now (and I would bet a large sum of money that you old-timers knew about this long before 2012) has to have heard about the Alabama Rig and the magic it is working when you can find where the bait fish are. Well as you might have read on other blogs and news stories, B.A.S.S. has now effectively banned the use of this rig in all of its Bassmaster Elite competitions (and only the Elite Series) via a "one-lure" rule. To read more about it, check out the Bassmaster website. So what do you think, is this the right thing to do from a sportsmanship standpoint?
A trolling charm for many species of fish!
The J-Plug has long been one of my favorite trolling lures. This plug comes in multiple color combinations (that can be found here) as well as come in three different varieties: Rattling, lighted and everglow, which gives you a lure for every kind of fishing you can think of from daytime to nighttime trolling. They also come in lengths from 4 inches to 5 1/2 inches. They are unique in a couple of ways:
1) They have a very cool darting action that really catches the attention of a variety of fish. I've caught bass, trout and even Northern Pike on these plugs.
2) Also, the lure has a hook harness that I have not seen with other lures. These harnesses usually have two treble hooks and thread through the nose of the lure where they can be attached to a swivel or tired directly to the line.
I've usually fished these in combination with a Lurh Jensen Dipsy Diver, which I'll detail below.
These Dipsy Divers are really a very nifty gadget! They give any fisherman the ability to fish lures including J-Plugs and spoons at a variety of depths very easily! You can fish from just below the service to the bottom by varying the size of the diver and the amount of line you let out. You can also vary the angle of dive to have these "plane" out to one side or the other. These divers can be found at Bass Pro and Cabelas, just do a search for 'Dipsy Diver' and you'll see the variety that is available. The larger 4-7/8" divers will go to about 100 feet and the smaller 2-1/4" will dive to about 20 feet. I use the following depth chart as a guide. Oh, did I mention that these come in different colors as well and can be matched to the water color in order to act as an attractant as well? Not everyone has the money to invest in down riggers and this gives you an easy and budget friendly way to troll, with prices ranging from $9 - $15.
The setup is simple. You'll want to use a sturdy trolling rod and reel such as the following Dipsy Diver Model from Cabelas. I usually use 20lb test mono on the main line that will be tied from the rod to the Dipsy Diver, just as you would tie a lure to the end of your line. You then just need to add a leader to the back of the diver, I usually use 15 lb test but this can vary depending on the size and type of fish you are going after. To the other end of the leader you tie your lure, such as the J-Plug I detailed above.
Once you have your rig set up, you are ready to hit the water and do some fishing! The only other note I have is that there is a release, much like that of a down rigger. When trolling, your rod will be bent quite a bit (this is normal due to the tension the diver applies); once a fish bites and is on the line, the added weight and fight of the fish will "throw" the release and the Dipsy Diver will stop diving and you can easily fight your fish to the surface. If you need to check your line for weeds, etc while trolling, you can give a good tug (just like you were setting the hook on a fish) to "throw" the release manually. This will allow you to retrieve the diver rig. Don't try to reel in the diver without doing this as it will be quite difficult!
If you've used either of these, please let us know of your success stories as we would love to hear what color combinations you favor!
- Paul Nicolucci
Everyone has to admit that they have an all-time favorite fishing lure. It might take you a couple of minutes to really figure out which lure is your favorite, but think back to a time when the fish just were not biting and try to remember the lure you looked for in your tackle bag. I know that I always seem to fall back onto the Rapala Jointed Minnow in the FireTiger color combination.
I've fished this lure in a variety of ways from casting under docks to trolling, all of which have been successful. I really like this color combination in all water conditions, it has the color for murky waters and also fish don't seem to mind the bright color scheme in clear water either. It has a great swimming action when trolled or retrieved at a moderate speed that fish just can't seem to resist!
The species of fish that I have caught include Smallmouth Bass, Lake Trout and Brown Trout. I'd really like to hear from some of our readers as far as what their favorite lure is. It's quite interesting to see what others fall back on when the fishing gets tough!
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