But Ma! Everybody is doing it…
Since I host The Fisherman’s Journal, I am lucky enough to speak with many professional anglers each year, and although they all believe their lure sponsors produce some of the best lures out of the package on the market, one thing stands true with them all…
Professional anglers regularly modify their lures!
The tweaks are, at times, simple adjustments or additions/subtractions that makes the lure more appealing to the target species. Sometimes, it simply adds a little bit of security that your hardware will not fail when you hook into that fish of a lifetime and the fight begins.
When there is a $100,000 check on the line, you would like to have every advantage you can to make yourself successful. The best rods and reels can take you a long way, but a modified lure may just give you that extra bite you need to win the next big tournament.
Your Lure Modifications Should Leave the Lure Finely Tuned and Running Straight
A pair of pliers can be your best friend. Oftentimes, a spinnerbait or crankbait can fall out of tune and not run exactly how it is intended too. Additionally, you may want the lure to work a bit differently than it was intended to – say with a deeper dive or a tighter wobble.
That is when bending wires and bills can pay dividends. Simply take your pliers and adjust the lure (making sure you see it’s action in the water with each adjustment) until your lure runs how you want and to your liking. Seeing something different can oftentimes trigger a bass to bite.
With each catch and cast, however, be sure to check out your lure to make sure your modification has not changed. Fish bites and underwater structure can alter the changes you already made to a lure.
Terminal Tackle Efficiency
Hooks, swivels, O-rings, and other terminal tackle is often changed or added for more fishing success. O-rings, for example, can give a lure more action and entice the interest of bass that would otherwise shun the same bait without it.
Another very important modification that anglers oftentimes overlook are the hooks. Stock hooks are sometimes not strong enough to deal with the rigors of a bass’ mouth (or that log you thought was a bass) and can straighten. Replacing hooks can make the difference between landing that giant fish or having it be another one that got away!
One addition that has proven to do wonders for bass anglers is a trailer hook! A trailer hook on a lure such as a spinnerbait can offer you a ‘second chance’ of sorts – giving the bass another way of hooking itself during a strike. Often you will see the fish hooked on the trailer hook more than the main bait due to lazy or missed strikes.
Sometimes, It’s All About Color
Here is an experiment. If you have kids (or nieces, nephews, grandkids, etc.) have them take markers and color a lure. Then go out and fish that lure next time you are on the water. You will be surprised what you learn.
Color plays a major role in catching fish. Should I match the hatch or cast something that will stand out from the rest? The decision can be daunting.
For many professional anglers, knowing the water quality, forage, and weather can tell them what colors will work best. And adding a bit of color to the tail of a soft plastic, changing the color of spinnerbait blades, or adding a bit of an accent color to a hard bait can put more fish in their boat.
You should always keep markers and dyes in your tackle box. By paying attention to what you are seeing and how the fish respond you may just help you find the right color pattern for your local lake and beat the competition!
It’s Not Rocket Science
Or maybe it is. Who knows what the bass are thinking or what they want. The best way for you to find out is by experimentation. Take chances, make mistakes, and become a better angler because of it.
There is no right way to modify a lure. The Chatterbait, Whopper Plopper, and that hot new color catching all the fish in your area all came to be because of lure modifications. Perhaps the next big game changer can come from you. Or at least you can learn more the next time your out and catch a lot of fish trying different modifications!