This article discusses how blueback herring have been introduced into various river systems in the Southeast. Spotted bass feed on these fast-moving bait, so to catch them, use lures that imitate the blueback herring. Here is a list of my go-to baits, although it is nowhere near inclusive. Many of these lures can be purchased at great prices directly from the creators at the Jimbo Expo in January.
Topwater Walking Lures
A walking lure is also known as a walk-the-dog lure. As a topwater fishing lure, it is designed to imitate the movement of a wounded or struggling baitfish on the water’s surface. It is called a walking lure because of the zigzag or “walking” action it creates when retrieved.
Walking lures typically have a slender, elongated body shape with a flat or concave front and a tapered rear. They are usually made of hard plastic or wood and equipped with treble hooks. The lure’s design allows it to be worked effectively on the surface, enticing bass and other predatory fish to strike.
An angler manipulates a retrieved walking lure to create a side-to-side motion. This “walk-the-dog” action comes from a rhythmic twitching motion. This movement is given to the lure using the fishing rod. The lure moves in the direction of the rod tip’s sweep. When the rod tip returns to the center, the lure glides oppositely. Repeating this motion makes the lure dart and wiggle. This mimicry of injured prey’s erratic movement is enticing across the surface.
The walking action of the lure creates disturbance and noise on the water’s surface, attracting the attention of nearby bass. This technique can be particularly effective when bass are feeding near the surface or when fishing in shallow areas with cover like weed beds, lily pads, or fallen trees.
Top to bottom: Lucky Craft Gun Fish, Ima Skimmer, Heddon Zara Spook, Evergreen Shower Blows
Hard jerkbaits are a type of fishing lure designed to imitate injured or fleeing baitfish. As the name implies, “hard” jerkbaits are made from plastic or occasionally wood. They are characterized by their long, slender body shape with a pronounced lip or bill at the front. These lures are designed to be worked with sharp, jerking motions to create an erratic, darting action in the water. Hard jerkbaits are effective lures for covering water and triggering reaction strikes from fish. They are particularly useful when fish are in an aggressive or chasing mood. By imitating the movements of a wounded or fleeing baitfish, these lures can entice predatory fish to strike.
There are many retrieval options for jerkbait. From a straight retrieve to some combination of jerks, twitches, and pauses. The key is figuring out what presentation the fish want that day. Usually, the colder the water, the longer the pause. More about this in this article.
Soft jerkbaits are a type of fishing lure that imitates wounded or dying baitfish. Unlike hard jerkbaits, which are made of rigid materials, soft jerkbaits are typically constructed from soft, flexible plastics. They have a lifelike appearance and texture, making them highly effective in fooling predatory fish.
There are many options in the lure market currently in this arena, but the Lanier Baits Jerkshad is often my choice. This fluke-style bait can be rigged in a number of different ways: nose-hook, offset wide-gap worm hook, and threaded treble hook are just some of the many options. The viable presentations vary as much as the set-ups. Straight retrieve with a leader and swivel and adding twitches, pop-pop, pause retrieve varying the length of the pause, fast retrieve on the surface, and many more. Again, match the mood of the fish with your presentation.
Swimbaits are a type of fishing lure designed to imitate the swimming action of various baitfish and other aquatic creatures. They are popular among anglers targeting larger predatory. Here are a couple that imitates the blue back herring.
Swimbaits are known for their ability to attract larger fish due to their realistic appearance and lifelike swimming action. They are often used to target fish that feed on larger prey or during times when fish are more selective or less active
These hard baits swimmers: Southern Hook and Sweet Herring are jointed swimbaits that provide a look resembling the blueback herring when retrieved – and each one listed has a different “look” in the water. The mechanical swimmers are often fished with a straight retrieve near the surface and the soft swimmers can be fished at any depth from the top to the bottom of the water column.
Swimbaits typically have a prominent tail that generates swimming action as seen on these Lanier Bait Swimmers. The tail can be paddle-shaped, boot-tail, ribbon-style, or have other unique configurations to create vibrations and movement in the water.
The soft models like the Keitech, offer an even different look, but often a good contrast to the hard swimmers, as well as a completely different type of presentation in the same category.
A flutter spoon is a fishing lure designed to imitate a wounded or dying baitfish falling through the water column. Flutter spoons are characterized by their thin, elongated body and a concave or curved shape that allows them to flutter and wobble during the descent.
The GA Blade Flutter Spoon is an excellent choice to catch deep water summer spots on Lanier. Ripping or reeling these baits up off the bottom for several cranks and allowing them to sink back down naturally can draw some intense strikes from hungry spots in the area.
Underspins are versatile bait that combines the action of a spinner bait with the profile and presentation of a soft plastic swimbait or grub. They are known for their ability to mimic baitfish and trigger strikes from bass in various fishing scenarios.
This category of baits is another key choice for catching both deep and shallow spotted bass. GA Blade Shad Spin is often my choice in this arena. The baits often perform best with a Super Fluke JR or a Lanier Baits soft swimmer threaded on the hook. As with the soft swimbait, this bait can be worked from the top to bottom of the water column and at varying speeds and retrieves depending on the depth of the fish.
These lures combine lifelike appearance, realistic swimming action, and alluring colors to provoke predatory strikes from bass. Stocking your tackle box with these lures, the knowledge, and techniques discussed here and in the other articles, you can confidently imitate the blueback herring. Remember, adaptability is key, as fishing conditions vary, and bass behavior can change.