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Thursday, 26 April 2012 16:52

Comfort Baits

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I regularly get asked about what my favorite lures are. I normally come up with a response like “It depends on the situation,” or “The one that they are biting on…”. Now I know these answers aren’t terribly helpful to people, and I normally expand on them. However, I have made it a point to not try to tie myself to one lure or technique over the years.

I also love to try new lures, and have found my willingness to experiment has helped me as I have traveled and fished new areas and species. But when the fish aren’t biting I always seem to come back to the same few baits to try to change my luck. These are what I call my “comfort baits”.

Soft Plastics

Soft plastics can be some of the most realistic and varied baits out there. There are so many different colors and varieties - where do you start? Fishing as a kid, you would regularly find a red rubber worm on the end of my line. Nowadays my starting point is a soft stick-type bait, with my favorite one being a Hogy. They come in lengths and sizes from 4” all the way up to 18”, and I will pick them according to what I am looking to catch. If I am chasing largemouth bass or other freshwater fish, I’ll be using a 4” or 7” on a weighted swim bait hook. If I am chasing stripers, you’ll see a 10” or 14”, normally on a jig head, on the end of my line. With these setups I can cover the whole water column, as I can swim them across the surface, bounce them off the bottom, and fish them everywhere in between. 

comfort_baits_plasticI caught this 41” striper while swimming a 14” Hogy on a Slappy Jig head across the surface in Boston Harbor one night.

Lipless Crank Baits

You can pretty much bet if I have four rods rigged up to go fishing, one of them will have a Bill Lewis “Rat-L-Trap” on it. There have been many imitators over the years, but the original Rat-L-Trap is still my favorite. They are very versatile bait - they can be used to imitate all sorts of bait fish (and even crawfish), and they are easy to work, even for a beginner. They can also be effectively fished a lot deeper than most other crank baits. The size and color will again depend on what and where I am fishing, but I have had a lot of bad days on the water turned around by throwing out a Trap.

comfort_baits_crankThis 18” smallmouth was pulled off a rock pile in almost 40’of water using a ¾ oz Rat-L-Trap

Lipped Crank Baits

As a kid, I spent more time fishing an Original Floating Rapala than anything else. It is hard to beat a wood crank bait, in my opinion, and I still regularly use the original. However, my current favorite in the Rapala line up is their X-Rap. This is a suspending bait that can be worked with a slow or fast retrieve, jerked or retrieved steadily. It is very versatile, and very few fish can resist it. This year I was fishing one, and threw it to a bass that I could see up in the shallows. I watched the bass follow it for over a minute as I twitched the bait slowly out of the shallows. The final pause was a good 20 seconds long, and the bass just could not resist it any longer and slammed it.

comfort_baits_rileyMy son caught his personal best largemouth using a perch-colored Original Floating Rapala. It was the first Rapala I ever purchased when I was 12, and it is still in service and catching fish.

As you can see, all three of my comfort baits are versatile and can be fished in many conditions, all over the water column, and for multiple species. They are classic lures that will enable you to cover a lot of water quickly. All of them have roots from some of my earliest fishing days, and have evolved with the times. I bet you have some old favorites that have a modern twist as well. What are your “comfort baits”?

Read 13005 times Last modified on Tuesday, 24 April 2012 17:16
Gregg Crisp

About the Author:

Gregg Crisp has been an avid fisherman all of his life. In 2007 he rented his first kayak and discovered kayak fishing.  A year later a new one was in his driveway and he has never looked back. He frequents the waters around Boston in search of Striped Bass, and also spends plenty of time chasing Black Bass in the sweet water.  As an environmental contractor he has traveled and lived all over the United States, having fished in over 20 states. He currently resides in New Hampshire with his wife and two sons. Gregg authors the Blog YakFish.net, is part of the Yak Angler, Werner PaddlesRat-L-Trap & YakDaddy.net  ProStaff and is a member of the Jackson Kayak Fishing Team.



+1 # ABadBackcast 2012-04-27 09:46
Nice article Gregg...but I think it's more of a confidence thing for me. If I've been catching fish on a certain thing, it hard for me to go away from it....
# Hammerhead 2012-04-27 18:06
I here you Rob, I have confidence in other baits too depending on the situation. Like a spook on the top in the morning. These are the ones that I will throw in almost any situation.
# Pam 2012-04-27 22:57
Great picks, and soft plastics is usually my go to (most often start with) bait. Talking about the confidence thing though, I have 8 fully loaded tackle boxes in my garage and I can look at any lure in them and tell you if I've caught fish with it not.
# Bassman 2012-05-22 06:56
Greg, fishing is good because it is subjective. For me the last lipless bait (Rat-l-trap), is the worst bait ever comes out! It's like to cast a stone in the water!
# Ranger393 2016-01-29 11:57
Excellent article Gregg. I totally understand the "comfort bait" thing. My comfort baits are white spinner bait (single silver colorado blade), plum 8" curly tail worm ( texas rigged) and a shad colored Big O crank bait. I fish all kinds of baits but you can bet that those three will be on a rod in my boat no matter the conditions! Some days they don't see the water but it's comforting to me to know that I can turn a grab a rod rigged with those "favorite" baits.

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