Coming away from the national fishing trade show, it’s only natural that I should still be thinking about toys, er lures. But when I look at those toys as tools, then it’s a little easier to group them, since eventually many will end up in my toy/tool box or whatever tackle system I might employ.

I have special appreciation for the Bill Siemantel philosophy, which, beyond focusing on fish location, is largely tool and technique centered. Although he has designed and continues to design baits for SPRO, he has never discounted any of the baits that he has utilized in the past from Worm King to the original Optimum, to Castaic or Huddleston. He has a sponsor now, yes, but remember, his book is not entitled the “Spro-zone.” (Click here)

Therefore, when a fisherman has a good tool–make that the right tool for the task–he or she should be able to concentrate on a specific technique. Unfortunately, as we look at our lure options for common situations, we sometimes get side-tracked by brand, price or the latest trend.

This isn’t a criticism, because we all know what a role confidence plays in our fish catching. If we are confident in using the name brand, the most expensive product or the bait that “Howie Headline” recommends, we tend to stick with it longer and maybe we get a few more bites. But would that necessarily be a better tool than another that comes without the hype and hoodoo?

HOW THEY WORK is what matters

We really have to understand what we want it to do before we dismiss any lure. Consider that baits with similar shapes and colors can have widely different properties. The best tool for the job can cost every bit of 80 bucks, but it can also cost barely a dollar. As an example, I’ve pictured new lures from Creme and SPRO. One is 2 bucks, retail, the other about $13.

Each can be fished on the straight crank, though the weight and buoyancy properties will require a different retrieve speed to keep them at the same depth. Because of those same properties, line test or diameter can have a significant effect on how the bait moves. Both can be ripped, or allowed to pendulum, but one will settle much more slowly (BBZ), while the heavier one (Mad Dad–ok, add a better hook) with its points riding up works the contours more easily, with fewer hang-ups.

You will find such differences in all types of lures and certainly the fish often respond well to a range of vibration and/or visual properties. When that’s the case, there is little value in arguing my color over yours. But when there is a presentation/bait combination issue where the fish respond better to one, that’s when it’s worth it to figure out why.