Anglers Get Hooked by Fishing Lure Manufacturers

Alan Charles Star Outdoors Columnist
Friday, June 4, 2021
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Is it the type of lure, the color of the lure or just wearing the right lucky fishing cap that really makes a difference? SUBMITTED PHOTO/Alan Charles

“What are they biting on?” That is probably the most frequently asked question heard at the boat launch, tackle shop, or lakeside watering hole. The answer, no matter how honest or well-intentioned, may actually have little relevance to what motivated the person to ask the question in the first place, which is, “What should I use to catch some fish?”

I say that because there are so many variables and other factors to consider, besides just what lure or bait worked for the angler who caught some fish. Where were the fish when the angler caught them, near what kind of structure? How deep or shallow were they? What time of day was it when the fish bit? What were the weather conditions, windy or calm, clear or cloudy, warm or cold? What was the water clarity like, murky or clear? How fast was the person trolling, or what type of action was being given to the lure? The list goes on and on.

While some of these factors are rooted in the science behind the fishing, most fishermen are not scientists. They may ponder some of these things as part of a day’s fishing, but the truth is, most anglers are simply suckers for the answer to that doggoned question. That is why our tackle boxes keep getting crammed with more lures and different colors of the same lure.

Some readers are probably old enough to remember when a company called Herter’s used to publish a hunting and fishing equipment catalog that was as thick as the old Sears and Roebuck catalog. The Herter’s fishing lure section was filled with lengthy testimonials about how this or that lure worked to perfection, usually accompanied by a picture of a fisherman hoisting a big string of fish or some monster of a bass or pike or giant catfish.

We still always have to ask that same question, what are they biting on, and no matter whether it is another angler who is answering, or a tackle manufacturer’s ad telling the tale, we will probably bite, and either tie one of those things on, or go buy one, or two, or more.

I had a friend who used to run a baitshop with a wall full of lures. He would periodically inventory his stock, and whenever a tourist would ask him, “What are they biting on?” he would point toward the lure he had the most of, and say, “That’s been a hot one.”

More often than not, the angler would stop back by, and thank old Jack for selling him a lure that really worked, even though that particular lure had not been selling worth a darn, which is why Jack had so many of them! Quite often, it is not the particular lure or color that makes the difference, but rather how confident the angler is that it will cause a fish to bite.

I have fished a couple times with anglers who actually had apps on their smartphones that would tell them what lure to select, given the conditions they were fishing in at the time. Those apps were developed by people who had done their best to factor in as many of those variable conditions I mentioned earlier to help guide the angler into selecting the right lure. And, I am guessing, there may also have been a bit of marketing research involved in the app development.

Personally, I have no interest in having a computer help me decide what to tie on the end of my line. I am probably like most of you. I might always ask other anglers, “What are they biting on?” But I will probably pick out whatever tried and true lure I have in my tackle-box, at least to start with, and it will most likely be whatever worked the last time I tried it.

Even though I recognize that a lot of scientific factors might determine how effectively I catch fish, I know in my heart, it is not actually even what lure or color lure I tie on. I know that my luck depends upon whether or not I am wearing the right fishing cap, because if it’s not a lucky cap, I am not going to catch fish. And no computer can tell me which cap to wear.

( Alan Charles is a local outdoor columnist.)

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