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One or two Lures to Rule Them All?



I will start with the familiar refrain “30 years ago I used to do XYZ a lot”. In this case “XYZ” = fishing; trolling on Lake Champlain, trout fishing on alpine lakes out west, and where I intend to return, the Conowingo Pool on the Susquehanna of my youth.

I want to give catch and release fishing a shot there after, grabs calculator, damn. . . . 49 years since I last fished the Susquehanna. I have no idea what has changed lure-wise in five decades.

I still have a well-kept tackle box, with un-rusty spoons and flies and crank baits. And, looking through it for the first time in years, a copy of the last fishing license I ever bought; an out of State Maine license from July of 1999. Dang, three days for $23, that was a lot of beer money at the time, and I sure didn’t catch $23 worth of fish.

(What the hell, I’m feeling devilish; I just put that Maine license in my PFD pocket along with my current license, and plan to hand it over the first time I’m stopped by the DNR and asked if I have a fishing license. I will report the results after someone posts my bail).

Back to the question at hand. The Susquehanna thereabouts has largemouth, smallmouth, rock bass, perch, bluegill and various crappie.

I may mostly bottom fish for invasive flathead catfish, but will likely want to cast and retrieve at least a bit. Or, more likely given my lazy fishing “style”, perhaps cast and let some lure inattentively sit/float/sink.

Lordy there are a lot more lures than 50 years ago, and I don’t want to drop money on a bunch of lures for something I may decide is, yawn, not for me.

Suggestions for a lure or two appreciated.

(Angling for invasive flathead catfish I’ll use something live and wiggly on the bottom. Shame I don’t have access to pinkie mice anymore)
Up through my early 20's I was a hardcore fisherman and would take 8 tackle boxes and 15 rods out with me in the boat every time I went. Like all hobbies I started to get out of it and by the end only had a small tackle box with a handful of lures in it, mostly jigs. I decided to only fish with the lures I enjoyed fishing with and if the fish didn't want to eat them that day I was fine with it. But when you only have a handful of lures to choose from you get pretty good at fishing them and usually end up with some fish.

For smallies it's 3/16oz rubber jigs with weed guards and a plastic trailer.

The plastic trailers for the jigs can also be fished texas style with the addition of a suitable hook and sinker. Or they can be put on a jighead.

Cap's Rock-A-Roo (sadly out of production) marabou hair jigs for smallies, largies, white bass, or anything else that felt like biting on a minnow imitation.

Small hooks, split shot, and bobbers for worm fishing with kids.

Bigger circle hooks, sinkers, and swivels for catfish on the river (with beef liver).

A few top water frogs and plugs for when I want a little excitement top water fishing for bass.

Most of this junk is kept in a larger tackle box (which isn't very big) and I transfer what I need for that day into a smaller tackle box.

The barbs are pinched down on everything to make it easier to remove hooks from fish and myself.

I deliberately try to stay away from pike and treble hooks.

Last time I fished on a Canadian canoe trip all my lures (hair jigs) fit in a prescription pill bottle. No problem catching fish.

If you only wanted to just bring a few and leisurely cast and retrieve, I would get a couple floating poppers for summer early mornings and evenings and some jig heads for grubs and soft swim baits. Maybe a couple mepps in various flavors.

DuPont Spinner. Hard to come by, though. M-80s might have to suffice. Check your local laws. Ever used Rotenone? My rural southern roots are coming out.....
I'd have to take a green tube and a few different jig heads. I've caught more fish on that than anything. If I could have two, I'd add a yellow twister tail jig.
If the question is truly one lure only... then i would go with a Mepps Aglia #2 Gold with brown tail.

Thanks, ordered and on the way. Some of the lure names and terminology was Greek to me.

I still have a bunch of lures in my tackle box, but adding one more is worth a shot.

M-80s might have to suffice.

That brings up unspeakably cruel memories of a catfish we caught in my youth. Caught repeatedly, the same damn catfish, until, um, we didn’t anymore.
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Duct Tape beat me too it but my go-to lure when spin fishing is a #2 gold bladed Mepps. They are my standing Father's Day gift each year and I never tire of them. I've given them out to many students who are fishing for the first time in the Adirondacks and they've always been grateful; and they've always caught fish.

That's all for now. Take care, enjoy your time on the water with your new lures and until next time...be well.

New guy here. Love you Mike! Still outfitting my cedar strip Kite and you have been a big help for that.

For me a #2 Mepps any style would be my first choice IF I could only have one lure. Use a good quality ball bearing swivel unless you love line twist.
Wouldn’t ya know, I ordered that Mepps Agila #2 gold and just now got around to really looking through my old tackle box.

Maybe I did have some clue back in the day; I have two Mepps #2 gold yellow tails, although the tails are so badly tattered as to be practically non-existent, musta used them some.

Also a couple Rooster Tails in pristine condition, an old Daredevil, some poppers and a lot of nice flies. And some questionable stuff like a decades old fake grasshopper and yellow plastic worms.

I guess I’ll have no excuses for not catching something, except pure laziness.
Returned to the thread to show off a beauty I caught with a Silver #0 Mepps with brown tail.
15 inches of brook trout goodness


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A jointed Rapala is my go-to.

Crazy action, but the advantage is I can drag it behind the canoe at any paddling speed and it works. Some lures are more speed sensitive than others and will start skipping on the surface.

I can also feel the wobbling lure through the rod and know if the lure’s working or got fouled on weeds or something.