Lures that fall off the radar

Anglers love to chase the trends in baits and techniques. When something gets hot, everyone wants to use it.

When it starts catching fish for them, they can’t put it down - until another interesting trend comes along.

The end result is the former hot lure or technique falls off the radar.

This pattern in angler attitude is nothing new. It’s been that way for years.

Years ago, the Carolina rig came along and nearly everyone was throwing it. Two years later, Denny Brauer won a tournament flipping.

When he accepted his trophy, he thanked the Carolina rig for part of his success.

“The Carolina rig took everyone off the bank – where I like to fish,” he said.

While people laughed, I found that quite profound and it got me thinking. A savvy angler should revisit those lures and tactics that fall off the radar over time.

Fish get conditioned to a constant stream of the same baits and presentations. They’ll still bite those, but the “easy fishing” falls off over time.

However, when you show those same fish something they haven’t seen for a while, they may bite it with a lot more vigor.

I have kept records of a lot of tournaments over the past 50 years. I review those records before I visit a lake to see what lures and techniques produced best there during specific times of the year.

It’s helped me on numerous occasions.

During the first day of practice for a tournament on Truman Lake years ago, I ran into a creek where a local tournament was held. I sat out and watched the anglers and how they were fishing.

Every angler was throwing spinnerbaits and jigs and I never saw any of them catch a fish in areas where the fish should have been.

I recalled that the Big O crankbait had dominated there a few years prior but had fallen out of favor with anglers because of the cost.

I tied on a Bagley crankbait that resembled the Big O, went to the bank and caught a 5-pounder and then another 5-pounder. I knew exactly how I would fish that tournament and won it easily.

That’s the value of keeping records.

Here’s another example: Before a Bassmaster Classic at Lake Guntersville, I noted that Bobby Murray won a previous Classic at Lake Mead by burning a spinnerbait. It got popular for a while but ultimately faded.

Well, I won the Guntersville Classic and my five biggest bass were caught by burning a spinnerbait while others were slow winding it under the surface.

When the A Rig took over in my part of the country, it killed the jerkbait. I’m sure the jerkbait is going to get red hot again because very few anglers in my area are throwing it.

If you aren’t keeping records, you should – not just of your own successes – but of other tournaments fished on your favorite lakes.

You can learn a lot by looking back and you might find a lure or technique that has fallen off the radar – one that produces fish everyone else is missing.