By JONAS Y. DAUB
Were one to step into a tackle store at the present time one would be confronted with more colorful "minnies" that would surely confuse the uninitiated, and would be relieved of more pesos than is healthy for the wallet, especially in these times of terminal tackle.
For just this reason, many anglers have passed up the casting game.
While it is a fact that a good outfit necessitates the laying out of a goodly sum, still a fair outfit can be bought for a small sum indeed. For actual fishing, four or five plugs will suffice. The less an angler will carry along, and using the few he does, the larger his bag will be. Too many anglers have a veritable tackle store which they carry along; and, in most cases, do not use one-half of it.
The writer's outfit in the early days consisted of the following: three or four casting reels, several rods of different weights, one peck assorted plugs of all colors of the rainbow, made by all the leading tackle manufacturers of the country; which, after the first few trips, resulted in the capture of several water-turtles, all the pickerel grass of a certain lake, several stumps, one 'shit-polk.' one fish and several nothings; which, needless to say, did not encourage me much at the time. Since that time I have reduced my outfit over fifty percent, and, catch fish.
You will notice in figure one (minnow No. 1) the large size towards (minnow No. 2). This is to illustrate the difference between the old styled and the modern plugs, that is in size. Not only is the smaller minnow more adapted for casting, but it allows the angler to use lighter tackle, which is a pleasure in itself.
That the tackle manufacturers saw to this is shown in figure 2. In this illustration is shown how the minnows have been reduced in size, during the past seven years. Minnow No. 1 is what is commonly called a five-ganged minnow; that is, it has five treble hooks. You can readily see that these heavy plugs are not adapted for bass fishing; not only on account of their bulk and weight, but also because of their great array of hooks, causing comment as to one's sportsmanship.
As the years pass, and the minnows are reduced in size, so also does the catch increase; not only in numbers, but size as well. During the past few years large numbers of muskellunge have been caught by using these modern minnowsócalled 'midgets.
These are just as strong as the older styled baits and their very smallness brings on strikes from fish that would otherwise be scared by a larger bait plunking into the water. The smallest bait shown (figure 4) is just II inches long, compared with figure 1, which is 31 inches. These lengths of minnows brings to mind a friend, who bought one of those minnows; known as penetella-minnows. This particular minnow was, if I remember correctly, 41 inches long. What would the sporting public say today, were one caught a-stream with such a bait?
Out of the many hundreds of baits made, all come under one of the three different groups, namely: surface, semi-surface and the deep under-waters. This latter type is usually a sinker, because of the necessity of getting down deep where the fish are lying.
They all "cup-up" more or less, some wriggling and wobbling; others gliding gracefully, coming in without the characteristic disturbance. You will want a variety of these, as these are in the biggest use, both by the professional and amateur. For one just starting out in the casting game, this type is preferred above all others, as they float when not in use, so they cannot sink to the bottom and catch there. Color is not so important in surface lures, but it certainly is in the under-water type. More about colors later.
Later on when one is proficient in the use of surface or semi-surface baits, one may take up the deep under-waters. Here more skill is necessary, for in their use a quick retrieve is necessary. Here also we must have artful coloration, as a large percent of our fish are caught on this type minnow alone, for this reasonócolor.
For the bright sunshiny days, using this style plug, the following selection will deliver the goods: one fancy green back, white belly; one red body with a dark blended back; one frog scale finish; and a red scale finish. For the cloudy days in deep water casting you will need one of the following: a rainbow; a white body, red head; a yellow perch and many other good ones too numerous to mention. This does not necessarily mean that each one of the above named will be required to get success out of casting. But it does mean that one each for the days named will be required. This means that two under-water plugs are to be desired; one for the bright days, and one for the cloudy days.
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