Lures catch fish due to their appearance and the manner in which they are deployed. Even though some lures don’t specifically imitate or suggest food through their physical appearance, they imitate or suggest food in the way that they’re used. Thus, in one sense or another all lures represent some form of food; they either mimic real food closely, as is true of artificial flies or minnow-style plugs, or they suggest food, as is true of jigs, spinners, and spoons.
Even though lures represent food, they are not only or always struck by fish that are feeding. Fish strike lures for many reasons. Hunger is a prime motivation. Instinctive reflex, aggravation, competition, and protection are others.
Fish refuse to strike lures at times for many reasons, too. Predatory fish, which are of major sportfishing interest, spend varied portions of their time feeding. Some species, especially many in saltwater, are necessarily eating machines and constantly forage, while others, especially many in freshwater, feed less frequently and are often more selective.
Lots to Choose From
Certainly the range of food consumed by gamefish is extremely wide, varying with different environments, different species, and different seasons. Thus, some fish are more susceptible to lures, and certain types of lures and fishing techniques, than others, and there is great variety in the types of lures that have evolved and which are appropriate at a given time.
A visit to a well-supplied tackle store, with a mind-boggling and probably confusing array of lures, will verify this.
To put the situation into perspective, consider a mid-size lure manufacturer. When specific models are taken into account, then multiplied by the various sizes and assorted colors in which the models are produced, the number of different lures that it makes may swell to a staggering 1,500-plus. And there are dozens of large and medium-size lure manufacturers, plus many more smaller ones, making fishing lures out of plastic, wood, and metal, not to mention all of the commercial and home tyers of artificial flies.
Either because of this situation, or causing it, is the fact that anglers have a deep fascination with the objects that they use to dupe fish, and as a group are obsessed with finding, creating, or trying new lures in the never-diminishing hope of increasing success. This not only fuels the array of individual products, but leads to extensive regional preferences in types and colors of lures to use for various fish species.
Almost invariably the first question someone asks a successful angler is about the type of lure used. This underscores people’s interest in the items that have caught, or will catch, fish. Some avid anglers possess so many lures that they could open up their own tackle emporium.
Putting Lures to Best Use
No lure, no matter how appealing it is to the human eye, will catch fish of itself. How the angler uses it – in other words, where it is fished and how skillfully it is retrieved – are key factors in its success, although some lures are inherently better than others due to their design, swimming action, and appearance.
There are two elements to being consistently effective with lures. The first is knowing the quarry, knowing something about the behavior of the food it most often consumes, and matching lure selection to the habits of that fish and the prevailing conditions.
The second is being completely familiar with the characteristics of each lure you use, and being able to make each work to its maximum designed ability. The more you know about your lures and the fish you seek, and the better you understand the conditions in which you seek them, the better prepared you’ll be to make a knowledgeable lure selection.