In a recent discussion about the Alabama Rig and how effective it is, we went off on a slight tangent on what is the best fishing lure period. First, let me talk a little about the Alabama Rig to catch you up on the progression of the conversation.
The Alabama Rig made its mark on the fishing world around a year ago. Basically, the rig has a fish jig head where the line it tied. Trailing behind the jig head is an ‘umbrella’ of small wires that end with loops to attach up to five more lures. This presents a ‘school’ effect and the largemouth bass cannot stand it! The rig has been responsible for a number of professional fishing tournament wins and has brought out the voices to outlaw it. Some municipalities and wildlife agencies have even researched whether the rig should be allowed for recreational fishing.
Now this sounds like one of those golf ball advertisements you can see every now and then with the fake news headline ‘Ball Flies So Far it has Made Courses Obsolete.’ However, from what I can see, the Alabama Rig is the real deal. But, the Alabama Rig is NOT a lure. Nope. It is a rig in which you put lures on it.
So, that is where we came to the best lure. One way to think of this is if you have one artificial bait to fish with, what would you use? Not just for bass, or crappie, or catfish, but to make sure, to insure, you would get the rod tip bent and the line tight. Notice, this discussion is on artificial bait. Live bait could have its own arguments as well, but personally, in a survival situation, I would say earthworms would dominate. They are easier to find than a bunch of crickets, and a whole lot easier to catch and hook. One worm can also be torn into several pieces providing multiple baits from the same body. See how easy it is to go off on a tangent?
Back to the best artificial bait. My opinion, and yes my opinion is not worth a bunch unless it can be backed up, is the beetle spin provides the best opportunity to bring in a fish. The beetle spin is a small jig head with a single hook where a small plastic worm or ‘beetle’ is slid over top. The jig head is attached to a small wire that is elbowed with a spinner at the opposite end. The fishing line is tied where the elbow is located.
One of the great things about the beetle spin is the number of different colors and combinations of beetles that can be used. Some of the more common ones are grub looking beetles that are solid white with a red dot, black worms with yellow stripes, yellow worms with black stripes, and a vast assortment of solid colored worms such as white, yellow, and green.
But we are trying to narrow it down to one lure, not an assortment of possible lures in the same setup. I have had great success with the beetle spin for over 35 years. Hard to believe since I am only 29 years old…(see, fishermen lie about more than the size of their catches, or near catches). To pinpoint the best bait, it comes down to four specific worms for use on the beetle spin.
The first is a green/brown almost transparent, well maybe the best word is translucent, with two black stripes. If you fished with a catalpa worm on a hook, think of what the insides look like after a small bream has attacked it with the ferocity of a piranha on a blood soaked chicken leg. I know, not an image you want to keep in your head very long, but honestly, that is what it looks like. It is a great color combination for the fish and the spinner does the attraction. But still, this is not the best lure.
Another of my favorites is the white grub with a single red dot. I often like to use this with a split tail. I don’t know why I prefer the split tail with this particular plastic bait, other than the possible extra movement is enough to get the bites. Again, this is a great spinner bait, but the next two are the finalists for world’s best bait.
Black worm, two yellow stripes. You would think the mostly black bait would be hard to see, but the fish find it. The spinner once again draws the attention and then the yellow stripes seal the deal. Remember the squashed catalpa worm vision from earlier? No, I didn’t rehash it to make you queasy. But this is exactly what this bait looks like, except before it gets squashed. If you have never fished with a catalpa worm, you need to find one. Back in the day, we had four catalpa trees near our pond. The summer was spent hooking the worms and tossing them in the water. The line would constantly alternate between wet and dry. Why? Because we would have to keep pulling those fish in!
Now, as great as that sounds, this final beetle spin setup is by far my favorite, and my vote for world’s best. Solid yellow body with two black stripes ending in a split tail. I have always said it reminds me of a bumble bee. My son and I entered a small tournament several years ago. The tourney had prizes for most fish, largest fish, and smallest fish. I explained in typical parent/mentor to son/protégé the significance of the knowledge I was about to share with him. The bumble bee beetle spin is the Holy Grail of lures, yet many just do not possess the intellectual capacity to understand how wonderful it is. It was one of those moments when you could hear the angels singing in the background and the earth tremble with the passing of the wisdom. We caught the most fish that day. Proof is in the pudding as the saying goes.
Back to that Alabama Rig briefly. I wonder how great I could be on the professional bass fishermen’s circuit with five beetle spins tailing the back of that setup?