I have written a number of pieces for magazines, websites and even in my book about what five lures an expert would pick if pressed to only fish with five lures for the rest of their life. It is a fun question to ask because it makes any angler immediately think of several indispensable all stars and then the literal army of decent but not indispensable players. I have particularly enjoyed posing this question to anglers who fish professionally or are at the least, proven experts. There is a certain feeling of divine insight that comes from a peek in a true pro’s private lure collection.
As anglers, we always want the proverbial silver bullet, and the lure choices of experts just feel like an advantage. Like some type of “insider information,” those baits must have an advantage. If he or she uses that bait, it has to work. Right?
There actually is some validity to this fantasy. Confidence is the key to sports, shooting, investing, speaking, writing, and fishing is no different. An extra hint of confidence in a bait can lead to extra attention in working it and often allows a weary or frazzled angler to stick out a pattern even if the bite is slow or non-existent. We have all had that feeling that “I must just be throwing the wrong lure” but a little confidence can change everything.
Through years of asking this question of coastal pros, I have found that there is some very good insight embedded in these scholarly selections. You will often note that with their modest selection of only five baits, they all pick enough variance of bait styles to address all parts of the water column and a variety of feeding patterns and activity levels for trout and redfish. It is very easy for anglers to get hung up in the rainbow of color choices, and often it is the bait’s style, presentation and action that are the actual attractant…or not.
Among the themes, I have also noticed that there is a consistent presence of some of the classic baits. Spoons are largely no different than the first ones crafted a century or maybe centuries ago. Remember that trout and redfish feeding impulses do not materially change through the years. Never forget the classics. They work.
Remember too that the quest for the best five baits is meant to focus your attention on addressing the key qualities needed for successful angling and to control your impulse from looking for the “magic” lure. This quest is not meant to truly be some glimpse into a holy tackle box, but if you are like me, it does feel pretty darn close.
I will share several different experts in coming blogs by highlighting one per edition. In describing their choices, you will note that some lures have more detailed descriptions than others. I tried to keep them as consistent as possible, but there is always some variance among experts as to the descriptions of colors, inclusion of a jighead weight, etc. I always try to stay as true as possible to the experts actual description.
I will kick this series off with my good friend Brian Holden.
Brian is a fulltime fishing and hunting guide in the Rockport area and is general manager of the legendary Redfish Lodge. (As an aside, Redfish Lodge was devastated by Hurricane Harvey and is being rebuilt. They continue to take bookings but utilize lodging in other locations.) Brian is the personification of focus and determination. His skill, intensity and tenacity make him an incredibly consistent and successful guide. After sending me his list, he followed up with a middle of the night edit that woke him up in terror for forgetting it. If that does not speak to his intensity and focus…I do not know what does.
• Paul Brown’s Original Fat Boy – Chartreuse
• Texas Trout Killer in Pumpkinseed
• Gulp 3-inch mantis shrimp in New Penny
• Hedden One Knocker in Bone
• Down South Lures in Chicken of the C pattern