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Girls' guide to fishing, Part II
6/07

Last week, I started what has turned out to be a multi-part community service series: Girls’ Guide to Fishing.

I thought there would be room this week to expound on the topics I didn’t cover last week, including learning the lure, handling the fish, catch and release, and the romantic “special time.’

Not true.

Turns out lures, in and of themselves, are a very complicated subject and I just couldn’t shut up about them. Unless the ‘special time’ portion gets out of hand, next week should end this informative series for the ladies.

Learn your lures
It is a commonly-held belief among those of us who grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons that if you put a worm on a hook and throw it into the water it will attract a big fish with outrageously funny facial expressions and a large exclamation point above it’s head.

This is simply not so.

Real live worms with faces do not cost enough to attract a fish, if you are a serious fisherman. Plus, most have signed contracts with Disney.

Therefore God, during his “fishing phase,” invented lures. When I say lures, it covers a plethora of artificial baits – rattletraps, poppers, plastics- worms, crawdads and assorted creepy things that get fat bass excited, spinners and some other stuff I haven’t committed to memory.

I prefer rattletraps and plastics, because and only because I have never caught a bass on anything else. My A.D.D. tells me that if a fish doesn’t attack my bait within three casts, my fishing mojo is not jibing with that particular bait.

Still I will attempt to describe the baits used for bass fishing and the personality type each best suits..

1) Plastics – these are usually in the shape of a slimy creature (think that Creepy Crawlers thing you had when you were six that made plastic creatures), usually a worm (see?!?!), a crawdad, a frog or something that girls won’t put in their pocket. Often these are packed in brine which is fishing vernacular for “salt.” You thread one of these on the hook which is either Carolina-or-Texas-rigged (no one thought I was paying attention), and throw it far, far out into the lake and let it sink to the bottom.
It occurs to me that the fish like salt on their worms, much like humans and their French fries. But I digress.
You reel it in slowly. Really, really slowly. Along the way, it will get caught on rocks and make you cuss. More than occasionally you will lose one by breaking the line, and again, cuss.
This method is not recommended for people who talk a lot, or are distracted by shiny objects (see spinners). The bite on this one can be subtle, so paying attention is paramount in catching fish with this method. I kinda suck at this one.
BEST SUITED FOR patient people who like to think a lot and talk a little. Not recommended for those with only one lure.

2) Rattletraps – Again, I prefer this method because I caught a big fish using one that has come to be known as a “Lake Arrowhead Rattletrap.”
The fish, which I named “Accident” (see exhibit A), weighed 6 lbs., 5 ounces. I was fishing with a rattletrap for the very first time in March when I caught him (or her, I haven’t learned how to tell them apart), and to no one’s surprise was talking like it was no body’s business. I honestly thought I had snagged a tree branch and jerked to pull it free and set the hook.
Rattletraps look like psychedelic minnows with a couple of treble hooks underneath. I have never seen an actual live psychedelic minnow with treble hook appendages, but I assume they live with the worms at Disney.
To use this lure, you cast out as far as you can and reel it back in either sorta fast or at breakneck speed, depending on what kind of story you’re telling or what vibe you’re getting from the fish. When you feel the fish hit the lure, you jerk it back as hard and you can to set the hook.
BEST SUITED FOR those with good reactionary time and the ability to talk and chew gum at the same time.

3) Plastics – I’ve already gone over these, I just wanted to point out exhibit B, caught on a worm in April of last year. Note the difference in the size of the fish and the jazz fingers.

4) Spinner baits – These little guys are the Paris Hiltons of fishing lures as far as I’m concerned at this point. They look like a big hook wearing a heavily starched hula skirt in a bright color. As a bonus there’s a shiny oval thing that spins when you reel it in. And you reel this one in kinda fast. You will talk as fast as you reel, which is an interesting phenomenon. I have never had any luck with these but I have successfully argued the beef jerky vs. beef stick debate while reeling it in.
BEST SUITED FOR those bored with plastics and rattletraps.

5) Poppers – Apparently used by skilled fishermen, I’ve only tried this once, again with no luck. These lures kind of have an open mouth and you “pop” them on top of the water, which means nobody creative took part in a naming of this lure. Supposedly, the big fish thinks it a big snack cavorting on top of the water and jumps out to grab it like Jaws. Only a bass is smaller than a great white shark.
Thinking deeply about this one, I would think that in the event that fish are not biting, you could have “popper races,” or give points for landing yours’ on a lily pad or other aquatic structure.
BEST SUITED FOR those who crave a challenge, or excel at the video game “Frogger.”

Exhibit A

Exhibit B