Fresh Fish at Sea: Trolling and Casting Saltwater Swimming Lures
If you’re a kayak fishing enthusiast with an interest in striped bass, dorado, yellowfin tuna and other nearshore pelagics, chances are you’ve added to your collection of saltwater fishing lures a series of swimming lures from manufacturers like Yozuri, Roberts and so on.
The advantage to casting and trolling swimming lures from a sit-on-top kayak made for kayak fishing or a sea kayak on a multi-day trip, and aside from the lures’ being sold equipped with two too many treble hooks (more on that later) is that they are relatively expensive, usually upwards of about $12.00 U.S.
This class of saltwater fishing lures has also has gotten quite fancy over the years. Some models feature flashy holographic patterns that toothy fish’s bites simply scrape off. Some are sold with noisemakers (basically steel marbles) installed.
Filigrees such as these are meant to catch more fishermen than fish. The only talents a swimming lure really needs, whether you are surfcasting or kayak fishing, are the ability to float and a design that makes the lure wobble and dodge motion in the water column when trolled or retrieved.
Because swimming saltwater fishing lures are larger and bulkier than three other lures good for sit-on-top kayak fishing and fishing from a sea kayak (the Cape Cod spinner, the shad and jighead, the bucktail jig), they are a little more cumbersome to take along, and require a larger tackle box.
Perhaps most important, from a sea kayak fisherman’s perspective, is that leaving all the treble hooks on a swimming saltwater fishing lure endangers your hands. As the hooks swing around, while you land a fish, you run the risk of getting snagged.
Those extra treble hooks also needlessly injure the eyes, gills, and throats of any fish you can’t keep should it prove short of your local area’s size restrictions or slot limit. All most saltwater fish, including bluefish and yellowfin tuna, really need to be hooked by a swimming lure is the rear treble hook. Remove the other two treble hooks with pliers and save those extra hooks as replacements for the day when the tail treble hook rusts off.
When buying swimming saltwater fishing lures, remember that the bigger the forefront tongue (the angled plastic wedge at the front of the lure) the deeper the swimmer will run. If you want to save money and enjoy working with your hands, there’s an entire cottage industry of fisherman who craft their own plugs and swimmers from wood. (For discussion, go to the lure builders forum at the active U.S. fishing site noreast.com).