Saturday, June 8, 2013

The author holds a hefty snook that fell for a MirrOlure Lil John on a light jig head.
(NOTE: I wrote this article for

Most of us are guilty of carrying way too much tackle when we head out on the water to fish.

Send me to the slammer!

Truth be known, I could put all the lures I use at the end of the outing in my shirt pocket. It's just that I'm terribly afraid of being on a hot bite and not having what the fish want. So, I go (figuratively) overboard when it comes to my lure assortment.

Guess there's nothing really wrong with that, and I'm probably in good company.

But if I had to trade my multiple tackle boxes for one small one, it would force me to make decisions.

Decisions, decisions.

I can do it. And so can you.

Let's get down to business here and only take our most reliable lures.

Here we go:

1. D.O.A. 1/16-ounce CAL Jig and copper crush paddle tails: Great combo here. Deadly on spotted seatrout over deep grass beds. I also routinely take other species, including ladyfish, jack crevalle, bluefish, pompano and Spanish mackerel. I use them in sand holes on the flats for redfish, too. Website:

2. MirrOlure Lil John on light jig head: Very versatile plastic that comes in a variety of colors. I like the golden bream color for redfish, snook and spotted seatrout. This is my "go-to" lure when fishing shallow water for redfish. Also works well around deeper grass patches. This is my top lure when it comes to monster river snook in the winter. Website:

3. Johnson Silver Minnow Spoon: This is my "prospecting" lure. If you're searching for redfish on the flats, this is what you want tied to the end of your leader. It can be cast a country mile and allows you to cover lots of prime redfish real estate. And it's simple to use: Just cast it out and reel it in. Very effective on redfish, but also results in snook and seatrout. Website:

4. MirrOlure MirrOdine: This small, suspending baitfish imitations is one fish-catching lure. Last year, my clients and I caught 56 spotted seatrout weighing 5 pounds or more. A majority came on the MirrOdine. It's very effective in shallow water and along grass edges where the big trout like to feed. I use the "mini" version in winter when the baitfish are smaller. I used the regular model during the warmer months. Although color doesn't seem to matter, I'd pick the chartreuse back if there was money on the line. Website:

5. D.O.A. Deadly Combination: This is D.O.A.'s version of the traditional "popping cork rig." Instead of a live shrimp under the noise-making cork, D.O.A. adds one of its plastic shrimp. It works really well. Adjust the length of your leader so that the shrimp will dangle just about the grass. Twitch the cork and set the hook when it goes under. Very effective on spotted seatrout and very easy to use. Website:

6. Zara Super Spook Jr.: I use the chrome model. Great surface lure for "walking the dog." Very effective in shallow water for redfish, snook and seatrout. The retrieve is the key. If you don't know how to "walk the dog," Google the technique or ask the pros at your local tackle shop. A key with this lure is to replace the stock hooks with stronger hooks. You don't want to lose a big fish because your hooks straightened out. Website:

That's my deadly dozen, a comprehensive look at the lures that have produced for me and my Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing ( ) clients over the years. These are proven fish-catchers in the salt waters around southwest Florida.

When I'm spin fishing, I don't leave home without them.


  1. How do you usually transport your one-piece rods around? I recently was researching this too, and stumbled upon the Daiwa Wilderness rod that breaks down into 6 pieces. Have you tried that rod out? I've also heard about some rods that are able to telescope out. Technology is so cool nowadays.


    1. I have an SUV, so transporting 1-piece rods is no problem at all. I do not own multi-piece spinning rods.

  2. I'm so passionate about kayaking and fishing but, have never had the pleasure of doing both at the same time. Check out my fishing blog when you get a chance. I would love your feedback.

  3. Scott, thanks for your kind comments. I would love to check out your blog -- if you'd post a link!

  4. Scott, thanks for your kind comments. I would love to check out your blog -- if you'd post a link!