Five go-to lures for when the going gets tough.

should i use a smaller lure

Clockwise from top right: Gulp! Shrimp on jig; MirrOdine Mini; Pins Minnow; Clouser Minnow (fly); Tiny TerrorEyz.

When the water temp is down, and the fish are lethargic, eating might not be the first thing on their mind. That big, triple-hooked plug you were chucking in October just isn’t going to cut it; it’s time to downsize. Think about your own reaction to a few pieces of candy or a handful of chips, any time of day. It’s not a full meal, but it sure is tasty. Why not offer something like that to the fish? It takes the fish no effort to eat, in turn saving precious energy the fish needs. Plus, bait tends to be on the small side this of year. Match them and succeed.


    2- to 3 ½-inch
    1⁄16- to ¼-ounce

A slender, lipped plug that mimics a glass minnow. Twitch it and let it rise back to the surface, or slowly reel for a tight side-toside wobble. I prefer the middle, 2 ¾-inch size.


    2 inches
    1⁄32- 1⁄8-ounce

The little brother to the TerrorEyz, with the same action. Let the lure sink to the bottom and give quick, short hops. Be ready for a bite as the lure falls back to bottom.


    2 ¼ inches

About as good as it gets to a replica of a whitebait fry. With a nice suspending action, a quick twitch of your rod tip gives of a quick flash, just like a pilchard. A great bait for grassflats and pot holes when fish are warming up in the sun.


    2 inches

This bait brings something to the table that the others don’t. Scent. That’s big when the fish need a little motivation to eat. Rig it weedless and slow drag it through the grass, hop it on a small jighead, you can even put it on a drop-shot rig. Key is to fish it slow, let the scent disperse. You can even “dead stick” it if you want.


You get the trend here. Keep it small, and there’s no better way to make a small presentation than with a fly rod. A simple white/olive Clouser minnow tied on a size 4 hook matches just about every fry in both fresh and saltwater. FS

Florida Sportsman Magazine March 2019

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