Fishing plugs are a staple in the tackle box of many anglers. Typically made of wood or plastic, plugs will usually feature at least two sets of treble hooks with one at the rear and one along the belly. Plugs are designed to imitate baitfish and are available in a wide range of colors, shapes and sizes and may be fished on top or below the surface of the water.
There is a small window of opportunity just after sunrise or before sunset when some really good fishing can take place. This is the time to tie on a popper or topwater plug and go after the big ones. During the twilight times of morning and evening, fish may move into the shallows to feed on large insects, baitfish and even small rodents. Cast a popper or other topwater lure along the bank or shallows and work the plug slowly. Allow the lure to sit for a few seconds and then retrieve while raising the rod tip slightly. When a fish takes the topwater plug resist the habit of setting the hook. Allow the fish to take the plug and turn before setting the hook. This will help avoid pulling the lure from the mouth of the fish before the hook set.
Shallow diving plugs are great along shorelines and other areas where the water may only be 10 feet deep or less. The angle of the front lip on the bait will determine the depth to which the plug will dive. Cast the lure beneath limbs or docks, along the bank or over submerged stumps and rocks. Retrieving the line will cause the plug to dive. Work the lure to imitate a small baitfish. Vary the retrieve, such as letting the plug rise, to imitate a fish that is wounded. Such movement in the water can often trigger a strike from a large fish. Another technique is to cast a shallow plug into or along side a school of bait fish near the surface. As the school attracts larger feeding fish, retrieve your plug slowly. As the schooling fish dart away, your plug will appear to be an easy target for a hungry fish.
There are plugs available that are capable of diving to depths of 20 feet or more. When bass are holding deep, during winter months for example, it is time to tie on a deep diving plug. Reeling the plug in will cause it to dive to the depth determined by the lip. Work the plug through areas where fish may have been identified. One popular method of fishing deep plugs is trolling. Using a heavy rod and line, the plug is cast behind a boat and then pulled along at a slow speed. The movement of the boat and the amount of line fed out will keep the plug down deep. This is a good method for covering a large area of water.
Article Written By Keith Dooley
Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.