Getting Jig-gy: How to Choose the Perfect Artificial Lure for Tampa Bay Fishing

artificial luresTrying to find the perfect bait is difficult – there are so many artificial lures out there, but I find that the most productive lures are jigs. If you wanna catch fish – a lot of fish – the jig is your best friend.
Jigs have three different types of tails – the shad tail that kind of swims along, a grub tail that is straight and flat on the tip, and a curly tail that produces tremendous fluttering.
Most jig tails are made of soft plastic today, but years ago, jigs were made of feathers tied to jig heads and dubbed the “feather jig.”  There are a few made today, but they are rare and somewhat hard to find.  Buck tail jigs still have a legion of loyal followers.  These jigs are made of real hair from deer, and thus the name “buck tail jigs.”  You won’t find many buck tail jigs out there unless they’re custom tied.  If you do, good ones are worth their weight in, well, lead.
Nylon skirts tied on jig heads are very user friendly and perhaps one of the most durable of the bunch.  One of the originals made here locally in Gulfport, Florida where they were originated, was called the Flowering Floreo.  This jig had a huge regional following, but fell out of fashion when the company sold and changed hands a few times.  It was one fish catching lure and the nylon skirt made them nearly impervious to toothy fish.  Another favorite that’s readily available is the NyLure Jig, now owned by Bomber.  Some of the short-skirted models are perfect for catching pompano.
This time of year, my personal choice for this style of lure is the C.A.L. Shad.  C.A.L. curly tail jigs are exceptional when there is a little bit of current and you want to fish the bottom for flounder.  These lures can lie on the bottom fished very slowly, and the slightest bit of current will move the lure, enticing fish to eat them. The C.A.L. Shad excels when it comes to covering a lot of water.
Whether you’re trying to hook a Spanish mackerel under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge or reeling up a gag grouper off the north end of Anna Maria – arm yourself with a handful of jigs and head for your favorite fishy targets. Using the right lure with the right approach, you’ll find that catching fish is easy pickings.