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Golden Age of lure design, innovation

November 29, 2008
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

I hate cast nets. I love lures. I would rather catch one good fish on a lure than 10 on live bait.

Okay, t0hat might be a stretch. I'll say one on lures rather than two on live bait. Guess I'm not that much of a purist after all.

Cast nets are just plain work and I don't like to work that hard at 7 a.m. when it's already 90 degrees, and I hate getting my boat messy. My wife is a cleaning fanatic when it comes to "her" home and she says I put her to shame when it comes to keeping my boat clean, so lures are the ticket for me. I do get a kick out of fooling a smart old fish that has survived many seasons, on a hunk of plastic or a bit of feathers. To me it's high art.

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Especially with lures that have no apparent built-in action such as a MirrOlure. These lipless, no action lures are totally dependent on the angler's skill to bring them to life and to be able to actually "sell" one to a wise old snook.

Another seemingly lifeless lure is a simple hair jig. Although the undulating hair does impart some action, it's mostly about the angler's ability to make it come alive. Both of these no action lures are two of the deadliest lures in your tackle box and if properly presented, will catch everything from trout to tarpon around these parts.

Each year lure companies keep cranking out more and more of the most innovative, realistic, and deadly lures. It truly is the "golden age" of lure making. Although old standbys such as the simple gold spoon, top water plugs like the Zara Spook, or plain soft plastic jerk baits, and countless other old faithfuls will continue to catch boatloads of fish. Maybe fish are not really that smart after all, some of these new lures are really amazing and a few companies and products in particular deserve special mention.

How can you improve a MirrOlure? You can't, so the company designed a couple of new lures a few years back that became instant classics as soon as they touched the water. Unless you have not been fishing the last 24 months you would have heard about the 17MR MirrOdine and the 19MR MirrOminnow.

For awhile dealers could not keep these in stock. Cast them out, slow twitch them back in, you're guaranteed to catch fish.

The Rapala Company has been very busy researching and producing several new lines of hardbaits that are all winners. The new X-Rap line is awesome. The Skitter Walk and Skitter Pop are really good new top water plugs along with the subsurface Twitchin' Rap and brand new sub surface, gliding bait, the Gliding Rap. This whole new line of lures represents years of research and millions of dollars spent to bring us these fantastic new tools from a company that most fishermen, fresh or salt, has grown up with.

Soft plastic swimbaits have come of age and new lures from Storm, Calcutta, Berkley, and others, are catching everything in fresh and saltwater.

These new baits come in sizes from one to twelve inches in tons of colors and scents, with and without flashy inserts molded into the bodies. I had great luck this year throwing these to tarpon at night at the river bridges. The Storm Wild Eye series of swim baits are outstanding and they make a ton of different styles and sizes.

Speaking of scents, Berkley has also spent millions developing their Gulp scent. It is so good that some anglers have quit buying live shrimp. Their Gulp shrimp and other Gulp-scented products are amazing and are guide and tournament-proven winners.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at, or Flying Fins Sportfishing.



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