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The Vesatile Plug

 

Take a floating plug and you have one of the greatest fish catching lures ever. They look like a fish, they act like a fish and fish like to eat them. But the plug is simply a tool that we anglers use to catch fish and what we do with that plug is often the difference between catching a bunch and catching a little. Now there are sinking plugs and suspending plugs and they have they're rightful spot, but if you're like me and can only spend so much money on fishing tackle, the first plugs I would buy are floaters. The reason is that they are versatile and can cover pretty much all fishing situations.



They can be fished fast on active fish, slow on inactive fish, cranked deep to find the bottom dwellers and twitched shallow to find the hunters. Given a little creativity, the floating plug covers practically all fishing situations. Here's how I get it done.


Hunting the Hunters

Early and late in the day pike, walleye and trout like to come shallow to eat and all of them are fish eaters. That makes fishing with plugs a natural choice. Be it baitfish or smaller gamefish such as perch or whitefish these fish offer the incentive for the bigger fish to push in shallow and hunt.



When it comes to trout and low light fishing, I hunt actual fish because many trout will prowl and feed in water so shallow that, with a little patience and a keen eye I can see individual fish moving about. This is especially true on the calm waters typically experienced in the mornings and evenings. Once a fish is located, I quietly slide on in to about 30 feet and pitch a small floating plug near the feeding fish. The disturbance and a quick one or two twitches is often all that's needed to get the trout to charge on over and hit the plug.

When it comes to pike and walleye, I do more searching and prospecting, thoroughly covering productive water. Because most of my success with pike and walleye is near bottom, I'll pick a deep diving plug and crank it down so it maintains continuous contact with the bottom. I concentrate my fishing efforts on the shallow flats that are close to deep water. After that I'll look to working the edges of prominent points and then I'll move on to prospecting the deeper edges of weedbeds. Somewhere in one of those three locations I will typically find a consistent bite.



Plug Tweaks and Tricks


Just because these fancy lures are all shiny and new out of the tackle box, don't feel compelled to leave the lure as is. With a few tweaks the lure can be better than ever. For one, on smaller plugs the middle hook is sometimes too small to do a good job so I replace the middle hook with another one a size or two larger. This will dramatically improve hook ups. Some plugs come with a three hook set up which, in my opinion is one treble hook too many. It's harder on the fish and more dangerous to the angler. My solution is to remove the center of the three trebles and convert the front hook to one that is one size larger. While I only have two trebles instead of three per the original lure, I find that I hook and hold most all fish that bite..



If I find that I want an extremely shallow running plug I will pull out my Leatherman multi tool and hack a chunk right off the front plastic diving bill. That's right, I saw off a real good chunk. What that does is allows me to manufacture an excellent shallow water twitch bait that can be fished in inches of water. Sometimes that's where the fish are and I'm not shy about doing what's needed to get to them. And if I find when I'm fishing that the plug tracks to one side, I'll pull it in and ever so slightly, bend that metal eye on the nose of the plug in the opposite direction, which should make the plug run true.

Floating plugs are amazing lures that catch fish. My favorites have to be the Rapala original and shad patterns, the bomber long A's, the Storm, the walleye diver and finally the reef runner. They've all been good to me. Fish eat fish, and where ever this happens a plug is a guarantee to get some to bite.



Previous Fishing Articles

(1) In The Walleye Zone

(2) Zoo Trout

(3) Fly Selection for Beginners

(4) Fly Fisher's Christmas

(5) New Waters

(6) Big Bad Burbot

(7) Looking Back

(8) Out of Africa

(9) Finding Success on Crowded Trout Streams

(10) Mountain Peaks, Fast Streams, Fall Colours And Rocky Mountain Whitefish

(11) The Browns of Autumn

(12) Fly-Fishing Pike Through The Seasons

(13) Walleye Town

(14) River Fun - One Bite At A Time

(15) Fly Fishing Larger Rivers

(16) Going With The Flow

(17) Becoming A Better Fly Fisherman

(18) Swinging The Fences

(19) A View From The Aerie

(20) Dixieland Delight

(21) Atlantic Salmon - The Fish of 1000 Casts

(22) Do It Yourself Pink Salmon

(23) Montana's Cool Missouri

(24) Pretty Is As Pretty Does

(25) Toothy Critters

(26) Hard Water Lakers at Cold Lake

(27) Top Ten Flies

(28) Northern Exposure

(29) Home Water Lessons

(30) Chicken Of The Sea

(31) Sealing the Deal – How to Ensure You Land More Fish

(32) Deep In The Heart Of Texas

(33) Keep It Up!

(34) River Fishing for Fall Walleye

(35) After the Flood - A look at Southern Alberta rivers and streams one year after the flood

(36) Reindeer Lake - A Diversity of Opportunity

(37) Hawg Holes

(38) Saltwater Salmon

(39) Early Season Dry Fly Fishing

(40) Down a Lazy River –
A Fly-rodding Adventure on the Lower North Saskatchewan

(41) The Fly Fishing Season Ahead

(42) IN SEARCH OF SPECKLED FOOTBALLS

(43) FISHING CANADA'S PRAIRIE CITIES

(44) Bright Fish from the Land of Silver

(45) Canada's "Other" Salmon

(46) Fall Walleye

(47) Wet Flies

(48) Versatility the Key to Success

(49) Grayling of the Boreal

(50) Teaching Kids To Fly Fish

(51) Size Matters

(52) Fly Fishing Small Streams

(53) Chasing Winter Whites One Lake At A Time

(54) Manitoba's Fishing Jewel

(55) The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas

(56) The Point Of It All

(57) Fishing With Friends-Big Weather Seizing The Day

(58) Fall Fly Fishing

(59) Personal Pontoon Boats 101

(60) Big River, Big Fish

(61) Bottom Bonanza

(62) Fishing Small Flies

(63) So Many Choices, So Little Time

(64) Four Seasons of the Bow

(65) Favourite Lakes - Some Like it Hot

(66) GEARING UP FOR SMALL STREAM TROUT

(67) Trout Hunting - New Zealand-style

(68) Don’t Leave Home Without Them –
10 Lures That Should Be In Everyone’s Tackle Box

(69) Edge Walleye

(70) FLY FISHING STRATEGIES FOR HIGH WATER

(71) Smallmouth Bass – An Oft Overlooked Challenge

(72) Four Corners – Four Waters

(73) Chasing Pothole Trout

(74) Springtime Stoneflies

(75) The Torrents of Spring

(76) Drift Boat Fly Fishing

(77) Bust Them With Bait

(78) Cure the Winter Blues with a Good Book

(79) Hot Strategies for the Cold Months

(80) Cutthroat: The Angler's Trout

(81) Terrestrials

(82) Fly In For Fishing Fun

(83) Rocky Mountain High

(84) Reading the clues

(85) Where the Trout Are
The art of locating feeding trout
in rivers and streams.

(86) K.I.S.S. and Tell Fly-fishin

(87) Fly Fishing 101

(88) To Catch a Big Halibut, or Ling Cod

(89) The Bountiful Bones of Ascension Bay

(90) Grayling in the Eye of the Beholder

(91) Fly Fishing for South Fork Clearwater Steelhead

(92) Manitoba's Red River - North America's Catfish Capital

(93) Eliminating the Spook Factor

(94) Trust Your Electronics

(95) The Most Important Hatch of the Year

(96) Early Season Nymph Fishing for Trout

(97) Finding Success for Ice Trout

(98) Walleye can be Humbling

(99) The Secret to Landing the Big One Finally Revealed

(100) Winter Flyfishing

(101) North Saskatchewan River - An Underutilized Gem

(102) Hot Fall Pike Action

(103) Tips and Tricks to Save the Summer Slow Down

(104) Reading Trout Stream Waters

(105) Frequently Asked Questions

(106) Streamer Fishing for Larger Trout

(107) The Lure of Big Walleye at Last Ice

(108) Deep Water Perch

(109) Post Spawn Brookies

(110) A Fisher's Life

(111) The River's Last Stand

(112) The Big Ones Come out at Night

(113) Coho on the Coast

(114) Chasing and Catching Halibut

(115) Summer in the Mountains

(116) Peak Walleye Season

(117) Slow and Steady Wins the Race

(118) Last Ice Rainbows

(119) The Burbot Event

(120) Tackle Matching

(121) Ice Fishing Strategy #2 - Going Light

(122) Ice Fishing Strategy #1 - Location

(123) The Lure of Brook Trout

(124) The Shallow Water Hunt is On

(125) Hot Backswimmer Action Happening Right Now

(126) Fishing Among Giants-Pursuing Lake Sturgeon on the Prairies

(127) Adventure at Davin Lake Lodge, Northern Saskatchewan

(128) The Vesatile Plug

(129) Bead Head Flies, Plugs and Shot and other Spring Favorites for Pothole Trout

(130) Planning your Upcoming Angling Adventures

(131) Good Fishing at Last Ice

(132) Maximize the Odds - Use Multiple Presentations

(133) Daily Fish Migrations

(134) Fish Migrations - Following the Spawn

(135) Lake Whitefish - An Ice Fishing All Star

(136) Pick Your Favorite Brook Trout Lake...and Go Fishing

(137) A Look Ahead to Great Trout Fishing

(138) Wrestling White Sturgeon on the Fraser

(139) The Fun in Ultra Light

(140) Flyfishing and Leadcore Lines

(141) Embrace the Spirit of Adventure

(142) Never Stop Learning

(143) Ice Fishing is Getting Hot

(144) Jigging through the Ice

(145) An Ice Fishing Unsung Hero – The Setline

(146) Rainbows on Ice

(147) The Season of Ice Begins

(148) Red Hot Fall Pike Action

(149) Hitting it Right with Water Boatman

(150) Facts On Cats

(151) West Coast Adventure

(152) June Walleye Frenzy

(153) Aerated Lakes are Big Trout Factories

(154) "First Fish of the Year - Pothole Rainbows and Browns"

(155) "Northern Exposure"

(156) Sometimes There is More to Fishing Than Catching Fish

(157) Early Season Pike On The Fly

(158) Man Overboard