Short Cast - Give 'Em Lip

Turn on the bite by adding a dose of realism to your hard-plastic baitfish imitators.

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Built to look like baitfish, swimming plugs have been around for decades, but remain among the most effective and versatile of all artificial lures. These baits have built-in wiggle and wobble to spare.

But integrate a few subtle jerks and twitches into yourretrieve and you can produce even more realistic baitfish-like action-and more strikes from a host of gamefish.

Lip Clipper

|| |---| || |LIP SERVICE: This modified plug runs shallow with enticing action. Illustration: Pete Sucheski| Turn your old, drab and crusty diving plugs into new fish catchers by clipping off the lip. This is a popular tactic for catching sharks and barracuda on the flats, but also works well on shallow-water stripers, seatrout, redfish and even offshore for dolphin. Many popular lures can be modified this way, including the Rapala Original Floating Minnow, Rebel Minnow, Cotton Cordell Red Fin, Bomber Long A and Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow. The lipless lure has inherent action, but add twitches and jerks, or use a stop-and-go retrieve to make the lure come more alive. It runs very shallow and periodically sloshes at the surface, so it is ideal for fishing over shell beds, grass flats and around pilings.

Steady As She Goes

| |RIP AND REEL: A steady retrieve is a long-range fish finder. Illustration: Pete Sucheski| Hard-plastic baits have an inherent diving, wobbling, side-to-side action, and this retrieve allows a well-designed lure to do its job. Simply cast far and reel steadily. The lure will dive several feet, and its flashing and dashing will attract hungry fish from far away.

Stop-And-Go

| |SEE SAW: An irregular retrieve best imitates and injured baitfish. Illustration: Pete Sucheski| This retrieve causes the lure to move in a dive-rise-dive, saw-toothed pattern imitating a struggling, injured baitfish-a natural strike trigger for many predator species. Hits often come at the pause, as the lure is rising. The angler must be attentive and keep the line tight for a fast hookset.