Inshore saltwater anglers love discussing, choosing and experimenting with lure color. It’s no surprise the most asked question is, “What color were they biting?”
It’s a good question, and you can’t blame anyone for asking. After all, it really can make a difference.
But one thing about artificials most people don’t pay attention to is the profile of a lure.
What exactly is the ‘profile?’
Simply put, it’s the lure’s shape.
Think about it: a craw is shaped radically different than a shad-imitation bait.
That’s an obvious difference to illustrate my point. Here are a few more: A pogey is shaped differently from a cocahoe, which is shaped differently from a potbelly minnow, which is shaped differently from a croaker.
Why is it important?
Consider what it is fish are looking for when they’re hungry.
Speckled trout hunting croakers are accustomed to looking for that humped back, flat belly and yellow-tinged fins.
If your bait looks like their forage, there is less chance for scrutiny. When the two meet, it becomes business as usual and they’ll bite.
Does it really make a difference?
Yes and no.
Let me explain: the key to success, on almost every fishing trip, is covering as much water as possible to find a school of fish so hungry that they’ll hit anything that enters the water.
You’ve probably seen those videos of redfish and trout being caught on Legos, Barbie dolls, gummy worms and rubber chickens.
However, fish aren’t always feeding hard, and you can’t find them eating like that on every trip.
But when you do eventually run across that feeding behavior, you can up your game by tossing them something they’re really looking for.
Give them a color, profile and presentation that matches the hatch.
Doing that is the difference between catching a half-limit, boating 30 to 50 fish or icing down an ice chest-full.
Some fish are ‘dumber’
The majority of fish hitting the cleaning tables are ‘young and dumb.’
Redfish under 27 inches are juveniles, and most speckled trout we catch haven’t been around that long.
Almost all of them barely pass the 12-inch mark, with a 14- to 16-inch speck considered big by a lot of anglers. These smaller trout are more ready to eat than larger trout, and throwing a more exacting bait probably won’t make that much of a difference to them. But it’d be nice to catch a big trout, wouldn’t it?
The tactic of matching lure profiles shines with larger, more finicky fish who are already grown so much they have fewer predators to worry about.
When it comes to artificials, inshore anglers rarely consider lure profile.
It’s not a deal breaker for fishing trips, but when it’s factored in, it could make a big difference in your success. At the bare minimum, it’s something you should be aware of to boost your inshore knowledge.
Tight lines, y’all.