Good lures are always good lures
“What is a Catch V? I have never even heard of one of those,” said Johnny Hughes as he lobbed his chartreuse Catch 2000 in the general direction of a small point of grass jutting out across the shallow flat. The question could have easily been interpreted as a polite way of soliciting helpful information, but I know this Cajun better than that!
What he really said was, “Why do you keep throwing that bait when I am kicking your butt with this 2000?” Regardless of interpretation, the statement was not without merit. He had already caught several 16 to 22-inch redfish in the first 30 minutes of fishing while I was still looking for my first strike.
We knew even before we launched his 20-foot flat bottom boat in a small bayou on the north end of Big Lake that we only had a couple of hours to fish, but it had been years since I had fished that water and I jumped at the chance to revisit an old fishing hole. I was down at least 15 to 0 when we idled out into slightly deeper water bordering the ship channel.
“You never answered my question about that Catch V bait,” he asked with a more serious tone in his voice. “That was about ten years ago when you came over here and blew me away with this little 2000 and I am still throwing them. I only use two colors, but they catch fish and I don’t have time to experiment like you big time guides do,” he added with a mocking laugh.
Rather than waste my time defending the advantages of the slightly larger lure, I handed him a pair of Catch V’s in his two favorite colors and told him to give them a try sometime. I knew that even if the fish started jumping all over mine he would not quit on his 2000. Had the trout not been larger than any that he had ever caught on his beloved Big Lake, he would have never given the 2000 a try on that trip ten years ago!
Before the afternoon was over, however, I would be the one forced to make a change. I would have already switched over to the smaller lure, but I was enjoying the visit and he was only catching small redfish. If that was all that he ever caught he would be more than satisfied as he has any number of ways of converting redfish into unforgettable meals, but I was hoping for one swing at a big trout.
We had just drifted over a patch of scattered shell when he stuck a redfish that was obviously larger than the size he prefers to keep. I continued casting until he barked, “You better get the net!” His big fish proved to be a 26-inch trout that was still full of fight following its brief losing battle against his 50-pound braided line.
I didn’t ask, but I feel certain that only because he doesn’t eat trout, we released the big fish and continued our drift. After boating two more trout in the four-pound class, he had me digging in my small sack of lures. It was all I could do to ask for one of his, but these trout obviously wanted the smaller profile 2000 and we were burning daylight.
We only caught six more nice trout before having to quit, but every one of those fish ate a chartreuse 2000. I did manage to catch two fish, but more importantly, I silently recalled the number of times over the past few years that I have failed to pick up that smaller bait on a tough day. I alternated between both lures the remainder of the afternoon just to confirm that the fish would have nothing to do with a larger Catch V in the same color.
I cannot recall any good reason for ever putting it on the back burner as it consistently produced not only good numbers but big trout as well. Downsizing of late has meant picking up the new MirrOdine XL, but I spent last night cleaning up old 2000’s and adding them to the starting line-up.
Do you occasionally stop and ask yourself why you ever quit using a lure that has always served you well. More often than not, that mistake is the result of having someone put it on you on your own water with another lure. Sadly enough, once a lure is relegated to backup status, it seldom if ever sees the light of day again.
Not surprisingly, Johnny was left wondering at the end of the day why I ever quit using a 2000. That proved to be more than an assumption on my part as I found the two Catch V’s that I gave him lying in the bottom of my bag when I got back home!