By Josh Bendoski of Bendoski Power Fishing
Many anglers are accustomed to using spinners, spoons, jigs, and soft plastics of all kinds. And every one of these lures has a time and a place where they will catch you a ton of fish. But surprisingly, I have run into thousands of anglers who are not familiar with the practice of tipping their lures.
So let me start by explaining what it means to tip your lure. All tipping refers to is putting a little bit of bait on the hook in addition to the jig, spinner, crankbait, etc. The most common item to tip with is a nightcrawler: for example, if you are out using a silver or gold spoon, casting for trout or trolling a spoon for that matter. What tipping means is putting a half-inch of a nightcrawler on your hook.
This has many benefits as it increases the various sensory attributes fish are using to find their next meal. Of course, the spoon itself is flashy, so it is going after the sight sensor. The spoon is creating a vibration in the water utilizing the kinetic sensor of the fish, and this alone will catch you a lot of fish. But when you put on just a half-inch of a nightcrawler, you then add two very important sensory sensations. The first is the scent, now that flashy spoon wobbling through the water is dragging the oily smell of food, not just any food but a natural meal the fish are already used to. Second, if the fish strikes your spoon, spinner, crankbait, etc. and does not get hooked on the first try. It is still tasting food. not just smelling it but tasting it.
I have been on many fishing trips where the same lure will get 2 or 3 strikes before the fish is hooked up. The reason for this is the tipping method keeps the fish thinking it is striking food. Now that you understand the reason for tipping your lures, let's go into the various baits that are good for tipping.
Nightcrawlers are, of course, a great go-to, but if you are going to a lake or river where minnows are the preferred meal of the fish you are targeting, you might want to cut a minnow into half-inch pieces and tip your lures with a minnow. so that when a fish strikes, it tastes its natural food source. Other times it might be an abundant food source in the water. Up in the Rocky Mountains, depending on the lake we are going to, we will tip with chub meat, sucker meat, or even carp.
In the winter months, while ice fishing, we often use wax worms and butter worms. The key to using these types of worms to tip is after placing the worm on the hook, you want to squish it up a little to get all the guts and juice all over the jig head. The best way to catch the most fish is to try and use the natural food sources in the water. Test what is working. Tip with nightcrawlers for 20 to 30 min, then switch to chub meat or minnows. The best way to tip is by testing different natural baits you think are in the water.