TV Fishing Lures

As someone who likes to sleep with the television on, I frequently wake up in the middle of the night to discover that a TV infomercial for some new fangled lure is staring me in the face. Being dubious about each infomercial’s incredible claims, yet still curious, I managed to purchase, over a couple of years, virtually every one.

Despite what many people say about such lures or lure systems sold on late night TV, I believe that these lures do work. But they are often special situation-type lures.

One lure I did not purchase was the Mighty Bite. I found nothing wrong with the lures that made them inferior to similar lures combining a jighead with a soft plastic body, but the bite out of the body was simply too much for me to accept. Toothy predators with “piranha-type choppers” are absent from our waters, so the bitten out chunk of the soft plastic body is, in no way, realistic. If I was fishing in the Amazon basin with its piranha or in Africa with its tigerfish and goliath tigerfish, I could accept using a lure with a bitten out chunk of its soft plastic body, but I am not and so I didn’t. The bite mark was the deal killer.

As I said earlier, some of these lures are ideal for special situations, but they seldom perform well outside of that “special situation”. One floating lure vibrates for about a second every 20 seconds and it only does this when the lure is in the water. I am certain that this lure works when water temperatures are warm enough for  bass, or other fish, to be active and the fish are territorial especially during the spawn and immediate pre-spawn. It offers something that fish seldom see from artificial lures and that is some action without horizontal lure movement. In fact, whenever I cast across a tree limb, I always jiggle the lure before trying to get it back and quite often a bass will grab it. They just are not used to seeing a lure actually move without traveling horizontally. However this infomercial-marketed lure operates poorly in normal fishing conditions.

I have bought several lures that either glow after being subjected to a strong light, or actually have battery-operated lights that make their eyes, or in some cases parts of the lure bodies flash or glow. I like the lures, usually soft plastic lures, that are charged by a flashlight. However, in many cases, the battery powered lures are simply too much and they often scare all but the largest fish. These lures are very popular in Drano Lake on the Washington side of the Columbia River where it is legal to fish for salmon and steelhead after dark.

One lure consisted of a vibrating thin metal blade and it seems to work fairly well, especially in fairly deep and cold water. But in almost every case, I found some of my other favorite lures equally as well or even better. If I had to use these lures, I would hope the fish were fairly aggressive as other lures easily outfished them when the fish were not aggressive.

Another TV lure consisted of a crankbait with a rubberband powered rotating blade at the rear. When the lure had been retrieved for several yards, the angler could stop the retrieve and the wound up rubber band would spin the aft-positioned blade and the lure would actually move backwards. Once again, an action not seen in regular fishing lures. While the lure could look a lot “fishier”,  it does have realistic eyes and I have no doubts that it will catch some otherwise nearly uncatchable fish. The single treble hook will mean some missed strikes.

The walking worm was a sensation for a couple of years and it works by seeking a coiled position after being cast. Retrieving the lure for several inches, or more, straightens the worm out and it very slowly moves to a coiled position when the lure retrieve stops. While this lure can help anglers catch fish that have a difficult time fishing slow enough to catch fish like bass, the lure could easily be much-improved by making the front couple of inches of the worm’s body more substantial so that the hook or jighead attached to it is less noticeable.

The Flying Lure was a specialty lure from years ago that allowed an angler to cast near some structure and then slackening his line to allow the lure to move away from the angler while it sank. Once an angler got the hang of it, could reach farther back under floating or surface structure than conventioinal lures. The secret was the special jighead that was designed for the flattened tubeskirt bodies.  However the color choices were limited and the only advantage of this lure was that it allowed an angler to more effectively fish larger floating structure.

I consider the Bionic Minnow a take off on the Banjo Minnow. However, the lure bodies are thinner and have very good action. It fishes well, but there are so many similar lures out today that buying the Bionic Minnow Kit is unneccessarily expensive and unnecessary. If you already have one, fish it, it will catch fish.

The grandaddy of all the TV sold fishing lures is the Banjo Minnow. It catches fish and has actually evolved into an even better fish catcher over the last several years. The Banjo Minnow bodies are composed of a heavier than normal plastic, similar to that in Senkos, that allows the lure to be more effectively twitched. A lot of thought went into creating the Banjo Minnow Kit. The tiny rubber bands make tremendously effective weed guards. The tiny O-rings are very effective at keeping the springlike lure holder from slipping off the hook. The kit has special eyes that are easily to place on the minnow bodies.  The current kits even include frog bodies with the proper hooks to fish them effectively. However, the main premise of this fishing kit is that all the accessories match up very well with the heavy plastic minnow bodies to create a very effective fishing lure. Although I seldom use any of these TV lures, I did managed to hook and land a 15-inch largemouth bass from southwest Oregon’s Tenmile Creek on my second cast with a larger Banjo Minno while I was fishing next to a boat ramp.

While most of these TV marketed fishing lures may seem “gimmicky”, they do catch fish. If I did most of my fishing out of a bass boat rather than a float tube, I would certainly have at least one rod rigged with up with one of these lures.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.
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