Weird Baits That Work

The latest hot bait for catching weakfish in the Chesapeake Bay is strips of raw chicken breast, dyed green, blue, or red with food coloring. Cluck, cluck, yuck-I refuse to bait my hooks with bird parts. But it reminds me of the strange and crazy things I've seen fish eat over the years. And even though it seems outrageous to hack a flightless bird and use it to catch a fish, I'm sure that a lot of guys are successful at turning hens into hookups.

Yes, weird can be productive. Want proof? Make any one of these three do-it-yourself lures. You'll find at least one of them in any of my tackleboxes, and they can be every bit as effective as a store-bought lure.

1. Trout/Striper/Bluefish Lure to Imitate Silverside Minnow. Break the radio antenna off an old car. Cut it into 3"-long segments, and use needlenose pliers to bend out the sharp edges. Then run 30-pound test leader through, and put on a small egg sinker before tying on the hook.

2. Deep-Water Jig for Bottom Dwellers. Take a torpedo weight of the size appropriate for the depths you'll be fishing in. Heat it momentarily with a blowtorch, and dip one half in chartreuse powder paint. Flip, and dip the other half in red. Use a split ring to attach a hook on one end.

3. Fluke Killer. Thread colorful faux-jewelry beads onto your leader, then add a willow leaf spinner with a bit of bucktail hair. Make some patterns in dark for low-light conditions, some in bright colors for sunny periods.