Gulf Coast Fisherman Magazine Vol 39 No 2 - Spring 2015 - Page 8

by Colby Sorrells Tackle Time SPOOK SIZE MATTERST oday, anglers have a wide variety of surface, walk the dog type lures to choose from. Colors, rattles, hooks, wood or plastic, are all important features of these lures. But perhaps the most important is the lure’s size. Lure size often determines the size and number of fish caught. Some companies have become known for a specific type of lure. Creek Chub Bait Company is known for their Pikie Minnow. Arbogast is known for either the famous Jitterbug or the equally famous Hula Popper. For walk the dog type surface lures, it was Heddon mastering the market. The Heddon Zaragossa Minnow, one of the earliest walk the dog lures originally made of wood in 1922, has been sold for close to 100 years. While Heddon has brought numbers of different lures to the market for coastal anglers, they’re best known for their surface, walk the dog type lures. Perhaps no other company has tried to meet coastal angling demands as much as Heddon has with their line of Zara Spook lures. Heddon first used the word “Spook” to represent the see-through, skeleton-like appearance of the first plastic version of their famous lure. The lure has become an iconic representation of walk the dog type lures to the point where many anglers, when quizzed about the lure they fish, simply answer “Spook”. The word Spook, the large walk the dog type lure and Heddon are forever linked. Heddon has offered no fewer than 20 variations of the original Zaragossa Minnow, and they continue as a major part of the company’s offerings today. From the Super Mag Wood Zara Spook measuring 8 inches long and weighing 3-5/8 ounces, down to the smallest Zara Pooch measuring only two inches long and designed for ultralight fishing, Heddon has covered anglers’ needs with this topwater lure. With so many different size options, how are anglers to determine which size 8 GULF COAST FISHERMAN lure they need? On-the-water time and experiments help determine which lures work best for coastal fishing. The largest of these lures, the Heddon Super Mag and Magnum Wood Zara Spooks are really too big for most fishing. Due to their heavy weight, these lures cast a mile but land on the water with an enormous crash, shocking not only the water but every fish within fifty yards. Heddon heard the desires of coastal anglers wanting a larger, stronger lure that could handle rugged coastal game fish and came out with the Super Spook, a five inch, 7/8 ounce version to meet their demands. The Super Spook is slightly larger than a normal Zara Spook and includes three saltwater treble hooks and a loud rattle. Heddon’s Super Spook is really the maximum size lure for most anglers. Now that the upper size has been established, what is the smallest walk the dog type lure that can be effectively fished? Again, Heddon covered all the bases and made Zaras down to two inches long. The tiny Zara Pooch lures are much better suited for the extreme light weight of ultralight spin fishing and not for the demands of coastal fishing. The Super Spook Jr., at 3-1/2 inches long and Zara Spook Puppy at three inches long are about the smallest lures that can be effectively cast with regular coastal fishing tackle. Some of these lures are only sold with lighter weight freshwater hooks so anglers will need to replace the hooks with saltwater hooks and O-rings. Anglers should keep their topwater lures between three and 5-1/2 inches for most fish catching possibilities. Recently, anglers decided they preferred a large walk the dog lure with only two treble hooks. Many simply remove the middle hook on a Super Spook. Heddon, being ever responsive to angler’s desires, has now brought out the Super Spook XT with only two 3X strong saltwater treble hooks, heavy duty hangers, stronger oversized O-rings and different paint schemes. At five inches in length it fits right in the target size range fish seem to prefer. Anglers can also adjust the size of lure they use to affect the size fish they catch. There is little doubt bigger lures catch bigger fish, but with a little adjustment lure size differences can play a much larger role in successful angling. Anglers should adjust their lure offerings to mimic the size of the baitfish present at the time they’re fishing. In the spring, most natural bait is the largest size it will be all year. Only mature baitfish, like mullet or piggy perch, inhabit spring time waters. As the months go by and roll into summer, the size of baitfish most prevalent decreases as the young of the year hatch in large numbers. As the summer goes on into fall, these immature yearling baitfish get larger with each day, until by late fall they have grown to full adult size. Start out in the spring with the largest size lure. Then switch to a smaller size lure as the young of the year hit the water. Return back to the largest lure during the fall and early winter. Water temperatures follow this seasonal change. Slightly smaller lures may be the best bet when the water temperature is at its hottest in August or early September. Anglers should also adjust their lure size when fish give them signs to change. If speckled trout are hitting at the lure but not connecting, a decrease in size may make the difference between strikes and catches. If the angler is using a smaller lure and only catching smaller fish, switching to a larger lure may result in fewer strikes but catching larger fish. If the angler is not interested in filling a stringer for dinner, then they may choose to use only the largest lure seeking out only the largest fish in the area. By adjusting the size of the lure, anglers can adjust their catch. The correct Spook size? It’s whatever fish want, and they like their Spooks between three and 5-1/2 inches, and Heddon makes them. GCF W W W. G U L F F I S H I N G. C O M