Must Have

I did go fishing yesterday for an hour. I probably shouldn’t have but then again, according to my Doctor I shouldn’t go fishing …..ever. But then again, he is looking at it as what’s best for my elbow, I am looking at it as what’s best for my sanity. It was nice being on the water but although I made maybe fifty casts with a seven foot rod I can feel tingling in my elbow. Which is kind of weird since I have been pain free since January. Wait, check that. I painted a room in February and after that weekend I was screaming like a girl for a few days. So basically, this will never go away, sometimes it bad, sometimes is worse. Maybe once in awhile I’ll get to do it and feel nothing. That would be cool. But others have so much worse and they still fish. So will I.


Anyway, enough of self-pity. While I was casting, I thought about a discussion I recently read on a web. Specifically, how many plugs should one carry. What kind of question is that, seriously? And how can any one of us give advice on how many plugs to carry and keep a straight face?


I’ve seen guys trek with bags size of Lois Vitton luggage on their back, loaded with at least fifty plugs and I’ve seen guys walk around in wetsuit with a bucktails on a leader and another embedded in the wetsuit (don’t ask, I have no idea). Either one of these anglers was superior surfcaster than I am six days a week, and twice on Sundays. Was either one of them “fishing wrong”? I don’t think so. Each carried as many plugs as they thought they need it. Each person has to find their own comfort zone. There are only so many slots in the surf bag and competition for those spaces is intense as we all have way more plugs that we can use in a lifetime. But to tell someone you “must have” this of that plug in your bag is a joke.


I think we can all agree that Bombers are awesome plugs that catch as many fish along the whole coast of USA as any other. In fact, its probably the most popular plug of that type (regardless of your opinion on SP Minnow). So if we established that fact, then that is the plug that should be in everyone’s bag, correct?

Last time I cast a Bomber was…I am not sure, five years ago? Do I have anything against the Bomber? Hell no, are you crazy? But I usually do not have them in my bag, same goes for any plastic lip swimmer other then RedFin. Now Redfin is useless 90% of the time compared to Bomber or SP Minnow. So why I wouldn’t carry one instead of Redfin? Because its my bag, and that is way I fish. You could call me tomorrow that you caught twenty fish that wanted no other lure other than XYZ and I will still come down with a bag full of lead. I am a little dense



I have needlefish that does everything SP minnow does far from the beach and sluggo to do it in tight. For the whole month of May, I generally will not touch a plug. I have no desire or urgency to replace hooks either as I will be fishing with nothing but bucktails on my belt for the whole month. It wont be the first or last time when my partner Silver Fox starts nailing fish on Bombers or Darters. I am very happy for him and always offer my professional photo service…lol…but I never come back next night with anything but a TA Angler pouch full of bucktails and shads. Wrong? Maybe for you, but it works for me. I have friends who love, just love a bottle darter. Its their go-to plug, its their mojo plug. Its a plug I use few times a season at best. Caught plenty of fish on it but I rather have few SS darters in different colors than bottle darter. Its the confidence thing, something very few ever talk about. Because explaining the “confidence-in-a plug” is much more difficult then just recommending more must have plugs like SP Minnow, everyone current “cant-live-without-it” plug



And that brings me to my point.

Why does everyone wants everyone else to fish the way they do? To own same rod, same reel? If you like fishing with a clam and a beer in another hand, that is awesome. If you like to stuff you bag with $100 a pop metal lips swimmers you bought on ebay, good for you. And if you like to use a spare bucktails as an earring, I dig that too. Whatever way you like to fish is better than sitting on a couch. But no one should make general statements exactly which plugs you “must have” in his bag. There are no must have plugs. The only “must have” is one must have a desire to get his ass on the beach and cast. Everything else you can wing it

And we have not even gotten into different regions having different baitfish, water temp, bait profiles and such.

Now that i got off my issue of the magazine  is coming your way in few days


15 comments on “Must Have

  1. oneoftwo

    Excellent post! There are people that try to exert influence on others to feel more confident and secure about their own choices. I’ve sometimes caught myself doing that when it comes to equipment and fishing. I completely agree that it’s about having fun regardless of what you’re carrying or using.

  2. DonR

    So are you saying I need to buy a Lois Vitton bag and load it with SP’s and Bombers? 🙂
    Time to learn to cast lefty my friend.

  3. mikebfishn

    You nailed that on the head! I am no newbie nor do i have deep custom pockets. there is nothing i hate more than when someone tells me i need this plug or my bag is useless… i wish i could afford hoards of custom lips and swimmers like everyone else but i cant and im cool with it and catch tons of fish. fish what you have confidence in and thats it they will come

  4. Vito Orlando

    Z,, Don R hit the nail on the head. I have a bad rotator cuff in right shoulder. I have not made a cast yet this season. This past week I have out of desperation started to practice casting lefty. Just about got it down where I feel comfortable going. Give it a try. On another matter, Talking about Plug Bags and plugs. Dave Haase who is a good guy and pretty good fisherman carries a bag full of plugs like I have never seen in all my 50 yrs on the beach. I swear that he carries 50 plugs in it. If not 50, then pretty close. He has a 3 row bag meaning 15 slots with all kinds of plugs hanging from it. Wow. Good thing he is young. Get well soon, and try Lefty.


  5. Bruce Chung

    Z” I have golfer’s elbow and it hurt’s a lot , I got bunch of shots in my elbow but pain keeps coming back. I strted using it by doing bicep work with 15lb dumb bells. Now I can do more and less pain

  6. Silverfox

    I agree, the must have is “the desire to get your ass out on the beach and cast” it also helps if you have an angel at home that not going to break your shoes every time you want to hit the suds…. LoL.

  7. Gene

    Thanks for the info and take care of yourself. I know I’ll get negative feedback, but would the pain in one of your elbows lessen if you switched hands?

  8. brichards

    People force their preferences onto others so that they can feel as if their preferences have objectivity and relevance, rather than something that exists exclusively in their own minds.

    They do it with politics, philosophies, religion, and fishing gear.

    To say that one personally finds a yellow darter works best for them, and it’s -their- confidence plug, that’s an honest admission that that lure is a subjective preference on your part, and that many other things may work just as well in similar conditions.

    But that’s not good enough for most people.

    Most people need to feel as if they’ve “made it”, that they have achieved “expert status.” “Expert status” would mean that your lure choices are not subjective preferences, but rather universal truths of fishing that you’ve some how managed to uncover in you sharpiedom. They’re not subjective; they’re objective. Everyone should use this lure. It’s -the- lure.

    Basically, it’s the pseudo-circular reasoning of “I know what I’m doing, therefore people should listen to me and use what I use;people use what I use, therefore I know what I am doing”

  9. Joe GaNun

    13 plugs….and you had better be sure you have the one they’re eating. The lefty suggestions may have merit. I have a nasty little ouch of some sort in the front of my left shoulder but casting righty does not aggravate it. Of course I’m righty so that helps. Cortizone ?

  10. Adam

    Less is more. The more you know the less you need. two very wise saying.
    As long as you can cover the 3 areas of the water column your good.
    sea scape, wind, & bait conditions should be your guide when stocking your bag.
    you wouldn’t fish 15-25MPH winds with 4-5 ft waves upfront the same way as back bay on a calm windless night.
    I only use a 2 tube bag more than enough storage to get it done.

  11. mad_69

    I think the guys who start the “Must have plug” threads are lure builders and shills. They like to talk up certain lures so they can sell them on ebay.


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