NEBRASKAland July 2017

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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60 NEBRASKAland • JULY 2017 Favorite Lure Memories Time will tell if your favorite lure remains your favorite. By Jeff Kurrus I n the June edition of NEBRASKAland Magazine, writer Jacob Jadlowski told about his favorite fishing lure – the 1.5 Strike King KVD Square Bill Crankbait – and requested readers to send in their favorites. During the last month, I had a chance to look at these responses from a number of people that I have shared time on the water with, and a few that I haven't. What became evident very quickly was how answers to questions like these change through the years, depending on who you're fishing with and what you're fishing for. Personally, when I was still in elementary school my dad nicknamed me "Worm Man" for my affinity to fish a plastic worm, and when I asked this same question to my lifelong friend and fishing partner Rob Gaia, he accompanied his answer with our long- standing banter: "Crawdad-colored plastic worm," he wrote, "because I'm better than you at worm fishing!" A sentiment he hasn't forgotten since our youth. However, as I continued to grow as an angler in my early teens, I began to fish more crankbaits, mainly crawfish and frog-colored imitations, just like one of my fishing partners at the time, Mike Hammett, and for the same reasons. "My favorite lure is still a Bandit crankbait that's chartreuse with a black back," he said. "It covers water fast when I'm largemouth bass fishing and I like to bump it off cover." I continued to fish crankbaits, spinnerbaits and worms well into my 20s until I found myself fishing with Paul Turner, a Georgia native stationed with the Air Force in Bellevue. He introduced me to a weedless scum frog, which I can still remember drawing a strike from a fish in a gigantic culvert in eastern Nebraska's Beaver Lake. And while that particular brand of scum frog was short lived, I spent the next 10 years primarily fishing another version that has been well chronicled in these pages, which I still continue to fish today. I also fish buzzbaits, like Monte and Scott Mares from Seward, and can recount a number of days when that was the lure to catch fish with, and am taken down a different path of memories after asking Nebraska native Ryan Sparks about his favorite lure: the lipless crankbait. "My favorite is a Strike King red eye shad in a natural color like shad, white or silver." And this is what I like most about this question – it's so particular to a time in your life. There will, of course, be lures that stand the test of time, but there is also a nostalgia to fishing that reemerges every time an angler opens their tackle box and sees a lure from the past – the zara spook that a pike hit so angrily at the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge's Clear Lake that it scared me; the dark green crankbait that nearly turned white in one day from all the big bass hitting it on a private lake in Omaha; or even the black woolly bugger used while fly fishing for smallmouth bass that changed my entire approach to catching these bronze fighters. Right now, above any other lure, I'd fish with a 3 ⁄8-ounce tandem-bladed black spinnerbait. It's caught trophy largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike and walleye. What I'm most interested in, however, is if this lure will still be my favorite five years from now. I'm also interested to see if Jadlowski's will still be the square bill crankbait. If it is, I can't wait to hear the reasons why. But if it's not, I'm even more excited about what lure replaced it. ■ PHOTOS BY JEFF KURRUS Currently, my favorite fishing lure is a tandem-bladed black spinnerbait, which I use primarily to catch largemouth bass.

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