I’ve been fishing for over 60 years in most all different ways. I’m mostly catch and release, but since my wife does like fish, I rarely eat my own. I’ve ice fished, salt water (deep water and trolling), and have fished for most every fresh water fish from salmon to crappies. I’ve loved all of it! I’ve been “skunked” many times fishing fresh water, but after all these years I’ve never been skunked in salt water! I’ve thought about this question for much of my life and have asked dozens of people “If you could take only one fishing lure with you, and you had to count on it for food , what would you use?” I know there are many factors involved, so answer this as if you had to go now in your nearest hot spot!
Rooster tail. Gold blade, white and red feather on treble hook. I've landed fish in rivers, lake and ponds with them. Aometimes the most simple thing works best
For freshwater: Black (or green) Wooly Bugger. Saltwater: Green hoochie
A castmaster has always been my “go to” lure; however, plain old crappie jigs are good for just about anything. Thank you everyone, I learn so much from this forum.
Any Rapala on most shorelines
Johnson Silver Minnow larger body of water
I've caught more fresh water fish on a Red Devil (red and white) spoon than any other including 1 landlocked salmon in Maine with a friend.
Berkeley “Gulp” 6” pumpkinseed worm Texas rigged.
I have said it many times, "All freshwater fish eat crawlers and all saltwater fish eat live shrimp."
2" curly tail grub, Tripple colors blue/chartreuse body with a red tail on a chartreuse 1/8 oz jig head. It will catch anything in freshwater. I use it for white bass, crappie and bull bluegills and catch a lot of bass on it too.
Fresh water - an old timer - CP swing - lighter weight spinner than meps which means a slower retrieve. Catches everything - trout, bass, pan fish. For salt water have most success with paddle tails - catches predators like blues & stripers.
Since curly tailed grubs work so well in both fresh and salt, this would be my choice. Chartreuse seems to be one of the better colors, but motor oil is almost as good!
My saltwater trusty jig is not found anymore? Old love lures red and white jig head with one of their light pink curly tails tipped with a tiny piece of shrimp on hook! Now its a DOA cal shad tail greene on one of their chartreuse jig heads! Second choice a long fluke type tail that resembles a ballyhoo hooked weedless! Third go to is a bomber long A in pewter pearl resembling a glass minnow! All match the hatch at certain times of the year!
the first time I went fishing this year a Rapala - caught 5 fish crappy, bass, and striped bass. Afterwards ended up losing my Rapala. They are too expensive to lose. Where I fish there are lines-bobbins-lures lost in the water. I ordered some cheap China lures to try. So far no good - or it started getting too hot to fish. I just fish in the mornings though 2 or 3 hours (by myself at a public lake)
Mepps spinners work well for trout and bass. Rubber worms (Kelly) work well but have 3 hooks that injure the fish. A Whopper Plopper has also been used to catch smallmouth, largemouth and a 32 inch Northern Pike in the Allegheny River in PA.