Stick Baits

What is it?

    Way back in 1902 a brilliant beekeeper named James Heddon started making lures. Nothing Fancy, just a tapered piece of wood that floated. He added some paint, and the stick bait was born. In the process The Heddon Lure Company was born too.

   These early models were called  Zaragossa. These wooden models ran all the way into the 1970’s and caught more bass than anybody knows. In 1939 a plastic model was introduced and was called the Zara Spook. Now you know what it is.

 Both models have been available in every color and shape you can imagine. All were top water lures. All have sparkly eyes. They have treble hooks hanging on them. And they all catch loads of fish. And they are all easy as heck to use. It’s actually one of the easiest artificials to use. Especially for beginners who aren’t quite sure what to do with artificial.

How do I catch with it?

   The stick bait is made to basically be fool proof, or at least as close as you can get. No fancy gimmicks. No specialized retrieval. No computer assisted fishing. Not much of a learning curve with stick baits. If you can tie it on and cast it out, you’ve pretty much got it nailed. All you have to do is find the fish and let Me stick bait to do his job. Easy, right?

 Seriously, it is just about that easy. I started using these things as a kid with a Zebco rod and was still tied into the boat in case I fell over. As I’m sure everyone else was too. 

       The basic technique is a little complicated. You cast it out and then wait a second. Then reel it in. Sometimes I get crazy and don’t even wait, I just start reeling it in as soon as it hits the water. I’ve had great success with both methods. A

    And that’s it. Cast, wait. Reel Or Cast, reel.

    You’ll probably have to set a hook in there somewhere. More than likely you'll reel him in too. Stick baits have a tendency to hook fish with the other hooks when they start thrashing around. It's not uncommon to bring one in with the front and back hooks stuck in him. Luckily unhooking isn’t that hard, unless you’re a fish.

 Then there's the advanced technique. This is where it gets COMPLICATED!

Not really, plus it’s still fishing. It's supposed to be fun.

   In the advanced technique you cast out and reel back just like the basic one. Except while you retrieve it you shake or jerk the rod from right to left occasionally. This is called “Walking the Dog”.

   You want the bait to dart right and left like a fish trying to escape a bigger fish. You basically want the right and left zig zags to be similar. There’s a rhythm to it. It doesn't have to be exact. You still want it to look like an injured bait fish, so the timing isn’t crucial.

    Fish will attack anything that looks injured whether they’re hungry or not. It’s an instinct that’s built into them. It’s called triggering a strike. Stick baits are very good at triggering strikes. Very good at it.

   The only other thing you need to know about using them is “Hang on!” Strikes can be very big when they come. If you’re not paying attention, you’ll end up being that guy that had his rod jerked out of his hand and went swimming. Though this will give you one heck of a story to tell if you manage to land that lunker. If not, you might want to keep it quiet about your little escapade. 

   The only thing left to do now is go try one. They really are one of the best and easiest artificial baits out there. No frills, no gimmicks, just a good lure. So, remember to thank Mr. Heddon when you start catching with stick baits. It won’t be long after you start using them.


Enjoy the outdoors. Life is out here!