Fishing from a kayak requires careful gear selection. You don’t have the room of a bass or bay boat, but that doesn’t mean you’ll catch less fish. You must be selective and pick baits that you know are successful. It’s a known fact that fish do not read the labels on fishing tackle and only bite the newest baits.
One of the most productive baits, for nearly 50 years now, is the “Beetle Spin.” Vigil Ward, one of the pioneers of TV fishing shows, invented it in 1958. (He died recently at the age of 93 and took his last fishing trip only a month before.) The bait is currently marketed by Pure Fishing in a bright yellow hanging card package labeled Johnson (in red letters) followed by “The Genuine Beetle Spin.”
It can be purchased almost anywhere tackle is sold for around a dollar. The bait comes in a variety of sizes from 1/32oz to 1/4oz and in a large number of colors. This style of bait is called a “safety pin spinner.” That’s because the jig head is attached to a spinner frame with a simple bent wire catch. Jig head changes are simple– the fisherman can change out the head for a different size or color. The spinning blade is called a “Colorado” style and is attached to the other end of the wire frame by a small swivel and spilt ring. In the water the blade spins above the jig body adding flash and vibration. The bait is simple to use and catches many different species of fish.
The bait is best used with light line. Normally, 4 to 10 LB test monofilament is the place to start. Tackle should be either spinning or spin cast style for best results with the lures up to 1/4oz. The larger sizes are the easiest to cast, so start out with a 1/8oz or 1/4oz. If fish are hitting short, then use a smaller size. Color wise, the old fishing saying of “light days, light colored lures and dark days, dark colored lures” is a great place to begin. My basic arsenal of these little lures is the white with a red spot and the black with a yellowish green stripe down the side.
Beetle Spins perform best when tied directly to the line. An improved clinch knot or Palomar knot is fine and either is very simple to tie.
If you are fishing for large fish with teeth that cut, a light leader can be used. The bait can be attached to the leader with a canoe man’s loop knot or, in the case of a metal leader, a duolock snap. Begin by casting to a likely spot and retrieve. Retrieve speed and pauses control the depth of the presentation. Start with slower presentations and vary them until fish are caught.
These little baits are fun to fish and very productive. For kids just starting out using lures, they are simple to learn and, having only one hook, a bit safer to handle. For more experienced fisherman, they are a valuable addition to the tackle box that is dependable any time on the water.