Summer is for travel. When I'm on the road, I hate getting caught without my spinning rod and reel. Whenever I am unequipped, I seem to stumble across a pond or stream with fish feeding on the surface. In this era of surcharges for everything from baggage to a bag of peanuts, I can't justify carrying my bulky tackle box on board my next flight to Maine. So I asked Dave Bayes at Dogfish Tackle if he could put together a small lure pack that would cover me from Bangor to Boise.
1. Heddon Baby Torpedo
This lure requires patience, but a slow hand usually pays off. Let the lure sit, reel, stop, reel, stop, then Wham! If that doesn't work, try a slow, steady retrieve. Price: $5.99. www.heddonlures.com.
2. The Rapala Countdown
It is hard to improve a good thing, but it is surprising what a little lead can do. The CD-7 is a sinking plug that weighs a quarter-ounce and will reach depths of 5 to 8 feet. It comes in gold and silver. Price: $8.99. www.rapala.com.
3. The Rapala Original
This tiny balsa wood lure resembles a wounded baitfish on the surface. When twitched once or twice, usually will entice a fish to strike. The basic design hasn't changed much since 1936 when Lauri Rapala first tested it on Finland's Lake Paijanne. The F-7 weighs 1/8-ounce, measures 2¾ inches long and has a swimming depth of 3 to 5 feet. It can be worked both topwater and subsurface. Price: $7.99.
4. Arbogast Jitterbug Clicker
Perhaps the best nighttime lure ever made, the Jitterbug is a household name south of the Mason Dixon line. This 5/8-ounce model has been catching big bass for more than 50 years. The boys in Fort Smith, Ark., really know how to build those bugs. Price: $6.29. www.arbogastlures.com. Another option: The Hula Popper.
5. Johnson Silver Minnow
This quarter-ounce, weedless spoon has a 35-degree wobble that is guaranteed to make fish strike. This spoon has been one of the most productive lures ever built, useful in both salt and freshwater. No surprise they call it the "weedless wonder." Price: $4.39. For a little variety, try the 1/8-ounce gold version for $4.19. Then you and your friends can debate for hours which one catches more fish, silver or gold. www.purefishing.com.
Gambler Lures' Rat'lin Florida Rig Goop Weight, 1/8 ounce. Price: $4.99. www.gambler-lures.com.
7. Plastic worms
Some argue that these modern beauties are the best artificial baits in the world because they catch everything from rainbow trout to largemouth bass. Bring a couple: Culprit 71/2-inch worm, black/blue with a tail (price: $4.19. www.culprit.com), and the slightly smaller Zoom Bait Company's Super Salt Plus Finesse June Bug (price: $3.49).
Gamakatsu, 4/0 offset shank worm for $3.49. Don't forget a pack of the 3/0 for the smaller worms.
9. The box
Pack it all in a Plano waterproof utility box, four compartments for topwater, diving, spoon/spinner and plastic. Price: Model No. 3645 costs $7.49. Room to adjust
You may disagree with our choices. In fact, there are a few lures more commonly found up north — Mepps spinners to be precise — that I will add when I reach my destination.
And there is no substitute for local knowledge. Whenever I blow into a new town, I stop at the nearest bait and tackle shop to ask the proprietor what works best in their neck of the woods.
You can't beat local knowledge. The same holds true here at home. The mom and pop shops are where you will learn all the secrets. Support independent bait and tackle stores. They keep people fishing.
If you have your own idea for a lure pack, send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org.