Merrill Memories: Skipping Lures


It catches fish!
Another in our “Merrill’s Memories” series

If you enjoy fishing mangrove edges, docks or other structures, here’s a technique that you might want to add to your fishing resume. Once mastered, this method can improve your fish-catching ability. Once you learn how to skip baits, you will be able to get them all the way back to where the snook lives. The late Merrill ‘Canoeman’ Chandler, who was our “Master Skipper,” told us exactly how to do it in one of his informative articles.


This method takes finesse, practice and patience.

My lures of choice, for this exciting method of fishing, would be the near clear with red glitter [a color we call “Measles”] or the gold sparkle ¼ oz. DOA Shrimp, the Root beer TerrorEyz. Also, the Nite-Glow is another very productive DOA color for both of the aforementioned lures. And certainly, this technique can work equally as well with a great variety of baits, particularly small jigs and Texas-rigged jerk worms.

The object is to present the lure deep into locations that heretofore would be totally ignored, because of the proximity of the branches, snags and pilings. Just as in any worthwhile endeavor, perseverance will pay exciting dividends.

I would recommend to the novice, in this highly productive type of angling, to practice in an open area before becoming totally frustrated by errant casts dangling from branches. By using a slightly underhanded cast, just as if you were skipping a rock, and hitting the water a few feet in front of the desired location, the proper cast will skip under the obstruction and fall in front of your prey. If a snook accepts the shrimp look a like it will be instant mayhem. The linesider will immediately search for sanctuary. Trying to snake the fish from the security of the prop roots or other structure will take prompt action on your part and will stress your equipment to the max. As soon as you feel the hit or hear a splash it is imperative that you set the hook and reel at the same time. For this one moment I tighten the drag and allow the flex of the rod to take the brunt of the action. As soon as you get your prey turned and into open water you can lessen the drag and fight it as you would under normal conditions.

I prefer a medium action seven-foot rod and have had great success using Power Pro fishing line. This type of line is neutral buoyant and ten pound test is equivalent in diameter to two or three pound mono, making the lure easier to skip and the sensitivity is fantastic. I also add a twenty-inch length of twenty or thirty pound test, nearly invisible, Triple Fish Fluorocarbon leader to make my presentation seem more life-like.

Each new location presents a different problem. You may have to skip the DOA Shrimp, TerrorEyz or bait of your choice past branches with a clearance from the water of just a few inches. There will be many times that an errant cast will hang up in a most unfriendly area. It seems that every time this happens and as you near the spot to release your lure, a monster snook will explode in the shallows to seek other feeding grounds. Murphy’s Law dictates in this instant and usually creates Pandemonium. The sudden departure occurs as your arms are extended far into the tangles to release the lure. Scratches and bruises often accompany this maneuver.
Even though your success ratio is less than open water angling, the adrenaline rush of seeing white water boiling in an area that you would never think of putting a lure is worth every miss-fire.

This is just another way of enhancing your fishing prowess.

Keep a fishin`

Merrill “The Canoeman” Chandler