Busted Lip Barracudas

Barbaric treatment of topwater lures is indeed a big barracuda smashing strategy

busted lip cuda

busted lip cuda

Alan McGuckin

Enjoy this great barracuda fishing tip from Tom Rowland and SF contributor Alan McGuckin...

Watching top saltwater stick Tom Rowland bust the lip off a brand new, 5" shallow water jerkbait with a pair of Van Staal pliers is a horrible thing to watch.

But that's exactly what Rowland does in an effort to make the jerkbait mimic a fleeing baitfish when fished fast and erratically over waist deep water where torpedo-like barracuda wait for a chance to smoke it.

"Not only do you eliminate any chance of the lure diving beneath the surface by busting the lip off it, but you also reduce any resistance it would normally have against the water, which allows you to fish it faster across the top," said Rowland, co-host of Saltwater Experience on NBC Sports Network, and a winner of dozens of South Florida tournaments.

Rowland looks for what he simply calls 'white holes' on the otherwise dark bottom as he scans acres of shallow water covering the flats in front of him. "I assume they lay around those white holes because the transition from light to dark substrate creates a natural place to lay and wait and ambush prey," said Rowland.

"If you see a white hole on the bottom, you better launch a long cast to just past the hole, and blaze the jerkbait right over it across the surface," advised Rowland. "The key is to keep the rod tip high, and speed dance the lure across the top as though you're nearly racing to keep it away from the fish. Don't worry, fast is never too fast. If they want it, they'll get it."

Rowland relies on a 7-foot medium heavy rod to launch the busted lip jerkbait that is tied to a steel leader connected by a 2-way swivel to 30-pound fluorocarbon leader. The 30-pound fluoro is then tied to 20-pound braid that is spooled on a Size 40 Quantum Cabo reel. Rowland's reel features a heat resistant stacked ceramic drag system that is critical to smooth operation when a cuda is pulling your braid through the water like a laser through a bottle of Beefeater.

The shallow diving lip isn't the only thing Rowland removes. He also removes the front treble hook from the jerkbait's belly. "By taking the front hook off it, you further reduce the drag, you make it less susceptible to picking up weeds that float on the surface, and you make it safer for everybody on the boat once that fish is landed," explained Rowland, who is a health and fitness freak when he's not fishing.

Watching Tom tear up a perfectly good nine-dollar lure is a tough thing. But his barbaric treatment of topwater lures is indeed a big barracuda smashing strategy that's filled with functionality and delivers inarguable results.