CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- From the most famous celebrity fisherman to the humblest worm-dunker, every angler has a favorite lure or bait.
Bass anglers are no exception. They might carry three tackle boxes' worth of lures with them, but they inevitably gravitate toward the one or two that have caught fish when nothing else would.
So which baits seem to work best in West Virginia? The Sunday Gazette-Mail asked some prominent Mountain State bass anglers to identify their favorites:
"I'd go with a 4-inch [rubber] finesse worm," said Starks, a two-time winner on the Bassmaster Elite Series circuit and the first West Virginia pro to earn a spot in the Bassmaster Classic.
"At any given time I have 150 of them in the boat, and they're all the same color - watermelon candy. I like them because they're so versatile. You can fish them on a shaky [jig] head, you can fish them [hooked in the middle] 'wacky style,' you can fish them on a drop-shot rig and you can Texas-rig them.
"For the kind of fishing around here, a finesse worm seems to present the best profile for a lot of different habitats. It's my mainstay."
"Give me a buzzbait any time," said Shelley Perry, a former fixture on the Lady Bass Anglers Association's Women's Pro Bass Tour.
"I'm a top-water junkie. I'd throw a buzzbait all day if I could. Buzzbaits are universal lures. You can throw it just about anywhere, and you can retrieve it in a variety of ways. My favorite buzzbait is a silver-bladed 3/16-ounce model with a white skirt. It matches the silvery color of most baitfish.
"When I was fishing tournaments, I used it as more as a search bait. Active fish would hit it, and I'd then use other techniques to try to catch the others. Now I'm happy to fish buzzbaits all day."
Andy and Mark Godwin
"We like anything on the end of a flipping stick," said Andy, who, along with his brother, Mark, fishes in many bass tournaments throughout the state.
"We like flipping big jigs or tube baits or soft crawfish lures to fish in shallow water, and one of our favorites is a brown, 3/8-ounce Jewel Eakins Flipping Jig. We like it because it fishes well in dirty water or in clean water.
"We fish them around heavy cover, and we've done very well with them. They're weedless, so they allow us to fish all that structure without the fear of getting hung up."
"I favor a 3 1/2-inch tube bait," said Wishart, the fishing department manager at Adventures on the Gorge and Mountain State Anglers.