It's an iconic image - an angler standing alone, thigh-deep in a rushing stream, pondering the contents of a fly box, a lure box or a bait bucket:
"Hmmm. I wonder what they're biting today?"
Anyone who fishes much at all has been there, done that, and got the T-shirt.
The very best anglers seem almost clairvoyant. They take a glance around, maybe dip their fingers into the water for a moment, and tie on exactly the lure the fish are biting.
Most of us lack such uncanny talent. We're average fishermen, and we use what has worked for us in the past. Nine times out of 10, we select one of our "go-to" baits and hope the fish like it.
There are exceptions, of course. Let's say a Kanawha River bass angler's go-to lure is a black jig-and-pig combination. Effective as the lure might be most of the time, that angler would be foolish to use it when hybrid stripers surface-feed on schooled-up shad.
A good fly fisherman might catch hundreds of trout each season on a Royal Wulff dry fly, but he'd likely go fishless if he used the Wulff during a hatch of small sulfur-colored mayflies.
I've been a trout fisherman for a long time, and experience has taught me when go-to lures work and when they don't.
Fortunately for me, most of the time they do work - at least to some extent.
I prefer to fly fish for trout, but when conditions dictate I will happily use lures or bait. After all, the idea is to catch fish.
When I break out the spinning rod, I have two go-to lures and two go-to baits.