Posts Tagged With: buggs

Spring Break Marsh Trip

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One of the perks of being a teacher is having long breaks away from work throughout the year.  Spring break is one of those times, so David and I decided to squeeze in a midweek trip . Since we live pretty close to one another, we decided to meet up at his house and ride together. We made the traditional stop at Bucee’s to get a little breakfast before making it down to the coast.


We ended up launching around 7:15 am and began the day throwing topwaters against the grasslines and over large patches of grass without much luck. We could see bait moving around, but none of it seemed to be fleeing for its life. Once we made it to the shallow stuff, we were blowing out redfish every 10 yards or so, but not one of them were interested in our lures.

Even though we weren’t getting any bites, there were fish in the area, so we decided to grind it out in hopes that we would eventually convince a few to eat or that they would all turn on and begin feeding. After two hours of throwing tops, plastics, spoons, buggs, and everything else on the kayak, David finally sight casted a redfish that was crawling along the grass lines with a Bugg. About 5 minutes later, I spotted one on the shoreline doing the same thing and made a cast at the fish. My Bugg landed on the edge of the grass, but came out and landed near the fish. He turned on my bugg, made me think that he ate it, but succeeded in fooling me.

While David and I were discussing our plan of attack, I picked up a 22″ marsh trout after seeing a small tern that was pretty interested in a certain section of the water. After a few pics, we continued working the shorelines and that turned out to be the trick. The fish that were 10+ yards off the shorelines were not interested in our lures at all, but the ones cruising along the grass were hungry enough for us to get a handful of bites. We decided to split up in order to maximize the amount of the grass lines we could work and meet back up later.

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I sent David a text an hour later to let him know that I had caught my limit of reds. He said he was 1 fish short of a limit and had lost a couple that would have completed it. I worked my way back towards him and picked up a few more fish along with way by continuing to focus on the grass lines. When I finally caught back up with David, he had strung his 3rd red and had caught a few extra as well. We explored the area a bit more and finally decided to call it a day. We were still spooking fish that were laid up, but they just weren’t interested enough in eating for us to continue grinding it out.


I caught my trout on a 1/4 oz. Curl Tail Bugg in Electric Chicken and the reds came off of a 1/4 oz. Curl Tail in Blue Crab (My all time favorite color). David caught a few of his on buggs and a few on paddle tails.


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Long Time, No See


It’s been about 3 months since the last time my kayak touched water. Work, my kids, and other obligations kept me off the water during the really cold months, so I was badly needing a little saltwater therapy.

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David and I met up at Bucee’s for breakfast before making it to the launch around 6:45. We unloaded quickly and made the short paddle to the spot we planned to fish. With the warmer weather and low tides, we had high hopes of spending the day sight casting our fish. The problem was, 99% of the fish we came across were laid up and not moving. The only way we knew they were around, was by the insane amount of mud boils that kept popping up in front of us. We took our time, fan casting the area near all the mud boils and caught a handful of fish. We only seemed to get bites when we made a lucky cast, that happened to land on the fishes head, causing a reaction strike out of fear.



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After a while, we decided to cover some water, to see if we could find a few fish that were more active, since these were being stubborn. Later in the day, we ended up finding a few fish that were actively feeding along the shoreline, but the action didn’t last too long.


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Soft mud and partially exposed patches of shell were the key to locating fish. The only lures we caught them on were the Buggs 1/4 oz. Beastie Bugg (New Penny) and Buggs 1/4 oz. Curl Tail (Black Gold). Later that evening, while cleaning fish, I found a few 1″ mud minnows in their stomachs, which explained why the Buggs worked so well, when the cork, topwater, spinner bait, and soft plastic didn’t.

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Although I haven’t fished much over the last several months, I have stayed busy with fishing related activities.


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I spent one night speaking to the Houston chapter of the Saltwater Boys Kayak Fishing Club at the new Sugarland Fishing Tackle Unlimited. My speech was titled “Blind Casting the Marsh with 20/20 Vision”, which is an article that I have been working on for some time now. A few days later I had the opportunity to speak at the Hook Spit Junior Anglers Association Seminar in Seabrook about the joys of kayak fishing. We had great turnouts for both events and as always, I had a lot of fun.


Last but not least, I am excited to join up with good friends Cameron Barghi and Justin Rich, as a member of the Lone Star Beer Fishing Team. Now that Spring is coming back around, I’m hoping to stay more active on the water and my blog. Here’s to a fun 2016.



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Q & A with Heath Hippel of Buggs Fishing Lures

I recently had a chance to sit down with the owner and creator of Buggs Fishing Lures, Heath Hippel, to talk about his lures and ask him a few questions about them. More information about Buggs can be found by visiting htpp:// or you can order them at


Q: So Heath, Buggs are a pretty unique type of lure. Tell us a little about them.

A: Buggs are fishing lures that are tied like flies. They’re inspired by the most successful fly patterns, bringing the best fly-fishing ideas to lure fishermen. They’re tied with rabbit strips and other popular fly tying materials on custom jig heads.

Q: The jigheads used to tie your lures are slightly different than the traditional jig head most of us are use to. What’s so special about your jig head.

A: The jig heads I use are made to land hook point up and to sit on the bottom without tipping over. This comes in handy when fishing shallow water. In a pothole or on a sand or mud bottom, Buggs will sit there and look alive. The shape and design was inspired by popular bonefish jig heads. This is relevant because bonefish and redfish might as well be cousins. They both inhabit shallow flats and swim around in search of baitfish, crabs, shrimp, and marine worms. They have inferior mouths, meaning their mouths are on the undersides of their heads, making it easy for them to suck prey up from the bottom. In addition to sitting on the bottom, the heads fall more slowly than traditional jig heads. This comes in handy when you’re swimming them over shallow grass.


Q: With each of your lures, bunny fur has been your material of choice. What is it about the bunny fur that makes it so desirable to tie with?

A: The fur is part of it but a better description of the materials is rabbit strips. These are rabbit hides with the fur still on that has been tanned, dyed different colors, and cut into strips. Simply put, nothing moves in the water like rabbit strips. When the hide is wet, the strips absolutely come alive. That’s what makes the combination of the jig head and the rabbit strips so special. Buggs will sit there and look alive!

The other desirable factors are the durability, absorption, and variety. The hairs are anchored in the hide, and the hide is leather. They’re very durable, and oftentimes the last thing on the lure to wear out. Absorption factors in two ways: The hide must be wet, soaked all the way though, for the lure to look right. There are little air pockets trapped in the hide. The easiest way to get them out is to hold your Bugg under the water and squeeze the rabbit strips between your fingers. You’ll see the air bubbles come out and the lure will come alive. I also have customers who soak their Buggs in GULP juice or other water-soluble scent. Either way, when the hide is wet the lure weighs more and is easier to cast and absolutely looks alive.

Lastly, there are four different cuts of rabbit strips available and dozens of different colors. This gives me lots of options when designing lures.

Q: As far as small businesses go, Buggs Fishing Lures is exactly that. The company consists of you and your wife, along with a few workers that help tie the lures. What’s it like running your own small business?

A: It’s a constant balancing act between my Buggs business, my day job, my wife, our four kids, and other family activities like church. I absolutely love my Buggs business, but I have to prioritize every day and make sure I take care of my other responsibilities. It’s a little crazy, but every day is different and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Q: Like most things today, Buggs Lures can be ordered online from However, many tackle retailers have started carrying them in their stores. How many different states are Buggs available in now?

A: Buggs are available in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and South Carolina. Here’s a link to our friends page that includes our retailers:

Q: With eight different Buggs available for purchase, which one is your best seller and why do you think that is?

A: The Curl-Tail Jig is the best seller. It’s one of the original two offerings, so it’s been in my customer’s hands for the longest time. So history and longevity has a little to do with it. But the main reason it sells the best is a combination of effectiveness and versatility. It was designed for fishing saltwater flats, and has proven to be extremely effective for targeting redfish. It performs equally well when blind casting or sight casting, and in clear or muddy water. In addition to redfish, it works really well when targeting flounder. My customers also catch trout, drum, and the occasional sheepshead with it. In freshwater I get great feedback from bass fishermen who use it in light cover, for skipping docks, and sight casting. The tail can be changed out, and we tie a screw lock on the hook shank so your trailer won’t slip off.

Q: To your knowledge, how many different species of fish have been caught while using a Bugg? Also, tell us a few of the most popular fish anglers target with them.

A: I guess I jumped the gun a bit when I talked about all the fish that my customers have caught using a Curl-Tail Jig. But this gives me a chance to talk about the bonefish / light tackle jigs. Earlier I mentioned that popular bonefish jig heads inspired the Buggs original jig head. When I started selling Curl-Tail Jigs and Double Bunny Jigs several customers recognized the resemblance and took them on their bonefish trips. The trouble was that bonefish are generally smaller than redfish, and popular bonefish destinations like Mexico and Belize are home to bonefish in the 1-3 pound range. The hooks were too large, and they were missing fish. They returned from their trips and requested true bonefish jigs. So I designed my own bonefish jig heads with appropriately sized hooks and created four different bonefish jig patterns based on four of the most popular bonefish flies. My customers have caught bonefish, permit, tarpon, and several species of snapper on their bonefish trips. But we also know that fish up here eat small baitfish, shrimp, and crabs. The hooks on these jig heads are strong enough to use with light tackle. My customers along the Gulf Coast have caught redfish, flounder, trout, tarpon, and several species of snapper on these jigs as well.

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SM Big RedQ: As far as fish go, redfish seem to be the number one fan of Buggs. What is it that makes a redfish pounce on a Bugg when it crosses its path?

A: I think there are three main reasons that Buggs are so effective for redfish. First is that Buggs land softly and are less likely to spook a redfish compared to other lures. Second is that Buggs look alive, even when sitting on the bottom. Third is that Buggs imitate what redfish eat and have the right profile.

Q: Can we expect anything new from Buggs Fishing Lures anytime soon that you are able to share with us?

A: I have several new lures in development. The first is a downsized version of a Curl-Tail Jig that is tied on a bonefish jig head. I’ve been tying this one for a while and I have lots of customers who are eager for it to go into full-scale production.

The second is a crab jig designed specifically for Permit. This is a newer idea, and borrows some of the techniques I used when designing the Beastie Bugg. I’m tying it as realistic as I can because permit are so picky. It’s a fun challenge, and I know that there will be lots of other species that will eat it as well.

Lastly, and this is the one I’m probably most excited about, is a shad imitation. I’m using a new tying technique I learned about that will make the lure dart back and forth on the retrieve. Plus, when it stops the lure falls slowly and evenly, just like a wounded or dying baitfish. I’ve already caught a five-pound bass on a prototype and a friend of mine has caught snook and redfish on another. I know it will be effective on speckled trout as well because it will have similar action to a hard bait, yet will look even more alive because of the rabbit. I’m hoping it will have crossover appeal to both saltwater and freshwater anglers.

The first place I announce the availability of new Buggs is my newsletter. The sign-up can be found on the right side of the home page. Look for the Email and Name boxes.


Q: We’ll make the last question a tough one. If you were fishing the upper Texas coast, and could only take three Buggs with you, which three would you pick and what colors would you go with?

A: ¼ oz. Curl-Tail Jig – Black Gold

This one would be tied on for sure. I’ve lost count of how many redfish I’ve caught on this jig. All kinds of conditions, different times of the year, and I’ve caught flounder and trout on it as well.

¼ oz. Beastie Bugg – Blue Crab

If I found tailing or slowly cruising reds this is what I’d throw. They love to eat blue crabs and this jig will sit there and look alive.

¼ oz. Hydra Bugg – Electric Chicken with a 4” Chartreuse Glitter Bugg Tail

I throw this in shallow water when it’s really muddy or when they’re feeding on mullet. The Hydra Bugg is a larger profile bait with double rattles and a jig head with a prominent eye. It makes an impression! I also like to throw this in marsh drains because it will get down deep faster. Redfish, trout, and flounder eat this Bugg.

Q: Anything to say before we go?

A: Let me say two things before I go. First, thank you Sonny Mills for taking the time to ask these questions, and thank you Darryl Barrs for publishing this article and helping me get the word out on Buggs. Second, let me tell the readers that I truly appreciate and value feedback from my customers. It makes my day when I get a picture, text, or email about a successful fishing trip with Buggs. And I also value their feedback because I only fish in my home waters and not even as much as I’d like. It helps me to know how people are using Buggs outside of the Upper Texas Coast. The front page of the online store contains my contact information (including my cell phone) and I hope people will use it!

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Five More Lures Redfish Can’t Resist


The March 2015 edition of the Fisherman’s Journal was released today along with my “Five More Lures Redfish Can’t Resist” article. You read it and other articles by clicking the magazine cover above or you can read it below.

Five More Lures Redfish Can’t Resist

Last year I wrote an article titled “Five Must Have Lures for Spring Time Reds” where I discussed my five favorite redfish lures. While writing the article was easy, limiting myself to choosing no more than five proved to be difficult. Several lures that I carry with me on each trip were left out, even though they are used quiet often. To make sure the majority of the lures I use are covered, I have decided to release Redfish lures version 2.0. Listed below are five more lures that redfish can’t seem to resist.

Strike Pro Hunchback

The Strike Pro Hunchback has quickly become one of my “go to” top water baits around shallow patches of shell. Similar in many ways to the Manns-1 minus from my previous article, the Hunchback only dives a half inch below the surface of the water creating a small wake while being retrieved. IMG_4857It contains a loud rattle that will help fish locate it, and gives off great vibration as it wobbles back and forth. This is a great lure for small children and beginners to use that are unable to “walk the dog” properly with a She Dog or Skitterwalk because a slow, and steady retrieve is all that is required to work it properly. Because this lure only dives a ½” below the surface, you don’t have to worry about constantly hanging up on clumps of oyster or grass. The Hunchback comes in a variety of colors and is available in three different lengths, giving you a little variety when choosing your size.

Gold Spoon

Ask any old salt their “go to” lure to catch a redfish and you’re sure to hear the words “Gold Spoon” come out of their mouth. Dating back to as early as the 1840s, fishing spoons have been around for a long time and very little has changed about them over all these years. Photo Mar 04, 9 21 30 PMA gold spoon is one of those “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” type baits that has been catching fish long before any of us were born, and is still catching them today. Although certain companies have made minor adjustments over time, most spoons will have an oval shape that is concave on one side, causing it to catch water as it is retrieved. As the spoon catches water, it “wobbles” back and forth and catches light from the sun producing tiny flashes in the water. Gold spoons are available in just about any size you can think of, and can be fished in a variety of ways to entice a strike. I normally stick with a simple Johnson Original Sprite in the 2 ¼” size.

Redfish Spinner Bait

If you’re making the transition from freshwater to saltwater, then a redfish spinner bait might be the perfect lure to start with. Bass fishermen started using them in the early 1900s with great success before saltwater guys modified them slightly to catch redfish. Photo Mar 04, 9 22 18 PMThe main difference between the two baits is that most freshwater spinner baits come with a skirt, while redfish spinner baits will have a paddle or curl tail soft plastic. Redfish spinner baits are a favorite of mine because the vibration and flash you get from the blade(s) takes a plain old soft plastic to a whole new level. Depending on your speed, you can fish the lure low and slow or near the surface with a faster retrieve. You can also replace the soft plastic with your favorite Gulp to add a little scent to the vibration and flash, making the redfish spinner bait a deadly lure. The Bomber Saltwater Grade Redfish Flasher is my favorite spinner bait. They use a strong, saltwater grade wire that is double wrapped at all contact points to make sure you don’t lost a fish due to lure malfunction. They come in a ½ oz. and ¼ oz. size giving you the option to go deep or stay shallow.

Hydra Bugg

If you read my first lures article, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “He already listed this lure”. While it may seem that way, this Bugg is completely different from the Beastie Bugg I mentioned previously. The Hydra Bugg is larger in size, and tied on a round jig head that gives it a much faster sink rate than previous Buggs.IMG_4868 It also comes equipped with two small air tight plastic chambers consisting of three steel BBs each that create a soft clicking noise that imitates the sound made by fleeing shrimp. It comes with a nice long 4” curl tail that gives it great action during a steady retrieve or while being bounced along the bottom. This larger Bugg works well as search bait if you’re blind casting a flat or drain, but still gets the job done when you need to sight cast a fish in the shallows. The lure is available in eleven different colors, with the option to switch out the tail with one of fifteen colors, giving you total control of the color combination you desire. Not to worry; it still comes standard with plenty of bunny fur like the others, giving it a realistic look once it enters the water. You can check this unique style of bait out at

Super Spook Jr.

The Super Spook Jr. is another classic inshore saltwater bait for both redfish and trout. Many anglers will tell you that it is their favorite topwater to throw whether they are fishing the surf for trout or stalking reds on the flats. Photo Mar 04, 9 20 56 PMWhile I like throwing She Dogs and She Pups on most days, I’ll change to a Super Spook Jr. when fishing really calm, shallow water. The main reason is because the shallower the water gets the spookier the fish get, especially if the wind decides to lay low. The SSJR is smaller in size and creates less noise than most of the other topwaters out there, making it less likely to spook a fish, and more likely to draw them in for a strike.

As far as my redfish tackle goes, these five lures, plus the previous five mentioned cover just about everything I carry. I’m sure I carry less than some, and more than others, but these ten lures give me the option to tackle any situation I might run into on the water.

To read the first article, click the link below

Five Must Have Lures for Spring Time Reds

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