Many places have locally popular lures. Some are specific to a lake. Others stand as the go-to in a broader region. Similarly, some locally-favored lures hold that positon for a few years before being dethroned while others remain the regional standard year after year.

A Smithwick Devil’s Horse, as much as any lure in existence, is that sort of a lure on bass waters throughout Florida. When a national tournament is held in Florida, most anglers have at least a couple of Devil’s Horses tucked away somewhere – just in case – and a many anglers will have one tied on at all times.

A Devil’s Horse is a year-round lure in the minds of many Florida fishermen, and more than a few old-timers throw virtually nothing else. Even during winter cold snaps, when the Florida bite is anything but furious, they persist with a Devil’s Horse, fishing it slowly in key spots. These anglers figure the bite with Florida bass will be slow under such conditions, no matter the approach, and they know that any fish that hit a Devil’s Horse are apt to be the right ones.

While some anglers do keep the Devil’s Horse rod always in hand, more anglers use it as a target casting lure that’s reserved for key spots. They might mostly be throwing a shallow crankbait or spinnerbait, bumping the bottom with a worm or punching pads with a creature bait. However, when they spot just the right mix of grass types at the point of a weedbed, a stick-up beside a hard turn in a ditch or current-swept seawall corner, they exchange the primary rod for the Devil’s Horse rod and try to make the first cast exactly to the place where the fish should be.

Keys to a Devil’s Horse’s effectiveness for target casting include a design that allows it to land very softly, an uninhibiting profile and vulnerable posture, and blades at both ends that spin with the slightest movement of the lure. A careful twitch spins the blades and creates a commotion while hardly moving the lure horizontally. If the initial cast is accurate, you can tease a bass with multiple twitches before the lure gets away from the spot.

Devil’s Horses get used for everything from sight fishing for spawning bass to imitating menhaden for redfish. However, their effectiveness at drawing reactions from bass holding on specific pieces of cover and their tendency to attract large fish are most likely the main reasons why a Devil’s Horse is the lure that anglers from all over feel a need to have within reach anytime bass tournament trails visit Florida.