When you think about critical fishing gear, a hairbrush is probably just about the last thing in the world going through your mind. I know that was the case with me – until last week. I was fishing with a friend who uses bucktails almost exclusively. He uses them to catch redfish, he uses them to catch specks, he uses them to catch cobia, and he uses them all the time, just about every time he goes fishing. Look in his tacklebox and you’ll see bucktails with real deer tail hair, you’ll see some with synthetic hair, and you’ll see some with tinsel in the mix. You’ll also see a hairbrush.
Once the fishing begins, the hairbrush comes out and sits within easy reach. After an initial cast or two, he uses it to brush out the bucktail’s hairs. Then every tenth or fifteenth cast, or every half our or so when trolling, he re-brushes the bucktail’s hairs.
At first I though this was pretty silly. But then he began out-catching me. And I noticed that every time he brushed out one of the lures, it became a little cleaner, a little brighter, and/or a little more reflective in the water. Bucktail hairs, be they natural or artificial, do pick up tiny bits of dirt, algae, and goop over time as they move through the water. If you’re bouncing bottom or fishing in a weedy area, it happens even more quickly. They accumulate this stuff slowly, so most of us probably never even notice. But after brushing out a bucktail, you can see the before-and-after difference without question. On top of that, particularly with synthetic hairs, you’ll notice that a quick brush job also straightens the fibers out and untangles them. They move more freely, and you can literally see the difference as the lure’s fibers pulse while moving through the water.
I’ve never considered a hairbrush a critical piece of fishing gear. In fact, up until a week ago I’m pretty sure there’s never been one aboard my boat at all. Swing open my tacklebox today, however, and you’ll see that hairbrush waiting for action.