Late summer and fall are the times when these small baitfish make their way out into the big ocean. Juvenile herring get balled up easily, but in my opinion, they often separate faster than other schooled baitfish. While schools of juvenile sea herring can appear at any time, juvenile river herring typically move out of their birthing waters and out into open water following a day or more of heavy rainfall.
I personally find that predators keyed in on herring tend to be the easiest to catch. Their silvery blue tinge is a common color pattern. Juvenile herring are more chubby than not (like me!) and have a broader, deeper profile, so small softbaits are quite effective, in addition to small metals and Epoxy Jigs. The best retrieve speed for mimicking small herring is a medium to fast retrieve with lots of twitches with your rod pointed downward.
- Hogy Top Imitator: The Hogy Pro Tail Paddle in 3.5”, 4.5” and 5.5” are hands down our top imitators for small herring. You have some options color wise but bone UV, Silver, Blue/Blue Herring and White are the top colors. Fish these Hogy Pro Tail Paddles with your tip pointed at waist height or slightly downward toward the water while varying your retrieve speed. Hogy Epoxy Jigs and Herring Jigs are also excellent choices and they come in a multitude of colors that will do an excellent job of mimicking juvenile herring. Another option is the Peanut Bunker Jig in the Pilchard color.