Lure Angling on the Cheap

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Newt

'Lures Rule!!'
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There seems to be some interest in lure angling from some folks on here who haven't done much (if any) of it. I thought I'd put together a thing here giving some ideas that can get you started without having to spend a fortune. And that should allow you some success early on.

As John (esox.20) mentioned on another thread, lure angling in the UK has traditionally been done with hard baits (plugs) and mostly for pike with occasional tries for perch and maybe the occasional chub. Given the truly horrible prices they charge for plugs in the UK and the limited places where plugs are acceptable, not surprising that so few do it. But there are other options.

First, lets look at things from the fish's perspective. Fish mostly want to eat and not get eaten. Almost all are omnivores (eat anything that has food value) but tend to specialize to some extent.

The traditional preds usually prefer meat and dine largely on smaller fish. However, a fish has to be careful not to expend more energy getting a meal than the meal will replace. Otherwise they quickly wind up as dead fish. So for the preds, dead food is good since it doesn't swim away. Live food that is injured is also good since it does not move very quickly. Food that swims into the mouth (for the "ambush" preds) is also excellent. But chasing a small meal that swims well is usually a losing proposition.

The non-preds feed more on things that don't move away - or move very slowly if they do. Nuts, dead meat, snails, etc. I have no idea if this is their dietary preference or if they are forced into it by their body design. Still, they will for sure eat dead/dying fish at times and worms most any time. Carp also seem to really enjoy crays and a cray that has lost it's claws or has just molted is prime carp fare.

Traditional plugs mostly imitate a wounded bait fish of some sort. They are designed to wobble and the newer ones tend to have rattles built in. You pretty much need to use one that has the approximate color and shape of natural fish in the particular lake but they don't have to be exact since their outline is somewhat blurred by their action. And the fish only needs to be fooled up to the time it strikes the lure since the hooks will keep it there even after it figures out the hard thing it tried to eat isn't normal somehow.

Spinner baits don't have to resemble natural forage as closely (good thing too since they really don't). With the blade(s) spinning round, they probably look like a small fish or two being chased by a slightly larger fish. For a pred this is great. Just eat the whole bunch of them at once. Buzz baits (spinner bait with a huge blade that runs on top and sploshes a lot) - I have no real idea what they look like but for the top preds, the thought may be "well, whatever that thing is, it is hurt cause it is having trouble moving around and I can figure out what it is after I get a mouthful".

Two main problems with plugs, spinner baits, buzz baits, etc. Cost is one. If you fish with lures and put them where the fish are, you are going to lose some lures. At 10 per lure, that hurts. Next problem (as pointed out to me by John) is the amount of disturbance you create when lure fishing with these things. Good way to become very unpopular with bait anglers if any are nearby.

Enter soft plastics. Since all you need with them is a hook, a weight, and a bag of 10 or 20 baits that will cost you 2 or 3, you probably won't mind using them and losing the occasional one.

These lures are designed to be fished slowly. They not only look like food to the fish but when bitten, they are soft like a living thing. And depending on which ones you buy or what you choose to dip them in, they can also taste like a living thing. The good part is the fish will cheerfully hold on to them after it has first bitten them. Longer to get a good hook set. The tough part is often trying to figure out when you have a take since they can be very light/gentle/subtle and using braid /w a good carbon rod you may only feel a slight tap, tap. Using mono, you may not feel anything at all but will only know you have a take by watching the line. With a multiplier you can increase your chances of feeling the take by winding the line in while holding it lightly between two fingers. However, you need to be aware that some takes on soft plastics are savage so you gotta make sure the remaining fingers have a grip on the rod. With fixed spool, you just need to watch the line more carefully and if it jerks or starts slowly moving to the side, set the hook. In fact, with soft plastics, when in doubt, set the hook. Costs nothing and will certainly increase your catch rate.

Baits and rigs: All this is assuming you will be using one of your present rods. Carp or spod rods won't work real well but lighter ones should do fine. If you really get the lure bug you can consider buying specialty rods but the ones you have now will work fine.

Worms: So called because they resemble a worm (doh!). Available in everything from 12inch monsters (which probably look more like an eel or, for the US, a snake) to 3 inch very slender ones. Available in hundreds of colors but you probably ought to start out with some that are similar to naturally occurring critters. Exception would be if the lake is deep (to over 20ft) when you will do better with the dark blue ones usually.

Worm rigs:

1. Carolina rig (C-rig) - a free sliding weight sufficient to hold the bottom on the main line. 1/2oz is a good starting place. Below that a bead to protect the knot and a good swivel. Hooklength can be from 1ft to 4-5ft depending on what is working. Summers I tend to use longer ones. Good for open water but not so good for snaggy/weedy areas. Use a hook that matches up with the size worm you use. For a 5-6 inch worm, I like a 1 or 1/0 hook. Rig by putting the hook point into the nose of the worm and then out pretty quickly (to no further than the bend of the hook inside the worm). Then run the hook thru until the eye is buried inside the nose of the worm. Figure out where to puncture the worm a second time so it will hang straight after you run the hook thru it. Good idea to run the hook point out the top of the worm past the barb and then back until just a tiny bit of the point is exposed. This will make it easier for the hook to penetrate the fish's mouth. It will take a bit of practice to figure out how to place the hook so the worm hangs straight. Plan to use 3 or 4 just practicing. To keep the worm from sliding down the hook, you can use a "J" bend pattern like

Datafile.jpg

or you can put a short piece of toothpick thru the worm and hook eye. The finished product should look like

Datafile.jpg

Toss it out. Leave it sit for at least a full minute. Then shake the rod tip side to side a bit (maybe a foot either way) to make the worm shake/dance a little then leave it again. Retrieve with slow pulls that will move the rig 6 inches to a foot each time. When you feel or see anything unusual, set the hook by using a sweeping motion to the side. Not a jerk but a steady sweep.

2. Texas rig - thread a bullet weight (cone shaped and line thru the center with the cone point toward the rod) on. Depending on conditions, anything from 1/8 oz to 1.5 but with the shallow UK waters, I'd start out with 1/4 to 3/8 oz. Next a bead to protect the knot and to make a little noise if you want. I like glass beads since they make a nice clicking sound that bass seem to like. For pike, perch, etc. I'm not sure but you can get plastic which has a more muted clicking effect or rubber that doesn't make any noise at all. Then a hook directly on the main line. Rig the worm like you did for the C-rig above or if you want to try a slight variation, just put the hook point slightly into the side "skin" of the worm for easier penetration. They call this one a Tex-posed rig as opposed to the standard Texas rig.

If you will be fishing very dense brush/logs/weeds, you will want to secure the weight against the bead to lessen hang-ups. Easiest is a piece of toothpick or other soft material into the hole in the weight to slightly "bind" the line. Otherwise, you just leave it free on the line so you can make it dance a bit more freely. I suggest a slightly heavier line for this rig and would hesitate to use less than 10lb b/s and if the water was weedy/snaggy, 17lb would be better.

Can be fished like the C-rig. Can also be fished in weeds since it should sink down to the bottom (maybe use a heavier weight for this though). While the weed may be solid on top, underneath will be lots of open spots the fish use for travel and ambush. Again, I suggest shaking it and leaving it where it originally hit for a minute or so then a slow but slightly more jerky retrieve. A little snap of the rod tip to move it 4-6 inches up and 6 inches or a foot forward. Set the hook if you feel the lure getting heavy or if you feel a tap or (in more open areas) if the line moves without your doing it.

This rig is pretty weedless/snagless so I also like to toss it into stumps or over logs where I will leave it dangling in the water and shake it some. Takes can be savage when you are doing this - real heart-stoppers.

3. Wacky rig - normally no weight or bead needed for this one. Just tie on a hook and run it thru your worm where the "heart" is. The worm will hang down from the hook in the center and will wiggle very much like a real lobworm that has fallen in the water. For this one, I really like the soft plastics that have a high salt content made into them. Heavier and will sink for you. Hook should be sized to match the worm and you want it to fall slowly when it enters the water. If you need weight, cut off a small (1/4 to 3/4 inch) piece of nail and run it into the head of the worm until it is totally inside.

Non-worm rigs: You can use lizard or crayfish soft plastics with either the C-rig or Texas rig. Sometimes they work better and sometimes not. Easy enough to try.

Other rigs - there are several variations using a hook with lead weight already molded onto the hook. Jigs and tubes are the main ones. Won't discuss them except to say that the same soft plastics work fine to rig with them.

This is a typical jig head

Datafile.jpg

and here is one that is made so the head stands up and has a wire guard over the hook

Datafile.jpg

While this thing is called a "tube". The bait is hollow and the hook /w weight are completely inside the soft plastic.

Datafile.jpg

If you want to see a variety of soft plastics, check out www.basspro.com or www.cabelas.com. I like the ones with heavy salt content put in them when they are made. I think the fish tastes the salt when it crunches down on the lure and thinks "blood". However, the salt does make them fragile and you should only expect to get one or possibly two fish before the soft plastic is ruined.

Something you really should check out is http://www.fishtek.co.uk/index.jsp . They are the only UK maker of soft plastics I know of. Originally products designed for sea fishing but they have a great range of sizes, shapes, and colors suited for fresh water. I am in the process of testing a variety of their Jelltex Soft Baits since they really want to move more into fresh water and so far, I really like them. One thing, since they were designed for sea fishing, they are by far the toughest soft plastics I have ever seen. I think the chance to support a UK lure maker would be an excellent idea. BTW - I have no financial connection with these folks. If you do business with them, mention my name though since I think they were a little wary of having a US guy test their stuff. LOL

When you get on their site and go to a specific lure section, you can set the currency so the price will display in . Looks like the worms are either 1.95 or 2.75 per pack of 10 depending on the size you want.

Newt Vail

Edited by - Newt on 06 June 2002 01:40:34 AM
 

esox.20

04/11/01 - 12/10/15
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Newt , great article, printed off for further reference. One other point I missed out was that we use wire traces cos of pike lots of sharp teef. It is considered to be the only way to go in fact if there are rules concerning pike then one will be wire traces to be used. I have had problems with some spinner baits that dont have closed eyes we use link swivels for the attachment. the lure tends to move and tangle.

chill out go fishing
 

Newt

'Lures Rule!!'
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Thanks John. I knew about the wire traces but had just plain forgotten.

With the spinner baits, you can wrap a piece of light wire around the thing close to where the swivel mounts to turn it from that (stupid and hated) open loop thing to a more traditional form. I have never figured out the reason they started making them that way other than possible a cost saving measure.

Also, the wire will have an effect on a soft plastic rigged wacky. Since you don't want a particularly fast fall on them, maybe a small bit of floatation where you tie the wire to the main line - just enough to make the wire sort of weight-neutral or something.

And speaking of the wacky rig - I love it in thick weed and especially the larger lilly pads. It mostly stays on top and I guess the pike (or bass in my case) see the shaking and decide to eat whatever is causeing it without ever getting a good look at the lure. I have had more than a few times when the fish would smash up thru the weed and grab the lure while becomming airborn. Ho ho, some fun!!!

Newt Vail
 

Ziptrev

05/10/01 - 18/10/02
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Brill, Newt,

I await the Snail Post with anticipation.

Regarding wire traces.

I have bought from the sea section of my local shop, some stronger than usual (30 lbs bs ) plastic covered wire trace.
Seems very supple, is soft to the touch and complies by being a wire trace!
A pale, milky white colour, it may be less conspicuous on a dead bait, but I have yet to use it on a lure trace.
The slow retrieve softbait if targetting Pike may be the place for it!

OK we are 'plugging' (pun doh!) lures. How's the Pole going?

Trev





Ziptrev pug.gif Shouldn't happen to a DOG!
 

esox.20

04/11/01 - 12/10/15
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Newt, re spinner baits I over came this by slipping a small piece of rubber tubing over the open eye.

Re soft baits how do you flavour them is it a case of just soaking then in it. will the fishtec ones flavour as I intend to order some curly tails and shads. john

chill out go fishing
 

Trogg

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A lovley fella i know from the states sent me a good stock of lures, used quite a few of them (& lost a couple) this was a while ago as i recall but i'm still using them & one of my faves is a flavoured NEWT

Now the fella who sent me the stuff also packed a bottle of mollasas in the box & asked me to send it on to another brit angler which i did quite happily, only problem being the bloody sticky gooey mess that was all over my nice new lures (bottle had leaked) strange thing happend though, the rattler (vibrating lure) that had suffered the brunt of the sweet sticky liquid was the best catcher of the lot for perch i never thought i'd have seen a perch get its gob round this lure with the size of it but it did.

May i please suggest you try checking out red gill these are a lure specialist company & although they are mainly designed to be used in the sea they are quite adaptable to fresh water lure fishing.

I was given some of these for the dec fish-in & Esox won himself some which he has "toyed" with & maybe "customised" slightly but they work & thats the best part.

Check em out i don't think you'll be dissapointed.

PS if that nice american fella who sent me the lures originally reads this i could do with finding out how much a wall map of the states will cost me icon_smile_wink.gifJust an after thought but i'll be ordering some of their lures myself soon so i can give you a review of them ,,, unless Esox fancies himself as a field tester?? icon_smile_wink.gif


Alan
You've just been moderated


Edited by - Trogg on 06 June 2002 12:54:20 PM
 

Peter

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Facinating post Newt,
Definatly got the old grey matter working,will have to give them a try sometime. thinking.gif

Peter.

Make Friends,Go Maggotdrowning.
 

darryl

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instead of using wire traces for lures i use fibraflex,which is basically fiber and steel braid its a lot more supple and the lures work better

work`s for them who can`t fish
 

Newt

'Lures Rule!!'
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John - I figure the best way to get an answer on using flavor/scent with the Fishtek soft plastics would be to email my contact for the field testing.

I sent him a link to this thread and hopefully he will post an answer here. Otherwise I will give it a go Saturday or Sunday when I am on the water.

BTW - I usually put scent on mine when they are dry but just before use. I will re-apply it every 30 minutes or so. No idea if that is a good schedule to use but it keeps me happy. icon_smile_big.gif With the soft baits, I am trying to mask smoke odor from my hands as much as to "enhance" the lure. Usually a shad or crayfish flavored oil.

daz - does the fibraflex satisfy the "you gotta use wire" rule on waters that require it? If so, sounds like great stuff. And do you have a good English link to a site that sells the stuff? All I can find is French (mainly) with some German and a few other languages. Did manage to find a nice evaluation posted at http://www.fishingowl.co.za/tackle6.html and it sounds like great stuff.

Newt Vail

Edited by - Newt on 06 June 2002 9:22:23 PM
 

Ziptrev

05/10/01 - 18/10/02
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Right Newt,
Going to try some more tomorrow and Daz and I are going to have a session on sunday, after returning to brave the bulls!
I just have to establish whether I can legally use artificial worms for trout waters, but I believe I can as lure fishing for them is legal, so will try a scented soft as well!

So, with norm enlisted up north, thats 3 of us who can report back to you on our success or lack of it!

With 13 Pike and 1 Perch falling to the Plug/Spinners so far, I personally am happy as to the effectiveness of those types.

Now about the Pole LOL

Cu soon

Trev

Ziptrev pug.gif Shouldn't happen to a DOG!
 

darryl

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newt it is from a french firm but we have one of their shops here it`s called decathlon but i have a web site for you to try www.decathlon-usa.com hope it helps...........darryl

work`s for them who can`t fish
 

esox.20

04/11/01 - 12/10/15
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Daz can you supply further info. ie breaking strains is it rustless what method of fixing for hooks ie twisting crimps etc. Have you tried it for normal traces. This sounds interesting John

chill out go fishing
 

darryl

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i have 5kg and 10kg it is soft enough to tie bloodand grinner knots as well as being crimped it will not rust and no i have not used it yet for wire traces but will

work`s for them who can`t fish
 

darryl

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just come back from decathlon the normal cost is 5 for 10 meters but in their sale it is 2.60 and yes they do mail order if any one is intested in the uk the web site is www.decathlon-uk.com or the statesit is www.decathlon-usa.com jump.gif

work`s for them who can`t fish
 
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