Tackle and Tactics
The BEST bass lure.
23 Sept 2009
There's NO SUCH THING as the BEST lure for bass or indeed probably for any other fish. However, it is often possible to select the best lure for the conditions and this was brought home to me by a couple of recent experiences. In many cases the lures 'select themselves' for example if you know that bass are a long way out, way beyond the distance you can cast a plug or even a big popper, your only option may be to tie on a wedge, a Bass Bullet or an ABU Tormentor Coast. All three of these cast like rockets and although they are sinkers, the Bullet and the ABU lure both tend to plane up to the surface - this makes them particularly effective if the water is shallow and snaggy. So, why not just use these long-casting lures all the time, after all the bass will take them whether they are close in or far out? Well, as I've said, they sink and so unless you begin the retrieve almost at once and unless you never stop reeling they will plunge to the bottom and bang goes several ££££s worth of lure. This can be a bit depressing.
Bass often swim and feed in shallow, weedy, rocky situations close to the water's edge. In such spots a lure that floats on the surface until you start winding is really handy. There's no need to cast too far so modern shallow diving plugs and poppers, which can easily be pitched 40-60 metres using a spinning rod and braided line or lightish nylon, are ideal.
Which do you choose? Well poppers are very effective and they are great fun to use. They fish on the surface so you can use them even when the rocks and kelp are breaking the water as long as you have a few gaps to work them through. Also, there's nothing like seeing a bass lunge at your lure or launch itself from the water with your Chug Bug (or Skitterpop or Slider or Saltiga Pencil or what have you) in its mouth. They are probably most effective in the warmer months (remember the sea is warmest in the Autumn), particularly when the fish are striking at shoals of fry, although they will catch bass at almost any time.
Although bass strike at surface swimming fish they spend most of their time hunting beneath the waves. This suggests that the most effective all-round lures are probably sub-surface ones. The shallow water, snaggy aspect of the fishing means that buoyant, shallow diving plugs fit the bill. There are so many of these on the market nowadays that it is pointless giving a list but there is an advantage in using ones that have a moving-weight casting system. This is not, as the retailers would have us believe, because the rattle of the ball bearings 'turns fish on' but simply because they cast further so you can cover more water. I suppose that eighty percent of my fishing is with this type of lure but I have pals who probably use poppers just as much to good effect.
Poppers and plugs are armed with treble hooks. Usually there are two of these, one on the tail and one mid-body but some larger ones even have three (one too many in my view). You get to the water, cast out your plug (or popper) and begin to wind. Almost at once it has that dead heavy feeling that means WEED. Loose drifting weed is the curse of all multi-hooked lures. So, what do you do? It's always worth trying a 'weedless' lure or one with fewer hooks to pick up rubbish. One good option is a plastic eel of the Redgill pattern with an uptrace weight or float. the latter picks up the weed and the lure remains clean. Alternatively you can use a lure in which the hook is buried or hidden. Some, such as the Slug-Go type will fish through heavy weed without picking up much at all.
So that's about it - a lure for almost every eventuality.
If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you.'get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to - firstname.lastname@example.org
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