Getting the most from your Lures - 01-06-2009
There can be no denying the effectiveness of modern lures for pike fishing. For myself, although I do relatively little lure fishing in comparison with bait angling, I am very aware that my three biggest pike of 37-04, 36-04 and 34-08 all came on lures! On a recent Irish trip, the largest fish of 25-08 again came to my rods on a lure. Ignore lures at your peril!
Before I talk about the lures that I use, what gear are we going to need to enable us to fish our lures effectively in all the situations that we come across? Starting with rods, I find that two lure rods will cover most eventualities. The first is a light fixed spool set-up that I use for casting spoons and light lures. Mine is a Fox Predator XS Spin which I partner with a small Shimano Baitrunner reel and 50lb BS Power Pro line. This is a lovely set-up, very light and can be used all day with little effort. The second set-up is a standard short jerkbait rod with Abu 6501 C3 multiplier reel and 80lb Power Pro braid. This is used for chucking everything else and also when trolling lures.
An essential item are some decent lure traces fitted with proper clips. I use the made up versions supplied by Fox or Lumby. You will also need the right unhooking tools, a good strong pair of pliers and some bolt croppers for cutting through awkwardly hooked trebles. The Fox range of unhooking gear fits the bill perfectly.
A hook file is used to keep trebles as sharp as possible. You will also need something to keep and transport your lures in. There are lots of suitable boxes and bags available now. If you do a lot of lure fishing from a boat a round boat style landing net is useful, though not essential.
Let’s now look at the range of lures that I carry. The choice of lure on the day is determined mainly by the depth of water that we are fishing. Let’s start of with casting lures in relatively shallow water, say less than twelve feet deep. First choice for me here would have to be the Weighted Squirrley Burt. I simply find that I get more takes on this lure than anything else. Two of my three biggest pike were caught on one. I love them! To fish a Squirrley, cast it out then fish back with short, regular pulls, pausing briefly between each pull. Many of the takes will come on the pause. Stay alert!
Second choice for shallow water would have to be a spoon. I favour Kuusamo Professor spoons in the two largest sizes. The new Fox Darter spoons are very similar but I haven’t used them yet so can’t comment. My biggest ever pike of 37-04 came to a Kuusamo Professor OO spoon cast from a boat into very shallow water.
Also very useful on the day are soft lures such as Castaics and Bulldawgs. Both these lures are available in light weight shallow versions if required.
Last up, I always make sure I carry a few slab sided jerkbaits with me. These are particularly useful where we have to be able to throw a lure a long way. My favourites are Cobbs Crazy shads and Fox Runts.
Moving on to casting lures in deeper water, first choice here are soft lures such as standard Bulldawgs, Castaics or Fox Replicants. A particular favourite of mine is the Magnum Bulldawg. The only drawback with this lure is that it is seriously hard work to cast for any length of time! These soft lure have to be the easiest of all lures to fish, just cast them out, allow to sink to the required depth and wind them back!
For trolling lures, the choice of lure is determined by the depth of water we are fishing, the speed we wish to fish at and the depth that we want our lure to get to. When trolling with a petrol motor in water of less than fifteen feet you can’t go far wrong with a Rapala Super Shad Rap. These are fantastic trolling lures and have probably caught more big Blithfield pike than anything else.
For trolling deeper water with a petrol motor, we need something that will go a bit deeper. I favour crankbaits such as the Musky Mania Ernie, Storm Deep Thunder or Musky Innovations Deep Invader.
There are times when trolling that the pike will happily accept the crankbaits listed above, however when the going gets tough, slowing things right down with the use of an electric motor rather than a petrol motor can on the day be very effective. When trolling with the electric motor I will always choose a soft or hybrid lure with a wiggly tail. In shallow water the weighted Squirrley Burt can be very effective when trolled. Moving the rod tip back and forwards as we troll along imparts a little more action to the lure. For deeper water Bulldawgs, Magnum Bulldawgs, Castaics or Replicants are what you want. I’ve had a couple of big Blithfield pike on Magnum Bulldawgs fished slowly just off the bottom with the electric motor in deep water. This year it was the largest size Replicant that did the damage when fished in this manner at Blithfield at the back end of the season.
So, there we have it, a range of lures that will cover most of the situations you will encounter. Go out and enjoy!