Dr Paul Garner Fantastic plastics!
These cheap and effective soft lures are easy to rig, and will cover every predator fishing scenario
LURE fishing for both freshwater and saltwater predators is booming.
It’s no longer unusual to see anglers fishing with drop shot gear along canals, or LRF fanatics among the kiss-me-quick-clad holidaymakers at the seaside.
While I love all lure fishing, hunting pike with artificial baits has to be my first love, simply because it is a very efficient way of catching big fish from a variety of venues. On canals, fast flowing rivers, gravel pits or giant reservoirs, soft plastics will catch pike, and rather than playing second fiddle to deadbaits, lures can often outscore the real thing.
As with all baits we have our personal favourites, and when it comes to lures mine have to be soft plastics. Not only are they cheap to buy, but they are just so versatile – a real Swiss army knife of the lure world.
Most need rigging yourself, adding a weighted jig hook and maybe a stinger hook rigged behind it to hook more fish. Rigging the lures yourself offers flexibility, as you can change the weight and the position of the hooks to suit the venue of choice.
Most companies will also offer their best-selling lures ready-rigged, ideal if you are just starting out and want a sure-fire bait that will work straight from the packet.
LURE CHOICE MADE EASY
Every lure company offers thousands of different lures, so how do you know which ones are right for you? Fortunately, with soft plastics we can quickly narrow the choice down.
Size is the most important factor. I go for lures in the 5ins-7ins (12cm-18cm) range. They are easy to cast and will catch pike from a few pounds up to record-breakers.
Ninety per cent of the soft lures I use for pike have a paddle tail that imparts plenty of action to them. Other styles are mainly designed for zander and perch.
The bigger the tail, the wilder the action, and normally the more the pike will like them!
A big spoon-shaped tail will also tend to make the body of the lure roll from side-to-side. This certainly doesn’t replicate the swimming action of a prey fish, but the pike do find it hard to resist. Paddle tails create massive amounts of vibration, which pike can sense using their lateral line from many metres away.
The other 10 per cent of my lures are big grubs, with long curly tails that ripple enticingly on the retrieve. For some reason
I carry a range of colours for different water conditions. The paddle-shaped tails give these lures their vigorous action.