LURES? TAKE A TIP FROM THE TEX­ANS

Rig­ging a soft plas­tic this way drives preda­tors plum crazy!

Angling Times (UK) - - TIPS & TACTICS -

THERE are so many ways of pre­sent­ing lures for perch that it can be all too easy to get con­fused.

Jig­ging, drop shot­ting, nedrig­ging, trolling, spin­ning, top­wa­ter fish­ing, bot­tom bounc­ing… the list is al­most end­less.

All will work on their day but, says preda­tor ex­pert Phil Med­hurst, if you only want to fish with lures in one way right now, then you need to get to grips with Texas-rig­ging.

Like many lure-fish­ing styles, Texas-rig­ging hails from the USA and its thriv­ing fresh­wa­ter bass fish­ing scene. But what ex­actly is it?

“The beauty of Texas-rig­ging is that you are able to make the bait look very life­like with very lit­tle ef­fort on your part,” ex­plained Rap­ture-backed Phil, from Daven­try, Northants.

“This is be­cause the weight and hook are sep­a­rate, un­like with jig­ging, where the weight is part of the hook. With jig­ging, you can only re­ally fish the lure one way – cast out the bait, let it fall to the deck then turn the reel han­dle to lift it back up. This gives a jig­headed lure a very un­nat­u­ral ‘saw-tooth’ ac­tion in the wa­ter.

“If I’m hon­est, I have never seen a prey fish swim in this way!” Phil added with a smile.

FREE-RUN­NING WEIGHT

Texas-rig­ging in­volves thread­ing a free-run­ning small weight of­ten called a nose cone – on to the leader, fol­lowed by a bead, be­fore the hook is tied on. The lure is at­tached to the hook, and when it is cast, the weight falls quite quickly to the bot­tom. This en­ables the weight­less lure to flut­ter down through the last cou­ple of feet, giv­ing preda­tors a longer pe­riod to see the lure, lockon and at­tack it.

When you’re jig­ging, most bites come just be­fore or im­me­di­ately af­ter the lure hits bot­tom. With Texas-rig­ging, this win­dow of op­por­tu­nity is opened wider.

“I find Texas-rig­ging a much more user friendly way to lure fish, par­tic­u­larly for perch and zan­der, which tend to hunt near the bot­tom,” said Phil.

“An­other ad­van­tage is that although you can still cover a lot of wa­ter, very quickly, with Texas-rig­ging the weight drags

“You can make the bait look life­like with very lit­tle ef­fort”

the bot­tom more so you are bet­ter able to gauge the to­pog­ra­phy of the lake, river or canal, much in the same way that a carp an­gler might use a marker float set-up.”

To help tele­graph these bot­tom con­tours, Phil uses a one-piece rod

An off­set hook is part and par­cel of Texas-rig­ging, with the lure hooked in a special way for perfect pre­sen­ta­tion. This can oc­ca­sion­ally lead to missed bites, as the hook­point isn’t as well ex­posed as it would be with a jig head.

THE PERFECT AC­TION

The weight of the nose cone will play a large part in de­ter­min­ing how the lure is pre­sented in the wa­ter, and these cones are avail­able from a very light 0.5g through to 30g-plus.

“There are no hard and fast rules over what size to use,” Phil ex­plained. “How­ever, I would rec­om­mend us­ing as light a weight as pos­si­ble. To­day I’m fish­ing a canal and have com­bined a 1.8g cone weight with a 3ins Rap­ture Xciter lure.”

To test that this weight was heavy enough to work the lure, Phil dropped the rig in the mar­gins on a slack line. Curly-tailed lures may need less weight to work, while pad­dles might need more, even though they might be the same length.

To fur­ther en­hance the move­ment of the lure in the wa­ter, Phil ad­vo­cates the use of a size 4 hook for 3ins lures, go­ing up to size 2 or even 1/0 for 4ins baits.

For the perfect lure ac­tion, make sure the hook ex­its the bait no more than half­way down. If the hook is too big, it will act like a splint, re­duc­ing the ac­tion of the lure greatly.

MIX IT UP

When it comes to lure colours, Phil steers clear of the old adage of muted colours in clear wa­ter and bright, hi-viz shades in murky wa­ter.

“I tend to stick to the four colours that I know will catch me fish,” he said. “These are white, grey, or­ange and yel­low. And I will be more than happy to use one or all of these, re­gard­less of the wa­ter con­di­tions.

“I am re­ally that con­fi­dent in them, even though con­ven­tion may state it’s wrong.

“This is the beauty of Tex­as­rig­ging. Be­cause so few peo­ple do it, you can get away with us­ing lures that go against con­ven­tion.

“Done cor­rectly, it presents any lure so per­fectly that preda­tors can’t re­sist it!”

Noth­ing beats the thrill of a sud­den hook-up.

Two pat­terns of jig head – a sim­ple set-up.

Not all preda­tors are perch or zan­der, as Phil finds!

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