LURES? TAKE A TIP FROM THE TEXANS
Rigging a soft plastic this way drives predators plum crazy!
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.
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!