The Fascinating Lure of Lure Fishing

Our lure fishing expert, Ben Tregoning, takes a look at the fascinating world of fishing with a range of artificial baits for pike, perch and bass.

Many anglers in the UK have done a bit of lure fishing, particularly during the winter months, but for most it is a method that is only employed when the fly rods are put away, rather than one that can add an extra dimension to your fishing at any time of year.

But times change; approaches change; methods, tackle and tactics change and we all learn that what we once held as an angling certainty has been relegated to the pages of angling history. So it has proved with lure fishing and this oft neglected method (certainly in the UK) is rapidly becoming the first choice for many clued-up anglers; not only because it is a fun way to fish, but also because it is one of the most productive ways to catch fish too.

What tackle should I use for lure fishing?

For newcomers entering the world of lure fishing for the first time it can be confusing but if I’m fishing for pike I tend to go for a spinning rod in the 8 to 9ft range, capable of casting 50g, and there are plenty to choose from, including some terrific travel models that are perfect for keeping tucked away in the car or popping into a case or overnight bag for short holiday sessions.

Pike Lure Fishing

Rods such as these are ideally coupled with a 4K fixed spool reel, with plenty of options in the ranges from manufacturers such as Shimano and Okuma.

As far as line to load your reel is concerned there is really only one choice of material, forget monofilament, if you are going to do any sort of fishing with artificials it has to be braid.

The advantages of braid for lure fishing lies primarily with its complete lack of stretch, which allows for a marked increase in sensitivity. This allows you to feel the action of your lure as it works through the water – critical in creating the right action – and it also allows you to feel instantly as soon as you have any sort of ‘enquiry’ from a fish. Coupled with this sensitivity is the ability to make a direct strike to set the hooks as all of the power is directed straight to the lure rather than being absorbed by the stretch of the line, as is the case with mono. Power Pro in 20 to 30lb breaking strains is a good all round choice.

As far as pike lures are concerned I am a great fan of spinnerbaits with a straight-tailed, plastic shad my back up choice. Although I keep favourite patterns in my box it’s important to experiment too and I’m very impressed with the diversity of the Savage Gear range. In respect of lure colours for pike I always carry a silvery ‘roach-type’ scaling or a perch pattern but I also makes sure I have all of my favourite lures in a really bright variant for dull days and a few black, or very dark, lures for bright days.

I have noticed so many times that you can work a swim for ages with one colour without success then, by switching the same lure to a different colour, you can get a hit straight away!

Although you will pick up perch while you are pike fishing there are far better ways to target the species and dropshotting is currently all the rage – and rightly so as it is an incredibly effective and fun way of fishing.

It only takes a couple of minutes to learn how to set up a dropshot rig and we have even got some ready to go dropshot kits complete with lures in-store so you can start straight away and then as you develop your technique – and confidence – you can add to the kit and customise it to your own requirements.

For my money it is THE very best way to target big perch; it allows you to cover ground quickly until you find them and when you do find them they just seem mesmerised by the action of the small, soft lures – and just can’t resist them!

For dropshot work I like a lighter rod with a more sensitive tip to help work the lure more sensitively and effectively, with a model such as the Savage Gear Softlure the perfect choice, I would couple this with a smaller reel and lighter braid too – 10lb being perfectly adequate for most situations.

As far as my basic sea spinning tackle is concerned my ideal rod would be a 9ft one, capable of casting 30g with a fixed spool loaded with 20lb braid; the ABU ‘Ready-to-Go’ saltwater kit is a terrific starter if you are looking to get out this summer.

Bass Lure Fishing

For lures I would never be without sandeel imitations for my bass fishing. Most saltwater species seem to prefer lures with a white belly and for bass I would never be without something with a pearl or white finish.

Sea fishing around the UK is changing though, with global warming we are seeing species such as tuna and jacks showing up off the coast with increasing regularity so it is becoming a whole new ball game and working a lure through the Atlantic could well turn up a few surprises!

If you want to know more about this fascinating branch of angling do please feel free to drop me an e-mail at [email protected],  give me a call on 020 7484 1000, or pop into Pall Mall for a chat and I’ll be happy to help.

Ian Welch

A freshwater biologist by training I drifted into angling journalism and am now Farlows Group marketing manager. A hopelessly inadequate fly angler (the team are hoping to put that right.) I have fished all over the world and am now most at home fishing for River Test grayling, River Ebro catfish, Indian mahseer, or battling giant freshwater stingray on the Thai rivers. Away from my rod I do a bit of shooting and a lot of fruit and vegetable growing!

  • Mike Crosland

    I live in the Netherlands, where drop-shotting is hugely popular, and the quality of predator fishing is second to none. I've used the method myself, and have landed good pike as well as perch and zander. However, I've recently started to become increasingly concerned at the things we are throwing into the world's waterways in pursuit of fish. Over recent years, fatty fish like pike and zander from all three of the Netherlands' main rivers and other major waterways, have been declared unsafe to eat because of the levels of dioxins and PCBs found in them. There have also been problems with hormone -disrupting phthalates, often used as plasticisers.
    Meanwhile, the Rhine and other major rivers has very high levels of micro plastics build-up, which in turn damages fish in the oceans and rivers.
    These sticky plastic soft baits are adding to the tons of toxic waste that go into the water, and, ultimately through the food chain into us. For this reason I'm going to try tying drop-shot lures using traditional organic materials like marabou instead of plastic for the next coarse season. In any case I'm more convinced that it's the unique presentation of drop-shotting that's the real killer, rather than of the lure.