May 29, 2015 Last Updated 11:50 am

* Jim’s Lure Mistakes Pt2

At the recent Ireland Angling Expo Jim gave a presentation on both days - The subject was MY LURE MISTAKES.... Here's the second half...



My Lure Mistakes

This article and the accompanying pictures of slides made up the basis of my presentation at the Ireland Angling Expo held over the weekend of 21/22 Feb 2015.

So here we are with more of my lures mistakes. I’m sure that the first five will ring a bell with a few of you and hopefully they may help others along their journey. If you didn’t read the fist installment it is  HERE


#6 Expensive is Best!

Oh Dear! Where do I start on this one? There is a distinct trend to lure fishing. It really is the marketing man’s dream. There is an amount of hype going about the place and there is a touch of snobbery coming into the game. Sometimes you would think that if you don’t have the expensive kit and the expensive lures then you are not going to catch fish. Firstly we will take the case of pollack , wrasse and cod. These are not fussy fish and will take just about any lure that is offered. It makes little sense to be offering these fish lures that cost a lot of money. Bass may be a little more finicky at times but when there are a few bass around they too will be caught easily. When it comes to hard plastic lures the price of many will make your eyes water. I think the thing here is not to get carried away by the hype you read. Try not get caught in the marketing hype that makes the next new lure the “must have” this month. In terms of rods and reels, as I have said before, nice gear is nice to use. Expensive gear tends to be nice gear. It doesn’t end there really – clothing , gear bags, sunglasses all are things that the marketeers are having a ball with. Will these things help you catch more fish? Probably not. You will probably find that if you like this style of fishing you might find yourself eyeing up some expensive lure rods. If this style of fishing floats your boat there is no harm in buying nice gear. The “yellow rod” is always a thing of beauty. Will you catch more fish? Maybe you will, it is a confidence thing!

In terms of expense I always think of the humble Hart Absolut Worm. These lures have been around for a long time. They are similar in profile to the Megabass Xlayer. I have been using them for some time now and I would say that they are as good a bass catcher as the Xlayer. The price difference between the two is considerable. You takes your choices!


#7 Go Heavy with Jigheads

It makes sense doesn’t it? Use heavy heads to get the most of your cast or to make sure that you are holding the bottom. I thought that this was a good approach until I began to experiment. Firstly this fishing is all about finesse – Using as light equipment to get the most from the species we are chasing without either overpowering or being too light to fight the fish properly. When using light rods it is easy to overpower the rod and destroy the action. Typically this will happen when you are fishing vertically and are using heavy heads in order to keep contact with the bottom. Going for that heavy jig head may just ruin the action of your rod. In certain conditions of depth and drift you will just have to give up or go with a heavier setup, heavier rod that is.

Success at this style fishing means you are getting decent touch and feel. To get set up the best way possible you should be using “just enough” lead. Just enough to hold bottom. Just enough to cast your lure into the action area. “just enough” is good!

When you are fishing from the shore there is a temptation to use a heavier jighead in order to get distance. You will find that a balanced rod, reel and line combination will cast lighter weights as far as will be required to catch fish. Using heavier than necessary heads will only end in tears as you will inevitably end up stuck in the bottom. Look at where soft lure fishing from the shore has ended up – Weedless and weightless setups are the norm. The manufacturers have also advanced in their processes so as to make soft lures heavier than ever before.

Getting access to a reliable source of reasonably priced jigheads can be difficult. Many local tackle shops still do not have a complete range. When I talk of range I speak only of weight not to mind the profile of the head! At this stage you should be able to pick up heads from 5g to 100g without much bother. You would think!

Back in the day I decided to make up my own heads. The need was twofold – I could not get a reliable supply and also I like “articulated” heads. I could get neither easily in Ireland. I purchased my first mould in France and I have not looked back since.

You can read more about the moulding process here:


#8 Chuck Yer Stuff in a Bag

 I did this starting out. Of course I did. At the time I was dipping my toe in the water and seeing how things would work out so it made sense. I ended up with a bag full of disorganised crap that caused me more grief than you could imagine. I tried to pack my stuff in Tupperware boxes. That didn’t work either.

I bit the bullet and bought my first “made for purpose” lure box. It was a Surecatch copy of a Flambeau 8010. It worked like a dream. Lure fishing goes on the hoof. I can be fishing my small boat today and my Warrior 175 the next trip. I may travel on friends boats. I’m often spotted on Bella Vista Hotel self-drive boats. I need to be able to move my lures with me. The Surecatch/ Flambeau served me well for two years until I retired it this year in favour of a Flambeau T5p box. Again, it was just a change to a stronger more compartmentalised box. The bottom line here is that fishing is all about spending the maximum time in the water fishing. The nature of lure fishing will mean you will lose some lures. You must be able to re-rig as quickly as possible. You need to have your equipment at hand and be well organised. Of course if you have two rods you will have the second rigged up. Of course you will have jigheads all ready rigged up and ready to fit to your leader. Having your gear sorted in a decent box will give you an advantage.

As time has moved on I now use a range of smaller lure bags with Flambeau box inserts. These bags I move from boat to boat depending on the plan for the day. The most important thing is that I have lures dressed and ready for the days fishing. I am not wasting time dressing lures. I am fishing with the lures I prepared earlier. I move boxes in and out of my bag depending on the weight and techniques I plan to use.


#9 Lure Fishing will not affect your other fishing!

Yeah Right! I was never a committed lure angler. I was an opportunist lure angler that would chuck a lure, mainly from the shore from time to time. Other than that I would only use lures while wreck fishing. Then we would be using our “standard” boat rods while fishing shads on flying collar rigs for cod, ling, pollack and coalfish. My bass fishing was done mainly using crab or live bait.

The arrival of the aforementioned modern lure rods, reels and lures changed my outlook on lure fishing completely. I have little or no interest in catching bass on live bait. I would rarely use crab to catch bass or cod. I like to use lures to target all possible species. I am no lure snob (Not completely anyway!) I will still drift around with some juicy rag worm or some deftly carved mackerel in the hope of catching some flatties and I love to rig up light float gear to target mullet from the boat too. But without doubt my focus has changed more towards lures than ever before. My first choice of angling trip will always involve lures. As spring turns to summer my thoughts will inevitably turn to bass and for a while I will chase little else! I love the idea that a soft lure is little more than a lump of plastic until you impart some action or animation to it. This Is the nub of the issue for me – a well worked lure will catch bass. The lure of lure fishing (See what I did there…) means that other forms of fishing will get pushed down your list of priorities at certain times of the year. For sure, for me, the buzz of catching (and releasing) a prime bass on a soft lure just works for me every time.


#10 This could be just a fad!

I honestly thought in my case that this “lure fishing” thing would wear thin with me eventually. I am not gifted with huge angling patience. I still am not. If there is no action in a short space of time I am moving. I am changing lures. I am changing rods. I am moving again. If there is not action in a short time I am going home. It is simple really. I thought that the fishing would never be fast enough. Think of a decent pollack session – the crash diving madness. Think of a winter session on cod – the head thumping doggedness.  How about a summer evening on wrasse – easy no stress fishing. Think of the explosive take of a big bass caught vertically – chaos on the end of a line. There are so  many options, so many species to be chased and there are so many new aspects of the sport changing regularly. It would seem to me that lure angling in its current guise is here to stay. A good example is some of the guys I have met in the last year or so that have just started to get involved in lure angling – they are all hooked!

#11 Read a lot on Techniques

You would think it is so easy to pick up a magazine or to search online for added information on lure angling. It is not. You need to pick your guru carefully!!

Lure angling has spawned a plethora of “experts” like never before. There are more Gurus around than you can shake an incense stick at.  A lot of these are nice chaps and lassies that are more about bling, bluster and freebies than any great technique. Many of these experts have just managed to jump on the tails of local experts and therefore are catching! Maybe it’s that local guy you should seek out. Remember, bass are not hard to catch. The behind the scenes work that goes on with bass is what makes the angling appear effortless. Many of the crop of internet warriors are more in tune with the needs of the tackle company that supplies the free gear’s marketing department than product development. Some search out local anglers, use their hard earned knowledge and then fail to acknowledge the help given. You can see the articles online – Wrasse are “pigs” – there’s a lot of “smashing them” going on… Blah, blah, blah. Many of the new crop have really not got much watercraft nor pedigree in terms of developing marks and consistently catching the better fish. They do talk ad nauseaum on the catching ability of the latest plug that the designers have designed so well that it must be just cranked straight back to the angler. You might notice that the chat revolves around the latest free offering from the marketing department.


#12 Take things seriously

Yep! My final mistake is more of a guideline to all anglers wanting to get involved with lure fishing and it’s a simple one: – Take the fishing seriously, not yourself. Beware the degree of snobbery creeping into the lure scene. If you don’t have the right rod, if you don’t have the right lure, hell, if you don’t have the right branded clothing you will not catch… Bollocks!

Of course it’s nice to have nice gear. Of course it feels nice to use it. It will not be much good to you if it is not the right gear. Getting the gear and techniques right are the most important part of the equation. Lure fishing can be a serious business (It is for me!). In between being a serious business it is also a serious craic and a seriously enjoyable way to get your angling fix. The important things are to get out there, get involved and get fishing. Suffer the initial tackle losses and soon you will find yourself catching more and really enjoying it.

I finished my talk by showing the video clip above. The clip is as real as it gets here in Cork when it comes to fishing for bass vertically. The concentration combined with the balanced gear is what really makes the fishing great.

The clip is a very simple one. it is an unedited three minute piece of drifting. Anglers tend to look at this clip and say – “I know a place that looks like that.” If you do then it is worth giving it a go for bass.

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