Sunday, 15 July 2012

Lure choice

I've had a few people get in touch with me regards the 19cm Savage Gear Rainbow Lip Lures, in particular where to buy them from. Well there's probably not many places that still have them left in stock as the particular pattern has been discontinued, but replaced with a newer similar pattern called Rainbow Smolt. I've not yet purchased the newer version as I still have a bit of a stock pile of rainbows left. I use the rainbows most of the time, and always seem to harp on and on about the lure being something special. Recently it broke my seven pike in an hour from one swim record and caught me ten in an hour and then a week later repeated the same feat from the same swim. I've also caught a good few decent sized river pike with it including a few perch and my 22.5lb record river pike earlier this year. All that aside, deep down I do know that it isn't just this lure doing all the work and in fact it's partly my reading of the water, the way I work the lure and the fact that if a pike sees something edible he often can't resist having a bash at it.
Look at the damage, why would anyone use anything else?

On a message board debate a few weeks ago there was a comment from a well respected piker who goes by the name of Woodchucker. He's done far more pike fishing than I have and he's one many people turn to for advice and his words of wisdom on this thread were that he was confident he could catch on any of his lures and doesn't believe in the theory of sticking to one lure. To challenge himself and prove it isn't the lure he often changes lures regularly when he is catching so that he can rule out the theory of one super lure catching all. I don't doubt this for one minute and when I think back to the time before my rainbow I was catching on small spinners, various bass type minnow lures, the good old Big S and any other shiny or wriggly lure I could pull out of my collection. I guess switching lures and catching will help with the mental part of fishing where you keep blaming certain things for success or failure. Switching lures and catching will help you rule that super lure rule out of your mind so that at the time you aren't catching you will look at other things to get you a fish rather than blaming the lures you have.

Still though, every time I go pike fishing I pretty much stick to the rainbow. The reason mainly being that I can work the lip lures through most of the swims without too much fear of them snagging the bottom. The river where I fish is full of all kinds of debris and other lures seem to get hooked on them all too easily. I have also fished this area with a simple float trotting set up and maggot on the hook and all I caught were silver fish 4-6 inch long, it was a fish a chuck. The silvery rainbow just seemed a natural choice since I would mostly be casting the lure and bringing it out of the faster water where all the silvers were, in a motion that would resemble an injured fish which just seems like easy picking to most pike sat waiting in the slack pool beside the large shoals of silvers. There's not many rules I follow in fishing but one of them is "why change something that works?".

Well a few days ago, after the last set of floods I was eager to get out on the river again just to unwind. Within no time at all the rainbow had bagged a fish of around 6lb and not too soon after another pike followed, hit the lure, but I somehow managed to miss it. The river looked in good state, still a bit of water in it, still a bit of colour in it but it wasn't rushing through too much. These conditions have produced plenty of times for me recently and with the good start I'd already had there was a right good chance of more fish to come, the rainbow could bag me a few more fish today. But thinking back to what Woody had said, I did what I'd said to myself I would do at some point, I switched lures after only five minutes of use. That goes against everything I'd done in the past because when a lure is catching I stick with it and catch more pike. There's a good chance you could change the lure and not catch. Would that be the fault of the lure or just the fact there's no more pike in the area. You would never know for sure but if you didn't catch, there's no doubt that you'd be thinking it was that particular lures fault and the next time you went fishing you'd be using the rainbow again.

So I stuck on a big bulldawg lure. It looks nothing like the rainbow or the silver fish I was always trying to imitate. The action it gives off is nothing like the SG lip lures either. Add to that the fact it was bright red and white, it didn't even resemble my rainbow in any shape or form. Seemed a good choice to test the theory. Add to that the fact I'd never even caught on this lure before and I was definitely challenging the theories. I kept in mind the snags on the bottom and cast out, working the lure slightly faster than normal to keep it from sinking right to the bottom.

Not too soon and I get the first thump on my rod and I'm in. A pike had smashed the lure and was putting up a right old scrap and then without warning the hooks came free. Well at least I know the pike are still here and that this lure might just work. I cast back in and get back to bouncing the bulldawg over the snags and then I feel another thump on the rod. This time I manage to get the fish in and it's my first fish on the lure.

First bulldawg caught pike

I end up catching another four pike with two of those scrapper doubles of ten pound. Five fish on the bulldawg in just an hours fishing. This obviously helps the theory that any and most lures will catch you a pike if the pike are in the area and feeding. In my opinion the major factors for catching fish are lure choice for the swim, how you use it and more importantly choosing a swim that will have fish in it to start with. For example, the swim I caught ten pike in an hour before on two consecutive occasions I also fished just fifty yards downstream of it on the same day. I fished a stretch roughly one hundred metres long from that point and never caught one single fish. There were no pike there at all, when just up river there was a very large pack of hungry pike waiting in the edge. I didn't stumble on this by accident, I'd studied google maps before hand and had had a walk to look for myself. I picked out this particular bit of water because of how it looked. It looked exactly like another fruitful bit of water I fish. There was a nice bit of current running from some fast water with a nice big slack pool right next to it for the hungry pike to lay in wait. The bit of water that didn't produce a pike which was over four times as long as this slack pool, had water just tramming through it and just didn't look like a pike would be laid up waiting.

So choose your lures to suit and even get yourself a favourite like my rainbow. But don't go out of your way to buy someone else's super lure to cure any angling droughts you have. Have another think and another look at your bit of water and maybe change something. Changing the lure may help you catch a fish but also changing the area you target could too. Also don't spend all your hard earned cash buying up the last few of your favourite lures remaining in the shops to stockpile them because there's always another lure out there that will replace what you had. Most lures will work, just get one or two of varying actions to help suit the varying locations and then go out and find yourself a couple of banker swims like I have.

2012 pike tally
 Doubles 21
Total 123
Largest 22.5lb
Bonus Perch 3

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