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Spinning

Why use lures?

Although the most efficient way to deceive a fish is to use bait, using an artificial is more fun and gives you the ability to search for fish along miles of Chug Bug coastline. There are few things more satisfying to a saltwater angler than to cast to and catch a fish he has spotted harrying fry on the surface. There is no right or wrong time to choose an artifical over bait. Some species, like bass, will readily chase and be caught on artificals while others, such as smoothounds will rarely, if ever, accept them. Spinners and plugs can be used with success over any type of ground, at any state of the tide and in any weather conditions.

Tackle

Spinning offers the opportunity to really exploit the sporting potential of our native species and employs the simplest of rigs. A few lures, a rod and a decent reel are all an angler need to enjoy great sport, freed from the encumbrances of perishable bait, buckets and cool boxes.

This might sound self evident but it is essential that you use a proper spinning rod. I chose the 11 ft Mike Ladle SureSpin, partnered with, a medium sized fixed spool reel, the Abu 304RD. They balance well and don't feel too heavy. After all you wiill be constantly casting and retrieving so a beach caster in this context is next to useless. Even if you have arms like Lennox Lewis you'll get tired eventually if your set up is too bulky. If you shop around you can get a decent spin setup for around £100.

Load your reel with 8 - 10lb monofilament such as Berkley Trilene Flourocarbon. Don't go for a line lighter than this as it will only end in tears. Alternatively, you might want to consider using braided line. It's use has taken off in recent seasons and it can certainly enhance the spinning experience. As braid doesn't stretch, every jerk and tug of the lure is transmitted to the rod tip with a directness that mono can't match and this certainly seems to improve hook ups. Another plus is that you get half the diameter or less for the same breaking strain as monofilament.

Spinning rig

To tie your spinning rig, firstly tie a swivel to the top of the trace line. Then allow between 2 and 5 feet of line before attaching a clip link swivel at the base of the rig line (as illustrated below). This allows you to quickly change your lure.

Plugging

Lures

Buying Lures can be expensive, especially in the UK where the availability of popular patterns can also be a problem. There are some well made robust lures at a reasonable price but on the whole it's best to stick to tried and trusted brands. Just a few patterns can serve you in most circumstances so you needn't break the bank and in the long term you'll find it much cheaper than buying a pound of rag every time you make a trip. Here's a short list to cover a variety of situations:

  • Abu Toby - a narrow spoon-type lure which wobbles erratically when retrieved, valued for both deep and shallow presentations.
  • Redgill - a durable soft plastic artificial that resemble slender baitfish such as sand eels. Ideal for bass and pollack in weedy locations.
  • Rapala J13 - a jointed lure diving to depths of between 4' to 14' the J13 is a proven bass catcher.
  • Maria Angel Kiss - non jointed lure with a moving weight system for improved casting distance and fishing balance. The lip is designed for extra shallow diving (6'' to 12'') and a slow steady retrieve gets the lure working just sub surface.
  • Storm Chug Bug - cast the lure out. Let the lure settle down on the surface. Wait a bit. Twitch the rod tip so the lure splashes on the surface. Twitch the rod tip so the lure splashes again. STOP! Stop means do nothing. Let the lure settle on the surface. You just tried to get a bass's attention and made the lure look like it was frantic. Now the lure is static making it look easy to eat. You can guess what happens next...
  • Mullet spinner - a small spoon type spinner which when baited with ragworm catches a lot of mullet on a slow retrieve.

These encompass the major types of lures but it's by no means an exhaustive list. Once you become an avid lure angler the acquisition of a vast array of brightly coloured irridescent lures can become almost as much an obsession as fishing itself. Just be aware of that old axiom: lures are built to catch the angler before they catch the fish.

Bass captured on a Hart lure


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