Our passion is for lure fishing. It seems that the rest of the UK is also finally catching on to the power of the lure as this convenient, successful and enjoyably technical angling discipline really takes off. Within the categories of this section you will find many lure tips, so please dive in.
#1. What is "lure" fishing?
Lure fishing is the practise of angling with an artificial, generally plastic "bait" that is hooked, cast and twitched through the water - be it sea, river or pond. Keeping the bait (or "lure" as we would refer to it as) swimming or moving, the intention is to mimic a small, real-life fish, worm, crab or bug. "Lured" from their hiding places, larger fish are tricked in to attacking or biting the artificial "lure" and are caught on the hook positioned within. This can be a hugely successful and fun way of fishing and is a rapidly growing sport in the UK.
A few common questions are:
- Do I need to put bait on a lure? No. That's one of the greatest things about it!
- Why are fish attracted to lures? There are two ways of looking at this. It may depend on the species or day, but usually a lure is taken by a fish that, a) is convinced the lure is a real food item, or b) is "annoyed" by the presence of the lure. Fish have no fingers, thumbs or fists so if they see something they don't like, there's only one thing they can do to it. Eat it! (even if they usually plan on spitting it out afterwards).
#2. Why is lure fishing so popular?
While fishing with lures has been done for a long time, as a sport-fishing practise it's only in the last 20 years where it's really taken off for us in the UK. Yes, we always did it, but before saltwater catch-and-release fishing became typical, besides the emphasis was more on catching dinner than enjoying the technical elements of the tackle involved. If you found a lure that worked, that was enough for most. Here in Cornwall for example, all any angler needed was a Dexter Wedge, Redgill or Rapala J-13. There was not a lot else available - unless you made it yourself - so tackle choices weren't such a challenge. Of course, it helped that there were more fish in our seas back then too.
Today, CONVENIENCE is number one. With a lure there is no bait to prepare (you either drive miles to buy some, or spend hours digging it). No rigs to be made in advance. No bulky boxes, bags or rod rests to carry. Just a lightweight rod and a small bag of bits. It's certainly for convenience that my own lure fishing began. Or to me - like many others - it was just "spinning" back then. I could have a rod permanently made up in the garage and just trot off down to the rocks for half an hour at a time if I wanted. Using no real bait makes it as simple as just going for a stroll on the coast, river, lake or canal with the benefit of taking a rod with you to see what might happen.
So, you can add FREEDOM to the list.
Go wherever you can reach and cast wherever and whenever you can. As a long term sea angler since my early years, I soon realised that with a lure I could reach areas not fishable with traditional (bait) tackle. Leads and hooks left to rest will quickly find the snags. A lure however, especially the weedless variety, can be fished in an among the snags with much more confidence. And this is, afterall, where the majority of predatory fish live!
Lure of the bass
Being based in Cornwall, the bass is our primary lure caught target. Surrounded by wild, rugged coastlines and rough seas, this is prime bass territory. Fishing for bass, for me, has always been about escaping and exploring. There's barely an inch of coastline here that won't see a bass, given the right feeding conditions or tides. There's a never ending search over literally hundreds of miles or rocky points, beaches and estuary creeks to keep even the most motivated angler busy for decades.
In Cornwall our north and south coasts vary quite substantially. With beaches and creeks facing in every possible direction, there is always shelter here somewhere from a strong or cold wind, and just the right amount of swell or current on at least one of the hundreds of beaches available for the wandering bass angler to target.
Lure fishing means travelling light - which is what makes this exploration and accelerated learning process possible. By going to the fish rather than waiting for them to come to you, the lure angler will quickly and easily learn about where the bass most like to be, and when.
Standard all-round setup:
- 9' rod rated to around 30g max.
- 3000 size Shimano reel (spinning reels)
- #1.2 PE braid (approx. 20-25lb). The best braid for lure fishing this way tends to be smooth and supple for long casting.
- 15lb - 20lb fluorocarbon leader.
- Selection of lures.
Light Rock Fishing (LRF)
We were among the first groups of anglers in the UK to begin fishing with LRF tackle. As a shop, we were the very first to begin providing Japanese light game tackle. From what used to be a tiny little, specialist niche, LRF has been widely accepted by the mainstream tackle trade and by anglers across the country who appreciate its technical elements.
What is LRF? Defining it specifically has always been a bit of a b*tch as so many used to argue over the topic. For a rough guide if you've never heard of it, it's the art of lure fishing with light rods, reels, lines and lures to target a vast array of saltwater fish species. What we realised when the trend began was that, given the right tackle, almost ANY species could be caught on a lure!
LRF suits families, groups of friends and anybody who doesn't necessarily want to climb cliffs or wade surf beaches. It suits anglers who just want to catch a fish. Any fish! No matter how big. It's not about catching small fish, but can become about catching a number of different species. Being well suited to sheltered harbours, piers and even rockpools, it's even possible on occasion to watch the fish approaching or taking your lure. These are just some of the reasons why it suits young children so well. The locations in which we fish with LRF tackle are often the opposite to those we would target with more specialist bass fishing kit.
Unlike bass fishing, LRF for me is about the social side. Fishing easy access harbour walls and the like, you can fish in close proximity, target the same (visible) fish, and just rediscover everything that you loved about fishing when you first found it. The insistence on catching bigger or "better" fish sometimes drives us away from the more fun elements that attracted us in the first place. LRF brings those back.
Having said that, if you want it to be, LRF can become even more technical than any other form of lure fishing. With finer lines and lighter weights involved, tackle and presentation reaches a level far above any other style of fishing that I have participated in. The lighter you go, the more important the smallest things become.
My favourite LRF experiences generally involve fishing with tiny metal jigs for species like mackerel, pollack, bass and the like. The light rods that we use for this style of fishing make every fish feel like a monster and those mentioned really do fight on 4lb line and ultralight rods!
Standard all-round setup:
- 7'6" rod rated to 7g max. This length has always been my favourite for a bit of everything. The tip styles are complicated between solid and tubular, but go for a solid tip if you're going to fish a lot of lures straight down a harbour wall of for light soft plastics, or a tubular (hollow) tipped LRF rod for metal casting jigs or bottom bouncing lures.
- 1000-2000 size reel.
- #0.4 PE braid (approx. 6-10lb).
- 6lb fluorocarbon leader.
- Selection of lures.
Wrasse fishing with lures
Had you suggested to any angler even 10 years ago about the idea of catching wrasse on lures, they'd have thought you were an idiot. Known for their power, attitude and teeth, wrasse (Ballan Wrasse in particular) have never been considered an "eating fish", but have always provided a somewhat easy and sporting target. Tradition said we needed strong rods, heavy lines and "rotten-bottom" rigs to drag them from their rocky, weedy lairs. Crab and worm baits would be all they'd take...
How wrong we were!
Playing on the somewhat territorial nature of the wrasse, it soon became apparent with some experimentation that they wouldn't only occasionally be persuaded to snap at a lure, but they LOVED them! Or hated them, depending on how you look at it. By dropping Texas-rigged (weedless) soft plastics in to kelpy areas, we discovered that wrasse can be relatively easily tricked in to snapping at an annoying artificial placed in to the zone. There began a phase of learning and success, with more and bigger wrasse being landed and appreciated than ever before!
These ideas developed with inspiration from the Japanese "HRF" (Hard Rock Fishing) movement.
Standard all-round setup: (similar to bass setup but with shorter rod (for more control) and more durable braid)
- 8' rod rated to 25g or 30g max.
- Shimano 3000 size reel (reel sizes).
- Robust, #1.2PE braid.
- 15lb - 20lb fluorocarbon leader.
- Selection of 3" or 4" soft plastic lures.
- Weedless hooks around size #2, #1,1/0 or 2/0 max.
- Worm weights.
Predator/Freshwater Lure Fishing
Lure fishing for pike, perch, chub and zander is huge. Across the UK there are far more predator anglers than there are saltwater ones. With the arrival of LRF, fishing with lures for perch has also thrived. With smaller lures and a competitive element intensifying, perch fishing too has developed and improved over the past 5 years or so.