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Choosing a lure rod

Choosing a lure rod

With lure fishing for pike, perch and zander being really popular at the moment while the weather is still mild and the fish are very active, I’m being asked quite a lot for help with choosing a lure rod. Lets face it, it can be very confusing when looking through a catalogue or racks in a tackle shop when confronted with dozens of different ones. I can’t be there to help everyone but I have compiled a simple guide to help you through the maze of rods available.

1 Fixed spool or multiplier?

Multipliers are useful for specialist lures like jerk baits and those which offer high resistance on the retrieve. Other than that, its a matter of personal preference. If you are a beginner, consider using a fixed spool until choose2you are more confident of your ability as multipliers can be a lot more difficult to use at first. The rest of my guide considers rods for fixed spool reels

2 Casting weight.

Decide exactly what you want to use the rod for. This will depend upon what species you are fishing for and the weight of the lures you plan to use. They broadly fall into three categories:

Lightweight – for smaller pike, perch, zander and chub. Usually rated to cast lures up to 30 grams.

Standard – for most general purpose pike fishing. Usually rated to cast lures from 20 to 60 grams.

Heavyweight – for casting heavier lures or more demanding situations where there are snags. Usually rated to cast lures from 40 to 80 grams.

As you will see, there is an overlap and there may be variations in the rating. For example a standard rod might be rated as 20-50, 20-60 or 15-50 as there is no industry standard. Look for a rod in the category you require. Remember that most lures, or their packaging, are marked with their casting weight if you are not sure.

3 Price point

You will frequently find several rods which fall into your choice of casting weight. The next step is to consider their price tag. You will have to decide whether you want an entry level/budget priced rod, a top of the range model or something in between. Most entry level rods from reputable companies like Shimano are excellent value whilst their top of the range models have advanced features.

choose34 Choose a length

When you have completed steps 1, 2 and 3, you will have chosen a rod with the desired casting weight and at the price you want to pay. There may be one more choice to make as many models are offered in different lengths. Longer rods have the advantage of fishing around dense waterside vegetation whilst many boat anglers prefer shorter rods. The choice is yours.

Summary – 4 decisions you need to make to quickly arrive at the ideal rod for your personal requirements:

1 – Preferred reel type

2 – Casting weight

3 – Price

4 – Length

Follow these logical steps and you can’t go wrong!

Does colour matter?

by Mick Brown 0 Comments
Does colour matter?

I’m frequently asked whether lure colour is important. In my opinion it is and this can easily be proven by trial and error. Experience has shown me that there will be an optimum colour for any situation, and when I go lure fishing my priority is to find it. Sometimes you can be lucky to find that predators will attack anything that moves, regardless of colour, but this happens too infrequently to rely upon. This week I am using the Rapala X-Rap Shad Shallow range of lures to demonstrate what I mean.

color1The UK range consists of four colours, carefully chosen from the 10 colours available worldwide, to suit UK fishing situations. There are 2 perch style patterns, Firetiger and Nordic Perch. The Firetiger is bold and bright while the Nordic Perch is more subdued. The Silver colour resembles a small roach whilst the bright orange Hot Head is an attractor colour looking nothing like anything which swims in our waters. I took all of them out for a day pike fishing on a clear shallow gravel pit to see which one proved to be the ‘killer’ colour for the day.

I chose this lure because the water is generally shallow, up to 8 feet deep, and there is a thick covering of bottom weed. My plan was to work the lures just above the weed, varying the speed of retrieve to do so and keeping the rod high to work them where the weed rises higher in the water. The X-Rap Shad Shallow sinks very slowly and it is quite easy to make it look attractive using up-strokes of the rod tip. Using the four colours evenly through the session, one thing stood out like a sore thumb. The Firetiger pattern was the one they wanted, time and time again. The Nordic Perch also scored quite well but the Silver and Hothead patterns were largely ignored. When one finally took the Hot Head, it swallowed it well into its jaws, typical of an attack on an attractor colour.

Knowing the water quite well, it was clear to me why the ‘perch’ style lures worked best as the predominantcolor3 prey fish in the lake are perch and the pike are primed to attack anything which it recognises as food. On another water, it could be that the Silver pattern scores better or in waters of poor clarity, the Hothead might come out as top colour. Experience will eventually tell you which colour to try first but one thing is for sure – if you don’t try a range of colours you will often miss out on the action. Remember also that the pikes preference can often alter as light conditions change,particularly at dawn and dusk as different colours appear differently with variation in the light falling upon them.

I have chosen the X-Rap Shad Shallow as an example but this thinking applies to all lure types. Further benefits of the X-Rap are it’s internal long-cast mechanism which gives more casting distance and accuracy. They also have an internal rattle which can encourage strikes if you ‘rip’ the lure through the water, something worth trying if you are not catching with normal retrieves. They are also ‘suspending’ lures and will hover on a pause, allowing predators to take a closer look. Giving them a twitch a few seconds later often induces a strike. Because they are critically balanced to suspend, variations in trace weight can affect how fast they sink and for how long they suspend. Advanced lure anglers might want to consider fine tuning their traces to get them perfectly matched to their lures. You can easily alter the trace weight by adjusting the length of wire and using different sizes of swivels and clips.

This article was written when Mick was working with the Rapala and Storm brands. Technical details may change so check out their websites for latest information. 

Lure success is in YOUR own hands

Lure success is in YOUR own hands

Perhaps you will recognise this situation! Drawn in by inspirational advertising and marketing, you have bought a handful of ‘must catch’ lures and rushed down to your local venue with a view to emptying it. Hours later, your result is much the same as it ever was, and you don’t catch a great deal more. Feeling that your money has been wasted, you either start scanning the media for more lures or perhaps even loose heart and give up. In my experience, this scenario is not at all unusual. But it needn’t be like that!

lure2In order to sell lures, or any products for that matter, manufacturers have to show them in their best light, and promotional tactics range from the most conservative to the outrageous, as the market is very competitive. It is easy to be drawn in with clever promotion, but the bottom line is the product itself and how well you make use of it. As a Rapala consultant, I know that we have the finest range of lures available, and it is true that we don’t make a big noise when promoting them as other companies do, but the fact remains that they stand against the very best in the world in terms of quality, value and fish catching capability. From the point of sale though, whichever lures you choose, the rest is up to YOU!

I have always maintained that most lure anglers make the initial mistake of buying lures and then trying to find somewhere to use them. I always do things the other way round. I look at the venue in terms of the species present, depth of water, water clarity and time of year, and then select lures that will obtain the best result within those parameters. Having done this though, I must repeat that the rest is still up to YOU!

There will be times when it is simply a case of casting out and predators will attack lures, but these days are few and far between in my experience. Most days I have to work at the fishing by going through a series of tactics that will offer a different presentation. This might involve varying the lure speed, or maybe changing it’s action using rod tip movement, and a whole host of other tricks which can only be discovered by practice. As you might be starting to realise, I hope, catching the predator is partly down to the lure I am using but mostly down to the skill of the angler using it.  It’s only common sense that you cannot become a lure fishing expert overnight, and for consistent results you need to gain experience.  This comes with practice, but it is vital that it is performed in a structured manner.

Where is this leading to?  If you really wish to become a better lure angler and catch more fish, I would respectfully suggest that you forget everything you know, put aside your old ideas, and start again, building lure3your skills from the ground up.  This isn’t the place to detail this, but it must start with selecting the ideal rod, reel and line for the type of venue you are fishing.  Just as important is selecting an appropriate wire trace.  It may seem a minor point but you may one day appreciate how this can affect presentation.  Next, using the procedure I have outlined, you must select a small range of lures to practice with.  Until you can really make these lures sing and dance, and you have exhausted every possibility that they offer, I suggest you do not buy further lures until the experience you have gained, tells you exactly what you are looking for.

Serious trial and error will eventually unravel the shortcomings of lures in particular situations.  You could conclude after a period of time that, for example, you need lures that work deeper or those with more subdued colours.  Other considerations such as subtle variations in colour and action might also enter your mind whilst trying to get the best from the lures you have.

By taking a logical and structured approach to your lure fishing, you will not only catch more fish, you will spend less money in the long term, and actually enjoy the fishing a lot more, because the result has come from your own effort.  When a predator hits my lure, it is the ultimate in fishing pleasure, and if this has happened due to my skill rather than luck, then the reward is double.  Happy lure fishing!

This article was written when Mick was working with the Rapala and Storm brands. Technical details may change so check out their websites for latest information. 

Braid or mono for pike?

Braid or mono for pike?

The question of whether to use braid or mono line for lure fishing was resolved for me a long time ago.

Without doubt, braid has proved itself to be the far better choice in most pike fishing situations.  Minimal stretch means better bite detection, and it’s low diameter relative to breaking strain makes it very user friendly. For me, one of the other important benefits I get from braid line is it’s reliability. Knots are easy to tie and very reliable, and the line itself takes a lot of abuse. Gone are the days when I’m pulling for breaks inbraid2 snags and loosing my valuable lures. For lure fishing, I will never go back.

So, what about bait fishing? It took me a bit longer to completely change over to braid, but nowadays I would
use nothing else unless forced to do so by fishery rules. For the same reasons as I choose braid for lure fishing, I do so for bait fishing. My biggest problem when bait fishing was that the lack of stretch made the playing process more fraught with the stiffer bait rods. I was afraid of hook pulls, and indeed did suffer a few. Before long though, I simply found that playing pike on braid line required a slightly modified technique that applied less pressure and keeping the rod higher to absorb any sudden lunges.

More benefits were found like the reliability in striking at long range, particularly when drifter float fishing or braid3long trotting baits down a river or flowing drain.And I keep coming back to reliability. When I have a bait caught in a snag or have to haul a pike from thick weed or from tree roots, I have every confidence that the line will not let me down. Power Pro has long been my choice of braid, and for bait fishing I use 15 kg breaking strain. In swims with serious snags you can go much stronger with little increase in diameter, but I would question whether it’s wise to fish such swims where snagging is so likely.

Braid is more expensive than mono but it will last so much longer than mono main line. With average use, I would expect to get at least five years use from my braid. If you are a penny pincher, you can reverse the braid after five years and get a few more from it. In the long run, it’s a choice I don’t think you will ever regret.

Trolling with lures

by Mick Brown 0 Comments
Trolling with lures

As I pulled my boat into the dock the other day, another boat angler, who had also been lure fishing, asked how I had got on, writes Mick Brown. He was surprised when I told him I’d caught a dozen pike up to double figures as he had only had two small ones. When I mentioned that I had taken them by trolling, he became quite dismissive, and suggested that trolled pike were not as worthy as pike caught by casting.

I asked him if he had ever been trolling, and his answer was that dragging a lure behind a boat would not interest him in the slightest. The discussion moved on to the skill involved in trolling, and he could not see that there was any, and it was too risky snagging up and losing his precious lures.

I left the conversation there. He had closed his mind to the opportunities offered by trolling, and would be consigned to missing some of the most exciting sport available with a lure. I could see that he was someone who would catch very little and lose lots of lures in the process. In my book, trolling is an art, and is so much more than just pulling a lure behind a boat.

The picture on the left shows the lures I had caught pike on during that day. There’s a couple of Storm Thundersticks and Rapala Tail Dancers, a Rapala DT 20, a Rapala X-Rap Deep and a Rapala X-Rap Magnum. In this instance, the swims I fished were from 12 to 20 feet deep and the water was cold with quite a lot of colour, and these are the lures that caught after a lot of trial and error. There were plenty of snags too, but I didn’t lose a single lure. On another day and on another venue, I would probably use different lures. You need to work out exactly what is required for each session, and I hope this article will point you in the right direction.

All the variables involved in lure fishing need to be taken into account when trolling. First and foremost is to run the lure at the optimum depth. This can range from dragging the bottom to ripping the lure through the surface layers. Every type of lure can be pressed into service and apart from regular floating divers which are used more than any other lures, I will troll jigs, spoons, spinners, spinner baits, jerk baits and surface lures.

Choosing the depth to run the lure is best determined by using an echo sounder. In deeper swims, and in warm water conditions, you can take a chance without knowing the depth, as predators like pike, perch and chub will come high in the water for prey. By trial and error you can work down the water column to find the fish, but you will also find the snags too! An echo sounder takes out all the guess work as you can see the depth of the water beneath you and also spot any major lure-pinching snags. You will also see shoals of prey fish too, which indicate areas to concentrate on, as predators will surely be close to them.

Having a good indication of depth allows accurate choice of lure, and you should choose your lure to suit local conditions. Primarily, water temperature will dictate running depth. When the water is cold, I start by running my lure as close to the bottom as possible, and then gradually work my lures higher in the water column if I’m not catching. The picture on the right shows a 34 pound pike which was caught by doing just that. I started by trolling along the bottom at 25 feet and caught nothing. Working shallower, I finally had a hit by running a Rapala Super Shad Rap at about ten feet. The picture below shows the Super Shad Rap which the big pike took. It is in the now discontinued Crawdad Crawfish pattern. With it is a battle-scarred veteran in Red Head pattern which is one of my all-time favourites for clear water fishing.

In milder conditions I do the reverse with regard to running depth, and start with a surface lure and progressively work deeper. Some species, like zander, rarely come up off the bottom at any time and others – like chub – tend to spend a lot of time higher in the water. You really do need to study and understand the species you are after.

The speed of the trolled lure can be vital and can be anything from a snail’s pace, for a jig that is being inched along the bottom, to a fast walking pace for hungry spring feeders. There’s more to it than that though, and amongst other skills you need to learn, are tricks to vary the speed and action of the lure as you travel along, sometimes by varying the motor speed but mostly by rod action. Dropping the lure back suddenly or ripping it forward, are just some of the things you can do to provoke a following predator to make its attack.

Lure colour choice can be particularly important, especially in very clear water. No-one will ever second guess what colour they will want on any day, but a good starting point is to use natural colours in clear water and bright attractor colours in stained or coloured water. In very coloured water or at night (yes, trolling is very viable in the dark!), any colour will catch. Most predators, such as pike, do not need to see a lure as their lateral line sensors will detect its movement. I have found that most lures catch at night, but when I’m fishing bigger waters or where I might have to draw predators from weed or snags, I prefer a lure that makes a lot of commotion, and this is where rattling lures offer an advantage.

I have only skimmed over the basics of trolling with lures, and have barely gone into any detail at all. There is so much more to say, but I hope that I have said enough to tempt anyone who has not yet tried trolling to make a start. If you apply yourself, you will be rewarded with some of the most interesting and productive fishing you will ever come across. Good luck!

When large lures are essential

by Mick Brown 0 Comments
When large lures are essential

A question I am often asked is with regard to lure size for pike. After all, Rapala offer a wide range of sizes, and less experienced anglers can be confused when faced with making a choice.

I could dismiss this very simply and say that pike will often take lures of any size unless circumstances are such that they become choosy. At some times of year for example, often in warmer conditions, they prefer larger baits and in cold water conditions, smaller lures often score better. As I said though, you need to keep a very open mind about this and offer a selection of sizes and see what works best.

There are times though when I will mostly use larger lures. This is not for the benefit of catching more pike,when-2 but because of my concern for the pike’s welfare. In high water temperatures, and I am thinking about those above approx 13/14 degrees Centigrade, the pike has a very voracious appetite, and has the capacity and intent to swallow food as quickly as possible. Deadbaits and livebaits disappear in a flash and unhooking problems can occur. The same applies with lures, although to a lesser extent as the strike is made very quickly after the lure is grabbed. Nevertheless, there will be times when even lures are inhaled deeply.

Here is the reason for this article. The larger the lure you are using, the less likely it will be taken down deeply. My first illustration shows a pike that has taken a 6cm BX Jointed Shad quite a way back in it’s mouth. An experienced lure angler will find it’s removal to be no problem, at other times, even skilled anglers can be faced with more difficult unhooking situations. My way around this is to use larger lures at times when the pike are behaving in this way.

when-3What do I mean by large? Well, if you use lures of 13cm or longer, a Floating Magnum14 or Super Shad Rap for example, you stand a better chance of the pike ‘grabbing’ the lure rather than swallowing it. Rapala supply lures much longer than this, such as the 18cm CountDown Magnum or larger X-Rap Magnum. When very big pike are possible, you would do well to consider their use at any time.

Unhooking lure caught pike will never be all that easy, but you can take measures, as I have described, to make your life easier and more importantly, benefit the welfare of the pike you catch. May I also remind you that a good pair of unhooking pliers makes the job of removing lures so much easier as you can get a firmer grip on the hooks (see Rapala Pliers).

Lure fishing in milder weather conditions can be very productive. Follow my advice and use larger lures at this time, it can make the fishing more productive and also a lot more enjoyable by making unhooking simpler.

This article was written when Mick was working with the Rapala and Storm brands. Technical details may change so check out their websites for latest information. 

How deep should you work your lure

by Mick Brown 0 Comments
How deep should you work your lure

A prime consideration when working any lure, at any time of year and on any type of venue, is the depth that the lure is being run at – whether you’re casting or trolling. Sometimes this is not so critical, but most times it will be, and getting it wrong can adversely affect your catch rate. The days when predators will hit any lure, regardless of the depth it is being fished, are few and far between, so getting it right has to be a basic but important consideration.

Various factors will affect where in the water column the predators will be lying ready to ambush their prey. This is where your lure also needs to be. It’s no good fishing a lure well above the prey fish, or worse still, below them. Predators might make extra effort to come a little higher in the water for prey, but rarely do they consider foraging deeper where they do not expect to find them. I am considering common UK freshwater predators here, but this principle applies whatever predator you fish for around the world.

The depth of the water column you are casting into needs to be understood first of all. From a boat, an echo sounder offers a massive advantage in determining the depth, and it will also help you to pinpoint prey shoals and show what depth they are swimming at. Throughout the day (and night), you may often see prey shoals change depth, and predators will following them accordingly, or sometimes they might wait for them at the depth they prefer to attack them. From the bank, it takes a lot of trial and error to build a similar picture, but working progressively deeper with the correct lure eventually builds a basic understanding.

Having determined a basic knowledge of the depths, you then need to find at which depth the predators are feeding. It takes time to understand patterns of behaviour of predators in any venue, and the way in which they move up and down in the water column, but it is essential to do so. Waters of shallow to medium depth (down to approx 20ft) are easiest to come to terms with, whereas deeper waters can have quite complicated prey and predator movement. For example, some predators move from deep to shallow water at feeding time, whereas others might wait for deep water prey shoals to rise in the water before attacking them. Once determined though, it makes choosing the right lure much easier.

Feeding depth goes hand-in-hand with feeding times. Your best chance to catch a predator is to fish at its feeding time, and of course fish your lure at the correct depth. Feeding spells can often be very short, sharp affairs, but if you miss them you still have the chance to catch predators that are digesting prey, and they often drop into deeper water to do so. Zander and perch are typical of this behaviour, but pike will do so too at times. Those that are digesting prey can be harder to tempt and are often quite challenging, but nevertheless are worthy of your attention, especially if they offer the only chance during the session.

While understanding the feeding depth equation is vitally important, it should be apparent that it is never that straightforward. Clearly this points to a searching approach which covers the depth column until a result occurs. The Rapala Countdown was one of the first lures designed to search in this way, and since its introduction there have been many other lures that fit this bill and cover a whole range of species and venues. In water down to about 10ft, I would also recommend the Scatter Rap CountdownBX SwimmerClackin’ MinnowMax Rap and  X-Rap Countdown. For depths down to 20ft I recommend theClackin’ RapJointed Clackin’ Rap and Rippin’ Rap.

Spinners, like the Blue Fox Vibrax range are also useful for working at various depths, and there are many soft plastics in the Storm range that can be worked in all depths. The Knock’R Minnow has been very effective for finding pike in all depths, and the Wildeye Swim Shads have been useful for scraping the bottom for both pike and zander.

There are so many lures to choose from in the Rapala/Storm ranges; they cater for sea and game fish too. It’s up to you to find the ones that meet your requirements, and you will find a considered approach much more productive and satisfying than a ‘chuck it and chance it’ approach which will only lead to frustration and lost lures. Good fishing!

This article was written when Mick was working with the Rapala and Storm brands. Technical details may change so check out their websites for latest information. 


Now is the time to fish with Surface Lures!

by Mick Brown 0 Comments
Now is the time to fish with Surface Lures!

A few weeks ago, I wrote about an early success with a surface lure when a cold spring day produced a surprise hit on a Storm Chug Bug. In shallower waters which warm up more quickly, it can always be worth trying surface lures long before doing so in colder and deeper waters.

As I write, in mid May, it is prime time for casting a surface bait. Now is the time to throw surface poppers, chuggers and sliders! On most venues, at this time, you will see proud mother ducks and geese parading their young behind them and, sad as it seems, nature tells pike that these delicacies are now on the menu. Even where there are no surface birds to attack, other surface swimming mammals like voles and frogs will attract the pikes attention, not to mention surface feeding prey fish. There are plenty of easy pickings now, and this is what your surface lure is replicating.

On a recent tench session, I also took a lure rod with me, along with a couple of favourite surface lures that I have every confidence in – the good old Storm Saltwater Chug Bug 11 cm and the Rapala Saltwater Skitterpop 12 cm. The smaller freshwater versions are very effective too, but in the springtime I find a bigger bait frequently works better. I also had a X-Rap SubWalk 15 cm too. It’s designed to work just under the surface, which is sometimes required when they won’t take lures off the top. You can make it work on the top though if you keep the rod high and work it fast. It then has the benefit that when you stop the retrieve now and again it will start to sink, and this can sometimes be the better approach.

After packing away my tench tackle at mid day, I spent an hour or so walking around the lake with my lure tackle. The action that followed soon made up for the uneventful tench session and was as good as it could be as half a dozen fighting mad pike launched themselves at the lures and proceeded to thrash the water to foam.

They weren’t big pike, but that hardly matters when it’s action and excitement that floats your boat. All packed into an hour session as well, which suits my preference for shorter sessions nowadays. For the next few weeks, I’ll have my surface lures in the van wherever I go, and while I’m waiting or baiting for a carp or tench, I’ll be so looking forward to my special hour of surface lure fishing to finish off with!

This article was written when Mick was working with the Rapala and Storm brands. Technical details may change so check out their websites for latest information. 

The first Rapala lure

by Mick Brown 0 Comments
The first Rapala lure

Every time I cast a Rapala Original minnow lure, I can’t help thinking about the history behind it. It’s a remarkable story that starts back in Finland in the 1930’s which tells how poverty and hunger drove a simple fisherman named Laurie Rapala to find a more efficient way of catching fish for the table.

Carved from a piece of cork, he came up with a substitute for using real fish for bait after studying what provoked predatory fish into attacking. He built it using a principle which is the basis of every Rapala lure that has been developed since. Each and every lure has to have a movement that predators find hard to ignore.

The story is long and complex, and runs through the war years and afterwards when sport fishing started to become popular. It tells of how Laurie’s idea was commercialised on a large scale and laid the foundations for the most successful lure manufacturing company on the planet. The Rapala Original lure just grew and grew in popularity and it found great acceptance as a top lure for catching many sport fish including pike, perch, zander, trout, sea trout, salmon, black bass and so many more species. Hardly changing much from the original shape, but later made from balsa wood, it gradually became manufactured in more sizes and many different colours and finishes.

Today, after many millions have been sold around the world, it is still one of Rapala’s best sellers. In the UK it is a first choice amongst salmon and trout anglers, and despite the flooding of the market with hundreds of new lures, Rapala Originals can be found in the boxes of many discerning pike anglers who appreciate the tradition that is still built into them.

The Original is a floating diver intended for freshwater fishing, and it works well in both stillwaters and rivers. Nowadays I mostly use the larger models (11, 13 and 18cm) for pike in water down to about ten feet. If you want to get them deeper, you can use weight up the line and salmon and trout anglers in particular often do this with the smaller models.

It is almost 80 years since Laurie Rapala carved his prototypes, and their successors are still in mass production. That must speak volumes about the effectiveness of the Original for predators around the world. Next time you cast one out, I hope you will have a better understanding of this wonderful story that has led so many anglers to enjoy sport fishing at its very best.

This article was written when Mick was working with the Rapala brand. Technical details may change so check out their website for latest information. 

Grab your lure rod and go!

by Mick Brown 0 Comments
Grab your lure rod and go!

When spring arrives, predatory fish will be stepping up their feeding efforts for the next few months after their winter lethargy and spawning. For lure anglers, the difficult cold water fishing will be replaced with some hectic hot action. Our rivers have a close season, but stillwaters all over the country are ready to be targeted with lures at this key feeding time. And now’s the time to do it before sport slows down once the water temperature gets too high. You really do need to make the most of the next two months to get your share of the potential sport available!

The days are now getting quite long, and casting lures throughout the whole day can become tiring and tedious, so short sessions can be a lot more comfortable and practical. A lure approach can cover smaller waters very quickly, and they are often fished in a short period anyway, and that’s how I tend to operate at this time of year. I’ll either nip out for a few hours of lure action on a local water, or take a few hours out from a longer coarse fishing session, after carp or tench for example, to add variety to my fishing.

The short sessions are my favourite approach. It’s a way of life in some countries to have a couple of lure rods propped up in the garage or tackle room, and when I visit relatives in the USA, that’s the way we proceed. If the weather looks good, we grab the rods, some drink and food, and we are off for a few hours at the prime time of day for whatever species we are after. You can do so by yourself, but I find the best fun is when I take a family member with me and we share the fun. The fish don’t have to be big; you can have tremendous fun with predators of all sizes.

Pike offer the best prospect on my local venues as they tend to have wider feeding windows and are more reliable. Perch and zander can be fun too, but this usually means being there at low light or at dusk. Knowing I’ll only be out for a few hours means I can travel light with just a few tried and tested lures, some food and drink, and the basic tools and equipment for fish safety. A camera is great to record the fun, and modern digital cameras are so light to carry in your pocket.

I normally have two rods set up for me and my partner for the session. They are different set ups so we can use different types of lures and we take turns with them. One will be a regular 20 – 60 gram rod with a reel loaded with 30lb braid, and this is suitable for the middle-sized lures ranging from spoons and floating divers to surface lures that fall within that weight range. You will find that most popular sized pike lures come in that 20 to 60 gram weight range and can be used with good effect on just one rod, and it will also handle lures a little either side of that range if used sensibly. The other set up I take with me is to cater for smaller, lighter lures like spinners, smallershads and soft plastics. This utilises a 15 – 30 gram rated rod and a smaller reel loaded with 20lb braid. This set-up enables much crisper casting of lighter lures and is more sporting when smaller pike and perch are hooked.

There are so many rods and reels in the Shimano range, so let me suggest two good mid-priced set ups that won’t break the bank and will be a joy to use.


Regular set up (20 – 60 gram)

Shimano Exage Spin rod and Shimano Stradic ST2500FJ reel loaded with Powerpro 30lb braid

Light set up (15-30 gram)

Shimano Speedmaster BX Spin rod and Shimano Exage EXG10000FD reel loaded with Powerpro 20lb braid


What about the lures? They will depend to a larger extent on where you are fishing and for what species, but here’s a few I would take anywhere in the spring period.

For the 20 – 60 gram set up

Rapala Supershad Rap 14cm

Rapala Max Rap 15cm

Rapala Jointed 13cm

Rapala X-Rap Jointed Shad 13cm

Storm Doom Bell Shallow 13cm

Storm Saltwater Chug Bug 11cm


For the 15 – 30 gram set up

Blue Fox Vibrax Original size 5 Spinner

Rapala BX Minnow 10cm

Rapala Scatter Rap Shad 7cm

Rapala X-Rap Subwalk 9cm

Storm Live Kickin’ Shad 12cm


There are so many fantastic lures to choose from in the Rapala/Storm and Vibrax ranges. I would recommend that you buy just a handful to start with, and pay careful attention to choosing those that fish at the correct depth for the venues you fish. Choose colours to suit the water clarity. Natural colours are ideal for clear water, and brighter colours for stained or murky water. Trial and error, and a lot of practice, will soon tell you what to buy next. When you realise that it is not so difficult to catch predators with lures, especially in the spring months, you will soon be able to choose wisely and take advantage of the many special features which all of the lures from these manufacturers offer to help catch in all water conditions.

But above all, lure fishing is fun. So what are you waiting for? GRAB YOUR ROD AND GO!

This article was written when Mick was working with the Rapala and Storm brands. Technical details may change so check out their websites for latest information. 

Is it too early to fish with surface lures?

by Mick Brown 0 Comments
Is it too early to fish with surface lures?

I expect most pike anglers start to think about using surface lures when the weather really starts to warm up and the water temperature starts to climb rapidly. I’ve always felt very much that way myself, but a recent session started me thinking that, even thought it was still mid-March, I stood a very good chance of catching off the top. To catch a pike on a surface lure must be the ultimate thrill as you not only feel the attack, but see it as well.

Fishing a Vibrax spinner through the straw-coloured stems of last year’s reed beds, I noticed a few pike chasing and breaking the surface as I lifted the spinner over the more thickly weeded areas. My thoughts turned to surface fishing, and I challenged myself to break with tradition and change to a surface lure, even though it was five or six weeks earlier than I would normally bother to try.

I hadn’t got my full complement of surface lures with me, but found an old favourite, an 8cm Storm Rattlin’ Chug Bug in the bottom of my box. I quickly clipped it on, and felt very confident as I twitched it slowly through the reed stems. On that very first cast, a nice pike casually whipped it off the surface in a very efficient attack. It just seemed too easy!

I’ve had great success with the Chug Bugs, both the freshwater version and the larger saltwater version. You can make them spit, dart and walk-the-dog by applying different rod actions to them. Any regular 20-60 gram rod with a medium action is ideal for working them. I was using a Technium DF 240M and a Technium 4000FC reel, loaded with 30lb Powerpro braid, a set up that will last a lifetime if treated with respect.

I’ve caught hundreds of pike on surface lures, but this one felt quite special. I’d dared to challenge my long-held belief that it was too early to even try the surface lures, and then proved myself wrong! I dare say that surface lure fishing may not work everywhere until later in the spring, but in shallow water which warms up more quickly, I now consider it very viable to include it in my plan of attack.

Next trip out, I’ll have all my favourite surface lures with me. I’ll pack the bigger 11cm Saltwater Chug Bug, a 13cm Rapala X-Rap Walk and a 12cm Rapala Saltwater Skitter Pop. I’ll also put in a 15 cm Rapala X-Rap Sub Walk in case they are taking just below the surface. As the water gets warmer, and the pike’s demand for food increases, these bigger lures will score well. Can’t wait!

This article was written when Mick was working with the Rapala and Storm brands. Technical details may change so check out their websites for latest information. 

Five steps to pike and perch lure fishing success

by Mick Brown 0 Comments
Five steps to pike and perch lure fishing success

Fishing with lures for pike and perch can be viable around the calendar, but for reliable sport, autumn and early winter take some beating. The water temperature is ideal to get them chasing and much of the summer’s weed growth will have died back, making snagging less likely. It can be a frustrating method though because simply casting and retrieving any old lure is rarely going to produce much success.

You do need to come up with the ideal lure for the swim you are tackling and must work it in an appropriate manner. Over several decades of lure fishing for these species, I have come up with my own magic formula, which I work to religiously whenever, and wherever I fish. My five simple rules are derived from a logical approach that rarely lets me down. First of all, I would advise any newcomer to lure fishing not to think that lure fishing is a simple method just requiring casting and retrieving. Any degree of success can only come from extensive experience and experimentation.

To be able to experiment with lures, one will obviously need a good selection to choose from. Buying wisely, by only purchasing suitable lures for the venue you are tackling, is essential to cut down costs and to have any chance of success. Many anglers do this the wrong way round. They buy a box full of lures and then try to find somewhere to use them. Not surprisingly they find that many of them are totally unsuitable, and many are prone to getting snagged and lost because they work too deep.

A better approach is to consider the venue you are about to tackle with regard to its depth, clarity, the type of prey fish it contains and the water temperature. This will be quite bewildering to newcomers, but my five steps to success with lures will prepare them to not only choose the best lure for the swim, but also to buy wisely in the future when fishing different types of venues. Let’s look at what the five steps are.



Without doubt, the depth that the lure is worked is the most important factor. Get this wrong and you could be totally wasting your time. You need to present your lure within in the strike zone and, at the same time, not snag up on any underwater features or weed. In milder conditions, predators will often come up from quite a depth to attack lures but as the water temperature falls, the distance they are prepared to travel is reduced considerably and you will need to work a lure very close to the bottom where they tend to lie at this time.

Knowing precisely how deep your lure will run will avoid snagging, and a degree of trial and error will be needed to assess each swim. Spoons and spinners can be useful at any time and can be worked at different depths by counting them down progressively deeper with successive casts until contact is made with the bottom. The negative side to them is that they snag easily and they work too fast for colder conditions when predators are less likely to chase. Crankbaits are then a better option as they can be retrieved very slowly at a predictable depth.

The floating diver type of crankbaits are a good choice in snaggy swims as they will return towards the surface when you stop reeling, something you would do if feeling a snag during the retrieve. This type of lure will have its own inbuilt maximum working depth as specified by the manufacturer and can be reliably used in water of a known depth. When the fish are tight to the bottom, a jig would be another good choice if there are no snags or weed present.



Although I rate speed after depth, it can still be a vitally important factor, especially in cold water when predators do everything very slowly. As a general rule, the lower the water temperature, the slower you need to work the lure. In mild conditions, it often takes a fast-moving lure to get the predator’s attention and, within reason, it’s unlikely at this time that you can work a lure too fast. When working lures fast, it’s important to ensure they run true and don’t start spinning round or loose their action. For fast retrieving, I’ve always liked the Rapala Magnum crankbait range, which is specially balanced to run true at high speed.

When minimal speed is required, I use suspending crankbaits like the Rapala Down Deep Husky Jerk which has close to neutral buoyancy. When cranked to their working depth, they suspend momentarily before attempting to return to the surface at a snail’s pace. This means they can be inched along at a fairly constant depth. This keeps them in the predators’ strike zone for long periods of time and gives them plenty of time to make their minds up.

If suspending lures do not work in this way and they sink when paused, it is likely that your wire trace is too heavy and will need fine-tuning. Jigs can be worked very slowly too and can be brought to a halt on the bottom if it is snag free, where predators are likely to scoop them up if skilfully inched along. Once again, there is great scope for experimentation.



With the lure working at the ideal depth and speed, success may still not come if the angler has not chosen an appropriate colour. It would be a very wise angler who could tackle a new water and get it right first time and I would never try to ‘second guess’ what colour will work unless I know the venue intimately. I have so many times seen a particular colour turn the predators on that I work through a good selection of colours before giving up. With this in mind, it is a good idea to have several colours to try out ranging from natural looking patterns to bold attractor colours. As a rule of thumb, I start with naturals in clear water and bright attractors where clarity is not so good. I stress though that this is only a starting point and the outcome is never clear. I do know though that there will often be a colour which is better than all the others in my tackle box.



Lure action can range from very subtle to extremely wild and it all depends upon the mood of the predator as to what will make it react. There are times when a very gentle action is appropriate, typical of cold water fishing conditions. Then there are other times when the lure needs much more movement to get a response from uninterested fish. Sometimes it is provided by the action built into the design of the lure, but any lure can be worked aggressively using rod action to make it dart and keel. Whichever lure you are using, and at any time, it pays to vary its action during a retrieve to see whether working it in a particular way brings success. For example,floating diving lures can be speeded up and then slowed down almost to a halt, making them work with more action for a while and then rising slowly with little action. There are endless permutations to how a lure can be worked to vary its action, and the same lure in different hands can see totally different results, confirming to me that the skill that comes from experimentation and experience is invaluable.


Although I’ve mentioned this point last, the profile and size of the lure is still extremely important. When all of the other factors have been taken into consideration, the size and profile of the lure can and does make a difference. Fortunately predators are opportunists and will snap at anything they think they can get easily. This I’ve proven many times by taking very large fish with small lures and had small ones attempt to take very large lures. It’s just in their nature to attack anything that they think they can eat or find threatening.

There will be times though when they are fixated on a particular size of prey and I’ve found this especially applicable to perch. It is not necessarily a smaller lure either and they will sometimes show a preference for lures that would seem impossible for them to swallow. Conversely, pike will often respond better to small lures for no apparent reason. There is no family of lures with such a variety of profiles than the crankbaits.

Crankbaits can cause some confusion to beginners as they come in so many shapes. A simple overview finds that there are three main shapes: minnows, shads and fat bodies. They are intended to represent different prey fish profiles which makes it possible to ‘match the hatch’ where required, but once again it is never that straight forward and you need to offer different shapes to see whether there is a preference.

It is quite likely that at this stage your head is spinning with confusion. Even if you work through these steps, there is a lot of trial and error involved. I can’t stress enough the need to experiment and practice. To be a successful lure angler on a variety of waters and under different water and weather conditions requires logical thinking and dedication.

I don’t mind admitting that I’m still learning after 40 years of casting lures. It’s a wonderful journey of discovery though as your success and skill grows. This can only come through an approach which starts with selecting the ideal lures for the venue and continues with chopping and changing them to work out which one in your collection will get the best result from the day. You do need a large collection to have the best chance of success, but this can be built up over time. Wise buying means not wasting money on lures you won’t use, and understanding how deep they work will avoid losses through snagging. In the long term it is a lot cheaper than bait fishing too!

I would suggest that you start with half-a-dozen lures and get to know them well, their shortcomings as well as their benefits. When purchasing another handful of lures, you will have that experience and knowledge to build upon. It takes time, and there are no shortcuts to success with lures for pike and perch, but you will have great fun along the way!

This article was written when Mick was working with the Rapala and Storm brands. Technical details may change so check out their websites for latest information. 

The best lure has just got even better!

by Mick Brown 0 Comments
The best lure has just got even better!

There are many cheap lures on the market today. They might look very similar to a Rapala, but I can tell you that this is only in their appearance. In terms of their fish-catching capabilities, they are often worlds apart. It’s true that when predators are in a carefree mood, they will attack any lure, but when the going is tough, you need a lure that has the technical properties built into it which will tempt them to strike. This is where a Rapala will catch you more fish!

Widely misunderstood types of lure are the ‘suspenders’ and ‘slow risers’. They are perfect for difficult-to-tempt predators which need plenty of time to inspect a potential meal before attacking it. This is typical behaviour when water temperatures are low or when they are very well fed (or both!). Suspenders and slow risers stay in the strike zone much longer than a regular lure which will either sink or rise quickly to the surface. These types of lures have their uses too, but not on the situations described.

Amongst my favourites is the X-Rap Jointed Shad 13 cm. A new colour for 2014 is Walleye, and I have had one for a few months for testing. It is perfect for working down to approx 6 to 7 feet, but can be cranked slowly to shallower depths. Since I was first introduced to the X-Rap Jointed two years ago, it has been a great pike catcher but, in a recent cold spell, even this great lure would not catch. No other lures were producing either with water temperature around 4 degrees centigrade. It looked perfect in the water, but could I make it even better?

When I cranked it to the margin, I could see that it rose from the depths of about 5 feet in about 8 seconds. That’s very slow compared to a regular floating diver. The rise rate cannot be predicted with total precision because of the weight of the trace being used. This means that the Rapala engineers have to get it balanced for an average weight of trace. Could I fine tune it to allow for this?

It would take a long time to explain the procedure, but basically I needed to add just two-thirds of a gram to the lure to obtain the optimum rise rate. By adding a couple of turns of copper wire to the front treble, I increased the rise time to no less than 22 seconds! That’s how finely-balanced these lures are, and such balance would be impossible in production when the weight of the trace (and also the type of mainline being used) would affect them.

Now imagine the weapon I had on the end of my line. I had a lure that I could crank down to about five feet and, with the very slowest of retrieves, it would stay there. Even on the pause, I could see in the clear water that it seemed to be totally suspended. I could give it gentle taps and twitches or just leave it hanging on the spot with the knowledge that it wouldn’t sink into weed or rise too quickly if a pike came to inspect it.

To test it, I had to take it to a ‘hard’ water as it would be a real test rather than an easy water where catching may have been down to other factors. On a water where I had not caught a pike on a lure for three months due to the low water temperature, and it was not through lack of trying, I had two double figure fish in a four-hour session. Both hit the lure while it was stationary and I was not turning the reel handle.

Imagine my excitement knowing that I can apply this ‘extreme tuning’ to other Rapala suspenders like the Flat Rap and Husky Jerk.

Straight from the box, the X-Rap Jointed is one of my first ‘go to’ choices, but in extreme conditions, a little experimentation can make the best even better!

This article was written when Mick was working with the Rapala and Storm brands. Technical details may change so check out their websites for latest information. 

Why lure fishing is so much fun

by Mick Brown 0 Comments
Why lure fishing is so much fun

I’ve been fishing with lures since I was a teenager, says Mick Brown. I caught my first pike on a spinner and my first double figure pike on a Jointed Rapala. Since then I’ve caught thousands of pike and other predators with lure fishing tactics including fish of all sizes. I like the fact that fish of all sizes attack lures because you never know what will take your lure next. I hope for a big one, but am never disappointed with a small one because you get the excitement from the ‘hit’ no matter how big or small the culprit!

And to me, that’s what lure fishing is all about – fun! It can be taken very seriously, of course, as trying to catch predators in difficult or challenging situations will always be very interesting, but when the rod responds to the fish grabbing the lure, the magic is just the same.

If you have never tried lure fishing, I suggest you start in a modest way with a 15 – 30 gram casting weight rod and a few spinners and smaller soft plastic lures which are very easy to use and very universal in their use. Such lures, which normally have just one hook, are ideal for newcomers who are not used to handling fish that have lures in their mouths. Once you feel confident, move on to smaller hard baits with multiple hooks and always ensure you have the correctunhooking tools with you.

You’ll need some long-nosed forceps to help remove the hooks, and a quality set of wire cutters will be invaluable too, should you ever need to cut the hook in order to release the predator quickly, and let it swim away to fight again another day.

But fishing with a small lure does not mean you will not catch a bigger fish as very big fish very often take them. To be ready for a bigger fish, I would always advise not to skimp on a decent reel – you’ll never go wrong with a Shimano reel – and load it with at least 20lb breaking strain braid line and use a strong wire trace. Always! In future articles I will look at this in more detail, but for now why not browse this website for useful info and links.

Lure fishing is never boring, and being so active keeps you warm and excited too, through those colder days. Whether casting or trolling the lure, you are always filled with anticipation. A word of warning though – it can become addictive. I know, I’ve been an addict for the whole of my life!

This article was written when Mick was working with the Rapala and Storm brands. Technical details may change so check out their websites for latest information. 

Finding the ideal lure retrieve speed

Finding the ideal lure retrieve speed

The speed that you retrieve your lure is important, although not always critical. That’s the great thing about lure fishing, as anyone can cast a lure and have a chance of catching a predatory fish, because it’s in their nature for predatory fish to chase prey fish – and things that look like prey fish, says Mick Brown.

Some days though they are simply not in a chasing mood, and it’s at such times when they show great reluctance to chase that results can be affected dramatically in a negative way, particularly to the less experienced angler.

Those anglers who pay close attention to detail can, however, reap the rewards if they attempt to come close to finding a speed of retrieve that will make predators react. Other factors, such as finding the critical depth or creating a response ‘trigger’ by imparting a particular type of action to the lure, are just as important. They must be taken into account in the complex equation that attempts to present the perfect retrieve. Get it right and you will undoubtedly catch more fish.

So, what is the ideal retrieve speed? It will naturally vary for different species at different times of year; water temperature plays a major part here. It’s up to you to experiment to find the optimum speed of retrieve for success, unfortunately!

As a basic rule though, I retrieve faster in warm water and slower in cold water. That’s only a very basic starting point, but changing speed can often change a difficult day into a ‘red letter’ one. It’s easy to understand the basic principle of starting very slow and building up speed, and vice-versa by starting very fast and gradually slowing down. There’s every chance of finding the right speed by doing exactly that.

What is less known amongst lure anglers is bringing the lure to almost a dead stop, and this can apply when fishing in any water temperature. Doing this keeps the lure in the strike zone for as long as possible and allows predators much more time to make up their minds. But you cannot do this with every style of lure pattern.

This is where suspending lures, slow-rising lures and slow-sinking lures come into play. They can be retrieved at their working depth at a very slow speed and then paused for quite a while. Just how long this is can be determined by testing them in the margins if the water is clear and deep enough.

Of course, you cannot make a lure stop perfectly still, but you can slow its ascent or descent down to such a rate that it is very nearly at a standstill.

Check out such lures from Rapala as the X-RapX-Rap DeepX-Rap Jointed Shad,Husky JerkBX SwimmerClackin’ MinnowMax Rap and Flat Rap. From Storm Lures you should also look at the Swimmin’ Stick, Flat Stick Glider, Twitch Stick, Flutter Stick Mad Flash and Sea Bass Thunder Minnow. Each has some quite unique properties, and amongst them you are sure to find a lure that will tempt the most wary predator.

They are all worth getting to know, and can take you into a different league of lure fishing when compared to similar-looking lures that do not have such capabilities built into them.

On a recent day, when I went out with Matt Rand to demonstrate the use of various Rapala lures, it was clear that the pike were not in a chasing mood. So, it was time to bring out a suitable lure in the form of a 10cm Rapala X-Rap Shallow.

Eventually, after working the lure very slowly and using regular pauses, I got a pike to follow, and as it came into sight it was obviously not going to grab it. I paused and allowed the lure to settle and then rise at such a rate that it looked suspended.

The weight of my trace was perfect, and not too heavy to cause the lure to sink or too light to allow the lure to rise more quickly. Ten seconds or more passed and the pike just stared at the lure. I held my breath to see who would back down first.

Without warning, the pike inhaled the lure and turned away with it. To me it was plastic and metal, but I had convinced the pike it was edible, and it felt very satisfying.

So don’t forget that you need to consider the speed of retrieve on EVERY cast, and if you don’t get any hits as the fish aren’t chasing, switch to the lures that can provoke them.

This article was written when Mick was working with the Rapala and Storm brands. Technical details may change so check out their websites for latest information. 

Lure fishing videos

Lure fishing videos

8f53295a73878494e9bc8dd6c3c7104fHere’s s few links to YouTube films I made for Shimano and Rapala when I was predator fishing consultant for those companies. Although I may not still use some of the products nowadays, the comments are honest and genuine. Be sure to return to this page after viewing by clicking the back button.

Choosing the correct lure fishing set up

Upgrading your lure set up

Fishing a gravel pit with lures

Using the Rapala Max Rap

Using the Rapala X Rap Jointed

Using the Rapala Super Shad

Using the Rapala Angry Birds lures

Soft plastic lures

A big perch takes a Rapala BX Minnow

Using a floating diver as a surface lure

Using the Storm Doombell crankbait

Big lures

Lure caught pike with massive eel in throat!

Signature lure and book set (sold out now)

Shad profile lures

Deep bodied lures

Minnow bodied lures

Using the Storm Salwater Chug Bug surface lure

Trolling with Surface Lures

by Mick Brown 0 Comments
Trolling with Surface Lures

The visual aspect of fishing with surface baits is probably as exciting as lure fishing gets.  It’s a method of spectacular chases and attacks, often ending in eruptions of foam and spray. In the waters in my local area, surface fishing for pike is particularly successful in the spring and autumn months and each year I look forward to those times.

There are many other species in both fresh and salt water that will attack surface baits too. You need to try surface lures on your own waters to find the best seasonal times to use them. As with any style of lure fishing, you first of all need to locate fish that are prepared to make a surface attack. This naturally means covering the water until you find willing predators.
The boat angler has a huge advantage, and can not only cover the water more quickly, but also cover water that is out of reach of the bank caster. Even so, finding areas with active predators can still be tedious, especially on1 bigger expanses of water. For me, the answer is simple – I troll my surface lures! In this way, large areas of water can be covered quickly and efficiently. I prefer to troll using an electric motor, although on bigger waters I have not found using a petrol motor to be a handicap. I must admit that I have a mental issue about trolling the lure in the propeller wake, and for this reason, tend to troll further back when using a petrol engine. I’ll also ‘snake troll’, zig zagging rather than running in a straight line, so that the lure runs back and forth over the prop wash rather than in it.

Ideally, I use one rod and hold it rather than putting it in a rod holder. The main reason for doing so is that I can work the lure to it’s best advantage. Lures like the X-Rap Propchug along nicely without any angler input, but others like the X-Rap Pop and Skitter Popbenefit from sharp jerks of the rod to raise a plume of water and make an attractive sound. The X-Rap SubWalk can be worked just as one would from the bank using up strokes of the rod to make it ‘Walk the Dog’ and glide enticingly from side to side. I tend to vary the boat speed, often coming to a complete halt if fish are seen chasing. If I find a good area, then I’ll anchor up and exploit it before moving on again.

Here’s a point about surface lure fishing that many seem to overlook. ANY lure that floats can be used as a surface lure! Instead of cranking it down to it’s working depth, just work it along the surface up to the point when it wants to naturally dive due to it’s diving lip, then slow the retrieve to keep it at the surface. Rapala’s surface lures are very enticing to predators but some of the diving lures are remarkable surface catchers too. One of my favourites is the Super Shad Rap, but I have caught well from the surface using lures like the Floating MagnumJointedShallow Shad Rap and Original Floater to name but a few. Their obvious benefit is that they can also be cranked down to see whether there are predators that are unwilling to attack at the surface but will do so further down the water column. There is much to experiment with, making the fishing very interesting.

Rapala have dedicated surface lures and other lures that can be worked on the surface when required. The choice is vast and you have the great pleasure of trying them out on your chosen water to find which work best.

This article was written when Mick was working with the Rapala and Storm brands. Technical details may change so check out their websites for latest information. 


Rapala BX Minnow lure trials

by Mick Brown 1 Comment
Rapala BX Minnow lure trials

(From the Rapala news page)..

Mick Brown has become a big fan of the recently introduced Rapala BX Minnow after a series of superb sport fishing sessions on gravel pits in the East of England.

“I had no pre-conceptions about the BX,” said Mick. “I just put one on the trace and started fishing with it as I knew it would run at the correct depth for the 5ft deep swim I’d chosen to start at.”

“A fish pulled back on the very first cast, and to my surprise it was a quality perch of over 2lb, and from a lake where pike predominate and perch are rare, I was very pleased. A few swims further along, I had another perch that was slightly smaller and then another followed.”

The ‘dual’ construction of the BX lures is the secret behind their success all across Europe. An inner balsa core creates a responsive action that responds to slow retrieves and delicate twitches. The outer co-polymer body shell gives great durability from the beating it takes from predator’s teeth.

Mick’s tip is to practice in the margin to see how you can make it respond to rod tip action BEFORE you cast it any distance, and in doing so you will be confident that it is working exactly as you want it to when it is out of sight.

“Small pike started to take an interest in it for the next hour or so, and I was in no hurry to change lures,” explained Mick, on his first session using the BX Minnow.

“I’d put the perch to the back of my mind until I missed a few hits that started me thinking about them again. Finally, after a little frustration, one did hook-up and I knew from the way it fought that it was a perch. And what a perch it was too!”

“Matt Rand was fishing with me. He recorded the whole capture on video. I won’t make wild guesses at the weight, and with no scales in my bag I will never know. You just don’t catch perch that big on this lake so I hadn’t even thought of packing them. It’s there on film though for you to judge for yourself.”

Watch the video of Mick Brown catching a big perch on a Rapala BX Minnow lure here.

In other sessions Mick has been bagging-up with pike into double figures with the BX Minnow. At 10cm long, it is ideal for both pike and perch and there are colours to suit all types of water clarity.

Mick favours the Blue Back Herring pattern for clear water but has found the Smelt and Silver patterns very effective in clear water too. In darker water, the Gold Shiner is the one Mick reaches for and the Perch and Firetiger patterns seem a good choice at any time.

This article was written when Mick was working with the Rapala and Storm brands. Technical details may change so check out their websites for latest information.