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.
RODS AND REELS
Regular set up (20 – 60 gram)
Light set up (15-30 gram)
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
Storm Doom Bell Shallow 13cm
Storm Saltwater Chug Bug 11cm
For the 15 – 30 gram set up
Blue Fox Vibrax Original size 5 Spinner
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!