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!