Lure Fishing – A Beginners Guide

Original post from: Dogtooth Tuna Company

Lure fishing and Light Lure Fishing (LRF) is the activity or game to track, arouse and encourage the predatory urge in your prey to attack your lure. Many believe that baiting will tend to have a higher chance of hooking a fish, but I confidently believe that with the right lure in the hands of a good angler you will certainly land a sizeable catch relative to baiting. With a lightweight rod, fine braid and a small lure you can hook, play and land a fish of a surprisingly good size and it can be good sport too!

Fish are capable enough to tell if something is live or if something is an artificial lure, wild targets that have been caught before will be more of a challenge than something in a fishery for example which will act less wary. However, they will bite on a lure anyway if the correct instincts are triggered, out of curiosity they often bite on something to give it a “taste”, if they do not know what it is, and if they do not feel threatened this is sometime why you will see the tail end of a fly or lure nipped away without actually getting a bite. Also, fish that are very predatory will try to catch things that move like a wounded fish, which is why some lures are designed to behave specific ways when being retrieved the correct way (more on that later). If you are getting interest from fish but no bites then read on, we will be explaining why this happens and how to better convert these into landing fish.

Another reason why they will take the bite on a lure is the scent; adding the right scent to the water can increase the chances that a fish will suddenly find itself hungry enough to bite old myths such as the urine of a pregnant woman or dipping it in lemonade have varying levels of merit – our favourite is to spray a little WD40 for the added benefit of a scent on your lure.

One possible way to know what fish will want to take is by working with fishermen who are regularly successful in the area if they are willing to share their secrets, but be careful, some will outright lie about what is catching. Local tackle shops are also useful, although the more unscrupulous ones may try to sell you more than you really need or just what they have in stock. One possibility is to go out with a guide and pick their brain, not only will you pay for the fishing experience, but you can use their expertise to start developing a collection of what works.

Lures usually fall into one of the several categories, depending on whether they are designed for the fish to notice you from a distance or be the tasty morsel that they want to eat, the following are some characteristics of fishing lures.

  • Mimics: One of the most popular types of fishing lures is the one that mimics live bait. This can be in the form of almost anything and is often used to target a precise kind of fish who is particular with their diet.
  • Neon and Phosphorescent Lures: Bright colours can also attract predators from far away, these lures work the same way flashers work.
  • Scented Lures: this type of lure is embedded with slow-release scented bait.

The following are some of the essential pieces of tackle for lure fishing.

  • Rods: if you only intending to go on occasional lure fishing trip, then you can definitely get away with the regular rods that you will use for bait fishing. The light feeder rod will surely be enough for perch spinning, while the average 10-11 ft (3-3.35 m) carp rod will take care of any pike that swims.
  • Reels: Regular lure casting and retrieval exerts a great pressure on the reels, by wearing gears, loosening handles and weakening bail arm springs. For the efficiency of the fishing lure, you also need very smooth line lay and long casting facilities, as well as a completely reliable clutch for when you eventually hook that monster.
  • Lines and Trace Wires: Trace wire for lure fishing should not be less than 15lbs (6.8 kg), but this should be step up if you aim some big pike fishing at some large trout reservoirs.

Methods of Retrieval

This is part of the overall strategy that is overlooked too often or taken as a simple aspect of angling. There is more to lure fishing than picking the right lure, throwing it out as far as you can and then winding it back in. To start off you should be trying a variety of retrieval speeds, some stop-start methods to see if one manages to get the attention of the predator you are hunting.

Three starting pints to keep in mind:

  • Big fish eat little fish.
  • Lures have different functions.
  • Both the movement and sound a lure makes in the water can make a difference.

When a fish hunts he will do it with the same senses as any other predator: sight, sound and smell. Lure fishing will focus on the look of your lure such as a retrieve-stop-jerk-retrieve action that will make the lure look like a wounded fish and an easy target so even if a Pike is sitting in wait with no intentions of working for his meal, he may take your lure anyway.

Getting lures that look like little prey such as Sprats or Perch (depending on where you are fishing) will help catch the eye of your prey and choosing something such as a Bass Popper will also help catch the attention of your prey when retrieved correctly. Here is my best attempt at describing this action: wind it in while angling your rod away from the lures position then point your rod towards the lure to allow for slack line, you then wind in the slack line and after the lure has sunk a little you retrieve is as fast as you can while pointing/pulling your rod away from pointing at the lure again; the sudden rush of water into the popper will create a pop (hence the name) in the water and this mimics the motion and sound of an injured fish.

There are many soft lures that will act in massively different ways that are intended for different targets such as Mackerel which you can retrieve in pretty much a straight line with different results. A Mackerel will “hear” the vibrating tail and the chase will be very different too, with practice you will be able to stop losing those soft tails from curious predators (as mentioned above) and start securing a clean catch.

This is only a couple of vague examples but once you learn some of these basics that are all too often overlooked by veteran anglers it will contribute to your understanding of how and why lures are made a certain way to mimic certain natural characteristics for specific reasons for a variety of environments.

We will post more specific information and advice in new posts depending on the species and if it is freshwater or saltwater etc.

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