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Floating Diver Plugs
An old, established and well-known example of a floating diver plug is the Big S, which comes in a wide range of sizes. These lures carry a diving vane on the front, creating the dive effect when they are wound in: the faster the retrieve the deeper the dive. By altering the vane angle, the steepness of dive can be controlled. A small, steeply angled lip on the plug indicates that it is a shallow diver, and a deep-running bait will have a quite shallow-angled lip. A useful feature of this type of plug is that once you have submerged it with a sharp pull, say to 2 ft (60 cm) below the surface, a steady, constant retrieve will keep it at that depth, which is very useful for searching shallow, weedy areas.
Plugs with the ability to run at a set level at a controlled speed are the ones to select when you are searching a large water by trolling – towing the lure behind a slow-moving boat. Many plugs are now made in hollow plastic, and the body cavity tilled with multi-reflective surfaces to mimic silver fish scales. They are also filled with ball bearings so that they rattle, increasing the sound attraction. A further refinement in the floating diver category is jointed plugs, which have two body sections that can move independently, increasing even further the action and disturbance as they are brought through the water.
The Rapala is one of a family known as minnow plugs, which are all successful lures. Drifting a floating minnow plug downstream can help you fish at a further distance than you could probably cast with a light lure. Probably the best known is the Devon minnow, which is a finned, revolving variant well loved by salmon anglers.
All kinds of weird and wonderful designs are available, to imitate almost every animal, insect or reptile. Some of these are ideal for chub fishing as well as for pike. With these surface lures, a very erratic retrieve -stopping and starting in a jerky fashion to make them pop on to the water – can produce spectacular takes.
Another exciting surface presentation that produces vicious attacks is possible with an adaptation of the standard surface plug, which includes a small propeller at the front end, so that it actually buzzes when pulled at a high speed through the surface film. These are, appropriately enough, called propbaits. It is better to tie these lures directly on to the line or trace with an open-looped knot without using snaps or swivels. When fishing with these, and in fact all surface lures, always keep your striking arm in check for a vital second or two. It is very easy to strike instantly in the excitement of the moment and pull the lure straight out of the fish’s mouth. Just like the take of a chub on floating crust, let the pike turn with the bait before setting the hooks. Bear in mind that many lures have hook points that are far too blunt and it will pay to spend time sharpening them before fishing, especially when piking.
These are probably the least used, and reserved for those occasions when fishing a water of very variable depth with some deep holes to explore. They can be sub-divided into slow divers, like the Kwikfish, and fast divers like the Hi-Lo, which actually has an adjustable diving vane to vary its rate of descent. With divers, the technique is to count a set number of seconds after the plug hits the water before starting a steady retrieve, altering the delay periodically to vary the retrieve depth. Once at the required depth, increasing retrieve speed will send the lure deeper.
These are interesting to use, the general idea being that they are of neutral buoyancy, and just hang “suspended” in the water when you stop retrieving for a moment. Restarting the retrieve makes them dive. This stop-and-go retrieve technique is effective for all species, but is apparently the most efficient way of lure fishing for zander, which are ultra-suspicious predators. When fishing for zander in this way, some of the takes to suspender plugs are vicious in the extreme and at high speed, so do not have your clutch setting too tight.
As fish see surface lures in silhouette, they often miss at the first attempt because of light refraction. Give them a chance to catch up with the lure and have another go. Anglers often mistakenly feel that the pike has deliberately “come short” at the lure when, in fact, it has genuinely missed its target and ends up just as frustrated as the angler.
Different Types of Plugs
As their name implies, plugs can resemble wooden cask stoppers of olden days. In fact, original fishing plugs were crude pieces of wood whittled into cylindrical-sort-of-fish-shaped things with hooks attached. These days, plugs come in a range of shapes and sizes, usually painted and fashioned as fish. Larger designs can feature segmented bodies that may appear to move more naturally through the water. They can weigh as much as 1 1/4 ounces, but like all models suited for campers and hikers sporting ultralight gear, smaller, lighter models of 1/8 or 1/4 of an ounce are more appropriate.
Tip: There are three variations on the plug: popping plugs, floating-diving plugs, and deep-diving plugs. Nomenclature aside, plugs are superb for snaring all kinds offish, from trout to muskellunge.
Popping plugs are floaters, meaning they are designed to be played across the water’s surface. They attract attention to themselves by virtue of the fact that they feature an indented face that breaks up the water’s surface as they travel along. They are designed to be pulled along slowly, and are frequently used to catch small- and largemouth bass, depending on how big they are. Poppers make their “pop” when they land in the water after being cast. Anglers should let ripples in the water generated from their landing to dissipate before the plug is reeled in.
Skimming plugs are dragged along the water’s surface and the disturbance they make when reeled in is designed to attract fish. Elaborate models such as the Crazy Crawler feature moving parts that wobble as they are reeled in. These plugs feature moving pieces in the form of spinning propellers and arms that draw attention to the lure. They may be the nuttiest-looking things around, but many bass-fishing anglers swear by them. Experts suggest that these plugs be reeled in intermittently, meaning erratically and slowly. And still others recommend letting these plugs sit on the surface of the water for a time with an added, ever-so-slight twitch thrown in every so often.
These are the most colorful and varied plugs you’ll find. Many are designed to look like small fish, namely minnows that are referred to in the fishing communities as “rapalas.” No matter what their shape, they are designed, as their name implies, to both float and dive. Left alone after being cast into the water, they merely float on the water’s surface. But reel one of these plugs in and the plug will dive beneath the surface. Such radical action is accomplished by incorporating a lip on the front of the lure that causes it to “dip under” as it is reeled in. Floating-diving plugs are available in camping-hiking sizes that weigh in at less than 1/8 of an ounce-ideal for catching trout and small bass. Like skimming plugs, erratically playing this plug in the water often leads to landing the catch of the day. Try making the plug dive, and then let it resurface and sit on the water for a spell. The faster you reel in, the deeper the plug will dive; so alternate between fast and slow reel-ins to see which method works for you.
Deep-diving plugs are designed to plunge to depths of as much as 30 feet, typically where bass like to dwell. These plugs use the same lip technology to propel them downward into the murky depths as floating-diving plugs. So-called sinking plugs, which are designed to sink on contact with the water, are also members of this deep-diver’s club. These plugs are available in a range of colors, from “natural-looking” imitation fish issue, to bright fluorescent models.
Lure Fishing – Some Detailing On The Lures and a Few Important Tips
Lure fishing is the type of fishing through which you can catch fishes like pike, perch, bass, trout and the list is literally endless. In short, the type of fishing will help you to catch predatory fishes. Needless to mention, in lure fishing you will be using lures to catch your fishes.
These lures are basically artificial presentations of real lures. The tool can be made of plastic, metal or wood creations. Apparently there are three major types of artificial baits that we use in lure fishing. They are spinners, plugs and spoons. Among them, spinners are made of metal while the plugs are made of plastic or wood. These lures can float on water or even can go deep in to the sea surface as well.
A spinner is made of blades which are made of metal. This metal blade will start rotating while you will cast the bait in to the water. On a spinner, a metal blade rotates as the lure is pulled through the water. This mechanical functionality of the spinner creates vibration in the water resembles a smaller fishes. And thus the lure attracts the bigger ones of the water. Apart from the metallic blades sometimes anglers also attach tassels of plastic or wool to acquire better results.
A plug is also an inseparable part of lure fishing. This bait looks like a small fish. The lure generally swims on the surface and thus these lures can be used in any kind of water.
As mentioned earlier, spoons are also made of metal (sheet metal). The shape of the lure is like a spoon and these baits are highly usable in attracting any kind of fishes. Spoons come in shiny and bright presentations and wobble through water while retrieving and thus give best results.
Some Important Details To Keep In Mind
Remember, in lure fishing it is advisable to look for suitable water and place from where you want to cast your lure. Staying or waiting in a place for too long is not a healthy exercise. Do keep in mind that big ones often come to find some rest in the banks or while you can also see them exploring the loose water off the main current.
A lot of concentration is what you need to give in lure fishing. Do not make any mistake to make your lure look as natural as possible. The predatory fish are eagle-eyed thus judiciary steps are necessary. Before casting the lure, make sure they flaunt realistic eyes, scale patterns and a shiny finish.
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Striped Bass Fishing With Plugs
Plug fishing for bass can be a great deal of fun. Using spinning reels on light rods is a great way to catch and fight the fish, so much more fun than using heavy wire rods to catch them. The technique used to retrieve plugs is everything to being successful in catching fish. You don’t just cast them out and then reel them straight in to the boat.
Many bait fish have the habit of pulsing when they swim. What this means is that they swim fast, then slow, then fast. This is because when they are running for their lives they simply cannot maintain their fastest swimming speed. This behaviour is known instinctively by their predators, and stripers like to hit them during the slowdown. This is almost without fail. So if you simply reel your plug in at a constant speed, the only fish you’ll catch are the Kamikaze ones, and not all fish are kamikazes. Knowing the habits of baitfish helps you understand how to retrieve your plug.
For Swimming plugs, the easiest retrieve technique is the 4 fast 4 slow method. This is 4 turns fast cranking, followed by 4 turns slow cranking. It is much easier than the jig and reel down method that some experts use, and gives a very similar effect on the plug. Most of the time you will get hit during the slowdown part of the retrieve. This retrieve can be varied in order to find what’s best. Sometimes you need to retrieve very fast, then slow, other times only a very fast retrieve works. Mix it up until you find what the fish are looking for.
Surface swimmers like the Atom Junior or the Atom 40 should be retrieved slowly with occasional jigging, with no interruption in your reeling.
Walking plugs like the Super Magnum Zara Spook are retrieved with a constant reeling-oscilating motion. That is, you are reeling and jigging the rod with short jigs in order to make the plug zig-zag across the surface of the water. You are always reeling and jigging. How fast this zig-zag is done depends on the amount of light and strength of the tide. When it is very bright out or the tide is slow retrieve it very slowly, and when it’s overcast and the tide is running retrieve it fast for first five or ten feet then slow it down to a medium speed.
Poppers should be retrieved by reeling then jerking the line in short jigs to make the plug pop.
It is best to use braided line for this type of fishing. 30lb braid will work fine, with a 20-40lb test monofilament leader 6′ long tied to the braid with a uni to uni knot. Then the plug should be tied directly to the leader using a fisherman’s knot, do not use a snap swivel of any kind. These may make it easy to switch plugs, but only kamikaze fish will hit with them on.
You should always consider what the fish are feeding on when you decide what type and color of plug to use. This is known as ‘matching the hatch’ and on some days it is the only way to catch fish.
What do you do when the fish hits your plug but does not get hooked? You need to respond to the hit in some way. With a swimmer, the response that works most of the time is to do 4 very fast cranks, then 4 slow cranks, then return to the rhythm you were using before the hit. Most of the time as soon as you slow down from the 4 very fast cranks the fish will hit again. When this consistently does not work, try a slow retrieve with constant short jigs, as if the fish is injured. If that doesn’t work after a few seconds, go back to the 4 fast – 4 slow method.
With the Surface swimming plugs, use the slow constant reeling with short jigs after receiving a hit as if the fish is injured. If this does not work in the first few seconds, go back to your normal retrieve.
With the walking plug, there are many ways to react to a hit to get a successful hookup and this can change day to day and by the tide with no reason. First try stopping the plug, then working it slowly, then return to working it normally. Try many variations until you figure out what they want.
So next time you’re out fishing try some of these techniques and see if they don’t work for you.
Make Your Own Fishing Lures – A Time Honored Craft For the Serious Angler
I love crafting, especially woodworking. I am equally, if not more, passionate about fishing. One truly rewarding experience is the combination of two things I love, which is creating homemade wooden fishing plugs. You, too, can enhance your fishing experience: make your own fishing lures!
The incredible experience of creating your own handmade wooden fishing lures is hard to beat. If you love fishing, you’ll find that landing a catch using a lure you made yourself is an event that is hard to beat.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to creating your own wooden fishing lures.
1. Homemade Lure Wood Choices
You have the option of using a softwood or a hardwood. Softwoods, such as balsa and basswood, create a buoyant lure so that it will float. The softwoods are easier to work with, and the resulting lure offers more action in the water. Other popular lure softwoods are red and white cedar.
Hardwoods are usually harder to work with as far as shaping and cutting, but they have many of their own benefits as well. Hardwoods can be used to make suspending lures. Typical lure hardwoods include oak, birch, walnut, and maple.
2. Handmade Fishing Lure Equipment and Supplies
You’ll find that the hobby of making your own fishing lures requires little in the way of supplies and equipment. The largest investment is your time, and if you enjoy crafting, it is time well spent. Here’s a general supply list:
* Scroll saw, drill, carving or whittling knife
* Lure Hardware (screw eyes, split rings, treble hooks, acrylic if creating a lip)
* Sandpaper, masking tape
* Permanent marker and paper
* Wood sealer, paint, marine varnish, and wood filler
* Miscellaneous supplies such as pliers, paint brushes, etc.
3. Endless Lure Possibilities
You can vary every lure you make so that no two are alike. Keep in mind, though, if you create only one copy of a truly hot and successful lure and it gets lost, you may find yourself wishing you had a digital photo image of that specific lure or some specific notes on how you made it.
You can vary the lure by wood choice. You can choose whether to place a weight inside the plug body. You can change the action of the lure based on its shape and the hardware used. You can change up the lure appearance by the detailing and paint used.
4. Budget Minded Fishing Tackle
You can easily “assembly line” your lure making, making several at one time, which is very practical since all the materials are out and available.
If you make your own fishing lures, you can have several on hand in case one gets lost, or dare I say it, hung in the trees. Nothing is worse for an angler than losing his last lure just when the fish start biting, but buying up several extra “have on hand” commercial lures gets expensive.
5. The Rewards of Lure Testing
If you make your own fishing lures, by all means, you must test them. That is where the big fun and reward comes in.
So hit the hobby room, spend a weekend cranking out several homemade fishing plugs, and get to the lake. Analyze which lures work well, making notes on types of fish caught, time of day, the weather, and so forth.
You’ll be an expert lure maker in no time, and oh, the sweet rewards of catching fish using your own lure creations. Happy angling!
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