Posted 06:03, 7 March 2014
- I think back to the amount of hooks I used to get through with bait fishing and I wonder if perhaps we place unfair expectations on the treble hooks that come rigged on our hard lures. Hooks rust with saltwater use, end of, but how fast or slowly they rust up seems to depend on a number of different things such as the type of treble hook, cleaning or not cleaning lures in freshwater after use etc., and what I am convinced aids in the rusting process - poor quality split rings.
- Any sign of damage to my single hooks for bait fishing and I would change them for a new one, but we spend fair amounts of dosh on hard lures and we want those treble hooks and split rings to last as long as possible - because replacing treble is not exactly cheap, and especially not when many lures come with three sets of them on there. When do you replace your trebles? I guess when they look really dodgy and if the lure keeps on slaying for you, but it’s hardly scientific. I do tend to wash my lures in freshwater after fishing in saltwater, but whatever I do they all seem to show varying degrees of rust eventually.
- I am fairly sure that the most common treble hook we tend to find on many hard lures we might use is the Owner ST46, and by virtue of them being on so many lures one has to assume that numerous lure companies are buying them in bulk at bulk prices. I guess the same with whatever split rings as well. Business is business the world over. You know as well as I do that if you were asked to pay even more than some of these lures already cost to get much better quality treble hooks and split rings, well there comes a point where you ain’t going to buy the thing. Hence “cheap” hooks and split rings, which let’s face it tend to work ok for the fish we lure fish for.
- I do though have a couple of DUO lures here that came rigged with treble hooks which take a lot, lot longer to show any signs of rust, and I think they are Gamakatsu SP-MH trebles. I have also found that some of the black nickel VMC hooks that come on a few Rapala lures I have tried seem to rust up a little slower than the Owner ST46 ones. Whatever the case, and however good those particular Gamakatsu SP-MH trebles seem to be, over some period of time they are going to show signs of wear and tear. It is what it is - fishing in saltwater. And I have tried those specialist single hooks, but they rusted out far too quickly for my liking and I gave up on them.
- So there comes a time when you might need to think about replacing some of your trebles. If I need to then it’s a few less for me because I have removed the middle treble hook on virtually every single hard lure of mine that is meant to be rigged with three sets, and for the life of me I can’t notice any difference with hooking fish. I also crush every single barb flat, but then if you read this blog regularly you will know that I firmly believe in a barbless lure fishing approach. What trebles do you go for? Brands such as Decoy, Owner, Gamakatsu, VMC, Vanfook etc. all make good hooks, and I feel confident using recognised brands with trebles - personally I avoid any trebles that seem abnormally cheap and/or have that kind of cheap looking, very thin wire, bronzy sort of finish especially.
Vanfook DT-58S, size 6
- There is a treble hook I have just started to use that I have really high hopes for - the Vanfook DT-58S. From my limited experience, Vanfook hooks are “fookin’” awesome (sorry, pathetic) and I have put a couple of DT-58S size 6 trebles on three hard lures to see how they last (7 hooks per packet). So far so good. It’s just a feeling at the moment, but to me they look like a better overall hook compared to the standard Owner ST46. Time will tell, but I am liking them plenty so far. The reason I have heard of Vanfook hooks is because I know the thoroughly nice people at Lure Heaven who bring them into the UK, and again I must give credit to those smaller companies who work to make such good gear like this available to the likes of you and I. What, they need to make a profit out of it? Strike me down, surely not!!
Vanfook DT-58S, size 6
- One thing though that niggles the hell out of me is when you buy an expensive hard lure and it’s got properly crap hooks on there. I am not saying that Owner ST46 trebles are the world’s best, but they do fine if you stop and think about it. Wow does it bug me that you’ve got two proven bass slayers in the Tackle House Feed Shallow 128 and the MegaBass Zonk 120 Gataride, and both lures come with perfectly rubbish treble hooks. I don’t know what the respective manufacturers claim these lures are rigged with, but if you fancy your chances of tangling with decent bass then be warned - change them - because they sure as hell aren’t the regular ST46 trebles I see on most other hard lures. Yes, I hear things like the Japanese anglers use longer rods and lighter lines than we do so they don’t need such strong hooks - to which my reply is a word that means a male cow’s poo. Garbage is garbage, and when you see hooks snapping on fish and snags then plain and simple there is something not right about them, at least not for the sort of fishing they are designed to be used for.
- I would like to wish all you Welsh people the best of luck with the game on Sunday. OK, so that is a load of male cow’s poo as well, because I’m lying. May it be an awesome game of rugby like it was against the Irish, but of course I don’t wish any luck upon Wales on Sunday - and especially not after the painful drubbing we got last year. I am feeling confident that England have turned from boys into men this season, and I truly feel that we will turn Wales over on Sunday afternoon. Did I ever mention that we won the World Cup in 2003? Bring it on.
Posted 05:57, 5 March 2014
- I was talking to a mate yesterday evening about various fishing stuff, and believe it or not the talk got onto different lures - partly due I am sure to him flashing a very nice looking lure up on Skype that he had just had delivered. Swine. Anyway, we got onto the subject of soft plastics versus hard lures, and how this increased adoption of soft plastics for bass especially seems to shaping how we fish overall. If you have not been lure fishing since before you were born - like me - then think back and try to imagine where we were, where we are now, and where we might be say another few years down the line. It fascinates me how fishing develops.
- Surely if there is one thing that the use of certain kinds of plastics is teaching is, it is that less action often seems to be important. I can’t get away from how much I like hard lures and how so many of them move (and glint at me), indeed I am drawn to them as much as ever I suppose, but for me it’s catching and seeing fish caught on the senko especially that really gets me thinking about action or lack of action. How many times has a lure with plenty of action actually got too much going on?
- Or is that me just speculating? Well much of fishing is speculation is it not? There are plenty of hard facts around of course, but considering that we can’t yet talk fish, a lot of what we know is not technically what one could call fact - hence the best anglers will always be those who are most eager and hungry to learn. If you had told me say six years ago that I would be very confidently chucking out what are very boring looking, straight soft plastic “sticks” and reeling them straight in nice and slowly, what would I have said? Well I hope I would have been open-minded about it, but in reality a lack of visible action on a lure tends to freak a lot of us out.
- We like action. We like it when the lure is doing something that we can see. It makes me feel that the lure is working away as I reel it in. But do the fish always like it? How come you can sometimes cover a stretch of water with a few hard lures and then change over to say a 6’ senko rigged weedless/weightless and hook a fish? Perhaps too many of us equate the predatory instincts of the bass with it being intent on charging in and hitting whatever lure in almost any situation - which of course sometimes they seem to do when they are on it a big way. But what about when they are not?
- I often think back to various fishing sessions and wonder what I might have done differently. I don’t beat myself up about it, rather the more I learn about lure fishing, the more I wonder if perhaps a different approach might have hooked me a few more fish - and especially when conditions were on the tricky side. When it’s bouncing and the fish are on I am pretty sure that bass will hit almost anything, but soft plastics are surely giving us another world of options? By no means am I close to being hugely proficient with using soft plastics, but I am into them enough that I feel very confident these days when I am fishing with a lure that to my (human) eye looks like it’s doing exactly nothing in the water. I obsess about soft plastics about as much as I do hard lures these days, and I don’t think I could have imagined that happening a few years back. How much more is there to saltwater lure fishing around our coastline? How much more is there for us to find out? Tell me that doesn’t excite you………….
Posted 08:18, 3 March 2014
- Taking into consideration that assumption is the mother of you all know exactly whats, is it safe to assume we are now through the worst of the winter? Could we still get a great big cold snap that takes what is not really that cold a sea and knocks it down a few more degrees? The daffodils are starting to bloom and the wild garlic is poking its head out. Newborn lambs are in the fields around us (I like to call them butterfly, as in butterfly lamb on the barbie, not sure my girls find it that amusing though) and on a few mornings last week you could really notice the relative warmth in the sun. If we are out of the worst of it and therefore we might not be far away from a bit of lure fishing where you feel that there might actually be a chance, what on earth might we find out there?
- I noticed a lot of landslips around here after that very wet start to last winter, to the point that some parts of some marks became very prone to colouring up on not very much at all as big tides and almost any chop churned up all that slippage. But landslips aside, I can’t help but wonder that those incessant storms we have been going through will have done to some of the marks you or I might fish. What might have changed below the surface, or indeed on the ground that we can see on a low tide? How might this affect the fishing?
- We’ll find out I guess. I think about those really shallow, rocky and weedy marks that so many of like to fish for bass and I wonder whether a lot of the weed that fish like to use for cover has been ripped out. No doubt things grow back very quickly, but will we find that various places are going to fish a bit differently, and that might well be better or worse of course. You hear stories about how various beaches have changed completely with what has to be thousands of tonnes of sand and shingle removed as if it were never there in the first place - what happens with these places? Anywhere there is sand is for the most part an ever shifting terrain as it is, but are we potentially as anglers presented with more features to consider?
- I guess that all this change and our need to ride with it and adapt what we do is a part of why many of us are so drawn to saltwater fishing. I completely get the allure of a single float sitting in the margins of a lake as a misty morning greets you, but I guess at heart I am drawn more to a world where the changing patterns of nature are so prevalent. I like how we can build up a bank of knowledge which is based purely on what nature almost allows us to do, and after such a savage winter I am really excited to see what is going to happen with the fishing this year.
- Do we hope for an earlier start than last year because we have not had an extended cold snap (crossing fingers, touching wood of course)? Have the bass especially had a greater chance at survival because the commercial fleet have not been able to spend so long at sea? Will we be able to base our fishing this year upon the knowledge of certain locations that we already have to draw upon, or will what the coastline has been through make us go back to the drawing board more than perhaps we used to? Don’t you love that anticipation of the year ahead? Crumbs, it’s already March and before you know it we’ll be looking back at the year and wondering what the next one might bring…………..