How on earth can such a seemingly simple bit of soft plastic like you can see above create such wanton desire among so many bass anglers ? A modern soft plastic lure like the MegaBass XLayer is to the untrained eye probably no more than a slightly dubious looking ribbed bit of strange rubber, but in the hands of a decent bass fisherman this thing comes alive. Watching the French guys demonstrating various hard and soft lures in the tanks was a real eye-opener. The XLayer for example is designed to be worked in slower tides, with a jig head roughly the shape of the one you can see above. You then literally make it jump and twitch up and down as you retrieve it. Kind of like the guys were using them when I was last over in Ireland in fact - and the bass were nailed big time. See the photos here.
You need to be able to impart such subtle movements and twitches to these things, and the more information that is literally transmitted down the rod and through your hand and arm will mean more bass caught. Might sound like rubbish, but it's true. That is why I a starting to save up for the red Tenryu Super Mix 240. The right tool for the job.
By no means am I am now saying that the only people who really know how to catch bass are the French, because that's rubbish. I know some pretty good bass anglers myself who can smash the fish big time. But on a personal level I like to learn all the time. I don't like standing still. The French are doing a lot of different things to us, and it fascinates me.
The lure you can see above is one of the best looking hard plastic lures I have ever seen - the picture of it does no justice to the overall shape and appeal of this thing, but when I saw this IMA Imagene 130 sitting in a glass stand at the Nantes show, my eyes nearly popped out of my head. This is a shallow diving lure that is designed to worked fairly fast, much like the Maria Chase BW, the Tackle House Feed Shallow and the various Duo Tide Minnow lures, the IMA Imagene will soon be in my tackle box, and specifically in the colour you can see above. A top-end Japanese lure like this does not come cheap, and they can be really hard to get hold of, but I know that in a while you will be able to get them right here. Ask and ye shall receive !! (after abusing your credit card of course) I have heard such good reports about IMA lures, and there is also a slightly smaller 110 model of this one that swims even shallower. Not that I like lures or anything.......
I had an email from my mate Cato over in Norway, and he caught a 17lb coalfish the other day when he was out ice fishing. That is some fish to catch off the shore !! A guy he knows was ice fishing last week and caught an 80lb ling - yes, you read it right, eighty pounds. Not off the boat, off the shore. OK, off the ice then. Wow. They have got some incredible fishing up in Norway. Cold but insane. Check out Cato's awesome drumming on this life-changing metal album here.