Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Do you fish with the Black Minnow (or similar types of soft lures) at night?

As I alluded to the other day, I have limited experience of fishing for bass at night with lures, and because what I have done with lures at night has tended to be based around a few specific locations where we have found that certain lures and/or techniques can work well, well my overall knowledge as such is lacking - and I wondered if any of you here fish with jig head rigged paddletails at night? I don’t mean paddletails that you swim with light belly-weights on the weedless hook, rather paddletails like the Fiiish Black Minnow that are for the most part designed to sink pretty quickly via the weighted jig head at the front. Do you fish with them, and do you have much success? And why am I asking you?

I was out on Saturday night, and whilst it didn’t exactly seem to be alive with fish, the conditions were getting better and it didn’t half feel like we should at least be getting a few hits. Because the wind was freshening slightly onshore I was fishing a white senko on a belly-weighted weedless hook to give me a little more control, and a lure with any more than a single hook was as good as out because there was a fair amount of weed in the water. But no joy, and I started to think about how I might get more “good water” time with a lure where it was fishing properly for longer before picking up a bit of weed.

I can’t remember the last time I went out bass fishing without at least a few Black Minnows in my box, in various permutations of course, and accepting 100% that you might not even fish with these lures. I do though, indeed I don’t bass fish with any other jig head rigged paddletail because I can’t see the point when the Black Minnow continues to do so well for me and covers so many options, and on Saturday night I thought it might be worth a go to get down on the rough ground bottom. On goes the newish black Black Minnow that you can see above, the 120mm body rigged on the 12g Shore Head, and from the off it seems to be fishing pretty well and picking up less weed. Whack it out, feel it on the way down, let it hit the bottom and then either sink and draw it back or simply wind slowly with my rod tip up whilst maintaining a “bouncy” kind of contact along the reef.

Anyway, I’m putting the Black Minnow out as far as I can into a bit of a freshening SW breeze that is also laden with lots of lovely rain right in the kisser - always especially nice at midnight - and on one particular cast it suddenly went solid as my lure was dropping through the water column after the cast. What the hell’s going on? I know I haven’t hit the bottom yet because it’s an unmistakable feeling when the solid jig head smacks down on rock in some relatively shallow water, so that sudden stop and tap has to be a fish. Wind down hard, set the hook, the rod slams over and the bass takes a couple of yards of line before suddenly coming off. Now I’m not saying it was a monster, but it felt ok, and my drag is always set, how shall we say - not as generous as most anglers. I think I might have said some rude words when the bass came off!

So this bass hit me at night, on the drop, with a lure that ain’t exactly falling slowly, and once again it’s got my brain cells churning with yet again how much I have to learn about lure fishing at night, and secondly that perhaps I need to treat night time lure fishing more like I would go fishing during daylight hours if that makes sense. It’s dark for us and we might stumble around a bit, but fish so obviously move around with consummate ease. More food for thought for me, indeed one night over in Ireland the other day, the only hit we got on a beach at night was when I was bumping a Black Minnow back through the surf.

I fished for the first time on Saturday night with the longer new HTO Shore Game lure rod, the 9’6’’ 7-35g. Holy frigging cow, it’s a gun! So light, so powerful but easy to fish with, and so, so my sort of 9’6’’ lure rod - time will tell how it deals with all that I want to throw at it, but initial impressions of these two new HTO Shore Game lure rods are extremely positive. Nope, not cheap, but serious stuff never is - what will be of most interest to me is how they stack up against the various Major Craft rods that I have come to know and love over the last few years.

But of course, the single most important aspect to the weekend was England beating Australia in their own back yard. Seven wins on the trot with our new (Aussie) coach, and yes, sod it, this time I am getting properly excited about our England rugby team again. Saturday morning was one of the best and most exciting games of rugby I have watched since that epic November morning in 2003, and whilst you just know the Aussies are going to come back seriously hard next Saturday, in my mind we really should win the three match series and use all that confidence to get better and better. Nowhere near the finished article, but doesn’t winning breed winning? You can see the confidence building in that England side. Well done Ireland as well. Epic stuff.