Do you use metals (or shock horror, spinners!) much for your bass fishing?

Doing my guiding work with John Quinlan over in Kerry, SW Ireland has taught me many things over the last few years, and there is one thing that stands out because it’s so damn simple yet I wonder how many bass anglers don’t even bother - how many of you stash a couple of “metals” away in your lure box for those times when a serious bit of distance based (shock horror) “spinning” or jigging could do the trick? I guess the words “spinning” and “spinner” are beset with a bit of an image issue these days, so let’s refer to them as “metals”!

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I have never seen John without a bunch of metals in his lure box that he can get his clients using if required, indeed when there’s a bit of surf running they can be essential. Whack ‘em out and wind ‘em in, just like with the discontinued Bass Bullet or the just the same but available Westin Kongetobis, plus the increasingly interesting and effective Savage Gear Line Thru Sandeel. Seriously, just chuck them out and wind them straight back in? Damn right, but isn’t it just spinning?! And of course you can jig/fastish sink and draw with the more jig like metals, and so on.

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I have heard from a few different people recently about how slow-jigging is becoming more and more popular on the boats and indeed from the shore. Hell, I have got my first ever light shore jigging rod here on test, the rather impressive Major Craft Triple Cross TCX-942SSJ 15-40g Shore Jigging Rod that feels like it’s a peach with metals (come on Henry, spinners!) as well as the regular sort of bass lures we might use - full review to come in due course, but this rod has the most sublime tip on it that I guess is designed to work those metals rather damn well.

There’s a session we had over on the south coast of Ireland last year that really sticks in my head, but it’s not because of the stack of bass we caught, rather it’s the one fish I caught when nobody else did that rams home to me how having that one metal (actually a casting jig I believe) in my box got me that fish. Come on, you know me by now, I am not remotely interested in boasting about the fish I catch and don’t catch, but I want to use that single bass to illustrate my point.

As the tide ebbs we tend to push right out on the edge of a big tide rip, and when this place fishes well it can be electric - a modest, say 4lb bass in that run of current is an epic scrap. For the most part we’re bumping various soft plastics along the bottom and trying to match the weight of jig head to the current so that the lure trundles on down the current without any help from us anglers. And yes, other methods catch bass at times, but you know as well as I do how easy it is to almost default to what has worked so well before. I tend to have a metal or two in my lure box these days, and even if they don’t often come out, I know they are there if needs be……….

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So we’re blanking away when the terns that are working on what I presume are sandeels start to occasionally come a little closer. Sod this bumping plastics for a laugh because it’s just not working, so I clip on a casting jig I have actually had for a few years now but hardly used it and I think is actually discontinued - the DUO Press Bait Fusion Slim which weighs 35g and absolutely frigging flies. I was using that ridiculously good HTO Nebula 9’ 7-35g lure rod and because of where the birds were I was absolutely leathering that 35g lure and not worrying for one second if the rod broke because it isn’t technically mine - but of course the rod didn’t break, indeed it’s such a damn good rod it gets a 35g casting jig out there like a frigging missile.

Anyway, I digress. On goes my casting jig and I am just about reaching the feeding birds that were only occasionally coming within any kind of casting range. I’m whacking the lure out, snapping the bale arm over, and then fishing with a sink and draw as the lure flies down the current, and a few casts in I get that unmistakable hit on the drop and I end up landing a nice bass. No other fish were landed out there and because it was just the one bass it’s ended up really sticking in my head as one of those times when having a simple metal or two sitting in my lure box paid off. I don’t know about you, but it’s often the individual fish that come when the fishing is tough which I often remember more than catching a heap of them.

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Now as much as I like that particular, discontinued DUO casting jig, and I accept completely that technical bass fishing lures cost what they do for a reason, there’s a part of me that can’t help thinking that many metals are quite simply metals and perhaps don’t need to cost too much. I am really interested in seeing how some of those specialist slow jigs for shore fishing might work, but after catching that single bass on that DUO lure last year, I went looking for a cheaper alternative. I don’t own any yet, but the not very expensive at all Savage Gear Seeker ISP metal looks very similar to me with that lumpy bit on the end, and I reckon it can be straight retrieved (come on, it’s spinning!) or fished like a casting jig etc. Not a very sexy bass lure I grant you, but I for one will be keeping a metal or two in my box this year. We did have another session on that Ireland south coast trip where we smashed a load of not very big bass where distance was the absolute key and we could only reach those fish with spinners. Damn, I meant metals, it sounds far more technical and grown up!

Oh, and well done England! Best not mention the TMO. Onwards and upwards.

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