The question here is never, ever going to be do I need a new lure. Nope, we’re way past that and have been for years now. The question as ever it seems is do I want a new lure, and how do I then justify this purchase to myself? Allow me to talk you through a recent lure purchase and then please tell me if your twisted, lure addicted brain works along the same line as mine………..
So a while back I’m in Needful Things talking to the owner Leland Gaunt - this will make no sense if you have never read any Stephen King books (and if not, why not?), but I am talking about the Cornwall based Art of Fishing tackle shop and its owner Ben Field. So we’re yapping away and of course my eyes are furtively scanning the rather good looking shop in case there’s something new which I haven’t seen yet. Does Ben notice my eyes scanning his shelves? Well as subtle as I like to think I am being, in truth I think it’s pretty bloody obvious I am yet another lure fishing addict standing in the middle of a lure fishing crack house and doing my best to act a bit nonchalant about it.
I have a kind of cotton candy colour radar - if there’s a hard lure in a cotton candy colour then I’m going to notice it for starters, and if (help!) there’s a lure I haven’t seen before in that colour then alarm bells are going to start going off between my brain and my wallet. Holy frigging cow, can you imagine how weak I would be around a cotton candy OSP DoLive Stick? Be still my beating heart!
Anyway, while I’m talking to Leland Gaunt my eyes alight upon a rather lovely looking APIA hard lure that I have definitely never seen before, and shock horror, it just happens to be in a lovely cotton candy colour as well. Without a doubt Leland notices my sharp intake of breath, and he then turns around, scans his bastard shelves, and like a magician might pull a rabbit from a hat, said new hard lure is suddenly in his outstretched hand and being offered to me for a closer look. “Have you not seen this new APIA Dover 99F lure?” asks Leland? “No Ben, I haven’t.” And bang, there goes my addled brain, straight into lure needing/buying/justification mode. I’m breathing a little faster, my eyes are no doubt bulging, and that bastard lure demon in my head is chattering away.
As I said at the top, do I need a new hard lure? Well believe it or not, I’ve got “a few” already, and I reckon I’ve got most bases covered. But I haven’t got one of these APIA lures, and I do love having a few smaller hard lures that look like they might cast well, grip in nicely, and swim at a kind of shallowish medium sort of depth. So I don’t need one, but oh do I now want one - 14g, 99mm long, and rated to swim at 60cm, but I bet you with the rod tip up it will go shallower if needs be. And of course the one in Leland’s hand is a lovely cotton candy colour.
OK, so far I am managing to resist, but then as we carry on talking about world peace and other such important stuff, I begin thinking about a particular spot on the north coast of Cornwall that could call for a lure like that. I tend to fish there a lot with the DoLive Stick which can slay on its day, but sometimes when the conditions are somewhere between perfect and on the edge of being too much, controlling a weightless soft plastic can be tricky - hence my thinking about a few hard lures which might do the job for me. Which of course I have already. Which of course isn’t the point here. The bastard lure demon in my head is going back and forth - should I, shouldn’t I? Well it’s obviously a foregone conclusion, but I play the game with my head before handing over my debit card and relieving Needful Things of a brand new, shiny cotton candy colour APIA Dover 99F.
Which then sits in my lure box for a while because I’m fishing so much with soft plastics. It sits there looking lovely, it’s ready to go with the barbs all crushed down, but it wasn’t until last Sunday morning that I was faced with exactly the conditions at exactly the spot for which I thought this little APIA lure might work. You know damn well I’ve got other hard lures which could have done the job, and Charlie who I am fishing with does very well at this spot by fishing a 120mm Fiiish Black Minnow along the reefy bottom. But such logic is often besides the point when you’ve got a new lure you are itching to try.
Anyway, I’m struggling to properly fish a DoLive Stick, so I reel it in and pull my box of hard lures out of my HPA bag at my side. Hang on, did one of them just wink at me? I could have sworn that little cotton candy APIA lure winked at me - “Henry, over here, clip me on, now is the time you worthless addict”. So I do. I give in and gently pluck the new lure from my box, clip it on, put my lure box away, and then I cast the lure out on the “can’t stop fishing with it and should have returned it by now”, outstanding HTO Nebula 9’ 7-35g lure rod. Holy cow this little lure flies, and in a strong left to right rip current and a good bit of bounce it feels like it’s gripping and swimming really nicely. “Oh you clever boy Henry, you did so well to buy me”. Do lures really talk, or is it that lure demon still chatting away inside my head?
Whatever it is, I think I might have yelped for joy when about five casts later I feel a hard tap and then a bang and then I’m connected to what feels like a decent bass. It didn’t actually end up scrapping that well, but when Charlie kindly went down and dragged my bass from the water, I think I might have by mistake said thank you very much to my new lure before I said so to him. All joking aside - and the life of a lure addict is no laughing matter by the way - I get such a thrill out of buying a new lure (obviously) with a specific location and set of conditions in mind and then actually catching on it. The fact that this rather lovely December bass was surely around the 6lb mark was merely the icing on the cake.
I then hooked another bass not long after which annoyingly came off, and then not long after that my lure got caught up on a rock (it’s some pretty shallow ground) and my braid obviously passed straight over something nice and sharp and broke. Forlornly I looked out at the whitewater to see if my little APIA Dover 99F could be seen waving at me, but I couldn’t see it, and as I turned around to go and tie a new leader on, I said a quiet and sad goodbye to my little cotton candy friend.
And so the cycle of lure buying kicks in once more. I took a punt on the lure, I caught a nice fish on the new lure, and then I lost it - which means that firstly I am going to have to buy another one because I now know it works, and secondly I can’t just buy another cotton candy one. Oh no, fear not brave soul, I can’t be doing with just the one colour now. I now need a few different colours because that’s the way my twisted, lure addicted brain works. Off to Needful Things I go to continue my cycle of lure buying weakness that goes around and around while I play at being a grownup dad who is meant to be more mature than his 13 and 11 year old girls………….
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