I will never forget the first time I watched somebody rigging a soft lure with a weedless hook, because it confused the hell out of me!
I know that some anglers have been lure fishing since before they were actually born and will therefore never understand how confusing it can be to start really getting into a whole new kind of fishing, but an email from an angler the other day reminded me of when I first saw a weedless hook because I was photographing somebody who is now a good friend rigging a soft plastic lure with it. Using a weedless hook may well be second nature to me now, but it wasn’t that long ago when I saw one for the first time, and because it seemed so bloody complicated I actually avoided using one myself for a fair while afterwards!
I know exactly when it was when I first saw a weedless hook because I can go back to the photographs I shot and check the date - I was in south east Ireland and then headed over to take some photos in north Wales with Nick Roberts of Bass Lures. He had been using the Lunker City Slug-Go lures for his bass fishing for a fair while already, and firstly I had never seen a lure like this (and to be honest back then I couldn’t see how something like this could work for our bass!), and secondly the way he rigged the lure with one of those rather awesome Lunker City Texposer hooks was a mix of fascinating and confusing. Oh, and the exact date was 21.07.2008. I know, I shouldn’t be admitting to it, but I haven’t been lure fishing since before I was born.
Coming from bait fishing and getting into mainly easier to understand hard lures that you whack out and wind in, well this whole world of soft plastics was something that I knew so little about. Sure, I had fished with those old Storm Shads for pollack from the rocks, but whacking one of those lures out was little different from a hard lure, and I can remember so well watching a very talented Irish bass angler putting an XLayer out on a jig head and catching three bass in three casts. Firstly, what on earth was the lure, and secondly, what on earth was he doing? I don’t know about you, but certain instances in my fishing life have really stuck in my head, and the more I get into lure fishing especially, the more significant those moments become.
But it was seeing that weedless hook for the first time that has also really stuck in my memory as one of those times when I’m snapping away and trying to make all the right noises about understanding what is going on, but in reality I know that those photos I was shooting were also going to serve as my own reminder on how to rig a soft plastic with a weedless hook - when in truth I was shooting stuff for some magazine articles. Hell, killing two birds with one stone never hurt, and yes, I did refer back to those simple how to photos a fair few times when I was trying to work out how on earth a weedless hook worked with a soft plastic! As much as so many things within lure fishing have become almost second nature over time, I do all I can to cling to the memories of how confusing this way of fishing can seem to somebody who is starting to get into it.