If there’s one category of hard lures for bass fishing that continues to fascinate me, it’s what I tend to refer to as the ultra-shallow divers. I guess because I don’t have a lifelong history of lure fishing for bass and as such thinking about the old classics such as the Rapala J13 and even to some extent say the Storm Jointed Thunderstick doesn’t bring me out all warm and fuzzy, it’s the more modern hard lures and what they can do that just fascinate me - and at the top of the tree as such is how you we can get hold of long casting, minnow-type hard lures that can then swim so shallow and so seductively. But let’s say that you can take only one of these lures out bass fishing with you - what would it be? And yes, this is how my brain started to bounce early this morning………….
I bet any number of you own such lures as the Tackle House Feed Shallow, IMA Komomo SF-125, IMA Komomo II, DUO Terrif, Daiwa R50+, Duel Hardcore Lipless Minnow 120F, IMA Komomo SF-130 Slim etc. There are numerous ones that I am aware of, and no doubt plenty more that I am not. I am not on about your more regular minnows, rather this rather unique family of hard lures that are designed to swim really shallow and thus tend to suit so much of the rough, rocky and weedy ground that so many UK and Irish lure anglers love to fish.
But for this blog post I can take only one of them. I’m starting to sweat with imagining the thought of leaving various ones behind. I remember plenty of the bass I have caught or seen caught on various lures and of course various colours, but tie me down and let me take only one of these ultra-shallow divers and for me it has to be the IMA Komomo SF-125. The first of these type of modern lures that I ever owned was the IMA Komomo SF-125, before they did a bit of redesign work on the thing and relaunched it a few years ago, and because this particular lure I owned (happened to be the cotton candy colour) then went and worked for me almost straight away over in south east Ireland - lots of rough, shallow ground - I can’t help but pick this one out.
Before I owned this lure, I had never really seen a long-casting, modern style of hard lure that went out so well and would then swim so shallow and so seductively via me doing no more than simply winding it in. I remember reading a lot back then how the French anglers especially were so into the working their hard lures (twitching, pausing etc.), and then how I almost convinced myself that I had to doing something wrong because I wasn’t animating that SF-125 at all - yet it was catching me a bunch of bass. As long as I live I will never forget one particular bass literally launching itself out of the water and onto some flat rocks at my feet as it tried to smash that first cotton candy SF-125 I owned, and it really struck me how that particular colour of hard lure could often work when it was sunny and calm and tough conditions.
But of course there’s lures like the Feed Shallow in this “family” of hard lures that can’t be ignored, indeed there’s no getting away from how many big bass this one lure has been responsible for. I really like and respect the Feed Shallow, but I don’t love it like I love the SF-125. It matters not that the Feed Shallow doesn’t cast as well as the SF-125, and if I think back I reckon I have seen more bigger bass taken on the Feed Shallow overall, but for me it comes down to the simple fact that I owned an SF-125 well before I owned a Feed Shallow, and as such it wormed its way into my head and I don’t really feel comfortable going bass fishing without at least one in my box - unless the sea is really bouncing and therefore I’m not fishing very shallow ground and/or the sea is too rough to fish with ultra-shallow divers anyway.
A bunch of years later and you might have guessed that I own a few SF-125 lures in a range of colours, but make me pick one and it’s still going to be that cotton candy colour. It makes no sense how this daft colour looks nothing like any baitfish that any self-respecting bass might ever come across, but again this rams it home to me how on earth we are ever really going to know what a fish actually sees or even senses. I would hope that I have learnt a lot more about bass fishing since that day I first got an SF-125 from the Bass Lures at the now defunct CLA Game Fair, but still I derive a particular pleasure from clipping on an IMA SF-125, chucking it out over some stunningly rough shallow ground, and then having a bass smash into it as I do no more than crank it back. My kind of lure - easy to use and easy to understand.
Now that was a final worthy of such an awesome Rugby World Cup. Holy cow that was some game. Hugely well done to New Zealand, commiserations to a pretty brilliant Australia team, but most scary to me is how much better these teams are than England. For all the individual brilliance, nothing beats experience born from time spent under real sporting pressure, and when you’ve got an All Blacks team taking the field with well over one thousand caps and they also happen to be obscenely talented as well, well I guess that the rest of the rugby world is working out how on earth they might catch up. That really was the most incredible World Cup. The Six Nations is going to be a blast as always, but in the back of my mind is that niggling feeling that England ain’t remotely close to a team like New Zealand yet. Four more years down the line? Let’s see……….