Henry Gilbey
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Lipless hard lures - what am I missing?

And I don't mean hard lures like the SF125, Feed Shallow etc. I tend to call them ultra-shallow diving minnows or something like that, and if you looked in my lure box then I would doubt you'd ever see me without at least an SF125. I love fishing shallow reefy ground and of course the terrain we fish tends to dictate the lures we use. Nope, what I am on about here are those hard lures that look like little missiles - minnow shaped, but with no lip/bib or cut-face front to them. These sorts of lures seem to be called things like lipless minnows, pencil baits etc., but again, go searching on Google and you will find all manner of different lures grouped under these terms - including lures like the SF125.

I went through a phase a few years back of buying various lures from Japan, and via this I ended up with a few of these lipless hard lures (or lipless minnows, pencil baits, whatever you want to call them). I remember whacking them out and then reeling them in and for the most part wondering why on earth I had bought them because they weren't doing anything - or at least nothing that grabbed me. So I put them aside. They just didn't make much sense to me, but again it's my increased adoption of soft plastics that have helped me realise that a lure does not actually need to be doing something very obvious to catch fish. We the anglers tend to love it when something wobbles/rolls/slashes/splashes etc., but now look at how successful a lure like the senko is becoming for our bass - straight retrieve that thing at a slow speed and you can't tell me it's doing practically anything. But it is, or at least it's doing something to switch bass on to it.

And I keep hearing snippets of info about anglers catching good bass on these arrow-like lipless hard lure things. The Hart X3 Pencil is one that I have heard a bit about, plus stuff like the Lucky Craft Wander etc. I also came across a dirt cheap Storm lure last year that looks to have some potential for bass fishing, the Flutterstick (photo above), and I am very much looking forward to seeing the new IMA Scarecrow 100S (honestly, I don't have a problem). I accept completely that there are most likely a hundred different ways to fish these things, but I really like firstly how they cast, and secondly that with the ones I have played with how you can quickly snap that bale arm back over (they sink) and then simply straight retrieve them back to get a kind of lazy slalom sort of action just underneath the surface. Some of them kinda remind me of that killer soft plastic Fish Arrow 5'' Flash J and the way it slaloms on a slow straight retrieve.

Considering where I tend to fish for bass, am I missing something by not giving these lipless hard lure things a proper workout? Have any of you had some experience and joy with them on the bass? We all know how important confidence is in fishing, and perhaps lure fishing especially, but considering that I now have various soft plastics that can almost emulate what some of these lipless hard lures are doing, should I be going back to my little collection here and essentially rediscovering them? I have a feeling that I should be............

Look, I don't do any kind of religion, but I am beginning to think that there might in fact be a higher power. Why? How else do you explain what is going on at the moment? Somebody up there quite frankly hates us. The weather is beyond a joke now, honestly, can you ever remember a stormier/wetter winter? And yes, I want to wring the neck of the forecasters who were saying a couple of months ago that we were in for the most brutally cold winter since whenever - because they are now saying we are in for this kind of weather for at least the rest of the month. Do we trust a single word they forecast anymore? And after the worst cricket tour that any cricket fan has ever had to endure, Kevin Pietersen is welcome no more. Arguably England's best ever batsman and most likely a complete pain to manage, surplus to requirements quite possibly because we haven't got a captain and/or setup strong enough to manage him? The winter of discontent. Roll on frigging spring.

Henry Gilbey10 Comments