As much as it's been a pretty mild winter and there does still seem to be a few legitimate chances to for a bass on the lures down here, in truth it's hardly the finest time of year - wrassing on plastics aside of course, and especially in the Isles of Scilly where my mate Del continues to catch silly numbers of fish (check here). It must be a "winter thing" with me, because I start looking for new hard lures to play around with. I've got enough, and the ones that I do have catch bass, but I do like to see what else might be out there that might give me viable options on various marks or in certain conditions. Here's a few things that I have been "researching" or "testing" - read that as playing around with high-tech bits of plastic to see how they cast and swim !! Bear in mind that I have not gone out and caught bass on these lures yet.
DUO Realis Pencil 110 (110mm, 20.5g, surface lure) - from what I can tell on the excellent English version of the DUO website (see here, I wish more Japanese tackle companies would take a leaf from DUO's book), this is a surface lure that was designed primarily for freshwater bass fishing, but if this thing does not catch our own (sea) bass then I will eat it hooks and all. It casts really well and it's got a strong, walk the dog kind of action that you can play around with. The one thing that really stood out from the off was the sound this lure makes. This Realis Pencil 110 is not a "splashy" lure like say a popper or a Patchinko is, indeed you can work it very subtly indeed (me, subtle ?), but it has a large fixed ball bearing and a smaller moving one inside that on the retrieve click very rhythmically against each other. If you want a subtle-action surface lure that makes a noticeable "look at me" sound, then this DUO lure might be it. You can hear it plain as day when you are working it back to you. There is a video of this lure in action here.
IMA Hound 125F Glide (125mm, 20g, floating minnow) - I am going to stick my neck out a bit here and say that I have never used a 125mm size minnow that casts better than this. I'm not saying a better casting one does not exist, but I have not fished with it. Honestly, it can't be right for such a relatively small lure to go out like this. Casting prowess is not everything of course, but I like it when I can reap some of the benefits of a bigger/heavier lure in a smaller body and thus I can keep fishing with the lighter, generally shorter rods that I can get away with on so much of the ground I fish. You can get this Hound 125F Glide up fairly shallow if needs be, and it's natural swimming depth is quoted at 70-100cm. The action on this thing is very intense - a kind of tight rolling if that makes any sense, but please bear in mind that I struggle slightly with trying to describe how a lure swims in the water. My opinion is that this missile is going to become one of my go-to lures for livelier conditions when I need to get out there through the wind and then bite in hard. I dread to think how far you could push a 140mm version of this lure if IMA ever made one ?
I went out to try for a bass yesterday afternoon but the sea was rougher and more coloured than I thought it would have been on the forecast, and the wind was pumping from the south west - but what a perfect time to really give this new IMA Hound 125F Glide a workout. It cuts into and through the wind like an arrow and neither Mark nor I found one instance when our lures did not bite in hard and keep fishing. It was the perfect sea conditions to spit the wrong lures out if that makes sense. I have no facts or figures to back up my casting claims with this lure, but based on feel and visuals alone I just can't think of a minnow of this size that gets me out there better. Now it would have been rather nice if a bass had gone and jumped on the end, but I think we were rather pushing it.
Daiwa Morethan X-Roll 128F (128mm, 14.8g, floating minnow) - you know that I have a bit of thing for hard lures which swim nice and shallow, but not only does this Morethan X-Roll 128F come up really shallow if you need it to, it rolls like mad. OK, it's called an "X-Roll", so I had a little feeling that it might roll !!, but it really, really rolls - check out a little video of it here. This X-Roll casts well, and unlike those Daiwa Shoreline Shiners which I think have some kind of movable weights inside that do their moving along an internal wire, this X-Roll feels like it has the more regular, movable ball bearings inside it to help with the casting. Why ? I ain't got a clue, but I like how this X-Roll gives me another potential shallow-diver option in that it rolls, whereas say an IMA Komomo SF125 or a Tackle House Feed Shallow almost seem to shake their heads from side to side on the retrieve. I am constantly amazed at just how much lure fishing gear Daiwa Japan make. Roll on spring...............