Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Rigging for swimming

And no, in case you were wondering, I am not about to start swimming for my fishing and risk being harpooned by a passing whale boat. Me and dry land work just fine, with a bit of wading and the inevitable wave down the front or going one step too far and falling down a gully. I love boats, but give me rubbish light and I tend to get very twitchy, plus I do love walking and scrambling around - with the agility of a ninja of course !!

No, what I am on about here is rigging a soft plastic paddletail (shad) for those times you want to do no more than "swim" it, i.e. do what some anglers would like to believe is almost heresy - whack it out and wind it in. The shame of it !! For me it's nothing more than another option to try out on the fish, and it's worked plenty of times. Perhaps the most logical way to rig a paddletail is of course on a jig head (which one though because it's kinda confusing), and of course trotting, bumping and swimming these lures can be deadly for bass and pollack especially.

But most jig heads tend to fish with their hook points exposed, and I suppose a part of the reason for me liking the Fiiish Black Minnow lures is because once set up they are essentially weedless. Any time I can get that hook point away from snags is good by me, and although a weedless presentation is never a guarantee that you won't snag up, it sure does cut down your tackle losses big time - hence I am not that into "swimming" paddletails through the 'orrible stuff with a great big points almost asking the rocks to grab them on the way through.

I will admit to having a bit of an obsession with these weedless (wide-gape/Texas-style) hooks that use a hitch-hiker system for mounting my soft plastics. They just make perfect sense to me and perhaps over time they will become easier to get hold of as more anglers cotton on to how effective they are. You might have noticed how some of these style of weedless hooks come with belly weights on them, and I happen to think that rigging a paddletail up like this can work really well if you want to whack the lure out and wind it in more like say a minnow-style hard lure.

I was out fishing the other day (blanking) and a mate kindly gave me this 6.5'' Sakura Majikeel Shad Tail that you can see above, and because of the complete "system" that the Black Minnow now gives me I don't tend to carry a selection of jig heads with me unless I am specifically going to a spot where I would use them. But I do carry a selection of weedless hooks for rigging various soft plastics, and a few of these hooks have belly weights on them.............

I am sure a lure like this Sakura thing was not designed to be rigged like I did it, but it was all I had and it looked pretty awesome in the water, and it also went out there very well indeed. I grant you that it's not that heavy a set up (happens to be a 7g belly weight) and would therefore struggle into a big headwind or in much rougher conditions, but that is when I would be turning to a Black Minnow anyway. At the end of the day it's no more than another option for me, and various paddletails I have rigged like this have produced a few fish over the last few years. The less I can carry that gives me enough options always does it for me if that makes sense.

Have a good weekend all of you. It can't be long until the bass turn up around here, surely ? I wonder how far behind we actually are, because I am just starting to hear reports of some decent lure fishing in various parts of Ireland for example, and that is much later than say two years ago when I was sitting here bashing my head against my desk with all the bass I was hearing about "early" in the season. Sometime soon................

Henry Gilbey4 Comments