Lures fishing has become an extremely popular method of fishing and these days the lure angler is spoilt for choice regarding types of lures that can be utilized. Whist lure fishing can in fact cover pretty much any form of fishing done without natural baits; here we will focus on the type of lure fishing with artificial lures commonly practiced in Europe for predatory fish such as Pike, Zander, Perch, Salmon and Trout. Information related to trolling, using lures with a fly rod and ice-fishing can be found on other pages. Lure fishing in Europe can be practiced in the sea, canals, lakes of all sizes, rivers and streams. As mentioned there are many different types of lures with the selection growing constantly including some excellent fish takers and unfortunately many that seem to be designed more to empty the anglers wallet than fill his or her landing net. For any would be lure anglers that are starting out with lure fishing and are facing the seemingly impossible task of choosing the right lures we would strongly recommend to select a few from the established reputable manufactures in the industry and start with these. Later as more experience and knowledge is gained the selection can be widened. The following vendors make fantastic lures and by selecting a few from their catalogues the novice lure angler will have all needed to handle most situations they are likely to be faced when starting out. Not only will they have the correct lure types but will also be able to fish with the confidence that the lures are made with the utmost quality and will stand up to the rigors of constant casting, getting snagged and smashed up by the jaws of an angry monster Pike.
The original Rapala, Minnow and Countdown lures are excellent lures that have caught many fish over the years. If targeting Pike, Perch or Zander and not sure what to pull our of the tackle box first, these would be a good choice.
The Shakespeare Big S plug has been a proven Pike taker over many years accounting for some of the biggest Pike that have fallen to the lure. If you start off with only one Pike lure in the tackle box it would be wise to choose the Big S.
Abu, Fox and Mepps: All three make quality spinners and we would recommend getting a selection of sizes and colours from at least one of these. Spinners will take all types of predatory fish found in Europe without exception.
A relatively new development is the popularity of soft lures with Saving Gear leading the way in recent years with an excellent collection to choose from including the 3D range of lures, 4 Play Shads and Real Eel models.
The choice of best lure type, colour and size is one that could be debated for years. Some anglers swear by some specific types and colours and others debate that the best lure colour depends on the water colour, brightness, depth or fish species being targeted. There have been many scientific studies done over the years and even some that have concluded that a spray of WD-40 can help induce a take – I will leave the WD-40 for the rusty lock. The studies shown some interesting facts especially related to colour and depth but unfortunately this does not help if you are fishing in a river of 20-30 cm depth. Many lure anglers believe in the philosophy of trying to match the natural prey species size if known but that alone is not the only factor that would determine success. A lure of the correct size but poor swimming action would probably catch less than a lure slightly bigger or smaller with a good swimming action. Another topic that is often debated is that certain lures will catch one fish type but not others. The reality is that lures imitate small fish and a Pike will happily gobble up a Salmon spoon and a Trout has no idea that your recently purchased “Zander Wobbler” was not meant for him.Pike have been know to chase ground-bait swim feeders whilst Roach fishing and many a Trout has tried to take cigarette butts flicked into the water which tells us that the fish behaviour can’t always be predicted.
It is true that some lures are better at catching some fish species but it makes lure fishing more interesting when you never really know what your hooks have just been set into.
There are almost as many different types of lure rods as there are lures to choose from. Rods vary in material, length, weight, test curve, casting weight and of course price. The correct rod to select will depend largely on what type of fishing you plan to do. In practice no single rod is going to be a master of all tasks. A quick chat with the guys in the fishing tackle shop will put you on the right track. Alternatively a quick search of the various lure fishing forums will be useful in finding something in your price range. For boat fishing a shorter lure rod under 10 foot is usually better as typically you do not need to cast as far as you might from the bank. If hurling a 200 gram lure from the bank you would require something capable of the constant punishment and hence should opt for a sturdier rod with a little extra length.
Again with reels there are many options to choose from. For the beginner we would recommend a fixed spool reel simply because of the birds-nests that can occur with a multiplier if it is allowed to overrun. Tangles will also happen with fixed spool reels but to a lesser degree. Both multipliers and fixed spool reels can be used for lure fishing and is down to personal preference. The multiplier reel is the real of choice for most accomplished lure anglers. When the basic concepts of how to use a multiplier are learnt it does offer clear benefits in that they tend to be smaller, lighter and can be cast single handed.
In days of old the choice used to be pretty much a question of what breaking strain nylon was needed and colour preferred. With the rise in popularity of braid the new lure angler has to decide which material to use. There are arguments for and against both nylon and braid. In practice neither is going to significantly alter the catch rate for the new lure angler. As long as you have the correct breaking strain for the rod used and type of fishing being done you should not worry too much about the nylon vs braid pros and cons as both will put fish on the bank. With nylon, a breaking strain between 5-12 kg will suffice for most circumstances. You should go lighter if fishing a small stream with spinners for small Trout and know that nothing significantly bigger lives on the stream that is not going to grab the lure. One of the arguments for braid is that you can get braid in the same diameter but with much stronger breaking strain. This can be particularly useful for the Salmon and Pike angler as they are able to load the reel with either more line or same amount of line but much stronger breaking strain.
Whilst not required if targeting the likes of Perch or Trout a wire trace should always be used when there is a chance a Pike will take the lure. Even a small 1 kg hungry Pike can devour a lure taking it deep in the mouth and will bite through nylon and braid in a second. There are many types of ready-made wire traces available on the market which can be found in the fishing tackle shops. Supplied with an easy to use snap swivel the changing of lures is a simple operation that takes a few seconds only.
Whilst it’s possible to beach land fish when fishing from the shore or collect by hand when in the boat there are many times when a landing net would prevent a lost fish. Rubber coated landing nets are ideal for lure fishing as they prevent the hooks becoming becoming tangled in the was they do with standard net material.
One of the attractions with lure fishing is that it can be done with a relatively small investment and doesn’t require a huge amount of time and effort. Pick up the rod, reel and net with a few lures in the pocket and you are ready to start. Lure fishing can be done from the boat or the shore of almost any water in Europe. Knowing a bit about your quarry and where to find and approach them will significantly enhance your chances of a catch. It is of course possible to catch fish simply by chucking the lure and relying on lady luck alone. It happens sometimes but the constantly successful angler is one that has learnt to read the water and knows where a predator is likely to be and what will trigger it into a taking a piece of plastic, rubber or balsa wood on the end of a line. Both predatory and prey fish like cover and as a general rule any area that provides this or some other feature will be worth a cast.
Not all waters provide interesting features to cast at or if they do they may be out of reach but this doesn’t mean fish can’t be taken. Many fish are taken from areas that according to the books should not hold any. If faced with a barren stretch of water feature wise we would suggest to use the clock (or fan) casting technique to cover all the water. Start with a cast at the left (9 o’clock) and with each cast work round an imaginary clock until reaching 3 o’clock. If nothing takes then make a move to the next spot.
Bait-fish don’t swim constantly at the same speed so try varying the speed of retrieve and depth the lure is fished. Eventually you will figure out what works best for a particular species and water. Trout in particular can follow a lure for long distances without actually taking it, a twitch or quick burst of speed can induce a take and make the difference between going home empty handed or with a trophy fish.
A change of lure fished in the same swim in the same way can often result in a change of fortune. Trout anglers that fly fish with lures have known this for years and it is often the angler that is prepared to ring the changes that will stand-out with more fish than others that stick with the same lure all day.
Do not forget the near bank of a river – Many novice anglers will approach a river with a lure rod and proceed immediately to launch the lure as far as humanly possible. If approached quietly with stealth and soft footing there is every chance that fish may be under or near the bank.
Finnish tackle companies make some excellent lures and the Jesse products are no exception. The Jesse 11 cm range of lures have been extremely effective for Pike and Zander anglers throughout northern Europe. The Jesse lures come in a wide range of colour combinations with different diving actions to suit all circumstances.